UK London Editions Comics
Release Date: June 1986
Droid of Destruction
Cover by: Unknown Artist, supplied by Selecciones Illustradas (SI)
This issue’s cover depicts a scene from the story “Droid of Destruction”.
In this issue’s editorial, Scrollos invites the readers to send in their suggestions for where He-Man would go if he took a holiday, and what he would do. (As this issue was released, schools across the UK were beginning to break up for the summer holidays.) Scrollos says he will print the best ideas in a future issue, although no feature of this nature was ever published.
Story 1: “Droid of Destruction”
Writer: Brian Clarke
Summary: Hordak unveils his latest invention designed to destroy He-Man before his Horde. He has built a mechanical droid that is programmed to search for He-Man by homing in on his brainwave pattern. As the droid will follow He-Man’s brainwave pattern wherever He-Man goes, He-Man will not be able to shake off the droid and will tire himself out fighting the machine until he collapses from exhaustion, enabling the droid to capture him. Hordak activates the droid and dons a headset that will enable him to keep in visual contact with it, so what the droid sees, he will see. Meanwhile, He-Man is busy saving the Cat-Nik village from a mountain lake that has broken through its wall, threatening to flood the village. He uses a heavy boulder to block the stream of water, but as he completes the task he is fired on from above, and looks up to see Hordak’s droid flying through the air above, an image of Hordak himself displayed on a screen on the droid’s chest. The droid fires a series of miniature rockets at He-Man, knocking him over the cliff edge. Fortunately, He-Man’s fall is broken by a new lake he has formed below to divert the water from the stream, but as He-Man falls into the water, Hordak reveals that the droid will follow his brainwave pattern wherever he goes. Beneath the water, He-Man comes up with a plan to shake off the droid, deciding to change to Prince Adam, who has a different brainwave pattern. So it is Prince Adam and not He-Man who emerges from the water, and as he climbs out, he finds his sword drawn to the magnetic rocks at the mountain side. He takes a small rock and climbs up the cliff side, where he is spotted by Hordak’s droid. Hordak has lost all trace of He-Man’s brainwave pattern and assumes He-Man was killed following his fall into the lake. Seeing Prince Adam, Hordak uses the droid to kidnap him, so he may achieve a double victory by both destroying He-Man and capturing the heir to Eternia’s throne. Prince Adam climbs onto the droid’s back, where unseen by Hordak, he strikes his sword against the small rock and becomes He-Man again, striking the droid from behind and causing it to fall towards the rocks. Hordak is furious to find the droid’s indicators detecting the presence of He-Man again, and as the droid and He-Man both fall onto the rocks, Hordak activates another weapon within his machine and the droid’s hands become swirling blades of steel. He-Man manages to use his sword to hack off the blades, but Hordak then turns the droid’s body red hot, so that one touch of its burning metal will defeat He-Man. As He-Man backs away from the droid, his sword holds fast to the magnetic rock, and he lures the droid forward, causing the droid to step into the magnetic field and be drawn towards the rock itself. The droid crashes into the rock face and smashes into pieces. Hordak is angry that his invention has failed, but is even more confused as to how He-Man managed to disappear for a while, to which He-Man answers that Hordak has not begun to understand the true powers of Castle Grayskull. The last trace of the droid’s power fades out, rendering it useless junk, and as He-Man walks away from the scene, he muses over how his double identity has today come in handy in defeating the forces of evil, and therefore he must always keep it a closely guarded secret, even if it means never telling his loved ones.
Review: Up until this point, the London Editions comic has made only minimal use of He-Man’s secret identity of Prince Adam, and the previous two issues did not feature his Adam identity at all. Although He-Man’s double identity became the norm across most MOTU media following the DC Comics’ introduction of this theme in 1982, many stories in the LE comics so far have ignored the character of Prince Adam – more in line with the early Mattel minicomics in which He-Man was the hero’s sole identity, with the character portrayed as a wandering barbarian. But just when the comic was getting to a stage at which the reader could justifiably question the necessity of the secret identity theme, Issue #7 brings us the first of two splendid stories which put the secret identity theme to excellent narrative use and cement the legitimacy of the hero’s double identity within the LE MOTU universe.
