A Look Back at UltraForce #0 (1994)

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

Hey everyone! I bet you heard the sad news about the layoffs over at DC Comics which is the result of a corporate restructuring on the part of AT&T. With the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19, restructuring in the private sector is inevitable with the intention of keeping business surviving. Already I noticed some people are divided over the DC Comics layoffs – some people condemned the corporate hierarchy for laying off DC’s employees while some believe it is necessary to keep long-time comic book publisher alive. As for the socialist and Communist-minded critics, I wonder if they prefer the State Government of California (led by a tyrant governor) to fully take over DC Comics just to prevent layoffs and still be able to provide financial assistance (including taxpayers’ money) to illegal immigrants.

Wow. Just about any news development can get politicized. Regardless, the Political Left clearly support criminals, embrace corruption, move to destroy capitalism and move to betray their fellow citizens. Anyway, enough with the current events. If you want some escapism from the harshness of reality, then join me on my look back at UltraForce #0, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story by Gerard Jones and illustrated by the legendary George Perez.

Great cover by George Perez.

Early story

The story begins at a cemetery where Ghoul rises from the grave and disturbs a man and a woman who planned to have a good time together that evening. The next morning on the streets of Hollywood, police officers struggle to separate the people who condemned ultras apart from those who believe in the ultras. Ghoul, now wearing a trench coat, is in the middle of the crowd and it turns out he is looking for his friends…the Exiles. Suddenly, Hardcase comes in and easily catches the attention of the aggressive news media who asked questions such as:

“As the most visible ultra, do you feel ultras should be feared or worshipped?”

“What about the accountability of corporate-sponsored ultras like Prototype?”

“How do we contain an out-of-control vigilante like Prime?”

Given his experience as a celebrity, Hardcase carefully explains that even though most ultras try to do the right thing, they are not accountable for each other. Elsewhere, young Kevin Green watches the live feed of Hardcase on TV. In response to what he saw and heard about having ultras held accountable, Kevin becomes fascinated with the idea of a team of ultras who are united and cannot be beaten by the government.

Suddenly Kevin’s chest begins to hurt and moves out of the house leaving his mother. After hiding himself behind the bush, he transforms into Prime and flies away to show the world what ultras can do when he leads them…

Quality

Premier rivals Prime and Prototype meet again!

I’ll cut to the chase. While UltraForce #1 showed how very notable superheroes of the Ultraverse banded together, this story cleverly explained what happened just a short time prior to that story. The very good news here is that the script written by Jones is very detailed and told a really cohesive story of its which was greatly brought to life visually by George Perez (which should not be a surprise at all). In fact, UltraForce #0 (which had some of its content previewed in the pages of Wizard Magazine) and #1 form one single narrative which was made with really high quality writing and visuals. It also showcases amazing production values by the creative teams at Malibu Comics.

For the newcomers reading this, this comic book sheds light on the impact ultras have on society and why people get divided when it comes to living knowing that someone much more powerful than them could suddenly impact their way of life. To put it short, this comic book’s social concept will keep you thinking and speculating. More on the writing, like the 1st issue, the storytelling here is certainly unpredictable (but still manages to tell a cohesive tale) and will keep you guessing what would happen next. Definitely this is not typical superhero story about someone saving the day and restoring the peace. Finally, I do confirm that this comic book is very loaded with spectacle and the pace of the story moves quite fast. By the end of this comic book, you will not only anticipate the following events (in issue #1) but also get to know Prime and the others better and be entertained a lot.

Contrary and Pixx inside their secret ship.

Conclusion

Hardcase comes in as Ghoul struggles with all the attention.

I’ll say it out loud – UltraForce #0 is a great comic book (as great as issue #1) and it truly is one of the best Ultraverse comic books as well as one of the finest works done by Malibu Comics! As a superhero team concept, UltraForce is clearly the most symbolic team of the Ultraverse not just because it has major players like Prime, Hardcase and Prototype together but also with the way they were defined literally and visually. For more on the concept of UltraForce, check out the words of then Ultraverse editor Chris Ulm.

