A Look Back at Ravage 2099 #4 (1993)

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

I’ve been reading more of the work of the late Stan Lee through his contributions for Marvel’s 2099 franchise of the early 1990s. Lee’s comeback into comic book writing with Ravage 2099 #1 turned out to be a big disappointment and his writing style just ended up being outdated by 1992’s standards. Ravage 2099 #2 was a marginal improvement over its predecessor buy was overall still a very weak comic book. Ravage 2099 #3 meanwhile was surprisingly a clear improvement over issue #2 and also happened to be more entertaining and interesting to read. Of the first three issues published, issue #3 proved to be satisfying.

Will there be another improvement on the artistic and entertainment values of the next Ravage 2099 issue in this review? Find out in this look back at Ravage 2099 #4, published in 1993 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Stan Lee and drawn by Paul Ryan.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the island of Hellrock where Ravage is on the run already suffering from the toxic air and only time will tell if ever-present radiation will kill him or turn into a mutroid. Dethstryk’s minions have been hunting him since he started running away from their main forces.

Even though he was able to avoid getting caught by the hunters, Ravage continues to suffer greatly with each passing moment. Despite the pain, he remains determined to fight back and keep moving but his chances of survival keep on fading…

Quality

This is pretty much what you will see of Ravage in this comic book.

To put it short, the story was pretty much about Ravage struggling to survive in a very dangerous location while being hunted. The heroism he had in issue #3 is completely missing and the way Stan Lee wrote this story, the concept is pretty shallow. In fact, even the very weak story of issue #1 has more variety and depth than this one! More on Ravage, even as he struggled and got targeted, there is not much justification to make readers like you feel sympathetic to him especially if you followed Ravage’s so-called development starting in issue #1.

When it comes to plotting, this comic book would have worked better had it been released in the 1970s. It does not help that Stan Lee had to resort to adding fillers to the script by means of recapping lots of scenes from issue #3 (even though he tried to emphasize Dethstryk’s thoughts).

Character development? There is not much here except for Ravage. As for the supporting characters, don’t expect to see much of Tiana and Dack as they did not contribute anything to the shallow story. As for Ravage’s former boss Henton, Stan Lee went ahead to show just how obviously evil he is with nothing new to show (except his virtual reality escapade).

Conclusion

Stan Lee and his creative team lazily resorted to recapping key events that happened in issue #3.

Clearly, Ravage 2099 #4 (1993) falls short from becoming a satisfying read as it paled in comparison to issue #3. That’s too bad because the concept of showing Ravage as a fugitive in the middle of a very dangerous place could have turned into something more interesting and more intriguing. Instead, Ravage ended up being the target of hunters and it was clear that Stan Lee and Paul Ryan dragged the scenes of him struggling and fighting to survive.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Ravage 2099 #4 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $24.

Overall, Ravage 2099 #4 (1993) is not recommended. If you really want to buy this comic book at all, better not pay more than fifty cents for it.

+++++

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 Ravage 2099 #3 (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, Marvel 2099 fans and superhero comic book geeks! Are you ready for another trip into the high-tech future of Marvel’s comic book universe through the storytelling of the late Stan Lee? This is about the 3rd issue of the Ravage 2099 monthly series.

For the newcomers reading this, Ravage is an original character co-created by Stan Lee and artist Paul Ryan for the 2099 universe of Marvel Comics. By comparison, 2099 started in the 1990s with its own versions of Spider-Man, Dr. Doom and the Punisher. As such, Ravage stood out simply because he was different from them and that includes being idiotic and chaotic as a lead character.

Having already reviewed the first two issues (read my recent review), it became clear to me that Ravage started to deteriorate as a person even as he strived hard in doing what he thought was right. There are two established villains in the story and so far, Ravage does not look any different from them since he proved to be so chaotic, he became a danger not only to the thugs but also to law enforcers. As such, he is a danger to the public.

To find out if anything will improve creatively and artistically, here is a look back at Ravage 2099 #3, published in 1993 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Stan Lee and drawn by Paul Ryan.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins moments after Alchemax forces abducted Tiana from Ravage and Dack who find themselves busy with armed enemies on the street. The young Dack got hit by a gun blast. Somehow, Dack was brought to the nearest medical facility for treatment and placed in a medi-cell for questioning.

