A Look Back at Bloodshot #6 (1993)

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

When I was still collecting comics back in 1993, I was more focused on the X-Men 30th anniversary celebration and the expansion of the Marvel 2099 universe organized by Marvel Comics, and the launch of the Ultraverse by Malibu Comics.

Along the way, I heard some buzz about Valiant Comics and Defiant Comics. That same year, Valiant Comics generated a lot of buzz among comic book collectors with the launch of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #1 and the release of Bloodshot #6. Why Bloodshot #6? It’s because of the literary debut of a character who went on to become an one of Valiant’s icons.

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The cover.

Here’s a nice look back at Bloodshot #6 published in 1993 by Valiant Comics with a story by Kevn VanHook drawn by Don Perlin.

Early story

The story begins inside a commercial airplane flying over Sydney, Australia. There is a guy wearing reddish business attire socializing with a lady while standing. A lady in red approached him telling him that he should take his seat as they are in the glide path. The guy in red attire approaches a seat man wearing green business attire, asking him if the vacant seat near him was taken.

The seated man tells him to get away. The guy in red places his right hand on him causing a fire during the flight. What happened turned out to be an assassination. The guy and lady in red rush to the nearest emergency exit and it turned out their names are Marco and Leigh. They jump off the plane which explodes several feet away from them. Marco and Leigh left in the air not worried about falling down.

Meanwhile at the airport in London, Bloodshot arrives and is greeted by his pal Malcolm. They arrive back at their residence in London’s east end. Bloodshot has something to do. Over at France, Alicia Guerrero meets with Montblanc at his office and they discuss the courier assignments that involve acquiring a set of components and the three (of four) intercontinental flights that ended in tragedy.

Quality

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Bloodshot shortly after arriving from the airport.

As far as storytelling goes, this comic book sure has a lot of intrigue and espionage leaving the title character Bloodshot with much less spotlight (in terms of narrative, not page appearance). It’s not a problem for me as a reader because the writer Kevin VanHook really took his time to emphasize what has been going on, what’s within the web of international secret operations (that involved killing and explosions) and what’s at stake. Of course, the deepening of the plot makes way for Bloodshot to get involved in a less action-oriented but more intelligent way. That being said, action scenes are subdued for the sake of storytelling. Along the way, illustrator Don Perlin did a good job visualizing the deep plot. Perlin also tried his best making the mission briefing of Bloodshot (which even for its time was cliched) look interesting.

Fans of Bloodshot who love action scenes of shooting and striking, as well as displays of his special abilities, won’t find much of such stuff here.

Conclusion

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Tragedy high up in the sky.

To make things clear to those who are wondering, Bloodshot #6 is significant for fans of Valiant Comics as it marked the first appearance of Colin King who is actually the iconic Ninjak. That fact, however, does not really define the overall quality of this comic book and Colin King’s literary debut is very brief. That way I look at Bloodshot #6, it’s a good comic book laced with a good amount of intrigue and espionage.

For those who are based in the Philippines, Bloodshot #6 is one of the rare American comic books of the 1990s that mentions the Philippines (with Manila as a flight destination) and even showed a few images of it as a location.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Bloodshot #6 of 1993, be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that a near-mint copy costs $28.

Overall, Bloodshot #6 is recommended for those looking for gripping, espionage storytelling with the title character. As a collector’s item, the comic book is a must-have for as long as Ninjak and Bloodshot remain popular.


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 Bloodshot #1 (1993)

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

You must have heard about the live-action Bloodshot movie (starring Vin Diesel) that failed to make big bucks at the box office. Then you must have learned about Valiant Comics.

To understand Bloodshot before reviewing the early-1990s comic book Bloodshot #1, here’s a look at the history of Valiant Comics.

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The cover with chromium and Bloodshot drawn by Barry Windsor-Smith.

In the late 1980s, a team composed of former Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief, former Allman Brothers Band manager Steve Massarsky and some investors failed in their bid to acquire Marvel Enterprises. Instead of letting their failure stop them, they went on to establish Voyager Communications with the backing of Triumph Capital. Voyager then created the imprint Valiant Comics which went on to launch its first titles in 1991 with Magnus, Robot Fighter (which started in the 1960s in comics published by Gold Key) and Solar, Man of the Atom (also started in the 1960s through Gold Key comics).

