A Look Back at The Solution #17 (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.

Welcome back superhero fans, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts, Ultraverse fans and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the Ultraverse through the monthly series of The Solution. To be more precise, this review is about the 17th and final issue ever published.

In my previous retro review, The Solution daringly infiltrated a secret in Taiwan knowing that a major meeting between the heads of gangs will take place there. For Lela Cho/Tech, this is an opportunity for her to recover the company she lost to the Dragon Fang gang (read The Solution #6). Unfortunately for Lela and her teammates, the opposition were prepared for them.

With those details laid down, here is a look back The Solution #17, published by Malibu Comics in 1995 with a story written by the late James Hudnall and drawn by John Statema.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the arrival of the so-called lords of the Dragon Fang gang at the facility in Taiwan. As far as they know, The Solution has been brought down and the leader Lela Cho has been captured. They entered with a feeling of triumph only to see a large number of human bodies and severed body parts on the floor.

Inside, the insidious Casino has Lela Cho restrained helplessly on a high-tech chair. The Solution’s leader has been drugged by Casino who tells her that she (Lela) will be brought to some brothel in Thailand.

In another part of the facility, two armed guards approach the motionless body of Dropkick on the floor. Suddenly, The Solution’s martial artist moves and knocks the two guards out…

Quality

A very vulnerable Lela Cho in front of Casino.

In consideration of the build-up that started in the few previous issues, this particular comic book proved to be a worthy pay-off complete with a few notable twists that surprised me. Without spoiling the plot, I can say that the story is intriguing, the spectacle is plenty and the creative managed to keep things fresh. Along the way, there is some really relevant story elements that will compel you to re-read the early issues of The Solution series, especially when it comes to Casino who previously encountered the titular team.

As a good-versus-evil story, this one does not go over the edge and it certainly is not brainless entertainment. There is a lot more behind The Solution’s conflict with the Dragon Fang gang here and the impact can be felt more by those who actually started reading this particular series from issue #1.

On the visuals, John Statema’s return here is a very welcome move simply because, in my honest opinion, his style and approach to art really defined the looks of both the series and The Solution itself.  

Conclusion

Shadowmage takes on the Commie from Cambodia.

Being the concluding issue of its own series, The Solution #17 (1995) is a solidly fun and intriguing read. Not only did it conclude the build-up that preceded it, it also encouraged revisiting the earlier issues of the series for a deeper understanding of the opposition forces such as Casino and the Dragon Fang gang. While this was the last The Solution series entry, there was a promise of further adventures as it was made clear that another “era” awaited Lela Cho and her team. Unfortunately, as comic book publishing history showed, The Solution as a publishing franchise came to an end as the Ultraverse itself faded to obscurity under the banner of Marvel Comics (which acquired Malibu Comics in 1994). Take note that The Strangers concluded without a really conclusive story (there were even art works for issues #25 to #27) and Prototype ended with a story that felt like a substitute issue. That being said, the only way to keep enjoying The Solution is by simply repeat reading the entire series as well as finding the team’s appearances in other Ultraverse comic books. In my view, The Solution is one of the very best Ultraverse teams!

Overall, The Solution #17 (1995) is recommended.

As this is end of my retro reviews of The Solution, posted below are images of fashion models whom I find suitable as cosplay photography models for Lela Cho/Tech and Shadowmage. Please tell me if the models looked their parts. Enjoy!

Model Saria Chen as Tech.
Saria Chen as Lela Cho in civilian form.
Model Shannon Barker as Shadowmage.

+++++

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. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. 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 athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

A Look Back at The Solution #16 (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.

Welcome back superhero fans, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts, Ultraverse fans and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the Ultraverse through the monthly series of The Solution.

In my previous retro review, The Solution took a major risk by going all the way to a secret place in Taiwan. Their purpose was to infiltrate the place and find out any details they could find from a planned secret meeting between heads of multiple gangs. For Tech/Lela Cho, she sees an opportunity to get her company back from the Dragon Fang gang. Dropkick expresses his concern that the whole meeting could be a trap as the Dragon Fang gang knows that Tech can hack their computers and extract information.

