A Look Back at Uncanny X-Men #304 (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, X-Men fans, superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the 30th anniversary celebration of the X-Men which took place in 1993. Back then, Marvel Comics went full blast with the anniversary celebration of their mutants by releasing related merchandise, posters and comic books with gimmick covers (note: read my retro review of 1993’s X-Men #25) that came with high prices.

To put things in perspective regarding 1993, Marvel’s X-Men line of comics had monthly series of Uncanny X-Men, X-Men (Volume 2), X-Force, X-Factor, Excalibur, Wolverine and Cable. X-Factor #92 marked the start of the Fatal Attractions storyline which was the basis for the X-Men 30th anniversary celebration. X-Force #25 was released and it not only brought Cable back but also Magneto.  

Then came the 3rd chapter of the Fatal Attractions storyline which was published in Uncanny X-Men #304. Not only did that particular comic book bring together many mutants and moved the storyline forward to a crucial stage (note: tension leading to it was built up in Uncanny X-Men #300, Uncanny X-Men #303 and also in X-Men Unlimited #1), it also served as the very celebration of the 30th anniversary of the X-Men (although it was not the storyline’s conclusion as the plot continued in X-Men #25, Wolverine #75 and Excalibur #71).

So did this particular, anniversary celebrating issue of the Uncanny X-Men succeed with its objectives? Has it aged well through the decades? We can all find out in this look back at Uncanny X-Men #304, published in 1993 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Scott Lobdell and drawn by John Romita, Jr., Jae Lee, Chris Sprouse, Brandon Peterson and Paul Smith.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with division among the Acolytes who learned that their lord Magneto actually survived (note: refer to 1991’s X-Men #3). They ganged up against their leader Fabian Cortez for betraying Magneto. After pushing his now rebellious team members away, Cortez reminds them that for several months already, they have been continuing Magneto’s work on behalf of mutantkind. Suddenly Exodus appears to them and describes himself as the voice of Magneto and will guide mutants to rise and mentions paradise for the faithful mutants. After subduing Cortez and tempering the tension among the Acolytes, Exodus tells them to prepare themselves for ascension. This frustrates Cortez who realizes that he no longer holds leadership.

Over at the X-Men’s headquarters, Charlez Xavier is personally disturbed over the death of Illyana Rasputin, the sister of Colossus. He starts questioning himself as Illyana’s death under his watch makes his years-long mission (of convincing his fellow mutants to leave their old lives to take risks to fight for a world that fears and hates them) doubtful and tries to figure out how he could present himself in front of them. A holographic image of Lilandra appears to him.

In outer space, inside the space station called Avalon, Magneto stares at planet Earth. With nobody around him, he speaks apologizing to his followers for he cannot save them all. He also mentions that he was wrong in previously believing that he could rescue each and every one of them from humanity as he recently realized that Earth, for the moment, is doomed.

After walking an unspecified distance inside Avalon, Magneto picks up his old helmet and wears it…

Quality

This 2-page art by Brandon Peterson is easily the best looking part of the comic book.

I will start with the visual aspect of this comic book. The artistic quality ranges from fine to weird which should not be surprising since this one involved five artists. The 4 pages drawn by Brandon Peterson (who was once a regular artist on Uncanny X-Men) made the X-Men, Magneto and the Acolytes look not only good but also intense. The Peterson art here is artistically similar to the respective styles of Marc Silvestri and Jim Lee of that particular time. Jae Lee’s art on the flashback of Magneto’s life (during the time of the Nazi occupation in Europe) is undoubtedly very stylized. While his art brings out the intensity of Magneto’s painful past, certain images can be a little challenging to understand especially to readers who focus strongly only following the plot and details. John Romita, Jr.’s art, for me personally, often looks rough and there were times I hardly recognized the characters. The other artworks by Paul Smith and Chris Sprouse have cartoonish aesthetics.

This is Jae Lee’s artistic contribution to the comic book. I found it weird that Magneto’s hair was shown as white during his past with the Nazis.

