Before my hospitalizations I started looking at the last of the Masters Of The Universe comics (having reviewed the few new DC ones before I lost all interest), this time set during the re-imagined cartoon from the 2000s. This particular set of one-shots takes place prior to the events of the pilot episode, when Keldor (the future Skeletor) was still forming his army to take over Eternia and challenge the Elders.
Masters Of The Universe: Icons Of Evil – Mer-Man
CrossGen Publishing/MVCreations (August, 2003)PLOT: Robert Kirkman, Ian Richter, & Val Staples WRITER/LETTERER: Robert Kirkman ARTIST: E. J. Su COLORIST: Tony Washington EDITORS: Heather Schneider, Jeremy Padawer, Ian Richter, & Geoff Walker
Mer-Man rules the seas of Eternia, raiding surface dweller ships. When he learns of a village that doesn’t even know Mer-Man exists, he sends his tired army to attack them, where he meets its defender, Aquarus, who like Mer-Man can command the creatures of the sea. Mer-Man, however, finds one tough creature who still follows his, which the sea tyrant uses to destroy the village. His forces leave, figuring the job is done, but Aquarus launches an attack of his own, which leads only to Aquarus’ demise. Mer-Man lost, but at the cost of his own kingdom being destroyed by his new steed.
What they got right: I love E. J. Su’s art and he does a great job here. It matches the look of the new show, while Washington’s coloring compliments it perfectly. It’s interesting to see where Mer-Man got that giant fish that has a habit of swallowing Man-At-Arms. And they don’t try to give Mer-Man a sympathetic backstory like DC tried with Skeletor. He’s just a ruthless tyrant (lacking the stupidity of his Filmation counterpart) who wants to ensure he rules everybody, and pays for it by attacking a village who was unaware of the outside seas.
What they got wrong: There were a couple of early panels where the foreshortening didn’t look right to me, but look how terrible I am at it. Really, it’s a nitpick, but it’s hard to find a problem here.
Recommendation: Longtime readers know I usually don’t bother with the villain stories, but this is different. I’m supposed to hate Mer-Man and he gets his comeuppance in the end, so I rather enjoyed the story. Worth checking out if you were a fan of the re-imagined series.