A Look Back at The Solution #14 (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, Ultraverse fans and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the Ultraverse through the monthly series of The Solution.

Under the direction of the late James Hudnall, issues #9, #10, #11 and #12 told a very wild and compelling story about The Solution that literally was out of this world and gave readers a wide view of the vastness of the Ultraverse. Issue #13 meanwhile saw The Solution involved in a crossover storyline that involved Prototype, Solitaire and the Night Man. Just what happened next in The Solution series?

With those details laid down, here is a look back The Solution #14, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written by the late James Hudnall and drawn by Huang Nguyen.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins when an armed, muscular man carrying two large guns sees Dropkick. He immediately fires at him. Then he sees Shadowmage and Tech and then fires at them. It turns out they are just non-moving physical models. The aggressive use of weapons is called Incoming. He is a Communist Cambodian man who was hardened by the events in his native country and he served the tyrant Pol Pot by killing others. He is living with brutality and unstoppable rage which makes him dangerous to The Solution.

In New York, Black Tiger anticipates the arrival of a van carrying heroin set to be released to buyers. Suddenly a gang of thugs serving the Pump appear heading attacking the van. Black Tiger suddenly comes in and kills many of the thugs.

On a far-away location in Hong Kong, a fighter called Bloodshed finds himself surrounded by five other fighters who are determined to kill him…

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The three assassins in a meeting for a mission against The Solution.

I’ll get straight to the point here. This comic book has the most jarring story I have read about this series and even among all the Ultraverse comic books I have read so far. The story was truly a build-up of an opposing force composed of assassins who are serving one powerful boss who really targets The Solution. It’s so alienating to read this tale that never really had Tech, Outrage, Dropkick, and Shadowmage at all.

More on what was presented here, Hudnall exerted effort to build up the three assassins (note: they all appeared in issue #1) not merely as villains but as characters with background details that emphasize their personalities. Incoming is a veteran Communist who lives with intense violence which is connected to the events that happened in his past. Considering his background and how he appears, Incoming looks like a fantasized version of Rambo but in Asian form that modern day Communists in America (read: SJWs, diversity freaks, inclusion freaks and socialists) would love to have in their Satanic Leftist movement. Black Tiger, who has this uncanny offensive capability, is similarly violent as he witnessed lots of killing, rapes, robbery and drug deals in his life and went on to join the Dragon Fang gang. Bloodshed meanwhile grew up with opium acquired by his family, joined a gang at a young age and got trained with violence to rise up.

As the three assassins were being prepared for an anticipated rematch with The Solution, the story here really looked like it was crafted to be a direct follow-up to issue #1. That being said, The Solution’s impact against crime was also emphasized with some interesting details told.

On the visual side of things, Huang Nguyen gave this comic book a new but not so polished look. There’s not enough visual detail on his art on the characters. In fact, the three assassins were not that recognizable to me when I first read this comic book and I had to go back to issue #1 to view how they looked in it. On action, Nguyen’s work looks sub-par in quality and presentation. There were even some cartoonish moments along the way.

Conclusion

Five against Bloodshed.

The Solution #14 (1994) is so far the weakest story I’ve read in this series as well as one of the weakest Ultraverse stories I’ve read so far. It is truly a build-up for an upcoming conflict with The Solution which so happens to focus mainly on the villains. You won’t find The Solution themselves here at all and this for me is a turn-off. Ultimately, the story feels hollow and the assassins Incoming, Black Tiger and Bloodshed are themselves not too interesting as Ultraverse villains.

Overall, The Solution #14 (1994) is unsatisfactory.

+++++

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 Freex #14 (1994)

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

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the mid-1990s which was a really wild time for comic collectors. To be more specific, this newest retro comic book review revisits Ultraverse through the exploits of Freex, the monthly series about a group of young adults with unusual capabilities (or abnormalities) who are constantly on the move as they are social outcasts.

In my previous retro review, the Freex (already without Ray but with Cayman from Contrary’s institution as his replacement) continued their search deep underground and encountered the ancient being called Prometheus. Elsewhere, Atalon and his group move nuclear weapons deep underground setting up a major conflict with the nations on the surface. After some struggle and more movement, the Freex find themselves in Denver.

