A Look Back at Freex #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.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors, 1990s arts and culture fans and fans of Malibu Comics! Remember the Break-Thru crossover of the Ultraverse back in late 1993? Already I have reviewed the spin-off issues related to Break-Thru such as Mantra #6, The Solution #4, Prime #6, and The Strangers #7 to name same.  

Today, I got to review another Break-Thru tale told through the presence of the team called Freex. In addition to being connected with the big crossover, this comic book is a continuation of the events that took place in The Night Man #2 and this means a crossover between Freex and Night Man!

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Freex #6, published by Malibu Comics in 1993 with a story written by Gerard Jones and drawn by Ben Herrera.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the Freex listening to someone who tells them not to be afraid and that he is a victim of the world. He introduces himself as Mangle and even though he has a deformed look, the team keeps on focusing on what he tells them. He reveals that he was chased by a murderous crowd led by Night Man. After trying to justify his presence in the Christmas tree lot they are occupying, Lewis of the Freex rejects his idea and states that the situation for his team has been pretty bad as they are not only hunted by the police but also have been demonized through the media. He tells Mangle to stay away. Valerie then starts to lose control of herself which Lewis refers to as the possession. Michael speculates that sky must be affecting them.

Meanwhile, Night Man arrives in the city in pursuit of Mangle. He remembers breaking the freak’s collar bone. On the street, he notices a group of people who are obsessing about the sky above them. Something chaotic begins…

Quality

In the heat of the action.

When it comes to its story, I want to say that the crossover between Freex and Night Man is really short and it happened in the later part of the story. As far as crossovers go, this one is more like Freex-meets-Mangle. The first encounter between the team and Night Man is really underwhelming. As a spin-off tale of Break-Thru, this one dramatizes how a force of influence from the sky causes chaos on the people below. Anyone who is familiar with the existing forces on the moon within the Ultraverse will be able to relate with the concept of Break-Thru.  

When it comes to the other concept of this comic book, also interesting to follow was the significance (expressed in words) of J.D. Hunt and how he impacted the lives of each member of Freex through technology.

There is a decent amount of action as well as character development scenes to balance with the main story. Nothing spectacular to see though.

Conclusion

The Break-Thru effect on the people.

Freex #6 (1993) biggest feature is not really the expected crossover with Night Man. Really, its theme is about a group of freaks following another freak (Mangle) to do something to make their dreams of normalizing and improving their lives come true. This comic book shows just how vulnerable and manipulative the Freex really are as they don’t have a mature leader to guide them. Going back to crossing over with Night Man, this comic book is really the first of two parts.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Freex #6 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $14 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $42.

Overall, Freex #6 (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 The Strangers #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 enthusiasts, comic book collectors, 1990s culture enthusiasts and fans of Malibu Comics! Today we return to the Ultraverse through another tale of The Strangers which has been a pretty solid monthly series that I’ve been reviewing. As of this writing, I’m getting closer to finishing all 24 issues of this particular series and I can say that it has been a lot of fun doing retro comic book reviews of it. I’ve got a retro review about the 11th issue of The Strangers right here.

Before going to it, I should state a recap of the events in issue #10. That story had the Strangers (without Yrial who by then was held captive by her black tribe) doing a search by the sea in the Caribbean and they eventually discover a portal that sent them to another realm filled with monsters. After a big battle, the team attempted to get away only to fall over a cliff.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Strangers #11, 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 with the Strangers falling down from what turned out to be a very great height. While his teammates could not do anything, Zip-Zap uses his power to make the air whirl around them and land safely on the ground below.

As they are in the middle of nowhere, searching for the way back seemed like an impossibility. Electrocute realizes there is an answer sensing the something is present in that lost world they are in and she points to some far-away direction. Zip-Zap then proceeds to run towards it leaving the team behind…

Quality

A nice display of fine art and character development.

Starting with the writing, I should say that this comic book’s plot is very simplistic with its concept and clearly lacks the richness of the story told in issue #10. Technically, this story is more like a filler serving as a build-up to issue #12 (which itself has a deeper story filled with spectacle and lots of intrigue). That’s not to say this is a disappointing issue of The Strangers in relation to the overall quality of the series as a whole. It’s just different with its plot structuring. Along the way, there were some short but sweet character development moments that took place most notably with regards to the romance between Atom Bob and Lady Killer.

