Star Comics (Marvel; December, 1986)“Back To Thundera!” WRITER: Gerry Conway PENCILER: Jose Delbo INKERS: Kim DeMulder & Del Barras COLORIST: Petra Scotese LETTERER: Janice Chiang EDITOR: Don Daley EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Tom DeFalco
The Thundercats help the Berbils protect their village from a killer storm. Using the Sword Of Omens Lion-O sends a strange lighting bolt somewhere into Mount Dark. After a good night’s sleep they go to investigate a glow where the bolt hit. A rockslide separates Lion-O and Cheetara from the others and find a portal to pre-historic Thundera. There they help the Cave-Cats force away a mammoth-like creature (the one on the cover) and are welcomed into their tribe. Lion-O gets close to one, a girl named Kindra, which doesn’t sit well with a boy named Rath, who was leading the hunt. Later that night the Eye Of Thundera warns Lion-O of their friends’ fate. Back on Third Earth the others have been under attack by insect people led by their queen, Sectra. However, the gateway between ancient Thundera and modern-day Third Earth is closing, which was all part of Mumm-Ra’s plan, forcing Lion-O to bid Kindra farewell as he and Cheetara come to their aid, With a surprise attack they are able to send the insects running and Lion-O is happy to be reunited with his friends.
What they got right: In concept the story works and I do still enjoy it. Lion-O’s homesickness has come up before in the show and we get a look at what early Thundera was like. There’s even a potential triangle between Lion-O, Kindra, and Rath. By the way, points for having a woman on the hunt, even if Kindra doesn’t look like a hunter. Maybe she was supposed to cook the food, or heal member, or even be a tracker. The third option would make her look better to some people but either would be a good reason for a girl of her personality (what little we see of it) and body type to be part of the hunting party.
What they got wrong: Except there isn’t enough time to play that subplot out, and it become neutered. Also, if Mumm-Ra had worked it so ALL the Thundercats would end up on ancient Third Earth instead of splitting some to die and others into the portal, he would have gotten rid of all the Thundercats since the Eye wouldn’t have warned of trouble. Just wait until the portal is closed or have Sectra block the portal in exchange for some reward and he might have won. There are also a few bit of dialog that just sound weird when my head gave them voice, the best example being prehistoric animals being the indicator that they went through a time portal and not that they’re standing on a planet that got blown up. And why did it take so long for Lion-O and Cheetara to realize the others hadn’t come with them? And Thundercats were the ruling class of their time. These should just be Thundarians at best, plus they don’t live in a cave. We just see them by a campfire.
Other notes: This may affect how you view my recommendation, but this was the first Thundercats comic I ever picked up, and the only one from the Star run that wasn’t a back issue. I got it when it first came out read it quite often. That was before I had a too-huge comic collection, but while I’m rarely nostalgic (since stories I enjoyed as a kid tends to stay with me, in case you hadn’t noticed) I could be for this issue.
Recommendation: What this story really needed was a two-parter to flesh out Lion-O and Kindra’s relationship (and the potential rivalry with Rath) so that we felt sad for her and Lion-O when they’re forced to part. Have the others on Third Earth trying to reach them while fighting off Sectra’s horde and make more tension that way as well. That said I still liked it, and it’s worth a read. It’s at least a good idea that needed more time to develop.