A Look Back at Spider-Man and Batman: Disordered Minds (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, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we will take a look back at a certain crossover comic book that involved both Marvel Comics and DC Comics published in the mid-1990s. On my part, it’s been some time since I last reviewed a Marvel-DC crossover comic book. That being said, you can read about my retro comic book reviews of Batman versus The Incredible Hulk and Superman and Spider-Man on this website.

For this new retro review, we will focus on the 1995 crossover that brought two of Marvel and DC’s icons together for the first time – Spider-Man and Batman! To put things in perspective, the 1990s still remembered as the decade when Bane broke Batman’s back while the publishing of Spider-Man comic books became highly controversial with the Spider-Clone Saga. In the 1995 crossover produced the two comic book giants, Spider-Man and Batman are presented in their classic identities as Peter Parker and Bruce Wayne.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Spider-Man and Batman: Disordered Minds published in 1995 by Marvel Comics and DC Comics with a story written by J.M. DeMatteis and drawn by Mark Bagley.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with a nightmare in which Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben got shot by an armed man in the presence of Aunt May inside their home. Immediately Spider-Man arrives and grabs the man by the neck. The armed man creepily laughs and his face suddenly turns into the Joker. Peter Parker wakes up in bed with Mary Jane on his side. After a short talk with his wife, Peter decides to leave their apartment and swing around the city as Spider-Man.

In another nightmare, a very young Bruce Wayne witnesses the death of his parents caused by a man with a gun. He suddenly turns into Batman and grabs the gunman by the neck. The gunman suddenly turns into the horrific Carnage. Bruce wakes up and decides to reflect. As soon as his butler Alfred opens the door to check on him, Bruce immediately leaves as Batman in the middle of the night.

Somewhere that same night inside a secret facility of the Ravencroft Institute, Cletus Kasady/Carnage is restrained in a secured chamber surrounded by armed security personnel with Spider-Man and psychotherapist Ashley Kafka watching him…

Quality

The two superhero icons together.

I’ll start first with the visual quality of this crossover comic book. Mark Bagley, who was the lead artist on Marvel’s Amazing Spider-Man comic book series, delivered an unsurprisingly stylized look at the two superhero icons, super villains and characters, as well as on DC’s Gotham City (which was the most prominent location in the story).

While Bagley’s work on Spider-Man and the characters associated with him were typical of his Amazing Spider-Man of the decade, I can say that his take on Batman, Joker, Alfred, the Bat Cave and others on the DC Comics side resulted a unique look. Bagley drew Joker looking sinister, maniacal, clueless and even tamed as the plot progressed. Bagley’s Batman has a larger yet familiar style of muscular body compared to Spider-Man, and the visual presentation of his cape ranged from dynamic to looking authoritarian. There were however a few moments wherein Bagley went over the limit on emphasizing the length of Batman’s cape which resulted a few inaccuracies. Remember how there were times that Bagley drew Marvel characters’ thighs to look excessive with muscle? You will see that too on Batman here.

When it comes to artistic dynamism, it is clear that Bagley pushed himself hard creating some mixed results. Some scenes (action scenes and talk scenes included) had the appropriate amount of flash and style, while other scenes had an excessive amount. When it came to spectacle, Bagley succeeded in making the action, hard-hitting moments and explosions look very lively. To be clear, this comic book is entertaining to look at but ultimately it will resonate best with readers who are best familiar to the way Bagley draws.

For the storytelling, J.M. DeMatteis crafted a script that did not reach its full potential as there were obvious limits imposed to ensure equality on presenting the characters and the situations. This explains why in the beginning Spider-Man and Batman each had nightmares related to their respective past and end up seeing their respective super villains interchanged (Spider-Man sees Joker, Batman sees Carnage). The characters of Ashley Kafka and Cassandra Briar are not only looking too similar to each other (just imagine their characters having no colors), they both feel like cardboard cut-outs of a single character who specializes on analyzing people with dangerous minds and coming up with solutions to help them. The more known supporting characters from the respective sides of the two icons – Mary Jane and butler Alfred – made short appearances but did not really contribute much to the plot.

The limitations are also felt on the way Spider-Man and Batman – plus Carnage and Joker – were presented, right down to their interactions with each other. While it was expected that Batman and Spider-Man would be brought together by an unfortunate development, the complete absence of a fight between the two superhero icons was itself the biggest surprise here effectively defying crossover superhero tradition. Even without a fight, you will see Batman and Spider-Man do things separately in accordance to their respective traditions or character traits before getting back together leading to the big conflict with the super villains.

As for Joker and Carnage being together, the spotlight on them in this comic book is pretty limited. There simply is not enough space in this comic book to bring out the full potential of the two super villains who each are known to be murderers and psychologically dangerous. What is interesting in their limited time together is that the story emphasized the differences between them when it comes harming people. The Joker has his own sadistic style of leading people to their deaths in time-consuming ways which is opposite of the quick deaths Carnage enjoys. Considering their respective reputations, it is just a shame that this comic book not only failed to bring out the full potential of Carnage-Joker, it also failed to establish them as clear and present dangers to the public.

More on the plot itself in relation to the comic book sub-title “Disordered Minds”, the elements of mental instability, psycho-therapy, psychology and rehabilitation are present but they are all thrown out by the time the second half of the story begins, clearly making space for the crossover dynamics of Batman, Spider-Man, Joker and Carnage.

Conclusion

Joker and Carnage.

Spider-Man and Batman: Disordered Minds (1995) is a flawed crossover event comic book that just so happens to have more positive stuff than negative ones. It is enjoyable but not great and certainly not memorable. The imposed limits on the presentation made this comic book’s story feel very staged and predictable. With what little creative space was left, it is quite an achievement for the creative team to tell a cohesive and stuffed story (note: there is a lot of filler and some psychology related stuff may not interest some readers) while featuring Batman and Spider-Man the best way they could. It has enough superhero spectacle to be enjoyed although the interactions between Batman and Spider-Man and between Joker and Carnage could have been better.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Spider-Man and Batman: Disordered Minds (1995) be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that a near-mint copy costs $120 while the near-mint copy of the signed-and-numbered edition is at $120.

