A Look Back at What If #40 (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.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts, Marvel Comics fans and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the year 1992 and explore a part of Marvel Comics’ universe through the reimagined tales emphasized in the What If monthly series.

For this particular retro comic book review, we look at a What If tale that is related with the X-Men, specifically through one of their major characters – Storm. For the newcomers reading, Storm is the black X-Men member whose mutation allows her to manipulate the weather. As seen in X-Men comic books decades ago, Storm was portrayed to be tough and brave, and she became a highly valuable learner under Professor X (Charles Xavier). In the 1990s, Storm rose in prominence among the X-Men, she became leader of their Gold Team. Storm was portrayed in the live-action movies by Halle Berry and Alexandra Shipp. It’s just too bad Storm’s role in X-Men: Days of Future Past (note: for me, it is the best X-Men live-action movie ever) was minimal.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at What If #40, published in 1992 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Ann Nocenti and drawn by Steve Carr and Deryl Skeleton.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the Watcher recalling scenes from the life of Ororo who was born to a mother (a tribal princess in Kenya) and a photojournalist father. After moving from America to Egypt, Ororo loses her mother and became an orphan. Along the way, she experienced severe claustrophobia as a result of being buried under tons of rock. Having survived, she became a thief in Cairo and eventually traveled into Africa by chance. There she discovered her true nature as a walking idol. She eventually meets Charles Xavier.

The Watcher then explores another thread of scenarios of Ororo’s life in which she never stepped on the eventual boat, never sailed for Africa and never met the tribe that worshipped her.

In Cairo, Ororo is a very young thief who made herself look like a male. She uses deceptive tactics on a foreigner who walked by. A short time later, Ororo goes to New York City identified as Jack serving an old man who teaches her to work hard, to gain respect from his friends and immerse herself in a world of grifters and hobos. Ororo lives and works as a thief in the city targeting people who have more than enough…

Quality

A look at Storm as the super-powered thief. It’s also a portrayal of her as a super villain on the rise.

Among the many What If tales related to the X-Men that I have read so far, this is one of the most well-written and most intriguing alternate universe stories I have read thanks to Ann Nocenti. This was also released at a time when Storm was already established as a brave X-Men team leader and a potential successor to Professor X. In this comic book, there is this strong twist to the established legacy of Storm as a youth and the exploration of what would happen had she remained a thief (a super-powered thief no less) and never followed Charles Xavier turned out to be very compelling in my experience. For one thing, Storm definitely would have given police officers – who clearly are inferior to the powered heroes and villains – a hard time and even help the crime wave overwhelm society’s defenders. It is also quite striking to see Storm to follow and serve a principled yet theft-oriented superior. In fact, this story shows the popular X-Men team leader as a super villain on the rise.

More on storm, Ann Nocenti’s script literally dissected notable traits of Storm’s personality that are connected to the established comic book legacy which creatively created something new that fits in well in this alternate universe story. Through Storm, the story also sheds light on how thieves view life believing that theft is a necessity and their so-called principles justify it. No matter what the thieves and criminals in general think, nothing justifies theft and crime at all and those who commit such acts must be punished accordingly Without spoiling the details, I can say that there are some grey areas within Storm that were nicely emphasized.

Conclusion

Storm as a male-looking teenager behind bars with the ladies who got apprehended. Scenes like this should remind you NOT to vote for political candidates who are soft and sympathetic towards crime.

What If #40 (1990) is indeed a great alternate universe portrayal of one of the X-Men’s most prominent characters of the time. The story is very well structured and the characterization of Storm was clearly organized by Ann Nocenti to be powerful and intriguing to read. This comic book also has a twist that you must see for yourselves as well as an ending that will either surprise or satisfy you depending on what you anticipated. Ultimately, this comic book should remind you all to avoid committing crime and the truth is that poverty is a curse and it NEVER justifies theft. Always remember that the Lord is watching you. For enlightenment, read Exodus 22:1-4, Exodus 22:10-15, Leviticus 6:2-7 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 in the Holy Bible.

Overall, What If #40 (1990) is highly recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Venom: Lethal Protector #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.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts, Marvel Comics fans and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the year 1993 and explore a part of Marvel Comics’ universe through the first-ever limited comic book series featuring one of Marvel’s most iconic supervillains – Venom.

In my previous retro review, the core concept of the Lethal Protector limited series started to really take shape as issue #3’s plot got more intriguing and interesting to read while emphasizing other powerful forces Venom himself simply could not easily overwhelm. It is also the issue in which Venom’s past act of a certain murder comes to haunt him. The problem I had with that comic book was the creative team’s dramatization of Eddie Brock’s personal history which essentially ruined whatever mystery Venom had. Eventually, the comic book ended with Venom getting into trouble again.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Venom: Lethal Protector #4 published in 1993 by Marvel Comics with a story written by David Michelinie and drawn by Ron Lim.  

