A Look Back at V #5 (1985)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book, watching the V mini-series (Original Miniseries and The Final Battle) and the 1984 TV series, 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, science fiction enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of the V entertainment franchise of the 1980s! Before I start this newest retro comic book review, I am happy to say that I recently published my retro review of V: The Original Miniseries which is one of the most in-depth retro reviews I wrote so far. I recommend you to read it now. If you are a fan and you are interested to buy yourself the original mini-series on Blu-ray disc format, head on to Amazon. Now we can return to the 1980s comic book series.

Last time around, Ham Tyler and Chris continued their operation which resulted getting reunited with the star child Elizabeth Maxwell (refer to V: The Final Battle mini-series of 1984). Meanwhile, Mike Donovan and Julie Parrish met with delusional astronomer Earl Meagan (patterned after Carl Sagan) who is obsessing with meeting Diana of the Visitors.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at V #5, published in 1985 by DC Comics with a story written by Cary Bates and drawn by Tod Smith.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Diana, Linda and Charles watching a video message from the delusional Earl Meagan expressing his thanks to her (Diana) for accepting his peace proposal for a summit of peace between the humans and the Visitors. He expressed more of his delusion stating that he is confident that both of their races will benefit from the meeting.

Diana explains to her powerful companions that they have a lot to gain by turning one of Earth’s most influential figure to their side. After Diana left, Linda expresses that their commander has gone too far. Charles tells her what she is thinking of.

On Earth, in the presence of Ham, Chris and Bates, a weakened Elizabeth recalls her time with Kyle when they went into hiding away from the Visitors’ search team. She then makes mental contact with Kyle.

Elsewhere, as Mike Donovan and Willie watch the newscast about the peace summit between Diana and Earl Meagan set to happen soon, Julie Parrish personally tells the astronomer (by the helipad within a city) that he just can’t go as such a meeting is suicide. Still delusional, Meagan tells Julie that she is no different from her short-sighted friend Mike, leaves her and rides the helicopter to push through with the summit…

Quality

Realizing her mistake with the delusional astronomer Earl Meagan, Julie comes back to Mike.

First thing to mention is the good news that the quality of the writing and plotting by Cary Bates has the high quality maintained throughout. While the story about the peace summit between Earl Meagan and Diana is the highlight here, the other story (told through Ham and Chris) about the discovery of a secret camp where the Visitors conduct experiments on humans is itself very intriguing as it parallels what the Nazis did to prisoners during the dark days of World War II.

Going back to the highlighted plot of the comic book, Earl Meagan is not only delusional with his old belief that any extraterrestrial race capable of traveling through the depths of space is surely friendly and benevolent to humanity…he is completely wrong and a danger to his own people as clearly lost his touch with truth and reality. He is a perfect example of what happens when a scientist refuses to realize the limits of science and goes over the edge believing in the falsehood that another scientific breakthrough will prove him right and all others wrong. By today’s standards, Meagan can be compared with the radical socialists in America who foolishly believe that all foreigners (including criminals and terrorists) should be allowed free entry into their country without consequence and without responsibility, and at the expense of their fellow American citizens.

When it comes to characterization, I still recognize Ham and Chris as I remembered them from V: The Final Battle thanks to solid writing. Julie’s portrayal in this comic book, however, takes a drastic turn from powerful receiver of Earl Meagan in issue #4. More notably, it is refreshing to see the relationship between Mike and Julie getting strained as a result of Meagan.

Conclusion

The closest thing you can have about Carl Sagan betraying the entire human race in favor of aliens from outer space.

V #5 (1985) is another solid tale about the conflict between the Resistance and the Visitors, but with Earl Meagan as the mad scientist with charisma who puts his fellow humans into more danger. It’s a worthy read from start to finish.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of V #5 (1985), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $28 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $36.

Overall, V #4 (1985) 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 V #3 (1985)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book, watching the V mini-series (Original Miniseries and The Final Battle) and the 1984 TV series, 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, science fiction enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of the V entertainment franchise of the 1980s! Before I start this newest retro comic book review, let me ask you…if you were a resident of a small, rural town in America, would you be willing to accept offers from visitors who claim to come in peace?

The above question hits on theme that defined the first arrival of the Visitors (Reptiloids covered with fake flesh to look human on the outside) in the first episode of V: The Original Miniseries in 1983. I remember the scene in which the Visitors’ so-called leader John first appeared and he acted gentle and friendly. The events that followed was pop culture history.

