A Look Back at Superman #423 (1986)

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

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

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

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

The cover.

Early story

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

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

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

Quality

A classic moment of Superman saving Lois Lane.

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

+++++

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

A Look Back at Wonder Woman #13 (1988)

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

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

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

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

The cover.

Early story

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

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

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

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

Quality

The tremendous impact of the challenge felt.

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

Overall, Wonder Woman #13 (1988) is highly recommended!

+++++

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

A Look Back at Wonder Woman #12 (1988)

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

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of Wonder Woman and DC Comics! Happy New Year to you all as well! To start 2021, I have another Wonder Woman retro comic book review here.

Before getting to the review, I want to ask if you were able to watch Wonder Woman 1984? I have not seen it yet as the local cinemas in our part of Metro Manila still have not reopened. I have no intention to stream the new movie at all. Big movie productions like the one starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine were clearly made for the big screens in the cinemas and I am patiently waiting for the golden opportunity to watch Wonder Woman 1984 in a theater. If the nearest local cinemas won’t reopen due to this ongoing pandemic, the next best option for me is to get the movie in its future 4K Blu-ray release.

Going back to the Wonder Woman comic series of the post-Crisis DC Comics era, I reviewed issue #11 recently which saw Princess Diana enter the forbidden zone of Themyscira as she struggles to fulfil the challenge of Olympus’ deities. Meanwhile, Queen Hippolyte decides to take action by following and search for her daughter. This naturally troubles the Amazons who themselves are uncertain about what the deities have in plan for them.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Wonder Woman #12, published in 1988 by DC Comics with a story written George Perez and Len Wein. Perez illustrated the comic book with ink work done by Bruce D. Patterson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the armored Queen Hippolyte making her way down into the forbidden zone, with a feathered companion flying just near her. Suddenly a horde of bats surround her compelling her to defend herself. She notices that the vulture made no effort to help her which convinces her that it is there to guide.

Over at Oklahoma, Steve Trevor sits by his very old father and apologizes to him for failing to be there sooner. Tearfully he remembers the demise of his mother and the times he spent with his father growing up. Downstairs, Etta Candy examines a framed photo of Steve’s mother.

Deep within the forbidden zone, Wonder Woman is struck with disbelief as she just encountered in the flesh the one mysterious warrior whom she was named after which Queen Hippolyte and the Amazons did not discuss with her…

The mysterious warrior tells Princess Diana: I’ve waited this day far longer than you could imagine—-but if there’s anything I’ve learned here, it’s that life on the mortal coil follows a grand design! We were faither to meet, child—from the day you were born!

Quality

This comic book showed more of Queen Hippolyte’s side of the story than the previous issue.

Once again, this is another high-quality work of art and literature done by the creative team led by the Perez-Wein duo and considering the way things were structured, this proves that they really planned this storyline early and this very comic book happens to be full of revelations relating to a notable event in the past of the Amazons.

In this particular chapter of the Challenge of the God’s storyline, Wonder Woman’s significance (in connection with events that took place before her birth) and her special bond with Steve Trevor (in relation to issues #2, #3, #4, #5 and #6) were deeply emphasized through the story of the mysterious warrior whose name is also Diana and also a native from man’s world. The mysterious warrior’s personal story and discovery of Themyscira were excellently dramatized by Perez-Wein, which is not surprising, and the narrative was carefully paced giving readers breathing space to learn the details.

Picking up from the previous issue, this comic book’s focus on Queen Hippolyte has grown larger effectively creating what is technically a solo adventure for her within the forbidden zone. Compared to her daughter, Queen Hippolyte has deeper knowledge of the history of the place and is naturally cautious with her search for Diana. I should state that the dialogue style written for the queen was very cleverly crafted. Meanwhile, the Olympus deity Pan was clearly portrayed to be the evil manipulator and clearly the Satan figure of the story.

Conclusion

Princess Diana meets the other Diana whose past is linked with the Amazons.

Wonder Woman #12 (1988) is another excellent work by the Perez-Wein creative team. It is more than just a Wonder Woman story and more than just a well-told fantasy of the DC Comics universe, it is filled with very profound revelations that further deepen the legacy of the Amazons and Wonder Woman’s significance. As for the influences behind the design and symbols on Wonder Woman’s costume, those have been revealed in this comic book as well.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #12 (1988), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $30 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $60.

Overall, Wonder Woman #12 (1988) is highly recommended!

+++++

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

A Look Back at Wonder Woman #11 (1987)

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

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

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

The cover.

