A Look Back at Action Comics #545

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.

Action Comics #544 was, indeed, a very memorable comic book to read. For a comic book about Superman and the celebration of his 45th anniversary, Action Comics #544 was more about the drastic reform (and improvement) of the super villains Lex Luthor (gaining a powered suit of armor) and Brainiac (becoming fully robotic). That particular issue ended with Superman actually getting defeated and knocked down during his first encounter with the now metallic Brainiac (who also had a huge squid-like space ship of his own).

The story continues with this look back at Action Comics #545, published by DC Comics in 1983 with a story written by Marv Wolfman and illustrated by Gil Kane.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Superman already down on the ground on an alien world in the presence of Brainiac and the strange beings (natives of the planet) standing near him. Braniac explains to him that his red-sun missile brought him down and states: With but the merest thought I can and will destroy you! For only with your death can I be victorious in my battle against he-who-created-us-all! With you dead, this universe and all others will be mine to rule!

After much talking, Brainiac puts the weakened Superman into his small ship and brings into him the main ship (Brainiac’s flyer). Before departing, Brainiac’s flyer fires a powerful blast killing many of the planet’s natives.

Superman is conscious but is too weak to get up. Brainiac then starts analyzing him using his ship’s state-of-the-art equipment…

Quality

11
The new Brainiac’s power is felt all over.

Let me start with the story. Written by the legendary Marv Wolfman (who went on to author Crisis on Infinite Earths), Action Comics #545 is the highly compelling extension of the first encounter between Superman and the highly enhanced Brainiac. Continuing from the events that took place in issue #544, this comic book further emphasizes Brainiac’s new technology and new capabilities complete with revisions in his programming which make him even deadlier than his previous form. While Brainiac is cold and very calculating like a computer, there are still threads of humanity in him, mainly in the form of expressions.

Along the way, Superman is portrayed to be very vulnerable and in more danger than usual. The situation is so bad for him, Superman realizes that attacking Brainiac would be suicidal. Since he could not afford to take the risk to defeat Brainiac, the Man of Steel relied more on his instinct and observations to solve problems.

On the art, Gil Kane delivered pretty good visuals. While his take on Superman makes the icon recognizable, it is his art on Brainiac and the futuristic technologies that really shined. Even by today’s standards of comic book art and sci-fi concepts, Brainiac, his ship and all other forms of technology still look futuristic!

Conclusion

4
A very vulnerable Superman being scanned by Brainiac.

Very entertaining and compelling! That’s how I describe Action Comics #545 and it definitely is a great continuation of the Brainiac story that was featured in issue #544. Lots of action spectacle and intrigue all through the story. While Brainiac’s new abilities and revamped personality were compelling to read, it should be noted that Superman in this comic book thinks more, becomes more strategic and makes decisions knowing he has been weakened. This is a Superman who strives to survive.

As for Brainiac, this comic book shows his rise as one of the premier super villains of DC Comics leading to the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths. The ending here has a very powerful image!

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Action Comics #545, be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $18 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $36.

Overall, Action Comics #545 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 #5 (1987)

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

There is nothing like witnessing the development of a pop culture icon like Wonder Woman with modern society in mind. After completing Crisis on Infinite Earths in the mid-1980s, DC Comics restarted their entire superhero universe opening lots of opportunities to reintroduce their superheroes, super villains and other characters to readers updated with the times. The Post-Crisis Wonder Woman involving the legendary George Perez and other creators saw the Queen of Superheroes updated with the 1980s in mind.

Even though Princess Diana and her fellow Amazons clearly expressed themselves in English to use readers, it turned out within the comic series that English was not their native language. In fact, Wonder Woman and her Amazon sisters all spoke Themysciran which is derived from Greek. Fortunately for Diana, she met someone who could understand her and communicate well. The language barrier is just one of the challenges Diana had to go through as she discovers man’s world.

We can now rejoin Wonder Woman and her journey of discovery in man’s world with this look back at Wonder Woman #5, published by DC Comics in 1987 with a story co-written by George Perez and Len Wein. Perez’s art was inked by Bruce D. Patterson.

Cover
A really striking cover by George Perez.

Early story

The story begins in Themyscira where the Amazons wait as Menalippe (their oracle) tries communion with their deities. One of the women expressed worry that the god of War – Ares – continues to gain power across the world. Even as she tries, Menalippe could not figure out the signs from their gods and Queen Hippolyte is eager to find out something about her daughter Diana.

Beneath Mount Olympus, Apollo remains in dreamless sleep. The women, in the presence of Hermes, remain uncertain about what has been going on. An ancient is near them.

