A Look Back at X-Men 2099 #5 (1994)

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

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors, 1990s culture enthusiasts and fans of Marvel Comics! This is the continuation of a look back at the Marvel 2099 crossover storyline The Fall of The Hammer which started in Spider-Man 2099 #16 followed next in Ravage 2099 #15. The 3rd chapter of the said crossover filled the fifth issue of the X-Men 2099 monthly series.

For the newcomers reading this, a few of the X-Men of the far future were officially involved in this 5-part crossover storyline that was meant to celebrate the Marvel 2099 franchise back in the 1990s. This was the reason why Skullfire, Meanstreak, Krystalin and Bloodhawk were separated from their team leader Xi’an and the remaining teammates. Last time around, three of the mentioned X-Men got involved with Ravage and eventually reached the floating city of Valhalla together only to get separated.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at X-Men 2099 #5, published in 1993 (cover dated 1994) by Marvel Comics with a story written by John Francis Moore and drawn by Ron Lim.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in New York City where a vehicle moves at high speed until it hits a wall and stops. Out comes Tim Fitzgerald/Skullfire who moves away and spots Valhalla above him. In the floating city, Krystalin, Meanstreak and Bloodhawk are in confrontation with a powerful enemy called Heimdall who tells them to bow to him and swear allegiance.

Bloodhawk attacks Heimdall only to get pushed back. Krystalin fires crystal bits at him but to no success. Thinking that he’s too fast for Heimdall, Meanstreak tries a sneak attack from the side only to be hit hard, lose control and crashes to a wall. As the X-Men’s fastest member is down, a shadowy figure approaches him nearby…

Quality

This quick flashback explains how the four X-Men 2099 members went to New York.

As an X-Men 2099 tale, this one felt like a catch-up for Skullfire who was absent in the first two parts of The Fall of the Hammer storyline even though it was confirmed in X-Men 2099 #4 that he joined his teammates and help Meanstreak find his friend Jordan. That being said, there is a good amount of scenes focused on Skullfire as he makes his way up to Valhalla. There is also a quick flashback showing that indeed he was with his teammates as they arrived in New York only to get separated (which explains why only Krystalin, Bloodhawk and Meanstreak approached Ravage). More importantly, the flashback also contains additional details that explain what the X-Men discovered before arriving at Valhalla and why they decided to approach Ravage.

As the 3rd chapter of The Fall of The Hammer storyline, this comic book barely moved the present-day narrative forward mainly due to having to use a few but precious pages to tell the short flashback to explain the X-Men’s involvement. Still, key revelations related to what happened behind-the-scenes added a lot of depth to the narrative and this properly sets the stage of for the remaining chapters. The 2099 major figures like Spider-Man, Punisher, Doom and Ravage all appeared here but very sparsely.    

Conclusion

Ravage 2099 helps Krystalin.

X-Men 2099 #5 (1994) pushed the narrative of the crossover a few notches forward but the revelations written saved it from being a throw-away story. For fans of X-Men 2099, there is a lot to like here and Skullfire’s late entry into the crossover will delight them. The writing was good enough and by the end of the story, the explanations were satisfying and the ending suggested that the stakes would be raised for the final two chapters of the crossover. Those who missed the presence of Thor 2099 should be happy to see him here, even though it was clear that he was being conserved for the last two chapters.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men 2099 #5 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $6 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $18.

Overall, X-Men 2099 #5 (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 Ravage 2099 #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, 1990s culture enthusiasts and fans of Marvel Comics! To those who read my previous retro comic book reviews related to the 2099 universe of Marvel Comics, you know fully well that I found the first eight issues of the Ravage 2099 monthly series to be lackluster even though they all involved the writing of the late legend Stan Lee. After Lee stopped working, the Ravage 2099 series was taken over by Pat Mills and Tony Skinner for the writing duties and those two were in-charge of the Punisher 2099 series.

Eventually, a crossover storyline of the 2099 universe was published titled The Fall of the Hammer. It was told in five parts and each of the existing 2099 monthly series at the time – Spider-Man 2099, Ravage 2099, Doom 2099, Punisher 2099 and X-Men 2099 – had one issue forming it. The Fall of the Hammer kicked off with Spider-Man 2099 #16 which had solid writing by Peter David.

Part 2 was told in a Ravage 2099 issue. To find out the story and its quality, here is a look back at Ravage 2099 #15, published in 1993 (cover dated 1994) by Marvel Comics with a story written by Pat Mills and Tony Skinner, and drawn by Grant Miehm.

Early story

The story begins at the place of Paul-Phillip Ravage who is now in human form. In his presence are X-Men 2099 members Meanstreak, Krystalin and Bloodhawk. Suddenly Bloodhawk comes after Ravage and tries to make him give out information in relation to the disappearance of Jordan Boone, a friend of Meanstreak. Boone disappeared after compiling data related to Alchemax’s problem with Valhalla.

