A Look Back at Wonder Woman #8 (1987)

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.

With the combined talents of George Perez, Len Wein, Greg Potter plus others, the reintroduction of Wonder Woman during the early stage of the Post-Crisis era of DC Comics is not only great but an essential read and a true superhero literature classic! When it comes to the presentation, the origin of not only Wonder Woman but also the Amazons was retold with a stronger emphasis on Greek mythology.

To put things in perspective, Wonder Woman #6 saw Ares’ plan on completely ruining man’s world defeated while Wonder Woman #7 saw the revival of Princess Diana as the deities of Olympus bless her and the Amazons. Where could George Perez, Len Wein and the creative team take the post-Crisis Wonder Woman story to?

That we will precisely find out in this look back at Wonder Woman #8, published by DC Comics in 1987 with a story written by George Perez and Len Wein. The art was done by Perez and inked by Bruce D. Patterson.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins in Boston, specifically at the Harvard University office of academic veteran Julia Kapatelis. She starts typing her recollections about Diana who, by this time, became a celebrated figure with the public thanks in part to Myndi Mayer’s publicity engine. Julia expressed how astonished she was with Wonder Woman’s ability to assimilate a lot of information so quickly (note: when she first arrived in man’s world, she did not even know how to speak English).

She recalled during their time at the United Nations that there were some nations that refused to listen to her and that the delegate from Russia protested Wonder Woman’s star-spangled costume on political grounds.

While Wonder Woman is loved by the public, there still were those who opposed her. Julia recalls the national campaign to outlaw all superheroes launched by the psychologist G. Gordon Godfrey who even won the support of some of America’s political figures. Julia also noticed the effects of Godfrey’s campaign on the minds of some of her students and the division that followed.

Wonder Women went on to interact with other superheroes as she strived to do good and save people. She even got invited to join the newly reformed Justice League with Superman, Batman, the Flash and many others present…

Quality

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Wonder Woman as recalled by Vanessa.

Before describing the quality of this comic book, I should state that Wonder Woman #8 is not your typical superhero comic book at all. In reality, to reflect the title Time Passages, this one is technically a collection of journals that efficiently showed how much has changed for Wonder Woman and the people around her since after the Ares Affair happened.

When it comes to quality, each journal fictionally authored by Julia Kapatelis, Etta Candy, Vanessa Kapatelis and Myndi Mayer, was well-written by Perez and Wein. Apart from describing what happened and how much had changed with Wonder Woman in their presence, each character’s journal had its own distinct view apart from style of writing. Each journal is important to read and through them you will realize how much impact Wonder Woman had on their society and on themselves.

Still on the writing, there were some pages that provided relief to readers. In between the journals are story pages focused on Dr. Barbara Minerva and her short male companion which served as the build-up leading to the first appearance of the post-Crisis Cheetah.

And there is all the beautiful art provided by Perez. Each page of a fictional journal has artwork that visualize what was told. There are also whole pages highlighting the passage of time and the characters who made each journal. Even with the unusual format used, this is still very good looking comic book to see!

Conclusion

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The test of Wonder Woman with the military as recalled by Etta Candy.

To describe it bluntly, Wonder Woman #8 is an exposition-heavy, very wordy, time-passing comic book that succeeds in what it was meant to achieve: move Wonder Woman’s post-Crisis development forward efficiently (note: without having to create multiple comic books reflecting the events told) while emphasizing how people look at her, how she connects with other DC Comics superheroes and the like. It was nicely crafted by Perez and the creative team and each page showed that a lot of special care was done. With regards to modernizing Wonder Woman for the 1980s, this comic book is a success.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #8 (1987), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $26 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $51.

Overall, Wonder Woman #8 (1987) 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 #545

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.

Action Comics #544 was, indeed, a very memorable comic book to read. For a comic book about Superman and the celebration of his 45th anniversary, Action Comics #544 was more about the drastic reform (and improvement) of the super villains Lex Luthor (gaining a powered suit of armor) and Brainiac (becoming fully robotic). That particular issue ended with Superman actually getting defeated and knocked down during his first encounter with the now metallic Brainiac (who also had a huge squid-like space ship of his own).

The story continues with this look back at Action Comics #545, published by DC Comics in 1983 with a story written by Marv Wolfman and illustrated by Gil Kane.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Superman already down on the ground on an alien world in the presence of Brainiac and the strange beings (natives of the planet) standing near him. Braniac explains to him that his red-sun missile brought him down and states: With but the merest thought I can and will destroy you! For only with your death can I be victorious in my battle against he-who-created-us-all! With you dead, this universe and all others will be mine to rule!

After much talking, Brainiac puts the weakened Superman into his small ship and brings into him the main ship (Brainiac’s flyer). Before departing, Brainiac’s flyer fires a powerful blast killing many of the planet’s natives.

Superman is conscious but is too weak to get up. Brainiac then starts analyzing him using his ship’s state-of-the-art equipment…

Quality

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The new Brainiac’s power is felt all over.