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside a high-tech facility in the Mojave Desert. Inside, Venom is in captivity floating off the floor with high-tech machines keeping him prisoner. He is a captive of the Life Foundation and they have successfully extracted another spawn from Venom’s symbiote which causes tremendous pain on the part of Eddie Brock. It turns out, a total of five “seeds” have been extracted and the organization has big plans with them.

Over at Sta. Cruz in California, Spider-Man spends some of his precious time to stop some local criminals from causing anymore danger to the people. During his telephone talk with Mary Jane, he admits that has not been able to track Venom down but he has a new lead about weird creatures that have been spotted locally. A short time later, Spider-Man arrives at a shopping mall where tremendous damage of property have happened. As soon as he catches a lady and prevents her from hitting the pavement, he is shocked to see a long-haired woman wearing a living alien costume with features that are so similar to that of Venom. The symbiote-wearing woman (Scream) tells Spider-Man directly that breaking him in half will make the “little exercise” a complete success…

Quality

Spider-Man takes on the “female Venom”

To start with what is very obvious and clear, this story has Spider-Man overshadowing Venom in terms of literary presence as the plot has the titular character limited to captivity under the tight grasp of the Life Foundation. Given Spider-Man’s previous appearances in this limited series serving as a convenient tool for exposition, you will easily feel the Amazing Spider-Man monthly series’ vibes taking over this comic book’s narrative as Marvel’s icon became the protagonist of the story complete with spectacle and problem solving that drive the plot forward. This is not surprising as David Michelinie was already the lead writer of the Amazing Spider-Man monthly series and it only makes sense to shift the focus on the famous webslinger since his deadliest enemy (who has this very distorted belief about protecting the innocent and keep on murdering people he finds antagonistic) could not contribute much to the story while in captivity.

As reflected in the nice cover of this comic book, it is also Spider-Man who faces off with the “female Venom” herself Scream which leads to yet another Spidey-versus-symbiote villain battle but with a catch – Scream is simply inexperienced in battle and does not have any real strategy to deal with New York’s webslinger. That battle noticeably does not last very long and the short amount of superhero spectacle here paved the way for the creative team to make Spider-Man sneak into enemy territory and closer to Venom.

In terms of visual quality, I can say that things went way down as Ron Lim replaced Mark Bagley here. Lim’s art style of drawing people has this generic aesthetic on the characters’ faces – Mary Jane and Eddie Brock are barely recognizable. While Lim’s artistic take on Venom is clearly a big letdown compared to Bagley’s Venom (note: always looking menacing and unique), he ironically did a decent job visualizing Scream. Lim’s most dynamic shots of superhero action lacked impact. Regardless, Lim’s art is not so appealing compared to Bagley’s.

Conclusion

The most notable concept in this comic book.

Considering all the details I mentioned above, Venom: Lethal Protector #4 (1993) is technically an Amazing Spider-Man comic book that just so happens to have Venom much less significant in this particular part of his own limited series. There really was not much room for the creative team use as far as Venom is concerned. Of course, this is all part of a build-up heading into the final two parts of this limited series and it is obvious that Venom would become prominent again. This comic book’s most notable feature was its concept about the Life Foundation extracting seeds from Venom’s living costume but considering what happened, there was not much room to really build-up on the idea that more symbiote-wearing people will emerge. Scream was essentially a warm-up. Ultimately, Spider-Man fans will have a lot to enjoy here while Venom fans will not have much to enjoy.

Overall, Venom: Lethal Protector #4 (1993) is serviceable.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at What If #61 (1994)

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

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts, Marvel Comics fans and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the wild 1990s and examine an alternate universe portrayal of one of Spider-Man’s many events told through the What If monthly series!

If you are looking for a portrayal of Spider-Man going over the edge and into the extremes emotionally, you are about to experience something in this retro review of mine. Some time ago, I reviewed a What If comic book about Spider-Man becoming a murderer which was compelling but ended on a whimper.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at What If #61 published in 1994 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Kurt Busiek and drawn by Kirk Jarvinen, Andrew Wildman, Derek Yaniger and Jim Amash.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Richard and Mary Parker (Peter Parker’s parents) arriving in the presence of Aunt May who happens to be visited by their son Peter (Spider-Man). Having learned something from a while back, Aunt May tells Richard and Mary that they are not genuine persons. Suddenly, Peter Parker’s spider sense intensifies and in an attempt to defuse the situation, he leads his aunt to walk out of the house with him. Richard and Mary watch them walk away.