As for the plot, I can clearly see that a hard effort was made to compose a story that would push the Fatal Attractions storyline forward, establish a turning point and still become worthy of celebrating the 30th anniversary of the X-Men franchise. I can say that the storytelling is somewhat bloated. Early in the story, it was made clear that the respective sections showing Exodus with the Acolytes, Charles Xavier and Magneto pointed to an eventual confrontation that happened during the funeral of Illyana Rasputin.

As the build-up continued with the flashback of Magneto’s life, the fan service short scene of Kitty Pryde and the unfeeling Colossus (note: their romance was highlighted in Uncanny X-Men many years prior), and the talk scene between Bishop and Banshee, the pace of the story slowed down dramatically. By the time the attempt to move the narrative back to the core plot was made with the funeral scene (composed of the X-Men, X-Force and X-Factor), the pace was still really way down. By the time the conflict with Magneto, Exodus and the Acolytes stated, the pace recovery was incomplete and as such, seeing the scene unfold was very jarring (and not even the pages of Colossus’ frustration towards Professor X could solve the narrative pacing problem).

Unsurprisingly, the conflict was written to be overly dramatic complete with lengthy pieces of dialogue here and there. That being said, references to past comic books were established as Magneto once again emphasizes his beliefs about the human-mutant conflict using violence (while also side-stepping Jean Grey’s psionic powers to allow the Acolytes to come in undetected).

Human-mutant conflict aside, themes about faith, religion, idolatry salvation are clearly used. Magneto, who has a tremendous record of villainy and his previous leadership of the X-Men proved useless, was portrayed to be a walking wicked idol whose followers cannot do anything except idolize him and cause violence out of dedication to him. They really could not realize that idolatry is foolish and unholy which further adds to chaos on the world. As Magneto deceived himself to be the savior and lord of mutants, he further causes more pain and destruction to others around him. In short, Magneto will always be stuck with his wicked nature and clearly does not deserve heavenly authority no matter how hard he believes himself to be a savior.

The classic rivalry between Xavier and Magneto here was portrayed dramatically and yet I cannot help but think that their conflict was nothing more than a repeat of past encounters with the state and future of mutants at stake. To be fair, what happened here served as a logical build-up for the shocking encounter between Professor X and Magneto in X-Men #25.

Conclusion

Nobody among the X-Men, X-Force, Excalibur and X-Factor cared to dress properly for the funeral.

To be clear, even though I am an avid X-Men fan, I find Uncanny X-Men #304 (1993) hard to be engaged with and hard to enjoy. Efforts to make it a worthy celebration of the X-Men are very clear but it’s just not entertaining nor compelling to read. As for the X-Men traitor scene, the revelation was not that shocking as the foreshadowing made it too obvious. At best, this comic book served as a warm-up for X-Men #25 which itself paid-off nicely. Being more than sixty pages long (including the advertisement and bulletins), this comic book has too much creative baggage which ultimately hampered its storytelling. It’s not terrible. It’s really not that great to read. What I experienced way back in 1993 with this comic book is just the same as I re-read it. It has not aged well.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Uncanny X-Men #304 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $20, while the near-mint copies of the signed-and-numbered edition and the newsstand edition cost $120 and $60 respectively.

Overall, Uncanny X-Men #304 (1993) is satisfactory.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Freex #12 (1994)

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

Welcome back, Ultraverse fans, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors, enthusiasts of 1990s pop culture and all other geeks! Today, we revisit the Ultraverse for more 1990s comic book nostalgia through another tale of Freex, the team of super-powered social outcasts!

Last time around, Plug’s origin story was told just as Freex had a very notable encounter with Contrary and her super-powered students (with ex-teammate Ray on their side) at the headquarters of the Academy for The New Elite. After going through some hard struggles, Freex left losing Ray but gained a scaley new member who left Contrary’s school.

To find out what happens next, here is a look back at Freex #12, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Gerard Jones and drawn by Scott Kolins.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the middle of an ongoing misadventure (note: started with Giant Size Freex #1) with the Freex, Prime, and Old Man together beneath the Earth. To the shock of Freex, there are statues of them. The Old Man claims that more than a thousand years prior, he saw people with powers very much like those of Freex. Legend has it that they came from underground and got chased back by some scared fools. What Valerie and her teammates realize is that the cavern they are in is a place of retreat for super-powered freaks that existed before them.

