A Look Back at Action Comics #500 (1979)

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.

To publish a five hundredth issue of an extensive monthly comic book series is clearly a major milestone for any publisher. To do the math, it takes a whole year to publish 12 issues on a monthly schedule. To reach five hundred issues on a monthly pace will require forty-one years and eight months’ time to publish.

Way back in the late 1970s, DC Comics achieved the said milestone with their extensive monthly series titled Action Comics which is often identified with the world’s most famous superhero – Superman! Take note that DC Comics started in 1935 while Action Comics #1 (the first appearance of Superman) was published a few years later.

Going back to the 500th issue of Action Comics, it is easy to wonder what DC Comics’ talent came up with to celebrate the milestone. That being said, we can all find out more in this look back at Action Comics #500, published by DC Comics in 1979 with a story written by Martin Pasko and visualized by Curt Swan and Frank Chiaramonte.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Superman arriving at a pavilion named after him at the Metropolis World’s Fair. Countless people welcomed with lots of cheering as he lands near the mayor in the presence of the famous entrepreneur J. Robert Arngrim. Also present were Superman’s closest friends Lois Lane, Lana Lang, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White.

After the formal opening, Superman leads a large group of people as their tour guide. Together they arrived a wide hall containing the Krypton exhibit showcasing alien technology, architecture and life on Superman’s home planet. In response to a request by Arngrim, Superman reluctantly agrees to do a demonstration of the mind-prober ray, a machine Superman himself invented as a boy mainly to retrieve memories from his subconscious.

As the Man of Steel takes his seat on the machine in front of the tourists and Arngrim, an unidentified person located in a secret facility prepares to invade Superman’s mind…

Quality

Teenage Clark Kent gradually becoming Superboy.

To make it clear, this 500th issue of the Action Comics monthly series is an extensive, no advertisements tribute to Superman and I can say that the comic book creators really went all out to present lots of stuff to please Superman fans.

As such, the story was written to help the newer fans of the time to be more familiar of the legacy of Superman (note: this was years before Crisis on Infinite Earths happened) by revisiting and dramatizing established events of the Man of Steel’s legacy such as Jor-El (Superman’s father) failing to convince the Kryptonian science council members that their world was doomed, Superman sent to Earth as a child in a rocket before Krypton’s destruction, getting raised by an American couple after arriving on Earth, becoming Superboy (note: another pre-Crisis element), getting a job at the Daily Planet, welcoming Supergirl on Earth, and so on.

Superman leading the tour.

Of course, Superman does not reveal key details of his personal life to the people during the tour and such recollections were presented to delight us readers. Still, there is richness in the writing and the art. Even though I am already familiar with DC’s icon and the Superman-related mythos, I still had a lot of fun reading the events of Superman’s past, particularly his early years as the adopted son of the Kent couple who in turn did their best to adjust to his super abilities while raising him with good values and discipline.

While the recollections from Superman’s past are engaging, the present-day tour at the Superman pavilion is itself quite fascinating. There were displays of supervillains such as Lex Luthor, Braniac and Parasite. There was even a collection of the different types of Kryptonite. What really nailed the present-day story was a nice twist that allowed for some new superhero spectacle and intrigue to take place.

Conclusion

The first stop of the tour – Krypton exhibit!

While this portrayal of Superman is already outdated given the time of its release, Action Comics #500 (1979) is still a lot of fun to read and it is indeed a great tribute to DC’s most famous superhero. If you are a Superman fan who has gotten sick and tired of the way DC Comics reshaped and modernized Superman since after the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths, this comic book could be refreshing for you. It is also a lively piece of DC Comics’ history.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Action Comics #500 (1979), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $210.

Overall, Action Comics #500 (1979) 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 #17 (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.

When was the last time you traveled overseas not to have fun the usual way (partying, spending time in bars, watching movies or stage plays, and the like) but rather to immerse yourself into history by visiting several historical sites? When you plan to travel overseas, have you thought about pursuing the wonder of discovery?