With those details laid down, here is a look back Freex #14, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Gerard Jones and drawn by Scott Kolins.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in Denver, Colorado, where the Freex retreated into a cave dreading the assault by police officers who spotted them. It turns out, the group don’t have only the police to worry about but also the Night Patrol, a group of armed vigilante thugs who hate freaks.

As the Night Patrol start firing at him, Michael realized the protection he got was done by concentrating through the crowns and think about the suits, which he tells his teammates. As the conflict continues, one of the Night Patrol members hits Angela which in turn triggers Michael to take action by using his power to seize control of communications and motility systems and knock down the freak-hating thugs.

Suddenly, one of the Night Patrol members managed to subdue Michael. Valerie tells her teammates to strike back but it turned out unnecessary as the thug falls down. Suddenly, Contrary appears to them…

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Now with Ray back with them, the Freex go back underground.

To get straight to the point, this Freex story is more about the continuing development of the team with the Old Man as their mentor but with one notable turn of events that is not really a spoiler (due to the cover art)…the return of Ray to the team.

While the plot is thinner this time around, the character development was bumped up several notches. As the Freex found themselves cornered with opposition, the reappearance of Contrary (note: she took time away from UltraForce in this particular point of time) resulted in a few notable revelations regarding how she operates, how manipulative she is and how obsessed she is with having young freaks (note: those with powers or those injected with wetware) under her own definition of care, education and nurturing. The way the script was written, this comic book made me wonder if Contrary is insane while still maintaining a good amount of control given her vast resources to organize missions. Just thinking about her organizing UltraForce operations and maintaining her institution for powered students is indeed intriguing.

More on the return of Ray – one of the pioneering members of Freex – his return is not a throwaway portrayal. Rather Ray showed clear signs of maturity apart from learning something from his time at Contrary’s institution. Morever, Ray shows he has a big heart from his teammates. This alone added some emotional impact to the end of the comic book.

Conclusion

A quick appearance of UltraForce within this Freex tale.

Freex #14 (1994) does not have a deep story to tell, has little in terms of superhero spectacle and it recycled some misadventure elements from the previous issue to move the plot forward. The most defining things in this comic book are the respective returns of Ray and Contrary which added nicely to the character development. Any solid Freex fan will have something to enjoy, especially if they continue loving the main characters.

Overall, Freex #14 (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 Ultraverse Year One (1994)

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

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the mid-1990s which was a pretty wild time for comic collectors. To be more specific, this newest retro review revisits the Ultraverse through a comic-like publication in the form of a guide meant for UV fans and comic collectors.

The subject at hand is Ultraverse Year One which, as written on the edge of the front cover, was designed to be the “complete guide to the Ultraverse’s first year.” It is a reference guide for those who seriously want to discover each and every Ultraverse comic book that was published during its first year. In my experience as a comic collector, the Ultraverse launch in 1993 was very memorable even though my financial limitations prevented me from acquiring each and every launch comic book and subsequent releases of the time. How useful is this complete UV guide? We can go on and find out.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Ultraverse Year One, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics.

The cover.

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I can say without a doubt that this publication is indeed a complete guide to each and every Ultraverse comic book released during its first year from 1993 to 1994 specifically. You want to know exactly how many issues of Mantra, Prime, Hardcase, The Solution, Prototype, The Strangers and others were published in the first year? This one has it all listed! You want to know which UV comic book involved the talents of Steve Gerber, Norm Breyfogle, Rick Hoberg, Len Strazewski, Aaron Lopresti, George Perez, James Hudnall, Gerard Jones, Steve Englehart, Tom Mason, Terry Dodson, James Robinson, Howard Chaykin, Mike W. Barr and many others under the Malibu Comics banner? This guide has it all listed! What months were Exiles #1, Sludge #1, Firearm #0, Break-Thru #1 and Mantra #1 were published? The answers to each are included. The same can also be said when it comes to which characters appeared in each comic book.

This is what each page typically looks like with details of the Ultraverse timeline on the lower part.
The timeline reveals that the male warrior Lukasz, who would later end up in woman’s body as Mantra/Eden Blake, was born in 1220 BC.

Very clearly, the Malibu Comics people worked hard to collect the essential types of information, organized them and put them all into print media form for readers and collectors to use when it comes to searching just about everything about the Ultraverse’s first year. Things did not just stop there, however.

