Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Hey!! Kids Comics: Masters of the Universe Mini-Comics 3

Masters of the Universe Mini-Comics 3

Year: 1981

Cover artist: Alfredo Alcala

"Battle in the Clouds"

Writer: Donald F. Glut
Illustrator: Alfredo Alcala

Publisher: Mattel

Issue: Series 1 --- 3 of 4

Plot: Mer-Man finds out that that He-Man's super-suit and weapons are the sources of his great strength and powers. Desiring them for his own, he teams up with Skeletor to defeat He-Man and steal his powers and weapons.

When the original Masters of Universe action figures were released in 1982 they were supplied with a series of mini-comics designed to introduce kids to the characters and concepts of the new toyline. These mini-comics described and illustrated a fictional world of Eternia which was far more savage and barbaric than was later depicted by the DC Comics series and ultimately in the Filmation animated cartoons.

Battle in the Clouds is the third in the original series of mini-comics that were written by Donald F. Glut and illustrated by Alfredo Alcala. Battle in the Clouds was included with Mer-Man and Teela action figures.

Hearing the sounds of battle, Stratos goes to investigate. He arrives in time to witness He-Man about to defeat Skeletor in combat. Mer-man lurks nearby spying on the events as well...

He-Man defeats his hapless enemy, pitching Skeletor into the sea. He-Man boasts that he will never be defeated as long as he has his super-suit and Battle Ram.

Mer-Man figures that with He-man's powers and weapons he can be Skeletor's equal. Pulling Skeletor from the sea, Mer-Man strikes a bargan, Mer-Man will help Skeletor defeat He-Man, and in return he gets to keep all of He-Man's super weapons. Skeletor and Mer-Man both attack He-Man, turning their weapons on him.

Stratos swoops in to save He-Man, lifting He-Man's Battle Ram high into the sky. However, Stratos fails to notice that a gust of wind has swept He-Man off the sled. The fall knocks He-Man out, only his super-suit saving him from certain death.

The villains capture Teela in order steal her horse which Mer-Man needs to get to the high peak where He-Man has landed. Finding a half-conscious, helpless He-Man, Mer-Man wrests the super-suit from him, taking the Battle Ram off to decipher its secrets.

Recovering, He-Man calls for Battle Cat, who arrives from the wilderness to take He-Man to find Man-At-Arms. Man-At-Arms shows off his Wind Raider which they use in the search for Teela. Suddenly, Mer-Man, on the Battle Ram, attacks and an mighty aerial fight ensues. Man-At-Arms is knocked out of the Wind Raider and Mer-Man appears to have upper hand once again...

Arriving in the nick of time, Stratos evens up the odds by head-butting Mer-Man off the Battle Ram. With Mer-Man's defeat, our heroes take off to find Man-At-Arms and rescue Teela...

Things to watch for:
  • Mer-man steals He-Man's power suit but never actually uses it.

  • When He-Man visits Man-at-Arms, he somehow has his harness back on. (Maybe He-Man stopped off at his house and picked up his forcefield suit on the way...)

  • Teela is shown wearing the snake armor, however at this time it's the Sorceress who wears that outfit.

  • The story abruptly ends with Teela still held prisoner, leaving the story of her rescue to our imagininations.

Mer-Man is the one who receives the most attention here. Unlike Beast Man, Mer-Man's desire for power is actually practically equal to that of Skeletor! He uses Skeletor only as a tool to obtain his desires. And, after the way Skeletor treated him previously, who can blame him?

This tale is possibly Glut's best in the series. The excitement isn't just limited to the extraordinarily good storytelling either. Alcala's illustrations capture some of the most beautiful landscapes and dynamic scenes depicted so far, making it pretty clear that he has become much more familiar with the world of Eternia by now, which brings up another point...

There seems to be some confusion as to exactly where this mini-comic fits into story. Most sources cite Battle in the Clouds as being the penultimate in the series, however there is the possiblity that it's actually the conclusion. Mer-Man and Stratos are both colored correctly, not mention this is the only time we see Stratos wearing his jet pack! Is this alone enough to make the case?

Well, there is no mention of Skeletor's quest to find the Power Sword and gain the secrets to Castle Grayskull, the focus remaining mainly on character development, especially that of Mer-Man. But here's the thing, this story just doesn't make for a fitting conclusion. Is this Glute's conclusion or was it just illustrated last? We may never know.

Here is the whole comic for you to download and read as a CBR file, just follow the link on the left.

CBR files hold comic book pages as images in a compressed archive format enabling them to be viewed, sequentially, from within a comic book reader program or app such as CDisplayEx.

Did you enjoy today's adventure? Do you think this the third tale or the conclusion? Which storyline do you prefer, Glute's storyline or the animated cartoon series by Filmation? Please take a moment to leave your thoughts in a comment below!

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