A Look Back at Jurassic Park #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 year 1993 for another look at Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park in the form of licensed comic books published by Topps Comics.

My previous retro review was the literary version of the film’s opening until the start of the iconic scene of the brachiosaur. The comic book was very exposition-heavy, had too few dinosaurs visualized and was ultimately a word-heavy experience with little entertainment value.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Jurassic Park #2, published in 1993 by Topps Comics with a story written by Walter Simonson and drawn by Gil Kane with ink work done by the late George Perez. This comic book was the second of a 4-issue mini-series based on the Spielberg movie.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins on an island where John Hammond’s guests (Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler, Ian Malcolm and lawyer Gennaro) cannot help but stare and marvel at the brachiosaurus walking in front of them. Soon enough, they spot five more dinosaurs of the same species moving around. As they stare, Dr. Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler can’t help but be amazed as the sight of living dinosaurs literally broke the limits of what they previously learned about dinosaurs through books.

Grant then asks Jurassic Park owner John Hammond how he was able to come up with dinosaurs. Hammond then takes his guests into the visitor’s center which has a 50-seat auditorium for the prepared pre-show he prepared for their orientation. With Hammond taking an active part in the program, a video presentation shows how Jurassic Park’s personnel extracted dinosaur DNA from fossilized mosquitoes (which drew blood from dinosaurs), used advanced technologies and amphibian DNA to complete DNA sequencing, and created dinosaurs…

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The baby Velociraptor, John Hammond, Ian Malcolm, Dr. Grant, Ellie Sattler and Dr. Wu in a scene.

The most obvious thing about this comic book (which starts with the brachiosaurus reveal until the triceratops’ appearance) is that it is very wordy and has lots of expository dialogue and creative explanations which reflected the film it was based on. What makes this a slightly better reading experience over issue #1 is that it closely captured the essence of the best talk scene of Spielberg’s movie – the lunch meeting hosted by Hammond. To see Gennaro, Dr. Grant and Ellie give their feedback to Hammond with Ian Malcolm’s extensive opinion about Jurassic Park’s use of genetics, their revival of extinct species and their lack of humility before nature was easily the most compelling part of the comic book to read. In a way, a lot of exposition dump and build-up that started in issue #1 were paid off nicely in the said scene.

As mentioned earlier, this comic book’s story reaches the appearance of the triceratops and by then John Hammond’s grandchildren (Tim and Lex) joined Grant, Gennaro, Sattler and Malcolm on the basic tour in vehicles. That being said, the story moved at a moderate pace and the only comic book spectacle here are the images of dinosaurs which were decently drawn by Gil Kane. Don’t expect any action nor thrills here because those would not happen until the T. Rex’s first appearance.

Conclusion

Can you imagine how you would react if you ever see large dinosaurs walking in front of you?

I can say that Jurassic Park #2 (1993) is a slightly better reading experience than issue #1 mainly due to the way the comic book creators adapted the movie’s best talk scene. The same old issues of heavy exposition and excessive dialogue are here which reflect Simonson and Kane’s focus on adapting scenes from the movie closely. Other than that, there is still no excitement to enjoy here which can be disappointing if you are anticipating dinosaur-related thrills and action sequences. Readers who enjoy exposition and the Jurassic Park entertainment franchise’s approach on portraying science (distorted and fantasized to be more attractive than true science) will still find something to enjoy here.

Overall, Jurassic Park #2 (1993) is satisfactory.

+++++

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 #2 (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, the primary characters (Peter/Sting, Kris, Faith/Zephyr, Charlene/Flamingo and John/Torque) composed of mainly young adults with different abilities were gradually introduced and together they became targets of the mysterious private organization referred to as Harbinger (led by Japanese tycoon Toyo Harada). Harbinger has vested interests in people with paranormal abilities. In order to survive, Peter and his so-called team must set aside differences and work together while making the most out of their respective abilities.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #2, 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 12:03 AM of June 6, 1991. Peter, Faith, Flamingo and Torque bring their wounded teammate Kris into a hospital for immediate treatment. Upset with the hospital rules on admittance of patients, Peter uses some of his power to lift a few staffers off the floor while demanding that they treat Kris immediately. Their group was told that because they are all minors, parental consent is needed. Gunshot wounds, which Kris has, constitute reporting to the police.

Sting and his companions eventually brought Kris to a hospital bed. As he realized it is pointless to use his power on a doctor (Heyward) to force him to treat Kris, Sting uses his power to remove the two bullets out of her wounds which took a heavy toll on him. The doctor then decides to properly treat Kris.   

