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…

Quality

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…

Quality

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 Len Wein 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…

Quality

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

A Look Back at Prototype #17 (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 enthusiasts, comic book collectors, fans of 1990s culture and fans of Malibu Comics. Today we return to the Ultraverse and I should say that I am getting very close to closing my retro review run on the Prototype monthly series. So far, I found Prototype to be a really enjoyable and engaging series. It is too bad that the Ultraverse did not last too long because as far as armored superheroes go, Malibu Comics’ armored hero concept is very unique and fun to read. Had the Ultraverse lasted long, Prototype would have been explored a whole lot more and writers Tom Mason and Len Strazewski would have created more new stories of him.

Last time around, Jimmy Ruiz (who no longer has the high compensation and big-time perks of his original employer) got into trouble and had to use his armor as he was the target of another huge and powerful armored rival. The battle ended costly for Prototype.

What will happen next to him? We can all find out in this look back at Prototype #17, published by Malibu Comics in 1995 with a story written by Len Strazewski and drawn by George Dove.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside a top-secret facility. A man realizes that all the flesh below his waste are gone, completely replaced with metallic tentacles which make him look like a human octopus. The man in shock is none of other than Stanley Leland and his is welcomed to Terrordyne. Terrordyne makes clear they do not want to hurt him but have him as their new CEO  and they know he desires revenge against Prototype.

Elsewhere, the Prototype armor is being repaired by Bob Campbell (Ranger). Jimmy, who is desperate to get Angella back, is eager to get back into action but the repair of his armor is not moving as fast as he wanted. Fortunately, Bob’s wife arrives with a man who believes he can help them. She tells Jimmy that the Prototype armor’s power coupling will be improved by forty percent.

Soon enough, the armor gets enhanced and Jimmy could sense the differences already. Soon enough, he goes on a mission with Ranger accompanying him…

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Prototype and Ranger inside a restaurant.

Starting with the story, I’m happy to say that the writing here is stronger, the dialogue has more depth and the plot is much more intriguing to read compared to the previous few issues. The concept of this comic book is about the effort to find and save Angella but with Ranger getting involved not only to add assist Prototype on the field but also provide him insight on dealing with a serious matter like the kidnapping done by very powerful opponents. In a way, having upgraded armor and weapons are not sufficient and even though he fought lots of enemies before, Jimmy Ruiz lacks the maturity, the self-control and strategy needed to do his mission. The scenes showing Ranger providing Prototype assistance in the form of strategies related to past experiences (that Bob Campbell went through) were done cleverly and never hampered the pace of the story.

As for the art, George Dove did a good job visualizing the armors of Prototype and Ranger. He also was good with drawing the action scenes.

Conclusion

Really nice art by George Dove.

To be clear, Prototype #17 (1995) is a two-heroes-in-one type of story that is character-led. For one thing, Jimmy is desperate, impatient and does things recklessly while Bob Campbell does his best to keep him stable and to prevent him from screwing up everything due to recklessness. It shows that the protagonist is not only humanly fragile, but also getting close to his breaking point. The emotional element makes the story worth reading.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prototype #17 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $27.

Overall, Prototype #17 (1995) 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 Prototype #16 (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.

As many of you know by now, I’ve reviewed lots of Ultraverse comic books and that includes a whole lot of issues of Prototype. In recent times, I reviewed the Hostile Takeover storyline that involved not only Prototype but also The Solution, Night Man and even Solitaire. To put things in order, my previous review of Prototype was issue #15 which took place after Hostile Takeover ended. What I enjoyed about it so much is that even though Jimmy Ruiz still has the powered suit of armor with him, his life has changed drastically and he no longer has the high salary and big-time perks that he had from his previous employer.

What will happen next to him? We can all find out in this look back at Prototype #16, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Len Strazewski and drawn by Roger Robinson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins right in the middle of a battle on a city street between Prototype against a large armored enemy (that intends to kill him) piloted by a man named Donovan Jones. This was supposed to be the night of Jimmy Ruiz getting engaged with Angella.

As his intensity grows, Prototype fires a powerful blast against Jones causing his armored suit to fall back hard and get damaged heavily. Jones finds himself exposed and Angella only hopes that Prototype does not kill him. Jones surprises him by showing his armor magnetically reassembles itself and makes him even more powerful…

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The is one nice shot!