It turns out, Richard and Mary are impostors and they have been working all the time for a secretive boss. Richard calls his employer under an emergency and reports that they have completed phase one of their assignment, that Aunt May knows the truth about them and is about to inform Spider-Man. Richard is then told that under no circumstances is the plan to be jeopardized and anyone who suspects must die. He is also told to flush Mary’s programming and reset her as she showed signs of acting odd to the situation.

A short time later, Richard and Mary – now in morphed forms with vastly different bodies and half their heads resembling their human selves – suddenly break into an apartment surprising Peter, his wife Mary Jane and Aunt May. Violent action by one of them accidentally ripped open Peter’s shirt, revealing his Spider-Man suit to Aunt May. Just as Peter’s aunt figures out the secret, he tells Mary Jane to grab her and get out.

However, the sight of the morphed Mary Parker shocked Aunt May and Mary Jane so much, they failed to move. Mary Parker then morphs her two hands into large, makeshift hammers, and swiftly killed Aunt May and Mary Jane. Peter is instantly shocked by their sudden deaths but deep inside, rage begins to burn…

Quality

Spider-Man already over the edge and reacting violently to the abusive Daily Bugle.

I can start by confirming that Kurt Busiek’s writing is very strong and his alternate take on the events of Amazing Spider-Man #388 (1994) is indeed very solidly composed. In one way, I find the emotional stakes for Spider-Man has been raised a lot higher than what was portrayed in the 400th issue of Amazing Spider-Man (the canon story). The concept of losing his beloved family members to enemies who were impostors that looked like his long lost parents is indeed disturbing as well as highly emotionally charged. In relation to this, Busiek and the illustrators brought to life a Spider-Man who really went over the edge by taking matters into his own hands as the loss of beloved ones led to the blurring of the boundary between good and evil. Even the boundary between innocence and guilt gets blurred which adds more depth to the emotions of the story. As I read the story, there were moments when I felt that Spider-Man became as bad as the evil ones even though he is clearly the victim and his family was targeted.

Apart from showing Spider-Man getting outraged and pushed to the limits, Busiek inserted elements about how people perceive incidents without knowing all the facts and how easily they get manipulated by a news outlet – the Daily Bugle where Peter Parker worked as a freelance photographer – that does not care about ethical journalism nor the pursuit of the truth. In this age of widespread fake news and liberal news media outlets in America doing propaganda for American Communists (read: Democrats, abortionists, LGBTQ, Black Lives Matter, Antifa, the terrorists, the climate change extremists and the socialist hordes), this particular aspect of the story makes this comic book strongly relevant to read today.

The story also sheds light on Spider-Man’s connections with other Marvel superheroes who happen to be in New York City. You will see Captain America and Johnny Storm express their concern about Spider-Man’s state of mind as they themselves still tried to figure out what really happened. In short, the superheroes here showed restraint even as Spider-Man goes to the extreme being a victim as well as a fugitive.

If there are any weak points in this comic book, it would be the art which has this cartoon-like aesthetic. Considering the serious subject matter, the visuals are quite contradicting as they make this look like it was made for much younger readers.

Conclusion

Spider-Man takes on the impostors who looked like his parents.

As far as storytelling and characterization goes, What If #61 (1994) succeeded a lot on portraying the iconic Spider-Man as the superhero who went over the limits of his emotions and his reasoning which is the result of the tragic deaths of two beloved family members caused by individuals who pretended to be his parents. This is a very solid story which also has a powerful ending. Where What If #72 failed, this comic book succeeded and even exceeded it with Spider-Man truly becoming unheroic. I should state that this comic book should convince readers to go to the Amazing Spider-Man series and follow the Lifetheft storyline in issues #386 to #388 (which were released months before this comic book). Kurt Busiek’s script is indeed great and it is easily the driving force of the comic book, more than enough to overcome the cartoon-like visuals.

Overall, What If #61 (1994) is highly recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Spider-Man 2099 #11 (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, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts, Marvel Comics fans and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the will 1990s and explore the far future of 2099 within the Marvel Comics shared universe through one of the tales of Spider-Man 2099.

Shortly after his return from the old lower city of New York, Miguel O’Hara’s personal life got more complicated and intense. Aside from that, his rift with his mother remains unresolved. Miguel then begins to assess his personal life as well as his secret life as the swinging hero Spider-Man.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Spider-Man 2099 #11, published in 1993 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Peter David and drawn by Rick Leonardi.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins when armed security personnel apprehend a man for defacing Alchemax property with spray paint. As the suspect gets threatened with physical violence, Spider-Man suddenly appears and surprises the one holding the suspect down. It turns out, Spider-Man secretly knocked out one of the security personnel quietly.

