A Look Back at Mantra #6 (1993)

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

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

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

The cover.

Early story

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

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

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

Quality

Mantra in the middle of somewhere.

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

Overall, Mantra #6 (1993) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Prime #15 (1994)

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

Hey Ultraverse fans and superhero comic book geeks! For those of you who read several comic book of Prime, do you enjoy his struggles on setting things right? That is a theme that will be explored in this new Prime retro comic book review.

The good news here is that the legendary George Perez is involved. Now that the details have been set, here is a look back at Prime #15, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Len Strazewski and Gerard Jones, and art done by George Perez with ink work by Dennis Jensen.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Prime’s arrival at a creepy, old looking residence somewhere in Hollywood. He learned that inside the place is the secret headquarters of a drug trafficking operation that allegedly affected half of Los Angeles.

Previously, he beat up a man in front of several abandoned youth and left him bloody. Under intense pain, the man revealed to him where to find the drug trafficking operation leader as well as the parents of the youth. The boss was described as Papa Verite. The man told Prime he can find Papa Verite but cannot touch him.

As he walks towards the front door, Prime thought to himself: Maybe he thought I didn’t have the guts to hurt this “Papa.” Maybe he thinks Prime’s a nice boy, like he used to be! Maybe I should’ve hurt him worse to show him I’ve changed! I’m not just a freaked-out 13-year-old with an ultra-powered body anymore! I’m not just a helpless kid named Kevin whose dad ran out on him! I’m Prime! I can handle anything!

After breaking through the front door, what Prime discovers inside is very disturbing…

Quality

A rather disturbing scene since Prime is truly a teenage boy inside all that muscle.

Let me be clear from the start that, once again, the writing by Strazewski and Jones is very strong. To start with, the story has a theme about doing the right things (including helping others by means of getting rid of someone who made victims out of them) without consulting or informing the local authorities. In a way, Prime moved and acted like a vigilante facing criminal elements related to illegal drugs. There were also elements of military conspiracy, molestation and indecent relationship.

When it comes to characterization, it comes to no surprise that Prime (who really is a teenager inside his body) is pushed to the limits of his emotions with his ability to withstand pressure really tested by the presence of certain people from his past who haunted him. Prime is convincing when he is shown with the impulse and arrogance of a teenager who would not stop when he wants to set things right.

The art by George Perez, unsurprisingly, is great to look at. You won’t just see Prime and familiar characters drawn in high detail with the distinct art style of Perez here. What you will see is how creative the famous illustrator proved he is with the visual presentation complete with very expressive facial expressions. More on the characters, Perez also implemented horror elements to his drawings and he really succeeded in making some scary images here and there.

Conclusion

Striking art by George Perez.

This is a very solid read. Prime #15 (1994) is actually a horror themed tale laced with crime elements and drama all molded into a superhero story. There is an element of good-versus-evil here but in my view, it’s a dramatization of Prime being pushed to the limits of his emotions and his sanity. In a way, it is a stress test for the overly muscular major Ultraverse hero that happens to be quite engaging to read.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prime #15 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, Prime #15 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Prime #12 (1994)

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

Hey Ultraverse fans and superhero comic book enthusiasts! Are you ready for another tale of Prime? What I am about to review is one of the anniversary Ultraverse issues published by Malibu Comics.

What could be new or special to justify the anniversary of the Prime monthly series? We can all find out in this look back at Prime #12, published by Malibu Comics with a story written by Len Strazweski and Gerard Jones, and drawn by the late Norm Breyfogle.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with a young guy named Kuttner who tests his deadly ability to easily cut through solid objects with his powered blades on his hands. He is driven to get revenge against Prime who broke his hand previously. Kuttner, whose career in entertainment had declined, thinks he can establish a new career for himself as a powered being and Prime is his first target.

Meanwhile at school, Kevin Green (Prime) is struggling with the stress over his parents’ separation which he is guilty of. He finds it very weird to be back in school after everything he went through such as his struggles with Colonel Samuels, the Federal Government, Break-Thru and more. After slamming his locker shut, students begin to move away from him…

Quality

Symbolically, Prime meets Norm Breyfogle.

