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It’s truly amazing to see how a grand vision imagined by a veteran comic book creator gets realized into published form with the help of a creative team whose members listened very closely to him. Such a thing happened with Warriors of Plasm #1, published in 1993 by Defiant Comics with a story written by former Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Jim Shooter and drawn by David Lapham (with ink work by Michael Witherby).
Before starting this retro comic book review, let’s take a short look back at the history of Jim Shooter whose tenure as Marvel’s editor-in-chief include such epics like Secret Wars and Secret Wars II. After getting fired by Marvel in 1987, Shooter and his team of business associates tried and failed to acquire Marvel. Not settling for failure, they went on to establish Valiant Comics which made its presence felt in the superhero comic book market. After being ousted by Valiant, Shooter and some others established Defiant Comics.
That being said, here is my review of Warriors of Plasm #1.
The story begins in the middle of a huge battle. Inside a living, organic ship (a flying creature precisely), acquisitor Lorca leads his force of invaders gradually defeating a resistance force. On the ground, a huge portion of the home city of the resistance has crumbled and Lorca’s fellow soldiers there have gained control of the war zone.
Lorca’s ship moves close to the ground to pick up high gore lord Sueraceen. As it turns out, Lorca and Sueraceen are lovers (the lady referred to him as her lust-mate) and their reunion is nothing less than sensual and expressive. As they talked, the biomass (referring to the inhabitants of the defeated city) will be incorporated genetically and organically into their world, and live again as part of their ecosystem.
After sending Sueraceen back on the ground to resume her duty of leading the troops, Lorca and his crew flew back to space to enter the Org of Plasm, an organic, fleshy space station complete with resources, inhabitants and an actual city inside.
Given his prominence, Lorca is highly respected, even idolized, by his fellow people. One particular idolater even genetically reshaped his face to look like Lorca. Alone in a private chamber, Lorca is capable of cloning which is illegal. More intriguing, however, is that he has been developing a top-secret project with an intention to overwhelm the rulers of the org.
He begins his project with the holo-orb which is focused on planet Earth. As it turns out, organic beings from Lorca’s world are already present on Earth, spying on ten thousand people. Suddenly, the ten thousand got touched by the organic beings which instantly sent them back to the Org of Plasm.
Warriors of Plasm #1 is not just a high-quality comic book. It is also a great showcase of the talents of Jim Shooter, David Lapham and others molded together to form a true, sci-fi epic that remains very unique to read to this day.
When it comes to storytelling, structuring and character development, the former Marvel Comics editor-in-chief scored great points which is not surprising given his tremendous experience in comic books. With great art by Lapham, this comic book opened with literally strong arms that pulled me into an all-new, sci-fi universe that is like no other. Within the first few pages, I felt deeply immersed into discovering the universe and quickly realized Lorca’s role, what his side was doing and more. The script and arrangement of panels for the art were executed with high efficiency. Really, I never felt lost reading this comic book.
As I kept reading further, I discovered more about the culture of Lorca’s people, how they operate and traveled efficiently with organic materials and living beings that served their needs without the use of technology (no metals, no computers, no fossil fuel and no digital stuff). This comic book shows how deep and engaging Jim Shooter’s imagination really is and illustrator David Lapham lived up to the difficult task of realizing the visual concepts.
And then there is the dialogue which is really deep and engaging to read. Lorca, Sueraceen and the many other supporting characters involving the org and the surviving few from planet Earth each have unique personalities. Clearly Shooter planned each character with a purpose. What is even more intriguing in this comic book is that the line between good and evil was cleverly blurred.
The art by David Lapham, whose past credits include Magnus Robot Fighter, Harbinger and Shadowman for Valiant Comics, really outdid himself. The characters are really well defined visually but what really stood out was his work on the Plasm world and the functioning organic environment. Of the many works of the illustrator, Warriors of Plasm is his most memorable work.
While it is true that Defiant Comics no longer exists and Warriors of Plasm’s full potential as an entertainment franchise was never realized, this particular comic book is, in my honest opinion, still one of the best new comic books ever launched in 1993. Its epic science fiction concept opened very strongly and remained very engaging right until the very last page. I can assure you that by the time you reach the end of Warriors of Plasm #1, you will want to go out and search for the next issue.
If you are thinking about acquiring an existing copy of Warriors of Plasm #1, please take note that as of this writing and based on the latest rates at MileHighComics.com, a near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $4, $26 for the near-mint copy of the edition with five signatures, $7 for the Jim Shooter-signed edition, and $30 for the signed-and-numbered edition.
This comic book is a 1990s classic. As such, Warriors of Plasm #1 is highly recommended!
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