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 #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.

A lot has changed with Mantra since the title character got more involved with the elements (both in character and in plotting) with the different realms which led to a particular quest about her captured leader Archimage. In the last issue, not only were Lukasz (the male soul who occupied the body of Eden Blake and became Mantra) and Eden Blake continued to spiritually interact with each other (going as far as having feelings for each other), the impostor living with Eden’s family was revealed.

Considering the events that took place since then, one has to wonder where would Mike W. Barr lead the Mantra series to next. We can all find out in this look back at Mantra #17, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story by Barr and illustrations done by Jason Armstrong.  

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in a secret, high-tech facility of Aladdid. Lukasz (as Mantra) quietly begins infiltrating the place by taking out one of the armed guards and doing what he could to gain more access around. Eden tells Lukasz that she does not the fallen guard to be hurt and that her time is almost over. She reiterates to Lukasz that he has to live her life and take care of her children.

Shortly after wearing the Aladdin guard uniform, Lukasz starts to get involved with the other guards. He witnesses a wetware engineering work in progress which reveals a scientist working on a so-called patient (the subject).

Suddenly, the subject begins to move causing trouble in the laboratory. Realizing that the engineer is having trouble dealing with the subject already moving, the Aladdin guards (including Lukasz in disguise) enter the place. As the two guards fire their weapons against the subject, Lukasz instead uses one of the computers to gain access to classified information…

Quality

Time with Eden’s family.

After going through the mysticism, the intrigue and threads of Mantra’s past in the last several issues, this comic book’s story is a nice change of setting and concept. Instead of the fantasy elements that pretty much dominated Mantra stories, this one has a sci-fi flavor as well as corporate intrigue (which is pretty prominent in Prototype comics and Hardcase comics) and the very concept of this story is pretty good.

Along the way, the story shows the aftermath of the death of a certain uncle named Moe (once occupied by Thanasi, a long-time rival of Lukasz’s), Mantra having a reunion with a key character from issue #1 and even meeting a notable supporting character from The Strangers comics. The good news here is that Mike W. Barr wrote a very strong script that not only resonates with Ultraverse fans but also tell a cohesive story packed with spectacle, character development and something very notable that happened (which I never anticipated).  

Conclusion

Infiltrating a top secret facility.

Mantra #17 (1994) is not only fun and compelling to read. It is also refreshing and, as if the cover was not obvious enough, marked the beginning of a new chapter in the life of Mantra.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #17 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $15.

Overall, Mantra #17 (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 #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, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! This is my first Ultraverse retro comic book review of this new year and it will be about Mantra once again. To put things in order, the Archimage Quest is over and its aftermath has been done. Mantra is back in the contemporary world and, along the way, has communicated spiritually with the soul of Eden Blake (whose body has since been occupied by Lukasz). Quite intriguingly, Lukasz expresses romantic feelings for Eden in the spiritual realm. At the household of the Blakes, a certain Eden Blake returned to the lives of the children and has made moves to remarry ex-husband Gus.

You want to find out more about Lukasz and Eden? Who exactly is that woman in the Blake household? We can find out in this look back at Mantra #16, 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 California. Mantra started flying into the air leaving Kevin Green/Prime at the front of his home. While flying, Lukasz communicates with the soul of Eden Blake who continues to insist that he should abandon the fantasy of them loving each and other, and simply accept his role living as a woman and living her life. Still clinging on to feelings, Mantra/Lukasz refuses to accept losing Eden.

Mantra quietly enters the Blake household and quickly encounters Evie (Eden’s daughter), whom she has not seen since the Archimage Quest started. Evie does not realize that Mantra is actually her mother’s body in disguise and thus she treats her like a heroic celebrity. Evie reveals to Mantra that her parents are getting remarried.

Just after leaving Evie and the room, Mantra spots the other Eden Blake by the poolside socializing with Gus and a few guests (including a certain old man on a wheel chair). Eden tells Mantra/Lukasz that the said lady is the impostor…

Quality

Pay close attention to the details.

I can say that the story and script were well-written by Mike W. Barr which is not surprising since he really set the overall direction of the Mantra monthly series and he took his time on doing twists and surprises. The theme of this particular issue is identity crisis which reflects Lukasz being in Eden’s body, Eden being in the spiritual realm as a displaced soul and the impostor living with Eden’s family.

When it comes to characterization, Lukasz is still focused on becoming a man again but already he adjusted a lot already filling Eden’s role as a mother as well as an employee of Aladdin. His newfound closeness with Eden’s soul added a lot of new freshness in this series and this is highlighted further now that the Archimage Quest has finally concluded. By this time, Lukasz and Eden are a romantic pair and the male warrior expressed that he has gotten tired of fifteen centuries of fighting and hopping from one body to another, displacing so many souls and ruining their respective personal lives.

