A Look Back at RoboCop versus The Terminator #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.

Back in the early 1990s, I was already a fan of the Terminator and RoboCop mainly due to their respective first movies released in the 1980s which became cinematic classics. While RoboCop 2 never came close to the quality of the 1987 original movie, Terminator 2: Judgment Day literally rocked the cinemas and went on to become one of the greatest film sequels ever made. Back then, there was a lot to be excited for over the two entertainment franchises.  One day during my high school days (note: there was no social media and Internet access in the Philippines was not yet established), I learned from reading a comic book industry magazine that a crossover comic book mini-series matching the Terminator and RoboCop together. That news excited me a lot and before the end of 1992, I bought myself a copy of the comic book RoboCop versus The Terminator #1 (note: this one has gone out of print).

With the history explained, let’s all take a look back at RoboCop versus The Terminator #1, published in 1992 by Dark Horse Comics with a story by Frank Miller (note: the same successful comic book creator who actually worked on RoboCop movies in Hollywood) and art by Walt Simonson.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the far future wherein human society has been ruined and the world became a constant battleground of a war between powerful machines and desperate humans. Inside a facility being invaded by the machines, a lady working for the rebels has been using computers (via brainfeed) in the battle with Skynet. As far as she knows, leader John Connor has been right in telling her that it was a human mind that merged with software and got linked with Skynet. She points to the 20th century historical figure Alex Murphy/RoboCop as the one responsible for the war.

Before Skynet’s machines reach her, she strips naked and made a desperate trip back through time. She successfully makes a hard landing into the middle of a city in a time before the war. After struggling with the sudden change, she arms herself and sets off to kill Alex Murphy…

Quality

16
Something is off with the pacing of the action here.

Let me start that this particular mini-series has a very intriguing concept that made it stand on its own (as opposed to simply referencing core concepts of the movies). This is about RoboCop’s technology being used to establish Skynet and this launch comic book emphasized that nicely.

When it comes to storytelling done with this particular comic book, things felt very uneven. For a comic book that strongly focused on the Terminator and RoboCop, this was mainly the story of the rebel lady from the future whose mission was to eliminate officer Alex Murphy in a bid to change the future. While she is portrayed to be highly determined and works by action, the character is never interesting and not worth investing your attention to.

For his part, RoboCop was literally placed on the backseat in this story and he makes his first appearance in the 2nd half starting with crime-busting. Considering the lack of spotlight, the sci-fi icon himself is not even interesting to follow which is disappointing.

The clear representation of evil here is Skynet and its army of Terminators. To say the least, the machines here make a worthy menace to read and somewhat made up for RoboCop and the lady rebel being uncompelling characters.

When it comes to the art, I should say that Walt Simonson’s visuals are not great to look at. There were crooks that had a cartoony aesthetic on the faces, Terminators that don’t even come close to their cinematic designs and some images looked rushed. At least Simonson’s RoboCop looks recognizable and was satisfactory with the action.

Conclusion

6
The target: Alex Murphy/RoboCop.

I still remember how underwhelmed I got after completing RoboCop versus The Terminator #1 the first time way back in 1992. It’s even more underwhelming by today’s standards. Of course, the comic book was essentially a build-up issue with the pay-off supposed to happen in the remaining issues. Its best selling point is the fusion of RoboCop and Terminator concepts that helped establish its own universe.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of RoboCop versus The Terminator #1 (1992), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $17 while the near-mint copy of the platinum edition costs $170.

Overall, RoboCop versus The Terminator #1 (1992) is satisfactory. That being said, I would not recommend paying a lot of money for this comic book. Find a near-mint copy priced below $10.


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 Prototype #3 (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.

Are you geeks and comic readers ready for another trip back to the good old days in the 1990s when the Ultraverse line of comic books was published by Malibu Comics in competition with the superhero offerings of Marvel, DC and Valiant Comics?

Here is a look back at Prototype #3, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story by Tom Mason, Len Strazewski and drawn by David Ammerman.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Jimmy Ruiz (current Prototype user) in a private jet with his corporate companion Hastings. He’s feeling restless over the delay at the airport.

On a large commercial airplane, a gang of armed, masked men suddenly enter stating they claim the plane in the name of Terrordyne, Inc. Passengers naturally got frightened.

From a distance, Jimmy noticed the trouble happening and told Hastings to call security.

