A Look Back at Wonder Woman #18 (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, fellow geeks and fans of Wonder Woman! Last time, I found George Perez’s standalone writing of the story about Wonder Woman discovering Greece and its connections to her people’s heritage a really good story. For much of the post-crisis Wonder Woman monthly series’ early stage, the stories were done by Perez and the late Len Wein. In issue #17, Perez not only succeeded in developing Diana/Wonder Woman further, he also captured nicely the wonder of discovery of new places and astonishing aspects of life while traveling overseas.

Of course, issue #17 was not purely a tourism story through the eyes of the Queen of Superheroes. There was an obvious build-up of a new villain who is aware of Wonder Woman’s presence in Greece.

What will happen next? Who could the new force of evil be? We can find out in this look back at Wonder Woman #18, published by DC Comics in 1988 with a story written and drawn by George Perez with ink work done by Dick Giordano.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins deep in the darkness of limbo. Light sparks suddenly as Zeus, Hades and Poseidon arrive in the search of their father called Cronus. Zeus retrieves the Olympian pact. After further talking, they join forces in lighting a flame to burn the pact to make way for something new.

Meanwhile in a hospital in the Greek isle of Cephalonia, Diana wakes up surrounded by Julia Kapatelis, Vanessa, a doctor and other Greeks. Diana states that some kind of aura seemed to clutch her in a chilling grip which Julia dismisses and believes that her Amazon friend was simply tired from all the months-long pushing herself since returning from Themyscira.

Julia introduces Diana to Theophilus Ventouras and his nephew Demetrios. The older Ventouras is the owner of the wealthiest estate on the islands. He tells Diana that the governor asked him to meet her at the dock and reveals to her that a local boy was killed by a wolf which some car calling it as a “magia”.

As they continue talking, a nurse listens to them carefully just outside the door of the room they are in. She learns about Ventouras’ offer of assistance to Diana and quietly leaves. Some time later just outside the hospital, the nurse (named Angela) reveals to a man named Mikos that Diana and her group will be going to Ventourata the next day…

Quality

Without hesitation, Wonder Woman moves to save lives.

I can start by saying that this is another well-written tale by George Perez. Apart from the continuing focus on Wonder Woman’s discovery of Greece, the elements of fantasy, intrigue, suspense and even horror have been used more in this comic book compared to the previous issue.

When it comes to characterization, Diana’s close relationship with the Kapatelises is deepened further as the story explored the already established Greek background of Julia. I also found engaging Wonder Woman’s unflinching moves to search for Vanessa and get her out of trouble any way she could.

For those of you who are aware about the lack of superhero spectacle in issue #17, I can share to you that there definitely is more action in this comic book and it is all nicely presented by George Perez.

Continuing what began in the previous issue, Perez ramped up further the build-up of the new force evil awaiting Wonder Woman. I won’t reveal who it is but rest assured, this comic book’s ending is pretty strong and easily justifies the build-up.

Conclusion

Diana and Julia treat each other like family.

Wonder Woman #18 (1988) successfully continued the redefining of the Queen of Superheroes in the post-Crisis era and George Perez really delivered great stuff as well as a very solid story here. From start to finish, there is a lot to enjoy and examine in the story.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #18 (1988), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $41 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $84.

Overall, Wonder Woman #18 (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

For Wonder Woman fans, be aware that the movie Wonder Woman 1984 will be released in a 4K Blu-ray disc combo on March 30, 2021. Read my article for the details and, if you have decided to order, do it now at Amazon.

A Look Back at Wonder Woman #14 (1988)

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

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of DC Comics! By this time, the road for Wonder Woman 1984’s run in the movie theaters around the world is ending. That being said, the next way for people to avail of the said movie is the anticipated 4K Blu-ray release of it. That is something I am looking forward to and I am not fond of video-on-demand streaming when it comes to big movie productions (which are best enjoyed in the movie theater). Recently, I’ve heard buzz the Wonder Woman 1984 will be released on 4K Blu-ray and Blu-ray formats within the first-half of 2021, and there is also buzz those will be released this coming April. Again, there is still no official launch date yet for Wonder Woman 1984 in optical disc format but once the announcement has been made, I’ll update you all.

