A Look Back at Jurassic Park #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.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the year 1993 for another look at Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park in the form of licensed comic books published by Topps Comics.

My previous retro review was the literary version of the film’s opening until the start of the iconic scene of the brachiosaur. The comic book was very exposition-heavy, had too few dinosaurs visualized and was ultimately a word-heavy experience with little entertainment value.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Jurassic Park #2, published in 1993 by Topps Comics with a story written by Walter Simonson and drawn by Gil Kane with ink work done by the late George Perez. This comic book was the second of a 4-issue mini-series based on the Spielberg movie.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins on an island where John Hammond’s guests (Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler, Ian Malcolm and lawyer Gennaro) cannot help but stare and marvel at the brachiosaurus walking in front of them. Soon enough, they spot five more dinosaurs of the same species moving around. As they stare, Dr. Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler can’t help but be amazed as the sight of living dinosaurs literally broke the limits of what they previously learned about dinosaurs through books.

Grant then asks Jurassic Park owner John Hammond how he was able to come up with dinosaurs. Hammond then takes his guests into the visitor’s center which has a 50-seat auditorium for the prepared pre-show he prepared for their orientation. With Hammond taking an active part in the program, a video presentation shows how Jurassic Park’s personnel extracted dinosaur DNA from fossilized mosquitoes (which drew blood from dinosaurs), used advanced technologies and amphibian DNA to complete DNA sequencing, and created dinosaurs…

Quality

The baby Velociraptor, John Hammond, Ian Malcolm, Dr. Grant, Ellie Sattler and Dr. Wu in a scene.

The most obvious thing about this comic book (which starts with the brachiosaurus reveal until the triceratops’ appearance) is that it is very wordy and has lots of expository dialogue and creative explanations which reflected the film it was based on. What makes this a slightly better reading experience over issue #1 is that it closely captured the essence of the best talk scene of Spielberg’s movie – the lunch meeting hosted by Hammond. To see Gennaro, Dr. Grant and Ellie give their feedback to Hammond with Ian Malcolm’s extensive opinion about Jurassic Park’s use of genetics, their revival of extinct species and their lack of humility before nature was easily the most compelling part of the comic book to read. In a way, a lot of exposition dump and build-up that started in issue #1 were paid off nicely in the said scene.

As mentioned earlier, this comic book’s story reaches the appearance of the triceratops and by then John Hammond’s grandchildren (Tim and Lex) joined Grant, Gennaro, Sattler and Malcolm on the basic tour in vehicles. That being said, the story moved at a moderate pace and the only comic book spectacle here are the images of dinosaurs which were decently drawn by Gil Kane. Don’t expect any action nor thrills here because those would not happen until the T. Rex’s first appearance.

Conclusion

Can you imagine how you would react if you ever see large dinosaurs walking in front of you?

I can say that Jurassic Park #2 (1993) is a slightly better reading experience than issue #1 mainly due to the way the comic book creators adapted the movie’s best talk scene. The same old issues of heavy exposition and excessive dialogue are here which reflect Simonson and Kane’s focus on adapting scenes from the movie closely. Other than that, there is still no excitement to enjoy here which can be disappointing if you are anticipating dinosaur-related thrills and action sequences. Readers who enjoy exposition and the Jurassic Park entertainment franchise’s approach on portraying science (distorted and fantasized to be more attractive than true science) will still find something to enjoy here.

Overall, Jurassic Park #2 (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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

A Look Back at Jurassic Park #1 (1993)

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

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the year 1993 which was a wild time for entertainment not only because of the comic book collection craze of the time but also because the whole world marveled at Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi film Jurassic Park which was simply unavoidable.  

Jurassic Park was released into cinemas worldwide at a time when computer-generated imagery (CGI) was advanced enough to show and animated dinosaurs in a photo-realistic way on the big screen. Unlike films of today, CGI in Spielberg’s movie was sparingly used and they cleverly used computer graphics to show dinosaurs in their entirety especially on really wide shots that literally made human actors look really small compared to them. What added also to the photorealism of the dinosaurs was the use of animatronics (read: physical models) when capturing close-ups of the dinosaurs. For millions of people, Jurassic Park was a dream come true for those who wanted to see very convincing and lively dinosaurs on the big screen in ways that stop motion animation could not do.

As mentioned earlier, Jurassic Park was unavoidable as it was everywhere from the cinemas to the TV and print ads, to the stores that had licensed toys and merchandise of the movie, to the book stores that sold copies of the novel written by Michael Crichton, and also in the comic book stores that had copies of the comic book adaptation published by Topps Comics.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Jurassic Park #1, published in 1993 by Topps Comics with a story written by Walter Simonson and drawn by Gil Kane with ink work done by the late George Perez. This comic book was the first of a 4-issue mini-series based on the Spielberg movie.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins at Isla Nublar, an island located over a hundred miles west of the nation of Costa Rica. Uniformed men and heavy equipment operators carefully moved a heavy containment unit that has a dinosaur inside. They are trying to connect the unit into an unusual looking containment facility which has vegetation inside. Their objective was to move the dinosaur into the facility and that includes lifting up the containment unit’s door.