In man’s world, war and chaos spreads. Steve Trevor appears in the television news as a rumored spy of the Soviet Union. At the same time, Wonder Woman makes waves in the news as a result of her battle with Decay

Quality

4
Wonder Woman and the supporting players.

Unsurprisingly, the very high quality of art, storytelling and characterization that started since issue #1 is well maintained by the creators in this comic book. What I love in Wonder Woman #5 aside from her continued journey of discovering more of man’s world and interacting with more with Steve Trevor (plus Etta Candy and other supporting characters) is the strong shift into the realm of fantasy which is full of action and other forms of spectacle!

For the plot, George Perez and Len Wein made a fascinating story that had a nice mix of Greek culture, fantasy and contemporary military battles. There were layers of intrigue as the creators made clear how Ares and his minions from the spiritual realm (related to Olympus and their deities) influenced mortals to fight each other so fiercely without even pausing to be clam and reasonable. This raises the stakes for Wonder Woman who is still adjusting to man’s world.

On characterization, each character here is well-written and clearly defined as believable individuals. The interactions between Wonder Woman and the others (plus their interactions in between themselves) are very rich to read and analyze.

When it comes to spectacle, this one is really loaded and, at the same time, much more imaginative! The shift from man’s world into the realm of fantasy (specifically a location often inaccessible to mortals) gave this comic book a fantastic atmosphere! There is a lot to enjoy here.

While it is not surprising that George Perez excellently illustrated this comic book, I should mention that his use of multiple panels per page here is quite clever. While using more than five panels per page is considered excessive by today’s standards, Perez managed to tell clearly the story and took time to control the pace. The spectacle scenes are fast but never disorienting. The character development and worldview scenes are never boring to look at.

Conclusion

6
One of Ares’ sons influencing the world into war.

Undoubtedly, Wonder Woman #5 is a great comic book. Elements of militarism, fantasy and Greek mythology were excellently blended here and ultimately it presented Wonder Woman’s personal development and interaction with the supporting players with a lot of depth. At this stage, her interaction with Steve Trevor as well as Julia Kapatelis really blossomed here.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #5 (1987), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition and the newsstand edition costs $26 and $51 respectively.

Overall, Wonder Woman #5 (1987) 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 #4 (1987)

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

There is no doubt that George Perez’s famous handling of Wonder Woman (that became a key part of the Post-Crisis era of DC Comics) is influential for other creators. Over at Comic Book Resources, I read a 2017 article in which Wonder Woman movie director Patty Jenkins confirmed that Perez’s work on the Queen of Superheroes helped influence the movie.

Below is what Jenkins said in response to CBR’s question involving George Perez:

I think it was the fact that he expanded the role of the gods. It was always there — nothing he did contradicted what William Marston did and created, I think it only expanded upon and fleshed out who the gods are. What that relationship is, and how that works. What was a wonderful thing for us to take from.

I personally love the Wonder Woman movie and truly Gal Gadot IS Wonder Woman! As George Perez’s work on the Queen of Superheroes was influential to the director, it is clear that he set the standard on presenting Wonder Woman to the world.

With the movie and history talk over, we can now proceed on revisiting the Post-Crisis era of DC Comics with this look back at Wonder Woman #4, published in 1987 by DC Comics with a story by George Perez and Len Wein (script) and art by Perez (inked by Bruce D. Patterson).

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Wonder Woman carrying Julia Kapatelis and her daughter Vanessa moving away from the villainess Decay (daughter of Medusa) as a huge portion of the Kapatelis home collapses. As expected, the next-door neighbors got disturbed and went out of their homes to see what’s going on.

While taking a break just out of the rubble, Julia checks on Vanessa and asks: “What has that monster done to her?”

Suddenly, Decay rises from the rubble and answers Julia’s question directly stating she will do the same thing to her and Wonder Woman. Decay has Wonder Woman’s tiara with her.

Decay’s appearance scares many onlookers. Wonder Woman tells Julia to keep the neighbors back. Decay says that she came only for the symbol of Wonder Woman’s power (the tiara specifically) which she will use to symbolize her power. Decay then flies away.

Before flying off, Wonder Woman tells Julia that she will return with a cure for her teenage daughter whose body got heavily wrinkled by Decay…

Quality

9
I hope Wonder Woman 1984 and future Wonder Woman live-action movies will have more hard-hitting action scenes like this.

Once again, George Perez and Len Wein crafted another excellent Wonder Woman comic book that is timeless and symbolic. While Wonder Woman #3 marked Princess Diana’s arrival in man’s world, this comic book marked her first-ever battle in the same world complete with disturbance on the local society. Take note that at this point, Wonder Woman still has yet to understand and speak English and she has not fully adjusted to the local culture and society. She also just befriended Julia, the university professor and only person who could communicate with her by talking in Greek. Even with all the trouble caused by Decay, Wonder Woman’s heroism laced with love and compassion backed by her Amazon values remains intact and this aspect alone makes this comic book worth reading.

