Masters Of The Universe: Rise Of The Snake Men #3
CrossGen/MV Creations (December, 2003)
WRITER: Val Staples
ARTIST: Andie Tong
COLORIST: Jeremy Roberts
LETTERER: Ed Dukeshire
EDITORS: Monica Lopez, Vicki Jaeger, Ian Richter, & Geoff Walker
He-Man and Zodac strike an alliance and the Masters prepare to protect King Hiss’ target, Castle Grayskull. The Snake Men attack, but it’s a distraction as King Hiss and Evil-Lyn make their way to Grayskull. Together their power is a match for the Sorceress and even Zodac can’t stop them from entering the castle. Hiss injures the Sorceress but Zodac manages to get in to finally defeat King Hiss. He displays Hiss’s body in front of his Snake Men before tossing him into the abyss, and Evil-Lyn–enraged that they actually threatened her and that she betrayed Skeletor to still lose, blasts the rest of the Snake Men with her power, killing at least most of them while the others flee. He-Man gets the Sorceress some help as Zodac leaves, and then compares notes with the others. But King Hiss may not be all that dead.
What they got right: Holy crap what an amazing battle. I could split this up for half a week of Friday Night Fights just from this one battle. And I actually understand why Zodac went after Hiss instead helping the Sorceress. He wouldn’t have been able to get her to the power of the Elders to heal if King Hiss was trying to access it, which Zodac himself ultimately does in order to beat Hiss. And the fights with the Masters, He-Man using his sword to deflect Snake Face’s “Medusa power” (that’s what I’m calling it, not an official term) and break the stone spell on Mekaneck and ultimately Skeletor and his men (while the additions to Snake Mountain Hiss created crumbled, which was a cool shot) was rather smart.
What they got wrong: Not “wrong” exactly since even the show really didn’t have a choice here, but if you’re looking for story and character moments you won’t find it here. This is “ultimate battle” territory by necessity.
Recommendation: I don’t know why MV Creations switched from Image to CrossGen, but not a beat was missed, and it was possibly better as an episode adaptation because it solved the problem I had before, with too much on He-Man’s shoulders and the Sorceress coming out weaker than she should be. (Here, Hiss and Evil-Lyn teaming up and overpowering her made more sense.) This is probably my favorite of the re-imagined miniseries thus far, but we have an intended ongoing coming next week. I still recommend this run, regardless of publisher because the studio is really doing a good job with this interpretation.