Ravage then transforms into his monstrous form which surprises Bloodhawk. After the winged X-Men member mentioned Valhalla, Ravage calms down and decides to talk with the team. Soon enough, they fly above the city streets in a vehicle heading towards Valhalla. As they approach the floating city, armed flying personnel move in to attack Ravage 2099 and the three X-Men.

Elsewhere in New York, Spider-Man 2099 finds himself at a disadvantage as Punisher 2099 has a gun pointed at him…

Quality

2099’s Spider-Man and Punisher together.

To put it clearly, this 2nd part of The Fall of the Hammer storyline is where the 2099 heroes begin to actually cross over with each other and the first panel showing Ravage with the three X-Men members is symbolic of that. The plot here is actually simple…Ravage and the X-Men make it to Valhalla which is their common destination. The mutants want information about Jordan Boone while Ravage tries to meet Doom 2099 (whom he met in Ravage 2099 #14). Apart from those objectives, there is a lot of action scenes laced with dialogue designed to move the narrative forward little by little. If you are looking for character development of Ravage, you won’t find much here. What you will find, however, are some scenes of intrigue that show Ravage getting disturbed temporarily as a result of realizing the presence of a certain someone he got close with.

As for Valhalla, the city here is more of a technical playground than an actual threat to the people and societies it flew over. What weakens the story here is the absence of 2099’s Thor.

Conclusion

The money shot of this comic book!

To a certain extent, Ravage 2099 #15 (1994) is a somewhat entertaining read mainly due to the mix up of 2099 characters together here. The story is pretty light but at the very least fans of Ravage 2099 will find their monstrous hero in a somewhat interesting misadventure here. The concept that started in Spider-Man 2099 #16 showing Valhalla as a floating danger is weaker here but at least this comic book sets the stage for the next chapter of the storyline decently.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Ravage 2099 #15 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $16 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $48.

Overall, Ravage 2099 #15 (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 What If #20 (1990)

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

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors, 1990s culture enthusiasts and fans of Marvel Comics! Before starting this newest retro comic book review, I should state that I really like Marvel’s way of exploring the unexplored scenarios related to the stories they published. Back in the 1980s, Marvel made its decision to have their icon Spider-Man – in his civilian form as Peter Parker – get married with Mary Jane Watson. Unsurprisingly, such an event added a whole lot of new elements into the life of the literary Spider-Man with regards to his struggle on balancing his life between superhero acts, domestic living and being attentive to his wife. If you really want to read about the wedding, I suggest searching for a copy of The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 (1987).

Imagine what would have happened had Spider-Man not married Mary Jane? That very scenario was explored in an issue of the What If monthly series (Volume 2) back in the early 1990s. We can find out more together in this look back at What If #20, published by Marvel Comics in 1990 with a story written by Danny Fingeroth and drawn by Jim Valentino.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the Watcher narrating key events in the life of Spider-Man. It is recalled how much pain Spider-Man endured when his beloved Gwen Stacy died during his conflict with the Green Goblin. Subsequently Peter Parker resumed his relationship with Mary Jane. When Mary Jane became absent, he got involved with Felicia Hardy/Black Cat who turned out to be too wild and reckless for him. Eventually, Peter married Mary Jane.

By pointing out that there are other realities, the Watcher then begins to explore another scenario in which Spider-Man realizes is far from being all right with him. During the wedding ceremony, Peter turns down Mary Jane which shocks the guests who were present. He tells her privately that even though he loves her, she will be in danger all the time as a wife. She walks away from him, still wearing her wedding dress.

Some hours later, Spider-Man swings around New York and strikes the criminals really hard…

Quality

Spider-Man and Black Cat take on Venom!

To be clear, this comic book shows a Spider-Man who not only rejected marriage, but is also a tortured soul whose inner pain started even before the failed wedding ceremony. Silver Sable, who is often focused on missions, notices Spider-Man being too angry and careless with his performance with them taking on the bad guys. The old and frail Aunt May is deeply worried over Peter and hopes he would not harden his heart to the possibility of loving someone.

The thing about this story is that the writing done by Danny Fingeroth is pretty good as he captured Spider-Man’s essence while successfully steering him pretty close to the edge, almost blurring the boundary the separates the good and evil in him. The story moved with a nice pace and there is a good amount of suspense that will keep you wondering if Spider-Man can climb out of the deep hole of darkness he’s in.

More on the plot, I also enjoyed this comic book’s connection with Kraven’s Last Hunt and the early encounter with Venom. If there is any weak point with this story, it is the fact that it served as build-up of something set to happen in the next issue.

When it comes to the art, Jim Valentino did a good job bringing the script to life and that includes framing the character development scenes and the spectacle scenes in interesting ways. I personally enjoyed his take on Venom and Kraven.