Welcome back, Wonder Woman fans and comic collectors! It has been almost a year since I started publishing retro reviews of Wonder Woman comic books from the post-Crisis age of DC Comics drawn by the famous George Perez. I can say that I really enjoyed the modernizing of the Queen of Superheroes done by Perez along with the late Len Wein. In fact, my enjoyment on the post-Crisis Wonder Woman is greater than what I had for the New 52 Wonder Woman. For those who love Wonder Woman movies, check out my retro review of the 2017 Wonder Woman movie and my feature about the No Man’s Land scene. If you are into the latest movie Wonder Woman 1984 starring Gal GadotChris Pine and Kristen Wiig, be aware that the 4K Blu-ray combo of it will be released on March 30, 2021. I already ordered a copy of it.

Going back to what I mentioned earlier, discovering new places can be tremendous experiences for those who travel abroad. With those details laid down, we can finally start this look back at Wonder Woman #17, published in 1988 by DC Comics with a story written and drawn by George Perez with ink work done by Dick Giordano.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins as a white bird flies high in the sky in the middle of dark clouds and bolts of lightning. The bird is carrying a message and as it continues to move forward, the darkness fades away as light and calm clouds set in.

In Wakefield, Massachusetts, Diana Prince/Wonder Woman receives her special United Nations (UN) passport from Etta Candy. It turns out that Julie Kapatelis is in Athens, Greece, making arrangements for Diana’s first overseas trip in man’s world. As they talk, Etta reveals that Steve Trevor is aware of the connection between Wonder Woman’s costume with his mother.

As Vanessa (Julie’s daughter) comes down from the second floor, Steve Trevor enters the house carrying a bird carrying a message. Even as she recognizes the bird, she is amazed to discover that it arrived there all the way from Themyscira. The message carried by the bird is from Diana’s mother, Queen Hippolyte. She begins to read the message in the car with Vanessa on the way to the airport…

Quality

Diana visits and discovers Greece.

I’ll start by pointing out that this is the first issue of this particular monthly series to be written entirely by George Perez (note: Len Wein was involved with the script for issue #16) and, as I read this comic book, he wrote well and succeeded in further developing Wonder Woman’s personality just as she discovers more of man’s world and its connections with her fellow Amazons.

In this comic book, Wonder Woman (with Vanessa) travels to Greece for an arranged visit with her mentor Julie anticipating her arrival. Upon arriving in Greece, a lot of people warmly welcomed Wonder Woman who in turn got reunited with Julie in the presence of her Greek friend Stavros. In relation to the opening paragraph of this review, this is the story of Diana’s discovery of Greece, its people, its culture and legacy. The way Perez wrote and visualized her discovering and learning of the Greek sites really emphasized her thoughts as her perception of man’s world and its connections to her people and her culture builds up.

Unlike the previous two issues, this story is much heavier with character development and Perez’s writing is indeed engaging. As you read Diana’s words and thoughts, you will experience intrigue and even relate to her experiencing a great wonder of discovery. Also worth reading are her thoughts about Superman.

Apart from the focus on Wonder Woman, this comic book also paid attention to the intrigue that happened among the deities of Olympus – including Heracles – who are still recovering from the great disturbance caused by Darkseid. Oh yes, the story also marked the start of the build-up of another supervillain for Diana to face.

Conclusion

In the airplane on the way to Greece.

While it clearly lacked a strong conflict between good and evil, the wonder of discovery as well as the in-depth characterization made Wonder Woman #17 (1988) a must-read. George Perez, who is best known for his artworks, proved to be a very solid writer and it should be noted that he went on to write a whole lot more stories about the Queen of Superheroes.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #17 (1988), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $42 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $42.

Overall, Wonder Woman #17 (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 Superman Annual #10 (1984)

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 DC Comics ended their original superhero multiverse with Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985-1986) to restart all over again, there were a whole lot of stories about Superman ranging from the dramatic stuff, the epic tales and right down to the most outlandish tales.

As a kid, I was fortunate enough to buy myself a copy of a 1984 Superman comic book, the cover of which really intrigued and caught my interest. It was a Superman annual comic book with a $1.25 cover price which was somewhat high at the time. Its cover showed the Man of Steel himself carrying a sword pointed up.

That image made me wonder: Why would Superman have to use a sword when he is so powerful and capable without weapons? Where did that sword come from? Who made it in the first place? Is the sword so special to Superman?

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Superman Annual #10, published by DC Comics in 1984 with a story written by Elliot Maggin and drawn by classic Superman artist Curt Swan.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in a space where a group of diverse people composed of aliens and humans are gathered together watching a live video feed Superman on a large monitor above their heads. As it turns out, the Man of Steel is in space working to prevent meteoroids from entering the planet below him. He then speeds off into space heading back to Earth.