Now we can focus on the post-crisis Wonder Woman comic books of the late 1980s. Last time around, the Challenge of the Gods story saw Diana/Wonder Woman and her mother Queen Hippolyte together as well as the deformed, petrified presence of a certain demi-god who abused the queen very long ago.

Want to find out what will happen next? We can see what follows in this look back at Wonder Woman #14, published in 1988 by DC Comics with a story by George Perez and Len Wein. Perez drew the comic book with ink work done by Bruce D. Patterson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Wonder Woman rushing back to into the deep darkness. While flying through the air, she recalls the details about the death of Pan (the son of Hermes) as well as the manhunter who murdered and then impersonated him causing his own destruction. While justice has been served, she wonders why must so many battles end with senseless slaughter.

Suddenly, to her shock, she sees her mother Queen Hippolyta laying down on the rubble helpless as Heracles (the son of Zeus) struggles with carrying the entire weight of paradise island upon his shoulders. Heracles tells Wonder Woman to begone, stating that there is no place for such as her.

Realizing that Wonder Woman is Hippolyta’s daughter, Heracles tells Diana to take her mother away quickly. Wonder Woman carries her mother and flies off heading towards the surface where their fellow Amazons are waiting…

Quality

Steve Trevor and Etta Candy.

I’ll start first by confirming that this story is a very strong conclusion to the Challenge of the Gods storyline (started in issue #10 followed in issues #11, #12 and #13) complete with clear impact on the Amazons (both emotionally and socially) as well as on the deities of Olympus. Clearly, George Perez and Len Wein organized themselves and prepared the storyline’s structuring, concept and post-event direction early.

As expected, the fantasy and mythological elements are very well portrayed giving the comic book’s story a richly layered structure and solid quality. There is a lot of dramatic stuff here as the tale involving Wonder Woman, her fellow Amazons and the deities of Olympus who all got affected by the conclusion of the storyline. With regards to the presence of Heracles, I do recommend re-reading Wonder Woman #1 (1987) so that you will not only understand the background details but also feel the overall impact of his role in this story. More on the storytelling, there are themes about forgiveness, justification, fulfillment and diplomacy.

Apart from Wonder Woman, the Amazons and the deities, there is a very intriguing sub-plot about Steve Trevor who, at this point of the post-Crisis DC universe, is not Diana’s love interest but rather a supporting character whose heritage is somewhat linked with the Amazons.

Conclusion

This is a magnificent looking art at the start of the story.

Wonder Woman #14 (1988) is truly a great comic book to read! Not only is this a pretty powerful conclusion to the Challenge of the Gods storyline, it succeeded in defining Wonder Woman not only as brave and strong, but also dutiful, focused and compassionate. I should state that the events in this comic book really marked another notable turning point in the overall narrative of the post-Crisis Wonder Woman monthly series.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #14 (1988), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $30 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $60.

Overall, Wonder Woman #14 (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 Wonder Woman #13 (1988)

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

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of Wonder Woman! In case you missed the updates, the new movie Wonder Woman 1984 will eventually be released in 4K Blu-ray format although there is no release date announced yet nor a price. As the nearest cinemas remain closed, it looks like buying the movie in 4K Blu-ray is the best alternative for me and at the same time I am not a fan of streaming movies. Let me point out that what customers pay to stream Wonder Woman 1984 does NOT pay that movie’s producers, investors and creditors! You want to make a difference for the people behind Wonder Woman 1984? Buy movie tickets to watch it in the movie theaters (you will also help the theater operators and their employees) and for home viewing, buy the movie on Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray in the near future.

Anyway, we are here to look back at the comic books of Wonder Woman as rebooted by the creative duo of George Perez and the late Len Wein. We are going to examine the Challenge of the Gods storyline (started in issue #10) which I personally find really intriguing and engaging to read. It is the struggle of Wonder Woman with a really strong fantasy and mythology flavor that made it stand out among superhero comic book stories in the late 1980s. Last time around, there were these great revelations about an untold chapter of the past of the Amazons as well as greater focus on Diana’s mother Queen Hippolyte who joined in the dangerous trek.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Wonder Woman #13, published in 1988 by DC Comics with a story written George Perez and Len Wein. Perez drew the comic book with ink work done by Bruce D. Patterson. This is the 4th chapter of the Challenge of the Gods storyline!

