The first two installments of The Eternity War have been very impressive. Writer Dan Abnett did some great work in the now-cancelled ongoing and then he ported all of that to the new series, where he has finally pitched He-Man against Hordak in a mass epic war that is something straight out of a fantasy novel. And it is glorious. Utterly glorious. It also helps that artists Pop Mhan and Mark Roberts have given him ample support and have put out some really great visuals that perfectly capture the feel of the setting and the franchise at large.
The newest issue from this past week takes a break from all the He-Man stuff and instead focuses on a character I’ve dearly missed in the new series, She-Ra aka Princess Adora aka Despara aka He-Man’s sister. She has been conspicuous by her absence so far, but in this issue Dan Abnett deftly segues her arc into a mission for the new Sorceress, Teela, and shows what happens when She-Ra goes after her former Horde comrades. And along the way, we get more awesome visuals by Pop and Mark, who have a great handle on how to depict all the glory of She-Ra.
Third time running, I want to point out that Stjepan Sejic’s cover here is one of my all-time favourites now. Not only does it depict one of my all-time favourite female heroes, but it also shows one of the cooler Horde villains in a head-to-head battle against the hero. She-Ra versus Catra is a fight for the ages and Stjepan seems to have all the angles covered here.
Storywise, we see here that Teela has dispatched She-Ra and a significant Eternian fleet of Wind-Raiders led by Stratos to find the Eye of Chrono, an artifact that can help turn the tide of the war in favour of the heroes. Conversely, it could also help the villains, but then that’s part of She-Ra’s mission. She has to get to the artifact before the Horde does. And what she ends up finding is something very impressive.
What I liked about this issue, really liked other than the She-Ra vs Catra and Scorpia fight, was that Dan Abnett devoted some panels to the problems in She-Ra’s relationship with the Sorceress. Teela seems to have taken up many of her dead mother’s eccentricities and practices, one of which is that she never gives She-Ra or He-Man more information than they absolutely must know. She holds something back, never gives them the full picture. In a time when the entire world is at the mercy of an extra-dimensional invasion force, trust is a rare commodity and if the heroes cannot trust each other than the villains have already won.
And then, like I said above, there is the fight itself. I remember back in the old She-Ra: Secret of the Sword movie when He-Man went up against Catra and Scorpia. It was a really fun fight between He-Man and his allies versus Hordak’s various lieutenants and Captain Adora. There’s sort of the same magic here, with an almost referential tone. I loved the fight between She-Ra and Catra and Scorpia. It is a ladies’ fight, and it is glorious. This is the kind of stuff that makes reading comics such a great pleasure, and Dan Abnett has it all down.
The fast-paced issue ends on a great cliffhanger, something I’ve been looking forward to since Hordak finally tasted of He-Man’s blood, and whatever is going to happen next, it is not going to be pretty.
Pop is the artist here with Mark on the colours and Deron Bennett on the letters. Given that much of this issue has action and little in the way of the quieter, contemplative scenes, you would expect to see some frenetic energy to the art, and that holds true in all ways. It is clear that Pop and Mark have a ton of fun for these characters. It certainly feels that way to me. The characterwork is excellent and the action choreography is also good, as far as the medium goes.