He-Man has traditionally been one of the hardest concepts to take out of the 1980s, because his name is He-Man. It's been tried - there's been a few comic series and a short-lived animated revival in 2002 - and ostensibly, Masters of the Universe should work, this mix of Conan-style swords-and-sorcery and fantasy technology. However, the name of the property is He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Recognizable, yes, but also very hard to take seriously.
That said, DC Comics is bringing He-Man back for a six-issue miniseries starting in July, written by stellar scribe and current writer of DC's wonderful The Shade and the upcoming Earth 2 series James Robinson, with art from Phillip Tan. Apparently, this series will start with Skeletor triumphant, having rewritten reality to make himself the master of Castle Greyskull and to eliminate He-Man entirely by making Prince Adam a woodsman with no memory of being Eternia's greatest champion.
"To some people Masters of the Universe is considered a cheesy cartoon," Robinson says in an interview with MTV Geek. "However, I know for a fact that a certain generation of people, who grew up at the right time, hold genuine affection for Masters of the Universe. The challenge is to write something that raises the standard for the series, with a cool, modern story that nevertheless honors the fans of the animated series and toy line."
What else does Robinson reveal about his series? Here's a rundown.
On Prince Adam? "Adam is in a place where he really has to reconnect with what it means to be a Master of the Universe. It's his odyssey, much like the Greek myth in fact, that is the backbone of this series.
Skeletor? "He's terrifying. Period. The silly era is done and gone. Phillip and I are taking great pains to make Skeletor, who is after all a barbarian warrior with a skull face, into a horrifying and worthy foe for He-Man. As to motivation, much like before he wants it all. Eternia. Castle Greyskull. Adam's head on a plate. Everything. He's just going to be much more ruthless in how he goes about getting it."
Everyone else? "I'm going to try and get every character in, if only in our epic climax."
Why they're called the Masters of the Universe, a moniker that makes the heroes sound pretty darn arrogant? "That's a good question and one that deserves it's own arc. However that isn't this arc, which is more concerned with reintroducing the Masters of the Universe and the world of Eternia to a new generation."