What this comic book excels at is the really fine and varied artwork done by Rick Hoberg. Through the scenes in which Zip-Zap runs and explores the unknown realm they are lost in, you will really see Hoberg’s great talent with visual details as well as his creativity with regards to making varied locations filled with creatures that are truly out of this world. For the lack of superhero action, Hoberg’s visuals are the true spectacle here.

Conclusion

Really great art by Rick Hoberg.

Even though its plot lacked depth and its execution in storytelling is very different, The Strangers #11 (1994) succeeds in expanding the lost realm and zones within the Ultraverse. As for building up suspense or excitement for issue #12, this comic book achieved it as well. For a comic book that lacked superhero action, this one did not end up boring and that’s quite an achievement by the creators.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #11 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $14.

Overall, The Strangers #11 (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 #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.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors, fans of 1990s culture and fans of Malibu Comics! Do you want to see another fight against evil within the Ultraverse? You will find it right here through The Strangers.

Last time around, The Strangers had to cut short their return to private life because they were need to deal with a new force of evil called Deathwish. What was revealed was that the person behind Deathwish turned out to be one of the many people who rode the very same San Francisco cable car with the members of The Strangers (when they were still civilians without powers) that was hit by energy from the sky.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Strangers #6, published by Malibu Comics in 1993 with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Rick Hoberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the impact of Deathwish still felt by The Strangers and the locals. Deathwish left behind a lot of physical damage and the team does what it can to repair it even though some emergency personnel are already present.

A short time later, an old survivor was found and was brought to a hospital for treatment. Yrial, Zip-Zap and Lady Killer decide to go to the hospital and observe the emergency procedure. Suddenly, a loud voice from somewhere was heard and Zip-Zap speedily went around to find the source. He found a hospital room which had a patient warning others that darkness has arrived.

Back inside the emergency room, something happens to the old survivor and Deathwish suddenly emerges out of thin air. Lady Killer is stunned with the sight of the monster’s return…

Quality

The Strangers fight Deathwish again.

Without spoiling important plot details, this story marks the second conflict between The Strangers and Deathwish. The good news here is that the script is well written and the creative duo found new ways to keep the rematch fresh and fun to read. What the Strangers did the previous time to beat Deathwish did not work anymore which forced their members to find new ways and tactics overcome the challenges. As for the villain, this comic book showed more of his personality (as opposed to his desire for power and absorbing life).

When it comes to character development, it’s pretty much non-existent here. The scene showing Yrial working with her magic does not count as character development but more of exposition of what she could do. It feels hollow but the visuals are nice to look at.

Conclusion

The Strangers helping with cleaning up the mess.

While The Strangers #6 (1993) is a fun read and really nice art drawn by Rick Hoberg, it still is a step down from its predecessor in terms of engagement and depth. The rematch between The Strangers and Deathwish was fun but it ended in a way that felt like a creative way of cheating readers who preferred to see a more engaging conclusion.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #6 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $14.

Overall, The Strangers #6 (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 The Solution #3 (1993)

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

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors, 1990s culture enthusiasts and fans of Malibu Comics! Are you ready for another return to the Ultraverse? I’ve got another retro review of The Solution.

Last time around, The Solution went to Japan on a mission that involved a secret meeting between leader Lela Cho/Tech and a man referred to as Kronstein. However, something unfortunate happened that led to violence. What The Solution encountered was a force of opposition in the form of another team (that was introduced also in issue #1).

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Solution #3, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story by the late James Hudnall and drawn by Darick Robertson (with ink work done by Barbara Kaalberg).

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in Los Angeles. A lady is struggling with finding her car key as two monstrous figures approach her. One of them is holding her set of keys. They fully transform into over-sized monsters with razor sharp teeth right in front of her. The monsters’ focus gets disrupted when they hear the sound of a harmonica being played by a man sitting on top of a car. As they approach him, the man grabs his rod and fights them fearlessly.

The next day in nearby Hollywood, Lela/Tech and her teammates have a meeting in a hotel room. Dropkick and Vurk express concern about Lela engaging in media interviews that could undercut what they have been trying to do. Lela does not see anything wrong about it and she reminds Dropkick that their team is a business and they could use the free advertising.

Apart from the media talk, The Solution is preparing to meet their new client at 9PM. Vurk, seeking some fresh air and use the free time, decides to head out for a while. Discreetly, Lela asks Aera to use her magic to put a trace on him…

Quality

Vurk in his monster form during his fight with the hunter of his race.