Meanwhile in Chicago, an armed lady talks to someone over the phone. In New York, men start to do some work on the body of Glare, a huge green-skinned figure. He is being prepared for Aladdin…

Quality

11
The money shot of this comic book.

Unsurprisingly, stories of heroic struggles (told through Jim and Bob respectively), corporate intrigue and fighting the bad (in this issue: new villain Heater) were the most defining elements of this comic book. The good news here is that there is still a cohesive story told by Tom Mason and Len Strazewski. One of the more notable parts of the story was Bob Campbell’s reuniting with Felicia which for me made a lot of sense since I already read Prototype #0. Once again, David Ammerman did a good job visualizing the script.

Conclusion

5
Glare in the possession of a group.

Prototype #3 is another fun read that has a careful mix of spectacle, character development and corporate culture exposition. While it does not have the horror element of issue #2, its focus on the corporate side and secret operations made this comic book deep. At the same time, this comic book solidly established Jimmy and Bob as the protagonists of the series.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prototype #3 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $4. The near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $13.

Overall, Prototype #3 (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

A Look Back at X-Men Adventures #14 (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.

Last time I reviewed an issue of X-Men Adventures, it was the 13th issue which served as the first half of a two-part adaptation of the animated series’ adaptation of the literary X-Men classic storyline Days of Future Past. It was a compelling and fun comic book to read.

Then I saw the cover of X-Men Adventures #14 which had a nicely drawn cover but instantly spoiled key elements of the 2nd part of the Days of Future Past adaptation. What does the comic book have left to show?

We can all find out in this look back at X-Men Adventures #14, published in 1993 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Ralph Macchio and drawn by Nick Napalitano.

Cover
The spoileriffic cover.

Early story

The story begins with Bishop (who came from the dark future on a mission to change events and prevent the darkness from taking over by aligning himself with the X-Men) attacks Gambit whom he identifies as the traitor responsible for the downfall of the X-Men and society. In response, Rogue, Jean Grey and Jubilee intervene to disrupt the conflict paving the way for Wolverine and Cyclops to restrain Bishop.

Bishop insists that everything will change for the worse if Gambit lives to fulfill his destiny: to kill a prominent politician who opposed mutants.

After some squabbling between the X-Men, the situation cools down and Professor X/Charles Xavier announces that he and some members will travel to Washington, D.C. where he will address the senate committee on mutant affairs…

Quality

2
Chaos in the headquarters of the X-Men!

In terms of writing, this comic book carries a lot of punch on its own. It’s a compelling read and like the animated series episode that served as its source, it took its time to build up tension before a twist or a scene of spectacle happens. As expected, it is not a scene-per-scene recreation compared with the animated episode and that’s just fine for me. I only wished the comic book creators retained the animated episode scene in which Bishop tells Wolverine that Gambit’s destined act was the Canadian’s fault, which led to Wolverine memorably saying: “I still can’t believe it.”

More importantly, the story offers readers a nice exploration about how the public and the Federal Government of the United States would react with mutants. To see US Senator Robert Kelly harshly question Professor X if his school functioned for pro-mutant propaganda is quite striking.

When it comes to the art, Napalitano’s work here is a drop in quality and style when compared to Andrew Wildman’s art. His art is not terrible and he exerted effort on translating the script into images but the work looks rushed. There were some weirdly drawn faces of Rogue, Xavier and Wolverine to name some. The action scenes meanwhile lacked punch.

Conclusion

3
The dark future of the X-Men and their society.

While X-Men Adventures #14 served its purpose on completing the adaptation of Days of Future Past, it failed to deliver the great stuff even though the script was strong. The sub-par art of Napalitano really dragged the presentation down making the comic book end with a whimper.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men Adventures #14, be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $6 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $21.

Overall, X-Men Adventures #14 (1993) is satisfactory.


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

A Look Back at Prototype #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.

Over a year ago, I reviewed Prototype #1 and published other Ultraverse comic book reviews that had the armored superhero involved. In recent times, I reviewed Prototype #5 since that comic book was the first of a 2-part crossover between Prototype and The Strangers. Since I already reviewed Prototype #0 to get a good look at the origin of the armored superhero (composed of two different pilots or users working for a corporation), it’s time to go back to one of the early issues of Prototype to discover more of the ultra-hero.

This is my look back at Prototype #2, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story co-written by Len Strazewski and Tom Mason, and drawn by David Ammerman.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

 

The story begins with Prototype (piloted by Jim Ruiz) battling with mechanized opponents as he tries to achieve something. It turns out, the entire encounter was a virtual reality training mission which ended after Jim overloaded his armor’s circuits during the heat of training.

