A Look Back at Harbinger #19 (1993)

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 enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the early 1990s and explore a part of the Valiant Comics shared universe through the Harbinger monthly series.

In my previous retro review, the creative team of Fontenot-Simpson told another story that built up Harbinger’s concept some more while introducing yet another new character – Screen – who is not part of the team led by Sting. The story symbolically showed the further growth of the tremendous power of Toyo Harada not only through his control of the Harbinger foundation but also of his connection with the new United States President of the time. 

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #19, published in 1993 by Valiant Comics with a story written by Maurice Fontenot and illustrated by Howard Simpson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins on the afternoon of January 25, 1993. Inside the New York facility of the Harbinger foundation, a pretty blonde, young lady named Natalie Toynbee – codename: Stunner – gets scanned by the technicians handling the technologies. A technician’s request for Natalie to urinate into a cup reveals that the lady has a huge ego and pride of herself as she reacts negatively. 

Suddenly, the wall near Natalie and the technician got damaged by force unleashed by Sting who is accompanied by Faith, Flamingo and Shatiqua. Their mission is to free Natalie from the clutches of the Harbinger foundation which is a small part of their long-term vision of freeing and recruiting more powered young adults.

After subduing the Harbinger foundation personnel, Sting begins to explain to Natalie the situation and tells her to just trust him. Sting tells her to come with them which only drew more of Natalie’s ego along with skepticism. This reaction makes Faith think Natalie is not worth saving…

Quality

Imagine Iran invading America and causing terror like in this scene. Imagine Joe Biden and the Democrats allowing this to happen to Americans.

While the story was not crafted to follow-up closely on the events of issue #18, this comic book puts Sting and his teammates into a collision course with a new force of evil – the Iranians (note: issue #20 confirms their national identity) who have interests on specific young adults with powers and special abilities. Along the way, the Fontenot-Simpson team introduced a new sinister force in the form of a very manipulative Iranian named Kaliph.

Kaliph’s introduction here is easily the biggest feature of the story and he unsurprisingly overwhelms the debut of Natalie. Kaliph here works in service of his unidentified superiors and as he does his job, he uses his special ability of manipulating people’s minds through sight and sound to gain information, find directions, make them do his orders and gain access into places that he could never have had he been an ordinary person. By the end of the story, I was convinced that Kaliph was created to be an enduring or recurring villain for Sting and his team.

More on the primary characters of this monthly series, Sting and his teammates were portrayed to get more harbingers (powered young adults) to join them and become part of their long-term opposition against Toyo Harada and the Harbinger foundation, even though their own team lacks the resources needed to support themselves. The lack of resources was cleverly highlighted through Natalie’s reactions (related to her big ego) to what Sting’s team has for her to live with. Looking at the bigger picture going back to issue #1, Sting’s vision of defeating Harada and winning the trust of powered young adults without any solid foundation (specifically resources, connections and security) emphasize his recklessness and false sense of maturity as a team leader.

Conclusion

Kaliph and his companion arrive in America with a sinister plan.

In my view, Harbinger #19 (1993) is a solid change of direction for the monthly series complete with the introduction of a new, strong villain who originated from Iran which by today’s standards is the major force of terrorism in this world. The new villain Kaliph has a creepy aesthetic that other villains in this series lacked. More notably, the story remained consistently very engaging and pulled off some notable surprises which were indeed entertaining.

Overall, Harbinger #19 (1993) is highly recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Harbinger #18 (1993)

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 enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the early 1990s and explore a part of the Valiant Comics shared universe through the Harbinger monthly series.

In my previous retro review, some twists of events happened for Sting and his teammates during the Christmas season. The story was part of the continuing build-up and expansion of the Harbinger series’ own space within Valiant Comics’ shared universe under the direction of Maurice Fontenot. As of issue #17, another new character from outside of Sting’s group got introduced for them to interact with.     

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #18, published in 1993 by Valiant Comics with a story written by Maurice Fontenot and illustrated by Howard Simpson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins on January 1993. Within the city of New York, Faith, Shatiqua and Flamingo are being followed by a young man wearing a trench coat. They know they are being followed. They eventually found themselves just outside the same amusement joint where Shatiqua played a lot of arcade games and decide to enter.

Inside, many people recognized and greeted Shatiqua which reflects her outstanding reputation on arcade games. As Shatiqua, Faith and Kris approach a certain arcade game (that Shatiqua wants to play), they noticed the one playing it is the same little black boy (capable of disappearing) they encountered previously. Shatiqua then takes the first step to approach him and gain his attention.

