A Look Back at Ravage 2099 #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.

I’ve been reading more of the work of the late Stan Lee through his contributions for Marvel’s 2099 franchise of the early 1990s. Lee’s comeback into comic book writing with Ravage 2099 #1 turned out to be a big disappointment and his writing style just ended up being outdated by 1992’s standards. Ravage 2099 #2 was a marginal improvement over its predecessor buy was overall still a very weak comic book. Ravage 2099 #3 meanwhile was surprisingly a clear improvement over issue #2 and also happened to be more entertaining and interesting to read. Of the first three issues published, issue #3 proved to be satisfying.

Will there be another improvement on the artistic and entertainment values of the next Ravage 2099 issue in this review? Find out in this look back at Ravage 2099 #4, 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 in the island of Hellrock where Ravage is on the run already suffering from the toxic air and only time will tell if ever-present radiation will kill him or turn into a mutroid. Dethstryk’s minions have been hunting him since he started running away from their main forces.

Even though he was able to avoid getting caught by the hunters, Ravage continues to suffer greatly with each passing moment. Despite the pain, he remains determined to fight back and keep moving but his chances of survival keep on fading…

Quality

This is pretty much what you will see of Ravage in this comic book.

To put it short, the story was pretty much about Ravage struggling to survive in a very dangerous location while being hunted. The heroism he had in issue #3 is completely missing and the way Stan Lee wrote this story, the concept is pretty shallow. In fact, even the very weak story of issue #1 has more variety and depth than this one! More on Ravage, even as he struggled and got targeted, there is not much justification to make readers like you feel sympathetic to him especially if you followed Ravage’s so-called development starting in issue #1.

When it comes to plotting, this comic book would have worked better had it been released in the 1970s. It does not help that Stan Lee had to resort to adding fillers to the script by means of recapping lots of scenes from issue #3 (even though he tried to emphasize Dethstryk’s thoughts).

Character development? There is not much here except for Ravage. As for the supporting characters, don’t expect to see much of Tiana and Dack as they did not contribute anything to the shallow story. As for Ravage’s former boss Henton, Stan Lee went ahead to show just how obviously evil he is with nothing new to show (except his virtual reality escapade).

Conclusion

Stan Lee and his creative team lazily resorted to recapping key events that happened in issue #3.

Clearly, Ravage 2099 #4 (1993) falls short from becoming a satisfying read as it paled in comparison to issue #3. That’s too bad because the concept of showing Ravage as a fugitive in the middle of a very dangerous place could have turned into something more interesting and more intriguing. Instead, Ravage ended up being the target of hunters and it was clear that Stan Lee and Paul Ryan dragged the scenes of him struggling and fighting to survive.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Ravage 2099 #4 (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 #4 (1993) is not recommended. If you really want to buy this comic book at all, better not pay more than fifty cents for it.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Mantra #4 (1993)

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

Welcome back Ultraverse fans, geeks and fellow comic book collectors! If you want to discover more of the fantasy elements within the Ultraverse through Mantra – the pretty sorceress whose body is occupied by the soul of a male warrior named Lukasz – then you are in for something rather different.

To put things in perspective, the fantasy-swords-magic concept was made clear in Mantra #1 and that Lukasz and his band of warriors (led by an elder sorcerer) as well as their enemies (led by Boneyard) were definitely from another world. That other world will be explored at last in this look back at Mantra #4, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Roy Phipps.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the world of Boneyard, at his castle specifically. Down on her knees, Mantra is just in front of the villain Boneyard who says, “So this is Archimage’s last, best hope. Just a woman!!”

Boneyard tells Mantra not to rise nor move. As he does not yet know that Lukasz is inside Mantra’s body, Boneyard welcomes her and states that it is his right to choose any woman in his kingdom as his bride. In reaction to being selected as Boneyard’s newest mate with a purpose to potentially give birth to his children, Mantra strikes him with an energy blast symbolically rejecting him.

Boneyard then says, “Enough. I tolerate this dissent because your body carries much potential for magic, woman. It is only your body that saves you from death. Your bewildering loyalty to my defeated brother, Archimage, would ordinarily be enough to condemn you. Your genes, combined with mine will yield children to whom magic comes as easily as taking breath.”