As for the plot, this one will remind you about what happened in issue #9. It has a lot to do preparations for a wedding and a conflict between people who wield magic. The plot has a nice surprise which I urge you to find out yourselves.  

Conclusion

More interactions between Mantra and Eden.

Mantra #16 (1994) is an entertaining Ultraverse comic book to read. As usual, it has a strong story as well as strong characterization which makes it compelling. Finding out who exactly is the impostor was well worth it

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

Overall, Mantra #16 (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 #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 Mantra #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.

Hey comic book fans. Are you looking for more science fantasy stories and concepts within the Ultraverse? There is more in the Archimage Quest storyline told within the Mantra monthly series spearheaded by Mike W. Barr.

To put things in perspective, as recalled in issue #1, Lukasz got killed the last time he was in a male body shortly after the evil Boneyard defeated Archimage (Lukasz’s superior) which led to him getting reincarnated into the body of Eden Blake (displacing her soul). Lukasz-occupied Eden later acquired from Katinya a relic which helped her gain a mystical armor. Before dying, Katinya revealed that it was Archimage’s plan all along to have Lukasz placed in a woman’s body because his long-term use of weapons in fighting Boneyard did not work.

Since then, Lukasz has been struggling not only to stay alive, to keep on beating Boneyard’s forces and other forms of opposition, but also to live life as a woman with the family of Eden. After some time, Mantra temporarily joins The Strangers in confronting Boneyard (told in The Strangers #13 and Mantra #12). Afterwards, Mantra entered into a new dimension where two societies of separated men and women exist. The women are led by their queen Topaz. Together Topaz and Mantra led a group on a mission concerning Boneyard and Archimage.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Mantra #14, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Mark Heike.

The cover.

Early story

The story begin with Mantra and Eden Blake together. Suddenly Mantra’s appearance changes into a man.

In the present, Mantra is leading the group of men and woman in the absence of Topaz. As they try to take Boneyard by surprise, they encounter a caravan of people called the Tradesmen. One of them recognizes her as Lukasz and they met in another place some time ago. Being trade-oriented and very focused on honor, they make a deal which provides Mantra’s group some much-needed assistance in their mission…

Quality

Mantra versus one of Boneyard’s wives.

At this stage of the Archimage Quest, Mike W. Barr really raised the stakes by adding more twists, more intrigue and more references to the past. All of that were achieved backed with very strong writing, resulting a story that was more engaging than the previous issue. Not to be outdone is the spotlight given on the family of Eden Blake on Earth during the absence of Lukasz/Mantra. When it comes to the art, Mark Heike did a good job drawing Mantra and other related characters all of which are recognizable.

Conclusion

A deal made with one of the Tradesmen.

Mantra #14 (1994) is a fun read. At this stage in the life of the protagonist, the stakes were not only raised higher but things also got more complex particularly with Mantra’s interactions with certain enemies she encountered as well as certain characters who support opposition against Boneyard. It should be noted that there are still some fresh new details about Archimage’s organized strategy about having Lukasz contained in the body of Eden Blake. There was a solid build-up for the tension and intrigue, and there was nice pay-off in the end.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #14 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, Mantra #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 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 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

A Look Back at Prototype #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 geeks, comic book collectors and fans of the Ultraverse. In this latest Ultraverse-related retro comic book review, we will check out what happened to Prototype and his companions after the events that took place in issue #12. I personally enjoyed that particular comic book and it has been almost three months since I last reviewed an issue of Prototype.

Now we can start this look back at Prototype #13, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Len Strazewski and drawn by Dean Zachary.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with TV news coverage of an explosion that happened at one of the buildings along Wall Street. The TV newscaster reports that another battle between ultras rocked the headquarters of Ultratech in downtown Manhattan which sparks rumors of corporate infighting.

Behind the scenes at the corporate tower, Jimmy Ruiz/Prototype, Bob Campbell/Ranger and Felicia Campbell discuss matters in front of the robot Prototype 2000 (the same machine responsible for the loss of Bob’s arm) which projects an image of Ultratech chairman Gordon Bell as its head. They noticed that the robot thinks and acts like Gordon Campbell, even going as far as calling the name of a secretary who left the company some years back. Felicia believes the robot has some sort of body detachment syndrome. For Bob, it does not matter as Gordon Bell still owns a controlling interest in the corporation.

After some intense talk, Jimmy uses his Prototype armor switch off Prototype 2000 but got blasted by energy which pushed him back to Bob and Felicia. Prototype 2000 then shows the virtual Gordon Bell telling “Katie” to turn the TV on so he can see how the company stock is performing…

Quality

How do you you deal with a machine that actually thinks and acts like a human?

