A Look Back at X-Men Adventures Season II #4 (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.

Note: Since this retro review mentions both Russia and Ukraine, I encourage you all to help the people of Ukraine (whose lives have been disrupted by Russian forces) by donating to the Ukraine Appeal project of Hillsong Church. Donate now at https://hillsong.com/appeal/

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts, X-Men fans and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the X-Men Adventures monthly series which was a literary adaptation of the famous X-Men animated series of the 1990s.

To be more specific, we examine a tale of the major X-Men villain Omega Red within the monthly series adaptation of the 2nd season of the animated series. Take note that I previously reviewed X-Men #4 (1991), X-Men #5 (1992) and X-Men #6 (1992) which told the first tale of Omega Red who turned out to have a history of conflict with Wolverine decades prior.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at X-Men Adventures Season II #4, published by Marvel Comics in 1994 with a story by Ralph Macchio and drawn by John Herbert.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the Caucasus located between Ukraine and Georgia. Inside, a group of people work on a scientific operation resulting a power surge. The surge then causes a stasis chamber’s glass to crack. Moments later, Omega Red emerges and he has clear knowledge about who restrained him, who the government leaders and what happened to the Russian empire. He declares that the Russian empire shall live again. In Moscow, three high ranking military officers discuss their secret plan on restoring the Soviet Union. It turns out, the return of Omega Red is the first step for their ambitious plan.

In America, Jubilee encounters a group of activists who hate mutants inside a convenience store. Peter Rasputin/Colossus, the Russian mutant who encountered the X-Men sometime prior, comes into the store to help Jubilee. Afterwards, Jubilee and Colossus travel to Charles Xavier’s mansion – Xavier’s School for Gifted Children – and discuss important matters. He tells her that Omega Red has emerged in Russia and he need to speak to Professor X. It turns out, Xavier disappeared some weeks prior.

As the situation is so desperate for Colossus, he asks Jubilee if she would help him in his struggle to save his nation. Jubilee makes a hasty decision to do so and leaves a handwritten note telling her teammates that she is off to Russia…

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Colossus and Jubilee in Russia.

While this comic book’s cover art easily reminds me of the Wolverine-Omega Red confrontation on the cover of X-Men #5 (1992), the story here is more varied than that mentioned comic book drawn by Jim Lee. As this is an adaptation of the X-Men animated series episode titled “Red Dawn”, it is not surprising to see the spotlight being divided by many characters.

Omega Red, who has been declared as one of the greatest X-Men villains ever, has a somewhat strong presence serving as the main figure of opposition against Charles Xavier’s team as well as the surviving elite remnant of the Soviet Union. Quite amusingly, Omega Red is totally loyal to the Russian empire similar to how James Bond is very loyal to England and the queen. In comparison to issues #4 to #6 of the X-Men monthly series, the history of conflict between Omega Red and Wolverine was very lightly portrayed.  

Wolverine and Omega Red in battle!

As mentioned earlier, the spotlight is shared a lot by many characters which results a lack of a true protagonist among the X-Men. This is not necessarily a problem as Omega Red’s presence had enough strength. The other Russian Colossus, who at the start of the story has not yet joined the X-Men, got a good share of the spotlight among the good guys and that results some quick and efficient exposition to get readers oriented with him, his family and how he became an outcast in his nation because of his mutation.

The plot itself is light on details which is not surprising due to the high amount of exposition which includes a geopolitical look at the remaining loyalists of the Soviet Union living in Russia which saw some of its regions transformed into republics. With regards to superhero spectacle, this one has a good amount of action and I can easily say the biggest attraction is the fight between Wolverine and Omega Red. Just don’t expect it to be as extensive nor as detailed as the ones Jim Lee drew in the adjective-less X-Men series.  

Conclusion

John Herbert’s take on Omega Red was carefully crafted.

X-Men Adventures Season II #4 (1994) is a fun superhero story to read and I find its portrayal of the Wolverine-Omega Red conflict to be interesting knowing it was not part of comic book canon of the time. Apart from the mentioned conflict, there is something for X-Men fans to enjoy here such as Colossus’ return and his new interactions with the X-Men, how Omega Red’s presence causes danger in Russia, and the current whereabouts of Charles Xavier. Lastly, I should state that John Herbert’s art style is engaging to look at and he made Omega Red look intimidating.

Overall, X-Men Adventures Season II #4 (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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

A Look Back at WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #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 fans, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we continue revisiting Jim Lee’s flagship title under the Image Comics label – WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams!

