A Look Back at The Strangers #15 (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, comic book collectors, 1990s culture enthusiasts and fans of Malibu Comics! Are you ready for another return to the Ultraverse as seen through another tale of The Strangers?

Last time around, I had a lot of fun reading the debut and origin story of Powerhouse who turned out to be an ultra whose powers were realized in 1938 (coincidentally the same year DC Comics launched Action Comics #1 which introduced Superman in real life) and ended up spending more than fifty years of his life in containment. As for the Strangers, only Atom Bob and Grenade were featured but their encounter with Powerhouse (an ultra who was rejected for his being powerful  during his youth and eventually witnessed how modern-day ultras like the two mentioned Strangers were received positively by the public which knew of their powers) proved to be fun and memorable to read.

Now we can go on to another tale of The Strangers but with focus on two other members. To find out, here is my look back at The Strangers #15, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Rick Hoberg.

Early story

The story begins with the Strangers doing a review of their own members (6) plus ten others who happened to have been on the very same cable car with them the day they all got struck by energy from the sky which turned them into ultra beings. Their leader Lady Killer noted that there are still 43 others unaccounted for who may or may not have realized the got powers. The first ten they verified as ultras were all bad guys they fought with in recent times.

After the end of their discussion, the Strangers decide to take time off to go back to their respective private lives. Yrial asked Leon/Zip-Zap if she could join him. Zip-Zap tells her that his local community is very different from the floating island community she came from. Even so, Yrial stressed she wants to come with him and he accepts.

Some time later at another part of town, Yrial and Zip-Zap (both wearing civilian clothes) walk together. A few people somewhat recognized Yrial which reflects the public’s knowledge of her team. As they move on, a gang of tough-looking black people calls Zip-Zap by his real name. It turns out that Colvin (the apparent gang leader) and Leon had a conflict some time back and he knows Leon is with the Strangers.

Colvin introduces Yrial and Zip-Zap to Gangsta and Brazen. This prompts the teenage Leon to warn Yrial that Gangsta is dangerous. Gangsta then unleashes an energy blast on the two Strangers…  

Quality

Yrial and Zip-Zap plus the gang.

I like this story and the way it developed Yrial and Zip-Zap. To be clear, this story is not a typical, good-versus-evil superhero presentation. You won’t see the entire Strangers engage with another group of bad guys nor go against one powerful villain. It’s really all about Zip-Zap and his black lady friend who find trouble at a time when they are supposed to have a restful and easy time together. In other words, what happened to Atom Bob and Grenade in the previous issue also happened to the two black members of the team.

There clearly is a strong visual element of black people here and the story even touches on racial barriers. The new villain Gangsta openly stated that he got his powers from the ancient Egyptian pharaohs which he also described as the direct ancestors of the black race. He even tells Zip-Zap to honor Colvin’s gang, otherwise he will die.

The match-ups here are strategic. Yrial and Gangsta fight each other using magic, and they represent different cultures even as they are both black. For his part, Zip-Zap fights with a gang of black people led by a rival from his past. Their respective conflicts were portrayed in compelling ways.

Going back to Zip-Zap being reluctant in having Yrial with him on his return to his old neighborhood, the teenage member of the Strangers admits that his life has been uneasy. His father died before he was born and his mother died a few years before the day he and his teammates gained their powers while riding the cable car. Zip-Zap also was the littlest kid in a gang. Then life in the neighborhood became harder for him when Gangsta showed up. I should state that the way Steve Englehart emphasized Zip-Zap’s background is really compelling and also believable.   

Conclusion

Visually, having Yrial and Zip-Zap in civilian clothing is a fresh change from the usual.

Thanks to the creative duo of Englehart-Hoberg, The Strangers #15 (1994) is another fun-filled story that succeeded in developing Yrial and Zip-Zap while also keeping the series’ storytelling fresh. It touches on black people and the different cultures that brought the characters together. It even touches on the stereotypes of black gangsters as well as black youth who grew up without a father. That being said, it is a wonder as to how Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists would react if they read this comic book.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #15 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $14.

Overall, The Strangers #15 (1994) is recommended!

+++++

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

A Look Back at The Strangers #14 (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, comic book collectors and fans of Malibu Comics! Previously, I reviewed an issue of The Strangers which happened to be the 2nd-to-the-last issue of its monthly series (which itself was mostly spearheaded by the dynamic duo of Steve Englehart and Rick Hoberg).

