A Look Back at The Night Man #7 (1994)

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

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the mid-1990s which was a pretty wild time for comic collectors. To be more specific, this newest retro comic book review revisits the Ultraverse through The Night Man monthly series.

In my previous review, the Night Man was pitted against TNTNT which was the same group of villains who fought against The Strangers. The encounter was not only packed with solid action, the pacing was done strategically and I loved the way how the comic book creators presented the Night Man taking on each TNTNT member creatively. For this new issue, a new enemy awaits the titular hero which the scary looking cover clearly shows.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Night Man #7, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Kyle Hotz.  

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in an unknown place where a man talks to a lady who just died. After wearing his coat and grabbing his cane, he leaves behind a place with lots of blood around and things ruined. The body of the dead lady had been damaged so much, the flesh on the front of her upper body is gone leaving the bones exposed.

The said man walks down the street of San Francisco. As he recalls a key part of California’s history, he witnesses three armed men coming out of a jewelry store followed by Night Man. Immediately, he witnesses the city’s vigilante fight two of the men with brutal violence. The third thug (with long hair) takes the opportunity to move away only to face the man with the cane…

Quality

The new villain meeting with the tycoon JD Hunt.

This tale of The Night Man is gritty and engaging to read from start to finish. It introduces an all-new villain who has a Russian legacy with historical connections to the city of San Francisco and northern part of California. The new figure of evil (note: quite obvious due to his murdering of the innocent) is quite a layered character and he seemed to be designed by Steve Englehart to be a recurring villain against the Night Man.

At this point in the comic book series, Night Man has established himself to be a very capable vigilante who truly believes in helping the people of the city on his own and his victories in the previous issues solidified his reputation. This essentially sets the stage for the debut of the new villain (note: the scary looking wolf on the cover) and the next big challenge for the titular hero. Without spoiling what happened, I can say the pay-off was indeed worth the build-up.

Another strong point of this comic book is the way the creators dramatized the differences and similarities between the Night Man and the new villain. Both men are violent and their each have their own obsessions directly related to their respective goals.

Conclusion

The Night Man takes on thugs as the new villain watches.

The Night Man #7 (1994) is a pretty engaging read on its own and it shows how much the Night Man himself progressed as the Ultraverse’s San Francisco-based vigilante who really pushes himself to the limits fighting evil even though his resources are very limited. The introduction of the new villain in this comic book not only proved to be a solid addition into the Ultraverse lore but also added to the titular hero’s development as well as his vigilante justice campaign. This comic book may not be as action packed as the previous issue, but you can rest assured there is a really good quality writing here and the build-up was nicely paid-off by the end. As with the previous issues, Kyle Hotz’s gritty art made this Night Man tale really look lively and very stylish.

Overall, The Night Man #7 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Sludge #8 (1994)

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

Welcome back, superhero fans, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the Ultraverse of Malibu Comics and examine one of its many stories told through an issue of the Sludge comic book series.

As seen in my previous Sludge retro review, the stakes were raised even higher and Sludge finds himself in the middle of a major conflict between the gangs of the city with the involvement of the group of the Pump. By this point, the titular character is not only desperate but also is getting torn between good and evil.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Sludge #8, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written by Steve Gerber and drawn by Aaron Lopresti.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with TV news coverage doing a recap of events that shook New York City and its people – the abduction of a drug mule, the destruction of a ship filled with illegal immigrants, the destruction in the cemetery left behind by a major conflict there, and the death of crime boss John Paul Marcello which involved action by Sludge.

Sludge then wakes up from another nightmare and finds himself inside a boiler room which has a TV set and a chair. It turns out the place was set up by a janitor who does not even know Sludge is present. Slowly, Sludge sneaks his way back to the sewer.

At a cemetery, the burial of Marcello is being attended by many people and among them is Don Celini who regarded the late crime boss as a man of vision who made a lot of money for many people. Vittorio, the former loyal assistant to Marcello, is told by Don Celini to demonstrate leadership qualities to the heads of the other gangs. In the evening at a discreet place, Vittorio meets with Bloodstorm with a lot of money on the side…

The reporter Shelley on the pursuit for details.

Quality

To make things clear about the storytelling, the conflict between the crime gangs not only became more intense but also turned out quite intriguing. Clearly writer Steve Gerber carefully planned out the events, character developments and twists for this series. That being said, this comic book has a fine mix of suspense, crime story and even the supernatural for the narrative’s progress, and the good news is that these elements were presented in a believable way.