Last time around, Mike Donovan, Julie Parrish and their companion got jailed in a small, rural town whose people (a lot of which were senior citizens) trusted the Visitors a whole lot. The three could find themselves in deeper trouble as a group of Visitors arrive in town for an activity. To find out what happens next, here is a look back at V #3, published by DC Comics in 1985 with a story written by Cary Bates and drawn by Carmine Infantino.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the arrival of a large transport ship at the town of Sparkling Springs. The group of Visitors, led by Captain Devon (who replaced his predecessor), is warmly welcomed by the residents. In the town jail, Mike, Julie and Hart noticed from a distance that the arrival of the Visitors was six hours earlier than anticipated.

At another part of town, the young Billy (who promised to help Mike, Julie and Hart) is hiding behind plants with Willie (a good-natured Visitor who sided with the Resistance) and Boyce carefully observing the large transport ship. Being a Reptiloid himself, Willie found it logical that his fellow aliens want the rich abundance of minerals in natural spring water as it is beneficial for their physiology.

Willie then asks Billy to take them to the jail where their friends are locked up…

Quality

Mike and Willie take action!

As expected, the high-quality writing of Cary Bates really brought the continuing story to life and the engagement also remains strong.

While the previous showed how the town people became trusting of the Visitors, this one further emphasized that through the latest visit of the aliens. What I liked most about this comic book was the way Cary Bates portrayed the way the Visitors perceived their relationship with the town people and how they perceived a threat made by one of the locals could rattle the mutual give-and-take relationship of the two sides. There is even this chilling writing about how the life of one wasted youth compares the benefits that the two sides enjoy.

More on the writing, there is this very impassioned speech by Mike Donovan that makes clear the true intentions of the Visitors as the town people accepted the aliens so warmly while turning their backs on the human race. So far, this is the most socially relevant expression in this old comic book series and if you take into context the fact that certain people in the world today would give up on their established values (examples: patriotism, the nuclear family) in favor of destructive, radical values and concepts (examples: Marxism, Socialism, Communism, Fascism, critical race theory) and then deform society with them, Mike Donovan’s speech remains strongly relevant. In fact, I easily imagined the voice of Marc Singer speaking as I read the said speech.

When it comes to spectacle, there is a good amount of action to enjoy here.

Conclusion

With the help of local boy Billy, the Resistance make their moves against the Visitors.

I can say that V #3 (1985) succeeded in telling an engaging story (which concluded in a very satisfying way) and pushed the narrative forward. Having seen the original miniseries as well as V: The Final Battle a long time ago, I could easily relate with the portrayals of Mike Donovan, Julie Parrish and Willie in this story. I also love the fact that this story emphasized that peace and freedom are achieved not by mere reforms but with sacrifices (which was visualized with a very notable death scene that also showed the comic book creators took a huge risk as it is really sensitive in nature). Its social relevance will remind you not to give in to sinister forces.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of V #3 (1985), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $28 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $38.

Overall, V #3 (1985) 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 V #2 (1985)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book, watching the V mini-series (Original Miniseries and The Final Battle) and the 1984 TV series, 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, science fiction fans, comic book collectors and fans of the V entertainment series of the 1980s! Before I proceed with the newest retro review of the V comic book series, I must share to you – both V fans as well as those who plan to discover the 1980s mini-series and TV series – that V: The Original Miniseries, and V: The Final Battle are all available on Blu-ray disc format on Amazon while the V TV Series is available on DVD format. If you are eager to collect them for your home entertainment collection and with your passion for V of the 1980s still burning, I suggest checking them out now by clicking here, here and here.

Wow. It’s been several months since my review of V issue #1. Almost all the retro comic book reviews I published since then were about superheroes. After going through all the superhero stuff, going back to the V comic book series is refreshing on my part.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at V #2, published by DC Comics in 1985 with a story written by Cary Bates and drawn by Carmine Infantino.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in a desolate part of California where members of the Resistance get out of their downed skyfighter. They are actually a short walk away from a small town. Moments earlier, the local residents approached them with smiles and small crates containing something living. After Mike Donovan introduced himself to them, the locals were mystified and ran back to the town leaving the crates behind. It turns out, the town folks thought they were the Visitors and the way they reacted suggests that the race of Reptiloids from space were accepted by them.

Mike, Julie, Willie and Hart discover that the crates contained white mice (which are food for the Visitors) which they let go.

Elsewhere at the marina north of Redondo Beach, Ham Tyler and Chris Farber (still injured) are held at gun-point on boat which turned out to be a drug-runner model. The two Resistance members successfully fight back against the two armed men and quickly took the boat to head out to sea.

Inside the mothers ship orbiting Earth, the sadistic leader Diana rejects the claims of one of her soldiers over the failure related to work farm G7. Diana believes that because the soldiers have been among the humans for a long time, they learned to grovel like them. Finding the failure inexcusable, she releases a flying device that blasts one of them…

Quality

Ham and Chris take on the flying Visitors who approached them.

