A Look Back at Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire #1 (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.

Way back in the mid-1990s, something special happened for Star Wars fans. A brand-new story involving Star Wars icons Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and others would be told set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. That story was called Shadows of the Empire and it was released as a special event in the form of a novel (written by Steve Perry), a video game on Nintendo 64 and PC, comic books, a soundtrack, posters, model kits, toys and action figures. What was missing here was a live-action movie.   

To put things in perspective, the Shadows of the Empire multi-media event was done by Lucasfilm (note: when creator George Lucas was still in control) with its many business partners to reinvigorate the Star Wars franchise ahead of the planned special editions of the original Star Wars movie trilogy. From a business point-of-view, it made sense to release something new for fans to enjoy and more notably it was the chance for Lucasfilm and its creators to explore what happened between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

A limited comic book series was released in 1996 and it involved the novel’s author as a story consultant. Back in those days, my comic book interest faded temporarily and even though I was still into Star Wars, I did not bother to buy and read the Shadows of the Empire comic books. The video game caught my attention a lot more back then. Fortunately, I found copies of the comic books and had the time to read them recently.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire #1, published by Dark Horse Comics in 1996 with a story written by John Wagner and drawn by Kilian Plunkett.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with a group of Rebel spaceships traveling together in the depth of space. Luke, who now has a mechanical hand and has been recovering from the terrible ordeal he went through at Cloud City, is with Princess Leia, C3PO and R2D2 in the medical frigate. The Rebels detect the presence of an approaching ship which they suspect to be hostile.

Luke suddenly decides to take action but is halted when he realizes that his X-wing fighter is still being refitted. In space, Wedge and the Rogue Squadron fly towards the Imperial Strike Cruiser which then releases some Tie Fighters. The personnel inside the Strike Cruiser tried to inform Darth Vader the location of the Rebel fleet…

Quality

Darth Vader!

The first thing I want to mention is that the writing done by John Wagner is solid. That being said, the story itself felt like a natural continuation of The Empire Strikes Back especially when the comic book’s narrative is focused on Luke and the Rebels. The way the recovering Luke, Leia and the two droids were presented following the end of the 1980 movie was believable, and there was that nice touch of characterization when Luke has not yet adjusted with his mechanical hand.

The story then moves into new territory when the narrative shifts on the Imperial side, especially when Emperor Palpatine gives Darth Vader a new order that has nothing to do with pursuing Luke and the weakened Rebels, but more to do with the construction of the Empire’s new weapon. This is also where the new character Xizor comes in and his presence alone confirms something that the movies did not…the Empire is in business with crime syndicates with regards to major projects.

Space ship battles look great in this comic book.

When it comes to characterization, I like the way Darth Vader handled himself when communicating with Emperor Palpatine who viewed Luke’s escape from Bespin a failure on his part. Compared with his private communication with the Emperor in the 1980 movie, Vader bravely questions him about doing business with Xizor backed with his knowledge of the prince and the ties with Black Sun. Vader, who has been part of the Empire for a long time, knew well how risky it is for them to get involved with criminals especially when military cargo is involved.

As for the visuals, Kilian Plunkett does a decent job drawing the characters. While his take makes Luke recognizable and faltered a bit on capturing Leia’s look, his illustrations on Darth Vader, the Emperor and Xizor were really good. Where Plunkett exceled visually are the locations and surroundings, the machines and the space battles (some pages were drawn really dynamically).

Conclusion

This shows how Luke has not fully adjusted with his mechanical hand.

To put it clearly, Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire #1 (1996) has three narratives (the other is about Boba Fett carrying the frozen Han Solo) to build-up on and for a debut issue of a limited series, this one has strength in its execution complete with a good amount of creative stuff that will resonate with long-time Star Wars fans (and also those who love the original Star Wars movie trilogy). It succeeds in telling what happened shortly after the end of The Empire Strikes Back as well as establishing a new sub-plot with Xizor involved. By the time I finished this comic book, I was convinced to look forward to the next issue.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire #1 (1996), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $48 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $144.

Overall, Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire #1 (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 Godzilla #1 (1995)

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, comic book collectors, sci-fi enthusiasts and fellow geeks! You must have heard by now that pop culture icons Godzilla and King Kong will clash together on the big screen in Godzilla vs. Kong (2021). Check out the official trailer below.