Apart from focusing on Wonder Woman and the supporting players, the comic book gives a close look at what has been happening at Mount Olympus where the Greek gods and goddesses discuss the situation of Princess Diana. There are also a few scenes set in the American military base wherein Lieutenant Etta Candy secretly does detective work to find out what caused the anomaly that led the higher-ups to suspect Steve Trevor of wrongdoing.

As for the artwork, George Perez’s work here is excellent as expected. When destruction is shown, there is a strong sense of danger. When hard superhero action occurs, there is a lot of impact shown! I just love looking at scenes showing Wonder Woman saving people from certain death. Also there were some really powerful executions of action here (involving Wonder Woman) that I wish future Wonder Woman movies will someday replicate.

Conclusion

4
Wonder Woman striving hard to go after Decay, the monster responsible for the destruction seen here.

Wonder Woman #4 of 1987 is excellent! Apart showing the first time ever that Wonder Woman engaged in battle in man’s world, this comic book also has an intimate look on how Princess Diana struggles with focusing on her mission while adjusting to the local culture and making sure that evil beings from her culture would not succeed in destroying the people of man’s world.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #4, be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition and the newsstand edition cost $25 and $51 respectively.

Overall, Wonder Woman #4 (1987) 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 Catwoman #50 (1997)

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 want to make things clear that I’m not really a fan of Catwoman, nor am I a big fan of Batman and other DC Comics characters related to the Dark Knight. While it is a fact that I grew up reading comic books and watching some episodes of the live-action TV series as well as varied animated series featuring Batman, I did not see much of him encountering Catwoman.

I got to watch the movie Batman Returns in 1992 showing Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer as Batman and Catwoman. Unsurprisingly Catwoman gained prominence in pop culture as a result of that movie. In 1993, DC Comics launched the monthly series of Catwoman.

Recently, I reviewed Web of Spider-Man #100 which showcased the iconic Spider-Man wearing a suit of armor. As the 1990s was a decade of excess which includes armors as a superhero comic book trend (or fashion craze), it was no surprise that DC Comics had Catwoman featured in armored form.

That being said, we can now take a look back at Catwoman #50, published by DC Comics in 1997 with a story written by Doug Moench and drawn by Jim Balent.

Early story

The story begins with Catwoman moving on the rooftop at night. Suddenly a small rocket is fired hitting a chimney near her knocking her out temporarily. After recovering and checking the area near her, she gets hit by Cyber-Cat (first appeared in Catwoman #42). As it turns out, Catwoman knew something about her having worked with Syntex but Cyber-Cat tells her that she’s worker for herself.

Driven by deep anger, Cyber-Cat moves at Catwoman who tries to escape. Catwoman gets hit and suffers slashes on her skin as a result of Cyber-Cat’s vicious attacks. Now losing some blood, Catwoman makes a desperate leap to another building across the street and barely makes it leaving Cyber-Cat behind.

5
Cyber-Cat viciously attacks Catwoman!

“Run, thief—but your run can’t last forever! I found you once, and I won’t rest until I do it agains—to finish what this night started! And remember –every time you cast your cowardly shadow across a roof…you’ll never know which gargoyle might come to sudden life,” Cyber-Cat tells Catwoman across the gap. “You’re finished, thief! Dead already!”

Badly wounded, Catwoman manages to find her motorcycle at an alley and drives on the way back to her hideout…

Quality

21
The money shot by Jim Balent! Check out the unrealistic look of the armor.

I should say that Catwoman #50 surprisingly has depth and a nice combination of spectacle, characterization, intrigue and even some detective story elements. Don’t let the cover fool you into thinking this is a shallow and terrible comic book.

For one thing, Doug Moench carefully crafted a story bringing Catwoman and Cyber-Cat back for a new conflict together, only this time the stakes are much higher given the fact that in the previous encounter, Catwoman put Cyber-Cat to shame. This explains why Cyber-Cat is not only more determined to kill Catwoman but also train harder and use cybernetic means more efficiently.

Rivalry aside, this comic book provides a nice look as to what would happen when a professional thief like Catwoman gets involved with a technology company and causes a disturbance not only in the tech sector but also with industry investigators. Doug Moench managed to insert some scenes exploring Selina Kyle/Catwoman’s social life and her involvement with a cop (who does not even know her secret criminal identity).

As for the Catwoman armor highlighted on the cover, I really like the way the creators efficiently implemented the “Batman approach” to preparation when it comes to assembling the armor done by Catwoman’s friend. While it is predictable that the armor helped improve her ability to fight and keep up with high-tech measures used against her, I found it rather unbelievable that she is able to maintain quick reflexes, move around fast like before and still look like she’s wearing tights (same problem with Cyber-Cat who is actually Christina Chiles behind the suit).