In terms of writing, this is indeed a solid follow-up to issue #1 and I can say that the creators succeeded in not only continuing to capture the essence of the established V characters, balancing exposition, spectacle and suspense carefully but also raised the tension in key moments of the story which added to the engagement.

What I liked most about this comic book is its concept about a small town whose people (average age is above 60-years-old) bonded with the Visitors, engaged with them with an incredible deal (this alone will make you revisit the first episode of V: The Original Miniseries) and trusted them a lot. This story will also encourage you to reflect upon the whole concept of V and even consider other factors such as how many humans died for their freedom, how Diana’s command impacted Earth, and more.

Conclusion

This scene display’s Diana’s ruthlessness and her own way of improving her squad by making examples that involve death.

To be very clear, V #2 (1985) is a very compelling comic book and it will surely resonate with fans who saw the Original Miniseries, The Final Battle and the TV series. The cerebral approach of this comic book made it a fun read.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of V# 2 (1985), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $28 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $35.

Overall, V #2 (1985) 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 #23 (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.

Before I start another retro review of the post-Crisis Wonder Woman comic book series, I need to share to you readers my observations about the recent social media trends that happened inside three Wonder Woman-focused groups within Facebook.

For one thing, I asked a simple question on all three WW FB groups asking the members if they would want to see Zack Snyder replace Patty Jenkins as the director of future Wonder Woman movies. Their reactions were pretty mixed and among them were a few very toxic responses. One group member asked me why do I hate Patty Jenkins (I have no hatred for her and in fact I admired her work in the 2017 Wonder Woman movie and pointed out her work in my piece about the No Man’s Land scene). Another member (an openly feminist-minded male) condemned me of sexism (completely false).

And in most recent times, I posted a few not so favorable media reviews of Zack Snyder’s Justice League on those same three WW groups on Facebook. This member called me a hater (I’m not a hater and I cannot judge a movie I have not even viewed), another member thought I allowed the negative review to influence me (sharing a post of an unfavorable review does NOT mean I believe in it), while another member took it very personal against me by means of verbal attacks (that person does not even know me and he allowed his uncontrolled fanaticism to go on the offense) on me.

Whew! There sure are a lot of Wonder Woman fans out there who are over-sensitive, who lacked self-control, who allowed themselves to be influenced by the socialists, and who allowed themselves to be swallowed by unrestrained political correctness. Clearly there are lots of hostile minds and likely believers of Cancel Culture among fellow WW fans which is unfortunate. What I posted on those FB groups were simply about entertainment, not identity politics and certainly not about attacking others.

I am still standing here!

Anyway, last time I reviewed an issue of Wonder Woman that I determined lacked depth and only served to build-up suspense and anticipation for future events. What will happen next to Wonder Woman and her companions? Will there be a pay-off to the build-up that happened in the pages of issue #22? We can all find out in this look back at Wonder Woman #23, published by DC Comics in 1988 with a story written and drawn by George Perez with finishes done by Will Blybers.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with a print media blast of Diana, her mother Queen Hippolyte, as well as Julie Kapatelis and her daughter Vanessa all occupying varied parts of the front cover of The World Today magazine with a feature about the royal family of Themyscira. At the corner of the cover says, “Memories of a Boston teen.”

At school, the teenage Vanessa (referred to as Nessie) is completely surrounded by other students who want her to sign their respective copies of the said magazine. She is enjoying the attention being the close, personal friend of the Amazons. Vanessa’s friends Eileen and Meekins can only watch the activity from a distance feeling lonely and let down.

In New York, Wonder Woman delivered a speech to the United Nations general assembly. She spoke on behalf of her mother and formally announced that the gates of Themyscira will be opened to the rest of the world (which is the result of the Amazons’ majority vote in issue #22). The response to her speech ranged from enthusiastic to apathetic.

After the speech, Diana finds herself surrounded by news reporters who ask her a lot of questions about her homeland, Queen Hippolyta’s potential visit to man’s world (AKA patriarch’s world) and the way some assembly members reacted to her speech.

Suddenly a mysterious figure whose head and face cannot be seen emerges. Diana senses something is wrong…

Quality

Wonder Woman flying in search of the mysterious figure.

I will start first by confirming that indeed, this comic book’s story has some pay-off to the suspense built-up in issue #22. Take note…some pay-off. It might sound disappointing for those who read issue #22 expecting a big pay-off but after going through the theme of this particular story, it is clear that there were planned plot events lying ahead related to the build-up (in issue #22).

More on the story itself, without spoiling much, I can say that George Perez pushed the envelope yet again by involving Hermes a lot more with Wonder Woman here. A lord to Diana, Hermes appeared not merely for a cameo appearance nor as a guide as seen in the early issues of this series, but rather he has a much bigger role than before. Hermes does not just appear with Wonder Woman who strictly follows him, he also makes an impact with the people on Earth.