With those details laid down, here is a look back The Solution #16, published by Malibu Comics in 1995 with a story written by the late James Hudnall and drawn by Daerick Gross.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with The Solution members apart from each other and each one has been trapped by deadly enemies. Outbreak is being fired upon by armed personnel. Shadowmage is down on the floor having been shot by one of the assassins. Dropkick finds himself attacked by another assassin. Tech is out cold and the deadly assassin Casino has her cornered.

Instead of going for the kill, Casino just talks to Tech and then calls Kwan Lun. In another part of the facility, the Communist Incoming aims his gun at the head of Shadowmage who suddenly moves and avoids the shot fired. As she finds a place to hide, she casts a spell to heal herself…

Quality

Dropkick on the losing end of the fight.

If you want action with The Solution, this comic book has lots of it as it is the continuation of the conflict between the titular team and the evil forces. Quite consistently, the creative team made each team member look vulnerable, especially with Tech who is helpless even though Casino (note: their previous encounter was in issue #7) is ironically not even fighting. While Outrage and Dropkick are on the verge of being eliminated, Shadowmage was also portrayed to be vulnerable in a gritty manner. Adding further depth to the engagement of the story is suspense.

Visually, artist Daerick Gross did a good job and judging from the way the action and sequencing were done, he seems to have researched the previous issues. His artistic takes on The Solution team members plus Casino and the assassins are nice to look at as well as recognizable.

Conclusion

Even though she was down, Shadowmage managed to avoid certain death giving her a chance to survive and take on the armed Commie.

The Solution #16 (1995) is entertaining enough for me and it also succeeded in keeping me interested for the next issue which also happens to be the final issue. As this is the 2nd-to-the-last issue of The Solution series, James Hudnall knew what defined the characters and what kind of stories would keep the fans engaged. That being said, he seemed to have set something up for the next issue as this comic book ended in a cliffhanger.

Overall, The Solution #16 (1995) 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. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. 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 athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

A Look Back at The Solution #15 (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.

Welcome back superhero fans, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts, Ultraverse fans and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the Ultraverse through the monthly series of The Solution.

In my previous retro review, The Solution itself was not really present in the story which was both a shock and a major disappointment. The Solution #14 (1994) refocused mainly on past villains who debuted in the early part of the monthly series and it sent a clear sign that a rematch with The Solution is bound to happen.

With those details laid down, here is a look back The Solution #15, published by Malibu Comics in 1995 with a story written by the late James Hudnall and drawn by George Dove.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Dropkick inside a dark room. Tech comes in searching for him and turns the light on. She is surprised to see Dropkick with a new look complete with face paint. Dropkick insists that his new look will last and he saw the future. The man then surprises Tech once more by instantly changing into casual clothes. She then reveals to him that she found a way to get her company back.

Moments later in a meeting with Dropkick, Outrage and Shadowmage, she reveals that while searching online for information about what the Dragon Fang gang has been doing with her company, she found a memo about a meeting that was set to happen the next week somewhere in Taiwan. The heads of the gang are supposed to be there and for Tech, this is the opportunity to take them on.

As the exact location of the meeting remains unclear, Tech states that they will need to travel overseas as she needs to be near a place to check out the electronic systems. For Dropkick, the whole meeting could be a trap and he states that the Dragon Fang gang knows Tech can read their computers.

Even though she is certain that the trap is real, Tech states that they cannot pass up the opportunity to take on the enemy…

Quality

Can you recognize anyone on this page?

Now this is more like it! The Solution is indeed back and this story is pretty much a big pay-off to all the build-up done in the villains-focused story of the previous issue. Take note that this story took place just a short time after the very wild storyline told in issues #9, #10, #11 and #12.

To make things clear, there is a conflict in the story which should resonate with The Solution fans who read the early issues of the series that launched in 1993. There is indeed a rematch between the titular team and the villains (plus Casino in this issue) which fortunately was very well done and proved to be worth the wait and the build-up. Speaking of conflict, there was this surprising development that happened within the side of the villains and that alone added more depth to the plot as well as more tension to the rematch with Tech and her teammates.

Artist Greg Dove did a fine job drawing this story and he knows when to use dynamic visuals when it comes to emphasizing impact. Thanks to Dove, Casino in this issue has that femme fatale look on her face. His take on Tech, her teammates and the three other villains is also good to look at.

Conclusion

The Solution with Dropkick in his new look.

