A Look Back at UltraForce #5 (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.

One of the things I enjoyed best about the UltraForce done by the solid creative team of Gerard Jones and George Perez is the fact that the team’s lesser known characters such as Pixx (the lone minor), Contrary, Ghoul and Topaz are richly layered, highly interesting and engaging members who really stand on their own and don’t get overshadowed by their major teammates (the Ultraverse’s premier lead heroes Hardcase, Prime and Prototype). Of course, the presentation of Pixx, Contrary, Ghoul and Topaz would not have been great had Gerard Jones failed to deliver the solid writing and managing required.

That being said, it’s time to find out more on how balanced the presentation of UltraForce members will be as the conflict with Atalon escalates further in this look back at UltraForce #5, published in 1995 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Jones and Perez.

The spoileriffic cover.

Early story

The story begins with Ghoul (still in the presence of Atalon and far away from his teammates) having a nightmarish vision of death, chaos, rioting and disasters. He recognizes a certain teammate included in the vision. His personal concern for his teammate grows, and king Atalon notices his distress. Atalon states he has cleared the final obstacles and what he has planned will push through. He intends to use many nuclear missiles on the world.

“When my warheads strike the raw nerve centers of your world, the surface will blossom with the fires of chaos and war,” Atalon tells Ghoul. “And the launching begins now. You see, Ghoul? Your world is dead. There’s nothing you can do. There’s no point in worry at all.”

Over at Miami, Florida, Pixx talks to her mother via the telephone and assures her that she is in good hands with UltraForce with a role to give her teammates the youth point-of-view. After the phone talk, Pixx personally struggles with the stress of being with the team which itself has gotten involved not only with the global conflict with Atalon but also with the concerned world leaders and the ever demanding public.

Prime approaches her and, because she noticed her looking troubled, he asked her if she could handle the situation they are in. Pixx answers back and does some posturing that she is strong and capable. Prime, who is really teenager Kevin inside, feels he screwed-up and knows well that Pixx is older than him.

The UltraForce then meet on the top of the building…

Quality

Dynamic action drawn by the legendary George Perez supported by inkers and colorists!

Strong writing – check. Great visuals with high detail – check. The high quality and strong creative energy of the Jones-Perez team continued to shine brightly in this comic book. Definitely a very well-made comic book that also continued to deliver the great stuff like strong character engagement and development, dynamic action (hey, this is George Perez’s art!) and the like.

While issue #4 featured Atalon’s background story and some references about the history of his people, this comic book has its spotlight on the teenage member Pixx. Her dialogue and character development are very well crafted and as the story goes on, you will start to care about her.

The conflict with Atalon here shows the stakes raised high once more as the said leader of the creatures from deep below the surface acquired mankind’s nuclear weapons and really starts to control them. I should also state that this comic book is another spectator-filled pay-off story that succeeded issue #4 which was mainly a build-up type of story.

If there is anything wrong with the comic book, it is the cover as it truly is a major spoiler. Too bad that the art showed Pixx in the presence of a nuclear warhead because the imagery alone took out some of the power behind her story in the big conflict of the comic book.  

Conclusion

This art by Perez looks great and worthy of the cover!

UltraForce #5 is another solid read thanks again to its creators. I should also state that even though the cover art was a spoiler, at least the ending was intriguing and powerful to see.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of UltraForce #5 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy costs $16.

Overall, UltraForce #5 (1995) is highly recommended!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Muntinlupa City Hotline 137-175 for centralized quick emergency response officially launched

The City Government of Muntinlupa officially launched Emergency Hotline “137-175” on September 15, 2020. Hotline 137-175 is a centralized post for reporting of emergency cases and incidents, including quick response for emergency rescue cases which require police assistance, firefighter rescue services, traffic rescue services, and ambulance medical services. City residents are welcome to use the hotline for their emergency concerns.

Muntinlupa City Department of Disaster Resilience and Management (MCDDRM) chief Erwin Alfonso said the installation of the unified hotline aims to improve the city’s immediate response in providing rescue, medical, and police assistance.

Alfonso noted that calls received through the emergency hotline will be processed in Muntinlupa City Command Center by designated officers from MCDDRM, Muntinlupa City Rescue, Muntinlupa City Health, Muntinlupa City Traffic and Management Bureau, Muntinlupa City Police Station, and Bureau of Fire Protection – Muntinlupa for coordination to their respective units.

Mayor Jaime Fresnedi urged the public to save the city’s hotline in their phones or in their homes to easily access the emergency service. The mayor hoped that through the centralized emergency hotline, responses of the city’s departments will be delivered in a more effective, quick and coordinated manner.

“The launching of Muntinlupa’s Emergency Hotline 137-175 is very timely especially that we are in a pandemic and enter the rainy season where cases of road accidents increase. The local government hopes to provide a quick response system that will immediately address and respond to the public’s emergency concerns,” Fresnedi said.

As of September 14, Muntinlupa City has 3,872 confirmed cases with 3,066 recoveries, 679 active cases, 127 reported deaths, 487 suspect cases, and 611 probable cases.