Let me start with the story. Written by the legendary Marv Wolfman (who went on to author Crisis on Infinite Earths), Action Comics #545 is the highly compelling extension of the first encounter between Superman and the highly enhanced Brainiac. Continuing from the events that took place in issue #544, this comic book further emphasizes Brainiac’s new technology and new capabilities complete with revisions in his programming which make him even deadlier than his previous form. While Brainiac is cold and very calculating like a computer, there are still threads of humanity in him, mainly in the form of expressions.

Along the way, Superman is portrayed to be very vulnerable and in more danger than usual. The situation is so bad for him, Superman realizes that attacking Brainiac would be suicidal. Since he could not afford to take the risk to defeat Brainiac, the Man of Steel relied more on his instinct and observations to solve problems.

On the art, Gil Kane delivered pretty good visuals. While his take on Superman makes the icon recognizable, it is his art on Brainiac and the futuristic technologies that really shined. Even by today’s standards of comic book art and sci-fi concepts, Brainiac, his ship and all other forms of technology still look futuristic!

Conclusion

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A very vulnerable Superman being scanned by Brainiac.

Very entertaining and compelling! That’s how I describe Action Comics #545 and it definitely is a great continuation of the Brainiac story that was featured in issue #544. Lots of action spectacle and intrigue all through the story. While Brainiac’s new abilities and revamped personality were compelling to read, it should be noted that Superman in this comic book thinks more, becomes more strategic and makes decisions knowing he has been weakened. This is a Superman who strives to survive.

As for Brainiac, this comic book shows his rise as one of the premier super villains of DC Comics leading to the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths. The ending here has a very powerful image!

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Action Comics #545, be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $18 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $36.

Overall, Action Comics #545 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

Henry Cavill in talks to return as the cinematic Superman!

Shortly after the launch of this website, I published an article expressing what I’d like to see in a Man of Steel sequel. Among the key things I mentioned was that I wanted to see Henry Cavill play Superman as a more inspiring and optimistic superhero. That was back in January 2019.

superman1
Henry Cavill in 2013’s Man of Steel.

Today there is a lot of buzz online about the return of Cavill as Superman (note: he last played him in the Justice League movie which in turn will be presented in Zack Snyder’s own vision next year on HBO Max) got reported by Deadline.com and Variety.com

Both hot reports shared similar key details but I found Deadline’s content more helpful. Here’s an excerpt from Deadline.com in italicized blue text.

While there is not a Man of Steel sequel in the works, we’re hearing that Henry Cavill is in talks to reprise his role as Superman in the Warner Bros. DC Universe.

We hear Cavill could come back in a couple of different ways, not a standalone film, but there are plans to put him back in the big red cape again sources with knowledge tell us.

Warner Bros. is not developing a Man of Steel sequel, and Wonder Woman 1984, Suicide Squad are in the can, and Superman isn’t expected to make a cameo in Matt Reeves’ The Batman. Other projects where Cavill could make a cameo are Shazam 2, Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam or Aquaman 2, which are the next productions to be prepped once COVID-19 safety restrictions lift.

Previously in a Men’s Health interview, the British actor stated he had not given up on the role even though the last time he played the DC Comics icon was in late-2017 in the Justice League movie. The Superman who appeared in the Shazam movie of 2019 was NOT played by Cavill.

In relation to the Warner Bros. superhero movies mentioned in the excerpt above, it seems that integrating Cavill’s Superman in the ongoing DC Comics cinematic universe will take a while and it is understandable that a standalone movie featuring Superman still has not been planned. It will take a few more years for a Superman movie project to be made to say the least and that includes financing, writing the best screenplay possible, hiring/rehiring actors and finding the right director (I hope they hire James Wan) who could get the most out of Cavill.

As such, the best that Warner Bros. could do with the cinematic Superman is have him in short appearances or cameos in future DC Comics movies about Shazam (the sequel), Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson’s vehicle) and Aquaman (the sequel).

Speaking of Shazam and Black Adam, it would be nice to see Cavill’s Superman in those characters’ respective films. I don’t mean Cavill sharing the spotlight with Zachary Levi and Dwayne Johnson, but having his cinematic Superman appear with Shazam and Black Adam with sufficient screen time to satisfy the fans. Considering the literary history Superman has with Shazam and Black Adam, cinematic cameo appearances would be insufficient in my view. Of course, the Shazam sequel and the Black Adam movie have their respective concepts by now and accommodating Superman will be limited at best.

As such, when it comes to making a true standalone Superman movie in the years to come, I would love to see Henry Cavill and Dwayne Johnson clash as Superman and Black Adam! That concept would be great for the much-delayed Man of Steel sequel! For such a project, I would insist that Warner Bros. hire James Wan to direct.

As for the cinematic Superman possibly appearing in the Aquaman sequel, that would be nice even if it will end up as a short appearance. I honestly believe that Cavill and Jason Momoa can work well together on the big screen with a more focused screenplay.

If there is a breakthrough regarding the talks between Henry Cavill and Warner Bros., I’ll update you readers. Right now, even though the world has been set back by the COVID-19 crisis, Warner Bros. is in a better position to be more competitive when it comes to superhero movies. Cavill’s return as Superman will add more punch once it has been finalized.