Suddenly, an oversized deformed creature walks through them and grabs Valerie. Prime tries to help by punching the creature but this only made his body deteriorate into green liquid matter. Freex’s newest teammate jumps to strike the creature’s head which helps Valerie get free.

After noticing a hole on the ground, Lewis calls his teammates to escape. He forms his body into a makeshift slide to pave the way for escaping…

Quality

Angela takes action!

To begin with, I should state that this comic book really had a very wild and ambitious concept for its plot. Something really big with adventuring in mind which, in my opinion, was meant to be made to make the 12th issue anniversary of the Freex series stand out. The good news here is that the script if well-written and continues to deliver the good stuff that dedicated Freex readers and superhero enthusiasts will enjoy.

As this is the continuation of the story that started in Giant Size Freex #1, the team of misfits went on to travel and work together with Old Man and Prime (whose spotlight is lessened in this comic book) in a wild misadventure that brought them deep underground which reveals the existence of creatures and remnants of creation that the whole world has not seen. What was conceptualized here significantly expanded Earth’s realm within the Ultraverse and quite intriguingly, there are connections between the new places and Wetware.

When it comes to character development, new team member Cayman’s fitting in was portrayed nicely and his interactions with the other members were pretty interesting. What stood out most, however, are the interactions between Kevin Green (Prime) and Angela (Sweet-face) which I encourage you to read as it will open up a new dimension within his personality (and his being a teenager).

Conclusion

How would you react if you discovered all of that deep underground?

Freex #12 (1994) has a fine mix of grand misadventure, discovery, as well as memorable interactions between Freex and Prime. This is definitely not a throw-away story of Freex, nor is it generic when compared to other superhero comic book tales. This comic book also expands the Ultraverse in a really solid way just as it also moved smoothly on redefining the Freex themselves.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Freex #12 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $16.

Overall, Freex #12 (1994) 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 The Night Man #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, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors, 1990s pop culture enthusiasts and fans of Malibu Comics! Today we return to the Ultraverse through the 3rd issue of The Night Man series. While the Night Man continues his pursuit of a rather deformed rival, this comic book is a spin-off of the Ultraverse crossover Break-Thru and it also marks the protagonist’s continuing crossover with Freex (which officially started in Freex #6).

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Night Man #3, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Gene Ha.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Night Man overlooking a portion of a major city from a high tower. He wonders how he could find five kids, referring to Freex who have gotten involved with his rival Mangle. For Night Man, the team of teenagers think Mangle is a freak like them and he knows that his rival targets kids as victims.

After acquiring almost a thousand Dollars worth of new equipment, he goes on the air reaching out to Freex. Freex, meanwhile, are with Mangle hiding inside am unknown place. After a news report was aired revealing that the Strangers used a rocket to go to the moon and mentioned J.D. Hunt’s name, Mangle reacts loudly and states that the said business tycoon will be at Moffett Field.

Freex, believing that Hunt can cure them, leave with Mangle by car…

Quality

Night Man, Mangle and Freex!

With regards, Steve Englehart raised the stakes and added a lot of intrigue throughout the story. Without spoiling the plot, I can say that I enjoyed the pay-off executed here in relation to what was built up in Freex #6 and The Night Man #2.

The biggest selling point of the story is not the crossover between Night Man and Freex, but rather the presentation of JD Hunt and his young but wicked son Guy, as well as their involvement with Mangle. Themes explored in this comic book include manipulating a person to actually believe what evil acts he commits are not evil, and the manipulation of helpless youth to join a wrongful cause.

As for the title character himself, Night Man does more than just action and solving problems. You will see a more ethical side of his personality and his insistence on doing what is right without ever going overboard.  

Conclusion

Night Man learning something from the people on the street.

The Night Man #3 (1993) is an enjoyable and compelling part of the Break-Thru crossover (with creative connections to what happened in Prototype #5 and The Strangers #7) that also succeeds in developing Night Man further while showing more personality from JD Hunt and his son. The crossover between Freex and the title hero, again, did not last long but this is understandable considering the focus on the Hunts and Mangle. Lastly, I should state that artist Gene Ha’s dark and gritty style worked nicely in this comic book.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Night Man #3 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $16.