Overall, Spider-Man and Batman: Disordered Minds (1995) is satisfactory.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Sludge #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, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the Ultraverse of Malibu Comics and examine one of its many stories through the Sludge comic book series.

Previously I reviewed issue #2 of the series which was a surprising and fun comic book to read as the creative team took the risk of emphasizing the violent character Bloodstorm over Sludge himself. Ultimately, this move served as a way to not just build up tension but to expand the specific place of Sludge and the dark forces within the Ultraverse. For this retro review, issue #3 is set during the events of the memorable Ultraverse crossover story Break-Thru.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Sludge #3, published by Malibu Comics in 1993 with a story written by Steve Gerber and drawn by Aaron Lopresti.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Sludge still lying down at the dock after just being defeated by Bloodstorm. Suddenly a mob of chaotic people (driven mad by the effects of Break-Thru that just happened) lift him up and throw him into the water without any regrets whatsoever. In hiding, Bloodstorm witnesses their act and thought to himself that he should avoid the madness happening. Suddenly, other mad people ganged up on him forcing him to react by firing his gun and set himself free from their grip. He safely makes it to his car and speeds away, even bumping off a few people on the way.

As Bloodstorm speeds away, another man in hiding who knew him and the boss Marcello was found by the mad people. Out of desperation he runs away and jumps into the water. He realizes that the people are so obsessed with going up to the sky (the Break-Thru effect), they did not bother to follow him at all.

Deep down the water, Sludge finds himself alone and getting relieved of the pain he experienced above. Feeling hopeless, he waits for the river to wash him away…

Quality

Sludge in trouble!

Being a standalone story set during the events of Break-Thru, this comic book focuses more on the protagonist while simultaneously raising the stakes with regards to the evil forces as the elements of crime gang combined with the supernatural took effect. To be clear, fantasy elements were added to this series which had darkness and grit dominating the plot of the first two issues.

This comic book has an early appearance of “lord” Pumpkin (AKA The Pump) who is the element of sorcery and, more notably, serves as the Ultraverse’s very own Satanic figure. Not only does the Pump have vast powers to take life away from others and has evil pawns to wield, he also leads and guides an apprentice (the kid gangster called Pistol) with pure wickedness, crafted plans of evil, is cunning in his ways of manipulating others to do evil, and he makes promises or deals with others who will receive some rewards but ultimately will be disregarded and lose a lot. This Ultraverse super-villain, as recorded in Malibu Comics’ publishing history, went on to become a walking symbol of pure evil, corruption, sins and danger in other UV comic books.

While there is indeed more focus on Sludge in this issue, it is the Pump who overshadows him. As for Bloodstorm, his presence has been drastically reduced here which is kind of jarring to read as he was the dominant and heavily emphasized in issue #2. Speaking of characters, the gang boss Marcello (who is Bloodstorm’s client) makes a short appearance but his connections not only with criminals but also with para-military forces emphasized his influence in the city.

More on the plot itself, this comic book is pretty loaded and the stakes were really raised high. In key scenes, Sludge finds himself in the middle of gangsters, the people driven mad by the Break-Thru effect, the para-military forces and the Pump’s ugly and evil pawns. Steve Gerber crafted a story that expectedly built up a lot and paid of strongly since the stakes were raised. I should state that Aaron Lopresti’s art here showed signs of improved creativity

Conclusion

The gang boss Marcello and Bloodstorm talk during the events of Break-Thru.

Sludge #3 (1993) is a more engaging and more intense comic book on its own complete with the literary debut of the Pump who is clearly the Ultraverse’s most evil villain. If issue #2 was twisting with the way it presented its characters, this comic book has more of its protagonist who went on to face new elements of evil while the story of Break-Thru transpired. I also noticed the Pump’s offer to Sludge symbolizes Satan offering a troubled soul a place in his force of evil. How did Sludge react to the offer from the evil one? You will have to read this comic book.

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

Overall, Sludge #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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

A Look Back at Sludge #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 revisit the Ultraverse of Malibu Comics and examine one of its many stories through the Sludge comic book series.

For the newcomers reading this, I published my retro review of Sludge #1 back in December of 2020. I really enjoyed that Ultraverse comic book and now is a good time to revisit that series and find out what will happen next to Sludge, the UV’s most notable monster protagonist. I should state that Steve Gerber (Man-Thing) and Aaron Lopresti made a solid creative duo in Sludge #1.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Sludge #2, published by Malibu Comics in 1993 with a story written by Steve Gerber and drawn by Aaron Lopresti.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with a quick flashback of a young blonde boy who got bullied by other kids due to his unusual appearance and the way he expresses himself. Fast forward to the present day, an armed man (the same kid in the flashback) fires his guns on a man who was on his bed inside his residence.

After finishing the killing, the armed man enters his unusual looking car and leaves in high speed. After passing through the city streets, he drives his vehicle into his secret hideout filled with several weapons. Shortly after cleaning himself, he takes his seat in his private study and starts communicating with Mr. Barnett who tells him that bad news that something happened to his father. The killer then states, “Payment is due.”

Somewhere in lower Manhattan, a man is being beaten by two men who are enforcers of a man wearing a trench coat in their presence. The beaten man named Mikey swears he will get the money to pay off his debt but the coated man tells him that he is a week late and will be penalized.

Suddenly out of nowhere, Sludge comes out and grabs the two enforcers which frees Mike whose ear just got cut off by the coated man. Sludge then calls the coated man by his nickname…

Quality

The situation only gets more intense whenever Sludge comes in.