Suddenly, the containment unit shakes as its door opened causing one man (who was responsible for opening the door from the top) falls down. It turns out, the dinosaur inside played a trick on them and it grabbed and pulled the fallen man inside which leads to tragedy.

A short time later, lawyer Gennaro arrives at an amber mind in the Dominican Republic searching for John Hammond for an important matter about a $20 million lawsuit from the family of the injured worker and an insurance company that thinks the accident raises serious safety questions about Jurassic Park.

Over at Montana, Dr. Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler are conducting work at a dig site not knowing that an unexpected visit will happen to them…

Quality

Nothing like entering a large gate going into a theme park.

I will start with what is very obvious about this first issue of the mini-series adapting the events of Steven Spielberg’s movie. This is one very wordy comic book filled with lots of details spilled all over by lots of expository dialogue clearly sourced from the movie. To be clear, this comic book follows the movie’s opening scene until the start of the iconic scene in which Dr. Grant, Ellie and Dr. Ian Malcolm saw the large dinosaur for the first time ever (note: this scene stunned and amazed viewers back then).

As the comic creators really pushed themselves to fill in the key details straight out of the movie most of the time, this comic book lacks spectacle and it is unsurprising that it has very few images of dinosaurs.

Like most comic book adaptations of movies, there were certain cosmetic differences between scenes adapted from the movie such as the traitor Dennis Nedry meeting with Lewis Dodgson in a very urban city street setting (as opposed to the location with lots of trees and vegetation in the film). Also notably different looking was Dr. Grant’s place where he and Ellie first meet John Hammond (in the movie, Dr. Grant’s place looked more lived-in).

In what looked like the creators’ attempt to emphasize something more than what was shown in the movie, the scene in which Dr. Grant scares a kid by showing what a Velociraptor would do to him was visualized with two panels of a dream sequence.

Gil Kane’s art looks good here but don’t expect to see the characters resembling their cinematic counterparts at all. I can only guess that Topps Comics had no authority to capture the likeness of the actors for this adaptation. Dr. Grant does not look like Sam Neill. Ellie Sattler looks nothing like Laura Dern.  

Conclusion

This is easily the most entertaining and the most intriguing page from the comic book. The comic book creators succeeded in making Dr. Alan Grant scare the kid more convincingly than the movie.

Jurassic Park #1 (1993) is not a fun read due to its heavy load of expository dialogue and explanations of key details. This issue, to say the least, was done mainly to get readers oriented with terms and details in order to help them understand Jurassic Park’s concepts. Due to the exposition and explanations, the storytelling here moved at a slow space which ironically provides readers opportunities to understand Jurassic Park. The way this comic book script was written, there was clearly too little space for entertainment. If you are the brainy type of reader or if you like junk science mixed with real science explained, then this one can still entertain you. When it comes to visuals, Gil Kane’s art made this one attractive and also established this comic book’s own look.

Overall, Jurassic Park #1 (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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

A Look Back at Ultraverse Year One (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, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the mid-1990s which was a pretty wild time for comic collectors. To be more specific, this newest retro review revisits the Ultraverse through a comic-like publication in the form of a guide meant for UV fans and comic collectors.

The subject at hand is Ultraverse Year One which, as written on the edge of the front cover, was designed to be the “complete guide to the Ultraverse’s first year.” It is a reference guide for those who seriously want to discover each and every Ultraverse comic book that was published during its first year. In my experience as a comic collector, the Ultraverse launch in 1993 was very memorable even though my financial limitations prevented me from acquiring each and every launch comic book and subsequent releases of the time. How useful is this complete UV guide? We can go on and find out.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Ultraverse Year One, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics.

The cover.

Quality

I can say without a doubt that this publication is indeed a complete guide to each and every Ultraverse comic book released during its first year from 1993 to 1994 specifically. You want to know exactly how many issues of Mantra, Prime, Hardcase, The Solution, Prototype, The Strangers and others were published in the first year? This one has it all listed! You want to know which UV comic book involved the talents of Steve Gerber, Norm Breyfogle, Rick Hoberg, Len Strazewski, Aaron Lopresti, George Perez, James Hudnall, Gerard Jones, Steve Englehart, Tom Mason, Terry Dodson, James Robinson, Howard Chaykin, Mike W. Barr and many others under the Malibu Comics banner? This guide has it all listed! What months were Exiles #1, Sludge #1, Firearm #0, Break-Thru #1 and Mantra #1 were published? The answers to each are included. The same can also be said when it comes to which characters appeared in each comic book.

This is what each page typically looks like with details of the Ultraverse timeline on the lower part.
The timeline reveals that the male warrior Lukasz, who would later end up in woman’s body as Mantra/Eden Blake, was born in 1220 BC.

Very clearly, the Malibu Comics people worked hard to collect the essential types of information, organized them and put them all into print media form for readers and collectors to use when it comes to searching just about everything about the Ultraverse’s first year. Things did not just stop there, however.