While the realism is not really a factor here, I should confirm that this comic book sure has a lot of action scenes and attractive visuals in the expected big battle between Cyber-Cat and the armored Catwoman. Artist Jim Balent, who helped start this monthly series, confidently paced the action and delivered lots of dynamic shots of hard action.

Conclusion

18
Selina Kyle the civilian.

Catwoman #50 is surprisingly fun to read and has enough depth to its story. It’s far from being brainless, really. With almost 30 pages of story and art, the creative team paced themselves to tell a cohesive story, add a bit of character development and then have Catwoman suited up for the big fight against the obsessive Cyber-Cat.

When it comes to executing the concept of having a hero or a villain using armor for a big conflict or special mission, Catwoman #50 easily beats the stuffing out of Web of Spider-Man #100 big time! Compared to that very disappointing Spider-Man comic book (featuring an armored Spider-Man), Catwoman #50 has more depth, is paced better, paid closer attention to detail (right down to the features of Catwoman’s armor), and has spectacle that is executed and presented better.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Catwoman #50 (1997), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $9. The near-mint copies of the deluxe, the newsstand deluxe and the newsstand editions cost $10, $22 and $17 respectively.

Overall, Catwoman #50 (1997) 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 #3 (1987)

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.

Like anyone of you guys and gals reading this, I’ve been limited to staying mostly at home as a result of the community quarantine imposed by the local authorities in response to the Coronvirus disease COVID-19 that started in China and has since turned into a global pandemic. Many people lose their jobs and have no income. Varied industries have been shut down. People are struggling to follow local authorities while there are some depending on relief goods (food, water and essential supplies) released by their respective governments or by charitable organizations.

The pandemic affected the entertainment industry too. As such, the much-awaited threatrical opening of the Wonder Woman 1984 movie had to be delayed by Warner Bros. from June 2020 to August 2020.

While waiting for the big movie to come out, let’s take a nice look back at Wonder Woman #3 published by DC Comics in 1987 with a story co-written by the late Len Wein and the legendary George Perez who worked on the art (inked by Bruce D. Patterson).

Cover
The cover by George Perez.

Early story

The story begins with Wonder Woman and Hermes arriving in the City of Boston in the United States. While flying in the air, princess Diana expressed her amazement of the city finding it exquisite and yet so disturbing. Even as Hermes cautions her from judging the people of man’s world, he states that man appears to have lost his way on Earth which makes him afraid and vulnerable to the influence of Ares.

He tells Wonder Woman that he led her to man’s world so that she could end the madness Ares has been causing on the people. Together they fly off to pursue the next objective.

2
Wonder Woman and Hermes arrive in Boston.

Meanwhile at the Hanscom Air Force Base, a general arrives to check on Steve Trevor who is recovering from the incident that happened at Themyscira (in issue #2). As it turns out, Trevor is under arrest as he is wanted for questioning in relation to the shocking murder of another general. It was also stated that Trevor returned without the jet he used….

Quality

If there is anything that stood out for me personally in Wonder Woman #3, it is the wonder that comes with discovery which was greatly pulled off by Len Wein and George Perez. As Wonder Woman arrives in Boston, observes how strange the society is to her and how she adjusts to the place and people around her, I got very engaged along the way. What Wonder Woman discovers and learns, I discovered and learned as well. In some ways, her discovery of man’s world (through Boston) reminded me of what I experienced during my first arrival in San Francisco, California decades ago. It should be noted that the dialogue is very rich continuing nicely from what was started in issue #1.

9
Wonder Woman and Julia Kapatelis slowly communicating with each other. 

Like in the first two issues, there is also a nice build-up of suspense which is connected with the fusion of both fantasy elements and Greek mythology. This comic book cleverly reminds readers what is happening behind the scenes in the fantasy realm (within the story that is) just as Wonder Woman and the people in man’s world move on with their respective exploits. Such suspense is very well used on adding depth to the plot while paving the way for sub-plots.

Also worth mentioning here is the introduction of professor Julia Kapatelis and her teenage daughter Vanessa as supporting characters who will prove to be crucial to Wonder Woman’s adjustment into their society. Personally, I just love the way the creators showed that Wonder Woman does not speak English and had yet to learn the language which added some depth into her first encounter with Julia.

Conclusion

I really had a great time reading Wonder Woman #3. This is a significant comic book as it marked Wonder Woman’s first arrival in man’s world during the Post-Crisis era (after Crisis on Infinite Earths) and a true modernization of the icon as well as her literary story during the Reagan years. As many true Wonder Woman fans already know, George Perez’s leading on reintroducing Wonder Woman in the 1980s is better and more dramatic than the Golden Age Wonder Woman.