I’ll go straight to the point on the storytelling by Steve Gerber. The biggest surprise is here is that the focus was shifted from the titular protagonist Sludge in favor of the first appearance of Bloodstorm who is more than just a typical villain. Gerber heavily emphasized Bloodstorm’s personality as one who enjoys inflicting violence or death to others (and get paid for it) as a result of his painful childhood and his eventual acceptance of the beliefs that violence itself is always part of life. Even so, this comic book shows that Bloodstorm does not believe in inflicting misery for money and he calls it a cowardly way of earning money. Even as he finds his client’s business appalling, he still proceeds to do the dirty work to make money. This, of course, puts Bloodstorm in the dark work organized, target-focused mobbing which also puts him on the same course as Sludge. 

As with issue #1, the violence here is pretty intense and adulterated which goes along almost perfectly with the story’s dark and gritty tone. There is a fine mix of suspense, shock moments and the revealing of key details. I assure you all reading that that even though Sludge himself was not so dominant as the centerpiece of the story, the payoff for all the build-up was still worth reading.

Conclusion

Get to know Bloodstorm through this comic book.

Sludge #2 (1993) is a pretty surprising comic book. One might think that it would become the natural progression of what was established in issue #1 (which itself was the first appearance and origin of Sludge) but ultimately it took a completely different approach. I should also state that the duo of Steve Gerber and Aaron Lopresti continued to deliver compelling stuff in this comic book. While the fact that Sludge is not the dominating force in the story might turn off some readers, I can say to you that Sludge #2 (1993) is still a very worthy read and it builds up on something waiting to be revealed in succeeding issues.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Sludge #2 (1993) be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $16 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $48

Overall, Sludge #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/

A Look Back at Spider-Man 2099 #4 (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 revisit the world of 2099 within the universe of Marvel Comics back in the 1990s, specifically through the Spider-Man 2099 monthly series.

Today we will look back at the early development of futuristic Spider-Man as published way back in 1993. The first three issues (read also my reviews of issue #2 and #3) formed a solid foundation on establishing Miguel O’Hara as his era’s Spider-Man thanks mainly to the high-quality writing done by Peter David. What issue #4 will deliver, we will find out here.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Spider-Man 2099 #4, published in 1993 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Peter David and drawn by Ricky Leonardi.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Gabriel O’Hara (Miguel’s brother) and Kasey Nash trying to have a good time together inside a vehicle until a man armed with a sword interrupts them and tries to take the lady with him. As Gabriel makes his move to help Kasey, the swordman throws two sharp projectiles at him and moves away with the lady.

Over at the Babylon Towers residence, Miguel O’Hara gets visited by his boss Tyler Stone accompanied by armed personnel. Not realizing that Spider-Man 2099 and Miguel are one and the same person, Tyler tells him that the sudden appearance of the crawler put Alchemax on edge.

Tyler proposes peace between him and Miguel, offering him more of the hyper addictive substance Rapture. He tells him that Aaron Delgato was identified as the mysterious Spider-Man…   

Quality

Miguel O’Hara and his brother Gabriel ride and talk.

The plot really thickened in this comic book resulting a few very interesting sub-plot branches as well as more depth on the development of Miguel O’Hara. I really like the way Peter David explored the corporate side of Miguel’s life here creating suspense about Tyler’s limited knowledge of the Alchemax incidents that happened in issues #1 and #2 which actually involved the protagonist witnessing the fall of his corporate rival Aaron (the same guy responsible for the genetic manipulation of Miguel into Spider-Man). This comic book also focuses on the strained relationship Miguel has with his brother Gabriel who clearly lacks the will to be personally responsible.

I also enjoyed the way Miguel reacts to the classic Spider-Man expression of “with great power comes great responsibility” as he struggles to set things right even as being a civilian and a superhero in his society has major hassles.

The anticipated battle between Spider-Man and the sword-wielding Specialist was structured nicely. Instead of being the typical good-versus-evil conflict, what was presented started with nice moments as Spider-Man still struggles to make the best out of his capabilities. Be aware that the fight does not conclude in this issue.

Conclusion

Miguel getting ready for work while having his Spider-Man costume worn.

Spider-Man 2099 #4 (1993) is a solid comic book to read. It had a nice balance of character development, plot with twists here and there, as well as a good amount of action and thrills. Its best feature, as expected, was the further development of the protagonist and you will see more of Miguel than Spider-Man. By the end of this comic book, I really felt I got to know Miguel more as a person, and not a mere character.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Spider-Man 2099 #4 (1993) be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $30 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $90.

Overall, Spider-Man 2099 #4 (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/

A Look Back at Spider-Man 2099 #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, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the world of 2099 within the universe of Marvel Comics back in the 1990s, specifically through the Spider-Man 2099 monthly series.

This time around, we take a look back at the early stage of the futuristic Spider-Man’s story and learn more about Miguel’s struggle in becoming something he was not ready for. On my part, the 3rd issue of Spider-Man 2099 was the first-ever hard copy of the monthly series I bought.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Spider-Man 2099 #3, published in 1993 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Peter David and drawn by Rick Leonardi.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins immediately after the ending of issue #2 with Miguel O’Hara in disguise as Spider-Man facing off with Venture who has been working for Alchemax’s head to find precisely him. The presence of idolaters of Thor view Venture as an enemy and Spider-Man (who knows he is being hunted by the cybernetic guy) tells them to get back to stay out of danger.

Instead of listening to him, the idolaters did the foolish thing by physically attacking Venture who is just too proficient in combat and his high-tech weapon hurts them. With great risk, Spider-Man leaps to Venture to try to convince him to leave him alone. Unfortunately he loses his balance and gets touched by Venture’s weapon which leaves his right arm numb.

Venture tells Spider-Man that Alchemax wants him…

Quality

Even though he has a numb right arm, Spider-Man 2099 still got up-close and personal with Venture.

