A Look Back at Exiles #2 (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 mid-1990s which was a really wild time for comic collectors. To be more specific, this newest retro comic book review revisits Ultraverse through the very short series titled Exiles.

It has been years since I reviewed Exiles #1 (1993). Since after, I reviewed a lot of Ultraverse comic books and went through notable storylines such as the Atalon Saga in UltraForce, the Hostile Takeover in Prototype, The Solution, The Night Man and Solitaire, and more. That being said, it was just right that I returned to Exiles for retro reviewing.

With those details laid down, here is a look back Exiles #2, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Gerber and drawn by Robb Phipps.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Exiles members Catapult and Mustang staring at two bodies (a large man and a lady) on the floor. It turns out their mission was a failure as Timmy Halloran (the young guy they tried to save) went missing while his mother just died.

As soon as the two step out of the house feeling bad about their failure, they suddenly find themselves confronted by several police officers. Police cars and a helicopter have surrounded the place. Just as Catapult and Mustang turned themselves in, the large man named Bruut suddenly regains consciousness and attacks the police.

The police officers respond by firing several bullets at Bruut which slowed him down. After noticing that Bruut was only regaining his strength, the two Exile members made their moves before the large man strikes the police…

Quality

Inside the headquarters of Exiles. Ghoul’s mentioning of Prime and Hardcase seems to foreshadow his eventual part in UltraForce.

As expected, the storytelling in this comic book really progressed and paid off some of the build-up that happened in issue #1. Here, the conflict between the Exiles and the enhanced forces of business tycoon Victor Kort got clearly defined and what they have in common other than having enhanced beings is their pursuit of individuals who carry within their bodies the Theta virus which unlocks unexpected powers or capabilities. Such developments could impact the people and the world around them when left unguarded or deliberately developed with assistance of guidance.

Amber, who was a key figure in issue #1, appears much less in this comic book but her purpose with the Exiles gets more elaborated. The lack of spotlight on Amber is not surprising as the creators had to emphasize the conflict between the titular team and Kort’s forces while also introducing Timmy Halloran as a new Theta-carrying individual.

There is a good amount of superhero spectacle here and along the way, the dialogue is good and got witty as well. By the time I reached the end, I found myself anticipating what would come next in issue #3.

Conclusion

The two Exiles members take on Bruut right in the presence of police officers.

Exiles #2 (1993) is a worthy follow-up to its predecessor and the creators succeeded in making the conflict more engaging while cleverly releasing new details that defined what is at stake and what could follow. In retrospect, Amber Hunt later became a key figure in the 2-part Break-Thru crossover storyline (which was memorably drawn by the late George Perez) and the story here defined how much impact super beings can have on societies filled with mostly people who don’t have super powers or special talents. The conflict between the Exiles and Kort’s forces not only got emphasized a lot, their respective agendas and resources are also well defined.

Overall, Exiles #2 (1993) is 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 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/

Singapore selected as host of the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in 2029

As the 31st Southeast Asian Games (AKA the 31st SEA GamesSEA Games 31 and Hanoi 2021) in Vietnam go on, it has been announced officially by the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) and Sport Singapore that the island city-state of Singapore (population: over 5 million) will host the 35th edition of the Southeast Asian Games in the year 2029, according to an article published by The Straits Times.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from The Straits Times report. Some parts in boldface…

The Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) and Sport Singapore announced in a joint-statement on Thursday (May 12) that the Republic will host the 2029 edition of the Games – 14 years after it was last held in Singapore.

Members of the SEA Games Federation had accepted Singapore’s interest in hosting the biennial event – the largest multi-sports competition in the region – at a meeting in Hanoi, they added.

Thailand and Malaysia will host the 2025 and 2027 editions respectively. The current Games – the 31st edition – is currently being held in Hanoi after it was delayed from 2021 due to the pandemic.

SNOC president Tan Chuan-Jin, who is in the Vietnamese capital, said: “We are pleased to host the prestigious regional sporting event in Singapore again. The SEA Games holds special memories and experiences for Singapore and our South-east Asian neighbours. The camaraderie and rivalry we share are distinct and Singapore is once again happy to organise the 35th SEA Games to relive these moments.”

The 2029 Games will be the fifth time Singapore is organising the event after playing host in 1973, 1983, 1993 and 2015, when its athletes delivered their best performance ever – a haul of 84 gold, 73 silver and 102 bronze medals – to finish second behind Thailand in the medal tally, a feat not achieved since the 1975 Bangkok South-east Asian Peninsular Games.

Over 7,000 athletes and officials from 11 countries participated in the 2015 Games, which featured 402 events across 36 sports.

