Netflix’s Masters of the Universe: Revelation – Good, Bad or Misunderstood? REVIEW – *SPOILER WARNING!*

In a CG animated still from Masters of the Universe: Revelation, Prince Adam, a young light-skinned male with light-colored eyes and blonde hair, stands encircled in a multi-colored fog, silver sword raised with his right arm. He wears a white long sleeve tunic, a red vest and a brown belt with a golden belt buckle cinching his waist.

“Remember kids, no one likes spoilers. So please, do not read unless you have watched the series. Until next time…”

In a CG animated still from Masters of the Universe: Revelation, He-Man wears a silver chest plate with a red “H” in the center, a golden armored belt and golden wrist plates. He raises his silver sword atop Battle Cat, a green tiger with orange stripes and maroon armor on his hind legs. The two are in the center of a throne room.

It has been nice seeing things from childhood – cartoons, TV shows, commercials, etc – being given new life and introduced to a new audience. When I heard that a new Masters of the Universe series was being made, I was thrilled. Getting to see characters I grew up with in a new light is something l look forward to. While I am a fan, I am also open to interpretation. So, I was not expecting the new “Masters” series be anything like the one from my childhood even though it is toted as being a continuation of that series. With that being said, here’s what I think about Master of the Universe: Revelation.

L to R: Orko, Illena, Teela, Roboto and Evil-Lyn set out on a journey to recover the Sword of Power to save a dying Eternia.

With a title containing the word “Revelation,” it is already set those secrets will be disclosed and there will be exposure to characters’ stories, such as who they are and where do they go from here. Case in point, Prince Adam’s secret that he is the heroic champion He-Man has been known to a select few of his closest friends, mainly Orko, Man-at-Arms, Cringer and the Sorceress of Greyskull. However, Teela, who has been long toted as a love interest for Adam, was unaware of the Prince’s dual-life. When she found out, she was undoubtedly upset, feeling hurt and betrayed by those she closest to her, thus kicking off her story and uncovering Eternia’s secrets as well as her own. I like how this series is one continuous story rather than the episodic stories of past Masters of the Universe media. Plus, it takes the spotlight off He-Man for a minute and places it on the other characters. Because of this, we get a little insight to Orko’s story. It was interesting that he would share this information about his birth and expectations of him with the last person one would expect – Evil-Lyn. Their time together also pulled back the layers on Evil-Lyn who sympathized with Orko as he told his story, showing that there is some good in her. This is evident not only when Evil-Lyn reveals a little bit about herself to Orko, but also when she is seen happily calling Orko’s name when they escaped Scare-Glow’s trap. Watching her place her helmet at Orko’s gravesite after he sacrificed himself to save everyone from Scare-Glow showed that there is more to her character beyond just being “evil.”

Orko (voiced by Griffan Newman) rises up from being a bumbling fool to hero when he defeats Scare-Glow.

Speaking of Orko, how about it for the little guy stepping up to the plate. For years, he has always been the comedy relief. Now, he finally gets his time to shine. When confronting Scare-Glow after escaping from his nightmare trap that transported him to his home world Trolla, Orko holds back the “Lord of Fear” allowing Teela and the others to escape through a portal, using the last of his magic to bind Scare-Glow before defeating him. His other shining moment is when he faced against Evil-Lyn to defend Man-at-Arms. This was a long overdue moment for the character and a fine example that there is more to someone than what is on the surface.

It has been established in both the comics and animated series that Teela is the daughter of the Sorceress of Power.

As I mentioned before, secrets are being revealed in this series and there’s still one big secret left and it’s about Teela. Fans are irate that Teela is taking the lead instead of He-Man and rightfully so. He was touted as the poster boy for Mattel’s toyline, the comics and several animated series. But when you look at it, Mattel’s toyline is called “Masters of the Universe”, not “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.” This means that the company that created this world did not put the main hero at the forefront. Filmation did that when they made the 1980s cartoon, and even the comics still use the original title without “He-Man.” Keeping with the theme, the original comics that precede the animated show did tell the stories of several prime characters including Teela who had her own minicomic series. She was given her own episode in the original series that centered on her discovering the identity of her parents. Here is what likely could be the running theme for the second half. It has been established both in the comics and 80s cartoon series that Teela is the daughter of the Sorceress of Power (also named Teela). We get a glimpse of this lineage during her battle with the nightmare versions of He-Man and herself created by Scare-Glow. Thus, this is perhaps the reason behind “Revelation” focusing attention on Teela.

Prince Adam (voiced by Chris Wood) wields the Sword of Power as he transforms into He-Man.

Lastly, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Fans are obviously reeling from the death of He-Man (just check social media, you can’t miss it). For me as a fan, I expected something like this to happen. Was I shocked?  Yes. Killing of the hero in the very beginning is not a good thing, but a tone needed to be set when giving rise to a new hero. Taking a look back, Transformers: The Movie had done this by killing Optimus Prime, setting the tone for Hot Rod to become the new hero. Clearly, that marred the minds and hearts of kids back then (myself included) so much that it made Hasbro change course with G.I. Joe: The Movie, thus saving Duke from the same fate. There is no denying that Optimus Prime’s death changed the playfield by breaking the one rule of 80s cartoons – the hero does not die. The hero is supposed to live to fight another day, but, thanks to Transformers: The Movie, that is null and void. Now the hero can die, and that brings us to Masters of the Universe: Revelation. I am a fan. I enjoyed the original series as a kid. He-Man and Orko’s deaths did not shock me. It’s surprising that they happened, but it didn’t shock me. I’m a little disappointed, but not upset. Perhaps because of the subtitle “Revelation” which means closure, which means things are coming to an end; therefore, death is inevitable. One the other side of the coin, death does not have to be permanent. As Transformers has proven, the hero can come back, and Optimus has come back no matter what media he is in. So, it is not out of the question that the same can be done for He-Man.

I am a fan of He-Man and have enjoyed the show in my youth. However, I am open to change, to new interpretations so I understand why the liberties in Masters of the Universe: Revelation were taken. I also recall how Dreamworks’ “She-ra” series was shot down by fans because they couldn’t accept the changes that were made. But they came around as the series progressed. Hopefully, the same can be said of Masters of the Universe. Is it a great show? No. Is it a bad show? No. It just needs to be given a chance.

3.5 out of 5.