While taking off his armor, Jim discusses some matters with his assistant. He recalls his hard battle with an over-sized, muscular opponent whom he noticed to be communicating with someone. The opponent died which gave the public the false impression that Prototype killed him.

Meanwhile over the headquarters of Ultratech, Marjorie listens to Stanley ranting about the negative press their company got recently. As soon as Stanley calms down, Marjorie noticed that Jim was in trouble according to tech read-outs. They analyzed the risk they are taking with Jim being the Prototype pilot as they make sure nobody would learn that there is more than one active Prototype in their company. Marjorie states that she has taken the initiative and assigned someone to take care of Bob Campbell (the other Prototype pilot)…

Quality

5
Jim Ruiz is already struggling with the stress of piloting Prototype.

In terms of storytelling, this comic book is quite gripping as it deals with elements of corporate politics, heroism and even horror. Without spoiling too much, I should say that the battle near the end of the story brought back memories of the 1984 movie The Terminator which itself combined elements of horror, film noir and sci-fi. There was not much room for character development but that was no problem considering the strong storytelling. For his part, David Ammerman’s drawings were nice and detailed to look at, especially when the story focused more on Bob Campbell.

Conclusion

2
The money shot of the comic book!

No doubt about it. Prototype #2 is a very good and entertaining comic book to read. It successfully told two tales (one on Jim and the other on Bob) and cleverly mixed genre elements to deliver solid storytelling. Not only that, this comic book marks one of the early connections between Prototype and Prime as the story took place after the events told in Prime #4.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prototype #2, be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy costs $4.

Overall, Prototype #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

A Look Back at Prime #4 (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 it comes to notable rivalries between superheroes within the Ultraverse, the Prime-Prototype conflict comes to mind. Granted, the two became teammates in the UltraForce monthly series that launched in 1994 but before that happened, their conflict was intriguing and intense to see.

Let’s examine the beginning of the rivalry between Prototype and Prime in Prime #4, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story co-written by Len Strazewski and Gerard Jones, and drawn by the late Norm Breyfogle.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Prototype blasting Prime right on his head saying: “I’m telling you again—Hardcase ain’t here! This is Prototype turf and you are making me look bad!”

Out of impulse, Prime (who is teenager Kevin Greene inside the body) strikes back at Prototype pushing him back into the air. Prime describes himself as a real hero and called Prototype a phony of Hollywood.

As the tension increases between them, Prototype fires back at Prime who subsequently responds by punching him hard. The battle goes on.

Meanwhile at another location, Boneyard emerges from a portal carrying an unconscious Mantra with him…

Quality

19
This is compelling character development.

Strong writing and very impressive works of art in this comic book! There is no doubt about that. The writers really poured a lot of energy into the very action-packed conflict between Prime and his armored rival. The conflict is not limited to superhero violence between the two as the writers cleverly crafted a big battle of personalities between an impulsive and clueless teenager (Prime) and a corporate performer (Prototype). In order to grasp that concept, one must read at least the launch issues of the Prototype and Prime series.

Along the way, the writers still managed to conserve a good amount of creative energy to further develop Kevin Greene in his civilian life. I really enjoyed how the creators portrayed him to be a very troubled youth whose struggle with social life has gotten worse as he also struggled with keeping a superhero identity and doing what he believes are good deeds (helping people in trouble) even though he got reckless or clumsy. This is reflected nicely with the ways he tries to socialize with Kelly. Apart from that, the scenes showing Kevin with his father are very intriguing to follow.

The artwork here by Breyfogle is unsurprisingly great. As seen in the previous issues of Prime, the superhero action is dynamic to look at, Kevin and the supporting characters have very well defined looks and by this time, I find them instantly recognizable. As for his visual take on Prototype, I really like Breyfogle’s illustration in this issue.

Conclusion

2
A very dynamic shot of Prime striking Prototype away.

Prime #4 is a great Ultraverse comic book highlighted by the first conflict between Prime and Prototype which is very compelling and at the same time memorable. It’s like seeing two titans of the Ultraverse collide complete with dramatizing how other people got affected by them. As far as the Ultraverse is concerned, the rivalry between the armored ultra and the kid-in-a-man’s-body is solid gold.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prime #4 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the unbagged regular edition, the bagged regular edition, the unbagged newsstand edition and the bagged newsstand edition costs $4, $5, $6 and $7 respectively.

Overall, Prime #4 (1993) 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 Hardcase #7

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 Ultraverse fans! Are you ready for another bout of new discoveries in the Ultraverse through Hardcase, the superhero of Hollywood trying to do good.