What I found amusing to look at in each page of this Ultraverse guide are details of the shared universe’s timeline posted on the lowest part. The said timeline – which is limited to text and numbers – reveal interesting details such as what year was Lukasz (AKA Mantra) born, when did Rune begin, when was the Choice corporation established, what year did the island of Yrial’s people move up to the clouds, what years were infants injected by Wetware Mary and more. These details are actually quite encouraging to make readers discover or re-read Ultraverse comic books to see how they are dramatized on paper.

Conclusion

As you can see in the details above, Len Strazewski was involved in both the Prime and Prototype comic book series.

Ultraverse Year One (1994) is a pretty detailed guide that will not only help readers track down each and every UV comic book of the mentioned time period, but also help them spot the precise comic books that has characters included as well as the published works of varied comic book creators. If you are really determined to track down and buy all the Year One UV comic books, this guide is a must-have. If there are any weaknesses to mention, it would be the fact that each comic book’s entire plot got summarized in full which are actually spoilers.

Overall, Ultraverse Year One (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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

A Look Back at Exiles #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.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the mid-1990s which was a really wild time for comic collectors. To be more specific, this newest retro comic book review revisits Ultraverse through the very short series titled Exiles.

It has been years since I reviewed Exiles #1 (1993). Since after, I reviewed a lot of Ultraverse comic books and went through notable storylines such as the Atalon Saga in UltraForce, the Hostile Takeover in Prototype, The Solution, The Night Man and Solitaire, and more. That being said, it was just right that I returned to Exiles for retro reviewing.

With those details laid down, here is a look back Exiles #2, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Gerber and drawn by Robb Phipps.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Exiles members Catapult and Mustang staring at two bodies (a large man and a lady) on the floor. It turns out their mission was a failure as Timmy Halloran (the young guy they tried to save) went missing while his mother just died.

As soon as the two step out of the house feeling bad about their failure, they suddenly find themselves confronted by several police officers. Police cars and a helicopter have surrounded the place. Just as Catapult and Mustang turned themselves in, the large man named Bruut suddenly regains consciousness and attacks the police.

The police officers respond by firing several bullets at Bruut which slowed him down. After noticing that Bruut was only regaining his strength, the two Exile members made their moves before the large man strikes the police…

Quality

Inside the headquarters of Exiles. Ghoul’s mentioning of Prime and Hardcase seems to foreshadow his eventual part in UltraForce.

As expected, the storytelling in this comic book really progressed and paid off some of the build-up that happened in issue #1. Here, the conflict between the Exiles and the enhanced forces of business tycoon Victor Kort got clearly defined and what they have in common other than having enhanced beings is their pursuit of individuals who carry within their bodies the Theta virus which unlocks unexpected powers or capabilities. Such developments could impact the people and the world around them when left unguarded or deliberately developed with assistance of guidance.

Amber, who was a key figure in issue #1, appears much less in this comic book but her purpose with the Exiles gets more elaborated. The lack of spotlight on Amber is not surprising as the creators had to emphasize the conflict between the titular team and Kort’s forces while also introducing Timmy Halloran as a new Theta-carrying individual.

There is a good amount of superhero spectacle here and along the way, the dialogue is good and got witty as well. By the time I reached the end, I found myself anticipating what would come next in issue #3.

Conclusion

The two Exiles members take on Bruut right in the presence of police officers.

Exiles #2 (1993) is a worthy follow-up to its predecessor and the creators succeeded in making the conflict more engaging while cleverly releasing new details that defined what is at stake and what could follow. In retrospect, Amber Hunt later became a key figure in the 2-part Break-Thru crossover storyline (which was memorably drawn by the late George Perez) and the story here defined how much impact super beings can have on societies filled with mostly people who don’t have super powers or special talents. The conflict between the Exiles and Kort’s forces not only got emphasized a lot, their respective agendas and resources are also well defined.

Overall, Exiles #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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

A Look Back at Freex #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, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the mid-1990s which was a really wild time for comic collectors. To be more specific, this newest retro comic book review revisits Ultraverse through the exploits of Freex, the monthly series about a group of young adults with unusual capabilities (or abnormalities) who are constantly on the move as they are social outcasts.

In my previous retro reviews of Freex, the team encountered Contrary (who later became a significant part of UltraForce) and her so-called school of gifted children. Subsequently, they left Contrary’s lair but without Ray who decided to stay behind. Freex, who gained a new member in replacing Ray, went underground encountering Prime and a lone individual called Old Man. After separating from Prime, the team move further underground with Old Man and discovered a lot of things they never expected.

With those details laid down, here is a look back Freex #13, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Gerard Jones and drawn by Scott Kolins.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins deep under the Earth’s surface wherein the Freex – AJ, Angela, Michael, Valerie and new member – and Old Man encounter a huge and intimidating sentient being which has the head and tusks of an elephant. The being calls itself Prometheus and claims that he has lived underground for a very long time, created new beings and saw the development of settlements that the people on the surface are not even aware of.

Intriguingly, he reveals to the Freex that he created the substance that were injected by a certain nurse into the bodies of each team member when they were still infants which later manifested into the capabilities and abnormalities they now have…

Quality

This short scene about Atalon and his army is a prelude to the Atalon storyline in the early issues of UltraForce.