Last time around, I reviewed the 10th issue of the WildC.A.T.S series which saw the reunited work of Chris Claremont and Jim Lee who previously worked together on making many memorable X-Men comic books during their time with Marvel Comics (note: check out three retro reviews of Claremont-Lee X-Men comics by clicking here, here and here).

Being free from the constraints and hurdles of Marvel, WildC.A.T.S #10 showed what Claremont added to Lee’s superhero team while also unveiling the Huntsman (Claremont’s own creation). Even as the story – which had Zealot as the lead character followed by Voodoo and Huntsman – had lots of build-up and the rest of the WildC.A.T.S only had a minor share of the spotlight, Lee still managed to make the story filled with a good amount of spectacle for readers to enjoy. I really liked WildC.A.T.S #10 a lot and in my view, it has aged well.

With those details laid down, here is a look back WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #11, published by Image Comics in 1994 with a story written by Chris Claremont and Drawn by Jim Lee. Scott Williams is in-charge with the ink work. This comic book has a variant cover edition with the cover art done by While Portacio.

The cover.
The variant cover edition with art by While Portacio.

Early story

The story begins moments after Jacob Marlowe secretly met with Alabaster Wu. The WildC.A.T.S – composed of Spartan, Warblade, Void, Maul and the possessed Voodoo – find themselves facing with the Troika – composed of Attica, Slag, H.A.R.M. and Providence – who came in by surprise with the intention to overwhelm them. Providence states that Jacob Marlowe’s destiny is sealed with doom.  

Just after Marlowe expressed defiance, the Raksha-controlled Voodoo knocks him out with a hard kick from behind. This surprises Spartan who immediately jumps into action and orders his teammates to form on void for an immediate dust-off. The battle between the Troika and the WildC.A.T.S starts, Attica hits Warblade. Void then discovers that some force is preventing her from teleporting. It turns out, Providence manipulated the quantum field. Using tremendous power, Providence overwhelms Void which puts the WildC.A.T.S into serious trouble.

Meanwhile on the streets of Brooklyn, Zealot, Huntsman and the teenager Miranda are riding fast together. Zealot says that the communication with her team has gone off-line and she only has their current position…

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Even the fearless and disciplined Zealot is scared of the new super villain Tapestry.

I’ll start first with the presentation of characters and related developments. While the WildC.A.T.S themselves appeared a lot more here than in the previous issue, they did not end up as the dominating characters in the narrative. Even Zealot and Huntsman had reduced shares of the spotlight. This is because Claremont’s script introduced a few yet clearly significant characters while remaining focused on building up tension in relation to the growing presence of a new force of evil (note: the ugly and scary looking monsters called Raksha are connected with them) on Earth with two distinct figures as evil leaders – Soma and Tapestry. As the WildC.A.T.S fell short of achieving any heroics, their new statuses as targets and tools of Tapestry ultimately made sense in the plot. This is a rather daring way Claremont used to tell a WildC.A.T.S tale that has the titular team in their most vulnerable state yet.

While Soma does have an intimidating presence, it is obvious that Tapestry (who has an eroticized design and is the self-declared weaver of souls and shaper of fate) is the most visceral supervillain here and I had the impression that she was planned to be a major enemy towards the WildC.A.T.S comparable with Helspont. Even the fearless warrior Zealot fears Tapestry.

In a clear move to expand the lore of the WildC.A.T.S series within the WildStorm universe, this comic book saw the entry of Savant (an important associate of Zealot’s) and Soldier (the WildStorm’s own parallel to DC Comics’ Sgt. Rock) plus the mention of Mr. Majestic. Savant and Soldier are not just mere additional characters thrown into the mix but they each have established places within the WildStorm universe that just have not been seen by readers at the time of publishing. Claremont wrote Savant and Soldier as individuals who both knew Zealot from some time before and, more importantly, he made them believable to read even though this comic book only showed little of them.

When it comes to character portrayals, Claremont’s creativity showed Attica clearly having much more personality just as the Troika returned (late in issue #10). The head of the Troika in this comic book was presented as a business-dealing killer who does not hesitate to tell his client to beware of Zealot and Grifter (note: he was last seen in issue #8) as those two are the most dangerous WildC.A.T.S members. Attica’s companion Slag is more expressive here and while H.A.R.M.’s mechanical perspective is emphasized more which reminds me somewhat of the cinematic Terminator reading commands internally. Indeed, there was inspiration behind Claremont’s writing.

With regards to the plot, this comic book has a simple story structure that just so happens to have lots of exposition, explanations and the introduction of new characters destined to become more important later. Combined with the art of Jim Lee, the story still works on engaging and entertaining me. Re-reading this story is still a lot fun after all these decades.