The latest of Hordak’s scientific inventions designed to overcome He-Man is a particularly striking and effective one – the Droid of Destruction of the title, which is programmed to follow He-Man’s brainwave pattern and will thus pursue the hero wherever he goes, engaging him in endless combat until he collapses from exhaustion. Like Hordak’s previous schemes in the comic, this invention will turn out to be flawed due to Hordak – still the new villain on Eternia – lacking awareness of He-Man’s strengths and abilities. But in the process we get what is easily one of the most entertaining Horde-based stories in the comic yet, which leads to a fantastic twist resolution as He-Man employs his secret identity to save the day, and save his own life.
As Hordak presents his new creation to his Horde, we get some more comical dialogue from Grizzlor, who is slowly being fleshed out as the comic relief of the Horde. As in Issue #5’s “Hordak’s Assault”, his comical misunderstandings of Hordak’s scheme provide amusement whilst also allowing explanations of concepts that may be difficult for younger readers to grasp; in this case the nature of a brainwave pattern.
When we switch our attentions to He-Man, he is in the process of saving the Cat-Nik village. This is the second reference to the Cat-Niks following their introduction in Issue #4’s “Raiders From the Sky” and the recurring reference here to their village is a nice touch in fleshing out the UK Comics’ version of Eternia. He-Man saves the village by hurling a large boulder into the path of the lake that threatens to flood it, thus blocking the flow of water. An observant reader on a later Master Mail pointed out how He-Man seems only just able to lift the rock, when in Issue #5’s “Hordak’s Assault” he had been able to lift an entire mountain; Scrollos responded by explaining that the rock was much heavier than it looked due to the type of matter it was made of.
Hordak’s droid, upon attacking, immediately proves an effective weapon, effortlessly knocking He-Man over the cliff edge and into the lake. By revealing that it is linked to He-Man’s brainwave pattern, Hordak unwittingly seals the fate of this scheme when it has barely begun, but we get a superb action sequence in the process as He-Man realizes that his secret identity of Prince Adam will be key to him shaking off the droid. He resumes his Prince Adam identity, thus causing Hordak to lose trace of He-Man’s brainwave pattern and assume that He-Man must have been killed in the fall. He takes advantage of the appearance of Prince Adam to capture the royal heir and thus achieve a double victory, enabling our hero to mount a surprise attack upon the villain.
This story makes interesting use of Adam’s alternate method for transforming into He-Man – by striking his sword against a rock. This was an abandoned concept from the early stages of the Filmation cartoon series’ development, with early Filmation notes stating that Adam was required to strike his sword against stone in order to transform to He-Man. This idea was quickly scrapped in favour of the familiar “By the Power of Grayskull” oath for story ease, but various MOTU media from this era alluded to this as He-Man’s primary method of transformation. Although largely forgotten by 1986, it was alluded to briefly in Issue #4’s “The Carpet of Chaos” and is here presented as an alternate method for Prince Adam to turn into He-Man. It is a nice touch as an alternate transformation method, as it makes sense that He-Man should have another method of transforming, lest he is to find himself in instances where he is unable to speak the incantation without being heard – although the narration panel does state that he still speaks the sacred oath here.
He-Man is now able to launch a surprise attack on the droid just at the moment when Hordak is expecting it least, and we get a fantastic battle sequence in which the droid demonstrates its deadly powers. First it transforms its hands into devilish whirling blades, and secondly turns its body red hot so that one mere touch could destroy He-Man. As in previous issues, He-Man is able to use a scientific solution to defeat the droid, by tricking it into stepping into the magnetic field emanating from the ore of the rocks, thus causing the droid to be pulled towards the rocks and smashed apart. But Hordak’s reaction to the failure of his latest scheme is one more of confusion than his typical rage – for how did He-Man manage to disappear for a while? How did He-Man manage to enable his brainwave trace to vanish, and then reappear? All He-Man will reveal is that “you haven’t yet begun to understand the true powers of Castle Grayskull” and Hordak is reminded that the power of Grayskull is much more complicated than he has realized; for He-Man clearly has all manner of resources at his command with which to thwart Hordak’s schemes.