In ending this, here are a few Cavill Superman videos for your enjoyment.


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

Idolatry is Unholy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 (NKJV)

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

1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 (TPT)

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

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

Exodus 20: 4-6 (NKJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deuteronomy 32: 16-17 (NKJV)  

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

Leviticus 17: 7 (NKJV)

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

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

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

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

1 Corinthians 10: 20 (NKJV)

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

1 Corinthians 10: 20 (TPT)

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

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

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

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

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

1 John 5: 19-21 (TPT)

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

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

Dear God,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

A Look Back at Prime #2

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

As seen many times in the history of American comic book publishing, there is the ever-present male superhero with the clean short hair, a muscular build, a tight body suit and a cape. Such a superhero has the so-called classic ability to fly and as well having superhuman strength. To put things in perspective, this is the so-called Superman influence on superhero comics. Superman is undoubtedly an icon of not just American pop culture but also of the United States culture in general.

Considering Superman’s iconic status, it is no surprise that many other publishers imitated the character to add some zest into their own superhero comic book franchise. For the Ultraverse of Malibu Comics, their own parallel to DC Comics’ Superman is none other than Prime (who is also inspired somewhat by Shazam/Captain Marvel).

Cover
A great looking cover by the late Norm Breyfogle.

For this retro comic book review, we’ll take a close look at Prime #2, the Ultraverse comic book published by Malibu Comics in 1993 with a story co-written by Gerard Jones and Len Strazewski, and art by the late Norm Breyfogle. Previously, I reviewed Prime #1 which you can right here.

Early story

The story begins with teenager Kevin Green struggling heading home in the suburb at night completely naked. After Kevin falls down just outside the front door, his mother opens it and was shocked to see him naked (with some traces of green slim on his skin). Kevin could not recall what happened to him.

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Imagine yourself being naked walking home in the middle of the night within the local community.

Shortly after, Kevin is in the hospital with his parents. The doctor could not figure out what’s wrong with Kevin and only stated that his failure to remember could be the result of psychological trauma. Alone in the room, Kevin watches TV news footage of Prime (himself under disguise) and his parents arrive. His mother tells him that he will be okay.

Meanwhile in a discreet location, two men are analyzing the recent appearance of Prime in Somalia. One of them orders the release of Organism 8….

Quality

Prime #2 is clearly a strong follow-up to the launch issue. Co-writers Gerard Jones and Len Strazewski crafted a story that took its time to flesh out Kevin Green/Prime while simultaneously building up suspense and details regarding a sinister force that has links with the government, and they won’t stop until they get their target Prime.

On character development, this comic book takes a deeper look at the private life of Kevin (who only appeared as himself at the end of issue #1) especially at his high school. Here, the school is still recovering from the damage Prime caused (including hurting the school’s coach).

The highlight in this comic book is the exploration of the friendship between Kevin and Kelly. As such, the suspense related to the two really started to build up given the fact that in issue #1, Kevin appeared in front of her not as himself but as his superhero form as Prime. Kelly found it cool that Prime talked to her although she’s disturbed to see him seriously injure their coach. Kevin himself is struggling with the weight of not only keeping his superhero identity secret but also with the consequences of the violence he caused as Prime. Even worse, many students in his school find him a freak but Kelly remains sympathetic to him.

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At school…

Visually, this is still a very good looking comic book. Norm Breyfogle’s art is very lively whether he draws out the local community that Kevin belongs to, draws the action scenes, draws the monstrous Organism 8, and emphasizing more of Prime. I also love the way Breyfogle drew the facial expressions. For the newcomers reading this, Breyfogle’s style has a cartoonish look but never backs down with comic book-style spectacle.

The spectacle of this comic book, unsurprisingly, looks very good. The action scenes show a lot of power and seeing Prime and Organism 8 hit each other is no less brutal.

Conclusion

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Norm Breyfogle’s great visuals on Kevin Green becoming Prime!

While Prime #1 was a tremendous creative kick-off for its superhero and its own series, Prime #2 is a very solid progression. This comic book marked the beginning of the build-up of suspense as well as the friendship between Kevin and Kelly, and ultimately it was a fun and compelling reading experience.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prime #2, be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $4 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $8.

Overall, Prime #2 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 #2 (1987)

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.

After the end of publishing their landmark maxi-series Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC Comics gained an all-new slate to literally fill up by rebooting their entire superhero comics universe. They started the new universe (now referred to as the Post-Crisis Universe) with Superman, Batman and some others.

Then in late 1986, DC Comics reintroduced the post-Crisis version of Wonder Woman creatively led by the legendary George Perez (who was assisted by writer Greg Potter) with the release of the comic book Wonder Woman #1 (cover dated February 1987). That particular comic book retold (in great detail with Greek mythology) the origin of the Amazons who were reincarnated women (the souls of which came from women whose deaths were caused by men). The Amazons and Hippolyta (Hippolyte in this comic book) eventually got betrayed by Heracles and his men leading to a period of tremendous hardship. Beatings were obvious and rape was implied.