Overall, The Night Man #3 (1993) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at The Solution #13 (1994)

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

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

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

The cover.

Early story

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

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

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

Quality

The Solution with Night Man and Ranger.

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

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

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

Conclusion

The stage is set for conflict.

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

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

Overall, The Solution #13 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at Wonder Woman #19 (1988)

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

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of DC Comics! Today is the first day of March of 2021. Do you know what that means? It means that Wonder Woman 1984’s scheduled release on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray is just 29 days away! Even though I still have not seen the movie (which as of this writing has not been released in movie theaters here in the Philippines) and even though social media showed that WW fans are divided over it, I still went ahead ordering the 4K Blu-ray combo online. Just today, the online retailer gave me an important update as to when the 4K Blu-ray combo will arrive.

Personally, I’m excited to watch Gal Gadot play the Queen of Superheroes again and her performance in the 2017 Wonder Woman movie is phenomenal and captures the essence of the icon! I am also interested to see how director Patty Jenkins handled the storytelling as she herself co-wrote the screenplay.

More on Wonder Woman, I should say that I really love the way she was redefined by George Perez and Len Wein in the post-Crisis era of DC Comics. Today, we will find out what happens next to her during her time in Greece in this look back at Wonder Woman #19, published in 1988 by DC Comics with a story written and drawn by George Perez (with Frank McLaughlin on the finishes).

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with a short look back at the end of issue #18 which saw Wonder Woman fighting several monsters that surrounded her. Suddenly a powerful blast hits her and knocks her out.

Vanessa, who survived thanks to Wonder Woman’s help, is found by her mom Julie who was accompanied by several armed Greeks. Vanessa states that the scroll she got from her uncle Stavros seemed to attract the monsters which drew a response from local rebel Katina Leikos who belongs to a group that oppose the fabled witch on the nearby island. She states that if they don’t stop the witch, she will destroy princess Diana/Wonder Woman.

Inside the old structure on the said island, Wonder Woman wakes up finding herself on the floor chained by the neck and wrists. Located very near her is Circe, the enchantress who is the daughter of Hyperion and Perseis. The enchantress tells Wonder Woman that it is her destiny to execute her…

Quality

Julia Kapatelis is more involved with the action and mission.

Of all the comic books that I’ve reviewed so far on this particular monthly series in the post-Crisis era, this one is easily the darkest and most grim Wonder Woman story. It also has the heaviest emphasis on monsters and sorcery, complete with sinister rituals and connections to Greek mythology.

As expected, the story here further develops Wonder Woman and her place in man’s world but with emphasis on destiny and legacies. In this case, destiny related to the shared history between Wonder Woman’s fellow Amazons and Circe (who is DC Comics’ own take on the false Greek goddess) which puts the superhero icon in a rather complex situation. For Circe, Wonder Woman’s innocence means nothing because destiny and hatred matter a lot more. The way George Perez wrote, Circe in this particular issue proved to be more menacing than Ares and is also the most sinister villain of Wonder Woman’s.

More on this comic book, I can declare that it is right here where you will get to see the Queen of Superheroes in her most vulnerable and most helpless state yet. For several pages, you will see Wonder Woman struggle not only against Circe and her monsters, but also with the revelations of history. You will also get to see Wonder Woman’s emotional limits pushed.

Regarding the supporting cast, I really enjoyed seeing Julie Kapatelis really putting her academic skills and expertise to great use as well as getting involved in the action. With her Greek heritage and connections with the locals clearly defined, Julie got a good amount of the spotlight among the characters and nicely contributed to the story. I also love the part when Julie said that Diana (Wonder Woman) is like a daughter to her which really emphasize the bond of love and trust between them.

Conclusion

Wonder Woman bravely fights the monsters of Circe.

As far as the visit in Greece goes, Wonder Woman #19 (1988) really ramped up the stakes with Circe’s evil presence emphasized a lot while having Wonder Woman in a vulnerable state which added to her character development in this particular monthly series. It is indeed a very well written tale by Perez who proved to be capable of pushing the boundaries while redefining Wonder Woman in the post-Crisis era. Apart from being the most sinister villain in this monthly series so far, Circe is the complete opposite of Wonder Woman.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #19 (1988), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $42 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $44.