As the villain talks, Mantra notices the sword pointed at her was the same one used to kill her when she was man (as Lukasz). She then makes moves to get Boneyard off-balanced and try to leave the castle…

Quality

Mantra visits the tavern in the kingdom controlled by Boneyard.

I’ll start with the writing. What Mike W. Barr did here successfully was raising the stakes for Mantra which involves the drastic change of location and setting from the modern society of Earth into the fantasy realm where Boneyard and his army are based in. The mentioned change literally opened new opportunities to develop Mantra’s personality while at the same time offered readers a lot of new things and places for their exploration.

With the all-new setting, lots of fantasy genre tropes are present. There is the ever-present tavern filled with lots of people that include humans and non-human beings that go beyond dwarves and elves. There is also the slave auction of both men and women standing almost nakedly in front of the bidders. There also were people wearing capes, hoods, swords, spears and armor which Mantra smoothly blends in with.

Along the way, there is a lot spectacle here mainly acts of magic alternated with hard action moves. The way the spectacle is presented fits in excellently with the fantasy setting and I should state that Roy Phipps did a very solid job visualizing such elements while succeeding in making Mantra, Boneyard, Archimage and Warstrike look recognizable.

Back to the writing, Mike W. Barr prepared a lot of details in the story that explained Boneyard’s nature and even his status as the husband of multiple wives. This comic book also reveals that Boneyard is likely bisexual since, apart from being married to multiple women, he kissed Mantra and lusts for her even AFTER he learned that Lukasz is occupying the woman’s body. His intention to marry Mantra symbolizes homosexuality as well. To put things in perspective, this makes Boneyard very guilty of sexual immorality on top of his wickedness. Refer to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (sexual immorality and homosexuality), Galatians 5:19-21 (sorcery and sexual immorality) and Deuteronomy 17:17 (polygamy) in the Holy Bible.

Conclusion

Boneyard’s intention to marry Mantra (whose body is occupied by the soul of the male eternal warrior Lukasz) and impregnate her to produce his children is disgusting, even more so when the villain knows Lukasz is in Mantra.

To say the least, Mantra #4 (1993) is entertaining enough mainly due to its fantasy setting and exposing key elements about the rivalry between Archimage and Boneyard. This was a daring and refreshing change of pace for Mantra series since the first three issues already emphasized Lukasz’s struggles on living in the body of Eden Blake (note: reincarnation is false and goes against the Holy Bible, read Hebrews 9:27 and Psalm 78:39 for insight) and living with her family as Eden’s soul was pushed into limbo. More notably, this issue shows more of how evil and wicked Boneyard is not simply because of his leading his army of evildoers but also because of his evil-filled nature. By comparison, Lukasz/Mantra is the lesser evil to Boneyard under the pretense of good-versus-evil in the story (which itself concluded in a predictable and underwhelming fashion).

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #4 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of comic book costs $8.

Overall, Mantra #4 (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 Mantra #8 (1994)

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

Welcome back, Ultraverse fans and superhero comic collectors! Today, we will revisit the Mantra monthly series again and it has been almost two weeks since my last Mantra review. For the newcomers reading this, Mantra’s mortal enemy is Boneyard who got involved in the Mantra-Strangers crossover (refer to The Strangers #13 and Mantra #12).

Before those mentioned stories took place, something else happened involving Boneyard. That is what we will find out in this look back at Mantra #8, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by John Statema (who was involved in UltraForce #2).

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in an unknown location with Boneyard who commands Notch to speak as his patience dwindles. Notch states that he has devised a plane to capture the ever elusive Mantra (male warrior Lukasz occupying the body of Eden Blake) involving a betrayal by a friend. Notch requests for a few troops and the custody of the creature in cell 13. Boneyard reacts by saying that if Notch succeeds, he will have Mantra after she has borne an offspring for him )Boneyard). Failure would mean Notch will become occupant of cell 14.

