A Look Back at Prototype #16 (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.

As many of you know by now, I’ve reviewed lots of Ultraverse comic books and that includes a whole lot of issues of Prototype. In recent times, I reviewed the Hostile Takeover storyline that involved not only Prototype but also The Solution, Night Man and even Solitaire. To put things in order, my previous review of Prototype was issue #15 which took place after Hostile Takeover ended. What I enjoyed about it so much is that even though Jimmy Ruiz still has the powered suit of armor with him, his life has changed drastically and he no longer has the high salary and big-time perks that he had from his previous employer.

What will happen next to him? We can all find out in this look back at Prototype #16, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Len Strazewski and drawn by Roger Robinson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins right in the middle of a battle on a city street between Prototype against a large armored enemy (that intends to kill him) piloted by a man named Donovan Jones. This was supposed to be the night of Jimmy Ruiz getting engaged with Angella.

As his intensity grows, Prototype fires a powerful blast against Jones causing his armored suit to fall back hard and get damaged heavily. Jones finds himself exposed and Angella only hopes that Prototype does not kill him. Jones surprises him by showing his armor magnetically reassembles itself and makes him even more powerful…

Quality

The is one nice shot!

When it comes to plot, this comic book is more about the continuing battle between Jimmy and Donovan Jones. It really pushed aside the development of Jimmy’s new life which is not necessarily a problem as it paved the way for a lot more spectacle for readers to enjoy by means of two armored figures fighting each other hard while trying to outsmart each other. This one has a lot action scenes as well as energy blasts. What I find intriguing and creative here is how Donovan Jones was presented to be a walking, healing factor with improving his physical shell dramatically.

Although filled with spectacle, Len Strazewski still saved some space for character development and exposition. Without spoiling it, I can say that a certain flashback that got dramatized through Angella’s recall of the past adds a new layer into the life of Jimmy Ruiz. It was short but still worthy to read.

As far as Jimmy’s new life goes, the big battle of this comic book is itself a reflection of the impact that the Hostile Takeover storyline had on him. There is not too much corporate intrigue in this story, but the effects of the mentioned crossover storyline can still be felt.

Conclusion

This comic book has a lot of robot-inspired action.

I can say that Prototype #16 (1994) is another good Ultraverse comic book to read. In fact, you will relate with its plot and spectacle a lot more if you managed to read the entire Hostile Takeover storyline. Otherwise, it should be able to satisfy you.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prototype #16 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $27.

Overall, Prototype #16 (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 Giant Size Prototype #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.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of Malibu Comics! Today we revisit the Ultraverse through the 4th and concluding chapter of the Hostile Takeover crossover storyline which involved the UV’s notable heroes like Prototype, The Solution, Night Man and even Solitaire. To put things in perspective, the first three chapters were told in The Night Man #12, Solitaire #10 and The Solution #13.

At this point in Hostile Takeover, the stakes were raised and things have turned messy not only for the UV heroes but also for the corporate figures involved. To see if everything will truly be resolved, join me in this look back at Giant Size Prototype #1, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Len Strazewski and drawn by Roger Robinson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with TV newscasts about the tremendous collapse of UltraTech as a result of corporate in-fighting which rocked Wall Street. A New York Stock Exchange analyst states on TV: Either the market insiders are completely confused about the future of UltraTech and are speculating wildly or UltraTech is right in the middle of one of the most violent hostile takeovers in corporate history!

Moments back, Prototype (Jimmy Ruiz) and Teknight battled each other while The Solution found Ranger blocking their way.

Inside the corporate headquarters, Gordon Bell could not control himself in the presence of Felicia, Jimmy and Bob Campbell. With the helicopter carrying Teknight arriving at the roof top and The Solution (with Night Man) making their way through the basement, Gordon Bell sends Prototype and Ranger to secure the place, leaving Felicia behind.  

Quality

Prototype and Teknight crash into the office of Gordon Bell with The Solution and Night Man as witnesses.

As expected, corporate intrigue remains as the core concept or theme of this extensive (over 30 pages in story) comic book. Without spoiling the plot, I can say that the turmoil of UltraTech is a true turning point within the Ultraverse and its effects were really felt in my recent Prototype retro comic book review. This story also sheds light on the UV’s corporate figures J.D. Hunt and Stanley Leland and it was here where their influence is really felt.