To begin with, the writing by Len Strazewski and Gerard Jones is very solid as expected. That being said, the real heart of the story in this comic book is Kevin Green’s personal struggle with life not just with the difficulty of balancing himself between his personal life and being a superhero, but also his place in local society being tainted as a result of his acts as Prime. The way that the events of the previous issues affected (in negative ways) the local community’s perception of Kevin was very compelling and straight to the point.

The strong writing, unsurprisingly, worked very well with the character development. Kevin was presented to be struggling with making the right decisions and he struggles to analyze what would happen if he presents himself to others as Prime or as simply himself. As for the scene between Prime and Kelly’s mother, there was that touch of awkwardness (through Prime) that was present as the scene raised the disturbing idea of the two possibly getting involved sexually.

When it comes to the spectacle of action, there is little to be seen here but the good news is that Norm Breyfogle illustrated them to be energetic and eye-catching. The late illustrator really knew hot to ramp up the energy for the readers making the most out of what it is limited.

Conclusion

The tremendous strength of Prime!

Prime #12 is a pretty engaging read. Was it worth the anniversary promotion? It is indeed! If you look back at Prime #1 and read all the succeeding issues leading to this one, you will notice how much Kevin Green changed as well as how his personal growth moved. In a way, Prime #12 symbolizes the growing-up pains Kevin keeps on having.

It should be stated that being 64-pages, Prime #12 is actually one of Malibu’s flip issues. The other side of this comic book is Ultraverse Premiere #3 which contains standalone short stories of Prime, War Strike and a certain villain. This comic book also has “A Primo Farewell” which is a nice tribute (by today’s standards) to Norm Breyfogle. For the newcomers reading this, Breyfogle was one of outstanding comic book artists in America and before joining Malibu Comics, he worked for other publishers like Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Eclipse Comics and First Comics. At DC Comics, his work on their icon Batman is widely remembered. Breyfogle passed away in 2018.

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

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

+++++

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

A Look Back at Mantra #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.

Hey Ultraverse fans and superhero comic book enthusiasts! If you want to see more of Mantra and Prime cross over with each other and find out if they would impact the entire Ultraverse somehow, then you’re in for something here.

Here is a look back at Mantra #7, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and illustrated by Terry Dodson. This one follows the events that took place in Prime #8 (1994).

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Mantra already captured by the Baby Doctor (a super being feared by Colonel Samuels) and his hideous companions. Prime, who was slowed temporarily by Samuels and his soldiers, flies chasing the vehicle carrying Mantra, even distracting the mother, daughter and son of Eden Blake/Mantra.

A short time later, Mantra wakes up and gets much needed assistance by Prime who breaks into the vehicle and fight those who took her captive. After much action, the moving vehicles crashes and Prime helps Mantra…

Quality

Prime to the rescue!

I’ll start with the storytelling and characterization. While Prime #8 marked the actual start of Prime and Mantra getting to know each other more, this story takes their alliance a few notches higher with an emphasis on the big guy (who is actually teenager Kevin Green inside the body) starting to care more for the beautiful eternal warrior (with the soul of the man Lukasz). I also find it refreshing to see Mantra more helpless and Lukasz (the occupant in the body of Mantra/Eden Blake) actually struggles in a really weakened physical state (this points to what happened near the end of Prime #8).

The stakes have been raised in the sense that more information about Prime’s origin was revealed and, more notably, the Doc (Baby Doctor) is a more intriguing character in the Ultraverse and this comic book makes clear why Col. Samuels is afraid of him. I liked the way Mike W. Barr used science fiction concept of genetics and even gender to add a strong element of intrigue in the plot. Speaking of gender, there are a few moments that hint of homosexuality which will make you question how much Lukasz is changing the longer her stays in a woman’s body.

Conclusion

Prime getting involved with Mantra.