Early story

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

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

Quality

Wonder Woman’s mother takes action!

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

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

Conclusion

Now this is a really striking set of images.

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

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

Overall, Wonder Woman #11 (1987) is highly recommended!

+++++

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

A Look Back at Wonder Woman #10 (1987)

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

Having reviewed the first nine issues of the 2nd Wonder Woman monthly series (1987-2011) that was handled with care initially by great creators George Perez and Len Wein, I can say that the Queen of Superheroes herself was redefined not only for the readers of the post-Crisis era but in general. Under the Perez-Wein team, Wonder Woman was portrayed to be human and compassionate as she gradually discovers what her destiny is just as she takes part in the struggles and affairs of her fellow Amazons led by her mother Queen Hippolyte.

Also told along the way was the story of the deities of Olympus headed by Zeus. In their realm, the deities are divided and each has his or her own ego and agenda. Because they have tremendous power, they are able to manipulate events on the physical world and make mortals struggle. Under them, the Amazons have struggled and even people of Earth got affected as well.  

When I reviewed the ninth issue, it was the full debut of the modern Cheetah who proved to be a worthy adversary for Wonder Woman. By the way, Cheetah is the antagonist in the new film Wonder Woman 1984 portrayed by Kristen Wiig. By the end of issue #9, Wonder Woman returned home to Themyscira leaving her American friends Julia and Vanessa Kapatelis in tears.

So what happened next? We can all find out in this look back at Wonder Woman #10, published in 1987 by DC Comics with a story written by George Perez and Len Wein. Perez did the art with inkwork by Bruce Patterson. This is the first chapter of the Challenge of the Gods storyline.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the realm of the deities. They noticed Pan has been joyful recently and Zeus states that has been the case since Wonder Woman thwarted the scheme of Ares. Pan approaches Zeus and followed-up on him regarding a past conversation they had. Zeus then looks Themyscira, finding it secluded yet a true paradise. A paradise worthy of his personal favor.

On Themyscira, Princess Diana/Wonder Woman and a fellow Amazon ride horses not knowing Zeus and the others are watching them. Pan tells Zeus that as Heracles (Zeus’ son) once favored Queen Hippolyte (Diana’s mother), it is only fitting that Diana should be the first among the Amazons to experience his manly grace. Zeus then decides to come to the Amazons and tells Pan to play a love song.

Hestia and Artemis notice Zeus’ decision. An angry Artemis makes her move stating that Paradise Island (Themyscira) will be no one’s brothel.

Diana and Euboea talk while riding their horses slowly on a beach. She states that it is good to be home. She learned so much from the world of men finding its people so different and yet so much the same, that the Amazons all could learn from one another.

Meanwhile the Amazons’ council of justice discuss the gifts and records Diana brought home. Queen Hippolyte is in attendance…

Quality

Wearing armor and a helmet, Wonder Woman prepares to start taking on the challenge of the deities.

I can say that this story not only marked the beginning of a new Wonder Woman storyline but also it marked a new turning point not just for the Queen of Superheroes but also for her fellow Amazons as this involves the Olympus deities a whole lot more. The good news here is that the script is of high-quality writing and has special care made on it by the Perez-Wein creative team. As the story is more focused on Themyscira and Olympus, more details about the history and legacy of the Amazons is revealed and it is all done with a deep amount of engagement. The way the details and events were handled, it looked like Perez and Wein had these story elements planned ahead of time as they continued to develop and redefine Wonder Woman in the post-Crisis era of DC Comics.

At the heart of the first chapter of the Challenge of the Gods storyline is the link between the Amazons (who rely on Wonder Woman to represent them) and the divided deities of Olympus. With very compelling writing and visuals, you will get to see how fragile Diana, Queen Hippolyte and their Amazon sisters really are when facing the deities. In relation to that, it is a unique reading experience to see Wonder Woman struggle with interacting with Zeus and the other deities directly.

Conclusion

Princess Diana, her mother Queen Hippolyte and the Amazons analyze their situation.

Wonder Woman #10 (1987) is clearly a great comic book to read and it marked the continued excellence done by George Perez, Len Wein and their creative team.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #10 (1987), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $60 while the near-mint copies of the fold-out edition and the newsstand edition cost $30 and $120 respectively.

Overall, Wonder Woman #10 (1987) is highly recommended!

+++++

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

A Look Back at Giant Size Mantra (1994)

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

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

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

The cover.

Early story

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

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

Quality

The first appearance of Topaz, the queen of Gwendor.

