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Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! If you’ve got a problem that needs solving, you call The Solution. For the newcomers reading this, The Solution was an Ultraverse monthly series about a team composed of very unique individuals who help their clients solve special problems. Such operations are done with business agreements made between the team and their clients.
But what if one of the members of The Solution becomes a target of some very deadly forces that are not even human? What solutions can The Solution come up with?
With those details laid down, here is a look back The Solution #9, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written by the late James Hudnall and drawn by Timothy D. Divar.
The story begins somewhere in North America where three mystical monsters arrived on a mission to hunt. The prey they are hunting is to be taken alive and to be tortured for decades. One of them displays the image of Aera/Shadowmage.
A long distance away, in the presence of The Solution traveling by yacht, Aera senses danger and that she has been found by the monsters. The three who arrived from nowhere suddenly cast magic together and summoned a beast which arrived out of thin air. The beast is then instructed to search and hunt Shadowmage.
Over at the Chinese sea, Aera tells Lela Cho that she has been found by the mystical monsters which she previously referred to as the Vyr. She describes them to be very powerful, the most deadly and the most evil creatures on her home world. Aela admits that she does not have the power to stop the Vyr and their team cannot stop them even when combined in power. Their teammate Vurk expresses deep concern and asked Aera what she did that angered the Vyr. Vurk admits his fear of the Vyr and as long as they after Aera, the team would be better off letting them have her…
When it comes to storytelling, I should say that the late James Hudnall really ramped up the fantasy aspect of this series right here. That being said, this comic book made the previous issues look more grounded in reality by comparison. Among the members of The Solution, there is a clear shift towards Aera/Shadowmage whose act from a long time ago led to the Vyr hunting her down on Earth which, unsurprisingly, gets her teammate involved. Along the way, key details from the past of Aera (a native from a foreign world) and Vurk/Outrage (the native of another world which is in conflict with Aera’s own people) get revealed which add some depth on the development of the team as a whole. The way the details were presented made for a really intriguing read in my experience.
With a story concept like this, The Solution #9 could have been a creative mess but it turned out orderly, intriguing and engaging thanks to the way Hudnall structured the story and wrote down the dialogue and text descriptions.
If there is any weakness in this comic book’s presentation, it is the artistic style of Timothy D. Divar. Compared to issue #8, I find the visual quality here drop significantly and there were some shots of The Solution members looking a bit like some characters I saw in 1990s comic books published by Valiant Comics. The characters’ faces and expressions also looked clearly less detailed.
The Solution #9 (1994) is a good read. The strong selling point in it is the team getting involved in a very dangerous encounter with the Vyr (which are way too powerful for them to deal with) which is the result of Aera’s dangerous act. Just as Aera explained what she did and what happened in the past, the tension in the story really went up which makes it engaging to read.
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Solution #9 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $16.
Overall, The Solution #9 (1994) is recommended.
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