A Look Back at Mantra #4 (1993)

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

Welcome back Ultraverse fans, geeks and fellow comic book collectors! If you want to discover more of the fantasy elements within the Ultraverse through Mantra – the pretty sorceress whose body is occupied by the soul of a male warrior named Lukasz – then you are in for something rather different.

To put things in perspective, the fantasy-swords-magic concept was made clear in Mantra #1 and that Lukasz and his band of warriors (led by an elder sorcerer) as well as their enemies (led by Boneyard) were definitely from another world. That other world will be explored at last in this look back at Mantra #4, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Roy Phipps.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the world of Boneyard, at his castle specifically. Down on her knees, Mantra is just in front of the villain Boneyard who says, “So this is Archimage’s last, best hope. Just a woman!!”

Boneyard tells Mantra not to rise nor move. As he does not yet know that Lukasz is inside Mantra’s body, Boneyard welcomes her and states that it is his right to choose any woman in his kingdom as his bride. In reaction to being selected as Boneyard’s newest mate with a purpose to potentially give birth to his children, Mantra strikes him with an energy blast symbolically rejecting him.

Boneyard then says, “Enough. I tolerate this dissent because your body carries much potential for magic, woman. It is only your body that saves you from death. Your bewildering loyalty to my defeated brother, Archimage, would ordinarily be enough to condemn you. Your genes, combined with mine will yield children to whom magic comes as easily as taking breath.”

As the villain talks, Mantra notices the sword pointed at her was the same one used to kill her when she was man (as Lukasz). She then makes moves to get Boneyard off-balanced and try to leave the castle…

Quality

Mantra visits the tavern in the kingdom controlled by Boneyard.

I’ll start with the writing. What Mike W. Barr did here successfully was raising the stakes for Mantra which involves the drastic change of location and setting from the modern society of Earth into the fantasy realm where Boneyard and his army are based in. The mentioned change literally opened new opportunities to develop Mantra’s personality while at the same time offered readers a lot of new things and places for their exploration.

With the all-new setting, lots of fantasy genre tropes are present. There is the ever-present tavern filled with lots of people that include humans and non-human beings that go beyond dwarves and elves. There is also the slave auction of both men and women standing almost nakedly in front of the bidders. There also were people wearing capes, hoods, swords, spears and armor which Mantra smoothly blends in with.

Along the way, there is a lot spectacle here mainly acts of magic alternated with hard action moves. The way the spectacle is presented fits in excellently with the fantasy setting and I should state that Roy Phipps did a very solid job visualizing such elements while succeeding in making Mantra, Boneyard, Archimage and Warstrike look recognizable.

Back to the writing, Mike W. Barr prepared a lot of details in the story that explained Boneyard’s nature and even his status as the husband of multiple wives. This comic book also reveals that Boneyard is likely bisexual since, apart from being married to multiple women, he kissed Mantra and lusts for her even AFTER he learned that Lukasz is occupying the woman’s body. His intention to marry Mantra symbolizes homosexuality as well. To put things in perspective, this makes Boneyard very guilty of sexual immorality on top of his wickedness. Refer to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (sexual immorality and homosexuality), Galatians 5:19-21 (sorcery and sexual immorality) and Deuteronomy 17:17 (polygamy) in the Holy Bible.

Conclusion

Boneyard’s intention to marry Mantra (whose body is occupied by the soul of the male eternal warrior Lukasz) and impregnate her to produce his children is disgusting, even more so when the villain knows Lukasz is in Mantra.

To say the least, Mantra #4 (1993) is entertaining enough mainly due to its fantasy setting and exposing key elements about the rivalry between Archimage and Boneyard. This was a daring and refreshing change of pace for Mantra series since the first three issues already emphasized Lukasz’s struggles on living in the body of Eden Blake (note: reincarnation is false and goes against the Holy Bible, read Hebrews 9:27 and Psalm 78:39 for insight) and living with her family as Eden’s soul was pushed into limbo. More notably, this issue shows more of how evil and wicked Boneyard is not simply because of his leading his army of evildoers but also because of his evil-filled nature. By comparison, Lukasz/Mantra is the lesser evil to Boneyard under the pretense of good-versus-evil in the story (which itself concluded in a predictable and underwhelming fashion).

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #4 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of comic book costs $8.