The boy then disappears and reappears a short distance away from the three and right beside same trench coated man who earlier follow them. The boy then attempts to blow the place up with a hand grenade. The man in the trench coat reacts quickly revealing his power to Faith, Shatiqua and Flamingo.

Quality

Sting shows his ignorance and lack of maturity while getting checked by Dr. Hayward.

This is the latest build-up type of story Fontenot composed and like the previous issue, another new character unconnected to Sting’s team got introduced for them to interact with. The new character here is referred to as Screen and he clearly is a more interesting character than the one introduced in issue #17. Screen here is more impulsive and aggressive and he sure looks like he has what it takes to oppose Sting. I also liked the way the creative team showed the impulsiveness and lack of maturity of both Sting and Screen.

Within the script is the establishment of a new sub-plot which symbolizes the growing danger of the Harbinger foundation towards not only on Sting and teammates but also against the others that oppose Toyo Harada and his organization. In some ways, the sub-plot will make you speculate about the invisible yet sinister forces who wield tremendous power over the top government officials who are supposed to be serving their constituents within the republic.

With all of these details laid down, I can say they are all engaging to read as Fontenot’s writing continued to be really strong. For the art, I can say that Howard Simpson continued to pump out really solid visuals while successfully keeping the primary characters recognizable all the time.

Conclusion

This image is very symbolic as Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary made it normal for the United States to make deals with terrorists (notably Iran and Palestine) and betray the patriotic Americans. This makes this comic book socially relevant and what you see with the corrupt administration of Joe Biden reconnects strongly with the Clinton legacy.

Harbinger #18 (1993) is a very solid comic book to read. The build-up continues to happen and along the way, the titular characters got developed some more and this time around, the Harbinger foundation’s power continues to get stronger which convinced me to look forward to the next issue.   

Overall, Harbinger #18 (1993) is highly recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

Better than Streaming: Top Gun: Maverick 4K Blu-ray all set for November 1, 2022 release

Welcome back, fellow geeks, Blu-ray collectors and movie buffs! Whether you are a fan of Tom Cruise, or a fan of the 1986 classic Top Gun or if you want something new and exciting to add to your collection of 4K Blu-ray movies, November 1, 2022 will be an important for you as Top Gun: Maverick 4K Blu-ray will be released on that very day. Here are some good news…Top Gun: Maverick 4K Blu-ray will come with native 4K visuals and if you are convinced to go for it, you can order it in advance right now!

Top Gun: Maverick 4K Blu-ray cover.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the 4K Blu-ray announcement at Blu-ray.com. Some parts in boldface…

Paramount Home Media Distribution has officially announced that it will release on 4K Blu-ray and Blu-ray Joseph Kosinski’s Top Gun: Maverick (2022), starring Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, and Bashir Salahuddin. The two releases will be available for purchase on November 1.

Studio synopsis: Tom Cruise stars in the global phenomenon Top Gun: Maverick, the #1 film of 2022 with over $1.3 billion in worldwide box office and the highest grossing film of the producer/actor’s acclaimed career. Top Gun: Maverick has been hailed as “spectacular” (Brian Truitt, USA Today), “breathtaking” (Don Kaye, Den of Geek) and “jaw-dropping” (Sean O’Connell, Cinemablend).

After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. When he finds himself training a detachment of Top Gun graduates for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen, Maverick encounters Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), call sign: “Rooster,” the son of Maverick’s late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka “Goose.”

Posted below are the specs of Top Gun: Maverick 4K Blu-ray

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)

HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10

Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, 1.90:1

Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Audio

English: Dolby Atmos

English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Subtitles – English SDH, French

Discs – 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray Disc, Single disc (1 BD-100)

Digital – Digital copy included

Packaging – Slipcover in original pressing

Playback – 4K Blu-ray: Region free

As for the special features and technical specs, posted below are the details sourced from Blu-ray.com…