Along time ago deep in the galaxy, a big bang effect took place creating several new fragments in the vacuum of space and among them is a long, rough object that resembles a sword. As an unknown amount of time passed, the long object gradually turns into a smooth looking sword complete with a sharp blade and a letter “S” on one end that is the same as the one Superman carries. It is referred to as the sword of Superman!

In Metropolis, Clark Kent is passed by his officemate Jimmy Olsen who mentioned that he is rushing to interview the billionaire industrialist Oswald Mandias. Two days have passed and Jimmy Olsen remained missing. As his boss Perry White heads on to the office, Clark remains and changes into Superman when the coast got clear.

As the Man of Steel flies off into the city, a Galaxy Broadcasting live report on TV shows Lana Lang reporting from the Kennedy Space Center where the new space shuttle Magellan is about to make its first-ever commercial flight to launch a mysterious new communications satellite owned by Mandias Industries…

Quality

Clark Kent/Superman being a complete stranger to others added a lot to the story.

Being an annual, I can say that the Sword of Superman story was well-written and nicely visualized by the creators which made it fun and engaging to read. It is a Superman story that further adds to his being an essential hero of the original DC Comics multiverse and a key factor here is the somewhat outlandish concept that the sword that he gained was an original material of the universe from the big bang and even had connections to the unseen omnipotent force.

This story is not a simple, straightforward tale about Superman gaining a weapon required to defeat the supervillain King Kosmos. In fact, the sword opens up events that made the Man of Steel reevaluate himself, his situation and the people around him. King Kosmos, who is a time-travelling villain from the future (first appearance in DC Comics Presents Annual #2), served not just merely as the opposition but also adds a good amount of complexity within the reality of the story. For one thing, it is very intriguing and also refreshing to see people of Metropolis (even Clark’s friend Jimmy Olsen) failing to recognize Superman. This is a one-of-a-kind story of Superman that must be read, even though it is not really an epic tale.

Conclusion

The return of King Kosmos!

I personally enjoyed reading Superman Annual #10 (1984) the first time back in 1984. The fact here is that after re-reading it recently, I do confirm that it is still an enjoyable comic book to read, and I am not even a Superman fan anymore. That is quite something! This is indeed a really good piece of Superman history from the pre-Crisis era. It also touches on themes about omnipotence and being whole with the entire universe.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Superman Annual #10 (1984), 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 newsstand edition costs $70.

Overall, Superman Annual #10 (1984) 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 #15 (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 Wonder Woman fans! Last time around, the Challenge of the Gods storyline concluded and it really had a lot of twists and profound surprises that really shook the foundation of the post-Crisis Wonder Woman monthly series that was spearheaded by George Perez and Len Win. The Challenge of the Gods started strongly in issue #10 and as each issue was released, the narrative got more intriguing and ultimately served its purpose on defining Wonder Woman as the ever-willing and pure Queen of Superheroes. Along the way, there was significant development of Queen Hippolyte who has been struggling between ruling her fellow Amazons and being a mother to Diana/Wonder Woman.

As the Challenge of the Gods was full of elements of fantasy and Greek mythology, it can be quite challenging for any comic book creator to start the next chapter of the Wonder Woman monthly series’ narrative without reusing the mentioned elements.

In the case of the next Wonder Woman comic book for review here, I can say that the creators literally brought Wonder Woman into the realm of realism and intrigue. With those details laid down, here is a look back at Wonder Woman #15, published by DC Comics in 1988 with a story written by George Perez and Len Wein. Perez illustrated the comic book.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Wonder Woman having a very vivid dream about a certain great hero. After waking up from it, she feels that trying to keep up with all the events of the world must be taking its toll on her. She expressed that she is ill-prepared to deal with new sensations.

“In this world, man and woman long for these feelings. They cherish them. I’ve read how they have even died for them,” Diana said. “And that truly frightens me.”

While Diana is staying at the Kapatelis residence, it turns out Julia (mother of Vanessa) is overseas. She wishes that Julia is with her to discuss what she has been feeling.