“UltraForce is the unluckiest group in the Ultraverse. Each one has their own conception of the what mission of UltraForce is. Each fancies themselves the leader. But somehow, they are able to forge a new kind of team that is greater than the sum of its parts,” wrote Ulm in the comic book.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of UltraForce #0 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $4.

Overall, UltraForce #0 (1994) is highly recommended!

+++++

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

A Look Back at Prototype #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.

Hey everyone! Are you ready for another return to the Ultraverse? This time, it’s a return to the Prototype monthly series published by Malibu Comics.

That being said, here is a look back at Prototype #8, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story by Tom Mason and Len Strazewski, and art done by Roger Robinson.

Cover

Early story

The story begins with the continuing destructive battle between Prototype (piloted by Jimmy Ruiz) and Arena (a past foe that Bob Campbell dealt with as Prototype) inside a building in the middle of the city. As the two armored figures fight, an Ultratech executive calls out for Veil. Facing disadvantages against Arena, Prototype decides to fly out of the building to try something more strategic.

Meanwhile, Bomb Campbell learns about the ongoing battle in the news while working on a part of powered suit of armor he has. He notices the return of Arena and analyzes that Jimmy Ruiz will end up losing to the old foe…

Quality

5
Even flying away did not help Prototype from avoiding Arena’s attacks.

I’m happy to say that this is another well-written story here by Mason and Strazewski. While the battle between Arena and Prototype is the main feature, the script focused nicely on other developments such as Bob Campbell’s recollection of his past encounter with Arena (from his time as Prototype), how the city officials perceive ultras as a threat and danger to the locality, and how the people react to gang violence striking their community.

What is pretty striking with this comic book is the further development of Jimmy Ruiz as a character. Not only will you see him struggle a lot not only with fighting and piloting the powered sit of armor, you’ll also see how the frustration with his high-paying job impacts him deeply. His personality got fleshed out during his battle with Arena who in turn thinks with tradition and philosophies. The way the story ended is a must-see and the good news is that it builds up the suspense for the next issue.

Conclusion

2
The money shot!

Prototype #8 is fun to read and compelling for anyone who is focused on Jimmy Ruiz. This comic book, which by the way is loaded with lots of action, is not the typical hero-beats-antagonist type of story rather it went the extra mile on developing the present-day Prototype. It is also the most engaging portrayal of Jimmy Ruiz yet!

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prototype #8 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $4.

Overall, Prototype #8 (1994) is recommended!


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

A Look Back at V #1 (1985)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book, watching the V mini-series (Original Miniseries and The Final Battle) and the 1984 TV series, 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 1980s – a time when Netflix, Blu-ray, social and other forms of digital entertainment were not yet realized – watching a special show on television was really something. During that particular decade, science fiction in cinema was already popular (thanks to George Lucas and Star Wars plus the resurgence of Star Trek) but there was still room for growth on the TV market.

IMDBcoverpic
The cover of V: The Original Miniseries. (source – IMDB.com)

Then came the very memorable sci-fi TV mini-series titled V (also referred to as V: The Original Miniseries) in 1983 which not only became a big hit with viewers but also brought the sci-fi concept of reptiloids (reptilian humanoids) to the mainstream. The mini-series also had parallels to the Nazis and the Holocaust. The original mini-series was such a big hit, it spawned a sequel mini-series titled V: The Final Battle (1984) and even a TV series (1984-1985).

IMDBpic
Jane Badler as Diana, Faye Grant as Julie Parrish and Marc Singer as Mike Donovan. (source – IMDB.com)

Created by Kenneth Johnson, V became a popular franchise and made stars out of Marc Singer (The Beastmaster), Faye Grant, Michael Ironside (Total Recall) and Jane Badler. Even though there never was a movie made, V was popular enough to have a line of novels, a video game and even a comic book series!