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

Overall, Giant Size Mantra (1994) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Wonder Woman Gallery (1996)

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

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

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

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

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

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

The cover.

What it is

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

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

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

Quality

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

Overall, Wonder Woman Gallery (1996) is recommended.

+++++

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

My Observations: Wonder Woman 1984 is coming to BOTH movie theaters and HBO Max streaming service on Christmas Day

The news has spread like wildfire in such a short time and unsurprisingly hashtags like #WonderWoman and #WW84 got really active again on social media. It has officially been announced that the much-delayed Wonder Woman 1984 (starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine and Kristen Wiig) will indeed open in movie theaters in America on Christmas Day PLUS debut also via Warner Bros. own streaming service HBO Max.

Watch the confirming video below…

Already cinema chain AMC is supportive of the movie’s scheduled theatrical release.

“We hope movie lovers enjoy ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ during the holidays this year at AMC,” AMC Entertainment CEO and President Adam Aron stated.

Personally, I am surprised that Warner Bros. decided to do the simultaneous theater-and-streaming approach because the move is pretty risky in terms of doing business as well as reaching out to the many millions of fans willing to pay to watch the movie. It is a fact that a lot of movie theaters in America remain closed and families are forced to stay at home especially in states where the state governments strictly implemented lockdowns due to the COVID-19 crisis.

It is also a fact that HBO Max is not exactly massively large with its subscribers. According to a Variety report, HBO Max users grew to 8.6 million at the end of the 3rd quarter of 2020. Also reported was 28.7 million customers described to be eligible to avail of the mentioned streaming service. Combined subscribers of standalone HBO and HBO Max in the United States reached 38 million as of the end of September. When it comes to the global scale, 57 million subscribers of both HBO and the streaming service were reported. The numbers look big but there is no guarantee that 100% of standalone HBO subscribers will actually avail of HBO Max for WW84. There is also the issue of generating a lot of funds to help Warner Bros. recover their investment in making and marketing Wonder Woman 1984.

As I stated before, the best way to watch Wonder Woman 1984 is still in the movie theater for it is a fact that it is such a very big production as a whole and it has certain sequences filmed with IMAX cameras (the highest quality visuals of which will not be captured perfectly via streaming). While it is a fact that way below 100% of movie theaters worldwide are open for business, it is now high time for Wonder Woman fans, superhero movie enthusiasts and geeks to contact their local cinema operators and find out once and for all if they will screen Wonder Woman 1984. Don’t just sit down waiting for something to come to you, take action by reaching out to the movie theaters online or by the phone if you really want to watch the movie!

If there is an AMC theater near you operating (or planning to open for the Christmas holiday), you are fortunate because WW84 will be screened. If there is an IMAX cinema near you that will really play the movie, go for the movie there for the best visual experience!

While I noticed online that there are a lot of self-described Wonder Woman fans who arrogantly disregard movie theater operators only because they selfishly want WW84 to be streamed directly to them, I myself will not avail of the movie via streaming because there is a better option for home viewing that has yet to be announced…Wonder Woman 1984 on Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray. Personally, I don’t have anything against VOD streaming services but when it comes to enjoying movies at home with the HDTV, I prefer Blu-ray over streaming anytime! Blu-ray has undeniable advantages over streaming!

What I intend to do on watching Wonder Woman 1984 is quite simple: movie theater first followed by Blu-ray months later. Really, I’m not rushing to avail HBO Max this Christmas.

Going back to movie theaters, Wonder Woman 1984 director Patty Jenkins announced via social media a program is in development to allow moviegoers, fans and other people to be able to rent their own theaters out to screen the movie with group safety in mind.

“We will try to help to bring it to as many of you as we can and thank you all for your support,” Jenkins stated via Twitter.

For its part, AMC Entertainment made moves to not only screen Wonder Woman 1984 but also ensure safety and reducing health risks. Check out the full statement of AMC CEO and President Aron below:

Movie fans across the United States, Europe and the Middle East will be excited to learn that the release of Wonder Woman 1984 this holiday season is right around the corner, and that AMC will show this eagerly awaited movie on our big screens all across our global network.

For many months, AMC has been in active and deep dialogue with Warner Brothers to figure out how best this cinematic blockbuster could be seen at AMC Theatres in these unprecedented times. Given that atypical circumstances call for atypical economic relationships between studios and theatres, and atypical windows and releasing strategies, AMC is fully onboard for Warner Brothers’ announcement today.