After getting freed, they are sent to the island of Themyscira. It was there when Hippolyta learned that she died previously as a pregnant woman. Using the clay of the island, the Amazons’ queen formed an infant girl. Then after communicating with the midwives in the spiritual realm, the soul of Hippolyta’ unborn daughter arrived into the clay child. This marked the birth of Princess Diana who would become Wonder Woman. For the newcomers reading this, Diana is the only Amazon who grew up from child to adult in Themyscira.

Right here is my retro comic book review of Wonder Woman #2 published in 1987 by DC Comics with the story done by George Perez and Greg Potter. The art was done by Perez.

Cover
Cover drawn by George Perez. 

Early story

The story begins in man’s world, at an American military base. Colonel Steve Trevor meets with his superior General Kohler who tells him that he has been chosen for a special mission which involves the use a new, modified fighter plane. Steve reacted that the coordinated provided lead to nothing out there. The general instructs him to shut his mouth and do what he was ordered to do.

In Themyscira, Princess Diana is set to start her first-ever mission as Wonder Woman. Her mission pits her against a god gone mad, and her mother Hippolyta and the Amazons are deeply concerned. Suddenly, the Lasso of Truth from Olympus arrives which Diana picks up. Immediately after that, the messenger of the gods Hermes arrives marking the first time in centuries that any Amazon saw him.

45

After a brief talk, Diana travels away with Hermes who could only guide her. They disappeared suddenly surprising the Amazons and Hippolyta who was not given an opportunity to bid farewell to her daughter.

Quality

As expected, Wonder Woman #2 has great qualities with regards to storytelling, characterization and artwork. With Greg Potter assisting George Perez, this comic book told not one but three story arcs each with a good amount of details and, amazingly, such stories were told rather efficiently complete with very believable dialogue. I’m talking about impressive writings and descriptions of the characters, apart from Wonder Woman herself, that include the Amazons, the gods and goddesses of Olympus and the American military.

The story also comes with a very nice touch of discovery which readers can easily relate with through Wonder Woman. As Diana develops and learns more, the reader gets connected with her even more. This is the Queen of Superheroes I’m talking about and the writing is truly excellent.

At the same time, continuing with what was first presented in Wonder Woman #1, this comic book also explores how much of a threat Ares (god of war) truly is not only to Wonder Woman and her Amazons but also on people in man’s world. The build-up of the tension is really nice and the pay-off is worth it.

Unsurprisingly, this comic book has great looking art. It’s done by George Perez after all supported with ink work by Bruce Patterson. Perez knows how to dramatize characters, pull of amazing shots of action and other forms of spectacle, and most of all, illustrate the very visual elements of Greek mythology complete with other visual concepts of the fantasy genre.

Conclusion

As it is clear it is not the launch issue of its monthly series, Wonder Woman #2 is still very significant as it marks the first-ever mission of Wonder Woman in the post-Crisis universe of DC Comics and also her first encounter with a modernized (for the 1980s specifically) Steve Trevor. Remember the first time Diana and Steve met in 2017 Wonder Woman movie? Remember how Wonder Woman reacted to see a mortal man for the first time ever as played by Gal Gadot and Chris Pine on the big screen? You will see some common elements between the film and this comic book about the two characters. Even the Amazons’ reaction to Steve alone makes this comic book worth reading and it should encourage readers to go back to first issue to understand the details about the Amazons’ culture and mindset.

10
Heavy inspiration about Greek mythology, culture and arts is evident not only in the artwork by Perez but also on the script itself.

If you are seriously considering acquiring an existing copy of Wonder Woman #2, be aware that according to MileHighComics.com as of this writing, a near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $24, while a near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $49. As for the other edition that does not have a month printed on the cover, a near-mint copy costs $77.

Overall, Wonder Woman #2 (1987) 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 #544

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

I just love it when comic book creators really pushed their creativity and bold concepts to make an anniversary celebration comic book fun, engaging and memorable. As seen in the history of American superhero comics, such great comic books become essential when their concept sets a new standard of quality or when it sets its series (and its featured superhero) to a new and well accepted direction (which then opens up many opportunities to keep the series and the superhero fresh creatively).

Such greatness was achieved by DC Comics and its creators with Action Comics #544 published in 1983.

AC544cover
The cover.

As seen in the cover above done by artists Gil Kane and Dick Giordano, Superman in the background could do nothing but be surprised to see his two foes Lex Luthor and Braniac presented in doubles reflecting a change of design – Luthor getting his now iconic powered suit of armor and Brainiac having a more robotic design.

So you must be wondering…how is the quality of the story and art of this particular comic book that celebration Superman’s 45th anniversary?

We can now start with my retro comic book review of Action Comics #544.

Early Stories

This special-sized comic book features not one but two separate Superman stories titled “Luthor Unleashed!” (written by Cary Bates and drawn by Curt Swan) and “Rebirth” (by Marv Wolfman and Gil Kane).

