© Aidan Cross, 2019.

UK London Editions Comics

Issue #4

Release Date: May 1986

Stories:

Raiders From The Sky

Mountains From Space

The Carpet of Chaos

Cover by: Unknown Artist, supplied by Selecciones Illustradas (SI)

This cover depicts a scene from the story “Raiders From the Sky”.

The Orko the Magician strip in this issue features the first appearance of King Randor in the comic. It’s pretty amusing to see one of the MOTU cast worrying about something as mundane as weight loss!

Story 1: "Raiders From the Sky"
Writer: Brian Clarke

Summary: He-Man, Sy-Klone and Mekaneck are guarding Castle Grayskull in The Sorceress’ absence, passing the time by playing a game of Air-Bolt. Meanwhile, at the Fright Zone, Hordak summons Leech to aid him with his latest evil scheme. Travelling to the village of the Cat-Nik people, Hordak instructs Leech to use his energy-draining powers to drain the power of the glowing orb that provides the Cat-Niks with heat and light. When Leech has drained all the orb’s power, Hordak makes the Cat-Nik people his slaves and instructs them to build a Flying Fortress for his own use. Once the fortress is complete, Hordak flies it to Castle Grayskull and sends a shot through the window, causing an explosion within Grayskull. Sy-Klone uses his spinning power to send the flames back at the Flying Fortress, and the heroes rush to the battlements to counter the attack. Seeing that Hordak has chained the Cat-Nik people to the outer fortress to prevent the heroes firing at it, knowing the Heroic Warriors will not endanger innocent lives, He-Man realizes they must find another way to counter Hordak’s assault. He boards a Wind Raider and attempts to use it to fly up to the fortress, but Leech quickly absorbs the Wind Raider’s power, sending it plunging groundward. He-Man manages to land the Raider under its last remaining power, and attempts instead to use a springboard to propel him upwards to the fortress, but Leech likewise manages to drain the energy of the springboard. He-Man takes a cue from the game of Air-Bolt that the warriors were playing before, and instructs Sy-Klone to start spinning, so that He-Man and Mekaneck can ride the air currents up to the Flying Fortress. Once the heroes reach the fortress, they quickly overpower Hordak and Leech, and He-Man frees the Cat-Niks. Hordak retreats by teleporting himself and Leech away, and the heroes fly the fortress back to the Cat-Nik village. He-Man allows the Cat-Niks to keep the fortress as their new source of heat and light, and the Cat-Niks pledge their alliance to the Heroic Warriors.

Review: Four issues into the comic series, and Hordak and the Evil Horde finally get their breakthrough story that puts them on equal footing with Skeletor and the Evil Warriors as the comics’ lead villains. Having only appeared in two stories up to now, Hordak’s role has seemed a little uncertain; it’s been unclear exactly what differentiates him from Skeletor as a villain, while his henchmen have seemed rather generic. This story finally establishes Hordak as the crafty scientific inventor we would come to know throughout the comics, whose dastardly inventions set him apart from Skeletor’s frequent use of sorcery and magic in his schemes. We also get a strong and memorable appearance from Leech as his main henchman here, who is depicted as extremely physically powerful whilst being low on intellect.

The story opens with the scenario of He-Man, Sy-Klone and Mekaneck guarding Castle Grayskull, whilst The Sorceress (yet to appear in a regular story in the comic) is on a secret mission in another dimension. This is the first of many stories to feature this scenario – it was a frequent theme in the London Editions comics that He-Man and a select team of Heroic Warriors would look after Grayskull while The Sorceress was away on some such mission, the exact nature of which was never disclosed. This was a nice touch to the comics that made their version of the MOTU saga distinct from other media. Having The Sorceress regularly away on missions in other dimensions heightened the importance of her role throughout the cosmos, and also heightened the responsibilities of He-Man and the other heroes in that they were entrusted with looking after the castle themselves while The Sorceress was away. The opening scene features He-Man and Mekaneck engaging in a game of Air-Bolt, a game in which the participants shoot at metal balls which rise from an opening in the ground carried on air currents. While Mekaneck does not get a great deal of development in this particular story, this would set the tone for his character, as a keen sportsman and player of games who was evenly matched with He-Man on certain games; a recurring trait of the character in later stories.

