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Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! We revisit the Ultraverse yet again, only this time it will be through another issue from the Prime monthly series.
In Prime #15, an issue illustrated by the great George Perez, the overly muscular hero entered a certain Hollywood house which was believed to be the headquarters of a drug trafficking operation. What Prime found inside were not only junkies but also zombies and terrifying illusions that tested him mentally and emotionally.
So what happened next? We can find out in this look back at Prime #16, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Len Strazewski and Gerard Jones, and illustrated by Joel Thomas.
The story begins with Prime struggling with questions from the media. Journalists ask him about his involvement with teenage boys, the truth about his youth crusade, and if he was recruiting boys for gangs. Prime, who is really teenager Kevin Greene inside, bluntly states he cares about teenagers and will do justice for them.
Questions about a certain backpack he (as Kevin) dropped and the young boy’s clothing that he carried bothered him deeply, making him remember he dropped a backpack filled with clothes at the office of Baker. Realizing he screwed up, he gets violent with the reporters who ask him hard questions.
Suddenly police helicopters arrive telling Prime he is under arrest….
Set shortly after the events of UltraForce #2, the story here is pretty powerful on its own as the stakes were raised by Strazewski and Jones to develop Prime even further than before. Many times, we have seen how being Prime made life more complicated and harder for Kevin Green. In this comic book, the complications have gotten even bigger and deeper as the media has turned hostile towards Prime affecting not only Kevin but also his romantic interest Kelly and her mother. As if that was not enough, there are many fanatics of Prime called “Prime Gangs” who are so obsessed with their muscular idol, they serious believe they can do anything to honor him…even though it means harassing other people. Also notable here was the way Kevin (as Prime) tries to save his fragile friendship with Kelly. There is also the appearance of Turbo Charge here. Clearly, the writing here is really great.
I cannot say the same for the art done by Joel Thomas. His art style is too cartoony and he drew people’s bodies and faces lacking precision. Many times I had trouble recognizing Kevin, Kelly, her mother and other supporting characters. Visually, this is a letdown.
Back by very strong writing, Prime #16 (1994) is absolutely engaging to read and it truly served as a crucial turning point in telling the continuing story of Prime. In many ways, the dramatic events here serve as the climax of all the dramatic build-up seen in the previous Prime issues. This comic book’s portrayal of the overly hostile and unrelenting media will easily remind any reader about today’s news media in which unprofessional journalism, secret agendas, political bias, conspiracy between media and political groups, malice and political activism among so-called journalists are now the norm.
The dramatic turn of events here are so powerful, Turbo Charge’s presence really got overshadowed a lot. Visually, this comic book has some of the weakest looking Prime art I’ve seen.
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prime #16 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.
Overall, Prime #16 (1994) is recommended.
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