Overall, Mantra #4 (1993) is satisfactory.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Mantra #8 (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, Ultraverse fans and superhero comic collectors! Today, we will revisit the Mantra monthly series again and it has been almost two weeks since my last Mantra review. For the newcomers reading this, Mantra’s mortal enemy is Boneyard who got involved in the Mantra-Strangers crossover (refer to The Strangers #13 and Mantra #12).

Before those mentioned stories took place, something else happened involving Boneyard. That is what we will find out in this look back at Mantra #8, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by John Statema (who was involved in UltraForce #2).

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in an unknown location with Boneyard who commands Notch to speak as his patience dwindles. Notch states that he has devised a plane to capture the ever elusive Mantra (male warrior Lukasz occupying the body of Eden Blake) involving a betrayal by a friend. Notch requests for a few troops and the custody of the creature in cell 13. Boneyard reacts by saying that if Notch succeeds, he will have Mantra after she has borne an offspring for him )Boneyard). Failure would mean Notch will become occupant of cell 14.

Elsewhere Warstrike (riding with a lady) drives his car fast getting away from the car of armed men chasing him. The chase ends with a crash of two cars freeing Warstrike. Some time later, Warstrike arrives home and to his surprise, Mantra is already there. He gets kissed by Mantra (emphasizing a touch of homosexuality) and asked about a change of her attitude. As it turns out, the Mantra who made sexual advances to him transforms into a grotesque creature with lots of tentacles. Warstrike then realizes it was not really Mantra at all. Eventually, the creature wraps itself all over Warstrike. Notch suddenly appears and blows a substance to him.

The next morning, Eden Blake/Mantra arrives at the office catching everyone’s attention due to her beauty and sexy outfit. Eden suddenly notices that everyone around looks like Warstrike. Suspecting that what is happening is the manifestation of magic, she goes to her office to find answers…

Quality

Even though she has magic, Mantra still is physically weaker which Lukasz has trouble adjusting with.

Getting straight to the point with regards to the story, this one has a nice mix of action, intrigue, suspense and the search for answers. It also pays attention to the very awkward alliance between Mantra and Warstrike. Warstrike was the last person to have killed Lukasz in his male form which led to him getting reincarnated as Eden Blake (displacing Eden’s soul) and in this story, you will see he even has sexual interest with her even though he knows Lukasz is occupying that beautiful body. This comic book also shows how powerful a villain Boneyard is and how his soldiers are willing to do his commands. With regards to the locations, I should state that the use of a fantasy-themed amusement park in the story is an excellent concept to emphasize this comic book’s fantasy elements.

When it comes to the art, it is no surprise that John Statema did a pretty good job in capturing the looks of Mantra and the related characters, and his pacing of the visuals is similar to that of Terry Dodson. Statema worked on several other Ultraverse comic books including The Solution #6 which looked great and his art really brought the script to life. Mantra, Boneyard, Warstrike and other relevant characters look recognizable with Statema’s style. The artist also excelled in drawing fantasy visual elements like magic, swords, armor, monsters, etc.

Conclusion

Eden Blake is the center of attention at the office.

I can clearly say that Mantra #8 (1994) is an entertaining comic book to read. It has a self-contained story that is very well told and John Statema’s art made it a lively read.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #8 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $26.

Overall, Mantra #8 (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 The Strangers #17 (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, Ultraverse fans and superhero comic book collectors! We are about to return to the Ultraverse through The Strangers. Before doing so, I’d like to discuss one of their members named Elena La Brava AKA Lady Killer. Before the big incident that changed her life and those of her eventual teammates riding the cable car in San Francisco, Elena worked professionally as a fashion designer. She is quite resourceful, brave and organized. Apart from proving to be a very valuable member of the team, she has the special ability to track and this results helping her hit what she aims for. As seen in previous issues leading to issue #16, she has been romantically linked with Atom Bob and has struggled also on leading the team.

With those details mentioned, it’s now time to look back at The Strangers #17, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and illustrated by Rick Hoberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins at the headquarters of The Strangers. Spectral arrives late and apologizes to his teammates who are already feeling disturbed by the Pilgrim. Lady Killer makes an issue about Spectral’s tardiness and reminds him he has not seen the Pilgrim as he was absent. Spectral replied emotionally stressing that he had to attend to his private life.

When asked about the Pilgrim, Grenade replies that nobody knows who their antagonist is. In recent times, the team faced off with various costumed individuals in two encounters and the Pilgrim appeared each time and took them with him. Each time, the Pilgrim swore he would continue to get back at The Strangers until he builds up a team large enough to oppose them.

