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 explores 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

A Look Back at Prime #13 (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! Did you guys and gals have a restful Christmas weekend? I sure did! Anyway, we are about to return to the Ultraverse through the eyes of Prime. The catch here is that Prime will face not one but two guys to battle with.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Prime #13, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Len Strazewski and Gerard Jones, and illustrated by Darick Robertson. This is another one of those Ultraverse 1st anniversary comic books.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Kevin Green hitchhiking alone by the road. A man driving a car allows him to come in and ride. Just a few moments after, the man reaches for Kevin’s left thigh which convinces him that the one driving is a pervert. Kevin hits the man’s face and gets off the car. He struggles to find a ride going home in the evening.

At home, Kevin wakes up from a nightmare as his mother tries to help him. His mom can easily tell that her son is troubled. During lunch break at school, realizes he is having trouble fitting in with the students and reminds himself that Kelly likes Prime a lot, and so does her mother. The students stare at him as he walks on. Eventually, Kevin meets some guys watching a portable TV showing news broadcast of two guys – the washed-up celebrity Kuttner and a certain bodybuilder – whom he previously encountered as Prime.

The said two guys are challenging Prime to a battle royale…

Quality

The battle royale itself is the highlight and alone makes this comic book worth buying.

As usual, the writing duo of Strazewski-Jones created another engaging story about Kevin and his superhero secret identity as Prime. Kevin shown struggling with his personal life? Check! Great superhero action with Prime? Check! In-depth characterization? Check!

What makes this comic book stand out is the battle royale between Prime and the two guys mention earlier, who each have very strong reasons and determination to defeat Prime. As it is indeed a very high-octane battle royale in the truest sense of the words, there was still sufficient room for readers to understand what Prime thought as he fights and dodges in the battle. Very clearly defined are the intentions of Kuttner and Planet Class, and the personalities of each plus Prime really gave their conflict a very unique flavor of its own. The battle royale is not a mindless event but rather very colorful and character-driven.

As for the art, I find Darick Robertson’s work here pretty good and many times he seemed to try to emulate the unique style and approach the late Norm Breyfogle defined the Prime series with. Although Kevin looks more like a college student, most characters were still recognizable. This one looks good!

Conclusion

It sure is hard for any teenager to be perceived as a social outcast.

Prime #13 (1994) is a very entertaining read. It does not use the typical good-versus-evil formula of superhero comic books but it sure is loaded with a lot of personality following Prime, Kuttner and Planet Class.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prime #13 (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 copies of the variant edition and the variant newsstand edition cost $8 and $26 respectively.

Overall, Prime #13 (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 Prime #7 (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 and geeks! Today we will take another journey back into the Ultraverse touching on their first major crossover event Break-Thru but told through the exploits of Prime.

For the newcomers reading this, Break-Thru was a 2-part crossover that involved all the Ultraverse characters in multiple ways. There were Break-Thru crossover spinoff issues of Mantra, Hardcase, Prototype, The Strangers, Solitaire and The Solution to name some. This time, we will find out Break-Thru in an issue of Prime.

What exactly happened to Prime in relation to Break-Thru? We can find out together in this look back at Prime #7, published by Malibu Comics in 1993 with a story written by Gerard Jones and Len Strazewski, and drawn by the late Norm Breyfogle.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Prime, wearing a special suit with air tanks, flying into space for a mission on the moon. Even as he is struggling with breaking through the atmosphere, he knows he cannot afford any setbacks knowing that US President Bill Clinton and military officials are counting on him. It has been some time since he was picked up by Colonel Samuels and his team after the big fight with Max-Man. As he approaches the moon, Prime expressed how much has changed over the past few days from attending science class to working secretly for the government.

After struggling long, Prime finally arrives on the moon’s surface albeit roughly. As he flies around searching for clues, a solid structure of rock suddenly rises from the surface leaving Prime no room to dodge it…

Quality

Prime on to something on the moon.

After going through lots of stories about superhero action, misadventures, intrigue and personal struggles as recorded in the first six issues of Prime, this particular story has a more unpredictable story which is refreshing to read. For one thing, this one has a whole lot of twists that actually test Prime’s sanity and keeps the narrative interesting throughout. Similar to what happened in Mantra #6, Prime encounters images of several people he knew while on the moon. This thing happens to be one of the capabilities of the entity on the moon.