With the history lesson done, it’s high time to start taking a look back at V #1, published in 1985 by DC Comics with a story written by Cary Bates and illustrated by Carmine Infantino.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the city of Los Angeles, California, with millions of locals try to co-exist with the visitors (reptilian beings disguised as humans) who are armed and still have power over Earth’s people. Los Angeles stands as a so-called neutral zone but some things are not what they seem.

Inside a restaurant, Mike Donovan, Julie Parrish, Ham Tyler and Chris Farber talk about their situation. For Ham and Chris, the neutral zone stinks but for Mike, the current situation spares the city from turning into an open battlefield. Suddenly, three men wearing trench coats standing by the bar pull their guns out and fire at Mike and his companions who take cover…

Quality

9
The struggle between the resistance and the visitors goes on.

Before discussing the quality of this comic book, I should state that having sufficient knowledge about the two TV mini-series and the TV series is required in order to understand what has been going on in the literary tale and who the characters are.

On quality, let’s start with the storytelling done by Cary Bates. It is clear Bates carefully researched the TV materials to make a comic book script that pretty much captures not only the essence of V but also the notable differences of each character (examples: Tyler is sarcastic, Mike is determined, Willie occasionally speaks with a misplaced word, and Diana is sadistic). This comic book’s plot was written to be aligned with the events of the TV series as it is clear that its tale took place some time after the climax of V: The Final Battle.

When it comes to translating V’s essence from TV to comic book format, Bates script worked surprisingly well and more importantly there was a careful balance between exposition, plotting, spectacle and suspense. When it comes to character development, what you get from the TV series (in terms of doing characterization) is also present here.

When it comes to visuals, Carmine Infantino’s work is serviceable. The artist did what was possible with the script provided although there were key moments in which the panels and drawings were structured to be a little disorienting. Was this Infantino’s way of trying to be dynamic with the visuals? Lastly, don’t expect to see the major characters resemble their TV counterparts. Ham does not look like Michael Ironside, Mike does not look like Marc Singer and Julie does not look like Faye Grant.

Conclusion

6
Recognize Mike, Julie and Ham here?

I can say it straight that V #1 is a solid science fiction comic book that specifically will strongly resonate with fans of the V franchise’s entertainment of the 1980s. This comic book strongly captures the essence of the V franchise, specifically the TV series itself, and the good news is that the major characters are nicely dramatized which should delight fans. That being said, it’s tricky to recommend this to people who did not grow up with nor knew the V mini-series and TV series. When it comes to trading and making money out of this comic book, you could be in luck.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of V #1 (1985), 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 $33.

Overall, V #1 (1985) is highly recommended specifically for the fans and the collectors. Those who are not oriented with the franchise need to see the mini-series and TV series first in order to realize this comic book’s value.


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 Batman versus Predator II: Bloodmatch #1 (1995)

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

If there is anything I love about the comic book format in relation to creative fiction, it is the fact that the said format allows certain crossover match-ups (that could not be realized in movie or TV format) to happen. In this case, I’m talking about having the science fiction monster warrior Predator in conflict with Batman.

Historically, in the early 1990s, DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics teamed up to publish the highly memorable crossover Batman versus Predator with the creative talents of Dave Gibbons, Andy Kubert and Adam Kubert.

The two publishers did not stop there. In 1995, they teamed up again to bring the two pop culture icons together but with a brand new story, a new creative team and with the involvement of the Huntress to support Batman. I was in college back in 1995 and you can’t imagine how surprised I was to see the first issue of the 2nd Batman-Predator crossover displayed on the shelf of the comic book store I visited. I was surprised because there was not much media spotlight for it in the comic book industry magazines I read.

That being said, here is a look back at Batman versus Predator II: Bloodmatch #1, published in 1995 by DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics with a story written by Doug Moench and drawn by Paul Gulacy.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the city where three guys are about to complete an illegal drugs deal by the dock. As one of the dealers fires his gun at the other party, Batman breaks into the scene to bring him down and pressures him to reveal the location of Terraro. As the downed thug tries to shoot Batman, an arrow fired by the Huntress hits his arm which caught the Dark Knight by surprise.

