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…

Quality

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…

Quality

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…

Quality

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

A Look Back at Ravage 2099 #7 (1993)

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

If there is anything that truly defines the 2099 universe of Marvel Comics, it is the sci-fi element. Science fiction that not only shows one possible future of Marvel’s United States but also how immense futuristic technology is present all around the people who are undoubtedly impacted by it all. Whether it is within the metropolis (think Spider-Man 2099) or in the wilderness (think X-Men 2099), the sci-fi element clearly defines the 2099 universe.

In the middle of it, there was Ravage (co-created by the late Stan Lee and artist Paul Ryan) who went from a corporate executive to a violent rebel. In my last review, Ravage escaped the toxic island and returned to the metropolis only to realize that his pals Dack and Tiana have been captured again.

To find out what happens next, here is a look back at Ravage 2099 #7, published in 1993 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Stan Lee and drawn by Paul Ryan.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Ravage struggling to save Dack and Tiana from different captors, both already separated from each other. Ravage springs into action taking control of the remaining section of the Fantastic Four’s Fantasticar and decides to try to save Dack while facing floating armed personnel. After successfully getting to two armed men hit each other, Ravage chases the flying craft and thanks to his gadget, he is able to hit one of the craft’s personnel.

After a few moments of struggle, Ravage manages to save Dack. He tells the young guy he will drop him off somewhere safe. Dack tells him that he will be blasted on sight by the Public Eye personnel and this convinces Ravage to take him on his dangerous attempt to rescue Tiana from the aquatic invaders…

Quality

I wonder if the social justice warriors (SJWs), the feminists, the socialists and so-called progressives will find this scene offensive to their feelings and beliefs.

Let me first point out the obvious weaknesses of the script Stan Lee wrote: repetition and lack of creative ideas. Alchemax’s Anderthorp Henton being portrayed as ruthless and evil towards his loyal employees yet again – check. Tiana captured again – check. Dack captured again – check. Anderthorp Henton being nice to ladies – check. Tiana being eroticized visually in a state of helplessness – check. Having these repetitions seem to be Stan Lee’s way of filling the script just to ensure there are 22 pages of story to be made.

In fairness to the late Lee, he did something new for this comic book – revealing the underwater lair of the aquatic invaders and having Ravage and Dack involved. The change of environment made this comic book look and feel refreshing, and this added a lot to the science fiction element of the 2099 universe of Marvel. However, it was all a temporary place to show off Ravage doing something heroic. In terms of storytelling, Lee missed out on the opportunity to emphasize to readers why they intend to invade the surface, why are they obsessed on eliminating the human race, and what is the true value of their planned on experiment on naked Tiana (other than learning how to process oxygen).

Another positive point here is Ravage doing heroic acts at last. It’s all technically a repeat of the title character saving his companions but ultimately it helps this comic book achieve its goal of portraying Ravage as a determined and flawed hero. It definitely is much better than his struggle to survive in the toxic island.

Conclusion

An action-packed chase.

As usual, Ravage 2099 #7 (1993) is another flawed comic book like the previous issues. It has, however, more good stuff than bad stuff. True, the repetition of creative elements hurt it but it still has enough entertainment value to justify a read.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Ravage 2099 #7 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $26.

Overall, Ravage 2099 #7 (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 Ravage 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, comic book collectors, pop culture geeks and fans of Marvel Comics! Today, we will revisit the 2099 universe that Marvel established in the 1990s through another issue of Ravage 2099 which featured the writing and imagination of the late Stan Lee. Lee wrote the first eight issues of the said series.

For the newcomers reading this, Ravage is a co-creation of Lee and illustrator Paul Ryan. Compared to the other major characters of the 2099 universe of Marvel, Ravage is an all-original character who went from being a corporate executive to a hard-hitting rebel. Last time around, Ravage struggled with his new found power (energy within his fists) while still being hunted by Dethstryk’s thugs.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Ravage 2099 #6, published by Marvel Comics in 1993 with a story written by Stan Lee and drawn by Paul Ryan.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins at a far-away island. Dethstryk’s thugs just attacked Ravage and his native companion in a cave, destroying the interior and causing a cave-in. Believing that Ravage is dead, the last of the thugs left the rubble behind. As it turned out, Ravage is still alive and uses his newfound power to free himself, pushing all the rocks off as if they were like pebbles. He realizes that the more he uses his power, the weaker he gets. Due to his being exposed to the island’s toxic environment, his condition continues to deteriorate. He uses one of the gadgets to aid him in seeing.