Elsewhere Warstrike (riding with a lady) drives his car fast getting away from the car of armed men chasing him. The chase ends with a crash of two cars freeing Warstrike. Some time later, Warstrike arrives home and to his surprise, Mantra is already there. He gets kissed by Mantra (emphasizing a touch of homosexuality) and asked about a change of her attitude. As it turns out, the Mantra who made sexual advances to him transforms into a grotesque creature with lots of tentacles. Warstrike then realizes it was not really Mantra at all. Eventually, the creature wraps itself all over Warstrike. Notch suddenly appears and blows a substance to him.

The next morning, Eden Blake/Mantra arrives at the office catching everyone’s attention due to her beauty and sexy outfit. Eden suddenly notices that everyone around looks like Warstrike. Suspecting that what is happening is the manifestation of magic, she goes to her office to find answers…

Quality

Even though she has magic, Mantra still is physically weaker which Lukasz has trouble adjusting with.

Getting straight to the point with regards to the story, this one has a nice mix of action, intrigue, suspense and the search for answers. It also pays attention to the very awkward alliance between Mantra and Warstrike. Warstrike was the last person to have killed Lukasz in his male form which led to him getting reincarnated as Eden Blake (displacing Eden’s soul) and in this story, you will see he even has sexual interest with her even though he knows Lukasz is occupying that beautiful body. This comic book also shows how powerful a villain Boneyard is and how his soldiers are willing to do his commands. With regards to the locations, I should state that the use of a fantasy-themed amusement park in the story is an excellent concept to emphasize this comic book’s fantasy elements.

When it comes to the art, it is no surprise that John Statema did a pretty good job in capturing the looks of Mantra and the related characters, and his pacing of the visuals is similar to that of Terry Dodson. Statema worked on several other Ultraverse comic books including The Solution #6 which looked great and his art really brought the script to life. Mantra, Boneyard, Warstrike and other relevant characters look recognizable with Statema’s style. The artist also excelled in drawing fantasy visual elements like magic, swords, armor, monsters, etc.

Conclusion

Eden Blake is the center of attention at the office.

I can clearly say that Mantra #8 (1994) is an entertaining comic book to read. It has a self-contained story that is very well told and John Statema’s art made it a lively read.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #8 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $26.

Overall, Mantra #8 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Ravage 2099 #3 (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, Marvel 2099 fans and superhero comic book geeks! Are you ready for another trip into the high-tech future of Marvel’s comic book universe through the storytelling of the late Stan Lee? This is about the 3rd issue of the Ravage 2099 monthly series.

For the newcomers reading this, Ravage is an original character co-created by Stan Lee and artist Paul Ryan for the 2099 universe of Marvel Comics. By comparison, 2099 started in the 1990s with its own versions of Spider-Man, Dr. Doom and the Punisher. As such, Ravage stood out simply because he was different from them and that includes being idiotic and chaotic as a lead character.

Having already reviewed the first two issues (read my recent review), it became clear to me that Ravage started to deteriorate as a person even as he strived hard in doing what he thought was right. There are two established villains in the story and so far, Ravage does not look any different from them since he proved to be so chaotic, he became a danger not only to the thugs but also to law enforcers. As such, he is a danger to the public.

To find out if anything will improve creatively and artistically, here is a look back at Ravage 2099 #3, 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 moments after Alchemax forces abducted Tiana from Ravage and Dack who find themselves busy with armed enemies on the street. The young Dack got hit by a gun blast. Somehow, Dack was brought to the nearest medical facility for treatment and placed in a medi-cell for questioning.

Already alone in the room, Dack is trapped and a bearded man delivering some candy arrives. It turns out it is Ravage in disguise and he wanted to make sure the youth was fine. Dack tells reveals that he was question for hours. Ravage updates Dack that Tiana was probably half-way to Hellrock, and he intends to get her back.

Meanwhile, armed personnel spot Ravage on surveillance video and rush to get him…

Quality

Most likely the portrayal of Tiana being helpless will turn off radical feminists and SJWs reading this.