Conclusion

Without Mary Jane as a wife, Spider-Man went on to fight the bad guys more intensely.

What If #20 (1990) is indeed a solid, alternate story about Spider-Man. It was gripping right from the start but it lacked a solid conclusion as its last few pages started to build up anticipation for the following issue. In short, this is not a standalone story and to fully enjoy what it started, you have to read What If #21. Still, I love the way Spider-Man is portrayed here and there are some characters involved that long-time fans will enjoy.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of What If #20 (1990), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $53 while the respective near-mint copies of the newsstand edition and the signed edition both cost $105.

Overall, What If #20 (1990) 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 X-Men #5 (1992)

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

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors, fans of 1990s culture and fans of Marvel Comics! Today we revisit the adjective-less X-Men monthly series (Volume 2) that started in 1991 with the combined talents of Chris Claremont and Jim Lee. For those who are unaware, Chris Claremont had his conflict behind the scenes with then X-Men comics editor Bob Harras which led to him departing the X-Men series with issue #3.

Previously I reviewed X-Men #4 which by today’s standards is highly significant and very expensive to acquire as it marked the literary debut of Omega Red who made quite an impact with X-Men fans. It should be noted that Wolverine and Omega Red had encountered each other far back in time and issue #4 marked the renewal of their rivalry.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at X-Men #5, published in 1992 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Jim Lee (plot) and John Byrne (script), The art was done by Lee with ink work done by Scott Williams, Art Thibert, Bob Wiacek and Joe Rubinstein.

The cover.

Early story

This for me is the money shot of the comic book. Although Wolverine is absent, you get to see the entire Blue and Gold teams with Charles Xavier as drawn by Jim Lee.

The story begins with Cerebro detecting an unidentified mutant signature in the presence of X-Men members who were out of the mansion. Forge tells Cyclops about the disturbance happening less than five miles away from their mansion. Colossus and Psylocke join in and quickly they leave the mansion with Cyclops using the Blackbird.

Not too far away, Gambit, Rogue, Jubilee and Beast are held captive inside a vehicle with an armed man in their presence. Gambit starts the effort to free his teammates using one of his charged cards.

Elsewhere in a snowy place, Wolverine is seen struggling thinking he defeated his old rival Omega Red. Suddenly the Russian mutant jumped at him and the two resumed fighting. Their fight is being monitored from a distance…

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The Wolverine-Omega Red rivalry is a must-see.

When it comes to storytelling, it is obvious that the writing duo of Jim Lee and John Byrne did their best to push the envelope and break new ground as far as telling an X-Men story goes. For one thing, there is the presence of paramilitary elements which are common with Jim Lee’s creations. There are even flashbacks into the past in which Wolverine (then called Logan) actually took part in a special forces operation with a few notable others. These flashbacks expands further the personal history of Wolverine in a really intriguing way. With the way the story was presented, it is clear that the new creative team pulled off serious moves in modernizing the way X-Men stories were told in comparison to the way Chris Claremont told all those many such stories during his long run.

When it comes to the visuals, Jim Lee did another great job as each page looks great and he proved to be clever with the way he visualized the script. As this comic book was inked by more than one inker, there were subtle differences with regards to contrast as well as ink intensity.

Conclusion

Cyclops and his teammates move out.

X-Men #5 (1992) is another great comic book that involved Jim Lee’s art. Apart from the modernizing of the storytelling, this comic book further expanded the past of Wolverine while successfully giving readers more of Omega Red who is now a major supervillain of Marvel’s.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men #5 (1992), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $27 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $79.

Overall, X-Men #5 (1992) 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 Punisher Meets Archie #1 (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, fans of 1990s culture, and fans of both Marvel Comics and Archie Comics! Today, I have a retro review of one of the most wild ideas for a comic book crossover that actually got published in 1994. Back then I was still in college and ramping up my comic book collection. Then one day, I saw a print ad for the Marvel-Archie special project about the iconic Archie Andrews crossing over with the Punisher!

That’s right! The unthinkable concept pushed through and way back in 1994, I ordered in advance a copy of the comic book (note: this was actually one comic book published respectively by Marvel Comics and Archie Comics but with their own packaging and slight adjustments to the title) and eventually got to read it.

Behind the scenes, the management of Archie Comics wanted to take part in the wildly popular trend of intercompany crossover comic book publishing not just to boost their sales but also establish a stronger presence in comic book specialty stores. Back then, Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Tom DeFalco and Archie Comics editor Victor Gorelick were good friends (note: DeFalco entered comic book publishing while working for Archie Comics) and sometimes they would joke with each other about potential crossover concepts between their companies. Gorelick eventually had lunch with independent comic creator Batton Lash and talked about Archie wanting to get involved with crossovers. The Archie editor told Lash about he and DeFalco joking about Archie encountering the Punisher, and in response the independent creator stated that they should really push through with it.