Let’s all take a look back at Hardcase #7, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by James Hudnall and drawn by Scott Benefiel. The comic book was part of the Break-Thru crossover.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins on a city street when two guys tried to force two people out of the car they were riding. Suddenly Hardcase and Choice arrive surprising them and making short work out of the bad guys. The two victims who got saved could only be impressed by Hardcase and Choice as they watch them fly away.

At his office, Hardcase formally introduces Choice to his secretary Celia Brady, his agent Sol Gernstein and his lawyer John Riley. Together they meet to discuss how to free Choice from the clutches of the Choice Corporation.

Elsewhere, a mechanized menace slowly makes its move and kills a racoon in cold blood. It pulls the dead animal to itself and assimilates with it…

Quality

5
Choice meets Hardcase’s trusted people.

Hardcase #7 is another compelling story about Hardcase’s search for answers and the connection with the Break-Thru crossover is a factor that works nicely. With in-depth writing by James Hudnall, this comic book not only expands the realm of the Ultraverse but also links nicely with the events of The Strangers #1 and Hardcase’s past. As the story builds up for Break-Thru, it also introduces readers to a key sinister figure of the Ultraverse. Lastly, I should say that James Hudnall pulled off a lot intriguing moments and how the story ended surprised me pleasantly.

When it comes to the art quality, Scott Benefiel’s work is solid. I also like his visual take on a certain superhero team that suddenly appeared in this comic book. Which team is that? You’ll have to find out.

Conclusion

3
Superhero action nicely drawn.

This is yet another very engaging story of Hardcase. Thanks to the works of the creative team, Hardcase #7 literally did not pull back its punches when it comes to surprising me as I followed Hardcase on his efforts to solve mysteries. This is definitely not your typical superhero-saves-the-day story.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Hardcase #7, be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $4 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $11.

Overall, Hardcase #7 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 Robin III #3

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

Before I start this retro comic book review of Robin III #3, let me explain that the illustrator of the comic book, Tom Lyle, passed away last November over health-related reasons. Before dying, he had a surgery in October 2019 to remove a blood clot in his brain and subsequently fell into a coma. Apart from drawing comics, Tom Lyle was a professor of art at Georgia’s Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). For a look at Lyle’s expertise, watch the video from 2017 below.

When it comes to the comic book industry, Lyle started his career with AC Comics and Eclipse Comics back in the 1980s. In 1988, he worked on the art of Starman for DC Comics and went on to work on the company’s other properties and played a major role with the publishing of the three mini-series featuring Batman’s sidekick Robin (Tim Drake specifically).

After leaving DC Comics, he joined Marvel Comics as one of their illustrators on the Spider-Man monthly series. He quickly got involved in the Maximum Carnage crossover and made bigger waves with Spider-Man readers with the Clone Saga. Lyle is widely credited for designing the Scarlet Spider. With regards to his death, Marvel Comics published online a tribute for him.

Now that the short history lesson is over, let’s take a look back at Robin III #3 published by DC Comics in 1993 with a story by Chuck Dixon and art by Tom Lyle.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins in school where Tim Drake/Robin gets confronted by his superior who noticed the bruises he got. As Tim tries to keep his secrets, the superior Ms. Hollingsworth knows that he was cared for by Bruce Wayne (Batman) while his father was in a coma. She also knows that he lives on a property bordering the estate of Wayne. She makes clear that he can speak openly to her and Tim simply denies that Bruce would never hit him. He states: “An upperclassman…a senior…I think…big kid.”

Eventually the meeting ended and Tim leaves struggling over thinking about the complications he is experiencing with his double life as a student and as a crime fighter. Since he cannot get involved with Batman and Alfred, he spends some time with Harold (who was so busy working on a machine) and eventually goes home. His father notices Tim’s bruises and states that he spends too much time at Wayne’s. This leaves Tim more conflicted within.

Elsewhere, a muscular man called Sir Edmund easily beats up his loyal followers in a bout of combat. His assistant Lynx arrives and informs him that their turf is in danger with the arrival of Russians with KGBeast involved.

In the evening, Robin meets the Huntress and start their next mission…

Quality

13
Hard action with a smooth flow of sequence by Tom Lyle.

For a story set within the realm of Batman and, at the same time, does not have Batman at all, this Robin-centered comic book is well written and engaging. To say the least, showing Tim Drake struggling with his civilian life and crime-fighting life made Robin a literary symbol about the false maturity that youth in real life often experience. That false maturity is nicely portrayed with the superhero aesthetics and fantasy elements.