4
Steve Trevor recovering and Wonder Woman and Hermes arrive at Harvard University.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #3 (1987), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $24 while the newsstand edition’s near-mint copy is priced at $51. As for the edition that does not have the month printed on the cover, the near-mint copy is worth $77.

Overall, Wonder Woman #3 (1987) 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 #9 (1987)

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.

Very recently, Warner Bros. announced that due to the ongoing coronavirus disease COVID-19 pandemic, it has decided to reschedule the release of Wonder Woman 1984 to August 2020.

While fans, geeks and moviegoers have to wait a bit longer for the much-awaited movie, we can take time out to look back to the year 1987 when DC Comics published the comic book Wonder Woman #9 written (plot) and illustrated by the legendary George Perez with scripting done by the late Len Wein.

Remember seeing Dr. Barbara Minerva (Cheetah) played by Kristen Wiig in Wonder Woman 1984? This comic book marked the debut of the post-Crisis Cheetah whose civilian personality is Dr. Barbara Minerva (her literary debut was in Wonder Woman #7). To make history short, the original Cheetah that appeared in 1943’s Wonder Woman #6 was Priscilla Rich while the second Cheetah was Deborah Domaine (Priscilla Rich’s niece). Dr. Minerva is the third and arguably the most modernized and most popular Cheetah.

With the history talk over, here we go with Wonder Woman #9!

WW9a
The cover drawn by George Perez.

Early Story

The story begins with a ritual performed by a short, old man with a knife. He cuts the skin of a naked woman and collects some of her blood. He uses the blood to feed a plant he believes to be a god (the plant-god). Afterwards he returns to the naked woman and covers her with the cloth.

The next morning, at another location, Wonder Woman flies happily in the air. Below her were publicist Myndi Mayer, Julia (Diana’s host and personal educator) and teenager Vanessa.

It turns out, Wonder Woman, who strongly values honor, was happy to have received a letter from Dr. Barbara Minerva. Julia however is not confident and based on her research, she described Minerva as “shady as your average weeping willow.”

Myndi, who is looking for the next great scoop, dismisses Julia’s concern and remains focused on accompanying Wonder Woman to meeting Minerva.

Quality

Apart from marking the first appearance of Cheetah (no longer a lady wearing a silly costume) in the post-Crisis era of DC Comics, Wonder Woman #9 is still a very compelling and fun comic book to read. Its great quality combined with a solid concept can be attributed to George Perez.

On storytelling, Perez and Wein delivered a solid balance between spectacle, characterization, plotting and mystery. The presentation of Dr. Minerva as an accomplished yet arrogant archaeologist is a clever concept of having her involved with Wonder Woman who in turn also has a personal interest in relics and evidences of established cultures and societies (given the Amazonian society Diana came from). Minerva’s transformation and first action as Cheetah is indeed excellent to read.

WW9b
Diana/Wonder Woman and Dr. Minerva/Cheetah meet for the first time ever.

Being one of the greatest comic book illustrators ever, it is no surprise that this comic book still looks great! Even though Perez used a lot of panels per page, the amount of visual details as well as the maintenance of his art style remain high.

When it comes to the first-ever battle between Cheetah and Wonder Woman, Perez pulled no punches back with the spectacle. There is a good amount of brutal action which so enjoyable to see and I can only hope that director Patty Jenkins took inspiration from the comic’s action scenes for Wonder Woman 1984 (a conflict between the Queen of Superheroes and the animalistic villainess on the big screen is inevitable).

WW9c
Brutal action between Cheetah and Wonder Woman!

On characterization, this comic book continued to deliver the good and believable development of Wonder Woman who is still adjusting to Man’s World. To put it short, it is not exclusively focused on Cheetah and Wonder Woman (whose encounters were the highlights). You will get to see how much Diana adjusted with modern society, what she thought about how modern society’s members perceived her and how close she got with Julia and Vanessa while still keeping strong with her Amazonian values.

Going back to Cheetah, the development of Dr. Minerva changing into her animalistic form is very well handled by the creators. There are enough details that explained her physical transformation and her uncanny abilities, not to mention showing her being able to give Wonder Woman a good amount of trouble. This way of modernizing the literary Cheetah is, indeed, very compelling and definitive. By reading this comic book, you will realize why this particular version of Cheetah was chosen to be part of Wonder Woman 1984.

For the collectors reading this, if you are serious on getting an existing copy of Wonder Woman #9, be aware that, as of this writing, a near-mint copy costs $77 according to MileHighComics.com

Overall, Wonder Woman #9 (1987) is highly recommended! It’s a great collector’s item too!

In ending this, watch this first official movie trailer of Wonder Woman 1984.