  • DOLBY VISION/HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
  • DOLBY ATMOS AUDIO TRACK
  • Cleared For Take Off—Witness the most intense film training program as the cast prepare themselves for filming while pulling multiple G’s in a fighter plane.
  • Breaking New Ground – Filming Top Gun: Maverick—Prepare to take flight as you go behind-the-scenes with the cast and crew of Top Gun: Maverick on a journey to capture the most spectacular aerial sequences ever!
  • A Love Letter To Aviation – Tom Cruise shares his passion for aviation as he pilots his own aircraft, a vintage World War II P-51 Mustang, which would have been the Top Gun aircraft of its day.
  • Forging The Darkstar – Pushing the limits beyond Mach-10, the future of aviation is unveiled through an impressive experimental aircraft specially designed for the movie.
  • Masterclass with Tom Cruise – Cannes Film Festival—Tom Cruise discusses his incredible career at the flagship event of the 75th Cannes Film Festival.
  • “Hold My Hand” – Lady Gaga Music Video—Watch Lady Gaga’s music video for her standout lead single hit on the Top Gun: Maverick soundtrack.
  • “I Ain’t Worried” – OneRepublic Music Video—Check out the music video to the original new song from OneRepublic.
  • Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One Teaser Trailer – We all share the same fate. Watch the official teaser trailer for Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One starring Tom Cruise. Coming to theatres 2023.

Top Gun: Maverick was released more than thirty years after its predecessor first came out. The 1986 Top Gun itself did not just make a tremendous amount of money in terms of ticket sales as it also made its mark in American pop culture complete with a memorable soundtrack and having notable actors like Val Kilmer, Michael Ironside (note: check out my retro review of V: The Final Battle plus my article about its Blu-ray release), Meg Ryan and Tim Robbins as supporting cast members. To know more about the 1986 classic, watch Oliver Harper’s in-depth retrospective by clicking here.

More on Top Gun: Maverick, the movie’s success during this COVID-19 pandemic age is astounding as it grossed past $1 billion worldwide and literally it reinvigorated movie theaters around the world! For context, posted below is an excerpt from a recent Forbes.com article regarding the theatrical success. Some parts in boldface…

Top Gun: Maverick’s exceptional success supplied a giant lifeline to theaters and cover for studios willfully underdelivering regular theatrical products in an uncommonly sparse summer. Top Gun: Maverick accounted for 23% of the domestic summer movie line-up. That is partially because it earned around $500 million more than even the rosiest projections.

Top Gun: Maverick also came with the benefits of advanced cinematography technologies and methods which made its flight scenes very pleasing to watch. Practical effects and daring flying methods were used which added to the organic nature of the movie’s visuals which is something that computer-generate imaging (CGI) cannot do. The production team also used IMAX cameras and if the movie is still playing in the near IMAX cinema near you, I encourage you to go watch it while you still have time.

Another notable thing about Top Gun: Maverick is that it defied the wokeness of Commiewood (Communist Hollywood) and emphasized American patriotism. For the newcomers reading this, be aware that there are many millions of socialists, Marxists, Communists and unpatriotic people among young people in America who were brainwashed by the socialists who worked as so-called educators in colleges. Take note from the excerpt posted below sourced from The Daily Mail. Some parts in boldface…

Top Gun is a straightforward action movie that celebrates all that is good about our country and our military.

Add to that the handsome leading men, a romantic drama with Cruise’s love interest Jennifer Connelly, and a new generation of actors and ‘pilots,’ like Miles Teller, and you have darn sequel.

There is also a really moving scene between Maverick and Iceman (Cruise and Val Kilmer) and I am woman enough to admit I cried through it.

But above all else — the movie isn’t overly political, it isn’t depressing, it isn’t focusing on the flaws of the United States of America and why we suck and why our flag and national anthem aren’t worth honoring.

The filmmakers also took a stand against the sickening Hollywood trend of pandering to the demands of the totalitarian Chinese government.

In the 1986 original movie, there is a patch depicting the Taiwanese flag on Maverick’s flight jacket. But during 2019 previews, the patch had been removed to alleged appease Chinese censors.

Movie-goers were happy to see the flag had been restored in the film — a signal that neither the filmmakers nor Cruise are content with being lapdogs to the Chinese regime.

I absolutely loved the movie and I felt good leaving the theatre that evening.

Hollywood must wake up to the reality that ‘go woke, go broke’ is real.

Considering its major achievements that go beyond ticket sales, Top Gun: Maverick is the modern-day entertainment marvel just waiting to be discovered by a lot more people who still have not seen it. Expect Top Gun: Maverick to be among the most wanted titles on Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray formats this coming Christmas shopping season. Watching the Tom Cruise-led movie in the cinemas, on 4K Blu-ray and Blu-ray is simply better than streaming.

Watch out for Top Gun: Maverick 4K Blu-ray on November 1, 2022.

In closing this Better than Streaming piece, posted below are Top Gun: Maverick-related videos and a few Top Gun videos for your viewing pleasure.