Already alone in the room, Dack is trapped and a bearded man delivering some candy arrives. It turns out it is Ravage in disguise and he wanted to make sure the youth was fine. Dack tells reveals that he was question for hours. Ravage updates Dack that Tiana was probably half-way to Hellrock, and he intends to get her back.

Meanwhile, armed personnel spot Ravage on surveillance video and rush to get him…

Quality

Most likely the portrayal of Tiana being helpless will turn off radical feminists and SJWs reading this.

To put things straight, this particular story has a retro vibe which reminds me of certain sci-fi and adventure comic books of the 1950s to the 1970s. This is not surprising given Stan Lee’s own style of plotting and writing. Like in issue #2, creative baggage was less of a hindrance and this allowed Lee and Paul Ryan to craft another action-hero tale that is straightforward and easier to follow. Unlike the previous issue, this one has stakes raised near the end of the story which is refreshing and it also involves a nice change of location. Compared to how he acted in issue #2, Ravage here begins to act more heroic and showed willingness to sacrifice something to help someone. He still is a chaotic person to be with, only this time he is in the company of a different kind of walking characters. To say the least, this story is an improvement over its predecessor.

Conclusion

Ravage in action inside Dak’s medi-cell.

I can say that Ravage 2099 #3 (1993) is surprisingly a satisfying read. It definitely is not great but the traditional elements of sci-fi, action adventure storytelling lifted its quality. It should be noted that the act of heroism on the part of Ravage begins here and the predicted rivalry between him and the villain Dethstryk (who looks generic as the leader of a band of baddies) finally starts.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Ravage 2099 #3 (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 $24.

Overall, Ravage 2099 #3 (1993) is satisfactory. That being said, I don’t recommend spending any more than $1 for it.

+++++

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 Ravage 2099 #2 (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.

Over a year ago, I reviewed Ravage 2099 #1 (1992) which marked the return of the late Stan Lee on writing stories for a monthly series. Unlike the main heroes of the 2099 universe of the time, Ravage was created by Stan Lee and illustrator Paul Ryan as an original character although he ended up being generic. In my review of the 1st issue of the Ravage 2099 series, I declared that the comic book itself was worth buying way below its original cover price.

Of course, it is understood that, apart from Stan Lee’s outdated style of writing, the debut issue is difficult to make because a lot of explaining (via expository dialogue most of the time) the concept had to be done which causes an imbalance between storytelling, character development and spectacle. That being said, it is time to find out if the Stan Lee-Paul Ryan creative team managed to improve their work together in this look back at Ravage 2099 #2 published in 1993 by Marvel Comics.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the dreaded place called Hellrock. A deformed being named Stormer tries to convince his fellow mutroids to make him their new leader as he believes that current leader Deathstryk is weak and afraid. Soon enough, Dethstryk personally arrives surprising everyone, including Stormer.

After hearing Dethstryk make statements about his temper tantrum and slaying of a fellow mutroid, Stormer attacks him suddenly. In front of many mutroids, Dethstryk easily overpowers Stormer as he lectures him about leadership and strategy. After being offered mercy, Stormer then submits to Dethstryke who in turn declares that their goal is to make the extinction of the human race happen.

Deep in the middle of the metropolis, Ravage drives a very old, fossil fuel truck and rams a law enforcement car with it causing two officers to react and draw their guns. Ravage leaps into action and beats the two officers in brutal fashion. Afterwards, he goes on to raid the car of its equipment…

Quality

Ravage only acts human with his friends.

I’ll start with the storytelling here. With the fact that there is much less creative baggage remaining since the exposition has been done in the first issue, this comic book’s pacing and overall structure showed some improvements. Not only will you see more of Ravage doing action and really starting out as a vigilante, you will also discover more of the core concept through the exposition focused more on the side of Dethstryk as the villain’s seeress informs him that Ravage is destined to be his nemesis.

What bogs this comic book down is the style of writing by Stan Lee which clearly lacks engagement and the presentation here has a lot in common with comic book storytelling of the 1960s and 1970s. That being said, the corporate intrigue Lee tried to sow here also suffered and the other villain Anderthorpe Henton just looks and acts cartoony.

