A Look Back at The Strangers #24 (1995)

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

Wow! What a journey it has been! Back in the 1990s, I could never forget the first time I read The Strangers #1 which was so captivating, I decided to follow its monthly series and it was easily my favorite superhero team of the Ultraverse. It was also my first time to see the collaboration of Steve Englehart and Rick Hoberg leading the creativity which, as the many months and issues went on, resulted a series that was never boring and often satisfying and fun to read. I should state that the literary team of strangers composed of Atom Bob, Grenade, Lady Killer, Yrial, Spectral, Zip-Zap and Electrocute was memorable. Truly Malibu Comics had very talented creators for the Ultraverse which eventually lasted just a few years (read: Marvel Comics acquired Malibu Comics).

This brings me to my next point…this retro comic book review is about the last issue of The Strangers monthly series ever published. As I love the Ultraverse, it is sorrowful to see the end of an enjoyable monthly series. In recent times, I reviewed the final issue of the Prototype monthly series (which itself was fun overall) which ended in a rather unsatisfying manner. Prototype’s final issue was not even written by the original creators of the series!

How will this final issue of The Strangers series turn out? We can all find out in this look back at The Strangers #24, published in 1995 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Rick Hoberg with inkwork done by Barbara Kaalberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Teknight, Spectral, Grenade, Lady Killer, Yrial, Zip-Zap and Electrocute back together (note: Lady Killer and Yrial went somewhere far in the previous issue). They talked about Electrocute’s codition, Atom Bob being in a comatose state at the Clinique de Parsival, and the dangerous encounter with Taboo.

Meanwhile inside a passenger jet flying above the North Atlantic, a man expresses his passion and fondness of the Strangers to the passenger sitting to his left. The said passenger wants to learn more about the team.

The following night at Union City in California, the same passenger knocks on the window of a van with a man and a lady kissing passionately inside. As the man comes out of the van feeling very annoyed, the passenger introduces himself to him as Taboo. A new team of TNTNT is being formed…  

Quality

Pay close attention to the details on the words of Lady Killer.

To start with, I confirm that the usual high quality of writing and art by the Englehart-Hoberg duo is evident in this comic book. Not a single part of it looks rushed to me. The plot is very well structured and the visuals are great to see!

While the story is not as conclusive as I hoped it would be, it is still a lot of fun to read. For one thing, it’s nice to see the Strangers together again (note: Teknight has been with the team for some time already) and it was entertaining to see them face worthy opposition in the form of a new team of their rival TNTNT (with an obsessed Taboo as the new addition). The Strangers-TNTNT battle was not an all-out brawl but the match-ups were nicely done complete with really fun action scenes. I should state that not only did Rick Hoberg frame the action scenes greatly, he pushed his imagination up a few notches with regards to adding a lot of flair to the battle between Teknight and Taboo.  

As mentioned earlier, this comic book was unfortunately the last of the series and clearly it was not written to be the end (note: the comic book ended with the anticipation of the celebration of the Jumpstart). There was a part in which Lady Killer told her teammates about using the funds they made from licensing to build for themselves their own headquarters and Grenade even mentioned having a room for Atom Bob in anticipation of a return. There was also a sub-plot about J.D. Hunt and his very rebellious son who clearly wants to do more while he exists. More on the battle between the Strangers and TNTNT, it’s clearly not decisive and in my own view, a rematch was needed.

Conclusion

The updated TNTNT.

As the final issue of its monthly series, The Strangers #24 (1995) is pretty entertaining on its own. It was definitely not a conclusive story and in fact, art was made for what could have been the 25th, the 26th and 27th issues of The Strangers (see the A Fond Farewell excerpt below). It’s too bad those conceptualized issues did not materialize because there was a lot of good and enjoyable stuff to read in this comic book. This only shows that Steve Englehart and Rick Hoberg still had more great and new stuff to tell through The Strangers.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #24 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $50.