And most importantly, He-Man has realized that his secret identity of Prince Adam can actually be a weapon in itself, for on this occasion he has been able to use his double identity to save the day and save himself, and thus it is important that he keeps his double identity secret at all costs, even if it means concealing it from his loved ones. This story does an excellent job of cementing the importance of He-Man’s secret identity and its necessity to the overall mythos, as well as giving a justified reason why He-Man must keep it secret even from his loved ones, such as Teela and his parents.
This is a brilliant story with great action sequences showing Hordak’s machinations at their deadliest, whilst breaking new ground for the UK Comics by putting He-Man’s secret identity to excellent narrative effect and showing just how beneficial it can be to He-Man. But this is not the only new ground this issue will cover regarding He-Man’s secret identity, for the very next story in this issue is about to put the double identity theme to its most groundbreaking – and surreal – usage yet…
This issue's Master Mail. The first letter actually questions who the mysterious Scrollos is - in response he introduces himself as "Scrollos, the keeper of the Scrolls."
Story 2: “Double Split”
Writer: Brian Clarke
Summary: He-Man is returning from a patrol in the Shadow Land, unaware that Skeletor is watching him from a distance and has set a trap for him. He is attacked from behind by Skeletor’s henchmen Stinkor and Webstor, and stumbles into Skeletor’s trap, a deep pit covered by a metal grate made from Cosmium, an enchanted material with a mystic energy so powerful that not even He-Man can destroy it. However, He-Man immediately manages to kick his way through the Cosmium bars and escape, and Skeletor, furious that his trap has failed, retreats with his henchmen. As He-Man makes his way back to the Royal Palace, he feels dizzy and wonders if this is a delayed effect from the Cosmium that Skeletor did not know about. He reaches the woods outside Eternos City, and holds his sword aloft to change back to Prince Adam. But as he changes back, he finds that he has split into two separate people – his natural self as Prince Adam, and a mirror image of He-Man that has been created during the transformation. It quickly becomes apparent that the He-Man double is alike He-Man only in looks, for it has the mind of a savage brute and immediately attacks Prince Adam. Buzz-Off witnesses the attack from above and is confused as to why He-Man would attack Adam, so he lands and investigates. He-Man proceeds to attack Buzz-Off himself, and a Royal guard, witnessing the attack from the distant city, summons the available Heroic Warriors, declaring that He-Man has gone wild. A team of Heroic Warriors emerges from the city gates to take on the evil He-Man, and as they do battle with him, Man-At-Arms takes Prince Adam aside to speak to him. As the only person present who knows of Prince Adam’s double identity, Man-At-Arms is the only warrior to realize just how severe this problem is, and Prince Adam explains to him what has happened. Man-At-Arms reasons that the effect of the Cosmium can be undone by magic, and so they must trick Skeletor into using his magic on the evil He-Man. They put their plan into action, and as Man-At-Arms returns to assist the other warriors in their battle against He-Man, he sends Prince Adam off in the Attak Trak to recover a ‘secret weapon’ that will be able to destroy He-Man. The evil He-Man chases after the Prince so that he can obtain this ‘secret weapon’ for himself, and chases him to Snake Mountain, where Adam has travelled in the Attak Trak. The evil He-Man demands the Prince tell him where the secret weapon is, and pretending to be frightened, Prince Adam tells his double that it is in the Heroic Warriors’ secret vault in Snake Mountain. The evil He-Man attacks Snake Mountain, attracting the attention of Skeletor from within. Skeletor uses his Havoc Staff to attack He-Man with a blast of magic, and the evil He-Man dissolves into thin air, destroyed by Skeletor’s magic. As the double disappears, Prince Adam’s body is possessed with an eerie glow, and he recovers his sword and manages to transform back into He-Man as normal, the effects of the Cosmium having been cancelled by Skeletor’s magic. As He-Man and Man-At-Arms leave the scene, they shout their thanks to Skeletor, who has unwittingly helped them by destroying the evil double of He-Man.
