Better than Streaming: Another 4K Blu-ray of Terminator 2: Judgment Day coming out December 6, 2021 (for the British market)

Welcome back, fellow geeks, film enthusiasts and Blu-ray/4K Blu-ray collectors!

If you are based in England and you love the works of Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron, as well as the bastardized Terminator film franchise, then you might be interested in the just announced new 4K Blu-ray of Terminator 2: Judgment Day coming from StudioCanal which you can order online right now for £60.00. It is set for a December 6, 2021 release as of this writing.

Coming out this December.

To be more specific, this newest 4K Blu-ray of the 1991 blockbuster film is a commemorative edition highlighting its 30th anniversary.

Posted below are key details of Terminator 2: Judgment Day 4K Blu-ray combo from its Blu-ray.com page.

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)

HDR: HDR10

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Audio

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

English: Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles

English SDH

Discs

4K Ultra HD

Blu-ray 3D

Blu-ray Disc

Five-disc set (1 BD-66, 2 BD-50, 2 LPs)

Packaging

Slipbox

DigiPack, Inner print

Playback

4K Blu-ray: Region free

2K Blu-ray: Region B

And here are details of the special features and technical specs from the Blu-ray.com announcement…

  • PREVIOUSLY COMPLETED 4K RESTORATION OF THE FILM
  • T2: Reprogramming The Terminator documentary (including exclusive interviews with James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong and many more) – 55 mins
  • 2 Feature Commentaries; 23 Members of Cast & Crew (1993)/Director James & Co-Author William Wisher
  • The Making of T2 (1993)
  • Seamless Branching Of The Theatrical Version (137 mins approx.)
  • Special Edition Version (154 mins approx.)
  • Extended Special Edition Version (156 mins approx.)
  • 2 Deleted Scenes With Audio Commentary
  • Trailers – T2:3D (2017)
  • T2 Theatrical Trailer ‘This Time There Are Two’/’Same Make New Mission’/’Building The Perfect Arnold
  • Optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature

Extra stuff and fine packaging aside, the above-mentioned “PREVIOUSLY COMPLETED 4K RESTORATION OF THE FILM” confirms that the new 4K Blu-ray will not have a brand new remaster which alone concerns me as a collector and fan of the movie. I’ve read Blu-ray.com’s review of the previous 4K Blu-ray of Terminator 2 (the product released by Lionsgate Films) which rated its 4K video quality with a score of 2.5 out of 5 while the 2K video quality was rated 3/5. In that same review, it was mentioned that there was a near absence of film grain and an altered color palette resulting “a kind of greenish-teal tone to several scenes that never had them before.”

Personally I’m not too confident about this upcoming release from StudioCanal. The picture quality for 2K and 4K viewing should be nothing less than excellent. As for you movie fans and Blu-ray collectors reading this, you will have to do your analysis before making the crucial decision to buy this 4K Blu-ray of Terminator 2.

For more entries of my Better than Streaming series of articles, check out my pieces on The Beastmaster 4K Blu-rayThe Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-rayMortal Kombat 2021 4K Blu-raySpace Jam 4K Blu-rayV: The Original Miniseries Blu-ray (read my retro review), V: The Final Battle Blu-rayHighlander 4K Blu-rayThe Suicide Squad, Super Dimension Century Orguss Blu-ray, Unbreakable 4K Blu-ray, Injustice 4K Blu-ray and The Suicide Squad 4K Blu-ray.

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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. 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

If you wish to join a group of movie enthusiasts and talk about cinema, visit the Movie Fans Worldwide Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/322857711779576

Better than Streaming: Super Dimension Century Orguss complete series coming out on Blu-ray format on September 28, 2021

Welcome back to this latest edition of the Better than Streaming series! If you are fond of 1980s anime, especially with productions by Studio Nue (the same studio behind Super Dimension Fortress Macross), then you should be delighted to know that the entire Super Dimension Century Orguss series is coming out on Blu-ray format on September 28, 2021 and you can order it online right now!

The Blu-ray cover.

Handled by DiscoTek Media, all 35 episodes will be compiled and presented in high-definition complete with Japanese dialogue (with English subtitles). There will also be 17 episodes dubbed in English which I believe were produced at a time when U.S. Renditions still existed. As of this writing, the price is around $70.

To put things in perspective, posted below are details from the Blu-ray.com page of Super Dimension Century Orguss. Some parts in boldface…

Video

Codec: TBA

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Original aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Audio

Japanese: LPCM 2.0

English: LPCM 2.0

Subtitles

English

Discs

Blu-ray Disc

Three-disc set (3 BD-50)

Packaging

Slipcover in original pressing

Playback

2K Blu-ray: Region A

Description

Today, Kei Katsuragi‘s only concern is the love of his life. It doesn’t really matter to him that he has more than one love – after all, as a pilot for the Freedom Space Corps, he might be dead tomorrow! In the future, war has changed, and Kei is all too familiar with the horrors it can bring. Atomic, biological, and chemical weapons are all in use, but even worse than those are the dimensional weapons, ordnance capable of tearing apart even time and space!