By 4:49 AM, Kris’ condition has stabilized and the group of Sting decide to leave with their recovering companion with them. As soon as they exited the hospital, the group suddenly gets attacked by snipers…

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Sting and his teammates on a risky mission.

As the heavy build-up in the first issue has been established, this comic book’s story executed some pay-off while gradually doing some new build-up of the series’ concept with expository dialogue as creative tools. For one thing, the story of Sting and his companions turned wild as the stakes have been raised further as they have become wanted people and they don’t have much resources left for survival. Next, the story suddenly created an X-Men vibe to me when the young adults take refuge inside a large and nice home of a sympathetic medical doctor they encountered earlier in the hospital.

When it comes to character development, the reluctant leader Sting got the most amount of characterization and along the way, you will see how he shifts his attention and concern to Faith, Flamingo and Torque more as Kris spent some time out of action. At this stage, Sting gradually changed from the reluctant powerful teenager into someone cares for others as they share the same desire to survive and lift themselves up. A clear 2nd to Sting on characterization is Faith who is the geek and pop culture enthusiast who tries her best to live up to the harshness of the reality they group is facing.

While Sting and his team are sympathetic to look at being targets of the dangerous organization Harbinger (note: they and their leader make their first appearances here), you will realize that they also became criminals with their acts of break-ins, fraud and robbery. These criminals act made those in issue #1 look like rehearsals. Since these powered young adults are on the run and struggling to survive, disregarding the law becomes natural for them. As such, the boundaries between right and wrong clearly got blurred not only with Sting’s team but also with Harbinger and its troops.

When it comes to the first appearances of Toyo Harada and his organization Harbinger in the pages of this comic book, I can say without spoilers that they are worth seeing and they further added depth into this comic book’s concept deep within the Valiant comic book universe.

Conclusion

The young adults presence inside a very large and nice home reminds me of the X-Men living inside Xavier’s home.

I can say out loud that Harbinger #2 (1992) is indeed very compelling to read as the stakes have been raised, the lead characters were developed nicely and the first appearance of Harbinger as the antagonistic force all paid-off nicely to the build-up of the first issue. As far as entertainment is concerned, the reading experience is more intriguing mainly due to the strong writing by Jim Shooter and this means that the superhero spectacle was secondary but in a good way. As mentioned earlier, the border between right and wrong got blurred and I can say the same thing about Harbinger and Sting’s group. This eventually will compel you to question if Sting and his companions could still be morally acceptable or not at all as their criminal acts are undeniable. Would you be sympathizing with them? Would you think they are as bad as Harbinger? Could Sting and his team actually pose a greater danger to society than Harbinger itself? Don’t you think Sting and his companions are looking like Black Lives Matter (BLM) social terrorists? This comic book really has to be read.

Overall, Harbinger #2 (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/

A Look Back at X-Men Adventures Season II #4 (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.

Note: Since this retro review mentions both Russia and Ukraine, I encourage you all to help the people of Ukraine (whose lives have been disrupted by Russian forces) by donating to the Ukraine Appeal project of Hillsong Church. Donate now at https://hillsong.com/appeal/

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts, X-Men fans and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the X-Men Adventures monthly series which was a literary adaptation of the famous X-Men animated series of the 1990s.

To be more specific, we examine a tale of the major X-Men villain Omega Red within the monthly series adaptation of the 2nd season of the animated series. Take note that I previously reviewed X-Men #4 (1991), X-Men #5 (1992) and X-Men #6 (1992) which told the first tale of Omega Red who turned out to have a history of conflict with Wolverine decades prior.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at X-Men Adventures Season II #4, published by Marvel Comics in 1994 with a story by Ralph Macchio and drawn by John Herbert.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the Caucasus located between Ukraine and Georgia. Inside, a group of people work on a scientific operation resulting a power surge. The surge then causes a stasis chamber’s glass to crack. Moments later, Omega Red emerges and he has clear knowledge about who restrained him, who the government leaders and what happened to the Russian empire. He declares that the Russian empire shall live again. In Moscow, three high ranking military officers discuss their secret plan on restoring the Soviet Union. It turns out, the return of Omega Red is the first step for their ambitious plan.

In America, Jubilee encounters a group of activists who hate mutants inside a convenience store. Peter Rasputin/Colossus, the Russian mutant who encountered the X-Men sometime prior, comes into the store to help Jubilee. Afterwards, Jubilee and Colossus travel to Charles Xavier’s mansion – Xavier’s School for Gifted Children – and discuss important matters. He tells her that Omega Red has emerged in Russia and he need to speak to Professor X. It turns out, Xavier disappeared some weeks prior.