Review: The UK comic had nicely found its feet by this stage in its run, and now that it had done so, writer Brian Clarke began to push the boundaries into more experimental and surreal territories. “Double Split” is one such story of this nature, and it is easily one of the strongest stories to appear in the comic yet, breaking new ground by adding a touch of surrealism as well as further exploring the theme of He-Man’s double identity.
The first story in this issue, “Droid of Destruction”, put He-Man’s secret identity of Prince Adam to effective use by having him actually use his ability to become two people to save the day. “Double Split” takes a far weirder approach to the secret identity theme by having Adam and He-Man split into two separate people by evil magic and face one another in combat.
The first page of the story, with Skeletor springing a trap on He-Man, only for He-Man to immediately escape from it with barely any effort, indicates this is not going to be any normal MOTU story. Skeletor’s scheme this time is thwarted immediately and effortlessly, and it is only the after-effects of this scheme, of which Skeletor himself is completely unaware, that bring about the story’s main threat.
The teasers for this story in the previous issue, and on the cover, state this issue will feature “He-Man’s mightiest foe – He-Man!” As a child I was excited by these teasers and expected this issue to feature the debut of Faker, Skeletor’s evil replica of He-Man. But as it turned out, we got something far more adventurous – Prince Adam is faced with the challenge of being attacked by his own alter ego when He-Man is separated from him and turned into an animalistic brute who attacks anyone he sees. Potentially, this is the most dangerous threat he has faced yet. Throughout the comic’s run so far we have seen that He-Man easily lives up to his title of ‘Most Powerful Man in the Universe’ to the extent that the villains physically stand very little chance against him, hence why they must think up increasingly crafty schemes in order to stand a chance of defeating him. With He-Man himself turned evil, and Prince Adam now separated from him and rendered a mere ordinary mortal, the evil He-Man could potentially bring about the downfall of Eternia, and the planet risks being conquered by its own hero. Fortunately, the evil He-Man is lacking in that one thing more important than his muscles, that He-Man frequently employs to save the day – intelligence. And the power of brain over brawn, a constant theme throughout the London Editions comics, is demonstrated here once again as Prince Adam and Man-At-Arms must use logic and tactical planning to defeat the evil He-Man.
The illustration of He-Man and Prince Adam splitting into two is one of the UK Comics’ most memorable and iconic panels. We also see in this sequence that He-Man uses the same phrase to turn back to Adam as he uses to become He-Man, although later issues would amend this by having him say “I am Adam” rather than “I Have the Power”. As the story takes this exciting and surreal twist, it is easy to imagine Prince Adam’s shock as he is faced out of the blue with his own alter ego attacking him. This sequence is very similar to the scene in the 1983 film Superman III, in which Superman and Clark Kent are split into two separate people, the former of who is savage and aggressive and attacks his mortal alter ego. (In this site’s Interview With Brian Clarke, Brian says this was just coincidence, although the idea of two sides of one identity splitting apart and fighting one another possibly came from another source.)
The savage He-Man’s attacks draw the attention of a team of other Heroic Warriors. He-Man’s super-strength and status as the strongest of all warriors is emphasised by Sy-Klone’s remark that even the warriors’ combined might is unlikely to be able to stop him. As the evil He-Man quickly makes short work of the Heroic Warriors who attempt to take him on, we are reminded just how powerful He-Man is and how crucial he is to the Heroic Warriors’ continued victories against the forces of evil. As powerful as the Heroic Warriors are, it is likely that without He-Man, Skeletor and Hordak would have no trouble conquering Eternia.