As we switch our focus to Hordak in the Fright Zone (note that both Mekaneck and Hordak’s bodysuits are coloured purple here in contrast to their regular dark blue), we are introduced to what would likewise be a recurring scenario for Hordak and the Horde within the comics, as Hordak enslaves the tribe of Cat-Nik people. A regular theme in stories with Hordak as lead villain would concern him enslaving tribes of innocent villagers and using them as bait for the heroes, and indeed the comics later established that a lot of villages were unfortunate enough to be located within Hordak’s Fright Zone territory and thus lived in thrall to Hordak himself. The Cat-Nik race are shown to be yellow-skinned (which could raise the question, is Evil-Lyn a Cat-Nik in the UK Comics’ universe?) and this would not be their only appearance in the comics. We get an amusing illustration of Leech with his arms comically folded as he attempts to assert his own authority aside Hordak’s throne.

Sy-Klone gets some decent characterization here – in-keeping with his role as the master of speed, he is shown to be youthfully energetic and easily bored, craving excitement and action, pacing frustratedly about the Castle while He-Man and Mekaneck calmly read. Sy-Klone’s cravings for action are swiftly answered when a sudden shot from Hordak’s fortress sends an explosion ripping out from the fireplace. This attack is followed by a comical scene in which Hordak, the flames deflected back at him by Sy-Klone’s power, suffers severe humiliation by having the soot from the flames settle on his face, evoking him to “Praise the Twin Moons that Skeletor cannot see me now!” He-Man remarks on ascending to Grayskull’s turret that “For a change [the attack] isn’t Skeletor”, implying that this is the first time Hordak has directly attacked Grayskull, and reminding the reader that Hordak is still new on Eternia and is only just growing accustomed to his enemies’ strengths and weaknesses.

Over the next few pages, He-Man attempts to use an assortment of different techniques to raise himself up to the Flying Fortress to counter Hordak’s attack, each one at first unsuccessful due to Leech’s energy-draining abilities absorbing the power of each attempt. This story presents Leech as a very physically powerful opponent for the heroes, who possesses the ability to drain the energy of not only living beings but of vehicles and objects as well, although he is clearly lacking in brain power, with an almost childlike mentality. Sy-Klone’s power is put to the best use here, as it is his own spinning power that allows He-Man to finally thwart Leech’s energy-draining abilities, his constant spinning causing new energy to arise and keep He-Man and Mekaneck afloat as they travel on the air currents. Once again, a science-based solution and logical thinking allow He-Man to save the day. Taking a cue from the game of Air-Bolt the heroes played in the opening panel, He-Man realizes they can use the power of air currents to their advantage, and it is his knowledge of the laws of physics that leads to the villains’ defeat.

We get a notable moment here as we see the first instance of direct physical violence in the comic as Mekaneck actually kicks Leech in the head when landing on the fortress, although it is executed subtly by having the artist draw the kick obscured from the reader by having He-Man stand in the way. The Cat-Niks declare their alliance with He-Man and the Heroic Warriors upon their rescue, and indeed they would go on to appear again in issue #35’s “Blind Terror”.

Mekaneck breaks the non-violence rule by delivering the comics' first kick!

Overall, this is an entertaining story that finally establishes Hordak and the Horde as equal villains to Skeletor and his Evil Warriors, giving the heroes just as much reason to fear them. It also gives some good development to the supporting cast of Leech, Sy-Klone and Mekaneck, whilst expanding the role of the Heroic Warriors in their duty of physically guarding Castle Grayskull, and giving us another intriguing thinking-based solution that educates the reader in scientific matters. A nice start to the fourth issue of the comic series.

This amusingly named jokes feature occupies the position in the comic soon to be assumed by the Master Mail letters page. Later jokes features would include jokes specifically relating to the MOTU world.