Meanwhile at the Ogawa headquarters in Boston, an armed man is using one of the company’s computers to acquire classified information about a subject referred to as Valerie Beaudry. A security guard arrives and decides to investigate as he realizes that his fellow guard was missing (knocked unconscious already). The infiltrator makes short work of him and leaves the building with the acquired information…

Quality

Wonder Woman appears at a major public event.

I can start with the sudden change of tone for the storytelling. Gone are the fantasy and mythology elements of the Challenges of the Gods storyline and fully implemented in this comic book are the elements of intrigue, suspense, assassination and even sci-fi. The story itself is more grounded with reality as far as the post-Crisis DC Comics universe goes and because it is well written, the sudden change of tone and style never felt jarring to me.

While the 9th issue of this monthly series introduced a modern Cheetah, this comic book introduced the modern Silver Swan in the form of Valerie Beaudry (who appears on the cover). The good news here is that the creators took their time in gradually building-up details about Valerie and how she became Silver Swan. By the time Silver Swan appears in the presence of Wonder Woman, her personal details and traits have been developed in a satisfying way. Unlike Wonder Woman #9, Silver Swan’s appearance in this comic book stretches on into the next issue.

Along the way, more new characters were introduced and the most notable ones are connected with Valerie Beaudry. Maxine Sterenbuch, who eerily resembles Wonder Woman’s teenage pal Vanessa but in adult form, has a close connection with Valerie over a period of many years. There was also Henry Cobb Armbruster, a tycoon who wield tremendous power and has been hiring assassins to do his bidding.

Going back to Wonder Woman herself, this issue explores more of her struggle with not only learning more about man’s world and its many divisions, but also the feelings she starts having as she connects more with other people – most notably with one of DC’s biggest icons. To have Julie Kapatelis absent left the creators room to have Diana not only bond more with daughter Vanessa but also strive more on analyzing what she learns in man’s world. The scene in which Wonder Woman notices a huge printed image of her is a vivid reminder about how negative and foolish idolatry is on people.

Conclusion

Intriguing action scene.

Even though it has no fantasy and mythology elements, Wonder Woman #15 (1988) is still a great comic book to read and it succeeds in progressing Diana’s discovery and learning of man’s world. Its introduction of the post-Crisis Silver Swan is memorable and her build-up (specifically her background story) is pretty engaging.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #15 (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 newsstand edition costs $70.

Overall, Wonder Woman #15 (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 Superman #423 (1986)

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.

How do you end an entire era of a major pop culture icon like Superman? You end it with a very great story described as imaginary and leave it up to the readers to decide if the events never happened or had happened. The famous author Alan Moore wrote such a story (in two parts actually) to help DC Comics conclude the real-life legend of Superman as they transitioned from the original DC multiverse age (1938-1986, concluded with Crisis on Infinite Earths) into a new era of superhero comic book publishing back in 1986 (the post-Crisis era).

For those who were not able to read Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1985-1986, there was a time when DC Comics’ superhero universe started simple in the late 1930s and became too convoluted and confusing in the decades that followed. There were different universes in existence resulting not only different realms of existence but also different versions of the superheroes. Even Superman had different versions and there was also Superboy who went back and forth to the 30th century joining that era’s Legion of Superheroes. As Crisis on Infinite Earths concluded the old DC Comics multiverse, a fitting conclusion for Superman became inevitable so the publisher assembled Moore and other great talents to work on a definitive storyline.

If you are ready to look at what Superman was like long before Zack Snyder directed Man of Steel and long before the New 52 and DC Rebirth happened, here is a look back at Superman #423, published by DC Comics in 1986 with a story written by Alan Moore and drawn by Curt Swan with ink work done by George Perez. This is the first chapter of the storyline Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the then-future of 1997 when a journalist from the Daily Planet visiting the home of Lois Lane who is now identified as Mrs. Lois Elliot. The journalist is Tim Crane and his assignment is to interview her for their newspaper’s upcoming Superman memorial edition.

Crane starts asking Lois about the years leading up to Superman’s disappearance and presumed death. Lois recalls the time when Superman’s arch-nemesis Lex Luthor laid low as well as the pounding of Brainiac’s last organic metal body into a state beyond repair. She remembers Superman recovering every fragment except for the head of the creature. Then two other super villains (Terra-Man and Parasite) destroyed each other due to a lack of people to fight with and Superman eventually worked in space helping the government do their research.