The most significant aspect about this comic book’s story is the clever approach taken by the creators to not only show the further development of Freex but also emphasize and expand the lore of the Ultraverse while connecting this series to UltraForce (the early issues written by Gerard Jones and drawn by the late George Perez) which itself had a great conflict between Atalon’s forces and Earth’s governments. To put it short, this Freex tale is a prelude to the events seen in UltraForce #0, UltraForce #1 and the rest of the Atalon saga. The good news is that the emphasis of in-universe connection (as opposed to crossovers) was done well and nicely structured.

More on the Freex themselves, the revelation that the members’ powers were the result of being injected (by Wetware Mary) into them with the substance created by Prometheus resulted in dramatic reactions from them which also adds to the tension of their current misadventure together so far away from society. The revelation also added tremendous weight into the series’ narrative raising questions such as the following: Wow will each Freex member reintegrate into society as they know the truth about what caused them to have powers/abnormalities? Where will they go once they made it back to the surface? Will they keep secret the existence of Prometheus?

In relation, the creative team took their time to develop each member’s personality and emotions. Most notable was the portrayal of the new friendship between Valerie and their new member (indoctrinated by Contrary) which hints that something significant could happen to not only themselves but to the team itself.

What also struck me in this comic book was the way the 2nd half of the story was presented…by becoming really wild and crazy. Eerily, the confusion felt by Freex during the 2nd half was something I as a reader felt. To find out what I’m talking about, I urge to get a copy of this comic book and read it yourselves.

Conclusion

This page revealed more about the origins of the Freex members.

While the 2nd half of the story had a crazy ride, I still found Freex #13 (1994) to be really engaging and intriguing mainly on the big revelation and UltraForce connections told in the first half. At this stage in the series, it really looked like that the team was on its way into the unknown as their own place within the Ultraverse really widened (similar to what happened on the part of The Solution in issues #10, #11 and #12).

Overall, Freex #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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

A Look Back at Break-Thru #2 (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, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the mid-1990s which was a really wild time for comic collectors. To be more specific, this newest retro comic book review revisits the conclusion of the epic Ultraverse storyline Break-Thru which was illustrated by the late George Perez (1954-2022). I encourage you readers – especially long-time fans of the iconic illustrator – to check out my commemorative article about George Perez by clicking here.

For the newcomers reading this, Break-Thru was a 2-part storyline that creatively involved almost all the main characters of the Ultraverse (The Strangers, Mantra, Prime, Prototype, Freex, The Solution, Hardcase, Sludge, Solitaire and others) who got impacted in varied ways by Amber (of the Exiles) who floated high in the air causing chaos on societies below. Specifically, that was the concept of Break-Thru #1 (1993) and issue #2 has the story continuing with a setting in outer space with the moon as the key destination.

With those details laid down, here is a look back Break-Thru #2, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story scripted by Gerard Jones (plotted by Mike W. Barr, Steve Englehart, Steve Gerber, James Hudnall, Tom Mason, George Perez, James Robinson and Len Strazewski) and illustrated by the late George Perez.

An epic cover by the late George Perez.

Early story

The story begins at the surface of the moon with Hardcase, Choice and the members of The Solution who just survived the explosion (connected with Hardcase #7 and The Solution #4) of the flying saucer they used on their journey. Nearby, the people responsible for the destruction are riding their own flying saucer, scanning the surface of the moon searching for an entity.

Behind the scenes, the very hidden yet powerful Rex Mundi watches and tells Gate that other ultras are seeking the entity. As the saucer floats to a cave detecting the presence of the entity, the occupants get shaken as Prime hits them hard. Prime tells himself that the entity in the cave feels danger from the searchers and he has to protect it as he has been connected with it (refer to Prime #7). After getting blasted in retaliation by the saucer, Prime finds himself hit even more as Rex Mundi’s enforcers suddenly come out of a portal very near him.  

From a distance, Mantra (refer to Mantra #6) sees the fight happening and needs a life force to survive. Elsewhere, Hardcase, Choice and The Solution witness the arrival of a space shuttle. The Strangers and Prototype (refer to The Strangers #7 and Prototype #5) come out together…

Quality

This is classic George Perez presentation of action and characters using multiple panels in a single page.

Starting with the writing, I should mention that all the writers who were involved in plotting this comic book as well as the previous issue should be commended for their combined efforts on making the Break-Thru storyline happen complete with in-universe ramifications, developments and connections to almost all the monthly comic books via the Break-Thru tie-in issue (also check out Sludge #3, Freex #6, Solitaire #2 and Night Man #3). Clearly Break-Thru was planned to be a major turning point of the Ultraverse by involving and mixing most of the major characters together and have them struggle with tremendous obstacles they simply cannot ignore as the stakes were indeed too high.

More on this comic book, the major conflict was set on the moon which proved to be a very unique setting not just for dynamic battles to happen but also to serve as the place where a mysterious and powerful entity is hidden. When it comes to the story, the entity (more science fictional in concept) is mysterious and cleverly not blatantly evil. It is its mysteriousness that makes the entity a worthy force to have the UV’s heroes come after.