Of course, the other Heroic Warriors are unaware that Prince Adam and He-Man are one and the same person, and it is only Man-At-Arms who realizes just how strange and drastic the situation is. (It is worth noting that from this issue onwards, Man-At-Arms is drawn with a moustache to resemble his animated counterpart.) Together he and Prince Adam concoct a scheme to lure the evil He-Man away from the Heroic Warriors, by sending Adam after a non-existent ‘secret weapon’ that the evil He-Man will inevitably try to obtain for himself, but Adam is cautious about destroying his evil alter ego – for could this potentially result in his own destruction as well?
Adam’s separation from his alter ego provides him with a good chance to shine as a hero in his mortal form rather than turning into He-Man. He drives the Attak Trak to Snake Mountain and manipulates the evil He-Man into thinking Skeletor’s lair is where the Heroic Warriors’ ‘secret weapon’ is located. This scene does raise the question of just how far away from Eternos City Snake Mountain is located, for Adam does not seem to have driven that far in the Attak Trak and He-Man seems to have pursued him on foot, implying it is not that far from the city at all.
This is the second time in the comics that we have seen Snake Mountain from the outside. In contrast to Issue #4's "Mountains From Space" in which it was drawn with the appearance of the toy playset, it is here given a unique appearance from other media – shown as a castle-like fortress, with only the dragon-like head from the toy playset present to identify it to the toy collector as Snake Mountain. Were it not for the fortress' previous appearance in Issue #4, this would not actually violate continuity, for later issues did state that Skeletor upgraded and modified his lair’s appearance following the Horde’s emergence on Eternia, to improve its defences.
We get a rare and memorable scene of Skeletor in his private chamber, working in solitude to master the black arts, by levitating cross-legged in front of a glowing crystal. Interrupted by Stinkor, who tells him He-Man is attacking the mountain, Skeletor assumes his earlier trap has enraged He-Man to the point of stupidity, noting just how out-of-character it is for He-Man to attack his own domain. He proceeds to use the new power he has been practising in his chamber on He-Man. It is unclear exactly what this new power is, but Skeletor is able to effortlessly knock He-Man from mid-air with a blast from his staff, before dissolving his entire form with another single blast.
Of course, the only reason He-Man disappears in this manner is because he is a magical projection rather than the real flesh and blood He-Man, and so it seems Skeletor is possibly over-confident in his new powers, with how quick he is to believe he has actually destroyed He-Man in this simple manner. Just before the evil He-Man is destroyed, Evil-Lyn laments that Skeletor was too quick to destroy him, for her mystic mirror has sensed that He-Man is now evil, and thus he could have been Skeletor’s greatest ally. Indeed this does leave the reader to wonder what sort of chaos could have resulted had Skeletor teamed up with the evil He-Man rather than destroyed him, and this theme was actually explored later in Issue #24’s “The Slave of Skeletor” when He-Man was temporarily turned evil and made Skeletor’s slave.
Prince Adam finds his body glowing with a mysterious light as his double disappears, and upon recovering his sword and using it to transform, successfully turns into a normal-minded He-Man, Skeletor’s magic having cancelled the effects of the Cosmium. Skeletor has unwittingly helped the heroes save the day. Although nothing was ever stated for sure, seeing as Faker made his debut just three issues later in Issue #10, I like to think that Skeletor was inspired to create Faker by this encounter with an evil He-Man, realizing what kind of destruction he could cause if He-Man were to become his own slave.
In the final panel, He-Man expresses gratitude that Skeletor is unaware of the truth – that his trap did work, not in the way he intended, but in a way that could potentially have had even more deadly consequences for Eternia had he known of its effects. Man-At-Arms hopes that Skeletor never uses Cosmium again – and to our knowledge, he never did, presumably unaware that the evil He-Man he encountered here was created by the Cosmium. Cosmium would make another appearance in the comics, in Issue #43’s “Cosmic Castaways”, but this is a non-Skeletor story, while the effects of the Cosmium here are less surreal, merely serving to weaken He-Man physically. Although it is perhaps unfortunate that Skeletor was never to employ the use of Cosmium again in the comics, it does serve as an interesting addition to the London Editions mythos, serving as the MOTU universe’s equivalent of Kryptonite from the Superman comics, in its role as a substance which has bizarre effects on He-Man and could potentially destroy him.