As the situation is so desperate for Colossus, he asks Jubilee if she would help him in his struggle to save his nation. Jubilee makes a hasty decision to do so and leaves a handwritten note telling her teammates that she is off to Russia…

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Colossus and Jubilee in Russia.

While this comic book’s cover art easily reminds me of the Wolverine-Omega Red confrontation on the cover of X-Men #5 (1992), the story here is more varied than that mentioned comic book drawn by Jim Lee. As this is an adaptation of the X-Men animated series episode titled “Red Dawn”, it is not surprising to see the spotlight being divided by many characters.

Omega Red, who has been declared as one of the greatest X-Men villains ever, has a somewhat strong presence serving as the main figure of opposition against Charles Xavier’s team as well as the surviving elite remnant of the Soviet Union. Quite amusingly, Omega Red is totally loyal to the Russian empire similar to how James Bond is very loyal to England and the queen. In comparison to issues #4 to #6 of the X-Men monthly series, the history of conflict between Omega Red and Wolverine was very lightly portrayed.  

Wolverine and Omega Red in battle!

As mentioned earlier, the spotlight is shared a lot by many characters which results a lack of a true protagonist among the X-Men. This is not necessarily a problem as Omega Red’s presence had enough strength. The other Russian Colossus, who at the start of the story has not yet joined the X-Men, got a good share of the spotlight among the good guys and that results some quick and efficient exposition to get readers oriented with him, his family and how he became an outcast in his nation because of his mutation.

The plot itself is light on details which is not surprising due to the high amount of exposition which includes a geopolitical look at the remaining loyalists of the Soviet Union living in Russia which saw some of its regions transformed into republics. With regards to superhero spectacle, this one has a good amount of action and I can easily say the biggest attraction is the fight between Wolverine and Omega Red. Just don’t expect it to be as extensive nor as detailed as the ones Jim Lee drew in the adjective-less X-Men series.  

Conclusion

John Herbert’s take on Omega Red was carefully crafted.

X-Men Adventures Season II #4 (1994) is a fun superhero story to read and I find its portrayal of the Wolverine-Omega Red conflict to be interesting knowing it was not part of comic book canon of the time. Apart from the mentioned conflict, there is something for X-Men fans to enjoy here such as Colossus’ return and his new interactions with the X-Men, how Omega Red’s presence causes danger in Russia, and the current whereabouts of Charles Xavier. Lastly, I should state that John Herbert’s art style is engaging to look at and he made Omega Red look intimidating.

Overall, X-Men Adventures Season II #4 (1994) is 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/

A Look Back at Jurassic Park #1 (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 year 1993 which was a wild time for entertainment not only because of the comic book collection craze of the time but also because the whole world marveled at Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi film Jurassic Park which was simply unavoidable.  

Jurassic Park was released into cinemas worldwide at a time when computer-generated imagery (CGI) was advanced enough to show and animated dinosaurs in a photo-realistic way on the big screen. Unlike films of today, CGI in Spielberg’s movie was sparingly used and they cleverly used computer graphics to show dinosaurs in their entirety especially on really wide shots that literally made human actors look really small compared to them. What added also to the photorealism of the dinosaurs was the use of animatronics (read: physical models) when capturing close-ups of the dinosaurs. For millions of people, Jurassic Park was a dream come true for those who wanted to see very convincing and lively dinosaurs on the big screen in ways that stop motion animation could not do.

As mentioned earlier, Jurassic Park was unavoidable as it was everywhere from the cinemas to the TV and print ads, to the stores that had licensed toys and merchandise of the movie, to the book stores that sold copies of the novel written by Michael Crichton, and also in the comic book stores that had copies of the comic book adaptation published by Topps Comics.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Jurassic Park #1, published in 1993 by Topps Comics with a story written by Walter Simonson and drawn by Gil Kane with ink work done by the late George Perez. This comic book was the first of a 4-issue mini-series based on the Spielberg movie.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins at Isla Nublar, an island located over a hundred miles west of the nation of Costa Rica. Uniformed men and heavy equipment operators carefully moved a heavy containment unit that has a dinosaur inside. They are trying to connect the unit into an unusual looking containment facility which has vegetation inside. Their objective was to move the dinosaur into the facility and that includes lifting up the containment unit’s door.

Suddenly, the containment unit shakes as its door opened causing one man (who was responsible for opening the door from the top) falls down. It turns out, the dinosaur inside played a trick on them and it grabbed and pulled the fallen man inside which leads to tragedy.