Quite predictably, Robin performs detective work and analyzes crime situations like Batman only this time, he gets involved with the Huntress (note: this mini-series carries the storyline title of “Cry of the Huntress”) to find out more answers and solve the crime problem. Being a product of the early 1990s, it is no surprise that the story has fictional portrayals about the Russians (with KGBeast leading the so-called invasion of the city) and even mentioning Afghans.

14
Hurting Robin on the head led to hard reactions.

Apart from the storytelling, the art by Tom Lyle here remains good to look at. Each scene, whether is it a talking scene or an action scene, looks good and Lyle has a nice touch on drawing facial expressions. When it comes to the spectacle, Lyle really shows how good he is with drawing hard-hitting physical action. I should also state how smooth the sequencing of action is drawn by him.

Conclusion

16
Robin and the Huntress make an odd crime-fighting duo.

To make things clear, Robin III #3 is the first-ever Tom Lyle-drawn comic book I ever bought and read. By today’s standards, the comic book is still fun to read and it is compelling enough to make readers interested to read more of the mini-series. However, if seeing more of Robin fighting crime by himself is your type of Robin story, then this may not be compelling for you.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Robin III #3, be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition and the newsstand edition of the direct version costs $4 and $6 respectively. Meanwhile, the near-mint copy of the bagged edition and the unbagged edition of the deluxe version costs $4. To be clear, the deluxe version of Robin III #3 in bagged form comes with a moving cover, a second reversible cover and additional artwork.

Overall, Robin III #3 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

What I Hope to See in Microsoft’s Xbox Digital Event this July

This past May, Microsoft organized its first digital event of the year highlighting upcoming games produced by their publishing partners and independent developers for its next-generation Xbox Series X console. In case you missed that, watch the video.

Okay. There were several games showcased but in my honest opinion, the event felt underwhelming overall due to the presentation – there was just not enough real-time gameplay sequences shown as there was too much emphasis on showing the games’ concepts in a more cinematic fashion. Even The only games from that digital event that interested me were Dirt 5 and The Ascent.

This July, Microsoft has another digital event coming only this time it will be a showcase of upcoming Xbox Series X video games made by varied game studios working under the Xbox banner. A date has yet to be announced as of this writing.

As this will be a showcase of products from the 1st party game makers and announcements from Microsoft to prove their dedication with the next-generation of gaming, I hope to see the following happen.

