A Look Back at Adventures of Superman #500 (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 and comic book collectors! Today we explore a key chapter in the post-Crisis era of DC Comics through a Superman comic book. This time, however, we go revisit a comic book that literally served as a bridge between the Funeral for a Friend storyline and the eventual Reign of the Superman storyline. I am talking about the 500th issue of the Adventures of Superman monthly series.

To put things in perspective, the Funeral for a Friend storyline dramatized the immediate aftermath of Superman’s sudden death which paved the way for comic book creators to develop not only DC superheroes (affiliated with Superman specifically) but also the supporting characters linked with the Man of Steel in new and creative ways. Not only that, there was even a months-long hiatus on all Superman-related comics before Adventures of Superman #500 was released. Back in the old days when Internet connection and online news were not yet common, I heard lots of buzz about DC resurrecting Superman from the dead which added to the anticipation of the 500th issue of Adventures of Superman.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Adventures of Superman #500, published in 1993 by DC Comics with a story written by Jerry Ordway and drawn by Tom Grummett.

The cover of the premium version of this comic book.

Early story

The story begins inside a Kansas hospital where medical professionals are trying to revive Jonathan Kent who lost consciousness. Martha Kent is present witnessing the efforts happen. As his physical body is being worked on, Jonathan Kent finds himself in a dream-like realm and to his shock, he meets his dead son Clark who finds himself being pulled into the bright light in the distance. Refusing to let go, Jonathan Kent accidentally tears off Clark’s clothes which reveal him as Superman in his iconic outfit. Superman tells his adoptive father to rejoin the living.

Suddenly two wraiths appeared and escorted Superman into the light. Still defiant, Jonathan then flies himself into the light to follow his son.

Back in the real world, Martha carefully monitors her husband’s health reading. After being assured by the medical staff that they won’t give up on her husband, Martha is surprised to see Lois Lane who arrived all the way from Metropolis…

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Lois Lane with Martha Kent and the recovering Jonathan Kent.

Let me get straight to the point about this Superman story…this is a very dramatized approach on bringing back Superman from the dead without necessarily going all-out. As we comic book geeks know by now, the Reign of the Superman events launched with this comic book serving as a launch pad and that meant that people had to go through many comic books before finally getting to see Superman himself in resurrected form.

More on the story itself, the main feature here is Jonathan Kent’s struggle to follow Superman in the dream-like realm (note: DC’s version of the afterlife which is clearly not spiritual) as he was motivated by his love for him as well as his belief that the world still needs the Man of Steel as their beacon of hope. To be very clear, Jerry Ordway and Tom Grummet nicely executed their presentation of Jonathan Kent and his uncompromising effort to get his son back. The creative team’s imagination really was set into high gear which resulted in Jonathan revisiting a familiar place from his old days as a soldier, getting himself into a lair of demons, flying deep into space and visiting the realm’s own version of Krypton. Very truly, this comic book’s protagonist is Jonathan Kent and the iconic Superman was more of a supporting figure.    

While the Jonathan Kent tale is good to read, Superman’s return from the dead here ended up more as a teaser of things to come (note: the Reign of the Supermen). Considering the big promise that came with this comic book, it is indeed a disappointing pay-off towards all the build-up. Not only that, the side stories are a mixed back. The respective scenes of Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen added weight to the narrative while the scenes of Gangbuster were pointless and looked more like hollow script filler. As for Cat Grant’s scene, it was designed to make readers feel sorry for her.

As for the scenes – each done by different creative teams – showing the new Superboy, the Eradicator, the black Man of Steel and the Cyborg Superman, these revelations really did not work to recover from the disappointing conclusion of the main story. They were more like creative distractions designed to promote what was coming in the other Superman monthly series of the time.

Conclusion

In the dreamy realm, Jonathan Kent pursues his adopted son Superman who gets treated like a living idol. The father-and-son dynamic is the most entertaining part of this tale.

Even back in the old days, Adventures of Superman #500 (1993) was a disappointing read and it was a highly dramatized effort by DC Comics cautiously expressing that Superman’s death was nothing more than a highly deceptive publicity stunt with Dollar signs in mind.

Within the context of this comic book, the resurrection of Superman was essentially a half-step and his eventual full return in comics did not happen until months later (note: after many Reign of the Supermen stories were published). More on the resurrection aspect of this comic book, I can clearly say that Superman – no matter how iconic he is and no matter what comic book creators tried – will never ever become a beacon of hope nor a true savior for people in real life. It really does not matter that many people bought copies of Superman #75 (the death) believing truly that they would witness the end of the American icon and witness a Superman-less future. What mattered here were the deception and the irresponsible use of a pop culture icon committed by DC Comics. Superman #75 (1993) was the gigantic deception that sold millions while Adventures of Superman #500 (1993) was the big follow-up deception.