As it turned out, the events only led to what was the first taste of the carnage that was to follow. Some years prior, Superman arrived in a heavily damaged Metropolis. Lois told him that Bizarro caused it and Jimmy Olsen stated that the super villain retreated into a nearby department store and still has not come out since. Superman then walks into the department store to face off with Bizarro…

Quality

A classic moment of Superman saving Lois Lane.

I’ll start by saying that the writing done by Alan Moore here is very great to read and clearly he made in-depth research on Superman’s extensive history, exploring the personalities and traits of the supporting characters and super villains, and, most notably, he went on to create a lot of compelling and intriguing stuff to tell. The result was a clear creative challenge towards the conventional thinking of Superman fans of the time and Moore even managed to add some adulterated themes into the narrative without making the comic book going over the edge. For one thing, a certain super villain here concluded his pre-Crisis existence with elements of genocide, homicide and suicide. There was also a scene in which Superman, in his most vulnerable portrayal, expressed his view that nuances from his past were coming back as killers which made him fear for the lives of the people he cared for.

The interview-flashback format to tell the narrative is indeed excellent in form and Moore told each flashback in great detail while capturing the essence of not just Superman but also those of the supporting characters as well as Lex Luthor, Brainiac and others. Even as the stories get told, Moore managed to pull off some great twists which you my readers should find out for yourselves. I personally enjoyed these twists and I am sure you will.

Visually, Curt Swan went all out in making great art and his decades-long experience of drawing Superman and all the related characters really show it. Swan’s art in the final page is very powerful and dramatic to look at.

Conclusion

The interview-flashback format used is great and so was the storytelling itself.

Very clearly, Superman #423 (1986) is not only a great Superman story but also one of the greatest superhero comic books ever made! This is illustrated literature with gold quality all over it and the funny thing is that this happens to be only the first part of the storyline Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? The creative team of Moore and Swan produced the most striking and most engaging Superman work from start to finish. I should state that this one made me rethink and remember what I read about Superman in comic books before Crisis on Infinite Earths happened. The good news is that I enjoyed every bit of what was told in this comic book and it truly is a definitive way to conclude an age of Superman (and this is only the first chapter of the concluding storyline).

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Superman #423 (1986), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $120 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $240. A signed-copy in near-mint condition costs $240.

Overall, Superman #423 (1986) is highly recommended!

+++++

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

A Look Back at Wonder Woman Gallery (1996)

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

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

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

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

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

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

The cover.

What it is

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

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

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

Quality

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

Overall, Wonder Woman Gallery (1996) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at WildC.A.T.s: Covert Action Teams #1 (1992)

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

Before he became the co-publisher of DC Comics, the great Jim Lee made his debut in the comic book industry as an illustrator for Marvel Comics. Just a few short years after that, he became a fan-favorite of X-Men fans and was a major factor in the massive sales success of 1991’s X-Men #1 (Volume 2). Not only did that particular comic book established a long-lasting sales record for all comic books, Lee’s designs and visual concepts for the X-Men were adapted by the producers and creators of the fan-favorite X-Men: The Animated Series (1992-1997).

For the newcomers reading this, Jim Lee’s tenure with Marvel Comics ended in December 1991 when he, Rob Liefeld and Todd McFarlane met with the publisher and expressed that Marvel’s policies toward them were unfair and they were not rewarded well for their work. To put things in perspective, Jim Lee’s X-Men #1, Rob Liefeld’s X-Force #1 and Todd McFarlane’s Spider-Man #1 were respectively million-sellers. As such, Lee, Liefeld, McFarlane plus some more creators left Marvel and went on to establish Image Comics (which involved a production and distribution deal with Malibu Comics).

In 1992, Jim Lee’s dream project – with concepts first created in 1986 – came through free from the constraints he endured from Marvel’s editorial team and strict policies. That’s dream project was WildC.A.T.s: Covert Action Teams #1, which is the feature of this retro comic book review.

But before we start the review, here’s a quick look back at the conceptual history of WildC.A.T.s as written by Jim Lee himself.

“I created my first ‘professional’ comic book submission in the summer of 1986 entitled The Wild Boys involving an espionage agency called International Operations. The co-writer of that sublime piece of work was coincidentally enough – Brandon Choi – who at the time was still in college getting a double major in history and politics,” Lee wrote in the comic book’s intro.