Ultimately, what we have here is a story that not only makes fantastic use of the theme of He-Man’s double identity, but one of the strongest and most entertaining and suspenseful stories in the UK Comics yet, serving as the comics’ launchpad into far more bizarre and experimental territory which would be built on beautifully in upcoming issues and would really set the UK Comics apart from other MOTU media.
Story 3: “Crawl Bomb”
Writer: Brian Clarke
Summary: Deep within Two Bad’s workshop, in a cave near Snake Mountain, Two Bad is making the finishing touches to his new invention – the Crawl Bomb, a gigantic bomb mounted on elliptic wheels, armed with lasers and photon cannons and containing enough explosive to wipe out Eternos City. Meanwhile, Teela is training the Royal guards in the Palace grounds, watched by Prince Adam, when they are interrupted by Moss Man, who tells them Eternos is in great danger. Adam transforms into He-Man and Moss Man explains that while visiting friends in the Weird Woods, he witnessed Skeletor and his henchmen marching towards Eternos with the Crawl Bomb, which Skeletor intends to detonate in the heart of the city. After evacuating the city, He-Man, Teela, Moss Man and Sy-Klone set out in the Heroic Vehicles to find Skeletor and stop him before he can cause the intended damage with his new weapon. Respectively, the heroes attempt to use the abilities of the Bashasaurus, Wind Raider, Road Ripper and Battle Ram against the Crawl Bomb, but the bomb proves to be indestructible and their attacks have no effect. Sy-Klone manages to use his powers to reach a blind spot close to the bomb where its lasers are unable to hit him, and is about to sabotage the bomb’s components, before Skeletor decides it is time to detonate the bomb and presses the fire button on the control panel. An explosion occurs – but not within the bomb itself; rather it sounds from some distance away from the Evil Warriors, in the direction of Two Bad’s workshop, while Eternos is completely unharmed. Two Bad realizes that he has forgotten to place the explosives inside the bomb, and has destroyed his own work cave instead of Eternos. Angrily, Skeletor chases Two Bad back to Snake Mountain, dropping the bomb’s control box in the process. He-Man retrieves the control box and uses it to turn off the machine so the city is safe. Later, Two Bad has been punished by Skeletor and forced to rebuild his work cave, and his two heads argue among themselves, each blaming the other for the failure of their scheme.
Review: This story, while focusing around a memorable assault on Eternos City by the villains in the form of a mobile bomb, is particularly notable for placing Two Bad in the spotlight, and being the first of numerous stories within the UK Comics that showcased Two Bad’s role as a technological inventor for Skeletor. Prior to this issue, Two Bad, one of the newer toy releases at the time, was given a brief spotlight role in Issue #2’s “Skeletor’s Champion” in which he proposed a particular scheme to Skeletor. “Crawl Bomb” furthers this portrayal of Two Bad as a very individual and independent operator within Skeletor’s ranks, but most notably establishes his role as Skeletor’s prime inventor. Whereas in the London Editions comics it is typically Hordak who employs science and technology while Skeletor concentrates on magic, when Skeletor does employ such resources it is usually in the form of Two Bad’s inventions.
The story begins with Skeletor impatiently intruding on Two Bad’s work cave to hurry him along on the new invention he has been promising him. Two Bad’s workshop, it is stated, is located a short distance from Snake Mountain, thus giving this particular villain a special significance of his own in that he actually has his own separate base to work from. The story wastes no time showcasing Two Bad’s heads’ habit of arguing with one another, both singularly claiming the credit for their collective achievements while berating the other for their failures. The LE Comics’ deadpan humour and clever pacing ensures that this trait remains entertaining without ever becoming annoying.
