A Look Back at X-Men 2099: Oasis

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.

According to the online edition of Merriam-Webster Dictionary, an oasis is something that provides refuge, relief, or pleasant contrast. In the case of X-Men 2099, the open areas of the southwestern region of the United States is a dangerous place to be in even though they are free from oppressive systems of control that dominate cities. As such, it is the southwestern region in 2099 can be compared to the Old West in history where there are lots of desolate places as well as lots outcasts and outlaws. Unlike their mainstream counterparts, the X-Men of the far future are nomads and they don’t have a long-term place of residence they could call home. Considering how dangerous the region is for the mutants, a haven of peace, security and prosperity is always ideal to them but only if it is indeed real.

That is what we will explore in the one-shot comic book X-Men 2099: Oasis here.

But before proceeding with the review, it has to be emphasized first that the one-shot comic book which was made special with the painted art of the Hilderbrandt brothers Greg and Tim. For long-time X-Men 2099 scribe John Francis Moore, Oasis was like a big dream come true. When asked during an online interview about his recollections on making X-Men 2099: Oasis and working with the Hilderbrandt Brothers, Moore stated:

I was a fan of the Hildebrandt’s fantasy illustration, and I was blown away when Joey told me that they wanted to do an X-men 2099 project. I met with them in Joey’s office and they were both really great guys. I think they said they really liked Bloodhawk, so I knew he’d be a major player in whatever story we developed. They didn’t enter the project with a lot of conditions. They seemed genuinely happy to get to play in this corner of the Marvel universe.

I can’t remember ever writing a full script for any of my Marvel work. I gave them a plot and sometime later received Xeroxes of pencil art (Hildebrant art!) to dialogue. Then it went back for them to paint, and they did a phenomenal job. I only wish that it could’ve been published before the 2099 line was axed. It was a beautiful book that I think was sadly under promoted.

To find out if it is any good, here is a look back at X-Men 2099: Oasis published in 1996 by Marvel Comics with a story written by John Francis Moore and painted art done by Greg and Tim Hilderbrandt.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The comic book begins with a flashback set in Hong Kong in the year 2090. A much younger Shakti/Cerebra is on the loose trying to reach a ferry to Kowloon with a plan to hide in the back alleys of Tsimshatsui. Suddenly Lokjaw intercepts her and grabs her. They had a short history together and Lokjaw insists that Shakti should be grateful to her father who raised her to run his bio-shops. After a brief chase, something hits Lokjaw who fell into the water. It turns out Ryu Kobolt helped Shakti, and he has been instructed by his boss to offer her asylum.

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Luna and Skullfire explore a place.

In the present day of 2099 in New Mexico, Bloodhawk flies to his desert home not knowing he is being monitored. Two people, an old man with white hair and a lady, work together to stun the X-Men member and take him with them. A short time later, inside a high-tech facility, Bloodhawk wakes up finding himself restrained and being watched over by the lady and the old man. They tell him he is in the Promised Land, a place where the sins of the old world will be washed away. Using her powers, she touches Bloodhawk’s head and slowly turns him into his normal human form.

Meanwhile outside a deserted town near the border between Colorado and Kansas, Shakti, Tim/Skullfire and Luna arrive riding motorcycles. They are checking the potential presence of a mutant nearby…

Quality

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Really great visuals by the Hilderbrandt brothers!

It is very safe to say that this is one very ambitious X-Men 2099 story ever told by John Francis Moore. It sure has an epic concept showing that Oasis in the open region not only exists, but also serves as the closest thing humanity in America has to imitating Heaven built on top of the land. Oasis is the indoor paradise where mutants and humans gather together, live in peace and work together in tremendous ways that the X-Men could only hope to achieve in Halo City (note: this story is set some time after X-Men 2099 #25).

The titular place is clearly the centerpiece of the story backed with characters and threads from the past that explain how it got established. Part of the creation of Oasis is connected with Ryu Kobolt whom Shakti got close with many years back. Of course, someone else got involved with Ryu which directly connects with the creation of Oasis.

While it is also clear that the story took some inspiration from Christianity, I should say that the approach was done by rehashing old storytelling concepts like emphasizing a charismatic person who looks godly or messianic, people getting converted with ways that are not holy, false prophets misleading those seeking salvation, etc. With the ages-old concept of the mad scientists added, then there is conflict here for the X-Men to engage with. The story touches on themes like destiny, conversion, having the power to judge people and committing genocide.

