Star (Marvel) Comics
ThunderCats Issue #6

From the collection of Chris (He-Fan)

ThunderCats #6
Publication Date: October 1986

Writer: David Micheline
Pencils: Jim Mooney
Inks: Kim DeMulder
Letters: Janice Chiang
Colors: Nelson Yomtov
Editor: Mike Carlin
Exec. Editor: Tom DeFalco
Ed. in Chief: Jim Shooter

“Mumm-Ra Times Three!”
The ThunderCats, including the bounty hunter Lynxana, gaze on in disbelief at the smouldering ruins of Castle Plun-Darr, destroyed by a gigantic, spiritual apparition of Mumm-Ra in a display of power. Tygra ponders why, if Mumm-Ra has become so powerful draining off the strength of the spirit form of Jaga the Wise, did Mumm-Ra destroy his allies’ fortress instead of destroying the ThunderCats? Lion-O agrees that this doesn’t ring true, and uses the Sword of Omens’ Sight Beyond Sight to reveal that the destruction of Castle Plun-Darr is an illusion! Throwing the Sword into the air, the Sword suspends itself in midair and the Eye of Thundera reveals the true form of Castle Plun-Darr, completely undamaged!

This act does not go unnoticed by the Mutants, as Monkian spots that the ThunderCats are still outside. S-S-Slithe is puzzled why they should still be present after their escape, but resolves to make it the last mistake the felines will make. Assembling the Mutant army once again, S-S-Slithe launches an attack on the ThunderCats, who repel the onslaught with ease. In the midst of the fighting, a shadow falls over Snarf, who looks over his shoulder to see, once again, the gigantic form of Mumm-Ra – this time, however, the devil priest is no longer spectral in his appearance but has assumed solid form! Mumm-Ra reveals that the illusion he created of Castle Plun-Darr’s destruction was merely a delaying tactic, designed to keep the ThunderCats there long enough for him to finish absorbing Jaga’s power. Mumm-Ra reveals that this has tripled his own strength, and vows that soon he shall be sole master of Third Earth. Launching a fearsome energy bolt to prove his point, Mumm-Ra vanishes. Snarf wonders aloud if this is what they should all do, but Tygra insists that Mumm-Ra must be stopped for the good of Third Earth. Reasoning that this cannot be accomplished alone, Tygra proposes an alliance between the ThunderCats and the Mutants. Lion-O asks for S-S-Slithe’s cooperation, and the Mutant leader agrees, pledging his warriors to the ThunderCats’ service, whilst secretly plotting how to turn this situation to his advantage once Mumm-Ra has been cut down to size…

The Mutants return to Castle Plun-Darr to replace their battle-damaged vehicles, and quickly the Mutants and ThunderCats march on the Desert of Sinking Sands and Mumm-Ra’s pyramid. Whilst journeying in the Thundertank, Lion-O tells Lynxana that he’s glad she decided to join them on this mission. Lynxana tells the young lord that, whilst her hatred of the ThunderCats goes back for many years, Mumm-Ra is the most evil being she has encountered in all her travels, and that even anger as deep-seated as hers must be set aside in the pursuit of destroying such a creature.

Upon arrival at Mumm-Ra’s pyramid, Tygra begins to instruct S-S-Slithe as to the plan of battle, but S-S-Slithe reacts indignantly, demanding to know who said that the ThunderCat was to be giving the orders. Tygra retorts that there is no time to argue, and instructs Panthro that the two of them will be responsible for leading the ground assault. Jackalman sneers at S-S-Slithe for taking orders from a ThunderCat, but quiets after S-S-Slithe threatens him with his sword. Tygra insists that this is enough squabbling, and orders the attack on Mumm-Ra’s pyramid to commence. However, no sooner is this order given than the giant form of Mumm-Ra appears and makes short work of the combined Mutant and ThunderCat forces that attack him. Tygra gives Snarf a signal, and Snarf tells Lion-O, Cheetara and Lynxana that Mumm-Ra is distracted. Using the Thundertank’s drill blades, the threesome tunnel into and through the Desert of Sinking Sands, up into Mumm-Ra’s pyramid.

Upon entry into the pyramid, Lion-O makes a discovery, and beckons his two female comrades to join him. They discover three forms of Mumm-Ra, one the devil priest in his mummy form, one old but not yet mummified, and one even younger. The three Mumm-Ra’s are connected somehow by energy beams emanating from a large crimson crystal. Visible only to him, at the centre of the crystal Lion-O is shocked to see the spirit form of Jaga! However, before Lion-O can properly react, a spectral form of Mumm-Ra the Ever Living appears, and tells the ThunderCats that he has used Jaga’s mystic power to bring his incarnations from First and Second Earths through time into this realm, thereby increasing his strength threefold! Mumm-Ra chants an incantation and brings to life four stone statures that surround his three forms, and the statues close in on the ThunderCats. Fighting for their lives, Cheetara manages to smash two of the statues but becomes trapped by falling debris – another large chunk of debris hurtles towards her, threatening to claim her life, but the large rock is destroyed by Lynxana, who uses one of her shatterdarts to save Cheetara.