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Latest City Government of Muntinlupa details sourced from their official media release. Some parts were edited for this website.

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake newsNO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, no distorted views and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments.

Comic Quest announces closure!

Comic Quest, a notable retailer of comic books and geek stuff (including premium products like action figures) here in the Philippines, announced yesterday that it will be closing its 35-year-old business due to the tremendous economic difficulties related to, unsurprisingly, the ongoing pandemic and also the disrupted state of the international distribution of comic books. Before the end comes, however, a Farewell Sale at their SM Megamall branch in Mandaluyong City has launched and will last until sometime in October. The said sale will have all items discounted at least 50%.

In my experience of the past decade, as a resident of Alabang, Muntinlupa, I often bought new comic books (especially Wonder Woman) at the Festival Mall Alabang branch of Comic Quest. It was also at the same store located a short walk away from the cinemas where I also ordered and received hardback editions of EC Comics Archives. Comic Quest Alabang was a favorite weekend destination of mine for many years. Even before I became a collector of comic books (specifically superhero comics), I first heard about Comic Quest way back in 1990 in the classroom where I had a few classmates who bought comic books from them. Back in the 1990s, Comic Quest had a branch in Makati and it was there where I bought Web of Spider-Man #100 in 1993.

As time passed by, my personal interest in comic books waned and I actually stopped buying comic books (both new and old) shortly before the lockdown here in the Philippines was implemented. The pandemic and related lockdown brought entire economies down worldwide and the Philippines was not spared. It is also depressing to learn that many people lost their jobs as well as their income. No disposable income, no more demand for entertainment products like comic books, theatrical showing of movies, shows and the like. The priority now of people living during the pandemic goes to the essentials.

Yesterday, hours after Comic Quest’s closure announcement, I took the opportunity to visit and see their Festival Mall branch in Alabang. It is gone!

The commercial space in the middle used to be occupied by Comic Quest inside Festival Mall. This picture was taken hours after the closure announcement.

Comic Quest’s decision to close down is understandable and acceptable. They did the best they could to survive and prevent their employees from becoming unemployed until the pandemic-related depression overwhelmed them (as well as the many other businesses of different types and sizes).

Just a few years ago, another comic book specialty retailer had to close down their Alabang Town Center branch. It’s clear that comic books as a business continues to fail especially now that people are often online and find their kind of stuff through digital services/retailers.

In closing this, posted below for your reference is the complete closure announcement of Comic Quest. The retailer will be missed!

This is a special announcement for all our valued customers. We hope you ‘re doing well and staying safe during this difficult time.

We just want to let you know that because of the combined pressure of the pandemic, as well as the disruption of the global distribution of comic books, we’ve had to make the difficult decision to begin the process of closing down Comic Quest. It is and has been an extremely challenging time for us, and we feel that this is our best option moving forward.

It has been a long and amazing road, from our earliest days in our first branch at BF Homes in Alabang, to Greenhills to Makati to multiple branches as far away as SM Cebu. But now the time has come to say goodbye, and let all of you know how much we appreciate being given the chance to be part of the comic book industry.

We want to thank each and every one of you for being one of our valuable loyal customers and a very important member of the Comic Quest family. We wouldn’t have reached 35 wonderful years in business without loyal customers like you. Our sincerest and most heartfelt thanks for being with us through all these years.

In line with our decision, we’re holding a special FAREWELL SALE from September 16th and into October, at our SM Megamall branch. During this time we will be selling ALL items from at least 50% off and up.

Please help us spread the word and share this message with other friends and collectors whom you think might be interested.

While our time in this wonderful industry comes to an end, we’re wishing you many more years of happy collecting! And in the words of the great Stan Lee- Excelsior!

Best wishes,

Comic Quest

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Christian Music Appreciation: All Things

God truly knows the best for us and He knows when to act when we the faithful and the righteous make errors or go the wrong way. As clearly stated in Hebrews 13: 5-6, Deuteronomy 31: 6 and Psalm 55: 22, the Lord will never abandon us, He will never forsake us because He loves us. The Lord is our redeemer, reformer, protector, provider and our Eternal Father.

Truly the Lord knows how and when to work on all things for our good…each and every one of us. This brings me to the next worship song for this latest edition of my Christian Music Appreciation (CMA) series…All Things.

All Things was performed by Covenant Worship and it was part of their 2017 album Sand and Stars. The song itself is beautiful and also ideal to stir up the hearts of Christians praying to the Lord during Sunday worship service. It is also ideal for other church activities that will involve the use of music.

That being said, below are the lyrics of the worship song All Things, followed by an analysis of its relevance with the Holy Bible.

