A Look Back at Robin III #3

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.

Before I start this retro comic book review of Robin III #3, let me explain that the illustrator of the comic book, Tom Lyle, passed away last November over health-related reasons. Before dying, he had a surgery in October 2019 to remove a blood clot in his brain and subsequently fell into a coma. Apart from drawing comics, Tom Lyle was a professor of art at Georgia’s Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). For a look at Lyle’s expertise, watch the video from 2017 below.

When it comes to the comic book industry, Lyle started his career with AC Comics and Eclipse Comics back in the 1980s. In 1988, he worked on the art of Starman for DC Comics and went on to work on the company’s other properties and played a major role with the publishing of the three mini-series featuring Batman’s sidekick Robin (Tim Drake specifically).

After leaving DC Comics, he joined Marvel Comics as one of their illustrators on the Spider-Man monthly series. He quickly got involved in the Maximum Carnage crossover and made bigger waves with Spider-Man readers with the Clone Saga. Lyle is widely credited for designing the Scarlet Spider. With regards to his death, Marvel Comics published online a tribute for him.

Now that the short history lesson is over, let’s take a look back at Robin III #3 published by DC Comics in 1993 with a story by Chuck Dixon and art by Tom Lyle.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins in school where Tim Drake/Robin gets confronted by his superior who noticed the bruises he got. As Tim tries to keep his secrets, the superior Ms. Hollingsworth knows that he was cared for by Bruce Wayne (Batman) while his father was in a coma. She also knows that he lives on a property bordering the estate of Wayne. She makes clear that he can speak openly to her and Tim simply denies that Bruce would never hit him. He states: “An upperclassman…a senior…I think…big kid.”

Eventually the meeting ended and Tim leaves struggling over thinking about the complications he is experiencing with his double life as a student and as a crime fighter. Since he cannot get involved with Batman and Alfred, he spends some time with Harold (who was so busy working on a machine) and eventually goes home. His father notices Tim’s bruises and states that he spends too much time at Wayne’s. This leaves Tim more conflicted within.

Elsewhere, a muscular man called Sir Edmund easily beats up his loyal followers in a bout of combat. His assistant Lynx arrives and informs him that their turf is in danger with the arrival of Russians with KGBeast involved.

In the evening, Robin meets the Huntress and start their next mission…

Quality

13
Hard action with a smooth flow of sequence by Tom Lyle.

For a story set within the realm of Batman and, at the same time, does not have Batman at all, this Robin-centered comic book is well written and engaging. To say the least, showing Tim Drake struggling with his civilian life and crime-fighting life made Robin a literary symbol about the false maturity that youth in real life often experience. That false maturity is nicely portrayed with the superhero aesthetics and fantasy elements.

Quite predictably, Robin performs detective work and analyzes crime situations like Batman only this time, he gets involved with the Huntress (note: this mini-series carries the storyline title of “Cry of the Huntress”) to find out more answers and solve the crime problem. Being a product of the early 1990s, it is no surprise that the story has fictional portrayals about the Russians (with KGBeast leading the so-called invasion of the city) and even mentioning Afghans.

14
Hurting Robin on the head led to hard reactions.

Apart from the storytelling, the art by Tom Lyle here remains good to look at. Each scene, whether is it a talking scene or an action scene, looks good and Lyle has a nice touch on drawing facial expressions. When it comes to the spectacle, Lyle really shows how good he is with drawing hard-hitting physical action. I should also state how smooth the sequencing of action is drawn by him.

Conclusion

16
Robin and the Huntress make an odd crime-fighting duo.

To make things clear, Robin III #3 is the first-ever Tom Lyle-drawn comic book I ever bought and read. By today’s standards, the comic book is still fun to read and it is compelling enough to make readers interested to read more of the mini-series. However, if seeing more of Robin fighting crime by himself is your type of Robin story, then this may not be compelling for you.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Robin III #3, be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition and the newsstand edition of the direct version costs $4 and $6 respectively. Meanwhile, the near-mint copy of the bagged edition and the unbagged edition of the deluxe version costs $4. To be clear, the deluxe version of Robin III #3 in bagged form comes with a moving cover, a second reversible cover and additional artwork.

Overall, Robin III #3 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 Spider-Man 2099 #37 (1995)

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

If you’re looking for a powerful, dramatic tale of Spider-Man 2099 from the 1990s, you will find it right here in this retro review.

Before getting to the review, it is important to remember that Spider-Man 2099 was mainly driven by Peter David, who is one of the best-ever writers in the history of superhero comics in America. Many geeks I know admired his work on other Marvel titles, most notably The Incredible Hulk.

So how did he get involved in Marvel’s 2099 universe that was first launch in 1992? Check out Peter David’s words from an online interview in Doom2099.com:

The Marvel editors approached me, as they did a number of free lancers, and said we’re going to be doing a 2099 line. And we would like you [meaning me and other writers] to submit a proposal on how you would do Spider-Man 2099. We knew he was Spider-Man 2099. We knew he worked for a company called Alchemax. Beyond that there was nothing about him established. So I sat down and I thought, the last thing I want to do is have him be a relative of Peter Parker. Because that’s the obvious thing. So I created someone completely from scratch. I made him of mixed ethnicity, because I felt that by the end of the 21st century mixed ethnicity is going to be more common than it is now. So I made him half-Irish and half-Mexican because I thought that was the most combustible combination I could come up with. And I decided I would zig wherever Stan and Steve zagged when they created Spider-Man. Peter Parker was a white bred WASP. So Miguel O’Hara was a combined ethnicity. Peter was an orphan. Miguel would have a living mother. Peter was alone. I gave Miguel a brother. Peter had no idea how to handle girls and was a teenager. Miguel was in his 20s and had a fiancée. I just made the contrary move all the way. And I submitted my proposal. A week later I get a call from the Marvel editors and they said ‘we love your take on Spider-Man 2099. For starters, it’s the only one that doesn’t start with a relative of Peter Parker.’ And I went ok, that’s interesting. They asked me if I would be interested in writing. I said, sure. And that’s how I became involved in it.