If there is anything notable that Stan Lee did with writing, it’s the consistency he showed on presenting Ravage as being more antagonistic than a heroic lead figure. If you look closely at what he did to the law enforcers, the armed city security personnel and the punks who encountered him, you will realize that Ravage is actually a menace to society and his humanity is deteriorating. He only acts human when he is with his sexualized former assistant Tiana and Dack.

With regards to the visuals, Paul Ryan’s work here is decent. His style is not that great but I like the effort he exerted on presenting future technology and clearly he took some inspiration from other sci-fi works to give this comic book a distinctive look.

Conclusion

Anyone who despises law enforcers will most likely find this enjoyable. The spirit of rebellion really stinks!

Ravage 2099 #2 (1993), to say it bluntly, is a marginal improvement over its predecessor mainly due to the reduced amount of creative baggage. Exposition in this particular comic book is much lesser in terms of content and it is done efficiently which paved the way for more spectacle to happen. The problems here is that, apart from Stan Lee’s weak writing, there was no real effort to develop the lead character Ravage. I suppose this was intentionally done by the creators to let Ravage be more of an action figure and let the action do the talking about what defines him as a person. Even if that was the case, nothing changes the fact that Ravage here is not heroic and is in fact more antagonistic towards society. Is it any wonder why Ravage ended up as Stan Lee’s failure?

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Ravage 2099 #2 (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, Ravage 2099 #2 (1993) is not recommended. If you really want to buy this comic book at all, better not pay more than fifty cents for it.

+++++

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.

10
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 #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

A Look Back at What If #9 (1990)

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

Long before the renaissance of Hollywood-produced superhero movies even started, the X-Men established itself as one of the most popular franchises of Marvel Comics. What some readers do not know was that while the X-Men indeed started in 1963 under Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Marvel’s mutants actually started getting successful in the mid-1970s with the 2nd X-Men team (Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, Sunfire, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Banshee and Thunderbird) handled by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum.

That new team literally made a splash with readers with the release of Giant-size X-Men #1 in 1975. That comic book, which is very valuable now, saw Charles Xavier recruiting new mutants to form a new team with Cyclops being the only pioneer remaining. Subsequently the X-Men monthly series of that era saw lots of stories of this particular team solving problems and fighting evil. Along the way, Chris Claremont got hired as the new writer and then the rest was history.

In this retro comic book review, we will take an interesting look at what would have happened had the 2nd team of the X-Men died on their first mission.

This is What If #9 written by Roy Thomas, drawn by Rich Buckler and published by Marvel Comics in 1990.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The comic book begins with the Watcher of Marvel’s universe explaining what actually happened during the X-Men’s mission in Giant-size X-Men #1. Then he offers an alternate version of the events asking “What if…the new X-Men had died on their very first mission?”

The new reality begins in Scotland where Moira McTaggert receives a telegram from the United States. The message read that her friend Charles Xavier is ill which compels her to leave immediately. Before leaving, a little girl named Rahne comes to Moira followed by Craig who asserts his authority on her. Subsequently Moira and Rahne arrive at Salem Center, New York, greeted by Hank McCoy/Beast who confirmed that he was the one who sent the telegram to her.

Moira finally meets Xavier who expressed surprise to see her. As it turned out, Xavier had isolated himself in a room using Cerebro. After separating from Xavier, Beast explains to Moira what happened previously to Cyclops, Jean Grey, Havoc, Polaris and Ice Man on a far away island (read Giant-size X-Men #1). Cyclops was fortunate enough to survive and return to Xavier who was compelled to use Cerebro to trace mutants around the world (note: the 2nd X-Men team).

2
When trouble hits the world…

This leads to events told in Giant-size X-Men #1 but something drastic happened…

Quality

Storytelling is easily the strongest and most defining element of this comic book, especially if you are fortunate enough to read what happened in Giant-size X-Men #1 from 1975. The alternate plot by Roy Thomas is pretty intriguing and highly dramatic, and yet it still manages to add some spectacle to maintain balance.