After knocking the thug out, Batman and the Huntress talk. It turns out both of them are after Terraro. The Huntress leaves as Batman remains to do some detective work on the three men.

Meanwhile from a far distance, a Predator reviews archived video footage of Bruce Wayne/Batman’s final encounter with a Predator (as told in the final issue of the first Batman Versus Predator series) and listens to the audio recording. The Predator is preparing himself to fight Batman by doing research (including familiarizing himself with how Bruce Wayne and his butler Alfred sound like) and he uses his deadly disc to cut off the head of a statue resembling the Dark Knight…

Quality

28
The Predator in action!

Let me start with the story. This comic book essentially tells a crime story mixed with some sci-fi elements. Unsurprisingly, there is a lot of exposition used to help build-up the expected conflict between Batman and the Predator. That’s not to say that the story is hollow. In fact, I still found it compelling even though some of the spotlight was spent on the Huntress who is clearly involved in the crime tale. To say the least, the Huntress adds variety to what could have been a typical Batman-does-all-the-detective-work story.

Batman, who by this time gained tremendous knowledge about the Predator, turns out to be targeted as “dead meat” by a gang leader and it’s nice to see him solve the crime problem while being at odds with the Huntress whom he finds to be too eager and reckless.

As for the Predator, unsurprisingly the alien warrior appears sparingly but that’s not a problem at all. In fact, the writer implemented the spotlight on the Predator without ever overdoing it which added nicely into the anticipation of the so-called rematch with Batman. I also liked how the Predator was portrayed in dealing with the criminal and law elements of the city.

As for the visuals, this one is a mixed bag for me. Firstly, I like the more vibrant and stylish use of colors which made this comic book look radically different from the dark, gritty and less colorful visuals of its predecessor. Secondly, Paul Gulacy’s art on drawing people lack punch and consistency. There were times that his drawings of Batman and Huntress were good, other times not. His work on the Predator is good, however. What Gulacy excelled in was drawing action scenes which are not only dynamic in presentation but also went strong with the violence (lots of bloody scenes, weapons penetrating the body, etc.) which reminded me a lot about the first two Predator movies. Gulacy’s take on the Batmobile looks corny.

Conclusion

6
The Huntress watches as Batman takes action.

Way back in 1995, I enjoyed reading Batman versus Predator II: Bloodmatch #1 the day I first bought it. Today, I still find it enjoyable to read. It has a nice mix of suspense and spectacle, and the creative team was granted a lot of creative freedom to tell the story with mature readers in mind. The story was well paced and the build-up was worth the time.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Batman versus Predator II: Bloodmatch #1 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $23 while the near-mint copy of the promotional version with a poster costs $40.

Overall, Batman versus Predator II: Bloodmatch #1 (1995) 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 Hardcase #13 (1994)

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

As you know by now, I really love following the stories of the Hardcase series of the Ultraverse published by Malibu Comics. Issue #12 had a very intriguing conclusion which gave the first fully year of the series a worthy ending (one that will compel readers to go back to issue #1 and search the origin story of Hardcase and The Squad) while setting up the anticipation for the next story in a compelling way.

As such, here is my look back at Hardcase #13 published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by the late James Hudnall and drawn by Kelly Krantz.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Hardcase and Choice agonizing over the shocking revelation from Lela Cho /Tech (The Solution) who helped them access crucial information they worked so hard searching. What they do not know is that they are constantly spied on by sinister figures.

“I knew it! I knew it! Those scum-sucking weasels! I’ll kill them,” said Hardcase in reaction to the shocking information. Lela Cho tries to calm him down as Choice agonizes on her knees.