Conclusion

WildC.A.T.S in bombastic action with the Troika.

Given the way it was crafted and structured by Claremont, WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #11 (1994) is easily the most unconventional tale of the series at the time of its publication. Unsurprisingly, Jim Lee’s art here is of top-notch quality and he continued to excel in providing readers the adulterated superhero spectacle while also making the more character-focused scenes look interesting (note: there are flashbacks to WildC.A.T.S #1 during Tapestry’s examination of Jacob Marlowe’s memories). As the WildC.A.T.S – without Grifter and Zealot specifically – were at their most vulnerable, this could alienate the die-hard fans who are expecting the usual stuff they love (note: bombastic action against bad guys with character moments in between) to pour in. What I want readers and the die-hard fans to understand is that they should pay close attention to the growing force of evil under Tapestry (who even scares the very brave Zealot) and think about it as a suitable addition into the WildC.A.T.S lore within the WildStorm universe of the time. This comic book also shows that there is more to be explored beyond the conflict of the Kherubim and the Daemonites. That being said, Chris Claremont and Jim Lee’s combined works here are still very solid, a lot of fun and even intriguing to read.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #11 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $30 while the near-mint copies of newsstand edition and the signed edition cost $90 and $60 respectively. The near mint-copies of variant cover edition (Whilce Portacio art) and the signed variant covered edition cost $30 and $90 respectively.

Overall, WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #11 (1994) is highly recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

A Look Back at Dazzler #26 (1983)

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, 1980s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the year 1983 to examine the Marvel Comics universe through the exploits of Dazzler!

In my previous retro comic book review, I found Dazzler #25 lacking on superhero entertainment value and the new antagonist introduced was not so interesting. Not even its strong character-driven tale could lift up its fun factor. By the time that comic book was published, Alison Blaire/Dazzler already has a half-sister named Lois. In this new review of the 26th issue of the Dazzler regular series, something about Lois is about to be revealed and we will find out if it could make the issue more entertaining than issue #25.

With those details laid down, here is a look back Dazzler #26, published by Marvel Comics in 1983 with a story written by Danny Fingeroth and drawn by the late Frank Springer.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Alison Blaire performing live in front of a large audience as Dazzler during a concert. As she performs, three armed men gang up on the event manager just several feet away and out of the view of the crowd. The three demand the release of the box office receipts.

Dazzler notices the commotion and very carefully analyzes what action to take without negatively affecting the show and the audience. She tells the band to play louder music to ensure she would have enough sound to convert into light. Suddenly she springs into action, lights herself up and hits the three armed men as well as the manager. The commotion ends with Dazzler announcing a short intermission to the audience.

Soon after behind the scenes, after meeting several people, Dazzler is approached by Lois who tells her that she does not feel so well. Lois says she’s so afraid, another one of those faintaing spells might be coming on…

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Lois London realizes she is in trouble.

While Lois only occupied a minor space on this comic book’s cover, the story’s biggest feature is its revelation about Dazzler’s half-sister Lois which is something that you readers should find out. While Lois appeared in prior issues, it is in this particular story where she got a huge amount of the spotlight and Danny Fingeroth efficiently wrote her as the other major character.

As this tale is the major turn of events in the life of Lois, this opened a new opportunity for the creative team of Fingeroth and Springer to send the narrative of the Dazzler series to a new direction complete with a new way to develop Alison Blaire’s personality (and her struggle on keeping her mutant status a secret in the middle of a society that despise mutants). This story also recalled the events in which Alison was despised for her mutant status and later became the vilified suspect of a trial related to the death of Klaw. The moral lessons of those old events seamlessly connected with Alison’s effort on helping her half-sister. As such, Danny Fingeroth’s writing here is very solid and he really did his research not only on past Dazzler stories but also on the X-Men as the tale had its subtle connections to certain characters who are more identified with the X-Men series of the time.  

If there is anything weak about this Dazzler tale, it is the clear lack of superhero spectacle. This is one meaty and dramatic tale about Dazzler and Lois laced with heavy drama, suspense and mystery. The only superhero spectacle you will see here is in the early part of the story.

Conclusion

Dazzler rushes into action!

While it is flawed, Dazzler #26 (1983) is still a slight improvement over issue #25. This is one character-driven tale heavy on drama, suspense and mystery while ending up light on spectacle. The most notable thing about this comic book is the new direction on telling Dazzler’s story while establishing Lois as the other major character for readers to follow. To say the least, the sudden revelation of the secret of Lois is engaging enough to read and it will remind you about certain elements emphasized in X-Men comic books of the time.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Dazzler #26 (1983), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $57 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $113.