The writers added depth to the plot by showing Yrial of The Strangers and Prototype each having their own vested interests to get to the entity and acquire whatever it has that is valuable. At the same time, Mantra and Prime each discovered valuable knowledge about the entity that impacted their perceptions about their purpose as beings with super powers.

Mantra, Prime, The Solution, Hardcase and Choice.

While the story here still has so many characters expressing themselves and releasing expository information, the narrative is a little bit easier to understand and follow compared to issue #1 (which had a lot more information to release via exposition). That being said, the scenes of spectacle became more enjoyable to read and along the way there were some notable character moments to look at.

Visually, this is unsurprisingly a great looking comic book as it was illustrated by the late George Perez. What I love most about Perez’s art style and visual presentation are all here: high details on each character drawn as well as their surroundings, the dynamic approach on setting up the panels on each page, fantastic looking superhero action, and much more! As with Break-Thru #1 and other Ultraverse comic books drawn by Perez, this one is absolutely great to look at and it easily lifts up the visual/artistic quality of the UV and its heroes. As George Perez was involved in the plot of this comic book, the narrative was never overwhelmed by his great art and the artist really exerted a lot of effort on visualizing each and every one of the established UV characters (including the supporting characters).

Speaking of the established characters, I should state that Perez made Mantra’s face (with mask) look a bit more realistic and feminine while Kevin Green has a more convincing teenage boy look, Sludge looks a bit more creepier and Yrial looks visually identical to the way Rick Hoberg draws her. When it comes to the varied physiques of each established UV hero, Perez captured them all perfectly. Clearly the late artist did his research on every character.

Conclusion

The first physical encounter between Prime and Hardcase. Remember this before reading the UltraForce comics.

Break-Thru #2 (1994) is truly an epic Ultraverse story that also worked as a major turning point of the UV as a whole. Compared to other epic superhero stories that Marvel and DC Comics published, Break-Thru is not the usual large gathering of superheroes who have to work together to defeat an evil force that threatens everyone’s existence. It is more about the UV heroes getting together to solve major obstacles before reaching the main destination. By the time I reached the end of this comic book (and its storyline), I experienced great satisfaction not just from Break-Thru itself but also in relation to how the Ultraverse heroes realized what they are living for and what their respective purposes really are about. What also happened in this comic book explains why jumpstart events happened on Earth. Very clearly, this was an epic story that was planned early and even though this was published just months after the Ultraverse first debuted, the characters were developed enough to make Break-Thru’s concepts sensible and acceptable. There is a lot of fun and engagement in this comic book drawn by the late George Perez (who also worked on DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths and Marvel’s The Infinity Gauntlet).

Overall, Break-Thru #2 (1994) 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

George Perez (1954-2022)

George Perez, the incredible comic book artist who made major contributions to illustrated literature (especially the superhero comic book genre), sadly passed away due to complications related to pancreatic cancer. He was 67-years-old and I can say that superhero comic book art and dynamic expressions will not be the same without him.

George Perez with the two Wonder Woman plastic models. (photo source – DC Comics Facebook page)

Already there were comic book industry figures who reacted to the death of the legendary Perez. DC Comics co-publisher and legendary creator Jim Lee paid tribute stating, “We creators may all have access to the same tools of the trade: pen, paper and imagination, but what George could do with his prodigious talents was off the charts.”

For his part, Rob Liefeld stated, “I’ll remember George for his innovative and prolific storytelling. Thank you for all the great memories. Rest In Peace, George Perez.”

For the newcomers reading this as well as those who are simply unaware of Perez’s legacy, he was responsible for visualizing DC Comics’ 1985 epic maxi-series Crisis on Infinite Earths (note: he drew countless characters complete with varied settings or environments in high detail) and redefining Wonder Woman (note: he also wrote the stories) which made her a more essential pop culture icon. George Perez also worked for Marvel Comics over many projects and was chosen to illustrate the memorable 2003 JLA/Avengers crossover series of Marvel and DC. Perez also worked with other publishers such as Malibu Comics for several Ultraverse comic books and Image Comics for Crimson Plague and Witchblade. In recent years, he was responsible for Sirens published by BOOM! Studios.

For me, Wonder Woman was best defined during the post-Crisis era of DC Comics which involved George Perez and Len Wein who wrote the early issues of the Wonder Woman monthly series in the late 1980s.

In his decades-long career in comics, Perez unsurprisingly earned varied awards and honors (references here, here, here and here to name a few).

I should say that George Perez is a long-time favorite comic book illustrator of mine. I enjoyed reading the superhero comic books he illustrated and I love his art style on the characters, the environments and crowds. If there is anything I love about Perez’s art, it is his distinct style along with his implementation of high levels of details on the characters, objects, creatures and surroundings. Perez is also known to capture the distinct visual elements of superhero characters such as Spider-Man’s costume and his spaghetti-like web, Superman’s physique and distinct letter S, Prime’s overly muscular body and more. Every time Perez is involved as artist, the result is almost always a visual feast that often adds punch to the script prepared.