A short time later, lawyer Gennaro arrives at an amber mind in the Dominican Republic searching for John Hammond for an important matter about a $20 million lawsuit from the family of the injured worker and an insurance company that thinks the accident raises serious safety questions about Jurassic Park.

Over at Montana, Dr. Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler are conducting work at a dig site not knowing that an unexpected visit will happen to them…

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Nothing like entering a large gate going into a theme park.

I will start with what is very obvious about this first issue of the mini-series adapting the events of Steven Spielberg’s movie. This is one very wordy comic book filled with lots of details spilled all over by lots of expository dialogue clearly sourced from the movie. To be clear, this comic book follows the movie’s opening scene until the start of the iconic scene in which Dr. Grant, Ellie and Dr. Ian Malcolm saw the large dinosaur for the first time ever (note: this scene stunned and amazed viewers back then).

As the comic creators really pushed themselves to fill in the key details straight out of the movie most of the time, this comic book lacks spectacle and it is unsurprising that it has very few images of dinosaurs.

Like most comic book adaptations of movies, there were certain cosmetic differences between scenes adapted from the movie such as the traitor Dennis Nedry meeting with Lewis Dodgson in a very urban city street setting (as opposed to the location with lots of trees and vegetation in the film). Also notably different looking was Dr. Grant’s place where he and Ellie first meet John Hammond (in the movie, Dr. Grant’s place looked more lived-in).

In what looked like the creators’ attempt to emphasize something more than what was shown in the movie, the scene in which Dr. Grant scares a kid by showing what a Velociraptor would do to him was visualized with two panels of a dream sequence.

Gil Kane’s art looks good here but don’t expect to see the characters resembling their cinematic counterparts at all. I can only guess that Topps Comics had no authority to capture the likeness of the actors for this adaptation. Dr. Grant does not look like Sam Neill. Ellie Sattler looks nothing like Laura Dern.  

Conclusion

This is easily the most entertaining and the most intriguing page from the comic book. The comic book creators succeeded in making Dr. Alan Grant scare the kid more convincingly than the movie.

Jurassic Park #1 (1993) is not a fun read due to its heavy load of expository dialogue and explanations of key details. This issue, to say the least, was done mainly to get readers oriented with terms and details in order to help them understand Jurassic Park’s concepts. Due to the exposition and explanations, the storytelling here moved at a slow space which ironically provides readers opportunities to understand Jurassic Park. The way this comic book script was written, there was clearly too little space for entertainment. If you are the brainy type of reader or if you like junk science mixed with real science explained, then this one can still entertain you. When it comes to visuals, Gil Kane’s art made this one attractive and also established this comic book’s own look.

Overall, Jurassic Park #1 (1993) is satisfactory.

+++++

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 Freex #14 (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 Ultraverse through the exploits of Freex, the monthly series about a group of young adults with unusual capabilities (or abnormalities) who are constantly on the move as they are social outcasts.

In my previous retro review, the Freex (already without Ray but with Cayman from Contrary’s institution as his replacement) continued their search deep underground and encountered the ancient being called Prometheus. Elsewhere, Atalon and his group move nuclear weapons deep underground setting up a major conflict with the nations on the surface. After some struggle and more movement, the Freex find themselves in Denver.

With those details laid down, here is a look back Freex #14, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Gerard Jones and drawn by Scott Kolins.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in Denver, Colorado, where the Freex retreated into a cave dreading the assault by police officers who spotted them. It turns out, the group don’t have only the police to worry about but also the Night Patrol, a group of armed vigilante thugs who hate freaks.

As the Night Patrol start firing at him, Michael realized the protection he got was done by concentrating through the crowns and think about the suits, which he tells his teammates. As the conflict continues, one of the Night Patrol members hits Angela which in turn triggers Michael to take action by using his power to seize control of communications and motility systems and knock down the freak-hating thugs.

Suddenly, one of the Night Patrol members managed to subdue Michael. Valerie tells her teammates to strike back but it turned out unnecessary as the thug falls down. Suddenly, Contrary appears to them…

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Now with Ray back with them, the Freex go back underground.

To get straight to the point, this Freex story is more about the continuing development of the team with the Old Man as their mentor but with one notable turn of events that is not really a spoiler (due to the cover art)…the return of Ray to the team.