Like issue #2, this one continues to build-up the team but with one notable difference…more focus on the creepy looking Vurk (also referred to as Outrage). While it was established in issue #1 that, like Aera/Shadowmage, he is not human. Rather he belongs to a race called the Darkurians which are oversized monsters in their true forms. In this story, you get to see more of Vurk’s nature as a Darkurian as well as his personality complete with how much he has learned to walk along the many people around him.

This comic book also introduces readers to a new character who hunts Darkurians as part of his campaign to rid the world of them. As it turns out, that man has a history of conflict with Vurk and this issue reignites their conflict. This easily produces the spectacle of this comic book which is filled with hard-hitting action, collateral damage and action moves that Vurk could pull off only in his monster form. It’s pretty entertaining stuff.

Conclusion

The team in their private meeting.

The Solution #3 (1993) is a fun Ultraverse story that succeeded in building up the series’ concept but with more focus on Vurk. Vurk is not exactly an appealing character on face value but at least his background details and his rivalry with the hunter of his race added a good amount of depth into the story. It is also interesting to see Vurk trying his best to be good with the good guys (his team). Having read his incidental involvement with the team in issue #8, this comic book makes more sense out of him.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Solution #3 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $14 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $42.

Overall, The Solution #3 (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 The Strangers #5 (1993)

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

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors, 1990s culture enthusiasts and fans of Malibu Comics! As of this writing, I am coming close to finally reviewing all issues of The Strangers series of comic books under the Ultraverse line of Malibu Comics. If you have been following my retro reviews, I reviewed issue #23 which was the 2nd-to-the-last of all published issues of The Strangers.

Then I checked for issues I have not reviewed. I went on to review issues #14 and #15. Now I am about to review a few more issues that were published during the first six months of The Strangers.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Strangers #5, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Rick Hoberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins somewhere in California (shortly after parting ways with Hardcase and Choice). It was decided by the team to take a break from being the Strangers and return to their respective private lives.

Bob Hardin/Atom Bob returns to his parents at home and learns that not only were he and his teammates publicized in the local news, there are many reporters who arrived and stayed just outside their home seeking him.

Zip-Zap arrives in his old neighborhood and immediately encounters a local gang of his fellow black people. Grenade and Electrocute, who are in the same neighborhood as Atom Bob, walk down the street and start to get close with each other. Elena/Lady Killer goes back to her business while Yrial finds herself unable to return to her private life (at the floating island). Suddenly, someone on the sidewalk calls out to Yrial for help…

Quality

Suspense and tension builds up for the Strangers.

Given how hectic times were for The Strangers in the first four issues, this story is a welcome change of pace. The pacing was adjusted to give readers some much needed breathing space to help them focus on the characterization moments, to get to know each team member better and to realize what their place in the entire Ultraverse truly is. For one thing, it is nice to see Atom Bob with his folks and it is quite something to see Yrial finding herself somewhat lost and lonely in the middle of the city as she is unable to come back to her tribe on the floating island.

More on storytelling, this comic book still has a good amount of space left for spectacle which was structured in a way to be a pay-off for all the character development scenes that preceded it. That being said, the new villain introduced here is Deathwish who turns out to be quite powerful (powerful enough kill and make corpses rot faster than usual) and easily challenged the Strangers a lot. The encounter results some pretty interesting character moments for each team member. Deathwish also is one of the many other people who rode the same cable car with the Strangers on the day they got hit by energy from above.

More on the spectacle, I just love the way Steve Englehart and Rick Hoberg presented the teamwork dynamics of The Strangers in their fight with Deathwish.

Conclusion

Elena/Lady Killer as the very busy businesswoman.

The Strangers #5 (1993) is another entertaining read from the Englehart-Hoberg duo. This comic book further developed the characters and even gave readers a look at their private lives before resuming the superhero spectacle. It also tried to be socially relevant for the 1990s with insertions about AIDS, cancer and homosexuality (an abomination as clearly written in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 in the Holy Bible) which are channeled through one particular team member. More notably, it sheds light on the cable car incident from issue #1 to point out that the Strangers are truly not the only ones who got affected by the energy blast from the sky.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #5 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $14.