The active security officer lets the suspect go and he activates his armor which turns out to be the Situation Emergency Gear (SIEGE for short) which is the result of a project between Alchemax and Stark-Fujikawa. The armored man then begins to strike at Spider-Man in response for the sudden intervention. Very notably, the security officer wearing SIEGE tells Spider-Man he apologizes for taking action and will do everything he could to harm him as little as possible…

Quality

The futuristic Spider-Man has serious opposition here.

Considering what happened in issue #10, this comic book ramped up the spectacle showing more of Spider-Man 2099 in action-packed conflict with one of the local authorities who happened to be armed with a powered suit of armor. The figure of opposition here is almost like a super villain but one who is not evil but rather doing what he was hired to do. Apart from being an action-filled conflict with strong sci-fi elements, this conflict symbolizes Miguel O’Hara’s willingness to put himself at risk by taking on the authorities as a deliberate violator of local law even though he himself works with Alchemax. This also shows Miguel’s recklessness as he struggled with the lack of a clear direction with his second life as Spider-Man. At this stage, Miguel’s inner rebellion against his corporation is very clear and this alone will put readers on the edge as they figure out what the deeply troubled hero plans to do next.

This comic book is not an all-out action fest. There was still enough room for Peter David to craft more of Miguel’s affairs at Alchemax, only this time he gets to meet someone who happened to be connected with one particular member of X-Men 2099 (note: this is related to the eventual 2099 crossover storyline). This only adds more intrigue into Miguel’s troubled personal life which is something you must read and find out here.

Conclusion

This comic book will make you wonder if Spider-Man 2099 himself is slowly becoming evil by getting into direct conflict with the law.

Spider-Man 2099 #11 (1993) is a fine example of plot really thickening while also making life not only harder but more intense on the part of Miguel O’Hara. At the same time, this comic book built up something new for Spider-Man to eventually face off with. Peter David’s writing and direction of the character are very engaging to follow from start to finish.

Overall, Spider-Man 2099 #11 (1993) is recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Venom: Lethal Protector #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, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts, Marvel Comics fans and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the year 1993 and explore a part of Marvel Comics’ universe through the first-ever limited comic book series featuring one of Marvel’s most iconic villains – Venom.

In my previous retro review, Venom discovers a long lost section of San Francisco that fell deep underground. Even though it is cut off from the resources and fresh air of modern San Francisco, the lost city section is filled with homeless people and social outcasts. Even though he helped the city dwellers by defeating the two armed mechs (employed by a powerful organization who oppose the city dwellers and are in pursuit of something related to San Francisco’s park), Venom still gets rejected by the so-called council. This only led him to returning to the surface not knowing that he is being targeted by a certain group.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Venom: Lethal Protector #3, published in 1993 by Marvel Comics with a story written by David Michelinie and drawn by Mark Bagley.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Venom suffering from a sonic blast while being restrained by one of the armed members of the group called The Jury. Their leader (who wears a suit and necktie) introduces himself as Orwell Taylor and he addressed Venom as Mr. Brock. It turns out Taylor spent lots of time and resources researching everything about Brock and the alien costume. More shockingly, The Jury’s leader reveals that he lost his son Hugh years ago due to Venom’s arranged killing of him as he escaped from his prison cell in the federal prison called The Vault. Hugh Taylor is the first man Venom killed when he escaped.

Venom responds by say that he and his symbiote did not want to hurt anyone. This provokes Orwell Taylor into anger and he orders The Jury to kill Venom. Due to the lengthy explanations of Orwell Taylor, Venom managed to recover and regain strength which he uses to free himself and throw one Jury member to another causing quick chaos.

After punching another Jury member, Venom then moves out of the alley and away from Taylor and his team…

Quality

Very clearly, The Jury is a very formidable force of opposition. Their battle with Venom here comes with a lot of spectacle.

In terms of storytelling, this one is another improvement over issue #2 (which itself is an improvement over issue #1) as the plot got more interesting and even intriguing. For one thing, I like the fact that David Michelinie recalled Venom’s murderous escape from prison told way back in Amazing Spider-Man #315 (1989) and came up with the establishment of a very angry powerful father who formed the dangerous cybernetic team called The Jury. In a rather symbolic way, this comic book shows how Venom’s past comes back to haunt him and creatively, the battles between Venom and The Jury here are packed with a lot of action and visual dynamism delivered by Mark Bagley. The irony is that The Jury itself is not the main antagonist of this limited series as they are clearly presented to be a recurring force of opposition within Spider-Man’s realm in Marvel Comics’ shared universe of the time.

Still on the plot, the sinister organization hounding the dwellers of the lost city was revealed to be the Treece group whose leader is pursuing something very valuable to feed his greed. Still, even though this is already the third issue, the Treece organization’s presence is very subtle and as the force of opposition towards Venom, they are outclassed by The Jury.