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 Action Comics #544

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 just love it when comic book creators really pushed their creativity and bold concepts to make an anniversary celebration comic book fun, engaging and memorable. As seen in the history of American superhero comics, such great comic books become essential when their concept sets a new standard of quality or when it sets its series (and its featured superhero) to a new and well accepted direction (which then opens up many opportunities to keep the series and the superhero fresh creatively).

Such greatness was achieved by DC Comics and its creators with Action Comics #544 published in 1983.

AC544cover
The cover.

As seen in the cover above done by artists Gil Kane and Dick Giordano, Superman in the background could do nothing but be surprised to see his two foes Lex Luthor and Braniac presented in doubles reflecting a change of design – Luthor getting his now iconic powered suit of armor and Brainiac having a more robotic design.

So you must be wondering…how is the quality of the story and art of this particular comic book that celebration Superman’s 45th anniversary?

We can now start with my retro comic book review of Action Comics #544.

Early Stories

This special-sized comic book features not one but two separate Superman stories titled “Luthor Unleashed!” (written by Cary Bates and drawn by Curt Swan) and “Rebirth” (by Marv Wolfman and Gil Kane).

“Luthor Unleashed!” begins with Luthor already down on the ground hurting from the crash of his aircraft and with Superman present. Even though Luthor’s already helpless, Superman flies away to an unknow destination confident that the super villain will still be there once he returns. However, Luthor got assisted by a robot of his who took him to a secret lair and rode a spacecraft going into deep space. Luthor arrives on the planet called Lexor.

“Rebirth” begins with Superman saving a lady and dog from getting hit by a car on the city street. Afterwards, he flies into space and arrives at a computerized planet that Brainiac created. Just nearby, the star of Epsilon 4 is about to go supernova which prompts him to do something so that many lives will be saved.

Quality

Visually, the art of both stories, respectively done by Curt Swan (arguably the most memorable artist to draw Superman during the pre-Crisis age) and Gil Kane is still good to look at. Both artists knew how to frame the action in interesting ways, put enough details on the people and environment surrounding Superman or Luthor or Brainiac.

When it comes to the storytelling and characterization, not only were both stories really well written, they succeeded in humanizing Luthor and Brainiac. In “Luthor Unleashed!”, the portrayal of Lex Luthor as a family man (he has a wife and a child) as well as a highly revered leader among the citizens of Lexor was excellently done. By just reading that story, it really looked like Luthor could have been a great contributor for the good of the DC Multiverse had he not been a super villain. What writer Cary Bates made clear was that Luthor’s hatred for Supermen was deeply embedded within him.

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Lex Luthor the husband and father.

The story of Brainiac meanwhile was very engaging. Marv Wolfman really went all-out on portraying the death and rebirth of Brainiac who got reshaped in the form of a futuristic robot armed with his own octopus-like spaceship. What is great about this cybernetic form of Brainiac was that he not only looked more sinister but also proved to be a more dangerous super villain than before. Also, Superman’s first encounter with Brainiac in his new form is very memorable.

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A great debut for Brainiac in his new form.

Conclusion

While Action Comics #544 is a celebration of Superman’s 45th anniversary, it is truly a showcase of the two classic super villains who not only got new looks but also went on to become more challenging to Superman on a new and higher level. Before he got his iconic powered suit of armor (designed by the great George Perez), Luthor was not much of a physical challenge to Superman. Before he got his robotic body, Brainiac was not as deadly and had much less resources to be cause chaos to Superman and others. To say the least, this comic book is a true classic of superhero literature!

If you are a collector, be aware that as of this writing, a near-mint copy of the newsstand edition of Action Comics #544 is now worth $77 while its other edition’s near-mint copy is worth $39 at MileHighComics.com.

Overall, Action Comics #544 is highly recommended. This great comic book also has another thing of value: great inspiration and references that Warner Bros. should use when making a new Superman movie with Luthor and Brainiac as the super villains.


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

Wonder Woman 1984 First Movie Trailer is Impressive

Hey readers, moviegoers and geeks! Were you able to watch the official, first movie trailer of Wonder Woman 1984? It was released globally today online and, in case you have not seen it, here is the movie trailer for your viewing pleasure.

That movie trailer, which was released around the time the Wonder Woman 1984 special event at the CCXP in Brazil ended, was a blast and having seen it, I am more excited for the movie’s June 2020 release. I plan to watch it on an IMAX screen by then.

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Official movie character poster for Wonder Woman 1984.

What can I say? It does not only have the 1980s setting (hence the year on the movie title), but the said time setting was made to be very lively in terms of visuals, fashion, style, music and feel. When it comes the decade in real life, it was the same decade when DC Comics published the maxi-series Crisis on Infinite Earths. Following Crisis, a major relaunch of the entire DC Comics universe followed and along the way Wonder Woman was reintroduced under the creative direction of George Perez. The George Perez-era of Wonder Woman, at least seen in the trailer, is looking like a big influence on the new movie starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine (whose character Steve Trevor returns somehow) and directed by Patty Jenkins. This brings me to my next point.