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the armored Queen Hippolyte staring at a huge, deformed man-like figure made of rock which she realizes is none other than Heracles, the same man who deceived and abused her long before the birth of Diana. She reflects on her personal hatred of him that lasted for centuries and remembers that her years in Themyscira taught her the folly of anger. She wonders what Heracles had committed to be condemned the way he is. Noticeably, anything that pierces the stony surface causes great pain and tears from Heracles.

Hippolyte moves on toe find a sleeping cyclops in a lair filled with skeletons. Behind him is a tunnel that she believes her daughter took. As she quietly sneaks, she looks back at Heracles and actually hears him mournfully moaning louder as if he was calling to her.

Among the skeletons in the cyclops’ lair is a horned human skull which Zeus and his fellow deities in Olympus believe belongs to Pan. They realize that the Pan who had spent a lot of time with them is an impostor and this causes division among them. Hera speaks out again Zeus pointing out his enormous pride and arrogance as sources of trouble. Hera believes that Gaea’s destiny will be fulfilled through the Amazons and she will not allow Zeus to abuse them.

Hera then sends Hermes to reach Wonder Woman who just joined the company of several superheroes in the California citadel of the Green Lantern Corps…

Quality

The tremendous impact of the challenge felt.

This is another high-quality creation by Perez-Wein and the stakes for not only Wonder Woman but also her mother has been raised even further. As if that was not enough, there are also some solid revelations (pertaining to the Amazons, their heritage and their destiny under the Olympus deities) and in-story surprises that made the story very engaging. As the challenge for Wonder Woman continued on, Queen Hippolyte’s involvement grew even bigger and this added and connected smoothly with her daughter’s struggles. In terms of characterization, the bond between Diana and her queen mother is dramatically deepened and their respective purpose in life got emphasized a lot more.

In terms of spectacle, this one is very loaded with action while still having a very strong fantasy element behind it all. Seeing Wonder Woman and her mother engage the minotaur and mythological creatures are sights to behold. George Perez expectedly visualized everything with high details and well-constructed panels that moved the action.

Conclusion

Wonder Woman and her mother in the heat of battle with the evil creatures.

No doubt about it! Wonder Woman #13 (1988) successfully kept the Challenge of the Gods storyline compelling and at the same time stay fresh by pulling off strong revelations that will make you think deeper about the Amazons, their heritage and their future. The portrayal of Wonder Woman here shows how pure she is as a purposeful protagonist who simply won’t give up in fulfilling the challenges, proving her true worth and making a major impact to all around her. Her role as a daughter is also very well defined.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #13 (1988), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $30 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $60.

Overall, Wonder Woman #13 (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 Wonder Woman #11 (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.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of Wonder Woman! Previously I reviewed a story in which the stakes were raised for Wonder Woman and her fellow Amazons as a result of egos among the deities of Olympus with Zeus being reckless to show himself to Diana. Eventually the deities issued their challenge which Diana accepted but the effects were not limited to her alone. Queen Hippolyte is very disturbed by the challenge issued to her daughter as she believes that as ruler of the Amazons, she should be the one to meet the challenge. The queen expressed her view the the goddesses who bore the Amazons surrender to every whim of Zeus. While Hippolyte remains very uneasy, the Amazons support Wonder Woman’s mission and escorted her to the demonic lair beneath their island.

That being said, the Challenge of the Gods storyline continues in this look back at Wonder Woman #11, published in 1987 by DC Comics with a story written by George Perez and the late Len Wein. Perez’s art was inked by Bruce D. Patterson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins deep within the lair as Wonder Woman encounters the large 7-headed beast called Hydra. Zeus and the other deities of Olympus carefully watch the conflict happen. Zeus thinks Wonder Woman won’t survive the encounter and Pan (the Satan-like figure) states that the destruction of the Amazon will make her sisters more compliant to Zeus’ wishes. Queen Hera however believes Diana would not fail.