As it happens, his next mission involves one of these terrifying weapons, the latest risky gambit in the war over the space elevator on Earth. Fleeing from the warmth of his lover (and her father’s gun) to the coldness of space, Kei fights to protect a team of engineers as they arm the dimensional weapon on-site. But when they get orders to pull out without detonating the bomb, Kei disobeys, unwilling to make the sacrifices of the day meaningless. His brash actions have dire consequences beyond just a big kaboom, as that explosion flings him into the future!

There, Kei finds himself caught in an entirely different struggle between the militaristic Chiram and the mercantile Emaan – with himself as the prize! Will this womanizing hot shot pilot make it back to his own time, or is there something more to Kei being the “singularity”?

Here is something for long-time Orguss fans as well as for those who are about to discover Super Dimension Century Orguss for the first time.

I personally am interested in this upcoming multiple-disc Blu-ray set of Orguss. For one thing, I actually saw its sequel Super Dimension Century Orguss 02 first way back in the mid-1990s and learned that there is a storyline gap of two hundred years between them. It was only a few years ago I got to watch some English-dubbed episodes (done by U.S. Renditions) of Super Dimension Century Orguss and found its sci-fi concept really intriguing. It was also a fresh change of pace as well as a different type of immersion after I indulged myself with Studio Nue’s most famous works related to the Super Dimension Fortress Macross franchise (read my retro review of Macross: Do You Remember Love?).

Anyone who saw Macross first will realize certain common visual elements between it and the Orguss TV series (1983-1984) which should be no surprise since they are both Studio Nue productions. Even notable Macross female characters had cameo appearances in the early Orguss episodes. It is also a fact that prolific anime director Noboru Ishiguro worked on the Super Dimension Fortress Macross TV series, the Super Dimension Century Orguss TV seriesand the feature film Macross: Do You Remember Love?

Going back to the future Blu-ray release of Orguss, I am hoping that the image quality will be good apart from being presented in high-definition. As it is decades-old anime series, its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 will still be retained and that means you will see thick, black borders on the left and right sides of the screen. As for the colors, I hope the technical crew will enhance the colors a bit to be presentable in HD.

The signature robot in the Orguss series.

Once Super Dimension Century Orguss comes out finally on Blu-ray disc format on September 28, 2021, only then we will find out how good the visuals and audio will be. Stay tuned for more right here!

For more entries of my Better than Streaming series of articles, check out my pieces on The Beastmaster 4K Blu-rayThe Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-rayMortal Kombat 2021 4K Blu-raySpace Jam 4K Blu-rayV: The Original Miniseries Blu-ray (read my retro review), V: The Final Battle Blu-rayHighlander 4K Blu-ray and The Suicide Squad.

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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. 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

If you wish to join a group of movie enthusiasts and talk about cinema, visit the Movie Fans Worldwide Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/322857711779576

A Look Back at The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? (Sega Saturn, PlayStation)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from playing The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? video game 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.

If you have been reading my Macross-related articles over the past few years, you should know already that I deeply love watching Macross: Do You Remember Love?, the classic anime feature film co-directed by Noboru Ishiguro and the legendary Shoji Kawamori.

Like many other entertainment franchises in Japan, Macross also has video games based on its stories and concepts. During the fifth generation of video game consoles, Bandai released in Japan the video game adaptation of the 1984 anime movie on the Sega Saturn in 1997 and the Sony PlayStation in 1999. That game was titled The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? and I played that 2D side-scrolling shoot-them-up game a lot during the time when 3D polygons was already the standard.

Considering its age, it is easy to wonder if the game is still fun to play by today’s standards and if the game is something that Macross fans can enjoy a lot. We can all find out in this look back at The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love?

Sega Saturn version in 1997.
Sony PlayStation version in 1999.

Early story

The story begins at sea. A Valkyrie piloted by Hikaru Ichijyo (the late Arihiro Hase) launches from the aircraft carrier Prometheus to join his teammates Max and Kakizaki led by Roy Fokker (Akira Kamiya). Suddenly a powerful beam of energy from above hits the aircraft carrier clearly showing that their world is under attack by the Zentradi.

They proceed to South Attaria Island where they immediately engaged the Zentradi forces that ravaged the city and causing trouble for the SDF-1 (Macross). After defeating several Zentradi elements, the remaining Skull Squadron forces flew to the Macross (which just launched into the air) which executes a space fold just moments before even more laser blasts from the Zentradi destroyed the entire island.

Sometime later deep in space, thousands of civilians managed to adjust to living inside the Macross. As Lynn Minmay’s (Mari Iijima) first concert happens inside the fortress, Hikaru, his teammates and many other fighters engage in a mission against the Zentradi…

Quality

Just like in the movie!