Subsequently Valiant’s first original superhero Rai was introduced followed by other original properties like Harbinger and Eternal Warrior. It was within the pages of Eternal Warrior #4 Bloodshot made his first appearance followed by a first full appearance in Rai #0.

Then in November 1992, the same month DC Comics released Superman #75 (The Death of Superman, Valiant released Bloodshot #1 with a cover price of $3.50 (cover dated February 1993) and a very eye-catching chromium cover of Bloodshot drawn by Barry Windsor-Smith.

Now that the history lesson is done, we can finally explore Bloodshot #1 (written by Ken VanHook and drawn by Don Perlin) in this retro comic book review.

Early Story

The story begins at Heathrow Airport in the United Kingdom. Immediately after a man and a woman (both wearing coats and hats) performed an exchange with a briefcase, two other men (also wearing coats) reacted to them but Bloodshot jumps into the action firing his gun, taking a shot to his arm and grabbing the briefcase. Bloodshot escapes from the airport.

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Adulterated action!

Behind the scenes, an old man meets with Thompson and Otomo informing them that Bloodshot was an experiment of theirs under Project Rising Spirit. The project was disrupted when a young blonde male got to Bloodshot and adjusted one of the devices. The young guy was caught by one of the operators until Bloodshot (still bald and naked) got up, attacked the personnel (freeing the young guy), gathered data from their computers and escape.

The old man noticed Bloodshot’s rampage at Heathrow Airport and was able to identify him. He issues orders to Thompson and Otomo.

“I want him returned—I do not care the condition,” he said.

Quality

Looking beyond the eye-catching chromium cover, Bloodshot #1 from the early 1990s is actually engaging and intriguing to read. While it is a superhero comic book, it sure has a dark and gritty tone as well as being noticeably grounded with reality.

With the spectacle, the action is violent and somewhat bloody. It may look tame by today’s standards but back in the 1990s, this was exceptional and it really aimed towards older comic book readers. To put things in perspective, comparing this comic book with the typical Marvel or DC Comics superhero comic book is like comparing an R-rated action film to a PG-13 action or adventure film. Don Perlin’s artwork has a nice flow when it comes to the action and the dialogue scenes.

The writing by Kevin VanHook is good even by today’s standards. I like the way he handled expository dialogue in the first half of the comic book and from that point on, the spotlight was on Bloodshot and his exploits.

There are some weak spots in this comic book. There really was no room for real character development with Bloodshot. The comic book eerily reflected the hero’s approach to doing things: no slowing down, time to take action from here.  That’s not to say it is a brainless read but rather the plotting is decent and relied on the spectacle to make up for the absence of character development. That being said, Bloodshot as a hero who was a victim under his handlers, is hard to like. Based on this comic book alone, he is a rampaging killer looking as evil as the bad guys. It does not help that he is very unstoppable (because of nanites in his blood system which worked to enhance and heal him) and, at least in this comic book, there’s no real sense of danger for him.

When it comes to supporting characters like Sinclair and Malcolm, I can’t help but keep remembering Commissioner Gordon and butler Alfred Pennyworth in the Batman comics.

Conclusion

While it has some flaws in its presentation, Bloodshot #1 is still good and fun to read. On face value, Bloodshot looks like a typical macho action hero with guns but he actually has an interesting personality even though character development was badly lacking in this particular comic book. I also enjoyed the creator’s approach on emphasizing realism by using gangs and secret sinister organizations (which conduct unethical scientific experiments on people) on the background showing that Bloodshot himself is small player in a dangerous game of secret operations.

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As a standalone story, Bloodshot #1 has more than enough good stuff to make up for its flaws and it is worth reading by today’s standards. This is the true value of the comic book that its flashy chromium cover does not reflect. In other words, this comic book is more than just a gimmick.

If you are a collector, be aware that as of this writing, Bloodshot #1 is worth over $40 for a near-mint copy according to Mile High Comics.