To put things straight, this particular story has a retro vibe which reminds me of certain sci-fi and adventure comic books of the 1950s to the 1970s. This is not surprising given Stan Lee’s own style of plotting and writing. Like in issue #2, creative baggage was less of a hindrance and this allowed Lee and Paul Ryan to craft another action-hero tale that is straightforward and easier to follow. Unlike the previous issue, this one has stakes raised near the end of the story which is refreshing and it also involves a nice change of location. Compared to how he acted in issue #2, Ravage here begins to act more heroic and showed willingness to sacrifice something to help someone. He still is a chaotic person to be with, only this time he is in the company of a different kind of walking characters. To say the least, this story is an improvement over its predecessor.

Conclusion

Ravage in action inside Dak’s medi-cell.

I can say that Ravage 2099 #3 (1993) is surprisingly a satisfying read. It definitely is not great but the traditional elements of sci-fi, action adventure storytelling lifted its quality. It should be noted that the act of heroism on the part of Ravage begins here and the predicted rivalry between him and the villain Dethstryk (who looks generic as the leader of a band of baddies) finally starts.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Ravage 2099 #3 (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 #3 (1993) is satisfactory. That being said, I don’t recommend spending any more than $1 for it.

+++++

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

A Look Back at The Strangers #17 (1994)

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

Welcome back, Ultraverse fans and superhero comic book collectors! We are about to return to the Ultraverse through The Strangers. Before doing so, I’d like to discuss one of their members named Elena La Brava AKA Lady Killer. Before the big incident that changed her life and those of her eventual teammates riding the cable car in San Francisco, Elena worked professionally as a fashion designer. She is quite resourceful, brave and organized. Apart from proving to be a very valuable member of the team, she has the special ability to track and this results helping her hit what she aims for. As seen in previous issues leading to issue #16, she has been romantically linked with Atom Bob and has struggled also on leading the team.

With those details mentioned, it’s now time to look back at The Strangers #17, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and illustrated by Rick Hoberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins at the headquarters of The Strangers. Spectral arrives late and apologizes to his teammates who are already feeling disturbed by the Pilgrim. Lady Killer makes an issue about Spectral’s tardiness and reminds him he has not seen the Pilgrim as he was absent. Spectral replied emotionally stressing that he had to attend to his private life.

When asked about the Pilgrim, Grenade replies that nobody knows who their antagonist is. In recent times, the team faced off with various costumed individuals in two encounters and the Pilgrim appeared each time and took them with him. Each time, the Pilgrim swore he would continue to get back at The Strangers until he builds up a team large enough to oppose them.

Knowing that the Pilgrim will keep coming back at her team, Lady Killer states she has a plan…

Quality

The start of a pretty solid battle between the Pilgrim and Atom Bob.

The writing for this comic book is, as expected, very strong and undoubtedly it is a great follow-up to what happened in issue #16. Instead of just another encounter between The Strangers and another antagonist which turns into an opportunity for the Pilgrim to come out and do his thing, this one has a lot more compelling stuff backed with surprise and intrigue.

Before the big conflict happened, this comic book showed more of Lady Killer’s intelligence and her ability to organize something that is believable to read. Atom Bob, who missed out on the battle of issue #16, is more involved in this comic book and his battle with the Pilgrim was not only heavy on the spectacle but also showed more of his capabilities and his willingness to achieve something.

Unsurprisingly, there is a lot of what I would call the usual visual goodness from artist Rick Hoberg here. He continued to show a consistent high level of quality when drawing the characters, their expressions and making the superhero action scenes look spectacular.

Conclusion

The Strangers meeting early.

The Strangers #17 (1994) is a very good read and what I love about it is that it further added to the build-up of the growing opposition against The Strangers while at the same time developing the core characters more. You will see more of Lady Killer’s leadership values here and eventually, you’ll admire her more. I should state that Rafferty, a serial killer in the Ultraverse, had a notable presence in this comic book and added some impact to the plot.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #17 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, The Strangers #17 (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 X-Men #2 (1991)

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.

There is so much said about X-Men #1 of 1991 which was launched to major success by Marvel Comics selling at least eight million copies worldwide. That launch issue, written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Jim Lee, had multiple covers and a version with gatefold covers and high-quality paper which made it an instant hit with collectors chasing profit. In 2011, Marvel even released the so-called 20th anniversary edition of X-Men #1 which was digitally recolored.