Early in the trailer, Diana/Wonder Woman was shown talking with archaeologist Barbara Ann Minerva (played by Kristen Wiig). What’s so significant about Minerva? She is none other than the super villain Cheetah, specifically the 3rd version of the character that debuted in the comic books during the George Perez-era of Wonder Woman!

Here are some images from the pages of Wonder Woman #9 from 1988.

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All of the above images are properties of DC Comics.

As I mentioned before, the involvement of Cheetah in the movie is alone a great attraction. As far as the trailer goes, we only see Cheetah in her normal human form with Kristen Wiig. The way I see it, we will eventually see the super villain in her terrifying, animal-like form. I am speculating the filmmakers will save that for the movie’s release and will only show very brief, body part shots in the next two movie trailers leading into June 2020. It’s much better this way especially under the watch of Walter Hamada.

Regarding the return of Steve Trevor, I don’t want to speculate as to how he returns given what happened in the acclaimed Wonder Woman movie of 2017. Still, it sure is nice to Chris Pine return as Diana’s romantic partner because he and Gal Gadot have solid chemistry together and there is indeed a need to present more cinematic adventures of them together just like in the comic books!

As seen in the trailer, some shots showing Wonder Woman and Steve traveling together in a foreign land (with a desert environment) where they encounter military hardware operated by some group (or a government perhaps?). This is clearly a Cold War reference although which particular setting or historical event the movie is emphasizing remains to be revealed.

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Maxwell Lord.
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Barbara Ann Minerva/Cheetah.
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Steve Trevor.

The Cold War setting is the new era emphasized for Wonder Woman 1984. Story details are unintentionally light but what was shown in the trailer made the movie very promising.

As for other elements like the cinematic Maxwell Lord, shots of Themyscira, Wonder Woman’s armor and others, I’ll discuss those next time. Right now, things are looking great for Wonder Woman 1984 and we’ll see more what the filmmakers have left to offer in the next two movie trailers.

If my sources are correct, the creative synergy of director Patty Jenkins combined with passionate work implemented by Gal Gadot on playing the Queen of Superheroes should result a great Wonder Woman cinematic story as well as a solid superhero movie. On the part of Warner Bros. Pictures, it seems the studio and its creative teams are now in more solid footing when it comes to making new DC Comics superhero movies. The DC Comics cinematic stuff will resume on February 2020 with the release of Birds of Prey.

Wonder Woman 1984 will open in cinemas around the world on June 2020.

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Wonder Woman 1984 star Gal Gadot with cosplayers and fans during the CCXP in Brazil. (photo source – Wonder Woman Facebook page)

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back At Prime #1

As a comic book collector, 1993 was a notable year. That year Marvel organized the 30th anniversary celebration of the Avengers and the X-Men (which I’m a fan of). Image Comics meanwhile released a lot more comics showcasing the works of many creators apart from the publisher’s Seven Founding Fathers. Over at DC Comics, Superman was brought back to life but after they started the Reign of the Superman storyline. Oh yes, there was Valiant which scored hits with Turok #1 and even partnered with some Image Comics creators to produce the Deathmate crossover comic books.

At one corner was Malibu Comics which made a brave entry into the highly competitive superhero genre of comic book publishing in America by launching the Ultraverse, a line of superhero comic books which was the result of brainstorming by several comic book creators (many who previously worked with Marvel and DC Comics).

They launched a lot of comics (all those with #1 on their covers) which made it on the walls and shelves of local comic book stores I visited. Among the many Ultraverse launch comic books displayed was Prime #1 which had a great cover drawn by the late Norm Breyfogle.

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The cover with nice art.

Co-written by Len Strazewski and Gerard Jones with art by Breyfogle, the comic book introduces readers to Prime, an overly muscular, caped man who tries to do something good but is quite flawed with his approach.

The story begins when Prime confronts a junior high school coach named Meyer accusing him of being a pervert. Meyer reacts surprised since he personally does not know Prime (“Who are you? What are you?”). He claims that he does not know what exactly the big guy knows. At the side were two high school girls witnessing the encounter.

And then Prime said his words, “I saw you, coach Meyer! I saw you on the basketball court in fifth period..touching those girls!”

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The coach fought back causing Prime to react. Because the hero was not aware of his strength, he miscalculated with his grip on Meyer breaking his arm unintentionally. Prime’s reaction clearly showed his realizing his mistake.

The incident scared the one of the girls away and carelessly Prime tries to explain himself to the other girl standing by. He even called himself as the girl’s “protector and avenger”, telling her not to be afraid of him.