Right from the start of the Spider-Man 2099 series, Peter David and illustrator Rick Leonardi established 2099’s New York City society and went on to develop Miguel O’Hara/Spider-Man 2099 deeply as well as his relationships with his family and companions, complete with his struggle working for a sinister boss at Alchemax. Things escalated further personally for the futuristic Spider-Man during my last review and we will find out what happens next.

Here is my retro comic book review of Spider-Man 2099 #37, published in 1995 by Marvel Comics with a story by Peter David and art by Andrew Wildman.

Cover
The cover of the regular edition.

Early story

The comic book opens with a quick flashback in the past when Miguel O’Hara, his then girlfriend Xina and his brother Gabe spend time at a club talking about relationships. Eventually Gabe’s date Dana arrives late. Miguel could not help but react with his mouth open.

In the present day, Miguel faces Venom 2099 who has Xina and Dana wrapped with his symbiote. In reaction to Venom’s ploy, Miguel frees Dana which broke of Venom’s right arm. Miguel and Dana moved quickly to the next room and the door shut provided them temporary refuge from Venom. Before the two separated (Miguel to fight and Dana to leave for safety), they kissed.

Even without his costume, Miguel decides to go after Venom to free Xina…

Quality

14
Venom 2099 is truly dangerous.

Another well-crafted comic book carrying the same strong creative energy since Venom 2099’s debut in issue #35. While it is no surprise that Peter David’s writing remains top-notch and highly compelling in showing the continued conflicts between Spider-Man and Venom of the future, he inserted some flashbacks into the past showing how Miguel O’Hara got romantically involved with Dana and how it complicated matters in his family given the fact that Dana was the GF of his brother Gabe. Those flashbacks, which some might think served as padding, are actually helpful to not only inform readers about the Miguel-Xina-Dana triangle but also give readers a new look at Miguel’s personality. All of that added in the build-up leading to the very powerful ending. After being absent in issue #36, Andrew Wildman returned strongly in visualizing this comic book. His art on the ending is something I will keep remembering for a very long time.

Conclusion

11
A flashback…

The first time I read Spider-Man 2099 #37 when it was initially released, its story and ending proved to be powerful. In this review, I do confirm it still maintains that powerful impact by today’s standards. This comic book is not only great on its own, it also showed how much Venom 2099 made life for Spider-Man 2099 go upside-down. By the time this comic book got published, Miguel O’Hara transformed a whole lot since the first issue reaching the corporate leadership of Alchemax. Clearly, this means that Spider-Man 2099 carried tremendous power with him to go against his era’s Venom (who in turn really proved to be a very dangerous menace not only to the superhero but the public as well).

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Spider-Man 2099 #37, be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $34. The near-mint copies of the “Venom 2099” regular edition and the “Venom 2099” newsstand edition cost $85 and $255 respectively.

Overall, Spider-Man 2099 #37 (1995) 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 What If #72 (1995)

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

Spider-Man is not just the icon of Marvel Comics co-created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. He is an icon of American culture! From comic books to video games, toys, movies, TV shows and merchandise, Spider-Man’s legacy will always be visible to the public. The fandom of the icon is also undeniable. As if that was not enough, a futuristic, sci-fi version of the superhero was realized in 1992 when Marvel Comics launched its 2099 comic book universe with Spider-Man 2099.

Not even Stan Lee himself anticipated how famous Spider-Man would become.

“”It’s so indescribably thrilling to realize that so many people really care about a character I dreamed up and wrote so many years ago. Although it’s probably lucky I didn’t know how big Spidey would become in later years—because, if I suspected that, I’d have been too nervous to write the stories, worrying if they’re good enough for posterity to judge,” Lee stated.

Considering his relevance and attraction to the public, Spider-Man unsurprisingly got featured in issues of the What If monthly series. What I’m about to review is a comic book that explores what would it be had Spider-Man became a murderer.

You read it right!

Anyway, here is a look back at What If #72, published by Marvel Comics in 1995 with a story written by Simon Furman and illustrated by Craig Brasfield.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Peter Parker/Spider-Man alone in a dark prison cell. A flashback begins set inside a particular warehouse showing how he (dressed as Spider-Man) savagely beat up a man whom he believed was responsible for the death of his beloved Uncle Ben. By looking at the man’s face, Spider-Man noticed that the guy he just beat up was the fugitive (a burglar) who ran past him…the one man whom he could have stopped when he had the chance. Spider-Man realizes that he just killed the man and starts regretting it.

Suddenly a loud voice from outside the warehouse startled him. It turns out New York’s police officers are located outside and they know he is in the warehouse. They called Spider-Man to surrender. He thought about doing the right thing to surrender but eventually decides to escape and go home.

The next morning, Peter Parker is at home with Aunt May. The guilt of killing a man is bothering him personally and he knows how much his aunt depends on him. He knows that she is already struggling to make ends meet for them both. Aunt May notices Peter looking bad from a lack of sleep.

Then Peter goes to school feeling very burdened with guilt…

Quality

11
Peter Parker bothered by guilt…

I can clearly that this is a very well-written story crafted by Simon Furman. Not only did Furman really strongly focused on the very theme of this comic book, he went the extra mile exploring a darker side of Spider-Man brought out by the burden of guilt. I also enjoyed the scenes crafted showing Spider-Man to not only act different but also become more unsure of himself and even becoming afraid to use his super powers. Worth mentioning is how Peter Parker handles his relationship with Aunt May while carrying the guilt deep inside.