“Luthor Unleashed!” begins with Luthor already down on the ground hurting from the crash of his aircraft and with Superman present. Even though Luthor’s already helpless, Superman flies away to an unknow destination confident that the super villain will still be there once he returns. However, Luthor got assisted by a robot of his who took him to a secret lair and rode a spacecraft going into deep space. Luthor arrives on the planet called Lexor.

“Rebirth” begins with Superman saving a lady and dog from getting hit by a car on the city street. Afterwards, he flies into space and arrives at a computerized planet that Brainiac created. Just nearby, the star of Epsilon 4 is about to go supernova which prompts him to do something so that many lives will be saved.

Quality

Visually, the art of both stories, respectively done by Curt Swan (arguably the most memorable artist to draw Superman during the pre-Crisis age) and Gil Kane is still good to look at. Both artists knew how to frame the action in interesting ways, put enough details on the people and environment surrounding Superman or Luthor or Brainiac.

When it comes to the storytelling and characterization, not only were both stories really well written, they succeeded in humanizing Luthor and Brainiac. In “Luthor Unleashed!”, the portrayal of Lex Luthor as a family man (he has a wife and a child) as well as a highly revered leader among the citizens of Lexor was excellently done. By just reading that story, it really looked like Luthor could have been a great contributor for the good of the DC Multiverse had he not been a super villain. What writer Cary Bates made clear was that Luthor’s hatred for Supermen was deeply embedded within him.

AC5441
Lex Luthor the husband and father.

The story of Brainiac meanwhile was very engaging. Marv Wolfman really went all-out on portraying the death and rebirth of Brainiac who got reshaped in the form of a futuristic robot armed with his own octopus-like spaceship. What is great about this cybernetic form of Brainiac was that he not only looked more sinister but also proved to be a more dangerous super villain than before. Also, Superman’s first encounter with Brainiac in his new form is very memorable.

AC5442
A great debut for Brainiac in his new form.

Conclusion

While Action Comics #544 is a celebration of Superman’s 45th anniversary, it is truly a showcase of the two classic super villains who not only got new looks but also went on to become more challenging to Superman on a new and higher level. Before he got his iconic powered suit of armor (designed by the great George Perez), Luthor was not much of a physical challenge to Superman. Before he got his robotic body, Brainiac was not as deadly and had much less resources to be cause chaos to Superman and others. To say the least, this comic book is a true classic of superhero literature!

If you are a collector, be aware that as of this writing, a near-mint copy of the newsstand edition of Action Comics #544 is now worth $77 while its other edition’s near-mint copy is worth $39 at MileHighComics.com.

Overall, Action Comics #544 is highly recommended. This great comic book also has another thing of value: great inspiration and references that Warner Bros. should use when making a new Superman movie with Luthor and Brainiac as the super villains.


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 (2017)

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

I just love watching superhero movies, especially the ones that were well crafted by the filmmakers complete with solid storytelling, sufficient spectacle as well as memorable performances by the hired talents (both behind and in front of the camera).

Of all the superhero movies made by the forces of Hollywood starting with 1978’s Superman, I can clearly say that 2017’s Wonder Woman is my favorite. Don’t get me wrong. I did not limit myself to just DC Comics superhero movies. I saw all the X-Men movies and their spinoffs, almost all the Spider-Man flicks, almost all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies and even the obscure ones. Along the way, there were some great superhero flicks that became modern-day classics like Logan and Avengers: Infinity War.

Still it is the Gal Gadot-led, Patty Jenkins-directed Wonder Woman that I loved watching the most.

Let’s start with my retro review of Wonder Woman, the one film that arguably saved the DC Comics Cinematic Universe for Warner Bros.

WWposter1
The Wonder Woman movie poster from 2017.

Early Story

The story begins sometime after the end of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice during which Diana finds a long lost photograph recovered by Bruce Wayne. Then she remembers her past in Themyscira where she grew up as the only little girl among the women called the Amazons and her mother is none other than Queen Hippolyta. Concerned that the wicked Aries is still alive, Hippolyta’s sister Antiope trains Diana (initially in secret until they were discovered) to be strong, brave and more capable than their fellow Amazon warriors.

One day, Steve Trevor arrives in Themyscira becoming the first-ever man Diana ever met. Tension rises when the Germans (from World War I Earth) arrive on their island causing the Amazons to fight in defense. A lot of people lost their lives, including someone very close to Diana.

While interrogated with the Lasso of Truth, Steve reveals who he is and what he has been doing. He states that back in his world, World War I is ravaging the world costing many people their lives. This causes Diana to stand up and stop the war somehow (she believes Aries is responsible). Queen Hippolyta disapproves of Diana’s analysis. After privately meeting with Steve, Diana then starts her move for a mission to stop the war in Man’s World.

Quality

Screenshot_20200228-213823_YouTube.jpg
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in the middle of German soldiers.

