A Look Back at Ravage 2099 #1

It’s funny how time moves. The year we live in now is twenty-nineteen (2019). That means eighty years from now, the year will be twenty ninety-nine (2099). As a long time geek, the year 2099 reminds me a lot about the short-lived lineup of superhero comics published by Marvel Comics popularly referred to as Marvel 2099 which had a far future, sci-fi setting.

Back in 1992, the comic book industry was riding high on the spending of collectors who seek profit through the trading of comic books. During those days, Marvel released several comic books with special covers (foil, hologram, etc.) which looked so pretty, a lot of people bought those (normally double the prices of regular comic books) believing it would make a collector’s item (instead of reading and enjoying the comic book).

Marvel added more to the comic book speculation frenzy by launching their 2099 series starting with Spider-Man 2099 #1. Shortly after that, they launched the Ravage 2099 monthly series highlighting a protagonist that was original and co-created by the legendary Stan Lee with artist Paul Ryan. There was also hype accompanying Ravage 2099 #1 as it marked Stan Lee’s return as a regular writer. Here is my review of the comic book Ravage 2099 #1.

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Ravage 2099 #1 and a few other comic books beside my mug of coffee.

The story opens with a man chased by local authorities. Labeled a polluter, the armed personnel killed him instead of taking him in alive. This bothers Paul-Phillip Ravage who is the head of ECO Central (under mega corporation Alchemax). His assistant Tiana warned him that there is greater danger and Alchemax can bring down anyone. Of course, Ravage dismisses her concern as he believed in the system he is part of.

Ravage said to her, “If we can’t trust the system, if we can’t trust Alchemax, then we revert back to anarchy!”

Shortly after, Ravage encounters three young guys who approached him with weapons. After scaring away two of them, the last guy – a teenage boy – said words that made Ravage think. It turns out the young guy is the son of the man who got killed in the beginning.

Even though no compelling evidence was presented to him, Ravage had the teenager come with him to go high at Alchemax. There they meet with Anderthorp Henton, the director general of the corporation. After listening to their concerns, Henton reacts to investigate.

“That’s the most shocking thing I’ve heard! If there’s the slightest shred of truth to your accusation, I’ll move heaven and earth to punish the one’s responsible. You have my word on that, commander and you too, young man!”

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Ravage, the teenager and Henton.

After separating from the teenager, Ravage decides to go back to his office. Tiana warned him that Henton has targeted him for elimination. Suddenly a mutroid (creature brought in from a forbidden place) appears in front of them starting Alchemax’s move to frame and kill Ravage.

Ravage 2099 #1 was released on October 1992 (cover dated December 1992) for $1.75 with a gold-colored foil cover and it sold well for Marvel that month arguably due to the collector craze as well as die hard fans of Stan Lee. In terms of art, Paul Ryan did a good job visualizing the sci-fi, distant future of 2099 laced with futuristic technology (example: vehicles hovering above ground). He clearly made Ravage look mature while Tiana looked too erotic to be in the office. Ryan’s art on Henton, meanwhile, lacked subtlety and right from the start, he obviously looked evil. When it comes to action, Ryan did a decent job.

As for the writing, I can honestly say that Stan Lee’s style lacked precision and engagement. Clearly his style of writing ended up being outdated by the time this comic book got published. Had Ravage 2099 #1 been released in, let’s say in 1975, then the comic book would have felt more engaging and even futuristic. The dialogue is somewhat lousy as well.

I also noticed how Ravage and the villain Henton looked idiotic with their respective acts. While the culture of impunity in 2099 is undeniable, it still does not justify Henton’s knee-jerk decision to order the elimination of Ravage who in turn failed to notice anything suspicious as head of his department. Tiana ends up being the informer for him.

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Ravage starts fighting back at his company’s security personnel.

Another sign of Ravage being not too smart (or at least the lack of precision and intelligence on the script written by Stan Lee) is how unrealistically easy it was for the teenager to convince him that his father was killed WITHOUT PRESENTING ANY COMPELLING EVIDENCE of the incident at all! The teenager only had words…no video, no photos, nothing as evidence!

For a mature man, Ravage was pretty foolish. He never asked the teenager to present any evidence to prove his claims. Instead, he went ahead going to Henton at Alchemax even bringing the young guy with him.