What I found amusing to look at in each page of this Ultraverse guide are details of the shared universe’s timeline posted on the lowest part. The said timeline – which is limited to text and numbers – reveal interesting details such as what year was Lukasz (AKA Mantra) born, when did Rune begin, when was the Choice corporation established, what year did the island of Yrial’s people move up to the clouds, what years were infants injected by Wetware Mary and more. These details are actually quite encouraging to make readers discover or re-read Ultraverse comic books to see how they are dramatized on paper.

Conclusion

As you can see in the details above, Len Strazewski was involved in both the Prime and Prototype comic book series.

Ultraverse Year One (1994) is a pretty detailed guide that will not only help readers track down each and every UV comic book of the mentioned time period, but also help them spot the precise comic books that has characters included as well as the published works of varied comic book creators. If you are really determined to track down and buy all the Year One UV comic books, this guide is a must-have. If there are any weaknesses to mention, it would be the fact that each comic book’s entire plot got summarized in full which are actually spoilers.

Overall, Ultraverse Year One (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 Exiles #2 (1993)

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

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the mid-1990s which was a really wild time for comic collectors. To be more specific, this newest retro comic book review revisits Ultraverse through the very short series titled Exiles.

It has been years since I reviewed Exiles #1 (1993). Since after, I reviewed a lot of Ultraverse comic books and went through notable storylines such as the Atalon Saga in UltraForce, the Hostile Takeover in Prototype, The Solution, The Night Man and Solitaire, and more. That being said, it was just right that I returned to Exiles for retro reviewing.

With those details laid down, here is a look back Exiles #2, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Gerber and drawn by Robb Phipps.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Exiles members Catapult and Mustang staring at two bodies (a large man and a lady) on the floor. It turns out their mission was a failure as Timmy Halloran (the young guy they tried to save) went missing while his mother just died.

As soon as the two step out of the house feeling bad about their failure, they suddenly find themselves confronted by several police officers. Police cars and a helicopter have surrounded the place. Just as Catapult and Mustang turned themselves in, the large man named Bruut suddenly regains consciousness and attacks the police.

The police officers respond by firing several bullets at Bruut which slowed him down. After noticing that Bruut was only regaining his strength, the two Exile members made their moves before the large man strikes the police…

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Inside the headquarters of Exiles. Ghoul’s mentioning of Prime and Hardcase seems to foreshadow his eventual part in UltraForce.

As expected, the storytelling in this comic book really progressed and paid off some of the build-up that happened in issue #1. Here, the conflict between the Exiles and the enhanced forces of business tycoon Victor Kort got clearly defined and what they have in common other than having enhanced beings is their pursuit of individuals who carry within their bodies the Theta virus which unlocks unexpected powers or capabilities. Such developments could impact the people and the world around them when left unguarded or deliberately developed with assistance of guidance.

Amber, who was a key figure in issue #1, appears much less in this comic book but her purpose with the Exiles gets more elaborated. The lack of spotlight on Amber is not surprising as the creators had to emphasize the conflict between the titular team and Kort’s forces while also introducing Timmy Halloran as a new Theta-carrying individual.

There is a good amount of superhero spectacle here and along the way, the dialogue is good and got witty as well. By the time I reached the end, I found myself anticipating what would come next in issue #3.

Conclusion

The two Exiles members take on Bruut right in the presence of police officers.

Exiles #2 (1993) is a worthy follow-up to its predecessor and the creators succeeded in making the conflict more engaging while cleverly releasing new details that defined what is at stake and what could follow. In retrospect, Amber Hunt later became a key figure in the 2-part Break-Thru crossover storyline (which was memorably drawn by the late George Perez) and the story here defined how much impact super beings can have on societies filled with mostly people who don’t have super powers or special talents. The conflict between the Exiles and Kort’s forces not only got emphasized a lot, their respective agendas and resources are also well defined.

Overall, Exiles #2 (1993) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Break-Thru #2 (1994)

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

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the mid-1990s which was a really wild time for comic collectors. To be more specific, this newest retro comic book review revisits the conclusion of the epic Ultraverse storyline Break-Thru which was illustrated by the late George Perez (1954-2022). I encourage you readers – especially long-time fans of the iconic illustrator – to check out my commemorative article about George Perez by clicking here.