If you wish to join a group of movie enthusiasts and talk about cinema, visit the Movie Fans Worldwide Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/322857711779576

+++++

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. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

A Look Back at Harbinger #13 (1993)

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 enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the early 1990s and explore a part of the Valiant Comics shared universe through the Harbinger monthly series.

In my previous retro review, Sting, Faith, Kris, Flamingo and newcomer Shatiqua pursued a mission recklessly with revenge over the death of Torque as the main motivator. That story symbolically shows that the boundary between good and evil has been blurred away as Sting and his team just kept on pursuing their goals disregarding the rule of law and committing acts that make them no different from the sinister Harbinger Foundation. In some ways, Sting himself is gradually becoming as evil and abusive as his target (and former mentor) – Toyo Harada.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #13, published in 1993 by Valiant Comics with a story written and drawn by David Lapham.

The cover that closely imitates the iconic image of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns.

Early story

The story begins with Faith flying high above the streets of New York City talking to herself as she enjoys the flight as well as the flight of fantasy in her mind. After discreetly landing in an alley, she bumps into a man as she moves into the city sidewalk. Two other men could not help but laugh at what they just saw.

The man Faith bumped into gets mad, grabs her by the shirt and pulls out a knife. Suddenly, an old man comes out of nowhere and threatens the knife-wielding man which in turn prevented Faith from getting hurt. Upon realizing a lot of people are around them and watching, the knife-wielding man and his two companions move away.

The old man then befriends Faith. She thanks him for his help…

Quality

Faith and the old man.

As I expected another Harbinger tale about Sting and his team going up against Harada’s foundation, I can say that this comic book surprised me in a rather delightful way. To be clear, this is a story mainly focused on Faith and under Lapham’s direction, readers will see her personality emphasized more than ever and what she is capable of with not just her special abilities but also with how she deals with problems.

The good news here is that the writing by Lapham is solid. Faith is clearly the comic book geek among her teammates and to see her work inside a comic book store in the city is amusing as her portrayal captures how comic book fans react when they see something really fascinating or special among the many printed materials displayed. It should be noted that Faith’s independence is nicely portrayed and she has her own way of dealing with the harshness of reality without ever letting her personal obsession with entertainment overwhelm her reasoning. The ironic thing about Faith’s view of life around her is that she does not show any regrets about the crimes the she and her teammates committed.

Those who are looking for superhero spectacle will find something gritty and short with regards to Faith. Adding further zest in this comic book are fantasized excerpts from a particular comic book Faith reads in the story.

Conclusion

Faith working inside the comic book store.

Harbinger #13 (1993) is a very surprising read that clearly delivered a good bout of fun. Its main attraction is Faith herself and this comic book has the most in-depth development of her character to date. Through her, comic book readers will have something to resonate with when it comes to comic book culture and geek interests. Ultimately, David Lapham succeeded in defining Faith and telling a solid Harbinger tale mainly focused on her. In some ways, this comic book is like a relief from all the tension built up on the rivalry between Sting’s team and the Harbinger Foundation. That being said, this comic book is no filler and it fits right in the monthly series.

Overall, Harbinger #13 (1993) is highly recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Harbinger #10 (1992)

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 enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the early 1990s and explore a part of the Valiant Comics shared universe through the Harbinger monthly series.

In my previous retro review, Sting, Faith, Kris and Flaming were still on a faraway world as the Unity crossover storyline went on. Things really changed drastically for Kris as she gave birth to a baby boy whose father was none other than the late Torque. Sting, who is still living with the false sense of maturity, dedicates himself to Kris (whom he fornicated a lot with by this time) and their child even though he still had parts to do in the middle of the destructive battles with Erica Pierce.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #10, published in 1992 by Valiant Comics with a story written by Jim Shooter and drawn by David Lapham. This comic book marks takes place after the end of Unity.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins on April 5, 1992, at 1:15 AM. Sting, Kris, Faith and Flamingo are instantly brought back into the home of Dr. Heyward and his family. Sting finds himself disoriented from the travel while Kris, who no longer has her baby by this point, feels very weak and hot.

The next morning outdoors, Sting meets with Dr. Heyward and reveals to him that he and his three female companions were away for about six months. For Dr. Heyward and everyone else, not too much time passed at all. To help him understand their experiences during Unity, Sting puts several images and memories into Dr. Heyward’s mind. When asked by the doctor what happened to Kris’ baby, Sting claims he does not know at all.

