By the Power of Grayskull is the battle cry that sent chills down our spines and imaginations when we were seven years old. He-Man and The Masters of The Universe was a fantasy/science fiction toyline that was released in the early 1980s. Ever since our cousin showed us his new toy Skeletor action figure on the playground, we were hooked and because of our generous parents and grand-parents we got many, many of the action figures, castles, and vehicles.
Each action figures came with a mini-comic book that focused on different story-lines and characters from the planet Eternia. He-Man started life in the mini-comics as a wandering barbarian on the planet Eternia, a world dealing with the aftermath of a Great War. The events of the Great War opened a rift between dimensions, which allows the evil warlord Skeletor to travel to Eternia, and he has set his sights on the ancient Castle Grayskull, a fortress of mysterious power.
To prevent Skeletor from achieving his goal, He-Man has been given special powers by The Sorceress. He-Man is supported by several Masters of The Universe including Man-of-Arms, RamMan, Stratos, Fisto and many more. Skeletor manages to find one half of the Power Sword, a great weapon which is itself the key to Castle Grayskull. He-Man has been given the other half by The Sorceress, and must prevent Skeletor from linking the two halves to gain access to the castle.
The 1980s Filmation cartoon was completely different from the dark mini-comics and featured an Eternia ruled by King Randor and Queen Marlena, their son Prince Adam’, who pretends he is lazy, irresponsible and almost as cowardly as his pet tiger Cringer. However, Prince Adam possesses a magic sword, and when he holds it aloft and says the magic words, “Prince Adam is transformed into He-Man”. This more kid friendly version was a disappointment even to our seven year old selves and we stopped watching soon after the first few episodes. This disappointment did not stop our love for the toys and we continued to collect and play with He-Man for many years.
Last week while perusing the discount DVD bend at our local department store we found the complete 2002 version of He-Man and The Masters of the Universe cartoon, which is based more on the 80s version then the mini-comics but it returned to its roots and provides broader explorations never reached in the original version, including origins for each character, and some first time animated debuts of familiar toyline action figures.
After throwing ourselves into the world of Eternia and its heroes and villains we were transported back to our childhood and the hours of enjoyment we had playing with these Masters of The Universe and their out-of-this world adventures. If you every played with He-Man or if you are looking for a great scifi/fantasy animated series the 2002 version of He-Man and the Masters of The Universe has all the right ingredients and wonderful animation from Splash Entertainment, LLC.