Overall, Wonder Woman #19 (1988) 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 Action Comics #500 (1979)

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

To publish a five hundredth issue of an extensive monthly comic book series is clearly a major milestone for any publisher. To do the math, it takes a whole year to publish 12 issues on a monthly schedule. To reach five hundred issues on a monthly pace will require forty-one years and eight months’ time to publish.

Way back in the late 1970s, DC Comics achieved the said milestone with their extensive monthly series titled Action Comics which is often identified with the world’s most famous superhero – Superman! Take note that DC Comics started in 1935 while Action Comics #1 (the first appearance of Superman) was published a few years later.

Going back to the 500th issue of Action Comics, it is easy to wonder what DC Comics’ talent came up with to celebrate the milestone. That being said, we can all find out more in this look back at Action Comics #500, published by DC Comics in 1979 with a story written by Martin Pasko and visualized by Curt Swan and Frank Chiaramonte.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Superman arriving at a pavilion named after him at the Metropolis World’s Fair. Countless people welcomed with lots of cheering as he lands near the mayor in the presence of the famous entrepreneur J. Robert Arngrim. Also present were Superman’s closest friends Lois Lane, Lana Lang, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White.

After the formal opening, Superman leads a large group of people as their tour guide. Together they arrived a wide hall containing the Krypton exhibit showcasing alien technology, architecture and life on Superman’s home planet. In response to a request by Arngrim, Superman reluctantly agrees to do a demonstration of the mind-prober ray, a machine Superman himself invented as a boy mainly to retrieve memories from his subconscious.

As the Man of Steel takes his seat on the machine in front of the tourists and Arngrim, an unidentified person located in a secret facility prepares to invade Superman’s mind…

Quality

Teenage Clark Kent gradually becoming Superboy.

To make it clear, this 500th issue of the Action Comics monthly series is an extensive, no advertisements tribute to Superman and I can say that the comic book creators really went all out to present lots of stuff to please Superman fans.

As such, the story was written to help the newer fans of the time to be more familiar of the legacy of Superman (note: this was years before Crisis on Infinite Earths happened) by revisiting and dramatizing established events of the Man of Steel’s legacy such as Jor-El (Superman’s father) failing to convince the Kryptonian science council members that their world was doomed, Superman sent to Earth as a child in a rocket before Krypton’s destruction, getting raised by an American couple after arriving on Earth, becoming Superboy (note: another pre-Crisis element), getting a job at the Daily Planet, welcoming Supergirl on Earth, and so on.

Superman leading the tour.

Of course, Superman does not reveal key details of his personal life to the people during the tour and such recollections were presented to delight us readers. Still, there is richness in the writing and the art. Even though I am already familiar with DC’s icon and the Superman-related mythos, I still had a lot of fun reading the events of Superman’s past, particularly his early years as the adopted son of the Kent couple who in turn did their best to adjust to his super abilities while raising him with good values and discipline.

While the recollections from Superman’s past are engaging, the present-day tour at the Superman pavilion is itself quite fascinating. There were displays of supervillains such as Lex Luthor, Braniac and Parasite. There was even a collection of the different types of Kryptonite. What really nailed the present-day story was a nice twist that allowed for some new superhero spectacle and intrigue to take place.

Conclusion

The first stop of the tour – Krypton exhibit!

While this portrayal of Superman is already outdated given the time of its release, Action Comics #500 (1979) is still a lot of fun to read and it is indeed a great tribute to DC’s most famous superhero. If you are a Superman fan who has gotten sick and tired of the way DC Comics reshaped and modernized Superman since after the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths, this comic book could be refreshing for you. It is also a lively piece of DC Comics’ history.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Action Comics #500 (1979), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $210.

Overall, Action Comics #500 (1979) 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 Wonder Woman #17 (1988)

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

When was the last time you traveled overseas not to have fun the usual way (partying, spending time in bars, watching movies or stage plays, and the like) but rather to immerse yourself into history by visiting several historical sites? When you plan to travel overseas, have you thought about pursuing the wonder of discovery?