The resurrection of Superman in this story does NOT make him a more significant DC Comics icon at all. I know that there are die-hard fans out there who love to compare the Man of Steel with Jesus Christ but such comparisons and forced attempts to link them together are pathetic and worthless. Superman is not real and even if he was, he could never overcome death nor could he save people. The resurrection of Lord Jesus can never be matched and only He saved people and led them to salvation in the presence of His Father, the Lord God.

By today’s standard, this comic book is much more disappointing and even worth less as a piece of American comic book history. While the work done by the Ordway-Grummett team here was not really terrible, it was the dishonesty and deception of DC Comics that led to this. In fairness to the creators, bringing back Superman after all the hype and belief invested related to his death was indeed a major obstacle for them. You could feel sorry for Ordway-Grummett.

Overall, Adventures of Superman #500 (1993) should be avoided. If you really want to read it, try borrowing a copy. Just don’t spend anything on it.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. 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 X-Men Adventures #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, superheo enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts, X-Men fans and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the X-Men Adventures monthly series which was the literary adaptation of the popular X-Men animated series of the 1990s.  

In my previous retro review, the X-Men encountered Magneto for the first time and things turned out for the worse for Charles Xavier’s team.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at X-Men Adventures #4, published by Marvel Comics in 1993 with a story written by Ralph Macchio and drawn by Andrew Wildman.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in a ruined place where Magneto floats in the air and below him are Cyclops, Storm and Rogue who are down and looked knocked out. It turns out Rogue is still conscious and as Magneto remains unaware of her state, she makes her moves to get Storm and Cyclops back up.

Knowing the risk of absorbing another mutant’s power by touching, Rogue executes CPR to revive Cyclops. Just moments after Cyclops gets revived, powerful beams of laser suddenly come out of Rogue’s eyes. As soon as the problem eased, Rogue then flies off towards Magneto in a mad attempt to tackle him…

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The encounter between Wolverine and Sabretooth is a must-read!

To get straight to the point here, this comic book tells two succeeding events starting with the encounter between Magneto and the X-Men. In reflecting Magneto’s first appearance in the animated series, this adaptation emphasizes the first time the X-Men encountered the master of magnetism but with the contemporary character designs and visual aesthetics of the era. On face value, the encounter here looks inspired by the X-Men Blue Team’s encounter with Magneto in 1991’s X-Men #1 but in reality this one was designed in accordance to the animated series creators’ way of establishing the start of the X-Men-Magneto rivalry. There is a good amount of superhero spectacle as Storm, Rogue, Cyclops and Charles Xavier each take turns on bringing down Magneto in their own unique methods. Of course, these developments helped emphasize how powerful Magneto really is.

The other half of this comic book tale focuses more on the presence of Sabretooth as a captive of the X-Men at their headquarters, as well as the eventual rivalry between him and Wolverine. It is during the heat of Wolverine’s encounter with Sabretooth that the dialogue became very rich and engaging to read as elements of their past together got raised, and Sabretooth’s observations on how the X-Men handled things became philosophical. I also enjoyed how the philosophical writing continued within Charles Xavier’s dialogue as he attempts to nullify the rage between Wolverine and Sabretooth.

As with his past works, the art here drawn by Andrew Wildman is very good and he even pushed the limits of on-page superhero violence during two key moments of the physical struggle between Wolverine and Sabretooth (which resulted in altered colors to avoid graphic violence).  

Conclusion

The encounter between Magneto and the X-Men was pretty engaging to read.

X-Men Adventures #4 (1993) is a solid read from start to finish. By the time I reached the final page, the comic book clearly marked the beginning of the rivalry between the X-Men and Magneto (in accordance to what was set up in the animated series). This comic book emphasized the rivalry further with the clever use of dialogue and visuals (complete with the strategic use of panels on the final pages), so much so there was this genuine feel of the start of a new age.

Overall, X-Men Adventures #4 (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. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

A Look Back at The Solution #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 fans, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts, Ultraverse fans and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the Ultraverse through the monthly series of The Solution. To be more precise, this review is about the 17th and final issue ever published.