For the newcomers reading this, Break-Thru was a 2-part storyline that creatively involved almost all the main characters of the Ultraverse (The Strangers, Mantra, Prime, Prototype, Freex, The Solution, Hardcase, Sludge, Solitaire and others) who got impacted in varied ways by Amber (of the Exiles) who floated high in the air causing chaos on societies below. Specifically, that was the concept of Break-Thru #1 (1993) and issue #2 has the story continuing with a setting in outer space with the moon as the key destination.

With those details laid down, here is a look back Break-Thru #2, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story scripted by Gerard Jones (plotted by Mike W. Barr, Steve Englehart, Steve Gerber, James Hudnall, Tom Mason, George Perez, James Robinson and Len Strazewski) and illustrated by the late George Perez.

An epic cover by the late George Perez.

Early story

The story begins at the surface of the moon with Hardcase, Choice and the members of The Solution who just survived the explosion (connected with Hardcase #7 and The Solution #4) of the flying saucer they used on their journey. Nearby, the people responsible for the destruction are riding their own flying saucer, scanning the surface of the moon searching for an entity.

Behind the scenes, the very hidden yet powerful Rex Mundi watches and tells Gate that other ultras are seeking the entity. As the saucer floats to a cave detecting the presence of the entity, the occupants get shaken as Prime hits them hard. Prime tells himself that the entity in the cave feels danger from the searchers and he has to protect it as he has been connected with it (refer to Prime #7). After getting blasted in retaliation by the saucer, Prime finds himself hit even more as Rex Mundi’s enforcers suddenly come out of a portal very near him.  

From a distance, Mantra (refer to Mantra #6) sees the fight happening and needs a life force to survive. Elsewhere, Hardcase, Choice and The Solution witness the arrival of a space shuttle. The Strangers and Prototype (refer to The Strangers #7 and Prototype #5) come out together…

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This is classic George Perez presentation of action and characters using multiple panels in a single page.

Starting with the writing, I should mention that all the writers who were involved in plotting this comic book as well as the previous issue should be commended for their combined efforts on making the Break-Thru storyline happen complete with in-universe ramifications, developments and connections to almost all the monthly comic books via the Break-Thru tie-in issue (also check out Sludge #3, Freex #6, Solitaire #2 and Night Man #3). Clearly Break-Thru was planned to be a major turning point of the Ultraverse by involving and mixing most of the major characters together and have them struggle with tremendous obstacles they simply cannot ignore as the stakes were indeed too high.

More on this comic book, the major conflict was set on the moon which proved to be a very unique setting not just for dynamic battles to happen but also to serve as the place where a mysterious and powerful entity is hidden. When it comes to the story, the entity (more science fictional in concept) is mysterious and cleverly not blatantly evil. It is its mysteriousness that makes the entity a worthy force to have the UV’s heroes come after.

The writers added depth to the plot by showing Yrial of The Strangers and Prototype each having their own vested interests to get to the entity and acquire whatever it has that is valuable. At the same time, Mantra and Prime each discovered valuable knowledge about the entity that impacted their perceptions about their purpose as beings with super powers.

Mantra, Prime, The Solution, Hardcase and Choice.

While the story here still has so many characters expressing themselves and releasing expository information, the narrative is a little bit easier to understand and follow compared to issue #1 (which had a lot more information to release via exposition). That being said, the scenes of spectacle became more enjoyable to read and along the way there were some notable character moments to look at.

Visually, this is unsurprisingly a great looking comic book as it was illustrated by the late George Perez. What I love most about Perez’s art style and visual presentation are all here: high details on each character drawn as well as their surroundings, the dynamic approach on setting up the panels on each page, fantastic looking superhero action, and much more! As with Break-Thru #1 and other Ultraverse comic books drawn by Perez, this one is absolutely great to look at and it easily lifts up the visual/artistic quality of the UV and its heroes. As George Perez was involved in the plot of this comic book, the narrative was never overwhelmed by his great art and the artist really exerted a lot of effort on visualizing each and every one of the established UV characters (including the supporting characters).

Speaking of the established characters, I should state that Perez made Mantra’s face (with mask) look a bit more realistic and feminine while Kevin Green has a more convincing teenage boy look, Sludge looks a bit more creepier and Yrial looks visually identical to the way Rick Hoberg draws her. When it comes to the varied physiques of each established UV hero, Perez captured them all perfectly. Clearly the late artist did his research on every character.

Conclusion

The first physical encounter between Prime and Hardcase. Remember this before reading the UltraForce comics.