Mantra #7 is a well-written comic book that succeeded in raising the stakes, deepening the Mantra-Prime friendship while delivering a satisfying, action-packed misadventure. The Doc meanwhile proved to be a worthy addition into the Ultraverse.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #7 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $26.

Overall, Mantra #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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Prime #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.

Is Prime your favorite caped hero among the many heroes of the Ultraverse? For the newcomers reading this, Prime is an overly muscular hero of the Ultraverse who is actually a kid deep inside his fake flesh. Prime was one of the major heroes of the Ultraverse and was part of UltraForce alongside Hardcase and Prototype (two other major heroes).

In late 1993, a 2-part Ultraverse crossover was published titled Break-Thru and, with the art of the legendary George Perez, it was a big mix of characters from the UV. Prime had a role in Break-Thru and we can see what happened to him after the end of the said crossover in this look back at Prime #8 published in 1994 by Malibu Comics and written by Len Strazewski and Gerard Jones with art done by the late Norm Breyfogle.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in outer space with Prime and Prototype re-entering planet Earth. With the heat intensifying, Prime is worried that he won’t be able to make it safely on earth. Prototype, who is flying behind him, wonders if Prime knows what he is doing by leading the way. Prototype’s life is at stake as he relies on Prime to be his flying front shield (note: for the way the flight turned out in Prototype’s perspective, read Prototype #6).

Due to the instability and intense heat, the two ultras got separated flying down. Remembering the strip of Mantra’s cape, Prime uses it and manages to receive faint communication with Mantra. Prime eventually crashes into a swimming pool. With Prime’s flesh quickly dissolving, teenage Kevin Green is exposed naked underwater and struggles. Suddenly, water pushes him up several feet and finds himself being assisted by Mantra.

The naked Kevin is carried by Mantra who transform herself into Eden Blake…

Quality

The pressure on the parents of Kevin.

Storywise, this one is a solid follow-up to the Break-Thru crossover and it succeeds in developing Prime further thanks to the combined efforts of Len Strazewski and Gerard Jones. With the narrative shifted away from Break-Thru, the story emphasizes the actions of the covert operations led by Colonel Samuels who simply won’t let Prime go free given the US government’s interests. What Samuels does not know is that someone sinister and hidden is spying on their operations. That someone is also interested in Prime and this alone added a lot of intrigue into the story.

As usual, the character development is very solid. I love the way Strazewski and Jones raise the stakes on the parents of Kevin and made them more troubled knowing their son’s involvement with the military. Kevin’s father, meanwhile, is living with the guilt of keeping the big secrets of the past.

When it comes to crossovers and interactions, the exchange between Kevin/Prime and Eden/Mantra is very compelling to read. Mantra, who knows Prime’s secret, tries to keep her identity secret. Already working for Aladdin under her Eden Blake identity, she sees an opportunity to learn more about Colonel Samuels through Kevin. For his part, Kevin wants to go home instead of getting involved again with the colonel. As their dialogue goes on, the tension really strengthened and added to the plot.   

Without revealing too much, I should state that the introduction of a new character really shook the story and the big fight that followed was a great payoff to all the build-up.

Conclusion

Kevin and Mantra together.

Prime #8 is an excellent superhero comic book! The creative team of Strazewski-Jones-Breyfogle really crafted a post-Break-Thru story that did not slowed down and kept raising the stakes and the intrigue. Suspense, excitement, drama and intrigue made a great mix here.

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

Overall, Prime #8 (1994) is highly recommended!

+++++

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

A Look Back at Mantra #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, Ultraverse fans and comic book collectors! Would you happen to be a fan of illustrator Terry Dodson? I first saw his professional work when I read Mantra #1 way back in 1993 just as my fellow comic book collectors were discovering the newly launched Ultraverse. After the Ultraverse ended, Dodson went on to work for Marvel Comics with projects such as the Storm mini-series and X-Men related comic books. In 2000, Dodson went to DC Comics and his project with them was illustrating issues of the Harley Quinn series. He even got to work on Wonder Woman comic books six years later.