As the conflict underneath Themyscira goes on, the deities discuss what would happen should Wonder Woman fail or succeed. In the heat of battle, Diana analyzes carefully her situation and strives hard to defeat Hydra which is blocking the portal to her next destination…

Quality

Wonder Woman’s mother takes action!

I can start by saying that the story here is more spectacular in terms of presentation highlighted with a strong sense of discovery and wonder mixed with high-octane action here and there. To put it short, this comic book is yet another big pay-off executed following the intense build-up in the previous issue. The Challenge of the Gods storyline really started to move in high-gear with the spectacle while successfully defining the fantasy and mythology elements in Wonder Woman’s realm. This is not your typical superhero tale rather it is presented with a much strong element of fantasy laced with suspense and even a bit of horror. As the story unfolds, you will not only witness Wonder Woman struggle with the challenge of the deities, you will also relate with her on a personal level.

Along the way, the creators made one page that followed the experiences of Steve Trevor who in the post-Crisis universe is a much older character still serving in the military. The slow Steve Trevor scene provided a short break from the high-tension of Wonder Woman’s scenes. Not to be outdone in sharing the spotlight is Queen Hippolyte who takes action in connection to the challenge Wonder Woman is handling. Through the queen, her views and personality got developed even further by the Perez-Wein and her struggle on leading the Amazons while being a mother made more sense literally.  

Conclusion

Now this is a really striking set of images.

As it was made with the usual high-quality from the Perez-Wein creative team, Wonder Woman #11 (1987) is a very dramatic, action-heavy and dynamic read that kept on defining the Queen of Superheroes (and even Queen Hippolyte) while keeping the narrative fresh with revealing fantasy elements. Wonder Woman’s bravery here is really tested a whole lot, and her uncompromising desire to accomplish the challenge of the deities. While this comic book is a great pay-off to the build-up done in issue #10, it also builds up to something very unexpected on the final page. I should also state that the story is very unpredictable and at times it played on my expectations.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #11 (1987), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $30 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $60.

Overall, Wonder Woman #11 (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 Mantra #13 (1994)

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

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of 1990s comics! This is another examination of the Ultraverse as told through the exploits of Mantra, the pretty armored lady whose body is occupied by the soul of the male warrior Lukasz.

Previously I reviewed Giant Size Mantra, which was a one-shot comic book that was part of the Archimage Quest storyline and it was indeed a well-made Mantra story that fit in nicely with the monthly series. That same comic book is notable for having the debut of Gwendor’s queen Topaz who went on to become a member of the memorable superhero team UltraForce.

With the details made clear, we can find out what happens next in the Archimage Quest in this look back at Mantra #13, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Jason Armstrong.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in an unknown realm. Mantra (wearing her usual mask and armor) and Eden Blake are walking together and talking. After exchanging some words about the displacement of souls, Eden clings to Mantra and apologizes from now realizing what a shock the situation is to Mantra on top of everything else that happened. Eden tells Mantra there is something she wants from her and addresses Lukasz by name.

Suddenly Mantra/Eden Blake/Lukasz wakes up to the call of a technician. She is still in Gwendor and being completely naked, she goes through the process of armoring which is done with highly advanced technology. With her new armor on, Mantra is approached by queen Topaz who brings to her a notable sword to use. They discuss some matters as they walk together.

Meanwhile back in the United States, Eden’s daughter Evie visits a shop and talks to the old lady behind the counter. The young girl asks her about magic…

Quality

In the realm Mantra is in, it’s difficult for men and women to work together.

This is one very unique story of Mantra. Carrying over the elements from Giant Size Mantra, you will get to see the protagonist still spending time in the women-filled Gwendor (note: opposite it is another city filled with men) and starts her alliance with queen Topaz who is a very hands-on type of leader, willing to take risks going into battle. As Mantra does not have her mask and armor, she learns to use the magic power within her to make things happen. This is kinda like seeing Marvel’s Tony Stark adjusting and taking action without his Iron Man suit of armor.