More on Ravage, it was clear that he was doomed as a comic book character even though Stan Lee was involved in creating him. Considering the fact that there were many Hollywood action movies released throughout the 1980s often having a macho guy armed with guns (or capable of doing hard action) as the hero, Ravage ended up looking generic.

 

It is no surprise that even though Marvel Comics revived somewhat the 2099 universe with new comic books over the past few years, Ravage was not revived. There was simply nothing special with the character nor was his part of the 2099 universe deemed important.

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Ultimately, Ravage 2099 #1 is a comic book worth getting way below its cover price. In my view, it is worth fifty cents at best. Ravage is truly a failed hero of Stan Lee’s.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

 

A Look Back at X-Men (2000)

The first time I saw the first live-action movie of the X-Men was on August 30, 2000, here in the Philippines. Back then my interest in comic books had waned but I was still an X-Men fan by heart. I enjoyed reading the comic books written by Chris Claremont, the early 1990s comic books drawn by Jim Lee and Whilce Portacio, and the X-Men animated series.

Prior to its Philippine opening, X-Men was released in the cinemas in the United States on July 14, 2000, and in the weeks leading to August 30, there were several pirated copies of the movie in video CD format made available here in the Philippines. I resisted the temptation of watching a pirated copy in favor of the cinema experience.

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Arguably the one superhero movie that sparked the 21st century wave of superhero movies which we moviegoers enjoy now.

Back on August 30, 2000, it was a rather intriguing experience for me to see the X-Men and the villains portrayed by actors on the big screen (and there were no IMAX cinemas back then). While I felt Hugh Jackman (then a newcomer) lacked impact on portraying Wolverine, Patrick Stewart captured the essence and look of Professor X/Charles Xavier. Halle Berry’s half-baked foreign accent ruined the cinematic Storm while James Marsden and Famke Jansen really had no chemistry as Cyclops and Jean Grey. Ian McKellen was passable as Magneto while I found Rebecca Romjin’s Mystique a distorted version of the character. On the side, the supporting role of Bruce Davison as Senator Kelly was very solid and it was too bad he did not have enough screen time.

More on the storytelling, I noticed back then that X-Men really felt more like a build-up laced with some spectacle rather than a complete standalone story. Of course, the filmmakers really had to do lots of build-up and they could not just expect moviegoers to be fully aware of the X-Men comics and mythos. At least the movie did a decent job of assembling the characters, emphasizing the theme of public fear of mutants as well as the struggle of mutants, and establishing the elements of good and evil.

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Magneto and Charles Xavier.

There is also symbolism with how the filmmakers translated Charles Xavier and Magneto from the comic books to film. Xavier strives for helping mutants use their powers for good purposes while trying to help them survive in human society that fears them….plus help humans understand mutants in order to accept them. Magneto, who as a boy lived through the Holocaust and witnessed how brutal humans are to his people, strives for the rise of the mutant race even if it means harming innocent humans.

Wolverine and Rogue, in their own ways, are the lost people who have yet to realize their true purpose. They symbolize the mutants struggling in society and in the case of Rogue, played by a very young Anna Paquin, she is the lost youth whose future is clouded with uncertainty since her mutant ability makes her a danger to others by simply touching them. Wolverine/Logan, for the newcomers reading this, has been lost for decades and what makes his plight painful is that he could not remember his past nor is he aware he is over a hundred years old living with claws and a healing factor that delays his aging.

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A young Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. He came into the film as a replacement for Dougray Scott, the guy originally hired to play the superhero icon. Fortunately for Jackman, he became a superstar and a movie icon.

When it comes to spectacle, X-Men is satisfactory. There is enough action to balance with the storytelling and character development but for the most part they lack impact even back in 2000. The standout action sequence is the fight between Wolverine and Mystique which is a mix of martial arts and stunts (aided by wires). The next best sequence is Wolverine’s fight with Sabretooth at the Statue of Liberty. The fight between Toad and the other X-Men meanwhile would have looked better had there been none of those silly moments pulled of by Ray Park (Toad). Special effects that emphasize Cyclop’s optic blast and the Liberty Island energy generation looked tame.

Flaws in the movie? Apart from the uneven quality of cinematic performances and use of cheesy dialogue, not to mention the half-baked use of a foreign accent for Storm, the presentation of Xavier’s estate as a school filled with multiple students remains alienating (note: the “school for gifted children” in the comics had only the X-Men members living and learning in comfortable privacy). Next, Magneto showed carelessness over the handling of his machine designed to mutate humans and his plan to use Rogue as a source and handler for the Liberty Island incident was illogical.