As for the Ultraverse heroes, this story unsurprisingly shows more of what Prototype and Ranger went through in their respective participation of the events and incidents that happened throughout Hostile Takeover (which were also dramatized in smaller parts in the other comic books of this crossover storyline). There is more depth in the encounter between Prototype and Teknight, and in Ranger’s encounter with The Solution and Night Man. The good thing here is that the mentioned encounters are very well written and filled with solid dialogue by Len Strazewski, resulting more engagement between the reader and Prototype and Ranger.

As to how the Hostile Takeover storyline concluded, I would obviously not spoil it here but I can assure you all that it ended with a huge impact and some powerful images.

Conclusion

Prototype, Ranger and Felicia with Gordon Bell.

Giant Size Prototype #1 (1994) served its purpose in concluding the Hostile Takeover storyline and its best feature is its writing. It also served as a definitive turning point in the story of the titular character. As a whole, Hostile Takeover’s concept is really short and the approach to showing readers the moments of the events as seen through the eyes of different Ultraverse characters is flawed (note: this is not your typical straightforward crossover storytelling) and relied on padding to fill the narrative. In addition, there is one standalone short story that should please fans of Bob Campbell as Ranger.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Giant Size Prototype #1 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $14.

Overall, Giant Size Prototype #1 (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 Solution #13 (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.

If you’ve got a problem that needs solving, you call The Solution. That’s how it is in the Ultraverse with regards to hiring some specialists (and wild at that) for help. For the newcomers reading this, The Solution is a heroes-for-hire group led by Lela Cho/Tech (note: read about her origin story) with three unique teammates.

In recent times, I’ve been reviewing Ultraverse comic books of The Night Man and Solitaire which formed the first two parts of the Hostile Takeover crossover storyline. From this point on we can see the 3rd chapter in this look back at The Solution #13, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 written by the late James Hudnall and drawn by Scott Benefiel.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with a look back at the private communication between J.D. Hunt and Rex Mundi (as seen in The Night Man #12). After their talk, J.D. Hunt hires The Solution to find out what is going on at the headquarters of UltraTech in New York.

Later under the busy streets of Manhattan, the team make their way through the darkness with Aera using her magic to find the building. When asked by Troy why they took the mission considering J.D. Hunt’s reputation as a “sleaze on wheels”, Lela Cho states that she is certain that he only wants them to find information that could be used against UltraTech. She added that she does not believe Hunt.

As they talk, Night Man quietly listens to them staying still. Just after Aera found the way for the team to enter the basement of UltraTech’s building, Night Man follows them. Elsewhere, Gordon Bell becomes aware of the intrusion which Prototype (Jimmy Ruiz) and Ranger (Bob Campbell) witness. Bell tells Bob to go to the basement and tells Jimmy to go to the roof…

Quality

The Solution with Night Man and Ranger.

I will start with the visual presentation. This comic book has the unusual yet engaging approach of using pairs of pages to form these wide-angle images composed of a dominating view with panels of other images filling the remaining space. It can be jarring at first but once you get the hang of the story, these visuals will flow smoothly at a nice pace. It should be noted that artist Scott Benefiel is pretty good in visualizing Night Man, Prototype and other related Ultraverse characters. He also did a good job with images of action and superhero spectacle.

As far as storytelling goes, this 3rd chapter of the Hostile Takeover crossover storyline is the most interesting and the most enjoyable to read yet. While The Night Man #12 worked as a big build-up and Solitaire #10 worked as a mere side-story, there is a good payoff in this comic book and at the same time it moved the storyline forward to the next stage.

James Hudnall also kept the details tight and the way he wrote the interactions as the established Ultraverse characters got mixed up is simply great. I really enjoyed reading Lela Cho/Tech talking with Bob Campbell/Ranger about his getting screwed by the corporation, and Night Man’s interactions with The Solution’s members were nicely done.  

Conclusion

The stage is set for conflict.

The Solution #13 (1994) is very enjoyable and compelling! It is the complete package of solid storytelling, memorable character interactions and spectacle that also adds depth to the narrative of the Hostile Takeover storyline. Superhero stuff aside, the element of corporate intrigue remains present which also serves as a lively reminder about what this crossover storyline is about.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Solution #13 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $14.