As in the previous issue, Spider-Man got a good share of the spotlight but this one is even more limiting which should delight Venom fanatics who complained about Marvel’s icon overshadowing their guy with the symbiote. Spider-Man serves mainly as a tool for exposition as the creative team showed images from the past of Eddie Brock with his father (whom Spider-Man approached for answers).

The problem here is that showing flashbacks from the past and explaining how Eddie Brock became bitter and sinister as a result of receiving almost no affection from his father ruins the mystery of Venom as a character. During the time of Todd McFarlane drawing Amazing Spider-Man comics and the early Venom tales, the mystery of Eddie Brock’s past added to the intrigue of Venom and his quick rise as the deadliest villain Spider-Man ever faced. I understand that this limited comic book series had Venom as the protagonist who was in high demand among readers of the time but for me the creative team went way too far emphasizing Eddie Brock’s past.

Nothing changes the fact that Eddie Brock aided by the alien costume is a murderer who happens to have previously been a prolific print media journalist whose career got ruined by Spider-Man which in turn led him to a downward spiral and eventually to bonding with the symbiote that once bonded with Peter Parker. The flashbacks were pointless and if there really was an attempt to humanize Eddie Brock and make him sympathetic to readers, the creative team clearly failed.

Conclusion

Spider-Man with Eddie Brock’s father in California.

Venom: Lethal Protector #3 (1993) is a mixed bag. Its plot is clearly more intriguing and more interesting to read while there was enough creative space to show The Jury as a powerful force of opposition which is the result of Venom’s murder of Hugh Taylor (read: Amazing Spider-Man #315) while making a prison escape. The spectacle of the battle between Venom and The Jury must be seen! However, the creative team’s move to dramatize Eddie Brock’s past using flashbacks back-fired in my opinion and ultimately they destroyed whatever mystery was left behind Venom. As a protagonist, Venom has no appeal whatsoever and his portrayal here only reminds me that he works best as an antagonist opposite Spider-Man. Venom as a hero for those he perceived to be innocent and helpless remains forced and unconvincing.

Overall, Venom: Lethal Protector #3 (1993) is satisfactory.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Spider-Man 2099 #9 (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, 1990s culture enthusiasts, Marvel 2099 fans and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the Marvel 2099 franchise within Marvel Comics’ shared universe during the 1990s. Specifically speaking, we take a look back at one of the early tales of Spider-Man 2099.

In this retro comic book review, the futuristic Spider-Man finally made his way back uptown after spending time in the old city of New York down below where he saw people living in poverty, violent gangs and Vulture 2099.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Spider-Man 2099 #9, published by Marvel Comics in 1993 with a story written by Peter David and drawn by Kelley Jones.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins at the Wellvale where Conchata O’Hara (mother of Miguel and Gabriel) suddenly suffers an attack from inside her body. The medics were called for emergency.

Elsewhere, Spider-Man jumps with excitement and relief after finally making it back from deep down the modern city. He almost gets hit by a hover car and decides to stop for a while at an isolated spot to calm down and reflect about what happened recently. He just defeated Vulture in battle below prior to climbing back up.

Suddenly, an armed Public Eye flyboy tries to apprehend him. After making getting near the flyboy and making himself look like he was about to submit himself, the flyboy communicates with his team. During that short moment, Spider-Man fires his organic web at the flyboy’s mouth which causes him to fire his weapon and miss. Spider-Man then knocks the flyboy out cold, leaving the communication line hanging…

Quality

The idolaters of Spider-Man 2099 spotted.

Considering everything that happened to Spider-Man in the previous few issues set deep underneath the modern city, this tale was crafted to develop the webslinger’s personality some more while showing for the first time ever the group of Spider-Man 2099 idolaters who are so obsessed, they go around wearing their idol’s costume and even take risks imitating his physical abilities (example: crawling on the wall). There is no good-versus-evil conflict here but more exploration of the modern society Miguel O’Hara has long been part of.

For one thing, at this point of the monthly series, Spider-Man 2099’s misadventures and acts in uptown New York not only caused disturbance with the modern society watched over by Alchemax, he also sparked a new group of people who perceive him to be their holy savior. This kinda reminds me of DC Comics’ very own Sons of Batman which is a youth group inspired by Batman, and to see the Marvel 2099 have its own version of the concept is a pretty neat move by the creators.

Speaking of characterization, the complexities of the relationships between Miguel O’Hara with his brother Gabriel, his mother Conchata, his romantic interest Dana and the relationships the others have with each other begin to really grow in this issue. The good news is that Peter David not only provided solid dialogue for each character but also clearly defined their respective personality traits and thoughts about others. To see Gabriel personally reacting to Kasey’s reaction towards Spider-Man’s body was amusing and even a bit hilarious.

