A Look Back at X-Men Adventures #5 (1993)

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

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

In my previous retro review, the encounter with Magneto ended without any resolution. Back at X-Men headquarters, Sabretooth freed himself and got into a fight with Wolverine which symbolically highlighted tensions from their past encounters.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at X-Men Adventures #5, published by Marvel Comics in 1993 with a story written by Ralph Macchio and drawn by Andrew Wildman.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside the Danger Room where X-Men members Storm, Rogue, Gambit and Jubilee are tested for combat and skills development under the tight watch of Professor X. While Xavier is aware that while a real-life threat would cause his team to perfect their reflexes and counterattack strategies, it is the leadership of Storm that concerns him the most.

Just as the amount of danger rises, Xavier decides to raise the stakes of the exercise by drawing upon the deepest fears within Storm. Suddenly the ceiling moves down and the walls start closing in on the X-Men. This causes Storm to lose focus as painful memories from her childhood pertaining to claustrophobia suddenly entered her head. The exercise ended on a negative note and Storm tells Professor X that she cannot lead the X-Men as she believes that her claustrophobia will only put others at risk.

Within Xavier’s mansion, the still recovering Wolverine practices martial arts moves. Standing nearby is Jean Grey who starts talking sense into him. Wolverine then notices something in the way Jean looks at him…  

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Cyclops and Jean Grey cornered by the Morlocks led by Callisto.

As the cover of this comic book shows, the main feature of the story is the X-Men’s encounter with the Morlocks (first appearance in Uncanny X-Men #169 published in 1983), a group of mutants living underneath the city of New York. Other than being a force of opposition, the Morlocks – led by Callisto – is itself a society composed of outcast mutants who could not really live among humans in normal society not only because of their mutations but also because of their collective look of deformity.

Picking up from the previous issue, the plot moved smoothly starting with a clear focus on Storm and her potential to lead the X-Men followed by the short but intriguing scene between Jean Grey and Wolverine. When the narrative shifted on New York City and the start of the conflict with the Morlocks, the story noticeably turned dark with its tone as the underground mutants become more prominent.

Other than the expected good-versus-evil emphasis of the plot, this comic book sheds light on the social ladder of America with the X-Men symbolizing the normal people and the Morlocks as the misfits. Symbolically speaking, the X-Men are bound to their code of no killing and their search for mutants that their leader Professor X could help, while the Morlocks prefer to be independent believing that isolation best serves their interests. Both the X-Men and the Morlocks have their respective approach on honor which is symbolized further when Storm and Callisto engage in close combat (note: this was the X-Men animated series’ adaptation of their fight as told in 1983’s Uncanny X-Men #170). I should also state that the portrayal of Cyclops and Jean Grey a very vulnerable figures in this story is pretty engaging.

To put things in perspective, the script of this comic book showed that the superhero spectacle is finely balanced with the strong dialogue and dramatization of the X-Men-Morlocks conflict.

Conclusion

The X-Men during the Danger Room session.

X-Men Adventures #5 (1993) is not only a very engaging read on its own, it is also one fine adaptation of the X-Men animated series episode “Captive Hearts” which I first saw on local TV way back in 1993.

Overall, X-Men Adventures #5 (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. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. 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 athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

A Look Back at Harbinger #19 (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 go back to the early 1990s and explore a part of the Valiant Comics shared universe through the Harbinger monthly series.

In my previous retro review, the creative team of Fontenot-Simpson told another story that built up Harbinger’s concept some more while introducing yet another new character – Screen – who is not part of the team led by Sting. The story symbolically showed the further growth of the tremendous power of Toyo Harada not only through his control of the Harbinger foundation but also of his connection with the new United States President of the time. 

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #19, published in 1993 by Valiant Comics with a story written by Maurice Fontenot and illustrated by Howard Simpson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins on the afternoon of January 25, 1993. Inside the New York facility of the Harbinger foundation, a pretty blonde, young lady named Natalie Toynbee – codename: Stunner – gets scanned by the technicians handling the technologies. A technician’s request for Natalie to urinate into a cup reveals that the lady has a huge ego and pride of herself as she reacts negatively. 

