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Written By: Dan Abnett Art By: Pop Mhan, Mark Roberts Cover Price: $2.99 Release Date: July 29, 2015
No Way Around It, Eternia Is Screwed
*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
Eternia beckons us back to it's war torn land, where in the last issue we saw that Skeletor had created a paradox while in service of Hordak, when the dark lord was conquering Etheria. It seems that Hordak originally sent Skeletor back in time with the power of the Havoc Staff, to kidnap Adora as a baby, but the trip was one way and Skeletor ended up raising Adora as his own with the help of Shadow Weaver. Eventually though, Skeletor got sick of servicing and challenged Hordak...... where he obviously was terribly murdered and the perverted skull of Skeletor became the top of the Havoc Staff. That's right, Skeletor was stuck in a loop where he would forever go back in time only to die and have his skull send an earlier version of him back....... That is until now. Skeletor was given a vision of the events that would eventually play out and used the Staff to escape to Eternia and now he'll use that knowledge and power to travel to Despondos with She-Ra to collect the power that Hordak stored there during his exile. So let's get back into the Eternity War and see what Skeletor and She-Ra are up to and how Prince Adam is coping with his decision to destroy the Sword of Power. Let's check it out.
Our issue begins really weird. We see the battle for Eternos going down, but it's revealed to be just a dream when Prince Adam comes face to face with his dead father speaking like King Hiss. Now I'd be okay with that, but I don't know where the fantasy of the dream separates from the reality because when Prince Adam awakens from his nightmare we find out that he had just previously won the battle for Eternos......... Kind of wish we got to see that. Anyway, the beginning of this book is full of discord and uncertainty as we see that the Snake-Men no longer respect Prince Adam without the power of He-Man and Prince Adam himself is really lost about what to do now without that power. He's sickly and really whiny, but luckily there's a glimmer of hope for the future as The Sorceress hands Adam back his broken Sword of Power and tells him that his journey with the sword is not yet over.
Down in the dark dimension of Despondos, Skeletor and She-Ra enter the vault of souls that made up all of Hordak's power before he tapped into Castle Grayskull and we find our skull faced pal getting a little sentimental about his old love Shadow Weaver and how even though she couldn't love him the way he would have liked, he believes that with the magic she taught him, she allowed him to have that vision when he took hold of the Havoc Staff that allowed him to make his escape from Hordak, thus breaking the time loop and creating a paradox. Yeah, that paradox thing might come back to haunt him later, but he's alive right now and dude is going to live it up while he can. Too bad that living it up for Skeletor means betraying She-Ra and breaking our hearts in seeing a Skeletor that isn't a total dick. It seems that Skeletor didn't collect all of the souls from the vault, he left the ones behind that were killed by Despara and as an offering to them, he's served her up so they can take their vengeance. Where's Admiral Ackbar when you need him?
In the end, it seems that all is lost. Not only is Prince Adam convinced that he won't be able to beat Hordak........... He is straight up shown when we see that Hordak has activated the Eyes of Grayskull and to demonstrate their power, he projects the future into the skies above Eternos. We see that even though the Masters of The Universe are defeated by Hordak during this war, some people actually escape Eternia and make their way to a new planet, where after centuries of living there it becomes a technological utopia. With the Eyes of Grayskull though we see that no one is safe even in the past or in this case the future. Hordak activates his weapon and destroys the planet in front of our heroes and boy does Hordak put on one hell of a demonstration. I'm totally convinced that our heroes are screwed.
That's it for this issue of He-Man: The Eternity War and while the concept for this issue was really cool, I can't say that the execution was on par with what we're used to from this awesome team of creators. First, I don't know why the battle for Eternos was completely cut from the story when the battle seemed like it would be something pretty epic to see and what we got from it was kind of confusing and I don't really know what to believe from what we were shown, given the dream aspect of it all. The character dialog seemed off this issue as well. Where we usually have really solid dialog that makes sense to the characters in every issue, here there were some really odd choices and even The Sorceress seemed confused about what Prince Adam was saying at one point and it just came off as odd. Now I hate saying this because he's one of my favorite artists at DC and I love talking to him, but Pop Mhan's art in this issue just wasn't as good as it usually is. It's not like the art is terrible or anything like that, but the detail that I usually enjoy from him seems to be lacking here. Just everything seemed a little off from what it usually is when it comes to this issue and hopefully things will get back to normal in the next month.
Bits and Pieces:
While the ending to this story was epic and completely changes the Eternity War game, I can't say that I'm really a fan of the rest of the issue. Things that seem important are completely left out, the dialog is really off at times and even the art isn't as strong as I've come to expect from this title. It's still an enjoyable enough issue, but for something that usually reads and looks like one of the best titles coming out of DC, this is a bit disappointing.