Welcome to the penultimate edition of the He-Man newspaper comic strip reviews. We only have two stories left. Then you’ll still have the mini-comics, the occasional Saturday Night Showcase, and a future project (if I ever get to it) to get a He-Man fix around here. I’m never really done talking about my childhood favorites.
In our last installment Skeletor sent He-Man into Alice In Wonderland because we have to get that obligation into the franchise somehow. During the adventures old bonehead took on the form of the Jabberwock and managed to take down the Sorceress as Alice. That and his taunts plague our heroine in this story, just as a new threat plans to do some serious damage.
“Shaken To The Core”
WRITER: Chris Weber | ARTIST/LETTERER: Gerald Forton | COLORIST: Connie Schurr | EDITOR: Karen Wilson
Not sure if she is really the best choice to be the Guardian of Grayskull any more, the Sorceress decides to leave Grayskull as herself and without her powers to see if she is truly worthy. This is bad timing as a villain calling himself Faultmaster shows up with the ability to control the earth and wants to “stabilize” the planet. Even the Sorceress calls him a loon. With He-Man completely unaware of the Sorceress’s situation can he stop the Faultmaster before he causes any more destruction. And will Orko survive castle-sitting for the Sorceress?
The story actually is a good idea. The subplot involves the Sorceress having self-doubts after the last story, something we rarely see. In the 2000s reboot we did see her torn between her duties as the Sorceress and her desire to be a mother for Teela but that’s about it. Here we see her go through a character arc rather than being the all-wise protector of the secrets of Grayskull and the mystic portals within. Meanwhile, you have Faultmaster. His costume looks like a cheap supervillain costume from Earth but otherwise serves as a good threat. The Sorceress even makes a friend in the form of Katrin, a young girl in one of the villages the Faultmaster’s first big earthquake damages. We also learn that Teela-Na was 15 when she became the Sorceress, at least in this continuity. This is similar to what we saw in the Filmation episode “The Origin Of The Sorceress”, and although the comic takes a different course they did work on the series. I think I just decided what this week’s Saturday Night Showcase is going to be. I’ll save what I planned for next week. Also, Randor is referred to as a “High King”, which I assume means all the other kings on Eternia are lower in “rank” than he is.
Unfortunately the story falls apart at the end and again it’s due to how quickly the story wrapped-up, possibly due to whatever limits Weber had timewise to complete an arc. This could have been avoided by getting rid of a couple of unnecessary sub-subplots and one distraction meant to add tension to Adam’s transformation that went nowhere anyway and just ate time. The focus should have been He-Man saving the locals, the Sorceress’s pilgrimage and wanting to help deal with Faultmaster despite lacking her magic powers, and a stop or two to see how Orko was handling the castle. He even sees a vision that ultimately adds nothing to the plot. I can think of a few ways it could but it just ends up another abandoned subplot, only this time one that could have benefited the story.
We do get a small piece of lore, that the Sorceress renews her vow as guardian of Castle Grayskull but that’s about it. I do wonder what brought her to Rondale, unless she figured helping earthquake victims would be a good thing for her to see what she’s really made of without her magic? In the end it’s a story that’s good until the quick ending, something the newspaper strips had gotten away from by this point so seeing it return is disappointing. Meanwhile, the collection has one colored Sunday strip, and it’s just the Sorceress in her disguise surrounded by fire and a miscolored Wind Raider. Unless Adam’s personal Wind Raider is more grey than green. It’s kind of unavoidable considering some of these later strips’ source art has gone missing.
Next time we leave Eternia behind for a little planet called Primus. It’s the final story and it’s not even set on the proper planet. That is, unless you know the new adventures, as the strips bleed into the second toyline to meet…”The Last Survivors”.