Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Pleasant Surprise, DC Universe Vs. Masters Of The Universe Entertains!

The Good: A good Masters Of The Universe story, Some of the artwork, Awesome villain/villain backstory!
The Bad: Very simplistic on the DC side, A lot of the artwork is underwhelming
The Basics: DC Universe Vs. Masters Of The Universe finally sells me on a inter-franchise crossover . . . even if it is not the most visually spectacular book and the DC Comics characters get the short end of the story.

When I was a child, I loved Masters Of The Universe - both the television show and the toy line. As an adult, I find myself drawn to a few characters from both DC Comics and Marvel Comics, but there are few who resonate with me the way that the Masters Of The Universe characters did when I rewatched the entire series a few years ago. Despite enjoying Masters Of The Universe and various comic book characters, I never found myself contemplating that something might be missing by not combining them in my head - I like Masters Of The Universe for its universe, Star Trek for its universe, Doctor Who for its universe, and the DC Comics Universe for what it is when it is not being reinvented for marketing purposes. So, when I discovered DC Universe Vs. Masters Of The Universe, it was hard for me to not roll my eyes. I recently read Star Trek/Green Lantern: Volume 1 (reviewed here!) and so I had pretty much had my fill of contrived crossovers for the month.

Despite that, I found myself picking up and reading DC Universe Vs. Masters Of The Universe. And for something that I went into with such low expectations for . . . I was pleasantly surprised!

Eternia has fallen to Hordak and his Horde, so He-Man, Teela, Man-At-Arms, and Stratos are rebelling when they come across a Horde Iso-block. Inside is Evil-Lyn and when they liberate her, she warns He-Man and his allies about where Skeletor has gone. In our world, John Constantine is petitioned at the House Of Magic by Marlena, Queen Of Eternia. Black Alice, however, has fallen in with Skeletor and he has placed twelve siphons to try to tap magic on Earth for the mysterious entity now pulling Skeletor's strings. Evil-Lyn teleports the Eternians to Madame Xanadu's parlor - reuniting Adam and his mother in the process. When Skeletor transports to the Justice League satellite, he uses magic to enslave most of the Justice League - with only Batman escaping his sorcery.

When the possessed Justice League comes for Batman and He-Man, all are shocked when Adam manages to pierce Superman's skin with his power sword. With Superman apparently dead, Skeletor's spell is broken, but when Adam surrenders to the Justice League, Evil-Lyn teleports the Eternians and Justice League Dark members away. Batman does his best to reason with his teammates, but when Kal's body disappears, Diana is goaded by hothead John Stewart into hunting down the Eternians. Suddenly, though, there are more Eternians on Earth as Man-At-Arms has figured out how to use a Horde teleporter to lock onto Teela and Adam and he, Moss Man, Battlecat, Stratos and Roboto travel to Earth. But Batman quickly reasons that Skeletor's plan was to keep everyone distracted and by teaming up, Earth and Eternia's greatest heroes have a chance to save both planets and find what really happened to Superman!

It is hard to discuss DC Universe Vs. Masters Of The Universe without some pretty significant spoilers because Skeletor is not working for himself in this book. In addition to referencing some of DC Comics's Masters Of The Universe plotlines, DC Universe Vs. Masters Of The Universe underuses the DC Comics characters. This is a good book for fans of Justice League Dark looking for a little "lost chapter," but between the heavy use of that part of the DC Comics franchise and (of all adversaries) Black Alice (?!), DC Universe Vs. Masters Of The Universe is much more a Masters Of The Universe book.

As such, the true adversary in DC Universe Vs. Masters Of The Universe is one from the Masters Of The Universe side and his story is surprisingly well-defined in this book! The villain actually makes a lot of sense and that Skeletor would see his potential is actually pretty awesome characterization for him!

DC Universe Vs. Masters Of The Universe manages to tell a pretty engaging story while moving the plot along fast enough that the book does not get mired down in pages and pages of big comic book battles, which is good. Unfortunately, the artwork in DC Universe Vs. Masters Of The Universe is terribly erratic. While the coloring is consistently great, the artwork oscillates between very detailed and thumbnail sketches, which makes for a very irksome read. As well, there is one panel in particular that stood out as it appears to be Marlena, but the dialogue indicates it is actually Adam; the artists really feminized his appearance for that shot!

All in all, though, DC Universe Vs. Masters Of The Universe is fun, fast-paced and more engaging than I ever would have guessed it would be . . . leaving me in the surprising position of wishing there had been more to the book!

For other crossover graphic novels, please check out my reviews of:
Star Trek The Next Generation/Doctor Who - Assimilation 2 Volume 1
Lost Girls
Avengers Vs. X-Men: It's Coming


For other graphic novel reviews, please check out my Graphic Novel Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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