A Look Back at Wonder Woman #13 (1988)

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, comic book collectors and fans of Wonder Woman! In case you missed the updates, the new movie Wonder Woman 1984 will eventually be released in 4K Blu-ray format although there is no release date announced yet nor a price. As the nearest cinemas remain closed, it looks like buying the movie in 4K Blu-ray is the best alternative for me and at the same time I am not a fan of streaming movies. Let me point out that what customers pay to stream Wonder Woman 1984 does NOT pay that movie’s producers, investors and creditors! You want to make a difference for the people behind Wonder Woman 1984? Buy movie tickets to watch it in the movie theaters (you will also help the theater operators and their employees) and for home viewing, buy the movie on Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray in the near future.

Anyway, we are here to look back at the comic books of Wonder Woman as rebooted by the creative duo of George Perez and the late Len Wein. We are going to examine the Challenge of the Gods storyline (started in issue #10) which I personally find really intriguing and engaging to read. It is the struggle of Wonder Woman with a really strong fantasy and mythology flavor that made it stand out among superhero comic book stories in the late 1980s. Last time around, there were these great revelations about an untold chapter of the past of the Amazons as well as greater focus on Diana’s mother Queen Hippolyte who joined in the dangerous trek.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Wonder Woman #13, published in 1988 by DC Comics with a story written George Perez and Len Wein. Perez drew the comic book with ink work done by Bruce D. Patterson. This is the 4th chapter of the Challenge of the Gods storyline!

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the armored Queen Hippolyte staring at a huge, deformed man-like figure made of rock which she realizes is none other than Heracles, the same man who deceived and abused her long before the birth of Diana. She reflects on her personal hatred of him that lasted for centuries and remembers that her years in Themyscira taught her the folly of anger. She wonders what Heracles had committed to be condemned the way he is. Noticeably, anything that pierces the stony surface causes great pain and tears from Heracles.

Hippolyte moves on toe find a sleeping cyclops in a lair filled with skeletons. Behind him is a tunnel that she believes her daughter took. As she quietly sneaks, she looks back at Heracles and actually hears him mournfully moaning louder as if he was calling to her.

Among the skeletons in the cyclops’ lair is a horned human skull which Zeus and his fellow deities in Olympus believe belongs to Pan. They realize that the Pan who had spent a lot of time with them is an impostor and this causes division among them. Hera speaks out again Zeus pointing out his enormous pride and arrogance as sources of trouble. Hera believes that Gaea’s destiny will be fulfilled through the Amazons and she will not allow Zeus to abuse them.

Hera then sends Hermes to reach Wonder Woman who just joined the company of several superheroes in the California citadel of the Green Lantern Corps…

Quality

The tremendous impact of the challenge felt.

This is another high-quality creation by Perez-Wein and the stakes for not only Wonder Woman but also her mother has been raised even further. As if that was not enough, there are also some solid revelations (pertaining to the Amazons, their heritage and their destiny under the Olympus deities) and in-story surprises that made the story very engaging. As the challenge for Wonder Woman continued on, Queen Hippolyte’s involvement grew even bigger and this added and connected smoothly with her daughter’s struggles. In terms of characterization, the bond between Diana and her queen mother is dramatically deepened and their respective purpose in life got emphasized a lot more.

In terms of spectacle, this one is very loaded with action while still having a very strong fantasy element behind it all. Seeing Wonder Woman and her mother engage the minotaur and mythological creatures are sights to behold. George Perez expectedly visualized everything with high details and well-constructed panels that moved the action.

Conclusion

Wonder Woman and her mother in the heat of battle with the evil creatures.

No doubt about it! Wonder Woman #13 (1988) successfully kept the Challenge of the Gods storyline compelling and at the same time stay fresh by pulling off strong revelations that will make you think deeper about the Amazons, their heritage and their future. The portrayal of Wonder Woman here shows how pure she is as a purposeful protagonist who simply won’t give up in fulfilling the challenges, proving her true worth and making a major impact to all around her. Her role as a daughter is also very well defined.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #13 (1988), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $30 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $60.

Overall, Wonder Woman #13 (1988) 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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Wonder Woman #12 (1988)

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, comic book collectors and fans of Wonder Woman and DC Comics! Happy New Year to you all as well! To start 2021, I have another Wonder Woman retro comic book review here.