After looking around further in the ruined cave, he discovers a relic from the past – the Fantastic Four’s Fantasticar…

Quality

Ravage uses the old vehicle made by the Fantastic Four.

If you are looking for something adventurous or fun while following Ravage, you won’t find much here. Without spoiling the plot, this one has Ravage preparing himself for survival and moving back to civilization. There is not much heroic acts from the title character here and I noticed that Stan Lee’s script is filled with lots of filler-type dialogue designed to prolong scenes (that were meant to be short but had to be stretched) and fill the page. Really, there is not much stuff to engage you with here.

The build-up in issue #5 regarding the sub-plots for Tiana, Dack and the invaders from the sea had too little pay-off here but, in fairness, it does set up something for the next issue. I should also state that Stan Lee did not really do much with the villains – Dethstryk and Anderthorp Henton – and ended up recycling ways to show how cruel, cold-blooded and evil they are WITHOUT ever raising the stakes in their conflict with Ravage.

Conclusion

Just another scene to show how evil and ruthless Anderthorp Henton is towards his own employee. This should make you wonder what Stan Lee really thought about corporations, the labor union and the Leftist forces.

Once again, the Ravage 2099 series at this point only showed the lack of consistency in terms of quality and reader engagement. Ravage 2099 #6 has a story that is actually hollow and the creators resorted to stretching sequences to create the illusion that there is depth throughout. Clearly this is a step down from the previous issue.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Ravage 2099 #6 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $26.

Overall, Ravage 2099 #6 (1993) is not recommended but if you really want to acquire a copy of it, better wait until the price reaches fifty cents.

+++++

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 2099 Unlimited #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.

During the first half of 1993, Marvel Comics had published four monthly series of their 2099 franchise of comic books: Spider-Man 2099, Ravage 2099, Doom 2099 and Punisher 2099. X-Men 2099 debuted in the 2nd half of 1993 but months before that happened, Marvel went ahead with expanding their 2099 franchise by launching what was back then a new, quarterly comic book series simply titled 2099 Unlimited.

That being said, the mentioned quarterly series was officially launched with 2099 Unlimited #1 which, as its cover showed, featured Spider-Man 2099 as well as Hulk 2099. The comic book came with a high price of $3.95 on its cover and it had 64 pages of content (including ads and bulletins). I myself bought a copy of it as soon as it appeared on the shelves of the local comic book store here in the Philippines.

Was the debut comic book fun? Is it good by today’s standards? We can all find out in this look back at 2099 Unlimited #1, published in 1993 by Marvel Comics with stories written by Evan Skolnick and Gerard Jones, and drawn by Chris Wozniak and Dwayne Turner.

The cover.

Early stories

“Nothing ever changes!” – the story begins at New York City’s Koop Memorial Hospital where an investigation is happening. A married couple arrives and noticed the unusual activity happening there. As they arrive at another floor to visit their son Michael, they noticed the hallway is full of dead bodies. They panic and start running to find their son. Suddenly a muscular man appears and kills the husband, stating his action is justified by his belief about the natural order of things and his effort to ensure humanity’s survival. The killer escapes.

Weeks later, Spider-Man/Miguel O’Hara returns home from fighting crime just in time to rush and prepare himself for his date with Anna. During their date, Anna talks about her sister who has a rare genetic deformity. She intends to visit her sister at the hospital, and Miguel asked if she wants him to come along…

“Hulk 2099” – the story begins in the Mojave Desert with the Hulk traveling alone in the middle of the night. He has been traveling for over three hundred miles alone hunting something. The Hulk arrives at the private residence of a lady who spots him and alerts the armed personnel of Sweat Dreams Security Services. Soon enough, Sweet Dreams personnel arrive and its tank charges at the green monster…

Quality

Imagine Hulk 2099 trespassing on your property.