As there were so many characters in the story, the key element of Cyclops as a mature and calculating leader in the comics was absent in the film. James Marsden ended up playing a Cyclops who really did not have much to do other looking cool with his visor.

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Mystique in action.

And then there was the scene in which Magneto kidnapped rogue only to face several police officers outside. During that scene, Charles Xavier mentally controlled, temporarily, Toad and Sabretooth to push Magneto into submission (with Sabretooth’s large hand holding his neck). Magneto answered back by threatening to kill the police officers with their guns and bullets (controlled by Magneto) forcing Xavier to just give up. Knowing that Magneto’s helmet protects him from mental control by Xavier, I said to myself – why Xavier have Sabretooth or Toad remove the helmet so that he can control Magneto? That scene took me out of the film.

Overall, by today’s standards, X-Men of 2000 is a satisfactory superhero flick. Directed by Bryan Singer, it was fairly good in 2000 but did not age well. Really, the film was more of a build-up and set-up for expanding the X-Men Cinematic Universe. Fortunately for Singer and 20th Century Fox, this movie was successful and justified the plan to release sequels (best sequel: X-Men: Days of Future Past) and spin-offs (the best is Logan) which not made billions of dollars more in ticket sales for the studio but also helped make the superhero movie genre wildly popular today.

If you plan to watch this movie, don’t set your expectations too high. Try to enjoy X-Men for what it is and see if you can tolerate the flaws. Definitely this one is no classic.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more X-Men insight, check out my latest article about X-Men: Dark Phoenix and my review of Logan.

 

 

 

3 Reasons To Anticipate X-Men: Dark Phoenix In Cinemas

Previously I expressed concern as to why X-Men: Dark Phoenix (opening in the Philippines on June 5 and in the United States on June 7) could end up as a disappointment just as the Walt Disney Company finally took over 20th Century Fox (which led people into believing that integration of the X-Men Cinematic Universe into the Marvel Cinematic Universe could be done instantly).

For one thing, the new movie is the first film of Simon Kinberg as director and to date his credentials include screenwriting, producing and working as a 2nd unit director in the very poor 2015 Fantastic Four movie. Also this movie is the 2nd cinematic adaptation of the classic comic book storyline and the first one from 2006 was bad and there were a few visual elements that the two films shared.

Still there are good reasons to watch this movie whether you are an X-Men fan or not. By now, Avengers: Endgame has satisfied moviegoers which easily makes X-Men: Dark Phoenix the superhero film to anticipate.

Why should you care about this? Here are my reasons (and, yes, I will watch it).

1). This new adaptation is looking more faithful to the Dark Phoenix Saga storyline than how X-Men: The Last Stand ever did – While it is unwise to expect a 100% faithful adaptation of the literary classic, X-Men: Dark Phoenix’s trailer showed the mutants fly into space for a mission, Jean Grey did something desperate and then something happened that changes her. This scene is very similar to what was shown in the comic books decades ago and considering the fact that the cinematic Jean Grey (played by Sophie Turner) unleashed her phoenix power in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, things are making sense. I also liked the shots in the trailers showing Cyclops getting very concerned with Jean Grey which parallels the comic book story.

If there are enough storytelling elements that link this new movie with the literary classic and they get executed nicely, it could make a satisfying experience to moviegoers who are familiar with the classic storyline as well as those who are unfamiliar.

2) Simon Kinberg just might have pulled-off a Dances With Wolves. What do I mean? I mean to say that Kinberg may have prepared himself a lot and somehow managed to not just direct the film efficiently (reminder: this is his directorial debut) but probably outdid himself on executing the scenes strongly, getting strong performances from his actors, carefully crafting the spectacle while maintaining focus on storytelling. As seen in Hollywood history, directorial debuts are often weak efforts of career movie directors so naturally the odds are against Kinberg. Still, Kinberg may have made a very solid directorial debut in comparison to Kevin Costner’s own first directorial effort with Dances With Wolves which grossed over $400 million worldwide and won several Academy Awards including Best Picture and, yes, Best Director! Of course, I’m not a filmmaker myself nor do I have access in Hollywood productions but I did my film research a lot and my Hollywood mentor Rusty Lemorande enlightened me on the history of directorial debuts. Very soon we will find out the true results of Kinberg’s directorial debut.