When it comes to moral lessons, this comic book is boldly written by touching on themes such as how a deity from Olympus would impact people by bribing them, why mortals let their guard down when they believe what they saw or witnessed, and why would a foreign deity (from Olympus specifically) does not want mortals to challenge their authority.

The good news here is that everything is very well written from the way the plot was structured, the clear presence of emotion that filled much of the dialogue and the notable presence of philosophies that added depth to the dialogue.

When it comes to Wonder Woman herself, I love the way how Perez portrayed her on her struggle of doing her duty (for Themyscira and her deities) and maintaining friendship with the people she loved in man’s world. There is that nice touch of fragility on Diana’s personality and the same can be found on Julie Kapatelis whose struggle with being a mother and a friend is nicely dramatized.

Conclusion

Wonder Woman faces the world through the corrupt United Nations.

I can say that Wonder Woman #23 (1998) is a clear improvement over its predecessor by means of having a solid story concept backed with nice artwork (no surprise) and in-depth writing done by George Perez. I also like the fact that Wonder Woman herself gets upstaged in a rather reasonable way which shows Perez was not afraid to take risks when it comes to redefining the Queen of Superheroes in the post-Crisis era of DC Comics. Lastly, this comic book shows how faith is not to be practiced and why deities of Olympus are not worthy of faith and trust of the people. It also shows idolatry is foolishness.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #23 (1988), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $35 while the near-mint copy of the 2nd print edition costs $350.

Overall, Wonder Woman #23 (1998) 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 Strangers #15 (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, 1990s culture enthusiasts and fans of Malibu Comics! Are you ready for another return to the Ultraverse as seen through another tale of The Strangers?

Last time around, I had a lot of fun reading the debut and origin story of Powerhouse who turned out to be an ultra whose powers were realized in 1938 (coincidentally the same year DC Comics launched Action Comics #1 which introduced Superman in real life) and ended up spending more than fifty years of his life in containment. As for the Strangers, only Atom Bob and Grenade were featured but their encounter with Powerhouse (an ultra who was rejected for his being powerful  during his youth and eventually witnessed how modern-day ultras like the two mentioned Strangers were received positively by the public which knew of their powers) proved to be fun and memorable to read.

Now we can go on to another tale of The Strangers but with focus on two other members. To find out, here is my look back at The Strangers #15, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Rick Hoberg.

Early story

The story begins with the Strangers doing a review of their own members (6) plus ten others who happened to have been on the very same cable car with them the day they all got struck by energy from the sky which turned them into ultra beings. Their leader Lady Killer noted that there are still 43 others unaccounted for who may or may not have realized the got powers. The first ten they verified as ultras were all bad guys they fought with in recent times.

After the end of their discussion, the Strangers decide to take time off to go back to their respective private lives. Yrial asked Leon/Zip-Zap if she could join him. Zip-Zap tells her that his local community is very different from the floating island community she came from. Even so, Yrial stressed she wants to come with him and he accepts.

Some time later at another part of town, Yrial and Zip-Zap (both wearing civilian clothes) walk together. A few people somewhat recognized Yrial which reflects the public’s knowledge of her team. As they move on, a gang of tough-looking black people calls Zip-Zap by his real name. It turns out that Colvin (the apparent gang leader) and Leon had a conflict some time back and he knows Leon is with the Strangers.

Colvin introduces Yrial and Zip-Zap to Gangsta and Brazen. This prompts the teenage Leon to warn Yrial that Gangsta is dangerous. Gangsta then unleashes an energy blast on the two Strangers…  

Quality

Yrial and Zip-Zap plus the gang.

I like this story and the way it developed Yrial and Zip-Zap. To be clear, this story is not a typical, good-versus-evil superhero presentation. You won’t see the entire Strangers engage with another group of bad guys nor go against one powerful villain. It’s really all about Zip-Zap and his black lady friend who find trouble at a time when they are supposed to have a restful and easy time together. In other words, what happened to Atom Bob and Grenade in the previous issue also happened to the two black members of the team.

There clearly is a strong visual element of black people here and the story even touches on racial barriers. The new villain Gangsta openly stated that he got his powers from the ancient Egyptian pharaohs which he also described as the direct ancestors of the black race. He even tells Zip-Zap to honor Colvin’s gang, otherwise he will die.

The match-ups here are strategic. Yrial and Gangsta fight each other using magic, and they represent different cultures even as they are both black. For his part, Zip-Zap fights with a gang of black people led by a rival from his past. Their respective conflicts were portrayed in compelling ways.