This heavy load

Was never mine to bear

So I cast my cares upon You Lord

This weary road

I’ve traveled for so long

Would You take my hand and lead me on

You are working all things for my good

You are working all things for my good

When I cannot see it

God, I still believe it

You are working all things for my good

When troubles come

And nights are filled with tears

I will fix my eyes upon the One

Whose perfect love has conquered every fear

Hold me in Your everlasting arms

I see it breaking

On the horizon

The dark of night

Giving way to the dawn

The day is coming

And hope is rising

Your joy will be my strength

Your joy will be my song

I know You’re working

I know You’re working

In all things, in all things

To begin with, the following lyrics – This heavy load, Was never mine to bear, So I cast my cares upon You Lord, This weary road, I’ve traveled for so long, Would You take my hand and lead me on – means that under the Lord, we are taken cared of and even though we each have our own challenges and responsibilities as a result of our respective circumstances, we Christians are still part of His family and kingdom. Being a child of God does not necessarily mean to have an easy life while living in the flesh. No matter what happens, we Christians must never lose faith in Him. If you are troubled, come to Lord Jesus and believe in Him always. Truly as Christians, there is no reason for us to worry or to live in pain because the Lord is our protector, provider, savior! As such, the mentioned lyrics point to the following holy scriptures for relevance.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Matthew 11: 28-30 (NKJV)

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

1 Peter 5: 6-7 (NKJV)

Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ.

Philippians 4: 6-7 (TPT)

The next lines to examine are as follows: You are working all things for my good, When I cannot see it God, I still believe it, You are working all things for my good. To begin with, we are all creations of God and before we were even created, He made plans for each and every one of us. As such, we must live with His Word (the Holy Bible) and apply His lessons into our lives no matter how complicated living in the flesh in the middle of our screwed-up world is. We must never lose faith in Him. We have to keep trusting Him, honoring Him, praising Him and thanking Him! Whatever plans God made for us – good plans and lots of hope – we must keep believing in those plans even though it has yet to manifest. Never lose patience because God keeps His promises always, and when the time comes, the manifestation of His plans will be greater than you can imagine. As such, the most fitting holy scripture for the above lyrics is presented below…

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Romans 8: 28 (NKJV)

The next lines to examine are as follows: When troubles come, And nights are filled with tears, I will fix my eyes upon the One, Whose perfect love has conquered every fear, Hold me in Your everlasting arms. As it is clear that the Lord will NEVER abandon us nor forsake us faithful Christians, keep believing that the Lord always works to spare the faithful from trouble and danger. As seen around the world, there are mobs causing trouble, terrorists attacking people and places, criminals victimizing the innocent, people living in deep poverty and the like. Trouble, danger, wickedness, fear, hatred, destruction, evil, poverty, curses and senseless deaths around the world are all works of Satan who was granted dominion by Adam very long ago. It was Lord Jesus who redeemed the world and defeated Satan, and this is proof of God’s plan for His faithful children to be freed from the curse (of Adam’s rebellion) and live on to be faithful to Him. Do not forget that God will punish severely those who persecute His children. Truly God hates injustice and wickedness! The above lyrics can be pointed to the following holy scriptures below.

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

1 Corinthians 10: 13 (NKJV)

But the LORD is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.

2 Thessalonians 3: 3 (NKJV)

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

Romans 12: 19 (NKJV)

The next lines to examine are as follows: I see it breaking, On the horizon, The dark of night, Giving way to the dawn, The day is coming, And hope is rising. Lesson? The Lord truly loves us and He will always be our provider, our protector, our Father, and lead the way for breakthroughs for as long as we are faithful to Him and live by His Word. Under the Lord, we the faithful and righteous children of His will be blessed, be defended, be guided, be prosperous and be filled with His peace. Any trouble happening in your life right now is only temporary and the darkness will be overwhelmed by His light in due time. If you are living in darkness (of religion or unbelief, idols, traditions and rituals) then it you can decide to get born again and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  Refer to the following holy scriptures below…

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29: 11 (NKJV)

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15: 13 (NKJV)

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3: 3 (NKJV)

“And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you the power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”

Deuteronomy 8: 18 (NKJV)

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD.”

Jeremiah 17: 7 (NKJV)

So there you have it! All Things is truly a very holy worship song, and I highly recommend it be played by your church musicians.

In concluding this CMA article, embedded below are YouTube videos of All Things in the forms of a lyric video from Integrity Music, a live performance by David and Nicole Binion, and a live performance by COG Worship (starting at 24:42 on the time). Enjoy these videos and remember that the Lord is not only watching us all but also working and taking care of us. The Lord is truly working on all things for our good! Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Sharing this Christian piece means spreading the good news of the Lord to others. It can help you save the unsaved and the lost souls out there.

If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

COVID-19 Crisis: Hospitals and clinics in Muntinlupa City mandated to report COVID-19 cases or face charges and penalties

To outline the extent of COVID-19 health situation in the city, the City Government of Muntinlupa ordered hospitals and clinics to submit health information of COVID-19 cases and identified close contacts for disease surveillance and response.

Mayor Jaime Fresnedi signed City Ordinance 2020-107 mandating all hospitals, healthcare facilities, and similar establishments providing laboratory and diagnostic services operating in Muntinlupa City to submit daily COVID-19 related data to the local public health authority.

Under the local ordinance, the City Health Office shall prepare a template requesting for personal health information of COVID-19 cases and identified close contacts from local health facilities.

