First things first, this series directly follows the aftermath of the six issue mini-series that preceded it and both are written with the idea that the reader already knows who these characters are and are familiar with previous continuities, but I'm not convinced that you absolutely needed to have been a collector of the toys or have watched any of the cartoons to enjoy it. I think a reader should at least read the six issue mini so that you get the full picture of whats going on, it just adds to the story and a new reader would not be caught completely unaware.
Here is what has happened prior to this issue:
Orko has betrayed He-Man and his allies, he's not in the book. (thank goodness). Skeletor somehow made He-Man and the Masters forget who they were, scattered them across Eternia, separated Prince Adam from the Power Sword and placed his minions where they could keep a watch on them. Skeletor also claimed Castle Greyskull, took Teela Na (the Sorceress) prisoner and began torturing her in hopes of unlocking the castle's power. As usual Skeletor's plan backfires as Adam starts to remember his former life. In the end, He-Man saves Eternia, the Sorceress dies and Skeletor escapes justice.
In this first issue of the new ongoing a memorial is being held in honor of the Sorceress. During the ceremony Teela discovers that the Sorceress is her mother and this continuity, Man-At-Arms is Teela's biological father, not adoptive father.
Elsewhere an invasion force belonging to Hordak makes its may from Etheria to Eternia. Led by a female commander, Despara. The invaders make their way to attack the capitol, Adam changes to He-Man, both Teela and Despara show up at his location and fighting ensues. The issue ends with Despara's helm being knocked off and she is revealed to be Adora, Adam's twin sister also known as She-Ra.
Not a bad first issue. This book is not necessarily written for people new to the Masters of the Universe. If you have no knowledge of the cartoons and older comics series, some of what you see here is going to be lost on you. I don't think that they would leave new readers in the dark to who is who though and we may get soome flashback history lessons.
I have not read a lot of Keith Giffen's work, but what I have read has been good and he has done a good job taking over the mini-series from James Robinson and going into this issue. Pop Mahn's art works well for this property although there were some panels that didn't quite make sense to me as to what was supposed to be happening. The coloring is fine, I enjoyed the part where Teela first appears, her hair having been blond in the mini-series is now red, as it establishes the relationship between her and Adam and also opens the book up for some good comedy.
Having been a fan of the toys and the cartoon and also being a big fan of fantasy in general, I'm slightly biased. There have been some really good fantasy comics of late, both licensed and non, I am hoping that this book becomes part of that batch and stays around for a long time.