Lash went on to make a pitch for the series and Gorelick sent it to DeFalco. Marvel’s editor-in-chief loved it and eventually the concept was approved complete with strategic involvement in the production by key talents from both Archie and Marvel. For the artwork, Archie’s Stan Goldberg and Marvel’s John Buscema worked together to maintain different tones by means of drawing settings and characters that are specific with their respective companies. The inkwork was done by Tom Palmer.

Now you must be wondering…was the crazy crossover any good? We can find out in this look back at The Punisher Meets Archie #1, published by Marvel Comics in 1994 with a story written by Batton Lash and drawn by Punisher artist John Buscema and Archie artist Stan Goldberg.

The cover with a die-cut design.

Early story

The story begins in a city where a man (in a trench coat and a cap) is seen running away from someone chasing him. As he hurriedly climbs over a wall, he hears the chaser’s gun click and responds by firing some bullets at him. The chaser climbs over the wall and he turns out to be Frank Castle, the Punisher. The Punisher notices that his target left his cap on the floor, and look at the nearby station full of people.

Inside the said station, the man who got away from the Punisher has red hair and a sinister looking face. He buys a ticket going to Riverdale.

The next day in the town of Riverdale, Archie Andrews rings the bell of the front door at the luxurious residence of the Lodge family. A little boy named Leroy (cousin of Veronica Lodge) surprises him and makes him wet using a water-filled plastic gun. In response, Archie grabs the hose nearby and unleashes water. He accidentally hits Veronica who got so angry, she decided to cancel her date with him.

Still wet, Archie walks down the sidewalk being followed by a car…

Quality

See your favorite Archie characters among them?

I’ll start with the story written by Batton Lash. To be clear, this comic book has a dominant Archie Comics tone meaning it is wholesome and fun, and at the same time never childish. The Punisher-focused scenes showed lots of signs of restraint meaning in order to connect well with the overall wholesome tone of the comic book, adulterated stuff and violent concepts related to the Punisher are absent. For me, having an overall wholesome tone works given the fact that most of the story is set in Riverdale and there are tremendously more Archie characters than there are Marvel characters.

More on the story, the concept by Batton Lash is wonderful and the way the plot was structured not only ensured a fun story but also made sense. The plot itself is pretty believable and the story is full of nice and interesting moments to read. There certainly were no boring scenes at all!

To have Punisher encounter Archie without ever using the now overuses versus-battle-type approach here was believable, sensible and even impressive. For the most part, as reflected in portrayals and dialogue, Lash captured the essence of the Archie characters and anyone who loves stories about Archie and the gang (plus Josie and the Pussycats and Katy Keene) will have a lot to enjoy here. Even the disruption in Riverdale caused by the gang of crooks and the Punisher has that strong Archie-tone and never went overboard.

Punisher, Micro Chip, the local cops and a familiar face from the Riverdale high school’s cafeteria.

With regards to Lash presenting Marvel’s vigilante, the Punisher here is subdued in terms of seriousness. While he is not portrayed to be gritty (note: he’s also less violent), he is still rugged and you will still see him firing guns during the right moments. With the reduction of violent action, Punisher does a lot more detective work and has his companion Microchip with him. While rugged, the Punisher is not as snobbish as one might think here. In fact, there are a few pleasant surprise moments in the story with regards to his encountering certain supporting characters of Archie. These moments, although they make Punished look like he’s out of character, I still find pretty delightful.

More on the characters, there is a whole bunch of them here! As the story is set in Riverdale, it comes to no surprise that supporting characters of Archie Comics are present and for the most part they were presented to delight those who love Archie and the gang. Mr. Weatherbee, Mr. Lodge, Reggie Mantle, Betty Cooper, Jughead Jones, Pop Tate, Svenson, Ms. Grundy, Professor Flutesnoot and others are here and they don’t just make mere appearances.  

As this is a special project between Marvel Comics and Archie Comics, there is a lot of fan service here and there leaning towards the interests of Archie fans. For the most part, these fan service elements (note: there are some from Marvel Comics) were actually fun to look at and I personally did not find them distracting.

Conclusion

Punisher and Micro Chip explore Riverdale as Jughead and Archie are in Pop’s place.

While it is essentially an Archie comic book in terms of storytelling and visuals and lacks the kind of adulterated stuff that Punisher fans love, The Punisher Meets Archie #1 (1994) is still a very enjoyable crossover to read, and it sure is fun from start to finish. For one thing, the concept about Archie meeting with Punisher with Riverdale as the main setting works wonderfully even by today’s standards. What was an unbelievable concept got executed nicely into a believable and fun product. I should state that this kind of intercompany crossover comic book is still one-of-a-kind and its literary value (as opposed to financial value) is undeniably high. No doubt about, this crossover is a comic book classic!