This comic book is one action-packed thrill ride laced with solid character development. While issues #1 and #2 showed how Miguel O’Hara became Spider-Man of 2099, this story shows him in his first-ever battle with someone who happens to be doing a mission for Alchemax (Miguel’s employer no less).

Peter David carefully structured the story and the result were lots of moments in which Spider-Man 2099 witnesses the unexpected happenings which readers can relate with. As it is clear from the start, Miguel is no fighter nor is he a skilled gymnast. He just so happens to have been modified into a super being and gained abilities to leap far distances, climb walls and shoot organic web sourced from his arms. What he does with his abilities, he does his best to adjust himself. I also like the fact that Spider-Man of 2099 does not have the Spider Sense of the classic Spider-Man (Peter Park) which in a creative way adds to the suspenseful moments in this comic book series.

As for Venture, he is not your typical villain nor is a one-dimension character designed to merely provide opposition to the protagonist. He is a cybernetic bounty hunter on a mission and does not harbor any personal grudge nor hatred against Spider-Man. On his own, Venture is deadly and is clearly one of the best villains to ever take on Spidey 2099.

Conclusion

The idolaters and worshipers of Thor take on Venture which Spider-Man witnesses.

Spider-Man 2099 #3 (1993) is a very solid read and it succeeded in further defining the futuristic Spider-Man’s personality as well as his origin. The first time I read this comic book, I got very immersed in learning about the protagonist and how he does his best to save himself and overcome the opposition while finding out ways to ensure that bystanders and witnesses will not get hurt. This comic book also has an immersive sci-fi setting and shows more of the society of 2099. I can clearly say that this is one enjoyable and compelling comic book which aged nicely to this day.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Spider-Man 2099 #3 (1993) be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $30 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $90.

Overall, Spider-Man 2099 #3 (1993) is highly recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at V: The Final Battle (1984)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from watching V: The Final Battle 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.

With a very engaging story, memorable characters, intriguing concepts and innovative marketing, the $13 million production V: The Original Miniseries (simply called V back then) became a major TV hit in America over two nights in May, 1983. I personally loved watching the said mini-series back in the 1980s and I still love replaying it in this age of high-definition and Blu-ray discs. For me, at least, it is a timeless classic and it carries several lessons about the fragility of society, the rise of fascism, the spread of evil in many forms and the human desire for freedom from oppression.

Given its success and the way creator Kenneth Johnson ended the 1983 sci-fi mini-series, a sequel was inevitable. In fact, two sequels to V: The Original Miniseries were approved in the form of another mini-series (note: I acquired the Blu-ray release in 2021) and a regular TV series. Beyond the small screen, the V franchise entered literature as DC Comics published a V comic book series (read my retro review of V #1 by clicking here) related to the TV series.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at V: The Final Battle, starring Faye Grant, Marc Singer, Jane Badler and Michael Ironside under the direction of Richard T. Heffron. This 3-episode mini-series, which involved a lot of screenwriters, was broadcast on TV in America in May 1984.

The cover and the title that did not live up to its purpose.

Early story

The story begins with Mike Donovan (Marc Singer) having a nightmare of him and his son Sean (who was abducted during the events of V: The Original Miniseries) in a desperate escape attempt while inside one of the motherships of the Visitors. He wakes up in the presence of Julie Parrish (Faye Grant) and realizes they have a dangerous mission to execute at a local facility used by the red-uniformed Visitors. It turns out, the Resistance movement led by Julie has been losing ground to the alien humanoids and Mike has been helping them out while prioritizing the state of his son who has been in captivity in one of the mother ships.

During the night, a truck carrying many local civilians inside its trailer arrives at a local factory controlled by the Visitors with officer Steven (Andrew Pine) watching over. After the civilians got directed to enter the factory, it turns out they got processed and came out in the form of food cocoons. The sight shocks Julie watching from a distance with her armed teammates waiting on stand-by.

Easily the most engaging shot in this sequel. A clear reminder about the fascist takeover by the aliens from outer space.

After causing damage on the nearest fence, the Resistance begins their attempt to raid the facility and free their fellow cocooned people but the tide turned against them. It turns out, the Visitors’ troops are wearing stronger armor and bright lights were installed on the top of the facility to forcing Julie, Marc and the rest of their team to retreat. They lost some members along the way. During a closed-door meeting with the Resistance stakeholders, Mike Donovan says a key event is needed to make a significant gain against the Visitors.

Over at the mothership hovering over Los Angeles and in the presence of Diana (Jane Badler), the leader John (Richard Herd) tells Kristine Walsh (Jenny Sullivan) that a major medical announcement will be held in the form of an organized special event very soon and that she will be part of the presentation for the global TV audience…

Quality

Marc Singer as Mike Donovan with Michael Durrel and Michael Wright as Robert Maxwell and Elias Taylor near him.

I’ll star first with the presentation here. This sequel mini-series was composed of three episodes totaling over 270 minutes. In what looks like to be attempts to ensure more spectacles for the viewers’ enjoyment, each episode of V: The Final Battle has a battle near the end and the creative team succeeded in not only providing on-screen action but also scored well in making the spectacle more varied while still making sense within the main narrative. For the most part, this sequel is indeed a natural progression of what was established in V: The Original Miniseries and that is something to admire given the fact that V creator Kenneth Johnson left this production early.

On the storytelling, V: The Final Battle expands a bit on the Visitors’ dictatorship of Los Angeles and its surrounding areas while the Resistance led by Julie Parrish and supported by close companions Robert Maxwell (Michael Durrell), Elias Taylor (Michael Wright) and Caleb Taylor (Jason Bernard) are shown to be struggling on taking down the alien humanoids even though they secured noticeably more weapons and equipment. The storytelling and the dramatization about the Resistance changes dramatically with the addition of Ham Tyler (Michael Ironside) and partner Chris Farber (Mickey Jones) in the 2nd episode and from that point on, you get to see a human opposition that becomes more flexible with their operations.