Meanwhile from somewhere, someone is using electronic surveillance…

Quality

This private scene of Sting, Kris, Flamingo and Faith eerily reminds me of some 1980s Hollywood movies about teenagers.

From a storytelling viewpoint, the wild fantasy that was Unity which had Sting and his team spend time with other major figures of Valiant Comics has indeed ended and this comic book smoothly follows their return to Earth, the sudden shift of their living and keeping up with reality. As such, you will get to see Sting, Faith, Flamingo and Kris think and act like teenagers which is a notable change of presentation after seeing them as nomads during their time in Unity.

Normalcy of living is a clear theme explored in this story and Jim Shooter really had the characters and events move on while being grounded in reality. In relation to that, there is this really dramatic scene between Kris and Sting as they talked about their relationship and what happened to the baby. The said scene was only seven panels long but you can see and feel the emotion flow through the two characters.

With the massive conflict of Unity over, Sting and his team start pursuing a new goal – to find other young super-powered beings like themselves before Toyo Harada and his powerful Harbinger organization make another move. Along the way, a new form of opposition awaits Sting, Faith, Flamingo and Kris. What was told in this comic book is engaging and refreshing to read.

Conclusion

Nothing like being at home after spending many months away even though time on Earth did not move too much.

When you think about the high-quality stories Jim Shooter wrote for the Harbinger monthly series, Harbinger #10 (1992) is clearly another winner. The portrayal of the powered teenagers is believable and very notably, the creators left space for some superhero spectacle for readers to be entertained with as Sting and his teammates start pursuing their new goal. Of course, the new pursuit happened after Sting, Faith, Flamingo and Kris tackled reality first as they returned from spending many months away in Unity while time on Earth moved forward very little. How Jim Shooter and David Lapham managed to emphasize their new story concepts while remaining tight and strong with the storytelling is indeed amazing. I should also state that this comic book marks the start of a new chapter for Sting, Faith, Flamingo and Kris.

Overall, Harbinger #10 (1992) is highly recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at What If #47 (1993)

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 enthusiasts, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts, Marvel Comics fans and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the year 1993 and explore a part of Marvel Comics’ universe through the reimagined tales emphasized in the What If monthly series.

Back in 2021, I reviewed What If #46 (1993) which told a compelling story about division between the mutants, the clash of beliefs between Professor X and Cable, and how terrorism affects everyone. The comic book was also a mesmerizing portrayal of how the X-Men would have organized themselves without Charles Xavier, Jean Grey and Cyclops.

Considering all the chaos that happened in What If #46 (1993), the time was just right for Magneto – the X-Men’s most dangerous enemy of all time – to come in and make an impact not only on mutants but on the world.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at What If #47, published in 1993 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Kurt Busiek and drawn by Tod Smith.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Magneto leading a huge legion of mutants to take overwhelm the remaining resistance – including Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Captain America, the Avengers and the dedicated American soldiers – in Washington, D.C.

A fierce battle then took place with both sides hitting each other hard. After noticing Magneto’s lack of presence during the battle, Captain America then realizes that the long-time enemy of the X-Men took advantage of the fighting to penetrate the U.S. Capitol’s bomb shelters and got the nation’s leaders hostage. After easing some of his fellow heroes, Captain America decides not to escalate the fight against Magneto in consideration of the lives of America’s top officials…

Quality

A recap of the events in issue #46.

To begin with, I can say that this story is a well-planned follow-up to the events of issue #46. While Magneto’s presence has been magnified a lot here, there are still strong story connections to the previous issue.

With regards to what was emphasized on the front cover of the comic book, this story explores what would happen if Magneto took power to control the entire United States while leading a group of mutants with a platform focused on crushing anti-mutant racism even though it includes pushing the non-mutant people (which is the great majority of America’s people) as well as the dissenting mutants out of the way.

For one thing, this superhero fantasy concept is actually socially relevant with today’s geopolitics and the way America has turned out under the fake leadership of Joe Biden (who is NOT leading as US President but only following the modern-day American Communists and reckless SJWs dictating him to do their evil bidding. Biden also arrogantly denies reality when it goes against the desires of his administration and his Satanic Democrats) It should be noted that the US President visualized in this comic book eerily looks like Joe Biden complete with that absent-minded facial expression.

Next, a clear theme in this What If story is absolute power and why groups who crave for it would sacrifice so much and hurt others just to acquire it. Magneto, who carries deep hatred towards people he perceives to be obstacles or opposition for his quest of uplifting mutants, takes advantage of mutants who have lost hope and are depending on someone to lead them. Indeed, the long-time X-Men nemesis gains power to control America but finds himself facing a new force of opposition which leads the nation into a drastic series of change that clearly do not alight with his vision of a better future for mutants.