On the artistic side, Kelley Jones work here as guest illustrator was nice to see and certain visual elements of his work on Batman comic books also made it here. The result is a nice change of style and a new approach of showing visual details. I should state that even though his art style is radically different from that of Rick Leonardi, Jones managed to make the established characters look recognizable to me.

Conclusion

Kelley Jones’ visuals on Spider-Man 2099 is nice to see.

Spider-Man 2099 #9 (1993) is clearly a more characterization-oriented story which is a nice change of pace and approach considering the chaotic story developments of the previous few issues. This comic book also shows that Spider-Man 2099 continues to encounter challenges in both local society and personally. The revelation of idolatry and idolaters connected to Spider-Man added a new layer of foolishness and evil to the local society (for insight, click here and here). At this stage of the monthly series, something new was clearly brewing for the futuristic webslinger and this showed that Peter David laid out his plans for the direction of the series’ narrative. Lastly, Kelley Jones’ work here really stands out.

Overall, Spider-Man 2099 #9 (1993) is recommended!

+++++

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A Look Back at X-Men Adventures #11 (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, superheo enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts, X-Men fans and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the X-Men Adventures monthly series which was the literary adaptation of the popular X-Men animated series of the 1990s.  

In this retro review, we take a look at the adaptation of the animated series’ own portrayal of the Muir Island saga from the comic books. Also there is Rogue who desired to have her genetic mutation cured, even though it means removing her super strength, flying ability and her dangerous touch.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at X-Men Adventures #11, published by Marvel Comics in 1993 with a story written by Ralph Macchio and drawn by Andrew Wildman.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Rogue emerging from the rubble of a facility on Muir Island. She remembers that just moments earlier, Pyro and Avalanche ruined the facility just as she was about to get cured by a man she knows as Dr. Adler. She leaves the place searching for those responsible for the ruined facility. She fails to noticed that she is being observed from a distance.

Elsewhere on the island, Pyro and Avalanche open a bag believing Dr. Adler is in it. To their shock, Mystique is the one who emerged and she reveals to them that she was just posing as Dr. Adler as part of her mission to lure mutants into taking the treatment not without realizing the truth that it will turn them into slaves of the one entity she serves…Apocalypse. Pyro explained that he and Avalanche hoped to hold Dr. Adler for ransom.

At a nearby cliff, Cable quietly watches using his rifle’s scope…

Quality

Cyclops and Jean Grey confront Cable!

To put things clearly, this one is pay-off to what was built up in issue #10 while also serving as the continuation of a multi-part story regarding Muir Island. In the previous issue, Rogue desired to become a normal individual which is why she went to Dr. Adler on the said island. In this comic book, the direction for Rogue took a drastic change fighting Pyro and Avalanche not knowing that Mystique is involved and secretly working to help her master Apocalypse execute his ambitious plan of gaining capable and controllable slaves from the mutant population.

The good news here is that the script is very well written and the narrative is really strong. Very notably, the superhero spectacle got clearly ramped up by several notches resulting in lots of action scenes as well as opportunities for Andrew Wildman to flex his artistic muscles making some dynamic action-packed images for readers to enjoy. Along the way, there is some suspense built-up related to the sub-plot within (note: Cable’s limited appearance here as well as the Jean Grey and Cyclops reuniting with their mentor Charles Xavier) as well as the Muir Island saga itself.

Indeed, this comic book has lots of spectacle that superhero enthusiasts will enjoy but still the Macchio-Wildman team managed to maintain the core themes of the story for readers to absorb and think about.

Conclusion

Dynamic action of Rogue taking on Pyro.

X-Men Adventures #11 (1993) is a very solid read from start to finish. Even as the narrative has lots of action scenes presented, the story still managed to maintain focus on the themes of sacrificing mutation to be normal humans, the temptations brought in by advanced scientific wonders, and the exploitation of people seeking hope and reform a lot. There are indeed moral lessons within this comic book reflect about. This is strong creative work by Macchio-Wildman that X-Men fans and newcomers should read and I can say there is more to come storywise beyond this comic book.

Overall, X-Men Adventures #11 (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. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

A Look Back at Superman #77 (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, superheo enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts, DC Comics fans and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the post-death period of post-Crisis era Superman comic books as published in the early 1990s by DC Comics. Specifically, this is about a tale that took placed between Superman #75 (1993) and the hyped return of the American icon in Adventures of Superman #500 (1993).

What you are about to see is a mix of drama and intrigue that took place sometime after Superman’s death as envisioned by Dan Jurgens. As with other post-death comics of the time, the supporting characters connected to Superman as well as his arch enemy Lex Luthor got their fair share of the spotlight.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Superman #77, published by DC Comics in 1993 with a story written and drawn by Dan Jurgens. This is part 8 of the Funeral for a Friend storyline.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the red-headed Lex Luthor (note: in a new physical body totally different from his previous one) in the middle of a combat session. Even though his hatred towards Superman drives him, he could not help but allow his recall of the past to distract him enough to allow one of combatants to strike him down. As Luthor recovers, the session gets interrupted when Supergirl (a clone) appears with Lois Lane beside her.

