A Look Back at Prototype #9 (1994)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Hey comic book fans and geeks! Do you enjoy reading comic books about armored superheroes that are not connected with Marvel’s Iron Man? The Ultraverse has an armored figure in Prototype but the big difference is that the said character is owned by a large corporation called Ultratech which in turns hired a young man named Jimmy Ruiz to pilot it. Oh yes, Jimmy Ruiz is actually the second person hired to pilot Prototype as his predecessor Bob Campbell was let go with one arm less.

Let’s revisit the Ultraverse by taking a look back at Prototype #9, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story by Len Strazewski and Tom Mason with art done by Roger Robinson and Jeff Whiting.

The cover.

Early story

Set a short time after the hard battle between Prototype and Arena, the story begins in a secret facility somewhere in New York City where three armored figures engage in an intense session of flight, attacks and performance. The session is closely monitored by people watching from the observation deck. As it turns out, the session is actually a test for the three persons – two men and one lady – who applied to become the new Prototype which is the result of what happened at the end of issue #8.  Among the three, Donovan Jones was accepted as the new Prototype which Ultratech’s Stanley Leland confirms.

Over at Brooklyn, Jimmy Ruiz (Prototype) meets a lady from his past after paying respect to someone who was about to get buried. She tells him that since he left their old neighborhood, the local gangs have gotten worse. A short time later, the Prototype pilot meets an old gang he personally knows… 

Quality

Jimmy Ruiz and the gang from his past.

Let me start with the storytelling. This comic book is more about Jimmy Ruiz out on his own without the armor than it is about Ultratech and its high-tech interests. Bob Campbell’s not even in the story. That being said, this is pretty much a character-driven piece focused on Jimmy Ruiz as a person than as a hero and I should say that Tom Mason and Len Strazewski did a good job developing his character a lot. The writing is pretty lively and the writers pulled the right moves to define Jimmy Ruiz as a believable human being. There was that notable moment when after Jimmy returned to his old community and spends time with the old gang he personally knew, he realizes how much he has and how his perception changed. By the time you reach the end of the story, you’ll get to know Jimmy much better.

Conclusion

The money shot!

Prototype #9 is a character-driven comic book that succeeds in defining the personality and development of Jimmy Ruiz who is just one of two main characters in this series (which emphasized the struggles of two different persons involved with piloting Prototype). It lacks spectacle but that does not make this a boring comic book. Apart from Jimmy Ruiz, the corporate focus on Ultratech is short yet very intriguing.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prototype #9 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8.

Overall, Prototype #9 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

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