A Look Back at Mantra #8 (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, Ultraverse fans and superhero comic collectors! Today, we will revisit the Mantra monthly series again and it has been almost two weeks since my last Mantra review. For the newcomers reading this, Mantra’s mortal enemy is Boneyard who got involved in the Mantra-Strangers crossover (refer to The Strangers #13 and Mantra #12).

Before those mentioned stories took place, something else happened involving Boneyard. That is what we will find out in this look back at Mantra #8, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by John Statema (who was involved in UltraForce #2).

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in an unknown location with Boneyard who commands Notch to speak as his patience dwindles. Notch states that he has devised a plane to capture the ever elusive Mantra (male warrior Lukasz occupying the body of Eden Blake) involving a betrayal by a friend. Notch requests for a few troops and the custody of the creature in cell 13. Boneyard reacts by saying that if Notch succeeds, he will have Mantra after she has borne an offspring for him )Boneyard). Failure would mean Notch will become occupant of cell 14.

Elsewhere Warstrike (riding with a lady) drives his car fast getting away from the car of armed men chasing him. The chase ends with a crash of two cars freeing Warstrike. Some time later, Warstrike arrives home and to his surprise, Mantra is already there. He gets kissed by Mantra (emphasizing a touch of homosexuality) and asked about a change of her attitude. As it turns out, the Mantra who made sexual advances to him transforms into a grotesque creature with lots of tentacles. Warstrike then realizes it was not really Mantra at all. Eventually, the creature wraps itself all over Warstrike. Notch suddenly appears and blows a substance to him.

The next morning, Eden Blake/Mantra arrives at the office catching everyone’s attention due to her beauty and sexy outfit. Eden suddenly notices that everyone around looks like Warstrike. Suspecting that what is happening is the manifestation of magic, she goes to her office to find answers…

Quality

Even though she has magic, Mantra still is physically weaker which Lukasz has trouble adjusting with.

Getting straight to the point with regards to the story, this one has a nice mix of action, intrigue, suspense and the search for answers. It also pays attention to the very awkward alliance between Mantra and Warstrike. Warstrike was the last person to have killed Lukasz in his male form which led to him getting reincarnated as Eden Blake (displacing Eden’s soul) and in this story, you will see he even has sexual interest with her even though he knows Lukasz is occupying that beautiful body. This comic book also shows how powerful a villain Boneyard is and how his soldiers are willing to do his commands. With regards to the locations, I should state that the use of a fantasy-themed amusement park in the story is an excellent concept to emphasize this comic book’s fantasy elements.

When it comes to the art, it is no surprise that John Statema did a pretty good job in capturing the looks of Mantra and the related characters, and his pacing of the visuals is similar to that of Terry Dodson. Statema worked on several other Ultraverse comic books including The Solution #6 which looked great and his art really brought the script to life. Mantra, Boneyard, Warstrike and other relevant characters look recognizable with Statema’s style. The artist also excelled in drawing fantasy visual elements like magic, swords, armor, monsters, etc.

Conclusion

Eden Blake is the center of attention at the office.

I can clearly say that Mantra #8 (1994) is an entertaining comic book to read. It has a self-contained story that is very well told and John Statema’s art made it a lively read.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #8 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $26.

Overall, Mantra #8 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at The Strangers #17 (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, Ultraverse fans and superhero comic book collectors! We are about to return to the Ultraverse through The Strangers. Before doing so, I’d like to discuss one of their members named Elena La Brava AKA Lady Killer. Before the big incident that changed her life and those of her eventual teammates riding the cable car in San Francisco, Elena worked professionally as a fashion designer. She is quite resourceful, brave and organized. Apart from proving to be a very valuable member of the team, she has the special ability to track and this results helping her hit what she aims for. As seen in previous issues leading to issue #16, she has been romantically linked with Atom Bob and has struggled also on leading the team.

With those details mentioned, it’s now time to look back at The Strangers #17, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and illustrated by Rick Hoberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins at the headquarters of The Strangers. Spectral arrives late and apologizes to his teammates who are already feeling disturbed by the Pilgrim. Lady Killer makes an issue about Spectral’s tardiness and reminds him he has not seen the Pilgrim as he was absent. Spectral replied emotionally stressing that he had to attend to his private life.

When asked about the Pilgrim, Grenade replies that nobody knows who their antagonist is. In recent times, the team faced off with various costumed individuals in two encounters and the Pilgrim appeared each time and took them with him. Each time, the Pilgrim swore he would continue to get back at The Strangers until he builds up a team large enough to oppose them.