Break-Thru #2 (1994) is truly an epic Ultraverse story that also worked as a major turning point of the UV as a whole. Compared to other epic superhero stories that Marvel and DC Comics published, Break-Thru is not the usual large gathering of superheroes who have to work together to defeat an evil force that threatens everyone’s existence. It is more about the UV heroes getting together to solve major obstacles before reaching the main destination. By the time I reached the end of this comic book (and its storyline), I experienced great satisfaction not just from Break-Thru itself but also in relation to how the Ultraverse heroes realized what they are living for and what their respective purposes really are about. What also happened in this comic book explains why jumpstart events happened on Earth. Very clearly, this was an epic story that was planned early and even though this was published just months after the Ultraverse first debuted, the characters were developed enough to make Break-Thru’s concepts sensible and acceptable. There is a lot of fun and engagement in this comic book drawn by the late George Perez (who also worked on DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths and Marvel’s The Infinity Gauntlet).

Overall, Break-Thru #2 (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/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

George Perez (1954-2022)

George Perez, the incredible comic book artist who made major contributions to illustrated literature (especially the superhero comic book genre), sadly passed away due to complications related to pancreatic cancer. He was 67-years-old and I can say that superhero comic book art and dynamic expressions will not be the same without him.

George Perez with the two Wonder Woman plastic models. (photo source – DC Comics Facebook page)

Already there were comic book industry figures who reacted to the death of the legendary Perez. DC Comics co-publisher and legendary creator Jim Lee paid tribute stating, “We creators may all have access to the same tools of the trade: pen, paper and imagination, but what George could do with his prodigious talents was off the charts.”

For his part, Rob Liefeld stated, “I’ll remember George for his innovative and prolific storytelling. Thank you for all the great memories. Rest In Peace, George Perez.”

For the newcomers reading this as well as those who are simply unaware of Perez’s legacy, he was responsible for visualizing DC Comics’ 1985 epic maxi-series Crisis on Infinite Earths (note: he drew countless characters complete with varied settings or environments in high detail) and redefining Wonder Woman (note: he also wrote the stories) which made her a more essential pop culture icon. George Perez also worked for Marvel Comics over many projects and was chosen to illustrate the memorable 2003 JLA/Avengers crossover series of Marvel and DC. Perez also worked with other publishers such as Malibu Comics for several Ultraverse comic books and Image Comics for Crimson Plague and Witchblade. In recent years, he was responsible for Sirens published by BOOM! Studios.

For me, Wonder Woman was best defined during the post-Crisis era of DC Comics which involved George Perez and Len Wein who wrote the early issues of the Wonder Woman monthly series in the late 1980s.

In his decades-long career in comics, Perez unsurprisingly earned varied awards and honors (references here, here, here and here to name a few).

I should say that George Perez is a long-time favorite comic book illustrator of mine. I enjoyed reading the superhero comic books he illustrated and I love his art style on the characters, the environments and crowds. If there is anything I love about Perez’s art, it is his distinct style along with his implementation of high levels of details on the characters, objects, creatures and surroundings. Perez is also known to capture the distinct visual elements of superhero characters such as Spider-Man’s costume and his spaghetti-like web, Superman’s physique and distinct letter S, Prime’s overly muscular body and more. Every time Perez is involved as artist, the result is almost always a visual feast that often adds punch to the script prepared.

When I was still actively collecting comic books back in the 1990s, I often get excited whenever I learned that George Perez illustrated upcoming comic books. In 1992, he drew Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect (2 books) which was mind-blowing and intriguing for me! In 1993, I became a fan of the newly launched Ultraverse of Malibu Comics and I got very excited to learn that Perez was hired for their major UV crossover Break-Thru (2 issues). Perez also drew one issue of Prime and most of the early issues of the UV team UltraForce (issues #0, #1, #3, #4, #5 and #6). If you want to see Perez draw ALL the characters of the Ultraverse, you should read the 2-issue Break-Thru storyline.

A page from Break-Thru #2 showing just some of the many Ultraverse characters Perez illustrated. This was published before the release of UltraForce.

Speaking of UltraForce, check out this video by Crypto Comics (with observations on Perez’s art works)…

Going back to George Perez’s amazing run on Wonder Woman, I urge you to watch the video below…

For me, the most defining stories of Wonder Woman ever told in any art form are still the comics that Perez wrote (note: he co-wrote stories with Greg Potter and Len Wein respectively on the early issues) and illustrated during the post-Crisis era of DC Comics. Check out my retro reviews of Wonder Woman 1980s comics on this website.