Processing of health information shall only involve the minimum extent of personal data necessary for case investigation and management, contract tracing and monitoring, quarantine and isolation, mandatory reporting to public health authorities, or treatment and coordination purposes.

The City Government assures the public that the manner of processing of personal health information shall be in accordance with the guidelines by the Department of Health such as Administrative Order No. 2020-0013 (Guidelines for the lnclusion of COVID-19 in the List of Notifiable Diseases for Mandatory Reporting to the DOH) and DOH Department Memorandum No. 2020-0189 (Updated Guidelines on Contact Tracing of Close Contacts of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases).

Muntinlupa City Council majority floor leader Coun. Raul Corro said the purpose of the reportorial requirement is to build a repository of real-time COVID-19 data as basis of evidence-informed health policy and intervention measures.

Corro added the real-time sharing of data from healthcare facilities and the City Health Office will help improve local response activities, including the quality and accessibility of health services and other related interventions for COVID-19.

Establishments violating provisions in the local ordinance shall be penalized with closure, suspension, or revocation of its business permit or license.

Further, Muntinlupa City Council also approved City Ordinance 2020-126 ordering the mandatory self-isolation, or admission to city isolation facilities if requirements for home quarantine are not met as certified by the City Health Office (CHO), for anyone who have undergone COVID-19 swab testing.

The local ordinance aims to restrict movement of suspect cases and prevent possible carriers of the virus to travel and infect other individuals. Residents violating the local ordinance will face P3,000 penalty for first offense, P5,000 for second offense, and a maximum of one-year imprisonment upon discretion of the court and P5,000 penalty for the third and succeeding offenses.

Isolation facilities in Muntinlupa are located in Ospital ng Muntinlupa, Brgy. Alabang and Emergency Quarantine Facility (EQF) in Brgy. Sucat. An additional quarantine facility is being constructed in Pacwood Site, Brgy. Tunasan in partnership with the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Mayor Jaime Fresnedi urged city residents to continue exercise vigilance and strict observance of health protocols such as frequent hand-washing, physical distancing, wearing of face masks, proper cough etiquette, and other precautionary measures.

As of September 10, Muntinlupa City has 3,785 confirmed cases with 2,960 recoveries, 696 active cases, 129 reported deaths, 552 suspect cases, and 571 probable cases.

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Latest City Government of Muntinlupa details sourced from their official media release. Some parts were edited for this website.

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake newsNO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, no distorted views and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments.

Muntinlupa City represents Philippines in WWF’s We Love Cities campaign

Muntinlupa City joins the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) We Love Cities campaign, a friendly competition among global cities to raise awareness on sustainability, as one of the representatives of the Philippines.

After qualifying as a finalist in the recent One Planet City Challenge (OPCC), WWF selected Muntinlupa City as one the country’s representatives in the We Love Cities campaign which aims to bridge better communication between city officials and citizens they represent on climate and sustainability issues.

Muntinlupa City under the We Love Cities campaign.

We Love Cities is a public engagement campaign that allows people across the world to express support for sustainable urban development by voting for their favorite finalist from WWF’s One Planet City Challenge and posting improvement suggestions for these cities.

The campaign aims to raise awareness for the sustainability progress being made in cities, give the general public an opportunity to submit suggestions to decision makers, and strengthen public – decision makers’ cooperation.

58 cities from 27 countries that have demonstrated a strong will to transition toward a sustainable future were selected in the online campaign. Joining Muntinlupa City as part of the Philippine delegation are Batangas City, Batangas and Santa Rosa, Laguna.

WWF lauded Muntinlupa’s action plan to combat the urban heat island effect. The organization highlights the city’s holistic approach towards sustainability including gardening initiatives, first aid trainings to equip city employees in assisting the public during particularly hot periods, climate responsive agriculture training for urban farmers, aquaponics, vertical farming, mulching and mushroom culture.

The public may vote using the official hashtag #WeLoveMuntinlupaCityPH in Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Meanwhile, the number of likes, comments, and shares from the City Government of Muntinlupa – OFFICIAL and We Love Cities Facebook Page for Muntinlupa’s bid will also be counted as official votes.

Further, the public may also visit the city’s page at www.welovecities.org/muntinlupa and click the vote button or submit a suggestion on how to make the city even better.

The electric jeepney of Muntinlupa is one of the many environment-friendly projects. (source – Muntinlupa PIO)

The campaign will run for 4 weeks from September 14 to October 11, 2020. Participating cities will be promoted via WWF websites, the campaign page, finalists’ websites and social media. The winner will receive the We Love Cities Award.