Overall, Dazzler #26 (1983) 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

A Look Back at WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #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 fans, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we continue revisiting Jim Lee’s flagship title under the Image Comics label – WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams!

Last time around, members of the WildC.A.T.S were split apart in terms of locations as they had their rest-and-relaxation period. While Grifter went away to do something urgent (read: the Kindred comic books), Zealot, Void and Jacob Marlowe’s executive assistant Jules picked up Warblade and Maul using their high-tech aircraft to head on to the Bahamas where an entire cruise ship disappeared with Marlowe, Voodoo and Spartan on it.

Unbeknownst to the WildC.A.T.S flying in their jet, Voodoo, Spartan and Marlowe found themselves as captives of an armored man (wearing a half-helmet) called Entropy inside his domain in an undetermined location. Entropy refers to Marlowe as lord Emp and states that he will suffer from his wrath. Marlowe does not recognize him.

With those details laid down, here is a look back WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #9, published by Image Comics in 1994 with a story written by Brandon Choi and Jim Lee. Lee did the art with Scott Williams in-charge with the ink work.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the partial WildC.A.T.S team arriving in the area of the Bermuda triangle with their aircraft. From their view, there was nothing to spot but Zealot insists that they keep on searching as they must be overlooking something.

Meanwhile, Spartan and Voodoo find themselves in deep trouble as a horde of Daemonites persistently attack them. Already heavily damaged, Spartan keeps on using his energy blasts to hold the monsters off. Voodoo on the other hand is too weak and could not concentrate to help her teammate.

Suddenly one of the Daemonites slashes Spartan’s left arm which neutralizes his energy blast. His body got pierced by one of the monsters which pinned him down, leaving Voodoo completely helpless…

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The WildC.A.T.S on search-and-rescue.

On face value, this comic book looks like another generic or even disposable good-versus-evil story drawn by Jim Lee. In reality, its story has more significance to it and the creators themselves came up with something fresh for WildC.A.T.S fans. Firstly, this is a story about one group of WildC.A.T.S trying to rescue their boss and their two other teammates from Entropy in a location that could not be easily found. Secondly, this comic book puts strong focus back on the Kherubim-Daemonite war which creatively looks back at one of the many events that took place in Jacob Marlowe’s past (which he could not remember at first) complete with implementing a strong fantasy (read: swords and armors) element which gives the story a mixed-genre aesthetic.

The good news here is that the storytelling and visual presentation by the creators are really well done! While the dual approach of storytelling involving both the present and the far past was used in Jim Lee’s past X-Men works with Marvel, the said approach was well executed with WildC.A.T.S which not only expanded its lore further but also developed Jacob Marlowe’s personality even further.

To have Entropy (note: he eerily resembles’ Mantra arch-villain Boneyard in the Ultraverse) as an enraged opposition figure living with a lust for revenge against Marlowe is a smart move and at the same time this adds variety to the kind of opposition WildC.A.T.S have. More on what happened in the past involving both Marlowe and Entropy, the flashback raises new questions about the value and true nature of the WildC.A.T.S’ leader who at this point was a brash manager who wields lots of resources to operate with. The flashback also challenges readers on how to evaluate Jacob Marlowe when it comes to being accountable about his past actions, including the many things he did but could not remember. All of these lead to a really impactful ending that you readers must see.

Conclusion

Meet Entropy, a man with a shared past with Jacob Marlowe.

WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #9 (1994) is a Jim Lee-drawn tale that has solid depth and a very creative approach to its presentation, specifically its daring and well-executed method of mixing the superhero and fantasy elements. When it comes to the narrative, the creative team succeeded in telling both the present and the past tales followed by connecting them with each other while ultimately telling an overall cohesive tale. This is a Wild.C.A.T.S story that must be read from start to finish, and it is a powerful follow-up to issue #8.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #9 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $30.

Overall, WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #9 (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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

A Look Back at Dazzler #25 (1983)

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, 1980s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the year 1983 to examine the Marvel Comics universe through the exploits of Dazzler!

Today I have a review about the 25th issue of the Dazzler monthly series and it sure has this really strange looking cover with the protagonist in the foreground and a man in the background complete with a torn-page look. By the time this comic book was released, Dazzler had been through lots of misadventures, crazy superhero stuff as well as countless bouts of drama that impacted her and her existing family members. Could the creators come up with something to keep the series fresh and still engaging?