What If #9 strongly delivered on what it promised what would have happened had the 2nd X-Men team died on their first mission complete with the narrative shifting dramatically through the eyes of Moira McTaggert, Xavier and Beast.

In terms of characterization, I really enjoyed the dramatization of the close friendship between Xavier and McTaggert. Having read lots of X-Men comic books through the decades, I should say that McTaggert was often limited to supporting roles or guest appearances. As seen in this comic book, she and Xavier made a solid pair of mentors. Lastly, the portrayal of Xavier being somewhat broken and regretful is wonderfully executed. Adding to that, the portrayal of McTaggert as a strong provider of direction and support for a fragile Xavier is memorable.

When it comes to the visuals, Rich Buckler scored nicely. The characters are all recognizable (with Beast looking a bit more visceral than how he actually appeared in the 1970s to 1980s) and their facial expressions were nice to see. Buckler also proved to be good with visualizing the action and the suspenseful parts.

Conclusion

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Very nice artistic presentation by Rich Buckler. Readers of 1975’s Giant-size X-Men #1 will be able to relate with this.

Overall, What If #9 is a great comic book to read. It is the closest thing you can get when it comes to seeing Marvel’s mutants led by Xavier with McTaggert working behind the scenes together. Roy Thomas and Rich Buckler really scored a homerun with this non-canon X-Men story!

For the comic collectors reading this, based on the rates at MileHighComics.com as of this writing, a near-mint copy of this comic book’s regular version is $24 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition is priced at $51.

What If #9 (1990) is highly recommended!


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

A Look Back at X-Men Adventures #13

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 funny how adaptations of adaptations turn out in real life. Long before the first live-action X-Men movie was released, an animated TV series (popularly referred to as X-Men: The Animated Series or X-Men TAS) was produced and arguably brought together the fans of both the X-Men comic books along with the animated X-Men followers.

Along the way, Marvel Comics went on to publish a monthly comic book series called X-Men Adventures which themselves were adaptations of the animated series (which itself adapted stories and concepts from the comic books).

The adaptation-of-an-adaptation approach went deep further when the animated series adapted loosely the story of the classic X-Men comic book storyline Days of Future Past (by legends Chris Claremont and John Byrne) which resulted a story told in two episodes on TV. And then there was also a comic book adaptation that followed starting with X-Men Adventures #13 which is the subject of this retro comic book review.

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The cover.

Early story

Written by Ralph Macchio and drawn by Andrew Wildman, the comic book begins in the dark future of 2055 in New York. The city is in ruins and mutants on the loose are being hunted by Sentinels. A very old Wolverine appears to help two loose mutants but ends up getting stunned with them by Bishop who turns out to be helping the automated authority of the Sentinels.

As he turns over the captured mutants, the Sentinels betray Bishop telling him that they no longer required him. Afterwards, Bishop and Wolverine (who woke up) each carry a person under the watch of a Sentinel. Suddenly, the two other mutants use their powers to attack the Sentinel and Wolverine followed to back up their efforts. The Sentinel however grabbed Wolverine.

Quality

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A very old Wolverine in the dark future of 2055.

With the exception of some liberties, this comic book closely followed what was told in the first of the 2-episode Days of Future past animated adaptation. As a comic book story, the story was heavily loaded with details and exposition designed to orient readers about the setting and why the future became a time of darkness in relation to the rise of machines having ultimate power over people.

While the time travel concept of the literary classic involved the mind of Kitty Pryde going into the past, this comic book used the more common concept of having Bishop travel back through time physically which easily reminds me of Kyle Reese arriving from the future in 1984’s The Terminator.

The build-up leading to Bishop’s move to travel back through time was nicely done by the creative team. There was a lot of exposition followed by an incoming attack complete with explosions happening just as Bishop is about to leave. In short, the pay-off was worth it.

The engagement did not end there. In fact, it continued nicely as Bishop meets the X-Men in 1993 with the details of his mission carefully unveiled. Professor Charles Xavier’s reaction to future history (Sentinels taking control of the world) was dramatic and worth re-reading.

As with his other works in the X-Men Adventures comic book series, Andrew Wildman’s art is very good to look at and he knows how to make each scene look engaging whether it’s just an exchange of dialogue between characters or an action scene loaded with a lot of impact.