Hosting of the June 5-16 Games was then budgeted to cost $324.5 million, with the eventual net cost reported to be $60.4 million below that amount.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong said hosting the Games will give local athletes an opportunity to enjoy “strong home ground support”.

He added: “The spirit of the SEA Games can also bring Singaporeans from all walks of life together, to cheer and rally behind our athletes, and strengthen our national unity.

“Following the successful hosting of the 2015 SEA Games, we are confident that the 35th SEA Games in 2029 can be another defining moment for Singaporeans and also an opportunity to showcase our hospitality, and tighten bonds with our South-east Asian neighbours.”

If you are interested in visiting Singapore, watch the videos below…

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to the selection of Singapore as the host of the SEA Games in 2029? Have you been to Singapore before?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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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 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/

Mangrobang wins another gold medal for the Philippines at the 31st SEA Games!

The Philippines got a much-needed boost in the medal tally of the ongoing 31st Southeast Asian Games (AKA the 31st SEA Games, SEA Games 31 and Hanoi 2021) in Vietnam as the region’s reigning triathlon queen Marion Kim Mangrobang pulled off another gold medal victory in the women’s duathlon event today. To put things in perspective, this is the second straight gold medal Mangrobang won for the nation and the duathlon event for women happened just a day after the women’s triathlon took place. That being said, what she achieved for the nation – double gold medals in back-to-back multisport events – is nothing short of amazing!

The official race results of the SEA Games women’s duathlon showed that Mangrobang finished the grueling 10 kilometer run – 40Km bike – 5Km run event in 2 hours, 13 minutes and 12 seconds, securing the gold medal for the Philippines. The silver medal went to Tahira Najmunisaa Muhammad Zaid of Malaysia who finished 2:14:22 while Indonesia’s Zahra Putri Bulan Aprillia grabbed the bronze clocking 2:14:49. Mangrobang’s teammate Alexandra Ganzon finished 8th with a time of 2:23:09.

Kim Mangrobang’s SEA Games women’s duathlon gold medal victory acknowledged. (photo source – Philippine Olympic Committee Facebook page)

Looking at the individual times, Mangrobang had the 2nd fastest time in the 10Km run leg and went on to complete the 40Km bike leg in 1:09:51. Mangrobang excelled in the 5Km run leg clocking 19:51 which was enough to secure the first-place victory. None of her competitors finished the 5Km run in less than 20 minutes.

Kim Mangrobang’s double-gold accomplishments this weekend helped the Philippines a lot in the ongoing SEA Games. As such, she has established herself as the reigning queen of triathlon and duathlon in the entire Southeast Asian region. On social media, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) acknowledged the newly won women’s duathlon gold medal as the 14th gold the country won as of this writing. What Mangrobang achieved here will be remembered for a very long time and it is worth recording in the history of Philippine sports, Philippine triathlon and the SEA Games itself.

As I mentioned in my previous article, the next edition of the Southeast Asian Games will be held in Cambodia next year already. The 32nd SEA Games (marketed as Cambodia 2023) already has triathlon, duathlon and aquathlon among its official events. That being said, Kim Mangrobang’s reign as Southeast Asia’s best female triathlete and duathlete will last until the next SEA Games happen. If you want to learn more about Mangrobang, read my feature article of her by clicking here.

Going back to the ongoing SEA Games’ duathlon, the Philippines almost won a medal in the men’s duathlon event according to the race results published. John Chicano finished 4th timing 1:57:50. He was just 14 seconds behind the bronze medalist Jauhari Johan of Indonesia. The gold and silver medals were won by the respective duathletes of Vietnam (1:55:58) and Indonesia (1:56:12). Chicano’s teammate Raymond Torio Molano finished 6th with a time of 1:59:49. Those who want to learn more about Chicano – who won the 2019 SEA Games men’s triathlon gold medal and was the top Philippine finisher in the recent Subic Bay International Triathlon – read my feature of him by clicking here.

To view the SEA Games women’s duathlon official race results, click https://triathlon.org/results/result/2022_hanoi_south_east_asian_games._duathlon/559070

To view the SEA Games men’s duathlon official race results, click https://triathlon.org/results/result/2022_hanoi_south_east_asian_games._duathlon/559069

Now that the triathlon and duathlon events of the 31st SEA Games are officially over, the Philippines won a total of 3 gold medals, 1 silver medal and 1 bronze. Fer Casares and Kim Mangrobang’s gold-medal accomplishments (plus the respective medal victories of Andrew Kim Remolino and Raven Faith Alcoseba) in Vietnam made that clear the Philippines is the best in Southeast Asia in the sport of triathlon until the next SEA Games happen in Cambodia. On duathlon, the Philippines is the best in Southeast Asia among the women while Vietnam is the best in the region among the men.