The Solution #15 (1995) marks the series’ return to normalcy (meaning fun, intrigue and engagement) and it is indeed a worthy pay-off to the disappointing previous issue. The conflict told within this particular comic book is just the start and as I reached the ending, I can say that I am anticipating what would happen next. There is a lot for fans of The Solution to enjoy here.

Overall, The Solution #15 (1995) 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. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. 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 athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

A Look Back at The Solution #14 (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 fans, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts, Ultraverse fans and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the Ultraverse through the monthly series of The Solution.

Under the direction of the late James Hudnall, issues #9, #10, #11 and #12 told a very wild and compelling story about The Solution that literally was out of this world and gave readers a wide view of the vastness of the Ultraverse. Issue #13 meanwhile saw The Solution involved in a crossover storyline that involved Prototype, Solitaire and the Night Man. Just what happened next in The Solution series?

With those details laid down, here is a look back The Solution #14, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written by the late James Hudnall and drawn by Huang Nguyen.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins when an armed, muscular man carrying two large guns sees Dropkick. He immediately fires at him. Then he sees Shadowmage and Tech and then fires at them. It turns out they are just non-moving physical models. The aggressive use of weapons is called Incoming. He is a Communist Cambodian man who was hardened by the events in his native country and he served the tyrant Pol Pot by killing others. He is living with brutality and unstoppable rage which makes him dangerous to The Solution.

In New York, Black Tiger anticipates the arrival of a van carrying heroin set to be released to buyers. Suddenly a gang of thugs serving the Pump appear heading attacking the van. Black Tiger suddenly comes in and kills many of the thugs.

On a far-away location in Hong Kong, a fighter called Bloodshed finds himself surrounded by five other fighters who are determined to kill him…

Quality

The three assassins in a meeting for a mission against The Solution.

I’ll get straight to the point here. This comic book has the most jarring story I have read about this series and even among all the Ultraverse comic books I have read so far. The story was truly a build-up of an opposing force composed of assassins who are serving one powerful boss who really targets The Solution. It’s so alienating to read this tale that never really had Tech, Outrage, Dropkick, and Shadowmage at all.

More on what was presented here, Hudnall exerted effort to build up the three assassins (note: they all appeared in issue #1) not merely as villains but as characters with background details that emphasize their personalities. Incoming is a veteran Communist who lives with intense violence which is connected to the events that happened in his past. Considering his background and how he appears, Incoming looks like a fantasized version of Rambo but in Asian form that modern day Communists in America (read: SJWs, diversity freaks, inclusion freaks and socialists) would love to have in their Satanic Leftist movement. Black Tiger, who has this uncanny offensive capability, is similarly violent as he witnessed lots of killing, rapes, robbery and drug deals in his life and went on to join the Dragon Fang gang. Bloodshed meanwhile grew up with opium acquired by his family, joined a gang at a young age and got trained with violence to rise up.

As the three assassins were being prepared for an anticipated rematch with The Solution, the story here really looked like it was crafted to be a direct follow-up to issue #1. That being said, The Solution’s impact against crime was also emphasized with some interesting details told.

On the visual side of things, Huang Nguyen gave this comic book a new but not so polished look. There’s not enough visual detail on his art on the characters. In fact, the three assassins were not that recognizable to me when I first read this comic book and I had to go back to issue #1 to view how they looked in it. On action, Nguyen’s work looks sub-par in quality and presentation. There were even some cartoonish moments along the way.

Conclusion

Five against Bloodshed.

The Solution #14 (1994) is so far the weakest story I’ve read in this series as well as one of the weakest Ultraverse stories I’ve read so far. It is truly a build-up for an upcoming conflict with The Solution which so happens to focus mainly on the villains. You won’t find The Solution themselves here at all and this for me is a turn-off. Ultimately, the story feels hollow and the assassins Incoming, Black Tiger and Bloodshed are themselves not too interesting as Ultraverse villains.

Overall, The Solution #14 (1994) is unsatisfactory.

+++++

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. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. 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 athttps://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 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/

A Look Back at The Solution #12 (1994)

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

Welcome back superhero fans, the enthusiasts of 1990s arts and culture, and comic book collectors! There is no doubt in my mind that The Solution #11 (1994) is a great read as the comic book creators really outdid themselves in raising the level of engagement really high just as The Solution continued the desperate search and rescue of their teammate Aera/Shadowmage only to find themselves caught in the middle of a massive battle between the Darkur and Aerwan armies. While that comic book was a wild, fun-filled read, it was not even the conclusion of the storyline about the captured Shadowmage and her teammates’ struggle for her.