Going back to Zip-Zap being reluctant in having Yrial with him on his return to his old neighborhood, the teenage member of the Strangers admits that his life has been uneasy. His father died before he was born and his mother died a few years before the day he and his teammates gained their powers while riding the cable car. Zip-Zap also was the littlest kid in a gang. Then life in the neighborhood became harder for him when Gangsta showed up. I should state that the way Steve Englehart emphasized Zip-Zap’s background is really compelling and also believable.   

Conclusion

Visually, having Yrial and Zip-Zap in civilian clothing is a fresh change from the usual.

Thanks to the creative duo of Englehart-Hoberg, The Strangers #15 (1994) is another fun-filled story that succeeded in developing Yrial and Zip-Zap while also keeping the series’ storytelling fresh. It touches on black people and the different cultures that brought the characters together. It even touches on the stereotypes of black gangsters as well as black youth who grew up without a father. That being said, it is a wonder as to how Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists would react if they read this comic book.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #15 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $14.

Overall, The Strangers #15 (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 Wonder Woman #22 (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 DC Comics! I wonder how many among you readers got to watch Zack Snyder’s Justice League? That was the so-called definitive version of the Justice League live-action movie that Zack Snyder originally envisioned and reportedly it was the big dream come true for fans of the director and his own vision of the current cinematic universe of DC Comics superheroes.

While the so-called Snyder Cut of Justice League has Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, I personally am not too excited for it but I will watch it much later on Blu-ray or perhaps 4K Blu-ray someday. What I am anticipating right now is the 4K Blu-ray release of Wonder Woman 1984 scheduled for March 30, 2021.

With regards to the literary Wonder Woman (post-Crisis DC Comics universe) as I’ve been reviewing a lot for some time now, things went crazy with what happened in issue #21. I’m talking about something that involved Wonder Woman with the deities of Olympus.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Wonder Woman #22, published by DC Comics in 1988 with a story written and drawn by George Perez with Bob McLeod credited with the finished art.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in Themyscira. All the Amazons are called by Diana to a special audience in relation to an pending proclamation of a new decision that shall chart forevermore the path of the Amazon destiny.

In front of a large audience composed of her many Amazon sisters as well as her mother (Queen Hippolyte), the oracle Menalippe and headmistress Mnemosyne, Diana announces that a majority voted yes on the question of Themyscira opening her gates to the world outside and allowing man to set food on the shores of paradise island.

There was no fanfare, no cheers and no applause from the audience as the announcement marked the beginning of the new stage in the history of Amazons.

Meanwhile in outer space, a silvery orb flies around in very fast speed heading towards Earth…

Quality

Wonder Woman’s lifting of the car looked inspired by the famous cover of Action Comics #1 from 1938.

To make things clear, the story of this comic book is mainly a build-up for something significant that will happen later. There is no real battle of good-versus-evil here, nor would you see Wonder Woman encounter someone sinister.

In terms of build-up, the approval by the Amazons of cultural exchange and sharing of access with man’s world is itself a set-up for a significant event for Wonder Woman and her two closest friends on Earth. On other matters, the arrival of the space orb on Earth was presented very nicely and it surely is intriguing to see how it builds up for an upcoming new anti-hero element.

If you are a Wonder Woman fan expecting to see more of Diana getting dramatized and developed, you might be disappointed that this comic book has lesser content about her than usual. In fact, there is a good amount of pages here that pay close attention to Vanessa Kapatelis having a bad day in school, plus her mother Julia attracting the attention of a certain school teacher. This particular comic book really tried hard dramatizing the mother-and-daughter relationship of the two supporting characters but ultimately (and not surprising) it’s nowhere as engaging as that of Queen Hippolyte and Diana.

Conclusion

Diana doing her duty in front of a tremendous audience of her Amazon sisters plus her mother Queen Hippolyte.

Behind its beautiful cover, Wonder Woman #22 (1988) is not only an underwhelming follow-up to the epic development in issue #21, it is also the least engaging issue I’ve read about the post-Crisis version of Wonder Woman under the creative direction of George Perez. It’s really more about setting the stages for a future conflict and a special visit to Themyscira (you can guess who would visit to see Wonder Woman’s Amazon sisters). George Perez’s writing is still of pretty good quality and he really knows how to define each character’s personality but it’s the overall concept of the comic book that is underwhelming.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #22 (1988), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $35 while the near-mint copy of the 2nd printing costs $350.

Overall, Wonder Woman #22 (1988) 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 #14 (1994)

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

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of Malibu Comics! Previously, I reviewed an issue of The Strangers which happened to be the 2nd-to-the-last issue of its monthly series (which itself was mostly spearheaded by the dynamic duo of Steve Englehart and Rick Hoberg).