As presented in the previous issues, Sludge’s desperation and death wish will keep on intriguing you especially when he gets bothered by the Pump (arguably the most evil figure of the entire Ultraverse). Even as the war between gangs heat up, the story even had space for investigative journalism moments through the news reporter Shelley (who encountered Sludge in person before) whose pursuit for the facts remains unrelenting.

Conclusion

Sludge in a dark boiler room.

While the previous issue made me think deeply about the state of Sludge’s character and the gang war he became involved with, Sludge #8 (1994) is an even more intriguing Ultraverse read complete with solid twists that must be seen. Without spoiling the story, this comic book will strongly resonate with readers who really started the Sludge series from issue #1 (note: Bloodstorm’s involvement in this comic book will be more relevant if you have previously read his detailed introduction in issue #2). The current storyline – Street Wars – went significant steps forward in this story and I can say that the creative team of Gerber and Aaron Lopresti were successful in making me anticipate the conclusion.

Overall, Sludge #8 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Sludge #5 (1994)

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

Welcome back, superhero fans, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the Ultraverse of Malibu Comics and examine one of its many stories told through an issue of the Sludge comic book series.

In my previous retro review about Sludge #4 (1994), we got to see an inspired monster-versus-monster conflict between the protagonist and a huge, intelligent alligator aced with elements of society, urban legends, idolatry and journalism. That particular issue also showed more of the creative side of series artist Aaron Lopresti when it comes to writing. The next issue reviewed also involved Lopresti as writer.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Sludge #5, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written and drawn by Aaron Lopresti.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in New York City. Darkness descends on Manhattan like a shroud, providing haven for those who shun the light. As a man and a lady walk down the sidewalk talking to each other, a very hideous human-like monster comes out of the shadow of the alley and grabs them both.

In the sewers, Sludge hears one of the victims scream which compels him to run to where the trouble happened. As soon as he climbs out of the sewer, he sees the monster in the alley which makes eye-contact with him. As Sludge approaches the alley, the monster gets away leaving the dead bodies of the man and woman behind. As Sludge examines the dead bodies and realizes that the monster ate them, a police car with two officers arrived.

In reaction, Sludge quickly grabs one part of the police car and turns it upside down to buy himself time to get back into the sewer. The details of the encounter between the police and Sludge made it to Shelley, the same New York Daily Globe news reporter who encountered him and the intelligent alligator Veffir Voon Iyax. She discusses the newest information with her skeptical boss…

Quality

Obvious parallel to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein here.

Let me start first with what is obvious with regards to the plot and presentation. Similar to what happened in Sludge #2, there is noticeably less spotlight on Sludge as creative space had to be used to develop the new monster, emphasize its background story (with an additional new character who has significance) and there were even scenes focused on Shelley and what goes on inside the office of her newspaper which became aware of the events that took place.

The next thing I want to point out is the creative inspiration used in this particular story. This comic book has really clear parallels to the literary classic Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus and there was even a mention of its author Mary Shelley. That being said, there is a scientist-and-walking-abomination aspect with regards to the mentioned additional significant character connected with the new monster. That is not to say that this comic book copied Victor Frankenstein and his nameless monster, rather Aaron Lopresti took inspiration from them, mixed things up and implemented them in telling this new tale of Sludge. When it comes to keeping things fresh in telling another Sludge story, I can say that Lopresti succeeded.

More on the story itself, this one has a clever mix with regards to the dimensions used. In here, Sludge is more determined on helping people who shouted for help while Shelley won’t give up on finding out the truth about the tragic events in their city. Without spoiling the details, I can say that there is this deep dramatization about the monster and the new character responsible for its return from the dead.

As for the quality of the writing, Aaron Lopresti’s work here is not only expressive but also impressive. There is this one page near the end that has these few yet powerful words that strongly connect with the images of Sludge and the monster (who is so creepily drawn!).  

Conclusion

This is the 2nd straight Sludge comic book that has reporter Shelley and her newspaper focused on what has been happening. At this point, Shelley had encountered Sludge.

Sludge #5 (1994) in my view is another inspired and intriguing Ultraverse tale to read! While issue #4 had parallels to the 1980 film Alligator, this comic book took inspiration from Mary Shelley’s most famous work of fiction which added elements about resurrection, man’s abuse of science, and the consequences of dealing with the unnatural into Sludge’s side of the Ultraverse. I should state that this comic book also has the scariest looking monster Aaron Lopresti drew for the Ultraverse at the time of publication.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Sludge #5 (1994) be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $16 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $48.