XboxSeriesXconsole

  • Halo Infinite showcased in both cinematic and real-time gameplay demonstration – It has been two years since Halo Infinite was first announced and with the expected Xbox Series X launch happening late this year, the time is right to emphasize that game’s concept with real-time cinematic scenes and show how it plays and what new gameplay features have been implemented by 343 Industries. Here is hoping that the developers have learned from the mistakes they made with Halo 5: Guardians.
  • Forza Motorsport 8 and Forza Horizon 5 announced together – this is a long shot but I hope to see the next-generation games of both Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon to be announced in the same event as this will be Microsoft’s chance to show why Xbox Series X will be the console of choice for gamers who love cars and racing (be it simulation or open-world) as well as the machine that will give racing-driving car developers all the resources and opportunities they need to make their dream projects come true. There’s no telling yet if the expected Forza Motorsport 8 will be a launch title with Xbox Series X but it is clear that a follow-up to Forza Motorsport 7 is already due. As for Forza Horizon 5, I don’t expect it to be released until 2022 but an early announcement would not hurt. Going back to Forza Motorsport 8, if any gameplay footage will be shown, here is hoping it will run in 4K resolution with 120 frames-per-second frame rate and ray-tracing turned on.
  • New Fable – Considering how long the next-generation Fable RPG (popularly referred to as Fable 4) has been rumored to be in production under Playground Games, this year is the right time to finally confirm it and show at least some concept art if no gameplay footage is available. The game makers should also make clear if the new Fable is a sequel or a reboot, and more importantly, emphasize what its fantasy concept will be, what kind of gameplay can be expected, and what the game’s tone will be like.
  • Brand new, 1st party open-world video game – When it comes to open-world games involving Microsoft, I am NOT a fan of the Crackdown franchise of games and I certainly don’t want to see that game series to continue at all. Considering how many game studios are working under the Xbox banner, I’d rather see a brand new open-world game that will not only be different from Crackdown but be a lot of fun (regardless of what its concept will be), be very engaging and be made with high-grade quality production values. It will also be an opportunity for an Xbox game studio to make an open-world adventure game that can be different from the fantasy, crime or post-apocalyptic concepts.
  • The Outer Worlds sequel plus new RPGs from Obsidian Entertainment – I love playing and replaying The Outer Worlds on my Xbox One, and I certainly hope to see Obsidian Entertainment announce a sequel (at least show a video), only this time it will be Xbox-exclusive now that they are owned by Microsoft. Given the very positive critical and commercial success of The Outer Worlds, making a sequel that can be bigger and even better is the way to go. Going beyond The Outer Worlds, I hope that brand new RPGs will be announced.
  • More from Ninja Theory – I hope to see more of what Ninja Theory could do. They already showed a video of Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II some months back and I hope they will show actual gameplay of it this time. Apart from that upcoming sequel, it would be nice to see what new games they are working on will be announced.
  • The Initiative’s first game – The Initiative is a new game studio set up by Microsoft which reportedly has a lot of very talented game developers working together in Santa Monica, California. What they are working on remains unknown but I hope that at least an announcement about their first game will be made.
  • Xbox Series S console – While I personally want the Xbox Series X to replace my aging Xbox One, to see the rumored Xbox Series S console (expected to be smaller, less powerful and more affordable) get confirmed and showcased will still be welcome. I hope to see it having a very compact design (note: most likely it will come without an UHD Blu-ray drive), very good graphical and technical performance and a $199 tag price.
  • At least one new game each from the other Xbox game studios announced – The other Xbox game studios like Undead Labs, Rare, inXile Entertainment, Double Fine and Compulsion Games should each have something new to be announced. I’m talking about new, Xbox-exclusive games that gamers are willing to wait for to be completed and released. As for The Coalition, I don’t expect a new Gears of War sequel to be announced yet.
  • $399 launch price for Xbox Series X – This is something I really hope will be confirmed by Microsoft. Considering that Microsoft itself can afford to lose some money on launching hardware as they make money from Xbox Game Pass and paid services and game sales via Xbox LIVE, a $399 launch price will definitely make Xbox Series X a very attractive next-generation console for consumers. Granted, the technologies and components for Xbox Series X are surely expensive (apart from the amount of money spent on developing the console) and the Xbox One X itself was launched at $499 in 2017, but still a $399 launch price is not impossible for Microsoft to pull off. In terms of competition, the attractive launch theoretical launch price will add tremendous pressure to Sony to follow suit with PS5.

Now that those are the things I hope to see, we can only wait for Microsoft to announce exactly when this July they will organize their digital event. Stay tuned!


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 Night of the Creeps

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from watching the movie 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 you craft a story meant to entertain people, it is already tough to mix genre elements and make them work together while still telling a cohesive story. Imagine how hard that could be when making a movie with the mentioned creative mix?

Back in the mid-1980s, a young film enthusiast named Fred Dekker not only pulled it off but actually made a feature-length film titled Night of the Creeps which was his cinematic directorial debut. Before making that science fiction/horror/comedy movie, Dekker grew up watching movies of horror, science fiction and fantasy and developed a passion for movies (and movie production eventually).

After much learning through UCLA, Dekker broke into Hollywood and started a professional career in film and eventually got his dream project in the form of Night of the Creeps.

“Night of the Creeps is very much a first feature with the attitude of many first features. The I-may-not-get-to-do-another-movie-so-I’m-going-to-do-everything-I-want-to-do-in-this-movie attitude. It’s an attitude that often backfires, but in this case, it’s exactly what makes Night of the Creeps so much fun,” Dekker stated.

With the short film history lesson done, it’s now time to take a look back at Night of the Creeps written and directed by Fred Dekker, and released in 1986 by TriStar Pictures.

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If you were the police chief, how many police officers would send to corner one zombie?

Early story

The story begins inside a space ship where one alien creature (carrying a canister) is running away from two armed personnel. With the two chasers delayed, the creature manages to shoot the canister into the realm of space.

On Earth, the year is 1959. In a typical American suburb, a college student visits a sorority house to pick up his date. Together, along with a few other pairs in cars, they spend time at a parking spot with a nice night view. A young police officer, who is aware of the news about a potential killer on the loose, approaches the pair and recognizes the lady from the sorority house. He tells them to go home for their safety, and then leaves them.