I was about to do a retro review of The Strangers #24 but realized that there are still some other comic books of the series that I have not reviewed yet. As such, I decided to read those other issues before reviewing the final issue.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Strangers #14, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written by Englehart and illustrated by Hoberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins when a strong, muscular man with long blonde hair strikes a huge rock formation high in the hills to the east of San Francisco Bay in California. While talking to himself (most likely a way to deal with his isolation), he continues to lift very large piece of rock, smashes more rocks and throws a tractor as if it was just a ball.

“I am…Powerhouse! I am Powerhouse! I…am Powerhouse,” he said to himself.

Still talking to himself, Powerhouse realizes that the world must never know about him as it has done its best to destroy him. He quietly changes into civilian clothes and drives away into the distance in his car.

On the streets of East Bay Hills in Berkeley, Hugh/Grenade and Bob/Atom Bob walk down the fancy commercial zone as they enjoy the time-off Elena/Lady Killer gave them. Soon enough, people started recognizing the two as members of The Strangers even though they are not in costume. This community buzz catches the attention of an executive at a local radio station who then picks Powerhouse (in civilian form) to go to East Bay Hills to report about Hugh and Bob…

Quality

When Powerhouse first gained super abilities.

I’ll got straight to the point about what this comic book is all about. This is the story of an ultra who gained powers very long before The Strangers, Mantra, Prime, Hardcase, The Solution and all the other Ultraverse heroes even started. That being said, Powerhouse is an old man (who really does not look like in his sixties or seventies) whose life turned upside-down as a result of gaining super powers as a teenager in the year 1938 (note: this was the year Superman debuted in comics in real life). Having lost DECADES of his time in the world, Powerhouse became a man who found himself lonely and having trouble adjusting into the modern world (1993 in the Ultraverse specifically). What bothers him even more is the fact that super beings like The Strangers members Atom Bob and Grenade are gladly accepted and celebrated by the public which is the complete opposite of how he was perceived when he became a super being.

The writing done by Steve Englehart is very rich to read and through it all, you will feel the pain, frustration and anguish of Powerhouse. As usual, Rick Hoberg’s art is always great to look at and you can see in this comic book how he adjusts his style when the narrative shifts from the talk scenes into the action scenes and the like.

Conclusion

Really, you only see two of The Strangers in this comic book which contradicts what was shown on the cover art.

Fundamentally, The Strangers #14 (1994) highlights Powerhouse (both his present-day self and his origin) with Atom Bob and Grenade literally pushed out of the spotlight. Powerhouse is clearly inspired by the old ages of superhero comics and the creative team cleverly presented him as a super-powered man who finds himself struggling to fit in the 1990s. While this super being debut story is fun and engaging, its only weakness is that The Strangers have little real presence in the story (note: the cover art looks great but is really misleading).

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #14 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $14.

Overall, The Strangers #14 (1994) is recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me 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 #21 (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 superhero universe of DC Comics! I don’t know with you, my readers, but I love the way George Perez and his fellow writers characterized Wonder Woman during the very early stage of the post-Crisis era of DC Comics. The character development was not only a great way to achieve balance with spectacle and plotting for each story of Wonder Woman, but also a solid way to redefine the Queen of Superheroes to new fans as well as other comic book readers of the late 1980s. Such characterization efforts include redefining other key elements of the Wonder Woman concept such as the development of Themyscira and its all-women society, the struggle that the deities of Olympus had while the Amazons struggled, and most notably the way Wonder Woman and the people of man’s world adjusted to each other.

With those details laid down, we can find out more about Wonder Woman’s development in this look back at Wonder Woman #21, published by DC Comics in 1988 with a story written and drawn by George Perez with Bob McLeod credited with the finished art.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in Themyscira. In the middle of the night, Menalippe, the oracle of the Amzons wakes up looking terrified. She makes a reference to the deities of Olympus. In Wakefield, Massachusetts, Diana/Wonder Woman, Julia Kapatelis and teenager Vanessa arrive home from the memorial service of the late Myndi Mayer. As Vanessa goes to her bedroom feeling depressed, Diana admits to Julia that she is deeply troubled over what happened in recent times. She also expressed that she can’t help feeling partially responsible for Mayer’s death.

As Julia tries to comfort Diana, several knocks were made at the house door. Upon opening it, a bird carrying a note suddenly flies into the house and heads straight to Diana who recognizes it and reads a new message written by her mother, the queen Hippolyte.

After reading it, Diana leaves for Themyscira with a promise to Julia and her daughter that she will return. Shortly after arriving in her nation, she, her mother and all their Amazon sisters assembled at the altar of Apollo and performed a ritual led by Menalippe. Menalippe claims to have made contact with the deities and states that she, Diana and Queen Hippolyte have been called to appear at the court in Mount Olympus…

Quality

The deities of Olympus were never holy and were in fact very flawed beings who happen to hold tremendous power over Wonder Woman and the Amazons.