Now that we’re done with the history, here is a look back at WildC.A.T.s: Covert Action Teams #1, published in 1992 through Image Comics with a story co-written by Jim Lee and Brandon Choi. Lee illustrated the comic book with ink work done by Scott Williams.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in Antarctica in 1986. There, two men braved the cold weather searching for something with information they learned from IO (International Operations). Suddenly an orb rises from the snow and then an image of a lady wearing silver tights and wielding energy appears in front of them. After demanding them to let her have the orb, she and the energy field fade away.

In 1992, at the crisis control facility of IO in Virginia, IO’s executives carefully view video footage of Georgetown which was hit by an explosion. They suspect rogue C.A.T.s (covert action teams) could have been involved. Suddenly, the same energy field from six years earlier forms in their presence with the same lady appearing for a few moments. The energy field fades away.

In the present day, a dwarf named Jacob Marlowe wakes up in the middle of garbage in an alley. After getting hurt by two troublemakers, the same silver lady from the past appears and uses her energetic power to save Jacob. She introduces her to him as Void, claiming he came for him and she knows he was once a lord named Emp. She tells him the Cabal is a threat to humans on Earth…

Quality

Clearly Jim Lee took inspiration from John Woo’s action movies.

When it comes to the presentation of the story, the comic book starts in a deliberately cryptic way. It’s like having very short prologues back to back and, fortunately, it works well to capture attention while building up slowly its concept. The story really begins when Jacob Marlowe arrives at his headquarters with Void as his enduring advisor and executor. The introductions of each of the team’s members – Spartan, Warblade, Maul, Grifter, Zealot and Voodoo – were decently done and never felt rushed as Jim Lee and Brandon Choi carefully paced the storytelling and really tried to balance exposition and spectacle. That being said, similar results happened with regards to the comic book’s spotlight on the Cabal and its evil leader.

With regards to the presentation of the classic conflict between good and evil, Lee and Choi came up with the concept of planet Earth being slowly infiltrated by Daemonites (who originated in outer space) with the Cabal serving like an anchor with an organized set-up for domination. Over at the WildC.A.T.s, Marlowe formed a team to fight and stop the Cabal since the lives of the people of Earth are at stake. This is a really nice concept serving as the foundation, and the irony is that, in this comic book specifically, IO was on the sideline.

When it comes to the visuals, Jim Lee must have enjoyed the liberty he had in illustrating this comic book…free from the editorial interference from Marvel and free too from the restrictions of the Comics Code Authority (CCA). The result here is a visual presentation showing more Lee’s creativity and a style different somewhat from his final works on X-Men. He clearly took more inspiration from action movies and the violence is somewhat more mature to look at. It should be noted that Scott Williams helped Lee’s art shine.

Conclusion

These two pages remind me somewhat of the X-Men, their jet and the Danger Room.

By today’s standards, WildC.A.T.s: Covert Action Teams #1 is surprisingly still a good superhero team comic book to read. It’s not a literary classic but it proved to be compelling and fun enough to read from start to finish. It has a decent amount of action here and there which is understandable since Choi and Lee had to build up the concepts and the plot. If there were any weak spots, this comic book is almost devoid of character development and the clear lack of a lead character (which is still needed even for a superhero team comic book).

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of WildC.A.T.s: Covert Action Teams #1 (1992), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $5 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition is priced at $16. The near-mint copy of the 3D edition costs $9 while the near-mint copy of the gold cover edition is priced at $42.

Overall, WildC.A.T.s: Covert Action Teams #1 (1992) is recommended.

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

A Look Back at Batman versus Predator II #3 (1995)

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

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

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

The cover.

Early story

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

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

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

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

Quality

The Huntress and Batman.

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

Overall, Batman versus Predator II #3 (1995) is highly recommended!

+++++

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

Wonder Woman 1984-themed Xbox One X game consoles announced and a movie-related comic book is coming!

With DC FanDome now past us, it’s time for Wonder Woman fans as well as any fun-loving moviegoer to look forward to the release of the much-awaited Wonder Woman 1984 which Warner Bros. confirmed will come out only on cinemas. As of this writing, the movie directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine and Kristen Wiig is slated for an October 2, 2020 release in America even though there are concerns that movie theaters and cinema chains are far from operating normally (note: to allow moviegoers to fill each seat side by side) due to the current pandemic. I personally would not be surprised if the movie studio decides to delay Wonder Woman 1984 into 2021.