Rick Hoberg’s farewell message plus art for what would have been The Strangers #25, #26 and #27.

Overall, The Strangers #24 (1995) is highly recommended!

+++++

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

A Look Back at Giant Size Prototype #1 (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! Today we revisit the Ultraverse through the 4th and concluding chapter of the Hostile Takeover crossover storyline which involved the UV’s notable heroes like Prototype, The Solution, Night Man and even Solitaire. To put things in perspective, the first three chapters were told in The Night Man #12, Solitaire #10 and The Solution #13.

At this point in Hostile Takeover, the stakes were raised and things have turned messy not only for the UV heroes but also for the corporate figures involved. To see if everything will truly be resolved, join me in this look back at Giant Size Prototype #1, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Len Strazewski and drawn by Roger Robinson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with TV newscasts about the tremendous collapse of UltraTech as a result of corporate in-fighting which rocked Wall Street. A New York Stock Exchange analyst states on TV: Either the market insiders are completely confused about the future of UltraTech and are speculating wildly or UltraTech is right in the middle of one of the most violent hostile takeovers in corporate history!

Moments back, Prototype (Jimmy Ruiz) and Teknight battled each other while The Solution found Ranger blocking their way.

Inside the corporate headquarters, Gordon Bell could not control himself in the presence of Felicia, Jimmy and Bob Campbell. With the helicopter carrying Teknight arriving at the roof top and The Solution (with Night Man) making their way through the basement, Gordon Bell sends Prototype and Ranger to secure the place, leaving Felicia behind.  

Quality

Prototype and Teknight crash into the office of Gordon Bell with The Solution and Night Man as witnesses.

As expected, corporate intrigue remains as the core concept or theme of this extensive (over 30 pages in story) comic book. Without spoiling the plot, I can say that the turmoil of UltraTech is a true turning point within the Ultraverse and its effects were really felt in my recent Prototype retro comic book review. This story also sheds light on the UV’s corporate figures J.D. Hunt and Stanley Leland and it was here where their influence is really felt.

As for the Ultraverse heroes, this story unsurprisingly shows more of what Prototype and Ranger went through in their respective participation of the events and incidents that happened throughout Hostile Takeover (which were also dramatized in smaller parts in the other comic books of this crossover storyline). There is more depth in the encounter between Prototype and Teknight, and in Ranger’s encounter with The Solution and Night Man. The good thing here is that the mentioned encounters are very well written and filled with solid dialogue by Len Strazewski, resulting more engagement between the reader and Prototype and Ranger.

As to how the Hostile Takeover storyline concluded, I would obviously not spoil it here but I can assure you all that it ended with a huge impact and some powerful images.

Conclusion

Prototype, Ranger and Felicia with Gordon Bell.

Giant Size Prototype #1 (1994) served its purpose in concluding the Hostile Takeover storyline and its best feature is its writing. It also served as a definitive turning point in the story of the titular character. As a whole, Hostile Takeover’s concept is really short and the approach to showing readers the moments of the events as seen through the eyes of different Ultraverse characters is flawed (note: this is not your typical straightforward crossover storytelling) and relied on padding to fill the narrative. In addition, there is one standalone short story that should please fans of Bob Campbell as Ranger.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Giant Size Prototype #1 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $14.

Overall, Giant Size Prototype #1 (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 Solitaire #10 (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.

Some time ago, I reviewed the first issue of the Solitaire series of the Ultraverse. I also published my retro reviews of issues #2 and #7. What makes Solitaire an interest part of the Ultraverse is that he fights crime without fear and takes a lot of risks. He has a special healing ability and is quite proficient in doing his own detective work. Creatively, Solitaire is like a combination of Wolverine and Batman.

In the 1994 crossover storyline Hostile Takeover (which started in The Night Man #12), a series of events took off when the secretive villain Rex Mundi orders corporate player J.D. Hunt to do something about the unstable corporation UltraTech. Hunt hires The Solution to do his dirty work and even went as far as sending his newest weapon Teknight to New York (where UltraTech is). The Night Man also made it to New York continuing his own quest.