Before getting to the review, I want to ask if you were able to watch Wonder Woman 1984? I have not seen it yet as the local cinemas in our part of Metro Manila still have not reopened. I have no intention to stream the new movie at all. Big movie productions like the one starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine were clearly made for the big screens in the cinemas and I am patiently waiting for the golden opportunity to watch Wonder Woman 1984 in a theater. If the nearest local cinemas won’t reopen due to this ongoing pandemic, the next best option for me is to get the movie in its future 4K Blu-ray release.

Going back to the Wonder Woman comic series of the post-Crisis DC Comics era, I reviewed issue #11 recently which saw Princess Diana enter the forbidden zone of Themyscira as she struggles to fulfil the challenge of Olympus’ deities. Meanwhile, Queen Hippolyte decides to take action by following and search for her daughter. This naturally troubles the Amazons who themselves are uncertain about what the deities have in plan for them.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Wonder Woman #12, published in 1988 by DC Comics with a story written George Perez and Len Wein. Perez illustrated the comic book with ink work done by Bruce D. Patterson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the armored Queen Hippolyte making her way down into the forbidden zone, with a feathered companion flying just near her. Suddenly a horde of bats surround her compelling her to defend herself. She notices that the vulture made no effort to help her which convinces her that it is there to guide.

Over at Oklahoma, Steve Trevor sits by his very old father and apologizes to him for failing to be there sooner. Tearfully he remembers the demise of his mother and the times he spent with his father growing up. Downstairs, Etta Candy examines a framed photo of Steve’s mother.

Deep within the forbidden zone, Wonder Woman is struck with disbelief as she just encountered in the flesh the one mysterious warrior whom she was named after which Queen Hippolyte and the Amazons did not discuss with her…

The mysterious warrior tells Princess Diana: I’ve waited this day far longer than you could imagine—-but if there’s anything I’ve learned here, it’s that life on the mortal coil follows a grand design! We were faither to meet, child—from the day you were born!

Quality

This comic book showed more of Queen Hippolyte’s side of the story than the previous issue.

Once again, this is another high-quality work of art and literature done by the creative team led by the Perez-Wein duo and considering the way things were structured, this proves that they really planned this storyline early and this very comic book happens to be full of revelations relating to a notable event in the past of the Amazons.

In this particular chapter of the Challenge of the God’s storyline, Wonder Woman’s significance (in connection with events that took place before her birth) and her special bond with Steve Trevor (in relation to issues #2, #3, #4, #5 and #6) were deeply emphasized through the story of the mysterious warrior whose name is also Diana and also a native from man’s world. The mysterious warrior’s personal story and discovery of Themyscira were excellently dramatized by Perez-Wein, which is not surprising, and the narrative was carefully paced giving readers breathing space to learn the details.

Picking up from the previous issue, this comic book’s focus on Queen Hippolyte has grown larger effectively creating what is technically a solo adventure for her within the forbidden zone. Compared to her daughter, Queen Hippolyte has deeper knowledge of the history of the place and is naturally cautious with her search for Diana. I should state that the dialogue style written for the queen was very cleverly crafted. Meanwhile, the Olympus deity Pan was clearly portrayed to be the evil manipulator and clearly the Satan figure of the story.

Conclusion

Princess Diana meets the other Diana whose past is linked with the Amazons.

Wonder Woman #12 (1988) is another excellent work by the Perez-Wein creative team. It is more than just a Wonder Woman story and more than just a well-told fantasy of the DC Comics universe, it is filled with very profound revelations that further deepen the legacy of the Amazons and Wonder Woman’s significance. As for the influences behind the design and symbols on Wonder Woman’s costume, those have been revealed in this comic book as well.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #12 (1988), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $30 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $60.

Overall, Wonder Woman #12 (1988) 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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Prime #3 (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, comic book collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! Join me on my journey to one of the early issues of the Prime monthly series. For the newcomers reading this, Prime is one of the major superheroes of the entire Ultraverse and went on to have an active part in the UV team called UltraForce.