Truly, George Perez will be missed by a lot of people and his countless pieces of works will be revisited in the foreseeable future. In closing this piece, posted below are varied works (comic book covers and interior art) done by the late creator through the decades for your viewing pleasure and learning. This is a tribute to Perez and may he rest in peace!

+++++

Note: All images shown are properties of their respective companies.

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 The Night Man #3 (1993)

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

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors, 1990s pop culture enthusiasts and fans of Malibu Comics! Today we return to the Ultraverse through the 3rd issue of The Night Man series. While the Night Man continues his pursuit of a rather deformed rival, this comic book is a spin-off of the Ultraverse crossover Break-Thru and it also marks the protagonist’s continuing crossover with Freex (which officially started in Freex #6).

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Night Man #3, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Gene Ha.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Night Man overlooking a portion of a major city from a high tower. He wonders how he could find five kids, referring to Freex who have gotten involved with his rival Mangle. For Night Man, the team of teenagers think Mangle is a freak like them and he knows that his rival targets kids as victims.

After acquiring almost a thousand Dollars worth of new equipment, he goes on the air reaching out to Freex. Freex, meanwhile, are with Mangle hiding inside am unknown place. After a news report was aired revealing that the Strangers used a rocket to go to the moon and mentioned J.D. Hunt’s name, Mangle reacts loudly and states that the said business tycoon will be at Moffett Field.

Freex, believing that Hunt can cure them, leave with Mangle by car…

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Night Man, Mangle and Freex!

With regards, Steve Englehart raised the stakes and added a lot of intrigue throughout the story. Without spoiling the plot, I can say that I enjoyed the pay-off executed here in relation to what was built up in Freex #6 and The Night Man #2.

The biggest selling point of the story is not the crossover between Night Man and Freex, but rather the presentation of JD Hunt and his young but wicked son Guy, as well as their involvement with Mangle. Themes explored in this comic book include manipulating a person to actually believe what evil acts he commits are not evil, and the manipulation of helpless youth to join a wrongful cause.

As for the title character himself, Night Man does more than just action and solving problems. You will see a more ethical side of his personality and his insistence on doing what is right without ever going overboard.  

Conclusion

Night Man learning something from the people on the street.

The Night Man #3 (1993) is an enjoyable and compelling part of the Break-Thru crossover (with creative connections to what happened in Prototype #5 and The Strangers #7) that also succeeds in developing Night Man further while showing more personality from JD Hunt and his son. The crossover between Freex and the title hero, again, did not last long but this is understandable considering the focus on the Hunts and Mangle. Lastly, I should state that artist Gene Ha’s dark and gritty style worked nicely in this comic book.

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

Overall, The Night Man #3 (1993) is recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me 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 #24 (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.

Wow! What a journey it has been! Back in the 1990s, I could never forget the first time I read The Strangers #1 which was so captivating, I decided to follow its monthly series and it was easily my favorite superhero team of the Ultraverse. It was also my first time to see the collaboration of Steve Englehart and Rick Hoberg leading the creativity which, as the many months and issues went on, resulted a series that was never boring and often satisfying and fun to read. I should state that the literary team of strangers composed of Atom Bob, Grenade, Lady Killer, Yrial, Spectral, Zip-Zap and Electrocute was memorable. Truly Malibu Comics had very talented creators for the Ultraverse which eventually lasted just a few years (read: Marvel Comics acquired Malibu Comics).

This brings me to my next point…this retro comic book review is about the last issue of The Strangers monthly series ever published. As I love the Ultraverse, it is sorrowful to see the end of an enjoyable monthly series. In recent times, I reviewed the final issue of the Prototype monthly series (which itself was fun overall) which ended in a rather unsatisfying manner. Prototype’s final issue was not even written by the original creators of the series!

How will this final issue of The Strangers series turn out? We can all find out in this look back at The Strangers #24, published in 1995 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Rick Hoberg with inkwork done by Barbara Kaalberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Teknight, Spectral, Grenade, Lady Killer, Yrial, Zip-Zap and Electrocute back together (note: Lady Killer and Yrial went somewhere far in the previous issue). They talked about Electrocute’s codition, Atom Bob being in a comatose state at the Clinique de Parsival, and the dangerous encounter with Taboo.