Knowing that the Pilgrim will keep coming back at her team, Lady Killer states she has a plan…

Quality

The start of a pretty solid battle between the Pilgrim and Atom Bob.

The writing for this comic book is, as expected, very strong and undoubtedly it is a great follow-up to what happened in issue #16. Instead of just another encounter between The Strangers and another antagonist which turns into an opportunity for the Pilgrim to come out and do his thing, this one has a lot more compelling stuff backed with surprise and intrigue.

Before the big conflict happened, this comic book showed more of Lady Killer’s intelligence and her ability to organize something that is believable to read. Atom Bob, who missed out on the battle of issue #16, is more involved in this comic book and his battle with the Pilgrim was not only heavy on the spectacle but also showed more of his capabilities and his willingness to achieve something.

Unsurprisingly, there is a lot of what I would call the usual visual goodness from artist Rick Hoberg here. He continued to show a consistent high level of quality when drawing the characters, their expressions and making the superhero action scenes look spectacular.

Conclusion

The Strangers meeting early.

The Strangers #17 (1994) is a very good read and what I love about it is that it further added to the build-up of the growing opposition against The Strangers while at the same time developing the core characters more. You will see more of Lady Killer’s leadership values here and eventually, you’ll admire her more. I should state that Rafferty, a serial killer in the Ultraverse, had a notable presence in this comic book and added some impact to the plot.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #17 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, The Strangers #17 (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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at The Strangers #16 (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 Ultraverse fans, geeks and comic book collectors! Here is another trip back into the Ultraverse, which for me is the most defining line of superhero comics that was realized in the 1990s. The UV lasted for only a few years and along the way publisher Malibu Comics got acquired by Marvel Comics.

History aside, we are about to explore The Strangers again in the sixteenth issue of the monthly series that was spearheaded mainly by the creative duo of Steve Englehart and Rick Hoberg. Here is a look back at The Strangers #16, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Englehart and drawn by Hoberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in a local community in California wherein one of the houses is hosting a block party. Already a disturbance to the neighbors (note: police officers had to temporarily close down a short stretch of the public road and restricted others from getting near), the said party offers people a chance to meet in person Atom Bob who has his teammates with him.

During a private meeting, The Strangers discuss what they encountered lately (note: this refers to their encounters with Gangsta and Brazen. Also involved was someone called the Pilgrim. As they keep talking, Lady Killer stressed that they all need to be ready for further encounters.

Meanwhile in the downtown area of the city, three costumed characters (who previously road a cable car just like The Strangers) are plotting something…

Quality

Meet the opposition.

Let me start first with the art done by Rick Hoberg with ink work by Tim Eldred. I should state that since issue #1, Hoberg not only drew characters, places, creatures and backgrounds with his captivating style, he also maintained a high level of quality and proved he can bring any comic book script into life with images. His art is so good, this comic book is fun reading again and again. I should also state that the coloring for this story is very lively and more dream-like in style thanks to the color design by Moose Baumann and interior color by Prisms.

When it comes to the story, this comic book’s concept is pretty unique and Steve Englehart deserves credit for coming up with something fresh while still leaving room for spectacle and characterization. The idea of a block party held in the middle of a community of family homes celebrating the presence of superheroes is cool and it opened up new ways to define the characters not to mention emphasizing how their presence affects people not on the city level but on the local community! Having worked as a local community newspaper journalist myself, I know what’s it like when local communities have special activities or events that bring together (or captivate) the neighbors. Along the way, the dialogue is varied (note: lots of characters other than The Strangers had lines), the portrayal of The Strangers is consistent and the story’s pace flowed smoothly.

Speaking of characterization, there is notable focus on Atom Bob and Lady Killer who already have feelings for each other. As the home of Atom Bob’s family serves as the venue of the party, you will get to see the character interact with the local neighbors and others he personally knew for a long time which is a very refreshing way of developing him. Lady Killer meanwhile tries to maintain balance between being the team’s professional leader and having feelings for Atom Bob while trying to respect his parents.

And then there is a growing group of ultras who intend to destroy The Strangers. It was at this stage in The Strangers monthly series in which a genuine opposition against the title team really started to take shape. The good news is that the Pilgrim and the other opposing ultras were not portrayed as generic bad guys but people who are struggling and have a cause.

Conclusion

The Strangers and the guests at the party.