Here we go with this look back at Prime #3, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Len Strazewski and Gerard Jones, and illustrated by the late Norm Breyfogle.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Prime struggling as he could not breathe. He remembered the first time, as Kevin, when he woke up inside his own dead body. Back then, Kevin was in his bedroom suffering as he changed into his overly muscular body as Prime while his parents were just outside of his bedroom trying to figure out how to help him. Kevin remembered that the Prime body did not last too long and he broke out of it. The first time he saw the fake flesh of Prime, he got scared. Since that time, Kevin kept everything a secret and has been struggling personally.

In the present, Prime finds himself strapped on a chair surrounded by scientists. He was just captured by them and their monster. One of the scientists asked Kevin how long does his ultra bodies last. The scientist is determined to find out more from Prime and educate him, teach him his nature, his destiny and function…

Quality

Prime restrained.

As expected, the story told by Strazewski and Jones is of very high quality and the engagement is very strong. What makes this one stand out over issues #1 and #2 is its element of powerful revelations (which establish not only Prime’s heritage but also the Ultraverse’s concept of military and scientific personnel tampering with nature). Reading through the well-explained in-universe history of mad science related to Prime’s origin was very gripping and thought-provoking. This also raises a question about Prime…is he a superhero or a monster?

As the tension and pressure rise, Prime is shown to act impulsively which itself is a convincing reflection of the teenager inside him. This is something that Strazewski and Jones captured perfectly!

As expected, Norm Breyfogle really brought the script to life with his compelling artwork.

Conclusion

The first time Kevin turned into Prime.

Prime #3 (1993) is a great comic book to read and a worthy addition to your collection.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prime #3 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $26.

Overall, Prime #3 (1993) 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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Wonder Woman Gallery (1996)

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, comic book collectors and fans of Wonder Woman! I should say that this is the most unusual comic book I have reviewed so far due to its main presentation of varied artworks featuring the Queen of all Superheroes herself – Wonder Woman!

For the newcomers reading this, there were several comic books back in the 1990s that did not really tell stories but showcased artworks of varied superheroes done by several artists. Such publications were in the form of swimsuit specials, apparently inspired by Sports Illustrated’s own publications. There were WildStorm Swimsuit Special #1, Ballistic Studios Swimsuit Special #1, Homage Studios Swimsuit Special #1, Lady Death Swimsuit Special #1 and the Avengelyne/Glory: Swimsuit Special #1 to name some.

The 1990s saw a rise of eroticism in superhero comic books. Not even the Wonder Woman monthly series of that time was spared from the trend. There was a time when DC Comics hired Mike Deodato to illustrate a number of Wonder Woman comic books in the mid-1990s which resulted a more eroticized look of Diana/Wonder Woman and her fellow Amazons. John Byrne took over after Deodato and his stint was not an improvement.

While the 1990s was a weak decade of Wonder Woman comics for me personally, not all was doom and gloom. Around twenty years before Gal Gadot debuted on the big screen as the cinematic Wonder Woman, DC Comics published an art gallery of the Queen of Superheroes in the form of a comic book.

With the details established, here is a look back at Wonder Woman Gallery, published by DC Comics in 1996 featuring the works of multiple artists.

The cover.

What it is

Wonder Woman Gallery is a showcase of thirty-two artworks done by George Perez, Stuart Immonen, Mike Wieringo and Richard Case, Brent Anderson, Howard Porter and John Dell, Jim Balent (misspelled as Jim Balant), Amanda Conner, Chuck Wojtkiewicz and Will Blyberg, Howard Chaykin, Steve Lightle and 22 others.

As this is an art gallery, there is clearly no story to tell. It is all artwork showcasing the different talents of the artists (and the inkers who helped them) on presenting Wonder Woman (note: the only exception here is a solo image of the forgettable WW replacement Artemis).

This artistic contribution by Phil Jimenez looks great.
Jill Thompson’s inspired take on Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman by Howard Porter and John Dell.
Wonder Woman by Ivan Reis and Barbara Kaalberg.

Quality

As this is an art showcase, the overall quality of the collected art here varies. Such a collection of different art styles will appeal to Wonder Woman fans depending on how they like their favorite superhero presented visually.

In my honest opinion, I always love the art style done by George Perez on Wonder Woman, her fellow Amazons, the supporting characters and more. His presentation here is flawless and timeless. What surprised me here in this collection is the contribution of Phil Jimenez whose quality and art style seem inspired by George Perez’s Wonder Woman legacy. As many of us know already, Jimenez later went on to become one of the top illustrators of DC Comics in the 2000s and his work here is nice to look.