Overall, Bloodshot #1 (1993) is recommended. As a piece of amusement, the comic book is so much better than the Vin Diesel Bloodshot movie. That say’s a lot!


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 Dr. No

Every great movie franchise starts small and as the decades pass by, its place in history will be marked and revisited.

This is my review of the first-ever James Bond movie Dr. No.

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Ursula Andress and Sean Connery as Honey Ryder and James Bond respectively. 

Released in 1962 based on the sixth novel written by James Bond creator Ian Fleming, Dr. No brought Agent 007 to the big screen worldwide and its success led to a series of big moneymaking sequels, merchandise, novels, comic books, video games and other forms of contributions to pop culture. This movie also marked the beginning of Sean Connery’s journey towards becoming a cinematic icon as, arguably, the best cinematic James Bond ever.

The movie begins when British agents in Jamaica get killed off by henchmen who eventually retrieved highly confidential files. In England, the secret service sends Agent 007 to Jamaica to do detective work and he gets armed with a Walter PPK. Once in Jamaica, Bond starts talking to people, gathering clues and traveled to different places to find out who is responsible for killing his fellow British intelligence operatives. If you want to know more, you just have to watch the movie.

If you are a newcomer to the James Bond franchise or if you never saw this movie before, then you have to keep in mind that this very old movie is NOT an action film but rather it is a detective story laced with suspense and some action that follows James Bond performing his mission for Queen and Country.

Chances are, you must have seen many other James Bond movies that are heavy on action, stunts and explosions. As it was the first of the film franchise, Dr. No is nothing like those other movies of Agent 007.

Being a detective story, Dr. No is character-driven and laced with mystery and suspense. To describe it without spoiling the story, the narrative shows Bond searching for answers and as the suspense builds up, something or someone gets revealed which adds to the deepening of the plot. There is some action, stunts and explosions to spice up the movie which were pretty enjoyable for the early 1960s. However the car chase is very outdated and never believable. Naturally, the spectacle is tame by today’s standards but still, this movie is not boring at all for me.

The movie is nicely paced and makes clear what is going on. There is sufficient build-up leading to the next revelation or the next part of the chain of mystery or the next twist. By the time James Bond encounters Dr. No himself well after the 60-minute mark into the movie, I became oriented with both characters as their conflict finally starts. This will work for you if you take time with the movie’s pace and pay close attention to details.

Sean Connery as Agent 007 is charming, cool and cruel. The filmmakers and Ian Fleming himself really oriented the actor on how to portray the literary Bond in cinematic form. Connery’s Bond is charming and the filmmakers make it very believable on-screen that ladies would fall for his charm which in turn would give him the opportunity to advance in his pursuit of accomplishing his goals in the line of duty.

Ursula Andress, who had to be dubbed in post-production due to her accent, caught the world’s attention wearing the bikini on the big screen (in color, no less) as Honey Ryder who came out from the water with her equipment and sea shells. This was a daring scene to show back in the early 1960s. Of course, Honey is not just a pretty face but also a brave lady with a history of adventure and exploring. This makes her believable as a Bond girl who has what it takes to keep up with Agent 007 in the story, even going face to face with Dr. No.

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Joseph Wiseman as Dr. No.

Joseph Wiseman‘s performance as Dr. No is subtle and yet he remains creepy as a cinematic villain. When compared to other villains in the James Bond film franchise, he does not do much action but his portrayal as a very powerful sinister human being who controls a loyal group of personnel still makes him a competent franchise villain in by today’s standards. Having seen all the James Bond movies, I find Wiseman’s Dr. No a more engaging villain compared to Col. Moon (the dreadful Die Another Day), Hugo Drax (Moonraker), Kamal Khan (Octopussy), Alec Trevelyan (GoldenEye) and the 21st century Ernst Blofeld (Spectre) to name some.

In terms of production values, Dr. No is a mixed bag. There are some props that looked fake and cheap. The rear projection in the car chase is so fake looking. Ironically, the film shines with the sets designed by Ken Adams. The big room visited by Professor Dent to communicate with Dr. No, the hotel-like lair of the villain (where Honey and Bond are treated like special guests) and the elaborate room of the table meeting with Dr. No all are visually striking.