Take note that this is NOT the first time the two giant monsters encountered each other on the big screen. In fact, there was a Japanese-produced movie that featured the two released in 1963 and it involved Ishirô Honda who himself directed the 1954 original Godzilla movie. As the decades passed by, Godzilla movies were viewed by lots of people around the world and by the time efforts were taken to realize a Hollywood-produced film showcasing Japan’s icon, its place in global pop culture was already sealed.

And here is the thing that should interest you all – before the 1998 Hollywood Godzilla film (directed by Roland Emmerich) was even released, Dark Horse Comics published a series of Godzilla comic books. Of course, this was not the first time Godzilla made its presence felt in illustrated literature but the mid-1990s series was an effort to modernize Japan’s icon with readers (and comic collectors) of the time.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Godzilla #1, published by Dark Horse Comics in 1995 with a story written by Kevin Maguire and drawn by Brandon McKinney.  

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with a network television talk show focused on Godzilla and the possibility of it attacking North America. On the air, TV show host Kate Koshiro talks with research team G-Force member Take’ who states that Godzilla has been injected with poison and swam to the bottom of the ocean. Even so, they never found a corpse.

As the show goes on, it is revealed by Take’ that his team uses low-frequency signals which they hope will attract Godzilla and even pacify it. Take’ eventually begins to get nervous as Kate Koshiro presses him for details. Behind the scenes, personnel of G-Force watch the show on their giant monitor.

The G-Force personnel turn their attention away from the TV show as they have been alerted to the sudden emergence of Godzilla, 77 miles northwest of Vancouver…

Quality

The destructive power of Godzilla!

If you are looking for a good, original story of Godzilla to read, this comic book has it! To start with, it has a nice world concept of its own surrounding the monster. G-Force serves as the primary organization the world goes to not only for protection from Godzilla’s attacks but also extensive research-and-development (R&D) that can make breakthroughs the world can benefit from, and intelligence that the respective defense forces of nations can use.

The characters are an interesting mix with elements from G-Force and the American armed services doing most of the interaction, talking and exposition. The closest thing this comic book has to a human protagonist is Take’ who turned out to be more capable than being a researcher of G-Force.

As for Godzilla, there is nothing new with the monster’s portrayal even though it is confirmed to be sick with poison. Wherever Godzilla goes, a lot of destruction happens making it look like the antagonist to the reader. In other words, a typical Godzilla portrayal. Fortunately, the comic book creators succeeded in maintaining the giant’s presence strongly even though the narrative was primarily focused on the human characters.

Conclusion

Nothing like carrying the tremendous pressure that comes with the unexpected emergence of a gigantic monster.

Godzilla #1 (1995) is surprisingly entertaining to read. When I first read this comic book, I had modest expectations and just let myself discover what it has to offer. The good news here is that the comic creators crafted a story that is interesting and fun enough to read. Apart from focusing on Godzilla, the G-Force organization has an interesting cast of characters.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Godzilla #1 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $70.

Overall, Godzilla #1 (1995) 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 Batman versus Predator II #4 (1995)

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.

Do you happen to have any comic books of the Batman versus Predator II crossover in your collection? According to MileHighComics.com, their near-mint copies are valuable and you can sell them to make some much-needed money in this time of pandemic, government overreach and economic hardship.

Right now, I am about to finally end my review of the Batman versus Predator II mini-series and so far, I have enjoyed it a lot. To find out if this mini-series will come to a satisfying end, here is my retro review of Batman versus Predator II #4, published in 1995 by DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics with a story written by Doug Moench and drawn by Paul Gulacy.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the bat cave with Batman and Alfred discussing what happened lately. As it turned out, there were two other Predators on the lose apparently sent to stop the first one (who killed one of the mentioned two). Batman also mentioned the deaths of Song Sung and Terraro. Now there are two hunters remaining who may not know that the man who issued their contracts is dead.

Just before leaving with the motorcycle, Batman receives a call from Commissioner Gordon through the special line. Afterwards, he leaves.

In the city, a thug on a motorcycle starts chasing Batman which catches the attention of the local police…

Quality

From the final encounter with the hunter from space.