Knowing that the Pilgrim will keep coming back at her team, Lady Killer states she has a plan…

Quality

The start of a pretty solid battle between the Pilgrim and Atom Bob.

The writing for this comic book is, as expected, very strong and undoubtedly it is a great follow-up to what happened in issue #16. Instead of just another encounter between The Strangers and another antagonist which turns into an opportunity for the Pilgrim to come out and do his thing, this one has a lot more compelling stuff backed with surprise and intrigue.

Before the big conflict happened, this comic book showed more of Lady Killer’s intelligence and her ability to organize something that is believable to read. Atom Bob, who missed out on the battle of issue #16, is more involved in this comic book and his battle with the Pilgrim was not only heavy on the spectacle but also showed more of his capabilities and his willingness to achieve something.

Unsurprisingly, there is a lot of what I would call the usual visual goodness from artist Rick Hoberg here. He continued to show a consistent high level of quality when drawing the characters, their expressions and making the superhero action scenes look spectacular.

Conclusion

The Strangers meeting early.

The Strangers #17 (1994) is a very good read and what I love about it is that it further added to the build-up of the growing opposition against The Strangers while at the same time developing the core characters more. You will see more of Lady Killer’s leadership values here and eventually, you’ll admire her more. I should state that Rafferty, a serial killer in the Ultraverse, had a notable presence in this comic book and added some impact to the plot.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #17 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, The Strangers #17 (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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at X-Men #2 (1991)

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.

There is so much said about X-Men #1 of 1991 which was launched to major success by Marvel Comics selling at least eight million copies worldwide. That launch issue, written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Jim Lee, had multiple covers and a version with gatefold covers and high-quality paper which made it an instant hit with collectors chasing profit. In 2011, Marvel even released the so-called 20th anniversary edition of X-Men #1 which was digitally recolored.

In terms of substance, X-Men #1 marked the new era of the X-Men. Charles Xavier returned to his mansion to lead the X-Men which was so large as a group, it had to be divided into two team with Cyclops leading the Blue Team and Storm heading the Gold Team. In terms of publishing, Marvel published tales of the Gold Team in the Uncanny X-Men monthly series while the Blue Team’s stories were published in the adjective-less X-Men monthly series.

With all the attention paid to X-Men #1, I noticed that not too many people cared to talk about what happened after the end of that comic book. Without spoiling plot details, the massive seller of 1991 had its story end in a cliffhanger. To find out what followed and determine the quality of the creative team’s work, here is a look back at X-Men #2 published in 1991 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Jim Lee.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the fictional island nation of Genosha which has a legacy of mutant slavery. Having fought with the Acolytes (led by Fabian Cortez), the X-Men now face Magneto who arrived and tells them that he will not abandon the Acolytes.

“They acted in an excess of zeal. If so…I..and I alone..shall determine their appropriate punishment,” Magneto tells the team of Cyclops, Gambit, Beast, Wolverine, Psylocke and Rogue. Near them are other Acolytes members down on the ground.

After words spoken by Gambit, Rogue and Cyclops, Magneto referred to the devastation of the city hospital as fitting for punishing a state (Genosha) whose prosperity was built on the backs of mutant slaves. Beast answered back saying that the Genoshans have accepted responsibility for what they have done and resolved to make amends.

While Magneto replies to Beast, a military Genoshan helicopter gunship fires missiles at them from above which the X-Men’s archvillain intercepts. Using his magnetic power, Magneto lifts steal beams and destroys the helicopter with them. He then turns against the X-Men restarting the chaos in the city…

Quality

Magneto, Psylocke and Rogue in the middle of the chaos.

Being the middle of a 3-part story, this comic book pushes the entire X-Men group to the edge thanks to strong writing by Chris Claremont. I’m not simply referring to the traditional good-versus-evil formula of superhero storytelling as the story here emphasized themes about sanity, loyalty, legacy, idolatry and even diplomacy. It just so happens that there is a lot of superhero spectacle to enjoy here and there.

The stakes have been raised significantly in this story as Magneto is shown leading the Acolytes who in turn went ahead with their first mission which explains the chaos in Genosha. Magneto’s condition also deteriorates and gets himself healed by Fabian Cortez who is more sinister than what he seems. For his part, Charles Xavier of the X-Men gets to interact with his long-time friend Dr. Moira MacTaggert who is struggling with guilt from something she committed in the past. Through Magneto, Xavier and MacTaggert, there is this solid build-up of tension that led to a very powerful revelation in the 2nd half of the story which, ironically, put the X-Men on the sideline temporarily. There is high drama, deep tension and high intensity involving Magneto and MacTaggert, and their scene together is the highlight of the story.  