Welcome back, Wonder Woman fans and comic collectors! It has been almost a year since I started publishing retro reviews of Wonder Woman comic books from the post-Crisis age of DC Comics drawn by the famous George Perez. I can say that I really enjoyed the modernizing of the Queen of Superheroes done by Perez along with the late Len Wein. In fact, my enjoyment on the post-Crisis Wonder Woman is greater than what I had for the New 52 Wonder Woman. For those who love Wonder Woman movies, check out my retro review of the 2017 Wonder Woman movie and my feature about the No Man’s Land scene. If you are into the latest movie Wonder Woman 1984 starring Gal GadotChris Pine and Kristen Wiig, be aware that the 4K Blu-ray combo of it will be released on March 30, 2021. I already ordered a copy of it.

Going back to what I mentioned earlier, discovering new places can be tremendous experiences for those who travel abroad. With those details laid down, we can finally start this look back at Wonder Woman #17, published in 1988 by DC Comics with a story written and drawn by George Perez with ink work done by Dick Giordano.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins as a white bird flies high in the sky in the middle of dark clouds and bolts of lightning. The bird is carrying a message and as it continues to move forward, the darkness fades away as light and calm clouds set in.

In Wakefield, Massachusetts, Diana Prince/Wonder Woman receives her special United Nations (UN) passport from Etta Candy. It turns out that Julie Kapatelis is in Athens, Greece, making arrangements for Diana’s first overseas trip in man’s world. As they talk, Etta reveals that Steve Trevor is aware of the connection between Wonder Woman’s costume with his mother.

As Vanessa (Julie’s daughter) comes down from the second floor, Steve Trevor enters the house carrying a bird carrying a message. Even as she recognizes the bird, she is amazed to discover that it arrived there all the way from Themyscira. The message carried by the bird is from Diana’s mother, Queen Hippolyte. She begins to read the message in the car with Vanessa on the way to the airport…

Quality

Diana visits and discovers Greece.

I’ll start by pointing out that this is the first issue of this particular monthly series to be written entirely by George Perez (note: Len Wein was involved with the script for issue #16) and, as I read this comic book, he wrote well and succeeded in further developing Wonder Woman’s personality just as she discovers more of man’s world and its connections with her fellow Amazons.

In this comic book, Wonder Woman (with Vanessa) travels to Greece for an arranged visit with her mentor Julie anticipating her arrival. Upon arriving in Greece, a lot of people warmly welcomed Wonder Woman who in turn got reunited with Julie in the presence of her Greek friend Stavros. In relation to the opening paragraph of this review, this is the story of Diana’s discovery of Greece, its people, its culture and legacy. The way Perez wrote and visualized her discovering and learning of the Greek sites really emphasized her thoughts as her perception of man’s world and its connections to her people and her culture builds up.

Unlike the previous two issues, this story is much heavier with character development and Perez’s writing is indeed engaging. As you read Diana’s words and thoughts, you will experience intrigue and even relate to her experiencing a great wonder of discovery. Also worth reading are her thoughts about Superman.

Apart from the focus on Wonder Woman, this comic book also paid attention to the intrigue that happened among the deities of Olympus – including Heracles – who are still recovering from the great disturbance caused by Darkseid. Oh yes, the story also marked the start of the build-up of another supervillain for Diana to face.

Conclusion

In the airplane on the way to Greece.

While it clearly lacked a strong conflict between good and evil, the wonder of discovery as well as the in-depth characterization made Wonder Woman #17 (1988) a must-read. George Perez, who is best known for his artworks, proved to be a very solid writer and it should be noted that he went on to write a whole lot more stories about the Queen of Superheroes.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #17 (1988), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $42 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $42.

Overall, Wonder Woman #17 (1988) 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 The Strangers #21 (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.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and geeks! We go back yet again into the Ultraverse through the exploits of The Strangers which by this point are still adjusting over Atom Bob’s betrayal. The previous issue did not show much of the team as it told a mostly solo story of Zip-Zap.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Strangers #21, published in 1995 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Paul Abrams.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside a different type of aircraft. The Strangers, now with new member Teknight and old teammate Yrial, discuss matters about the unconscious Atom Bob whose body has been laid on a platform. In response to Yrial’s question about what should they do about him, Lady Killer (Atom Bob’s ex-lover) states that if a cure for him exists, they will find it. If no such cure exists, she states that the traitorous member should never wake up again.

