A Look Back at The Solution #17 (1995)

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.

Welcome back superhero fans, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts, Ultraverse fans and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the Ultraverse through the monthly series of The Solution. To be more precise, this review is about the 17th and final issue ever published.

In my previous retro review, The Solution daringly infiltrated a secret in Taiwan knowing that a major meeting between the heads of gangs will take place there. For Lela Cho/Tech, this is an opportunity for her to recover the company she lost to the Dragon Fang gang (read The Solution #6). Unfortunately for Lela and her teammates, the opposition were prepared for them.

With those details laid down, here is a look back The Solution #17, published by Malibu Comics in 1995 with a story written by the late James Hudnall and drawn by John Statema.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the arrival of the so-called lords of the Dragon Fang gang at the facility in Taiwan. As far as they know, The Solution has been brought down and the leader Lela Cho has been captured. They entered with a feeling of triumph only to see a large number of human bodies and severed body parts on the floor.

Inside, the insidious Casino has Lela Cho restrained helplessly on a high-tech chair. The Solution’s leader has been drugged by Casino who tells her that she (Lela) will be brought to some brothel in Thailand.

In another part of the facility, two armed guards approach the motionless body of Dropkick on the floor. Suddenly, The Solution’s martial artist moves and knocks the two guards out…

Quality

A very vulnerable Lela Cho in front of Casino.

In consideration of the build-up that started in the few previous issues, this particular comic book proved to be a worthy pay-off complete with a few notable twists that surprised me. Without spoiling the plot, I can say that the story is intriguing, the spectacle is plenty and the creative managed to keep things fresh. Along the way, there is some really relevant story elements that will compel you to re-read the early issues of The Solution series, especially when it comes to Casino who previously encountered the titular team.

As a good-versus-evil story, this one does not go over the edge and it certainly is not brainless entertainment. There is a lot more behind The Solution’s conflict with the Dragon Fang gang here and the impact can be felt more by those who actually started reading this particular series from issue #1.

On the visuals, John Statema’s return here is a very welcome move simply because, in my honest opinion, his style and approach to art really defined the looks of both the series and The Solution itself.  

Conclusion

Shadowmage takes on the Commie from Cambodia.

Being the concluding issue of its own series, The Solution #17 (1995) is a solidly fun and intriguing read. Not only did it conclude the build-up that preceded it, it also encouraged revisiting the earlier issues of the series for a deeper understanding of the opposition forces such as Casino and the Dragon Fang gang. While this was the last The Solution series entry, there was a promise of further adventures as it was made clear that another “era” awaited Lela Cho and her team. Unfortunately, as comic book publishing history showed, The Solution as a publishing franchise came to an end as the Ultraverse itself faded to obscurity under the banner of Marvel Comics (which acquired Malibu Comics in 1994). Take note that The Strangers concluded without a really conclusive story (there were even art works for issues #25 to #27) and Prototype ended with a story that felt like a substitute issue. That being said, the only way to keep enjoying The Solution is by simply repeat reading the entire series as well as finding the team’s appearances in other Ultraverse comic books. In my view, The Solution is one of the very best Ultraverse teams!

Overall, The Solution #17 (1995) is recommended.

As this is end of my retro reviews of The Solution, posted below are images of fashion models whom I find suitable as cosplay photography models for Lela Cho/Tech and Shadowmage. Please tell me if the models looked their parts. Enjoy!

Model Saria Chen as Tech.
Saria Chen as Lela Cho in civilian form.
Model Shannon Barker as Shadowmage.

+++++

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