When I was still actively collecting comic books back in the 1990s, I often get excited whenever I learned that George Perez illustrated upcoming comic books. In 1992, he drew Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect (2 books) which was mind-blowing and intriguing for me! In 1993, I became a fan of the newly launched Ultraverse of Malibu Comics and I got very excited to learn that Perez was hired for their major UV crossover Break-Thru (2 issues). Perez also drew one issue of Prime and most of the early issues of the UV team UltraForce (issues #0, #1, #3, #4, #5 and #6). If you want to see Perez draw ALL the characters of the Ultraverse, you should read the 2-issue Break-Thru storyline.

A page from Break-Thru #2 showing just some of the many Ultraverse characters Perez illustrated. This was published before the release of UltraForce.

Speaking of UltraForce, check out this video by Crypto Comics (with observations on Perez’s art works)…

Going back to George Perez’s amazing run on Wonder Woman, I urge you to watch the video below…

For me, the most defining stories of Wonder Woman ever told in any art form are still the comics that Perez wrote (note: he co-wrote stories with Len Wein on the early issues) and illustrated during the post-Crisis era of DC Comics. Check out my retro reviews of Wonder Woman 1980s comics on this website.

Truly, George Perez will be missed by a lot of people and his countless pieces of works will be revisited in the foreseeable future. In closing this piece, posted below are varied works (comic book covers and interior art) done by the late creator through the decades for your viewing pleasure and learning. This is a tribute to Perez and may he rest in peace!

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Note: All images shown are properties of their respective companies.

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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

Better than Streaming: Why I look forward to The Suicide Squad’s eventual 4K Blu-ray release

I want to start by saying that I am not a fan of the Suicide Squad entertainment franchise of DC Comics for the simple reason that I rarely read any of its comic book. In 2016, out of curiosity, I got to watch Suicide Squad in the cinema and even got some enjoyment out of it.

This year, The Suicide Squad got released and what caught my attention was the fact that it was directed and written by the highly creative James Gunn who made his mark in American cinema with the Guardians of the Galaxy films which established their own notable place within the highly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Sadly, being based here in the Philippines, I won’t be able to watch the newest DC Comics movie on the big screen because local cinemas have stopped showing movies since the COVID-19 pandemic started (note: some local cinemas were used as vaccination sites). Although millions of people here in the Philippines have been vaccinated, there are still no new signs that movie theaters will reopen and resume the showing of movies.

The movie poster of The Suicide Squad.

The next best option for me is the eventual 4K Blu-ray release of The Suicide Squad.

Now don’t get me wrong. As of this writing, there is still no official announcement yet that The Suicide Squad will come out on Blu-ray (for 1080p viewing) and 4K Blu-ray. Still, that movie has a 4K Blu-ray page at Blu-ray.com and can see it by clicking right here. Trust me, The Suicide Squad 4K Blu-ray will be announced soon!

Posted below are key details from the said page.

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)

HDR: HDR10

Original aspect ratio: 1.90:1

Audio – TBA

Subtitles – None

Discs

4K Ultra HD

Blu-ray Disc

Two-disc set (2 BD)

Digital

Digital 4K

Digital copy included

Playback

4K Blu-ray: Region free

2K Blu-ray: Region A

Why I look forward to this movie’s 4K Blu-ray release

Firstly, being a geek, I find James Gunn’s superhero-related work to be really creative and that includes combining bombastic spectacle with presenting groups of characters whose interactions and respective personalities prove to be memorable. He is also a solid storyteller and has proven to be capable of not only getting solid performances from the actors but also making good use of their respective talents.

Secondly, for some time now, I’ve been checking for updates about how Gunn’s style and approach would make the new Suicide Squad movie of Warner Bros. fun and engaging to watch. The good news here is that, as of this writing, critical reception has been positive.

Of course, movie critics’ tastes are different from my own and it will be some time before I will finally get to watch the The Suicide Squad 4K Blu-ray.

Thirdly, I find the cast of the new movie interesting and intriguing. John Cena as Peacemaker looks zany. Michael Rooker’s Savant looks intimidating. There is also the iconic Sylvester Stallone providing the voice of King Shark! Of course, there is also Idris Elba as Bloodsport and I wonder how the cinematic version of the character will turn out. Bloodsport debuted in the 1987 comic book Superman #4 (Volume 2) during the time John Byrne spearheaded comics of Superman.

Fourthly, my 4K Blu-ray collection is pretty small as of this writing and when it comes to Warner Bros./DC Comics superhero movies available in 4K Blu-ray format, I want something much better than Wonder Woman 1984 (note: director Patty Jenkins clearly did not take inspiration from the fine works of the legendary George Perez as far as telling a Wonder Woman story set in the 1980s goes. The presentation was also bloated and disappointing.).

From this point on, The Suicide Squad has its chance to recover its huge production and marketing costs by playing in several movie theaters (that managed to stay open or reopened) around the world. How the movie-loving public, geeks and DC Comics fans will react remains to be seen.