Considering what the Philippines achieved in the multisport events in Vietnam, we should all be thankful to the Lord for the victories. I encourage you all to congratulate our nation’s best multisport athletes as well as their coaches, the local triathlon officials, the supporters and other stakeholders who helped made the SEA Games events and participation push through.

In closing this post, posted below are two translations of Philippian 4:13 from the Holy Bible which should enlighten you about victory, achievements and accomplishments. Once again, praise and thank the Lord for the triathlon, duathlon and other sports victories the Philippines achieved in the 31st SEA Games.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].

Philippians 4:13 (AMPC)

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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 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 Break-Thru #2 (1994)

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 mid-1990s which was a really wild time for comic collectors. To be more specific, this newest retro comic book review revisits the conclusion of the epic Ultraverse storyline Break-Thru which was illustrated by the late George Perez (1954-2022). I encourage you readers – especially long-time fans of the iconic illustrator – to check out my commemorative article about George Perez by clicking here.

For the newcomers reading this, Break-Thru was a 2-part storyline that creatively involved almost all the main characters of the Ultraverse (The Strangers, Mantra, Prime, Prototype, Freex, The Solution, Hardcase, Sludge, Solitaire and others) who got impacted in varied ways by Amber (of the Exiles) who floated high in the air causing chaos on societies below. Specifically, that was the concept of Break-Thru #1 (1993) and issue #2 has the story continuing with a setting in outer space with the moon as the key destination.

With those details laid down, here is a look back Break-Thru #2, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story scripted by Gerard Jones (plotted by Mike W. Barr, Steve Englehart, Steve Gerber, James Hudnall, Tom Mason, George Perez, James Robinson and Len Strazewski) and illustrated by the late George Perez.

An epic cover by the late George Perez.

Early story

The story begins at the surface of the moon with Hardcase, Choice and the members of The Solution who just survived the explosion (connected with Hardcase #7 and The Solution #4) of the flying saucer they used on their journey. Nearby, the people responsible for the destruction are riding their own flying saucer, scanning the surface of the moon searching for an entity.

Behind the scenes, the very hidden yet powerful Rex Mundi watches and tells Gate that other ultras are seeking the entity. As the saucer floats to a cave detecting the presence of the entity, the occupants get shaken as Prime hits them hard. Prime tells himself that the entity in the cave feels danger from the searchers and he has to protect it as he has been connected with it (refer to Prime #7). After getting blasted in retaliation by the saucer, Prime finds himself hit even more as Rex Mundi’s enforcers suddenly come out of a portal very near him.  

From a distance, Mantra (refer to Mantra #6) sees the fight happening and needs a life force to survive. Elsewhere, Hardcase, Choice and The Solution witness the arrival of a space shuttle. The Strangers and Prototype (refer to The Strangers #7 and Prototype #5) come out together…

Quality

This is classic George Perez presentation of action and characters using multiple panels in a single page.

Starting with the writing, I should mention that all the writers who were involved in plotting this comic book as well as the previous issue should be commended for their combined efforts on making the Break-Thru storyline happen complete with in-universe ramifications, developments and connections to almost all the monthly comic books via the Break-Thru tie-in issue (also check out Sludge #3, Freex #6, Solitaire #2 and Night Man #3). Clearly Break-Thru was planned to be a major turning point of the Ultraverse by involving and mixing most of the major characters together and have them struggle with tremendous obstacles they simply cannot ignore as the stakes were indeed too high.

More on this comic book, the major conflict was set on the moon which proved to be a very unique setting not just for dynamic battles to happen but also to serve as the place where a mysterious and powerful entity is hidden. When it comes to the story, the entity (more science fictional in concept) is mysterious and cleverly not blatantly evil. It is its mysteriousness that makes the entity a worthy force to have the UV’s heroes come after.

The writers added depth to the plot by showing Yrial of The Strangers and Prototype each having their own vested interests to get to the entity and acquire whatever it has that is valuable. At the same time, Mantra and Prime each discovered valuable knowledge about the entity that impacted their perceptions about their purpose as beings with super powers.

Mantra, Prime, The Solution, Hardcase and Choice.

While the story here still has so many characters expressing themselves and releasing expository information, the narrative is a little bit easier to understand and follow compared to issue #1 (which had a lot more information to release via exposition). That being said, the scenes of spectacle became more enjoyable to read and along the way there were some notable character moments to look at.