Story 2: “Mountains From Space”
Writer: Brian Clarke

Summary: In Skeletor’s chamber, Evil-Lyn reports to the Lord of Destruction that a shower of meteors is coursing through space near Eternia. Skeletor casts a spell that will divert the meteors’ path onto Eternia itself, so that they will crash onto the planet and crush Eternia’s surface, allowing Skeletor to take control of the surviving planet and rule it himself. He also places a Cloak of Darkness over Eternia, so that no-one on the planet will see or detect the meteor shower until it is too late, and forges a mystic shelter to protect Snake Mountain from the meteors’ impact. Later, The Sorceress summons He-Man, Buzz-Off and Roboto to Castle Grayskull, telling them she has been informed by Zodac, the Cosmic Enforcer, that a great danger threatens Eternia from space, but she is unable to detect this threat with her own powers. He-Man and his comrades use a space portal in Castle Grayskull to travel to the nearby world of Metalunos so they can observe Eternia from afar. Using a Galaxy-Scope, Buzz-Off spots the meteor shower heading straight for Eternia. As the heroes attempt to travel back through the space portal to Eternia, they are attacked by a Massing Dwarf, which blocks the portal with a boulder, stranding them on Metalunos. Roboto manages to strategically defeat the creature and clear the heroes’ path, allowing them to return to Eternia. He-Man tells The Sorceress what the warriors have discovered, and The Sorceress reveals that while they were away, she flew over Snake Mountain in the form of Zoar and overheard Skeletor’s scheme. The heroes head to Snake Mountain, which is being protected by Skeletor’s mystical shield, intended to protect the Evil Warriors from the meteors as they take refuge inside the fortress. The heroes attempt to break through the barrier by firing at it with their weapons, but they do not possess enough firepower to penetrate the barrier. Buzz-Off flies back to Eternos and summons more Heroic Warriors, who travel to Snake Mountain to aid the others in breaking through. The sky above them grows darker as the meteors come closer, but the Heroic Warriors are unable to make a dent in the barrier however much they fire. Just as the warriors feel they have exhausted all their efforts, the barrier suddenly begins to crack open by itself. Skeletor and his henchmen emerge from inside, having mistaken the impact of the Heroic Warriors’ firepower for the meteor shower itself. Upon seeing that the sky above them is red and the landscape undamaged, Skeletor realizes his mistake and has no choice but to cancel his spell, knowing he will not have enough time to build another barrier before the meteors crash down. He retreats with his henchmen back inside Snake Mountain, and the Heroic Warriors rejoice in the knowledge that Skeletor defeated his own plan.

Review: This is the strongest story in this issue and one of the best stories yet, particularly notable in that Skeletor actually comes his closest yet to defeating the heroes in this story, and the day is saved not by a direct action on the part of the Heroic Warriors, but by Skeletor himself making a careless mistake and thwarting his own scheme. In other stories up until now it has often seemed that Skeletor stands little chance at all of ever winning, since his abilities are effortlessly surpassed by the Heroic Warriors’ collective power and He-Man’s quick thinking. This story ups Skeletor’s game pretty significantly in that the heroes actually exhaust their own efforts to thwart his scheme, and it is only by a chance careless mistake on Skeletor’s part that Eternia is saved. If he can take precautions to avoid such mistakes in future… he may actually stand a chance of conquering Eternia.

We get a particularly striking establishing panel on the opening page, showing Evil-Lyn viewing the meteors through her crystal ball as Skeletor looks on from his throne of bones. We also get our first real insight into Evil-Lyn’s character as she secretly plots to overthrow Skeletor himself once he has got rid of He-Man, and place herself on Eternia’s throne, in line with her portrayal in the cartoon series.

This story sees the first role of The Sorceress in one of the regular stories as she summons He-Man, Buzz-Off and Roboto to Castle Grayskull. She reveals she has been tipped off by Zodac about a great danger that threatens Eternia from space. This chance mention of Zodac, a character from the early waves of Mattel action figures who was only ever put to minimal use in the comics, establishes this character’s mysterious role as a watcher from behind the scenes who rarely participates. Even though he does not actually appear in the story, it conveys his role as a keeper of the cosmic balance who is not permitted to intervene directly, but may subtly tip off one side or the other when the war is shifted heavily against them. In this particular case, it is Zodac’s indirect participation in the story that actually saves the day, for had he not tipped off The Sorceress about this unspecified ‘great danger’ Skeletor would surely have succeeded in destroying most of Eternia with the meteor shower. So while this character’s role may seem minimal and he has yet to be actually seen, his role is nevertheless crucial.

The heroes travel to the neighbouring planet of Metalunos, a world that would later be mentioned again in Issue #13’s “The Reality Shaper”. The battle with the Massing Dwarf is basically a filler scene, but it is a very entertaining action sequence that gives Roboto, in his first proper story role, a good moment in the spotlight as he uses his timing circuits and strategical thinking to thwart the creature’s attack.

We get a great panel showing Skeletor’s team of Evil Warriors gathered around the table in Snake Mountain as they take refuge from the impending meteor shower, with some deadpan humour as Beast Man complains about the dark; we also learn here that he has previously served time on Prison Star. This is the first mention of Prison Star, later to be known as ‘Prisonstar’, which would later play a key role in numerous stories as the universe’s largest intergalactic jail.

As mentioned before, this is the first time The Sorceress has directly featured in a story in this comic series, and we get an expansion of her abilities as she describes how she flew over Snake Mountain in the falcon form of Zoar, thus using her spy abilities to uncover Skeletor’s scheme undetected.