The comic book is not a 100% pure character exploration. There is still a good amount of superhero spectacle here and there to keep you entertained. There are also a few other classic Spider-Man characters that fans will enjoy such as Flash Thompson, Dr. Connors/The Lizard and Sandman. Furman cleverly created nice encounters between Spider-Man and the two mentioned villains which also added further to the hero’s development.

Visually, What If #72 is nice to look at thanks to Craig Brasfield’s work. He proved to be good in drawing Spider-Man although I find his art on the Lizard better and more detailed to look at. When it comes to superhero action, Brasfield delivered the goods.

Conclusion

8
With the guilt bothering him, Peter Parker is unsure of doing something in a bad situation.

What If #72 is quite compelling to read. It explores how Spider-Man would act while carrying the guilt of accidentally killing someone. That being said, I should say that this comic book achieved its goal of emphasizing its concept – what if Spider-Man became a murderer? – but it ended on a whimper. Remember how the 2012 James Bond movie Skyfall literally broke rules and traditions of James Bond storytelling only to revert back before the movie ended? That’s how I look at this comic book. It went deep with its concept but not all the way. How exactly did it end? You should read the comic book to find out.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of What If #72, 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 newsstand edition is priced at $51.

Overall, What If #72 (1995) 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 Spider-Man 2099 #36

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 has been months since I last reviewed a Spider-Man 2099 comic book. In recent times, I’ve been reviewing the final issues of X-Men 2099 so I figured now is a good time to revisit Spidey of the far future.

To put things in perspective, my review of Spider-Man 2099 #35 explored the introduction of Venom 2099. Here we get to explore the super villain and discover more about him and how he impacts the this old monthly series.

Here’s a look back at Spider-Man 2099 #36, published in 1995 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Peter David and illustrated by Keith Pollard.

Cover
The cover drawn by Jae Lee.

Early story

Picking right after the end of issue #35, the comic book opens with a charging Venom 2099 hitting Spider-Man 2099, crashing out of a high level of a hospital. As they fall down, hospital personnel enter the hospital room to provide assistance to Dana and a recovering Tyler Stone. Dana urged the personnel to move Tyler to a new location fearing that Venom will return.

While falling down, Spider-Man hits Venom, manages to stop falling down and watches him hit the ground hard. To his shock, Venom survived and proved to be much stronger than he thought. Venom climbs up the building’s wall to go after Spider-Man…

Quality

10
Venom 2099 and the armed personnel.

Dramatic and gripping. That is how I describe the tone of Peter David’s script here. As this is Spider-Man’s first encounter with Venom (which started at the end of the last issue), David not only crafted a very compelling conflict between them but also maintained consistency on developing the supporting cast members. Unsurprisingly, the sufficient focus on Venom made clear to reader that he is not only very dangerous but also uncompromising with his acts which make him a menace not only to people but even to armed personnel. His obsession with Tyler Stone is really something.

Regarding the comic book’s art, guest illustrator Keith Pollard did a fine job capturing the looks of the characters and also maintained the storytelling pace that started with issue #35. He also scored nicely on making the action look dynamic and fun to see. He also paid close attention to key details on the costumes of Spider-Man and Venom. I also like the way Pollard drew Spider-Man when it comes to swinging positions, wall-crawling, etc.

Conclusion

3
Spider-Man hits Venom while falling down.

Spider-Man 2099 #36 is a very good, old comic book! As this is one of the early comic book appearances of Venom 2099, it is significant not just in terms of financial value but also in terms of developing Spider-Man as a character. Partly helped by the massive popularity of the mainstream Venom (Eddie Brock), Venom of 2099 become one of the most significant super villains of Marvel 2099.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Spider-Man 2099 #36, be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition (Spider-Man 2099 cover), the “Venom 2099” titled cover regular edition, and the “Venom 2099” titled newsstand edition cost $34, $85 and $255 respectively.

Overall, Spider-Man 2099 #36 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

 

 

Idolatry is Unholy

We all live in a screwed-up world. To say the least, our world is chaotic filled with fake news, war, crime, dysfunctional governments, fascism, dictatorship, abortion, Communism, corruption, socialism, homosexuality, SJWs (social justice warriors) terrorism, atheism, religion, idolatry, secularism and the list goes on.

This is because Satan is the god of the world we live in and there are billions of unsaved and lost souls who do not realize the truth of the Word of God (the Holy Bible). They also don’t realize that they need to be saved (get born again), ask God for forgiveness, submit to Him and then accept Jesus as Lord and Savior so that they can be saved and live on as true Christians driven by faith (not religion).

As I mentioned before, being religious is NOT the same as being faithful. In fact, religion is one of the more effective tools (in tandem with atheism) used by Satan to prevent people from becoming children of God. Religion itself is a hindrance to truly becoming Christian. Religion also has a bunch of man-made unholy rules like so-called blessed sacraments which prevent people from realizing the truth in the Holy Bible. Religion also comes with traditions and rituals, which are not even holy.

Another notable thing of religion is idol worship – idolatry – which continues to mislead people and prevent them from worshipping God directly. Idolatry comes with worshipping man-made objects (statues, statuettes, carved objects), images and people. Idolatry also includes allowing ourselves to be dominated by elements that prevent us from being dedicated to the Lord such as items we are too involved with (example: the smartphone), obsessing with people, being addicted to sex, being addicted to illegal substances, being addicted to liquor and even our local culture. Instead of trusting the Lord and being dedicated to Him, idolaters are trapped and actually separated from Him. Even the most prayerful, idol-worshiping, religion-oriented person is fooled into believing he is Christian when, in fact, he is not.

Having previously lived a life of following religion, its traditions, its rituals and wrongful teachings before getting saved (I got born again in 2018), I can clearly say that idolatry is unholy and is also more evil than it appears. I fully reject idolatry and I will never let it influence me now that I’m a child of God.

