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 The Night Man #2 (1993)

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

Welcome back, superhero fans, comic book collectors, fans of 1990s arts and culture, and fans of Malibu Comics! Today we return to the Ultraverse for another tale of The Night Man, specifically from one of the early issues of its monthly series that launched in 1993.

For the newcomers reading this, Night Man is a solo hero within the Ultraverse who is a musician by day and a crime fighter by night. He was involved in a major accident with a certain cable car in San Francisco that got hit by a bolt of energy from the sky (as told in The Strangers #1). His life was never the same.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Night Man #2, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Gene Ha.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Johnny Domingo (Night Man) failing to sleep during the night. The operation he had recently kept him awake and his mind is just racing. He could not even properly play his saxophone.

He dresses again as the Night Man, takes his motorcycle out of his place and then he speeds away. Shortly after, he senses another person’s thoughts…those of a man wearing a trench coat messing with a young boy. Night Man decides to jump in, intervene and save the boy but to his surprise, the man easily hit him moving him back and making him fall on the road.

Unwilling to give up, Night Man goes back to him and strikes back with a kick to the head. During their conflict, Night Man pulls the man’s trench coat revealing a rather shocking form for a body that looked inhuman. This shocks the costumed vigilante giving the man time to pull down scaffoldings in an attempt to hurt him and the boy…

Quality

Night Man and Mangle fight!

Focusing on the plot, while the first issue showed Night Man beginning as a vigilante and self-made detective, this comic book shows him struggling to do what he believes to be good (by means of saving another person’s life) and having to face both rejection and skepticism from people. Of course, Night Man himself is flawed with his execution and the way he presents himself to others (note: including doing the radical thing of climbing a tall building just to talk to someone powerful). It does not help that he is restless which clearly impacts his perception even though he has the will to be helpful and make local society a bit safer from dangerous people.  

Back to the story, the introduction of a new villain named Mangle is quite intriguing and it seems very fitting that Night Man’s reaction to seeing him in his inhuman form would reflect the same shocked reaction on the part of the reader. Mangle is very distinct from the many other villains of the Ultraverse and he is indeed a powerful adversary to Night Man.

When it comes to the visuals, Gene Ha’s art style is excellent. He has this distinct, gritty style on drawing people as well as their facial expressions. His art on Mangle made the villain look really scary and intimidating. Gene Ha also proved to be good with framing the action scenes while keeping enough creative space for the dialogue or narration to come in for readers to follow.

Conclusion

Nothing like coming all the way down from a very tall building to move on.

The Night Man #2 (1993) is pretty compelling and as it is free from the baggage that came with building up the vigilante in issue #1, this one has a more cohesive story and shows more of the him doing his best to be helpful. The story is good enough to keep me interested for the next issue. I should also state that if readers love seeing a hero struggle in helping others, then there is a lot to like in this story.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Night Man #2 (1993), 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 #2 (1993) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at The Strangers #11 (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! Today we return to the Ultraverse through another tale of The Strangers which has been a pretty solid monthly series that I’ve been reviewing. As of this writing, I’m getting closer to finishing all 24 issues of this particular series and I can say that it has been a lot of fun doing retro comic book reviews of it. I’ve got a retro review about the 11th issue of The Strangers right here.

Before going to it, I should state a recap of the events in issue #10. That story had the Strangers (without Yrial who by then was held captive by her black tribe) doing a search by the sea in the Caribbean and they eventually discover a portal that sent them to another realm filled with monsters. After a big battle, the team attempted to get away only to fall over a cliff.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Strangers #11, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Rick Hoberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the Strangers falling down from what turned out to be a very great height. While his teammates could not do anything, Zip-Zap uses his power to make the air whirl around them and land safely on the ground below.

As they are in the middle of nowhere, searching for the way back seemed like an impossibility. Electrocute realizes there is an answer sensing the something is present in that lost world they are in and she points to some far-away direction. Zip-Zap then proceeds to run towards it leaving the team behind…

Quality

A nice display of fine art and character development.

Starting with the writing, I should say that this comic book’s plot is very simplistic with its concept and clearly lacks the richness of the story told in issue #10. Technically, this story is more like a filler serving as a build-up to issue #12 (which itself has a deeper story filled with spectacle and lots of intrigue). That’s not to say this is a disappointing issue of The Strangers in relation to the overall quality of the series as a whole. It’s just different with its plot structuring. Along the way, there were some short but sweet character development moments that took place most notably with regards to the romance between Atom Bob and Lady Killer.

