Thursday, 22 May 2014

Solicit-Impressions - He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #16

Hi everyone and welcome to first installment of "Solicit-Impressions" here at He-Man and the Masters of the Beyond the New 52 Universe Fan-Blog!

I'm joined by a good friend Sebastian 'Reilly' Vogl, comics and toys reviewer of

We will be giving our initial impressions on the solicitation information for Issue #16. With discussion on King Grayskull, the Gar race, She-Ra's destiny, while speculating our hopes and notations in regards to the upcoming story arc "The Blood of Grayskull". The new chapter for He-Man and his friends that starts with issue #13 on May 28th

“Wanted: He-Man and Adora!” After reaching the mystical island of Anwat-Gar, He-Man and Adora are still on the run from Hordak and his villainous Horde. And He-Man can’t shake the suspicion they’re being hunted – but by whom? Fan favorite villain Tri-Klops returns in the latest chapter of “The Origin of She-Ra!”

Jukka: So the new Solicitation from DC Comics for He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Issue #16 is out. Marking a return of an Evil Warrior.

What did you think about it, Reilly?

Reilly: I am EXTREMELY excited about that! We got to see a few glimpes of him in previous new DC comics. But most of those have been covers or short flashbacks. Because of that, Tri-Klops felt like the forgotten one of Skeletor's Evil Warriors' "core" group. Now it seems he finally gets his time to shine.

Jukka: You took the words out of my mouth. I think we've talked previously about Tri-Klops only appearing in Sir-Laser-Lot digital in the background and then that Orko digital chapter. That's it. The other two times were cover-appearances and we haven't gotten a feel for him yet. So this bit about him following He-Man and Adora could be a clue as to how Mattel/DC are approaching him?

Reilly: Yes, I would agree with that! It seems like they want to focus on the often-ignored hunter aspect of his persona. Heck, we have a guy here whose Visor enables him to watch over great distances and even see through solid rock. It's just a given that he's the best when you wanna track down your enemies. Who knows, maybe the Horde has employed him to find and assassinate the Twins of Power?

Jukka: I was thinking about that. But the solicitation says "He-Man and Adora are still on the run from Hordak and his villainous Horde. And He-Man can’t shake the suspicion they’re being hunted – but by whom?".

What if they are two separate things? That He-Man and Adora are on the run from the Evil Horde. BUT at the same time Tri-Klops has discovered them and is pursuing. Like... on his own. That would give some merit on him acting more independently.

Especially since we still don't know the fates of Skeletor's Evil Warriors. Evil-Lyn was last seen before the Horde Orbital Blast. But the others disappeared even before that, and they didn't seem to be at Snake Mountain either.

Reilly: Yes, Tri-Klops might be hunting them on his own. Maybe Evil-Lyn has reassembled the Evil Warriors, and ordered Tri-Klops to follow He-Man and Adora. Or Tri-Klops just finally wants to kill He-Man because of a personal grudge, similar to Trap-Jaw's portrayal in the new comics. Hard to tell at this point.

Jukka: Indeed. Now, I know you are a humble Tri-Klops fan...

Reilly: I admit that I am a HUGE Tri-Klops fan!

Jukka: Damn. Knew the word began with an H... 

...I kid. :)

But go on, please.

Reilly: I loved how he was introduced and potrayed in his very-first minicomic "The Terror of Tri-Klops". There, he was a hunter/mercenary who used his skills to defeat He-Man's friends one by one and almost bested He-Man himself, too.
The Terror of Tri-Klops
It was too bad that the Filmation cartoon reduced him to just another not-so-smart underling. Tri-Klops is just badass, and I hope to see part of that former glory put into his new portrayal.

Jukka: Tri-Klops is one of those memorable characters. But like many characters, built around a toy-gimmick. Which was his eyes having those different functions. You are also right that the Filmation series didn't utilize him much.

Though I liked it when he teamed up with Evil-Lyn and almost broke through to Castle Grayskull ("The Royal Cousin"). 2002 series ditched the eye-gimmick for basically different colored eye-beam laser blasts. So he was made the inventor-guy. Do you think we'll see ripples of that here?

Reilly: I think that depends on whether or not we will see him use Doomseekers. The introduction of Doomseekers in the 2002 toyline and series was a more "realistic" expansion of Tri-Klops' role as a spy for Skeletor.

But at the same time, they made it pretty much unnecessary for his visor to have abilities beyond shooting different eye-blasts, as you correctly said. So I am divided.

I would be fine if Tri-Klops is a tech guy in the new comics in terms of setting up nifty technical traps for his enemies. But I don't need him to be the "evil inventor" that he was in the 2002 show.

Jukka: The big question. Lasers. Yay or Nay?

Reilly: You mean laser eye beams?

Jukka: That's what I said.

Reilly: Yay, but only if done well. I wouldn't want Tri-Klops shooting eye beams all the time. He wields that sword for a reason, you know. I could imagine that he uses an eye beam laser as his "secret weapon", sort of a last resort when faced with defeat. Who knows, he might just have an eye beam which stuns enemies so he can capture them!

