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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 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…
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.
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.
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