To comment on the quality of this old video game, I’ll focus on gameplay and presentation.

As far as gameplay goes, Macross: DYRL is essentially a 2D side-scrolling shooter literally designed to be grand not only for Macross fans but also for gamers who enjoy its design and its type of gameplay. You play as the hero Hikaru who pilots an advanced fighter plane that can also transform into an armed fighter with legs (GERWALK mode) and also into a full-sized, human-like robot (Battroid). In fighter mode, you move fast and are able to fire rockets or use your default gun. In GERWALK mode, your speed is slower but you have improved mobility that can be crucial for combat. In Battroid mode, your speed is reduced further but you are somewhat stronger and more precise when it comes to shooting enemies.

Still on gameplay, the game developers really pushed the envelope in terms if immersion as there are lots of moments in which the enemies will not only face you on your 2D plane but also move around you from the foreground to the background. Without having to do anything further, your character will be able to auto-aim and shoot at your enemy whether in the background or the foreground. Essentially, this makes the game a 2.5D shooter.

This is a fine example of you (in your 2D plane) firing at your enemy in the background.
In key parts of some levels in the game, the UN Spacy will send a shuttle to release supplies to help you replenish your shield meter.

The controls are relatively easy to learn and get adjusted to. More importantly, the controls are very responsive and they are ideal when it comes to precision on moving your character around as well as trying to shoot at specific targets.

This game was designed with several levels for you to complete essentially moving from left to right. As evidence of the game developers taking liberties during its adaptation of elements from the 1984 animated movie, several levels have boss fights for you to participate in and win in order to progress. These boss-type enemies are noticeably absent from the movie and yet they were designed to integrate into the film’s concept and also expand the concept about how elaborate the Zentradi are when it comes to their war machines against Earth. The boss-type enemies (note: they are clearly polygonal and yet they fit in well with the 2D sprite elements) are huge machines designed for space battles and there were boss fights in which some of them move into the background (which sparks moments for your character to fighter towards the background). When it comes to artificial intelligence (AI), the boss-type enemies are not really that sophisticated with their movements although a few of them have attack patterns that will push you to be more evasive and more strategic.

Before starting a level, you can select your weapons that can function depending on your personal preference on taking on the enemies.
Lots of great visual effects and 3D movement add to the challenge.

With regards to challenge, some parts of this game took me a few repeats before finally improving myself enough to make it to the next levels. The visual elements of the game also added to the overall challenge as seeing 2D sprites move around you 3-dimensionally.

Speaking of 2D sprites, it is clear that this game was designed to be heavy with 2D visual elements while 3D polygons are used sparingly (note: the boss battles mentioned above). As this is a side-scrolling game, the game makers clearly made lots of sprites of machines, space ships, Zentradi battle pods and other figures that Macross fans would easily recognize. The good news is that each 2D sprite was made with multiple frames of animation (complete with frames meant for 3D movement) and were made to really resemble the cinematic artworks which ultimately results making them really look lively to watch on-screen!

As for the presentation, I can see that the game developers Scarab paid great attention to the details of the animated movie to make The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? fun and engaging for gamers in general while also becoming strongly relevant and delightful with the people who love Macross. For example, the game starts with a cinematic prologue composed of brand-new animation cels mixed with elements of 3D polygons and in my view, it fits in nicely leading to the actual cinematic opening of the movie from 1984. The cinematic prologue was meant to expand the film’s overall concept and other story expansions happened in subsequent parts of the game (such as the all-new mission told in two levels).

Observe the Zentradi surrounding Roy Fokker on his 2D plane, the foreground and background. This is a 2D sprite-heavy showcase!
The game developers paid close attention to the details of the movie and presented the visuals using video game graphics, 2D sprites and really nice in-game background artworks!
Surprise! You as Hikaru get to fight Milia temporarily before her memorable fight with Max happens!

The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? came with selected animated sequences and still images from the 1984 movie’s very own footage meant for in-game storytelling (note: you still have to watch the movie for the best immersion). As there were some original scenes made for the game with expanding the film’s concept in mind, there are a few computer-generated animation sequences and even brand-new animated cels (note: very clearly they were drawn by people different from the ones who drew the film’s footage) showing some character moments.

When it comes to the audio, this game is clearly a labor of love with Macross fans in mind. Much of the music, songs and sound effects from the movie (as well as from the 1982-1983 anime TV series) were integrated into the game which made it very immersive for Macross fans. As for the voice actors, fans will hear the voices of their favorite Macross characters performed by the late Hase, Iijima, Kamiya, Mika Doi (Misa Hayase), Michio Hazama (Captain Global) and more. While some of their recorded lines from the movie were reused (especially Hase who died in 1996), others recorded new lines for their respective characters for the new cinematic footage as well as key parts in the game.

The art of Lynn Minmay for the new anime footage was clearly not drawn by the people behind the 1984 anime movie.