The panel showing He-Man changing Cringer into Battle Cat marks the belated first appearance of Battle Cat, who was nowhere to be seen in the first three issues. A big curiosity with this panel is that He-Man appears to transform Cringer into Battle Cat in front of Roboto and Buzz-Off, who of course are not meant to know the two creatures are one and the same. However, the accompanying text in the narration panel indicates the illustration is not intended to be taken literally.

The next two pages convey a real feel of urgency in the Heroic Warriors’ situation, as they face the greatest threat to Eternia that we have as yet seen in the comics. Buzz-Off is forced to fly back to Eternos at super-speed and exhausts himself in the process, collapsing upon his return (the illustration of the collapsed Buzz-Off would later be replicated in the 1989 World Annual) and a whole team of Heroic Warriors is required to travel to Snake Mountain to attempt to break through the barrier. All their efforts fail, despite repeated firepower, an attempt by Sy-Klone to cut a tunnel through the barrier with his super-speed spinning, and a Thunder Punch from He-Man. (This would be the first of several instances in the comics where He-Man would deliver his ‘Thunder Punch’, in line with the Thunder Punch He-Man action figure variant, although he was never shown wearing the costume worn by the action figure.)

The reader shares in the heroes’ sense of hopelessness as they realize they have exhausted all their energy and resources in their attempts to smash through the barrier. Just as all seems lost, we get our twist ending as the barrier unexpectedly begins to crack open, and Skeletor and the Evil Warriors emerge, thinking the meteor shower is over. The heroes have indirectly saved the day, but only because Skeletor mistook the sound of their firepower for the impact of the meteors themselves. Had he not made this mistake he would have been on a solid pathway to victory. He-Man is quick to state that “There are no more meteor showers around for [Skeletor] to use in the near future”, and he is also confident that by summoning The Sorceress to join them, the heroes would eventually have broken through the barrier, but we cannot help but wonder… if Skeletor were to use a similar spell again, and be cautious against making such a mistake, could his scheme actually work? This story really highlights how it is primarily Skeletor’s lack of foresight and deductive reasoning, abilities possessed in large quantities by He-Man, that prevent him from conquering Eternia, and on this occasion it is the sole reason for his failure. We are left wondering just what kind of storylines could ensue if the comic were to show Skeletor coming closer to achieving his desired impact on Eternia. At this point it is early days for the comics, in which the stories are kept to the shorter length of five to six pages, so large epic storylines are not easily favoured by these confinements. But as the comic expands into longer stories as it progresses, we will see more of just what Skeletor and the other villains are capable of when they come closer to their desired victory.

One of the best stories yet at this early stage, “Mountains From Space” shows the Heroic Warriors in their most desperate situation yet as Skeletor comes his closest to victory so far, and leaves us feeling that despite the odds against him, Skeletor is still a very serious threat to Eternia and the Heroic Warriors really do need to be on constant guard if they are to keep their planet safe.

This issue's competition page effectively introduces the Rock People, who would not appear in a story in the comic until Issue #12.

Story 3: “The Carpet of Chaos”
Writer: Brian Clarke

Summary: Skeletor’s magical powers have uncovered the location of the legendary Carpet of Chaos, which bestows tremendous magical powers upon whoever walks on it. He sets out with Two Bad and Spikor to journey to the Well of the Forgotten and obtain the carpet for himself. Meanwhile, Orko is entertaining the Royal Family of Eternos City with magic tricks for Cringer’s birthday party. Orko’s spell to read Cringer’s mind mistakenly opens a thought tunnel that allows him to view Skeletor’s current actions, and the Royal Family see Skeletor as he reveals to his henchmen his plans to obtain the Carpet of Chaos. Prince Adam transforms into He-Man, and together with Battle Cat, Orko and Moss Man, sets out to stop Skeletor gaining possession of the carpet. On their way, they reach the Sleepy Vale, which carries a scent that brings a feeling of great tiredness on all who pass through. To prevent them from falling asleep, Moss Man scouts the vale in search of the Star Blossoms, which make one immune to the scent. After being attacked by a team of evil Grolls, Moss Man successfully obtains the Star Blossoms, and the heroes journey through the Sleepy Vale. They are attacked again by the Grolls, but Moss Man uses the power of the Battle Ram to trap the Grolls in their own net. They soon arrive at the Well of the Forgotten, and Moss Man uses the Battle Ram to break through the wall. Seeing tracks in the soil beneath them, they realize Skeletor has beaten them to the location, and cautiously descend into the depths of the well. When they reach the bottom, they encounter Skeletor, who has found the carpet and is set to use its power for himself. As Skeletor uses the carpet to summon the Demon of Demos, Orko challenges him to a magic duel, and after quickly defeating the demon, tricks Skeletor into using up all the mystic symbols on the carpet, thus exhausting its powers. After Orko has defeated each of the spells, the carpet is rendered useless, and Skeletor retreats with his henchmen. Battle Cat then finds a new use for the carpet – as a sleeping mat!

