THE SUNBIRD LEGACY
The most celebrated MOTU Golden Book is The Sunbird Legacy. It is a story of some length and substance with good illustrations by Fred Carrillo and Adrian Gonzales. Writer Roger McKenzie had room to turn this book into a decent adventure story with plenty of jeopardy and action – qualities which the short paperbacks rarely achieved. The book is laid out in a hybrid format which combines comicbook design with the in‑house style of the other Golden Books. Sunbird is also known for its cover by Earl Norem. It's a powerful illustration but has the distinction of having absolutely nothing to do with the themes of the tale.
The story centres on Skeletor's attempt to locate and reconstruct a missile known as the Sunbird. Long ago the weapon was separated into pieces to stop it from being used. Now, I don't know about you, but I think this is a repetitive theme in Masters of the Universe stories, and I can't help but wonder why no‑one ever thought of destroying said ancient threats. Hiding them is just asking for trouble and, frankly, not the brightest thing to do. But let's set that detail aside for now. The Sunbird was built by a skeletal warlord called Dyr – a malevolent being whom Skeletor resurrects in this story.
Unfortunately Dyr doesn't last for very long in the tale. He battles He‑Man for a short time and is vanquished. Dyr, I hope, will be made into a MOTUC figure at some point, although, as you'll see from the illustration on the right, he's actually more Mythic Legions than MOTU. One thing I'm not sure about is how to pronounce his name. Is it Dur? Deer? Dyer? I'm leaning towards Deer. Anyway, Dyr – however his name is pronounced – is an interesting character that probably deserved to feature a lot more substantially in the book. But ultimately this is a Skeletor versus He‑Man story, hence Dyr's sticky end.
There are some great encounters between the Heroic Warriors and various adversaries. Look out for the Panther Men and Mer‑Man's reptilian soldiers. Another point of interest is how the warriors of Avion are illustrated – look at how their wing design is completely different from their leader Stratos's. All in all this is a pretty good story – not of the same quality as the early minicomics and comics, but a fair effort indeed. And finally, another mention of the cover art. Many of you will know that Super7 had a print of Earl Norem's painting for sale for a while. I've included an image of that at the end of this page as a little bonus.