In terms of substance, X-Men #1 marked the new era of the X-Men. Charles Xavier returned to his mansion to lead the X-Men which was so large as a group, it had to be divided into two team with Cyclops leading the Blue Team and Storm heading the Gold Team. In terms of publishing, Marvel published tales of the Gold Team in the Uncanny X-Men monthly series while the Blue Team’s stories were published in the adjective-less X-Men monthly series.

With all the attention paid to X-Men #1, I noticed that not too many people cared to talk about what happened after the end of that comic book. Without spoiling plot details, the massive seller of 1991 had its story end in a cliffhanger. To find out what followed and determine the quality of the creative team’s work, here is a look back at X-Men #2 published in 1991 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Jim Lee.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the fictional island nation of Genosha which has a legacy of mutant slavery. Having fought with the Acolytes (led by Fabian Cortez), the X-Men now face Magneto who arrived and tells them that he will not abandon the Acolytes.

“They acted in an excess of zeal. If so…I..and I alone..shall determine their appropriate punishment,” Magneto tells the team of Cyclops, Gambit, Beast, Wolverine, Psylocke and Rogue. Near them are other Acolytes members down on the ground.

After words spoken by Gambit, Rogue and Cyclops, Magneto referred to the devastation of the city hospital as fitting for punishing a state (Genosha) whose prosperity was built on the backs of mutant slaves. Beast answered back saying that the Genoshans have accepted responsibility for what they have done and resolved to make amends.

While Magneto replies to Beast, a military Genoshan helicopter gunship fires missiles at them from above which the X-Men’s archvillain intercepts. Using his magnetic power, Magneto lifts steal beams and destroys the helicopter with them. He then turns against the X-Men restarting the chaos in the city…

Quality

Magneto, Psylocke and Rogue in the middle of the chaos.

Being the middle of a 3-part story, this comic book pushes the entire X-Men group to the edge thanks to strong writing by Chris Claremont. I’m not simply referring to the traditional good-versus-evil formula of superhero storytelling as the story here emphasized themes about sanity, loyalty, legacy, idolatry and even diplomacy. It just so happens that there is a lot of superhero spectacle to enjoy here and there.

The stakes have been raised significantly in this story as Magneto is shown leading the Acolytes who in turn went ahead with their first mission which explains the chaos in Genosha. Magneto’s condition also deteriorates and gets himself healed by Fabian Cortez who is more sinister than what he seems. For his part, Charles Xavier of the X-Men gets to interact with his long-time friend Dr. Moira MacTaggert who is struggling with guilt from something she committed in the past. Through Magneto, Xavier and MacTaggert, there is this solid build-up of tension that led to a very powerful revelation in the 2nd half of the story which, ironically, put the X-Men on the sideline temporarily. There is high drama, deep tension and high intensity involving Magneto and MacTaggert, and their scene together is the highlight of the story.  

Conclusion

The face-off!

To put it straight, as much as I loved X-Men #1 (1991), I find X-Men #2 (1991) more compelling to read. For one thing, it rewards X-Men fans who dedicatedly followed the events of not only the X-Men but also of that of the life of Magneto. It’s really great that Chris Claremont literally dug up the past for details that proved to be useful in this comic book. It also nicely sets up anticipation of the next issue by involving the X-Men’s Gold Team. Unsurprisingly, with the combined talents of Claremont and Jim Lee, this is an excellent read that really looks great.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men #2 (1991), 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 copies of the Chris Claremont-signed regular edition, the Chris Claremont-signed newsstand edition and the newsstand edition cost $9, $19 and $13 respectively.

Overall, X-Men #2 (1991) is highly recommended!

+++++

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

A Look Back at The Strangers #16 (1994)

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

Welcome back Ultraverse fans, geeks and comic book collectors! Here is another trip back into the Ultraverse, which for me is the most defining line of superhero comics that was realized in the 1990s. The UV lasted for only a few years and along the way publisher Malibu Comics got acquired by Marvel Comics.

History aside, we are about to explore The Strangers again in the sixteenth issue of the monthly series that was spearheaded mainly by the creative duo of Steve Englehart and Rick Hoberg. Here is a look back at The Strangers #16, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Englehart and drawn by Hoberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in a local community in California wherein one of the houses is hosting a block party. Already a disturbance to the neighbors (note: police officers had to temporarily close down a short stretch of the public road and restricted others from getting near), the said party offers people a chance to meet in person Atom Bob who has his teammates with him.