While the plot is thinner this time around, the character development was bumped up several notches. As the Freex found themselves cornered with opposition, the reappearance of Contrary (note: she took time away from UltraForce in this particular point of time) resulted in a few notable revelations regarding how she operates, how manipulative she is and how obsessed she is with having young freaks (note: those with powers or those injected with wetware) under her own definition of care, education and nurturing. The way the script was written, this comic book made me wonder if Contrary is insane while still maintaining a good amount of control given her vast resources to organize missions. Just thinking about her organizing UltraForce operations and maintaining her institution for powered students is indeed intriguing.

More on the return of Ray – one of the pioneering members of Freex – his return is not a throwaway portrayal. Rather Ray showed clear signs of maturity apart from learning something from his time at Contrary’s institution. Morever, Ray shows he has a big heart from his teammates. This alone added some emotional impact to the end of the comic book.

Conclusion

A quick appearance of UltraForce within this Freex tale.

Freex #14 (1994) does not have a deep story to tell, has little in terms of superhero spectacle and it recycled some misadventure elements from the previous issue to move the plot forward. The most defining things in this comic book are the respective returns of Ray and Contrary which added nicely to the character development. Any solid Freex fan will have something to enjoy, especially if they continue loving the main characters.

Overall, Freex #14 (1994) is 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/

A Look Back at The Night Man #8 (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 pretty wild time for comic collectors. To be more specific, this newest retro comic book review revisits the Ultraverse through The Night Man monthly series.

In my previous retro review, Night Man encountered a new, murderous villain who could change into a werewolf. The mentioned villain named Nik Apocaloff is a lot more than being able to become a monster…he has a notable family background, is highly education and is connected with powerful figures like J.D. Hunt. That makes him a formidable antagonist versus Night Man and his civilian identity as Johnny Domino. Apocaloff proved to be such a powerful villain, he became the center of attention of Night Man during one of his radio broadcasts.

With those details laid down, here is a look back The Night Man #8, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Kyle Hotz.  

The cover.

Early story

The story begins somewhere inside one of the many rooms of city hall. An intense meeting goes on with the mayor present and what happened recently involving both the Night Man and the werewolf made an impact on the matters of discussion.

In an apartment somewhere in the city, Apocaloff is in his monster form and he just murdered a lady and consumed a lot of her flesh. Suddenly the door is knocked by someone who knew the victim. This causes Apocaloff to leave through the window and climb the steps to the rooftop. There, he changes back into his human form.

Elsewhere, Lt. Carleton Briggs arrives back in his office where Sergeant Dade is waiting. After a s short chat, they hug and kiss each other. The Night Man suddenly enters through the window…

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J.D. Hunt and the Teknight project.

Wow! This is one very compelling tale of the Night Man. To get straight to the point, the highlight of this comic book is the rematch between the title character and Apocaloff. To be clear, the rematch was not handled with brainless action in mind but rather with a lot of strategy combined with a medium-paced approach on progression which brought back a lot of vibes from Night Man’s encounters with the members of TNTNT a few issues back. Storywise, the stakes behind the rematch are much higher as the Night Man makes a solid pitch to the local police in the fight against crime (which made me think about the key elements of Batman comic books)  while the tycoon J.D. Hunt (whom Apocaloff interacted with previously) just gave his approval for the Teknight project.

When it comes to character development, Apocaloff’s strong adherence to the past (Russian legacy, old world sensibilities, connections with California’s history) are emphasized some more. For his part, Night Man’s intelligence and approach to vigilantism got developed even more.  

Conclusion

Night Man comes to the police with evidence about Apocaloff.

The Night Man #8 (1994) is another solid comic book of the Ultraverse. The story was told with an overall medium pace and the payoffs for each build-up were indeed satisfying. Considering the presence of the police in the story, this particular Night Man issue has the strongest similarities with DC Comics’ Batman. More importantly, this issue succeeded in developing both the titular hero and his most elaborate villain. It seems to me that Night Man and Apocaloff were made to clash with each other beyond this issue and the previous one.

Overall, The Night Man #8 (1994) is 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/

A Look Back at Superman III comic book adaptation (1983)

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, 1980s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the year 1983 which saw the theatrical release of Superman III that featured the late Christopher Reeve as the cinematic Man of Steel.

The 1980s was a very different time with regards to Hollywood’s handling of superhero movies. The concept of a shared cinematic universe was decades away from realization. Warner Bros. back then relied on the Salkind family to produce Superman movies and the first flick in 1978 proved to be a major hit for both viewers and critics while also establishing Christopher Reeve as the definitive live-action Superman for countless people. Unsurprisingly, a sequel was released in the early 1980s which continued box office success for the stakeholders and only led to the approval of another sequel.