As expected from the creative team of Jones and Strazewski, the writing is of high-quality. For his part, Norm Breyfogle continued to deliver striking visuals and in this issue he really showed off Prime’s modified look to the full extent.  

Conclusion

Prime and his thoughts as he travels to the moon.

Prime #7 (1993) is a pretty good comic book to read. Ultimately it is a worthy build-up to the Break-Thru crossover and more importantly it continues to show why Prime is truly one of the major characters of the Ultraverse.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prime #7 (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, Prime #7 (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 #13 (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 1990s comics! This is another examination of the Ultraverse as told through the exploits of Mantra, the pretty armored lady whose body is occupied by the soul of the male warrior Lukasz.

Previously I reviewed Giant Size Mantra, which was a one-shot comic book that was part of the Archimage Quest storyline and it was indeed a well-made Mantra story that fit in nicely with the monthly series. That same comic book is notable for having the debut of Gwendor’s queen Topaz who went on to become a member of the memorable superhero team UltraForce.

With the details made clear, we can find out what happens next in the Archimage Quest in this look back at Mantra #13, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Jason Armstrong.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in an unknown realm. Mantra (wearing her usual mask and armor) and Eden Blake are walking together and talking. After exchanging some words about the displacement of souls, Eden clings to Mantra and apologizes from now realizing what a shock the situation is to Mantra on top of everything else that happened. Eden tells Mantra there is something she wants from her and addresses Lukasz by name.

Suddenly Mantra/Eden Blake/Lukasz wakes up to the call of a technician. She is still in Gwendor and being completely naked, she goes through the process of armoring which is done with highly advanced technology. With her new armor on, Mantra is approached by queen Topaz who brings to her a notable sword to use. They discuss some matters as they walk together.

Meanwhile back in the United States, Eden’s daughter Evie visits a shop and talks to the old lady behind the counter. The young girl asks her about magic…

Quality

In the realm Mantra is in, it’s difficult for men and women to work together.

This is one very unique story of Mantra. Carrying over the elements from Giant Size Mantra, you will get to see the protagonist still spending time in the women-filled Gwendor (note: opposite it is another city filled with men) and starts her alliance with queen Topaz who is a very hands-on type of leader, willing to take risks going into battle. As Mantra does not have her mask and armor, she learns to use the magic power within her to make things happen. This is kinda like seeing Marvel’s Tony Stark adjusting and taking action without his Iron Man suit of armor.

Events aside, this story shows a significant development of Lukasz/Mantra’s personality as she adjusts to the ways of the men and women in their realm. The science fantasy elements of the story gave this comic book a unique style of visual presentation nicely pulled off by the illustrator. When it comes to the Archimage Quest, both Mantra and Boneyard are respectively struggling with disadvantages which is a nice storytelling touch. I should state that in this particular story, the complexities between males and females in the new realm is explored.

Conclusion

Yet another new thing worn by Mantra.

Mantra #13 (1994) is another solid story to read. As it continues the quest for Archimage, it explores more of the science fantasy world Mantra finds herself in as well as the differences between the two local societies separated by gender.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #13 (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 variant edition costs $12.

Overall, Mantra #13 (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

Fans of the Ultraverse are encouraged to visit the Ultraverse Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/73184525691

A Look Back at Mantra #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 geeks, comic collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! We are about to return to the Ultraverse through the view of Mantra. Since the story of issue #9 and issue #10, the stakes have been raised as Mantra not only found herself in bigger danger as well as revelations from the past related to the long-time war between Archimage and Boneyard. Not only is Mantra still being targeted by Boneyard (who is so evil he wants to marry Mantra and make love to her body even though he knows the soul of the male warrior Lukasz is occupying it) but also by sorcerers from the Earth’s realm. In other words, Mantra/Lukasz really has trouble in different realms.

Will something unexpected turn out in the next story of Mantra? We can find out in this look back at Mantra #11, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Robb Phipps.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Mantra standing completely naked in the full view of Boneyard, his three wives and the four other thugs (who hunted Mantra). Boneyard states, “Your choices are clear, Lukasz—surrender to me and become first among equals in my harem…or be destroyed by my wives—whose powers now equal yours!”

Suddenly the three wives fire beams of energy towards Mantra who successfully blocks them using magic to create a transparent shield. Very quickly, Mantra sees an opportunity to get the other thugs involved as targets of the three wives so she moves toward her previous attackers. The three wives’ attacks cause the thugs to retreat. Boneyard recognizes one of the thugs as the son of his rival Archimage.