In my previous retro review, The Solution daringly infiltrated a secret in Taiwan knowing that a major meeting between the heads of gangs will take place there. For Lela Cho/Tech, this is an opportunity for her to recover the company she lost to the Dragon Fang gang (read The Solution #6). Unfortunately for Lela and her teammates, the opposition were prepared for them.

With those details laid down, here is a look back The Solution #17, published by Malibu Comics in 1995 with a story written by the late James Hudnall and drawn by John Statema.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the arrival of the so-called lords of the Dragon Fang gang at the facility in Taiwan. As far as they know, The Solution has been brought down and the leader Lela Cho has been captured. They entered with a feeling of triumph only to see a large number of human bodies and severed body parts on the floor.

Inside, the insidious Casino has Lela Cho restrained helplessly on a high-tech chair. The Solution’s leader has been drugged by Casino who tells her that she (Lela) will be brought to some brothel in Thailand.

In another part of the facility, two armed guards approach the motionless body of Dropkick on the floor. Suddenly, The Solution’s martial artist moves and knocks the two guards out…

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A very vulnerable Lela Cho in front of Casino.

In consideration of the build-up that started in the few previous issues, this particular comic book proved to be a worthy pay-off complete with a few notable twists that surprised me. Without spoiling the plot, I can say that the story is intriguing, the spectacle is plenty and the creative managed to keep things fresh. Along the way, there is some really relevant story elements that will compel you to re-read the early issues of The Solution series, especially when it comes to Casino who previously encountered the titular team.

As a good-versus-evil story, this one does not go over the edge and it certainly is not brainless entertainment. There is a lot more behind The Solution’s conflict with the Dragon Fang gang here and the impact can be felt more by those who actually started reading this particular series from issue #1.

On the visuals, John Statema’s return here is a very welcome move simply because, in my honest opinion, his style and approach to art really defined the looks of both the series and The Solution itself.  

Conclusion

Shadowmage takes on the Commie from Cambodia.

Being the concluding issue of its own series, The Solution #17 (1995) is a solidly fun and intriguing read. Not only did it conclude the build-up that preceded it, it also encouraged revisiting the earlier issues of the series for a deeper understanding of the opposition forces such as Casino and the Dragon Fang gang. While this was the last The Solution series entry, there was a promise of further adventures as it was made clear that another “era” awaited Lela Cho and her team. Unfortunately, as comic book publishing history showed, The Solution as a publishing franchise came to an end as the Ultraverse itself faded to obscurity under the banner of Marvel Comics (which acquired Malibu Comics in 1994). Take note that The Strangers concluded without a really conclusive story (there were even art works for issues #25 to #27) and Prototype ended with a story that felt like a substitute issue. That being said, the only way to keep enjoying The Solution is by simply repeat reading the entire series as well as finding the team’s appearances in other Ultraverse comic books. In my view, The Solution is one of the very best Ultraverse teams!

Overall, The Solution #17 (1995) is recommended.

As this is end of my retro reviews of The Solution, posted below are images of fashion models whom I find suitable as cosplay photography models for Lela Cho/Tech and Shadowmage. Please tell me if the models looked their parts. Enjoy!

Model Saria Chen as Tech.
Saria Chen as Lela Cho in civilian form.
Model Shannon Barker as Shadowmage.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Superman #2 (1987)

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 and comic book collectors! Today we explore a key chapter in the post-Crisis era of DC Comics through a Superman comic book. This time, however, we go back to the 1980s, specifically the time when the legendary John Byrne led the direction of developing and modernizing Superman.

After the critical and commercial success of the 1986 limited series The Man of Steel led by John Byrne, the stage was set on telling more stories of what was back then the modernized Superman. In 1987, the monthly series simply titled Superman launched and its first issue had the Man of Steel up against Metallo (also modernized by Byrne). Just before that particular story ended, Metallo was taken away.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Superman #2, published in 1987 by DC Comics with a story written and illustrated by John Byrne.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside a high-tech facility of the powerful business tycoon Lex Luthor who has been obsessed with Superman since their first encounter. In the presence of many female employees (wearing suits, short skirts and high heels), he watches many huge monitors showing the image of a certain lady standing among bystanders.

His employee Amanda tells him that based on their computer-enhanced analysis of all available news footage of Superman in action, the lady in the monitor appeared in public and she first appeared with the crowds weeks after the Man of Steel prevented a space plane from crashing. Luthor begins to speculate the lady could be connected to Superman and tells two other employees to find her, and he would not tolerate any delays.