Along the way, the late Richard Pryor (a major comedian already) appeared on TV and talked about Superman II which eventually led to him getting hired for Superman III. The movie was released in 1983 making a little over $80 million worldwide while also getting a noticeably weaker reception from critics. More notably, Richard Pryor had a huge chunk of the film’s spotlight as Gus Gorman while the overshadowed Christopher Reeve managed to stretch his cinematic art on playing Clark Kent and Superman (note: there is also the memorable Clark versus Superman battle). Superman III very clearly had a lot more comedy in its presentation. As part of the movie’s marketing, an official comic book adaptation by DC Comics was published.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at the Superman III comic book adaptation,  published by DC Comics in 1983 with a story written by Cary Bates and art made by Curt Swan and Sal Amendola.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside the unemployment bureau of Metropolis. There, August “Gus” Gorman was told after 36 weeks of chronic unemployment, he is no longer eligible for financial assistance (read: welfare) from the city. As he was about to light his cigarette, he noticed computer job ad on the match. Gorman proceeds to the Archibald Data Processing School where he gets enrolled with several others. In front of others, Gorman does something on a computer which impressed the instructor a lot.

Over at the Daily Planet, Clark Kent/Superman, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen meet with Perry White at his office. Kent will be returning home to Smallville and make a news story out of it. White gives Kent his approval and then tells Lois she deserves a vacation.

Hours later, Kent and Jimmy Olsen ride the bus together going to Smallville but their ride stops as a result of a huge fire damaging a large chemical plant. A police officer reveals to Olsen that the scientists inside are worried about the plant and its stuff getting destroyed by the fire.

Kent carefully leaves the bus and discreetly changes into Superman to help solve the problem. Olsen, meanwhile, sneaks past the authorities to get to the burning chemical plant.

Over at Webcoe Industries, company head Ross Webster and his sister Vera learn that more than $85,000 worth of company funds was stolen by someone within. Just outside the office, Gus Gorman enters his fancy looking sports car which Webster, Vera and Lorelei notice. Webster asked how could one of their computer technicians afford such a vehicle worth $75,000…    

Quality

This is a creative way the comic book team used to dramatize Gus Gorman scene revealing and acting the bad news to his boss Ross Webster whose plans were thwarted by Superman.

While it is understandable that not all scenes and not all character moments from the movie  made it on print media, this comic book still managed to capture the film’s essence for the most part. The creative team pulled off their own interpretations of the events and made something entertaining and engaging even though they had to deal with the major challenge of summarizing the movie’s plot and establishing a workable comic book narrative.

I should state that the comic team creatively avoided making in-depth references about liquor and smoking which were obvious in the movie. You will not see Superman drinking liquor at a bar nor will you see Gus Gorman referring to tar listed on a cigarette pack. I suppose this was done to ensure the comic book would be released widely and be acceptable to very young readers and the parents watching them.

The battle between evil Superman and Clark Kent is best viewed in the movie. This one is a shorter and less detailed version of it.

When it comes to establishing the clear lead among all the characters featured, Superman fans should be delighted to know that the Man of Steel is indeed more prominent than Gus Gorman. Take note that in the movie, Richard Pryor’s Gus Gorman overshadowed Christopher Reeve’s Superman/Clark.

The art done by Curt Swan and Sal Amendola is decent and it seems to me that their time on visualizing Cary Bates’ script was indeed limited. That being said, it was not surprising to me that, with the exception of Ross Webster in one specific image, none of the characters resembled their cinematic counterparts. Clark Kent/Superman never resembled Christopher Reeve, and Gus Gorman looks nothing like Richard Pryor. Clearly, the artists’ focus was visualizing the narrative which they succeeded.  

Conclusion

Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White in the Daily Planet.

Having seen the Christopher Reeve/Richard Pryor movie in the cinema and on cable TV since 1983, I can say that Superman III (1983) is a decent adaptation. It’s not 100% faithful but it is still a worthy read as it will give you the movie’s concept and entertainment values in literary form. If you really want to full essence of film along with the cinematic moments (note: the Superman-Clark battle is the cinematic highlight) all intact, then your obvious choice is to watch the movie. If you are turned off by the movie’s wacky comedy, then the comic book adaptation will deliver to you the more serious approach on telling Superman III’s story. Let me repeat that Superman is more prominent than Gus Gorman in this comic book.

Overall, Superman III (1983) is satisfactory.

+++++

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 #1 (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.