Review: As Orko has been very much shafted to the sidelines in the comic so far, confined generally to his short three-panel strip that opens each issue, here he is finally given another focal role in a regular story, his second following Issue #1’s “Orko to the Rescue”. Our general impression of Orko so far is that he is in essence an extremely powerful wizard who is flawed by a childlike naivety and a tendency to be clumsy, hence his lack of participation in major battles. Here, when Skeletor’s plot involves the heavy use of magical forces, He-Man has need for Orko’s abilities and this proves an effective way of building on Orko’s character and potential as he winds up pretty much defeating Skeletor single-handedly on this occasion. The character of Orko was clearly a challenge for Brian Clarke in his writing of the London Editions comics. Determined not to skew the tone of the comics too young (as often happened to the Filmation series with its heavy usage of Orko) but also obliged to satisfy the readers’ inevitable demand to see the character, Brian Clarke rose to this challenge by giving the character only occasional focal roles – but when he did so, rather than treating Orko as the class clown, he treated him as a very human and complex character, handling his personality in a serious manner, and in the process making him a deserving equal in the main cast alongside He-Man and the other heroes.

This story has probably the most Filmation-esque feel of any of the London Editions stories so far, and certainly its opening premise, with the Royal Family encountering Skeletor’s latest scheme as they dine in the Palace watching Orko’s magic show, is a very typical element of the Filmation show which we are used to in the cartoon, but see the comic depict for the first time in its own way here. The opening panels, depicting Skeletor uncovering the Carpet of Chaos through his mists of vision, sets the scene for the story well. An interesting error on the artist’s part occurs here in that we see Mer-Man by Skeletor’s throne, but Skeletor addresses him as Stinkor. Given that the Stinkor action figure (a new addition to the toy line at this time) was a repaint of Mer-Man’s action figure, it seems the artist got confused here and mistakenly drew Mer-Man in place of Stinkor.

This story is also notable for being the first regular story in the comic to place Cringer in the spotlight. With both Cringer and Battle Cat having been surprisingly absent from the comic in its first three issues other than a few brief appearances by Cringer in the Orko the Magician strip, the character of Battle Cat finally got his belated first comic appearance in this issue’s “Mountains From Space” and here is put to bigger use in the forms of both Cringer and Battle Cat. His personality is nicely in line with his portrayal in the Filmation series; his cowardice and innocence as Cringer played for comic effect while Battle Cat is a feistier character, rendered memorable by his punchy lines of deadpan sarcasm.

It seems a bit too convenient a coincidence that Orko just happens to accidentally spy on Skeletor at the exact moment that Skeletor is revealing his latest scheme to his henchmen, but this is a children’s comic after all, and the scene of Orko doing so serves as a great indication of the full extent of Orko’s power. Orko is a lot more powerful than even he realizes, and due to his naivety his spells can easily spiral out of control; in this instance a straightforward spell to read Cringer’s mind accidentally opens a thought tunnel allowing Orko to literally view the actions of Skeletor, the subject of Cringer’s thoughts at the time.

An interesting curiosity as Adam transforms to He-Man is the narration panel’s statement that he “strikes his innocent-looking sword against stone” in order to transform. This transformation method was Filmation’s original intention for the cartoon series before being changed in favour of the familiar “By the Power of Grayskull” oath, and as such is alluded to in a lot of early story media for the MOTU brand, and the London Editions comics would indicate that this was an alternative way for Adam to transform when unable to speak the oath, as later stories would seemingly build on.

Moss Man is another character given a spotlight role in this story. His presence among the Royal Family as they celebrated Cringer’s birthday party seemed a bit surprising, but was a nice touch given how well the comics have been handling this character so far and portraying his abilities, as a particularly powerful and potentially important member of the Heroic Warriors. His spying powers have been put to effective use in previous stories, and here his plant-like abilities are built on. Being part-plant, he is the only one of the heroes unaffected by the scent from the Sleepy Vale, and uses this to his advantage in order to venture into the vale and obtain the Star Blossoms for the other heroes’ use. His power of camouflage works to his advantage when he is attacked by the Grolls, who themselves are highly effective villains. The Grolls – grotesque bat-like creatures that inhabit the vale, springing surprise attacks on those who pass through the vale to obtain the Star Blossoms – work very nicely in this story as memorably unpleasant and aggressive adversaries, and Moss Man’s personal dislike of them is a nice touch.