You must be wondering – how did Terry Dodson first broke into the comic book industry and what was his first project? Check out this excerpt from a published interview.

How did you break into comic books?

By doing portfolio samples and taking them to conventions and showing them around. At first it was difficult to hear the critiques, but later on that’s what I wanted to know. What I was doing wrong. Fortunately, when I broke in 1993, they were handing out jobs to anybody with a pulse. I got my first job on Mantra, for the new Malibu Ultraverse.

See? It turns out Mantra of the Ultraverse was his comic book debut.

Now that the history lesson is done, we can see more of Dodson’s work on Mantra in the look back at Mantra #5, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Dodson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins when a man named Strauss faces Mantra and Warstryke. The armed guy presses Strauss for details about some defective merchandise while Mantra mentions to him about their deal. Strauss shows defiance by defending himself with a green field to protect him. Mantra blocks the flow of air into the field, forcing Strauss to give up and lose his protective field.

After a short talk with Strauss, Mantra and Warstrike chat on top of the building. In reaction to Mantra’s handshake as a sign of thanks for helping, the armed guy tries to get sexually involved with the mystical warrior even though he knows Mantra has a male soul occupying a woman’s body. Mantra defies him and flies away.

Along the way, a demon spots Mantra flying through the air. It turns out he has been looking for her and decides to make a move in pursuit of her…

Quality

What do I think about the story by Mike W. Barr? I find it brilliantly written. As the cliffhanger ending of issue #4 got resolved early, the narrative smoothly shifts into Mantra’s other struggle – being a mother to Eden Blake’s children whom she lost quality time with due to superhero pursuits. There was also this really compelling drama between Eden and her mother (who in turn believes her daughter is failing her responsibility as a parent).

Lukasz – the male soul in Eden/Mantra’s beautiful body – is still obsessed with pursuing his search for answers but even so, he cannot simply abandon the family and household of the woman whose soul he displaced. In this particular comic book, Lukasz continued to adjust in his unexpected life as Eden.

I really like the way Mike W. Barr dramatized Lukasz dealing with family matters as well as career matters. All that led to what I would call the most unexpected superhero misadventures I’ve ever read that has something to do with the dimension of hand-drawn animation. That is something you, my readers, should read to find out. It is something very enjoyable!

In terms of visuals, this comic book showed more of the creativity of Terry Dodson. If you already enjoyed his art in the early Mantra issues, you will see something new and fresh here.

Conclusion

Mantra returns home to the family.

Undoubtedly Mantra #5 is a great comic book to read as it has an excellent mix of drama, intrigue, characterization and many bouts of great spectacle (which nicely paid-off on all the build-up). By this stage in the Mantra monthly series, Lukasz/Eden/Mantra got developed more and the stakes have been raised in relation to Eden’s meeting with her boss.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #5 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $26.

Overall, Mantra #5 (1993) is highly recommended!

+++++

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

A Look Back at Giant Size Freex #1 (1994)

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

Hey Ultraverse fans! Are you looking for another crossover between one team and one of the major heroes? Try this: Freex mixing up with Prime in his radical 1990s form. By this time in the publishing history of Malibu Comics, Prime was destined to be a major part of the superhero team UltraForce while Freex went through some dramatic changes along the way. As for making the Freex-Prime crossover materialize, Malibu Comics went on to publish a standalone comic book with a $2.50 cover price.

With that being said, here’s a look back at Giant Size Freex #1, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story by Gerard Jones and drawn by Scott Kolins.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins Prime already in conflict with Lewis/Anything, Valerie/Pressure, Michael/Plug, Angela/Sweetface, Cayman and their recent companion referred to as the Old Man. As the Old Man restrains Valerie from using her steam-sourced power on the muscular hero (who is teenager Kevin Green inside), Prime gets hit by Cayman while being restrained by Sweetface. Prime strikes back at Cayman and grabs Sweetface by her tentacles putting the pressure again on Freex.