Issue #11 ended with The Solution no longer present in the Darkur-Aerwan battle but in a place that they are about to realize is another very dangerous place to be in. They are moving close to Shadowmage as well as the tremendously powerful aliens called the Vyr.

With those details laid down, here is a look back The Solution #12, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written by the late James Hudnall and drawn by John Statema.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Tech, Dropkick, Vurk and Harmonica who find themselves in a totally new place as a result of using the Vorlexx to get quickly move away from the Darkur-Aerwan battle. Just as Harmonica stated that their situation is not good, Vurk recognizes the place, realizes they are all in trouble and blames Tech for being responsible on bring them there.

It turns out, they are inside the lair of the powerful and dangerous Vyr who surround them. Very daringly, Tech tells the Vyr they have come for their friend Aera and expressed that they want her to be released to them….

Quality

Aera/Shadowmage restrained in a torturous manner by the Vyr.

Going straight to the point, the story here is highlighted by tension, suspense, revelations and characterization which makes it a worthy contrast to the spectacle-heavy issue #11. While it is very clear that The Solution and Harmonica are totally in a disadvantage when facing with the Vyr directly, the said aliens are not exactly bloodthirsty beings who could simply kill them all in just a few quick strokes while their teammate remains captive.

In fact, the Vyr are portrayed to be more intelligent than just being totally destructive and Harmonica knows some things about them a lot more than even Vurk (who encountered the Vyr during his youth). This resulted in some key moments of character development for Tech (whose leadership value has been less significant) and Vurk, as well as notable revelations in the dialogue between the three team members and Harmonica.

As the conclusion of the storyline that started in issue #9, I can say that this comic book is surprisingly satisfying which is quite clever on the part of Hudnall as it was emphasized already that the Vyr are not just overly powerful but are also immortals. How this storyline ended, I won’t reveal. It’s best for you readers to find out.   

Conclusion

Lela Cho, Dropkick, Vurk and Harmonica.

While the previous issue was one wild ride that greatly showed the boundaries of the Ultraverse with a touch of science fiction and a lot of action, The Solution #12 (1994) is a worthy conclusion and it successfully paid-off what it quickly built within its pages (note: issue #11 itself was the big pay-off to the two issues that preceded it). Anyone who loves seeing The Solution as a complete team will have something to enjoy here. When it comes to revelations, the character Harmonica really came in handy without ever looking too obvious as an exposition dump-type of character. In many ways, The Solution learned something new and helpful from Harmonica which added a nice layer of depth into their character development. Along the way, the spectacle in this comic book is much less in terms of content and style which is understandable as issue #11 was epic and bombastic.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Solution #12 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $16.

Overall, The Solution #12 (1994) is recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me 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 The Solution #11 (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 fans, enthusiasts of 1990s arts and culture, and comic book collectors! As the old saying goes…if you’ve got a problem that needs solving, you call The Solution. What if, for example, The Solution is in another world dealing with major problems and are out of reach?

In the previous two issues I reviewed (click here and here), The Solution got themselves in conflict with the powerful alien force called the Vyr as their member Shadowmage (also referred to as Aera) stole the Vorlexx from them many years prior. During the confrontation in France, the Vyr captured Aera who managed to discreetly pass the Vorlexx to Lela Cho (Tech) before their separation. Since after, The Solution traveled to different worlds with the Vorlexx and teamed up with a man called Harmonica who is knowledgeable about the Aerwan and the Darkur. Unbeknowst to them, the Vyr are watching them from a distance.

With those details laid down, here is a look back The Solution #11, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written by the late James Hudnall and drawn by John Statema with ink work by Barbara Kaalberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Dropkick, Harmonica, Tech and Vurk in a desperate situation. Just as they need to get away fast, Dropkick notices that the Vorlexx is not working. Harmonica points to the cliffs as the only way out. With his wings, Vurk takes Tech with him to fly up while Harmonica takes Dropkick. As soon as they arrived up the cliff, they find themselves facing the massive Aerwan army whose members are scattered across the ground and the air. An Aerwan military leader tells The Solution to surrender the Vorlexx.