Visually, this is unsurprisingly a great looking comic book as it was illustrated by the late George Perez. What I love most about Perez’s art style and visual presentation are all here: high details on each character drawn as well as their surroundings, the dynamic approach on setting up the panels on each page, fantastic looking superhero action, and much more! As with Break-Thru #1 and other Ultraverse comic books drawn by Perez, this one is absolutely great to look at and it easily lifts up the visual/artistic quality of the UV and its heroes. As George Perez was involved in the plot of this comic book, the narrative was never overwhelmed by his great art and the artist really exerted a lot of effort on visualizing each and every one of the established UV characters (including the supporting characters).

Speaking of the established characters, I should state that Perez made Mantra’s face (with mask) look a bit more realistic and feminine while Kevin Green has a more convincing teenage boy look, Sludge looks a bit more creepier and Yrial looks visually identical to the way Rick Hoberg draws her. When it comes to the varied physiques of each established UV hero, Perez captured them all perfectly. Clearly the late artist did his research on every character.

Conclusion

The first physical encounter between Prime and Hardcase. Remember this before reading the UltraForce comics.

Break-Thru #2 (1994) is truly an epic Ultraverse story that also worked as a major turning point of the UV as a whole. Compared to other epic superhero stories that Marvel and DC Comics published, Break-Thru is not the usual large gathering of superheroes who have to work together to defeat an evil force that threatens everyone’s existence. It is more about the UV heroes getting together to solve major obstacles before reaching the main destination. By the time I reached the end of this comic book (and its storyline), I experienced great satisfaction not just from Break-Thru itself but also in relation to how the Ultraverse heroes realized what they are living for and what their respective purposes really are about. What also happened in this comic book explains why jumpstart events happened on Earth. Very clearly, this was an epic story that was planned early and even though this was published just months after the Ultraverse first debuted, the characters were developed enough to make Break-Thru’s concepts sensible and acceptable. There is a lot of fun and engagement in this comic book drawn by the late George Perez (who also worked on DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths and Marvel’s The Infinity Gauntlet).

Overall, Break-Thru #2 (1994) 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 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 wonderful lunch at Gourmet Garage Subic

When I arrived in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone just a day before the 2022 Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT) took place, I was very hungry as I left home very early without any breakfast and I was not able to stop at any of the gas stations (and their respective food joints) along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) as we took the counter-flow going north.

After settling at a hotel in close proximity to the triathlon venue, I drove to the one restaurant located at the Argonaut Highway-Rizal Highway corner that I’ve been eager to revisit…Gourmet Garage Subic (social media here and here).

The front of Gourmet Garage Subic!

Coming from the parking area of the business establishment, I entered Gourmet Garage Subic through the rear door and immediately I felt this atmosphere of class with classical music being played as I walked on and recognized their fine interior. It was a very welcoming experience and already there were people enjoying their lunch.

As I was pretty hungry and somewhat worn down by the long drive from Metro Manila, I ordered myself a Caesar (their version of Caesar’s salad) to enjoy something fresh. From the restaurant’s Main Event section of the menu, I chose the Lamb Madras Curry.

While waiting for my orders to be served, I took the time relaxing, enjoying the aircon and the continuous music, looked at the products displayed and browsed the web with my smartphone via Wifi. And then just like that, the waitress served me the Caesar which was faster than I expected. Upon seeing the salad placed in front of me, I was impressed with the way it was presented. There was some food art to it visually.

The Caesar of Gourmet Garage.
A closer look.

The Caesar was prepared with really fresh romaine lettuce topped (on a key portion) with Gourmet Garage Subic’s very own dressing mixed with parmesan shavings and bits of bacon. Right from the first bite of the salad (note: I used the fork and knife to cut myself a portion) that had the lettuce and dressing together, I experienced this very flavorful and pleasing taste! It was very delicious, I went on to cut portions of the Caesar and slowly consumed it along with the bits. I really enjoyed the salad as it was prepared by the cook to be flavorful, fresh and very satisfying! Gourmet Garage Subic’s Caesar is easily the best fresh salad I’ve had in a long time!

Just a few minutes after I was done with the salad, the Lamb Madras Curry was served to me. Right from the start, I noticed it was very well presented and the subtle heat I felt from it showed the lamb was newly cooked. I also liked the pleasing smell of the meal.

The Lamb Madras Curry was so nicely prepared and it tasted great!

The Lamb Madras Curry came with basmati rice on the bottom topped with the finely cooked lamb (itself topped with yogurt plus onion pieces and vegetables). On one side was a small tomato with a roasted onion and other onion pieces. The other side had more leaves. The meal was served with two sauces – garlic and chili.