Let me start with the performances. Gal Gadot definitely IS Wonder Woman in this movie. Regardless of how many versions of Wonder Woman there are in comics, the Israeli actress truly captured the essence of Diana’s early development which includes her special place among the Amazons (note: she is the only Amazon who was born in Themyscira and grew up from infant into a mature woman), her fateful meeting with Steve Trevor, her entry into Man’s World and how she adapts with the events and people outside of Themyscira. Wonder Woman’s purity on saving the world, doing what is right and emphasizing love and compassion were all nicely translated into cinematic art by Gal Gadot. From doing the action scenes to saving people, speaking her mind among her fellow Amazons and interacting with others as she adapts with Man’s World, I really love Gadot’s work on bringing Wonder Woman to life. As her cinematic work is great, there is no doubt that Gadot will always be iconic to fans of the Queen of Superheroes and superhero enthusiasts in general in the decades to come right beside Lynda Carter (who played the icon on TV), Christopher Reeve (Superman), Robert Downey, Jr. (Iron Man) and Chris Evans (Captain America). Meanwhile, the portrayals of Diana as an 8-year-old girl as well as a 12-year-old were perfectly done by Lilly Aspell (who is truly skilled with horse riding) and Emily Carey.

QueenDaughter
Lilly Aspell as young Diana with Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta.

Chris Pine is excellent as Steve Trevor who is portrayed to be very dedicated to his work, brave in what he does and still shows compassion instead of arrogance towards others. He also has great chemistry with Gal Gadot and, like in the comic books, their relationship is nicely translated on the big screen. Pine’s performance here is, in my view, the best superhero movie supporting role to date.

Screenshot_20200228-213746_YouTube.jpg
Chris Pine as Steve Trevor with Gal Gadot as Diana in disguise.

Connie Nielsen meanwhile is great in playing Queen Hippolyta and all throughout, there is always a sense of leadership complete with a touch of motherly love just like in the comic books. Her sister Antiope was nicely portrayed by Robin Wright as the one Amazon who taught Diana to be brave, strong and highly capable as an Amazon warrior.

Danny Huston, who played the lead villain in the 2009 movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine, played yet another military bad guy here but this time he’s a World War I German officer. He’s a villain with a purpose who not only fights for the glory of Germany but also strongly believes that war is natural and inevitable for humanity. In some ways, Huston’s Ludendorff reminds me Michael Shannon’s General Zod in Man of Steel.

Antiope
Robin Wright is excellent as Antiope.

When it comes to presentation, this film is Patty Jenkins’ 2nd movie as director (her debut was way back in 2003) and the great turnout of Wonder Woman as a high quality movie (as opposed to being a critical and commercial success) only proved yet again that the old saying in Hollywood – The director’s second movie is his/her best movie – is true. Jenkins, who also worked on television, not only prepared a lot to make this movie but also researched Wonder Woman, developed ways to get the most out of the cast members, tweak the written story of the film (by Allan Heinberg, Zach Snyder and Jason Fuchs) and, most notably, she led the production with a lot of passion. To put it short, Wonder Woman is a labor of love (and the No Man’s Land scene is iconic) that not only resonated with fans of the Queen of Superheroes but also with the film critics and moviegoers.

Regarding storytelling, I noticed that a key story from Wonder Woman’s origin in the comics (the contest of the Amazons) did not happen at all in the film. While there were die-hard fans of the icon who complained about it, I felt that the contest of the Amazons would have made this movie more complicated and surely would have lessened the impact of World War I as a key story element. Since the purpose of this movie was to emphasize Diana’s origin and her entry into Man’s World with a major mission, I believe that the contest of the Amazons can be made cinematically later in a future movie.

The way the story was told cinematically, it also captured Diana’s reactions to the events that happened around her. The scene in which she saw the village destroyed showed how death and destruction compelled Wonder Woman to accomplish her mission even though others find ending the war impossible. Along the way, the actors – specifically Gal Gadot – really added life into the narrative with their strong performances.

When it comes to on-screen humor, which is popular among moviegoers and is almost a requirement for most new superhero movies that come out, having it done by supporting players Lucy Davis and Saïd Taghmaoui was a clever move since it allows Gal Gadot to portray Wonder Woman without any performance disruption. Considering her short screen time, Davis as Etta Candy is really funny. The amount of humor in this film, in my view, was just right and never annoying.

Spectacle? Wonder Woman is loaded with action, stunts and exciting stuff! The action involving Wonder Woman was brutal and satisfying to watch, and Patty Jenkins’ use of slow motion on key moments was great (even comparable to John Woo’s past work) and at the same time not too excessive. The Themyscira battle between the Germans and the Amazons at the beach was engaging and strategically filmed. Also, it was fitting that the action ramped up nicely starting with the iconic No Man’s Land sequence. The final battle in the film, unsurprisingly, had lots of computer-generated images (CGI) which is understandable considering the fantasy element of Wonder Woman.

More on the action, I love the way Patty Jenkins had Gal Gadot, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen and Chris Pine perform the action themselves which all made their characters even more believable. Of course, there were certain moments in which stunt doubles were used to do the more dangerous moments on behalf of the actors.

Screenshot_20200228-213315_YouTube.jpg
This happened just before the iconic No Man’s Land scene.

