Ladybird Books, £0.75, ISBN 0-7214-0906-7
Robin Davies really has done it here—the cover illustration of He-Man Meets the Beast is, in my opinion, easily the best in this line so far. The interior artworks are also gorgeous, and the beast in question has just the right amount of cute and scary. The quality of the illustrations alone have me tossing an extra oogie to this baby. The story, well… I mean, folks that have read the previous books in this line will know what to expect. Imbeciles, imbeciles—everywhere!
King Randor, He-Man’s father, is celebrating his birthday when he decides to go on a national trip so that
he can show off to his miserable serfs what an awesome dude he is his people can get to know him better. He will bring along Prince Adam, the Clark Kent to He-Man’s Superman, as well as Teela. Wait, Teela? And not his wife? Just how many married men is Teela currently dallying with, hmm? Isn’t Stratos enough? Then again, maybe the wife is secretly punching the air under the table in her delight, because this is her chance to get it on with Man-at-Arms or something.
Anyway, Randor decides to wave his hands at the lowly peasants of the Plain of Perpetua. As it happens, that place is located above the Labyrinth of Perpetua, in which lurks the titular beast itself, the Behemoth. Skeletor, having witnessed Randor’s birthday proclamation—seriously, can he see everything everywhere on his spy TV?—cackles in delight because that’s the one thing he can do without tripping over and embarrassing himself in the next five seconds. Hey, Evil-Lyn shows up here! She is usually the only minion of his with a halfway functional brain but alas, not here. She has an idea: lure Prince Adam into the Labyrinth, and then the Behemoth will do the rest!
Oh, these imbeciles. Why not lure Randor in instead? They want the throne, right? I just can’t deal with these morons, I tell you.
In an admittedly cool sequence, Skeletor and Evil-Lyn infiltrate the Labyrinth, where the cackling bonehead deciphers the ancient runes to locate and awaken the Behemoth. Gee, thanks, the Council of Elders that put the murderous beast to sleep, for putting up a sign telling people where the Beast is slumbering!
Meanwhile, Prince Adam and Cringer decide to go explore the place, even though night is fast falling. Don’t ask me why. I think by now it is established that there is hardly any intelligent life in Eternia. Anyway, Evil-Lyn uses a silly-looking device to somehow project Teela’s voice from the ruins, claiming that she’s in trouble and she needs help. Naturally, Adam rushes headlong in, only to meet the Behemoth and go oh no, he left his Sword of Omens, oh wait, wrong cartoon, whatever his sword is called back in the palace!
It is at this point that I have to stop reading or I am certain that blood will soon gush from every orifice in my head. I just turn the pages to look at the illustrations. Seriously, Robin Davies really delivers some top-notch work here. The colouring, the shading, the poses… everything is spot on and awesome. Oh, Orko is in here, but I have stopped reading by then so who cares what that vile little thing does or says here.
Great illustrated book, but shame about the carcinogenic story.