As a first-timer of this particular meal – noted as a Chef’s Recommendation on Gourmet Garage’s menu – I decided to try out a small piece of the lamb without any yogurt on it and I found to be tasty on its own. There is no doubt that the lamb pieces were very finely cooked and the way it was prepared showed that special attention to details was done by the cook.

A piece of lamb by the fork.

I tried another piece of lamb and dipped it on the garlic sauce. The flavor of the said piece was enhanced by the said sauce as I chewed. I can say also say the same about the lamb pieces with yogurt on them. As for the spice level, I can say it is tolerable (pretty mild to be precise) and I never had a problem moving from one bite to another, also consuming the rice (really fragrant) and the vegetables. Along the way, I managed to cut some pieces of lamb placed on the fork along with the vegetable for that meat-and-veggies taste.

The Lamb Madras Curry from the side.

Every bite I had with the Lamb Madras Curry really had great flavor and big satisfaction. It is so great, this is easily the best lamb meal I had in years! Whoever designed the Lamb Madras Curry knew exactly how to ensure great taste, solid satisfaction and freshness (in terms of vegetables prepared and the cooking of the meat)!

Gourmet Garage Subic’s Caesar and Lamb Madras Curry are both highly recommended to all of you who love food! Make sure you try either of them once you visit the restaurant.

Apart from serving meals, drinks and desserts for diners, Gourmet Garage Subic also has a nice selection of imported products for your home consumption. On display for sale were lots of bottles of fine wine, fruit juices, frozen meat, condiments, snacks, pastry and other good products to take home! They also sell fresh bread products.

Looking for a new bottle of wine to buy? So many to choose here!
Bread and pastry offered.
Drinks, snacks, condiments and other nice products on display.

As mentioned in my past article, Gourmet Garage Subic also caters. Through their website, customers can also order Gourmet-in-a-Box (meals by the tray) and Party Trays (varied types of food with parties in mind). There is something that will surely interest you when it comes to good food! That being said, I urge you to check out Gourmet Garage’s website as well as their presence on Instagram and Facebook.

This is a great place to have your picture taken inside Gourmet Garage Subic!

The next time you visit Funtastic Subic Bay, I highly recommend you visit Gourmet Garage Subic at 1143 Argonaut Street (very near the Starbucks Coffee shop there) for very good food with your family, friends or business associates. On my next visit to Subic Bay, I’ll definitely come back to try their other meals.

Let me end this piece with the following holy scripture…

Whether you eat or drink, live your life in a way that glorifies and honors God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (TPT)

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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 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/

Over P200 million for Team Philippines’ 31st SEA Games campaign

The 31st Southeast Asian Games (AKA the 31st SEA Games, SEA Games 31 and Hanoi 2021) is just one week away from formally opening in the City of Hanoi in Vietnam. As for the Philippine sports delegation attending the region’s biggest sports event, their campaign has received a financial support of more than P200 million from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and more money could be released, according to a BusinessWorld news report.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the BusinessWorld report. Some parts in boldface…

THE Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) have cough up more than P200 million to fuel the country’s ambitious campaign to defend its overall title in the Hanoi Southeast Asian Games (SEA) set on May 12 to 23.

The PSC had already released more than P200 million and could reach P230 million to fund the country’s SEA Games participation,” a source on Monday told The STAR.

Part of the Philippines’ 987-strong delegation, which included 646 athletes, had left for Hanoi on Sunday and on Monday while the bulk of it will follow suit next week in time for the opening ceremony on May 12.

There (rest) of the delegation will arrive on May 13.

Kickboxing, which will be led by former mixed martial arts champion Honorio Banario and 2019 SEA Games gold medalist Jean Claude Saclag and Gina Iniong Arao, flew on Monday.

The national kickboxers are out to eclipse, if not duplicate, their three-gold, two-silver and one-bronze harvest in the last edition of the biennial meet.

Jomar Balangui, Renalyn Dacquiel, Carlos Alvarez, Kurt Lubrica, Daryl Chulipaz, Emmanuel Cantores, Claudine Veloso, Gretel de Paz, and Zephania Ngaya are the other members of the team.

PSC commissioner and the country’s Hanoi Games chef de mission Ramon Fernandez and Philippine Olympic Committee President Abraham Tolentino are both optimistic of the Filipinos’ chances.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a sports enthusiast based in the Philippines, do you think that P200 million to P230 million is enough funding to help Team Philippines achieve its gold medal targets in the SEA Games there in Vietnam?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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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 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 Backlash #1 (1994)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back superhero fans, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we continue revisiting the Wildstorm universe as it was under the Image Comics banner back in the 1990s. Recently, I reviewed back-to-back issues of Jim Lee’s WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams that involved Chris Claremont and his creation Huntsman (click here, here, here and here) which ultimately expanded the lore of the team within the Wildstorm universe of the time while developing Zealot tremendously.