Eventually Prime gets electrocuted and things slowed down. This paves the way for Prime and members of Freex to talk reasonably. Lewis explains that sixteen years prior, several infants were injected with Wetware by a nurse referred to as Wetware Mary. This resulted them having different powers or abilities but this also caused them some pain as the said powers were not only hard to control but also deformed them. While they have powers, they became freaks of local society and had no choice but to keep moving to different locations and engage in stealing food and other items.

And then Contrary and her academy of the new elite gets mentioned…

Quality

Contrary and the past recalled.

In terms of storytelling, this comic book succeeds in two things: telling another creative crossover between one major Ultraverse hero and one major team with a memorable adventure together, and establishing literally the building blocks for UltraForce (note: Gerard Jones also wrote the said superhero team title).

What I enjoyed most here is that the very strong writing clearly defined the characters deeply. Here is Prime (teenager Kevin Green) relating to the plight of Freex (composed of teens and young adults) but decides to keep on pretending he is an adult capable of helping those who are struggling. There is also the Old Man who has lived long enough to see ultras exist through the centuries and by being with Freex, he is giving them something they terribly lacked: guidance and direction. In some ways, the nomadic Freex give Old Man renewed purpose while Prime sees new opportunities to do good by helping Freex. It’s also intriguing to see the overly muscular hero witness the team being hunted by armed groups.

I should also mention that, in addition to the literary feature, there is also a short feature about Contrary and how Pixx (the lone teenage girl of UltraForce) first got involved with her. It was indeed a short yet engaging read.

Conclusion

Prime and Freex plus the Old Man together.

Giant Size Freex #1 is a pretty good comic book that will appeal to fans of Prime, Freex and UltraForce. Very well written and nicely presented were the stories. There was nice balance between exposition and spectacle.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Giant Size Freex #1 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $26.

Overall, Giant Size Freex #1 is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at The Strangers #13 (1994)

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

Crossovers between major individual characters and major superhero teams within the Ultraverse are often fun to read mainly due to the high talents involved who made such fantasy concepts good. Before, The Strangers had a crossover with Hardcase followed by another crossover with Prototype. This time, the superhero team will have their first crossover adventurer together with another major Ultraverse characters…Mantra!

You must be wondering who are what will Mantra and the Strangers be facing. We will find out in this look back at The Strangers #13, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Mike Gustovich.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside a facility when the Strangers are surprised by the arrival of police cars outside. Upon meeting the police captain named Rome, the Strangers learn that the police need their help as an evil ultra is on its way to San Francisco.

As the Strangers scramble, Mantra’s foe Boneyard is inside a commercial airline and his presence easily disturbs the passengers. Boneyard punches a man for raising his voice and telling him to put down a child he carried. Boneyard is carrying a young boy using him to have leverage over the passengers and the flight crew.

Some time later, the airplane lands on the tarmac of the airport and Boneyard comes down as the Strangers and the police await him. It turns out, Mantra’s foe wanted a meeting which baffles the Strangers. Boneyard tells them that their actions let some demons free and have placed his life in grave dangers.

As Boneyard and the Strangers talk, Eden Blake watches intensely and changes into Mantra…

Quality

Mantra with Electrocute and Grenade.

This comic book’s story is very well written and it should not be surprising given Steve Englehart’s extensive experience as a writer. He really knows how to structure carefully a plot, get different superheroes get together and work for a common cause. That being said, Boneyard’s entry into the pages of The Strangers series was notably seamless (note: Mike W. Barr of the Mantra series was the one who developed Boneyard as the villain) and believable. When he met the Strangers, I sensed tension brewing which eventually turned into excitement once Mantra (who encountered The Strangers during the Break-Thru crossover) gets involved.

Character interactions, especially between Mantra and the Strangers members, is quite engaging to read. While the most sensible conversation Mantra had was with Electrocute, her talk with Spectral was the most awkward. There really is something worth reading.