Meanwhile inside a passenger jet flying above the North Atlantic, a man expresses his passion and fondness of the Strangers to the passenger sitting to his left. The said passenger wants to learn more about the team.

The following night at Union City in California, the same passenger knocks on the window of a van with a man and a lady kissing passionately inside. As the man comes out of the van feeling very annoyed, the passenger introduces himself to him as Taboo. A new team of TNTNT is being formed…  

Quality

Pay close attention to the details on the words of Lady Killer.

To start with, I confirm that the usual high quality of writing and art by the Englehart-Hoberg duo is evident in this comic book. Not a single part of it looks rushed to me. The plot is very well structured and the visuals are great to see!

While the story is not as conclusive as I hoped it would be, it is still a lot of fun to read. For one thing, it’s nice to see the Strangers together again (note: Teknight has been with the team for some time already) and it was entertaining to see them face worthy opposition in the form of a new team of their rival TNTNT (with an obsessed Taboo as the new addition). The Strangers-TNTNT battle was not an all-out brawl but the match-ups were nicely done complete with really fun action scenes. I should state that not only did Rick Hoberg frame the action scenes greatly, he pushed his imagination up a few notches with regards to adding a lot of flair to the battle between Teknight and Taboo.  

As mentioned earlier, this comic book was unfortunately the last of the series and clearly it was not written to be the end (note: the comic book ended with the anticipation of the celebration of the Jumpstart). There was a part in which Lady Killer told her teammates about using the funds they made from licensing to build for themselves their own headquarters and Grenade even mentioned having a room for Atom Bob in anticipation of a return. There was also a sub-plot about J.D. Hunt and his very rebellious son who clearly wants to do more while he exists. More on the battle between the Strangers and TNTNT, it’s clearly not decisive and in my own view, a rematch was needed.

Conclusion

The updated TNTNT.

As the final issue of its monthly series, The Strangers #24 (1995) is pretty entertaining on its own. It was definitely not a conclusive story and in fact, art was made for what could have been the 25th, the 26th and 27th issues of The Strangers (see the A Fond Farewell excerpt below). It’s too bad those conceptualized issues did not materialize because there was a lot of good and enjoyable stuff to read in this comic book. This only shows that Steve Englehart and Rick Hoberg still had more great and new stuff to tell through The Strangers.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #24 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $50.

Rick Hoberg’s farewell message plus art for what would have been The Strangers #25, #26 and #27.

Overall, The Strangers #24 (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 #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.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors, 1990s arts and culture fans and fans of Malibu Comics! Remember the Break-Thru crossover of the Ultraverse back in late 1993? Already I have reviewed the spin-off issues related to Break-Thru such as Mantra #6, The Solution #4, Prime #6, and The Strangers #7 to name same.  

Today, I got to review another Break-Thru tale told through the presence of the team called Freex. In addition to being connected with the big crossover, this comic book is a continuation of the events that took place in The Night Man #2 and this means a crossover between Freex and Night Man!

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Freex #6, published by Malibu Comics in 1993 with a story written by Gerard Jones and drawn by Ben Herrera.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the Freex listening to someone who tells them not to be afraid and that he is a victim of the world. He introduces himself as Mangle and even though he has a deformed look, the team keeps on focusing on what he tells them. He reveals that he was chased by a murderous crowd led by Night Man. After trying to justify his presence in the Christmas tree lot they are occupying, Lewis of the Freex rejects his idea and states that the situation for his team has been pretty bad as they are not only hunted by the police but also have been demonized through the media. He tells Mangle to stay away. Valerie then starts to lose control of herself which Lewis refers to as the possession. Michael speculates that sky must be affecting them.

Meanwhile, Night Man arrives in the city in pursuit of Mangle. He remembers breaking the freak’s collar bone. On the street, he notices a group of people who are obsessing about the sky above them. Something chaotic begins…

Quality

In the heat of the action.

When it comes to its story, I want to say that the crossover between Freex and Night Man is really short and it happened in the later part of the story. As far as crossovers go, this one is more like Freex-meets-Mangle. The first encounter between the team and Night Man is really underwhelming. As a spin-off tale of Break-Thru, this one dramatizes how a force of influence from the sky causes chaos on the people below. Anyone who is familiar with the existing forces on the moon within the Ultraverse will be able to relate with the concept of Break-Thru.  