Before the anticipated theatrical opening of the movie, Microsoft made an announcement that pleasantly surprised me – they will give away not one but three models of Wonder Woman 1984-inspired Xbox One X consoles which is done in part of the anticipation of the movie.

Three Wonder Woman 1984-inspired Xbox One X consoles.

In an Xbox.com article written by Microsoft’s general manager of games marketing Aaron Greenberg, collectors can expect the Wonder Woman golden armor Xbox One X console (reflecting the gold eagle armor of the Queen of Superheroes), the Wonder Woman lasso of truth Xbox One X console (inspired by Wonder Woman and her famous lasso) and the Barbara Minerva (Cheetah) Xbox One X console (reflecting the antagonist played by Kristen Wiig).

According to Greenberg, fans will have the chance to win the Wonder Woman lasso of truth Xbox One X console by simply liking or retweeting the Xbox sweepstakes tweet on Twitter. This has to be done within the period of August 25 until September 17. There are rule to follow, take note.

Greenberg further wrote: We can’t wait for “Wonder Woman 1984”, Warner Bros. Pictures’ follow up to the DC Super Hero’s first outing, 2017’s record-breaking “Wonder Woman”.  Fast forward to the 1980s as Wonder Woman’s next big screen adventure finds her facing two all-new foes: Max Lord and The Cheetah. Set to open in theaters in 2D and 3D in select theaters and IMAX, it will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures and is rated PG-13.  To learn more about the upcoming film, visit wonderwomanfilm.com.

The article ends with the following note: Please note, that all the Xbox is for display ONLY, not gameplay. Prize and the successful bidder will also get a standard Xbox One X.

For the newcomers reading this, Xbox One X is the high-end version of the Xbox One console. Released in late 2017, the Xbox One X is currently the most powerful video game console in the market although finding one is challenging as manufacturing has ended clearly to make way for the next-generation Xbox Series X console (and avoid causing confusion among consumers).

It sure is nice that Microsoft and Warner Bros. agreed to do a cross-promotion of their respective properties. There are a lot of Xbox fans among superhero enthusiasts and there are some comic book readers who play video games. Personally, I’d like to see Microsoft and WB someday come up with a limited edition Wonder Woman-themed Xbox Series X console if possible. Also when it comes to superheroes, I prefer Wonder Woman over Spider-Man anytime!

More on exciting stuff for Wonder Woman fans, there will be a comic book that will tie-in with the movie titled Wonder Woman 1984 #1 and it will be released on September 29, 2020. It’s cover was drawn by Nicola Scott.

Cover art for Wonder Woman 1984 #1 done by Nicola Scott. She did a good job capturing the likeness of actress Gal Gadot.

According to the official press release, Wonder Woman 1984 #1 is a 32-page one-shot comic book that will link with the upcoming movie which involves Wonder Woman 1984 associate producer Anna Obropta and comic book veteran Louise Simonson involved in the writing with illustration done by Bret Blevins.

The first story follows a failed burglary attempt that causes a hostage situation at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. As such, Diana Prince/Wonder Woman leaves the teenage tour group so that she can save the day. The odds are against her as there are ten gunmen involved and not much time to spare.

The second story written by Steve Pugh and drawn by Marguerite Sauvage, is a 1980s flashback. There is a reckless mastermind who made the ultimate power move by stealing the Lasso of Truth from Wonder Woman. As such, Diana and Steve Trevor have to get the lasso back before it’s too late.

Since the pandemic and community lockdown took place months ago, I have not bought any comic book – old or brand new – ever since. I’m not certain if copies of Wonder Woman 1984 #1 will make it in my place as the nearest comic book specialty store remains closed. Still, I’m interested in the comic book and here is hoping it will turn out good.

In ending this, posted below is the latest movie trailer of Wonder Woman 1984. Also if you are interested about the literary history of Barbara Minerva/Cheetah and her rivalry with Wonder Woman, read my retro review of Wonder Woman #9 (1987).

For more Wonder Woman-related articles and features, visit www.CarloCarrasco.com and search Wonder Woman.

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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 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