Literature and Mythology

Introduction to He-Man’s Power Sword from The Masters of the Universe

He-Man wielding the Power Sword, art by Alex Ross

He-Man is the flagship character of the Masters of the Universe franchise, including a toy line, animated TV series, films, and comic books. This character, He-Man, is a hero that possesses strength and a sword called the Power Sword. He-Man, also Prince Adam, together with his friends, defend the Etheria planet and the secrets of Castle Grayskull against the evil Skeletor.

What is the Power Sword?

Power Sword, also Sword of Power and Sword of Grayskull, is the weapon featured in Masters of Universe toy line. In the early story released, the sword was initially known as a mystical object which the villain, Skeletor, tried to obtain. However, using conventional weapons and shields, He-Man was always there to prevent the evilness of Skeletor. On the subsequent stories, He-Man’s weapons evolved. Upon the arrival of ‘He-Man and the Masters of Universe’ animated series, the Power Sword became the means for Prince Adam, the alter-ego of He-Man, to transform into his hero version.

Moreover, since He-Man and his Power Sword first appeared as an action-figure, his full-size Power Swordalso became notable and a favorite Christmas gift for decades. As well as that, these swords allow kids to role-play as He-Man, the barbarian hero. Interestingly, these swords were not just swords. Some of the kid-size Power Swords have been electronic and were able to produce sounds –Making it a good accessory for Halloween. As the character became notably popular, these electronic Power Swords were reported to sell much better than the entire toy line put together.

The Origin of the Power Sword

On the earlier creation of the Masters of Universe toyline, the Power Sword was a late addition. Initially, He-Man’s weapons were ax and shield. Also, in the earlier He-Man’s version, Prince Adam, who wielded a thin sword, was not yet the alter-ego of He-Man. In 1982 introduction of Mattel toy line, they released a He-Man and Skeletor figure that comes with a storyline in its mini-comic.

In the storyline, He-Man and Skeletor each have a half sword, which can open the jaw bridge of the Castle of Grayskull when combined together. Their half-sword came from a sorceress-goddess who split the sword in two and scattered the sword’s pieces to protect the castle, the source of universal power.

This storyline can be seen in the mini-comic of He-Man and the Power Sword, along with the original He-Man’s action figure. In the comic, Skeletor’s goal was to obtain the two pieces of the sword as well as its power. Aside from opening the drawbridge of the Castle of Grayskull, the comic also revealed that the sword could open a portal that will open the dimension from where Skeletor originated. If the portal were to be opened, Skeletor would be able to call reinforcement and conquer the entire planet of Etheria. A real problem for the good side, if ever that happens.

However, the location of these pieces was revealed in the subsequent book called ‘King of Castle Grayskull.’ In the story, the pieces of the Power Sword was hidden in the ‘highest point and beneath the hardest rock.’ Whoever finds the two pieces of the sword shall merit the Castle of Grayskull, and will be able to claim the secret of the universe. Later on, these two pieces were claimed by two different characters –He-Man and Skeletor. It turned out that the ‘highest point’ was in the Strato’s mountain, while the ‘hardest rock’ was where He-Man built his house, in the previous story.

  He-Man’s Animated Series

In 1983, when He-Man and the Masters of Universe were produced, the series’ producers were worried that the kids couldn’t relate to the character. During that time, based on their experience with Shazam’s character, the kids would likely relate to a vulnerable and child-like character that would eventually turn into a superhero.

In the animated series, a sorceress-goddess of Grayskull gave Prince Adam the Power Sword. However, the sword was rarely used for battle. It was mostly used as the means for Prince Adam to transform and sometimes used in cutting or reflecting energy blasts. In addition, He-Man has a twin, while his Power Sword has a companion sword. He-Man’s twin sister, She-Ra, wielded the Power Sword’s companion sword, the Sword of Protection.

In 1986, Masters of the Universe comic adaptation of Marvel Star featured an alternated timeline. In this storyline, the Power Sword was transported thirty years in the future and is wielded by a hero called, Clamp Champ.

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