Overall, The Solution #13 (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 Solitaire #10 (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.

Some time ago, I reviewed the first issue of the Solitaire series of the Ultraverse. I also published my retro reviews of issues #2 and #7. What makes Solitaire an interest part of the Ultraverse is that he fights crime without fear and takes a lot of risks. He has a special healing ability and is quite proficient in doing his own detective work. Creatively, Solitaire is like a combination of Wolverine and Batman.

In the 1994 crossover storyline Hostile Takeover (which started in The Night Man #12), a series of events took off when the secretive villain Rex Mundi orders corporate player J.D. Hunt to do something about the unstable corporation UltraTech. Hunt hires The Solution to do his dirty work and even went as far as sending his newest weapon Teknight to New York (where UltraTech is). The Night Man also made it to New York continuing his own quest.

With those details laid down, the stage is set for Solitaire’s role in the 2nd chapter of Hostile Takeover and we can find out more in this look back at Solitaire #10, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written by Gerard Jones and drawn by Jeff Parker and Ernie Steiner.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Solitaire moving through the city and meets several people at a public place. It turns out they are losing trust in him over something. As tension rises, the masked vigilante hears something that the others don’t which makes them think he is having a perception problem. Solitaire goes away searching for what he thought was an explosion. He saw nothing and this only confirmed that he cannot trust his own mind.

Elsewhere, Solitaire’s father (Mr. Lone) has a private meeting with top scientists. He expresses to them that his son has been wasting his money and points to it as another one of the scientists’ failures. After the meeting, a certain specialist approaches Lone and they negotiate something.

Back at his secret place, Solitaire talks with Iris about his current predicament. She tells him to do exactly what his mind is telling him not to do, and to go New York to stop the elder Lone…

Quality

This comic book has a good amount of action.

As far as the concept of Hostile Takeover goes, this one builds up on the corporate intrigue as it shows the evil Lone being involved with the events that took place. As for Solitaire himself, this story emphasizes his struggle not only with crime-fighting but himself. In connection with all the nanites inside his body, Solitaire struggles with a distorted perception and even control of himself.

When it comes to spectacle, this comic book has a good amount of action that is expected with Solitaire. Pretty satisfying to see.

Conclusion

Prototype, Night Man and The Solution in their short appearance in this comic book.

In the context of the Hostile Takeover crossover, Solitaire #10 (1994) is really a standalone story of its title character. It will please Solitaire fans but it will disappoint readers who are hoping to see him mix in with other established Ultraverse characters involved in the storyline like The Solution, Night Man and others. Solitaire really has no crossover with those characters which is a bummer. So far, this issue of Solitaire has the least amount of entertainment and engagement for me.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Solitaire #10 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $14.

Overall, Solitaire #10 (1994) 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 Prime #7 (1993)

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

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and geeks! Today we will take another journey back into the Ultraverse touching on their first major crossover event Break-Thru but told through the exploits of Prime.

For the newcomers reading this, Break-Thru was a 2-part crossover that involved all the Ultraverse characters in multiple ways. There were Break-Thru crossover spinoff issues of Mantra, Hardcase, Prototype, The Strangers, Solitaire and The Solution to name some. This time, we will find out Break-Thru in an issue of Prime.

What exactly happened to Prime in relation to Break-Thru? We can find out together in this look back at Prime #7, published by Malibu Comics in 1993 with a story written by Gerard Jones and Len Strazewski, and drawn by the late Norm Breyfogle.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Prime, wearing a special suit with air tanks, flying into space for a mission on the moon. Even as he is struggling with breaking through the atmosphere, he knows he cannot afford any setbacks knowing that US President Bill Clinton and military officials are counting on him. It has been some time since he was picked up by Colonel Samuels and his team after the big fight with Max-Man. As he approaches the moon, Prime expressed how much has changed over the past few days from attending science class to working secretly for the government.

After struggling long, Prime finally arrives on the moon’s surface albeit roughly. As he flies around searching for clues, a solid structure of rock suddenly rises from the surface leaving Prime no room to dodge it…

Quality

Prime on to something on the moon.