With those details laid down, the stage is set for Solitaire’s role in the 2nd chapter of Hostile Takeover and we can find out more in this look back at Solitaire #10, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written by Gerard Jones and drawn by Jeff Parker and Ernie Steiner.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Solitaire moving through the city and meets several people at a public place. It turns out they are losing trust in him over something. As tension rises, the masked vigilante hears something that the others don’t which makes them think he is having a perception problem. Solitaire goes away searching for what he thought was an explosion. He saw nothing and this only confirmed that he cannot trust his own mind.

Elsewhere, Solitaire’s father (Mr. Lone) has a private meeting with top scientists. He expresses to them that his son has been wasting his money and points to it as another one of the scientists’ failures. After the meeting, a certain specialist approaches Lone and they negotiate something.

Back at his secret place, Solitaire talks with Iris about his current predicament. She tells him to do exactly what his mind is telling him not to do, and to go New York to stop the elder Lone…

Quality

This comic book has a good amount of action.

As far as the concept of Hostile Takeover goes, this one builds up on the corporate intrigue as it shows the evil Lone being involved with the events that took place. As for Solitaire himself, this story emphasizes his struggle not only with crime-fighting but himself. In connection with all the nanites inside his body, Solitaire struggles with a distorted perception and even control of himself.

When it comes to spectacle, this comic book has a good amount of action that is expected with Solitaire. Pretty satisfying to see.

Conclusion

Prototype, Night Man and The Solution in their short appearance in this comic book.

In the context of the Hostile Takeover crossover, Solitaire #10 (1994) is really a standalone story of its title character. It will please Solitaire fans but it will disappoint readers who are hoping to see him mix in with other established Ultraverse characters involved in the storyline like The Solution, Night Man and others. Solitaire really has no crossover with those characters which is a bummer. So far, this issue of Solitaire has the least amount of entertainment and engagement for me.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Solitaire #10 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $14.

Overall, Solitaire #10 (1994) is satisfactory.

+++++

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

A Look Back at The Night Man #12 (1994)

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

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of Malibu Comics!

I don’t know with you but I personally enjoyed reading the crossover stories of the Ultraverse. The Strangers had nice crossovers with Hardcase and Prototype in different times. The crossover encounter between Prime and Prototype was very memorable. There also was the first grand crossover of the Ultraverse in Break-Thru #1.

While the Ultraverse no longer exists, for me it was the one superhero comic book franchise or imprint that truly defined superhero comics of the 1990s. Malibu Comics really had great talents and other comic book creators who produced lots of fun comic books to read. Their creators also knew what it took to make Ultraverse crossovers stand out.

Today, we will start a close look at another particular crossover storyline within the Ultraverse titled Hostile Takeover which involves The Night Man, Prototype, Solitaire, Sludge and The Solution! With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Night Man #12, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart with Len Strazewski and James Hudnall as co-plotters. The art was drawn by John Dennis.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the fancy office of J.D. Hunt as he receives a call from the secretive and sinister Rex Mundi. Mundi expressed disappointment in Hunt’s handling of the so-called Ultra Problem but went on to give him a chance to redeem himself. Mundi tells Hunt to take over Ultratech which has gotten into trouble caused by Gordon Bell. Hunt noted that Ultratech is to blame for the Strangers’ hijacking of his space shuttle as the security was handled by the said company.

 After talking with Mundi, J.D. Hunt observes his employees finishing work on a high-tech armor (Teknight) and then communicates privately with The Solution. During the meeting, Hunt reveals to them that he is a major stockholder of Ultratech and he needs them to find out if they got Gordon Bell running things. The Solution takes the job.

Elsewhere, the Night Man secretly jumps on the top of a moving truck which he knows carries NuWare’s secret project Teknight. Upon arrival at the airport of San Jose, California, Night Man carefully sneaks into an airplane which is where Teknight is loaded at…

Quality

Imagine yourself being Night Man in New York and you do not have the technology nor the means to be able to rise up a skyscraper.