The first story featuring Spider-Man 2099 has a pretty interesting concept that was nicely executed and proved to be surprisingly satisfying. The creative team introduced the new villain Mutagen and they succeeded in building his personality (including his obsession with perfecting human genetics and altering the so-called gene pool) which resulted a justified conflict with Spider-Man. The character development, focused mainly on Mutagen, was well done and by the end of the story, he became a pretty interesting villain.

As for Spider-Man, his character development was pretty limited to his interactions with Anna laced with little references to his career with Alchemax, and there were no references to his personal life and the people who mattered most to him. Clearly, the first story was more about Mutagen than Spider-Man, and it has a very satisfying conflict between the two. I also enjoyed the way the creative team presented Mutagen being able to adapt to his environment and the attacks Spider-Man threw at him. While the story is strong, I should say that Chris Wozniak’s art is uneven. His drawings on Mutagen were pretty details but the same cannot be said about his art on Spider-Man.

The second story, featuring Hulk of 2099, is the actual gem in this comic book. Not only was it the first-ever appearance of the character, it unsurprisingly took inspiration from the origin of the classic Hulk (Bruce Banner) and made some twists with themes of the business of entertainment and the human desire of idolatry (always unholy). The new Hulk here is an entertainment executive named John Eisenhart who has been researching the Knights of Banner, a group of people who worship the classic Hulk. What he does in the real world and with people, he strives to make something out of them to boost his career and stand out in the business of amusement. Eisenhart sees Banner’s idolaters having the makings of a new cult of Thor complete with living in isolation

Eisenhart is not the typical good-natured protagonist. Quite the opposite in fact as he is obsessed with success and is a walking tool of Hollywood who exploits people and insists that being civilized is essential and that strength is knowing where the power is. That being said, this story has a lot of build-up on Hulk 2099 while still having sufficient space to tell his origin that arguably links him with the legacy of Banner Hulk. For the most part, the bouts of build-up resulted worthy pay-offs that readers can enjoy.

More on Hulk 2099 himself, this version of the classic character is more monstrous and freakish looking. While Hulk 2099 maintains the intelligence of Eisenhart, he still is deadly and unpredictable. Supporting characters like Gawain and Quirk both lacked scenes and dialogue but that is not surprising since the focus of the comic book is on Hulk 2099. For the art, Dwayne Turner’s work here is satisfying.

Conclusion

Spider-Man 2099 and Mutagen in battle!

When I first read this way back in 1993, I felt underwhelmed. By today’s standards, 2099 Unlimited #1 (1993) surprisingly aged well and it is actually deeper, more meaningful and engaging than I previously thought. Apart from Hulk 2099’s debut, the introduction of Mutagen was pretty engaging and he had a lot of potential to be a major 2099 universe villain. Too bad that Mutagen was not used to be a nemesis against Ravage 2099 or Punisher 2099 or even X-Men 2099. Hulk 2099 meanwhile went on to have a dedicated monthly series which came at a time when the 2099 imprint and the comic book industry in general went way down. This comic book, in my opinion, is more cerebral than it looks and that is thanks to the writers.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of 2099 Unlimited #1 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $15 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $32.

Overall, 2099 Unlimited #1 (1993) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Ravage 2099 #5 (1993)

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

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of Marvel’s 2099 universe! Do you want to see more of 2099 stories written by the late Stan Lee? There is Ravage 2099, the one original character for the 2099 universe co-created by Lee and illustrator Paul Ryan. In my last review, the story had Ravage desperately trying to survive in an island which is toxic and filled with lots of bad guys hunting him down.  

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Ravage 2099 #5, published in 1993 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Stan Lee and drawn by Paul Ryan.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Ravage, in the presence of Ursell (the one who saved his life), reacting to his hands burning with light-blue flame. Ursell states it is the radiation causing it. Ravage accuses him of turning him into a troid and that he is not better than Dethstryk, the ruler on the island. As he could not control his anger, Ravage attacks Ursell (who told him his hands are lethal as they destroy what they touch).