Overall, Sludge #5 (1994) is highly recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Sludge #4 (1994)

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

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the Ultraverse of Malibu Comics and examine one of its many stories through an issue of the Sludge comic book series.

Previously, I reviewed Sludge #3 which was a tie-in comic book to the first big crossover event of the entire Ultraverse – Break-Thru. In that issue, he encountered the “lord” Pumpkin who himself became a notable super villain in the UV. That story also showed the first major test of Sludge when it comes to resisting temptation and evil.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Sludge #4, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written and drawn by Aaron Lopresti, and scripted by Steve Gerber.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins when two black teenagers go down the city sewer to look for something as part of a job of them agreed to do for someone named Gordy. They accidentally find Sludge whose appearance and ability to talk scares them away. As the two keep running to another direction, a reptilian monster sees them. The monster grabbed and killed the taller youth, leaving the shorter one scared.

A short time later, a police officer finds the scared teenager hiding behind plants at Central Park. The survivor is in a state of shock repeating his friend’s name a lot. The police update about the boy eventually reaches the office of the New York Daily Globe and an attractive reporter named Shelley intends to follow what could be a hot scoop…

Quality

The battle between these two has a lot of stuff that should be seen.

In this comic book, I can see that the creative team of Steve Gerber and Aaron Lopresti decided to shake things up a bit when it comes to telling a new story of Sludge laced with elements of society, urban legends and journalism. The good news here is that this story is well-written and the visuals really brought the script to life for readers to be engaged with.

When it comes the elements that inspired this particular story, the concept about alligators occupying the sewers instantly reminds me of the 1980 film Alligator and along the way, Gerber-Lopresti went on pounce on the concept resulting in the introduction of a brand new Ultraverse villain in the form of a monstrous, human-like alligator named Veffir Voon Iyax which can also talk and reason like humans. This new villain is really interesting and its background about being part of a species of alligators worshipped by people from long ago sheds light on the idolatry which is both unholy and foolish.  

On the aspects of society and journalism, the story sheds light on how some people – even minors – would go to really unsafe places and do very risky jobs for a variety of reasons. The journalistic aspect of this comic book emphasizes how far journalists would go to write stories based on questionable data and that a newspaper would recklessly publish such stories even though they lacked solid evidence to prove the unbelievable is true. The newspaper journalist Shelley had quite an amount of the spotlight, she became a clear supporting character in this comic book.

In keeping up with the superhero flavor of the Ultraverse, there is a good amount of spectacle here as it has a big battle between Sludge and the monstrous alligator which is nicely presented. This is a battle between monsters that was carefully structured and executed well.

Conclusion

A look at what happens behind the scenes at a city newspaper.

Sludge #4 (1994) is both an intriguing and enjoyable read. The Gerber-Lopresti team succeeded in telling another Sludge tale that is fresh as it took inspiration from pop culture and society. At the same time, this comic book show that Sludge is clearly not the only monster in New York City’s sewers. As such, his place within the Ultraverse is really unique.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Sludge #4 (1994) be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $16 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $48.

Overall, Sludge #4 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Sludge #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, superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the Ultraverse of Malibu Comics and examine one of its many stories through the Sludge comic book series.

Previously I reviewed issue #2 of the series which was a surprising and fun comic book to read as the creative team took the risk of emphasizing the violent character Bloodstorm over Sludge himself. Ultimately, this move served as a way to not just build up tension but to expand the specific place of Sludge and the dark forces within the Ultraverse. For this retro review, issue #3 is set during the events of the memorable Ultraverse crossover story Break-Thru.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Sludge #3, published by Malibu Comics in 1993 with a story written by Steve Gerber and drawn by Aaron Lopresti.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Sludge still lying down at the dock after just being defeated by Bloodstorm. Suddenly a mob of chaotic people (driven mad by the effects of Break-Thru that just happened) lift him up and throw him into the water without any regrets whatsoever. In hiding, Bloodstorm witnesses their act and thought to himself that he should avoid the madness happening. Suddenly, other mad people ganged up on him forcing him to react by firing his gun and set himself free from their grip. He safely makes it to his car and speeds away, even bumping off a few people on the way.