With those details laid down, here is a look back Dazzler #25, published by Marvel Comics in 1983 with a story written by Steve Grant and drawn by Marc Bright.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Alison Blaire working in front of a photographer during a photo session in the office of her manager Harry. It turns out, the photo session is a disaster for both of them. Shortly after, Alison changes her clothes and the field manager Lance arrives outside the door carrying a package for her sent by someone.

The package contained roses which delight Alison. She then reads a message that included with the roses…a message from a certain admirer. As the stakes of her entertainment career are higher than before, Alison gets advised to be extra careful with the kind of people she gets involve with.

From a distance, someone is closely watching Alison interacting with Harry and Lance using binoculars…

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Alison in her effort to save her father.

With a new creative team doing the works, this comic book’s story was indeed an effort to shake things up for the Dazzler monthly series. It’s a tale about Dazzler encountering a fan who is more dangerous and more capable than he seems. The way the story was presented, this one was pretty light on superhero elements as the team of Steve Grant and Marc Bright decided to take a more grounded approach on telling the newest happenings in Alison Blaire’s life. In some ways, this story really felt like it was isolated from the rest of the Marvel Comics universe of the time.

While the previous issues say Alison having breakthroughs with her mother and father, as well as spending quality time with her half-sister Lois, this comic book was more about the entertainer handling herself as she encounters a very determined man who is obsessed with her. The way things were presented here, the story is pretty much character-driven but light on superhero spectacle. Lastly, I want to say that this comic book tackled the themes of personal obsession, fan madness and inner rage which were all emphasized through the new character/antagonist here.

Conclusion

Alison in trouble.

Dazzler #25 (1983) does not have much to entertain readers who enjoy super heroics. If superhero fun is what you are after, you are better off reading issue #24. This comic book’s biggest selling point is its character-driven story which I am confident will engage strongly with die-hard Dazzler fans. The new character/antagonist introduced in this comic book is not really that strong enough to be a worthy counterpart with Dazzler, but his sheer determination and personal obsession with the entertainer are worth a look.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Dazzler #25 (1983), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $56 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $113.

Overall, Dazzler #25 (1983) 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

A Look Back at WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #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 superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we continue revisiting Jim Lee’s flagship title under the Image Comics label – WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams!

In my previous retro review about WildC.A.T.S #7, that story marked the 3rd chapter of the 4-part Killer Instinct crossover storyline which brought Jim Lee’s team together with Marc Silvestri’s Cyber Force. That storyline ended in a Cyber Force comic book which leads to the questions – what is next for WildC.A.T.S? Will there be a new and fresh storyline set up for them?

With those details laid down, here is a look back WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #8, published by Image Comics in 1994 with a story written by Brandon Choi and Jim Lee. Lee did the art along with Richard Bennett and Scott Williams.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside a large bar within New York City where Cole Cash/Grifter and Zealot (both of them in civilian clothes) spend time together playing pool. There are men nearby staring at them. While Grifter tries to unwind and have fun with the game, Zealot still sticks to her warrior mindset even though they are no longer in a battle field. Suddenly, one man arrogantly pours beer on Grifter’s head while another man touches Zealot’s hair.

The two WildC.A.T.S members struck the two violators and subsequently made short physical work of the other men who tried to hurt them. After that, Zealot and Grifter talk outside. The latter receives an urgent message which compels him to leave Zealot behind and do something important…

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Spartan and Voodoo on holiday in their civilian forms.

I’ll be straight to the point here. If you enjoyed Jim Lee’s previous work on Marvel’s X-Men that include bombastic action, misadventures, team members appearing in swimwear and character moments, you will find that in this story which is really a transitional tale of the team taking a break from action only to find themselves facing new danger. That being said, the concept and structure of the plot in this comic book is pretty simple and it does succeed in setting up WildC.A.T.S for another misadventure while cleverly emphasizing the Kherubim-Daemonite concept of the WildStorm universe back then.

As expected, Jim Lee’s artwork here is really great to look at and he sure always finds ways to make the dialogue scenes look interesting. What stands out to me the most in this comic book are the character moments which more than made up for the lightness of the plot. While the romantic interactions between Spartan and Voodoo is interesting, the interactions between Zealot and Grifter (referred to as Brother Grifter) really gave me additional insight on their respective personalities and, more notably, their feelings for each other.

More on character moments, you will see Maul and Warblade in their respective civilian identities as Reno and Jeremy. If you only see those two as violent action performers based on the previous issues of WildC.A.T.S, you will be surprised with the way Brandon Choi and Jim Lee presented them in this story.  