There is no doubt that The Strangers #16 (1994) is a whole lot of fun, very compelling and intriguing to read from start to finish. Anyone who loves the title team will find something to enjoy and follow, while those who keep on enjoying the conflict between good-and-evil will find something new and entertaining here. Steve Englehart and Rick Hoberg not only continued to deliver high-quality superhero stories with The Strangers, they really were one of the best creative duos of the 1990s.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #16 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, The Strangers #16 (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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at The Strangers #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, Ultraverse fans and superhero comic book geeks and collectors! Today I will be reviewing another one of the Ultraverse anniversary celebration comic books. Apart from the usual superhero stuff, there is a touch of historical fiction in the UV anniversary comic book I reviewed and I can say that, if ever more people out there will discover it, it can spark more discussions and even debates about a certain figure of world history as well as the relevance of indigenous people.

Now we can proceed with this look back at The Strangers #12, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Rick Hoberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the middle of the thick jungle of a floating island. Yrial, who has spent significant time with The Strangers representing her tribe, is held captive by her own people inside a crystal. She is being accused of betrayal of her tribe as a consequence of her involvement with her teammates from the civilized world. Yrial denies the charges and insisted that the rise of The Strangers signifies that their solitude is over.

Eventually Grenade, Zip-Zap, Lady Killer, Electrocute, Spectral and Atom Bob arrive to fight in an attempt help their trapped teammate. The action halts as soon as Lady Killer tells Chief Aula that they know the great secret as they have been to the other side (refer to the previous past issues leading to this)…

Quality

The fictional tribe is definitely cursed for they lived with sorcery, idolatry and rituals sourced from ancient evil.

I will start first with the storytelling. Steve Englehart’s writing is excellent and he clearly did his research about a key part of world history and made an intriguing and compelling fictional story out of it. This is, in fact, one of the most intriguing superhero stories of the 1990s that I have ever read and it is a very lively reminder that storytelling alone can impact readers deeply when it is greatly made.

With regards to the historical fiction aspect of this comic book, I should state that doing a fantasized version of the European explorer Christopher Columbus and connecting him and his crew with the history of the in-comic tribe was a stroke of genius. This was indeed the main selling point of this comic book!

Rick Hoberg, who worked a lot with Englehart and set the definitive look of The Strangers, made great visuals and the images are also much more diverse given the historical fiction aspect of this comic book. Hoberg really brought Englehart’s script to life and his visuals look finely paced with the narrative.  

With regards to the emphasis on magic, it should be noted that it is an abomination and in the context of the story, it is a cursed thing and not really a strength of the in-comic tribe. As for the other world (and the demons it is filled with) that the tribe is aware of, it symbolizes the realm of evil. By the end of the story, you will realize that the tribe living on the floating island are indeed a cursed people and not merely isolated using magic. They are also idolaters and practice rituals sourced from evil long ago. For meaning, learn from the holy scriptures below and you will realize that you would NOT want to be like the story’s tribe. You are better off following Lord Jesus and believe in His salvation.

“But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Revelation 21:8 (NKJV)

Wonderfully blessed are those who wash their robes white so they can access the Tree of Life and enter the city of bliss by its open gates. Those not permitted to enter are outside: the malicious hypocrites, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, murderers, idolaters, and every lover of lies.

Revelation 22:14-15 (TPT)

Conclusion

The team nicely drawn by Rick Hoberg.

Among the anniversary issues of the Ultraverse I have reviewed as of this writing, I should state that The Strangers #12 (1994) is the best one yet! Entertainment value aside, the focus on Christopher Columbus and indigenous people should interest people who have varying views about them. Christopher Columbus remains a divisive historical figure as some people admired his achievements on world exploration while others condemned him as an evil, bloodthirsty man who negatively impacted indigenous people he encountered. Whatever your views of Columbus and indigenous people are right now, I recommend you read this comic book. For those who love superhero stuff, you will find a lot to enjoy here.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #12 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, The Strangers #12 (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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at The Solution #4 (1993)

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

Welcome back Ultraverse fans and superhero comic book collectors! This is my continuing look back at spin-off tales connected to Break-Thru, the year-ending big crossover event of the Ultraverse which not only mixed the many UV characters together but also impact them.

This time, we examine events connected to Break-Thru in a story written by the late James Hudnall and told through the exploits and struggles of a superhero team (plus one major UV superhero) he handled – The Solution! Here now is a look back at The Solution #4, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Hudnall and drawn by Darick Robertson.

The cover.

Early story

Set a short time after the end of the Break-Thru-related Hardcase #7, the story begins in outer space. Inside a space craft heading towards the moon, Lela Cho/Tech records a new entry into her diary reflecting of how crazy things turned out for her and her teammates. On her end, she pursued getting her corporation back and then took a job that landed her on board a UFO. As it turns out, her team has been hired to find a mysterious object which might provide explanations as to why ultras suddenly appeared all over the world.