Events aside, this story shows a significant development of Lukasz/Mantra’s personality as she adjusts to the ways of the men and women in their realm. The science fantasy elements of the story gave this comic book a unique style of visual presentation nicely pulled off by the illustrator. When it comes to the Archimage Quest, both Mantra and Boneyard are respectively struggling with disadvantages which is a nice storytelling touch. I should state that in this particular story, the complexities between males and females in the new realm is explored.

Conclusion

Yet another new thing worn by Mantra.

Mantra #13 (1994) is another solid story to read. As it continues the quest for Archimage, it explores more of the science fantasy world Mantra finds herself in as well as the differences between the two local societies separated by gender.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #13 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the variant edition costs $12.

Overall, Mantra #13 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

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

Fans of the Ultraverse are encouraged to visit the Ultraverse Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/73184525691

A Look Back at Giant Size Mantra (1994)

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

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! In my recent reviews of the Mantra monthly series, the events of the Archimage Quest were examined. For the newcomers reading this, Archimage is the leader of the tribe of warriors that Lukasz served for fifteen centuries. As told in issue #1, Boneyard neutralized Archimage’s power and Lukasz died one last time in a male body only to be reincarnated as a woman (displacing the soul of single mother Eden Blake). As it turned out, the transfer of Lukasz’s soul into Eden Blake’s body was planned by Archimage some time prior.

The Archimage Quest lasted several chapters and one of them took place in a one-shot Mantra comic book. With the details laid down, here is a look back at Giant Size Mantra, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Mike Heike (1st half) and David Williams (2nd half).

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Mantra (wearing original costume) waking up in the presence of a lady wearing white. Upon waking, Mantra sees her and recognizes her from some time back at the Moon (refer to Mantra #6). The lady turns out to be none other than Eden Blake whose soul Lukasz displaced.

Mantra, now wearing a new costume, wakes up suddenly. A short time has passed since she left The Strangers during the previous encounter with Boneyard and now she finds herself trapped in dream-like place. Being really the man (Lukasz) inside the body, Mantra does what she can to break out of the place…

Quality

The first appearance of Topaz, the queen of Gwendor.

There is no surprise that Mike W. Barr’s writing remains strongly solid. The story is really engaging from start to finish and by this time, Barr not only knew the characters well but also showed clear signs that he prepared how to portray the characters as the story of Mantra continues. Here are further good news…Barr wrote a pretty expansive story that is worthy of this one-shot comic book that has almost 40 pages of content (told in two portions). While the first half told briefly what happened between The Strangers #13 and this comic book, and had Mantra discovering a brand new science fantasy realm with two cities (one male, one female), the second half was were the narrative really became more fantastic especially since this comic book marked the debut of Topaz (who went on to become a key member of the UltraForce) not to mention the introduction of not one but two different societies separated by gender and city walls. To see Topaz and her society of women comes with vibes of Wonder Woman and Themyscira.

The pace of the story ranged from moderate to fast, and Mike W. Barr carefully took his time with the exposition, the spectacle, the characterization and the sense of discovery with the new realm. This is a story worthy of the one-shot format and as a Mantra story, it clearly stands out and fits in well with the main narrative in the monthly series.

When it comes to the art, Mike Heike and David Williams did good jobs visualizing the script. Most notably, their art really brought the fantasy realm (as well as the two societies and cities) to life.

Conclusion

All those men staring at Mantra do not realize that the soul of male warrior Lukasz occupies her body.

I can say that Giant Size Mantra (1994) is a pretty good comic book to read. Its overall concept and high-quality script made it a very worthy one-shot comic book. While this story is not the conclusion of the Archimage Quest, it serves as a turning point in the life of Mantra and the results can be seen in subsequent issues of the monthly series.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Giant Size Mantra (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, Giant Size Mantra (1994) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Mantra #8 (1994)

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

Welcome back, Ultraverse fans and superhero comic collectors! Today, we will revisit the Mantra monthly series again and it has been almost two weeks since my last Mantra review. For the newcomers reading this, Mantra’s mortal enemy is Boneyard who got involved in the Mantra-Strangers crossover (refer to The Strangers #13 and Mantra #12).

Before those mentioned stories took place, something else happened involving Boneyard. That is what we will find out in this look back at Mantra #8, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by John Statema (who was involved in UltraForce #2).