As Bloodstorm speeds away, another man in hiding who knew him and the boss Marcello was found by the mad people. Out of desperation he runs away and jumps into the water. He realizes that the people are so obsessed with going up to the sky (the Break-Thru effect), they did not bother to follow him at all.

Deep down the water, Sludge finds himself alone and getting relieved of the pain he experienced above. Feeling hopeless, he waits for the river to wash him away…

Quality

Sludge in trouble!

Being a standalone story set during the events of Break-Thru, this comic book focuses more on the protagonist while simultaneously raising the stakes with regards to the evil forces as the elements of crime gang combined with the supernatural took effect. To be clear, fantasy elements were added to this series which had darkness and grit dominating the plot of the first two issues.

This comic book has an early appearance of “lord” Pumpkin (AKA The Pump) who is the element of sorcery and, more notably, serves as the Ultraverse’s very own Satanic figure. Not only does the Pump have vast powers to take life away from others and has evil pawns to wield, he also leads and guides an apprentice (the kid gangster called Pistol) with pure wickedness, crafted plans of evil, is cunning in his ways of manipulating others to do evil, and he makes promises or deals with others who will receive some rewards but ultimately will be disregarded and lose a lot. This Ultraverse super-villain, as recorded in Malibu Comics’ publishing history, went on to become a walking symbol of pure evil, corruption, sins and danger in other UV comic books.

While there is indeed more focus on Sludge in this issue, it is the Pump who overshadows him. As for Bloodstorm, his presence has been drastically reduced here which is kind of jarring to read as he was the dominant and heavily emphasized in issue #2. Speaking of characters, the gang boss Marcello (who is Bloodstorm’s client) makes a short appearance but his connections not only with criminals but also with para-military forces emphasized his influence in the city.

More on the plot itself, this comic book is pretty loaded and the stakes were really raised high. In key scenes, Sludge finds himself in the middle of gangsters, the people driven mad by the Break-Thru effect, the para-military forces and the Pump’s ugly and evil pawns. Steve Gerber crafted a story that expectedly built up a lot and paid of strongly since the stakes were raised. I should state that Aaron Lopresti’s art here showed signs of improved creativity

Conclusion

The gang boss Marcello and Bloodstorm talk during the events of Break-Thru.

Sludge #3 (1993) is a more engaging and more intense comic book on its own complete with the literary debut of the Pump who is clearly the Ultraverse’s most evil villain. If issue #2 was twisting with the way it presented its characters, this comic book has more of its protagonist who went on to face new elements of evil while the story of Break-Thru transpired. I also noticed the Pump’s offer to Sludge symbolizes Satan offering a troubled soul a place in his force of evil. How did Sludge react to the offer from the evil one? You will have to read this comic book.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Sludge #3 (1993) be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $16.

Overall, Sludge #3 (1993) is recommended!

+++++

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

A Look Back at Sludge #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.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the Ultraverse of Malibu Comics and examine one of its many stories through the Sludge comic book series.

For the newcomers reading this, I published my retro review of Sludge #1 back in December of 2020. I really enjoyed that Ultraverse comic book and now is a good time to revisit that series and find out what will happen next to Sludge, the UV’s most notable monster protagonist. I should state that Steve Gerber (Man-Thing) and Aaron Lopresti made a solid creative duo in Sludge #1.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Sludge #2, published by Malibu Comics in 1993 with a story written by Steve Gerber and drawn by Aaron Lopresti.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with a quick flashback of a young blonde boy who got bullied by other kids due to his unusual appearance and the way he expresses himself. Fast forward to the present day, an armed man (the same kid in the flashback) fires his guns on a man who was on his bed inside his residence.

After finishing the killing, the armed man enters his unusual looking car and leaves in high speed. After passing through the city streets, he drives his vehicle into his secret hideout filled with several weapons. Shortly after cleaning himself, he takes his seat in his private study and starts communicating with Mr. Barnett who tells him that bad news that something happened to his father. The killer then states, “Payment is due.”

Somewhere in lower Manhattan, a man is being beaten by two men who are enforcers of a man wearing a trench coat in their presence. The beaten man named Mikey swears he will get the money to pay off his debt but the coated man tells him that he is a week late and will be penalized.

Suddenly out of nowhere, Sludge comes out and grabs the two enforcers which frees Mike whose ear just got cut off by the coated man. Sludge then calls the coated man by his nickname…

Quality

The situation only gets more intense whenever Sludge comes in.