As their emotions eased, Lela prepares her computer for their research of the highly detailed files that Aladdin has about them…

Quality

13
The story of Choice…

To make things clear, this comic book’s narrative is dominated by information-heavy references presented like computer files with accompanying images. There is actual little present-day story regarding Hardcase and Choice but that’s not a problem as the heavy exposition of background stories relating to Choice, Aladdin, Hardcase and others are very well written by Hudnall. By the time I finished the story, I got enlightened and also excited for the next story of Hardcase.

What I love about the heavy exposition was how it efficiently explained the details and completely avoided getting boring. The exposition also emphasized the specific roles Aladdin, the Choice Corporation, Ultratech and NuWare had in the Ultraverse and how they impacted the lives of people. This is comic book universe building crafted excellently by Hudnall.

Conclusion

10
More from the past of Choice.

The best way to describe Hardcase #13 is that it is an exposition-heavy, characterization-focused story that succeeded in its goal of enlightening the reader. James Hudnall’s writing is excellent which, by this time, is not surprising to me. As such, this comic book is worth reading more than once and like issue #12, it will compel you to go back to issue #1 and look deeper at the background of Hardcase and his time with The Squad.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Hardcase #13 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $4 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $11.

Overall, Hardcase #13 (1994) is highly recommended!


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

A Look Back at WildC.A.T.S: Cover Action Teams #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.

Hey fellow comic book geeks! Remember before that I reviewed X-Men #1 of 1991 drawn by the great Jim Lee? That was over a year ago and so far, that is my only retro review of a dominant Jim Lee-drawn comic book.

Instead of reviewing another X-Men comic book drawn by Lee or any of the illustrator’s other works, I’ve decided to focus on the 1990s particularly on Image Comics. Back in those days, Lee was one of the main figures of Image and through that company he turned his dream projects into published comic books. When Image Comics launched in 1992, Jim Lee launched his superhero team project titled WildC.A.T.S: Cover Action Teams and issue #1 of that sold a lot. Eventually WildC.A.T.S. finished as a 4-issue mini-series.

Along with WildC.A.T.S were other projects launched under Lee and his company WildStorm (previously referred to as Aegis Entertainment) such as Stormwatch and Gen13.

Then in 1993, Jim Lee, Scott Williams and Brandon Choi worked again to produce even more WildC.A.T.S comic books for fans to enjoy and keep business at WildStorm moving. The result was the release of WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #5 which symbolically marked the start of a new regular series without starting with a new issue #1. Here’s an excerpt of Jim Lee’s explanation printed inside the said comic book:

I’m baaack!!! But rather than starting over with a new first issue, I decided to just “extend” the WildCATs miniseries into a regular series. Why? Well, I did it mostly for psychological reasons as first issues are always the most difficult ones to tell and draw. You have to get the readers to accept and understand a whole legion of new concepts and characters—characters which you’re illustrating often for the very first time. And as ant professional in the business can tell you, it takes a while for an artist to get the hang of certain characters-the way they movie, the way they talk, the way they reaction to different situations. And U’ve found that I haven’t really “connected” with any new characters until I’ve had four or five issues worth under my belt. ~ Jim Lee

That being said, here is a look back at WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #5 published in 1993 by Image Comics with a story written by Jim Lee and Brandon Choi, and with art drawn by Lee and inked by Scott Williams.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins with WildC.A.T.S members Grifter and Zealot gliding quietly approaching a secret base. Following Grifter’s lead to go into action, Zealot joins him to crash through the glass window and take out the perceived enemy troops called the hunter killers shooting and assaulting them. It turns the two are in search for something and they have their other teammates ready to come in to provide back-up.

Even though they tried to sneak around the place quietly, mechanical enemy reinforcements spotted them and chased them. As a metallic door shuts and separates the two, Grifter successfully got through the armed defense system and finds himself at the vault. After informing his other teammates of his new location, Grifter opens the vault revealing something very captivating with regards to the Daemonites’ secret operations…

Quality

Action3
The team and the villain.