Overall, The Strangers #5 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 Prototype #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 enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of the Malibu Comics! It’s been months since the last time I reviewed a comic book of Prototype. For me Prototype is one of the more defining characters of the entire Ultraverse and I really enjoyed reading each issue of the monthly series (which started in 1993 along with many other UV titles). Prototype is not a mere imitation of Marvel Comics’ Iron Man. In fact, the armored character has a lot more depth and the overall concept of the Prototype monthly series involves corporate intrigue.

Now we can see more of the armored ultra in this look back at Prototype #14, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Len Strazewski and drawn by Roger Robinson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside a high-tech facility. An executive enters a room and approaches a powerful, technology enhanced being called Manhattan Project. He tells him to do his duty. In response, Manhattan Project (note: he appeared in Prime #18) grabs the executive by the throat and kills him.

Elsewhere, chaos strikes the city as the armored Gordon Bell unleashes his fury which Prototype, Ranger, Night Man and The Solution witnessed. Bell pointed at Prototype promising he will come back for him.

Some time later, Jimmy Ruiz (Prototype) visits and meets Lisa Lopez, the director of human resources. At this point, the destruction of Gordon Bell’s own office as well as the recent corporate merger put Jimmy in a bind with uncertainty. To his dismay, the job offered to him pays less than half of what he was making due to technical evaluations related to the merger. Even so, he decides to accept the new job…

Quality

The money shot!

This is an enjoyable, character-driven story of Prototype. It is a refreshing way of presenting the title character after having read lots of Prototype comic books that had the spotlight divided between Jimmy Ruiz and Bob Campbell. The corporate intrigue continues nicely in this story but the stakes have been raised not only with NuWare and Ultratech, but also with Jimmy Ruiz.

The Prototype pilot finds himself in a new stage of his life, one that is full of uncertainty and pain as his high-paying job is no more and a lot of secret technology records got destroyed. Apart from a destroyed career, Jimmy also has to struggle with the power surging in him which requires him to use the Prototype armor to reduce the extra power.

Prototype encounters Manhattan Project in this issue and I can say that it was not only action-packed but also had a nice combination of intensity and emotions. The said encounter was short but every moment of it was very enjoyable to read.

Conclusion

Major career challenge for Jimmy Ruiz.

Prototype #14 (1994) is a lot of fun to read and anyone who is true follower to Jimmy Ruiz will be happy to that there is very strong focus on him. It seems that this story marks the turning point of his life and sets the stage for more surprises and intrigue as the corporate world turned upside down.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prototype #14 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $14.

Overall, Prototype #14 (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 Freex #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, Ultraverse fans, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and all other geeks! Today, we revisit the Ultraverse for more 1990s comic book fun through another tale of Freex, the team of misfits who have no place to stay.

Last time around, the narrative of Freex suddenly got much stronger X-Men vibes as it was revealed that Freex member Ray/Boom Boy was brought in by Contrary (best known in UltraForce comics) to her team of students (each with different powers and abilities) called the Academy for the New Elite. The rest of the Freex eventually found their way to the secret base of Contrary’s academy.

With those details laid down, we can continue with this look back at Freex #11, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story by Gerard Jones and drawn by Ben Herrera.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside the secret facility of the Academy for New Elite. There the surviving members of Freex (Valerie/Pressure, Lewis/Anything, Angela/Sweetface and Michael/Plug) are restrained. Plug can’t do anything except speak gibberish physically as his mind is still connected with the Internet.

Contrary arrives with her students and she tells Freex that she herself works miracles in the minds of troubled young people with powers. She welcomes them to her academy. Valerie, who has often been a rebel, reacts by telling Contrary that she won’t brainwash her like her little “puppets”. In response, Contrary emphasized that her students joined her voluntarily.

Just moments after Lewis made an issue about their teammate Boom Boy getting abducted and asking what Contrary did to turn him against them, Boom Boy suddenly appears and rebukes him.

“She didn’t do nothing…except promise to teach me. Teach me everything my parents took away from me,” Boom Boy said. “I don’t want to be dumb anymore, Lewis.”

The Freex members are stunned…

Quality

Plug’s origin story is interesting but not engaging enough when compared with the main plot.

While the storytelling in the previous issue was a nice mix of surprise and intrigue, this comic book has an even more intriguing tale which really tested the bond that held Freex members together. A notable theme in the story is loyalty which was emphasized in the form of interactions between characters, as well as the student-mentor bond between the Academy’s students and their leader Contrary. It should also be stated that perceptions about becoming loyal to the leader and the struggle to win trust are nicely dramatized in this comic book.