There were a few artworks that showed Wonder Woman with a very cartoony look. Among them is the Wonder Woman piece done in the very distinct style of Sergio Aragones. Some art pieces here showed WW with a bizarre look and then there were a few others whose take on the Queen of Superheroes turned out good.

Conclusion

This work by George Perez is my favorite in this collection.

I can say that Wonder Woman Gallery (1996) is a published work that Wonder Woman fans will enjoy for as long as they are willing to accept images of their favorite superhero with styles ranging from realistic to cartoony, obscure and simple. Art styles aside, there is a lot here that fans will marvel at again and again, while art enthusiasts (who are not necessarily fans of the Queen of Superheroes) could find something eye-catching here.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman Gallery (1996), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $40.

Overall, Wonder Woman Gallery (1996) 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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Mantra #11 (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 geeks, comic collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! We are about to return to the Ultraverse through the view of Mantra. Since the story of issue #9 and issue #10, the stakes have been raised as Mantra not only found herself in bigger danger as well as revelations from the past related to the long-time war between Archimage and Boneyard. Not only is Mantra still being targeted by Boneyard (who is so evil he wants to marry Mantra and make love to her body even though he knows the soul of the male warrior Lukasz is occupying it) but also by sorcerers from the Earth’s realm. In other words, Mantra/Lukasz really has trouble in different realms.

Will something unexpected turn out in the next story of Mantra? We can find out in this look back at Mantra #11, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Robb Phipps.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Mantra standing completely naked in the full view of Boneyard, his three wives and the four other thugs (who hunted Mantra). Boneyard states, “Your choices are clear, Lukasz—surrender to me and become first among equals in my harem…or be destroyed by my wives—whose powers now equal yours!”

Suddenly the three wives fire beams of energy towards Mantra who successfully blocks them using magic to create a transparent shield. Very quickly, Mantra sees an opportunity to get the other thugs involved as targets of the three wives so she moves toward her previous attackers. The three wives’ attacks cause the thugs to retreat. Boneyard recognizes one of the thugs as the son of his rival Archimage.

Suddenly, the thugs attack Boneyard’s three wives with energy causing them to fall down on the floor. As the conflict shifted, Mantra begins to realize something.

“I knew the mask enhance the mystic power of this body, but I didn’t realize the mask and armor would have the same effect on Boneyard’s wives as well. Figures he didn’t choose them just for their looks. At any rate…I can’t walk around here like a Playboy centerfold all day! I’m getting cold,” Mantra thought.

Quality

This is the first time Mantra wore a new costume which was carried over to issue #12.

No surprise, Mike W. Barr successfully kept the story engaging not only maintaining the engagement carried over from the few previous issues but by raising the stakes for Mantra personally while pulling off some pretty notable revelations that date back before the events of issue #1. Going beyond Boneyard and his three wives, there is a lot of fantasy related stuff waiting to be discovered which further adds depth to Mantra’s struggle (finding a male body to occupy and the ways to leave Eden Blake’s body). The plot really thickened with the revelations and how they turned out is something that you yourselves must pick up a copy of this comic book and read.

Of course, having reviewed issue #12 recently, it is no surprise that the build-up of engagement and suspense in this comic book contributed to its successor. More importantly, by the time you reach the end of this comic book, you will get a deeper understanding of what has been going and what preceded them. Clearly Mike W. Barr made solid preparations and took his time with the revelations just as he kept on telling the present-day story of Mantra.

Like the previous issue, I enjoyed Robb Phipps’ artwork here. If you were disappointed with the cartoony aesthetic of Terry Dodson’s work in issue #10, you will like the expressions as well as the overall style of Phipps.

Conclusion

With a male soul inside the body of Eden Blake, Mantra quickly analyzes the messy situation to find an advantage.

Mantra #11 (1994) is indeed a pretty entertaining and compelling Ultraverse comic book. There is nothing like watching the spectacle happen in between moments of Mantra realizing answers to her questions, and learning new details (including stuff that emphasized how rotten, how wicked and twisted Boneyard truly is as the major villain of not only this particular series but also of the Ultraverse itself) that deepened the narrative for readers.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #11 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, Mantra #11 (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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at The Solution #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 geeks, comic book collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! Some time ago, I reviewed the sixth issue of The Solution and it turned out to be a pretty compelling and fun comic book to read. I was pleasantly surprised by its high quality and presentation, and by the end I found Lela Cho/Tech (the leader of The Solution) to be a very interesting character of the Ultraverse. Clearly the creative duo of James Hudnall (who also wrote Hardcase) and John Statema literally scored a home run with The Solution #6.

As The Solution #6 focused on the background story of Tech, its portrayal of the current-day events was laced with suspense, drama and intrigue that only teased what could happen in the next moment. What else could be told about Lela Cho’s past and what might happen next in the present day? We can find out in this look back at The Solution #7, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Hudnall and drawn by Statema.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Lela Cho accompanied by Troy Wilde standing in front of her father’s grave. The two don’t seem to know that they are being spied on from a distance. A group has set up snipers to take them down.

As the two begin to talk, Lela tells Troy details from her past. She recalls that after the sudden death of her father, she could not fully gain the inheritance from her father – the corporation – as its board of directors refused to accept her. As it turned out, a crime gang anticipated her every move and stole her company. To enhance herself, she paid specialists to install wetware implants into her body to make her the mistress of electronic devices.

She arrived in the city of New York already aware that she has been marked by her enemies, and she knew they would come for her. In New York, she meets with Peter Bazinni to seek help. Not only is he a man with many powerful connections, he was also her old flame. While Peter admitted he could not help her in her conflict with the international crime gang, she gives her a reference to another professional who is her best bet. His name was Troy Wilde…   

Quality

Discovering the secret locations.

James Hudnall delivered another pretty solid story. It’s got a nice mix of elements here and there. From time to time, I felt like I was reading a detective story, then a murder tale, then a hard action tale and then a hard-edged superhero tale. While this comic book continued on telling the origin of Lela Cho, it shifted focus on the background of Troy Wilde who would eventually join the team with the codename Dropkick. How Lela and Troy first interacted with each other was very carefully crafted with believable dialogue and well-defining personalities from each (as reflected in the way they talked with each other). Another member of The Solution appeared in here is as well.

What surprised me here was the revelation of a certain villainess. At first, she looked like a probably disposable villainess but proved to be more significant than meets the eye. If you get to read the succeeding issues of The Solution, you will realize what I just stated.

As with his past works, John Statema’s art here is pretty good. The good stuff he delivered in issue #6 continued to shine here.

Conclusion

Lela Cho’s ultra ability to hack systems and alter digital stuff would help her fit in nicely with this age of social media and streaming.

The Solution #7 (1994) is not only a worthy follow-up to its predecessor, it is one of the stronger origin-type comic books of the Ultraverse as a whole. While the previous issue was focused mainly on Lela Cho, this one shows Troy Wilde/Dropkick making his first involvement with her as well as the eventual formation of their team. At this stage, the story of how The Solution got formed really took shape here. I should state, however, that the level of engagement fell down a bit compared to the previous issue.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Solution #7 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, The Solution #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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Sludge #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 geeks, comic book collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! Before we revisit the Ultraverse, I should state that I am not a fan of monsters as comic book protagonists, especially when it comes to the superhero genre. In the world of pop culture, a lot of people get fascinated with monsters especially those that are dangerous to people. You got the likes of the Swamp Thing, Dracula, the monster of Frankenstein, the Werewolf, etc.

When it comes to the Ultraverse, they have a monster for a protagonist named Sludge. What I find really intriguing was that Sludge was introduced to readers not by making appearances in existing Ultraverse comic books but by actually being featured in full force in the launch of issue of his own series – Sludge #1.

With those details settled, we can find out if there is something special or unique about the Ultraverse monster in this look back at Sludge #1, published by Malibu Comics in 1993 with a story written by Steve Gerber (who previously worked on Marvel’s Man-Thing) and drawn by Aaron Lopresti.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in a very low place of Manhattan where society’s substratum meets the crust of the earth. Sludge, a grotesque monster with a human perception and a body made out of slime, slowly walks towards a group of poor and homeless people.

Elsewhere somewhere in the city, a radio talk show host talks to his listeners about Frank Hoag, a detective sergeant who worked for twenty years for the New York Police Department or NYPD. It turns out, Hoag has been missing for the past few weeks and the last thing someone knew about him was that he responded to a call about a break-in at the headquarters of a pharmaceutical firm. The next morning at the said place, company employees spotted signs of violence including blood, bullet holes and shell casings. No sign of the detective.

As the radio talk show host engages his listeners by making an issue out of the disappearance of Hoag, police officers got offended while a gang of armed thugs paid close attention to what was said. As the said gang (riding their car) move down the street of homes, they opened fire at the people.

As the gang’s car moves on, the manhole ahead of them opens. Sludge comes out of it and finds himself right on the path of the moving car…

Quality

This is why you don’t mess with Sludge.

The writing is top-notch and this is no surprise not only because of Steve Gerber’s extensive writing experience but also because he knew how to write a story with a monster as a protagonist which was what he did with Marvel’s Man-Thing. Unlike that other monster, Sludge has intelligence and awareness, therefore he is a monster with humanity still existing within. Very cleverly, Gerber introduced Sludge and notable aspects of him in a very smooth and efficient manner. By the time I finished this reading this comic, I realized that I witnessed Sludge’s first appearance and origin story which were done very nicely. I should also state that Sludge here is not a mere monster but really a struggling character worth following.

For his part, Aaron Lopresti’s art is pretty good. His visualization of Sludge really stands out and he did not pull back his punches when it came to drawing the action and presenting the violence.

Conclusion

Considering his physical state, Sludge coming out of the manhole is justified.

I can say that I am very pleasantly surprised and entertained by what was presented in Sludge #1 (1993). It really is a great monster-protagonist story written by Steve Gerber and his work here really shines. By the time I reached the end of the story, I got eager to look forward to the next issue and find out what Sludge will do next. It is a very engaging read and one of the strongest debut issues of the Ultraverse.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Sludge #1 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the ultra-limited edition costs $32.

Overall, Sludge #1 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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Mantra #4 (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 Ultraverse fans, geeks and fellow comic book collectors! If you want to discover more of the fantasy elements within the Ultraverse through Mantra – the pretty sorceress whose body is occupied by the soul of a male warrior named Lukasz – then you are in for something rather different.

To put things in perspective, the fantasy-swords-magic concept was made clear in Mantra #1 and that Lukasz and his band of warriors (led by an elder sorcerer) as well as their enemies (led by Boneyard) were definitely from another world. That other world will be explored at last in this look back at Mantra #4, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Robb Phipps.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the world of Boneyard, at his castle specifically. Down on her knees, Mantra is just in front of the villain Boneyard who says, “So this is Archimage’s last, best hope. Just a woman!!”

Boneyard tells Mantra not to rise nor move. As he does not yet know that Lukasz is inside Mantra’s body, Boneyard welcomes her and states that it is his right to choose any woman in his kingdom as his bride. In reaction to being selected as Boneyard’s newest mate with a purpose to potentially give birth to his children, Mantra strikes him with an energy blast symbolically rejecting him.

Boneyard then says, “Enough. I tolerate this dissent because your body carries much potential for magic, woman. It is only your body that saves you from death. Your bewildering loyalty to my defeated brother, Archimage, would ordinarily be enough to condemn you. Your genes, combined with mine will yield children to whom magic comes as easily as taking breath.”

As the villain talks, Mantra notices the sword pointed at her was the same one used to kill her when she was man (as Lukasz). She then makes moves to get Boneyard off-balanced and try to leave the castle…

Quality

Mantra visits the tavern in the kingdom controlled by Boneyard.

I’ll start with the writing. What Mike W. Barr did here successfully was raising the stakes for Mantra which involves the drastic change of location and setting from the modern society of Earth into the fantasy realm where Boneyard and his army are based in. The mentioned change literally opened new opportunities to develop Mantra’s personality while at the same time offered readers a lot of new things and places for their exploration.

With the all-new setting, lots of fantasy genre tropes are present. There is the ever-present tavern filled with lots of people that include humans and non-human beings that go beyond dwarves and elves. There is also the slave auction of both men and women standing almost nakedly in front of the bidders. There also were people wearing capes, hoods, swords, spears and armor which Mantra smoothly blends in with.

Along the way, there is a lot spectacle here mainly acts of magic alternated with hard action moves. The way the spectacle is presented fits in excellently with the fantasy setting and I should state that Robb Phipps did a very solid job visualizing such elements while succeeding in making Mantra, Boneyard, Archimage and Warstrike look recognizable.