I’ll go straight to the point on the storytelling by Steve Gerber. The biggest surprise is here is that the focus was shifted from the titular protagonist Sludge in favor of the first appearance of Bloodstorm who is more than just a typical villain. Gerber heavily emphasized Bloodstorm’s personality as one who enjoys inflicting violence or death to others (and get paid for it) as a result of his painful childhood and his eventual acceptance of the beliefs that violence itself is always part of life. Even so, this comic book shows that Bloodstorm does not believe in inflicting misery for money and he calls it a cowardly way of earning money. Even as he finds his client’s business appalling, he still proceeds to do the dirty work to make money. This, of course, puts Bloodstorm in the dark work organized, target-focused mobbing which also puts him on the same course as Sludge. 

As with issue #1, the violence here is pretty intense and adulterated which goes along almost perfectly with the story’s dark and gritty tone. There is a fine mix of suspense, shock moments and the revealing of key details. I assure you all reading that that even though Sludge himself was not so dominant as the centerpiece of the story, the payoff for all the build-up was still worth reading.

Conclusion

Get to know Bloodstorm through this comic book.

Sludge #2 (1993) is a pretty surprising comic book. One might think that it would become the natural progression of what was established in issue #1 (which itself was the first appearance and origin of Sludge) but ultimately it took a completely different approach. I should also state that the duo of Steve Gerber and Aaron Lopresti continued to deliver compelling stuff in this comic book. While the fact that Sludge is not the dominating force in the story might turn off some readers, I can say to you that Sludge #2 (1993) is still a very worthy read and it builds up on something waiting to be revealed in succeeding issues.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Sludge #2 (1993) be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $16 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $48

Overall, Sludge #2 (1993) is recommended!

+++++

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

Better than Streaming: Alligator 4K Blu-ray coming out on February 22, 2022

Welcome back, fellow geeks, Blu-ray collectors and movie buffs! If you are fond of old-school creature features, suspense and horror for your home viewing, then you might be interested to know that the 1980 film Alligator will be released in 4K Blu-ray format on February 22, 2022 according to a Blu-ray.com update. Alligator 4K Blu-ray is an upcoming release prepared by Scream Factory and interested costumers can order it right now online.

To put things in perspective, posted below are key details from the Blu-ray.com article about Alligator 4K Blu-ray combo. Some parts in boldface…

The 4K Blu-ray cover.

DISC ONE: 4K BLU-RAY – THEATRICAL VERSION

  • EXCLUSIVE NEW 4K RESTORATION FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE
  • Audio Commentary With Director Lewis Teague And Actor Robert Forster
  • Optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature

DISC TWO: BLU-RAY – THEATRICAL VERSION

  • EXCLUSIVE NEW 4K RESTORATION FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE
  • NEW Everybody In The Pool – An Interview With Actress Robin Riker
  • NEW Wild In The Streets – An Interview With Director Lewis Teague
  • NEW It Walks Among Us – An Interview With Screenwriter John Sayles
  • NEW Luck Of The Gator – An Interview With Special Makeup Effects Artist Robert Short
  • NEW Gator Guts, The Great River, And Bob – An Interview With Production Assistant, Now Famous Actor/Director/Producer, Bryan Cranston
  • NEW Newspaper Ad Still Gallery By Drive-In Asylum
  • Audio Commentary With Director Lewis Teague And Actor Robert Forster
  • Alligator Author – An Interview With Screenwriter John Sayles
  • Additional Scenes From The TV Version
  • Promotional Materials
    • NEW Teaser Trailer (New 2K Scan)
    • NEW Theatrical Trailer (NEW 2K Scan)
    • NEW TV Spots (NEW 2K Scan)
    • Trailers From Hell – Filmmaker Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body) On ALLIGATOR
    • ALLIGATOR Game Television Commercial
  • Still Gallery (Movie Stills, Movie Posters, Lobby Cards, And Behind-The-Scenes Photos)
  • Optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature

DISC THREE: BLU-RAY – EXTENDED TELEVISION VERSION

  • NEW 4K RESTORATION FROM THE OCN WITH ADDITIONAL FOOTAGE FROM AN INTERPOSITIVE
  • The extended television version is presented in high-definition for the first time ever.

Posted below are the other details from Alligator’s own page at Blu-ray.com…

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)

HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Audio – English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono (48kHz, 24-bit)

Subtitles – English SDH

Discs – 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray Disc, Three-disc set (1 BD-100, 2 BD-50)

Packaging – Slipbox, Reversible cover

Playback – 4K Blu-ray: Region free, 2K Blu-ray: Region A

The movie poster from 1980.