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in an unknown location with Boneyard who commands Notch to speak as his patience dwindles. Notch states that he has devised a plane to capture the ever elusive Mantra (male warrior Lukasz occupying the body of Eden Blake) involving a betrayal by a friend. Notch requests for a few troops and the custody of the creature in cell 13. Boneyard reacts by saying that if Notch succeeds, he will have Mantra after she has borne an offspring for him )Boneyard). Failure would mean Notch will become occupant of cell 14.

Elsewhere Warstrike (riding with a lady) drives his car fast getting away from the car of armed men chasing him. The chase ends with a crash of two cars freeing Warstrike. Some time later, Warstrike arrives home and to his surprise, Mantra is already there. He gets kissed by Mantra (emphasizing a touch of homosexuality) and asked about a change of her attitude. As it turns out, the Mantra who made sexual advances to him transforms into a grotesque creature with lots of tentacles. Warstrike then realizes it was not really Mantra at all. Eventually, the creature wraps itself all over Warstrike. Notch suddenly appears and blows a substance to him.

The next morning, Eden Blake/Mantra arrives at the office catching everyone’s attention due to her beauty and sexy outfit. Eden suddenly notices that everyone around looks like Warstrike. Suspecting that what is happening is the manifestation of magic, she goes to her office to find answers…

Quality

Even though she has magic, Mantra still is physically weaker which Lukasz has trouble adjusting with.

Getting straight to the point with regards to the story, this one has a nice mix of action, intrigue, suspense and the search for answers. It also pays attention to the very awkward alliance between Mantra and Warstrike. Warstrike was the last person to have killed Lukasz in his male form which led to him getting reincarnated as Eden Blake (displacing Eden’s soul) and in this story, you will see he even has sexual interest with her even though he knows Lukasz is occupying that beautiful body. This comic book also shows how powerful a villain Boneyard is and how his soldiers are willing to do his commands. With regards to the locations, I should state that the use of a fantasy-themed amusement park in the story is an excellent concept to emphasize this comic book’s fantasy elements.

When it comes to the art, it is no surprise that John Statema did a pretty good job in capturing the looks of Mantra and the related characters, and his pacing of the visuals is similar to that of Terry Dodson. Statema worked on several other Ultraverse comic books including The Solution #6 which looked great and his art really brought the script to life. Mantra, Boneyard, Warstrike and other relevant characters look recognizable with Statema’s style. The artist also excelled in drawing fantasy visual elements like magic, swords, armor, monsters, etc.

Conclusion

Eden Blake is the center of attention at the office.

I can clearly say that Mantra #8 (1994) is an entertaining comic book to read. It has a self-contained story that is very well told and John Statema’s art made it a lively read.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #8 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $26.

Overall, Mantra #8 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Mantra #12 (1994)

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

Hey everyone! Welcome back to my continuing effort on reviewing Ultraverse comic books of Malibu Comics from the 1990s. This time we will continue on the crossover between Mantra and The Strangers that started in The Strangers #13.

What I enjoyed most in The Strangers #13 is the interaction between Mantra and members of the superhero team as well as how Boneyard (mortal enemy of Mantra’s) impacts them. It comes to show that careful research of the characters and planning were done to ensure not only a very good story but one that makes mixing Mantra and the Strangers together memorable.

Will the high quality of story, art and crossing over continue? We can find out in the 2nd chapter of the Mantra-Strangers crossover in Mantra #12, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and illustrated by Terry Dodson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Mantra and the Strangers facing Boneyard, his companions and demons. Boneyard has Atom Bob held captive for his magic use. Determined to kill Boneyard, Mantra draws first blood by blasting one of the demons. Due to having weakened powers, Mantra struggles in battle until Electrocute helps taking the other demons off.

As the battle goes on, Boneyard (aided with Notch’s power) makes his move towards Mantra and touches her body with his….

Quality

Action in the city.

The script written by Mike W. Barr (in coordination with Steve Englehart of The Strangers) is pretty solid in the sense that it took the interactions between Mantra and the Strangers a few levels deeper which paved the way for some character revelations and further development of varied personalities. To say the least, this one is pretty wordy and there was clear effort to define the characters even as the struggle went on. There were also common things between Boneyard and Yrial that was nicely explored when it comes to their respective abilities.