Suddenly, the thugs attack Boneyard’s three wives with energy causing them to fall down on the floor. As the conflict shifted, Mantra begins to realize something.

“I knew the mask enhance the mystic power of this body, but I didn’t realize the mask and armor would have the same effect on Boneyard’s wives as well. Figures he didn’t choose them just for their looks. At any rate…I can’t walk around here like a Playboy centerfold all day! I’m getting cold,” Mantra thought.

Quality

This is the first time Mantra wore a new costume which was carried over to issue #12.

No surprise, Mike W. Barr successfully kept the story engaging not only maintaining the engagement carried over from the few previous issues but by raising the stakes for Mantra personally while pulling off some pretty notable revelations that date back before the events of issue #1. Going beyond Boneyard and his three wives, there is a lot of fantasy related stuff waiting to be discovered which further adds depth to Mantra’s struggle (finding a male body to occupy and the ways to leave Eden Blake’s body). The plot really thickened with the revelations and how they turned out is something that you yourselves must pick up a copy of this comic book and read.

Of course, having reviewed issue #12 recently, it is no surprise that the build-up of engagement and suspense in this comic book contributed to its successor. More importantly, by the time you reach the end of this comic book, you will get a deeper understanding of what has been going and what preceded them. Clearly Mike W. Barr made solid preparations and took his time with the revelations just as he kept on telling the present-day story of Mantra.

Like the previous issue, I enjoyed Robb Phipps’ artwork here. If you were disappointed with the cartoony aesthetic of Terry Dodson’s work in issue #10, you will like the expressions as well as the overall style of Phipps.

Conclusion

With a male soul inside the body of Eden Blake, Mantra quickly analyzes the messy situation to find an advantage.

Mantra #11 (1994) is indeed a pretty entertaining and compelling Ultraverse comic book. There is nothing like watching the spectacle happen in between moments of Mantra realizing answers to her questions, and learning new details (including stuff that emphasized how rotten, how wicked and twisted Boneyard truly is as the major villain of not only this particular series but also of the Ultraverse itself) that deepened the narrative for readers.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #11 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, Mantra #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 Solution #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.

Welcome back, superhero geeks, comic book collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! Some time ago, I reviewed the sixth issue of The Solution and it turned out to be a pretty compelling and fun comic book to read. I was pleasantly surprised by its high quality and presentation, and by the end I found Lela Cho/Tech (the leader of The Solution) to be a very interesting character of the Ultraverse. Clearly the creative duo of James Hudnall (who also wrote Hardcase) and John Statema literally scored a home run with The Solution #6.

As The Solution #6 focused on the background story of Tech, its portrayal of the current-day events was laced with suspense, drama and intrigue that only teased what could happen in the next moment. What else could be told about Lela Cho’s past and what might happen next in the present day? We can find out in this look back at The Solution #7, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Hudnall and drawn by Statema.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Lela Cho accompanied by Troy Wilde standing in front of her father’s grave. The two don’t seem to know that they are being spied on from a distance. A group has set up snipers to take them down.

As the two begin to talk, Lela tells Troy details from her past. She recalls that after the sudden death of her father, she could not fully gain the inheritance from her father – the corporation – as its board of directors refused to accept her. As it turned out, a crime gang anticipated her every move and stole her company. To enhance herself, she paid specialists to install wetware implants into her body to make her the mistress of electronic devices.

She arrived in the city of New York already aware that she has been marked by her enemies, and she knew they would come for her. In New York, she meets with Peter Bazinni to seek help. Not only is he a man with many powerful connections, he was also her old flame. While Peter admitted he could not help her in her conflict with the international crime gang, she gives her a reference to another professional who is her best bet. His name was Troy Wilde…   

Quality

Discovering the secret locations.

James Hudnall delivered another pretty solid story. It’s got a nice mix of elements here and there. From time to time, I felt like I was reading a detective story, then a murder tale, then a hard action tale and then a hard-edged superhero tale. While this comic book continued on telling the origin of Lela Cho, it shifted focus on the background of Troy Wilde who would eventually join the team with the codename Dropkick. How Lela and Troy first interacted with each other was very carefully crafted with believable dialogue and well-defining personalities from each (as reflected in the way they talked with each other). Another member of The Solution appeared in here is as well.