I can say that this is a story about the foundation of Wonder Woman’s place in the DC Comic universe as it involves the link between Olympus and Themyscira. The good news here is that this story is very well written and the plot structure was nicely organized by George Perez.

In many ways, this story is a continuation to Wonder Woman’s personal interaction with the deities of Olympus. The difference here is that her mother Queen Hippolyte and their oracle are much more involved and the deities – which include Zeus, Hera, Heracles and the rest – themselves have gotten into tremendous trouble as a result of what Darkseid did to them. This leads to the call of a new order which got the three Amazons chosen. This alone marks the new chapter in the lives of Amazons and Wonder Woman, who proved her worth in the Challenge of the Gods storyline, is unsurprisingly part of it.

When it comes to the character development of Wonder Woman, the golden part happened early in this comic book. I love the way that George Perez portrayed Diana to be fragile as a person who realizes that her being a very powerful icon in man’s world causes both blessings and problems around her. Diana admits getting blinded by the celebrity of being Wonder Woman to the many people around her. The dialogue Perez wrote for Diana in the early scene (in the presence of Julia) is very rich and so touching, you will feel sympathy for the Queen of all Superheroes.

Conclusion

A very touching scene about Diana/Wonder Woman dealing with the responsibility of what went wrong recently.

Apart from being a new chapter for Wonder Woman and her Amazons, Wonder Woman #21 (1988) is a richly layered story to read. It does not have the usual good-versus-evil spectacle common with most superhero comic books, but the story succeeds in moving the narrative of the Amazons and Olympus deities forward while developing Diana as an even more human character (as opposed to being a superhero). This is another great work spearheaded by George Perez.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #21 (1988), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $33 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition and the 2nd print edition cost $70 each.

Overall, Wonder Woman #21 (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 The Night Man #12 (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 Malibu Comics!

I don’t know with you but I personally enjoyed reading the crossover stories of the Ultraverse. The Strangers had nice crossovers with Hardcase and Prototype in different times. The crossover encounter between Prime and Prototype was very memorable. There also was the first grand crossover of the Ultraverse in Break-Thru #1.

While the Ultraverse no longer exists, for me it was the one superhero comic book franchise or imprint that truly defined superhero comics of the 1990s. Malibu Comics really had great talents and other comic book creators who produced lots of fun comic books to read. Their creators also knew what it took to make Ultraverse crossovers stand out.

Today, we will start a close look at another particular crossover storyline within the Ultraverse titled Hostile Takeover which involves The Night Man, Prototype, Solitaire, Sludge and The Solution! With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Night Man #12, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart with Len Strazewski and James Hudnall as co-plotters. The art was drawn by John Dennis.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the fancy office of J.D. Hunt as he receives a call from the secretive and sinister Rex Mundi. Mundi expressed disappointment in Hunt’s handling of the so-called Ultra Problem but went on to give him a chance to redeem himself. Mundi tells Hunt to take over Ultratech which has gotten into trouble caused by Gordon Bell. Hunt noted that Ultratech is to blame for the Strangers’ hijacking of his space shuttle as the security was handled by the said company.

 After talking with Mundi, J.D. Hunt observes his employees finishing work on a high-tech armor (Teknight) and then communicates privately with The Solution. During the meeting, Hunt reveals to them that he is a major stockholder of Ultratech and he needs them to find out if they got Gordon Bell running things. The Solution takes the job.

Elsewhere, the Night Man secretly jumps on the top of a moving truck which he knows carries NuWare’s secret project Teknight. Upon arrival at the airport of San Jose, California, Night Man carefully sneaks into an airplane which is where Teknight is loaded at…

Quality

Imagine yourself being Night Man in New York and you do not have the technology nor the means to be able to rise up a skyscraper.

I’ll say it straight right now…the story of this comic book is nicely crafted. With Steve Englehart and the contributions of Len Strazewski and the late James Hudnall, this one score nice points when it came to building-up the concept behind Hostile Takeover which involves a strong sense of corporate intrigue (which was often present in comic books of Prototype). The presence of The Solution is pretty small (this is a Night Man comic book after all) but they contributed nicely to the build-up.

The story of Hostile Takeover was told mainly through the eyes of the Night Man. For the newcomers reading this, Night Man is a vigilante who also does a lot of problem solving similar to Batman. Unlike the mentioned comic book icon, Night Man does not have insufficient resources to back him up and pushes himself to travel around and complete his mission. In this comic book, you will see him really go as far as he could with tracking down the powered suit of armor of Teknight. You will also see him struggle and you might as well relate with his limitations.

There is not too much superhero spectacle to enjoy here but that’s okay because there is a nice amount of very interesting details presented in the build-up of Hostile Takeover’s concept.