This comic book daringly touched on gender issues, particularly with the ever unholy topic of homosexuality (note: read 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 in the Holy Bible) and even rape. There was this lesbian kiss scene between Electrocute and Mantra. Also it is made clear that even though Boneyard knows Mantra really is male warrior Lukasz occupying a female body, the said villain still wants to mate with the protagonist.

On the visuals, I found this one really looking odd even though it was credited to Terry Dodson. His art here really looked cartoony, so much so it’s almost as if someone else drew it. Try comparing Dodson’s art here with what he did in issue #1 and you will see what I mean.

Conclusion

At the coast.

While it is well written, I should say that the crossover between the protagonist and the featured superhero team could have ended better. Compared to the conclusions of the Prototype-Strangers and Hardcase-Strangers crossovers, Mantra #12 ended up lacking punch. As an anniversary issue, it is serviceable.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #12 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy costs $8.

Overall, Mantra #12 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Mantra #2 (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.

It’s been a long time since I reviewed the first issue of Mantra. For the newcomers reading this, Mantra is one of the major protagonists of the Ultraverse and as the series progressed, several stories containing elements of fantasy and even science fiction got published. With the way Mike W. Barr wrote the stories, the Mantra series really had its very own flavor and style among all Ultraverse comic books. What also made the character Mantra unique was that she was established with the use of the unholy element of reincarnation.

Before Mantra came to be, there was a male eternal warrior called Lukasz who was a part of a group that fought a rival group of warriors through the ages. Their leader Archimage used magic to ensure that whenever Lukasz or any of his teammates die, he would get reincarnated (his soul enters a new body belonging to an already living person whose soul gets displaced) and continue the fight. Then something happened in issue #1 which led to Lukasz occupying the body of a pretty woman named Eden.

To find out more, join me in this look back at Mantra #1, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Terry Dodson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins at the home of Eden Blake in the evening. An armed man named Warstrike knows that Lukasz is occupying Eden’s body. Lukasz/Eden/Mantra starts to resist him but notices that Eden’s son and daughter are both present and seeing them. Quickly and cleverly, Mantra tells the children to get back to bed and hope they did not notice something wrong.

Filled with emotions, Mantra asked Warstrike not to kill her. As it turns out, Warstrike did not come to take her life and reveals that he had been used by Notch (a rival warrior Lukasz often fought with) as a tool to kill him (Lukasz) the last time he was in a male body. Warstrike tells her he’s going to help her.

After the talk and another attempt by Warstrike to charm her, Mantra slams the door and goes to bed. She sleeps to prepare herself for the next day…

Quality

As Eden, Lukasz inherits the responsibility of taking care of her son and daughter.

I’ll star with the most obvious thing about this comic book…the writing done by Mike W. Barr is very strong and has a nice balance between plotting, spectacle and characterization all throughout. For his part, Terry Dodson nicely translated the writing into engaging visuals.

For the most part, this comic book is very character driven which is a nice pay-off considering the plot build-up in issue #1. We get to see Lukasz struggling more not only because he displaced Eden’s soul (again, reincarnation is unholy) as he occupied her body, but because he is living Eden’s life which involves being the single mother of two children, going to work at the office, wearing women’s clothes and shoes, and dealing with a certain someone from Eden’s past. All of these add to the tremendous challenge of Lukasz who already has his own mission to fulfill.

Conclusion

Living Eden’s domestic life alone is a big challenge already for Lukasz who has always been male.

Mantra #2 is a very strong read from start to finish. As it develops Mantra even further, it also adds to the build-up of another story element: Eden’s domestic life. As the armored Mantra, the protagonist has a mission to find and free Archimage. As Eden, spending time with the two little ones is not only challenging but also crucial to their development. These elements are nice twists to the old hero-civilian formula of superhero comics. Indeed, this one is worthy follow-up to issue #1.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #2 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8, the near-mint copy of the bagged edition costs $16 and the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $26.