When it comes to presentation, Dr. No marked the beginning of many things that would later become cinematic traditions – the gun barrel opening, “Bond, James Bond”, the James Bond theme music, the mission meeting between Bond and M. (plus the nice chat between Bond and Moneypenny),  the appearance of Felix Leiter during the mission etc.

The screenplay written by Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood and Berkley Mather has quality in it not just with the narrative but also with the dialogue.

I love this exchange of words between Bond and Dr. No.

Dr. No: I’m a member of SPECTRE.

James Bond: SPECTRE?

Dr. No: SPECTRE – Special Executive for Counter Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, Extortion. The four great cornerstones of power headed by the greatest brains in the world.

James Bond: Correction – criminal brains.

And there was also this exchange.

Dr. No: The Americans are fools. I offered my services; they refused. So did the East. Now they can both pay for their mistake.

James Bond: World domination. The same old dream. Our asylums are full of people who think they’re Naploeon. Or God.

Overall, Dr. No is a classic movie and it is the kind of film that filmmakers today don’t make anymore because they know people won’t be satisfied without excessive action and spectacle. It is a James Bond flick in the form of a detective story which has a good amount of mystery, suspense and some action.

For sure, people who have gotten used to action-heavy James Bond movies won’t feel engaged with Dr. No. The best way to enjoy this film is to treat it the way it is meant to be – a piece of cinematic history that built the James Bond film franchise in the very first place.


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

 

 

 

 

 

My Observations: Union Jack Tavern’s Sticky Toffee Pudding

During my recent afternoon visit at Union Jack Tavern at Festival Mall in Alabang, I ordered an Apple Crumble of theirs which is a favorite dessert of mine. However they could not serve it because they ran out of Apple Crumble that day (Sunday) which was served during their Sunday lunch buffet as the dessert.

Then I glanced over their menu to check what other desserts were listed. Out of curiosity, I decided to order their Sticky Toffee Pudding. Around fifteen minutes later, it was served to me by their waitress. I took time out to take a close look at it before consuming it.

Sticky Toffee Pudding is composed of a moist sponge cake, vanilla ice cream and chopped dates which were covered with toffee sauce.

After taking a few pics of it, I decided to take my first scoop of the dessert with the spoon carefully getting a portion of both the cake and ice cream together. The result – a great taste with a satisfying feeling in my mouth! It was really tasty and in terms of sweetness, it felt rich yet not excessive to my taste buds. Anyone who loves toffee or chocolate-like food should try this!

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Union Jack Tavern’s Sticky Toffee Pudding. This one cost me P233.50 which includes the 10% service charge. Truly it was worth the price!

Having enjoyed the first bite, I gradually consumed it as I want to enjoy it to the best I could. In between bites, I drank water.

Ultimately, UJT’s Sticky Toffee Pudding is a GREAT dessert to have and it truly is worth its high price (listed at P215 on the menu as of this writing). I felt that the unavailability of Apple Crumble was a blessing in disguise. Had that other dessert been available, I may not have tried Sticky Toffee Pudding.

If you are visiting Alabang in Muntinlupa City, I highly recommend you visit Union Jack Tavern which is located at the lower ground floor of the Expanded Area of Festival Mall. Physically their place is located by the “river” (across Landmark Alabang) and near them is Mesa restaurant.

 

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This is the exterior of Union Jack Tavern at Festival Mall in Alabang. A great place to visit for drinks, meals and fun!

Origin of Sticky Toffee Pudding

While the origin of Sticky Toffee Pudding remains debated, it is likely that the delicacy was created by Francis Coulson at the Sharrow Bay Hotel in Cumbria sometime during the 1970s. Although the exact date of creation is unknown, Coulson reportedly admitted that the recipe might not have been purely his own and that he was inspired by a “sweet woman in Lancashire”. Believe it or not, each member of the staff at Sharrow Bay Hotel signed a secrecy agreement not to reveal the recipe that is kept in the vaults of the place. To this day people are arguing that the the pudding originated in the Lake District or in Aberdeenshire or Scotland (because the Scots love sugar).


Thank you for reading. If you find this article to be 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.