Conclusion

Night Man on the pursuit as Teknight gets loaded into the jet.

Even though it lacked spectacle, The Night Man #12 (1994) is still an engaging read and it should score well with readers or Ultraverse fans who enjoy detailed storytelling. This comic book succeeds in building up the concept of Hostile Takeover while setting up the crossover elements between key Ultraverse characters. The story also emphasizes more of Night Man’s struggle to get his mission done.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Night Man #12 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $14.

Overall, The Night Man #12 (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 Wonder Woman #20 (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.

It’s the second week of March already. That means we are slowly but surely inching closer to the March 30, 2021 scheduled releases of Wonder Woman 1984 on 4K Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD! If you have not yet ordered a copy of the sequel starring Gal Gadot as the Queen of Superheroes, you can do so now if you want to. I already ordered my copy. You can also read my retro review of the 2017 Wonder Woman movie.

On to literature! Last time, the George Perez-led story not only saw the end of Diana’s visit of Greece, it also fully presented to readers what was back then the modern portrayal of Circe (DC Comics’ own take on the false Greek goddess) who proved to be at the time the most sinister and most powerful supervillain Wonder Woman faced. Wonder Woman #19 also showed the Queen of Superheroes in her most vulnerable state.

Now that Diana and her friends have returned to America, we can find out what happens next in this look back at Wonder Woman #20, published by DC Comics in 1988 with a story written and illustrated by George Perez based on an idea by Carol Flynn. Bob McLeod was in charge of the finishes.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the City of Boston at night. Three Chinese men are running away from something until Wonder Woman confronts them. One of the men fires several bullets at her but each bullet got blocked by her using her tremendous reflexes and braces. After Wonder Woman disarms the gunman, another Chinese man tries attacking her with sharp weapons only to be defeated easily. The other Chinese man tries to run away but gets caught by Wonder Woman who uses her lasso. In reaction to his question, Wonder Woman demands answers.

Elsewhere, investigators are searching for clues and details inside a lady’s modern looking office. Lying on the floor is the dead body of a victim and according to the investigator’s report, she had been dead for a few hours. The victim is none other than Myndi Mayer, a highly successful publicist who made a career out of the media and celebrities. Wonder Woman happened to be her most recent, high-profile client. Mayer was involved in the Wonder Woman fair.

Based on their findings, Myndi Mayer looked like she didn’t go without a fight. A bloody letter opener was found in her hand and her purse was found next to her body emptied. Traces of white powder were found on her desk. Mayer’s secretary Christine Fenton was visited by the investigators who told her about the death of her boss. She did not express any surprise and told them that it was only a matter of time before Mayer’s end came. Christine added that she warned Mayer about a certain man.

The investigators then show Christine the sketch of man based on the description of an eyewitness. She expressed surprise as she recognizes him…

Quality

Wonder Woman takes part in the search for truth.

Wow! This is one dark Wonder Woman story to read and I can say that it is a very inspired work written by George Perez based on an idea by Carol Flynn. This is not your typical story of showing the Queen of Superheroes fighting someone evil or saving people from disaster. This is a murder mystery that is laced with corporate intrigue, crime, legal wrangling and the everlasting struggle to determine the truth.

Myndi Mayer’s death really set of a series of events and revelations that are no less striking. Considering the many details about law, crime, investigations and corporate intrigue, the in-depth writing here indicates that George Perez did a lot of researching and found ways to tell a very cohesive story with Wonder Woman playing a role. I should state that as of this writing, this particular story comes close to becoming realistic and reflective of 1980s life. This is top-notch writing by Perez!

When it comes to characterization, Myndi Mayer was deeply portrayed to be in deep trouble both personally and professionally. Of all the Wonder Woman comics of the post-Crisis era of DC Comics I’ve read so far, this one clearly defines Mayer and goes beyond her usual appearance as a prolific publicist.

On Wonder Woman, as mentioned earlier, she does not get to fight a super villain. Rather she takes part in the search for truth and tries her best to solve the mystery even though she is not even fully familiar with the way law and order works in the world of man. In some ways, her approach to literally putting pieces of the puzzle into place and approaching people in different places reminds me somewhat of Batman’s detective work but without the vigilante approach.

Conclusion

This page about the murder investigation at the scene of the crime has some Watchmen vibes to it.

I can say that Wonder Woman #20 (1988) is not only a great comic book to read but also one of the most unique stories about the Queen of Superheroes ever published. By this time, George Perez has proven himself to be very prolific in storytelling on top of his great ability to draw art. I should state I love the way the story was structured and the way it ended delivered both impact and intrigue.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #20 (1988), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $41.

Overall, Wonder Woman #20 (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