Conclusion

While it is only half of a 2-issue adaptation of a 2-episode animated adaptation of the Days of Future Past literary classic, X-Men Adventures #13 is still a fun-filled reading experience complete with a lot of engaging moments.

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The money shot by Andrew Wildman!

If you are a serious collector of comic books, be aware that, as of this writing, a near-mint copy of X-Men Adventures #13 costs $6 while its newsstand edition copy is worth $21 in near-mint condition according to Mile High Comics.

Overall, X-Men Adventures #13 is highly recommended. Both dedicated X-Men fans as well as newcomers will have something a lot to enjoy with it.


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 Meets Spider-Man

When Marvel Comics launched its 2099 franchise back in 1992 with Spider-Man 2099, clamor for having the futuristic hero meet up with the classic Spider-Man (Peter Parker) quickly followed.

Back in those days, crossovers were already popular and sold nicely with collectors. The Infinity Gauntlet of 1991 was an epic, universe-wide crossover done nicely by Jim Starlin, George Perez and Ron Lim. That limited series sold well, Marvel followed it up with The Infinity War (1992) and The Infinity Crusade (1993).  Even the disjointed The X-cutioner’s Song crossover of the X-Men comic books of 1992 kept the fans coming back for more.

For the 2099 universe, the franchise had strong launches with the respective first issues of Spider-Man 2099, Doom 2099, Punisher 2099, Ravage 2099 and even the first latecomer series X-Men 2099. Back in 1993, having the said 2099 heroes mix together was realized in the 5-part crossover The Fall of the Hammer.

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The cover by Rick Leonardi with ink work by Al Williamson. 

No matter what the trends back then, Spider-Man 2099 proved to be the most engaging series of the 2099 line of comic books arguably due to the in-depth storytelling of Peter David. Back in the 1980s, David worked at the direct sales team of Marvel Comics before moving into the editorial team as a writer. And, yes, he got to write for the Spectacular Spider-Man (originally titled Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man). Early on, Peter David made quite an impact with readers with the 4-part story The Death of Jean DeWolff in the said monthly series.

Many years later, David joined other comic book creators – including the late Stan Lee – on launching the 2099 franchise with Spider-Man 2099. He created a lot from scratch to establish the futuristic Spidey and made his mark on the 2099 universe.

“I don’t remember exactly which aspects of the 2099 were already part of the initial setup when I came aboard. I do know, though, that there was almost nothing specific for Spider-Man other than that he was, well, Spider-Man and (I think this was part of what I was handed) an employee of Alchemax. I was the one, though, who came up with his identity, the way his powers worked, the supporting cast, all of that. I even had a hand in designing the costume; not that I could draw a lick, but I sat there with Rick Leonardi during the first 2099 get together and described to him what I wanted, and he executed it perfectly, building upon what I suggested and improving it. I watched that costume come to life for the first time under Rick’s pencil. It was one of the single best collaborative moments in my life,” David said in a CBR.com interview.

This brings us back to the year 1995 when Marvel published the one-shot special crossover comic book designed to attract Spider-Man 2099 fans and the many millions of followers of the classic Peter Parker Spider-Man. That comic book was Spider-Man 2099 Meets Spider-Man written by Peter David and drawn by Rick Leonardi.

Let’s take a close look.

The comic book

The story begins in the far future of 2099 wherein Spider-Man (Peter Parker) from the 20th century finds himself lost in time and chased by the floating law enforcers who saw him as a danger to the public. Even though his costume is different, one of the law enforcers mistook him for Spider-Man 2099. Predictably, Spider-Man struggles to overcome and get away from them.

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Spider-Man in 2099!

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Spider-Man 2099 inside the Daily Bugle.

Meanwhile in the 20th century, Miguel O’Hara mistakenly arrives “home” only to find himself (naked no less) on the same bed as Mary Jane Parker (Spidey’s wife) who is also naked. This only confirms to him that he is lost in time. He immediately decides to get away from MJ and explore the city of New York which does not have the futuristic society he grew up with.

