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Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of Marvel. Today we revisit the original 2099 universe that Marvel Comics launched in the 1990s. We go back to the said universe through the eyes of Ravage 2099, the original 2099 character co-created by the late Stan Lee and artist Paul Ryan.
Before proceeding with my next retro comic book review of Ravage 2099, I want to stress that there was a time when the late Steve Ditko nearly launched Ravage 2099 with Stan Lee. For the newcomers reading this, Steve Ditko and Stan Lee are recognized for co-creating the iconic Spider-Man and to even imagine the two creators almost getting involved with the 2099 universe’s original hero is intriguing.
Marvel tried to get Ditko to work with Lee on Ravage 2099 early on. Then Marvel Comic editor-in-chief Tom DeFalco revealed that, on behalf of Lee, he called Steve Ditko who eventually attended a meeting which reunited them. After having a terrific discussion with Lee, Ditko cordially turned down the project. DeFalco stated that Ditko just did not agree with some of the philosophical underpinnings.
“Steve walked away, and I could tell he was really thrilled to have seen Stan,” DeFalco added.
With that short history over, here is a look back at Ravage 2099 #8, published in 1993 by Marvel Comics plotted by Stan Lee, scripted by Pat Mills and Tony Skinner and drawn by Gran Miehm. This was Stan Lee’s final work of writing a Marvel 2099 story.
The story begins with a weakened Ravage, Tiana and Dack already in trouble as a Public Eye battle copter approaches them. The three just escaped from an underwater city using an old vehicle from the Fantastic Four. While Tiana expressed that there is no way they could outfight or outfly Public Eye, Dack reminds her that Ravage is their only hope and because of him, they got away from the aquatic beings and survived.
Dack then send their vehicle (which instantly blew ballast and raised a canopy) under water to escape from Public Eye. The effort was futile as the battle copter captures their vehicle and pulls it out of the water using a magnetic beam.
Knowing this development, Anderthorp Henton makes a confidential holo-call with Dethstryk and tells him that Ravage is in his possession. Henton also states that he intends to kill Ravage. Dethstryk demands Henton to deliver Ravage to him, insisting that it should be he who should kill him.
While captured in transit, Ravage struggles to write his instruction to his companions to take his gloves off…
Finally, after going through the first seven issues that resulted unsatisfying plots, recycling of character elements and forcibly stretching the narrative, this particular issue has a story that combines doubtful heroism with a believable objective. Of course, it should be noted that Stan Lee provided the plot while leaving the scripting and pacing to two other writers who eventually took over the writing duties of Ravage 2099.
There were some improvements to the quality of the dialogue and narration (by Ravage). This comic book’s story was paced decently and there was not a single moment of stretching the narrative unrealistically. By this stage of the series, Ravage’s status as a heroic figure improved once again as he was given a purpose to fulfill. While we have seen him help Tiana or Dack escape from the bad guys, this story has him being more strategic and more determined to really solve a mystery while overcoming opposition.
Henton in this story, fortunately, is not a repeat of his cruel, cold-hearted self from the previous issues. This story reveals his link with Dethstryk and new insight as to who or what really controls Alchemax and its top officials. As such, there were some unexpected elements that transpired in the story.
Visually, Gran Miehm provided decent art and for the most part, Ravage and the other characters remained recognizable although I notice Dack looking more like a young adult than the teenager he really is.
Ravage 2099 #8 (1993) was Stan Lee’s last work with this particular series of the 2099 universe and thanks to the new writers who took scripting duties, this one has a satisfying story, higher quality dialogue and a more focused narrative. In retrospect, it was already too little and too late to salvage the Ravage 2099 series due to the inconsistent and overall weak storytelling that dominated the first seven issues.
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Ravage 2099 #8 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $14 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $42.
Overall, Ravage 2099 #8 (1993) is satisfactory.
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