What this comic book excels at is the really fine and varied artwork done by Rick Hoberg. Through the scenes in which Zip-Zap runs and explores the unknown realm they are lost in, you will really see Hoberg’s great talent with visual details as well as his creativity with regards to making varied locations filled with creatures that are truly out of this world. For the lack of superhero action, Hoberg’s visuals are the true spectacle here.

Conclusion

Really great art by Rick Hoberg.

Even though its plot lacked depth and its execution in storytelling is very different, The Strangers #11 (1994) succeeds in expanding the lost realm and zones within the Ultraverse. As for building up suspense or excitement for issue #12, this comic book achieved it as well. For a comic book that lacked superhero action, this one did not end up boring and that’s quite an achievement by the creators.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #11 (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 #11 (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 #6 (1993)

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

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors, fans of 1990s culture and fans of Malibu Comics! Do you want to see another fight against evil within the Ultraverse? You will find it right here through The Strangers.

Last time around, The Strangers had to cut short their return to private life because they were need to deal with a new force of evil called Deathwish. What was revealed was that the person behind Deathwish turned out to be one of the many people who rode the very same San Francisco cable car with the members of The Strangers (when they were still civilians without powers) that was hit by energy from the sky.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Strangers #6, published by Malibu Comics in 1993 with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Rick Hoberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the impact of Deathwish still felt by The Strangers and the locals. Deathwish left behind a lot of physical damage and the team does what it can to repair it even though some emergency personnel are already present.

A short time later, an old survivor was found and was brought to a hospital for treatment. Yrial, Zip-Zap and Lady Killer decide to go to the hospital and observe the emergency procedure. Suddenly, a loud voice from somewhere was heard and Zip-Zap speedily went around to find the source. He found a hospital room which had a patient warning others that darkness has arrived.

Back inside the emergency room, something happens to the old survivor and Deathwish suddenly emerges out of thin air. Lady Killer is stunned with the sight of the monster’s return…

Quality

The Strangers fight Deathwish again.

Without spoiling important plot details, this story marks the second conflict between The Strangers and Deathwish. The good news here is that the script is well written and the creative duo found new ways to keep the rematch fresh and fun to read. What the Strangers did the previous time to beat Deathwish did not work anymore which forced their members to find new ways and tactics overcome the challenges. As for the villain, this comic book showed more of his personality (as opposed to his desire for power and absorbing life).

When it comes to character development, it’s pretty much non-existent here. The scene showing Yrial working with her magic does not count as character development but more of exposition of what she could do. It feels hollow but the visuals are nice to look at.

Conclusion

The Strangers helping with cleaning up the mess.

While The Strangers #6 (1993) is a fun read and really nice art drawn by Rick Hoberg, it still is a step down from its predecessor in terms of engagement and depth. The rematch between The Strangers and Deathwish was fun but it ended in a way that felt like a creative way of cheating readers who preferred to see a more engaging conclusion.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #6 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $14.

Overall, The Strangers #6 (1993) is satisfactory.

+++++

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

A Look Back at The Strangers #5 (1993)

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

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors, 1990s culture enthusiasts and fans of Malibu Comics! As of this writing, I am coming close to finally reviewing all issues of The Strangers series of comic books under the Ultraverse line of Malibu Comics. If you have been following my retro reviews, I reviewed issue #23 which was the 2nd-to-the-last of all published issues of The Strangers.

Then I checked for issues I have not reviewed. I went on to review issues #14 and #15. Now I am about to review a few more issues that were published during the first six months of The Strangers.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Strangers #5, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Rick Hoberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins somewhere in California (shortly after parting ways with Hardcase and Choice). It was decided by the team to take a break from being the Strangers and return to their respective private lives.

Bob Hardin/Atom Bob returns to his parents at home and learns that not only were he and his teammates publicized in the local news, there are many reporters who arrived and stayed just outside their home seeking him.

Zip-Zap arrives in his old neighborhood and immediately encounters a local gang of his fellow black people. Grenade and Electrocute, who are in the same neighborhood as Atom Bob, walk down the street and start to get close with each other. Elena/Lady Killer goes back to her business while Yrial finds herself unable to return to her private life (at the floating island). Suddenly, someone on the sidewalk calls out to Yrial for help…

Quality

Suspense and tension builds up for the Strangers.