Conclusion

Can you recognize Maul and Warblade?

While its story was pretty light, WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #8 (1994) still manages to entertain me mainly due to the character moments that the creators came up with. In many ways, this comic book showed how human the team members are which is a nice change from all the action-focused stuff they were so busy with in the previous issues. Along the way, you will see a few creative gimmicks Jim Lee inserted visually, including the unofficial cameo appearance of two pretty notable members of X-Men (note: they just got married). Meanwhile, those who love Pris/Voodoo will find some extra entertainment here as this comic book has an additional short story about her past (set after WildC.A.T.S Trilogy #1) which was written by Peter Seagle and drawn by Travis Charest (who would later replace Jim Lee as illustrator of this comic book series).

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #8 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $40 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $120.

Overall, WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

A Look Back at Dazzler #24 (1983)

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, 1980s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the year 1983 to examine the Marvel Comics universe through the exploits of Dazzler!

As seen in the cover of the next Dazzler comic book I reviewed, the lady has Power Man and Iron Fist with her. In short, there is a crossover within Marvel Comics’ universe just waiting to be unveiled. Who exactly will Dazzler, Power Man and Iron Fist be facing? What kind of situation are they entering into?

With those details laid down, here is a look back Dazzler #24, published by Marvel Comics in 1983 with a story written by Danny Fingeroth and drawn by the late Frank Springer.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Rogue (of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants) breaking through the front door of the apartment of Alison Blaire who remains her target. She realizes that Dazzler is absent which is inconvenient as she believes that the singer is key in her quest to find Angel and the rest of the X-Men. Rogue makes a mess of Alison’s things in the apartment and decides to wait for her to return.

A short time later, Alison is approached by her friend Frank on her way home. He tells her that someone broke into her apartment and made a mess inside. Realizing that the trespasser is none other than Rogue (note: they encountered each other in Dazzler #22) and that she alone does not have much of a chance in fighting her, she calls Power Man and Iron Fist for their professional help…

Quality

Alison Blaire desperately getting away from Rogue.

To begin with, this is one action-packed tale of Dazzler that still manages to emphasize the development of the protagonist and her newly formed bond with her half-sister Lois (who appeared a short time before this comic book was released). As a crossover set within the Marvel Comics universe, Danny Fingeroth’s story makes mention of the X-Men as Rogue continues her quest on getting Dazzler to get to Angel in order to find Charles Xavier’s team which is all part of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutant’s lust for revenge. Along the way, readers will get to see Rogue take on Power Man and Iron Fist (note: these two met with Dazzler in Dazzler #23) which was fun to see.

More on Dazzler herself, the stakes are raised again as she not only has to survive encountering Rogue but also of the fact that the powerful Brotherhood of Evil Mutants member becomes aware of Lois. I should state that there are two encounters between Dazzler and Rogue here, and each one was entertaining to read.

Conclusion

Alison Blaire plus Power Man and Iron Fist.

Dazzler #24 (1983) is a Marvel crossover tale which the creators made to add some action-packed variety while telling the story of Dazzler. That being said, the dramatic character development that this comic book series was notable for was lightened a bit to make way for the superhero spectacle. Not only does this comic book provide readers additional insight into the duo of Power Man and Iron Fist, it also showed some development about the conflict between the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Ultimately, this is one old and fun comic book to have.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Dazzler #24 (1983), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $57 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $113.

Overall, Dazzler #24 (1983) 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

A Look Back at Dazzler #4 (1981)

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, 1980s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the year 1981 to examine the Marvel Comics universe through the exploits of Dazzler!

Last time around, Alison Blaire was preparing herself for a big event as Dazzler. The event was something needed to help her boost her career as an entertainer and the stakes were high as there were many important guests. The weird thing was that she instead got involved with one of the most fearsome super villains of Marvel – Dr. Doom!

With those details laid down, here is a look back Dazzler #4, published by Marvel Comics in 1981 with a story written by Tom DeFalco and drawn by the late Frank Springer. This was Springer’s Dazzler debut.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside a secret facility. Dr. Doom tells Dazzler that the Merlin Stone he just acquired mirrors her reflections as well as his own. The said stone has unique, mystical properties that Doom believes will help him achieve his dream of domination over mankind.

Dazzler, who is trapped inside a tube and is guarded by two of Dr. Doom’s guards, tries to recover after losing consciousness a short time back. Dr. Doom expresses his observation of her special ability to convert sound into light.