There is also the possibility that James Gunn-directed DC Comics movie might not score highly in ticket sales given the fact that it has been launched also on the streaming service HBO Max. Matching the $746.8 million global ticket sales of 2016’s Suicide Squad is pretty daunting for the new movie in this age of pandemic. Streaming the movie for home viewing is convenient but the best visual experience is still in the movie theaters, especially in the IMAX cinemas (because the movie was filmed with IMAX cameras).

It should be noted that paying for HBO Max does NOT mean you are paying The Suicide Squad producers and investors. Buying movie tickets, Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray discs actually pay the film’s producers, investors and business partners. That being said, I encourage you to go for Blu-ray and/or 4K Blu-ray instead of streaming when it comes to enjoying movies at home.

Too bad the local IMAX cinemas and all regular theaters here in the Philippines remain closed. Clearly the best option for me to watch The Suicide Squad is on 4K Blu-ray in the near future. Streaming is definitely not an option for me and I am not going to waste my money on any streaming service.

Stay tuned for future updates about The Suicide Squad on 4K Blu-ray.

For more entries of my Better than Streaming series of articles, check out my pieces on The Beastmaster 4K Blu-ray, The Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-ray, Mortal Kombat 2021 4K Blu-ray, Space Jam 4K Blu-ray, V: The Original Miniseries Blu-ray (read my retro review), V: The Final Battle Blu-ray and Highlander 4K Blu-ray.

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

A Look Back at Wonder Woman #23 (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.

Before I start another retro review of the post-Crisis Wonder Woman comic book series, I need to share to you readers my observations about the recent social media trends that happened inside three Wonder Woman-focused groups within Facebook.

For one thing, I asked a simple question on all three WW FB groups asking the members if they would want to see Zack Snyder replace Patty Jenkins as the director of future Wonder Woman movies. Their reactions were pretty mixed and among them were a few very toxic responses. One group member asked me why do I hate Patty Jenkins (I have no hatred for her and in fact I admired her work in the 2017 Wonder Woman movie and pointed out her work in my piece about the No Man’s Land scene). Another member (an openly feminist-minded male) condemned me of sexism (completely false).

And in most recent times, I posted a few not so favorable media reviews of Zack Snyder’s Justice League on those same three WW groups on Facebook. This member called me a hater (I’m not a hater and I cannot judge a movie I have not even viewed), another member thought I allowed the negative review to influence me (sharing a post of an unfavorable review does NOT mean I believe in it), while another member took it very personal against me by means of verbal attacks (that person does not even know me and he allowed his uncontrolled fanaticism to go on the offense) on me.

Whew! There sure are a lot of Wonder Woman fans out there who are over-sensitive, who lacked self-control, who allowed themselves to be influenced by the socialists, and who allowed themselves to be swallowed by unrestrained political correctness. Clearly there are lots of hostile minds and likely believers of Cancel Culture among fellow WW fans which is unfortunate. What I posted on those FB groups were simply about entertainment, not identity politics and certainly not about attacking others.

I am still standing here!

Anyway, last time I reviewed an issue of Wonder Woman that I determined lacked depth and only served to build-up suspense and anticipation for future events. What will happen next to Wonder Woman and her companions? Will there be a pay-off to the build-up that happened in the pages of issue #22? We can all find out in this look back at Wonder Woman #23, published by DC Comics in 1988 with a story written and drawn by George Perez with finishes done by Will Blybers.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with a print media blast of Diana, her mother Queen Hippolyte, as well as Julie Kapatelis and her daughter Vanessa all occupying varied parts of the front cover of The World Today magazine with a feature about the royal family of Themyscira. At the corner of the cover says, “Memories of a Boston teen.”

At school, the teenage Vanessa (referred to as Nessie) is completely surrounded by other students who want her to sign their respective copies of the said magazine. She is enjoying the attention being the close, personal friend of the Amazons. Vanessa’s friends Eileen and Meekins can only watch the activity from a distance feeling lonely and let down.

In New York, Wonder Woman delivered a speech to the United Nations general assembly. She spoke on behalf of her mother and formally announced that the gates of Themyscira will be opened to the rest of the world (which is the result of the Amazons’ majority vote in issue #22). The response to her speech ranged from enthusiastic to apathetic.

After the speech, Diana finds herself surrounded by news reporters who ask her a lot of questions about her homeland, Queen Hippolyta’s potential visit to man’s world (AKA patriarch’s world) and the way some assembly members reacted to her speech.

Suddenly a mysterious figure whose head and face cannot be seen emerges. Diana senses something is wrong…

Quality

Wonder Woman flying in search of the mysterious figure.

I will start first by confirming that indeed, this comic book’s story has some pay-off to the suspense built-up in issue #22. Take note…some pay-off. It might sound disappointing for those who read issue #22 expecting a big pay-off but after going through the theme of this particular story, it is clear that there were planned plot events lying ahead related to the build-up (in issue #22).

More on the story itself, without spoiling much, I can say that George Perez pushed the envelope yet again by involving Hermes a lot more with Wonder Woman here. A lord to Diana, Hermes appeared not merely for a cameo appearance nor as a guide as seen in the early issues of this series, but rather he has a much bigger role than before. Hermes does not just appear with Wonder Woman who strictly follows him, he also makes an impact with the people on Earth.