More on the plot, I really enjoyed the confrontation between Contrary’s team and Freex as they symbolize the conflict between being nurtured (educated as students) and being free (freedom that comes with being social outcasts). There are some really nice twists that you should discover for yourselves. Oh yes, the superhero spectacle here are fun to read.

Conclusion

Freex are the youth who are free as social outcasts while Contrary leads a team of youth who are trained and nurtured.

Freex #11 (1994) is another solid entry in the monthly series. It has a more symbolic story and the dramatics have been ramped up. The story itself is pretty cohesive and combined with all the emotions and twists, it all makes sense. It even has key elements that will remind you about today’s developments and movements like the dreaded Cancel Culture, the sinister Democratic Socialists and the wicked Black Lives Matter movement. That being said, the side story emphasizing the origin of Plug just could not match the engagement of the main plot. Regardless, this comic book marks a notable turning point for the Freex as a whole.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Freex #11 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $14.

Overall, Freex #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 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 #21 (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 enthusiasts, comic book collectors and geeks! We go back yet again into the Ultraverse through the exploits of The Strangers which by this point are still adjusting over Atom Bob’s betrayal. The previous issue did not show much of the team as it told a mostly solo story of Zip-Zap.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Strangers #21, published in 1995 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Paul Abrams.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside a different type of aircraft. The Strangers, now with new member Teknight and old teammate Yrial, discuss matters about the unconscious Atom Bob whose body has been laid on a platform. In response to Yrial’s question about what should they do about him, Lady Killer (Atom Bob’s ex-lover) states that if a cure for him exists, they will find it. If no such cure exists, she states that the traitorous member should never wake up again.

After being informed by Lady Killer that she knows a private clinic in Europe that may have the solution to their problem, the Strangers get off the plane knowing that they should keep confidential what they just learned.

Shortly after watching Lady Killer’s private plane take off, Candy/Electrocute tells her teammates that they should just get away for a while. She decides to drive Grenade’s car. Suddenly, the car explored leaving Candy heavily damaged…

Quality

Here’s a look at Teknight, the new member of The Strangers.

This is another intriguing yet original story of The Strangers penned by Steve Englehart. To begin with, this is the first issue of this monthly series that saw Teknight actively taking part with the team and his being a new addition opened up really interesting conversations and interactions with existing team members like Grenade.

As the cover already shows, this one has spotlight on a severely damaged Candy. Still, it does not mean that this is a solo story about her (like Zip-Zap’s tale in issue #20) rather it is still a team story with Candy’s tragedy serving as a major plot point. Along the way, there were some scenes focused on Teknight which opens up interesting background details about him. Zip-Zap, who had the spotlight for most of issue #20, proves his heroic value in this comic book.

There are other notable Ultraverse details here and there that would encourage you to check out other UV comic books. What exactly those details are is for you to read this comic book and find out for yourselves.

Conclusion

Zip-Zap doing something heroic.

The Strangers #21 (1995) is intriguingly enjoyable to read. Steve Englehart deserves a lot of credit for keeping the stories of this series fresh, fun and engaging. For his part, Paul Abrams did a fine job with the art and he successfully captured the overall style of presentation of the series and his take on the characters kept them recognizable to my eyes.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #21 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $27.

Overall, The Strangers #21 (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. 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 #18 (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 enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! We take another journey into the Ultraverse through the exploits of Mantra whose story and character development got more intriguing since after the conclusion of the Archimage Quest.

Last time around, Lukasz and Eden took their relationship even further The infiltration of Aladdin’s secret facility took place and Mantra even met a certain tycoon (best known for interacting with The Strangers). The events of the last issue then continued into the Godwheel mini-series and into this next Mantra comic book I’m about to review.

Are you excited yet? What do you hope to see with regards to Lukasz and Eden? We can find out what happens next in Mantra #18, published in 1995 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Scott Lee.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside a high-tech facility. An executive named Paul expressed that the laboratory will never be operational in time for the new year as a result of what happened previously. Several armed men are on the floor searching.