Apart from the core cast, a lot of the actresses playing the Amazons trained for several months not just to look the part but also to perform action sequences using weapons with actual skill. The stunt coordinators and specialists hired by the filmmakers deserve praise for contributing nicely on making the cinematic Amazons highly believable. This alone not only makes Wonder Woman stand out nicely among all Hollywood superhero movies but also reflects nicely what was portrayed in the comic books.

The production design is also top-notch. I love the scenic locations of Italy used for scenes set in Themyscira. The filmmakers also did a great job recapturing the look of World War I Europe from the historical pictures to the big screen. The costume designs were fantastic, and the standout designs were, unsurprisingly, the costumes of the Amazons which really made their fantasy culture look believable. The filmmakers decided to have much more colorful visuals instead of following the look of Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad.

On the music, the work by Rupert Gregson-Williams was great. His rendition of the Wonder Woman theme was very lively to listen to. The same can be said about the music he provided in the memorable No Man’s Land scene which had a nice build-up as Wonder Woman made her first full appearance in costume on the field. Other tunes played in the film suited the scenes well.

If there were any weak spots in this movie, it would be certain shots of action that were not filmed with precision. I’m talking about filming action scenes way too close to the camera combined with music video-style editing that’s supposed to make film look flashy. It’s not only disorienting, it also took me out of the movie.

Conclusion

Overall, Wonder Woman is one of the best-ever superhero movies ever made and easily my favorite of them all. It has an excellent balance between storytelling, character development and spectacle, and Gal Gadot gave the performance of a lifetime not only by bringing Wonder Woman into life in cinematic form but also emphasizing what the Queen of Superheroes stood for. As part of the current DC Comics Cinematic Universe, this movie stood out by having optimism and heroism as core themes (as opposed to the dark, gritty and even cynical approach of Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad) and, more importantly, by focusing strongly on Wonder Woman instead of building up for the Justice League movie (which was released months after this one).

Apart from high-quality production values and a strong creative approach, the cast and cinematic performances are easily among the best in the superhero movie genre. Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor is an excellent example of a supporting role that is engaging without ever overshadowing the lead role. By the end of the film, you will realize the impact that Queen Hippolyta and Antiope had on Diana’s personal development.

QH
Connie Nielsen made a great queen and mother in this movie.

Being strongly focused on heroism with optimism, director Patty Jenkins and her crew succeeded in making this film without ever succumbing to the extreme views of the Political Left in Hollywood and the loudmouth social feminists. When I see the battle between the Amazons and the German soldiers on the beach of Themyscira happen, I simply saw armed women defending their homeland not from men who intend to rape them but rather men who had no right to intrude in the first place. Even as there were scenes showing men in power in World War I Europe (putting Diana in a powerless position), there still was no feminist-inspired hatred towards men. Also the bond between Steve and Diana developing from friendship into a romantic relationship literally shut the door on extreme feminism.

As a Wonder Woman-focused story, this film succeeded on emphasizing the Queen of Superheroes to both long-time fans and mainstream moviegoers. This movie also had a nice mix of having a fantasy setting with Themyscira moving on to a historic setting with World War I Europe. On the origins of Wonder Woman herself, I don’t mind at all that the contest of Amazons was not told because this movie’s concept is already great to begin with and its running time of 141 minutes was just right.

Wondyclimb
Gal Gadot will be remembered for a very long time for her excellent portray of Wonder Woman in cinema.

With all the greatness it was made with, I kept coming back to Wonder Woman when replaying superhero movies here at the comfort of home. In the cinemas back in 2017, I saw the film three times. Ultimately, I can say out loud that Wonder Woman is highly recommended and it is truly essential!


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

If you are looking forward to Wonder Woman 1984, check out my preview and opinion about the first movie trailer.

A Look Back at Action Comics #454

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

Long ago in the history of American comic book publishing, there was a time when superhero comic book storytelling were not told as dramatic serials but rather as standalone stories laced with outlandish ideas.

For this retro comic book review, we go back to the year 1977 as we focus on a Superman story that would not be told again in this day and age. To say the least, its cover art is, by today’s standard, over-the-top in terms of presentation. kapiHere is my look back at Action Comics #454 published by DC Comics with a story by Cary Bates and visuals by Curt Swan and Tex Blaisdell.

A454cover
The cover.

Early Story

The comic book opens with a preview of things to come showing a weak Superman urged by a few people to fly and chase the Toyman.

And then there was the question: What good are super-powers without the stamina and endurance it takes to use them?

The story begins with the Toyman escaping after pulling off a bank robbery. As he flies higher, he sees Superman coming towards him. After using a trick to delay Superman, Toyman uses a special trick to twirl Superman at high speed and literally throws him away to an unknown destination. The villain escaped and, some time later, Clark Kent/Superman finds himself too tired and drained. Because of this, he becomes desperate to consume food and beverages just to keep going. This problem affects both his career and social life.

A454p1
When was the last time you saw Clark Kent so exhausted?

Quality

Action Comics #454 explores what would happen if Superman lacks energy and requires a lot of rest and many meals to stay active. To see him eat as many as sixty hamburgers per minute is quite funny to see.