In an attempt to deal with the new reality, Spider-Man 2099 visits Peter Parker’s workplace – The Daily Bugle. He encounters Peter’s boss J. Jonah Jameson who mistook him as their time’s Spider-Man just wearing a new suit.

“You think you can fool me with a wardrobe change, you wall-crawling freak? Whatever your demented plan is, it won’t work,” Jameson told the disguised Miguel O’Hara who reacts by putting web on his mouth in front of the employees.

While the two superheroes struggle with being lost in time, Tyler Stone of Alchemax and Hikaru-Sama discuss something sinister.

Quality

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Spider-Man with Miguel O’Hara’s brother and Layla.

In terms of storytelling, Spider-Man 2099 Meets Spider-Man is messy even though there were efforts to have the two superheroes switch time settings that would allow them to explore different societies and mix up with their past supporting characters (example: Peter Parker Spidey meeting with Miguel’s brother and artificial intelligence Layla). What also hurt the storytelling was the lack of a very engaging antagonist. The futuristic Green Goblin the creators came up with was very lame.

The art by Rick Leonardi was barely satisfying and the sad thing is that none of his visuals – including the 2-page shot of the two superheroes together – delivered any impact. As Leonardi worked regularly on Spider-Man 2099, his art style of 20th century New York did not give me much immersion. J. Jonah Jameson was barely recognizable with Leonardi’s drawing.

To get straight to the point, this comic book is a major disappointment. It failed miserably to bring the two main characters together in a satisfying manner as there was an overabundance of build-up. By the time the two superheroes met, it was way too late for the comic book to be engaging and fun to read. With only seven pages available for the anticipated encounter, there was way too little of having Spider-Man and his 2099 counterpart together. So much could have been done to make the two superheroes interact and work together with a lot of impact but I suppose Marvel did not give the creative team enough time (and pages) to work with which resulted this disappointment.

By comparison, I found Spider-Man 2099’s encounter with Venom much more satisfying to read. Spider-Man’s encounter with Vulture 2099, meanwhile, was satisfying. Sometimes I felt that it would have been better for Marvel to publish a Spider-Man 2099 versus Venom standalone crossover comic book than this 1995 crossover disappointment!

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This is the BEST thing about this disappointing comic book. 

If you are determined to risk wasting your money by actually getting a physical copy, then be aware that a near-mint copy of Spider-Man 2099 Meets Spider-Man will cost you, believe it or not, over $40 at MileHighComics.com

Financial value aside, this comic book’s entertainment value is pretty low. It’s not a badly made crossover comic book but it sure remains a big disappointment considering its concept. Ultimately, Spider-Man 2099 Meets Spider-Man is not recommended. You have been warned.


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 X-Men 2099 #1

1993 was a special year for X-Men fans. It was the year Marvel Comics celebrated what was back then the 30th anniversary of the X-Men which explains why they released not only a lot of X-Men-related comic books but also issues with hologram cards on the covers of specific issues of X-Force, X-Factor, X-Men, Uncanny X-Men and Excalibur. While superhero movies were not that many at the time, fans had the X-Men animated series to enjoy on TV.

Along the way, the comic book speculator boom continued and Marvel Comics exploited the trend as its creators worked to expand what was back then their still-young 2099 lineup of comic books. This led to the release of X-Men 2099 #1 in the 2nd half of 1993, the comic book of which I bought on a weekday during a short visit to the comic book store in BF Homes, Parañaque.

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Cover of X-Men 2099 #1.

Before exploring a bit of the story, let me share that in my personal analysis, releasing X-Men 2099 #1 the same year as the 30th anniversary celebration of X-Men made sense even though the contemporary X comic books made no real story reference to the mutants of 2099. Back in 1993, an undisclosed amount of money was spent to promote, distribute and sell comics and merchandise in relation to the anniversary celebration. I’m confident someone behind the scenes at Marvel thought it was a smart idea to debut the X-Men 2099 series at a time when the X-Men brand was very strong among collectors.

Now on to the comic book.