After going through lots of stories about superhero action, misadventures, intrigue and personal struggles as recorded in the first six issues of Prime, this particular story has a more unpredictable story which is refreshing to read. For one thing, this one has a whole lot of twists that actually test Prime’s sanity and keeps the narrative interesting throughout. Similar to what happened in Mantra #6, Prime encounters images of several people he knew while on the moon. This thing happens to be one of the capabilities of the entity on the moon.

As expected from the creative team of Jones and Strazewski, the writing is of high-quality. For his part, Norm Breyfogle continued to deliver striking visuals and in this issue he really showed off Prime’s modified look to the full extent.  

Conclusion

Prime and his thoughts as he travels to the moon.

Prime #7 (1993) is a pretty good comic book to read. Ultimately it is a worthy build-up to the Break-Thru crossover and more importantly it continues to show why Prime is truly one of the major characters of the Ultraverse.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prime #7 (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, Prime #7 (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

A Look Back at Mantra #6 (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.

Hey Ultraverse fans and superhero comic book collectors! Are you interested in another look at the Break-Thru crossover through the eyes of Mantra? For the newcomers reading this, Break-Thru was a year-ending crossover that literally gathered many of the Ultraverse characters together in an event that affected their world. The said crossover impacted other characters of the Ultraverse through specific comic books such as Prototype #5, Hardcase #7, The Strangers #7 and Solitaire #2 to name some.

Now we have here is another view of Break-Thru in this look back at Mantra #6, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Terry Dodson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Mantra flying during the night thinking about what happened as several Ultras made their way to the moon to fight an entity there that has been mentally contacting a girl named Amber. She thought about her new career at Aladdin as Eden Blake and intends to find ways to transfer her mind into a male body somehow.

Mantra arrives home and instantly changes appearance into Eden in civilian clothes. Upon entering the home, her little daughter (note: nobody in her family is aware that Eden’s soul has been displaced with that of Lukasz’s soul) arrives to greet her back in the presence of Eden’s mother. The daughter is every excited to start making Christmas cookies.

After spending some time alone in the bedroom, Mantra realizes something on the moon and decides to leave pretending she has to go back to work. This saddens Eden’s daughter…

Quality

Mantra in the middle of somewhere.

This comic book is not the good-versus-evil type of story. Rather it is more about personal struggle and threads from the past that challenge Mantra, and it is well written. At the same time, the story serves as a build-up leading to the big events that took place in Break-Thru #2 (the conclusion of the big crossover). Getting to know the entity through the experience and view of Mantra is alone a solid reason to read this comic book. In fact, what you will learn here will help you prepare yourself to understand the Break-Thru crossover comic books and the concepts they featured.

Conclusion

Another glimpse on the life of Eden Blake and her family.

Mantra #6 (1993) is an engaging and enjoyable read. It is not only a mere build-up for Break-Thru, it also reveals more about Lukasz (who occupies the body of Eden/Mantra) and why his past haunts him which alone adds a new layer of depth to his character. There are few scenes of spectacle here and there but the strong writing by Mike W. Barr saved it from becoming a complete bore.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #6 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of this comic book costs $8.

Overall, Mantra #6 (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

A Look Back at Solitaire #7 (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.

Are you readers craving for another tale of crime-fighting and vigilantes set within the Ultraverse? Get ready for another bout of conflicts told through the eyes of Solitaire, one of the more unique crime-fighting superheroes to have ever existed.

As such, here is a look back at Solitaire #7, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Gerard Jones and drawn by Jeff Johnson.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the arrival of Double Edge, a caped swordsman who strong believes that all things in life must be balanced no matter how hard it could be. As far as he is concerned, only he can help achieve balance whenever the scales are tilted. Double Edge jumps down on a man (outside of a parked car), knocked him out and grabbed the keys from him. Another man comes out of the café and spots Double Edge with the keys, which made him think the swordsman was stealing the downed man’s car. Double Edge strikes him impulsively to balance things out but ends up leaving him down on the sidewalk with a lot of blood lost. The swordsman regrets it.

Double Edge drives the car still obsessing with balancing. Suddenly another car – driven by Solitaire – gets into his way forcing the swordsman to move his car leftwards and hit another vehicle.