I’ll say it straight right now…the story of this comic book is nicely crafted. With Steve Englehart and the contributions of Len Strazewski and the late James Hudnall, this one score nice points when it came to building-up the concept behind Hostile Takeover which involves a strong sense of corporate intrigue (which was often present in comic books of Prototype). The presence of The Solution is pretty small (this is a Night Man comic book after all) but they contributed nicely to the build-up.

The story of Hostile Takeover was told mainly through the eyes of the Night Man. For the newcomers reading this, Night Man is a vigilante who also does a lot of problem solving similar to Batman. Unlike the mentioned comic book icon, Night Man does not have insufficient resources to back him up and pushes himself to travel around and complete his mission. In this comic book, you will see him really go as far as he could with tracking down the powered suit of armor of Teknight. You will also see him struggle and you might as well relate with his limitations.

There is not too much superhero spectacle to enjoy here but that’s okay because there is a nice amount of very interesting details presented in the build-up of Hostile Takeover’s concept.

Conclusion

Night Man on the pursuit as Teknight gets loaded into the jet.

Even though it lacked spectacle, The Night Man #12 (1994) is still an engaging read and it should score well with readers or Ultraverse fans who enjoy detailed storytelling. This comic book succeeds in building up the concept of Hostile Takeover while setting up the crossover elements between key Ultraverse characters. The story also emphasizes more of Night Man’s struggle to get his mission done.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Night Man #12 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $14.

Overall, The Night Man #12 (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 #22 (1995)

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

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic collectors and fans of 1990s comics culture! We go back to the Ultraverse to witness further events from The Strangers told during the late stage of their 24-issue run as a comic book series. In the previous review, Teknight became more prominent as a member of the team as Candy/Electrocute got heavily damaged which led the Strangers to having her repaired not in just any private facility but rather in the facility of a powerful organization.

And then something happened at the end of The Strangers #21.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Strangers #22, published by Malibu Comics in 1995 with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Paul Abrams.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside a high-tech facility when the newly repaired Electrocute gets up and attacks her teammates Grenade (her romantic partner) and Teknight. Electrocute is acting under someone’s control. In response to Teknight’s methodical approach on absorbing electric blasts from Electrocute, Grenade warns him about the how capable NuWare is when it comes to control and execution.

Even so, Teknight continues to stand until he gets overwhelmed by the lady’s power and ends up getting paralyzed. An executive walks near Teknight and Electrocute boasting that he loves seeing his designs in action and Grenade comes in to use his power on his romantic partner…

Quality

Grenade and the door.

Once again, Steve Englehart crafted another story that keeps this series fresh and fun to read. The story started with a good amount of action involving Grenade, Electrocute and Teknight. As I don’t want to spoil the plot, I can say that what happened after the action-packed opening sheds light on a new yet significant youth who wields a lot of power thanks to his father (clue: a powerful and ruthless executive who was involved not only with the Strangers but also with Mantra and Night Man). The story is very well structured and moves at a nice pace. Also I can say that the spotlight on the Strangers as a whole team was carefully balanced.

When it comes to character development, it is Grenade who clearly got a good dose of it. Apart from the usual display of his feelings towards Electrocute, this comic book dramatizes his effort to understand not only his lady and their new teammate Teknight, but also his realization about the delicate balance between being alive and being linked with technology.

Conclusion

I wonder how today’s SJWs, radical socialists and Black Lives Matter activists would react to this particular scene.

The Strangers #22 (1995) is another fun-filled superhero story which served its purpose in concluding the story that started in the previous issue. It also achieved its goal of emphasizing the role of NuWare (read: corporate intrigue) and the continued relevance of a certain corporate executive that the Strangers could not just get rid of.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #22 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $27.

Overall, The Strangers #22 (1995) is recommended.

+++++

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