Conclusion

The face-off!

To put it straight, as much as I loved X-Men #1 (1991), I find X-Men #2 (1991) more compelling to read. For one thing, it rewards X-Men fans who dedicatedly followed the events of not only the X-Men but also of that of the life of Magneto. It’s really great that Chris Claremont literally dug up the past for details that proved to be useful in this comic book. It also nicely sets up anticipation of the next issue by involving the X-Men’s Gold Team. Unsurprisingly, with the combined talents of Claremont and Jim Lee, this is an excellent read that really looks great.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men #2 (1991), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $4 while the near-mint copies of the Chris Claremont-signed regular edition, the Chris Claremont-signed newsstand edition and the newsstand edition cost $9, $19 and $13 respectively.

Overall, X-Men #2 (1991) is highly recommended!

+++++

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

A Look Back at The Solution #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 Ultraverse fans and superhero comic book collectors! This is my continuing look back at spin-off tales connected to Break-Thru, the year-ending big crossover event of the Ultraverse which not only mixed the many UV characters together but also impact them.

This time, we examine events connected to Break-Thru in a story written by the late James Hudnall and told through the exploits and struggles of a superhero team (plus one major UV superhero) he handled – The Solution! Here now is a look back at The Solution #4, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Hudnall and drawn by Darick Robertson.

The cover.

Early story

Set a short time after the end of the Break-Thru-related Hardcase #7, the story begins in outer space. Inside a space craft heading towards the moon, Lela Cho/Tech records a new entry into her diary reflecting of how crazy things turned out for her and her teammates. On her end, she pursued getting her corporation back and then took a job that landed her on board a UFO. As it turns out, her team has been hired to find a mysterious object which might provide explanations as to why ultras suddenly appeared all over the world.

Considering the very high stakes of the mission, The Solution had to partner with Hardcase and his companion Choice. This is because they are trying to catch up with another team of ultras (composed of Trouble, Death Dance, Gate, Needler, Gun Nut, Book and Meathook) who were sponsored by Rex Mundi, the rival of The Solution’s client Regina…  

Quality

A nice shot of The Solution with Hardcase and Choice in space.

As this was a build-up type of story meant to connect and add depth to the Break-Thru crossover, the plot was pretty simple and yet it was loaded with a lot of engaging stuff. Given the fact that James Hudnall led the writing for both Hardcase and The Solution, I just love the way he had these ultra heroes interact with each and the way they learned to get to know each other and adjust with one another was done in believable fashion. To say that Hudnall knew the characters deeply and treated them like real people is pretty true.

As expected, there is a good amount of spectacle in the form of action scenes and the fun thing about it is that the battle took place in space. There were match-ups between The Solution’s members and the Rex Mundi-sponsored team which were short and yet filled with interesting banter and satisfying action.

Conclusion

A really nice interaction.

I can declare that The Solution #4 (1993) is more than just a build-up comic book leading to a much bigger event. The characterization as well as the interactions between Hardcase and The Solution members alone make this comic book a must-read. This comic book also works well to prepare you for the subsequent events that took place in Break-Thru #2.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Solution #4 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $26.

Overall, The Solution #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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Christian Music Appreciation: 247 365

Hey everyone! Welcome back to the latest edition of my Christian Music Appreciation (CMA) series. Previously I published CMAs of worship songs of the Australia-based Planetshakers Church and so far I’ve seen that their songs are not only greatly composed and very nicely performed, their musicians and creators are indeed anointed by God. For easy reference, check out my CMAs of How I Praise, So Good, Encounter Song and All.

For the newcomers reading this, Planetshakers was established as a church by the couple Russell and Sam Evans in Melbourne, Australia back in 2004 out of a deep desire to see more people encounter Lord Jesus. Before even the church’s establishment, Russell Evans had a radical encounter with the Heavenly Father and this compelled him to establish a conference called Planetshakers in 1997. That conference went on to become renowned for the passionate praise and worship done. The rest became history.

In this CMA, we are about to take a close look at one of Planetshakers’ recent worship songs which has been played a lot this year during their Sunday worship services. That song is called 247 365 (pronounced twenty-four seven three-six-five) and it is the opener of their brand new album titled Over It All. The said album – released November 6, 2020 – was recorded during the pandemic and for encouragement, Planetshakers referred to Psalm chapter 96 in the Holy Bible.