This comic book is a satisfying conclusion to the mini-series. In terms of writing, issue #4 delivered the payoff for what was built-up in issue #3. This results the return of Batman’s trusted ally as well as some more involvement of the police force as the stakes were raised in issue #3 with the involvement of more than one Predator. The hunter Predator – the one Batman and Huntress encountered in the first two issues – was indeed present and it was very interesting to see it pursue its encounter with the two heroes even though he was being hunted by a fellow Predator.

Having more than one Predator was initially confusing but the confusion did not last too long which readers will find relieving. As expected, the Huntress joined Batman in the final encounter and served nicely as a fighting partner whose assistance proved to be valuable. If there is any weak spot in the presentation, it’s the element of the gang and human hunters who only served to add to the death toll.

As with the first three issues of this mini-series, the action here remains very intense and quite uncompromising with its violence. Expect gunshot wounds and decapitations here and there. The hard action presented, especially in the encounters with the Predator, was indeed satisfying. I should state that the final encounter inside the space ship is very thrilling.

Conclusion

The Bat signal is an attraction to the Predator.

Batman versus Predator II #4 (1995) is a pretty solid read. What was built-up previously, got paid off nicely here. With regards to raising the stakes and making this mini-series different from its predecessor, the creative team succeeded with the resolutions they came up with. In addition, Batman and the Huntress make a solid duo and their interactions together were compelling.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Batman versus Predator II #4 (1995) be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $50.

Overall, Batman versus Predator II #4 (1995) 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 RoboCop versus The Terminator #4 (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.

Hey fellow geeks and comic book collectors plus the fans of RoboCop and Terminator! This is it! I have finally reached the end of the 4-issue RoboCop versus The Terminator mini-series of comic books spearheaded by Frank Miller.

To give a recap without spoiling plot details, issue #1 was mainly a build-up issue which did not entertain on its own. In issue #2, there was a huge pay-off to the build-up and seeing RoboCop battle the Terminator was a grand spectacle! Issue #3 meanwhile saw some very daring creative twists taken that further mixed elements of the respective Terminator and RoboCop universes together which ultimately served as a build-up for what could be a potential epic in the comic book featured in this review.

Is the build-up worth it? Did the issue #3 twists pave the way for something memorable? We will all find out in this look back at RoboCop versus The Terminator 4, published in 1992 by Dark Horse Comics with a story written by Frank Miller and drawn by Walt Simonson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins again in the dark future when the world is ravage by the war between man and machines. As the human resistance falters, the machines of Skynet march further toward their prey. Suddenly, RoboCop flies in and hits them with a very powerful rocket.

Inside a cybernetic hideout, a familiar short-haired lady gets shaken by the blast. As a result, she will not go back in time and will no longer try to kill RoboCop. On the monitors, she watches the armed cyborg cop destroy Skynet’s troops and saved the human resistance from certain death.

Shortly after, the human warriors take a much-needed rest. Feeling restless, the lady warrior approaches RoboCop privately and states that she figured he is not a Terminator. RoboCop, whose helmet was taken off showing his human face as officer Murphy, pets a dog as the lady approaches them.

It turns out the lady’s name is Flo (short for Florence) and she starts conversing with him peacefully. She then starts trusting RoboCop, even resting by his side. RoboCop, however, knows what has been going on that the humans don’t and he knows that Skynet and its army of Terminators acknowledge him as their creator. How his decision to help the human resistance in the war against the machines will turn out remains to be seen.

Quality

Another twist, another scenario for the war between man and machines.

When it comes to its story, Frank Miller really exerted efforts to give this comic book’s final conflict an epic presentation which is no surprise since the stakes were already raised as a result of the big twists in issue #3. Epic concept aside, the concept of RoboCop helping the humans fight Skynet is indeed awesome and daring to see. There is one additional idea Miller came up with which raise the stakes even further in the war, and what that idea was about is something you readers should find out on your own by getting a copy of this comic book.