Michael Ironside as Ham Tyler is the most significant new addition to the cast.

As mentioned earlier, Kenneth Johnson’s involvement in this sequel was minimal and it is seen on the presentation. The symbolism Johnson implemented in the original mini-series that established parallels between 1980s America to the Nazi occupation of Europe did not continue here which results a more straightforward presentation of details, character moments and story progression. There was also a noticeable lack of suspense when it comes to executing big scenes with big reveals. The pacing, like in the 1983 mini-series, moves smoothly at a moderate pace throughout and there were no boring moments at all.

The quality of script is still good. For the most part, the writers managed to capture the essence of the established characters from the original mini-series as they told the further developments of this sequel. For example, Caleb and Elias’ father-and-son moments quickly remind me of what I saw in V: The Original Miniseries. Robert Maxwell’s struggle to help his troubled daughter Robin (Blair Tefkin) while assisting Julie and the Resistance is a very natural progression of what was shown in 1983. The friendship between good natured alien Willie (Robert Englund) and Harmony (Diane Cary) got developed a lot more than expected eventually adding to one particular side of the conflict. The local collaborators Daniel Bernstein (David Packer) and Eleanor Dupres (Neva Patterson) developed further with their treason towards their fellow humans as they enjoyed further the power they gained from the Visitors. These two characters will surely get on the nerves of viewers rooting for the Resistance.

Denise Galik as Maggie is a fine new addition to the cast.
David Packer returns as Daniel Bernstein.
Sarah Douglas as Pamela, a superior of Diana’s.

When it comes to new additions to the cast, Ham Tyler and Chris Farber are not the only new players to add depth to this sequel. There is also Maggie (Denise Galik) who is an attractive, brave and strategic Resistance member whose contribution makes an impact. On the downside, there is also Andrew Doyle (Thomas Hill) who is bad choice the creative team came up with as the on-screen representative of faith when he in fact represents religion, idolatry, rituals and distortion. On the side of the Visitors is Pamela (Sarah Douglas) who is a higher-ranking officer than Diana and even John. Pamela is the more militaristic type of leader who is more focused on achieving goals while keeping things in order.

If there is anything flawed about the characterization, it is the romantic relationship of Julie Parrish and Mike Donovan which starts in the first episode. Considering how dramatic the performances of Faye Grant and Marc Singer were in this sequel, Julie and Mike still don’t make a believable pair of lovers in my view. While this romantic relationship opens up new dimensions within Julie and Mike and offer viewers something new to focus, it brings down the former’s value as Resistance leader somewhat while also setting aside the hinted personal connection between her and Elias in the 2nd episode of the 1983 mini-series.

Faye Grant as Julie Parrish in the conversion process scene watched closely by Jane Badler’s Diana.

More on Faye Grant, her performance here is more varied. Not only does she play the brave and struggling leader who is talented in fighting, science and medical practice, she also portrayed Julie as an even more vulnerable character this time around. Her act as the traumatized Julie during the conversion process (read: mental and psychological torture using a more detailed form of virtual reality or nightmare generation) scenes under the watch of Diana is very dramatic and compelling to watch. Just seeing Julie in the conversion process will make grip you with despair and you will eventually feel sorry for her. I should state that the nightmare scenes of Julie were presented with a clear touch of horror.

Marc Singer as Mike Donovan is no longer the reluctant action hero but rather a driven man with a mission to get his missing son back while maintaining a secret connection with Martin (Frank Ashmore) of the Fifth Column (secret dissenters among the Visitors) hoping to achieve breakthroughs for the Resistance and their friends among the dissenting aliens. Singer did the best he could with the script provided to him and he remain likable all throughout. Other than the unbelievable romance with Julie as well as his past encounters with Ham Tyler, there is not much new to expect from the way Mike Donovan was written here. What I should point out, however, is that Mike Donovan’s support for the unholy act of abortion (along with the so-called right to abort) is very wrongful, highly immoral and makes the hero having a sinister presence within him even though he is a father searching for his son.

Jane Badler’s performance as Diana deserves admiration here. Not only did she successfully recapture the charismatic and sinister nature of her character in the 1983 mini-series, Badler was very convincing in showing the more desperate side of Diana, especially when it comes to power struggle within the ranks of the Visitors. You can clearly see the desperation and struggle as soon as Pamela appeared. This sequel also showed a lot more of Diana when it comes to personally supervising her conversion process which is much more elaborate here (note: the conversion process in the 1983 mini-series was limited to the showing of a chair with torture devices). Being the very symbol of charisma and evil in the V franchise, Diana’s place in pop culture is solid and her real-world comparative counterparts would be none other than Hillary Clinton and Kamala Harris.

Jane Badler as the ever charismatic yet very wicked Diana.

As mentioned earlier, Michael Ironside’s Ham Tyler is the most significant addition to the cast and the script. Ironside had that excellent mix of toughness, cruelty and sarcasm portrayed in here and at the same time Ham Tyler brought out very interesting and intriguing interactions with the more established Julie and Mike. As seen in entertainment history, Ironside went on to climb up the ranks in Hollywood with Total Recall (1990), Starship Troopers (1997) and in the Splinter Cell video game franchise. Ironside’s Ham is easily the fourth major character of the V franchise of the 1980s.

Going into the spectacle part of this sequel, the action is more varied as mentioned earlier and the 3-episode structure was a factor. You will see lots of shooting with the use of guns and laser blasters here and there, and with the in-story locations and props as key factors, there are action sequences that are uniquely done. There is a lot to enjoy for any V fan and casual viewers watching this sequel.