Dr. Doom turns his computer on energizing the tube that contains Dazzler. She suddenly turns into energy and disappears…

Quality

Dazzler in a new dimension.

The best way to describe this comic’s story…it is one wild ride that emphasizes a different kind of fantasy for readers. This is, of course, related to Dr. Doom’s immediate quest of finding another Merlin Stone within a different dimension which directly involved Dazzler against her will.

Dazzler here was in a very wild misadventure that goes way beyond the limits of New York City. Being in a completely new dimension, she finds herself literally lost in the sea of space and encounters creatures here and there. This misadventure, however, was not written to be mindless at all. In fact, as the tale in the new dimension goes on, Dazzler was presented to be more tactical, more analytical and do things to solve problems she encountered. She also gets to use her superpower in more creative ways.

The misadventure also has key moments that test Dazzler’s resolve on a personal level. As such, these moments added to her development which also raises the stakes as to what she could potentially do once she returns back to her life. Clearly, this is a story that carefully mixes spectacle and character development without losing track of the story.

On the art of the comic book, Frank Springer’s Dazzler debut is pretty solid. Not only does he capture the look of Dazzler herself, his creative visuals really brought the dimension into life filled with images of out space, fantasy monsters and more. Apart from drawing Dazzler and Dr. Doom, Springer’s art of the Fantastic Four is pretty good to look at.

Conclusion

A helpless Dazzler in the presence of Dr. Doom.

Dazzler #4 (1981) is a fun comic book to read and as a Dazzler story, it is a worthy continuation of the events that took place in issue #3. The concept about having Dazzler under the power of Dr. Doom was nicely executed which is a very hard feat to achieve since the said super villain was known to be a major force of opposition not only against the Fantastic Four but also against Spider-Man, the X-Men and more. Dazzler’s misadventure into the other dimension was wild and yet nicely structured which led to some nice character development of hers. This comic book had a strong series start for Frank Springer who went on to draw a great majority of the issues of the Dazzler monthly series.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Dazzler #4 (1981), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $28 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $60.

Overall, Dazzler #4 (1981) 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

A Look Back at WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #4 (1993)

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

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the early days of Image Comics through Jim Lee’s WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams comic book franchise which was one of the launch titles of the said company.

Last time around, I reviewed the third issue of the WildC.A.T.S mini-series and its quality was good enough for me. Other than the visual candies delivered by Jim Lee, WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #3 featured a crossover with Rob Liefeld’s very own Youngblood which was really surprising and intriguing back in those times.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at the final issue of the mini-series…WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #4, published by Image Comics through Malibu Comics in 1993 with a story written by Brandon Choi and Jim Lee. Lee did the art.

Jim Lee drew this cover very similarly to his cover art work on X-Men #4 (1992).

Early story

The story begins with Helspont already declaring victory as well as the beginning of his operation called Reunification which involves the use of the orb to activate a stargate which would allow his brethren of Daemonites to come to Earth to not only overwhelm the Kherubim but also to conquer the whole world. In his presence are two of his deadly companies standing with him and certain members of WildC.A.T.S – including their leader Jacob Marlowe – who are down on the rough surface having been hit hard moments earlier.

Suddenly a group composed of the six Youngblood members, Vice President Dan Quayle and WildC.A.T.S’ members Voodoo and Maul approach Helspont and his companions in an attempt to make them surrender.

As Voodoo realizes her power does not affect Helspont, the vicious Daemonite strikes the group with an energy blast aided by the orb and the high technology of the place. As this happens, Grift, Void and Jacob slowly make their moves. Jacob uses his communicator to send a signal to the heavily damaged Spartan…

Quality

WildC.A.T.S face strong opposition from the Gnome and his dangerous companions.

As the final tale of the mini-series, I can say that the script made for this comic book is a pretty satisfying read from start to finish. Like in issue #3, the pace here moves fast and there is a lot of spectacle that got executed while never overwhelming its narrative. More on the narrative, the conflict between the Kherubim and Daemonites is strongly symbolized by the WildC.A.T.S and Helspont’s forces going head to head. There are some pretty notable character moments that added to the fun factor such as Jacob sarcastically telling Helspont he could not access the back-up systems for his dreaded operation to bring the Daemonites to Earth.

Of course, this is not simply a WildC.A.T.S versus Helspont story in the good-versus-evil type of way. Apart from the inclusion of Rob Liefeld’s Youngblood, there is also the other dangerous party led by the Gnome who also have a strong interest in the orb. While their participation in the story happens pretty late, they do provide serious opposition against Jacob Marlowe and his team.