Going back to the song for review, Planetshakers confirmed (via the official description of the official music video also released on November 6, 2020) that 247 365 was birthed as a soundtrack to Psalm 118: 24 in the Holy Bible. It is a declaration to praise God all twenty-four hours each day, and for each day of the year regardless of what situation you are experiencing. For holy insight, refer to the different translations of the holy scripture below…

This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118: 24 (NKJV)

This is the very day of the Lord that brings gladness and joy, filling our hearts with glee.

Psalm 118: 24 (TPT)

This [day in which God has saved me] is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118: 24 (AMP)

Now that the holy inspiration for 247 365 has been made clear, below are the lyrics of the song. Follow it and enjoy.

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[VERSE 1]

What a beautiful day that You have made

I will praise ‘ya

What a glorious day that You have made

I will praise ‘ya

[PRE-Chorus]

Lord, I bless ‘ya

Lord, I bless ‘ya

In all things, my soul will sing to You

[Chorus]

Everybody sing

Everybody sing unto the king

Let the praises ring

Let the praises ring

It’s all for Him

It’s all for Him

[VERSE 2]

Every moment I wake

I’ll lift up Your name

I will praise ‘ya

Not a day goes by without lifting You high

I will praise ‘ya

[PRE-Chorus]

Lord, I bless ‘ya

Lord, I bless ‘ya

In all things, my soul will sing to You

[Chorus]

Everybody sing

Everybody sing unto the king

Let the praises ring

Let the praises ring

It’s all for Him

It’s all for Him

[BRIDGE – x2]

I got a 24/7, 365 kind of praise, yeah!

I got a love so deep

It’s flowin’ out like a river

[Chorus]

Everybody sing

Everybody sing unto the king

Let the praises ring

Let the praises ring

It’s all for Him

It’s all for Him

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Now we can start with the analysis of the lyrics. The opening lines What a beautiful day that You have made, I will praise ‘ya, What a glorious day that You have made, I will praise ‘ya can be easily traced back to Psalm 118: 24 in the Holy Bible. In my experience having attended many Sunday worship services at church, the words “the day the Lord has made” is occasionally repeated and our pastor emphasized that the day God made is one that should be treasured always as it is the time that we – children of God led by faith – must use in praising Him, honoring Him, thanking Him and exalting Him without any hesitation. It is also a day for us to rejoice in His presence. Also we must remember that when we attend worship service, gather together as a spiritual family (we are part of God’s family) and praise Him, we do it out of willingness and with firm decisions. Because really, worship of the Lord is not meant to be done by obligation and certainly not to be done out of tradition. That being said, He created us to worship Him, follow Him, be faithful (not religious) to Him and more. Praising the Lord is itself meant to enjoyed, hence the rejoicing. The Lord loves not only the faithfulness and willingness of His children, He also loves their cheerfulness.

Next are the following lines: Lord, I bless ‘ya, In all things, my soul will sing to You. While we His children are blessed, guided and protected, we should always bless the Lord in return. Take note of the holy scripture below.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places of Christ.

Ephesians 1:3 (NKJV)

The apostle Paul praised God for all the blessings He has bestowed on His people. The said blessings are ours because of our relationship with Lord Jesus. There is also the spiritual blessing which refers to divine privileges and resources available now. It is essential that we bless our Lord willingly and wholeheartedly.

Next lines to analyze: Everybody sing unto the king, Let the praises ring, Let the praises ring, It’s all for Him. Singing to the Lord is an expressive and lively way of praising Him. Refer to the following holy scriptures.

I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever; With my mouth I will make known Your faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 89: 1 (NKJV)

Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, And let Your saints shout for joy.

Psalm 132: 9 (NKJV)

Sing to the LORD a new song, And His praise from the ends of the earth, You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, You coastlands and you inhabitants of them!

Isaiah 42: 10 (NKJV)

The above scriptures are just a few of the many scriptures related to the singing to the Lord found in the Holy Bible. That being said, the lines of Everybody sing unto the king, Let the praises ring, Let the praises ring, It’s all for Him are indeed relevant and holy. Lastly, singing rises out of the essence of our souls.