When it comes to the artwork, Mike Gustovich’s work is serviceable at best. He worked on this comic book as a guest illustrator temporarily taking over the place of regular artist Rick Hoberg. His art is not bad, just satisfactory.

Conclusion

Mantra meets the Strangers again.

The Strangers #13 is entertaining on its own and the fact is it is only the first part of the Mantra-Strangers crossover. It is a solid start to say the least, and I should state that Steve Englehart captured nicely the respective personalities of Mantra and Boneyard, and he succeeded in mixing up the said ultra with the team. This comic book, by the way, is one of Malibu Comics’ flipside issues (a 2-in-1 comic book with each side being its own issue) and on the other side was Ultraverse Premiere #4. The Ultraverse Premiere side has a main story featuring Prime and a short story focused on Lady Killer of The Strangers.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #13 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy costs $8.

Overall, The Strangers #13 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at UltraForce #6 (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.

After reading issues #0 to #5 of the UltraForce series of the mid-1990s, I should say that I clearly enjoyed them all as creators Gerard Jones and legendary illustrator George Perez (plus their supporting crew) really delivered great stories, dynamic visuals and very engaging interactions between the UltraForce members.

So far, each and every UltraForce issue I reviewed here is fun and compelling to read. The high levels of artistic and literary quality in each issue is evident right from the start and, more importantly, it emphasizes the overall concept of the Ultraverse itself even deeper than what I discovered in its early stage (launch year 1993). Very clearly, UltraForce as a comic book series raised the stakes of the Ultraverse (much like Break-Thru did) when it comes to how the public perceived ultras (superheroes), who are the secretive sinister forces and how they impact the whole world, why being an ultra has lots of advantages and disadvantages, why ultras are hard to unite in the face of danger, and so on. These creative concepts were really great and it was in the year 1994 – the same year UltraForce launched – when the Ultraverse was at a stage to go further to a bolder direction with its creative evolution. Unfortunately all of that got screwed up after Marvel Comics acquired Malibu Comics.

More on UltraForce, the saga of king Atalon’s fire people rising from the depths of the Earth and possessing nuclear missiles to attack people on the surface has lasted quite long and its narrative remained consistently engaging. In issue #5, something terrible happened to UltraForce member Pixx during a big battle. What transpired next, we can find out in this look back at UltraForce #6, published in 1995 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Gerard Jones and drawn by George Perez and Steve Butler.

The cover! They even misspelled Ghoul!

Early story

The story begins as tensions rise between Atalon and UltraForce over their respective losses. For Atalon, his grand dream involving the use of humanity’s nuclear weapons has been destroyed. For Prime, Hardcase, Prototype, Ghoul and Topaz, the hanging lifeless body of Pixx shocked them deeply.

Suddenly, out of intense anger, UltraForce jointly attack the king of the fire people. Topaz states that Pixx will not die unavenged as Prototype blasts Atalon. Hardcase strikes the king followed by blows delivered by Prime and Topaz. Prime is about to strike Atalon but gets distracted when the downed king mentioned he wants to reform the whole world. Atalon strikes Prime’s head and gets back up to keep fighting the rest of UltraForce.  

Their battle is so intense, the entire island shakes and the ground crumbles bringing the nuclear weapons down along with Pixx’s body. Ghoul goes down after her…

Quality

Dynamic action delivered with high detail!

Like all the previous issues released, this comic book has high-level qualities on its writing and artistry. This is not a surprise since the Jones-Perez creative team really pushed hard to keep telling what is clearly the epic event of the Ultraverse (post-Break-Thru). The consistency of quality up to this issue is very evident.

When it comes to the quality of this comic book’s story, which happens to be the conclusion of the Atalon saga, I can say that I’m very satisfied. As the events went on, a few but very significant twists happened which really shook the foundation of this particular saga backed with great visuals (although there are some pages that were clearly not drawn by George Perez), strong dialogue and a great presentation of the impact on the world and its people. What happened with king Atalon in the 2nd half of the story is very memorable and it definitely is one of the biggest twists in the entire Ultraverse. This one alone makes the comic book worth reading.