I was about to do a retro review of The Strangers #24 but realized that there are still some other comic books of the series that I have not reviewed yet. As such, I decided to read those other issues before reviewing the final issue.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Strangers #14, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written by Englehart and illustrated by Hoberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins when a strong, muscular man with long blonde hair strikes a huge rock formation high in the hills to the east of San Francisco Bay in California. While talking to himself (most likely a way to deal with his isolation), he continues to lift very large piece of rock, smashes more rocks and throws a tractor as if it was just a ball.

“I am…Powerhouse! I am Powerhouse! I…am Powerhouse,” he said to himself.

Still talking to himself, Powerhouse realizes that the world must never know about him as it has done its best to destroy him. He quietly changes into civilian clothes and drives away into the distance in his car.

On the streets of East Bay Hills in Berkeley, Hugh/Grenade and Bob/Atom Bob walk down the fancy commercial zone as they enjoy the time-off Elena/Lady Killer gave them. Soon enough, people started recognizing the two as members of The Strangers even though they are not in costume. This community buzz catches the attention of an executive at a local radio station who then picks Powerhouse (in civilian form) to go to East Bay Hills to report about Hugh and Bob…

Quality

When Powerhouse first gained super abilities.

I’ll got straight to the point about what this comic book is all about. This is the story of an ultra who gained powers very long before The Strangers, Mantra, Prime, Hardcase, The Solution and all the other Ultraverse heroes even started. That being said, Powerhouse is an old man (who really does not look like in his sixties or seventies) whose life turned upside-down as a result of gaining super powers as a teenager in the year 1938 (note: this was the year Superman debuted in comics in real life). Having lost DECADES of his time in the world, Powerhouse became a man who found himself lonely and having trouble adjusting into the modern world (1993 in the Ultraverse specifically). What bothers him even more is the fact that super beings like The Strangers members Atom Bob and Grenade are gladly accepted and celebrated by the public which is the complete opposite of how he was perceived when he became a super being.

The writing done by Steve Englehart is very rich to read and through it all, you will feel the pain, frustration and anguish of Powerhouse. As usual, Rick Hoberg’s art is always great to look at and you can see in this comic book how he adjusts his style when the narrative shifts from the talk scenes into the action scenes and the like.

Conclusion

Really, you only see two of The Strangers in this comic book which contradicts what was shown on the cover art.

Fundamentally, The Strangers #14 (1994) highlights Powerhouse (both his present-day self and his origin) with Atom Bob and Grenade literally pushed out of the spotlight. Powerhouse is clearly inspired by the old ages of superhero comics and the creative team cleverly presented him as a super-powered man who finds himself struggling to fit in the 1990s. While this super being debut story is fun and engaging, its only weakness is that The Strangers have little real presence in the story (note: the cover art looks great but is really misleading).

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

Overall, The Strangers #14 (1994) is recommended!

+++++

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

A Look Back at Action Comics #500 (1979)

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

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

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

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

The cover.

Early story

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

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

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

Quality

Teenage Clark Kent gradually becoming Superboy.

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

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

Superman leading the tour.

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

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

Conclusion

The first stop of the tour – Krypton exhibit!

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

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

Overall, Action Comics #500 (1979) is highly recommended!

+++++

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

A Look Back at Wonder Woman #17 (1988)

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

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

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

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

The cover.

Early story

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

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

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

Quality

Diana visits and discovers Greece.

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

In the airplane on the way to Greece.

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

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

Overall, Wonder Woman #17 (1988) is highly recommended!

+++++

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

A Look Back at Superman Annual #10 (1984)

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

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

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

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

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

The cover.

Early story

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

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

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

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

Quality

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

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

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

Conclusion

The return of King Kosmos!

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

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

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

+++++

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

A Look Back at Superman #423 (1986)

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.

How do you end an entire era of a major pop culture icon like Superman? You end it with a very great story described as imaginary and leave it up to the readers to decide if the events never happened or had happened. The famous author Alan Moore wrote such a story (in two parts actually) to help DC Comics conclude the real-life legend of Superman as they transitioned from the original DC multiverse age (1938-1986, concluded with Crisis on Infinite Earths) into a new era of superhero comic book publishing back in 1986 (the post-Crisis era).

For those who were not able to read Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1985-1986, there was a time when DC Comics’ superhero universe started simple in the late 1930s and became too convoluted and confusing in the decades that followed. There were different universes in existence resulting not only different realms of existence but also different versions of the superheroes. Even Superman had different versions and there was also Superboy who went back and forth to the 30th century joining that era’s Legion of Superheroes. As Crisis on Infinite Earths concluded the old DC Comics multiverse, a fitting conclusion for Superman became inevitable so the publisher assembled Moore and other great talents to work on a definitive storyline.