Still on the theme of absolute power, the US government in this story was portrayed to have developed technologies designed to overwhelm its citizens, as well as the means to establish infrastructure and protocols to transform America into an automated dictatorial state that enslaves its citizens and violate their rights without restraint. Once again, this aspect of the story makes it socially relevant.  

Considering the epic concept and the dark turn of events the creative team prepared, this comic book does not have a clear good-versus-evil approach but rather it emphasizes chaos that comes with the pursuit and abuse of absolute power over the nation. You will see key elements from the classic X-Men storyline Days of Future Past here in relation to America’s deformation.

Conclusion

Wow! The US President in this comic book eerily looks so much like Joe Biden whose leadership led America into a lot of problems and hardship. Sky high inflation is just one of the problems that happened under Biden.

What If #47 (1993) is truly a very captivating read mainly because of its core concept which goes way beyond the scenario of Magneto taking control of America. Considering its portrayal of America and the exploration of dark themes about people getting overwhelmed by power abusers, the story is a warning about the fall of America told in superhero fantasy form. Considering the intense social degradation that rocked America the past few years (note: riots by the Black Lives Matter terrorists, SJWs disturbing the peace, Democrats allowing more illegal immigrants into the country, socialists in colleges continuing to brainwash students and more), this story is very socially relevant. It will keep you thinking and reflecting deeply, even if you strongly desire whatever superhero entertainment you seek in this comic book.

Overall, What If #47 (1993) is highly recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Harbinger #7 (1992)

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 enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the early 1990s and explore a part of the Valiant Comics shared universe through the Harbinger monthly series.

In my previous retro review, Sting, his teammates and Solar left the Harbinger facility in Texas after having an intense talk. As far as Solar is concerned, Sting is dangerous and irresponsible. He also advises the powered teenagers to abandon their mission of crushing Toyo Harada. As soon as Solar leaves, Sting decides to lead his teammates back to the Harbinger facility to resume their quest without any real preparation nor analysis. This led to a series of unfortunate events.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #7, published in 1992 by Valiant Comics with a story written by Jim Shooter and drawn by David Lapham.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins late one evening on a road in Louisiana. Sting, Kris, Faith and Flamingo are agonizing over the sight of Torque who was just been killed by an insider while inside an ambulance.

As Flamingo starts the model prayer, Sting reveals to them that he was inside Torque’s mind and witnessed him bidding goodbye. As the police suddenly arrive, Sting and his teammates quickly climb up a tree and watched from a distance. As the cops check on the wreckage and Torque’s dead body, Sting says that the ambulance was probably registered to Eight Day or some phony front for Harbinger. Faith, Sting, Flamingo and Kris discreetly fly away to get some rest and reorganize themselves.

Elsewhere, a team of powered young adults receive much-needed assistance from the Eight Day crew and truck that arrived. They have a few teammates who got seriously injured during their battle with Sting’s team. Harada’s limousine arrives and the head of Harbinger talks with Weasel and Rock. While the two young adult tell Harada they eliminated Torque whom they identified as priority number two, the powerful boss tells them of their personal weak points and that they lost their focus on eliminating Sting who is the number one priority as he is perceived to be the greatest threat to Harbinger. Harada declares Weasel and Rock placed on probation…  

Quality

Sting and his team commit another crime for the sake of their departed friend Torque.

The best way to describe this story is that it is essentially the aftermath of the hard battles they went through in issues #5 and #6. The main theme in this comic book is the loss of a friend (as opposed to the loss of a super human) and Jim Shooter used the loss to redevelop the main characters in varying ways. That being said, Shooter showed what the false sense of maturity among teenagers is like and why such young people lose self-control and let their emotions overwhelm their ability to reason. The pain of Torque’s death conveniently kept Sting, Faith, Flamingo and Kris from feeling any guilt about the crimes they committed (as seen in issue #2) as their leader’s obsession with beating Harada remained unchallenged. For those who love dramatics, the funeral scene is a must-see.

Apart from the story of Sting and his teammates, this comic book sheds light further on the Harbinger foundation’s use of powered young adults who were trained to use violence without any regret nor restraint. In relation to this, I find the dialogue of Toyo Harada during his interaction with Weasel and Rock to be richly layered as it emphasizes his authority and insight about priorities as well as his own in-depth knowledge on each member of his personnel. This makes Harada even more intimidating as this series’ primary super villain.

