Greetings from the Odinson,
Thunder. Thunder! ThunderCats! Hooooooooooo!
If you were a child of the 80s chances are you know exactly what that battle cry means. It’s hard to believe that it’s been thirty years since the mighty ThunderCats debuted on syndicated television in January of 1985. The 1980s was a Golden Age of original ideas when it came to popular culture. Just to name a few, this is the decade that saw the birth of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, GI Joe A Real American Hero, Transformers, My Little Pony, MASK, Jem and the Holograms, and head-and-shoulders right there with the rest was the ThunderCats!
The tale of the ThunderCats is classic science fiction adventure at its best.
When their homeworld, Thundera is destroyed, a small band of survivors including a young prince named Lion-O, escapes to the stars on board a small ship. While the few survivors lay in cryo-stasis, brave Jaga, Lion-O’s mentor, piloted the ship. It took many years to find a safe port. By the time their vessel crash-landed on a new world, Jagga had succumbed to old age, but his precious cargo was delivered safely.
The survivors awoke to discover this new world was a virtual paradise called Third Earth. They also discovered that their young prince was now a man! It seems that Lion-O’s stasis chamber was damaged in their flight from doomed Thundera and Lion-O’s body aged slowly over the course of their long space flight. Though he had the body of an adult ThunderCat, he still possessed the maturity of a twelve year old. Part of his hero’s journey was learning how to become a responsible leader of his people.
The ThunderCats quickly carved out a settlement for themselves in this brave new world and constructed a mighty citadel known as the Cat’s Lair. They would soon discover that their sworn enemies, the devious Mutants, led by the reptilian Slithe, followed them to their new home and still sought their destruction. They also discovered that this new paradise, though it was a planet of lush forests and beautiful grasslands, populated by benevolent denizens of every size and shape, this Third Earth, also possessed a dark side.
Among the many dangers that bedeviled this world, the berserker pirates, the revenge-seeking demons, the galactic huntsmen, and the lunatic assassins, one name stood out as the ultimate force for evil on Third Earth – Mumm-Ra the Ever-Living! Mumm-Ra was a frail yet immortal lich that lived in a foreboding pyramid in the darkest corner of Third Earth. He could not abide a new power challenging his own, so he made it his wicked quest to wipe out the ThunderCats once and for all. He recruited the Cat’s mortal enemies, the evil Mutants, to his cause. Already a powerful magi-user, Mumm-Ra could increase his strength and power exponentially by calling upon the Ancient Spirits of Evil and transform himself into a seven-foot tall ogre-mage of immense strength and nigh unlimited magical power.
The ThunderCats were a brave and stalwart breed and they met every challenge thrown their way. As a race of humanoids descendant from cats, they all possessed natural super human agility and super keen senses. However, each ThunderCat also brought unique skills, powers, and abilities of their own to the table.
Lion-O – He is the undisputed Lord of the ThunderCats. He is a courageous fighter and leader with incredible strength, speed, and endurance. Armed with his unique Claw-Shield, a formidable gauntlet with many different capabilities, and the legendary Sword of Omens, a magical blade that can deflect and project powerful magic and give its wielder “Sight beyond Sight,” a precognitive vision, Lion-O is a mighty warrior capable of defeating nearly any foe. However, on that rare occasion when even he is overwhelmed, Lion-O can use the Sword of Omens to summon the other ThunderCats to his side.
Cheetara – She possesses the ability to accelerate to blinding levels of speed. She is also a master with a Bo staff.
Panthro – He possesses immense super human strength matched only by his keen intellect. Panthro is a master of martial arts and the Nunchaku, and he is a master engineer and tech savvy. He is pretty much to the ThunderCats what Beast is to the X-Men.
Tigra – He also possesses a keen scientific mind, but don’t let the smarts fool you, armed with a three-pronged whip and the ability to disappear into the surroundings around him, Tigra is a fierce adversary.
Wily Kit and Kat – This brother and sister team are the masters of chaos and mayhem. Their pouches are full all sorts of gimmicks, tricks, and traps that bewilder, baffle, and trip up their enemies. They have mastered the art of getting into and out of trouble.
Snarf – This lovable little worrywart is the self-appointed conscience of the group. He spends his days and nights trying to make sure Lion-O is heading down the right path to become a just and good monarch.
The ThunderCats was must watch television for a young Odinson. I even enjoyed the other animated show set in the same universe – SilverHawks. Though we didn’t have the amazing comic book dominated movies and TV of now, the 80s had their own super heroes. In recent years, an updated version of the show has hit the airwaves. Plus, in recent years, DC Comics has revitalized properties like Masters of the Universe and IDW has done wonderful things with GI Joe, Transformers, and My Little Pony. I believe it’s time for the mighty ThunderCats to make a triumphant return to the four color medium and beyond.
Here’s to you, ThunderCats! Happy 30th Anniversary! The Odinson was, is, and will always be a big fan.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell