A Look Back at Prime #13 (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, comic book collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! Did you guys and gals have a restful Christmas weekend? I sure did! Anyway, we are about to return to the Ultraverse through the eyes of Prime. The catch here is that Prime will face not one but two guys to battle with.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Prime #13, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Len Strazewski and Gerard Jones, and illustrated by Darick Robertson. This is another one of those Ultraverse 1st anniversary comic books.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Kevin Green hitchhiking alone by the road. A man driving a car allows him to come in and ride. Just a few moments after, the man reaches for Kevin’s left thigh which convinces him that the one driving is a pervert. Kevin hits the man’s face and gets off the car. He struggles to find a ride going home in the evening.

At home, Kevin wakes up from a nightmare as his mother tries to help him. His mom can easily tell that her son is troubled. During lunch break at school, realizes he is having trouble fitting in with the students and reminds himself that Kelly likes Prime a lot, and so does her mother. The students stare at him as he walks on. Eventually, Kevin meets some guys watching a portable TV showing news broadcast of two guys – the washed-up celebrity Kuttner and a certain bodybuilder – whom he previously encountered as Prime.

The said two guys are challenging Prime to a battle royale…

Quality

The battle royale itself is the highlight and alone makes this comic book worth buying.

As usual, the writing duo of Strazewski-Jones created another engaging story about Kevin and his superhero secret identity as Prime. Kevin shown struggling with his personal life? Check! Great superhero action with Prime? Check! In-depth characterization? Check!

What makes this comic book stand out is the battle royale between Prime and the two guys mention earlier, who each have very strong reasons and determination to defeat Prime. As it is indeed a very high-octane battle royale in the truest sense of the words, there was still sufficient room for readers to understand what Prime thought as he fights and dodges in the battle. Very clearly defined are the intentions of Kuttner and Planet Class, and the personalities of each plus Prime really gave their conflict a very unique flavor of its own. The battle royale is not a mindless event but rather very colorful and character-driven.

As for the art, I find Darick Robertson’s work here pretty good and many times he seemed to try to emulate the unique style and approach the late Norm Breyfogle defined the Prime series with. Although Kevin looks more like a college student, most characters were still recognizable. This one looks good!

Conclusion

It sure is hard for any teenager to be perceived as a social outcast.

Prime #13 (1994) is a very entertaining read. It does not use the typical good-versus-evil formula of superhero comic books but it sure is loaded with a lot of personality following Prime, Kuttner and Planet Class.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prime #13 (1994), 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 copies of the variant edition and the variant newsstand edition cost $8 and $26 respectively.

Overall, Prime #13 (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 The Solution #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 and superhero comic book collectors! This is my continuing look back at spin-off tales connected to Break-Thru, the year-ending big crossover event of the Ultraverse which not only mixed the many UV characters together but also impact them.

This time, we examine events connected to Break-Thru in a story written by the late James Hudnall and told through the exploits and struggles of a superhero team (plus one major UV superhero) he handled – The Solution! Here now is a look back at The Solution #4, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Hudnall and drawn by Darick Robertson.

The cover.

Early story

Set a short time after the end of the Break-Thru-related Hardcase #7, the story begins in outer space. Inside a space craft heading towards the moon, Lela Cho/Tech records a new entry into her diary reflecting of how crazy things turned out for her and her teammates. On her end, she pursued getting her corporation back and then took a job that landed her on board a UFO. As it turns out, her team has been hired to find a mysterious object which might provide explanations as to why ultras suddenly appeared all over the world.

Considering the very high stakes of the mission, The Solution had to partner with Hardcase and his companion Choice. This is because they are trying to catch up with another team of ultras (composed of Trouble, Death Dance, Gate, Needler, Gun Nut, Book and Meathook) who were sponsored by Rex Mundi, the rival of The Solution’s client Regina…  

Quality

A nice shot of The Solution with Hardcase and Choice in space.

As this was a build-up type of story meant to connect and add depth to the Break-Thru crossover, the plot was pretty simple and yet it was loaded with a lot of engaging stuff. Given the fact that James Hudnall led the writing for both Hardcase and The Solution, I just love the way he had these ultra heroes interact with each and the way they learned to get to know each other and adjust with one another was done in believable fashion. To say that Hudnall knew the characters deeply and treated them like real people is pretty true.

As expected, there is a good amount of spectacle in the form of action scenes and the fun thing about it is that the battle took place in space. There were match-ups between The Solution’s members and the Rex Mundi-sponsored team which were short and yet filled with interesting banter and satisfying action.

Conclusion

A really nice interaction.

I can declare that The Solution #4 (1993) is more than just a build-up comic book leading to a much bigger event. The characterization as well as the interactions between Hardcase and The Solution members alone make this comic book a must-read. This comic book also works well to prepare you for the subsequent events that took place in Break-Thru #2.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Solution #4 (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, The Solution #4 (1993) 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 Prototype #10 (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.

Without spoiling the story, the ending of Prototype #9 (1994) proved to be enticing for me to continue reading what happens next. As such, I went on to read the next issue.

Once again, we take another journey back into the Ultraverse in this look back at the comic book Prototype #10, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story by Tom Mason and Len Strazewski, drawn by Roger Robinson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins at the top of the Statue of Liberty in New York where a police helicopter flies and its personnel see a few people hanged. Suddenly the head of the Statue of Liberty blew up which turned out to be the act of a terrorist group called Terrordyne. Terrorydyne’s leader Karl is determined to cause chaos and let the mainstream news media magnify their message of fear. By occupying the Statue of Liberty, the terrorists insists that it will down anything that violates their so-called airpace and territorial waters.

Meanwhile, news about Prototype’s (Jimmy Ruiz specifically) departure from Ultratech reaches previous Prototype pilot Bob Campbell. As a result, the city of New York does not have a full-time ultra of its own. Bob makes a move to take centerstage with his armor (Ranger).

Over at the headquarters of Ultratech, top executive Leland talks with Donovan, the new Prototype…

Quality

No surprise, the quality of the writing done by Len Strazewski and Tom Mason is pretty high but the big difference is that the spotlight was focused more on former Prototype pilot Bob Campbell (who was absent from the last issue) and the corporate sector with the terrorist act compelling them respectively.

While issue #9 was mostly about Jimmy Ruiz and his personal development while returning to his old community, this comic book brings back the spectacle (lots of action-packed scenes here) and the corporate intrigue big time! Bob Campbell is clearly the protagonist in this story and what he does here will make you interested to learn about his history as the previous Prototype pilot when he was still the one valuable employee of Ultratech.

While the story is enjoyable, I should say that terrorist leader Karl is pretty hollow as the villain and there is nothing interesting in him.

Bob Campbell as Ranger!

Conclusion

Do not let the nice cover fool you. Prototype #10 is an enjoyable read and the way its presentation was handled, it showed signs that careful planning was made by the creative team as the comic book (focused more on Bob Campbell and the corporations) served nicely as a companion piece to issue #9 which was more focused on Jimmy Ruiz.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prototype #10 (1994), 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, Prototype #10 (1994) is recommended.

The terrorists.

+++++

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 #1

Back in the 1990s, there was a flood of superhero comic books that introduced brand new heroes, teams and even anti-heroes. A strong contributor to this was the market presence of Image Comics, Valiant Comics, Malibu Comics and other smaller publishers that tried their best to gain shares in what was back then the highly lucrative superhero comic book market which was long dominated by Marvel Comics and DC Comics.

With Malibu Comics, their Ultraverse franchise of superhero comics was a blast and I had a lot of fun reading comic books of The Strangers, Prime, Hardcase, UltraForce, Mantra, etc.

For this review, here is my look back at the Ultraverse team comic book The Solution #1 (September 1993).

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The front cover.

Written by the late James Hudnall and drawn by Darick Robertson (inked by John Lowe), the story begins when Russian personnel get killed by a team of deadly people whose purpose is to raid the nuclear storage buildings.

As a result, several nuclear warheads were taken away without a trace. A KGB agent discusses the tragedy with an Aladdin agent and seeks help. In response, the Aladdin agent recommends to him The Solution.

“We’d like to (help) but our agency can’t give you any direct assistance. You know how it is. However these people might be what you need. Just remember…I never told you about them,” the Aladdin agent said.

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Meet The Solution.

In Hong Kong, a member of the triad instructs his hired assassins to distribute a shipment of illegal substances without getting any interference from The Solution. Predictably, the said team happens to be with them in their secret venue which starts a wave of martial arts, shooting and use of magic.

Enough with the plot. The Solution is a team of super-human mercenaries composed of Lela Cho/Tech (the leader), Eara/Shadowmage, Vurk/Outrage and Dropkick. Quite literally, whenever a major problem happens someone will call The Solution (the answer) to solve it for a fee.

In terms of character design, The Solution has a rather visceral look which was clearly emphasized on the cover art. Outrage, for example, looks very monstrous and one could easily mistake him for an evil figure.

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Obvious antagonists.

Illustrator Darick Robertson’s art is nice to look at and when the action happens, he sure delivers the goods making the hard action moves look intense. Even showing characters firing their guns look intense. The violence in this comic book is quite bloody and the opening scenes really show that.

Even with the non-action, talking scenes, Robertson’s art makes the members of The Solution look believably human. Facial expressions are good and they quite match the dialogue written. The team shot on page 21, which shows Lela Cho in the foreground talking to her teammates in the background, really looks nice.

In terms of writing, I found this comic book to be a bit bloated in terms of details and plot. Most notably, the pace of the story moves very fast and while it does its job establishing The Solution (and part of its purpose as a team-for-hire), the circumstances and the team’s place within the Ultraverse, the story felt really crammed even though there were 28 pages of story and art. I noticed that while the comic book is about The Solution, it ended up showing a total of three different teams (including the hired assassins).

In terms of character development, there was clear focus on Lela Cho which is not a surprise since she is the team leader. It turns out Lela has lots of vested interests in the corporate world and instead of being in a fancy office, she goes out in the field to get things done. She has a very direct, personal access to information online by means of wetware embedded in her skull. She also has a touch of business in her approach with leading The Solution.

“Our potential client has a problem with some Ultras. They want us to take care of it,” Lela Cho said on page 23.

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You got a problem? Call The Solution!

While it may not look as prominent as The Strangers or UltraForce as far as Ultraverse superhero teams go, The Solution stands out nicely for it is unique and its team-for-hire concept is very interesting. When I first read this comic book long ago, I was convinced to pursue the succeeding issues. Even by today’s standards, this old comic book remains fun and engaging.

The Solution #1 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. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back At The Night Man #1

“I’m not who I was any more! I’m not who I’m going to be! I am the Night Man.”

The above words were from the vigilante called the Night Man, a character co-created by comic industry veteran Steve Englehart (Avengers) and Darick Robertson for Malibu Comics’ Ultraverse franchise. Those words formally opened The Night Man #1 which I’m reviewing here.

To put things in perspective, a vigilante is described as a member of a volunteer committee organized to suppress and punish crime summarily (as when the processes of law are viewed as inadequate) according to Merriam-Webster dictionary. To put it broadly, the vigilante is a self-appointed doer of justice.

 

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The Night Man #1 cover.

Published in 1993 by Malibu Comics, The Night Man #1 tells the story of Johnny Domingo, a jazz player whose life changed in the pages of The Strangers #1 (also written by Englehart) in which he (while driving a vehicle) got by a cable car (that was just hit by an energy burst from the sky) resulting a piece of shrapnel embedding into his head.

Perceived by others to be doomed, Domino strangely survived and was well enough to resume his normal life. The difference is that the incident made his eyes dilated permanently which forces him to shield them from bright light.

Just as Johnny walks down the street, he learned he gained an uncanny ability when he hears, for the first time, the evil thoughts of a man (wearing a coat and a hat) planning to kill a lady on Saturday night.

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The Night Man in action!

Knowing what heard, Johnny wondered if he was crazy and what if some woman would truly be in danger. He then decides to follow the man with evil thoughts and watch his moves. Eventually Johnny followed the man to a restaurant by the beach and saw him talk with a pretty waitress named Ginger who agreed to a Saturday night date.

Carelessly Johnny approached the man too closely and got noticed, forcing him to run away and got chased until he got into a taxi that drove him away.

A short time later, Johnny starts his new career as a vigilante as the Night Man.

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In terms of storytelling, The Night Man #1 was nicely paced and never felt dragging. Within its twenty-eight pages of story, the comic book took gradual steps on introducing Johnny, how the incident with the cable car impacted him, how he became a vigilante for the first time and what went on in his mind as he became the Night Man. Given his rich experience as a writer, it is no surprise that Steve Englehart delivered a solid script.

It was also engaging to see Night Man being a determined yet very vulnerable vigilante. During his first mission in costume, he managed to beat a few bad guys but ended up getting hurt. This kinda reminds me of the vulnerability seen in the cinematic icon John McClane in 1988’s Die Hard.

The art by Darick Robertson, with ink work done by Andrew Pepoy, was nicely crafted. The civilian and vigilante looks of Night Man were well defined. The visualization of action nice and when Night Man gets hurt, he really looks in pain.

Going beyond Night Man, this comic book has a short preview (five pages, including credits) of Rune, a character created by Barry Windsor-Smith. Rune is described to be a voracious killer whose prey is all humanity and he is an alien leech who despoils the flesh of victims, culling their lifeblood into the essence of power. Rune is also a dying creature fighting for survival against the malignant disease burning inside of him.

Overall, The Night Man #1 is a worthy addition to your comic collection if you are interested in the Ultraverse (which is still kept in limbo by Marvel which acquired Malibu Comics in the mid-1990s) or are interested in vigilante-type superheroes. If you are obsessed with whatever Barry Windsor-Smith created, then the Rune stuff is a must-get.

The Night Man #1 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. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com