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Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! In this retro comic book review, we will revisit The Strangers in one of their later stories published in 1995. In issue #18, things got more complex as The Strangers not only had a genuine opposition to deal with but also another group of individuals with varied powers. For this new review, the story took place even way after issue #18 as there was a 100-page finale that took place in Night Man Annual #1 and The Strangers Annual #1.
To find out what happened next to the superhero team and its members, here is a look back at The Strangers #19, published in 1995 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Steve Ellis.
The story begins in a private place where members of The Strangers each take time of silence across the floors. Noticeably absent was Atom Bob. Lady Killer recalls Atom Bob as her lover, their team’s brightest star and, unfortunately, a betrayer towards them all. She remembers several moments from recent times such as realizing Atom Bob’s desire to do something heroic, realizing that power to equal another one’s power is the better power, and the time he asked her to marry him. Deeply hurt by the betrayal, Lady Killer cries.
For his part, Grenade is feeling the anguish over the betrayal given the fact that they have been really close friends since childhood. When Grenade had trouble entering college, Atom Bob encouraged him to join him in enrolling at art school. The betrayal was so painful, he releases his anger using a bit of his power. A teammate appears behind him to try to talk sense to him…
Firstly, I should say that the writing done by Steve Englehart here is very rich with a strong emphasis on dramatizing the Strangers deeply. The dialogue written for each character reflects not only their emotions but also what is living within their respective hearts and what is in their minds. The character development is also rich and I love the way Englehart further developed the sister-brother-like bond between Yrial and Zip-Zap. As for Lady Killer, her pain will most likely resonate with readers who experienced betrayal and the loss of a loved one.
Secondly, the betrayal by Atom Bob really shows its emotional impact on the team. This one is not only a heavy burden on the characters but also a wave of shock via reading which long-time Strangers fans (who dedicatedly followed Atom Bob’s thoughts and exploits) can strongly relate with. Atom Bob’s overall value as a Strangers member is easily reevaluated in this comic book and his personal connections with Grenade, Yrial, Spectral, Zip-Zap, Electrocute and, most notably, Lady Killer are strongly emphasized. This should compel readers to revisit the early issues of The Strangers.
Of course, I should state that this comic book is not a pure emotion ride. There are still some scenes of action and spectacle that still make sense with the narrative. A certain character from The Strangers #4 makes a return here and another intriguing character appears here. They are both worth discovering.
The art done by Steve Ellis is very good, and his style is eerily very similar to that of Rick Hoberg. There were several images that reminded me of Hoberg’s take on each character.
There is no doubt about it. The Strangers #19 (1995) is another very good Ultraverse comic book to read and collect! Not only does it succeed in serving as the aftermath to the stories in in Night Man Annual #1 and The Strangers Annual #1, it also fulfilled its purpose in raising the stakes for the Strangers who are struggling with the pain and shock of Atom Bob’s betrayal. If you love character development, you will love this one.
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #19 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $11.
Overall, The Strangers #19 (1995) is highly recommended!
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