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Punisher Meets Archie #1 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $53 while the near-mint copies of the deluxe newsstand edition and the direct edition cost $105 and $70 respectively.

If you prefer the Archie Comics-published version – Archie Meets The Punisher #1 (1994) – be aware that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $70 according to Mile High Comics as of this writing.

The cover of the Archie Comics-published version of the same crossover. This one is more eye-catching than that of the Marvel version.

Overall, The Punisher Meets Archie #1 (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 Fatale #1 (1996)

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.

Before I start this retro comic book review, if you are a fan of comic book veteran Jim Shooter or if you are interested in his past works, check out my reviews of Warriors of Plasm issues #1, #2 and #3.

Have you ever heard about Broadway Comics? That was a short-lived comic book publisher that was established by Jim Shooter (former editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics and Valiant Comics) in the mid-1990s not so long after the closure of Defiant Comics (a certain lawsuit filed by Marvel Comics drained the company’s funds by means of legal fees). Broadway Comics published a few properties and among them is Fatale which was actually a spin-off of the company’s main series Powers That Be.

Fatale was not just another new project to help a new publisher make a splash in what was back then a lucrative comic book market. There was some inspiration from it as Shooter confirmed in his message in Fatale’s debut issue.

“As we developed Fatale, each person in our group recalled the strong women in their lives,” Shooter recalled.

“I told about my grandmothers, both whose husbands died young, both of whom raised their children alone, struggled and worked into their late eighties. Usually, there were no good jobs to be had (by women), but both did whatever they could, including dishwashing, door-to-door sales, and cleaning hotel rooms. They persevered against all odds, heroically. They taught me that self-reliance and honest work of any kind are the foundation of self-respect,” he added.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Fatale #1, published by Broadway Comics in 1996 with a story written by Jim Shooter, Janet Jackson, Joseph A. James and Pauline Weiss with art done by J.G. Jones.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside a casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey in September 1995. A very pretty lady walks down and attracts the attention of a few people. Her name is Desiree Hopewell and it turns out she is a gambler and she thinks luck will come to her that night. Just as she makes positive impact on a struggling gambler and starts socializing with a guy who is so attracted to her, a group of men wearing gloves and masks appeared which compels Desiree leave. She happens to be their target.

Just after exiting the casino, Desiree suddenly finds herself completely surrounded by armed people composed of those carrying shields and weapons. Even as a blast blanket successfully landed on her, Desiree finds a way to tear through it causing the armed personnel to use a drum lift on her.

Even so, Desiree continues to be hard for them to restrain and manages to move away from them…

Quality

Desiree gets a break as the Brotherhood got attacked.

To start with, this comic book has a really intriguing plot laced with twists. Essentially this is the story of Desiree who is a very unusual lady with the ability to absorb something from men she kisses with on their lips (the Fatale thing). More than that, she is caught in the middle of a conflict between the Brotherhood and the Utah Faction, and she is allied with a few people trying to evade the two conflicting groups.

While the very nature of the conflict was not fully emphasized in this launch issue, Jim Shooter and his co-writers successfully defined Desiree’s nature clearly as well as her association with a man named Bill (a former Brotherhood member). That being said, this comic book is character-focused and it went to great lengths to connect readers with Desiree and the supporting cast.

When it comes to spectacle, there is a lot to enjoy here. On face value, Desiree’s uncanny ability evade the Brotherhood’s attempt to capture her was presented with superhero-inspired spectacle but never reaching the point of defining her as a superhero-type of protagonist.

Conclusion

Desiree the attraction and seasoned gambler.

Fatale #1 (1996) is a rather unusual comic book that has some literary stuff to sell to superhero enthusiasts, and at the same time it has a protagonist who supposedly got presented as a strong-willed figure for women (while showing her personal interests and views that were supposed to be relatable to women). Within the pages of this comic book, Desiree is glamorous and attractive visually. Apart from helping a lady by physically stopping the man troubling her, Desiree has not done anything genuinely heroic and is truly more of an attraction of trouble makers.

As far as storytelling goes, you have a conflict between two groups and Desiree is a target for a reason that was not clearly defined (note: saving the answers for later issues obviously). While Bill is an interesting supporting character, the others are just not too interesting. If you are looking for intrigue, entertainment and mystery, you will find some of those here.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Fatale #1 (1996), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $79 while the near-mint copies of the black-and-white Jim Shooter-signed edition, the black-and-white promo edition, and the Jim Shooter-signed edition cost $79, $53 and $70 respectively.

Overall, Fatale #1 (1996) 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 Shogun Warriors #1 (1979)

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.