Written by John Francis Moore and drawn by Ron Lim (with ink work by Adam Kubert), X-Men 2099 #1 opens with Timothy Fitzgerald/Skullfire alone and uncertain visiting a large, abandoned facility in the Nevada desert called Nuevo Sol. He stands in front of a large gate with an X marking. After a bumpy introduction with Junkpile, Tim enters and, to his surprise, there he finds a large gathering of people partying despite the deteriorating conditions of the place. He meets Tina/Serpentina who tells him that he is welcome and their gathering attracted mutants, and “nomads and fringers.”

“In Nuevo Sol, you’re not just some corporate bar code, sorted and filed like a product. Here, everyone has a name. Everyone’s equal–no matter where they’ve come from,” Tina tells him.

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As Tim discovers Metalhead, so do the readers.

After the subsequent for-the-readers introductions of Eddie/Metalhead and Shakti/Cerebra, the narrative moves to Las Vegas where a horse-riding Noah Synge (an old man who “ruthlessly controls the greater Nevada syndicate”) gets confronted by Xi’an/Desert Ghost who tells him that his men (of Synge) continue to kidnap members of the nomad tribes for his decadent amusements. In other words, it’s an accusation about human trafficking.

After a harsh exchange of words, Xi’an shows to him his left, creepy looking fist telling him that the red market will fall, that the Synge empire will crumble and that if Synge seeks to hurt the affected people, he (Xi’an) will make him suffer.

Xi’an touches a short stone wall with his left hand which makes it crumble within seconds (as he walks away). This is all I have to share about the plot and if you want to know more, you better get and read this comic book.

So you must be wondering what I think about the quality of this 1993 comic book. When it comes to storytelling, it is well written, entertaining and engaging. John Francis Moore’s script really is good even by today’s standards. Moore managed to carefully introduce not only the X-Men of 2099 but also the supporting characters and the bad guys properly all within 23 story-and-art pages which is a very hard thing to achieve. While the writing was challenging, Moore managed to us symbolism to show “good versus evil”, especially with the conflict between Xi’an (representing the oppressed and the powerless) and Noah Synge (who, by today’s standards, is a caricature of the cruel and rich person).

Tim meanwhile symbolizes the reader’s perception. As he discovers Nuevo Sol, readers feel and see what he perceives. His discovery of the place, the culture and people serves as the eyes of us readers.

When it comes to the art work, this one shows that Ron Lim exerted a lot of effort to give the X-Men of 2099 a unique look of their own without taking any visual inspiration from the contemporary, mainstream X-Men of the 1990s. While it is easy to criticize Lim for the quality of art, we must remember that he worked on a whole lot of other comic book for Marvel back in 1993. During that year, he illustrated The Infinity Crusade which featured a whole bunch of Marvel’s superheroes and many other characters in each comic book. Could you imagine the headaches and stress an illustrator has to go through drawing so many characters in a comic book limited series?

Ron Lim also helped visualize what Nevada looks like in 2099 which is a nice change from the super futuristic, towers-filled New York City. In terms of society, the X-Men 2099 series further showed that America’s wilderness or the abandoned places are filled with outlaws and living there can be even more dangerous for people to do when compared with living in New York under the watch of Alchemax.

This old comic book, which has a solid cover with foil and a price of $1.75, also has a 15-page Marvel 2099 promo which includes a 2-page X-Men 2099 “coming at you” portrait by Lim. The promo includes short previews of the other 2099 feature characters and it also serves as a reminder that X-Men 2099 is part of the same universe with them.

Overall, I declare X-Men 2099 #1 is still a good, old comic book worthy of being added to your collection. Its financial value is not that high right now and the X-Men 2099 themselves pale in comparison to Spider-Man 2099 (easily the most popular 2099 feature character of them all) when it comes to today’s comic book environment.

What you have to keep in mind, however, is that X-Men 2099 #1 just might gain a boost in its financial value if ever the mutants of the future make a big comeback as part of Marvel’s official announcement that it will revive the 2099 line of comic books this November! Granted, X-Men of 2099 had appeared in X-Men comic books in the past few years but the revival of the 2099 line will be a more suitable place for readers to discover them in this age of social media and smartphones.

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The X-Men of 2099.

Financial value aside, X-Men 2099 #1 is engaging and entertaining, and it has that 1990s charm to it.

X-Men 2099 #1 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. 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