After being informed by Lady Killer that she knows a private clinic in Europe that may have the solution to their problem, the Strangers get off the plane knowing that they should keep confidential what they just learned.

Shortly after watching Lady Killer’s private plane take off, Candy/Electrocute tells her teammates that they should just get away for a while. She decides to drive Grenade’s car. Suddenly, the car explored leaving Candy heavily damaged…

Quality

Here’s a look at Teknight, the new member of The Strangers.

This is another intriguing yet original story of The Strangers penned by Steve Englehart. To begin with, this is the first issue of this monthly series that saw Teknight actively taking part with the team and his being a new addition opened up really interesting conversations and interactions with existing team members like Grenade.

As the cover already shows, this one has spotlight on a severely damaged Candy. Still, it does not mean that this is a solo story about her (like Zip-Zap’s tale in issue #20) rather it is still a team story with Candy’s tragedy serving as a major plot point. Along the way, there were some scenes focused on Teknight which opens up interesting background details about him. Zip-Zap, who had the spotlight for most of issue #20, proves his heroic value in this comic book.

There are other notable Ultraverse details here and there that would encourage you to check out other UV comic books. What exactly those details are is for you to read this comic book and find out for yourselves.

Conclusion

Zip-Zap doing something heroic.

The Strangers #21 (1995) is intriguingly enjoyable to read. Steve Englehart deserves a lot of credit for keeping the stories of this series fresh, fun and engaging. For his part, Paul Abrams did a fine job with the art and he successfully captured the overall style of presentation of the series and his take on the characters kept them recognizable to my eyes.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #21 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $27.

Overall, The Strangers #21 (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 Superman Annual #10 (1984)

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 DC Comics ended their original superhero multiverse with Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985-1986) to restart all over again, there were a whole lot of stories about Superman ranging from the dramatic stuff, the epic tales and right down to the most outlandish tales.

As a kid, I was fortunate enough to buy myself a copy of a 1984 Superman comic book, the cover of which really intrigued and caught my interest. It was a Superman annual comic book with a $1.25 cover price which was somewhat high at the time. Its cover showed the Man of Steel himself carrying a sword pointed up.

That image made me wonder: Why would Superman have to use a sword when he is so powerful and capable without weapons? Where did that sword come from? Who made it in the first place? Is the sword so special to Superman?

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Superman Annual #10, published by DC Comics in 1984 with a story written by Elliot Maggin and drawn by classic Superman artist Curt Swan.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in a space where a group of diverse people composed of aliens and humans are gathered together watching a live video feed Superman on a large monitor above their heads. As it turns out, the Man of Steel is in space working to prevent meteoroids from entering the planet below him. He then speeds off into space heading back to Earth.

Along time ago deep in the galaxy, a big bang effect took place creating several new fragments in the vacuum of space and among them is a long, rough object that resembles a sword. As an unknown amount of time passed, the long object gradually turns into a smooth looking sword complete with a sharp blade and a letter “S” on one end that is the same as the one Superman carries. It is referred to as the sword of Superman!

In Metropolis, Clark Kent is passed by his officemate Jimmy Olsen who mentioned that he is rushing to interview the billionaire industrialist Oswald Mandias. Two days have passed and Jimmy Olsen remained missing. As his boss Perry White heads on to the office, Clark remains and changes into Superman when the coast got clear.

As the Man of Steel flies off into the city, a Galaxy Broadcasting live report on TV shows Lana Lang reporting from the Kennedy Space Center where the new space shuttle Magellan is about to make its first-ever commercial flight to launch a mysterious new communications satellite owned by Mandias Industries…

Quality

Clark Kent/Superman being a complete stranger to others added a lot to the story.

Being an annual, I can say that the Sword of Superman story was well-written and nicely visualized by the creators which made it fun and engaging to read. It is a Superman story that further adds to his being an essential hero of the original DC Comics multiverse and a key factor here is the somewhat outlandish concept that the sword that he gained was an original material of the universe from the big bang and even had connections to the unseen omnipotent force.