To put things in perspective, let’s take a look at key holy scripture in the New King James Version (NKJV) and The Passion Translation (TPT) of the Holy Bible.

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, not covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 (NKJV)

Surely you must know that people who practice evil cannot possess God’s kingdom realm. Stop being deceived! People who continue to engage in sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, sexual perversion, homosexuality, fraud, greed, drunkenness, verbal abuse, or extortion—these will not inherit God’s kingdom realm.

1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 (TPT)

As seen above, idolatry makes one not only an idolater but also a practitioner and follower of evil which Satan loves. Idolatry involved with religion deceives idolaters into believing they are Christian when in fact they are unknowingly serving Satan. It does not matter that an idolater prays to a statue of Jesus because that is still unholy. Worship of Lord Jesus should be done to Him directly. Praying to a painting of Jesus (or any religion icon) or to an item deemed holy by a religion-driven church or hierarchy is also unholy. Take note of the following holy scripture below as well as the words bolded for clarity.

You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Exodus 20: 4-6 (NKJV)

As seen above, verse 4 of Exodus chapter 20 makes it clear that objects (which obviously include images or painting) are not to be made at all and, at the same time, our worship must always be directed to God Himself without any hindrance. God is jealous and that alone is reason for us to reject idolatry and be respectful and obedient to Him eternally. We worship the Lord directly and definitely no object, no image and no person in between! We Christians have worship leaders and pastors to guide us to worship the Lord directly, while always remembering we each have a personal relationship with God. A church that claims to be Christian but practices idolatry and has its members worship objects and the church leader is not truly Christian.

Exodus 20: 4 also looks back to the time when Israel was surrounded by people who worshiped images that were also referred to as gods. As it is true that no human effort could represent God, God Himself forbade the making of images or objects about Him. This same truth is also applied to Lord Jesus.

Meanwhile, idolatry that does not involve religion but other things like entertainment (examples: movie stars, celebrities, superheroes, video gaming), government figures (example: politicians), sports (example: basketball superstars), culture and the like is also an abomination to the Lord.

Superhero movies have been wildly popular worldwide for the past twenty years, and those films used comic books as basis for storytelling and visual concepts. How many times have people seen Spider-Man swing above people, Superman fly high, Batman fighting criminals and Wonder Woman saving people? While I enjoy superheroes in varied forms of entertainment media, I know fully well that they are all just pieces of fiction and I NEVER worshiped any of them. I will never worship them, ever. I am a geek but I prioritized my faith in the Lord and I always will maintain my personal relationship with Him. Definitely I reject idols and idolatry.

To my fellow geeks reading this, I urge you to never engage in idolatry no matter how passionate you are with your geek interest. Don’t worship movie stars, superheroes, images and don’t let highly interactive, deeply engaging video games from enslaving you. Always look up to Lord Jesus and follow God’s Word.

Idols are truly distracting and have been used by Satan to keep the unsaved and lost souls away from God, Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit. It’s bad enough that our world is dominated by powerful, sinister forces whose acts are further magnified by the news networks that reached billions of viewers (notably news junkies) every day.

When it comes to true Christianity, we the Christians who got born again are the Church and our true leader is Lord Jesus who has been in Heaven so long ago, and He promised to return to us here on Earth. We Christians living in the flesh here on Earth are to reject idolatry (plus religion, traditions and rituals) and focus on engaging in the enduring race of faith remaining faithful to the Lord, praying in tongues, studying the Holy Bible and applying its lessons into our lives.

Idolatry really has no place in Christianity and we Christians must never let it dominate us.

Remember God is always good, always faithful, always loving and caring, always our protector and always our source. All those idols around us are NOTHING like Him. This brings me to my next point – being an idolater means getting involved with demons and paganism. Take a close look at the holy scriptures below.

They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods; With abominations they provoked Him to anger. They sacrificed to demons, not to God, To gods they did not know, To new gods, new arrivals That your fathers did not fear.

Deuteronomy 32: 16-17 (NKJV)  

“They shall no more offer their sacrifices to demons, after whom they have played the harlot. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations.”

Leviticus 17: 7 (NKJV)

To put things in perspective, idolatry is the gravest sin in ancient Israel (refer to verse 17 of Deuteronomy chapter 32). The laws pertaining to the sanctity of blood prohibit involvement in the pagan practices of foreign worship. This is connected to verse 4 of Deuteronomy chapter 6 which states: “Hear O, Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!

For its part, the early church encountered similar concerns when they tackled the question of Gentiles who came from pagan backgrounds coming to faith in Jesus as the Lord and Savior. Refer to verses 20 and 29 of Acts chapter 15, as well as verse 25 of Acts chapter 21.

More on idolatry making idolaters involved with demons, pay very close attention to the holy scripture below in the New King James Version and the Passion translation. Key parts bolded for you.

Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.

1 Corinthians 10: 20 (NKJV)

Absolutely not! However, I am implying that when an unbeliever offers a sacrifice to an idol, it is not offered to the true God but to a demon. I don’t want you to be participants with demons!

1 Corinthians 10: 20 (TPT)

Very clearly in the two translations of 1 Corinthians 10: 20, idolatry is absolutely wrong and it is NEVER EVER a proper form of worship to the Lord. Quite simply, you make an offer or a sacrifice to an idol, it is not for the Lord. You pray to an idol, you are not connected with the Lord. Instead, involving yourself with an idol means involving yourself with false gods or demons.

As for having statues, statuettes and images of the Lord (or those so-called icons – both the dead and the living persons – of people trapped by religion), those things are never necessary for Christians. We the faithful Children of God should always reject idols, focus on the Lord and live by His Word. Get rid of those carved idols there in your household! Get rid of those paintings or other forms of images there in your household! Stay away from those unholy parades/processions that highlight statues for worship! Avoid worshiping people no matter how charismatic they look! Reject Satan, the demons and other forms of evil! Simply worship the Lord directly and always remember Jesus is always alive and is watching us from Heaven!