If there are any weaknesses here, it’s the presentation of the concept of time travel and time distortion which, even in this concluding part of the mini-series, remains used to justify scenario twists. As a result, the ending of this comic book made the whole conflict look and feel like a twisted, wild dream. Another thing to point out was that Skynet, even in its cybernetic form, was portrayed with human-like patterns and even tried to reason with RoboCop. This one weakened the Terminator concept a bit. Still, the series ended with enough satisfaction for me.

Conclusion

RoboCop and the human resistance.

RoboCop versus The Terminator #4 is worthy conclusion to its mini-series. On its own, it had an epic concept and the creators really did what they could to raise the stakes of the conflict as well as raising the quality of their presentation. When it comes to combining the creative elements of the Terminator and RoboCop franchises, Miller did a solid job. It’s just that time travel and time distortion were used to create new scenarios once again in this particular comic book which I found unnecessary. On the bright side, this comic book is loaded with lots of action scenes and the quality of the dialogue was improved.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of RoboCop versus The Terminator #4 (1992), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of this comic book costs $10.

Overall, RoboCop versus The Terminator #4 (1992) 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 Batman versus Predator II #3 (1995)

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.

I am currently enjoying the Batman versus Predator II mini-series of the mid-1990s which was a joint effort between DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics. The first issue was great and nicely built up the energy for the first encounter between Batman and the Predator in issue #2. Along the way, I do enjoy the adulterated tone that came with the presentation. This made each issue look and feel like an R-rated cinematic segment.

Will the strong quality of this crossover continue in the third issue? Find out with me in this look back at Batman versus Predator II #3, published in 1995 by DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics with a story written by Doug Moench and drawn by Paul Gulacy.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Batman emerging from the sewer. He finds himself alone in the middle of a city street and senses danger is around him. Suddenly someone from one of the nearby buildings fires at Batman who dodges and takes cover by a car. He grabs a tool and throws it at the window which hits the rifle. And then, on the street, a man throws a grenade at the caped crusader who deflects it. The grenade enters a nearby establishment and explodes. Batman kicks the antagonist and then encounters a speeding vehicle heading towards him.

The detective fires his weapon which causes the car’s windshield to get smashed. He dodges the car and sees it crash. Suddenly the floor beneath him opens which compels him to use his grapnel to avoid falling down to spikes below.

Meanwhile at another location, the Predator dissolves the decapitated head of a man (killed in issue #2) with hot liquid and keeps the skull for his collection of trophies.

Back at the Bat Cave, Batman and Alfred analyze what happened recently. Alfred states that the Predator killed two of the seven assassins hired by Terraro to kill Batman. The great detective wonders why…

Quality

The Huntress and Batman.

Let me start with the storytelling. The writing by Doug Moench is solid and, more importantly, there is a nice payoff here in relation what was gradually built up in the first two issues – Terraro’s assassins and operations getting more lively within the plot. This alone adds some nice variety into the ongoing Batman-Predator rivalry, and symbolically the Huntress (who is after Terraro) is involved with the mafia plot and the said rivalry between Gotham’s detective and the hunter from space.

More on Batman and the Huntress, I like the way Moench wrote these two heroes as being divided even though they both face threats from the crime gang and from the Predator. Both characters are vigilantes but Batman has justice in mind while the Huntress is focused on hunting the powerful crime boss. Adding more depth to the story is the subplot about Commissioner Gordon being helpless and recovering in the hospital which complicates matters for the Gotham City police department.

Another thing that makes this issue more unique is the in-depth presentation of Batman doing detective work in the Bat Cave with Alfred providing insight. This alone makes this issue an improvement over issue #2.

When it comes to the visuals, artist Paul Gulacy continues to provide really nice artwork backed with strong support by the colorists. Gulacy took his time pacing the story by following the script closely and made key action scenes look dynamic visually when needed.

Conclusion

Remember the armor Batman wore in the previous crossover story against the Predator?

Considering all the good stuff I enjoyed in it, Batman versus Predator II #3 is a great read. It has a better balance on plotting, detective work, spectacle and intrigue. In fact, this comic book has a much more powerful ending than issues #1 and #2, and the ironic thing is that this only leads to the 4th and final issue which I’ll review soon.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Batman versus Predator II #3 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $40.