For the newcomers reading this, Harbinger was created by former Marvel editor-in-chief and Valiant founder Jim Shooter (note: read my retro reviews of his works here, here, here, here and here) and artist David Lapham. Harbinger follows a few teenagers with unique abilities or powers who got involved with the Harbinger Foundation, an organization established by Toyo Harada who dreams to change the world as people know it.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #1, 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 2:35 PM of June 2, 1991. Pete and his companion Kris are riding a car floating high above the road being followed by a helicopter. After Pete manages to communicate with the helicopter’s operators, they even settle down by landing on a road with no traffic. As Pete and the helicopter people begin talking, three people – Weasel, Eel and Lump – quickly rushed in to subdue Pete and Kris. After Pete manages to free himself from Weasel and Lump, he uses his power to lift up the car Kris drove (note: Kris is no longer in the car) and uses it as a weapon to hit Lump.

Just as Kris hits Eel on the stomach, Pete notices that the gasoline was leaking out of the car which Eel ignites with her electricity causing a huge explosion. Pete and Kris managed to survive the blast and together they fly off to a motel to rest and reorganize themselves.

The next morning, they have a meal together and Kris examines a newspaper. She notices another one of the Harbinger Foundation’s print ads reaching out to people who find themselves different or notice strange things around them. The two fugitives realize that the said foundation somehow made involved youth become dangerous. Remembering that people write and send letters to the Harbinger Foundation, Pete comes up with the idea of intercepting letters…

Quality

Pete, Kris and Faith.

This is one very engaging story to read. While story concepts about super-powered teenagers being desperate and struggling to realize their purpose while facing evil is not new, this comic book has a concept that remains unique even by today’s standards. Instead of seeing a group of powered teenage outcasts escaping society’s authorities or taking refuge in the home of a caring person, this comic book follows teenagers who are being targeted by a powerful organization as one of them – Pete – personally got involved with them before.

The story written by Jim Shooter is deliberately paced at a moderate level which allows readers to be able to absorb the details before moving from one chapter to the next. Along the way, Kris and Pete get to meet other powered characters like Faith, Flamingo and John. In between the introductions of the three mentioned characters, Shooter’s script managed to set up enough space for character development and interactions between the characters which have been executed to be believable. Even key elements of youth such as insecurity, fear, angst and the false sense of maturity are portrayed along the way. I should state that Shooter dramatized these characters like they were real people.

As for the Harbinger Foundation itself, it complete lacks visibility and its exposure was limited to the print ad and mentions. Still, the foundation is a clear and present danger to Pete and his companions as it has powered youth members who are dedicated to it and they also have heavily armed personnel working for them.

If you are fond of superhero spectacle, I can say that the action scenes were executed in accordance to the narrative. The spectacle of this comic book was clearly made to emphasize the plot elements and not serve as eye candy. That being said, this is a unique way of enjoying superhero spectacle.

Conclusion

The Harbinger Foundation’s pawns Weasel, Eel and Lump take on Pete and Kris.

Harbinges #1 (1992) is a pretty engaging comic book of Valiant and at the same time it is also one of the more unique portrayals of powered teenagers who are living with tremendous odds tilted at them. The tone of the story really felt grounded in reality (the early 1990s specifically) and the character moments, action and incidents were all executed in a believable fashion.

Overall, Harbinger #1 (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/

A Look Back at Ultraverse Year One (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 pretty wild time for comic collectors. To be more specific, this newest retro review revisits the Ultraverse through a comic-like publication in the form of a guide meant for UV fans and comic collectors.

The subject at hand is Ultraverse Year One which, as written on the edge of the front cover, was designed to be the “complete guide to the Ultraverse’s first year.” It is a reference guide for those who seriously want to discover each and every Ultraverse comic book that was published during its first year. In my experience as a comic collector, the Ultraverse launch in 1993 was very memorable even though my financial limitations prevented me from acquiring each and every launch comic book and subsequent releases of the time. How useful is this complete UV guide? We can go on and find out.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Ultraverse Year One, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics.

The cover.

Quality

I can say without a doubt that this publication is indeed a complete guide to each and every Ultraverse comic book released during its first year from 1993 to 1994 specifically. You want to know exactly how many issues of Mantra, Prime, Hardcase, The Solution, Prototype, The Strangers and others were published in the first year? This one has it all listed! You want to know which UV comic book involved the talents of Steve Gerber, Norm Breyfogle, Rick Hoberg, Len Strazewski, Aaron Lopresti, George Perez, James Hudnall, Gerard Jones, Steve Englehart, Tom Mason, Terry Dodson, James Robinson, Howard Chaykin, Mike W. Barr and many others under the Malibu Comics banner? This guide has it all listed! What months were Exiles #1, Sludge #1, Firearm #0, Break-Thru #1 and Mantra #1 were published? The answers to each are included. The same can also be said when it comes to which characters appeared in each comic book.