If you are ready to look at what Superman was like long before Zack Snyder directed Man of Steel and long before the New 52 and DC Rebirth happened, here is a look back at Superman #423, published by DC Comics in 1986 with a story written by Alan Moore and drawn by Curt Swan with ink work done by George Perez. This is the first chapter of the storyline Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the then-future of 1997 when a journalist from the Daily Planet visiting the home of Lois Lane who is now identified as Mrs. Lois Elliot. The journalist is Tim Crane and his assignment is to interview her for their newspaper’s upcoming Superman memorial edition.

Crane starts asking Lois about the years leading up to Superman’s disappearance and presumed death. Lois recalls the time when Superman’s arch-nemesis Lex Luthor laid low as well as the pounding of Brainiac’s last organic metal body into a state beyond repair. She remembers Superman recovering every fragment except for the head of the creature. Then two other super villains (Terra-Man and Parasite) destroyed each other due to a lack of people to fight with and Superman eventually worked in space helping the government do their research.

As it turned out, the events only led to what was the first taste of the carnage that was to follow. Some years prior, Superman arrived in a heavily damaged Metropolis. Lois told him that Bizarro caused it and Jimmy Olsen stated that the super villain retreated into a nearby department store and still has not come out since. Superman then walks into the department store to face off with Bizarro…

Quality

A classic moment of Superman saving Lois Lane.

I’ll start by saying that the writing done by Alan Moore here is very great to read and clearly he made in-depth research on Superman’s extensive history, exploring the personalities and traits of the supporting characters and super villains, and, most notably, he went on to create a lot of compelling and intriguing stuff to tell. The result was a clear creative challenge towards the conventional thinking of Superman fans of the time and Moore even managed to add some adulterated themes into the narrative without making the comic book going over the edge. For one thing, a certain super villain here concluded his pre-Crisis existence with elements of genocide, homicide and suicide. There was also a scene in which Superman, in his most vulnerable portrayal, expressed his view that nuances from his past were coming back as killers which made him fear for the lives of the people he cared for.

The interview-flashback format to tell the narrative is indeed excellent in form and Moore told each flashback in great detail while capturing the essence of not just Superman but also those of the supporting characters as well as Lex Luthor, Brainiac and others. Even as the stories get told, Moore managed to pull off some great twists which you my readers should find out for yourselves. I personally enjoyed these twists and I am sure you will.

Visually, Curt Swan went all out in making great art and his decades-long experience of drawing Superman and all the related characters really show it. Swan’s art in the final page is very powerful and dramatic to look at.

Conclusion

The interview-flashback format used is great and so was the storytelling itself.

Very clearly, Superman #423 (1986) is not only a great Superman story but also one of the greatest superhero comic books ever made! This is illustrated literature with gold quality all over it and the funny thing is that this happens to be only the first part of the storyline Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? The creative team of Moore and Swan produced the most striking and most engaging Superman work from start to finish. I should state that this one made me rethink and remember what I read about Superman in comic books before Crisis on Infinite Earths happened. The good news is that I enjoyed every bit of what was told in this comic book and it truly is a definitive way to conclude an age of Superman (and this is only the first chapter of the concluding storyline).

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Superman #423 (1986), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $120 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $240. A signed-copy in near-mint condition costs $240.

Overall, Superman #423 (1986) 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

My Observations: Movies and video games at DC FanDome

Today, DC Comics fans had a day-long blast of excitement as a result of the DC FanDome event that was global in scope. To be clear, DC FanDome is multi-media in terms of the presentations of DC Comics franchises, projects and talents. As such, comic book publishing giants like Jim Lee plus Hollywood talents like Gal Gadot, Patty Jenkins and Zack Snyder were present online to showcase DC’s projects (ranging from comic books to animation, video games and motion pictures).

