He-Man: The Eternity War #4-5 (Comics Review)

DC’s He-Man: The Eternity War has been kicking butt since it started. Spinning out of the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series, this new book has really ramped up everything that was great about that series, and given it a new context, one that is grander and just generally more epic. While I loved the contributions from the early creative team on that series, the change of guard with Dan Abnett as writer made things so much better, and The Eternity War has pretty much delivered on everything that I could ask of it, month after month.

Issues #4 and #5 continue the tale of Hordak’s all-out invasion of Eternia as the big bad himself has come to the world now, intending on destroying his enemies in a final all-out conflict. He-Man and his sister She-Ra have done much to head him off, what with He-Man and She-Ra leading an army of Serpent Men against Hordak’s forces, even as the rest of the loyal Eternians do their own thing. But things are really heating up now, and even as one of He-Man’s oldest enemy returns, the future of the war to save Eternia is very, very uncertain, because if there’s one thing that defines this setting, it is the constant betrayal and deception that is employed by the villains.

In the third issue we saw She-Ra battle it out with Catra and Scorpia in order to secure the Eye of Chrono so that the defenders of Eternia could have a real chance against Hordak’s overwhelming power. But things didn’t work out so well when Hordak himself joined the fight, taking up arms against his prodigal student. That’s where we pick up from in the fourth issue and it proves to be an absolute delight. The conflict between Hordak and She-Ra, or rather Princess Adora aka Horde commander Despara, is one that has been building up ever since the truth of her parentage and her true family had been revealed in the early issues of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. By now, Despara has come to fully embrace her heritage and identity as She-Ra and so this time she fights Hordak as a champion of the light, a true defender of Eternia.

Really stirs the imagination doesn’t it? What I really liked about the fourth issue was how much of an importance was given to She-Ra’s arc, in lieu of He-Man, who is generally the hero in every story. But The Eternity War is as much about She-Ra as it is about He-Man, and so it is nice to take a step back from the emotional development and get right down into the nitty gritty of combat. Consequently we get to see some nice character scenes with He-Man back at camp with his Serpent forces, where he is seen as a true leader and a commander of all. Very touching stuff there, and also instructional for the hero.

But of course, there is more to come here, and that’s where the fifth issues really comes into its own, for Skeletor is now back on Eternia and he has a bone to pick with his old nemesis, Hordak, not He-Man. Once his pupil, Skeletor has outgrown any foolish notions of loyalty and such, and he is out for his own. He has always claimed Eternia as his own, more so now since he is also the half-brother to King Randor and thus He-Man and She-Ra’s uncle and thus a royal of Eternia. With all of that baggage thrown in, the story holds up surprisingly well, and the fifth issue is chock-full of great moments between all the characters as they try and figure out what to do.

What was really good here was Skeletor’s characterization. Gone is the villainous bumbling buffoon and in his place is a calculating and scheming individual who is doing the right thing for the right reasons for the first time in his life. Big surprise, that, and his interactions with She-Ra, not to mention with the rest of his “gang” were eye-openers for certain.

I have to say, once again, that Dan Abnett really seems to be giving his all to this story and that I’m loving where this is going. This is honestly one of the most exciting books on the shelves right now and you should all be reading it!

Pop Mhan is the artist here with Mark Roberts on colours, Deron Bennett on the letters and Stjepan Sejic on the artwork. As always, I’m impressed with their collective work here. Pop Mhan has come to define this series on his own terms and Mark Roberts has done no less, with his fantastic colours on Pop’s great linework. Sure, sometimes there are stumbles, such as Hordak being a bit too bulky and massive, which also goes for She-Ra in some random scenes, but on the whole, the artwork is really strong in both issues, and I just love all the big splash page action scenes that they do, showcasing all the best stuff of this story in general.

Must-reads, both of them!

Rating: 9.5/10

More He-Man: The Eternity War: #1, #2, #3.

More He-Man: Vol.3, Vol.4; (He-Man and the Masters of the Universe mini-series) #1-4, The Origin of Skeletor, (Masters of the Universe one-shots) #1-7.

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Posted on May 11, 2015, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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