Surely enough, the executives of 20th Century Fox had their own reasons to hire Kinberg as director despite his lack of movie directing experience.

3) This could be the end of the X-Men Cinematic Universe as we know it. Believe it or not, this film franchise that 20th Century Fox launched is almost twenty years old! Never mind the fact that 20th Century Fox was acquired at last by the Walt Disney Company. I have this strong feeling that the filmmakers did their best to make X-Men: Dark Phoenix a solid film on its own and, possibly, worthy of being the final film of the current cinematic universe. If you love the X-Men cast of Sophie Turner, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy, then you should watch them perform in this new movie because there is no guarantee that you will see them reprise their roles in future movies under the umbrella of the Walt Disney Company through Marvel Studios.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix is a few weeks away from opening in cinemas worldwide. Watch out for it as well as my review.

For your viewing enjoyment, here’s the movie poster.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019 National & Local Elections: Fresnedi, Simundac and Biazon Win Big in Muntinlupa

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The Commission on Elections proclaimed re-electionist Muntinlupa City Mayor Jaime Fresnedi (4th from left), along with his running mates Temy Simundac (5th from left) for Vice-Mayor and Ruffy Biazon (right) for Congressman, as winners in the local midterm elections. On Tuesday morning, 16 out 19 candidates from Team Fresnedi were declared winners in the local executive and Sangguniang Panlungsod positions. Fresnedi is serving his third consecutive and last term as Muntinlupa City mayor. The local exec garnered 164,144 votes over his rival mayoralty bet and former Bureau of Immigration Deputy Commissioner Red Mariñas trailing behind with 52,127 votes. (from Muntinlupa PIO press release)

This past Monday (May 13), over two hundred thousand people around Muntinlupa City  trooped to different venues to cast their votes to select which officials will serve them for the period of mid-2019 to mid-2022.

The result? Landslide victories particularly in the races for Mayor, Vice Mayor and the long Congressional seat of the City.

Muntinlupa City Mayor Jaime Fresnedi won a third consecutive term with landslide victory, along with allies who proved to be strong in the local polls. The mayor defeated his rival former Bureau of Immigration Deputy Commissioner Red Mariñas by a score of 164,144 votes to 52,127. Do that math, that’s a wide margin of 112,017 votes.

In the race for Vice Mayor, Fresnedi’s running mate Temy Simundac defeated the incumbent Vice Mayor Celso Dioko by a score of 116,825 to 85,889. That’s a difference of almost 31,000 votes! What makes the victory notable was that in the 2016 local election, Vice Mayor Dioko was Fresnedi’s running mate while Simundac was one of the latter’s opponents for the office of Mayor.

For the lone Congressional seat of the City, Congressman Ruffy Biazon got elected easily with 169,756. Far behind him were Paeng Arciaga and Rodolfo Llorca with 36,317 and 2,326 respectively.

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) proclaimed Fresnedi (Liberal Party), and his running mates Temy Simundac for Vice-Mayor and Congressman Ruffy Biazon (both under the PDP-Laban), as winners in on the morning of May 14.

COMELEC Muntinlupa Atty. Kimberley Joy T. Alzate – Cu said the board of canvassers canvassed 373 clustered precincts with over 225,226 voters in Muntinlupa City.

Team Fresnedi City Council bets also took the lead in two districts. In District 1, winning councilors under Fresnedi’s team include Atty. Raul Corro, Alexson Diaz, Paty Katy Boncayao, Louie Arciaga, Allan Camilon, and Valentino Niefes. While completing the list were opposition party bets Phanie Teves and Ivee Arciaga.

In District 2, winners under the local exec’s team include Nep Santiago, Marissa Rongavilla, Ryan Bagatsing, Lester Baes, Jun Metong Sevilla, Arlene Hilapo, and Eliot Martinez. Dhes Arevalo was the only member of the opposition party to be proclaimed as winner in District 2.

The Mayor extended his gratitude to the people of Muntinlupa for trusting his administration and vowed to continue to advocate good governance in the city.