This is what each page typically looks like with details of the Ultraverse timeline on the lower part.
The timeline reveals that the male warrior Lukasz, who would later end up in woman’s body as Mantra/Eden Blake, was born in 1220 BC.

Very clearly, the Malibu Comics people worked hard to collect the essential types of information, organized them and put them all into print media form for readers and collectors to use when it comes to searching just about everything about the Ultraverse’s first year. Things did not just stop there, however.

What I found amusing to look at in each page of this Ultraverse guide are details of the shared universe’s timeline posted on the lowest part. The said timeline – which is limited to text and numbers – reveal interesting details such as what year was Lukasz (AKA Mantra) born, when did Rune begin, when was the Choice corporation established, what year did the island of Yrial’s people move up to the clouds, what years were infants injected by Wetware Mary and more. These details are actually quite encouraging to make readers discover or re-read Ultraverse comic books to see how they are dramatized on paper.

Conclusion

As you can see in the details above, Len Strazewski was involved in both the Prime and Prototype comic book series.

Ultraverse Year One (1994) is a pretty detailed guide that will not only help readers track down each and every UV comic book of the mentioned time period, but also help them spot the precise comic books that has characters included as well as the published works of varied comic book creators. If you are really determined to track down and buy all the Year One UV comic books, this guide is a must-have. If there are any weaknesses to mention, it would be the fact that each comic book’s entire plot got summarized in full which are actually spoilers.

Overall, Ultraverse Year One (1994) is 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/

A Look Back at The Night Man #7 (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 pretty wild time for comic collectors. To be more specific, this newest retro comic book review revisits the Ultraverse through The Night Man monthly series.

In my previous review, the Night Man was pitted against TNTNT which was the same group of villains who fought against The Strangers. The encounter was not only packed with solid action, the pacing was done strategically and I loved the way how the comic book creators presented the Night Man taking on each TNTNT member creatively. For this new issue, a new enemy awaits the titular hero which the scary looking cover clearly shows.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Night Man #7, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Kyle Hotz.  

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in an unknown place where a man talks to a lady who just died. After wearing his coat and grabbing his cane, he leaves behind a place with lots of blood around and things ruined. The body of the dead lady had been damaged so much, the flesh on the front of her upper body is gone leaving the bones exposed.

The said man walks down the street of San Francisco. As he recalls a key part of California’s history, he witnesses three armed men coming out of a jewelry store followed by Night Man. Immediately, he witnesses the city’s vigilante fight two of the men with brutal violence. The third thug (with long hair) takes the opportunity to move away only to face the man with the cane…

Quality

The new villain meeting with the tycoon JD Hunt.

This tale of The Night Man is gritty and engaging to read from start to finish. It introduces an all-new villain who has a Russian legacy with historical connections to the city of San Francisco and northern part of California. The new figure of evil (note: quite obvious due to his murdering of the innocent) is quite a layered character and he seemed to be designed by Steve Englehart to be a recurring villain against the Night Man.

At this point in the comic book series, Night Man has established himself to be a very capable vigilante who truly believes in helping the people of the city on his own and his victories in the previous issues solidified his reputation. This essentially sets the stage for the debut of the new villain (note: the scary looking wolf on the cover) and the next big challenge for the titular hero. Without spoiling what happened, I can say the pay-off was indeed worth the build-up.

Another strong point of this comic book is the way the creators dramatized the differences and similarities between the Night Man and the new villain. Both men are violent and their each have their own obsessions directly related to their respective goals.

Conclusion

The Night Man takes on thugs as the new villain watches.

The Night Man #7 (1994) is a pretty engaging read on its own and it shows how much the Night Man himself progressed as the Ultraverse’s San Francisco-based vigilante who really pushes himself to the limits fighting evil even though his resources are very limited. The introduction of the new villain in this comic book not only proved to be a solid addition into the Ultraverse lore but also added to the titular hero’s development as well as his vigilante justice campaign. This comic book may not be as action packed as the previous issue, but you can rest assured there is a really good quality writing here and the build-up was nicely paid-off by the end. As with the previous issues, Kyle Hotz’s gritty art made this Night Man tale really look lively and very stylish.

Overall, The Night Man #7 (1994) is 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/