The participants for this year’s We Love Cities campaign include: Argentina: Buenos Aires, Chacabuco and San Martin de los Andes; Brazil: Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza and Rio de Janeiro; Canada: Vancouver; Chile: Peñalolén, Santiago and Valdivia; Colombia: Mantizales, Monteriá and Villavicencio; Côte d’Ivoire: Commune de Cocody; Ecuador: Municipio de Loja; Finland: Turku; France: Paris; Guatemala: Escuintla, Iztapa and San José; Iceland: Reykjavik; India: Kochi, Nagpur and Rajkot; Indonesia: Balikpapan, Banda Aceh and Jakarta; Malaysia: Melaka, Petaling Jaya and Sebarang Perai; Mexico: Hermosillo, Mérida and Mexico City; New Zealand: Wellington City Council; Norway: Arendal and Baerum; Peru: Borja, Lima and Magdalena; Philippines: Muntinlupa, Batangas and Santa Rosa; Republic of Korea: Suwon City; South Africa: Cape Town, Durban and KwaDukuza; plus many others.

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Latest City Government of Muntinlupa details sourced from their official media release. Some parts were edited for this website.

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake newsNO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, no distorted views and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments.

A Look Back at UltraForce #4 (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.

I just love reading stories of UltraForce, the superhero team that involved three major Ultraverse characters – Prime, Hardcase and Prototype – supported by secondary characters from varied parts of the said universe such as Topaz (identified with Mantra), Ghoul (The Exiles), Contrary (Freex) and Pixx. Of course, UltraForce stories would not have been strong without the combined creative forces of Gerard Jones and George Perez who in turn crafted the said team, established a really strong villain in Atalon and making Atalon’s arrival a major international crisis that is epic in scale. The first three issues (plus issue #0) all showed the series’ greatness!

Will the great stuff of the UltraForce creative team continue? We will find out right now in this look back at UltraForce #4, published in 1995 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Gerard Jones and drawn by George Perez.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with UltraForce member Ghoul being held helplessly by King Atalon. He tells Ghoul that he has no intention of destroying the people of Earth for at least one more day. Some time later, the two arrived at the remains of an old civilization very deep in the cavern. Atalon tells Ghoul: Invoke all the deities you wish, young man. Here we are beyond their reach. The temple city of Zenalla. Once it was the heart and soul of the fire people.

As it turns out, Atalon reveals that he tore through a hundred miles of fallen stone to reopen Zenalla and expressed that he will not event let his own people see it. After some more talk and travel, Atalon kneels and bows to specific monuments of his ancestors who are also the founder of cities and the fathers of the fire people. He tells Ghoul that he will bring them to speak to him.

Elsewhere, the mainstream media magnified the powerful blast that happened off Cuba which contributed to the panic and fear of the public. With people agitated, the UltraForce faces the media in an attempt to provide clarity and calm.

Hardcase (with Prototype, Prime, Topaz, Contrary and Pixx standing with him) tells the world: Activity continues on the island-we have to assume that Atalon planned that blast and survived it! And that was just one bomb-out of dozens he’s threatening to launch against mankind! As long as he has the gravity power to launch those nukes, we can’t afford a replay of our last assault!

Quality

I just love the interactions between the members of Ultraforce.

To make things clear, issue #2 was mainly a build-up story which was followed by a huge, spectacle-filled pay-off in issue #3. Backed with still very solid writing, this comic book is another build-up type of story and its most compelling feature is the origin of Atalon which was very well told by Jones and Perez. Atalon’s background story is definitely one of the finest origin stories of the Ultraverse ever told that focused more on an anti-hero instead of a hero. Through his past, you will realize that Atalon is not your typical big, muscular, raging antagonist but rather a leader who went through a lot of struggles when he was young (and had no power) and was compelled to lead his people as a result of key events that happened.

I really enjoyed discovering also the history of Atalon’s people who existed entirely deep underground and were told by the supposedly wise elders that the surface of the Earth was not an air-world and that they should only remain under it. As for how Atalon gained power, that one was strongly told and, more importantly, was believable in its presentation.

More on the build-up and character development, the members of UltraForce unsurprisingly got a good chunk of the spotlight in favor of characterization. The interaction between Hardcase and Topaz was not only very engaging but also symbolized the conflicts between their respective cultures (with Topaz coming from a society of women). And then there was Contrary with her very distinctive way of interacting with others with a sense of manipulation.

Conclusion

The lost city!

UltraForce #4 (1995) is another great comic book thanks to the Jones-Perez team. The interactions between the UltraForce is top-notch, the origin of Atalon is fantastic, and the theme about society reacting to an existing superhero team that supposed to help them in a time of crisis is very believable. As with the first four issues (including issue #0), the way this comic book’s story was written showed that the creators made preparations. This one is not only a whole lot of fun to read but also very engaging from start to finish.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of UltraForce #4 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $16.

Overall, UltraForce #4 (1995) is highly recommended!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

My Observations: Watching Wonder Woman 1984 on VOD streaming will NEVER match the theatrical experience

By now you should be aware that Warner Bros. postponed yet again the release of the much-awaited Wonder Woman 1984 and selected December 25, 2020 (Christmas Day) as the new opening day. This is because of the ongoing pandemic which depressed economies around the world and dragged down the movie theaters. Of course, as I personally observed on social networks, a lot of fans are upset with the daily and there are some of them who expressed that a theatrical release of Wonder Woman 1984 is no longer needed and it should instead be released via video-on-demand streaming services. And then there were a few who did not hide their Leftist, socialist beliefs and even condemned Warner Bros. for corporate greed only because it still insists on showing Wonder Woman 1984 in the cinemas first.