Going back to 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10, read it once more and you will realize that being an idolater will make you spiritually unholy and unworthy of God’s kingdom. It is undeniably true! 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 clearly shows that idolaters belong with other unholy and unrighteous elements such as sexual immorality, adultery, sexual perversion, homosexuality, fraud, greed, drunkenness, verbal abuse and extortion. Really, no faith-driven Christian would want to be deemed unworthy by God by embracing idolatry and all those unrighteous elements. The people trapped by the darkness of religion or unbelief, however, are among the idolaters, the adulterers, the covetous, the extortionists and the like. As such, those unsaved and lost souls need to be prayed over so that they will realize the Truth of God’s Word and someday make the decision to get born again and become a child of God.

As Christians driven by faith and living by God’s Word, we certainly do not want to fail in our pursuit and in our personal relationship with Him. Idolatry is a sin and this leads to the final holy scripture for this piece.

We know that we are God’s children and that the whole world lies under the misery and influence of the Evil One. And we know that the Son of God has made our understanding come alive so that we can know by experience the One who is true. And we are in him who is true, God’s Son, Jesus Christ—the true God and eternal life! So, little children, guard yourselves from worshiping anything but him.

1 John 5: 19-21 (TPT)

Now that my newest teaching about idolatry is done, I would like to reach out to all and any unsaved or lost souls among you readers. This is your opportunity to get born again and become Christian. The decision is yours, not mine.

If you seek salvation and are ready to submit yourselves to the Lord, and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then pray this simple prayer in sincerity from your heart:

Dear God,

I believe that Jesus is Your Son, and that He died on the cross to pay the penalty of my sins. I believe that Jesus has been raised from the dead and that He is alive! Right now, I call on the name of Jesus. Jesus, come into my heart. I receive You as my personal Lord and Savior. Forgive me of my sins and cleanse me by the power of Your blood. Thank You for saving me and giving me eternal life! Help me now to follow Your plan for my life. Amen.

Congratulations! You are now a child of God! Praise the Lord and always be faithful to Him! No more darkness in your life caused by unbelief or religion. Your new life under Christ has truly begun!

From this point on, acquire for yourself a copy of the Holy Bible (New King James Version is recommended), study it and apply its many lessons in your life no matter what situation you are in right now. I also recommend you to join a church of born-again Christians near you and find your place in the spiritual family. Worship the Lord together with them and remember that each of you has a personal relationship with Him. Get used to Christian rock music. Your personal relationship with God is strictly off-limits to everyone, even to your family.

The Holy Spirit is in you and you are now a new creation! Remember that God loves you and He is definitely happy over your conversion.

In ending this article, I embedded these Christian worship music videos for your enjoyment and the strengthening of your faith in the Lord. No more idols and other forms of sin in your life. Move forward with Lord Jesus eternally!

Now is the time for you and your spiritual family to keep on being the fearless and aggressive Church of Lord Jesus! Now is the time for you to realize that God made a plan for each and everyone of us before we were even created (refer to Jeremiah 29: 11)! Now is the time to realize that God created us and rewards the faithful abundantly (refer to John 10: 10).

Now is the time for harvest under Lord Jesus! Spread the Word of God, help save the unsaved and lost souls worldwide.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Sharing this Christian piece means spreading the good news of the Lord to others. It can help you save the unsaved souls out there.

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

A Look Back at Catwoman #50 (1997)

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

I want to make things clear that I’m not really a fan of Catwoman, nor am I a big fan of Batman and other DC Comics characters related to the Dark Knight. While it is a fact that I grew up reading comic books and watching some episodes of the live-action TV series as well as varied animated series featuring Batman, I did not see much of him encountering Catwoman.

I got to watch the movie Batman Returns in 1992 showing Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer as Batman and Catwoman. Unsurprisingly Catwoman gained prominence in pop culture as a result of that movie. In 1993, DC Comics launched the monthly series of Catwoman.

Recently, I reviewed Web of Spider-Man #100 which showcased the iconic Spider-Man wearing a suit of armor. As the 1990s was a decade of excess which includes armors as a superhero comic book trend (or fashion craze), it was no surprise that DC Comics had Catwoman featured in armored form.

That being said, we can now take a look back at Catwoman #50, published by DC Comics in 1997 with a story written by Doug Moench and drawn by Jim Balent.

Early story

The story begins with Catwoman moving on the rooftop at night. Suddenly a small rocket is fired hitting a chimney near her knocking her out temporarily. After recovering and checking the area near her, she gets hit by Cyber-Cat (first appeared in Catwoman #42). As it turns out, Catwoman knew something about her having worked with Syntex but Cyber-Cat tells her that she’s worker for herself.

Driven by deep anger, Cyber-Cat moves at Catwoman who tries to escape. Catwoman gets hit and suffers slashes on her skin as a result of Cyber-Cat’s vicious attacks. Now losing some blood, Catwoman makes a desperate leap to another building across the street and barely makes it leaving Cyber-Cat behind.

5
Cyber-Cat viciously attacks Catwoman!

“Run, thief—but your run can’t last forever! I found you once, and I won’t rest until I do it agains—to finish what this night started! And remember –every time you cast your cowardly shadow across a roof…you’ll never know which gargoyle might come to sudden life,” Cyber-Cat tells Catwoman across the gap. “You’re finished, thief! Dead already!”

Badly wounded, Catwoman manages to find her motorcycle at an alley and drives on the way back to her hideout…

Quality

21
The money shot by Jim Balent! Check out the unrealistic look of the armor.

I should say that Catwoman #50 surprisingly has depth and a nice combination of spectacle, characterization, intrigue and even some detective story elements. Don’t let the cover fool you into thinking this is a shallow and terrible comic book.