Shortly after, the canister from space arrives and crashes nearby causing the college student to drive the car (with his date with him) and find the spot of the crash. He parks the car by the woods and moves into woods leaving the sorority girl alone, sitting and waiting. He finds the canister and decides to look at it closely. Through an opening, an alien slug suddenly jumps from the canister and into his mouth. Meanwhile, the lone lady in the car hears the news about the loose killer and realizes the details about their location (being the destination of the killer). Slowly creeping up on her is a man with an axe.

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What teenagers in America used to do in the 1950s.
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Someone closing in…

In 1986, at the same locality, college students party around and engage in lots of activities in relation to pledge week being organized at a local university. Among the students walking down the sidewalk are Chris Romero and his handicapped friend J.C. Chris spots a pretty girl from a distance and instantly falls for her at first sight. With the help of J.C., he decides to pursue her…

Quality

Even with a low budget, Night of the Creeps is very creatively done and comes with a good amount of fun for viewers who enjoy elements of horror or sci-fi, 1950s romance, 1980s teen comedy and even detective story. What made this movie a cinematic gem is that Fred Dekker and his creative team combined their strengths with the talents of their cast members specifically Jason Lively, James Marshall, Jill Whitlow and Tom Atkins.

At its core, Night of the Creeps is a zombie horror flick that had sci-fi elements of UFOs and the 1950s as a strong foundation (in addition to serving in the background of the plot). Those combined genre elements alone (backed with a plot that is cohesive enough thanks to Dekker) made this movie solid and yet, the implementation of detective/crime storytelling and 1980s teen comedy (specifically college culture) further added more punch and variety in making the film really engaging and fun.

That being said, the actors delivered the goods with their respective performances. Jason Lively and Steve Marshall have excellent chemistry together as the 1980s college boys Chris Romero and J.C. They started their acts as typical college guys trying to achieve something when it comes to campus achievements and winning the girl’s heart. They also delivered strong performances on the comedy and they pushed their dramatic limits further when the film’s tone shifted to horror. Jill Whitlow is interesting as sorority girl Cynthia who has that girl-next-door charm. She proved to be talented with acting as she had convincing romantic chemistry with a certain jerk and Chris.

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Steve Marshal, Jason Lively and Jill Whitlow as J.C., Chris Romero and Cynthia.
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The horror film genre legend himself, Tom Atkins!

The standout performer among them all, unsurprisingly, is Tom Atkins as detective Ray Cameron. Before making this movie, Atkins worked in horror movies and a few cult movies, and got involved with the legendary John Carpenter. As such, playing the veteran detective Cameron here was a natural fit for the actor. As the aging and troubled detective, Atkins portrayed him dramatically and because of his very rugged touch, the actor really looked like he actually lived through decades of police work in the fictional town. Atkins also proved to be very good with quotes, specifically with “Thrill me!” It should be noted that this is Atkins’ personal favorite role in the horror genre.

When it comes to telling a cohesive story to emphasize the mixed genre elements, I should say Fred Dekker and his team succeeded. The pacing ran at a medium pace for the most part and even during the slower scenes, there was never a boring moment. More on storytelling, Night of the Creeps’ concept made sense for the most part (about how a slug from outer space would gradually cause zombification on people and even animals, in the midst of college-related events happening) and still had room for suspense, spectacle (note: Jason Lively and Jill Whitlow themselves used dangerous weapons near the end of the film) and, yes, character development! All of that pulled of nicely in roughly ninety minutes and the viewing experience was ultimately fun and engaging.

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I wonder if this image would be considered offensive by the SJWs…
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Perhaps this will inspire you to research what American life was like back in the 1950s.

It should be noted that, in terms of presentation, key scenes were very well directed and strong performances from the actors were realized. The scene where detective Cameron and Chris had a private talk was intriguing to watch, and that one had the strongest act Tom Atkins made in the film. I should also mention that, apart from the dramatics and performances, I enjoyed the cinematography done by Robert C. New especially with the way the camera moved as the actors delivered their lines in key sequences. There were closeups that perfectly captured the moments when the actors delivered their strongest acts. Last but not least, the music by Barry De Vorzon fit the film’s tone and concept smoothly.

Conclusion

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Here they come…

I really love Night of the Creeps and I want you – my readers and fellow film buffs and pop culture geeks – to watch it from start to finish. I never saw this movie in the cinemas in the 1980s but was fortunate enough to watch it on cable TV on a late night in 1998 (twelve years after its cinematic release). That was a night I’ll never forget because Night of the Creeps delivered the fun and exceeded my expectations. Then years ago, I finally acquired the Sony Pictures Blu-ray disc release which I replayed from time to time at the comfort of home with my Xbox One console as the disc player. The film looks even better in high-definition!