Conclusion

The impact of Torque’s death is felt strongly.

While it lacks spectacle as it was focused more on character development related to the loss of an established main character, Harbinger #7 (1992) is a dramatic character study that was compelling to read from start to finish. While the previous few issues subtly showed that the boundary between good and evil was blurred away, this comic book dramatized Sting, Faith, Flamingo and Kris to be more human and emotional. The death of Torque in the previous issue really showed its impact on his teammates realistically. Readers who enjoy dramatics will enjoy this.

Overall, Harbinger #7 (1992) is highly recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Harbinger #5 (1992)

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 enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the early 1990s and explore a part of the Valiant Comics shared universe through the Harbinger monthly series.

In my previous retro review, Peter/Sting, Kris, Faith/Zephyr, Charlene/Flamingo and John/Torque plus Ax returned from space. Due to his traitorous act against them, Ax was dropped by the team with a sense of rejection. It turns out, months had passed by on Earth which really shocked Sting and his teammates.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #5, published in 1992 by Valiant Comics with a story written by Jim Shooter and Janet Jackson, and drawn by David Lapham.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins on March 5, 1992 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Sting, Fatih, Flamingo, Kris and Torque are on vacation together. With hours to spare before having a group dinner, the team decide to split up and have fun discovering the local places individually.

That evening, while having a nice dinner together, Kris notices Sting looking tense. Sting reveals that he senses the presence of Toyo Harada and moments later, he and his teammates saw the TV news about the terrible explosion on a building in Dallas, Texas.

Over at the airport in Dallas, Toyo Harada arrives from Louisiana. He and his personnel travel together to the site of the explosion…

Quality

Harada arrives in Dallas, Texas.

I really liked the story here. Without spoiling the plot, the writers crafted a tale about a major incident that affected not only Sting and his teammates but also the Harbinger foundation  (including Toyo Harada himself) and even Valiant’s major figure Solar. Along the way, the creative team slightly expanded the lore of Harbinger within Valiant’s shared comic book universe further (specifically through the Harbinger foundation) before the crossover with Solar happened.

The story started in a really interesting way. I really enjoyed the way Sting, Faith, Kris, Torque and Flamingo were portrayed when they were not doing any superhero-related stuff as they enjoyed their vacation New Orleans. That being said, I felt like I was watching scenes of American teenagers from the 1980s movies written or directed by John Hughes. The scene in which Faith surprised Torque in the city zoo was amusing and believable to read.

Conclusion

Flamingo, Kris, Torque and Faith on vacation in New Orleans.

With a fine balance of spectacle, characterization, exposition and the obvious crossover with Solar, Harbinger #5 (1992) is yet another solid Valiant comic book to read. The progression of the development of Sting and his teammates moved forward some more while simultaneously building up the presence of the Harbinger foundation as the most antagonistic non-military organization in the entire Valiant comic book universe of the era. This is a must-read!

Overall, Harbinger #5 (1992) is highly recommended!

+++++

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 as well as making a donation to support my publishing. 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

I Love Israel: Israeli Ambassador Fluss discussed key topics with Philippine Press Secretary Cruz-Angeles

Almost two weeks have passed since Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. formally took office as President of the Philippines. Before Marcos’ inauguration took place, Israel’s Ambassador to the Philippines met with him and there was hope that the ties between the two nations will keep on getting stronger and more cooperation will happen.

In recent times, Ambassador Fluss officially interacted with the Marcos administration by meeting with Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles and discussed matters related to Israel-Philippines ties, according to a recent article by the Manila Bulletin.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin article. Some parts in boldface…

Israeli Ambassador Ilan Fluss and Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles met to discuss possible collaboration projects, including the sharing of Israel’s knowledge in delivering news and information to remote areas in the Philippines.

In their meeting held on Friday, July 8, Fluss talked about their efforts in delivering news and information to far-flung areas in Israel.

The ambassador presented to Angeles and her team Israel’s expertise in cybersecurity, digital diplomacy, and media tech for faster and more comprehensive delivery of news and information in the remote areas in the Philippines.

“As a global hub of innovation, Israel is committed to building bridges of innovation between our nations,” it said.

The two officials, according to the embassy, also “discussed possible collaboration and ways to strengthen the embassy’s connection with the office (of press secretary) in sharing the initiatives and partnerships between Israel and the Philippines.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. recently reverted the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and its attached agencies to the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS).