Given how hectic times were for The Strangers in the first four issues, this story is a welcome change of pace. The pacing was adjusted to give readers some much needed breathing space to help them focus on the characterization moments, to get to know each team member better and to realize what their place in the entire Ultraverse truly is. For one thing, it is nice to see Atom Bob with his folks and it is quite something to see Yrial finding herself somewhat lost and lonely in the middle of the city as she is unable to come back to her tribe on the floating island.

More on storytelling, this comic book still has a good amount of space left for spectacle which was structured in a way to be a pay-off for all the character development scenes that preceded it. That being said, the new villain introduced here is Deathwish who turns out to be quite powerful (powerful enough kill and make corpses rot faster than usual) and easily challenged the Strangers a lot. The encounter results some pretty interesting character moments for each team member. Deathwish also is one of the many other people who rode the same cable car with the Strangers on the day they got hit by energy from above.

More on the spectacle, I just love the way Steve Englehart and Rick Hoberg presented the teamwork dynamics of The Strangers in their fight with Deathwish.

Conclusion

Elena/Lady Killer as the very busy businesswoman.

The Strangers #5 (1993) is another entertaining read from the Englehart-Hoberg duo. This comic book further developed the characters and even gave readers a look at their private lives before resuming the superhero spectacle. It also tried to be socially relevant for the 1990s with insertions about AIDS, cancer and homosexuality (an abomination as clearly written in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 in the Holy Bible) which are channeled through one particular team member. More notably, it sheds light on the cable car incident from issue #1 to point out that the Strangers are truly not the only ones who got affected by the energy blast from the sky.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #5 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $14.

Overall, The Strangers #5 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 #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 The Strangers #23 (1995)

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

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of Malibu Comics! I recently checked the publishing background of The Strangers and it showed that it only lasted a total of twenty-four issues. That means the end is nearing with regards to my doing retro comic book reviews about The Strangers. For the most part, I had a lot of fun reading these comic books and I can say that Steve Englehart always found ways to make each and every story fun to read and remain fresh.

We are nearing the end of retro comic reviews of this particular comic book series and we can find out more what happens next in this look back at The Strangers #23, published by Malibu Comics in 1995 with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Rick Hoberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in Europe. Yrial and Lady Killer brought with them the comatose body of Atom Bob, the one man who loved the latter and betrayed their entire team. They entered a special and meet Dr. Horla. They presented Atom Bob to him as a patient and Dr. Horla expressed knowledge about the man’s power to change things which itself is very risky. As such, Lady Killer tells him that Atom Bob must remain comatose. The doctor assures her that they will report to them his condition every six months.

In response to the doctor’s suggestion of lobotomizing Atom Bob, Lady Killer rejects it and insists that if he can be returned to the man he was, then The Strangers will want him back.

After the meeting, Lady Killer and Yrial visit Andorra mainly to rest and relax. While having drinks at a fine place, a black man recognizes them. He begins to believe that Lady Killer and Yrial went there to find him and could have been working with the police in his native South Africa…

Quality

Yrial and Lady Killer in the heat of battle with a new enemy.

To make things clear, this particular story focuses mainly on Lady Killer and Yrial which is a nice change of pace given the events about their other teammates (as told in issues #21 and #22). Essentially, the story is not about the two Strangers’ friendship but rather a tale about a cursed man from South Africa who has been on the run for a long time. Without spoiling the plot, I can say that the cursed man’s encounter with Lady Killer and Yrial sparked the chain of superhero spectacle which contains lots of action that fans will enjoy.

Before the encounter, this story also serves as a continuation about The Strangers’ gradual adjustment to life without Atom Bob. By this time, Lady Killer’s stand as team leader has matured and became more decisive.

Given the way the story was structured, there was no room left for character development on Lady Killer and Yrial. That being said, the spotlight was more focused on the cursed man from South Africa and his motives were efficiently defined.

Conclusion

Bring Atom Bob into the clinic conveniently and invisibly.

To put it clearly, The Strangers #23 (1995) is really the introduction of a new villain who gets into conflict with only two members of the team. It has enough spectacle to enjoy although the story may end up disappointing fans who expected to see the personalities if Yrial and Lady Killer get more developed. For the newcomers reading this, character development is one of the most defining factors of The Strangers monthly series.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #23 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic costs $35.

Overall, The Strangers #23 (1995) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at 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