Overall, Batman versus Predator II #3 (1995) 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 RoboCop versus The Terminator #3 (1992)

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

Hey everyone! It’s time to go back to the comic book crossover featuring two metallic titans, The Terminator and RoboCop! I have already reviewed two issues of the 4-issue mini-series published by Dark Horse Comics and so far, it’s been a mixed ride. Issue #1 was pretty much a huge build-up that led to a nice pay-off in issue #2. Considering what happened at the end of the last issue, I got hooked with wanting to see what follows next.

As such, here is my look back at RoboCop versus The Terminator #3, published in 1992 by Dark Horse Comics with a story written by Frank Miller and drawn by Walt Simonson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the far future in with planet Earth already saved but at the expense of humanity. The human race not only got crushed but also flattened, processed and converted into energy to fuel the Terminators. While things look certain and final for machines and man in the far future, a universe is about to organize.

Back in the present day, RoboCop just defeated the Terminator in a high-octane battle that caused a whole lot of damage. The lady from the far future asked RoboCop if he understood what has happened and if he finally believes she told the truth. Realizing the truth, RoboCop allows her to come close and try to blast him with her huge weapon. The attempt failed and RoboCop walks away.

RoboCop visits the cemetery and spends time at his grave that states his name: Alex Murphy. After some deep reflection, RoboCop recalls his vision of the far future. This prompts him to take the most drastic action he could think of…

Quality

Something suspenseful…

Considering how the story turned out in the first two issues, it was no surprise that some drastic twists had to be taken to not only continue the combined universes of RoboCop and the Terminator, but also keep things fresh. The good news here is that Frank Miller’s writing is pretty good and he successfully kept the story cohesive even though drastic twists were made.

At the very core of the story is the theme about RoboCop being acknowledged as the creator of Skynet and the Terminators. As a police officer, RoboCop’s duty is to protect the innocent and uphold the law for the good of his local society, and yet for as long as he exists, so will Skynet and the Terminators of the far future. How Frank Miller fused key elements of RoboCop’s mythos with those of the Terminator franchise was pretty clever and believable from a fantasy viewpoint.

When it comes to weak points, I should say that Walt Simonson’s are here is not great although he does a descent job with drawing RoboCop. Simonson’s visual take on the Terminators has that cartoony look which is alienating.

Conclusion

It sure is hard to make the moves to drastically alter the future for the good of humanity.

RoboCop versus The Terminator #3 is a successfully told chapter in its 4-issue mini-series. It falls short of the greatness of issue #2 but it still proved to be fun and compelling to read. By the time the comic book ended, the stakes were raised for the next issue which I look forward to read.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of RoboCop versus The Terminator #3 (1992), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy costs $15.

Overall, RoboCop versus The Terminator #3 (1992) 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 Batman versus Predator II: Bloodmatch #1 (1995)

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.

If there is anything I love about the comic book format in relation to creative fiction, it is the fact that the said format allows certain crossover match-ups (that could not be realized in movie or TV format) to happen. In this case, I’m talking about having the science fiction monster warrior Predator in conflict with Batman.

Historically, in the early 1990s, DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics teamed up to publish the highly memorable crossover Batman versus Predator with the creative talents of Dave Gibbons, Andy Kubert and Adam Kubert.

The two publishers did not stop there. In 1995, they teamed up again to bring the two pop culture icons together but with a brand new story, a new creative team and with the involvement of the Huntress to support Batman. I was in college back in 1995 and you can’t imagine how surprised I was to see the first issue of the 2nd Batman-Predator crossover displayed on the shelf of the comic book store I visited. I was surprised because there was not much media spotlight for it in the comic book industry magazines I read.

That being said, here is a look back at Batman versus Predator II: Bloodmatch #1, published in 1995 by DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics with a story written by Doug Moench and drawn by Paul Gulacy.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the city where three guys are about to complete an illegal drugs deal by the dock. As one of the dealers fires his gun at the other party, Batman breaks into the scene to bring him down and pressures him to reveal the location of Terraro. As the downed thug tries to shoot Batman, an arrow fired by the Huntress hits his arm which caught the Dark Knight by surprise.

After knocking the thug out, Batman and the Huntress talk. It turns out both of them are after Terraro. The Huntress leaves as Batman remains to do some detective work on the three men.