If you are fond of giant robots from Japanese pop culture as well as giant monsters and scenes of city structures getting destroyed, then you might want to take a look at the Shogun Warriors comic book series that was published by Marvel Comics from 1979 to 1980. To put things in perspective, Shogun Warriors was made possible through licensing deals and back in the 1970s, Marvel Comics had the rights to publish comic book about Japan’s famous icon Godzilla.

Specifically, Shogun Warriors involved Marvel Comics and Mattel which in turn organized a line of imported toys from Japan based on varied Japanese shows about giant robots. Among the many giant robots of the toy line, the robots Raideen, Combattler V and Dangard Ace became the featured fighting-for-good robots of the Shogun Warriors comic book series. For the literary works, Raideen was renamed as Raydeen while Combattler V was renamed as Combatra. Dangard Ace’s name was left unchanged.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Shogun Warriors #1, published in 1979 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Doug Moench and drawn by Herb Trimpe.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the outskirts of Tokyo in Japan where giant robot Raydeen fights a large, tentacled creature enhanced with cybernetics. As the people on the street below them run away from the ongoing destruction, the monster fires a shot at Raydeen who blocks it but subsequently gets tied with one of the tentacles. The giant robot, which is operated by three pilots inside, breaks free and continues to fight the monster.

As the battle rages on, the city continues to get damaged heavily affecting the people…

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Technically the organization kidnapped three people to be the pilots of their robots for Earth’s defense.

Having seen a lot of anime TV series episodes about giant robots, I’m familiar already with the storytelling formula that often focuses first on the human characters and their struggles before shifting the narrative on the giant robots that often fight large monsters or opposition robots. This particular comic book has some of that but the way the story is structured, it is different and can be a bit jarring.

Doug Moench structured the story to have Raydeen and the monster fighting in the present time followed shortly by a flashback that took place just hours prior. The flashback, which occupies 9 of the comic book’s 18 pages, is heavily filled with exposition meant to introduce readers to the three pilots Genji Odashu/Ilongo Savage/Richard Carson, what Earth defense force The Followers of the Light is, and why there are giant monsters ravaging the world. The exposition’s writing felt crammed and rushed for reading although it still succeeds in establishing the comic book’s grand concept.

When it comes to spectacle, this comic book is loaded with giant robot action and it is quite varied in style and execution. The funny thing is that you will only get to see Raydeen in action as this is an introductory story with only 18 pages of story.

The dialogue is a bit of a mess here, particularly with the early Raydeen scenes. As the battle with the monster goes on, there are these lines of dialogue reflecting the conversations between the pilots inside Raydeen who are not shown talking until late in the comic book.

Conclusion

Raydeen and the giant monster in battle.

Shogun Warriors #1 (1979) has a nice concept and its Westernized take on portraying giant robots and human characters is clearly different from the way things were done in the varied giant robot anime TV series of Japan. There is clearly no Japanese style melodrama as this one has its characters portrayed straight with a touch of American science fiction. That being said, do not expect to see the Japan-made characters of Raideen, Combattler V and Dangard Ace appear here as new characters were made in their place. The comic book’s story structure is a bit jarring to follow and the heavy exposition dump makes reading a bit of a chore. It is fun to read but not great. Those of who are fans of Combatra and Dangard Ace will be disappointed about the near-total absence of those robots.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Shogun Warriors #1 (1979), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $63 while the near-mint copy of the Whitman edition costs $35.

Overall, Shogun Warriors #1 (1979) 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 Sachs & Violens #1 (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.

Back in the early 1990s, I was fortunate enough to buy and read The Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect issues #1 and #2. While each book was pretty expensive, it was all worth it because its literary and artistic content were great to read thanks to the very dynamic creative duo of Peter David and artist George Perez.

To see Future Imperfect’s story by David illustrated greatly by Perez was a magnificent read from start to finish. In 2014, Peter David confirmed that George Perez was his “single favorite artistic collaborator” and when asked as to which artists have come closest to matching the visuals he imagined while writing a comic book script, the author mentioned Perez as one of three artists to do so.

The David-Perez duo’s work together in the 1990s did not necessarily end with Future Imperfect. In fact, they took the challenge of doing an all original, adulterated, non-superhero project published through Epic Comics (Marvel Comics’ imprint that published creator-owned projects not connected with Marvel’s superhero universe) in the form of a 4-issue mini-series titled Sachs & Violens (the title itself is a play on the words “sex and violence”). Back in the 1990s, I completely missed out on that mini-series. It was only recently I finally got to start reading it.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Sachs & Violens #1, published by Epic Comics in 1993 with a story written by Peter David and drawn by George Perez.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the bedroom deep within the city of New York. A pretty lady arrives, takes off her undergarment and high heels and approaches a smoking man on the bed. As they start making love with each other, a shadowy figure with a bladed weapon approaches them slowly. As the lady notices something going on, a powerful strike happens spreading blood around.