Suddenly, a pink portal opens with Lukasz (in a male body) and Mantra (now occupied by Eden’s soul) coming out. The two just came back from much struggle in another realm and Eden has not yet fully familiarized herself with Mantra’s body and magic. Noticing Eden/Mantra’s hesitation, Lukasz takes action against the armed men. Eden slowly blasts a few enemies before Lukasz saves her from being attacked from the rear.

Suddenly, someone from nowhere throws a few gas grenades at them…

Quality

The romance weakened by the art style.

Starting with the storytelling, the plot in this comic book can be quite jarring with regards to Lukasz and Eden as this one took place after the Godwheel mini-series. How Eden fully became Mantra (which is her rightful body of flesh in the first place) is fully explained in the said mini-series.

The romance between Lukasz and Eden here is easily the biggest selling point of this comic book. After going through rough action and misadventure in Godwheel, it is in this comic book where the two really express love for each other in the flesh. This is a welcome change considering how long we’ve seen Lukasz occupy Eden’s body followed by Lukasz and Eden being spiritually linked with each other. This one marks the start of a new chapter of the Mantra series. As for what the cover of the comic book showed, that is something you will have to discover for yourselves and it is worth the read.

Sadly, I should state that I found the art by Scott Lee here looking sub-par. There is this cartoony aesthetic to all the characters and there were shots in which their bodies looked disproportionate from certain angles. Lee’s take on visualizing Boneyard, Warstrike, NecroMantra and others all looked cartoony. This is the weakest looking Mantra issue I’ve read as of this writing.

Conclusion

Lukasz in a male body, Eden in Mantra form.

Once again, author Mike W. Barr succeeded in advancing the story and character developments with Mantra #18 (1995) putting the series into another storytelling phase with Lukasz (the long-time Mantra) and Eden as separate, living beings more involved with each other than ever before. The art quality this time went down a lot but the storytelling saved the comic book from turning into a disaster.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #18 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $21.

Overall, Mantra #18 (1995) 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 #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.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! As you might have seen in my most recent retro reviews of Mantra comic books, I’ve been following the Archimage Quest which really brought the title character (Lukasz occupying the body of Eden Blake whose soul he displaced) to a several places and situations. She got to be with The Strangers temporarily (The Strangers #13 and Mantra #12) in pursuing the wicked Boneyard, went into the fantasy realm where men and women are divided, and more.

While issue #14 marked the end of the said quest, there is still more to come in the next Mantra issue I recently reviewed. In fact it is the aftermath of the Archimage Quest and we can all find out more in Mantra #15, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Mark Heike.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Mantra surprised by Boneyard while being bothered mentally by Eden who warns that they may end up both getting killed. Appearing in a misty form, Boneyard enjoys the fact that Mantra killed her superior Archimage (whom she thought was Boneyard). As the wicked man fades away, he tells her, “I shall return to take my revenge on our wedding night…”

Right then, Boneyard’s troops arrive led by Notch who at this point of time is very determined to defeat Mantra. Mantra makes short work of the troops until Notch is the one left standing. In response to Notch’s arrogance that he will be brought back to life by Boneyard as before, Mantra tells him that his leader abandoned him and notices him getting fearful suddenly. Mantra kills him successfully.

Mantra and Eden communicate with each other. The armed sorceress tells her that the war will never end until Boneyard is killed and she becomes a man again. As far as Eden is concerned the war is pointless…

Quality

Mantra (Lukasz inside) interacts with Eden Blake.

As before, Mike W. Barr continues to deliver very solid writing. To break it down, the aftermath of the Archimage Quest was done with nice care filled with lots of relevant details to read not to mention the lively portrayal of Mantra making an impact on the people in the fantasy realm especially in the absence of Topaz who, at this point in the story, was on her way to the contemporary world where she was destined to join UltraForce.

The 2nd half of the story is set in the contemporary world. While Mantra spent days in the fantasy realm, a certain Eden Blake returned to the lives of Evie, Gus, Jr. and former husband Gus. The Blake family, combined with Prime getting involved with Mantra in the contemporary world, were also nicely dramatized.

For the most part, Mark Heike’s art is good although his take on Prime looks awkward.

Conclusion

Mantra takes on Notch and other troops of Boneyard.

Mantra #15 (1994) is a fun comic book to read and it is more layered this time mainly due to the settings and the character developments that happened in between. The Archimage Quest, in my opinion, ended satisfactorily and this aftermath added more punch to it.

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

Mantra #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