Outside, one Dethstryk’s troops spots light (the result of Ravage’s energetic hands) coming from the same cave Ravage and Ursell are in. Eventually Ravage calms down and the energy of his hands weaken. Ursell hands him gloves (composed of complex molecular formula) which help him contain the energy but only for one hour.

Suddenly, Dethstryk’s thugs spot the two in the cave. One of them identifies Ursell as the betrayer of their leader…

Quality

I wonder if SJWs, socialists, Communists and the radicalized feminists will find this image offensive…

In terms of storytelling, this comic book is a big improvement over the last issue. While issue #4 was pretty much limited to Ravage just struggling to survive, this one had more elements of discovery and surprise which made it feel fresh. Ravage having his hands energetic and getting bothered deeply by it was a nice touch to spice up the character while building him up to be potentially more powerful. I also enjoyed the sub-plot in which Tiana, who has been portrayed as an erotic damsel-in-distress since issue #1, finally gets to do something important with trying to free the troubled youth Dack. Not only that, there is also another sub-plot involving a race of aquatic creatures that seek to invade the surface.

Conclusion

Spider-Man 2099’s very brief appearance!

Ravage 2099 #5 (1993) is fun to read and surprisingly engaging as it is a big improvement over issue #4. Considering the uneven quality of this particular series, it’s nice to see Stan Lee make storytelling improvements just as they are needed. Still the quality of dialogue is sub-par and there were corny lines like Ravage saying, “You’re cornier than breakfast cereal!”

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Ravage 2099 #5 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $24.

Overall, Ravage 2099 #5 (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: Days of Future Past (2014)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from watching the movie 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.

We all know that the 20th Century Fox franchise of X-Men movies has ended and everything cinematic about Marvel’s famous mutants are now in the hands of Marvel Studios. From the year 2000 to 2020, the original X-Men cinematic universe produced a whole bunch of movies (including spinoffs) which ultimately led to uneven results with regards to commercial success, critical feedback, artistry, production values and cultural impact. Even so, 20th Century Fox-produced X-Men movies generated more than $6 billion in ticket sales worldwide.

When it comes to the spinoff movies, I like Logan the best (sorry, Deadpool).

For the main X-Men movies, the one film that really delivered the great stuff and tons of fun for me was none other than X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014). For one thing, the movie had two generations of X-Men cinematic performers (the original team led by Patrick Stewart and the newer ones from X-Men: First Class led by James McAvoy) and its story literally had them linked together with Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine as the living bridge between them. To put it short, it was a cinematic crossover story made with X-Men fans in mind. That film scored highly with critics and most moviegoers, and it grossed almost $750 million worldwide which makes it the highest-grossing X-Men movie ever until now.

It has been years since X-Men: Days of Future Past made waves in the cinemas and through post-theater businesses like Blu-ray, cable TV, pay-per-view, streaming and the like. Along the way, movies like Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame collectively raised the standards of Hollywood superhero movies in varied ways. I should state that X-Men (2000), X2: X-Men United and X-Men: The Last Stand did not age well.

To find out if the 2014 X-Men film aged well or not, here is my retro review of X-Men: Days of Future Past directed by Bryan Singer with a screenplay written by Simon Kinberg with a story done by Kinberg, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn.

A great image of the cinematic X-Men, both the old and newer cast.

Early story

The story begins in the dark future. Countless mutants and human allies have been caught and imprisoned by very sophisticated Sentinels (operating for an unnamed authority that also has armed human personnel as watchers) which continue to hunt more of them down along with any humans caught aiding them. In Russia, a small X-Men team composed of Colossus, Kitty Pryde, Iceman, Sunspot, Bishop, Warpath and Blink take action when they realized that the Sentinels found their hideout. Kitty Pryde, who by this time gained the new ability to send a person’s consciousness back through time, runs along with Bishop to hide in a vault to send his consciousness into the past. Fortunately for them, their teammates delayed the unstoppable Sentinels enough to succeed.