Wow! It’s as if doing business is an evil thing and being a socialist and a hater of business are good things. Talk about being delusional and impulsive as a result of being brainwashed with socialism and anti-capitalism views. The truth of the matter is that socialism sucks and will continue to suck. To understand the business side of things before talking more about Wonder Woman 1984, let’s examine the state of movie theaters.

As of this writing, the movie theater operators are slowly reopening their locations and already they have spent time and money on implementing a variety of measures such as sanitation, constant cleaning, practicing social distancing, requiring moviegoers to wear facemasks and the like. At the same time, seating capacity per screen has been reduced to minimize the risk of viral infection. The reopening of cinemas not only means the resumption of their business but also the retention of the employees they still have.

Even with less than 100% of movie theaters in operation, Warner Bros. took the big risk of releasing their $200 million production Tenet which went on to gross more than $20 million in its first four days in the United States and Canada. Elsewhere, the movie raked in more than $100,000,000 in ticket sales and it has surpassed the $150,000,000 mark globally. The more movie theaters open – including the drive-in locations –  the better it will be for Wonder Woman 1984 and this obviously requires time.

To have the theatrical opening of Wonder Woman 1984 moved all the way to Christmas Day is, in my honest opinion, a sensible move. Like other forms of businesses negatively affected by the pandemic, movie theaters are struggling to reshape themselves (and retain their employees somehow in order to avoid adding them to the unemployed) and get back to business. Movie studios on the other hand are struggling with what to do with their finished productions, especially the ones that cost $200,000,000+ to make (complete with the hard work of the technical crew, the creative team and the talents who worked).

Like anyone else, I love Wonder Woman (she is my favorite of all superheroes) and I also love 2017 Wonder Woman movie which I still replay on Blu-ray. Unlike other fans who lost patience, I myself am willing to wait for the new Wonder Woman movie to open in the local cinemas, especially in the IMAX cinema. I certainly do not agree with the idea that Warner Bros. should just skip all the movie theaters in favor of releasing Wonder Woman 1984 on VOD streaming services, and I have reasons.

Warner Bros. is right to delay Wonder Woman 1984 and keep it scheduled to open in movie theaters first!

Firstly, Wonder Woman 1984 was made with the movie theater viewing experience first and foremost. The creative team led by director Patty Jenkins even used IMAX cameras for some scenes. While the filming of scenes for IMAX is limited in total, it is clear that Wonder Woman 1984 will look and play its very best on the gigantic screen in the IMAX theater! It is also likely that the most spectacular (or the most important) scenes filmed with IMAX captured Gal Gadot as the cinematic Wonder Woman. That being said, the visual splendor and the magnificence of big screen viewing will NEVER be matched on VOD streaming nor on the HDTV at home. I should add that the enhanced visuals that come with scenes being filmed with IMAX cameras can only be seen on the large IMAX screen, and this cannot be achieved on HDTV or on the best smartphones via streaming.

Secondly, releasing Wonder Woman 1984 directly to VOD streaming services is harmful not just to the struggling theater operators and their employees but also the economy itself. I do understand that going outside the home during the pandemic has its risks but the fact remains is that businesses around you have suffered a lot and there is a need for commerce and industry to be revived, and you can help the local and the national economy move forward again. Be mindful that many people who lost their jobs and their income are also suffering, and there is a need for businesses to be supported so that new job opportunities can be made…jobs that the unemployed badly need! Let’s face it, you can enjoy watching movies on the VOD streaming service you subscribed to and binge watch at the comfort of your home all you want but still the best place to watch is in the cinema. I can never forget the very day in 2017 I went to the local IMAX cinema to watch Wonder Woman by buying a premium movie ticket, buying popcorn and a drink, sat comfortably and watched the movie in its full greatness. I paid a lot and got tremendous value in return for the premium cinematic experience with Wonder Woman. Right now, movie theaters are struggling to recover and they badly need you to buy their tickets, snacks and drinks and enjoy the movie. It is also clear that both Warner Bros. and the movie theaters need each other, and Wonder Woman 1984 is too expensive a production to be released only on VOD streaming services.

Thirdly, still on the business side, video-on-demand streaming services are not exactly effective in helping movie producers recover the massive amounts of money spent on producing and marketing their major projects. Wonder Woman 1984 is a more expensive production than its predecessor and it is still the movie theater business model that will help it recover all the negative cost and break even (if not profit). The following are my questions to the loudmouths who ranted that Wonder Woman 1984 should be released directly to VOD streaming services only because of their impatience and other reasons: Do you seriously believe that video-on-demand will help Wonder Woman 1984’s producers and investors recover their money? If you are willing to pay a premium rate for digitally availaing Wonder Woman 1984 at all, how much are you really willing to pay? Do you seriously believe that movie theater operators and their employees should suffer only because you are so self-centered with wanting the new Wonder Woman film only on video-on-demand streaming?