What surprised me here was the revelation of a certain villainess. At first, she looked like a probably disposable villainess but proved to be more significant than meets the eye. If you get to read the succeeding issues of The Solution, you will realize what I just stated.

As with his past works, John Statema’s art here is pretty good. The good stuff he delivered in issue #6 continued to shine here.

Conclusion

Lela Cho’s ultra ability to hack systems and alter digital stuff would help her fit in nicely with this age of social media and streaming.

The Solution #7 (1994) is not only a worthy follow-up to its predecessor, it is one of the stronger origin-type comic books of the Ultraverse as a whole. While the previous issue was focused mainly on Lela Cho, this one shows Troy Wilde/Dropkick making his first involvement with her as well as the eventual formation of their team. At this stage, the story of how The Solution got formed really took shape here. I should state, however, that the level of engagement fell down a bit compared to the previous issue.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Solution #7 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, The Solution #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

A Look Back at Mantra #10 (1994)

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

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! We are about continue the retro review of comics from the Mantra monthly series. Previously, details and a close friend of Eden Blake from her past came back which obviously caught Lukasz (the male warrior occupying Eden’s body since issue #1) off-guard and added further pressure on him. And then something happened during the wedding of that close friend which compelled Mantra to fight someone in armor which eventually led to some revelations.

What will happen next to Mantra? We can all find out in this look back at Mantra #10, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and illustrated by Rob Phipps (who illustrated Mantra #4). This comic book is another one of those flip-side comics with the other side being Ultraverse Premiere #2 which contains short stories within the Ultraverse.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the middle of a city when a man arrives at his office at a place called the Conjurirs’ Club. Upon entering, he is surprised to see three sinister looking men and one of them identifies him by his name – Edgar Strauss. Refusing to give in to them, Strauss puts up a seraphic shield. One of the magic users hits Strauss with force pushing him into his office chair. A servant of Strauss comes into the office but is confronted by another man with a hideous looking chest. Strauss suddenly gets overwhelmed with visions. In response to his question, the three men wanted information about Mantra whom they describe to be a witch.

Over at the Blake residence, Lukasz/Eden wakes up after having a very disturbing dream. It turns out, the dream had been repeating. Looking at the mirror, he sees Eden’s face and thought to himself: Still, it’s not much worse than my life which is a nightmare. I’m a warrior. I should be fighting the foes of Archimage with broadswords and mace…instead I was reincarnated as a woman – Eden, a housewife…worse, a housewife with kids!

After going through the morning traditions of feeding Eden’s son and daughter, sending them to school and getting dressed for work, he reports to work at the office inside the highly secured facility of Aladdin in southern California. While working as Eden, Lukasz uses magic to access the digital files via the computer. Suddenly, someone touches his shoulder from behind…

Quality

Mantra using a piece of the armor that the antagonist in issue #9 used.

I’ll start first with the art. Robb Phipps, like his previous Mantra work, delivered a fine job visualizing the script with a smooth pace, drawing spectacle nicely and making Mantra and the established characters look recognizable. I also like the way the artist drew facial expressions.

When it comes to the story, this one is even more intriguing and surprising than issue #9. The startling revelations from Lukasz’s past and his history with his tribe under Archimage expanded further here and this added more to the conflict with Boneyard. These revelations confirmed that not everything in the Archimage-Boneyard war is as simple as black and white. When it comes to characterization, Mike W. Barr really developed Lukasz in Eden’s body further and it was pretty notable to see Lukasz (who was oriented to fight with weapon instead of magic) become more adjusted using magic more proficiently while getting around the physical weakness of the lady’s body he is occupying.

As mentioned before, sorcery is an abomination in Christianity and this comic book further adds elements of the occult into the narrative. There was even a short scene of Boneyard (himself an abomination) in a location that looks like Hell.

Conclusion

Homosexuality hinted on the part of the man? Insanity perhaps?

If I were to describe Mantra #10 (1994), it’s an obvious shift to more fantasy and sorcery elements than the previous issues. It certainly is not a tale about good-versus-evil because Mantra is not exactly innocent (note: Lukasz is an established killer and has displaced so many people’s lives) even when compared to Boneyard. Technically, Boneyard is pretty much the Ultraverse version of Satan.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #10 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $12.

Overall, Mantra #10 (1994) 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