As for the special effects part of the spectacle, this one is a mixed bag similar to what was presented in the 1983 mini-series. To put things in perspective, the use of in-camera effects, practical effects and optical effects for TV back in the 1980s was ambitious. That being said, certain effect shots here did not age well such as the miniature shots looking fake (because the camera used did not have a special lens to capture visuals that would have made the miniatures look believable). I should also state that there were certain effects shots that were recycled and reused in key sequences in this sequel which remains embarrassing to see. What is even more embarrassing to see here is the very poor-quality monster effects used during the nightmare scenes (conversion process) of Julie and, more notably, the presentation of Robin’s other child. The monster effects are so fake, they are laughable to watch.  

On the bright side of the special effects, the quality of the laser blasts remains good to watch right down to the precise timing with the explosions that were simulated on-set and in-camera.

Conclusion

The Visitors and Resistance key characters in the sequel.

While it has its strengths and weaknesses, V: The Final Battle is still engaging and enjoyable to watch, and at the same time it is a worthy addition for your Blu-ray collection when it comes to HD viewing (note: this is the sequel with the best visuals yet albeit with black borders on the sides). Even though creator Kenneth Johnson was not too involved on the production side, the creative team managed to deliver a long story that proved to be a natural progression of the original mini-series while providing more spectacle (especially action), developing the established characters and resolving key plot threads that started in 1983.

The lack of Kenneth Johnson’s personal touch on the presentation was noticeable and somewhat brought this sequel down a bit in terms of style. What brought V: The Final Battle’s quality down were the overall cheaper looking visual effects, the Julie-Mike love relationship and the climax of the final episode which seemed executed with desperation on the part of the creative team (note: giving a little new character instant purpose). In fairness, this sequel still succeeded in showing what fascism in America (or California specifically which is now dominated by Commies) would look like and it built up on its predecessor’s themes such as the deception of power and the collaboration with foreign enemies. This mini-series even added themes of teenage pregnancy and abortion (note: someone from the creative team wanted to promote the wrongful Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision of 1973) to its narrative.

Does V: The Final Battle live up to its title? Absolutely not because a regular TV series that deteriorated in quality followed. In retrospect, it’s clear that this sequel marked the beginning of the decline of the V franchise in pop culture. What more, V: The Final Battle was never counted as canon in Kenneth Johnson’s 2008 novel (and sequel to the 1983 mini-series) V: The Second Generation. On its own, V: The Final Battle still has more positive stuff than negative ones and in my experience, it remains enjoyable and compelling to watch from start to finish. Compared to V: The Original Miniseries, I can say this sequel falls short. It is good, not great.

Overall, V: The Final Battle (1984) is recommended. That being said, let this 1984 mini-series remind you that there is so much evil in the real world in the forms of Iran, the terrorists of Palestine, the social justice warriors (SJWs), the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and liberal media to name some. Always keep in mind to avoid becoming evil no matter how tempting power in this divided world becomes to you. You also do not want to let the evil ones take over your government and have authority over you, your family members and your community. Push back against evil and stand up strong by faithfully taking sides with the one true Savior whose name is Jesus!

+++++

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

A Look Back at Spider-Man 2099 #38 (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, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the world of 2099 within the universe of Marvel Comics as published back in the 1990s, specifically through the Spider-Man 2099 monthly series.

Back in 2020, I reviewed the three key issues of Spider-Man 2099 (click here, here and here) particularly with the entry of Venom 2099. While tragedy happened in issue #37 (a very powerful story), the futuristic Venom was still on the loose.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Spider-Man 2099 #38, published in 1995 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Peter David and drawn by Andrew Wildman.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Spider-Man 2099 grieving over the death of Dana in the presence of Xina and two armed law enforcers. As one of the law enforcers approach him, Spider-Man hits and damages his helmet. The other law enforcer tells his companion to give Spider-Man some room. The grieving web-slinger asks where Venom 2099 is.

Meanwhile at another location, Miguel O’Hara’s mother saw the breaking news on TV about what the tragedy and Dana’s death. Her son Gabriel comes in and gets updated about what happened. As soon as he heard Dana’s name, he becomes concerned and focuses on the TV screen. As images of Spider-Man and Dana appeared, Gabriel begins to make a connection between them and punches the TV screen hard…

Quality

A very angry Miguel O’Hara using his corporate authority to find and get Venom 2099.

If you enjoyed the storytelling, tension and payoff that happened in issue #37, I can confirm to you that great stuff from that comic book continued smoothly in this comic book. As before, Peter David’s writing remains very engaging and gripping. So much so, issue #38 is a very believable and natural continuation of the events of the previous issue. In fact, the tension that started even as far as issue #35 continued in this comic book and at the same time David succeeded in developing the key characters further. Here, the death of Dana impacts not only Spider-Man/Miguel O’Hara, but also those connected with him.

Apart from the impact Venom 2099 left behind on those whom he victimized, the key selling point in this comic book was the portrayal of Miguel O’Hara wanting not only vengeance but also craves for the death of the vicious supervillain. I really find it very gripping to see Miguel using his authority as a high-ranking executive of his company to not only find Venom but also use company resources to get him. There was also the scene in which Miguel wants the captured living piece of Venom’s symbiote become dead which reflects the rage burning in him.

The way Peter David wrote Miguel’s rage is compelling not only because of the dramatics involved but also because it raises new questions about the personality and heart protagonist of the Spider-Man 2099 monthly series. I found myself wondering the following: Is Miguel O’Hara on the way to becoming a villain? Does he realize he is going off-track and could become a danger to others once he gets his way with Venom 2099?

When it comes to the visuals, Andrew Wildman did a really good job her. Not only was his art more detailed than what Rick Leonardi came up with, Wildman also brought to life the emotions of the characters through detailed facial expressions. Wildman also showed how skilled he is with pacing the story as well as being strategic on visualizing the spectacle.