Finally, this one is aimed at those who got indoctrinated with socialism and Leftist beliefs …who do you think you are to condemn Warner Bros. for corporate greed only because the studio is focused on releasing Wonder Woman 1984 first in cinemas? We are Wonder Woman fans here, right? It is the movie studio, its investors and other capitalists who pooled the financial resources together to hire Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Hans Zimmer and a whole lot of other people to make Wonder Woman 1984! They did that, not your socialist partners nor your socialist idols! The least we fans can do is be thankful to the filmmakers and their capitalism partners for making the movie. As for Warner Bros., we should keep in mind that the pandemic has made it very hard for them to decide when to release the movie we have been waiting for, and for sure their top executives and strategists have struggled in ways that you cannot imagine. You seriously believe that Warner Bros. and the other movie studios did not lose any money from the months-long shutdown of the cinemas during the pandemic? What is your basis for condemning Warner Bros. for corporate greed over Wonder Woman 1984?

Oh, one more thing, do you still go to a coffee shop, availed of their coffee and WiFi and used your branded smartphone to condemn capitalism and promote socialism? Capitalists made the things that you socialists enjoyed, not to mention all the other Wonder Woman-related products like comic books, toys, action figures, clothes, souvenirs, accessories and much more!

That being said, what we Wonder Woman fans can all do right now is wait for Wonder Woman 1984 to open in cinemas this Christmas Day. I believe that the delayed movie itself will turn out great and prove to be worth the long wait…and then prove that the movie theater is still the best place to watch it.

Who knows? Wonder Woman 1984 could spark a strong revival of the movie theater business around the world and we fans can be part of that!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

COVID-19 Crisis: Toyota Philippines Donates Vios to Ospital ng Muntinlupa

In support of the local health workers handling the daily operations of the Ospital ng Muntinlupa (OsMun), Toyota Motor Philippines formally donated one unit of its popular car, the Vios. Mayor Jaime Fresnedi, OsMun director Dr. Edwin Dimatatac, and City Administrator Engr. Allan Cachuela personally received the service vehicle from TMP Chief Physician Dr. Laennec Baquiran, TMP execs Dr. Jojo Cruz and Allen Rufo on September 9.

The Toyota Vios donated to Ospital ng Muntinlupa. (source – Muntinlupa PIO)

In return, the City Government of Muntinlupa extended its gratitude to Toyota Motor Philippines for its valuable assistance to improve the local COVID-19 response efforts. The donated Toyota Vios will be used by OsMun as a service vehicle.

As of September 9, Muntinlupa City has 3,743 confirmed cases with 2,913 recoveries, 702 active cases, 128 reported deaths, 523 suspect cases, and 595 probable cases.

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Latest City Government of Muntinlupa details sourced from their official media release. Some parts were edited for this website.

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, no distorted views and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments.

My Observations: Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X

What a roller coaster ride that has been. The leaks were made and the speculating is all over. Microsoft is officially launching its next-generation game consoles Xbox Series S (economic all-digital model) and Xbox Series X (premium model) on November 10, 2020 with prices of $299 and $499 respectively! Pre-ordering of the consoles will begin on September 22, 2020.  

Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S together!

In an Xbox.com article, Xbox division chief Phil Spencer stated: On November 10, a new generation of console gaming begins. That’s when our vision becomes reality with the most performant, immersive and compatible next-generation console gaming experiences, and the freedom to play your games with your friends, anytime, anywhere.

For the newcomers reading this, the premium Xbox Series X was officially announced many months ago and it was only very recently that the budget-friendly Xbox Series S was officially announced (after the leakages, take note).

So what are the differences between the two? Posted below for your general reference are the official specs from Xbox.com

The most obvious difference starts with the GPU with the Xbox Series S having 32 lesser compute units (CUs) as well as a lower frequency per CU compared with the premium Xbox. This results the Xbox Series S also having 4 teraflops of GPU power or barely one-third of the more powerful one. The $299 Xbox also lesser GDDR6 RAM and lower bandwidth. In terms of resolution, Xbox Series X can render visuals in native 4K resolution (3840×2160) while the less powerful Xbox can do up to 1440P. Both of them, however are expected to deliver similar results when it comes to frame-rates. On storage, Xbox Series S has 512GB SSD (solid state drive) which is roughly half that of the premium console. If you enjoy watching movies on Blu-ray or 4K Blu-ray discs, or if you intend to use physical copies of video games, the Xbox Series X has a 4K Blu-ray disc drive while the cheaper Xbox has no such drive at all (note: it’s all digital).

Considering the huge $200 price difference, the two next-generation Xbox consoles will appeal to different kinds of gamers and eventually other consumers who want to improve their home entertainment (or in the case of individuals living away from their families, the personal entertainment) set-up. I can imagine gamers who enjoy playing video games using their PC monitors (at the desks inside their bedrooms or in the house study), who prefer digital downloads over physical media for their games, and looking for bargains will be attracted to Xbox Series S. Gamers who still use optic media for their games, who want to upgrade their movie viewing experience with their 4K TV at home (and start collecting movies on 4K Blu-ray disc format), who want a lot more SSD storage available, and who want the best of 4K gaming will finds Xbox Series X a preferred machine.