What I love best about the presentation is that the game developers replicated selected scenes from the 1984 movie using in-game graphics and art along with music, sound effects and the lines of dialogue! As a Macross fan myself, the immersion was pretty deep as I played the game and witnessed those special moments from the movie played within the in-game presentation.

Conclusion

Enjoy looking at this.

I can declare out loud that The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? is indeed the best Macross video game I have ever played as well as the best adaptation (note: other than film) of the classic movie from 1984. This game, which excellently used 2D sprites and 3D polygons all throughout, was very clearly made to delight Macross fans while giving gamers something very enjoyable and memorable to experience. For the best immersion, it is highly recommended to watch the movie before playing this video game. Truly this video game has aged well!

Overall, The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? (Sega Saturn, PlayStation) is highly recommended!

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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. 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

Better than Streaming: The Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-ray coming out soon

If you love the Transformers in hand-drawn animation and if you have a 4K Blu-ray collection to build up, then you should be happy with the news that The Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-ray will be available for purchase in a few months’ time.

The said 4K Blu-ray release (which also contains the Blu-ray for 1080p viewing) is from Shout Factory, a company that is well known for releasing Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray discs of movies loaded with lots of extra stuff that make them very ideal for collecting.

The SteelBook edition.

So what exactly will you be getting with The 4K Blu-ray combo of The Transformers: The Movie? To put things in perspective, here first are the technical specs from the Blu-ray.com page

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)

HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Audio

English: Dolby Atmos

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Subtitles

English SDH, Spanish

Discs

4K Ultra HD

Blu-ray Disc

Two-disc set (1 BD-66, 1 BD-50)

Playback

4K Blu-ray: Region free

2K Blu-ray: Region A (B, C untested)

The Autobots and Dinobots in a scene in the movie.

Now here is an excerpt from another page at Blu-ray.com that shows what you can expect from the new release.

Shout Factory will also issue two additional 35th anniversary editions of THE TRANSFORMERS – THE MOVIE —a standard 4K Blu-ray + Blu-ray combo pack, and a Blu-ray + DVD combo pack. THE TRANSFORMERS – THE MOVIE 35th Anniversary Edition 4K Blu-ray + Blu-ray combo pack includes the all-new 4K transfer of the movie in widescreen alongside the HD full frame version and new bonus material. THE TRANSFORMERS – THE MOVIE 35th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray + DVD combo pack features the movie in HD full frame on Blu-ray as well as a widescreen edition on DVD, alongside new bonus material. These configurations will be available for pre-order later this summer from Shout! Factory. (The SteelBook can already be pre-ordered at Amazon).


Under license from Shout Factory, THE TRANSFORMERS – THE MOVIE SteelBook and standard 4K Blu-ray will also be released in the UK this September.


Description: In the year 2005, the Autobots and the Decepticons are still locked in battle, but a deadly new force enters the fray–a giant killer planet known as Unicron. The heroic Autobots must fight for their own survival and to save their home planet from destruction. A classic of 1980s animation, based on the popular TV series.


Special Features and Technical Specs:

  • NEW 4K TRANSFER FROM ORIGINAL FILM ELEMENTS
  • New Feature-Length Storyboards, including deleted, alternate and extended sequences
  • New Fathom Events 30th Anniversary Featurette, including Stan Bush’s acoustic performances of “The Touch” and “Dare”
  • ‘Til All Are One – A comprehensive documentary looking back at THE TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE with members of the cast and crew, including story consultant Flint Dille, cast members Gregg Berger, Neil Ross, Dan Gilvezan, singer/songwriter Stan Bush, composer Vince Dicola and others!
  • Audio Commentary with Director Nelson Shin, story consultant Flint Dille and star Susan Blu
  • Featurettes
  • Animated Storyboards
  • Trailers and TV Spots
  • Optional English and Spanish subtitles for the main feature

As of this writing, Amazon.com has a live page for those who want to order the SteelBook edition of The Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-ray. You can also order it via Shout Factory.

Devastator and the Dinobots!

As a kid, I got to watch many episodes of The Transformers animated series on television. I eventually saw The Transformers: The Movie on home video and its presentation came with a lot of impact related to the deaths of several characters (including the most controversial death), the noticeable rise of on-screen violence and the more futuristic, sci-fi setting and environments.

Even if you are not a fan of The Transformers, this upcoming 4K Blu-ray release is a blessing. Even if you are not interested in the older, hand-drawn presentation of The Transformers, the animated movie itself should interest you as it has solid performances not only from long-time favorites Peter Cullen (Prime) and Frank Welker (Megatron) but also from Hollywood legends Orson Welles, Leonard Nimoy and Robert Stack. Think about that! Welles, Nimoy and Stack…Citizen Kane, Spock and the Unsolved Mysteries icons in this Transformers film!