Immediately, Solitaire and Double Edge jumped out of their vehicles to start a fight…

Quality

17
Really nice action between Solitaire and Double Edge by Jeff Johnson.

For a pretty wordy comic book, this one still managed to entertain with lots of action and intriguing dialogue. As far as narrative is concerned, this one is about Solitaire dealing with a fellow costumed vigilante who is obsessed with balance even thought it complicates his ways of fighting criminals.

What is easily the strongest selling point as well as the most interesting aspect of this comic book is the clash between Solitaire and Double Edge not only with armed combat but also with the very different ways they look at fighting crime and helping people in times of danger. Their exchange of words is engaging thanks to the strong dialogue.

As with the previous issues, Jeff Johnson delivered good visuals complete with a smooth flow of transition.

Conclusion

2
Double Edge jumps on someone.

Solitaire #7 is indeed entertaining and intriguing. It’s not an Ultraverse story with a high-stakes concept, but it succeeds in telling a more grounded story within the said universe through the eyes of not just one but two costumed crime fighters. This comic book was released with an “Ultraverse 1st Birthday” mark on the cover and considering what happened in the first six issues, this one really felt like a turning point in the saga of Solitaire.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Solitaire #7 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $4.

Overall, Solitaire #7 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 Solitaire #2

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.

It’s been quite some time since I reviewed Solitaire #1. What I like about the Ultraverse crime-buster is that he was designed to be a very agile combat expert with the ability to regenerate. Apart from being a very capable fighter, Solitaire is also very skilled detective and has lots of connections (with informers). Some comic geeks compared him to Batman and Wolverine but within the Ultraverse, Solitaire is unique.

Now we can take a look back at Solitaire #2, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story by Gerard Jones and art by Jeff Johnson (inked by Barb Kaalberg). This particular comic book is connected with the Ultraverse crossover event Break-Thru.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins in Small Town, U.S.A., a place described to be happy with the air full of laughter, the chatter of children and music played by a band. Solitaire arrives and quickly an arrow was launched at him and missed. The place’s defenders are already aware of him.

The place turns out to be an amusement park filled with tourists who paid for rides, sights and fun. In the middle of it, Solitaire is on a mission. Another arrow was fired at him but thanks to his reflexes, he grabbed it, allowed himself to fall into the water. A lady with a bow and arrows arrives to check on him but Solitaire quickly got back at her, restraining her.

After he asked where the bomb is located, she points to the moon. Suddenly another arrow is fired and hits Solitaire on his left thigh…

Quality

9
Fierce opposition towards Solitaire!

Now that the establishment of Solitaire’s origin and superhero nature has been done, this comic book’s story is pretty adventurous to read. The good news is that it is a well-made adventure that not only delivered the fun but also established Solitaire’s place in the Ultraverse (thanks to the link with the Break-Thru crossover). When it comes to developing Solitaire not only as a crime fighter but as a person, I like the use of flashbacks from his past recalling his time as a much younger visitor to the amusement park complete with his mother remaining a hole in his memory.

More on the story, it is not only adventurous but also packed with action. This time, Solitaire does not fight the stereotypical thugs but rather lady defenders of the Moon Man who are so willing to do their jobs, they attack Solitaire even if it means harming the tourists. The build-up leading to the encounter with the villain was nicely paced and was a worthy pay-off.

When it comes to the art, this is one very nice-looking comic book thanks to Jeff Johnson. The illustrator knew how to pace the story visually and when to add punch to the action scenes and stunts.

Conclusion

4
Imagine yourself touring a theme park and actually witnessing a real attack towards a trespasser.

Solitaire #2 is a fun-filled Ultraverse comic book that is worth reading again and again. What it lacked in character development, it bounced back big time with action and adventure elements.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Solitaire #2, 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 copy of the newsstand edition costs $8.

Overall, Solitaire #2 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 Break-Thru #1

When done right, a crossover storyline showcasing a big mix of superheroes getting involved in a huge event can be memorable and worth revisiting years after getting published.

Back in 1993, Malibu Comics launched the Ultraverse which involved many talented creators. Right from the start, it was made clear that there was a shared universe occupied by The Strangers, Night Man, Prototype, Prime, Mantra, Hardcase and many others.