As it turned out, the incident was a recently past event within the narrative of the comic book which is a nice touch. The coach, already injured, gave his testimony expecting cash from a shadowy organization collecting information not only about Prime but the Ultras (the in-universe term referring to beings with super powers).

That’s as far as I will go with telling the plot details. Prime #1 should be read from start to finish and the good news is that old copies of it can be found online at affordable rates and there are lots of copies in overall good condition.

Other notable elements of Prime #1 worth discussing, without spoiling the plot, is the way the story was structured by Strazewski and Jones. At least for 1993, it somewhat defies the tradition of following the views of the protagonist. Instead, Prime is emphasized through the views of others from the injured coach to the soldiers and the media. This approach does not necessarily make Prime a supporting player in his own comic book but rather it was an efficient way of showing how he thinks and acts, what he is capable of doing and how he reacts to others. By the time the comic book ends (with a very intriguing ending no less), you will get to know Prime a lot.

I also liked the way the writers used corporate media as a key element on exploring the connecting elements of the Ultraverse. Hardcase is shown briefly while a reference was made on Prototype. Check out the page posted below on how corporate media looks at Prime.

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Corporate media exposure and conspiracy efficiently told in one page.

When it comes to the art, the late Norm Breyfogle (1960-2018) delivered visuals that had that cartoony look and yet the visual expressions are quite mature, even dark and gritty. It is a very nice approach and it is no surprise, looking back, that Breyfogle went on to draw a lot more issues of Prime for Malibu Comics. Breyfogle died on September 24, 2018 due to heart failure in Michigan. Before making his mark on the Ultraverse, the late artist drew a lot of comic books for DC Comics and is known for his contributions on Batman.

More on hero himself, Prime is a flagship character of the Ultraverse and the combined talents of the writers and artist were major factors behind it. On face value, Prime looks like the Ultraverse answer to DC Comics Superman but in reality he has a lot more common with Shazam/Captain Marvel. I can explain why but that means spoiling the plot more here.

Overall, Prime #1 is still a very good old superhero comic book to read. It is fun and intriguing from start to finish. Considering its very good quality and being a nice showcase of the talents of the creators, Prime #1 is one of the best Ultraverse launch comic books. It is too bad, however, that there are no signs from Marvel Entertainment (note: Marvel Comics acquired Malibu Comics in the mid-1990s) whatsoever on the possible revival of the Ultraverse which remains in limbo under them.

Even so, I still say that Prime #1 is highly recommended.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. 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

Also if you are interested to join an Ultraverse-related community online, I recommend the Facebook group here.

Carlo Carrasco’s Comic Book Review: Detective Comics #1000

Before reviewing this landmark comic book from DC Comics, let me state that I’m not a fan of Batman. Even so, I still admire and respect Batman’s iconic status not only in superhero comic books but also on global pop culture. There is also no denying that Batman is the definitive crime fighter and detective-type superhero.

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Detective Comics #1000 is almost a hundred pages long.

Way back in 1939, DC Comics (then called National Comics) published the comic book Detective Comics #27 which marked the first-ever appearance of Batman. Batman went on to entertain multiple fans, helped DC Comics and the comic book industry in general grow and made his mark in pop culture entertainment through TV, movies and video games to say some.

This year, DC Comics published the landmark comic book Detective Comics #1000 which, for $9.99, carried almost one hundred pages of content, had variant covers and ultimately highlighted Batman and his part of the DC Comics universe.

Without spoiling the stories, Detective Comics #1000 is essentially a showcase of the Caped Crusader with the combined talents of Jim Lee (who illustrated the cover of this particular comic book), Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Paul Dini, Dustin Nguyen, Denny O’Neil, Steve Epting and more.

There are some standalone stories about Batman in this premium comic book. Readers will get to see what happened in Gotham City, some insights into Batman’s past and his mindset, and his encounters with other DC Comics figures like Catwoman, the Joker, Bane, Poison Ivy, Penguin, The Riddler, Mr. Freeze and more. As expected, the Batman supporting characters like Robin, Commissioner Gordon, butler Alfred plus a few more characters from the DC Comics universe also are here.

What surprised me most in this collection is that one of the stories was illustrated by the legendary comic book veteran Neal Adams who long ago made his mark in Batman comic books. I personally saw Neal Adams at the 2018 edition of the Toycon here in the Philippines. It was nice to see that Adams was given a short story to work on instead of just a pin-up.

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The cover illustrated by Jim Lee and inked by Scott Williams.

Overall, Detective Comics #1000 is a great contemporary comic book and worthy of being called a landmark comic book. Numbering aside, this one has a very high production value and more importantly it is the creative stuff and showcase of comic book talents that justified its cover price.

I can say that Detective Comics #1000 is highly recommended to both Batman fans and anyone who likes superhero comics in general. It’s a must-buy!


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