Luthor then faces Amanda, holds up her left hand with his two hands and tells her she may join him for dinner that evening. When Amanda expressed that she has a prior commitment (gently rejecting Luthor), Luthor discreetly hurts her hand forcing her to accept his invitation.

Luthor then enters a laboratory with his employees there wearing protective suits. Near them is the restrained body of Metallo whose metallic chest is open with a huge piece of Kryptonite (installed as his power source) fully exposed…  

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Superman and the tycoon Luthor.

Let me get straight to the point about this Superman story…this one has Lex Luthor as the main character with Superman having the supporting role. That is NOT a bad thing at all because John Byrne cleverly crafted the story showing how Luthor – who is no longer the criminal mad scientist of the previous multiverse of DC Comics – remains the most brilliant and powerful opposition that Superman cannot simply defeat. Being a billionaire, Luthor has vast financial, scientific and technological resources that enable him to overwhelm Superman and even get to the individual people that the Man of Steel cares the most. Luthor also is aware of how laws work and he knows that Superman’s dedication of following the rule of law is a weakness.

About Superman, this comic book shows the more human and more vulnerable side of him. You will the Man of Steel with a wide emotional range moving from caring to getting outraged within a few pages. Along the way, the hero’s secret begins to break down which alone would make you wish to help him. This is a clever portrayal of DC’s icon.

More on the plot itself, this comic book highlights Clark/Superman’s personal connection with small town sweetheart Lana Lang who ends up getting abducted and tortured by Luthor’s forces. Along the way, the breaking down of Superman’s secret identity was very well dramatized and the pacing was excellent. I should state that the ending is a must-see and surely it will make you realize the dynamics of absolute power.

Conclusion

The post-Crisis Lex Luthor is not only a brilliant super villain, he also has his own approach on socializing and getting results.

Superman #2 (1987) is undoubtedly very brilliant and great to read! From start to finish, John Byrne crafted a story that carefully balanced fantasy with realism while also emphasizing Luthor as the greatest enemy of Superman, as well as dramatizing the hero’s relationships with the Smallvile people of his past. Considering how powerful he really is, Superman here was portrayed to be at a major disadvantage against Lex Luthor in more ways than one. Luthor here is not just one very powerful tycoon, he is also one totally absolute danger towards others and he even has his own style of charisma. This is clearly a great way of modernizing the Superman-Luthor rivalry in the post-Crisis era and 1980s America in general. This is classic superhero literature that should be read!

Overall, Superman #2 (1987) is highly recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. 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 Superman: The Man of Steel #20 (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 early 1990s and explore a key chapter in the post-Crisis era of DC Comics through a Superman comic book.

Previously, I reviewed Adventures of Superman #498 (1993) which marked the first chapter of the Funeral for a Friend storyline and dramatized the impact left behind by the death of Superman. That particular comic book had strong writing and succeeded in dramatizing how Superman’s friends, associates and other characters coped with his death with the future looking uncertain to them.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Superman: The Man of Steel #20, published in 1993 by DC Comics with a story written by Louise Simonson and drawn by Jon Bogdanove. This comic book marked the third chapter of the Funeral for a Friend storyline.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with people in Metropolis struggling to move forward not only because their hero Superman died but also because of the tremendous damage left behind by Doomsday. In his headquarters, Lex Luthor is talking with the telephone surrounded by several people with Supergirl watching. The matter being discussed was the burial of Superman at Centennial Park particularly in a structure Luthor himself donated. While he has to live on with the fact that he failed to kill Superman, Luthor tells himself he can still bury him.

At the Kent farm far away from Metropolis, Jonathan and Martha Kent are agonizing not only because of the death of their beloved son but also because they realized they cannot even get near him at his funeral as it will be organized as a major event with only the important people allowed to attend…

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It seems like destiny to have the super villain Lex Luthor in the presence of a fictionalized Bill Clinton and Hillar Clinton during the funeral of Superman. By today’s standards, the Clintons made it normal for America to bow to terrorists and make deals with them. That being said, their inclusion in this comic book is just wrong.

To go straight to the point, like Adventures of Superman #498 (1993), this comic book continues to dramatize the impact of Superman’s death on Metropolis and its people in a very engaging manner. It shows that DC’s creative teams in charge of Superman comic book at the time were really organized and coordinated with each other on crafting the Funeral for a Friend storyline. What makes this comic book stand out is the funeral itself which was organized as a public event (with the burial itself done in the presence of important people – including a very evil couple from the Democrats who love abortion and terrorism) and this includes the presence of many other DC Comics superheroes like Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Maxima, Shazam (AKA Captain Marvel) and others. The burial had its own share of intriguing and dramatic moments emphasizing the people’s struggle to adjust themselves knowing they don’t have Superman anymore to help them.

Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Robin help out as the huge crowd became rowdy.

More on the post-death dramatization, the creative team managed to keep Superman’s associates Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and the other Daily Planet people feeling uneasy over the Man of Steel’s death which makes their work covering the funeral professionally a challenge. Unsurprisingly, Lois Lane gets her own fine share of the spotlight agonizing over the fact that she lost her beloved Clark (Superman to the public) whom she was supposed to get married with. The emotional struggle within her intensified as she experiences difficulty of informing the elderly Kent couple about what happened. This is rich writing prepared by the creators.

Not only that, the creative team also went all-out with dramatizing the impact of Superman’s good deeds on the people. You will see several people from Metropolis’ general population talk about how Superman helped them or inspired them. There are certain lines of dialogue that are quite touching to read.

Conclusion

A pretty powerful portrayal of Lois Lane’s struggle on dealing with the new reality that she lost her beloved Superman.

Superman: The Man of Steel #20 (1993) is another solid, post-death story emphasizing the new normal that Metropolis people and Superman’s friends are having difficulty adjusting to…a world without the Man of Steel. Based on the high quality of the storytelling and character development, it is easy to tell that the Superman titles’ creative teams planned ahead and prepared themselves for telling a post-death saga which was pretty risky given the iconic status of Superman and his decades-long legacy in comics and pop culture. This comic book really made Superman’s absence feel powerful and undeniable.

Overall, Superman: The Man of Steel #20 (1993) is recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. 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 Adventures of Superman #498 (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 early 1990s and explore a key chapter in the post-Crisis era of DC Comics through a Superman comic book.

To put things in perspective, the Death of Superman which climaxed in Superman #75 (1993) was a major comic book event published by DC Comics and it sure involved a whole lot of risks taken by the creative teams. To put the storyline’s concept short, Superman was beaten by an overwhelming, deformed alien humanoid from outer space who caused massive destruction around. Having no real choice and knowing that his fellow super-powered allies could not stand a chance against the alien called Doomsday, Superman went all-in fighting and stood up against him while defending Metropolis and its people. Superman #75 went on to sell many millions of copies and became an instant collector’s item.

Of course, just because Superman died does not mean that the shared DC universe at that time would come to an end and DC Comics had to keep on telling what happened afterwards.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Adventures of Superman #498, published in 1993 by DC Comics with a story written by Jerry Ordway and drawn by Tom Grummett. This comic book marked the first chapter of the Funeral for a Friend storyline.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins just moments after the Superman passed away in Lois Lane’s arms. Jimmy Olsen, the body of Doomsday and a few of Superman’s allies were near them. Bloodwynd and Dubbilex shared their respective findings that there is no life left in Superman. As emergency personnel slowly approach Doomsday’s body, Lois Lane turns emotional stating that someone has to do something for Superman. More emergency personnel arrive and attempt to revive the Man of Steel who remains lifeless.

Nearby, a man spots an unrecognizable human-like body among the rubble which turns out to be alive. Suddenly the red-headed tycoon Lex Luthor arrives to take care of the ruined being and walks away carrying it. Luthor refers to the being as a female…   

Quality

The Ordway-Grummett team should be recommended for this simple yet very dramatic look at the elderly Kent couple reacting to the death of their adopted son from Krypton.

As a post-death Superman story, it is clear that the creative team carefully explored how the many people of Metropolis would react to the sudden death of the Man of Steal while also leaving some room to set the stage to develop Lois Lane – who at this stage knew Superman’s true identity and kept it all secret – in a new way. There were also sub-plots started here particularly with Lex Luthor and Supergirl, the people working for the Daily Planet and the Kents (Clark’s earthly mother and father). The way all the dialogue and character expressions were crafted, there is an undeniable tone of discomfort and uncertainty which dominated the narrative as I read from start to finish.

What I liked the most about this story was how the creative team showed the heavy toll of Superman’s death on Lois Lane who not only has to deal with the loss of her beloved Clark (perceived by her peers to be missing as a possible victim of Doomsday’s rampage) but also do her best to keep working professionally as a journalist of the Daily Planet. I felt Lane’s pain a lot as I read on.  

Conclusion

Tension and emotions turned high in relation to Superman’s sudden death.