Gamers who started their respective Xbox legacies (with Xbox LIVE accounts) for more than one console generation should be happy to know that their old Xbox-related game collection will NOT go to waste as both Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X have been confirmed to be backward compatible with original Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One titles. The beauty with Xbox backward compatibility is that the old games will not only be played, they will have visual enhancements too.

More on the Xbox Series S, the $299 tag price is indeed very enticing especially during this time of pandemic and economic uncertainty. The cheaper console, which has a surprisingly small size compared with other game consoles, is literally a very powerful beast performance wise and (like the premium Xbox) it also has ray-tracing.

Microsoft’s Head of Platform Engineering and Hardware Liz Hamren confirmed the following details: Xbox Series S delivers the same next generation speed and performance that define Xbox Series X. It is similar in CPU and has the identical I/O performance as Xbox Series X, making it easier for developers to deliver the same great performance, while rendering at a lower resolution. Xbox Series S delivers 4x the processing power of an Xbox One console and supports experiences up to 120fps, more immersive and responsive gameplay with support for hardware-accelerated DirectX Raytracing and Variable Rate Shading. In addition, Xbox Series S includes 512GB of custom SSD storage and is powered by the Xbox Velocity Architecture, delivering more than 40x the I/O bandwidth of an Xbox One resulting in faster loading times, steadier frame rates and Quick Resume for multiple titles.

You’ll also experience the same great audio on Xbox Series S that you will on Xbox Series X with Spatial Sound, including support for Dolby Atmos. What’s more, support for Dolby Vision via streaming media apps like Disney+, Vudu and Netflix will be available across Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X at launch, and Dolby Vision support for gaming will come first to our next-gen Xbox consoles in 2021.

As of this writing, I noticed a number of gamers online expressing concern about the 512GB SSD storage on the Xbox Series S. On face value, 512GB looks insufficient considering the sizes of video games and DLC (downloadable content) today. Like the premium console, the SSD storage of Xbox Series S can be upgraded by means of using the proprietary Xbox Storage Expansion Card which will be a very expensive affair for consumers and the sad thing is that traditional SSDs cannot be used.

When it comes to digital services and subscriptions, Microsoft is really going all-out with brand new offerings via the Xbox All Access program which will start in twelve nations. Take note that the wildly popular Xbox Game Pass is included!

Xbox Prdouct Marketing General Manager Jeff Gattis announced the following details: Whether you’re upgrading to the newest consoles or joining the Xbox family for the first time, with Xbox All Access, you can get everything you need to play — an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S and 24 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate — from $24.99 a month for 24 months with no upfront cost. We’re also excited to bring Xbox All Access to more fans around the world this holiday, and to offer existing Xbox All Access members more flexibility in their upgrade option.

With Xbox All Access you not only get the latest consoles, but also an instant library of over 100 high-quality games for console, PC, and Android mobile devices (Beta).  Plus, you get all new Xbox Game Studios titles the same day they release, including Halo Infinite. What’s more, starting this holiday Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Xbox Game Pass for PC members get an EA Play membership at no additional cost.

And then there is EA Play!

As if that was not good enough, there is also Dolby Vision for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S! Read the details at Dolby.com

With Xbox Series X at $499 and Xbox Series S at $299 backed with very enticing online offerings and features that promise strong value for customers, it is clear that Microsoft is looking strong with launching the two next-generation consoles even though Halo Infinite has been delayed beyond launch. Times like this, I wish that the Xbox-exclusive The Gunk was launch title.

Without Halo Infinite as the showcase of the next-generation launch, Microsoft will have to rely on 3rd-party video games (both cross-generation and next-generation that will be released along with or shortly after the new consoles’ launch) looking and playing great on the next-generation Xbox consoles to convince gamers to make the technological jump forward early. It’s already confirmed that Ubisoft’s much-awaited Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will not only run at 60FPS on Xbox Series X but also in 4K resolution! Considering the open-world design of the said game, playing it the “4K60” way should be mind-blowing to gamers.

It is also clear is that, with the latest Xbox development, Sony has challenges to overcome when it comes to announcing the prices and offerings related to launching its two PlayStation 5 (PS5) consoles – one with a disc drive and the other without. $299 is a very hard launch price for Sony to match with the drive-less PS5, and it should be noted that PS5’s backward compatibility is limited to PS4 games (in other words, Mark Cerny and his team failed to find ways to make PS1-PS2-PS3 game discs play on their upcoming console). PS5 games look interesting but none of them convinced me to buy Sony’s new console. My choice is Xbox Series X because I know the exclusive games coming out in the next two years will be worth the wait plus I love the Gears of War, Halo and Forza Motorsport franchise of games. I also want the premium Xbox for my Blu-ray movie collection and, eventually, the start of a new collection of movies in 4K Blu-ray discs.

In ending this piece, I recommend you watch the videos from Dealer Gaming, Colteastwood and Digital Foundry.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com