AMC continues to believe that exclusive theatrical releases benefit consumers, filmmakers, studios and exhibitors. Even so, we also have clearly demonstrated this year that we are flexible and remain open to evolving long-standing business models, provided that we do so in ways that improve the industry ecosystem for all players. We have instituted novel approaches with other movie studios this year. We are doing so again, this time with Warner Brothers to facilitate the specific release of this important movie.  We hope movie lovers enjoy Wonder Woman 1984 during the holidays this year at AMC.

In showcasing Wonder Woman 1984, we especially note AMC’s commitment to the safety and health of our moviegoing guests and associates at our theatres. Our comprehensive and extensive AMC Safe & Clean protocols were unveiled this summer, having been designed in consultation with current and former faculty of Harvard University’s prestigious School of Public Health and in partnership with Clorox. Our commitment to AMC Safe & Clean already has allowed us to responsibly and safely welcome literally millions of moviegoers to enjoy seeing movies at AMC Theatres.

To put things in perspective, AMC has around one thousand movie theaters and over 10,000 screens worldwide. That being said, their support to screen Wonder Woman 1984 is crucial not only for Warner Bros. and the fans but for the movie industry as a whole. Also I am confident that other cinema operators (who are already struggling financially and have been trying to retain their employees) are observing and may decide soon to follow AMC’s move. The more movie screens for Wonder Woman 1984, the better!

In ending this piece, here are some Wonder Woman-related videos for your enjoyment. Also check out my retro reviews of the George Perez-drawn Wonder Woman comic books such as issue #1 and issue #9 (required reading as it includes Cheetah). Check out also my review of the 2017 movie as well as my feature of the No Man’s Land scene.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Prime #15 (1994)

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

Hey Ultraverse fans and superhero comic book geeks! For those of you who read several comic book of Prime, do you enjoy his struggles on setting things right? That is a theme that will be explored in this new Prime retro comic book review.

The good news here is that the legendary George Perez is involved. Now that the details have been set, here is a look back at Prime #15, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Len Strazewski and Gerard Jones, and art done by George Perez with ink work by Dennis Jensen.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Prime’s arrival at a creepy, old looking residence somewhere in Hollywood. He learned that inside the place is the secret headquarters of a drug trafficking operation that allegedly affected half of Los Angeles.

Previously, he beat up a man in front of several abandoned youth and left him bloody. Under intense pain, the man revealed to him where to find the drug trafficking operation leader as well as the parents of the youth. The boss was described as Papa Verite. The man told Prime he can find Papa Verite but cannot touch him.

As he walks towards the front door, Prime thought to himself: Maybe he thought I didn’t have the guts to hurt this “Papa.” Maybe he thinks Prime’s a nice boy, like he used to be! Maybe I should’ve hurt him worse to show him I’ve changed! I’m not just a freaked-out 13-year-old with an ultra-powered body anymore! I’m not just a helpless kid named Kevin whose dad ran out on him! I’m Prime! I can handle anything!

After breaking through the front door, what Prime discovers inside is very disturbing…

Quality

A rather disturbing scene since Prime is truly a teenage boy inside all that muscle.

Let me be clear from the start that, once again, the writing by Strazewski and Jones is very strong. To start with, the story has a theme about doing the right things (including helping others by means of getting rid of someone who made victims out of them) without consulting or informing the local authorities. In a way, Prime moved and acted like a vigilante facing criminal elements related to illegal drugs. There were also elements of military conspiracy, molestation and indecent relationship.

When it comes to characterization, it comes to no surprise that Prime (who really is a teenager inside his body) is pushed to the limits of his emotions with his ability to withstand pressure really tested by the presence of certain people from his past who haunted him. Prime is convincing when he is shown with the impulse and arrogance of a teenager who would not stop when he wants to set things right.

The art by George Perez, unsurprisingly, is great to look at. You won’t just see Prime and familiar characters drawn in high detail with the distinct art style of Perez here. What you will see is how creative the famous illustrator proved he is with the visual presentation complete with very expressive facial expressions. More on the characters, Perez also implemented horror elements to his drawings and he really succeeded in making some scary images here and there.

Conclusion

Striking art by George Perez.