Meanwhile, the Vyr are watching the live video feed of The Solution and the Aerwan army. Shadowmage, who has been restrained in a very painful and humiliating position, has been watching her friends since they exited the cave. While she still remains unharmed by her captors, she knows that her torments are just beginning. The Vyr want her to see what will happen to her friends…

Quality

In the middle of a major battle between two alien armies, The Solution were really pushed to their limits as they pursue their dangerous rescue mission of their captured teammate.

Wow! The storytelling and visual presentation in this comic book got even wilder and the sci-fi element of this particular storyline really went into overdrive! For one thing, much of the tension which started building up in issues #9 and #10 paid off big time in the early part of this comic book as the inevitable battle between the Darkur (Vurk’s people) and the Aerwans (Shadowmage’s people) which easily made The Solution and Harmonica ending up tiny in the middle. Of course, as this is still about the team’s desperate attempt to rescue Aera from the very powerful Vyr, you will really see Lela Cho, Vurk, Dropkick (who carries the Vorlexx) struggle a lot in close encounters with aliens just as they keep on trusting Harmonica (whom they formed an uneasy alliance with) to help them. It is compelling to see how the three mentioned Solution teammates not only struggle to survive but also strive to overcome great odds knowing that if they fail, Aera/Shadowmage will perish. Very clearly, this is a very high-stakes story that James Hudnall prepared and the way I see it, this storyline really added a lot to the development of The Solution.

As for the art, I can say that this, in my opinion, is John Statema at his grandest with the Ultraverse. While being supported by by Barbara Kaalberg’s detailed ink work, Statema really captured the wild sci-fi tale Hudnall prepared and showed The Solution within a very strange environment surrounded by death and uncertainty. A lot of this comic book’s pages are filled with action scenes (note: lots of bloody scenes but without the color red) that are also nicely structured and each member of The Solution had the appropriate dynamic visuals that fitted nicely with their respective big moments. More notably, Statema really worked hard showing the many, many Aerwans and Darkur warriors who filled the pages – especially the two 2-page shots that each showed a wide view of the field – and succeeded in presenting monsters that were scary and very alien in design.

Conclusion

This is one of two epic views in this comic book by illustrator John Statema, inker Barbara Kaalberg and the colorists. Look at all the details!

The Solution #11 (1994) is a wild Ultraverse concept that succeeded in engaging and entertaining me from start to finish. It is a great pay-off to what was built up since The Solution #9 and having the team lost in another world in their pursuit of their captured teammate really moved this series forward. In fact, when it comes to expanding the boundaries of the Ultraverse itself, this comic book really achieved that! This is also the most ambitious sci-fi tale of the UV that I’ve read.  The ironic thing is that this comic book is not even the conclusion to its storyline. There is still more to come and I can say I’m really motivated to read the next issue.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Solution #11 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $16 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $48.

Overall, The Solution #11 (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/

A Look Back at The Solution #10 (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! If you’ve got a problem that needs solving, you call The Solution. For the newcomers reading this, The Solution was spearheaded by the late James Hudnall who also led the storytelling of the Hardcase monthly series.

In my previous The Solution retro comic book review, the team had to act as a result of what Aera had done long before she even joined her teammates. Alien forces had arrived on Earth which sparked a chain reaction of unfortunate events. Ultimately, Aera was taken away but not before handing over to Lela, Vurk and Dropkick the one powerful thing that the Vyr wanted – the Vorlexx.

With those details laid down, here is a look back The Solution #10, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written by the late James Hudnall and drawn by John Statema.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Dropkick hitting his alien teammate Vurk and accuses him for trying to leave their snatched teammate Aera in the hands of the Vyr. As Vurk transforms into his more monstrous form, Tech comes in between them and tells them to stop and come to their senses. As they have the Vorlexx, Tech insists that they should leave Earth before the Vyr comes back to get the precious items.

Holding the Vorlexx, Tech states that they should all travel together to Vurk’s homeworld and anticipate that the Vyr will come there searching for them. She stresses that they might stand a better chance of rescuing Aera this way. Vurk warns Tech that the Vorlexx will corrupt its user every time it gets used.

Tech issues a command to the Vorlexx and they all disappear to another world…

Quality

Lela Cho, Dropkick and Vurk struggle during their quest to save Aera.