Visually, this is one great looking comic book filled with lots of dynamism and flare provided by Jim Lee and Scott Williams. Each and every character looks great and come with a good amount of visual details on them. Also I love the futuristic technology look that dominated most of the scenes. When it comes to spectacle, this one is loaded and Jim Lee’s presentation of adulterated action and stunts is undeniably fantastic. I should also state that the colors are very vibrant thanks to Joe Chiodo.

Action2
Great action drawn by Jim Lee.

When it comes to storytelling, however, this one lacks depth. In terms of plotting, it’s pretty basic and goes like this: two heroes infiltrate the base of an enemy, they get discovered and more enemy troops come in, the top villains come in followed by the rest of the heroes’ teammates. As the focus here was more on spectacle and suspense, there was definitely no room left for character development. There is a subplot here worth mentioning and it serves as a link leading to the eventual Killer Instinct crossover with Marc Silvestri’s Cyberforce.

Conclusion

Action1
Great visuals and action here but not much in terms of storytelling.

I should say that WildC.A.T.S: Cover Action Teams #5 is pretty tricky to recommend to all comic book geeks and superhero enthusiasts. I can easily recommend it to die-hard fans of Jim Lee, the die-hard fans of WildC.A.T.S, as well as those who love Image Comic books from the 1990s. If you are looking for a short bout of fun with action in mind, this comic book will serve you. If you are the kind of reader who wants deep storytelling and solid character development, this one will fall short.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of WildC.A.T.S: Cover Action Teams #5 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $4.

Overall, WildC.A.T.S: Cover Action Teams #5 (1993) is satisfactory. It’s a great looking comic book (with gate-fold pages) that does not have much to fulfill readers looking for the solid combination of art, storytelling, characterization and entertainment.


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

A Look Back at Prime #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.

Hey everyone! If you are looking for something new with my retro reviews of Ultraverse comic books, then you will get it now as I’ve decided to go back to the Prime monthly series for the first time in over thirty days since my last Prime review.

That being said, here is my look back at Prime #5, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Len Strazewski and Gerard Jones, and drawn by the late Norm Breyfogle.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins with an unbelievable yet living cartoon character called Maxi-Man about to strike a young and helpless Kevin (Prime actually) claiming to be doing it for the majesty of Boneyard (a villain of Mantra’s). Fortunately, Kevin got saved by Kelly who pulled him away from Maxi-Man’s deadly strike.

With the local community already in chaos due to Maxi-Man’s rampage, Kevin and Kelly ran to the nearby city park only to be stopped by the him. With her ankle hurt, Kelly could not move from her downed position and tells Kevin to run.

Kevin struggles with the tension building up as Maxi-Man makes his way to Kelly…

Quality

Heavily action-packed, smart, intriguing and engaging this comic book truly is! Let me start with the storytelling here. Len Strazewski and Gerard Jones crafted a great story that not only followed Prime’s exploits but also fleshed out his personality a lot with an emphasis on his civilian life as teenager Kevin who happens to be dealing with the pressure of living a double-life (as an unstable superhero and as a high school student). He pursues to be with Kelly but suddenly finds themselves in trouble with the unexpected presence of Maxi-Man, an in-story cartoon character Kevin admired so much as a child. This not only added to Kevin’s struggle with stress but also complicates his mind. By focusing closely on Kevin, you will feel his struggle a lot.

When it comes to the spectacle, Norm Breyfogle perfectly brought the script to life and ramped up the excitement a whole lot with his illustrations. The visual highlight is the big battle between Prime and Maxi-Man, and even though the fighting is extensive, it never feels dumb nor brainless due to the smart dialogue provided by the writers (note: observe closely the exchange of words Prime and Maxi-Man had with each other). Breyfogle clearly paced the action sequences smoothly and he chose the right moments to draw the action dynamically.

Speaking of dialogue, I love the following line Prime said during the fight with Maxi-Man…

“I’m what you’re supposed to be! I’m a hero! I grew up on your cartoons! I learned about heroism from you! About fighting for what’s right! I don’t know how you got to be real, or why you’re trying to kill us—but I’m gonna show you what you taught me!”