Suddenly, someone yells “Cut!” The lights got turned on and it turns out what happened was a night-time photographic session in which the director expresses his disappointment over what happened.

Elsewhere, life in the city goes on during the night. The traffic is frustrating some people. Prostitutes on the sidewalk are doing what they can to attract potential customers. Night clubc and sex shows are rampant. Among the many people walking is a pretty lady named Juanita Jean (nicknamed J.J.) who attracts the attention of a man armed with a gun. In response to his move on her, J.J. fights back by hitting his right wrist, kicking him on the groin and his chin, and knocking him out. Afterwards, she arrives at a photo studio apologizing to the photographer (Violens) for her lateness.

After some talking, J.J. proceeds to change into very erotic attire and posed sexy in front of the camera…

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J.J. Sachs at the police station.

I can start by saying that this comic book is one of the most unusual works I have ever read from either Peter David or George Perez, and it’s more than just its non-superhero concept and presentation.

Starting with the visuals, this is one of the more unique works of George Perez and it surely is a fresh change after seeing so many of his superhero-related comic book works (especially the post-Crisis Wonder Woman). The usual elements of Perez’s art are here: pages with multiple panels, high detail maintained throughout even in images full of people and location stuff, beautiful looking women and the like. As this is an adulterated comic book, the level of visual eroticism got ramped up high although there were clear signs of restraint.   

With regards to the quality of the writing, this is a very adulterated tale about murder and a series of unfortunate events that disturb the public and, incidentally, motivate J.J. Sachs (a softcore porn model) and Ernie Violens (a former Vietnam War veteran working presently as a photographer) to take action. The pacing of the story is decent with lots of build-up dominating the comic book. The dialogue is witty and the main characters really have their own unique patterns of verbal expression. While the script has passionate work written all over, it is not exactly an entertaining read for me. In fact, I find the tale rather sadistic and not even its elements of intrigue and twists could engage me. This is definitely not the comic book you want to read for fun.

Conclusion

Sachs’ introduction.

Even though it has great visuals and a script written passionately (note: Peter David even wrote his opinion about sex and violence in the comic book), I am actually turned off by Sachs & Violens #1 (1993). Other than being made with adults in mind, its really a story of murder that sets off events sparking the protagonists to do something rebellious in nature. While there is indeed an antagonist, the distinction between good and evil remains unconvincing in the story. I can say that die hard fans of Peter David and George Perez will find this comic book more appealing, and there is a good chance that readers seeking material with sex and violence will enjoy it. I personally did not enjoy this one.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Sachs & Violens #1 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $18 while the near-mint copies of the limited edition, the platinum edition and the signed platinum edition cost $105, $70 and $140 respectively.

Overall, Sachs & Violens #1 (1993) is not 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 Ravage 2099 #8 (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 fans of Marvel. Today we revisit the original 2099 universe that Marvel Comics launched in the 1990s. We go back to the said universe through the eyes of Ravage 2099, the original 2099 character co-created by the late Stan Lee and artist Paul Ryan.

Before proceeding with my next retro comic book review of Ravage 2099, I want to stress that there was a time when the late Steve Ditko nearly launched Ravage 2099 with Stan Lee. For the newcomers reading this, Steve Ditko and Stan Lee are recognized for co-creating the iconic Spider-Man and to even imagine the two creators almost getting involved with the 2099 universe’s original hero is intriguing.

Marvel tried to get Ditko to work with Lee on Ravage 2099 early on. Then Marvel Comic editor-in-chief Tom DeFalco revealed that, on behalf of Lee, he called Steve Ditko who eventually attended a meeting which reunited them. After having a terrific discussion with Lee, Ditko cordially turned down the project. DeFalco stated that Ditko just did not agree with some of the philosophical underpinnings.

“Steve walked away, and I could tell he was really thrilled to have seen Stan,” DeFalco added.

With that short history over, here is a look back at Ravage 2099 #8, published in 1993 by Marvel Comics plotted by Stan Lee, scripted by Pat Mills and Tony Skinner and drawn by Gran Miehm. This was Stan Lee’s final work of writing a Marvel 2099 story.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with a weakened Ravage, Tiana and Dack already in trouble as a Public Eye battle copter approaches them. The three just escaped from an underwater city using an old vehicle from the Fantastic Four. While Tiana expressed that there is no way they could outfight or outfly Public Eye, Dack reminds her that Ravage is their only hope and because of him, they got away from the aquatic beings and survived.

Dack then send their vehicle (which instantly blew ballast and raised a canopy) under water to escape from Public Eye. The effort was futile as the battle copter captures their vehicle and pulls it out of the water using a magnetic beam.

Knowing this development, Anderthorp Henton makes a confidential holo-call with Dethstryk and tells him that Ravage is in his possession. Henton also states that he intends to kill Ravage. Dethstryk demands Henton to deliver Ravage to him, insisting that it should be he who should kill him.