For one thing, Doug Moench carefully crafted a story bringing Catwoman and Cyber-Cat back for a new conflict together, only this time the stakes are much higher given the fact that in the previous encounter, Catwoman put Cyber-Cat to shame. This explains why Cyber-Cat is not only more determined to kill Catwoman but also train harder and use cybernetic means more efficiently.

Rivalry aside, this comic book provides a nice look as to what would happen when a professional thief like Catwoman gets involved with a technology company and causes a disturbance not only in the tech sector but also with industry investigators. Doug Moench managed to insert some scenes exploring Selina Kyle/Catwoman’s social life and her involvement with a cop (who does not even know her secret criminal identity).

As for the Catwoman armor highlighted on the cover, I really like the way the creators efficiently implemented the “Batman approach” to preparation when it comes to assembling the armor done by Catwoman’s friend. While it is predictable that the armor helped improve her ability to fight and keep up with high-tech measures used against her, I found it rather unbelievable that she is able to maintain quick reflexes, move around fast like before and still look like she’s wearing tights (same problem with Cyber-Cat who is actually Christina Chiles behind the suit).

While the realism is not really a factor here, I should confirm that this comic book sure has a lot of action scenes and attractive visuals in the expected big battle between Cyber-Cat and the armored Catwoman. Artist Jim Balent, who helped start this monthly series, confidently paced the action and delivered lots of dynamic shots of hard action.

Conclusion

18
Selina Kyle the civilian.

Catwoman #50 is surprisingly fun to read and has enough depth to its story. It’s far from being brainless, really. With almost 30 pages of story and art, the creative team paced themselves to tell a cohesive story, add a bit of character development and then have Catwoman suited up for the big fight against the obsessive Cyber-Cat.

When it comes to executing the concept of having a hero or a villain using armor for a big conflict or special mission, Catwoman #50 easily beats the stuffing out of Web of Spider-Man #100 big time! Compared to that very disappointing Spider-Man comic book (featuring an armored Spider-Man), Catwoman #50 has more depth, is paced better, paid closer attention to detail (right down to the features of Catwoman’s armor), and has spectacle that is executed and presented better.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Catwoman #50 (1997), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $9. The near-mint copies of the deluxe, the newsstand deluxe and the newsstand editions cost $10, $22 and $17 respectively.

Overall, Catwoman #50 (1997) 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 Web of Spider-Man #100

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 already know, the 1990s was a decade of excess when it comes to American comic book publishing. It was a time when publishers released comic books with special covers (AKA gimmick covers) and high cover prices.

During that time, the presence of comic books with flashy gimmick covers really stood out among the many other comic book on display at retailers’. In 1993, there was this one time I spotted Web of Spider-Man #100 which not only had a flashy looking foil cover but also the introduction of Spider-Man’s armor. Unsurprisingly, I started speculating how significant Spider-Man in armor would be, what features the armor has and how will it be relevant for the foreseeable future of Spider-Man stories. Shortly after, I bought the comic book.

Here is a look back at Web of Spider-Man #100, published in 1993 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Terry Kavanagh and art by Alex Saviuk.

Cover
The cover and its excessive cover price for 1993.

Early story

The story begins with Spider-Man facing off with Dragon Man, Dreadnought, Super Adaptoid and a few others on top of a building. After surviving the attacks thrown at him, he discreetly places a spider-tracer on Dragon Man before finally getting away.

The next night, Peter Parker works on a high-tech project at Empire State University where he is taking a graduate program. His experiment fails which ironically gives him an opportunity to use the equipment until the next morning. He did not just use the equipment to make more web fluid but also something new to wear.

Meanwhile, chaos continues to happen around the city with the involvement of Nightwatch, Dragon Man, Dreadnought, Super Adaptoid, and Blood Rose to name some.

Quality

15
This is Spidey’s armor.

I’ll say it straight. Web of Spider-Man #100 is a big disappointment when it comes to highlighting Spider-Man’s new armor, the 100th anniversary issue of the monthly series and even telling a compelling Spider-Man story.

What is clear with the main story of this comic book is that it is heavily loaded with action scenes which eventually resulted a hollow reading experience. The plot is quite shallow and there was not even a single moment that I found Peter Parker in anything interesting. You wanna see Peter Parker interact with Mary Jane? Nothing. You hope to see him pay a visit to his Aunt May? Nothing. Technically this story showed Spider-Man getting involved with a bunch of uninteresting troublemakers, take time out to make his armor, and get back to the troublemakers wearing it. As a story, there is certainly no depth at all.

Regarding Spider-Man’s highlighted armor, its use in the story is also a major disappointment. You will get to see the Spidey Armor for ten pages (including the silhouette appearance) but there really is no payoff for anticipating it.

17
An armored Spider-Man in the middle of the action.

More on the presentation, it is clear that this comic book served another purpose that is quite shameless and even irresponsible – to build up Nightwatch, a caped and masked character in dark costume that was arguably Marvel Comics’ blatant imitation of Todd McFarlane’s Spawn. This comic book even contained an origin story of Nightwatch which was not interesting to read.

Conclusion

To make it clear, Web of Spider-Man #100 was a big disappointment for me personally back in 1993. By today’s standards, this comic book is even worse in terms of quality, artistic value, entertainment value and literary value. As a Spider-Man comic book, it is a big letdown and there really is not much for Spider-Man fans to enjoy here. His armor was just a useless showpiece and it’s even insulting that a useless character like Nightwatch got a lot of spotlight. I suppose Marvel Comics’ executives at the time thought they could lure fans of Todd McFarlane and Spawn to their side with Nightwatch serving as a magnet. Quite obviously, Marvel failed.