While the story of the previous issue brought the fantasy elements of the series raised really high, things went even higher this time as the team went to new worlds far away from Earth which results completely alien environments with creatures that people of Earth had not encountered. This helped pave the way for an encounter between The Solution and a giant monster that reminded about some classic sci-fi tales of EC Comics (note: the Weird Science series) from the 1950s.

More on the plot itself, James Hudnall crafted a script that succeeded in building up suspense and tension as Tech (Lela Cho), Dropkick and Vurk push through with their very difficult mission to rescue Aera. Along the way, you will get to see really nice character moments such as Lela’s leadership traits and Vurk using his knowledge of his past encounters with the Vyr.

There is also a notable twist in the tale which I won’t spoil. In fact, I encourage you readers and those who are just discovering the Ultraverse and The Solution to read this comic book to find out. That twist really added depth to the plot and resulted in some memorable reactions from The Solution.

Conclusion

The Solution arrived in an alien world by mistake.

The Solution #10 (1994) is fun and engaging to read. As it follows The Solution’s dangerous attempt to save Aera in unknown parts of the universe, the story became more of a science fiction misadventure that remains believable and stable thanks to Hudnall’s strong writing. John Statema’s return as illustrator in this comic book easily raised the visual quality higher compared to the previous issue. I can say that Statema, by this point in this Ultraverse series, is clearly the definitive artist of The Solution.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Solution #10 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $16.

Overall, The Solution #10 (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/

A Look Back at The Solution #9 (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! If you’ve got a problem that needs solving, you call The Solution. For the newcomers reading this, The Solution was an Ultraverse monthly series about a team composed of very unique individuals who help their clients solve special problems. Such operations are done with business agreements made between the team and their clients.

But what if one of the members of The Solution becomes a target of some very deadly forces that are not even human? What solutions can The Solution come up with?

With those details laid down, here is a look back The Solution #9, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written by the late James Hudnall and drawn by Timothy D. Divar.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins somewhere in North America where three mystical monsters arrived on a mission to hunt. The prey they are hunting is to be taken alive and to be tortured for decades. One of them displays the image of Aera/Shadowmage.

A long distance away, in the presence of The Solution traveling by yacht, Aera senses danger and that she has been found by the monsters. The three who arrived from nowhere suddenly cast magic together and summoned a beast which arrived out of thin air. The beast is then instructed to search and hunt Shadowmage.

Over at the Chinese sea, Aera tells Lela Cho that she has been found by the mystical monsters which she previously referred to as the Vyr. She describes them to be very powerful, the most deadly and the most evil creatures on her home world. Aela admits that she does not have the power to stop the Vyr and their team cannot stop them even when combined in power. Their teammate Vurk expresses deep concern and asked Aera what she did that angered the Vyr. Vurk admits his fear of the Vyr and as long as they after Aera, the team would be better off letting them have her…

Quality

Aera, her monstrous teammate Vurk and the unstoppable monster.

When it comes to storytelling, I should say that the late James Hudnall really ramped up the fantasy aspect of this series right here. That being said, this comic book made the previous issues look more grounded in reality by comparison. Among the members of The Solution, there is a clear shift towards Aera/Shadowmage whose act from a long time ago led to the Vyr hunting her down on Earth which, unsurprisingly, gets her teammate involved. Along the way, key details from the past of Aera (a native from a foreign world) and Vurk/Outrage (the native of another world which is in conflict with Aera’s own people) get revealed which add some depth on the development of the team as a whole. The way the details were presented made for a really intriguing read in my experience.

With a story concept like this, The Solution #9 could have been a creative mess but it turned out orderly, intriguing and engaging thanks to the way Hudnall structured the story and wrote down the dialogue and text descriptions.

If there is any weakness in this comic book’s presentation, it is the artistic style of Timothy D. Divar. Compared to issue #8, I find the visual quality here drop significantly and there were some shots of The Solution members looking a bit like some characters I saw in 1990s comic books published by Valiant Comics. The characters’ faces and expressions also looked clearly less detailed.

Conclusion

There is nothing like seeing The Solution at your household’s front door.

The Solution #9 (1994) is a good read. The strong selling point in it is the team getting involved in a very dangerous encounter with the Vyr (which are way too powerful for them to deal with) which is the result of Aera’s dangerous act. Just as Aera explained what she did and what happened in the past, the tension in the story really went up which makes it engaging to read.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Solution #9 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $16.

Overall, The Solution #9 (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/