While captured in transit, Ravage struggles to write his instruction to his companions to take his gloves off…

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Henton and his team with Ravage and his companions captured.

Finally, after going through the first seven issues that resulted unsatisfying plots, recycling of character elements and forcibly stretching the narrative, this particular issue has a story that combines doubtful heroism with a believable objective. Of course, it should be noted that Stan Lee provided the plot while leaving the scripting and pacing to two other writers who eventually took over the writing duties of Ravage 2099.

There were some improvements to the quality of the dialogue and narration (by Ravage). This comic book’s story was paced decently and there was not a single moment of stretching the narrative unrealistically. By this stage of the series, Ravage’s status as a heroic figure improved once again as he was given a purpose to fulfill. While we have seen him help Tiana or Dack escape from the bad guys, this story has him being more strategic and more determined to really solve a mystery while overcoming opposition.

Henton in this story, fortunately, is not a repeat of his cruel, cold-hearted self from the previous issues. This story reveals his link with Dethstryk and new insight as to who or what really controls Alchemax and its top officials. As such, there were some unexpected elements that transpired in the story.

Visually, Gran Miehm provided decent art and for the most part, Ravage and the other characters remained recognizable although I notice Dack looking more like a young adult than the teenager he really is.

Conclusion

Dack makes a move to help them get away.

Ravage 2099 #8 (1993) was Stan Lee’s last work with this particular series of the 2099 universe and thanks to the new writers who took scripting duties, this one has a satisfying story, higher quality dialogue and a more focused narrative. In retrospect, it was already too little and too late to salvage the Ravage 2099 series due to the inconsistent and overall weak storytelling that dominated the first seven issues.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Ravage 2099 #8 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $14 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $42.

Overall, Ravage 2099 #8 (1993) is satisfactory.

+++++

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

A Look Back at X-Men #4 (1992)

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 X-Men fans! Previously, I reviewed X-Men #3 (1991) which, at the time of its release, marked the end of the era of Chris Claremont who spearheaded the development and storytelling of the X-Men since the mid-1970s. Along the way, he clashed with X-Men books editor Bob Harras behind the scenes at the headquarters of Marvel Comics which was a factor to his departure. It is notable that Claremont returned to Marvel in 1997 as editorial director.

Going back to 1991, Marvel had Jim Lee as their top-notch talent to sell loads of X-Men comic books to buyers. Inevitably as Claremont departed, Marvel bet big on Lee and supported his move to set a new creative direction for the X-Men.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at X-Men #4, published in 1992 by Marvel Comics with a story by Jim Lee and John Byrne. Lee drew the comic book with Scott Williams as the inker.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in a secret facility in the South Pacific. A sleeping figure wakes up and the men wearing protective suits near him carefully observe his moves. Suddenly, the men died horribly. The figure, with white-colored skin and long blond hair, says, “Who has brought me back from the dark domain of death? Who has summoned Omega Red?”

Behind a protective window, a man starts talking to Omega Red and he shows him a picture of Wolverine (in his civilian identity). Omega Red recognizes Logan…

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Gambit and Rogue in the heat of action.

Being one of the first X-Men comic books published in the so-called post-Claremont era, this comic book has a solid story and a lively presentation of the X-Men’s Blue Team members. I figured that John Byrne delivered the solid dialogue given his previous experience of working on X-Men comics (as an illustrator) as well as being the writer and artist of the memorable The Man of Steel mini-series (with DC Comics, rebooting Superman in the post-Crisis era).

While the basketball scene had true-to-character portrayals of Wolverine, Gambit, Psylocke and Jubilee complete with stylish dialogue per character, there is consistency on the portrayal of Moira MacTaggert who is understandably struggling to recover given the events of X-Men #1 to #3. The same goes with Charles Xavier. The way the script was written with strong focus on the established characters, it’s almost as if Chris Claremont never left.

The biggest feature of this comic book is the debut of the deadly mutant Omega Red who is of Russian heritage and Russia’s own parallel to the United States’ own super soldier Captain America. In pop culture, Omega Red is one of the top villains in comic books ever and this comic book sets up his sudden rise to prominence. Symbolically, Omega Red is a co-creation of Jim Lee and John Byrne and it is pretty fitting for this comic book of the post-Claremont era to feature him.

Conclusion

You love basketball?

There is no doubt that even by today’s standards, X-Men #4 (1992) is a great read and a landmark issue in X-Men comic book history. Given its content, this one will always be remembered as the start of Omega Red who later on proved to be one of the deadliest villains Marvel’s mutants ever encountered. The villain went on to appear in the video games X-Men: Children of the Atom, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom 2.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men #4 (1992), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $125 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $375.

Overall, X-Men #4 (1992) 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