For more on The Transformers: The Movie, watch this in-depth video retrospective by Oliver Harper. I highly recommend it and I also encourage you all to follow Oliver Harper via his social media channels.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Does the upcoming 4K Blu-ray release of The Transformers: The Movie excite you? If you saw the 1980s animated series of The Transformers, how many episodes were you able to watch? Were you able to watch The Transformers: The Movie in the cinemas back in 1986?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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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. 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 Shogun Warriors #3 (1979)

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.

When it comes to showcasing giant robots fighting other robots or monsters, there is no denying that Japan is the leader. In my lifetime, I have seen lots of episodes of varied anime TV series, some anime feature films as well as OVAs (original video animation) of such a genre of entertainment made by lots of Japanese creators. While I never saw any episodes of Brave Raideen nor any episodes of Chōdenji Robo Combattler V, I saw episodes of Dangard Ace on home video.

As seen already in issues #1 and #2 of the Shogun Warriors comic book series, the giant robots were adapted but not their respective original concepts and characters the Japanese established. As such, an all-new concept with Westerners in mind was implemented for the said series.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Shogun Warriors #3, published by Marvel Comics in 1979 with a story written by Doug Moench and drawn by Herb Trimpe.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Raydeen, Combatra and Dangard Ace on the field facing three giant enemies (each one representing a different element – fire, earth and water). Right near them is the train (on an elevated track) that they just saved which Combatra (piloted by Genji Odashu) notices.

The battle begins with Dangard Ace taking on the water monster while Raydeen and Combatra take on the fire monster and earth monster respectively. During the heat of battle, the stalled train begins to fall as the elevated track gets damaged…

Quality

The bad guys watch behind the scenes during the battle.

To be clear and specific, this comic book creatively rebounded when it comes to spectacle. Compared to issue #2, this one has a lot of action scenes mixed with suspense and some talk scenes that were supposed to be intriguing. When it comes to exposition, this one is a refreshing change from what happened in issue #2. The exposition was clearly lessened but the creators still managed to insert some scenes to dramatize and explain to readers what the villains are up to and why sorcery is a core element of their power (which kinda explains how they were able to make giant monsters that are capable of talking). Interestingly, this comic book shows that there is division between members of the forces of evil.

Fans who love the three giant robots will have something fun to read. Take note, however, that the action scenes per robot are short and even predictable with the way the spectacle turned out. If you are looking for character development on their respective pilots, you won’t see any here.

Conclusion

Dangard Ace, Raydeen and Combatra fighting their respective counterparts.

Shogun Warriors #3 (1979) does not have much depth but still managed to deliver the goods when it comes to showcasing giant robot spectacle. On the aspect of fun, this one is an improvement over the exposition-heavy issue #2 but that is not saying much. It should be noted that, like the first two issues, this comic book has less than twenty pages of art and story. More notably, there is not much new here other than the very lame and corny attempt by the creators for the big reveal they came up with at the end.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Shogun Warriors #3 (1979), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $35.

Overall, Shogun Warriors #3 (1979) is satisfactory.

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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. 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 Shogun Warriors #2 (1979)

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.

Long before Pacific Rim (2013) presented giant robots and monsters slug it out on the big screen with a strong emphasis on action and scale, there were varied animated series of such giants shown in television sets in Japan way back in the 1970s. Then by the end of the decade, Marvel Comics published the Shogun Warriors comic book series in relation to a business deal with Mattel.

Last time, only one giant robot was heavily featured as a defender for human civilization as it became a target by a force of evil that unleashed a giant monster. That robot was Raydeen and as a result of what happened, something led to the unveiling of Combatra and Dangard Ace.

To find out more, here is a look back at Shogun Warriors #2, published by Marvel Comics in 1979 with a story written by Doug Moench and drawn by Herb Trimpe.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins at the secret facility of Shogun. There the three pilots – Genji Odashu, Ilongo Savage and Richard Carson – are being briefed by Dr. Tambura explains to them that their first mission piloting Raydeen was not a failure at all. While acknowledging that the giant monster Rok-Korr is still a threat, he states to them that giant robots Combatra and Dangard Ace will be deployed and controlled by them.

After giving them a quick tour of their subterranean chamber (where the robots receive maintenance and get tested), Dr. Tambura bring the three pilots into another place filled with high-tech controls. From there, they watch Dangard Ace, Raydeen and Combatra perform in field tests via remote control.

Meanwhile on a different island, the evil leader Maur-Kon rallies his so-called dark agents to rise and work together in seeking vengeance for their defeat in the great war chaos as they have found the forces of eternal good anticipating them. After much talk, Maur-Kon and his minions bow and kneel over bubbling magma murmuring evil phrases…

Quality

The three pilots get assigned with each robot.

Like the previous issue, this comic book has less than twenty pages of story and art. This results another heavy load of exposition or information dump on readers, and the narrative had a rushed pace. With regards to the battle between Raydeen and the giant monster, there is indeed a continuation of it. The giant monster was given some personality.