As mentioned earlier, there is a lot of action that expresses the intensity of the conflicts. While there is almost no room left for any real character development, the creators managed to craft a story that never felt brainless or unintelligent. As such, there is a lot of entertaining stuff to enjoy here and I personally find the establishment of WildC.A.T.S’ core concept to be solid and worth following.

Conclusion

As Helspont emphasizes his evil plan, Jacob Marlowe makes his move.

WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #4 (1993) is a not just a fun comic book to read. It is also a worthy conclusion to its mini-series and also it succeeded in establishing the WildC.A.T.S as both Jim Lee’s passion project and as one of the most worthy early titles of Image Comics. By the time I reached the end of this comic book, it became clear to me back in 1993 that Jim Lee was moving forward to a new territory on superhero comic book creations leaving behind his legacy with Marvel and their X-Men franchise. While this comic book ended the 4-issue mini-series, the funny thing was that Jim Lee and his team went on to start a regular comic book series of WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams by actually publishing issue #5 (in late 1993) instead of starting with a brand new issue #1.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #4 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $20 while the near-mint copies of newsstand edition (without card) and the numbered-and-signed edition cost $48 and $160 respectively.

Overall, WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #4 (1993) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Spider-Man 2099 #6 (1993)

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

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts, and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the world of 2099 within the universe of Marvel Comics back in the 1990s, specifically through the Spider-Man 2099 monthly series.

Today we will look back at the sixth issue of Spider-Man 2099. Previously, Spider-Man struggled long and hard with the Japanese agent called the Specialist not knowing that they are being monitored by powerful forces behind the scenes. As Alchemax’s Tyler Stone wanted Spider-Man, something unexpected happened before issue #5 ended.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Spider-Man 2099 #6, published in 1993 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Peter David and drawn by Ricky Leonardi.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in downtown New York which is the historic and original section of the city located far below the modern-day society and its skyscrapers (referred to as Uptown). Lots of people are living in poverty in downtown New York and even so they are not spared by people who claim to have authority over them as public service personnel. A woman and her child got approached by two men who believe that the mother is two months behind her security payments.

As the physical struggle between them went on, they all found themselves close to a dead end with a pile of trash located on it. Suddenly, a human arm comes out pushing the trash out of the way which stuns them all. Spider-Man then emerges and asks for help…

Quality

Spider-Man of 2099 is so weak and vulnerable, he could not even swing his way around and has to take a ride in downtown New York City.

If there is anything clear about this comic book, it is the fact that Peter David portrayed the futuristic Spider-Man as not only struggling for survival but also as a fugitive complete with a brand-new physical environment which is a dark, far futuristic vision of 20th century New York City. The good news is that David succeeded with what he executed and to say the least, this story has a completely different feel compared to issues #2, #3, #4 and #5.

On Spider-Man, the protagonist was shown to be very vulnerable. His fall from uptown to downtown really wrecked his health and due to the genetic modifications that happened to Miguel O’Hara in issue #1, his above-normal (albeit slow) recovery and strength to even move out the medical facility while being injured are justified creatively. Spider-Man being hunted together by Private Eye and their downtown counterparts (note: there is a clash of cultures and attitudes between them which was nicely dramatized) adds a new layer of suspense mixed with tension which easily reminds me of the fact that the futuristic web-slinger is just a worm within the futuristic and oppressive society of New York in 2099 under Alchemax (note: clearly anti-corporatism is a key element of Marvel 2099 which can be deceiving and misleading to readers, especially those who are vulnerable to the lies and deception of socialists, Marxists, Communists, liberals and other elements of the Satanic Left).

As expected, Peter David further dramatized relationships or connections between the supporting characters. He further spiced up the script with the gradual first appearance of a key 2099 villain for Spider-Man to face off with. I won’t reveal which villain is that and I encourage you to find out by reading this comic book.

Conclusion

Early in the comic book.

Spider-Man 2099 #6 (1993) is fun and compelling to read. What makes it compelling is the creative way the author changed the mood of the story as it shifted into downtown New York of 2099 filled with poverty, darkness and hopeless living. Spider-Man as a fugitive here is similar yet different enough compared to how local authorities perceive the classic Spider-Man/Peter Parker. At this point of the monthly series, Spider-Man of 2099 is shown to be very vulnerable and Miguel O’Hara finally becomes desperate not just to survive but also get back home somehow.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Spider-Man 2099 #6 (1993) be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $30 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $90.

Overall, Spider-Man 2099 #6 (1993) is recommended.

+++++

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