37
Sorry Marvel, but your blatant imitation of Todd McFarlane’s Spawn is pathetic and I’m not even a Spawn fan. 

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Web of Spider-Man #100, be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $11. As for the near-mint copies of the newsstand edition and the Alex Saviuk-signed edition, they cost $39 and $26 respectively.

Overall, Web of Spider-Man #100 is not recommended. Do not ever waste your money on this comic book.


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 What If #42 (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.

Believe it or not, there was a time when the iconic superhero Spider-Man had additional arms on both sides of his body which made him even more like a spider. Such a story was told in Amazing Spider-Man #100 and #101 published decades ago by Marvel Comics.

In 1992, Marvel Comics published What If #42 to revisit the old crazy story and tell an alternate reality of it. Take note that this comic book we’re about to examine together was released the same year Marvel celebrated the 30th anniversary of Spider-Man.

Cover
A very eye-catching cover.

Here’s a look back at What If #42 written by Michael Gallagher and drawn by Kevin West. The hot question: What if Spider-Man had kept his six arms?

Early story

The comic book begins with the Watcher telling readers a recap of what happened to Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #100 and #101. It is recalled that Peter Parker got fed up with being Spider-Man as it complicated his personal life with a bunch of problems. After he attempted to eliminate his super powers by creating and using a potion, Peter Parker suddenly grew four additional arms instead.

In reaction, Parker reached out to his friend Dr. Connors/Lizard (who was in Florida) who granted him access to his laboratory in Long Island. Tried as hard as he could, Parker could not come up with a solution.

Meanwhile, many miles away, the vampire Morbius harms the crew of a ship on the sea before diving into the water. Morbius gets overwhelmed by multiple sharks and dies. His death, as it turns out, marked the end of the solution to Spider-Man’s extra arms problem. Morbius had an enzyme unique only to vampire body chemistry which would have cured Spider-Man’s condition.

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Spider-Man and Beast of the X-Men.

This leaves Spider-Man with an even longer lasting problem leading to a new reality.

Quality

The story is well written and nicely paced. There is a nice balance between storytelling, characterization and action here. As far as the alternate reality of events go, What If #42 is a smash in the sense that it nicely explores what would happen not only to Peter Parker had he actually kept those extra arms of his, but also what would happen to the people around him as well as balance of superheroes in the state of New York. If you just imagine yourself as Peter Parker having four extra arms, try visualizing how your personal life got destroyed and your connections with people you care about getting strained or even cut off. Nobody in real life would want to end up living like a freak, and this concept is well emphasized with Spider-Man.

Character development on Spider-Man is well done. As you read his lines and thoughts, you will feel the pressure and hassle he is experiencing with the extra arms. You’ll wonder how his Aunt May would react not only to those new arms but also his prolonged absence. As Peter Parker becomes very determined to find a solution in the absence of Morbius, you’ll even relate with his struggle. On top of these, the dialogue was well written and there were even a few intriguing moments.

I also enjoyed the way the comic book creators emphasized the shared universe of Marvel Comics here. You will see the X-Men and Fantastic Four plus several more Marvel characters make appearances.

Along the way, there is a nice scene at the Daily Bugle (the newspaper where Peter Parker works as a photographer) showing how sinister and abusive J. Jonah Jameson really is as he remains obsessed with destroying Spider-Man by means of distorted presentation of news. In this age of fake news, sinister propaganda, distorted views and local community print media publications being operated by people who don’t really know journalism, the Daily Bugle scene is pretty relevant by today’s standards.

As such, Michael Gallagher’s script and story structure here are very strong. For the art, Kevin West did good work. Not only was I able to recognize the Spider-Man-related characters and other Marvel superheroes, West’s notably made the Lizard look visceral enough and the same can be said of his take on Venom. The comic book art had a nice flow as the story was told and West provided enough impact on the action scenes.

Conclusion

What If #42 is a pretty good comic book to read exploring how things would have been had Spider-Man kept those extra arms and really looked truly spider-like. Apart from the good quality of storytelling and visuals, the presence of other Marvel Comics universe characters further add some depth into the story as Peter Parker struggled to find a solution to his problem.

7
Spidey and Lizard!

This is the kind of story that I don’t believe we will ever see happen on the big screen. It’s just too jarring and even shocking for Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios to actually show Tom Holland as Spider-Man with extra arms. Such a cinematic move will surely outrage fans and might even put a dent on the credibility and believability of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

If you are seriously considering buying an existing hard copy of What If #42, be aware that as of this writing based on the ratings of MileHighComics.com, a near-mint copy of the regular edition is at $12 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition is priced at $39.

Overall, What If #42 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 What If #44 (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.

Are you a fan of Venom and you want to find out how he was presented within the realm of alternate realities within the Marvel Comics universe as told through their What If? monthly series?

Join me in exploring something new in What If #44, written by Kurt Busiek, drawn by Luke McDonnell and published in 1992 by Marvel Comics.

The key scenario here: What if Venom had possessed the Punisher?

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Venom already armed with guns moving around the city. In broad daylight, he stalks criminals walking down the street. Using the symbiote’s ability to alter his looks, Venom approaches a certain Mr. Vance (accompanied by bodyguards) and kills him quickly in public.

It turns out, Venom is actually Frank Castle/Punisher already with the symbiote. With his intent to eliminate crooks, this new Venom daringly goes up against the gangs even without the usual hardware (weapons) since the symbiote already provides him with uncanny weapons.

Elsewhere in the city, Spider-Man (wearing his black suit that shared the same style as Venom) swings by a lady who begged him not to hurt her. This sparks Spider-Man’s curiosity since he believes that he succeeded in killing the symbiote that tried to possess him.

15
Punisher/Venom goes against the criminals!

In another part of the city, Daredevil senses Venom passing by and recognizes the heartbeat as that of Frank Castle. He also senses other readings that something is odd. He decides to take a close look at Venom/Punisher.