Still within the Wildstorm universe of the 1990s, it’s time to shift to another key figure – Backlash (civilian identity: Marc Slayton) co-created by Jim Lee and Brett Booth (follow him at Twitter and visit his blog). To put things in perspective, Backlash and WildC.A.T.S’ popular Grifter (Cole Cash) have something in common other than being highly capable fighters – they were teammates within Team 7 long before StormWatch (note: Backlash first appeared in StormWatch #3 in 1993) and WildC.A.T.S were formed. In fact, Team 7 also had Michael Cray (Deathblow), Jackson Dane (Wetworks) and John Lynch (who appeared in early WildC.A.T.S issues and went on to be the mentor in Gen13) who went on to become important Wildstorm figures in the present day.

In 1994, a 4-issue mini-series titled The Kindred was published featuring Backlash and Grifter with a story written by Jim Lee, Brandon Choi, Brett Booth (who illustrated) and Sean Ruffner. Months after that mini-series ended, a regular series focused on Backlash was launched.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Backlash #1, published by Image Comics in 1994 with a story written by Ruffner, Jeff Mariotte and Booth. Booth was the artist.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Backlash quietly infiltrating the Edward H. Levi Federal Penitentiary, a facility designed to control the growing population of criminal super-powered beings (SPBs). Eventually two armored guards pass by and as soon as one of them notices signs of the break-in, Backlash takes them down using his psionic whip and hard action.

After subduing two more pairs of guards, Backlash enters a large place that has prisoners contained in what he refers to as “aquariums”. Two of the prisoners recognize him. He finally reaches the cell of a red-headed lady named Amanda Reed – also known as Taboo – who has been imprisoned for murder. Backlash makes an offer – if she helps him, he will get her out of the prison…

Quality

Backlash struggling on the way of getting out with Taboo.

Let me start with the story. This comic book has an unusual approach on its plot in which the flashbacks are more prominent than the present-day tale of Backlash freeing Taboo and getting out of the prison. The good news here is that the flashbacks are pretty engaging to read and they solidly fulfilled the writers’ goals of immersing the readers with useful story details and building up the tension while also emphasizing Backlash’s personality and what motivates him deep from within. To put it short, the flashbacks are the most important features of the storytelling and they also have the most interesting scenes (including an encounter with Pike who previously appeared in the early issues of WildC.A.T.S). The present-day view of the plot lack engagement compared to the flashbacks but the creative team succeeded in emphasizing Taboo, what she is capable off and why she is feared.

The characterization of Marc Slayton is pretty good in my view. By the time I reached the end of this comic book, I found him to be a really intriguing protagonist. Backlash is definitely not inspiring but the irony is that his personality and purpose within the Wildstorm universe of the time were compelling enough to follow.

When it comes to the art, Brett Booth’s work here is still good to look at as I follow the story. Be mindful that this was his work when he was very young and as seen in this comic book, he definitely proved his talent, his art style was clearly distinct and he was capable of coming up with really good action scenes that really made Backlash a notable Wildstorm action hero. It should be noted that Booth illustrated this comic book with dynamism in mind.

Conclusion

A key scene from the past of Marc Slayton/Backlash nicely drawn by Brett Booth.

Backlash #1 (1994) is fun and compelling to read. The flashbacks are strangely the most engaging parts of the plot and they succeeded in getting me oriented with the protagonist, what has been going on and what the stakes are right at the start of this particular series. Combined with the still-good-to-view art by a very young Brett Booth, this comic book has a lot of fun stuff to enjoy especially for those who are obsessed or simply wanting to discover more about the Wildstorm universe of the 1990s.

Backlash #1 (1994) is 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 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 at the Philippines’ triathlon and duathlon missions at the 31st SEA Games

As the 31st Southeast Asian Games (AKA the 31st SEA Games, SEA Games 31 and Hanoi 2021) in Vietnam comes closer, the excitement and suspense grow stronger which naturally comes with foreseeing the outcome (note: positions and medals) in certain sports events. For this, we will focus on the triathlon and duathlon events of this year’s SEA Games through what was mentioned during the Philippine Sportswriters Association’s (PSA) recent livestream that had 2019 SEA Games gold medalist John Chicano and triathlon-duathlon coach Melvin Fausto as guests which the Manila Bulletin reported about.