Jukka: Wields a sword indeed! We saw the new redesigns of characters back in 2012 by Philip Tan. Tri-Klops was one of them to get an updated look. Looking back, how do you feel about that design?

Reilly: It is a bit tough to judge that design, as we never saw it in full swing and it didn't seem to be finalized. I never liked how many of the character-designs featured chainmail parts that looked like they were added randomly. The same applied to Tri-Klops.
2012 concept art by Philip Tan.

I thought it was okay to tweak his clothes. But he shouldn't be clad too much in armor.

Mattel seems fond of turning characters from "half-naked barbarians" into armor-clad knights. And who can blame them, if that's how the characters can be transported easier to the big screen and accepted by a new audience? But Tri-Klops' armor shouldn't be as bulky as Man-At-Arms'.

He is a hunter, a spy, and a sword fighter, so his armor must enable him to stay mobile and move fast.

Jukka: I concur. The chainmail was in abundance with the early redesigns!

Also the solicitations mentions yet again Anwat Gar. (this time with better spelling, though)

Reilly: I'm curious to see their treatment of Anwat Gar. In the 2002 cartoon show, Anwat Gar was portrayed as an (with the expection of Sy-Klone) unpopulated island, filled with ruins of a long "lost" civilization, it seemed.

In the MOTU Classics maps, there's hints of the Gar actually not being Eternian natives, but having arrived on spaceships. So now it will be interesting to see in the new comics, if Anwat Gar still is populated and what role the Gar have in this canon.

Jukka: Oh yeah, I forgot about the MOTU Classics map and the Gar-references there. That could be part of the DC story as well. Anwat Gar was created for the 2002 cartoon for the first time. We meet Sy-Klone there, but as writer Dean Stefan has confirmed in interviews, he was not native from the Island. He was only its "Last Guardian". [The term Gar was derived by fans from the name of the island. It's not used in cartoon or comic or anywhere official as I recall. But because fans associated it for blue-skinned folk, the term stuck.]

Since the character is associated with the Island heavily... Does this mean we might see Sy-Klone or the Legacy Stones? Maybe the stone in Sword of Protection IS a Legacy Stone?

And Gar are something we don't know much. In the interview with Dan Abnett, he mentioned they were a pariah, the outsiders...

Reilly: You might be on to something with your idea of one of the Legacy Stones being the stone in She-Ra's sword! I always wanted the stone to be a fragment of He-Ro's (the wizard who in the 1980s was supposed to be He-Man's ancestor) magic staff. But in this new canon, your idea would be a perfect explanation as to why Adora travels to Anwat Gar of all areas!

The Gar being Eternia's pariah is something I'm very weary about. We have seen that happen in the MOTU Classics minicomics, where Eternia's citizens want to deny Keldor his (rightful!) throne because the Gar committed some major crimes ages ago.

Mattel's entire treatment of the Gar in MOTU Classics seems to be loosely based on Emiliano Santalucia's original ideas for the 2002 Masters comics. Therein, the Gar originated from Infinita and - in what reminds me a little of the Jews - end on Eternia as people who lost their home and suffer mistreatments by the locals.

It looks like the DC comics will follow part of that and give us their interpretation about why the Gar are hated. This has some potential, but I hope it won't end in clichés.

Jukka: Well I'm not personally fond of the idea of the stone having anything to do with the Legacy Stones. But when you mention "anwat gar", all I think of is "Sy-Klone" and "something about Legacy Stones".

Oh, and "DragonBall fighting"! Hah!

But maybe it isn't about the stone. Perhaps the Gar were the ones to hide the Sword of Protection. And within Anwat Gar the main characters think IS the Sword itself. Or a clue/map that will eventually lead them to the Destiny that awaits Adora.

I concur with your sentiment about clichés. The idea that Gar as a race are different and there being some differences that can cause issues with Eternians is something that could be explored. In the 2002 concept-ideas by Emiliano Santalucia it also seemed to focus on Captain Miro, Keldor and Keldor's mother. From that notion MOTUC made their more broad version... -B
ut the approach in MOTUC story was extreme. Making the Eternian citizens look bad. Not all blue folk are bad. Heck not all blue folk are Gar.

Reilly: True. And keep in mind that Eternia is populated by dozens upon dozens of different races. In such an environment, you can't go the usual racism tour. The Gar must have done something REALLY bad to be believable as the pariah, especially throughout eons. Something like having fought a war wherein they willingly almost eradicated another race. I could see that causing general mistrust among the other races of Eternia.

Jukka: Will be interesting for sure on how they handle it.

I know I'm very excited for Issue #13 with King Grayskull and his story. Acting as the prologue to the Origin of She-Ra. 

Reilly: Oh yes, issue #13 sounds very promising! We might learn in there already why the Gar are Eternia's pariah and why exactly Adora has to go to Anwat Gar.

I've always been torn about King Grayskull, as he pretty much replaced He-Ro as He-Man's ancestor and often was significantly bigger and "mightier" than He-Man himself. King Grayskull's sheer physical presence always has made it tough to tell why He-Man is the real deal and truly the most powerful man in the universe.

