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If not for this CNN article, I’d have missed entirely that DC Comics last week released a digital one-shot introducing a darker take on the origin of She-Ra, the 1980s toy property (and cartoon star) introduced by Mattel as an alternative to its own popular Masters of the Universe line.
The twin sister of Prince Adam of Eternia (aka He-Man), Adora was kidnapped as an infant and whisked away to the planet Etheria, where she was raised as Despara, a force captain of the Evil Horde. Eventually, she learns her true origins and is given the Sword of Protection, which allows her to transform She-Ra and join the rebellion to free Etheria from the clutches of the Evil Horde.
The new comic, by writer Mike Costa and artist Drew Edward Johnson, focuses on the time before the character’s transformation into She-Ra, when the future heroine wasn’t quite so heroic.
“I think the trick for me was drawing this version of She-Ra as not really evil but detached and cold,” Johnson tells CNN. “She wasn’t born as this deadly Hordak enforcer but was made one, and over the course of the story, we can see how she’s been kept in line and made to do things that are against her nature. I tried to show in a couple of close-up shots that her eyes are not those of a killer, and in those shots, divided her face down the middle with the panel borders to show her split nature.”
Addressing the DC digital comics showcasing the origins of various Masters of the Universe characters, Mattel executive Rob David says, “The line is diverse, but every title shares one thing in common: We’re not playing things safe. ‘Masters of the Universe’ isn’t just part of our cultural past; it’s alive and constantly growing.”
Masters of the Universe #8, detailing the “shocking secrets” of She-Ra, is available for download for 99 cents.