For the newcomers reading this, John Chicano won for the Philippines the gold medal in the men’s triathlon event of the 2019 SEA Games which was held at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. His teammate Kim Mangrobang did the same in the women’s triathlon of the said SEA Games. To know more about Chicano and Mangrobang, read my past feature articles of them here and here. Be aware that Chicano and Mangrobang were perceived to be the favorites in the multisport events of the SEA Games in Vietnam. Before they and their teammates proceed to Vietnam, they have a big triathlon event this Sunday (May 1) – the Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT). SUBIT was mentioned in the PSA livestream. Those of you who are here in the Philippines who have the means and available time this weekend, I encourage you to visit the Subic Bay Freeport Zone to watch the SUBIT live in-person as you will have opportunities to see Mangrobang, Chicano and the many other Philippine Team members race.

Going back to the current topic, Chicano and Fausto were interviewed live by the PSA and you can watch the full video at https://fb.watch/cDsxPptWcH/

2019 SEA Games gold medalist John Chicano and coach Melvin Fausto (lower-right corner) during the PSA livestream of April 26, 2022.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Manila Bulletin sports report about the PSA livestream. Some parts in boldface…

The Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) guns for 1-2 finishes in the triathlon and duathlon events of the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam next month.

National team coach Melvin Fausto disclosed this Tuesday, adding they are sending their strongest teams to achieve that goal.

The triathlon squad is composed of Fer Casares, Kim Remolino, Kim Mangrobang and Raven Alcoseba, with John Chicano and Lauren Plaza as reserves.

The duathlon crew, meanwhile, will have Chicano, Raymund Torio, Mangrobang and Alex Ganzon Dumaran with Casares and Alcoseba as reserves.

Fausto said the shift of Chicano from triathlon to duathlon is a strategic move to achieve that gold medal.

Chicano competed and won the gold in triathlon at the 2019 SEAG edition.

“Si John kasi, he’s a strong runner like Raymund. Duathlon talaga siya malakas, so yun yung wino-work out natin ngayon,” Fausto said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association online forum.

For Chicano, it would be a challenge. He is also using the SEAG as a training ground for his duathlon event at the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama in July.

Sana makuha namin yung gold and silver kasi maganda naman yung teammup namin ni Raymund,” Chicano said.

“Pukpukan din yung preparation namin dito sa Clark.”

Aside from the medals, Fausto said they are also seek to improve their athletes’ times by aiming to finish under one hour and 50 minutes in triathlon.

“Mas focused na tayo sa time ngayon eh. Part na yun ng strategy. Like nung last SEAG, naka-focus kami mag 1:55 sa triathlon tapos nag-1:53 si John for the gold medal. Ngayon ang focus namin maka 1:50 to win the gold,” Fausto said.

“Saka yung goal natin is to improve their time to world-class level, lalo na si John na qualified sa World Games.”

As you can see in the above excerpt, the stakes are high for the Philippine Team on triathlon and duathlon. They have been training intensely not just for the SEA Games (set for May 12 to 23, 2022) but also for the Subic Bay International Triathlon. They are training intensely as they know that their Southeast Asian competitors in triathlon and duathlon have intensified (see the related details in the paragraph below). They are training not just for medals but for honors for the Philippines. That being said, May 2022 is indeed a crucial month for the Philippine Team members and their coaches as they have two major events to compete in.

The notable details

During the early part of the PSA livestream, coach Melvin stated that triathlon is indeed a growing sport and in due time it will become a more relevant sport for Filipinos and Asians. The coach made clear his dedication to triathlon is very strong. Take note that he was involved during the Philippine Team’s previous SEA Games campaigns. When it comes to their SEA Games competitors, the coach mentioned Indonesia as a well-supported and growing force in triathlon. He also mentioned that competitors from Singapore, Malaysia and host country Vietnam will be present. That being said, expect fierce competition for the SEA Games triathlon and duathlon gold medals. With regards to John Chicano, things will be different as he will engage in the men’s duathlon at this year’s SEA Games. For the newcomers reading this, duathlon is a multisport event with a run-bike-run format.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about the triathlon and duathlon events in the SEA Games this year? Do you believe the Philippines will win gold and silver in the SEA Games triathlon and duathlon events? Do you intend to visit Subic Bay to watch in person the SUBIT on May 1? Do you plan to travel all the way to Vietnam to watch the SEA Games events in-person?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

For other SEA Games-related articles, click here, here, here, here, here and here.