Next lines to tackle: I’ll lift up Your name, I will praise ‘ya, Not a day goes by without lifting You high. As Christians, we don’t just keep on worshiping the Lord, we must also magnify Him. By magnifying the Lord, we can help Him save the many lost and unsaved souls living with us in this divided world. We can also help other Christians who are backsliding (losing their faith) and help them strengthen their faith and keep on being in the path of God and be with Him. Learn from the following scriptures…

Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His might firmament! Praise Him for His might acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness! Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp! Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!

Psalm 150: 1-6 (NKJV)

I refuse to be ashamed of sharing the wonderful message of God’s liberating power unleashed in us through Christ! For I am thrilled to preach that everyone who believes is saved—the Jew first, and then people everywhere!

Romans 1: 16 (TPT)

Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful. Praise the LORD with the harp; Make a melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy. For the word of the LORD is right, And all His work is done in truth. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.

Psalm 33: 1-5 (NKJV)

The final lines to be analyzed are as follows: I got a 24/7, 365 kind of praise, yeah! I got a love so deep, It’s flowin’ out like a river. The first line clearly reflects the title of the song. It essentially expresses unending endurance of praising, honoring and exalting the Lord. We don’t praise the Lord out of tradition nor obligation, rather we do it out of very deep love and a whole lot of heart. The last line referring to flowing and the river can be linked to the holy scripture below with the words of Lord Jesus…

On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

John 7: 37-38 (NKJV)

So there you have it! As I analyzed in accordance to what was written in the Holy Bible (God’s Word), 247 365 is indeed a very holy song and its lyrics were written by anointed people. Musically, the song is very hip and highly energetic. It is so energizing, it is ideal to motivate worshippers at church with it and it will help boost them to keep on praising the Lord, pursing Him and reaching up to Him even more! It’s no wonder why 247 365 was played a lot during Planetshakers’ Sunday worship services this year. I personally love this song. The worship song is indeed great and you should consider buying the album Over It All.

In concluding this article, embedded below is the official music video of 247 365. Watch it, enjoy it, share it to others via social media and praise the Lord with it. Keep on praising the Him and always remember to be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus!

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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. Sharing this Christian piece means spreading the good news of the Lord to others. It can help you save the unsaved and the lost souls out there.

If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at X-Men #25 (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.

As an X-Men fan, 1993 was a memorable year for me during my time of collecting comic books and enjoying what was believed to be the modernization of superhero comics in America. Gimmick covers of comic books, the post-event effects of the Death of Superman, the launch of the Ultraverse and then there was the 30th anniversary celebration of the X-Men which was wild.

To put things in perspective, Marvel Comics organized the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Spider-Man releasing lots of merchandise and, most notably, special issues of comic books that came with covers with holograms, more pages for content and a cover price that was more than double than what was normal (note: read my review of one of them). Such comic books were hot stuff for not only Spider-Man fans but also comic collectors who were often hunting for the next great collector’s item that would ensure them great wealth.

Marvel had the same business approach with the 30th anniversary of the X-Men, and there were multiple X-Men-related monthly series of comic book back then. X-Factor #92, X-Force #25, Uncanny X-Men #304, Wolverine #75 and Excalibur #71 all were released with covers with hologram cards on the front, more pages of content and inflated cover prices.

The one 30th anniversary celebration comic book of the X-Men that was most memorable to me was X-Men #25 (Volume 2) and to this day, its plot remains very memorable for its shock value. I bought my copy of this comic book at a store in BF Homes. With the history lesson over, he is my retro review of X-Men #25, published in 1993 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Fabian Nicieza and drawn by Andy Kubert.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the United Nations Security Council’s approval to initiate the alpha and beta parameters of the Magneto Protocols which literally sent waves from the White House to the Kremlin. A short time later, several satellites orbiting the Earth activate and linked with each other to form a protective mesh of electro-magnetic fire. This provokes Magneto (accompanied by Acolytes and Exodus at Avalon) to react by generating a massive pulse wave that affects the entire world. Even the Fantastic Four and Excalibur were not spared.

At the School of Gifted Children, Charles Xavier organizes an urgent meeting with the X-Men. Together they discussed the impact of Magneto’s pulse wave which not only rendered world’s mechanical and technological resources useless but also caused trouble (plane crashes, medical equipment failure, etc.) and deaths. For Xavier, the mere fact their team survived (aided by Shi’ar technology) is a mistake on the part of Magneto considering his capability to wipe out life around the world.

In response to Wolverine’s question, Xavier stated, “We do not have the luxury of time, nor the occasion for nobility…at this point, we are not fighting for the philosophy of a cause, a hope, or a dream, we are fighting for our very survival and if we do not win this fight, this planet will be irrevocably lost to us!”