When it comes to moral lessons, this comic book is boldly written by touching on themes such as how a deity from Olympus would impact people by bribing them, why mortals let their guard down when they believe what they saw or witnessed, and why would a foreign deity (from Olympus specifically) does not want mortals to challenge their authority.

The good news here is that everything is very well written from the way the plot was structured, the clear presence of emotion that filled much of the dialogue and the notable presence of philosophies that added depth to the dialogue.

When it comes to Wonder Woman herself, I love the way how Perez portrayed her on her struggle of doing her duty (for Themyscira and her deities) and maintaining friendship with the people she loved in man’s world. There is that nice touch of fragility on Diana’s personality and the same can be found on Julie Kapatelis whose struggle with being a mother and a friend is nicely dramatized.

Conclusion

Wonder Woman faces the world through the corrupt United Nations.

I can say that Wonder Woman #23 (1998) is a clear improvement over its predecessor by means of having a solid story concept backed with nice artwork (no surprise) and in-depth writing done by George Perez. I also like the fact that Wonder Woman herself gets upstaged in a rather reasonable way which shows Perez was not afraid to take risks when it comes to redefining the Queen of Superheroes in the post-Crisis era of DC Comics. Lastly, this comic book shows how faith is not to be practiced and why deities of Olympus are not worthy of faith and trust of the people. It also shows idolatry is foolishness.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #23 (1988), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $35 while the near-mint copy of the 2nd print edition costs $350.

Overall, Wonder Woman #23 (1998) is highly recommended!

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

A Look Back at Wonder Woman #22 (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! I wonder how many among you readers got to watch Zack Snyder’s Justice League? That was the so-called definitive version of the Justice League live-action movie that Zack Snyder originally envisioned and reportedly it was the big dream come true for fans of the director and his own vision of the current cinematic universe of DC Comics superheroes.

While the so-called Snyder Cut of Justice League has Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, I personally am not too excited for it but I will watch it much later on Blu-ray or perhaps 4K Blu-ray someday. What I am anticipating right now is the 4K Blu-ray release of Wonder Woman 1984 scheduled for March 30, 2021.

With regards to the literary Wonder Woman (post-Crisis DC Comics universe) as I’ve been reviewing a lot for some time now, things went crazy with what happened in issue #21. I’m talking about something that involved Wonder Woman with the deities of Olympus.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Wonder Woman #22, published by DC Comics in 1988 with a story written and drawn by George Perez with Bob McLeod credited with the finished art.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in Themyscira. All the Amazons are called by Diana to a special audience in relation to an pending proclamation of a new decision that shall chart forevermore the path of the Amazon destiny.

In front of a large audience composed of her many Amazon sisters as well as her mother (Queen Hippolyte), the oracle Menalippe and headmistress Mnemosyne, Diana announces that a majority voted yes on the question of Themyscira opening her gates to the world outside and allowing man to set food on the shores of paradise island.

There was no fanfare, no cheers and no applause from the audience as the announcement marked the beginning of the new stage in the history of Amazons.

Meanwhile in outer space, a silvery orb flies around in very fast speed heading towards Earth…

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Wonder Woman’s lifting of the car looked inspired by the famous cover of Action Comics #1 from 1938.

To make things clear, the story of this comic book is mainly a build-up for something significant that will happen later. There is no real battle of good-versus-evil here, nor would you see Wonder Woman encounter someone sinister.

In terms of build-up, the approval by the Amazons of cultural exchange and sharing of access with man’s world is itself a set-up for a significant event for Wonder Woman and her two closest friends on Earth. On other matters, the arrival of the space orb on Earth was presented very nicely and it surely is intriguing to see how it builds up for an upcoming new anti-hero element.

If you are a Wonder Woman fan expecting to see more of Diana getting dramatized and developed, you might be disappointed that this comic book has lesser content about her than usual. In fact, there is a good amount of pages here that pay close attention to Vanessa Kapatelis having a bad day in school, plus her mother Julia attracting the attention of a certain school teacher. This particular comic book really tried hard dramatizing the mother-and-daughter relationship of the two supporting characters but ultimately (and not surprising) it’s nowhere as engaging as that of Queen Hippolyte and Diana.

Conclusion

Diana doing her duty in front of a tremendous audience of her Amazon sisters plus her mother Queen Hippolyte.

Behind its beautiful cover, Wonder Woman #22 (1988) is not only an underwhelming follow-up to the epic development in issue #21, it is also the least engaging issue I’ve read about the post-Crisis version of Wonder Woman under the creative direction of George Perez. It’s really more about setting the stages for a future conflict and a special visit to Themyscira (you can guess who would visit to see Wonder Woman’s Amazon sisters). George Perez’s writing is still of pretty good quality and he really knows how to define each character’s personality but it’s the overall concept of the comic book that is underwhelming.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #22 (1988), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $35 while the near-mint copy of the 2nd printing costs $350.

Overall, Wonder Woman #22 (1988) is satisfactory.

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