When it comes to plot, this comic book is more about the continuing battle between Jimmy and Donovan Jones. It really pushed aside the development of Jimmy’s new life which is not necessarily a problem as it paved the way for a lot more spectacle for readers to enjoy by means of two armored figures fighting each other hard while trying to outsmart each other. This one has a lot action scenes as well as energy blasts. What I find intriguing and creative here is how Donovan Jones was presented to be a walking, healing factor with improving his physical shell dramatically.

Although filled with spectacle, Len Strazewski still saved some space for character development and exposition. Without spoiling it, I can say that a certain flashback that got dramatized through Angella’s recall of the past adds a new layer into the life of Jimmy Ruiz. It was short but still worthy to read.

As far as Jimmy’s new life goes, the big battle of this comic book is itself a reflection of the impact that the Hostile Takeover storyline had on him. There is not too much corporate intrigue in this story, but the effects of the mentioned crossover storyline can still be felt.

Conclusion

This comic book has a lot of robot-inspired action.

I can say that Prototype #16 (1994) is another good Ultraverse comic book to read. In fact, you will relate with its plot and spectacle a lot more if you managed to read the entire Hostile Takeover storyline. Otherwise, it should be able to satisfy you.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prototype #16 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $27.

Overall, Prototype #16 (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 Giant Size Prototype #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.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of Malibu Comics! Today we revisit the Ultraverse through the 4th and concluding chapter of the Hostile Takeover crossover storyline which involved the UV’s notable heroes like Prototype, The Solution, Night Man and even Solitaire. To put things in perspective, the first three chapters were told in The Night Man #12, Solitaire #10 and The Solution #13.

At this point in Hostile Takeover, the stakes were raised and things have turned messy not only for the UV heroes but also for the corporate figures involved. To see if everything will truly be resolved, join me in this look back at Giant Size Prototype #1, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Len Strazewski and drawn by Roger Robinson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with TV newscasts about the tremendous collapse of UltraTech as a result of corporate in-fighting which rocked Wall Street. A New York Stock Exchange analyst states on TV: Either the market insiders are completely confused about the future of UltraTech and are speculating wildly or UltraTech is right in the middle of one of the most violent hostile takeovers in corporate history!

Moments back, Prototype (Jimmy Ruiz) and Teknight battled each other while The Solution found Ranger blocking their way.

Inside the corporate headquarters, Gordon Bell could not control himself in the presence of Felicia, Jimmy and Bob Campbell. With the helicopter carrying Teknight arriving at the roof top and The Solution (with Night Man) making their way through the basement, Gordon Bell sends Prototype and Ranger to secure the place, leaving Felicia behind.  

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Prototype and Teknight crash into the office of Gordon Bell with The Solution and Night Man as witnesses.

As expected, corporate intrigue remains as the core concept or theme of this extensive (over 30 pages in story) comic book. Without spoiling the plot, I can say that the turmoil of UltraTech is a true turning point within the Ultraverse and its effects were really felt in my recent Prototype retro comic book review. This story also sheds light on the UV’s corporate figures J.D. Hunt and Stanley Leland and it was here where their influence is really felt.

As for the Ultraverse heroes, this story unsurprisingly shows more of what Prototype and Ranger went through in their respective participation of the events and incidents that happened throughout Hostile Takeover (which were also dramatized in smaller parts in the other comic books of this crossover storyline). There is more depth in the encounter between Prototype and Teknight, and in Ranger’s encounter with The Solution and Night Man. The good thing here is that the mentioned encounters are very well written and filled with solid dialogue by Len Strazewski, resulting more engagement between the reader and Prototype and Ranger.

As to how the Hostile Takeover storyline concluded, I would obviously not spoil it here but I can assure you all that it ended with a huge impact and some powerful images.

Conclusion

Prototype, Ranger and Felicia with Gordon Bell.

Giant Size Prototype #1 (1994) served its purpose in concluding the Hostile Takeover storyline and its best feature is its writing. It also served as a definitive turning point in the story of the titular character. As a whole, Hostile Takeover’s concept is really short and the approach to showing readers the moments of the events as seen through the eyes of different Ultraverse characters is flawed (note: this is not your typical straightforward crossover storytelling) and relied on padding to fill the narrative. In addition, there is one standalone short story that should please fans of Bob Campbell as Ranger.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Giant Size Prototype #1 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $14.

Overall, Giant Size Prototype #1 (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