Considering the very high stakes of the mission, The Solution had to partner with Hardcase and his companion Choice. This is because they are trying to catch up with another team of ultras (composed of Trouble, Death Dance, Gate, Needler, Gun Nut, Book and Meathook) who were sponsored by Rex Mundi, the rival of The Solution’s client Regina…  

Quality

A nice shot of The Solution with Hardcase and Choice in space.

As this was a build-up type of story meant to connect and add depth to the Break-Thru crossover, the plot was pretty simple and yet it was loaded with a lot of engaging stuff. Given the fact that James Hudnall led the writing for both Hardcase and The Solution, I just love the way he had these ultra heroes interact with each and the way they learned to get to know each other and adjust with one another was done in believable fashion. To say that Hudnall knew the characters deeply and treated them like real people is pretty true.

As expected, there is a good amount of spectacle in the form of action scenes and the fun thing about it is that the battle took place in space. There were match-ups between The Solution’s members and the Rex Mundi-sponsored team which were short and yet filled with interesting banter and satisfying action.

Conclusion

A really nice interaction.

I can declare that The Solution #4 (1993) is more than just a build-up comic book leading to a much bigger event. The characterization as well as the interactions between Hardcase and The Solution members alone make this comic book a must-read. This comic book also works well to prepare you for the subsequent events that took place in Break-Thru #2.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Solution #4 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $26.

Overall, The Solution #4 (1993) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Mantra #6 (1993)

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

Hey Ultraverse fans and superhero comic book collectors! Are you interested in another look at the Break-Thru crossover through the eyes of Mantra? For the newcomers reading this, Break-Thru was a year-ending crossover that literally gathered many of the Ultraverse characters together in an event that affected their world. The said crossover impacted other characters of the Ultraverse through specific comic books such as Prototype #5, Hardcase #7, The Strangers #7 and Solitaire #2 to name some.

Now we have here is another view of Break-Thru in this look back at Mantra #6, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Terry Dodson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Mantra flying during the night thinking about what happened as several Ultras made their way to the moon to fight an entity there that has been mentally contacting a girl named Amber. She thought about her new career at Aladdin as Eden Blake and intends to find ways to transfer her mind into a male body somehow.

Mantra arrives home and instantly changes appearance into Eden in civilian clothes. Upon entering the home, her little daughter (note: nobody in her family is aware that Eden’s soul has been displaced with that of Lukasz’s soul) arrives to greet her back in the presence of Eden’s mother. The daughter is every excited to start making Christmas cookies.

After spending some time alone in the bedroom, Mantra realizes something on the moon and decides to leave pretending she has to go back to work. This saddens Eden’s daughter…

Quality

Mantra in the middle of somewhere.

This comic book is not the good-versus-evil type of story. Rather it is more about personal struggle and threads from the past that challenge Mantra, and it is well written. At the same time, the story serves as a build-up leading to the big events that took place in Break-Thru #2 (the conclusion of the big crossover). Getting to know the entity through the experience and view of Mantra is alone a solid reason to read this comic book. In fact, what you will learn here will help you prepare yourself to understand the Break-Thru crossover comic books and the concepts they featured.

Conclusion

Another glimpse on the life of Eden Blake and her family.

Mantra #6 (1993) is an engaging and enjoyable read. It is not only a mere build-up for Break-Thru, it also reveals more about Lukasz (who occupies the body of Eden/Mantra) and why his past haunts him which alone adds a new layer of depth to his character. There are few scenes of spectacle here and there but the strong writing by Mike W. Barr saved it from becoming a complete bore.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #6 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of this comic book costs $8.

Overall, Mantra #6 (1993) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Prime #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 Prime #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.

Hey Ultraverse fans and superhero comic book enthusiasts! Are you ready for another tale of Prime? What I am about to review is one of the anniversary Ultraverse issues published by Malibu Comics.

What could be new or special to justify the anniversary of the Prime monthly series? We can all find out in this look back at Prime #12, published by Malibu Comics with a story written by Len Strazweski and Gerard Jones, and drawn by the late Norm Breyfogle.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with a young guy named Kuttner who tests his deadly ability to easily cut through solid objects with his powered blades on his hands. He is driven to get revenge against Prime who broke his hand previously. Kuttner, whose career in entertainment had declined, thinks he can establish a new career for himself as a powered being and Prime is his first target.

