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Welcome back, Ultraverse fans and superhero comic book geeks and collectors! Today I will be reviewing another one of the Ultraverse anniversary celebration comic books. Apart from the usual superhero stuff, there is a touch of historical fiction in the UV anniversary comic book I reviewed and I can say that, if ever more people out there will discover it, it can spark more discussions and even debates about a certain figure of world history as well as the relevance of indigenous people.
Now we can proceed with this look back at The Strangers #12, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Rick Hoberg.
The story begins in the middle of the thick jungle of a floating island. Yrial, who has spent significant time with The Strangers representing her tribe, is held captive by her own people inside a crystal. She is being accused of betrayal of her tribe as a consequence of her involvement with her teammates from the civilized world. Yrial denies the charges and insisted that the rise of The Strangers signifies that their solitude is over.
Eventually Grenade, Zip-Zap, Lady Killer, Electrocute, Spectral and Atom Bob arrive to fight in an attempt help their trapped teammate. The action halts as soon as Lady Killer tells Chief Aula that they know the great secret as they have been to the other side (refer to the previous past issues leading to this)…
I will start first with the storytelling. Steve Englehart’s writing is excellent and he clearly did his research about a key part of world history and made an intriguing and compelling fictional story out of it. This is, in fact, one of the most intriguing superhero stories of the 1990s that I have ever read and it is a very lively reminder that storytelling alone can impact readers deeply when it is greatly made.
With regards to the historical fiction aspect of this comic book, I should state that doing a fantasized version of the European explorer Christopher Columbus and connecting him and his crew with the history of the in-comic tribe was a stroke of genius. This was indeed the main selling point of this comic book!
Rick Hoberg, who worked a lot with Englehart and set the definitive look of The Strangers, made great visuals and the images are also much more diverse given the historical fiction aspect of this comic book. Hoberg really brought Englehart’s script to life and his visuals look finely paced with the narrative.
With regards to the emphasis on magic, it should be noted that it is an abomination and in the context of the story, it is a cursed thing and not really a strength of the in-comic tribe. As for the other world (and the demons it is filled with) that the tribe is aware of, it symbolizes the realm of evil. By the end of the story, you will realize that the tribe living on the floating island are indeed a cursed people and not merely isolated using magic. They are also idolaters and practice rituals sourced from evil long ago. For meaning, learn from the holy scriptures below and you will realize that you would NOT want to be like the story’s tribe. You are better off following Lord Jesus and believe in His salvation.
“But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
Revelation 21:8 (NKJV)
Wonderfully blessed are those who wash their robes white so they can access the Tree of Life and enter the city of bliss by its open gates. Those not permitted to enter are outside: the malicious hypocrites, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, murderers, idolaters, and every lover of lies.
Revelation 22:14-15 (TPT)
Among the anniversary issues of the Ultraverse I have reviewed as of this writing, I should state that The Strangers #12 (1994) is the best one yet! Entertainment value aside, the focus on Christopher Columbus and indigenous people should interest people who have varying views about them. Christopher Columbus remains a divisive historical figure as some people admired his achievements on world exploration while others condemned him as an evil, bloodthirsty man who negatively impacted indigenous people he encountered. Whatever your views of Columbus and indigenous people are right now, I recommend you read this comic book. For those who love superhero stuff, you will find a lot to enjoy here.
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #12 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.
Overall, The Strangers #12 (1994) is highly recommended.
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