Some time later at another location, an aging Charles Xavier, Magneto, Wolverine and Storm arrive to meet with Kitty Pryde and her teammates. Xavier gives the team an in-depth history lesson about the Sentinels which were created decades earlier by the late Bolivar Trask who was assassinated by Mystique (who believed she could make a difference for her fellow mutants). After the assassination, Mystique got caught by the authorities and became a live experiment for scientists working for the government. Her DNA helped accelerate the development of the Sentinel program which made them able to adapt to most mutant attacks and powers.

A plan gets formed for Kitty Pryde to send Xavier back through time to his younger self in 1973 to prevent the assassination from happening. Kitty states it’s too risky for the old Xavier to go through time as it may kill him. Wolverine volunteers to take Xavier’s place as his healing factor (regeneration) will ensure his survival with the process. Xavier presses Wolverine to convince the 1973 Charles Xavier to help prevent the assassination given the fact that he was a broken man at the time.

Wolverine arrives in his younger self’s body in New York of 1973. He makes his way to the mansion of Charles Xavier. As it turns out, Xavier’s school has been closed for some time and has been decaying…   

Quality

Nicholas Hoult, James McAvoy and Hugh Jackman as Beast, Charles Xavier and Wolverine respectively.

Considering what was made and what were presented through this movie, the creative team and the cast of X-Men: Days of Future Past literally scored a home run here resulting true greatness! Bryan Singer, whose previous X-Men directorial job was 2003’s X2, finally struck gold with regards to storytelling, directing and, finally, spectacle (previous his big weakness).  

In terms of storytelling, this movie, first and foremost, is not a faithful adaptation of the classic Days of Future Past storyline at all. In fact, there was no need for it to be faithful. What the screenwriters came up with was a loose adaptation which allowed them to craft a more original story that involved the established X-Men characters (from the early movies) and the other X-Men characters (who started in 2011’s X-Men: First Class) and have them set apart in terms of time periods (similar to what was done in 1994’s Star Trek: Generations, but much better and more compelling in writing). The result is a crossover tale with Wolverine being the traveler through time.

The Sentinels are clearly terrifying and unstoppable!

The great news here is that the script has very strong structuring done and even had enough space to briefly acknowledge events and characters from the first three X-Men films plus 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine as canon. All of these add to the narrative very well and when the stakes were raised, the overall plot made sense. Let me add that it was a smart move for the writers to raise the stakes in the two time periods during the final act of the movie, which really made the story more engaging to viewers. I should state that having two conflicts happening simultaneously on screen in this X-Men movie was done efficiently and without ever becoming confusing nor messy.

Apart from the narrative, the portrayal of the X-Men was, indeed, spot-on. Noticeably, the major characters here were Charles Xavier (both old and young), Wolverine (both old and young), Mystique, Magneto (specifically the young version), Beast and Bolivar Trask. Strong writing was evident in the dialogue of the mentioned characters, as well as in those with minor roles. Through dialogue alone, I easily recognized these cinematic characters.

Michael Fassbender delivered his best performance as young Magneto.

Given his strength in telling stories, I should say that Bryan Singer succeeded in executing the script into cinematic narrative. Not only that, he succeeded in getting really good performances from the cast. James McAvoy (young Xavier), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Michael Fassbender (young Magneto) and Nicholas Hoult (Beast) were evidently more confident and more comfortable in reprising their characters (note: they debuted together in X-Men: First Class).

The old cast composed of Patrick Stewart (old Xavier), Ian McKellen (old Magneto), Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde), Halle Berry (Storm), Shawn Ashmore (Iceman) and Daniel Cudmore (Colossus) all made a very welcome return. To be specific, it was only Patrick Stewart among them who had the most engaging dialogue with Ian McKellen being a distant second to him. As most of the film was set in the past, it was understandable that the old cast’s dialogue would not be that rich which translates to limited performance. The filmmakers tried bouncing back with mutant variety by having Bingbing Fan as Blink, Adan Canto as Sunspot and Booboo Stewart as Warpath, who all provided nicely in the action scenes and special effects use.