I can declare that Len Strazewski really ramped up the corporate intrigue several notches high in this particular issue. There is a lot of corporate world talk and the good news here was that nothing ended up being boring. The most notable aspect of the story was the presence of Prototype 2000 with the mind of Gordon Bell really reacting to the corporate developments. Of course, there was still sufficient focus on the protagonist Prototype piloted by Jimmy Ruiz. At this stage of the Prototype series, Jimmy has gone through not only many battles using the powered suit of armor but several setbacks in his personal life. Apart from the turmoil at Ultratech, Jimmy not only has to keep his job but also save his reputation. Not to be outdone is Bob Campbell (the original Prototype pilot) whose relationship with Felicia got developed a bit more and their exchange of dialogue was nicely written.

Within the story is a major twist that really added a whole lot of depth into the narrative. It’s a twist that I did not anticipate and I strongly recommend you discover it yourselves once you read this comic book. Oh, and there is a certain supporting character from the Mantra series who also appeared here.

As for the art, Dean Zachary did a descent job visualizing Len Strazewski’s script and capturing the typical smooth sequencing of Prototype in action scenes. There is enough scenes of spectacle here to keep you entertained.

Conclusion

Jimmy Ruiz, Bob Campbell and Felicia discuss matters in the presence of virtual Gordon Bell.

I can say that I had a blast reading Prototype #13 (1994). To put things in perspective, this one is just a part of the Hostile Takeover storyline that eventually connected with other characters of the Ultraverse such as the Night Man and The Solution (a heroes-for-hire team). The writing of Len Strazewski is so good, this one is worth reading all over again. It should be noted that topics like corporate intrigue or business world internal affairs got presented with a strong flavor of superhero stuff that prevented the story from turning into a bore. This is one intriguing and compelling read. Lastly, I should state that this comic book is one of those Ultraverse Premiere flipside issues, the other side of which contained short stories about Iron Clad, Pixx of UltraForce, Flood and Lady Killer of The Strangers.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prototype #13 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, Prototype #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 Mantra #9 (1994)

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

Welcome back superhero geeks, comic book collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! Can’t get enough of Mantra? There is a lot to look forward to in my latest review of the Mantra monthly series of the 1990s under the creative leadership of Mike W. Barr.

In Mantra #8, the male soul in the lady’s body had an encounter with Boneyard’s soldiers in a fantasy-themed amusement park which was a very intriguing setting considering the mysticism the series often used. Will there be another intriguing event that awaits Mantra? Find out in this look back at Mantra #9, published in 1994 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 arriving home from battle during the evening. Using magical powers, she instantly changes her clothes to become Eden Blake. As she approaches the entrance, she thought to herself, “It’s hard to believe I’m really a man, wearing the body of Eden Blake. I hope I don’t have to live her life much longer.”

Suddenly a ball of light arrives and Mantra senses it to be an attack. After instantly changing into her armor, she strikes the ball with the sword of fangs, zaps it and watches it fly away. She instantly changes back to Eden Black and enters the home.

Upon entering, she gets a surprise hug by Eden Blake’s old roommate Lila and guy named Jim. Lila reveals that she and Jim are going to get married, and Eden will get to be their maid of honor.

Lukasz, who has been living in Eden’s body for some time now, finds the situation uncomfortable…

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The male warrior Lukasz (occupying Eden Blake’s body) taking part in preparation for Lila’s wedding.

This one has a truly intriguing story about Lukasz struggling not only with being a mother in the body of Eden Blake, but also with dealing with one of Eden’s closest friends in life. It is very cleverly written by Mike W. Barr and the core concept of the story really developed Lukasz/Mantra in a rather refreshing way. In many ways, Lukasz does not find himself trapped by Boneyard’s armed soldiers nor by monsters, rather he finds himself trapped by remnants of Eden’s past (imagine him pretending to remember Eden’s old friends) while dealing with all the pre-wedding preparations. If you expect the usual spectacle of action and sorcery, you will find them here. Who exactly will Mantra fight, that you should find out yourself and there is something here that will convince you to go back reading issue #1.

When it comes to the art, I find it baffling that this one was credited to Terry Dodson. The art here is cartoony in style and Dodson’s art in the first few issues of the Mantra series were more realistic in style, especially with the way people were drawn.  

Conclusion

Some pictures from Eden Blake’s past.

For its story concept alone, Mantra #9 (1994) is an engaging read. I also enjoyed the way this issue connects itself to key details in issues #1, #3 and #5 which encourages re-reading that ultimately will help readers understand the series concept even more. There is also a nice mix of action and drama, and the way the battle concluded is pretty satisfying. Furthermore, the continued development of Mantra is a must-read.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #9 (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 #9 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me 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…

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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