As for the characters, John Francis Moore made the right move to utilize Shakti, Bloodhawk, Skullfire and Luna of the X-Men, however the other new characters such as Memphis, Pandora and Ryu pale in comparison with regards to importance (even though Memphis and Ryu each had a good amount of the spotlight and even some character development).

When it comes to the artwork, this is one great looking superhero, sci-fi story in painted form thanks to the Hilderbrandt brothers! Not only is their painted art beautiful to look at, there are also eye-catching shots of scenery, very detailed facial expressions and a very lively presentation of the action scenes and explosions! Each and every character painted – specifically Shakti, Skullfire, Bloodhawk, Luna, Memphis, Pandora and Ryu – has that touch of visual realism (note: not photo realism) that make them look more human to the eyes (especially the X-Men members when compared to how they were drawn by Ron Lim and Jan Duursema in the monthly series). This is one great looking comic book and easily one of the very best of the X-Men of 2099!

Conclusion

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The Oasis!

X-Men 2099: Oasis is a one-shot comic book that almost matched its high ambition. While it has some of the best painted superhero art of the 1990s ever, the storytelling just did not engage me that much. For one thing, its approach on taking inspiration from Christianity is very flawed not only due to rehashing storytelling concepts but also due to the fact that everything – including the titular Oasis – had to be concluded already. Even though there was a build-up leading to a final conflict, the payoff was not that great and ultimately there was a sense of rush in the 2nd half of the story.

What is also disappointing is the fact that the events told here did not really impact Shakti, Skullfire, Luna and Bloodhawk at all, nor was there anything added to the narrative of the X-Men 2099 monthly series. This is too bad because the existence of a haven where people can live in and be protected from the prejudice and violence in the region fit nicely with the concept of X-Men 2099 in the first place. Even though there was a reference to issue #25 during the first half, this comic book ended up looking like a dream story or a parallel universe tale with a $5.95 cover price! It seems to me like this was more like a cash-grab attempt to exploit comic collectors and the fans of X-Men 2099.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men 2099: Oasis, be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy costs $14.

Overall, X-Men 2099: Oasis is a serviceable one-shot comic book. That being said, if you really intend to buy it, you should not pay more than $5 for it.


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PRESS RELEASE: Hong Kong, China Share in Day’s Glory in Subic Bay

Hong Kong, China Share in Day’s Glory in Subic Bay

Subic Bay, Philippines – April 28, 2019 – Fresh from its domination of the sprint events a day earlier, powerhouse Hong Kong found the men’s and women’s elite field in the 26th edition of the 2019 NTT ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT) Asian Cup , a tougher nut to crack and had to settle  for a share in the day’s glory with HK winning the men’s side and China ruling the distaff side  at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

HK’s Oscar Coggins , now campaigning in the men’s elite from the junior ranks, took advantage of his familiarity with hot weather racing conditions, took first place in 1:49.20 , repulsing the challenge of the feared Japanese team that  took the  next 5 slots after Coggins with reigning Asian Games champion and top seed Jumpei Furuya settling for a very close second place in 1:49.30 while Takumi Hojo placed 3rd in 1:49.45. Rounding out the top 5 finishers were Shiruba Taniguchi who  negotiated the 1standard distance race in 1:50.11 , and Yuichi Hosoda in 1:50.36.

” I like the hot weather, I have been training n Australia  the past two months , but I really did not ease up until the finish line. I am happy with my time, ” said Coggins  who took the lead  at the 6K mark and steadily pulled away from the  rest.

Another  surprise however  was in the local side where 19 year old Cebuano Andrew Remolino upstaged his older and more experienced national team mates  with his 17th place finish in 1:54.49, his first sub  two hour  race, target ko sana majasali sa top 10 malalakas lahat ng kalaban, sa mga locals, nakauna ako sa swim leg at na maintain ko yung lead, wala ng nakahabol, ” said Remolino who trains under his father, coach Andoy Remolino.

With his finish, the younger Remolino has positioned himself as a contender  for a slot in the forthcoming SEA Games, : hopeful ako na ma select ako sa national team , ” added Remolino after the race supported by the POC, the PSC, SBMA and its Tourism Department, Standard Insurance, Asian Centre for Insulation Philippines (ACIP), NTT, ACEA Beach Resort & Hotel and Pocari Sweat.