Analysis: Was Mayor Fresnedi’s re-election and his team’s dominance surprising? Not at all since the City was honored with several awards reflecting achievements made with public service. Under his administration, Muntinlupa was declared the Most Business-Friendly City in 2017 and 2018; the Most Child-Friendly City in the National Capital Region in 2016 and 2017; the Outstanding LGU in Nutrition Program Management for 2018

Through the years, the city has garnered several awards and citations from various governing bodies, including the Most Business-Friendly City Award for 2001, 2002, 2017, and 2018; Most Child-Friendly City in NCR for 2016 and 2017; Green Banner Award and Outstanding LGU in Nutrition Program Management for 2018; MERALCO Luminaries Award for 2018; and the Government Efficiency and Resilience Award (3rd Place) in the Regional Competitiveness Summit and Awards for 2017 and 2018 to name some.

Being awarded by credible organizations is a testament of the quality of the public service rendered by the City Government. It really helps not only the city officials but also helps build up the local economy (making it more attractive to investors) and honoring the people of Muntinlupa in return.

Here in the Philippines, national and local elections are held every three years. The democratic exercise has long been a part of Philippine culture. If the incumbents do well with governance, local naturally will prefer to retain them so that the good governance will continue. In situations like these, it is truly difficult for any challenger to overcome the incumbents. Any new challenger can come into arena promising reform but that alone is not good enough to convince people to vote for them. It’s a fact.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Clark Global City Duathlon 2019 in the Sports News (May 15, 2019)

Hi, sports fans! Those of you who are following the latest in Philippine multisports (triathlon, duathlon and aquathlon) are encouraged to check out the latest sports coverage of the successful Clark Global City Duathlon 2019 co-presented by Smart which was held this past Sunday at Clark Global City, Clark, Pampanga.

Below are the newspapers that published today the post-event news. Some of them with online versions that can be viewed. Just click.

Manila Bulletin

Manila Standard

People’s Tonight

Manila Times

Business Mirror

Malaya Business Insight

For pictures of the event, check out my previous post.

Race results? You can find them right here.

Also I encourage you to visit and follow Bike King on Facebook.

 

 

 

My Observations: Sigekiya Ramen’s Chicken Teriyakidon Set

A few months ago, I had lunch at Sigekiya Ramen inside Commercenter, Filinvest City, Alabang. Many times have I been consuming Tsukemen or ramen at that restaurant which has been operating since April 2016. The notable thing about Sigekiya Ramen is that they maintain a high level of quality on their food (which explains why they use many imported ingredients) which, in my opinion, justify the prices.

After some thinking during my visit, I decided to try, for the first time ever, one of their rice meals and I ordered their Chicken Teriyakidon Set.

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The Chicken Teriyakidon Set.

It did not take too long for them to serve me the meal which came with a bowl of rice topped with chicken laced with teriyaki sauce and some sesame seeds, a cup of miso soup and a small serving of salad.

Slowly I took a sip first of the miso soup which tasted good. Then I examined the chicken on the rice bowl which turned out to be boneless. In terms of serving, the amount of chicken was generous.

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A close look.

 

Using chopsticks, I went for a portion of both chicken and rice. The result? A delightful taste! I can say that the chicken and rice were both well cooked and the teriyaki sauce prepared was pretty flavorful. Slowly, I kept consuming more of the rice and chicken, alternating with the soup and the salad.

To put things in perspective, teriyaki refers to a Japanese dish consisting of fish or meat marinated in soy sauce and grilled.

Overall, Sigekiya Ramen’s Chicken Teriyakidon Set was a nice hit and I can say that I got my money’s worth.


Thank you for reading. If you find this lifestyle article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Clark Global City Duathlon 2019 Pics and Insight

As millions of people around the Philippines were focused on the 2019 National & Local Elections, the sprawling Clark Global City (CGC) in Clark, Pampanga was filled with excitement and fun yesterday morning with the successful Clark Global City Duathlon 2019 co-presented by Smart and organized by Bike King.

For the newcomers here, duathlon is a multi-sport activity composed of running and biking. The event in Clark yesterday had two distances: 6km run—60km bike—4km run and 3Km run-30Km bike-4Km run.

As with past multisport events organized by Bike King, the event handled efficiently, the field of participants was large (in the hundreds), the awarding ceremony was a nice attraction (with two emcees who are very talented) and the participants had fun.

What is also notable about Clark Global City is that it is located just a short drive away from the South Clark exit/entry of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx). If you came from Metro Manila via the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and arrive at South Clark exit, there is no way you can miss the CGC.

For your viewing enjoyment, posted below are random pictures I took from the event. Just click to enlarge.

I encourage you to visit and follow Bike King on Facebook.