The comics have the big chance to show that, so I'm looking forward to see their take on King Grayskull.

Jukka: My sentiments exactly about King Grayskull replacing He-Ro as the Ancestor. I've always been a huge fan of He-Ro and his mentor Eldor.

I know Mattel really seems to like the 2002 episode "The Power of Grayskull" that basically introduced us to King Grayskull in Ancient Eternia. That episode was shown at SDCC in Mattel's booth for 2-3 years in a row. It's a great episode but I'll probably touch upon the topic of King Grayskull later in another blog-post.

But I think the biggest change is that he doesn't perish in his confrontation with Hordak. I think that will be something worth talking again when the issue is out.

Reilly: I noticed that in the solicit they still refer He-Man and Adora being on this journey. No mention of She-Ra. I wouldn't be surprised if this storyline will be all about Adora's journey to become She-Ra, wherein we have to wait until chapter 5 or 6 to see her actual transformation into the Princess of Power.

Jukka: Past story arcs seem to have the cruxis around 5th issue when it all gets going. Ending with the 6th issue for some resolve.

Speaking of Adora's journey to She-Ra. Should she maybe get her own mini-series?

Reilly: That depends on the actual storyline. A miniseries about her travelling back to Etheria where she joins the Rebellion to kick some serious Horde butt? Count me in!

Jukka: Having She-Ra return to Etheria and still be kicking Horde butt sounds like a good premise.

There are many ways to go about it. That even if He-Man and other heroes can get Horde out of Eternia, it leaves open Etheria. And it would be great to see He-Man visit Etheria too.

Reilly: Yes, exactly. I understand that Mattel wants to connect She-Ra closer to He-Man and Eternia, so the target audience doesn't put her off as "that pinkish girls brand" anymore. But so far, they have done a good job at establishing Adora as an interesting character on her own.

So I would like to see a more "realistic" take on her role as the heroine who has to fight her former comrades and struggles to convince the rebels of herself.

Jukka: Do you think she'll go to Etheria and stay there?

Reilly: I think it would be logical to let her travel to Etheria. She was born on Eternia, but Etheria is the world where she spent most of her life, so she must have a close bond to that world.

He-Man is the king now, so once the Horde is driven away, he would have tons to do to rebuild Eternia and deal with issues such as Skeletor's warriors or Orko's whereabouts. And Adora surely would decide to go to Etheria and keep fighting the Horde on her own until her brother can join.

Jukka: Given that the comic focuses on one event per story arc and go back and forth, how many arcs until She-Ra might get a visit to Etheria?

Reilly: That really depends on what's gonna happen in the upcoming storyline. I can see Mattel transform her into She-Ra and by the end of issue 7 declare to go to Etheria. I would prefer her to stay on Eternia for another 6 issues though and help He-Man to drive off the invaders.

The upcoming storyline should give her and her brother enough time for lots of much-needed interaction. After that, we could see some more interaction with the rest of the heroes, and since Teela is the new Sorceress now, Adora could take over the role of the female warrior on He-Man's side. But after that, it would be time to bring her to Etheria.

There's much more potential for the character than keeping her on Eternia as "the king's sister".

Jukka: Speaking of Teela as the New Sorceress. That is another awaiting story, but I guess they will return to it after #18...

Jukka: So lets talk about the big Myrtlephant in the room.

That cover for Issue #16 with Tri-Klops... We shouldn't be seeing all of his three eyes from this angle, right?

Reilly: Haha, yes, that's right. There's still a chance that it's actually part of his new design. But that would be a rather bad choice. Originally, Tri-Klops was able to see what's going on behind him. That would vanish once all his eyes are positioned to look forward only. He still could have more eyes on the back of his vizor. But then he would be Multi-Klops, wouldn't he?

Jukka: I actually asked the artist Ken Lashley about it.

So I guess we'll go with "Artistic Freedom". Wouldn't you say?

Reilly: That's pretty much what I imagined. To be frank, I think it makes a cool cover that transports the message. Yes, it could be done differently. But I like it.

Jukka: The 'Reilly's-Stamp-Of-Approval'. Haha.

And I think that is a good note to end this time's discussion. 

Let us know what you think.

Agree or Disagree... -Would you like to see more of speculation-talk based on future Solicitations?

Be sure to check out Reilly at!


  1. I love that you guys are doing this, I really have been wanting to hear more opinions on MOTU comics so thank you guys for taking the time to do this, I would also love to hear a podcast dedicated only to the comics new and old but I will be grateful for what you guys are doing here so thanks again!

  2. "The Gar must have done something REALLY bad to be believable as the pariah"

    If you replace "the gar" with literally any real life group that has been persecuted, you'll recognize how this sentence doesn't work. IRL there are many races, many religions, many sexualities. None have "done anything bad" to be persecuted.

    Realistic storytelling would identify Miro as similar to the Catholic seat of power whereupon it is profitable to persecute vulnerable groups, but then Skeletor isn't really a villain so much as he is a victim, and for some reason MOTU is unwilling to shake up the storytelling to that degree and give us speculative fiction that challenges our perceptions of right and wrong.