In my view, Adventures of Superman #498 (1993) is a really gripping and highly dramatic post-disaster superhero tale to read. The way it was made, it strongly kicked off the Funeral for a Friend storyline with high emotions as well as an understandable amount of uncertainty that can be seen in the characters. Understandably, there is no good-versus-evil conflict in the story nor any superhero spectacle to watch out for but the sub-plots implemented added some depth which made this post-death tale worth reading. More notably, the creative team succeeded in making the people – both in the story and the reading public – start missing Superman.

Overall, Adventures of Superman #498 (1993) is recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. 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 Harbinger #19 (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 early 1990s and explore a part of the Valiant Comics shared universe through the Harbinger monthly series.

In my previous retro review, the creative team of Fontenot-Simpson told another story that built up Harbinger’s concept some more while introducing yet another new character – Screen – who is not part of the team led by Sting. The story symbolically showed the further growth of the tremendous power of Toyo Harada not only through his control of the Harbinger foundation but also of his connection with the new United States President of the time. 

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #19, published in 1993 by Valiant Comics with a story written by Maurice Fontenot and illustrated by Howard Simpson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins on the afternoon of January 25, 1993. Inside the New York facility of the Harbinger foundation, a pretty blonde, young lady named Natalie Toynbee – codename: Stunner – gets scanned by the technicians handling the technologies. A technician’s request for Natalie to urinate into a cup reveals that the lady has a huge ego and pride of herself as she reacts negatively. 

Suddenly, the wall near Natalie and the technician got damaged by force unleashed by Sting who is accompanied by Faith, Flamingo and Shatiqua. Their mission is to free Natalie from the clutches of the Harbinger foundation which is a small part of their long-term vision of freeing and recruiting more powered young adults.

After subduing the Harbinger foundation personnel, Sting begins to explain to Natalie the situation and tells her to just trust him. Sting tells her to come with them which only drew more of Natalie’s ego along with skepticism. This reaction makes Faith think Natalie is not worth saving…

Quality

Imagine Iran invading America and causing terror like in this scene. Imagine Joe Biden and the Democrats allowing this to happen to Americans.

While the story was not crafted to follow-up closely on the events of issue #18, this comic book puts Sting and his teammates into a collision course with a new force of evil – the Iranians (note: issue #20 confirms their national identity) who have interests on specific young adults with powers and special abilities. Along the way, the Fontenot-Simpson team introduced a new sinister force in the form of a very manipulative Iranian named Kaliph.

Kaliph’s introduction here is easily the biggest feature of the story and he unsurprisingly overwhelms the debut of Natalie. Kaliph here works in service of his unidentified superiors and as he does his job, he uses his special ability of manipulating people’s minds through sight and sound to gain information, find directions, make them do his orders and gain access into places that he could never have had he been an ordinary person. By the end of the story, I was convinced that Kaliph was created to be an enduring or recurring villain for Sting and his team.

More on the primary characters of this monthly series, Sting and his teammates were portrayed to get more harbingers (powered young adults) to join them and become part of their long-term opposition against Toyo Harada and the Harbinger foundation, even though their own team lacks the resources needed to support themselves. The lack of resources was cleverly highlighted through Natalie’s reactions (related to her big ego) to what Sting’s team has for her to live with. Looking at the bigger picture going back to issue #1, Sting’s vision of defeating Harada and winning the trust of powered young adults without any solid foundation (specifically resources, connections and security) emphasize his recklessness and false sense of maturity as a team leader.

Conclusion

Kaliph and his companion arrive in America with a sinister plan.

In my view, Harbinger #19 (1993) is a solid change of direction for the monthly series complete with the introduction of a new, strong villain who originated from Iran which by today’s standards is the major force of terrorism in this world. The new villain Kaliph has a creepy aesthetic that other villains in this series lacked. More notably, the story remained consistently very engaging and pulled off some notable surprises which were indeed entertaining.

Overall, Harbinger #19 (1993) is highly recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. 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 Harbinger #17 (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 early 1990s and explore a part of the Valiant Comics shared universe through the Harbinger monthly series.

In my previous retro review, Sting, Kris and Shatiqua got into trouble upon seeing the traitorous Ax and his powered companions. Their encounter turned into a radically different turn of events when the Harbinger foundation’s armed personnel and Eggbreakers members arrived targeting Ax.    

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #17, published in 1993 by Valiant Comics with a story written by Maurice Fontenot and illustrated by Howard Simpson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the past – January 11, 1991 at the Woodville State Mental Institution in Pennsylvania. One of the local doctors leads two formal visitors into the secured room of one of their patients described as a “fascinating subject”. His name is Simon and the visitors turned out to be from the Harbinger foundation. They tell Simon, who is invisible, that the Harbinger foundation was established to help special people like him, help him understand and control his talents, and he will not be alone as the foundation has others like him.