Quality

Let me start with the core concept of this comic book: it’s a bold and great concept to explore, and it was well executed! To put things to perspective, I personally witnessed the debut of Venom in 1987 and back then seeing Eddie Brock/Venom as a new mortal enemy of Peter Parker’s was a tremendous event of its own. On top of that, having Brock already with the symbiote forming Venom together established an undeniable consequence that goes back to the alien world in Secret Wars where Spider-Man first got the symbiote. Gradually through the years in real life, Venom became one of the greatest super villains of not only Marvel but in superhero comics in general.

That being said, to show the Punisher getting possessed by the symbiote made a nice alternate reality. Frank Castle lost his family and this alone drove him to become a vigilante and often used lots of guns and explosives in his one-man war against crime. To see him have the symbiote and become the new Venom is both interesting and intriguing. I won’t forget how the Punisher used the symbiote to organically form guns on his arms and actually fire bullets.

One of the things I like most in this comic book was the presentation of the encounter between Spider-Man and Punisher/Venom. It’s a great alternative to the classic first encounter between Spider-Man and Eddie Brock/Venom!

Ultimately, Kurt Busiek’s storytelling is strong and engaging. Art by Luke McDonnell is serviceable at best but he really exerted effort to add impact on the action scenes which are plentiful to see. Lastly,

Conclusion

9
Punisher/Venom and Spider-Man!

I really enjoyed reading this comic book. To put things in perspective, What If #44 was released several months before the Punisher and Venom actually appeared together in Venom: Funeral Pyre #1. This comic book was also released before Venom got his own mini-series with Lethal Protector.

If you are serious in collecting a hard copy of What If #44 soon, be aware that as of this writing and based on the ratings of Mile High Comics online, a near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $51 while a near-mint newsstand copy costs $153.

Overall, What If #44 (1992) 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 What If #58 (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.

In early 1994, I was still in high-school. There was a time when I passed by a local comic book store that showed a new What If? comic book displayed among the many new titles. That particular comic book caught my attention because of its key question: What if the Punisher had killed Spider-Man?

That comic book was What If #58 published by Marvel Comics with a story by Chuck Dixon and art by Gordon Purcell. Check out the cover below.

Cover
The cover of this comic book took a lot of inspiration from that of Amazing Spider-Man #129.

To put things in perspective, Spider-Man and Punisher are both heroes in the universe of Marvel Comics but with very drastic differences between them. Spider-Man/Peter Parker fights crooks and other types of bad guys while maintaining a lawfully good nature even as he struggles to live a normal, personal life. Punisher, who is privately Frank Castle, is a killer who is driven to fight criminals beyond the boundaries of the law. The Punisher resorts to extreme forms of violence and guns are his main weapons. Due to the tragic loss of his wife and children, Punisher lives to wage a one-man war against criminals which only reflects the huge loss of his humanity.

Spider-Man and the Punisher first encountered each other in Amazing Spider-Man #129. Through the years, the two would face-off again and again. In the mid-1980s, the Punisher went on to rise in high popularity with comic book readers as Marvel Comics published three regular series: The Punisher, The Punisher War Journal and The Punisher War Zone.

That being said, we take a look back at What If #58.

Early story

Without involving Marvel’s galactic Watcher, the comic book begins with the Punisher aiming his gun at a man seated behind his desk. It turns out Punisher is waiting for the police to arrive at the place they are in.

From this point, the story is told in flashback with Punisher narrating. He is with the Jackal on the roof top of a building in New York City. Even as the Jackal pushes him to shoot a certain target already, the Punisher decides not to do it. He stressed he wants to study the target.

“It seemed right. Taking down a high profile outlaw like Spider-Man looked like the right way to go,” Punisher thought. “And Jackal promised unlimited funding of my war on crime if I succeeded.”

6
Punisher doing research.

Gradually, the Punisher prepares himself to kill Spider-Man…

Quality

Let me start with the concept of this comic book. Exploring what would happen had the Punisher actually killed Spider-Man (note: this is so obvious from the cover) is a bold and clever story to tell. To put things in perspective, the Punisher’s attempt to kill Marvel’s iconic superhero happened way back in Amazing Spider-Man #129 which was published way back in 1974. Very clearly, Punisher failed and Spider-Man went on to live and fight for good.

When it comes to storytelling, Chuck Dixon delivered a strong script and carefully crafted a standalone story that looks at the Punisher’s first-ever attempt to shoot Spider-Man but the narrative was more on the vigilante’s point-of-view. The dialogue was solid and the narration gives readers a good look at the personality of Frank Castle. I also liked the way the story was paced.

What also makes this comic book really good is that it shows in convincing fashion what else would have happened after the successful assassination of Spider-Man. Without spoiling the surprise, you can ask yourself how would Punisher react once he learned who Spider-Man really was, how would the many people who personally knew Spider-Man (whether good or evil) would react and what the state of crime in New York would be like.

10
The Punisher anticipating Spider-Man outside The Daily Bugle.

As for the art, Gordon Purcell did a decent job. He captured what was back then modern day 1990s look of the Punisher (completely rejecting the way the character looked in Amazing Spider-Man #129) and he knew how to present him from different angles regardless of what action was taken. On drawing Spider-Man, Purcell proved to be good. I noticed in some parts of the comic book, he tried hard to make Spidey look dynamic while traveling high above the streets of the city. The big money shot (in terms of illustration) for me was the moment Spider-Man got killed.

Conclusion

Overall, What If #58 is a good and fun comic book to read. Historically, this was released at a time when Spider-Man and the Punisher were both wildly popular. The decision to tell an alternate reality off Amazing Spider-Man #129 was inevitable and ultimately was nicely pulled off.

If you are thinking about acquiring What If #58, as of this writing MileHighComics.com shows that a near-mint copy of the regular edition is at $26 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition is at $77.

What If #58 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