Back to the writing, there is a sub-plot that took place during the big battle. That one added a good amount of mystery and intrigue not only into the story but also to the Ultraverse itself.

Conclusion

2
Kevin (Prime), Kelly and Maxi-Man.

What can I say? Prime #5 is a great read! Personally, when it comes to Prime’s encounters, I found this one to be much more engaging, more fun and more intriguing than even Prime’s encounter with Prototype in the previous issue (which is supposed to be an essential encounter between the Ultraverse’s main superheroes). The way I look at this comic book’s quality, the creators actually over-did themselves to deliver superhero greatness.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prime #5 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $4 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $8.

Overall, Prime #5 (1993) 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 Hardcase #12 (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.

At long last, the twelfth issue of the Hardcase monthly series (note: the series lasted a total of 26 issues) of the Ultraverse is finally here. Since the opening page of issue #1, Hardcase has been very engaging, enjoyable and intriguing to read complete with very deep character development as written by the late James Hudnall. In comparison with superhero comics in general, Hardcase itself is pretty unique (a superhero team member who ends up the only walking survivor who gets into Hollywood before returning to doing superhero acts) even by today’s standards.

As the series went on, Hardcase got involved with Choice initially solving mysteries and finding answers. It was only recently they got involved romantically, which hurt Hardcase’s other girl Linda (the other survivor from The Squad). Along the way, Hardcase and Choice got involved with The Strangers and The Solution in memorable crossovers.

Now the stage is set! We will find out if the first full year of the Hardcase series will be completed with impact or not with this look back at Hardcase #12, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by James Hudnall and drawn by Scott Benefiel.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the night in the desolate land, just a few miles away from the secret base of Aladdin. Hardcase and Choice were together resting when suddenly Headknocker and Hardwire arrive to attack them. As Hardcase and Headknocker start their rematch (note: they first fought in issue #1), Hardwire goes after Choice.

Even though he knows Hardknocker is tough, the Hollywood superhero makes his move to take on Hardwire and help Choice.

Meanwhile over at Groom Lake Control Center, two men in suits look at the images and details of Hardknocker and Hardwire on oversized screens. As they analyze the situation happening outside their facility, they argue over the possible release and use of the other undesirable ultras they captured…

Quality

10
Choice and Hardwire meet again.

There is no doubt that this is a very high-quality comic book with a very strong script that mixes spectacle with character development, secret society intrigue, mystery and some drama. The storytelling itself was successful thanks to Hudnall.

The story started strongly with action scenes with some build-up of suspense and mystery emphasized when the narrative switches to another scene at a different location. While there is a notable twist in the comic book, it is the ending that really shook things up so much, it made me go back to issue #1 and other references to The Squad. This is great writing done by James Hudnall and he knew how to shake the foundation of the series.

When it comes to the art, Scott Benefiel work here is great and the best one yet within the first year of the series. I love the way he draws facial expressions that really show emotions or intensity and he knows how the pace the flow of events (and still manage to draw dynamic action shots).

Conclusion

4
Headknocker and Hardcase.

Hardcase #12 is a great read and it certainly is not the typical good-versus-evil type of superhero story. As the conclusion of the first year of the Hardcase series of the 1990s, this one really defined the title character’s place in the Ultraverse as Hudnall shook the foundation of the series in a very memorable way. The ending of the comic book is truly powerful and it should be seen. It is easily one of the most notable endings of any Ultraverse comic book.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Hardcase #12 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $4 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $11.

Overall, Hardcase #12 (1994) is highly recommended!


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

A Look Back at Prototype #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.

One of the things that I like most about the Prototype monthly series of the Ultraverse is that it follows the respective exploits of not one but two men who got involved as pilots of Ultratech’s powered suits of armors. Bob Campbell is the older Prototype pilot from the past who got succeeded by Jimmy Ruiz, a much younger guy doing the corporation’s wishes.