In the present day of December 23, 1992, Faith is flying just above a truck which is slipping out of control along a major bridge in New Jersey. Sting is barely holding on the top of the truck. Being unable to utilize his power to control the situation, Sting instructs Faith to pull the driver out of the truck. Moments after Faith saves the truck driver, the truck itself stops but ended up hitting a vehicle.

As Flamingo uses her power to put out a fire, Kris finds Sting on the side of a car feeling terrible. Sting wonders what is wrong with him as he failed to stop the truck…

Quality

Even though he is already in a relationship with Kris, Sting focused on the blonde lady in the middle of a party.

I want to point out that this is yet another build-up type of story from Fontenot and Simpson, only this time it introduces Simon who is involved with the Harbinger foundation not as a trained Eggbreakers member but rather as a patient still relying on medical and psychological care. Through Simon, you will feel his loneliness, his trouble to fit in with society and his personal pain related to being unwanted. Through him, you will also realize that even though it has lots of resources and experts as employees, the Harbinger foundation is not the ideal replacement for Simon’s father (who rejected him in the first place). That should also remind you readers that government units also can never be your parent nor your guiding light no matter what socialists and Commies say in this age of Joe Biden and the fascist Democrats (read: the Satanic Left). Fontenot’s script here is, unsurprisingly, really strong and Simon’s introduction never felt like a throwaway piece.

Apart from Simon, Sting and his teammates got a lot more of the narrative’s spotlight this time around which is like a breath of fresh air since the previous two issues focused more on Harbinger and the Eggbreakers. Even though they are already dealing with their domestic problems, the primary characters still make efforts to solve problems and help others knowing that they would not be compensated by society.

More on character development, the team leader Sting continues to desire recruiting and helping powered young adults before the organization of Toyo Harada gets them first. This shows his arrogance and delusion as he rejects the reality that he and his team don’t really have the massive resources the Harbinger foundation has when it comes to recruitment and providing the constant needs of recruits. Furthermore, Sting does not even see his current problem (with his super power) as a hindrance at all when facing the Harbinger foundation.

Storywise, this comic book is more balanced with the spotlight on characters on the two sides of the spectrum with Simon being symbolically caught in the middle of the conflict. This is really solid storytelling.

Conclusion

Something’s wrong with Sting.

I like Harbinger #17 (1993) very much. What it lacks in spectacle, it bounces back big time with character development, deep dramatics and introducing a new character who gets connected with both Sting’s team and the Harbinger foundation. This story obviously keep on building up something for a future conflict between the two forces and already I am eager to find out what will happen in the next issue.

Overall, Harbinger #17 (1993) is highly recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. 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 Sludge #11 (1994)

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

Welcome back, superhero fans, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the Ultraverse of Malibu Comics and examine one of its many stories told through an issue of the Sludge comic book series.

In my previous retro review, a more character-driven story about Sludge was told as the city crime war story has ended. What made issue #10’s story standout was the unexpected physical change Sludge goes through which is something he had desired apart from wanting death. Ironically, this made him more vulnerable to physical attacks. Needing help on something, he reaches out to the New York Daily Globe’s reporter Shelley Rogers.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Sludge #11, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written by Steve Gerber and drawn by Robb Phipps.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Sludge about to engage in a physical battle with the Bash Brothers just outside the Lalama Clinic. Shelley Rogers is just standing nearby. The Bash Brothers proved to be troublesome for Sludge until Shelley explains to one of them that their mother was not harmed. The said mother comes out and after an exchange of talk between them all, they realize Sludge needs the help of Dr. Ferdinand Lalama who was involved with the Caldwell Pharmaceuticals which itself was responsible for the stuff that affected Sludge in the first place.

Shelley then notices that Sludge is reverting back to his previous gooey state. At the same time, Dr. Lalama made no communication for almost a week…

Quality

Something wild is about to happen.

As a story that started with Sludge needing to find a specialist to help treat him, this one went wild with the fantasy concepts. Without spoiling the plot, this wild ride has strong science fiction elements such as energy streaming and traveling to another dimension through a portal. The sci-fi elements are indeed a factor that made this tale of the search of Dr. Lalama a really intriguing read.