From within the centre of the crimson crystal, Jaga calls to Lion-O, and tells him that he must destroy the crystal. Lion-O protests, fearful that to destroy the crystal would be to destroy Jaga as well, but the elder ThunderCat tells him that it is a chance that must be taken, for one life means nothing when compared to the untold horror that would take place should Mumm-Ra retain his power and gain control of Third Earth. Lion-O agrees that his mentor is correct as always, and says that he hopes Jaga knows that the action he is about to take is the hardest thing he’s ever had to do. Brandishing the Sword of Omens, Lion-O launches a beam of light from its blade, destroying the crimson crystal. Outside, Mumm-Ra’s giant form fades away to nothing, whilst inside the pyramid, Mumm-Ra’s First and Second Earth selves disappear as well, leaving the mummified form of Third Earth’s Mumm-Ra. Lion-O, Cheetara and Lynxana flee the pyramid, and Mumm-Ra lets them go, for he is drained and weak, and therefore unable to take full revenge for his defeat – for now…

Outside the pyramid once again, Tygra tells S-S-Slithe that working together was successful. S-S-Slithe thinks to himself that, as the ThunderCats are weary from battle, this would be the perfect time to strike against them. However, before the Reptillian can implement his plan, the spirit form of Mumm-Ra (in his mummified form) appears above his pyramid, and warns S-S-Slithe to forget dreams of future glory, but instead learn from his past mistakes, stating that once he is fully rested, he plans to take full revenge on the Mutants for allying themselves with his enemies. S-S-Slithe fearfully insists that his intention all along was to infiltrate the ThunderCats’ ranks so that he could attack them from within, for the good of all. Suspicious, Mumm-Ra tells S-S-Slithe that they will see. The Mutant leader decides that this would be an inopportune time to attack the ThunderCats after all, and orders his army to retreat to Castle Plun-Darr at once, quietly planning to fortify the castle’s defences.

The ThunderCats all return to Cats Lair, and tell Lynxana how much they appreciated her help, in particular saving Cheetara’s life in Mumm-Ra’s pyramid. The ThunderCats tell Lynxana that they have talked it over, and ask the bounty hunter if she will join their ranks and become a ThunderCat once again. Lynxana is clearly touched, both by the offer and by the ThunderCats’ friendship, but states that, whilst her anger has abated somewhat through their friendship, she still has a lot of emotions and past feelings to sort out, and so declines for now. However, Lynxana promises to stay in touch, and thus leaves the door open to join the ThunderCats’ ranks in the future.

The ThunderCats go to celebrate their victory, but Lion-O hangs back, feeling unable to face the others at the loss of their closest advisor, Jaga. However, Lion-O’s brooding is interrupted by the appearance of the wise elder ThunderCat, who tells the young lord that worry can be a destructive pursuit, but not when focussed on the fate of one’s friends. Lion-O is surprised and relieved to see that Jaga is unharmed, and Jaga tells him that he is fully recovered from his ordeal. Jaga states that apparently it is harder to eradicate someone who is already a ghost, and that more importantly he is now aware of the spell Mumm-Ra used to ensnare him and thus can insure that it never happens again. Lion-O is relieved, but tells Jaga that he would gladly go through it all again. Jaga tells Lion-O that this is why he is truly Lord of the ThunderCats!

* Perhaps the most interesting thing about this issue is that it shows us Mumm-Ra as he was on both First Earth (which, according to Marvel, is “our” Earth) and Second Earth, and shows that he apparently didn’t become a mummy until Second Earth became Third Earth! Whilst it’s not cartoon canon, it’s still a fascinating look at Mumm-Ra’s origin, something that would remain shrouded in mystery until Wildstorm told their own version of it more than 15 years later.

* In the letters page of this issue, Marvel state that the reason the name “Thundera” is often spelt “ThunDERa” is to indicate that the accent is placed on the second syllable of the word, instead of on the first syllable as per the word “Thunder”. Oh, and a correspondent writes in to say that Lynxana reminds her of Alexis Colby (Joan Collins’ character in the soap opera Dynasty)!!

After a truly amazing story arc that was first hinted at in #2, and began in earnest with Jaga’s disappearance at the end of #3, this concluding chapter for me feels like a bit of an anti-climax. Whilst it has many great moments, in particular getting a look at Mumm-Ra as he was on First and Second Earth, and also the ThunderCats’ invitation to Lynxana to rejoin their ranks, some of the storyline to me feels a bit rushed and forced.

Probably the story element where I feel this most is the Mutants’ team-up with the ThunderCats to try and defeat the giant Mumm-Ra. Whilst S-S-Slithe’s scheming is very in-character, how readily he agrees to team up with the ThunderCats given that, at least officially, the Mutants and Mumm-Ra are allies feels rather rushed. I suppose one could reason that S-S-Slithe’s motive behind this is that it would be impossible for the Mutants to overthrow Mumm-Ra and seize control of Third Earth for themselves without the ThunderCats’ aid in defeating him (S-S-Slithe’s plot to attack the battle-weary ThunderCats upon Mumm-Ra’s defeat also lends credence to this theory), but it isn’t explained very clearly in my opinion.

I also feel that, after several issues of ever-evolving story, this great tale deserved at least one more unexpected plot twist, rather than to see what we expected to happen (the ThunderCats forcibly enter Mumm-Ra’s pyramid and free Jaga) take place so quickly. However, with all of these criticisms it’s worth saying that they’re only valid when taking into account the gloriously high quality of the preceding three issues – those aside, this is actually a really fun, enjoyable issue involving plenty of action and great artwork.

So, to put my feelings in a nutshell, this is a slightly disappointing end to a truly brilliant story arc, but still a good, fun issue in its own right.