During a private meeting, The Strangers discuss what they encountered lately (note: this refers to their encounters with Gangsta and Brazen. Also involved was someone called the Pilgrim. As they keep talking, Lady Killer stressed that they all need to be ready for further encounters.

Meanwhile in the downtown area of the city, three costumed characters (who previously road a cable car just like The Strangers) are plotting something…

Quality

Meet the opposition.

Let me start first with the art done by Rick Hoberg with ink work by Tim Eldred. I should state that since issue #1, Hoberg not only drew characters, places, creatures and backgrounds with his captivating style, he also maintained a high level of quality and proved he can bring any comic book script into life with images. His art is so good, this comic book is fun reading again and again. I should also state that the coloring for this story is very lively and more dream-like in style thanks to the color design by Moose Baumann and interior color by Prisms.

When it comes to the story, this comic book’s concept is pretty unique and Steve Englehart deserves credit for coming up with something fresh while still leaving room for spectacle and characterization. The idea of a block party held in the middle of a community of family homes celebrating the presence of superheroes is cool and it opened up new ways to define the characters not to mention emphasizing how their presence affects people not on the city level but on the local community! Having worked as a local community newspaper journalist myself, I know what’s it like when local communities have special activities or events that bring together (or captivate) the neighbors. Along the way, the dialogue is varied (note: lots of characters other than The Strangers had lines), the portrayal of The Strangers is consistent and the story’s pace flowed smoothly.

Speaking of characterization, there is notable focus on Atom Bob and Lady Killer who already have feelings for each other. As the home of Atom Bob’s family serves as the venue of the party, you will get to see the character interact with the local neighbors and others he personally knew for a long time which is a very refreshing way of developing him. Lady Killer meanwhile tries to maintain balance between being the team’s professional leader and having feelings for Atom Bob while trying to respect his parents.

And then there is a growing group of ultras who intend to destroy The Strangers. It was at this stage in The Strangers monthly series in which a genuine opposition against the title team really started to take shape. The good news is that the Pilgrim and the other opposing ultras were not portrayed as generic bad guys but people who are struggling and have a cause.

Conclusion

The Strangers and the guests at the party.

There is no doubt that The Strangers #16 (1994) is a whole lot of fun, very compelling and intriguing to read from start to finish. Anyone who loves the title team will find something to enjoy and follow, while those who keep on enjoying the conflict between good-and-evil will find something new and entertaining here. Steve Englehart and Rick Hoberg not only continued to deliver high-quality superhero stories with The Strangers, they really were one of the best creative duos of the 1990s.

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

Overall, The Strangers #16 (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 Ravage 2099 #2 (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.

Over a year ago, I reviewed Ravage 2099 #1 (1992) which marked the return of the late Stan Lee on writing stories for a monthly series. Unlike the main heroes of the 2099 universe of the time, Ravage was created by Stan Lee and illustrator Paul Ryan as an original character although he ended up being generic. In my review of the 1st issue of the Ravage 2099 series, I declared that the comic book itself was worth buying way below its original cover price.

Of course, it is understood that, apart from Stan Lee’s outdated style of writing, the debut issue is difficult to make because a lot of explaining (via expository dialogue most of the time) the concept had to be done which causes an imbalance between storytelling, character development and spectacle. That being said, it is time to find out if the Stan Lee-Paul Ryan creative team managed to improve their work together in this look back at Ravage 2099 #2 published in 1993 by Marvel Comics.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the dreaded place called Hellrock. A deformed being named Stormer tries to convince his fellow mutroids to make him their new leader as he believes that current leader Deathstryk is weak and afraid. Soon enough, Dethstryk personally arrives surprising everyone, including Stormer.

After hearing Dethstryk make statements about his temper tantrum and slaying of a fellow mutroid, Stormer attacks him suddenly. In front of many mutroids, Dethstryk easily overpowers Stormer as he lectures him about leadership and strategy. After being offered mercy, Stormer then submits to Dethstryke who in turn declares that their goal is to make the extinction of the human race happen.