Quality

The X-Men during their daring mission.

I can clearly declare that when it comes to the combined works done by Fabian Nicieza and Andy Kubert with the X-Men, this particularly story was not only the most ambitious collaboration of theirs but also their most compelling and finest work at the time of publishing. Very strong writing (top-notch characterization, plotting and pacing) and great art really defined this comic book!

Characterization is spot-on! Wolverine is arrogant and gritty as usual, Gambit is still the smooth-talker, Cyclops is the focused leader serving under Xavier, etc.

Without spoiling the major details, I can say that the shocking moments executed were greatly done not for the mere intention of shocking but to break new ground with regards to the characters of Wolverine and Charles Xavier. The first time I read this comic book back in 1993, I was really stunned with those particular scenes and I started to question Wolverine’s durability as well as Xavier’s sanity. And then there was the state of Magneto at the end of the story. The thing about the shocking moments was that there was an adequate amount of build-up leading to them and the pay-off was excellently done.

Conclusion

The immense power of Magneto.

There is no doubt in my mind that X-Men #25 (1993) is the true gem of the entire X-Men 30th anniversary celebration. The creative team led by Nicieza and Kubert really outdid themselves and what happened in this comic book had consequences that lasted for a good number of years. The creative team took big risks and pulled them off nicely as the impact of the story was eventually felt in the years that followed. Lastly, unlike Uncanny X-Men #304 (supposed to be the highlight of X-Men’s 30th anniversary celebration), this comic book is more focused and really had no creative baggage nor filler that got in the way of the storytelling.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men #25 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $50 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition is priced at $150. The near-mint copies of the signed-and-numbered edition and the gold edition cost $210 and $368 respectively.

Overall, X-Men #25 (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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Prime #15 (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.

Hey Ultraverse fans and superhero comic book geeks! For those of you who read several comic book of Prime, do you enjoy his struggles on setting things right? That is a theme that will be explored in this new Prime retro comic book review.

The good news here is that the legendary George Perez is involved. Now that the details have been set, here is a look back at Prime #15, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Len Strazewski and Gerard Jones, and art done by George Perez with ink work by Dennis Jensen.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Prime’s arrival at a creepy, old looking residence somewhere in Hollywood. He learned that inside the place is the secret headquarters of a drug trafficking operation that allegedly affected half of Los Angeles.

Previously, he beat up a man in front of several abandoned youth and left him bloody. Under intense pain, the man revealed to him where to find the drug trafficking operation leader as well as the parents of the youth. The boss was described as Papa Verite. The man told Prime he can find Papa Verite but cannot touch him.

As he walks towards the front door, Prime thought to himself: Maybe he thought I didn’t have the guts to hurt this “Papa.” Maybe he thinks Prime’s a nice boy, like he used to be! Maybe I should’ve hurt him worse to show him I’ve changed! I’m not just a freaked-out 13-year-old with an ultra-powered body anymore! I’m not just a helpless kid named Kevin whose dad ran out on him! I’m Prime! I can handle anything!

After breaking through the front door, what Prime discovers inside is very disturbing…

Quality

A rather disturbing scene since Prime is truly a teenage boy inside all that muscle.

Let me be clear from the start that, once again, the writing by Strazewski and Jones is very strong. To start with, the story has a theme about doing the right things (including helping others by means of getting rid of someone who made victims out of them) without consulting or informing the local authorities. In a way, Prime moved and acted like a vigilante facing criminal elements related to illegal drugs. There were also elements of military conspiracy, molestation and indecent relationship.

When it comes to characterization, it comes to no surprise that Prime (who really is a teenager inside his body) is pushed to the limits of his emotions with his ability to withstand pressure really tested by the presence of certain people from his past who haunted him. Prime is convincing when he is shown with the impulse and arrogance of a teenager who would not stop when he wants to set things right.

The art by George Perez, unsurprisingly, is great to look at. You won’t just see Prime and familiar characters drawn in high detail with the distinct art style of Perez here. What you will see is how creative the famous illustrator proved he is with the visual presentation complete with very expressive facial expressions. More on the characters, Perez also implemented horror elements to his drawings and he really succeeded in making some scary images here and there.

Conclusion

Striking art by George Perez.