This story makes use of the action features of the Battle Ram toy, which Moss Man uses first to overpower the Grolls – by using the ram projectile to trap them in the net they intend to capture the heroes in – and then to break through the wall of the Well of the Forgotten by using the ram head on the vehicle’s front. Like the comics’ showcase of the Fright Zone playset’s action features in Issue #2’s “Hordak’s Revenge”, this story does a great job of presenting the action gimmicks of one of the toys for solid story purposes, without it seeming like pure product placement.

Having Skeletor’s face appear to the heroes via mystical projection as they journey to the centre of the well is a great touch and works well for dramatic effect. The illustration of Skeletor holding his arms aloft as he summons the Demon of Demos from the carpet is a great panel, with an almost Satanic look to it. The Demon of Demos itself is also a very interesting creature, itself given a borderline devilish, Lovecraftian appearance with its triple-horned head and a large gaping mouth in its chest, its darkness and potential gruesomeness softened for younger readers by its comical, almost cute wide-eyed expression.

This confrontation between Skeletor and the heroes leads to the story’s focal moment of Orko’s magic duel against Skeletor. Orko chastises the Lord of Destruction by playing on his ego, accusing him of being “too scared to fight a real wizard in mystic combat” and thus taunting him into entering a magic duel with him, in the process defeating Skeletor’s scheme by tricking him into using up all the powers the carpet has given him. The large panel depicting the two sorcerers’ magic duel is the point of this story that will stick the most in the mind of any reader, with its fun and comedic depictions of Orko foiling each of the surreal and rather humorous spells Skeletor springs forth from the carpet. This is where the London Editions comic for the first time really captures the feel of the Filmation show in the type of sequence that the Filmation artists and animators would have had a field day with.

As Orko emerges victorious, he remarks on how the magic properties of the carpet allowed him to cast his spells correctly, rather than his magic going wrong as is normally the case, and “It felt good to do real magic for a change”. At this point we, as the readers, find ourselves really respecting the role of Orko in the comic, and this story serves to remind us that he is a lot more than merely the comic relief confined to the light-hearted opening strip of each issue. Potentially he is just as powerful as the regular team of Heroic Warriors and his abilities are more than useful when He-Man encounters occult forces; it is merely Orko’s youthful personality and occasional carelessness that render him a court jester rather than a full-time member of the Heroic Warriors. And he is more than capable of holding his own against the forces of evil when circumstances really call for it. As a stranded alien who is gradually growing accustomed to the world of Eternia, he is only just learning for himself how his powers work on this unfamiliar world, and is learning how to attain mastery over them and do his best for Eternia. In the Filmation series, there were times when the villains were made to look plain incompetent and stupid when defeated by Orko. Here this is not quite the case – while Skeletor is admittedly careless and overly boastful, Orko wins the day due to his own abilities of foresight and psychological manipulation by playing on Skeletor’s ego, as well as by his own powers. This story shows him to be every bit as worthy a hero as He-Man himself, and does so convincingly without ever seeming patronizing nor undermining Skeletor’s own powers.

By ending with the joke of Battle Cat finding another use for the now powerless carpet by using it as a sleeping mat, this story by its end more than bears the imprint of the Filmation series, and strikes a nice balance between the family feel of the Filmation show and the methodical, deductive approach of the regular comic stories. “The Carpet of Chaos” is a light-hearted and fun story that strikes an effective balance between the softer elements of the Filmation show and the more serious tone of the comics, while doing a great job of expanding the comics’ portrayal of characters so central to the cartoon series as Orko, Cringer and Battle Cat.

On more general terms, this is a very solid and strong issue of the comics which successfully accomplishes numerous tasks, by giving the Horde their breakthrough story and solidifying their role in the comics, as well showing the Masters in their most dire straits yet, and integrating the core elements of the Filmation cartoon series smoothly into the London Editions mythos.

The second of the ‘Brains, Not Brawn’ puzzles closes this issue. Note the reference to the Realm of Demons, a location that was occasionally referenced in the Filmation cartoon series; this would be its only mention in the London Editions comics.

© Aidan Cross, 2017.

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