Meanwhile from a far distance, a Predator reviews archived video footage of Bruce Wayne/Batman’s final encounter with a Predator (as told in the final issue of the first Batman Versus Predator series) and listens to the audio recording. The Predator is preparing himself to fight Batman by doing research (including familiarizing himself with how Bruce Wayne and his butler Alfred sound like) and he uses his deadly disc to cut off the head of a statue resembling the Dark Knight…

Quality

28
The Predator in action!

Let me start with the story. This comic book essentially tells a crime story mixed with some sci-fi elements. Unsurprisingly, there is a lot of exposition used to help build-up the expected conflict between Batman and the Predator. That’s not to say that the story is hollow. In fact, I still found it compelling even though some of the spotlight was spent on the Huntress who is clearly involved in the crime tale. To say the least, the Huntress adds variety to what could have been a typical Batman-does-all-the-detective-work story.

Batman, who by this time gained tremendous knowledge about the Predator, turns out to be targeted as “dead meat” by a gang leader and it’s nice to see him solve the crime problem while being at odds with the Huntress whom he finds to be too eager and reckless.

As for the Predator, unsurprisingly the alien warrior appears sparingly but that’s not a problem at all. In fact, the writer implemented the spotlight on the Predator without ever overdoing it which added nicely into the anticipation of the so-called rematch with Batman. I also liked how the Predator was portrayed in dealing with the criminal and law elements of the city.

As for the visuals, this one is a mixed bag for me. Firstly, I like the more vibrant and stylish use of colors which made this comic book look radically different from the dark, gritty and less colorful visuals of its predecessor. Secondly, Paul Gulacy’s art on drawing people lack punch and consistency. There were times that his drawings of Batman and Huntress were good, other times not. His work on the Predator is good, however. What Gulacy excelled in was drawing action scenes which are not only dynamic in presentation but also went strong with the violence (lots of bloody scenes, weapons penetrating the body, etc.) which reminded me a lot about the first two Predator movies. Gulacy’s take on the Batmobile looks corny.

Conclusion

6
The Huntress watches as Batman takes action.

Way back in 1995, I enjoyed reading Batman versus Predator II: Bloodmatch #1 the day I first bought it. Today, I still find it enjoyable to read. It has a nice mix of suspense and spectacle, and the creative team was granted a lot of creative freedom to tell the story with mature readers in mind. The story was well paced and the build-up was worth the time.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Batman versus Predator II: Bloodmatch #1 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $23 while the near-mint copy of the promotional version with a poster costs $40.

Overall, Batman versus Predator II: Bloodmatch #1 (1995) 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 RoboCop versus The Terminator #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.

Previously, I found RoboCop versus The Terminator #1 an underwhelming crossover comic book. This was due to the way the story was structured and it had a protagonist who was not interesting to follow. It does not help that RoboCop himself did not appear much in the story while the Terminators were nothing more than window dressing.

Now that the exposition and build-up has been done in the first comic book, we can find out if RoboCop and the Terminator will finally become more prominent in this look back at RoboCop versus The Terminator #2, published in 1992 by Dark Horse Comics with a story written by Frank Miller and drawn by Walt Simonson.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the dark future. A young boy finds himself in the middle of a war zone surrounded by explosions and blasts. With a broken leg, he crawls up the steps of a ruined place only to find himself facing a T-800 Terminator which kills him. The Terminator, acting like a human, raises the boy’s dead body to other Terminators which raised and clenched their firsts to acknowledge victory.

The story then moves back to 20th century Detroit, Michigan. An ED-209 operating for the city hospital fires at a dog until it got stopped by police officers. RoboCop arrives and enters the hospital with his gun catching everyone’s attention. He enters the room where the young lady from the far future is resting. Knowing that RoboCop is responsible for Skynet and the eventual war between man and machines, she remains hostile towards him.

In response to RoboCop’s inquiry about the weapon used during the shooting incident (that happened at the end of issue #1), the lady responds saying, “You really don’t get it. Do you, monster? Well, you will get it when they plug you into Skynet in a copy of years—when your mind makes the Terminators possible—when you mind starts a war that wipes us out, maybe then you’ll get it!”