This is a very solid read. Prime #15 (1994) is actually a horror themed tale laced with crime elements and drama all molded into a superhero story. There is an element of good-versus-evil here but in my view, it’s a dramatization of Prime being pushed to the limits of his emotions and his sanity. In a way, it is a stress test for the overly muscular major Ultraverse hero that happens to be quite engaging to read.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prime #15 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, Prime #15 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at RoboCop versus The Terminator #4 (1992)

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.

Hey fellow geeks and comic book collectors plus the fans of RoboCop and Terminator! This is it! I have finally reached the end of the 4-issue RoboCop versus The Terminator mini-series of comic books spearheaded by Frank Miller.

To give a recap without spoiling plot details, issue #1 was mainly a build-up issue which did not entertain on its own. In issue #2, there was a huge pay-off to the build-up and seeing RoboCop battle the Terminator was a grand spectacle! Issue #3 meanwhile saw some very daring creative twists taken that further mixed elements of the respective Terminator and RoboCop universes together which ultimately served as a build-up for what could be a potential epic in the comic book featured in this review.

Is the build-up worth it? Did the issue #3 twists pave the way for something memorable? We will all find out in this look back at RoboCop versus The Terminator 4, published in 1992 by Dark Horse Comics with a story written by Frank Miller and drawn by Walt Simonson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins again in the dark future when the world is ravage by the war between man and machines. As the human resistance falters, the machines of Skynet march further toward their prey. Suddenly, RoboCop flies in and hits them with a very powerful rocket.

Inside a cybernetic hideout, a familiar short-haired lady gets shaken by the blast. As a result, she will not go back in time and will no longer try to kill RoboCop. On the monitors, she watches the armed cyborg cop destroy Skynet’s troops and saved the human resistance from certain death.

Shortly after, the human warriors take a much-needed rest. Feeling restless, the lady warrior approaches RoboCop privately and states that she figured he is not a Terminator. RoboCop, whose helmet was taken off showing his human face as officer Murphy, pets a dog as the lady approaches them.

It turns out the lady’s name is Flo (short for Florence) and she starts conversing with him peacefully. She then starts trusting RoboCop, even resting by his side. RoboCop, however, knows what has been going on that the humans don’t and he knows that Skynet and its army of Terminators acknowledge him as their creator. How his decision to help the human resistance in the war against the machines will turn out remains to be seen.

Quality

Another twist, another scenario for the war between man and machines.

When it comes to its story, Frank Miller really exerted efforts to give this comic book’s final conflict an epic presentation which is no surprise since the stakes were already raised as a result of the big twists in issue #3. Epic concept aside, the concept of RoboCop helping the humans fight Skynet is indeed awesome and daring to see. There is one additional idea Miller came up with which raise the stakes even further in the war, and what that idea was about is something you readers should find out on your own by getting a copy of this comic book.

If there are any weaknesses here, it’s the presentation of the concept of time travel and time distortion which, even in this concluding part of the mini-series, remains used to justify scenario twists. As a result, the ending of this comic book made the whole conflict look and feel like a twisted, wild dream. Another thing to point out was that Skynet, even in its cybernetic form, was portrayed with human-like patterns and even tried to reason with RoboCop. This one weakened the Terminator concept a bit. Still, the series ended with enough satisfaction for me.

Conclusion

RoboCop and the human resistance.

RoboCop versus The Terminator #4 is worthy conclusion to its mini-series. On its own, it had an epic concept and the creators really did what they could to raise the stakes of the conflict as well as raising the quality of their presentation. When it comes to combining the creative elements of the Terminator and RoboCop franchises, Miller did a solid job. It’s just that time travel and time distortion were used to create new scenarios once again in this particular comic book which I found unnecessary. On the bright side, this comic book is loaded with lots of action scenes and the quality of the dialogue was improved.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of RoboCop versus The Terminator #4 (1992), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of this comic book costs $10.

Overall, RoboCop versus The Terminator #4 (1992) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Giant Size Freex #1 (1994)

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

Hey Ultraverse fans! Are you looking for another crossover between one team and one of the major heroes? Try this: Freex mixing up with Prime in his radical 1990s form. By this time in the publishing history of Malibu Comics, Prime was destined to be a major part of the superhero team UltraForce while Freex went through some dramatic changes along the way. As for making the Freex-Prime crossover materialize, Malibu Comics went on to publish a standalone comic book with a $2.50 cover price.