Again, there is no real character development here. The three pilots were not written to display any personality nor did the writer exert any effort to make readers relate with them. Instead, you will see them in training in speed beyond belief.

The highlight here is that Dangard Ace and Combatra finally got revealed and emphasized. Be warned, however, that there is lesser spectacle in this comic book and the story predictably served as a setup for what could be a more promising battle.

Conclusion

The pilots and the Shogun Warriors (the robots) go deep down.

Shogun Warriors #2 (1979) suffered from pretty much the same problems as issue #1. The noticeable difference here is that there is lesser action and lesser giant-sized spectacle shown here. That is not exactly surprising as the creators had to sacrifice something to make way for further explanation of the comic series’ grand concept.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Shogun Warriors #2 (1979), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $35 while the near-mint copies of the price-less and the Whitman editions cost $350 and $35 respectively.

Overall, Shogun Warriors #2 (1979) is less than satisfactory.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Shogun Warriors #1 (1979)

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.

If you are fond of giant robots from Japanese pop culture as well as giant monsters and scenes of city structures getting destroyed, then you might want to take a look at the Shogun Warriors comic book series that was published by Marvel Comics from 1979 to 1980. To put things in perspective, Shogun Warriors was made possible through licensing deals and back in the 1970s, Marvel Comics had the rights to publish comic book about Japan’s famous icon Godzilla.

Specifically, Shogun Warriors involved Marvel Comics and Mattel which in turn organized a line of imported toys from Japan based on varied Japanese shows about giant robots. Among the many giant robots of the toy line, the robots Raideen, Combattler V and Dangard Ace became the featured fighting-for-good robots of the Shogun Warriors comic book series. For the literary works, Raideen was renamed as Raydeen while Combattler V was renamed as Combatra. Dangard Ace’s name was left unchanged.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Shogun Warriors #1, published in 1979 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Doug Moench and drawn by Herb Trimpe.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the outskirts of Tokyo in Japan where giant robot Raydeen fights a large, tentacled creature enhanced with cybernetics. As the people on the street below them run away from the ongoing destruction, the monster fires a shot at Raydeen who blocks it but subsequently gets tied with one of the tentacles. The giant robot, which is operated by three pilots inside, breaks free and continues to fight the monster.

As the battle rages on, the city continues to get damaged heavily affecting the people…

Quality

Technically the organization kidnapped three people to be the pilots of their robots for Earth’s defense.

Having seen a lot of anime TV series episodes about giant robots, I’m familiar already with the storytelling formula that often focuses first on the human characters and their struggles before shifting the narrative on the giant robots that often fight large monsters or opposition robots. This particular comic book has some of that but the way the story is structured, it is different and can be a bit jarring.

Doug Moench structured the story to have Raydeen and the monster fighting in the present time followed shortly by a flashback that took place just hours prior. The flashback, which occupies 9 of the comic book’s 18 pages, is heavily filled with exposition meant to introduce readers to the three pilots Genji Odashu/Ilongo Savage/Richard Carson, what Earth defense force The Followers of the Light is, and why there are giant monsters ravaging the world. The exposition’s writing felt crammed and rushed for reading although it still succeeds in establishing the comic book’s grand concept.

When it comes to spectacle, this comic book is loaded with giant robot action and it is quite varied in style and execution. The funny thing is that you will only get to see Raydeen in action as this is an introductory story with only 18 pages of story.

The dialogue is a bit of a mess here, particularly with the early Raydeen scenes. As the battle with the monster goes on, there are these lines of dialogue reflecting the conversations between the pilots inside Raydeen who are not shown talking until late in the comic book.

Conclusion

Raydeen and the giant monster in battle.

Shogun Warriors #1 (1979) has a nice concept and its Westernized take on portraying giant robots and human characters is clearly different from the way things were done in the varied giant robot anime TV series of Japan. There is clearly no Japanese style melodrama as this one has its characters portrayed straight with a touch of American science fiction. That being said, do not expect to see the Japan-made characters of Raideen, Combattler V and Dangard Ace appear here as new characters were made in their place. The comic book’s story structure is a bit jarring to follow and the heavy exposition dump makes reading a bit of a chore. It is fun to read but not great. Those of who are fans of Combatra and Dangard Ace will be disappointed about the near-total absence of those robots.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Shogun Warriors #1 (1979), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $63 while the near-mint copy of the Whitman edition costs $35.

Overall, Shogun Warriors #1 (1979) is satisfactory.

+++++

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

A Look Back at X-Men Adventures #2 (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.

Having read lots of X-Men comic books, I should say that I always find the Sentinels (first appearance in The X-Men #14 in 1965) to be more memorable as enemies of Marvel’s mutants. On face value, they only look like oversized, human-like robots but I always find them to be formidable opponents of the X-Men. These machines are not only built with sophisticated technologies, they are able to push the X-Men to their limits during battle.