Deep in the middle of the metropolis, Ravage drives a very old, fossil fuel truck and rams a law enforcement car with it causing two officers to react and draw their guns. Ravage leaps into action and beats the two officers in brutal fashion. Afterwards, he goes on to raid the car of its equipment…

Quality

Ravage only acts human with his friends.

I’ll start with the storytelling here. With the fact that there is much less creative baggage remaining since the exposition has been done in the first issue, this comic book’s pacing and overall structure showed some improvements. Not only will you see more of Ravage doing action and really starting out as a vigilante, you will also discover more of the core concept through the exposition focused more on the side of Dethstryk as the villain’s seeress informs him that Ravage is destined to be his nemesis.

What bogs this comic book down is the style of writing by Stan Lee which clearly lacks engagement and the presentation here has a lot in common with comic book storytelling of the 1960s and 1970s. That being said, the corporate intrigue Lee tried to sow here also suffered and the other villain Anderthorpe Henton just looks and acts cartoony.

If there is anything notable that Stan Lee did with writing, it’s the consistency he showed on presenting Ravage as being more antagonistic than a heroic lead figure. If you look closely at what he did to the law enforcers, the armed city security personnel and the punks who encountered him, you will realize that Ravage is actually a menace to society and his humanity is deteriorating. He only acts human when he is with his sexualized former assistant Tiana and Dack.

With regards to the visuals, Paul Ryan’s work here is decent. His style is not that great but I like the effort he exerted on presenting future technology and clearly he took some inspiration from other sci-fi works to give this comic book a distinctive look.

Conclusion

Anyone who despises law enforcers will most likely find this enjoyable. The spirit of rebellion really stinks!

Ravage 2099 #2 (1993), to say it bluntly, is a marginal improvement over its predecessor mainly due to the reduced amount of creative baggage. Exposition in this particular comic book is much lesser in terms of content and it is done efficiently which paved the way for more spectacle to happen. The problems here is that, apart from Stan Lee’s weak writing, there was no real effort to develop the lead character Ravage. I suppose this was intentionally done by the creators to let Ravage be more of an action figure and let the action do the talking about what defines him as a person. Even if that was the case, nothing changes the fact that Ravage here is not heroic and is in fact more antagonistic towards society. Is it any wonder why Ravage ended up as Stan Lee’s failure?

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Ravage 2099 #2 (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 #2 (1993) is not recommended. If you really want to buy this comic book at all, better not pay more than fifty cents for it.

+++++

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

A Look Back at The Strangers #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.

Welcome back, Ultraverse fans and superhero comic book geeks and collectors! Today I will be reviewing another one of the Ultraverse anniversary celebration comic books. Apart from the usual superhero stuff, there is a touch of historical fiction in the UV anniversary comic book I reviewed and I can say that, if ever more people out there will discover it, it can spark more discussions and even debates about a certain figure of world history as well as the relevance of indigenous people.

Now we can proceed with this look back at The Strangers #12, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Rick Hoberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the middle of the thick jungle of a floating island. Yrial, who has spent significant time with The Strangers representing her tribe, is held captive by her own people inside a crystal. She is being accused of betrayal of her tribe as a consequence of her involvement with her teammates from the civilized world. Yrial denies the charges and insisted that the rise of The Strangers signifies that their solitude is over.

Eventually Grenade, Zip-Zap, Lady Killer, Electrocute, Spectral and Atom Bob arrive to fight in an attempt help their trapped teammate. The action halts as soon as Lady Killer tells Chief Aula that they know the great secret as they have been to the other side (refer to the previous past issues leading to this)…

Quality

The fictional tribe is definitely cursed for they lived with sorcery, idolatry and rituals sourced from ancient evil.

I will start first with the storytelling. Steve Englehart’s writing is excellent and he clearly did his research about a key part of world history and made an intriguing and compelling fictional story out of it. This is, in fact, one of the most intriguing superhero stories of the 1990s that I have ever read and it is a very lively reminder that storytelling alone can impact readers deeply when it is greatly made.