Bingbing Fan and Booboo Stewart as Blink and Warpath.

Hugh Jackman’s performance as Wolverine in this movie is the most unique of them all. Not only does he have to play TWO versions of his character, he as the only member of the old X-Men cast spent a great deal of time interacting with the newer X-Men players. The great news here is that Jackman has great chemistry with James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult and Michael Fassbender, which ultimately justified the crossover! Speaking of McAvoy, his scene with the older version of his character is very memorable and a highlight! Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask is excellent but to my surprise, he is not exactly villainous nor did he express cruelty. He’s more of an obsessed scientist and as such, Michael Fassbender’s Magneto easily overshadows him when it comes to being the main antagonist. This is surprising but not exactly a problem.

More on the anti-hero factor of the movie, I should say that the Sentinels in this movie are the most dangerous and the most intimidating non-sentient, scientific antagonists since the Terminator. Being programmed to deal with mutants, the Sentinels are unrelenting and often used violence to complete their objectives. The futuristic Sentinels, which are evolved versions thanks to Mystique’s DNA, are so formidable the mutants cannot simply defeat them. Even the 1970s Sentinels are quite formidable.

As mentioned earlier, I do confirm that Bryan Singer really outdid himself on delivering the spectacle back with support from the special effects team, the stunt team and the like. The action scenes involving the X-Men are top-notch, in fact they make the action in Singer’s previous X-Men films look minor in terms of creativity, quality and fun! The computer-generated effects in this movie still look great by today’s standard, although some CGI used in the floating stadium sequence looked rushed. Also it was quite a marvel to see Wolverine and Beast face-off with a 1970s Sentinel in the final act. I should mention that the slow-motion sequence involving Quicksilver (played by Evan Peters) is one great and funny spectacle to watch, well worth replaying!

Conclusion

Jennifer Lawrence in her best-ever performance as Mystique.

I declare that X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) is the best-ever X-Men movie I have seen and it has aged very well! Its overall quality is very great and the combined talents of director Singer, the cast, the writers and all the technical teams justified it all. By today’s standards, this X-Men movie still stands very high among all superhero movies of Hollywood ever released! As an X-Men film, this one is truly epic and the true highlight of all X-Men movies under 20th Century Fox. As a time-travel film, this one has a very unique approach and it should be noted that director Bryan Singer approached James Cameron to talk about time travel, parallel universes and the like.

More on personal viewing, I can say that this film greatly entertained me in the cinema back in 2014, and it still succeeds in doing so whenever I replayed it on Blu-ray in the comfort of home. If there is anything I regret, it’s the fact that I never saw this movie in the IMAX cinema.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), visit Amazon for the Blu-ray release as well as the 4K Blu-ray combo release. There is also the Rogue Cut of the movie also on Blu-ray.

Overall, X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) 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 Spider-Man 2099 #2 (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.

I can hardly believe that it has been a year since Marvel Comics organized the return of their 2099 universe with the release of several comic books. Among those, I bought 2099 Alpha #1 it was a very disappointing read. I also read some other 2099 comic books released late 2019, and none of those engaged me nor gave me much entertainment value in return for what I paid for.

If you ask me, the Marvel 2099 universe of comics was at its best during the early 1990s. That being said, join me on this look back at Spider-Man 2099 #2, published in 1992 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Peter David and drawn by Rick Leonardi.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins at one of the Alchemax towers. Miguel O’Hara is standing naked in front of a shocked Aaron Delgato, a corporate rival of his who tried to kill him. As he noticed Miguel (with fangs) looking at him, he reacts by firing his gun. With fast reflexes, Miguel (whose DNA has been altered already at this point) dodges all of the shots and tries to get close to his rival. One of the bullets hit a tank which causes a large explosion at the tower. The tremendous force pushed them both to the exterior.

Miguel grabs Aaron’s arm not realizing that his talons are hurting his rival. The skin of Aaron’s arm got ripped off causing him to fall to his death below. Miguel gets dressed as armed personnel arrive. As shots were fired, Miguel falls off the edge…

Quality

The costume!