Overall, Mantra #2 (1993) 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

My Observations: Time for Rare and Microsoft to emphasize Everwild’s gameplay and features

Time for Rare and Microsoft to emphasize Everwild’s gameplay and features

Screenshot_20200811-160448_YouTube.jpg
Everwild developed by Rare and published by Microsoft.

I have to admit that it’s been quite a long time since Xbox game studio Rare released a game that captivated me. I’m talking about their two games that launched with the Xbox 360 – Perfect Dark Zero and Kameo: Elements of Power.

They went on to make Viva Piñata, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (a major disappointment), Kinect Sports, Kinect Sports II, Kinect Sports Rivals (the commercial failure), Killer Instinct, Rare Replay (the compilation of their legacy), and Sea of Thieves (which never interested me). Lastly, I should mention that Rare’s next project Battletoads is coming out on August 20!

When I least expected it, Rare caught my attention at last during the XO19 this past November when their newest game was unveiled…Everwild. The game is being developed specifically for the next-generation Xbox Series X and Windows 10 PC (also coming to Xbox Game Pass) and below is the announcement trailer.

The first time I saw that trailer, I was captivated with the great looking visuals which had stunning digital art work and smooth animation. When I noticed the characters move in the game and they faced a scenic view with birds flying in the air, I had the impression that Everwild is an adventure-type game that may have open-world exploration elements. It should be said that the animation and artistic design of the wild animals are astounding to see! By the time the trailer ended, I hoped to see more of it as I am fond of open-world games (and games with wide-open areas that still satisfy gamers’ open-world interests) with adventuring and exploration.

And this past July, Microsoft released the 2nd trailer for Everwild during the Xbox Games Showcase which you can see below…

That Xbox Games Showcase Everwild trailer looks more amazing and having replayed it more, it is clear to me now that it is an adventure game (confirmed at the game’s Xbox.com page) with a world to explore. It also shows that the characters do interact with animals, even to the point of making changes to the natural environment. There are also mystical acts performed. Even with such details visualized, Rare and Microsoft have yet to emphasize clearly (and in detail) how exactly Everwild will play and what it will feature. In reality, beautiful visuals can only go so far on selling the game and ultimately it is the fun factor and engagement that need to be strong to really connect with gamers.

My questions for Rare and Microsoft are as follows:

Is Everwild a single-play game with co-op as options or is it an online multiplier game?

Does Everwild have a living, breathing open-world or will it have separate wide-open areas meant to be explored and discovered?

Apart from interacting with animals and the environment, will the game have a good amount of action scenes to keep gamers engaged?

Does Everwild have creature/monster hunting? Village building?

Will the game have some role-playing game (RPG) elements in terms of leveling up the characters?

Will Everwild launch along with Xbox Series X?

Screenshot_20200811-160534_YouTube.jpg
A shot the July 2020 trailer of Everwild.

Being very interested with Everwild, I really hope that the publisher and developer will get their acts together to emphasize more of their game’s gameplay and features. It would be very nice if they could not only show more gameplay footage but also demonstrate how the game plays in live fashion in an upcoming Xbox-focused event. I personally enjoy open-world games that have lots of exploration, action and a solid story to follow, and I hope that Everwild will have such values. If Everwild will indeed by an open-world game, it could literally break the mold with its out-of-this-world concept and possibly feature action scenes that don’t involve guns. Rare’s game just might provide the open-world experience radically different (from the likes of Grand Theft Auto, Saints Row, etc.) and still deliver a ton of fun. Really, it’s high time for the game makers to emphasize the game! Oh yeah, I’d like to see Phil Spencer or Colteastwood or Dealer Gaming organize an interview with the creative team at Rare to talk about the Everwild!

For official and general information about Everwild, visit https://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/everwild

Speaking of upcoming Xbox events, check out the following YouTube videos about a possible August event by Microsoft done by Colteastwood and Dealer Gaming.

By the way, have you heard about the leak relating to the long speculated Xbox Series S? Watch these videos by Dealer Gaming and Rand al Thor 19.

In closing this, here is a video by Gaming Bolt. If you are an Xbox One owner, it should convince you to look forward to Xbox Series X.


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