For this article, I have decided to narrow the scope down to movies and video games. The following movies and video games caught my attention and for each, I’ll share my honest opinion. Let’s start with the movies…

The movies

Wonder Woman 1984

Wonder Woman 1984, as I made clear before, is my most wanted superhero movie as I loved the 2017 movie (and has the iconic scene that will be remembered for a long time) and I deeply enjoyed Gal Gadot’s portrayal of the Queen of all Superheroes. While it is disappointing that the current pandemic delayed the Wonder Woman 1984 and made its future theatrical release uncertain, the newest trailer eased the pain of waiting for me and I should say that I love what was shown. The great stuff shown seem to reflect the deepening creative synergy between star Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins. What surprised me the most was that Warner Bros.’ marketing team went on to show Dr. Minerva in her anticipated physical form as Cheetah in battle with Wonder Woman. I was hoping that the filmmakers and the marketing team would keep the Cheetah appearance secret until the film’s opening. Regardless, I am very excited for Wonder Woman 1984 and if you want to prepare yourselves for it, I highly recommend reading Wonder Woman #9 (1987) which was George Perez’s modernizing of Cheetah.

The Batman

The DC FanDome trailer showed that this newest cinematic Batman directed by Matt Reeves starring Robert Pattinson looks really impressive. In terms of aesthetics, The Batman appears to share the visual style and gritty touch of Batman Begins. Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne/Batman has a very rough look, so much so he made me forget that he played a vampire before. When it comes to presenting the characters, Reeve’s Batman (along with his equipment) looks radically different from Zack Snyder’s Batman, and Catwoman in this new movie has a more grounded-in-reality look. In what appears to be a sign of rough action coming, the short clip showing Pattinson’s Batman quickly and painfully beating a thug in front of others looks very Intriguing. With regards to the setting, director Reeves stated before that the film’s story is set within the DC Universe but it will be done without cameo appearances and without fan service elements that would suggest a shared universe. It will be its own story and, more importantly, it will redefine Batman once again. This movie is currently scheduled for a 2021 release.

The Suicide Squad

After a long wait for concrete details, the official unveiling of The Suicide Squad under the direction of James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy films) is well worth it and even though there are no plot details, the new movie looks pretty promising to be fun (at least in terms of spectacle). How James Gunn will be able to make an enjoyable movie, I can only imagine him mixing up the characters, have their personalities clash or slide well with each other, and deliver the action. Again, there are no details about what the story is but safe to say this one is no cheap movie and chances are good it will make moviegoers forget about the cynical presentation of the 2016 Suicide Squad movie (which I admit I enjoyed to a certain extent). Apart from the return of Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, and Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, the cast has notable additions like martial artist/fitness model Mayling Ng as Mongal, Michael Rooker sa Savant, and Idres Elba as Bloodsport!

Zack Snyder’s Justice League (AKA The Snyder Cut)

Believe it or not, I personally am not too excited for this so-called more definitive version of the 2017 Justice League movie under Zack Snyder. To a certain extent, I had my enjoyment of the 2017 Justice League but ended up disappointed it never had an epic presentation to match its epic concept. As much as I love seeing DC Comics’ premier superheroes get together to save the world from tremendous danger, I am not convinced to avail of HBO Max (note: this director’s cut is not going to cinemas) streaming to watch the anticipated Snyder cut. In my honest view, Justice League of 2017 has been done and it seems like a backward move to revisit the film even in the form of a more specific vision of Zack Snyder. Regardless, Snyder’s vision of the JL will be realized in 2021. How it will impact the status of the current DC Comics cinematic universe remains to be seen.

The video games

Gotham Knights

Gotham Knights, developed by WB Games Montréal and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, is an action-adventure game set in the city of Gotham which, once again, has been struck by criminals. As seen in the above gameplay showcase, Mr. Freeze struck Gotham and Batgirl and Robin join forces to take him on. In terms of game design, Gotham City is an open-world environment and players will be able to select and play as Nightwing or Red Hood or Robin or Batgirl. Batman is out of the spotlight this time which explains why the other four characters are needed. How this new video game will perform critically and commercially remains to be seen. Can it sell without letting players play as the iconic Batman? Gotham Knights is being made for Windows 10 PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X.  

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League

This other game from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is very notable not because of its concept of the Suicide Squad going against the Justice League, but simply because it is the first new game in many years made by the acclaimed Rocksteady Studios which is best known for the main Batman Arkham video games. As of now, we only have a cinematic (non-gameplay) trailer emphasizing its concept. While details about the gameplay are unavailable, the city environment in the trailer suggests the game may come with an open-world design similar to what Rockstead did in Batman Arkham City and Batman Arkham Knight. Whatever Rocksteady is doing, they should be able to deliver the fun stuff. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is being made for Windows 10 PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X.

In closing this, I recommend you watch the latest video of YouTuber Dealer Gaming which has insights about Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League and Gotham Knights. You’ll also learn the latest regarding Xbox Series X.

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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 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