Back to the writing, Mike W. Barr prepared a lot of details in the story that explained Boneyard’s nature and even his status as the husband of multiple wives. This comic book also reveals that Boneyard is likely bisexual since, apart from being married to multiple women, he kissed Mantra and lusts for her even AFTER he learned that Lukasz is occupying the woman’s body. His intention to marry Mantra symbolizes homosexuality as well. To put things in perspective, this makes Boneyard very guilty of sexual immorality on top of his wickedness. Refer to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (sexual immorality and homosexuality), Galatians 5:19-21 (sorcery and sexual immorality) and Deuteronomy 17:17 (polygamy) in the Holy Bible.

Conclusion

Boneyard’s intention to marry Mantra (whose body is occupied by the soul of the male eternal warrior Lukasz) and impregnate her to produce his children is disgusting, even more so when the villain knows Lukasz is in Mantra.

To say the least, Mantra #4 (1993) is entertaining enough mainly due to its fantasy setting and exposing key elements about the rivalry between Archimage and Boneyard. This was a daring and refreshing change of pace for Mantra series since the first three issues already emphasized Lukasz’s struggles on living in the body of Eden Blake (note: reincarnation is false and goes against the Holy Bible, read Hebrews 9:27 and Psalm 78:39 for insight) and living with her family as Eden’s soul was pushed into limbo. More notably, this issue shows more of how evil and wicked Boneyard is not simply because of his leading his army of evildoers but also because of his evil-filled nature. By comparison, Lukasz/Mantra is the lesser evil to Boneyard under the pretense of good-versus-evil in the story (which itself concluded in a predictable and underwhelming fashion).

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #4 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of comic book costs $8.

Overall, Mantra #4 (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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at The Strangers #17 (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, Ultraverse fans and superhero comic book collectors! We are about to return to the Ultraverse through The Strangers. Before doing so, I’d like to discuss one of their members named Elena La Brava AKA Lady Killer. Before the big incident that changed her life and those of her eventual teammates riding the cable car in San Francisco, Elena worked professionally as a fashion designer. She is quite resourceful, brave and organized. Apart from proving to be a very valuable member of the team, she has the special ability to track and this results helping her hit what she aims for. As seen in previous issues leading to issue #16, she has been romantically linked with Atom Bob and has struggled also on leading the team.

With those details mentioned, it’s now time to look back at The Strangers #17, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and illustrated by Rick Hoberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins at the headquarters of The Strangers. Spectral arrives late and apologizes to his teammates who are already feeling disturbed by the Pilgrim. Lady Killer makes an issue about Spectral’s tardiness and reminds him he has not seen the Pilgrim as he was absent. Spectral replied emotionally stressing that he had to attend to his private life.

When asked about the Pilgrim, Grenade replies that nobody knows who their antagonist is. In recent times, the team faced off with various costumed individuals in two encounters and the Pilgrim appeared each time and took them with him. Each time, the Pilgrim swore he would continue to get back at The Strangers until he builds up a team large enough to oppose them.

Knowing that the Pilgrim will keep coming back at her team, Lady Killer states she has a plan…

Quality

The start of a pretty solid battle between the Pilgrim and Atom Bob.

The writing for this comic book is, as expected, very strong and undoubtedly it is a great follow-up to what happened in issue #16. Instead of just another encounter between The Strangers and another antagonist which turns into an opportunity for the Pilgrim to come out and do his thing, this one has a lot more compelling stuff backed with surprise and intrigue.

Before the big conflict happened, this comic book showed more of Lady Killer’s intelligence and her ability to organize something that is believable to read. Atom Bob, who missed out on the battle of issue #16, is more involved in this comic book and his battle with the Pilgrim was not only heavy on the spectacle but also showed more of his capabilities and his willingness to achieve something.

Unsurprisingly, there is a lot of what I would call the usual visual goodness from artist Rick Hoberg here. He continued to show a consistent high level of quality when drawing the characters, their expressions and making the superhero action scenes look spectacular.

Conclusion

The Strangers meeting early.