Suddenly, the wall near Natalie and the technician got damaged by force unleashed by Sting who is accompanied by Faith, Flamingo and Shatiqua. Their mission is to free Natalie from the clutches of the Harbinger foundation which is a small part of their long-term vision of freeing and recruiting more powered young adults.

After subduing the Harbinger foundation personnel, Sting begins to explain to Natalie the situation and tells her to just trust him. Sting tells her to come with them which only drew more of Natalie’s ego along with skepticism. This reaction makes Faith think Natalie is not worth saving…

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Imagine Iran invading America and causing terror like in this scene. Imagine Joe Biden and the Democrats allowing this to happen to Americans.

While the story was not crafted to follow-up closely on the events of issue #18, this comic book puts Sting and his teammates into a collision course with a new force of evil – the Iranians (note: issue #20 confirms their national identity) who have interests on specific young adults with powers and special abilities. Along the way, the Fontenot-Simpson team introduced a new sinister force in the form of a very manipulative Iranian named Kaliph.

Kaliph’s introduction here is easily the biggest feature of the story and he unsurprisingly overwhelms the debut of Natalie. Kaliph here works in service of his unidentified superiors and as he does his job, he uses his special ability of manipulating people’s minds through sight and sound to gain information, find directions, make them do his orders and gain access into places that he could never have had he been an ordinary person. By the end of the story, I was convinced that Kaliph was created to be an enduring or recurring villain for Sting and his team.

More on the primary characters of this monthly series, Sting and his teammates were portrayed to get more harbingers (powered young adults) to join them and become part of their long-term opposition against Toyo Harada and the Harbinger foundation, even though their own team lacks the resources needed to support themselves. The lack of resources was cleverly highlighted through Natalie’s reactions (related to her big ego) to what Sting’s team has for her to live with. Looking at the bigger picture going back to issue #1, Sting’s vision of defeating Harada and winning the trust of powered young adults without any solid foundation (specifically resources, connections and security) emphasize his recklessness and false sense of maturity as a team leader.

Conclusion

Kaliph and his companion arrive in America with a sinister plan.

In my view, Harbinger #19 (1993) is a solid change of direction for the monthly series complete with the introduction of a new, strong villain who originated from Iran which by today’s standards is the major force of terrorism in this world. The new villain Kaliph has a creepy aesthetic that other villains in this series lacked. More notably, the story remained consistently very engaging and pulled off some notable surprises which were indeed entertaining.

Overall, Harbinger #19 (1993) is highly recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. 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 Harbinger #13 (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 go back to the early 1990s and explore a part of the Valiant Comics shared universe through the Harbinger monthly series.

In my previous retro review, Sting, Faith, Kris, Flamingo and newcomer Shatiqua pursued a mission recklessly with revenge over the death of Torque as the main motivator. That story symbolically shows that the boundary between good and evil has been blurred away as Sting and his team just kept on pursuing their goals disregarding the rule of law and committing acts that make them no different from the sinister Harbinger Foundation. In some ways, Sting himself is gradually becoming as evil and abusive as his target (and former mentor) – Toyo Harada.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #13, published in 1993 by Valiant Comics with a story written and drawn by David Lapham.

The cover that closely imitates the iconic image of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns.

Early story

The story begins with Faith flying high above the streets of New York City talking to herself as she enjoys the flight as well as the flight of fantasy in her mind. After discreetly landing in an alley, she bumps into a man as she moves into the city sidewalk. Two other men could not help but laugh at what they just saw.

The man Faith bumped into gets mad, grabs her by the shirt and pulls out a knife. Suddenly, an old man comes out of nowhere and threatens the knife-wielding man which in turn prevented Faith from getting hurt. Upon realizing a lot of people are around them and watching, the knife-wielding man and his two companions move away.

The old man then befriends Faith. She thanks him for his help…

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Faith and the old man.

As I expected another Harbinger tale about Sting and his team going up against Harada’s foundation, I can say that this comic book surprised me in a rather delightful way. To be clear, this is a story mainly focused on Faith and under Lapham’s direction, readers will see her personality emphasized more than ever and what she is capable of with not just her special abilities but also with how she deals with problems.