On the women’s competition, defending champion Mengying Zhong, reasserted herself anew and led practically led from start to finish but pulled away in the final run leg en route to a solo finish in 2:04.17 with the Japanese afain relegated to runner up finishes with Aoi Kuranoto a far second in 2:04.41, followed by Yurie Kato who negotiated the 1.4K swim -40K bike – 10K distance race in 2:05.32. HK’s Yan Yin Hilda Choi took 4th place in 2:05.37 while in 5th was Macau entry Long Hoi with a finishing time of 2:05.57.

Best placed Filipina was national triathlete Kim Kilgroe who finished in 12th place overall with her time of 2:10.10 even as she is practically assured of a slot in the SEA Games together with Kim mangrobang who is training and competing in Europe, and SEA Games gold  medalist Claire Adorna who ended in 15th place in yesterday’s race in Subic. Adorna clocked 2:13.01.

” This was definitely a strong field with several  world ranked participants . For the national team, we will have our final qualifying race in Korea in June where we will bring  our national training pool  for a camp and race in the Asian Cup, then we  will announce the final selection for the SEA Games, a minimum of 3 , maximum of 5 triathletes, ” said Triathlon Association of the Philippines ( TRAP ) president Tom Carrasco Jr. who cited the  performance  of Remolino in the  race.


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2019 NTT ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT) Asian Cup Day Two awarding
Awarding of the Male and Female Elite Top 3 winners at the recently concluded 2019 NTT ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT) Asian Cup inside the freeport led by Men’s champion Oscar Coggins from Hong Kong and back-to-back Women’s champion Mengying Zhong of China.
Pic1
2019 NTT ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT) Asian Cup Men’s Champion
Men’s Elite champion Oscar Coggins from Hong Kong at the finish line during the 2019 NTT ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT) Asian Cup held yesterday (Sunday) inside the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

Press release and photo captions composed by Lito Cinco.

 

PRESS RELEASE: All Hong Kong Show in Subic Sprint Triathlon Event

Subic Bay, Philippines – April 27, 2019 – It was a complete domination by the mighty Hong Kong team in the sprint events on the first day of the two-day 2019 NTT ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT) Asian Cup as HK triathletes placed 8 entries in the top ten of the  men’s  sprint distance featuring 16 to 19 year olds while 7 female entries placed in the top ten, including a sweep of the top three places in both division.

In the super sprint distance though, the Philippines managed to share the glory with a second place finish in the boys’ side  and a third place achievement in the distaff side to share in the day’s glory.

The duo of Jason Hardcastle and Nicholas Tsang Cheung Singh set the tone from the start of the swim leg in the sprint race that  started  at the ACEA Beach Resort & Hotel as they left  the other participants literally in their wake and were never pressured en route to an easy 1 – 2 finish with Hardcastle retaining the title he won last year, clocking 56 minutes and 46 seconds for the 750m. swim-20K bike-5K run while Sing , who was left behind in the final run lap, finished in 57.11. Philip Chenaux-Repond completed the 1-2-3 finish by HK in 58.34.

” I was focused  on a podium finish, I knew I was in good form and I was not really pressured, the weather  though was very hot, ” said Hardcastle  after the race sanctioned by the International Triathlon Union ( ITU ) and the Asian Triathlon Confederation ( ASTC ) and backed by SBMA and its Tourism Department, the Philippine Olympic Committee ( POC ) Philippine Sports Commission ( PSC ), Pocari Sweat, Standard Insurance, Asian Centre for Insulation Philippines (ACIP), NTT, and the ACEA Beach Resort & Hotel.

Best placed local bet was Christian Legacy Academy student Joshua Ramos, 17, who sneaked in at 8th overall with a time of 1:00.57 while the other Filipino  triathlete in the top ten was Juan Baniqued in 10th place, finishing in 1:01.35.

” Sa swim pa lang ang layo na gad nung dalawa, but  in my case, I was not even expecting  this because I knew  how strong the field was this year,I really should work more on my swim in the future, ” said Ramos

The distaff side saw a start to finish victory by HK ‘s Bailee Brown who negotiated the distance in 1:04.03 despite the hot weather that bothered her, ” it was a tough race anyway you look at it but I was confident of winning, my strategy was just to be ahead at all time. I am  certainly happy with the win  and my swimming  showed a big improvement, ” said the pretty 19-year-old student from HK University who also competes regularly in the standard distance and even qualified in the last Asian Games’ triathlon event.