These anti-mutant robots, by the way, were ranked by IGN at #38 in their Greatest Comic Book Villains chart. Long before that, the Sentinels were the featured anti-heroes in the classic X-Men comic book storyline Days of Future Past and it was no surprise that they were also featured in the 2014 movie X-Men: Days of Future Past.

And then in the early 1990s, the Sentinels were shown in the first episode of the X-Men animated series on television. The said series was also adapted into an “as seen on TV” comic book series by Marvel called X-Men Adventures.

This brings me to this look back at X-Men Adventures #2, published in 1992 by Marvel Comics with a story by Ralph Macchio and drawn by Andrew Wildman.  

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Morph suffering from a nightmare. As he emerged from the vision, he finds himself with Storm, Beast and Wolverine. Together they work to infiltrate a federal government facility which houses the Mutant Affairs Department. Outside the walls of the facility, Rogue Gambit and Cyclops watch from a distance. Cyclops fires his optic blast at the vehicle that just dropped reinforcements that he believes were sent to stop their teammates.

Storm and her teammates break through a door instantly pushing off the security personnel followed by Beast knocking an additional guard. At the room containing the computer, Beast begins to access key information their team has been seeking…

Quality

The Sentinels and the X-Men!

Let me start with the storytelling. As an adaptation of one of the early episodes of the animated series, this comic book does a fine job of recapturing its essence complete with a nice balance between plot, exposition and spectacle. Considering the fact that the animated series was aimed for children, it’s quite intriguing to see the TV episode carrying really heavy themes – apart from the prejudice the mutants suffer from – like top federal government operations, expensive defense and weapons programs, government intrusion into people’s private lives, attempts to require minorities to get registered, etc. Those themes also made it in this comic book which made it feel like it was part of the mainstream X-Men comics of the time.

Compared to the first episode as well as its literary adaptation, this one emphasizes the Sentinels as tools of the government as part of their very expensive program to seek and monitor mutants among their citizens. Mutant Affairs director Peter Gyrich is clearly the villain who has no super powers but has the resources of the federal government and their authority to take action on mutants he perceived to be dangerous.

On the visuals, Andrew Wildman performed a solid job making each page look interesting and detailed enough. While his drawings made each character recognizable to me, it is in the spectacular scenes where he really shines. Wildman’s drawing of the Watcher on the final page of the comic book, however, looks laughable.

Conclusion

Andrew Wildman’s dynamic drawing of the X-Men in action.

While X-Men Adventures #2 is not exactly a literary classic, it is indeed a very solid adaptation of one of the earliest episodes of the animated series of the 1990s. It succeeded on telling a compelling and enjoyable story even though it emphasized the above-mentioned serious themes. As for the iconic Sentinels, this one succeeded in explaining what they are and their place in Marvel’s universe is.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men Adventures #2 (1992), 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, X-Men Adventures #2 (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 RoboCop versus The Terminator #2 (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.

Previously, I found RoboCop versus The Terminator #1 an underwhelming crossover comic book. This was due to the way the story was structured and it had a protagonist who was not interesting to follow. It does not help that RoboCop himself did not appear much in the story while the Terminators were nothing more than window dressing.

Now that the exposition and build-up has been done in the first comic book, we can find out if RoboCop and the Terminator will finally become more prominent in this look back at RoboCop versus The Terminator #2, published in 1992 by Dark Horse Comics with a story written by Frank Miller and drawn by Walt Simonson.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the dark future. A young boy finds himself in the middle of a war zone surrounded by explosions and blasts. With a broken leg, he crawls up the steps of a ruined place only to find himself facing a T-800 Terminator which kills him. The Terminator, acting like a human, raises the boy’s dead body to other Terminators which raised and clenched their firsts to acknowledge victory.

The story then moves back to 20th century Detroit, Michigan. An ED-209 operating for the city hospital fires at a dog until it got stopped by police officers. RoboCop arrives and enters the hospital with his gun catching everyone’s attention. He enters the room where the young lady from the far future is resting. Knowing that RoboCop is responsible for Skynet and the eventual war between man and machines, she remains hostile towards him.

In response to RoboCop’s inquiry about the weapon used during the shooting incident (that happened at the end of issue #1), the lady responds saying, “You really don’t get it. Do you, monster? Well, you will get it when they plug you into Skynet in a copy of years—when your mind makes the Terminators possible—when you mind starts a war that wipes us out, maybe then you’ll get it!”