Even though he is mostly machine and has been computerized RoboCop (Alex Murphy) was compelled to deeply analyze what the lady from the future said. He decides to investigate…

Quality

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Hard-hitting action between the two pop culture icons is plentiful and satisfying!

With regards to presentation, I should say that the creative team bounced back big time here delivering lots of fun stuff about RoboCop and the Terminator. The plot, for the most part, is well written and there was a lot of room to have Detroit’s cyborg cop go into conflict with more than one Terminator finally paying-off the build-up that dominated the first issue. There were even a few scenes of dark humor spotted here and there. When it comes to fusing the respective creative elements of the RoboCop and Terminator intellectual properties, this was nicely pulled off. Even ED-209, a rival of RoboCop’s in the movies, got involved in battling a T-800. When it comes to the art, Walt Simonson’s work here is satisfactory at best. He does a decent job visualizing the hard action between RoboCop and the T-800 but there is that cartoony aesthetic of Simon’s that I found to be out of place within this crossover.

Conclusion

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Three Terminator units in different sizes.

I’m happy to say that fans of both RoboCop and the Terminator will have a lot of good stuff to enjoy in RoboCop versus The Terminator #2. The build-up and heavy exposition in the first issue paid off nicely in this comic book. Those who got annoyed with the lady from the future will be relieved that her spotlight in this issue was heavily reduced. As expected, the fight between RoboCop and the T-800 is brutal and plentiful although the impact could have been stronger had someone else illustrated this comic book. By the end of the story, I was very satisfied and ended up looking forward to the next issue.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of RoboCop versus The Terminator #2 (1992), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy costs $6.

Overall, RoboCop versus The Terminator #2 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 RoboCop versus The Terminator #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.

Back in the early 1990s, I was already a fan of the Terminator and RoboCop mainly due to their respective first movies released in the 1980s which became cinematic classics. While RoboCop 2 never came close to the quality of the 1987 original movie, Terminator 2: Judgment Day literally rocked the cinemas and went on to become one of the greatest film sequels ever made. Back then, there was a lot to be excited for over the two entertainment franchises.  One day during my high school days (note: there was no social media and Internet access in the Philippines was not yet established), I learned from reading a comic book industry magazine that a crossover comic book mini-series matching the Terminator and RoboCop together. That news excited me a lot and before the end of 1992, I bought myself a copy of the comic book RoboCop versus The Terminator #1 (note: this one has gone out of print).

With the history explained, let’s all take a look back at RoboCop versus The Terminator #1, published in 1992 by Dark Horse Comics with a story by Frank Miller (note: the same successful comic book creator who actually worked on RoboCop movies in Hollywood) and art by Walt Simonson.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the far future wherein human society has been ruined and the world became a constant battleground of a war between powerful machines and desperate humans. Inside a facility being invaded by the machines, a lady working for the rebels has been using computers (via brainfeed) in the battle with Skynet. As far as she knows, leader John Connor has been right in telling her that it was a human mind that merged with software and got linked with Skynet. She points to the 20th century historical figure Alex Murphy/RoboCop as the one responsible for the war.

Before Skynet’s machines reach her, she strips naked and made a desperate trip back through time. She successfully makes a hard landing into the middle of a city in a time before the war. After struggling with the sudden change, she arms herself and sets off to kill Alex Murphy…

Quality

16
Something is off with the pacing of the action here.

Let me start that this particular mini-series has a very intriguing concept that made it stand on its own (as opposed to simply referencing core concepts of the movies). This is about RoboCop’s technology being used to establish Skynet and this launch comic book emphasized that nicely.

When it comes to storytelling done with this particular comic book, things felt very uneven. For a comic book that strongly focused on the Terminator and RoboCop, this was mainly the story of the rebel lady from the future whose mission was to eliminate officer Alex Murphy in a bid to change the future. While she is portrayed to be highly determined and works by action, the character is never interesting and not worth investing your attention to.

For his part, RoboCop was literally placed on the backseat in this story and he makes his first appearance in the 2nd half starting with crime-busting. Considering the lack of spotlight, the sci-fi icon himself is not even interesting to follow which is disappointing.

The clear representation of evil here is Skynet and its army of Terminators. To say the least, the machines here make a worthy menace to read and somewhat made up for RoboCop and the lady rebel being uncompelling characters.