Conclusion

Spider-Man 2099 in a very emotional state over the death of Dana.

I can clearly say that Spider-Man 2099 #38 (1995) is a great comic book to read. It is indeed a very worthwhile follow-up to the powerful and tragic story of issue #37 and the tension that started in issue #35 continued strongly in this comic book. Very clearly, Peter David carefully planned to shake up the Spider-Man 2099 series of the 1990s even as he built up Venom 2099 as the deadliest foe the futuristic Spider-Man faced. I should also state that the Spider-Man 2099 – Venom 2099 rivalry has a distinct style and flavor of its own, and there was simply nothing ripped off from the 20th century Spider-Man – Venom (Peter Parker and Eddie Brock) rivalry.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Spider-Man 2099 #38 (1995) be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $80 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $240. Spider-Man 2099 #38 (1995) also comes with a Venom 2099 cover edition which costs $200 for a near-mint copy.

Overall, Spider-Man 2099 #38 (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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

A Look Back at X-Men #24 (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, X-Men fans and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the X-Men monthly series of the 1990s and look back into the one of the comic books that was released in 1993 which was the year Marvel celebrated the 30th anniversary of the X-Men franchise. To be more specific, the comic book in this retro review took place right after the death of Colossus’ sister and just before the big Fatal Attractions stories in Uncanny X-Men #304 (1993) and X-Men #25 (1993).

With those details laid down, here is a look back at X-Men #24, published by Marvel Comics in 1993 with a story written by Fabian Nicieza and drawn by Andy Kubert.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside a high-end restaurant wherein Rogue and Gambit, both dressed in formal attire, have dinner and spend quality time together. Their private talk turns awkward when Rogue asks him about his silence about his wife (refer to X-Men #9). Gambit, in his attempt to change the subject, asks Rogue why other people do not know her real name. This leads them into staring at each other in silence.

Over the mansion, Dr. Moira McTaggert and Banshee are reunited while Charles Xavier and Beast are inside the laboratory working and analyzing as to how Illyana Rasputin died. Over at a local airport, Jean Grey and Cyclops are reunited…

Quality

Psylocke and Revanche.

Have you heard about the expression “the calm before the storm”? That truly reflects what this comic book is all about. X-Men #24 (1993) was all about build-up of information and character developments, getting specific X-Men characters reunited, tying up some loose ends from the past while also building up tension for near-future events and more. There is no battle between good and evil here as this was written to set up the characters for specific storylines that were set to happen and Fatal Attractions was just a part of them. No superhero action here, just lots of dialogue plus romance, suspense and melodrama.

If there is anything notable here, it is the romantic time Rogue and Gambit have together. While their relationship got deeper, Fabian Nicieza also opened up the possibility that secrets between the two could still derail their romantic connection. Eventually, their relationship got strained as seen in X-Men #33 (1994).

This comic book also took time to explore further the mystery between Revanche and Psylocke, and also the negative impact Illyana’s death towards Jubilee. All throughout, Nicieza’s dialogue is solid and captured the personalities of each character.

To Andy Kubert…why did you draw Cyclops’ eyes like this?!

As for the art, I noticed there is a drop in the quality of Andy Kubert’s work in this comic book. The way I see it, his work looked rushed especially when compared to his more polished works in X-Men #20 to 23, X-Men #25 and others. As far as his X-Men works of 1993 are concerned, this is easily Kubert’s weakest work.

Conclusion

Banshee and Moira reunited.

X-Men #24 (1993) is easily the build-up comic book leading to the massive, highly dramatic events that took place in Uncanny X-Men #304, X-Men #25, the wedding of Cyclops and Jean Grey, the Phalanx Covenant storyline, and more. As the 30th anniversary was the most dominant event of the X-Men in 1993, this comic book served its purpose in getting key characters together as well as giving something meaningful (as opposed to being entertaining) for dedicated X-Men fans to enjoy and relate with. That being said, this comic book won’t resonate with newcomers or readers who decide to read this as their personal introduction into the lore of the X-Men within the Marvel Comics shared universe of the time.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men #24 (1993) be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $40 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $120.

Overall, X-Men #24 (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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

A Look Back at X-Men #33 (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, X-Men fans and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the X-Men monthly series of the 1990s and look back into the past between Sabretooth and X-Men member Gambit which was hinted in X-Men #28 (1994). Within the context of that comic book I previously reviewed, Sabretooth was already living in a contained manner in the mansion of Professor X who views him as a patient who could be rehabilitated even though he has an established record of murder and damage. At that particular time, Gambit and Rogue were in a relationship but certain things from the Cajun’s past could negatively affect them both.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at X-Men #33, published by Marvel Comics in 1994 with a story written by Fabian Nicieza and drawn by Andy Kubert.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the past with a much younger Gambit (wearing a dark coat and holding a rod) traversing through the city of Paris in France. As he moves, Gambit spots a pretty lady in distress in the presence of a huge man with an unusual look. He kicks the man out of the way and tells him to back off. It turns out, the man was none other than Sabretooth (in his more classic comic book look) who responds saying that Gambit won’t score any points with the lady he just saved if he were dead and buried.

Gambit sticks close with the lady and says some words back to Sabretooth. He flashes a card and charges it, revealing his mutant power to the beastly man. Sabretooth leaves promising he will be back.

In the present day, it turns out the restrained Sabretooth has been recalling the past and sharing the details to Rogue standing some feet away from him inside the mansion. Using a highly advanced devise, images of Gambit and the lady from the past are displayed in the form of holograms right in the view of Rogue. She tells him to keep telling her more about what happened in Paris…

Quality

Andy Kubert’s own take on Sabretooth and his classic look remains impressive.

This comic book has a very rich script by Fabian Nicieza who smoothly transitions from the past to the present while succeeding in telling a very cohesive story. Without spoiling the plot, I can say that by reading this comic book as well as the earlier issues, you will question the state of the relationship of Gambit and Rogue, and you will also reflect about Sabretooth’s purpose in X-Men lore.