Twin sisters Cade and Tulullah Wright, also from Hong Kong, grabbed the next two slots, finishing in 1:04.45 and 1:05.06 respectively to complete the sweep for HK in the junior female elite division of the race .

National triathlete Karen Manayon managed  to squeeze herself in the top ten  , finishing in 10th place with  a time of 1:11.29, The Talisay, Cebu native admitted she  was surprised and happy  about her performance but not  with her time , ” medyo mabigat katawan ko  pag gising  kanina but  no excuse, sobra talaga lakas  ng mga taga Hong Kong. “

Nick Yip Tak long and Jan Yip sandwiched local bet Matthew Hermosa in the top 3  of the super sprint distance race as Long took first place in 33.51 i while Yip clocked 35.54 with Hermosa matching up well with a runner-up finish in 35.24.

” Malakas yung champion sa swim, nakalayo  agad siya at di ko na nakita pero masaya  na ako  sa finish ko, ” said the 13 year old Hermosa from Talisay, Cebu and mentored by Andoy Remolino.

HK’s Pauline Courret and Roxanne Wright, younger of the Wright twins, took first and second places, clocking 36.49 and 37.04 respectively while La Union native Lady Samantah Corpuz sprang a surprise with a third place finish in 37.42 also in the super sprint distance race.

” Kulang sa training dahil galing ako sa  sa sakit, two weeks  ako  hindi naka train, ” said  Corpuz, a National Age Group Triathlon champion in Subic earlier this year.

” No excuses, the Hong Kong team  was just  too strong  , they have a very good program and has been producing junior champions, in fact  in the region, HK  is the only one that can compete  against Japan. What we need to do is  adopt  the same approach  of Hong Kong in strengthening our junior triathletes especially in the swim leg, ” said Tom Carrasco Jr, president of the organizing Triathlon Association of the Philippines ( TRAP ).

Tomorrow morning (Sunday), focus will be on the men’s and women’s elite races which will also serve as a qualifying event for local triathletes for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games).

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Written by Lito Cinco

 

2019 NTT Subic Bay International Triathlon in the News (April 22, 2019)

The 2019 NTT Subic Bay International Triathlon Asian Cup event is back in the sports news with the recent press release.

It made the following newspapers:

Philippine Star

Manila Bulletin

Tempo

Manila Standard

Manila Times 

Business Mirror

People’s Tonight

Malaya Business Insight

The triathlon will take place at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone this coming weekend. Contact the TRAP immediately for inquiries.

 

 

 

 

Asian Games Triathlon Gold Medalist Banners Large Field in 2019 NTT ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT)

Asian Games Triathlon Gold Medalist Banners Large Field in 2019 NTT ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT)

Pasig City, Philippines – April 20, 2019 – Japanese Jumpei Furuya, 2018 Asian Games triathlon gold medalist, banners a large field of   foreign hopefuls vying for qualifying points in the 2019 NTT ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT) Asian Cup set for April 27 and 28.

Furuya, currently ranked no. 43 in the world and champion of last January’s NTT ASTC Asian Cup event in Rayong, Thailand will be backstopped by 13 other Japanese triathletes.

Poised to crowd out the Japanese are China’s sextet and Hong Kong’s large contingent–33 entries spread over the Elite, Junior and Super Sprint Distance Categories.

Supported by Philippine Sports Commission (PSC,) NTT, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), Standard Insurance, Asian Centre for Insulation Philippines (ACIP) and Pocari Sweat, SuBIT lured over a hundred foreign entries.

Chinese Taipei had entered 18, Korea 16, Macao 10, Singapore nine, Syria six and Thailand four.

Not to be discounted in the 1.5-kilometer swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run Elite competition are both the pair of Australians and Palestinians and a sole Canadian.  

According to Tom Carrasco, Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) president, John Chicano will spearhead the Philippine challenge along with Kim Remolino even as Filipino-Spanish Fer Caseres is seen to spring a surprise in his quest for a slot in the Team Philippines for the SEA Games in December.

In the distaff side, 2017 SEA Games medalist Claire Adorna, Asia Games veteran Kim Kilgroe and fast rising JC Abad are the country’s best bets.

Overall, close to 800 foreigners and locals will see action in the annual event organized by the TRAP in cooperation with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Tourism Department.

For more information, visit Triathlon.org.ph or send email at trapsecretariat@gmail.com.