Being weak puts Superman at a disadvantage when it comes to stopping the criminal Toyman. As the Man of Steel flies at high speed to chase the bad guy flying in a personal aircraft, the chase drains him a lot.

When it comes to storytelling, this one is pretty short lasting only thirteen pages. What I find impressive is that the creators managed to tell a standalone story of good-versus-evil as well as answering the question as to what caused Superman to be so weak in the first place.

A454P2

Superman flying tired.

Conclusion

To put it clearly, Action Comics #454 is definitely a very short literary escapade that still manages to be fun to read. It sure is outlandish and I strongly doubt DC Comics will want to put Superman through heavy eating in today’s age of comics. Is this comic book a classic? Not exactly but it sure is a satisfying, fun read from an era when outlandish superhero storytelling in comic books was the norm. If you are seeking this as a collector’s item, be aware that a near-mint copy of Action Comics #454 is worth $23 at MileHighComics.com as of this writing.

Overall, Action Comics #454 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. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

 

A Look Back at Superman #100 (1995)

While this old comic book may not be the best-selling Superman story of the 1990s, it is for me the most significant one as well as creator Dan Jurgens’ best work ever on the Man of Steel. I’m talking about Superman #100.

Cover
The cover.

Released in 1995 by DC Comics, Superman #100 came out with a special cover that highlighted the title “The Death of Clark Kent”. It was released with a hefty cover price of $3.95 for the United States and was pretty thick. It was written and illustrated by Dan Jurgens, the same man who worked on the best-selling Superman #75 (The Death of Superman climax).

Early story

The story begins with Clark Kent carrying a deformed Superman object (with makeshift glasses and a knife “stabbing” the letter S) and just feet behind him was his officemate Jimmy Olsen. Hidden mostly from Olsen’s view, the object signifies that someone knows that Clark Kent and Superman are one and the same person. Carefully, Clark hides it away and starts chatting with Jimmy who is very concerned of him.

Clark recently has been struggling over the fact that someone knows his secret identity. After carefully dismissing Jimmy, he moves out as Superman to take of business before the madman (who knows his identity) makes his next move.

Superman visits his parents Jonathan and Martha Kent at their home in Smallville. He expresses to Jonathan that he believes that the madman is someone he knew from his past: Kenny Braverman (Conduit).

Quality

If there is anything that defines this comic book, it is the in-depth storytelling done by Dan Jurgens complete with intense character development as well as exploration of people from his past (all connected to Smallville).

The plot structure is quite simple. Conduit knows Superman/Clark Kent personally and is always at least a step ahead of the superhero complete with strategies mess with him personally. Superman, who came back from the dead and has been struggling to fit in with the times, finds himself at his most vulnerable state not as a super-powered guy but as a human being. To analyze things here, Superman is about to get suffer and lose a lot again but not with the temporary death he got from fighting Doomsday, but rather the demise of his personality as Clark Kent.

Art2
Truly one of the best Superman dialogue and characterizations ever thanks to Dan Jurgens.

Think about it. As Clark, Superman has a career, a social life, grew up the American way, intends to spend his life with Lois Lane and has ambitions of simple living that mean more to him than being with the Justice League America (note: writing the next great American novel).

The great thing here is that writer-artist Dan Jurgens humanized Superman a whole lot in this comic book and his work is excellent. Superman #100 opens up the discussion about what life would be like for the Man of Steel once his identity as Clark Kent gets ruined. The story also connects with Superman’s past (within the post-Crisis universe of DC Comics) and sheds light on his relationships with not only his parents but also with Pete Ross and Lana Lang (Clark’s ex-GF). When it comes to putting Superman in danger, Conduit’s approach is more convincing than Doomsday’s unstoppable power of destruction.

By the time I got immersed with Dan Jurgen’s storytelling and character development, the action scenes involving Superman felt justified. More importantly, this comic book shows the famous superhero being pushed to the limits in terms of personality tolerance and determination.

Conclusion

We live in an age in which established entertainment franchises get ruined by sequels or spin-offs or reboots which were mishandled by creators who tried to reinvent stuff only to fail and disappoint the fans.

Look at Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. Director Rian Johnson had complete creative control on telling an engaging and fun Star Wars tale but ended up deforming it (disregarding Star Wars’ most defining elements), focused mainly on subverting people’s expectations and left many long-time fans disappointed and angry.

Art1
Superman going after Conduit.

Going back to Superman #100, Dan Jurgens succeeded in redefining the American icon while maintaining respect of the established past of the character and kept the elements that defined Superman. His story about the demise of Superman’s secret identity was a very fresh concept and, for a time, it paved the way for opportunities to take the Man of Steel into new creative directions without disappointing fans.

Personally, I would love to see Warner Bros. produce a new standalone Superman movie with Henry Cavill as the superhero and adapt the core elements of Jurgens’ work in Superman #100 into the screenplay. Cavill already proved he could portray Superman/Clark very humanly in Man of Steel.

Overall, Superman #100 is highly recommended.


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