Lane shares to him a hard copy of a column that she made before it got trimmed down by the editorial team of the Daily Planet. With so much hate in him, Luthor reacts madly to the article which reveals that Superman’s dead body has been taken away by Project Cadmus. Lois tells him that they intend to cut the Man of Steel’s body for cloning.

Luthor then says he will work to get Superman back where he belongs and put Cadmus in its place for good. Moments after, as she walks away from Luthor’s building, Lois Lane expresses concern about how Martha and Jonathan Kent would react had they learned that their adopted son’s body was taken away…

Quality

Several photographs of Superman taken by Jimmy Olsen.

I am happy to say that Dan Jurgens crafted a really solid story in this comic book. Character development is easily the biggest feature here which is very notable on how Jurgens highlighted Lois Lane, Lex Luthor and Jimmy Olsen. Each of them had their own moments – Luthor’s obsession and hatred of Superman here will encourage you to revisit the early post-Crisis encounters between them; Lois Lane meanwhile struggles to move on as she misses Clark a lot (note: they were engaged to get married) while also trying to hard to find his missing body; Jimmy Olsen gets the big opportunity to play a major role on deciding the cover image for a printed media tribute of Superman while feeling really down as a result of the sudden death. Jurgens not only crafted the plot structure carefully, he also wrote down very rich dialogue all throughout and he cleverly used dreams and day dream sequences as exposition to give readers notable visions of the past. This is a very compelling read.

Conclusion

Visions of Lex Luthor’s past accompanying his modern day self shows cleverness and efficiency on the part of Dan Jurgens.

Superman #77 (1993) really is a great read thanks to Dan Jurgens delivering high-quality work. At this particular stage of DC Comics’ publishing history, Jurgens not only really knew Superman but he knew how to emphasize the supporting characters (all of which were impacted by the death in Superman #75) and what direction to take the Funeral for a Friend storyline to. If there is anything that negatively affects the impact of this comic book, it is the dishonesty and betrayal (towards the fans) that came within Adventures of Superman #500 (1993).

Overall, Superman #77 (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. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

A Look Back at Spider-Man 2099 #26 (1994)

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

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts, Marvel Comics fans and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the will 1990s and explore the far future of 2099 within the Marvel Comics shared universe through one of the tales of Spider-Man 2099.

In my retro review of Spider-Man 2099 #25 (1994), I stated that Peter David crafted a story that connects and related well with the events of issue #1. Issue #25 had a really shocking revelation and by the time I reached the end, I was compelled to revisit issue #1. I can say that, literally, the dots between the two comic books really connected strongly.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Spider-Man 2099 #26, published in 1994 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Peter David and drawn by Joe St. Pierre.  

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside one of the towers of Alchemax where an armored person lies down on a platform closely examined by the local staff. Tyler Stone arrives and immediately wants a report on Kasey Nash. After getting a reply from one of his personnel, he orders the removal of the armor and get her out of the facility.

Meanwhile. Spider-Man wakes up from his nightmare. He finds himself resting on an elevate tree and land surrounded by skyscrapers. He still has not recovered from learning the shocking truth that Tyler Stone – his very powerful boss at Alchemax – is his biological father. Equally disturbing to him is the fact that he never had Rapture in his system and his attempt to alter himself genetically was truly pointless and unnecessary. Miguel O’Hara then says to himself that his whole life is a lie.

As it begins to rain, Spider-Man then starts moving and swinging away…

Quality

A close call for Spider-Man 2099.

I want to make it clear that this particular story written by Peter David was clearly about developing Miguel O’Hara and exploring new depths within his personality. There is no good-versus-evil conflict here, nor were there any superhero spectacles or action scenes to find here. That being said, this comic book is not a bore at all and anyone who strongly follows Spider-Man 2099 as a serious character will have something to enjoy in terms of characterization mixed with intrigue.

As it is already clear that the tycoon Tyler Stone is the biological father of the protagonist, this particular story shows new dimensions as to where Miguel’s life could go to. In terms of characterization, you will get to see a very in-depth development of Spider-Man’s personality as well as his inner struggle with the way his life turns out. The dialogue is very well written, you will feel Miguel’s pain and you may even sympathize with him.

Considering the lack of superhero spectacle, it is great to see Peter David put strong emphasis on Spider-Man’s personality while also leaving some room for other developing sub-plots. It is intriguing to see Spider-Man having intense visual communication with a certain person whose organization empowered Kasey Nash (a lady the protagonist cares about). Speaking of relationships, you will see threads from Miguel’s past romance with a certain lady.  