The Strangers #17 (1994) is a very good read and what I love about it is that it further added to the build-up of the growing opposition against The Strangers while at the same time developing the core characters more. You will see more of Lady Killer’s leadership values here and eventually, you’ll admire her more. I should state that Rafferty, a serial killer in the Ultraverse, had a notable presence in this comic book and added some impact to the plot.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #17 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, The Strangers #17 (1994) 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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at X-Men #2 (1991)

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.

There is so much said about X-Men #1 of 1991 which was launched to major success by Marvel Comics selling at least eight million copies worldwide. That launch issue, written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Jim Lee, had multiple covers and a version with gatefold covers and high-quality paper which made it an instant hit with collectors chasing profit. In 2011, Marvel even released the so-called 20th anniversary edition of X-Men #1 which was digitally recolored.

In terms of substance, X-Men #1 marked the new era of the X-Men. Charles Xavier returned to his mansion to lead the X-Men which was so large as a group, it had to be divided into two team with Cyclops leading the Blue Team and Storm heading the Gold Team. In terms of publishing, Marvel published tales of the Gold Team in the Uncanny X-Men monthly series while the Blue Team’s stories were published in the adjective-less X-Men monthly series.

With all the attention paid to X-Men #1, I noticed that not too many people cared to talk about what happened after the end of that comic book. Without spoiling plot details, the massive seller of 1991 had its story end in a cliffhanger. To find out what followed and determine the quality of the creative team’s work, here is a look back at X-Men #2 published in 1991 by Marvel Comics with a story co-written by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee (who illustrated).

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the fictional island nation of Genosha which has a legacy of mutant slavery. Having fought with the Acolytes (led by Fabian Cortez), the X-Men now face Magneto who arrived and tells them that he will not abandon the Acolytes.

“They acted in an excess of zeal. If so…I..and I alone..shall determine their appropriate punishment,” Magneto tells the team of Cyclops, Gambit, Beast, Wolverine, Psylocke and Rogue. Near them are other Acolytes members down on the ground.

After words spoken by Gambit, Rogue and Cyclops, Magneto referred to the devastation of the city hospital as fitting for punishing a state (Genosha) whose prosperity was built on the backs of mutant slaves. Beast answered back saying that the Genoshans have accepted responsibility for what they have done and resolved to make amends.

While Magneto replies to Beast, a military Genoshan helicopter gunship fires missiles at them from above which the X-Men’s archvillain intercepts. Using his magnetic power, Magneto lifts steal beams and destroys the helicopter with them. He then turns against the X-Men restarting the chaos in the city…

Quality

Magneto, Psylocke and Rogue in the middle of the chaos.

Being the middle of a 3-part story, this comic book pushes the entire X-Men group to the edge thanks to strong writing by Chris Claremont. I’m not simply referring to the traditional good-versus-evil formula of superhero storytelling as the story here emphasized themes about sanity, loyalty, legacy, idolatry and even diplomacy. It just so happens that there is a lot of superhero spectacle to enjoy here and there.

The stakes have been raised significantly in this story as Magneto is shown leading the Acolytes who in turn went ahead with their first mission which explains the chaos in Genosha. Magneto’s condition also deteriorates and gets himself healed by Fabian Cortez who is more sinister than what he seems. For his part, Charles Xavier of the X-Men gets to interact with his long-time friend Dr. Moira MacTaggert who is struggling with guilt from something she committed in the past. Through Magneto, Xavier and MacTaggert, there is this solid build-up of tension that led to a very powerful revelation in the 2nd half of the story which, ironically, put the X-Men on the sideline temporarily. There is high drama, deep tension and high intensity involving Magneto and MacTaggert, and their scene together is the highlight of the story.  

Conclusion

The face-off!

To put it straight, as much as I loved X-Men #1 (1991), I find X-Men #2 (1991) more compelling to read. For one thing, it rewards X-Men fans who dedicatedly followed the events of not only the X-Men but also of that of the life of Magneto. It’s really great that Chris Claremont literally dug up the past for details that proved to be useful in this comic book. It also nicely sets up anticipation of the next issue by involving the X-Men’s Gold Team. Unsurprisingly, with the combined talents of Claremont and Jim Lee, this is an excellent read that really looks great.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men #2 (1991), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $4 while the near-mint copies of the Chris Claremont-signed regular edition, the Chris Claremont-signed newsstand edition and the newsstand edition cost $9, $19 and $13 respectively.

Overall, X-Men #2 (1991) 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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com