Conclusion

This is a great way to start the comic book along with the opening credits!

UltraForce #6 is indeed a great comic book and it is a strong conclusion to the saga (which started really in issue #0) that brought Prime, Hardcase, Prototype and others together as a team. This comic book is, in my honest view, also one of the finest UV stories Malibu Comics published in 1994. If there is anything to be regretful about, it is the fact that the Ultraverse got screwed up and ended in an undesirable state as a result of Marvel’s acquisition of Malibu. This is why there was no follow-up to the Atalon saga and UltraForce as a series turned for the worse shortly after (again, as a result of Marvel’s acquisition). Considering the events of the first major UltraForce saga, Atalon could have turned out as a more significant character of the Ultraverse and another epic follow-up (to the Atalon saga) could have happened.

More on the team itself, Prime, Prototype, Hardcase and their lesser known teammates were truly presented with a strong amount of balance. Ghoul and Contrary really had their nice share of the spotlight and how they worked in tandem with the others, as well as the very events of the comic book, was really fluid and believable. By the end of this comic book, you will realize the true values and the different personalities of the entire UltraForce!

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of UltraForce #6 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $15.

Overall, UltraForce #6 (1995) is highly recommended!

+++++

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

A Look Back at Freex #9 (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.

Having read comic books of UltraForce, one of the most notable team members is Contrary, the highly manipulative and resourceful lady who wears white and shows of a lot of her skin. She does not spend much time on the field and she does not have the powerful combat abilities of Prime, Hardcase and Prototype. Still she proves to be very intelligent, scheming and her true power is realized when she is inside her round ship which is full of high-tech equipment and links to varied sources of information for her use. As such, Contrary is indeed a very important part of UltraForce even though she gets into conflict with her more prominent teammates who each have their own monthly titles.

So you might be wondering…where in the entire Ultraverse did she come from? What makes her significant among all the characters of the Ultraverse? After doing some research, I learned that Contrary’s first appearance took place in the Freex monthly series. How her first appearance turned out, we can find out in this look back at Freex #9, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Gerard Jones and drawn by Martin Egeland.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the team with a guy wearing a hat and holding a gun who is on a tree branch above their heads. Angela/Sweetface instantly reacts by having one of her tendrils reach for the gun. The gunman reacts by going down and pulling Sweetface surprising her teammates. Tried as hard as they could, Freex members failed to get the gunman down and ended up with one of their teammates being held captive by him.

The tension slowly eases and the gunman tells them he has been doing things for other people with powers for a long time. Suddenly, they got spotted by a gang of armed men referred to as the night patrol. Freex and the gunman react to move away. Using her power, Val blasts a brush to make their way through…

Quality

Contrary’s first appearance. She went on to become a major part of UltraForce.

’ll start first with the storytelling. This one was an early attempt to add some variety and twists into Freex by having the team get involved with the gunman who would eventually spend more time with them beyond this issue. It was a sensible move for the creators to do this because seeing Freex just move like nomads was getting tiring. By this time, the team is feeling worn down and they still could not succeed in finding out who has been hunting them, and how they could cure themselves to become normal people.

This comic book pays additional attention to Sweetface and shows some flashbacks into her past. As a teenager, she wanted to fit in with her fellow youth at school until the first of her many tendrils started to come out. The dramatization of Sweetface here is very well done and if you pay close attention to the dialogue, you can feel her pain.

As for the first appearance of Contrary, it was very short and yet highly intriguing. She actually appeared in two different pages and each one was intriguing to see respectively.  

Conclusion

The team with someone.

Freex #9 is a carefully balanced comic book specifically when it comes to plotting, characterization and spectacle. The way it was presented, I could tell that a creative turning point for the team happened and Contrary’s first appearance turned out to be significant even though only two pages were made visualizing her.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Freex #9 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $26.

Overall, Freex #9 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

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