The good news here is that the writing by Lapham is solid. Faith is clearly the comic book geek among her teammates and to see her work inside a comic book store in the city is amusing as her portrayal captures how comic book fans react when they see something really fascinating or special among the many printed materials displayed. It should be noted that Faith’s independence is nicely portrayed and she has her own way of dealing with the harshness of reality without ever letting her personal obsession with entertainment overwhelm her reasoning. The ironic thing about Faith’s view of life around her is that she does not show any regrets about the crimes the she and her teammates committed.

Those who are looking for superhero spectacle will find something gritty and short with regards to Faith. Adding further zest in this comic book are fantasized excerpts from a particular comic book Faith reads in the story.

Conclusion

Faith working inside the comic book store.

Harbinger #13 (1993) is a very surprising read that clearly delivered a good bout of fun. Its main attraction is Faith herself and this comic book has the most in-depth development of her character to date. Through her, comic book readers will have something to resonate with when it comes to comic book culture and geek interests. Ultimately, David Lapham succeeded in defining Faith and telling a solid Harbinger tale mainly focused on her. In some ways, this comic book is like a relief from all the tension built up on the rivalry between Sting’s team and the Harbinger Foundation. That being said, this comic book is no filler and it fits right in the monthly series.

Overall, Harbinger #13 (1993) is highly recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. 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.

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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 Dazzler #25 (1983)

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

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

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

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

The cover.

Early story

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

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

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

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Alison in her effort to save her father.

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

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

Conclusion

Alison in trouble.

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

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

Overall, Dazzler #25 (1983) is satisfactory.

+++++

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

A Look Back at 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 Dazzler #24 (1983)

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

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

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

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

The cover.

Early story

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

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

Quality

Alison Blaire desperately getting away from Rogue.

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

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

Conclusion

Alison Blaire plus Power Man and Iron Fist.

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

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

Overall, Dazzler #24 (1983) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Dazzler #22 (1982)

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

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

In my retro review of Dazzler #21 (1982), I observed that the story had no good-versus-evil conflict at all as it was purely character-driven and focused a lot on the personal development of Alison Blaire/Dazzler. More notably, the story shed light on both Alison’s father (a judge) and mother (who left the judge) and how the past affected the protagonist. Very clearly, Dazzler’s development really went deep since her first-ever appearance in an X-Men comic book. Speaking of the X-Men, I must say that one of the team’s notable members had an early (not the first) appearance in the next Dazzler issue I just reviewed. That character is none other than Rogue and she looks nothing like the way Jim Lee modernized her in the 1990s.

With those details laid down, here is a look back Dazzler #22, published by Marvel Comics in 1982 with a story written by Danny Fingeroth and drawn by the late Frank Springer.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the air high above the streets of New York City. Warren Worthington III/Angel’s flight gets disrupted as a group of hawks suddenly attack him from all sides. With quick thinking, he uses different methods to gradually lure each hawk and trick them into bumping into something to end their pursuit.

Meanwhile, as Alison Blaire rides the car driven by her field manager Lance going to the studio, she saves a roller-skating lady from colliding with a car using clever methods. At the studio, Alison prepares herself for a recording session under the watch of the perfectionist music producer L.B. Holman…

Quality

The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants led by Mystique.

As expected, the story in this comic book showed natural progression on developing the protagonist as well as her parents while also reviving the superhero trope of good-versus-evil which was clearly done for entertainment value. While the cover art had Rogue hitting Dazzler, the good-versus-evil conflict within is actually bigger than that as the story involves not only Rogue but also notable X-Men villainess Mystique plus Destiny.

As this was in the early 1980s, Rogue was not a member of the X-Men at the time and was still new (her first-ever appearance was in Avengers Annual #10 in 1981). Regarding Mystique, her appearance in this comic book was not merely just an appearance but rather an extension of the exploits of her group called the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and it has been her desire to get back at the X-Men over what happened in Uncanny X-Men #142 (part 2 of the Days of Future Past storyline). As such, having Dazzler encounter the evil group in the presence of the X-Men’s Angel was a very strategic move by Danny Fingeroth as it emphasized the crossover aspect within the Marvel Comics universe of the time complete with pretty good dialogue and details emphasized.

This also helps remind readers of Dazzler’s previous involvement with the X-Men and cleverly gave them the idea of what would things be like if the protagonist someday really joined the team of mutants.