Even though he is mostly machine and has been computerized RoboCop (Alex Murphy) was compelled to deeply analyze what the lady from the future said. He decides to investigate…

Quality

24
Hard-hitting action between the two pop culture icons is plentiful and satisfying!

With regards to presentation, I should say that the creative team bounced back big time here delivering lots of fun stuff about RoboCop and the Terminator. The plot, for the most part, is well written and there was a lot of room to have Detroit’s cyborg cop go into conflict with more than one Terminator finally paying-off the build-up that dominated the first issue. There were even a few scenes of dark humor spotted here and there. When it comes to fusing the respective creative elements of the RoboCop and Terminator intellectual properties, this was nicely pulled off. Even ED-209, a rival of RoboCop’s in the movies, got involved in battling a T-800. When it comes to the art, Walt Simonson’s work here is satisfactory at best. He does a decent job visualizing the hard action between RoboCop and the T-800 but there is that cartoony aesthetic of Simon’s that I found to be out of place within this crossover.

Conclusion

14
Three Terminator units in different sizes.

I’m happy to say that fans of both RoboCop and the Terminator will have a lot of good stuff to enjoy in RoboCop versus The Terminator #2. The build-up and heavy exposition in the first issue paid off nicely in this comic book. Those who got annoyed with the lady from the future will be relieved that her spotlight in this issue was heavily reduced. As expected, the fight between RoboCop and the T-800 is brutal and plentiful although the impact could have been stronger had someone else illustrated this comic book. By the end of the story, I was very satisfied and ended up looking forward to the next issue.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of RoboCop versus The Terminator #2 (1992), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy costs $6.

Overall, RoboCop versus The Terminator #2 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 RoboCop versus The Terminator #1 (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.

Back in the early 1990s, I was already a fan of the Terminator and RoboCop mainly due to their respective first movies released in the 1980s which became cinematic classics. While RoboCop 2 never came close to the quality of the 1987 original movie, Terminator 2: Judgment Day literally rocked the cinemas and went on to become one of the greatest film sequels ever made. Back then, there was a lot to be excited for over the two entertainment franchises.  One day during my high school days (note: there was no social media and Internet access in the Philippines was not yet established), I learned from reading a comic book industry magazine that a crossover comic book mini-series matching the Terminator and RoboCop together. That news excited me a lot and before the end of 1992, I bought myself a copy of the comic book RoboCop versus The Terminator #1 (note: this one has gone out of print).

With the history explained, let’s all take a look back at RoboCop versus The Terminator #1, published in 1992 by Dark Horse Comics with a story by Frank Miller (note: the same successful comic book creator who actually worked on RoboCop movies in Hollywood) and art by Walt Simonson.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the far future wherein human society has been ruined and the world became a constant battleground of a war between powerful machines and desperate humans. Inside a facility being invaded by the machines, a lady working for the rebels has been using computers (via brainfeed) in the battle with Skynet. As far as she knows, leader John Connor has been right in telling her that it was a human mind that merged with software and got linked with Skynet. She points to the 20th century historical figure Alex Murphy/RoboCop as the one responsible for the war.

Before Skynet’s machines reach her, she strips naked and made a desperate trip back through time. She successfully makes a hard landing into the middle of a city in a time before the war. After struggling with the sudden change, she arms herself and sets off to kill Alex Murphy…

Quality

16
Something is off with the pacing of the action here.

Let me start that this particular mini-series has a very intriguing concept that made it stand on its own (as opposed to simply referencing core concepts of the movies). This is about RoboCop’s technology being used to establish Skynet and this launch comic book emphasized that nicely.

When it comes to storytelling done with this particular comic book, things felt very uneven. For a comic book that strongly focused on the Terminator and RoboCop, this was mainly the story of the rebel lady from the future whose mission was to eliminate officer Alex Murphy in a bid to change the future. While she is portrayed to be highly determined and works by action, the character is never interesting and not worth investing your attention to.

For his part, RoboCop was literally placed on the backseat in this story and he makes his first appearance in the 2nd half starting with crime-busting. Considering the lack of spotlight, the sci-fi icon himself is not even interesting to follow which is disappointing.

The clear representation of evil here is Skynet and its army of Terminators. To say the least, the machines here make a worthy menace to read and somewhat made up for RoboCop and the lady rebel being uncompelling characters.

When it comes to the art, I should say that Walt Simonson’s visuals are not great to look at. There were crooks that had a cartoony aesthetic on the faces, Terminators that don’t even come close to their cinematic designs and some images looked rushed. At least Simonson’s RoboCop looks recognizable and was satisfactory with the action.

Conclusion

6
The target: Alex Murphy/RoboCop.

I still remember how underwhelmed I got after completing RoboCop versus The Terminator #1 the first time way back in 1992. It’s even more underwhelming by today’s standards. Of course, the comic book was essentially a build-up issue with the pay-off supposed to happen in the remaining issues. Its best selling point is the fusion of RoboCop and Terminator concepts that helped establish its own universe.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of RoboCop versus The Terminator #1 (1992), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $17 while the near-mint copy of the platinum edition costs $170.

Overall, RoboCop versus The Terminator #1 (1992) is satisfactory. That being said, I would not recommend paying a lot of money for this comic book. Find a near-mint copy priced below $10.


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