This is a very solid read. Prime #15 (1994) is actually a horror themed tale laced with crime elements and drama all molded into a superhero story. There is an element of good-versus-evil here but in my view, it’s a dramatization of Prime being pushed to the limits of his emotions and his sanity. In a way, it is a stress test for the overly muscular major Ultraverse hero that happens to be quite engaging to read.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prime #15 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, Prime #15 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at UltraForce #6 (1995)

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

After reading issues #0 to #5 of the UltraForce series of the mid-1990s, I should say that I clearly enjoyed them all as creators Gerard Jones and legendary illustrator George Perez (plus their supporting crew) really delivered great stories, dynamic visuals and very engaging interactions between the UltraForce members.

So far, each and every UltraForce issue I reviewed here is fun and compelling to read. The high levels of artistic and literary quality in each issue is evident right from the start and, more importantly, it emphasizes the overall concept of the Ultraverse itself even deeper than what I discovered in its early stage (launch year 1993). Very clearly, UltraForce as a comic book series raised the stakes of the Ultraverse (much like Break-Thru did) when it comes to how the public perceived ultras (superheroes), who are the secretive sinister forces and how they impact the whole world, why being an ultra has lots of advantages and disadvantages, why ultras are hard to unite in the face of danger, and so on. These creative concepts were really great and it was in the year 1994 – the same year UltraForce launched – when the Ultraverse was at a stage to go further to a bolder direction with its creative evolution. Unfortunately all of that got screwed up after Marvel Comics acquired Malibu Comics.

More on UltraForce, the saga of king Atalon’s fire people rising from the depths of the Earth and possessing nuclear missiles to attack people on the surface has lasted quite long and its narrative remained consistently engaging. In issue #5, something terrible happened to UltraForce member Pixx during a big battle. What transpired next, we can find out in this look back at UltraForce #6, published in 1995 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Gerard Jones and drawn by George Perez and Steve Butler.

The cover! They even misspelled Ghoul!

Early story

The story begins as tensions rise between Atalon and UltraForce over their respective losses. For Atalon, his grand dream involving the use of humanity’s nuclear weapons has been destroyed. For Prime, Hardcase, Prototype, Ghoul and Topaz, the hanging lifeless body of Pixx shocked them deeply.

Suddenly, out of intense anger, UltraForce jointly attack the king of the fire people. Topaz states that Pixx will not die unavenged as Prototype blasts Atalon. Hardcase strikes the king followed by blows delivered by Prime and Topaz. Prime is about to strike Atalon but gets distracted when the downed king mentioned he wants to reform the whole world. Atalon strikes Prime’s head and gets back up to keep fighting the rest of UltraForce.  

Their battle is so intense, the entire island shakes and the ground crumbles bringing the nuclear weapons down along with Pixx’s body. Ghoul goes down after her…

Quality

Dynamic action delivered with high detail!

Like all the previous issues released, this comic book has high-level qualities on its writing and artistry. This is not a surprise since the Jones-Perez creative team really pushed hard to keep telling what is clearly the epic event of the Ultraverse (post-Break-Thru). The consistency of quality up to this issue is very evident.

When it comes to the quality of this comic book’s story, which happens to be the conclusion of the Atalon saga, I can say that I’m very satisfied. As the events went on, a few but very significant twists happened which really shook the foundation of this particular saga backed with great visuals (although there are some pages that were clearly not drawn by George Perez), strong dialogue and a great presentation of the impact on the world and its people. What happened with king Atalon in the 2nd half of the story is very memorable and it definitely is one of the biggest twists in the entire Ultraverse. This one alone makes the comic book worth reading.

Conclusion

This is a great way to start the comic book along with the opening credits!

UltraForce #6 is indeed a great comic book and it is a strong conclusion to the saga (which started really in issue #0) that brought Prime, Hardcase, Prototype and others together as a team. This comic book is, in my honest view, also one of the finest UV stories Malibu Comics published in 1994. If there is anything to be regretful about, it is the fact that the Ultraverse got screwed up and ended in an undesirable state as a result of Marvel’s acquisition of Malibu. This is why there was no follow-up to the Atalon saga and UltraForce as a series turned for the worse shortly after (again, as a result of Marvel’s acquisition). Considering the events of the first major UltraForce saga, Atalon could have turned out as a more significant character of the Ultraverse and another epic follow-up (to the Atalon saga) could have happened.

More on the team itself, Prime, Prototype, Hardcase and their lesser known teammates were truly presented with a strong amount of balance. Ghoul and Contrary really had their nice share of the spotlight and how they worked in tandem with the others, as well as the very events of the comic book, was really fluid and believable. By the end of this comic book, you will realize the true values and the different personalities of the entire UltraForce!

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of UltraForce #6 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $15.

Overall, UltraForce #6 (1995) is highly recommended!

+++++

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