Before the end of 1993, Malibu launched Break-Thru #1 which started a new storyline that involved many of the above characters plus Firearm, The Solution, Sludge and Solitaire. Adding more punch to this comic book was Malibu’s hiring of legendary artist George Perez who worked on the classic Crisis on Infinite Earths maxi-series of DC Comics.

2019-10-17_074138~2.jpg
A great cover! One of the best ever for any Ultraverse comic book!

Here is a close look at Break-Thru #1 mainly written by Gerard Jones, drawn by George Perez and inked by John Lowe with colors by Moose Baumann. Credited as contributing writers were Steve Englehart, Mike W. Barr, Steve Gerber, James D. Hudnall, Tom Mason, George Perez, James Robinson and Len Strazewski.

Early story

The story begins immediately after the end of Exiles #4. A man falls to his death from the top of a tower thinking he was reaching the moon at night. Elsewhere, an airplane sharply goes up with too much altitude as the pilot obsesses with going to the moon

As it turns out, the media reports about people trying to reach the moon and getting restless. A member of Exiles lies helplessly on a bed with his entire body covered with medical materials for his injuries. A doctor presses him for answers and he claims to know that Amber, one of the Exiles members, looks a lot like a young lady floating over Los Angeles. He thinks she is responsible for the madness that has been going around the world.

The injured confirmed that the lady, floating high above with reddish energy around her, is none other than Amber. He claims, however, that he has no idea what happened but shared that she was already prone to volatile energy blasts.

Behind the scenes, members of Aladdin discuss what has been happening. One of them believes that Amber may hold important clues to the nature and origin of Ultras. The Aladdin people get distracted with noise caused by Eden Blake (Mantra in civilian form) who secretly eavesdropped on them pretending to be lost (note: a reference is made to Mantra #5 to explain her new employment with Aladdin.)

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The military and Prime.

Aladdin decides to activate their own Ultra named Wrath. Over at the Pentagon, military officers discuss the information about Wrath they got received from their moles at Aladdin. Their leader wondered about sending Prime (with a modified look) on a mission but he can’t have anyone see how he modified the Ultra.

Meanwhile in the bowels of the Earth, a man who is not really a man watches…

Quality

In terms of storytelling, Break-Thru #1 has a nice build-up. It took its time making references to the many, many characters of the Ultraverse. By the end of the comic book, you will realize there are different kinds of Ultras: the solo Ultras, the corporate Ultras, the freelancers, the work-for-hire Ultras, the accidental Ultras and the like. With regards to emphasizing the shared universe, this comic book shows that connections with the individual comic books are tight. References in what happened in Exiles #4, Prime #6, Mantra #5 and others all helped build-up the concept of Break-Thru. The story is 35-pages long which, in my opinion, was sufficient not only to emphasize the conflict Break-Thru but also give readers enough space to get to know what exactly is going on, who are these many characters, what the institutions involved are, etc.

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Mantra with Prototype.

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The Strangers discuss what has been happening.

More on Break-Thru’s concept, I like the way the comic book emphasized how the sudden presence of multiple Ultras affected local societies, members of the public, the government, the secret groups and others. It also sheds light on how people, regardless of social class or status, react to the presence of people who carry special powers or have unusual talents over them. This reminds me of a key scene in the 2012 Avengers movie in which Col. Fury mentioned how the sudden presence of super beings caused a disturbance.

Spectacle? Unsurprisingly there is a good amount of action as well as incidental moments that kept the narrative entertaining.

Visually, Break-Thru #1 is a great looking comic book thanks to George Perez who is famous for drawing multiple characters environments with his distinctive style complete with a high level of detail. There is not a single boring moment with his art and each panel has really nice visuals. The action scenes and incidental happenings (example: Valerie’s sudden burst of energy) come with a lot of punch.

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Freex got affected.

Very notably, Perez’s take on each of the Ultraverse characters is very good to look at and in some ways, certain characters look a lot better than they did in their respective comic book series. A perfect example here is the team Freex whose characters look more human (in style) and more lively. Of course, I don’t mean to say that the illustrators of the Freex series did not do a good job.

Perez’s drawing of Mantra is very good. Similar results with The Strangers, Hardcase, Solitaire and Prototype. Very clearly George Perez carefully did his research on the characters and their respective designs.

Conclusion

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Hardcase, Choice and The Solution on the move!