This story is not a simple, straightforward tale about Superman gaining a weapon required to defeat the supervillain King Kosmos. In fact, the sword opens up events that made the Man of Steel reevaluate himself, his situation and the people around him. King Kosmos, who is a time-travelling villain from the future (first appearance in DC Comics Presents Annual #2), served not just merely as the opposition but also adds a good amount of complexity within the reality of the story. For one thing, it is very intriguing and also refreshing to see people of Metropolis (even Clark’s friend Jimmy Olsen) failing to recognize Superman. This is a one-of-a-kind story of Superman that must be read, even though it is not really an epic tale.

Conclusion

The return of King Kosmos!

I personally enjoyed reading Superman Annual #10 (1984) the first time back in 1984. The fact here is that after re-reading it recently, I do confirm that it is still an enjoyable comic book to read, and I am not even a Superman fan anymore. That is quite something! This is indeed a really good piece of Superman history from the pre-Crisis era. It also touches on themes about omnipotence and being whole with the entire universe.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Superman Annual #10 (1984), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $35 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $70.

Overall, Superman Annual #10 (1984) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at The Strangers #19 (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.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! In this retro comic book review, we will revisit The Strangers in one of their later stories published in 1995. In issue #18, things got more complex as The Strangers not only had a genuine opposition to deal with but also another group of individuals with varied powers. For this new review, the story took place even way after issue #18 as there was a 100-page finale that took place in Night Man Annual #1 and The Strangers Annual #1.

To find out what happened next to the superhero team and its members, here is a look back at The Strangers #19, published in 1995 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Steve Ellis.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in a private place where members of The Strangers each take time of silence across the floors. Noticeably absent was Atom Bob. Lady Killer recalls Atom Bob as her lover, their team’s brightest star and, unfortunately, a betrayer towards them all. She remembers several moments from recent times such as realizing Atom Bob’s desire to do something heroic, realizing that power to equal another one’s power is the better power, and the time he asked her to marry him. Deeply hurt by the betrayal, Lady Killer cries.

For his part, Grenade is feeling the anguish over the betrayal given the fact that they have been really close friends since childhood. When Grenade had trouble entering college, Atom Bob encouraged him to join him in enrolling at art school. The betrayal was so painful, he releases his anger using a bit of his power. A teammate appears behind him to try to talk sense to him…  

Quality

A very touching scene between Yrial and Zip-Zap.

Firstly, I should say that the writing done by Steve Englehart here is very rich with a strong emphasis on dramatizing the Strangers deeply. The dialogue written for each character reflects not only their emotions but also what is living within their respective hearts and what is in their minds. The character development is also rich and I love the way Englehart further developed the sister-brother-like bond between Yrial and Zip-Zap. As for Lady Killer, her pain will most likely resonate with readers who experienced betrayal and the loss of a loved one.

Secondly, the betrayal by Atom Bob really shows its emotional impact on the team. This one is not only a heavy burden on the characters but also a wave of shock via reading which long-time Strangers fans (who dedicatedly followed Atom Bob’s thoughts and exploits) can strongly relate with. Atom Bob’s overall value as a Strangers member is easily reevaluated in this comic book and his personal connections with Grenade, Yrial, Spectral, Zip-Zap, Electrocute and, most notably, Lady Killer are strongly emphasized. This should compel readers to revisit the early issues of The Strangers.

Of course, I should state that this comic book is not a pure emotion ride. There are still some scenes of action and spectacle that still make sense with the narrative. A certain character from The Strangers #4 makes a return here and another intriguing character appears here. They are both worth discovering.

The art done by Steve Ellis is very good, and his style is eerily very similar to that of Rick Hoberg. There were several images that reminded me of Hoberg’s take on each character.  

Conclusion

Lady Killer painfully remembering what happened.

There is no doubt about it. The Strangers #19 (1995) is another very good Ultraverse comic book to read and collect! Not only does it succeed in serving as the aftermath to the stories in in Night Man Annual #1 and The Strangers Annual #1, it also fulfilled its purpose in raising the stakes for the Strangers who are struggling with the pain and shock of Atom Bob’s betrayal. If you love character development, you will love this one.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #19 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $11.

Overall, The Strangers #19 (1995) is highly recommended!

+++++

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