The tale from Gambit’s past was beautifully told and it really gave me a new look into the personality and mindset of the character. Long before he joined the X-Men, Gambit was an impulsive and cocky guy who became a member of a guild of thieves through adoption (meaning he has yet to earn his place). This version of the Cajun was undisciplined and did not take life seriously. Young Gambit also had a thing with ladies and he showed no signs of cleverly betraying a woman in favor of materialism.

Believe it or not, the most interesting character here is actually Sabretooth who appears in both the past and the present. The way he was portrayed here, young Sabretooth was cunning and knew how to be strategic and paced himself even though he had key physical advantages to overwhelm young Gambit. Sabretooth in the present day is more mature and more articulate, especially during his storytelling and interactions with Rogue. The way Sabretooth’s dialogue was structured in telling about the past was very engaging and you can see he clearly understood what happened between him and Gambit.

While the story is great, the art done by Andy Kubert is very good. However, I believe it was a missed opportunity for Kubert to redesign Gambit from the past because the famous X-Men member does not look any different from the other version. In the scenes about the past, Gambit does NOT look like a 17-year-old at all and his hair style and length are just the same! As for drawing the younger version of Sabretooth, Kubert made him more menacing and more detailed while sticking close to his original comic book look.

Conclusion

The 17-year-old Gambit with the pretty lady in France.

X-Men #33 (1994) is one of the most intriguing X-Men stories I read that took place after the Fatal Attractions storyline and the wedding of Jean Grey and Cyclops. In fact, it is also the most memorable X-Men comic book I ever read in 1994 all thanks to the great work by Fabian Nicieza whose script was finely visualized by Andy Kubert. This is one very engaging read and by the time I finished it, I really felt the impact it had on Gambit and Rogue’s relationship. More notably, it made rethink about Gambit and his place with the X-Men.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men #33 (1994) be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $30 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $90.

Overall, X-Men #33 (1994) is highly recommended!

+++++

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

A Look Back at X-Men #29 (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, X-Men fans and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the X-Men monthly series of the 1990s and look back at what happened after the ending of X-Men #28 (1994). For those who missed out on my previous X-Men retro review, issue #28 showed the X-Men being disturbed by the presence of Sabretooth living as a prisoner/patient in the mansion under the authority of Charles Xavier. Along the way, the wedding of Jean Grey and Cyclops is nearing.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at X-Men #29, published by Marvel Comics in 1994 with a story written by the Fabian Nicieza and drawn by Andy Kubert.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside the danger room wherein Psylocke and Sabretooth (wearing cybernetic restraints on his arms as well as a mask) engage in a sparring session while being monitored by Professor X, Warren Worthington/Archangel and Hank McCoy/Beast. Warren expresses concern about the session and Xavier replies by saying that they could not have Sabretooth develop the control he needs over his violent tendencies by having him contained in a cell every day.

After some struggle, Psylocke gains the upper hand and tells Sabretooth that she sparred without using her mutant abilities (solely out of deference to his reduced capabilities caused by the restraints) and insisted she still fought to win.

After the danger room session, Warren leaves and thinks a lot as he takes time out to watch Cyclops and Jean Grey leading the wedding preparations outdoors. Jubilee passes by with lots of mail, hands over to Warren an unusual looking envelope, then leaves. As he opens the envelope, Psylocke arrives hearing Warren talking to himself as he reads the letter. It turns out to be an invitation from the Hellfire Club…

Quality

Expository dialogue and details laid down to help readers understand the Hellfire Club.

To put things in perspective, the Hellfire Club within the Marvel Comics universe is a fictional high-class society which became a formidable force of opposition for the X-Men. Their debut during the Dark Phoenix Saga is very memorable and since that time, varied comic books – specifically X-Men comics – revisited the club from time to time.

Within the pages of this particular comic book, the Hellfire Club itself went through some changes in terms of membership and organizational structure kind of similar to the X-Men themselves. In this case, the son of Sebastian Shaw – Shinobi – gains tremendous power and even went as far as revealing to Warren/Archangel his ambitious plan to re-establish the Inner Circle and have the mentioned X-Men member (one of the pioneering students of Charles Xavier) part of it as the White King.

A key element in this story is self-pity which Archangel and Shinobi Shaw both share. For these two, there are key parts of their past that are so hurtful they respectively question their existence and purpose. Quite symbolically, Archangel and Shinobi both have fathers involved with the Hellfire Club and Psylocke herself was familiar with the club’s presence in London. More on Archangel himself, his self-pity really puts him in a very awkward place among the X-Men, especially at a time when he is supposed to be happy for his long-time teammates Jean Grey and Cyclops about to get married.

In a way, X-Men #29 was an inspired attempt to reconnect the past with the contemporary times with the Hellfire Club as the enduring factor. In my opinion, Fabian Nicieza’s work here is solid.

Conclusion

Easily the best-looking images in the comic book. Andy Kubert really rocked with this!

X-Men #29 (1994) is symbolically a quick and yet inspired way of updating readers about the state of the Hellfire Club and hint what potential conflicts they could have with the X-Men of the 1990s. Psylocke and Archangel are the most prominent X-Men members to follow here and they both have past connections with the Hellfire Club which itself is changing as Shinobi Shaw gained power. Its story is pretty intriguing and there is a descent amount of spectacle to be enjoyed. The selling point here is the story concept itself backed with solid writing by Nicieza who seem to have researched the Hellfire Club carefully. Given the legacy behind the X-Men and the fictional club, this comic book will appeal more to long-time fans of the X-Men. Reading this as a first-time discovery of the club will surely challenge newcomers.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men #29 (1994) be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $30 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $90.

Overall, X-Men #29 (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/