When it comes to the visuals, Joe St. Pierre delivered a fresh new look while still making the established characters look recognizable. At times, the characters were drawn with a cartoony aesthetic and yet there were times that the images looked dynamic even without superhero spectacle. St. Pierre’s work here is a nice temporary change from the usual stuff of Rick Leonardi as many of his art pieces looked more detailed in comparison.

Conclusion

Something is building up…

Spider-Man 2099 #26 (1994) is clearly a worthy follow-up to the very shocking issue #25. You will see a new age of darkness and uncertainty within Mguel O’Hara’s personal life as well as his emotional struggles. The lack of superhero spectacle is not a problem at all as the characterization here is very compelling to read. This coming book even has a short story that explores Spider-Man’s connection with Tyler Stone long before the incident that took place in issue #1.

Overall, Spider-Man 2099 #26 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at X-Men Adventures #15 (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, superheo enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts, X-Men fans and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the X-Men Adventures monthly series which was the literary adaptation of the popular X-Men animated series of the 1990s.  

Today is my review about the 15th and final issue of the X-Men Adventures adaptation of episodes of the 1st season of the popular animated series. The comic book at hand was the literary translation of the 13th episode and final episode of season one which was broadcast in March 1993.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at X-Men Adventures #15, published by Marvel Comics in 1993 with a story written by Ralph Macchio and drawn by Andrew Wildman.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins somewhere in Manhattan where a riot is happening. It turns out that multiple riots have occurred as a result of the of the recent kidnapping of United States Senator Robert Kelly who established himself as the nation’s most prominent anti-mutant public figure.

Deep inside their headquarters, the X-Men watch live news footage of the riot. Even though they were not involved in the kidnapping of Senator Kelly, Charles Xavier and his team are concerned that mutants like them will still be held responsible. The leader tells his team that they must find the missing senator quickly before the wave of intolerance affects all of them mutants. Xavier then starts using Cerebro which he programmed to search for any distortions in the magnetic field of planet Earth.

Elsewhere, inside a vessel that got shipwrecked along the Atlantic seaboard, Magneto has Senator Kelly as his captive. He tells the politician that he holds the key to the future and that they are in agreement that man and mutant cannot co-exist peacefully. For Magneto, the war for dominance must begin as humans remain weak and divided. Suddenly, a huge Sentinel breaks into the place…

Quality

The X-Men, Professor and Magneto.

Being the conclusion of the monthly series based on season one of the X-Men animated series, this comic book’s story packs a lot of stuff, intrigue and some memorable character moments. Thematically, the story emphasizes absolute power, intolerance and instability which got dramatized carefully as the narrative progressed.

For the X-Men, the pressure is tremendous as the stakes have gotten so high not just for them but for all mutants as a population. To fail to save the kidnapped Senator Kelly would cause society to become even more hostile to mutants which could compel the federal government to declare a state of emergency. Complicating matters here is Magneto’s obsession with power in connection with his biggest obsession that mutants are essentially superior over humans and that societies will be reformed – even with violence involved – accordingly. Adding even more the complexity of the situation are the presence of government, technology handlers backed by private financiers, and the one gigantic machine (that produces new Sentinels) that becomes self-aware.

The good news here is that the story is very well written, the narrative does not lose focus and the creative duo of Macchio-Wildman managed to craft a tale that consistently remained engaging complete with ensuring sufficient superhero spectacle for entertainment. As expected, the pay-offs executed for all the build-ups proved to be highly satisfying.

When it comes to characterization, everyone here acts and talks as expected. The team dynamics of the X-Men here make for a cerebral reading experience especially when they have these intense private meetings trying to solve their problems and anticipate what would happen next. The dialogue, filled with varied details, are richly written and yet easy to follow. I should state that having the Sentinels as a force of opposition under the control of a rogue AI added a lot to the stakes involved in the plot. The portrayal of machines acting superior over humans proved to be a unique parallel to the humans-mutants conflict.

Conclusion

The fictional US Senator Robert Kelly in trouble in the presence of Magneto and a Sentinel.

X-Men Adventures #15 (1993) is not only a worthy conclusion to the monthly series based on animated series’ season one episodes. It is indeed the best comic book of the said series that I have read thanks to the great adaptive works of the Macchio-Wildman team. The story had these very high stakes raised and ultimately the pay-off to all the build-up were great resulting in great satisfaction on my part as a reader. At the same time, there are certain key plot elements and character elements here that eventually made their way into the first X-Men live-action movie of 2000. The core story is the clear feature while the bonus pin-up section was the fun additive. This comic book is a must-have!

Overall, X-Men Adventures #15 (1993) 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. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.