Meanwhile at school, Kevin Green (Prime) is struggling with the stress over his parents’ separation which he is guilty of. He finds it very weird to be back in school after everything he went through such as his struggles with Colonel Samuels, the Federal Government, Break-Thru and more. After slamming his locker shut, students begin to move away from him…

Quality

Symbolically, Prime meets Norm Breyfogle.

To begin with, the writing by Len Strazewski and Gerard Jones is very solid as expected. That being said, the real heart of the story in this comic book is Kevin Green’s personal struggle with life not just with the difficulty of balancing himself between his personal life and being a superhero, but also his place in local society being tainted as a result of his acts as Prime. The way that the events of the previous issues affected (in negative ways) the local community’s perception of Kevin was very compelling and straight to the point.

The strong writing, unsurprisingly, worked very well with the character development. Kevin was presented to be struggling with making the right decisions and he struggles to analyze what would happen if he presents himself to others as Prime or as simply himself. As for the scene between Prime and Kelly’s mother, there was that touch of awkwardness (through Prime) that was present as the scene raised the disturbing idea of the two possibly getting involved sexually.

When it comes to the spectacle of action, there is little to be seen here but the good news is that Norm Breyfogle illustrated them to be energetic and eye-catching. The late illustrator really knew hot to ramp up the energy for the readers making the most out of what it is limited.

Conclusion

The tremendous strength of Prime!

Prime #12 is a pretty engaging read. Was it worth the anniversary promotion? It is indeed! If you look back at Prime #1 and read all the succeeding issues leading to this one, you will notice how much Kevin Green changed as well as how his personal growth moved. In a way, Prime #12 symbolizes the growing-up pains Kevin keeps on having.

It should be stated that being 64-pages, Prime #12 is actually one of Malibu’s flip issues. The other side of this comic book is Ultraverse Premiere #3 which contains standalone short stories of Prime, War Strike and a certain villain. This comic book also has “A Primo Farewell” which is a nice tribute (by today’s standards) to Norm Breyfogle. For the newcomers reading this, Breyfogle was one of outstanding comic book artists in America and before joining Malibu Comics, he worked for other publishers like Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Eclipse Comics and First Comics. At DC Comics, his work on their icon Batman is widely remembered. Breyfogle passed away in 2018.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prime #12 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, Prime #12 (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 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 Mantra #7 (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 enthusiasts! If you want to see more of Mantra and Prime cross over with each other and find out if they would impact the entire Ultraverse somehow, then you’re in for something here.

Here is a look back at Mantra #7, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and illustrated by Terry Dodson. This one follows the events that took place in Prime #8 (1994).

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Mantra already captured by the Baby Doctor (a super being feared by Colonel Samuels) and his hideous companions. Prime, who was slowed temporarily by Samuels and his soldiers, flies chasing the vehicle carrying Mantra, even distracting the mother, daughter and son of Eden Blake/Mantra.

A short time later, Mantra wakes up and gets much needed assistance by Prime who breaks into the vehicle and fight those who took her captive. After much action, the moving vehicles crashes and Prime helps Mantra…

Quality

Prime to the rescue!

I’ll start with the storytelling and characterization. While Prime #8 marked the actual start of Prime and Mantra getting to know each other more, this story takes their alliance a few notches higher with an emphasis on the big guy (who is actually teenager Kevin Green inside the body) starting to care more for the beautiful eternal warrior (with the soul of the man Lukasz). I also find it refreshing to see Mantra more helpless and Lukasz (the occupant in the body of Mantra/Eden Blake) actually struggles in a really weakened physical state (this points to what happened near the end of Prime #8).

The stakes have been raised in the sense that more information about Prime’s origin was revealed and, more notably, the Doc (Baby Doctor) is a more intriguing character in the Ultraverse and this comic book makes clear why Col. Samuels is afraid of him. I liked the way Mike W. Barr used science fiction concept of genetics and even gender to add a strong element of intrigue in the plot. Speaking of gender, there are a few moments that hint of homosexuality which will make you question how much Lukasz is changing the longer her stays in a woman’s body.

Conclusion

Prime getting involved with Mantra.

Mantra #7 is a well-written comic book that succeeded in raising the stakes, deepening the Mantra-Prime friendship while delivering a satisfying, action-packed misadventure. The Doc meanwhile proved to be a worthy addition into the Ultraverse.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #7 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $26.

Overall, Mantra #7 (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