Overall, Break-Thru #1 is a great comic book to read and it reflects the high quality and deep engagement the Ultraverse had when it was still under the control of Malibu Comics (note: Marvel Comics acquired them and drastically changed the UV for the worse in the mid-1990s). It definitely still is one of the finest superhero crossover comic books of the 1990s and, personally, I found it to be more engaging than the launch issues of other crossover storylines like Zero Hour and The Infinity Gauntlet. If you are interested, Break-Thru continued in Firearm #4, Freex #6, Hardcase #7, Mantra #6, The Night Man #3, Prime #7, Prototype #5, Sludge #3, Solitaire #2, The Solution #4, The Strangers #7 and then in Break-Thru #2.

Break-Thru #1 is highly recommended and you can buy a near-mint copy of it for $4 at Mile High Comics’ website.


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. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. 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 Solitaire #1 of the Ultraverse

When you fight evil, you do it alone.

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Solitaire in action in Solitaire #1 published in 1993 by Malibu Comics under their Ultraverse line of comic books.

The concept of vigilante figures taking the fight against crime alone backed with resources (in the form of weapons) is a long running tradition in superhero comic books. DC Comics has its iconic Batman doing lots of detective work and fighting criminals many times on his own. Similar stories were seen with the Punisher and Daredevil over at Marvel.

When Malibu Comics launched the Ultraverse line of superhero comics in 1993, they added variety into the big mix. They had their own parallel to Marvel’s Punisher and DC’s Batman in the form of Solitaire and they boldly launched a comic book series of the character.

Released in late 1993 with story by Gerard Jones and art by Jeff Johnson and Barb Kaalberg, Solitaire #1 introduced readers to Nicholas Lone who wears a purple-and-blue costume with mask and fights criminals as Solitaire. He’s not just a brave, tough guy who daringly goes against thugs. He’s is very talented with martial arts, acrobatics and weapon use.

The comic book begins when thugs working for a crime lord called the King are about to catch a helpless lady who gets saved by Solitaire. The hero easily outmaneuvers the bad guys and he proved to them that he really is hard to hurt.

At his headquarters, the King made it clear to readers that Solitaire has been a problem to him for some time already and feels bad when the hero disrupts his operation. Solitaire meanwhile prepares himself for the next move against the King by returning to his hideout (an old theater), doing some research by computer and coordinating with his contacts on the streets.

Regarding the quality of the comic book, I say the script is nicely paced as it does a good job introducing Solitaire to readers while still having spare spotlight for the King. Within twenty-five pages, the hero got clearly defined as a man of action as well as a person with a purpose. His fight against crime is defined by key parts of his past especially with the fact that his own father – Antone Lone – is a crime lord.

When it comes to super powers, Solitaire has very quick reflexes which makes him a hard target for armed thugs. He also has healing factor which works rapidly and gives him a major advantage over the bad guys. In fact, the presence of the healing factor (which works like that of Wolverine) makes Solitaire more daring and more willing to take risks engaging the bad guys with violence. He can get stabbed and his body can be shot with several bullets and still he will recover quickly to get the job done.

Solitaire is indeed super and yet there is something intriguing with his personality. Apart from being the son of a crime lord, Nicholas Lone’s acquisition of his powers is a painful mark on him personally. This was because his father gave him those powers as a result of his attempt to commit suicide. The powers are the result of the installation of nano-machines into his body.

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Overall, Solitaire #1 is a good and intriguing read. It really comes with a flavor that makes it distinct from other superhero-versus-criminals stories and the introduction of Solitaire alone is worth the cover the price. If you can find copies of Solitaire #1 on the back issue shelves of the comic book stores, I recommend buying it as well as the other issues.

It’s too bad that the Ultraverse ended after Marvel Comics acquired Malibu Comics back in the 1990s because like Prime, Hardcase and Prototype, Solitaire is very unique and intriguing at the same time. In my opinion, Solitaire is the most defining crime fighter of the entire Ultraverse and it’s too bad stories featuring him are not too many.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this article, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to your fellow comic book geeks and Ultraverse fans. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format for you to order.

Author’s Note: This article was originally published at my old Geeks and Villagers blog. What you read on this website was an updated and expanded version. In other words, this newest version you just read is the most definitive version