Personally, I saw Alligator on home video way back in the 1980s and sometimes on cable TV afterwards. In American pop culture, the Lewis Teague-directed movie was one of several creature feature movies that got released as part of a wave of imitators who were inspired by the massive success of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. Alligator had a mixed-to-positive reception from the movie critics in 1980 and its ticket sales were almost four times its production budget.

How this old movie will look like in 4K interests me, and the 4K visuals have been confirmed to be native 4K. As typical with other Scream Factory releases, Alligator will come with lots of extra stuff that fans and movie buffs will eventually enjoy. Watch out for this 4K Blu-ray release on February 22, 2022.

In closing this Better than Streaming piece, posted below are Alligator-related videos for your viewing pleasure.

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A Look Back at Shin Godzilla (2016)

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

There is no doubt that Japan’s fictional monster Godzilla (originally called as Gojira) made tremendous impact not only with the Japanese but also with other entertainment lovers around the world. Way back in 1954, the monster was portrayed as a destructive, walking symbol of nuclear weapons in the movie Gojira directed by the late Ishirô Honda.

As the years passed by, several more Godzilla movies were released by Toho Pictures. In 1998, an American-made movie about Godzilla was finally made in a disappointing form directed by Roland Emmerich. In 2014, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures made a more respectful film of the monster under the direction of Gareth Edwards. In 2019, the follow-up Godzilla: King of the Monsters was released and I enjoyed it a lot more than its 2014 predecessor.

Before the 2019 movie was released, Toho in Japan released Shin Godzilla (alternate titles: Shin Gojora and Godzilla: Resurgence) which was the result of the 2014 movie’s success as well as the fact that there were no restrictions in the contract with Legendary Pictures for the Japanese studio to make their own domestic versions.

Due to its lack of presence in cinemas here in the Philippines in 2016, I was unable to watch it on the big screen. Fortunately, it was released locally on original DVD and I got to watch it in the comfort of home.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Shin Godzilla co-directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi (both best known for Neon Genesis Evangelion).

This is classic Godzilla.

Early story

The story begins at Tokyo Bay where the coast guard personnel found an abandoned yacht and searched inside. Suddenly a huge cloud of steam erupted from the ocean followed by blood-like water flooding the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line. The tragedies compelled local authorities to take action starting with a committee meeting.

As emergency personnel save the victims in the damaged Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line, the tragedies reach the office of the Prime Minister who engages with many other government officials in an official meeting. They try to figure out what caused the incidents and, as such, theories and efforts to explain what happened were spoken until Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Rando Yaguchi (Hiroki Hasegawa) theorized that a living creature caused it (because he saw a viral video) which only resulted disbelief and dismissal.

Suddenly a massive tail rises from the ocean which got captured in video and photographs by the news media which confirms Yaguchi’s hunch. As the Prime Minister and the team of officials spend more time discussing and searching for real experts (because the three scientists they just met did not produce any breakthroughs), a huge creature makes its way into one of Tokyo’s districts through a waterway causing massive damage and displacing many people as well as all boats that got in its way.  

In a press conference, the Prime Minister gave his assurance to the public that they need not worry about the creature coming to shore. Just after giving his assurance speech, an assistant approaches the Prime Minister with really bad news that the creature has been crawling inland and causing even more damage…

Quality

Japan’s iconic monster is not only terrifying here but also very deadly.

When it comes to presentation in comparison to all other Godzilla movies released, Shin Godzilla is very unique as it strongly brings to the viewers a very in-depth examination of the bureaucracy of the Japanese government complete with the many laws, requirements, rules and other elements of governance that made it so hard for the local authorities to respond to Godzilla’s invasion of the metropolis. There are key details that were raised such as the constitutionality of using local military force against the monster (which is not a foreign invader), which department should be in-charge of research about the same monster, etc.

Along the way, there is an overload of information – in terms of text, images and dialogue – that makes viewing quite a challenge. This makes watching Shin Godzilla a learning experience that viewers who are interested in governance and science will likely enjoy although it will alienate other moviegoers, especially those who only want to watch the spectacle of massive on-screen destruction that giant monster movies are known for. Going through all the exposition and explanations, and understanding most of it, however, will make the viewing experience worth it as these countless details do make sense in relation to Godzilla’s destructive impact on the people.