The best thing I love about Night of the Creeps is its big mix of genre elements which was supported by solid storytelling and performances. When it comes to spectacle or shock moments, it should be stated that the practical effects used (note: no CGI or computer-generated images here) in the movie still stand up strongly until now although I must say that the aliens creatures in the early part of the story were just not convincing enough.

Even by today’s standards, Night of the Creeps is enjoyable and gripping to watch, and the fact is nobody in Hollywood is making anything like it, nor are there any filmmakers willing to do a big mix of genre elements and tell a cohesive story with good performance from hired talents. This alone makes Fred Dekker’s directorial debut a cinematic gem that has been overlooked by too many people

In light of modern society and its norms, I declare that Night of the Creeps will give you a good dose of escapism not only from real life but also from the corrupted and highly politicized culture of Hollywood which points to the Political Left (whose central figure Barack Obama supports Iran, the terrorists and illegal immigrants) and its trouble makers (examples: social justice warriors or SJWS, the socialists, the radical feminists, the LGBTQ) who managed to infiltrate the American film industry and even the American media (note: you can tell if a movie review was written by an SJW who only writes something to fit his/her social justice agenda). This old movie was made to deliver fun without any political garbage whatsoever. That being said, it will make you wish that Hollywood would just focus on making their movies truly entertaining and be free from political poison at the same time. Movies that carry political overtones or emphasize identity politics are major turn-offs.

Overall, Night of the Creeps is highly recommended! That being said, I urge you to order a Blu-ray copy of Night of the Creeps now at Shout Factory and Amazon. Whichever Blu-ray version you acquire (note: the Shout Factory version has newer and more extra stuff), you can’t go wrong with Night of the Creeps in high-definition.


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

A Look Back at The Strangers #7 (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.

In a previous review, Prototype #5 served mainly as a build-up leading to the crossover between the armored superhero and The Strangers. While that comic book had a cover that looked suggestive, Prototype and the group did not appear together until the final page.

The payoff for the crossover happens to be in The Strangers #7.

Will the crossover be worth it? Find in this look back at The Strangers #7, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart (shared plot credit with Tom Mason and Len Strazewski) and drawn by Rick Hoberg. This comic book is part of the Break-Thru crossover.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

Picking up where Prototype #5 ended, the story begins inside the space station wherein The Strangers encounter large, ugly monsters just as Prototype and his two companions – Empire 7 from Vietnam and Supra from the Baltic States – arrive. Equipped with high technology, Prototype proceeds to help the Strangers surprising them as a result.

After some struggle, Prototype, the Strangers plus Empire 7 and Supra start talking about what has been going on. As far as the Strangers are concerned, they need to know why they got their powers which explains why the needed J.D. Hunt’s rocket to reach space. Supra explains that she, Empire 7 and Prototype were sent to reclaim Hunt’s rocket.

After Prototype insists on reclaiming the rocket, Grenade strikes him which leads to Yrial to using her magic on him. The armored hero reacts by bodily attacking Yrial and damaging the wall behind her leading to outer space…

Quality

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A nice scene between Prototype and two of the Strangers.

As this comic book was wonderfully written, I do confirm that the payoff for the build-up leading to the crossover between Prototype and The Strangers was undeniably worth it! There is a lot of richness in the script and I really enjoyed the interactions between the Strangers and the armored ultra.

I should state that the plot was structured to have the heroes together for initial interaction, have a few of them separated temporarily, bring them back together for unity and separate them into small groups as they search for answers.

In between, there is a lot of character interaction and development. These are the elements that defined this comic book and by the time I reached the end, I managed to grasp how the connection (as well as the level of trust) between Prototype and the Strangers turned out. Along the way, there were a few sub-plots and even some exposition on the in-universe history of ultras (emphasized by Empire 7). There were also some action scenes to balance things out with the characterization.

With no surprise, the art by Rick Hoberg here is great. I should state that his art on Prototype made the character look recognizable. More importantly, Hoberg drew the characters, the monsters and the environments with a good amount of detail. This is hard work that nicely paid off!

Conclusion

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The first interaction between Prototype and the Strangers.

I really enjoyed The Strangers #7 and it definitely paid off nicely after the build-up to the crossover established in Prototype #5. If I were to make comparisons, the crossover here is just as good as the Hardcase-Strangers crossover. I should also state there is a good amount of fun here.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #7 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $4 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition is priced at $8.

Overall, The Strangers #7 (1993) 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