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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 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/

Tickets to the 31st SEA Games opening ceremony to be distributed free of charge

If anyone of you plans to really visit Vietnam with the intention to watch the  31st Southeast Asian Games (AKA the 31st SEA Games, SEA Games 31 and Hanoi 2021) events in person (note: already it has been declared that spectators at the SEA Games do not need to take COVID-19 tests), then you might be interested to learn that the tickets for the May 12 opening ceremony will distributed free of charge as invitations rather than sold as tickets, according to a VietnamPlus.vn report.

For more details and to put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the VietnamPlus.vn article. Some parts in boldface…

The 20,000 tickets available for the opening ceremony of the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31) at My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi will be distributed free of charge as invitations rather than sold as tickets.

The organising committee said the tickets will be allocated to Government and international officials, foreign embassies in Vietnam, as well as fans.

The tickets have been reserved for seats in Stand A because Stand B will host performances during the ceremony on May 12.

At the 2-hour event, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh will announce the official opening of the SEA Games 31 after a parade of the 11 delegations.

Meanwhile, tickets for the final and runners-up matches of the men’s football, slated for 4pm and 7pm on May 22 at My Dinh Stadium, will be sold both online and offline at 300,000 VND (13 USD), 500,000 VND, 700,000 VND, and 900,000 VND each, according to the Games organising committee.

Tickets to see the Vietnamese men’s U23 football team in Group A at Viet Tri Stadium will be distributed by the organising committee of Phu Tho province. They will be sold at 200,000 VND, 300,000 VND, and 500,000 VND each.

A semi-final of the men’s football will also be held at Viet Tri Stadium, and tickets will be at 300,000 VND, 400,000 VND, and 600,000 VND each.

Whatever your plans are on enjoying the SEA Games sports events spectators and tourists, better prepare your budget. To secure an invitation to the SEA Games opening ceremony, you will have to contact the event organizers and see how many tickets are there remaining for fans. While there are 20,000 opening ceremony tickets available, no breakdown was printed in the VietnamPlus.vn report. If you are fortunate to secure an opening ceremony ticket/invite, that would be a bonus since it would not cost you money to watch the event which is sure to be a spectacle. Watching other SEA Games sports events on-location may require paying for tickets (depending on the sport, the venue and local agreements related to it).

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about the tickets for the 31st SEA Games opening ceremony that will be distributed free of charge? If you are truly traveling to Vietnam to watch the SEA Games events in-person, is the opening ceremony part of your plan?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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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 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/

Preparations of the 31st SEA Games reviewed

The 31st Southeast Asian Games (AKA the 31st SEA Games, SEA Games 31 and Hanoi 2021) in Vietnam is just weeks away from formally opening (for references, click here and here). The City of Hanoi is the host city supported by the nearby localities of Bac Ninh, Bac Giang, Nam Dinh, Ha Nam, Hoa Binh, Hai Phong, Phu Tho, Hai Duong, Quang Ninh, Ninh Binh, and Vinh Phuc which will host certain SEA Games events. Hanoi will host 18 sports as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.

As this is the 2nd time the nation is hosting the region’s biggest sports event (which will attract thousands of athletes and officials) while struggling to recover from the 2-year-old COVID-19 crisis, the national authorities recently conducted a review of the preparations of the SEA Games, according to a report by VietnamPlus.vn.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the VietnamPlus.vn article. Some parts in boldface…

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, head of the national steering committee for organising the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31), chaired a meeting with ministries and sectors on April 22 to review preparations for the region’s biggest sport event.

The Deputy PM requested ministries, sectors and localities to continue working closely and effectively with one another to address problems and ensure a successful Games.

Tran Duc Phan, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam Sports Administration, reported that preparations for SEA Games 31 have been basically completed, and the country is now ready for the event.

The organising committee has ordered plans to be carried out to guarantee security, health care, pandemic safety, logistics, public services and transport. It has also publicised competition regulations, guidebooks and competition schedules.

So far, it has received registrations from over 7,800 delegates, coaches and athletes from 11 Southeast Asian countries, as well as more than 2,500 domestic and foreign reporters. It has also invited nearly 1,300 international referees, supervisors and technical officials for the Games, Phan noted.

The localities hosting competitions have also been working hard to gear up for the Games.

The official added from now to the opening ceremony, the organising committee will continue examining preparations, training volunteers, and implementing plans to ensure security and order.

The 31st SEA Games is slated for May 12 – 23, featuring 40 sports with 526 categories.

For a quick glimpse at the upcoming SEA Games in Vietnam, watch these videos…

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What can you say about the combined preparations of the national and local authorities for the 31st SEA Games? How excited are you for the SEA Games right now?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

For other SEA Games-related articles, click here, here, here, here and here.

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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 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/