With that being said, here’s a look back at Giant Size Freex #1, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story by Gerard Jones and drawn by Scott Kolins.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins Prime already in conflict with Lewis/Anything, Valerie/Pressure, Michael/Plug, Angela/Sweetface, Cayman and their recent companion referred to as the Old Man. As the Old Man restrains Valerie from using her steam-sourced power on the muscular hero (who is teenager Kevin Green inside), Prime gets hit by Cayman while being restrained by Sweetface. Prime strikes back at Cayman and grabs Sweetface by her tentacles putting the pressure again on Freex.

Eventually Prime gets electrocuted and things slowed down. This paves the way for Prime and members of Freex to talk reasonably. Lewis explains that sixteen years prior, several infants were injected with Wetware by a nurse referred to as Wetware Mary. This resulted them having different powers or abilities but this also caused them some pain as the said powers were not only hard to control but also deformed them. While they have powers, they became freaks of local society and had no choice but to keep moving to different locations and engage in stealing food and other items.

And then Contrary and her academy of the new elite gets mentioned…

Quality

Contrary and the past recalled.

In terms of storytelling, this comic book succeeds in two things: telling another creative crossover between one major Ultraverse hero and one major team with a memorable adventure together, and establishing literally the building blocks for UltraForce (note: Gerard Jones also wrote the said superhero team title).

What I enjoyed most here is that the very strong writing clearly defined the characters deeply. Here is Prime (teenager Kevin Green) relating to the plight of Freex (composed of teens and young adults) but decides to keep on pretending he is an adult capable of helping those who are struggling. There is also the Old Man who has lived long enough to see ultras exist through the centuries and by being with Freex, he is giving them something they terribly lacked: guidance and direction. In some ways, the nomadic Freex give Old Man renewed purpose while Prime sees new opportunities to do good by helping Freex. It’s also intriguing to see the overly muscular hero witness the team being hunted by armed groups.

I should also mention that, in addition to the literary feature, there is also a short feature about Contrary and how Pixx (the lone teenage girl of UltraForce) first got involved with her. It was indeed a short yet engaging read.

Conclusion

Prime and Freex plus the Old Man together.

Giant Size Freex #1 is a pretty good comic book that will appeal to fans of Prime, Freex and UltraForce. Very well written and nicely presented were the stories. There was nice balance between exposition and spectacle.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Giant Size Freex #1 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $26.

Overall, Giant Size Freex #1 is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Prime #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.

“I’m Prime. The real Prime!”

Those were the words Prime said in conflict involving the American military and Firearm (another Ultraverse main hero) as told in the pages of Prime #10. It was also at that same moment Prime appeared in a totally new look, a look so radical a change! Instead of heaving a clean haircut, he has long hair with a spiked headband. Instead of a cape (the most traditional part of superhero costumes), he wore a V-shaped shirt and chains.

To put it short, this was Prime’s new look in the Ultraverse (note: he appeared already like this in the early issues of UltraForce in 1994) and we will find out how people will react to his appearance in this look back at Prime #11, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Len Strazewski and Gerard Jones, and drawn by the late Norm Breyfogle.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Prime flying over the Sunset Strip. There he visits a night club filled with a lot of people drinking, dancing and socializing while a live band performs for them. Prime easily catches people’s attention as he walks to the bar thinking how as his real self (teenager Kevin Green) could never go into a place like the club. As he is about to order an alcoholic drink, a pretty lady tells him to buy her a drink which compels him to say he left his wallet.

As they drink and socialize, Prime begins to enjoy the lady’s way of flirting with him. Suddenly a Hollywood celebrity (Justin Kuttner who appeared in Hardcase #1) interrupts them by confronting the lady. As the tension rises between the two, Prime intervenes a strikes Justin away from the lady. Justin gets up and prepares to fight Prime no matter the odds…

Quality

Prime in California.

There is a lot more in this comic book than simply showing Prime with his new look. To say the least, the story, dialogue and characterization are all very well-written. Even though there is a lack of a conflict between Prime and someone bad (note: Prime just got freed from the military’s grasp), the strong writing made this a character-driven piece that focuses more on Kevin and how his dual-life continues to impact himself and his family.

The biggest attraction in this comic book is the flashback showing the events that led to establishing the origin of Prime. This alone justifies acquiring this issue.

Conclusion

The money shot!

Prime #11 is a solid old comic book worthy of inclusion in anyone’s collection of Ultraverse and Malibu Comics-published issues. It does not have the expected good-versus-bad battle but it still managed to have some scenes of spectacle and its characterization makes it a must-read.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prime #11 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $26.

Overall, Prime #11 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

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