When it comes to the art, I should say that Walt Simonson’s visuals are not great to look at. There were crooks that had a cartoony aesthetic on the faces, Terminators that don’t even come close to their cinematic designs and some images looked rushed. At least Simonson’s RoboCop looks recognizable and was satisfactory with the action.

Conclusion

6
The target: Alex Murphy/RoboCop.

I still remember how underwhelmed I got after completing RoboCop versus The Terminator #1 the first time way back in 1992. It’s even more underwhelming by today’s standards. Of course, the comic book was essentially a build-up issue with the pay-off supposed to happen in the remaining issues. Its best selling point is the fusion of RoboCop and Terminator concepts that helped establish its own universe.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of RoboCop versus The Terminator #1 (1992), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $17 while the near-mint copy of the platinum edition costs $170.

Overall, RoboCop versus The Terminator #1 (1992) is satisfactory. That being said, I would not recommend paying a lot of money for this comic book. Find a near-mint copy priced below $10.


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 Terminator #1 (1990)

Way back in 1984, a low-budget movie titled The Terminator became a hit with moviegoers which greatly helped the careers of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton and writer-director James Cameron. Terminator 2: Judgment Day became a massive hit worldwide in 1991 establishing the Terminator franchise as an important one leading to more movies (released in 2003, 2009 and 2015), video games and even a TV series. Oh yes, the upcoming film Terminator: Dark Fate will be released very soon and it now involves James Cameron.

Way back in 1990, a follow-up to the 1984 classic was released that did NOT involve Schwarzenegger, Cameron and Hamilton at all. The follow-up was a 4-issue mini-series titled The Terminator and was published by Dark Horse Comics which back then was licensed to do comic books of the Terminator franchise.

This is my review of The Terminator #1, written by John Arcudi and drawn by Chris Warner with ink work by Paul Guinan.

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Early story

The comic book opens in the year 2029. In the ruins of Los Angeles, a band armed humans struggle against the machines of Skynet during the night. They infiltrate a facility to find one of Skynet’s time displacement chambers which they learned previously from their leader John Connor. Thanks to Connor’s intervention, Skynet’s attempt to change history failed but the big catch is that only a prototype of the time displacement chamber was discovered. The final model of the chamber remains.

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As the armed guys make their way through, a Terminator watches them secretly….

Quality

When it comes to the writing, I can clearly see that John Arcudi (best known for The Mask) exerted effort to make this comic book relevant to the 1984 movie using key details such as the humans operating on the field only at night time (because Skynet will easily detect them during the day). Arcudi, however, expanded a bit on the franchise’s cinematic elements by emphasizing the use specific machines (steel-and-chrome wombs or tissue-generating chambers) to cover Terminator units with flesh and blood, and most notably, the use electronic communication between Terminator units which resemble telepathy among humans.

Cyberdyne, the fictional corporation heavily emphasized in Terminator 2, made an appearance in this comic book. With regards to Skynet, Arcudi emphasized that the living network was a lot more resourceful than what the movies suggested. The comic book has a nice build-up and along the way, the use of expository dialogue was pretty efficient and they are quite helpful for readers to grasp the story and key details.

With regards to the art work, Warner’s art style has that somewhat cartoony aesthetic on not just the humans but even on the machines. There were several Terminator units displayed without the flesh and from the way they were drawn, I could not even tell if those units were the T-800 type. Warner’s drawings on the physical environments carry a good amount of detail.

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Terminator stealthy approach captured nicely.

While Warner’s drawing has a cartoony aesthetic, the illustrated action is pretty violent and has quite an impact in some shots. There are some bloody images and implied nude shots as well.

Conclusion

What can I say? I bought The Terminator #1 at the Hobby Con this past weekend out of pure curiosity. After reading it thrice, I should say that I found this comic book proving to be better than what I expected. It is a surprisingly good read and the fact that this was published roughly a year BEFORE the release of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, I found this to be a worthy follow-up to the 1984 movie. In fact, it’s so good a follow-up I’d rather read it than waste my time watching Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Terminator Salvation and the very awful Terminator: Genisys.

As such, I declare that The Terminator #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