With regards to the historical fiction aspect of this comic book, I should state that doing a fantasized version of the European explorer Christopher Columbus and connecting him and his crew with the history of the in-comic tribe was a stroke of genius. This was indeed the main selling point of this comic book!

Rick Hoberg, who worked a lot with Englehart and set the definitive look of The Strangers, made great visuals and the images are also much more diverse given the historical fiction aspect of this comic book. Hoberg really brought Englehart’s script to life and his visuals look finely paced with the narrative.  

With regards to the emphasis on magic, it should be noted that it is an abomination and in the context of the story, it is a cursed thing and not really a strength of the in-comic tribe. As for the other world (and the demons it is filled with) that the tribe is aware of, it symbolizes the realm of evil. By the end of the story, you will realize that the tribe living on the floating island are indeed a cursed people and not merely isolated using magic. They are also idolaters and practice rituals sourced from evil long ago. For meaning, learn from the holy scriptures below and you will realize that you would NOT want to be like the story’s tribe. You are better off following Lord Jesus and believe in His salvation.

“But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Revelation 21:8 (NKJV)

Wonderfully blessed are those who wash their robes white so they can access the Tree of Life and enter the city of bliss by its open gates. Those not permitted to enter are outside: the malicious hypocrites, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, murderers, idolaters, and every lover of lies.

Revelation 22:14-15 (TPT)

Conclusion

The team nicely drawn by Rick Hoberg.

Among the anniversary issues of the Ultraverse I have reviewed as of this writing, I should state that The Strangers #12 (1994) is the best one yet! Entertainment value aside, the focus on Christopher Columbus and indigenous people should interest people who have varying views about them. Christopher Columbus remains a divisive historical figure as some people admired his achievements on world exploration while others condemned him as an evil, bloodthirsty man who negatively impacted indigenous people he encountered. Whatever your views of Columbus and indigenous people are right now, I recommend you read this comic book. For those who love superhero stuff, you will find a lot to enjoy here.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #12 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, The Strangers #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 Mantra #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.

Hey Ultraverse fans and superhero comic book collectors! Are you interested in another look at the Break-Thru crossover through the eyes of Mantra? For the newcomers reading this, Break-Thru was a year-ending crossover that literally gathered many of the Ultraverse characters together in an event that affected their world. The said crossover impacted other characters of the Ultraverse through specific comic books such as Prototype #5, Hardcase #7, The Strangers #7 and Solitaire #2 to name some.

Now we have here is another view of Break-Thru in this look back at Mantra #6, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Terry Dodson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Mantra flying during the night thinking about what happened as several Ultras made their way to the moon to fight an entity there that has been mentally contacting a girl named Amber. She thought about her new career at Aladdin as Eden Blake and intends to find ways to transfer her mind into a male body somehow.

Mantra arrives home and instantly changes appearance into Eden in civilian clothes. Upon entering the home, her little daughter (note: nobody in her family is aware that Eden’s soul has been displaced with that of Lukasz’s soul) arrives to greet her back in the presence of Eden’s mother. The daughter is every excited to start making Christmas cookies.

After spending some time alone in the bedroom, Mantra realizes something on the moon and decides to leave pretending she has to go back to work. This saddens Eden’s daughter…

Quality

Mantra in the middle of somewhere.

This comic book is not the good-versus-evil type of story. Rather it is more about personal struggle and threads from the past that challenge Mantra, and it is well written. At the same time, the story serves as a build-up leading to the big events that took place in Break-Thru #2 (the conclusion of the big crossover). Getting to know the entity through the experience and view of Mantra is alone a solid reason to read this comic book. In fact, what you will learn here will help you prepare yourself to understand the Break-Thru crossover comic books and the concepts they featured.

Conclusion

Another glimpse on the life of Eden Blake and her family.

Mantra #6 (1993) is an engaging and enjoyable read. It is not only a mere build-up for Break-Thru, it also reveals more about Lukasz (who occupies the body of Eden/Mantra) and why his past haunts him which alone adds a new layer of depth to his character. There are few scenes of spectacle here and there but the strong writing by Mike W. Barr saved it from becoming a complete bore.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #6 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of this comic book costs $8.

Overall, Mantra #6 (1993) is recommended.

+++++

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