So far, the dual-narrative approach to storytelling worked well for me and it is one of the more defining elements of the Prototype series. We can find out more with this look back at Prototype #4, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Tom Mason and Len Strazewski and drawn by David Ammerman.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins in New York City where Jimmy Ruiz looks down at the streets from the balcony of a tower. He remembered the old days when he used to live down there and spend time with his amigos. A pretty lady is on his bed with the blanket covering her naked body. After some talk, they make love with each other.

Over at the headquarters of Ultratech, a lady searches for Jimmy claiming she knows he’s living right there. The security guard tells her that Jimmy is not listed in the residential directory, and asked her to call the company in the morning. She leaves and passes by a man with a coat.

The coated guy approaches the security guard and asked for the name and contact number of their building manager. He claims to be look to sublet some office space….

Quality

15
Solidly fun action!

This is another well-written story by Tom Mason and Len Strazewski. In here, the new antagonist named Wrath was introduced and he certainly is not another generic bad guy opposite the superhero. During the heat of battle between him and Prototype (Jimmy Ruiz), you will learn nice details about Wrath through the banter. For one thing, Wrath works for a superior (like Prototype) and even though it is normal for him to use violence as a means of survival or winning, he makes it a point not to hurt civilians. The same conflict also paved the way for further development of the personality of Jimmy who is not only struggling with his job as Prototype pilot but also living with things that his employer physically implanted into his body that’s supposed to link him with the armor.

On the other hand, there is a short segment following former Prototype pilot Bob Campbell which served as a strong ending for the comic book. You really have to read it.

Conclusion

11
And the battle begins…

I really like this comic book. It’s got all the fun and compelling stuff any reader can enjoy. The introduction of Wrath alone is worth the cover price.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prototype #4 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $4.

Overall, Prototype #4 (1993) 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 Hardcase #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.

After reviewing the first ten issues of the Hardcase monthly series, I should say that the title character is one of the most defining lead characters of not only the Ultraverse but also 1990s superhero comics in general. The late James Hudnall really defined the character Tom Hawke/Hardcase and established his rightful spot in the Ultraverse.

Now is time to take a look back at Hardcase #11 published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by James Hudnall and drawn by Scott Benefiel.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Hardcase and Choice riding a car in high speed going to Nevada to uncover a mystery. Their destination is Aladdin base, a top secret facility that the two believe contains the answers to Choice’s past.

Suddenly Hardcase slammed the brakes of the car as they encounter a helicopter in front of them. Worse than that, four powerful adversaries – Foxfire, Head Knocker, War Eagle and Hardwire – jointly confront them ready to fight to the death…

Quality

18
Really dynamic art by Scott Benefiel.

As before, James Hudnall delivered yet another compelling story and artist Scott Benefiel nailed it visually. To begin with, this comic book is packed with a lot of action and the blows and hard hits can be felt. As it is loaded with action, the narrative never felt brainless nor dumb. Rather, there was nice variety mixed with the spectacle as Hudnall made solid efforts to make each bad guy express himself respectively when fighting with Choice or Hardcase. Take for example, Hardwire is creepy and ruthless. Along the way, the coordination between Hardcase and Choice as well as between the bad guys themselves was well executed literally and visually.

As the conflicts went on, Aladdin’s presence was also felt even though there were no images used. In fact, the sudden involvement of the bad guys reflected what Aladdin does whenever it captures and uses individuals with special abilities or talents for its own gain.

More on Hardcase and Choice, I like the fact that the creators explained that Choice’s powers could only last 60 minutes and will take two hours to recharge. This adds weight to their mission of finding and infiltrating Aladdin’s base. How Choice and Hardcase deal with the challenge is worth reading.

Conclusion

2
The money shot!

Hardcase #11 is not only a really great comic book to read, it is also a clear attempt by the creators to build up something and conclude the first year of the monthly series with something strong. If course, this issue marked the 2nd part of The Angry Past storyline. We will find that out soon enough what will turn out next in Hardcase #12.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Hardcase #11 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $4.

Overall, Hardcase #11 (1994) is highly recommended!


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