This is a very well-written story by Peter David. While the first issue established Miguel O’Hara’s personality and corporate standing, this one established his becoming Spider-Man 2099 by means of mutation. Not only does he have talons (which retract automatically when he touches his own skin) and sharp teeth, he also gains heightened vision, enhance leaping ability, and most notably his costume (backed with a reasonable explanation it exists). The scenes of corporate intrigue and the introduction of the cyber cowboy named Venture easily added a detective story element into the plot which was quite gripping. No doubt about it, I found the story in this comic book more satisfying than the first issue.

Conclusion

Spider-Man 2099’s talons save him from falling further.

Spider-Man 2099 #2 (1992) is a great read and this is the one comic book that fully establishes the title character as we know him.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Spider-Man 2099 #2 (1992), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $15 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $45.

Overall, Spider-Man 2099 #2 (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 Sludge #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.

Welcome back, superhero geeks, comic book collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! Before we revisit the Ultraverse, I should state that I am not a fan of monsters as comic book protagonists, especially when it comes to the superhero genre. In the world of pop culture, a lot of people get fascinated with monsters especially those that are dangerous to people. You got the likes of the Swamp Thing, Dracula, the monster of Frankenstein, the Werewolf, etc.

When it comes to the Ultraverse, they have a monster for a protagonist named Sludge. What I find really intriguing was that Sludge was introduced to readers not by making appearances in existing Ultraverse comic books but by actually being featured in full force in the launch of issue of his own series – Sludge #1.

With those details settled, we can find out if there is something special or unique about the Ultraverse monster in this look back at Sludge #1, published by Malibu Comics in 1993 with a story written by Steve Gerber (who previously worked on Marvel’s Man-Thing) and drawn by Aaron Lopresti.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in a very low place of Manhattan where society’s substratum meets the crust of the earth. Sludge, a grotesque monster with a human perception and a body made out of slime, slowly walks towards a group of poor and homeless people.

Elsewhere somewhere in the city, a radio talk show host talks to his listeners about Frank Hoag, a detective sergeant who worked for twenty years for the New York Police Department or NYPD. It turns out, Hoag has been missing for the past few weeks and the last thing someone knew about him was that he responded to a call about a break-in at the headquarters of a pharmaceutical firm. The next morning at the said place, company employees spotted signs of violence including blood, bullet holes and shell casings. No sign of the detective.

As the radio talk show host engages his listeners by making an issue out of the disappearance of Hoag, police officers got offended while a gang of armed thugs paid close attention to what was said. As the said gang (riding their car) move down the street of homes, they opened fire at the people.

As the gang’s car moves on, the manhole ahead of them opens. Sludge comes out of it and finds himself right on the path of the moving car…

Quality

This is why you don’t mess with Sludge.

The writing is top-notch and this is no surprise not only because of Steve Gerber’s extensive writing experience but also because he knew how to write a story with a monster as a protagonist which was what he did with Marvel’s Man-Thing. Unlike that other monster, Sludge has intelligence and awareness, therefore he is a monster with humanity still existing within. Very cleverly, Gerber introduced Sludge and notable aspects of him in a very smooth and efficient manner. By the time I finished this reading this comic, I realized that I witnessed Sludge’s first appearance and origin story which were done very nicely. I should also state that Sludge here is not a mere monster but really a struggling character worth following.

For his part, Aaron Lopresti’s art is pretty good. His visualization of Sludge really stands out and he did not pull back his punches when it came to drawing the action and presenting the violence.

Conclusion

Considering his physical state, Sludge coming out of the manhole is justified.

I can say that I am very pleasantly surprised and entertained by what was presented in Sludge #1 (1993). It really is a great monster-protagonist story written by Steve Gerber and his work here really shines. By the time I reached the end of the story, I got eager to look forward to the next issue and find out what Sludge will do next. It is a very engaging read and one of the strongest debut issues of the Ultraverse.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Sludge #1 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the ultra-limited edition costs $32.

Overall, Sludge #1 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