On character development, dramatizing Alison’s mother and father shows progress from what happened near the end of the previous issue which is a nice touch. Even Alison’s boyfriend Ken got his own share of the spotlight. What is most notable when it comes to characterization in this comic book is the smooth and fine chemistry between Alison and Warren Worthington. The two made convincing friends and how their respective circumstances brought them together here was well executed by the creators.

Conclusion

Discreetly, Alison Blaire uses her power to help someone.

Dazzler #22 (1982) is enjoyable and has that fine balance between characterization, plotting and spectacle. The good-versus-evil conflict here should really catch the attention of readers, especially those who are deeply interested with the X-Men-related characters and groups of the early 1980s. There is also enough superhero action to keep readers entertained and clearly this was done to make up for the lack of action in the very dramatic issue #21.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Dazzler #22 (1982), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $57 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $113.

Overall, Dazzler #22 (1982) 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 #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 Dazzler #21 (1982)

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

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1980s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the year 1982 to examine the Marvel Comics universe through the exploits of Dazzler!

While my most recent retro review of Dazzler was the 4th issue of its monthly series, I have decided to jump straight to issue #21 for this new retro review. By the time Dazzler #21 got published, the unusual superhero went through a lot and illustrator Frank Springer became fully established as the monthly series’ definitive artist.

With those details laid down, here is a look back Dazzler #21, published by Marvel Comics in 1982 with a story written by Danny Fingeroth and drawn by the late Frank Springer.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Alison Blaire/Dazzler being carried above the buildings of New York City by Angel (Warren Worthington) of the X-Men. At this point in time, Alison’s father judge Carter Blaire snapped under the weight of turmoil related to the death of his wife and his daughter’s rebelliousness. As Dazzler, Alison had gone through intense encounters with the likes of the Incredible Hulk, She-Hulk, a top-secret syndicate that made her a test subject and even Galactus.

Recently, Bella – Alison’s grandmother – could not cope with her son’s breakdown and reached out to Warren Worthington to help her reach Alison. Since after being found, Alison had been traveling with Angel by air.

Along the way, Spider-Man sees them and recognizes Alison as Dazzler. He swings to try to get their attention but was ignored as they were so focused on their objective. A short time later, Angel and Alison arrive at judge Blaire’s home. Her grandmother greets them and tells her she hopes that she can get through to judge Blaire.

The doctor, however, advised against that tactic and states that Alison’s intervention may worsen her father’s condition as much of it was centered on her…

Quality

Alison Blaire and her friend Vanessa try out new clothes.

I’ll go straight to the point about what the story of this double-sized comic book is about without spoiling it. It is a pretty dramatic look at the protagonist in her civilian form as Alison Blaire. You will get to see her as Dazzler in this comic book but if you are looking for a lot of superhero moments of her or if you are looking for Dazzler in a conflict with evil elements, you won’t find it here.

More on the plot, this comic book explores deeply the emotional and personal dimensions of Alison and along the way, stories about her own past as well as the respect past events of both her father and mother got dramatized. The story tackles themes like independence, maturity, marriage, personal development, family ties and personal conflicts of interest. The good thing here is that the script by Danny Fingeroth is very well-written and it seems he did his research on constructing a personal story about Alison Blaire that is very grounded in reality. That being said, the superhero elements have been pushed aside most of the time and the ironic thing is the fact that the other Marvel superheroes – Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, The Avengers and more – appeared here as if to remind readers this is still a superhero tale.

Very clearly, this story was written for the very dedicated or even the die-hard Dazzler fans in mind. When it comes to the fun factor, the results could be mixed depending on what readers want to see in this comic book. For me personally, it is a pretty engaging story to read and at the same time it is fun enough as well.

Conclusion

Alison tries to help her troubled father.

Dazzler #21 (1982) could be barely received or strongly received or even rejected even though it has a very rich and dramatic script. The clear lack of the superhero presentation of Dazzler in favor of heavy drama and in-depth characterization may not win the approval of readers/collectors who love superhero stuff but it will resonate with the readers who really love the character and had immersed themselves into her life. As far as characterization goes, this comic book marks a significant turning point of Dazzler herself and in its story, she really developed a lot since making her first-ever appearance in Uncanny X-Men #130. If you are a Dazzler purist who does not mind the lack of superhero spectacle, this one could engage you.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Dazzler #21 (1982), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $28 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $60.

Overall, Dazzler #21 (1982) 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/