The Crawl Bomb is actually quite an amusing-looking weapon in itself due to its extremely basic appearance; a large bomb mounted on elliptical wheels with the words ‘Crawl Bomb’ written on it, giving it a very raw steampunk-like appearance typical of British sci-fi shows of the time. It’s an amusingly basic weapon considering that most evil schemes in the MOTU world involve futuristic technology or otherworldly magic – bombs and terrorism actually feel quite Earth-like in the context of Eternia – yet it is a convincingly effective weapon all the same. The comedy is enhanced by the equally basic and slapdash nature of the bomb’s control panel, with its three buttons with the simple words ‘Start’, ‘Stop’ and ‘Fire’ next to them.
The scene then switches to the Royal Palace, where Prince Adam is unwinding eating from a bowl of fruit while Teela trains the palace guards. Teela’s role in the comics so far has been surprisingly minimal for such a prominent character in the mythos, and she has not been seen since Issue #4, so this story gives her a welcome focal role, showcasing her at work in her role of Captain of the Guards. She is shown to be an authoritative and particularly agile warrior, commanding the guards to attack her and immediately overpowering them with her expert battle techniques. Adam’s accompanying thought bubble furthers the subplot of his admiration for Teela, and his frustration at not being allowed to tell her his secret, which would be built on in subsequent issues.
The training session is interrupted by Moss Man, whose abilities as a spy are being very well-established in these early stages of the comics. He has witnessed Skeletor and his men advancing on Eternos with the Crawl Bomb, and this leads to He-Man ordering the city evacuated while the Heroic Warriors attempt to stop the assault. This allows for a great action sequence showcasing the various action gimmicks of the Heroic Vehicles. Some of these were seen in Issue #6’s “Machine Wars”; now we see some more of the vehicles being put to entertaining story use as the Wind Raider, Road Ripper, Battle Ram and Bashasaurus are all used against the Crawl Bomb, all proving to be completely ineffective against Skeletor’s new weapon, which despite its basic look is completely indestructible. It’s an effective way of bringing into the spotlight some of the smaller action features of the toy vehicles that are typically overlooked, such as the Wind Raider’s grappling chain, and having them serve the story without slipping into pure product placement territory.
Like Moss Man, another of the newer action figures, Sy-Klone, is being put to very good use in the comics at this stage, frequently shown to be one of the more powerful Heroic Warriors. Here he comes the closest of all the heroes to stopping the Crawl Bomb when he uses his spinning powers to avoid its laser blasts, reaching a blind spot where the blasts cannot hit him and attempting to remove the cover to sabotage the machine. This evokes Skeletor to choose to detonate the bomb before it reaches the palace, deciding it is already close enough to cause severe damage, and bringing the story to its comical conclusion when the resulting explosion comes not from the city, but from Two Bad’s workshop some distance away. (As with “Double Split” it appears that Snake Mountain is not actually located all that far from Eternos City, as the explosion does not seem a particularly long distance away.)
With Two Bad having absent-mindedly forgotten to place the explosives in the bomb and destroyed his own base as a consequence, this rounds the story off to an amusing conclusion and showcases Two Bad as a solid comedy villain. He is capable of putting together effective – if aesthetically shambolic – technological weapons, making him a potentially valuable asset to Skeletor, but fouls up due to his heads’ constant bickering and absent-mindedness. Indeed, as the comics progressed, Two Bad would prove to be one of their most memorable comedy characters – whilst Grizzlor’s childlike stupidity provided the comic relief for the Horde, Two Bad’s bickering with himself and bumbling mishaps were the source of light humour within Skeletor’s ranks. But he is not your typical bumbling villain cowering in fear of his master – he clearly has a degree of courage, here answering back to Skeletor and blaming him for the scheme’s outcome for having rushed him in the beginning.
It has become the norm at this point in the UK Comics’ run for each issue to end with a fun and light-hearted story, and “Crawl Bomb” continues this trend, finishing this issue off nicely, with well-executed deadpan humour and a great showcase for the character of Two Bad.
This issue's "Brains, Not Brawn" feature.
© Aidan Cross, 2018.