The “Powers Of Grayskull” line featured cybernetic dinosaurs and yet was set in “Preternia”, basically prehistoric Eternia. It was intended as a full spin-off toyline but was canceled, three dinosaurs–the drone-launching Tyrantisaurus Rex, the armored Bionatops, and the jet-propelled Turbodactyl–being released. Although teased in a minicomic created to introduce the line, which I have yet to do for Free Comic Inside but did use for a Friday Night Fight, the line was never created and we would never meet He-Man’s ancestor, He-Ro. Later continuities identified He-Man’s ancestor as King Grayskull, and in the currents Classics toyline continuity He-Ro is simply Grayskull’s wise counselor and sorcerer since both were finally given action figures.
And yes, I know that Filmation planned their own spinoff with a He-Ro who was Adam’s adopted son. I’m also not surprised it never happened. It just seems like an off-concept to me. Sounds like they really wanted to use that name…although I’ve heard better GoBot names and that’s from a GoBot fan.
To my knowledge the only other time the cybersaurs show up besides that minicomic is in these newspaper strips. We already saw King Hiss summon a Tyrantisaurs in a previous chapter, and his friends show up in this story, which also introduces Mosquitor, another character not seen outside of the minicomics and Star Comics run. That means this is our first time travel adventure in the newspaper strips and will feature the Evil Horde. Skeletor is named once in a caption box and that’s it.
Terror Takes Time
WRITER: Chris Weber | ART/LETTERER: Gerald Forton | COLORIST: Connie Schurr | EDITOR: Karen Wilson
With so many historic threats causing trouble for our heroes lately, namely King Hiss and Tyrantisaurus Rex, Adam is studying history to learn about other potential threats from the bad old days. Only finding legends, Orko suggests the windows of time at Castle Grayskull, only to end up with a new adventure. They see Grayskull in ruins some time in the past and before time catches up to the present Adam has to journey to Preternia and stop them. It’s Hordak, Mosquitor, and a bunch of slaves from Etheria. With no Castle Grayskull in the past, Adam carries a crystal of limited use to become He-Man if necessary. Will it be enough to stop Hordak, or is Adam too distracted by the slave girl Verona’s beauty?
And there’s something we never see in the cartoons: a love triangle between Adam, Verona, and another slave named Martin. It brings a little depth to Adam that we don’t see elsewhere. Usually if Adam is around beautiful girls it’s to keep up the “Bruce Wayne” style secret identity. While on the one hand I don’t think the triangle gets played to it’s full effect, on the other hand I’m rather happy that this trope is circumvented by events and Verona and Martin get to live happily together. We also have Adam needing a crystal “battery” that limits how long he can remain He-Man. All that does his force his hand later, but the idea is welcome as it gives He-Man less time and Adam more to do.
Mosquitor makes his debut, with the power to drain life energy rather than blood. Due to the limits of a newspaper strip targeting kids this is probably the best option. We also get the return of Hordak and the Horde Troopers. Remember the Evil Horde was actually part of the Masters Of The Universe line even if they appeared on She-Ra’s show instead of He-Man’s. Adora gets namedropped and the slaves are from Etheria, so even with those licensing constraints I mentioned before I like that she’s acknowledged. We also get the dinosaurs, who unlike the minicomics can’t talk but still make a good showing. How there are cyborg dinosaurs in prehistoric Eternia is never explained, but Eternia is a weird planet. But why did Hordak bother with a disguise he drops only a few strips later? It’s not even really a spoiler because we can tell it’s you, Hordak!
There’s also a minor long game with one of the torches in Castle Grayskull which really only works if you remembered that far back or if you’re reading a collection like I am.
WARNING: This paragraph requires spoilers as I bring up one complaint about the storyline. Scroll past it to avoid being spoiled, since the collection is available and I’ve been asked to avoid them when possible.
There is one problem I have with the story. We learn that these few Etherian slaves are trapped on Eternia and make it their new home, meaning they are the “founders” of Eternia. Doesn’t that cause a bit of a time paradox, since the only reason Hordak brought them into the past was part of his plot to keep Castle Grayskull from ever being built, which it ends up he could have done by not bringing slaves from Etheria? The Sorceress ket Orko and Cringer/Battlecat home because too many people going into the past would cause trouble, but it’s actually responsible for the formation of Eternia anyway? All Hordak has to do is keep the slaves home if he really wants to be rid of the power of Grayskull and add Eternia to his empire. This is why time travel both makes my head hurt and scares me.
Overall this was a darn good storyline. I’m glad I get to read these stories. It’s like seeing new classic He-Man even though it’s quite old.
NEXT TIME: Evil Under The Stars