And then there is the huge cast of characters that needs to be followed. This is another big challenge for viewers because if one misses out on the key purpose a character has, then following the government’s efforts on dealing with Godzilla will make less sense. Not only will you have to follow the characters’ names, you will also have to remember their respective work titles. Apart from the government officials, there is also the huge batch of nerds and varied experts gathered by the government to do intense research. Again, those people need to be followed and remembered so you can understand what they do and how they contribute to their government’s efforts. When it comes to performances, they are collectively dramatic and you will be convinced of the pressure, the danger and uncertainty they face with Godzilla threatening Tokyo.

Better get used to seeing so many characters throughout the movie.
Hiroki Hasegawa as Rando Yaguchi.

As for the main spectacle of the movie, Godzilla, I can say that the monster here is very terrifying to watch. This is not your typical Godzilla as the Anno-Higuchi directorial duo really went all out with their creativity to remake Japan’s iconic monster into something new and deadly while still linking him creatively to the legacy of the classic Godzilla. There is even an element of evolution in this version of Godzilla and to see the Japanese military fire their expensive weapons at him really made a lot of spectacle to enjoy. I should also state that several scenes of disaster caused by the monster in this film were inspired by the tragedies of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of 2011. Lastly, Godzilla here is really a super villain that is not only gigantic but also is made to be highly believable that it can destroy the nation, kill innocent civilians, demoralize the authorities and even bring Japan’s entire economy way down (note: one of the government officials explained the economic consequence of failing to defeat the monster).

When it comes to visual effects, this one is the best-looking Godzilla made by the Japanese yet! While the traditional approach of having an actor wear a rubber suit has been disregarded in favor of using modern, digital means (with motion capture), what the production team did here is very impressive as they focused strongly on having computer-generated graphics that are photo-realistic. While it is true that there were some moments of fake-looking CGI, the heavy photo-realism on the graphics of Godzilla (combined with strategic camera angles that really captured the scope and size of the monster) easily outweighed the weak spots. The lighting effects used for the laser blasts were very impressive, even competitive with what Hollywood has been doing. As for the scenes of destruction, a mix of CGI and practical effects (specifically miniatures) was used. In fact, certain scenes showing Godzilla interacting with the environment was done with pushing a prop through miniatures which resulted a high level of detail with organic and solid stuff.

The spectacle would not have been that effective, however, without the solid musical work done by Shiro Sagisu. Not only did the music add a lot to the intense sequences of Godzilla, it also brought out the sense of dread and horror out of the monster especially in the night-time scene when he was towering over a large section of Tokyo that lost power. Sagisu was also involved in Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Conclusion

The emphasis on photo-realism on the computer-generated effects is something special.

I can say it out loud that Shin Godzilla (2016) is truly a spectacle to watch complete with tons of heavy drama, tons of information and the widest cast of characters to date. It is a new version of the Japanese icon that really impresses and when it comes to movie intelligence, it easily outshines many other Godzilla flicks. While it has a lot of spectacle to keep moviegoers entertained, its heaviness with the information and large cast of characters could turn off viewers who are not used to thinking and paying attention to lots of details while watching a giant monster movie. Personally, I welcomed the information overload and made efforts on paying close attention to the details and the characters. It really takes patience and focus to truly make the most out of the story and the overall presentation.

Ultimately, I enjoyed this movie for what it is and what its message was about with regards as to how governments should respond to immense disasters, what is Japan’s place in the world of the 21st century and, most notably, what Godzilla means to Japan and the international community. This is a very solid modernization of Godzilla and the Anno-Higuchi deserve admiration.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Shin Godzilla (2016), visit Amazon for the Blu-ray disc release and see if it has the right price and special features to satisfy you.  

Overall, Shin Godzilla (2016) is recommended!

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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 Godzilla #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.

Welcome back, comic book collectors, sci-fi enthusiasts and fellow geeks! You must have heard by now that pop culture icons Godzilla and King Kong will clash together on the big screen in Godzilla vs. Kong (2021). Check out the official trailer below.

Take note that this is NOT the first time the two giant monsters encountered each other on the big screen. In fact, there was a Japanese-produced movie that featured the two released in 1963 and it involved Ishirô Honda who himself directed the 1954 original Godzilla movie. As the decades passed by, Godzilla movies were viewed by lots of people around the world and by the time efforts were taken to realize a Hollywood-produced film showcasing Japan’s icon, its place in global pop culture was already sealed.