With regards to the titular hero, this story encourages researching details of his origin (how he went from human into a chemical being) as well as reading issue #1. Sludge himself is more vulnerable than before and the unpredictable changes with him added suspense to the narrative. This story also contains themes of scientific experimentation and molecular manipulation which were nicely planted into the story’s sci-fi aspect. That being said, I can say that what was explained near the end of the comic book was both intriguing and worth reading.

Conclusion

A really interesting discussion here.

Sludge #11 (1994) is indeed a really intriguing and entertaining read. Without spoiling anything, I can say that it cleverly answered questions about how Sludge came to be, what Zuke and a regeneration formula did to his state and what forces behind the pharmaceutical company took place that affected the titular character. This is really fitting as this comic book was the 2nd-to-the-last issue ever published. That being said, I can say that I am looking forward to what will be told in issue #12.

Overall, Sludge #11 (1994) is highly recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. 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 Harbinger #16 (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 early 1990s and explore a part of the Valiant Comics shared universe through the Harbinger monthly series.

In my previous retro review, the team of Sting, Faith, Flamingo, Kris and Shatiqua only had a minority of the spotlight as the plot was strongly focused on the Harbinger foundation and its team of powered young adults called the Eggbreakers who are trained and funded to do the dirty works of their founder Toyo Harada. The comic book was clearly building up the tension for future conflicts between the Harbinger foundation and Sting’s team, as well as solidifying the comic book series’ own place in the shared universe of Valiant Comics at the time.   

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #16, published in 1993 by Valiant Comics with a story written by Maurice Fontenot and illustrated by Howard Simpson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins on the evening of December 15, 1992. Sting, Flamingo and Shatiqua are inside the elevator and they have just been greeted by the traitorous Ax, two companions and a little black boy. As soon as he expresses his desire to squash Harada, Ax tells Roxy to strike Sting’s group with her bionic arm. Roxy misses and Sting uses his power to push her out with force which causes her male companion to fire his gun inside the elevator.

Sting uses his power to push away mechanical parts over their hands and then lifted himself, Flamingo and Shatiqua up the elevator shaft. Flamingo then uses her power to heat up cables to boost her group’s chance of escape. Shortly after coming out of the top of the building, the three flew and landed on the top of the next building. Sting then falls exhausted. Back inside, Ax and his team continue their pursuit of Sting, Flamingo and Shatiqua.

Elsewhere, Faith and Kris talk about the prospect of attending a Christmas party. Kris suddenly notices man in a trench coat standing outside of their home…

Quality

The Eggbreakers and an armed man who was once an Eggbreaker.

To be clear to all those reading this, especially fans of this comic book series, Sting and his teammates once again only got a minority of the spotlight as the story was written to show of the Eggbreakers as well as the other individuals who are not in league with Toyo Harada and his foundation. While the lack of focus on the main characters could be disappointing to the dedicated fans, this comic book’s script is still of very good quality.

That being said, there is some richness to the way Fontenot crafted the story with the goal of emphasizing the Harbinger foundation’s Eggbreakers and armed personnel plus Ax who opposes Harada as well as Sting and his teammates. Ultimately, the plot established that while the Harbinger foundation is the biggest and clearest danger within its own spot of Valiant’s shared universe, there are still powered young adults other than Sting’s team who oppose the said organization. This also shows that even though it has tons of financial resources, technologies and a lot personnel under the very powerful Harada, the Harbinger foundation still has a long way to go before it convinces all powered young adults to join its cause of world domination. In fact, the foundation has not done a good job trying convince the powered individuals to give up their respective lives and private affairs for the sake being part of the organization that is so capable of providing their needs and freeing them from society’s constraints.

The Eggbreakers, like in the previous issue, got developed further here. I noticed that the comic book creators have been building up Eggbreakers member Spikeman for something and he has some sort of personal connection with Ax. The mysteries about Spikeman added some suspense to the narrative.

Compared to the previous issue, the action and superhero spectacle has been ramped up here. You will see action scenes that would look good in an R-rated movie and there is also a rather gory scene that was surprising to see.

Conclusion

Faith and Kris were at home while Sting, Flamingo and Shatiqua were in the more urbanized part of the city.

Harbinger #16 (1993) is another really solid story of this comic book series. The creative team just kept on building up the people who serve Harada as well as the others who oppose him which unsurprisingly left Sting and his teammates with not a lot of spotlight. Clearly the team of Fontenot and Simpson were building up something for future stories and even managed to do some pay-off to certain elements that were built up in the previous issues. Ultimately, this comic book is a very intriguing and fun read!  

Overall, Harbinger #16 (1993) is highly recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. 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