Part of its functions is to develop and implement necessary guidelines and mechanisms for delivering and disseminating information on policies, programs, official activities, and achievements of the President and the Executive Branch.

This recent development is only the beginning of a new chapter of Israel-Philippines ties with President Marcos and his administration who will be governing until mid-2028. Ambassador Fluss’ meeting with the Press Secretary is something we must be thankful to God for.

If you truly believe in Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God the Heavenly Father wholeheartedly and you continue to be faithful (not religious), you should be aware that Christians are meant to stand united with Israel, love the Jewish people and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. You can do your part supporting Israel by donating to Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Do not forget to read the Holy Bible, then pray in tongues to the Lord in the privacy of your room with the door shut.

Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! Always stand in support of Israel and pray for President Marcos and all the other government officials who recently took office. Pray also for Israel as their national government is quickly and literally approaching a new crossroad and they also are facing foreign opposition in the forms of a geographic rival and wicked North American mainstream media.

In ending this I Love Israel piece, posted below are Israel-related videos for your viewing pleasure and enlightenment.

+++++

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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

A Look Back at Harbinger #3 (1992)

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 enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the early 1990s and explore a part of the Valiant Comics shared universe through the Harbinger monthly series.

In my previous retro review, Peter/Sting, Kris, Faith/Zephyr, Charlene/Flamingo and John/Torque not only found a place to stay in thanks to a really generous doctor, they went ahead infiltrating the top secret facility of the Harbinger foundation which also brought them face-to-face with the leader. At this stage, Sting and his team have established their purpose not just for survival but to achieve something they believe is right.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #3, published in 1992 by Valiant Comics with a story written by Jim Shooter and drawn by David Lapham.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins at 9:20 AM of July 6, 1991 inside the fine summer home of Dr. Heyward. As Sting tells his teammates that they have to move to catch a flight, Faith (wearing her superhero costume) flies through to find Kris and Torque. She finds the two of them seated next together with Kris having her two hands on Torque.

Meanwhile, Flamingo fixes her face as Sting talks to her. She rejects his declaration that she is a part of their team and reveals that Torque does not care about her. Flamingo considers herself as just another hosebag. Sting then tries to lift her up by telling her that she has to take care of herself and that she is part of their team.

Sting, Faith, Flamingo, Kris and Torque then leave for the airport in a brand new vehicle they just bought (having used the money they stole from Harbinger). Their vehicle flies off to the airport with Sting on the driver’s seat…

Quality

Sting, his teammates and newcomer Ax in the heat of action.

Without spoiling the plot, I can say that the story in this comic book got even wilder than I anticipated. The high intensity of wild turnout of events in issue #2 do not even come close to what was told right here. At the same time, this particular story clearly showed this comic book series’ own place within the literary universe of Valiant Comics and anyone who read XO-Manowar comics of this particular era will instantly recognize the recurring creatures (opposition elements) from outer space.

As expected, the character development of the main characters progressed smoothly revealing some amusing character moments that I found interesting and other times amusing. As Sting continues to act with a sense of leadership as well as a false sense of maturity, you will get to see more of Kris providing him analytical and personal support.

The dialogue in this comic book was written to be more dynamic and this is highlighted in the scene in which Sting and his teammates discuss what to do with their new team objective, and what to do with the computer hacker Ax who has shown Harbinger potential. That being said, Jim Shooter carefully crafted the dialogue to reflect how American teenagers in the late 1980s and early 1990s expressed themselves.

When it comes to superhero spectacle, there is a lot to enjoy here. Action scenes and the use of special abilities or super powers were executed at a moderate pace yet they were intense to look at. Each of the main characters had his/her own share of the spotlight even as the spectacle moved.

Conclusion

Meet Ax, the guy who specializes on cracking and hacking.

Harbinger #3 (1992) is a very engaging story to read which was balanced with a good amount of spectacle, nice character moments and the wildest turn of events so far in this particular comic book series. On face value, this comic book’s core concept (which involves a lot of science fiction elements) seemed over-the-top but Jim Shooter and David Lapham succeeded in telling a story that is believable and at the same time fun. It is also within this comic book that readers will get to see more of the Valiant Comics universe elements without the need of a crossover or a cameo appearance of an established Valiant hero. This is definitely the tale of Sting and his team that was simply taken into a much higher flight of fantasy. That being said, I am looking forward to the next issue.

Overall, Harbinger #3 (1992) is highly recommended!

+++++

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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/