And here is the thing that should interest you all – before the 1998 Hollywood Godzilla film (directed by Roland Emmerich) was even released, Dark Horse Comics published a series of Godzilla comic books. Of course, this was not the first time Godzilla made its presence felt in illustrated literature but the mid-1990s series was an effort to modernize Japan’s icon with readers (and comic collectors) of the time.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Godzilla #1, published by Dark Horse Comics in 1995 with a story written by Kevin Maguire and drawn by Brandon McKinney.  

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with a network television talk show focused on Godzilla and the possibility of it attacking North America. On the air, TV show host Kate Koshiro talks with research team G-Force member Take’ who states that Godzilla has been injected with poison and swam to the bottom of the ocean. Even so, they never found a corpse.

As the show goes on, it is revealed by Take’ that his team uses low-frequency signals which they hope will attract Godzilla and even pacify it. Take’ eventually begins to get nervous as Kate Koshiro presses him for details. Behind the scenes, personnel of G-Force watch the show on their giant monitor.

The G-Force personnel turn their attention away from the TV show as they have been alerted to the sudden emergence of Godzilla, 77 miles northwest of Vancouver…

Quality

The destructive power of Godzilla!

If you are looking for a good, original story of Godzilla to read, this comic book has it! To start with, it has a nice world concept of its own surrounding the monster. G-Force serves as the primary organization the world goes to not only for protection from Godzilla’s attacks but also extensive research-and-development (R&D) that can make breakthroughs the world can benefit from, and intelligence that the respective defense forces of nations can use.

The characters are an interesting mix with elements from G-Force and the American armed services doing most of the interaction, talking and exposition. The closest thing this comic book has to a human protagonist is Take’ who turned out to be more capable than being a researcher of G-Force.

As for Godzilla, there is nothing new with the monster’s portrayal even though it is confirmed to be sick with poison. Wherever Godzilla goes, a lot of destruction happens making it look like the antagonist to the reader. In other words, a typical Godzilla portrayal. Fortunately, the comic book creators succeeded in maintaining the giant’s presence strongly even though the narrative was primarily focused on the human characters.

Conclusion

Nothing like carrying the tremendous pressure that comes with the unexpected emergence of a gigantic monster.

Godzilla #1 (1995) is surprisingly entertaining to read. When I first read this comic book, I had modest expectations and just let myself discover what it has to offer. The good news here is that the comic creators crafted a story that is interesting and fun enough to read. Apart from focusing on Godzilla, the G-Force organization has an interesting cast of characters.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Godzilla #1 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $70.

Overall, Godzilla #1 (1995) is recommended.

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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

Latest Previews of Resident Evil 3 Remake Revealed Too Much

Hey fellow gamers and geeks!

Chances are, you may have seen the latest video previews of the much-awaited remake of Resident Evil 3 as published by varied media outlets like IGN, GameSpot and others in coordination with Capcom.

Like anyone else, I am personally excited for the remake and I was fortunate enough to have played the original version of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis on the original PlayStation way back in 1999. How different were the times back in 1999 – no Xbox LIVE yet, no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram and no YouTube yet.

Out of curiosity, I went on to watch the video previews of the RE3 remake hoping to see the latest.

Screenshot_20200226-175647_YouTube.jpg
Jill in an encounter with Nemesis.

To my regret, it turned out that Capcom gave the gaming press too much to show. In short, spoilers were made without restraint. Apart from story and character details, there were key sections and visual elements from the game that I believe should have been kept secret. Those details, sections and visual elements could have been saved as big surprises for the gamers (especially the millions of younger gamers who never played the original Resident Evil 3), but they were spoiled! How unfortunate it was for me to have seen them.

In writing this, for those who have not yet seen those recent video previews, I will not share those here. In fact, I urge you to avoid seeing them. Regarding new stuff from those previews, I only used two screenshots to keep spoilers very minimal here.

What I can share here that is not a spoiler at all is that Capcom’s developers implemented a modernized way of dodging in the game effectively even as the default 3rd person, over-the-shoulder is used. The way it looks, dodging in the remake seems more responsive than the hit-or-miss dodging in the original RE3.

Screenshot_20200226-174851_YouTube.jpg
Jill and Carlos.

Just wait for the game’s April 2020 release instead and enjoy the game with limited exposure to the online previews (including text articles that shared a lot of the spoilers that the recent video previews carried).

You have been warned.


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. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. 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