When it comes to the other concept of this comic book, also interesting to follow was the significance (expressed in words) of J.D. Hunt and how he impacted the lives of each member of Freex through technology.

There is a decent amount of action as well as character development scenes to balance with the main story. Nothing spectacular to see though.

Conclusion

The Break-Thru effect on the people.

Freex #6 (1993) biggest feature is not really the expected crossover with Night Man. Really, its theme is about a group of freaks following another freak (Mangle) to do something to make their dreams of normalizing and improving their lives come true. This comic book shows just how vulnerable and manipulative the Freex really are as they don’t have a mature leader to guide them. Going back to crossing over with Night Man, this comic book is really the first of two parts.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Freex #6 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $14 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $42.

Overall, Freex #6 (1993) is satisfactory.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Prototype #18 (1995)

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

Welcome back, superhero fans, comic book collectors, fans of 1990s culture and fans of Malibu Comics! After going through reviewing seventeen issues of the Prototype monthly series that started with the 1993 launch of the Ultraverse, the end of the said series is here.

Before doing the retro review of the 18th and final issue of Prototype, I should state that the armored hero is indeed one of the most significant Ultraverse heroes of them all. Other than having a standalone monthly series (which includes issue #0) plus a giant size one-shot comic book, Prototype also was part of UltraForce and his presence and overall contribution in that short-lived series were undeniably good. Prototype is also memorable for his conflicts with Prime (read my review of Prime #4). As a series, Prototype also sheds light on the concept about how society would react to an actual functioning, flying armored hero who was also marketed for commercial purposes.

You must be wondering…is the 18th issue a conclusive story of the monthly series? What were the effects of Marvel’s acquisition of Malibu Comics on the creative team? We can all find out in this look back at Prototype #18, published in 1995 by Malibu Comics with a story written by R.A. Jones and drawn by Paul Abrams.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in a certain department store in Manhattan where a special anniversary celebration is being held and Prototype (piloted by Jimmy Ruiz) is the special guest. The affair turns out to be an assignment for him from his employer. Suddenly an armored figure (human-like above the belt, mechanical below the belt) breaks into the store causing a major disturbance. He calls himself Battlewagon.

Battlewagon suddenly opens fire and hits many items around, causing people to panic. Prototype decides to take action and their conflict causes even more damage.

As Battlewagon speaks out against him, Prototype notices the use of a word which was a reference to the gang that he (Jimmy Ruiz) used to hang out with. Prototype also realizes that his new foe is after him in a rather personal way…

Quality

Does this scene remind you of today’s manipulative and irresponsible news media coverage?

To put it straight to the point, this comic book is not as conclusive as what Prototype fans would hope for. Sure the words “The end.” were written on the last page but, without fully spoiling the story of the comic book, sub-plots that started building up in the few previous issues were left unresolved. You hoped to see Jimmy reunited with Angella in this issue? You hoped to what happened to the deformed Stanley Leland? You will be disappointed.

More on the comic book itself, the conflict between Prototype and Battlewagon is actually written to be intense in terms of dialogue and interaction between the two. While that is a good thing, it does not hide the fact that Battlewagon, as a villain, felt more like an afterthought in terms of character introduction and the flashback relating to collateral damage in Prototype #7 does not really add much to the him. What I liked most in the script written by R.A. Jones was the look back at the past of Jimmy Ruiz when he was younger and was a thug on the streets.

Conclusion

Chaos inside the department store.

While it is not strong enough to be a worthy conclusion to its series, Prototype #18 (1995) managed to tell its own tale in a satisfying manner by adding another villain for the hero to fight with, and also expanding Jimmy Ruiz’s past as a gang member. Of course, I don’t have the details about what happened behind the scenes at Malibu Comics as a result of getting acquired by Marvel Comics, and how all that impacted the creators working on Prototype. I can only speculate that there were planned stories of Prototype that did not get published. In fact, there was a short announcement of Prototype: Turf War #1 shown.

If this comic book is any indication, its story really felt more like a substitution as it had no references to the plot elements of the immediate few issues before it. Considering what happened at the end of issue #17, Jimmy Ruiz really acted out of character in this story.   

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prototype #18 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $35.

Overall, Prototype #18 (1995) is satisfactory. As a series’ final issue, however, it is a disappointment.

+++++

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