A Look Back at The Strangers #21 (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 geeks! We go back yet again into the Ultraverse through the exploits of The Strangers which by this point are still adjusting over Atom Bob’s betrayal. The previous issue did not show much of the team as it told a mostly solo story of Zip-Zap.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Strangers #21, published in 1995 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Paul Abrams.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside a different type of aircraft. The Strangers, now with new member Teknight and old teammate Yrial, discuss matters about the unconscious Atom Bob whose body has been laid on a platform. In response to Yrial’s question about what should they do about him, Lady Killer (Atom Bob’s ex-lover) states that if a cure for him exists, they will find it. If no such cure exists, she states that the traitorous member should never wake up again.

After being informed by Lady Killer that she knows a private clinic in Europe that may have the solution to their problem, the Strangers get off the plane knowing that they should keep confidential what they just learned.

Shortly after watching Lady Killer’s private plane take off, Candy/Electrocute tells her teammates that they should just get away for a while. She decides to drive Grenade’s car. Suddenly, the car explores leaving Candy heavily damaged…

Quality

Here’s a look at Teknight, the new member of The Strangers.

This is another intriguing yet original story of The Strangers penned by Steve Englehart. To begin with, this is the first issue of this monthly series that saw Teknight actively taking part with the team and his being a new addition opened up really interesting conversations and interactions with existing team members like Grenade.

As the cover already shows, this one has spotlight on a severely damaged Candy. Still, it does not mean that this is a solo story about her (like Zip-Zap’s tale in issue #20) rather it is still a team story with Candy’s tragedy serving as a major plot point. Along the way, there were some scenes focused on Teknight which opens up interesting background details about him. Zip-Zap, who had the spotlight for most of issue #20, proves his heroic value in this comic book.

There are other notable Ultraverse details here and there that would encourage you to check out other UV comic books. What exactly those details are is for you to read this comic book and find out for yourselves.

Conclusion

Zip-Zap doing something heroic.

The Strangers #21 (1995) is intriguingly enjoyable to read. Steve Englehart deserves a lot of credit for keeping the stories of this series fresh, fun and engaging. For his part, Paul Abrams did a fine job with the art and he successfully captured the overall style of presentation of the series and his take on the characters kept them recognizable to my eyes.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #21 (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 #21 (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 Strangers #20 (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 the Ultraverse. We revisit the Ultraverse once again to follow the continuing stories of The Strangers. Last time around, the team found itself struggling with adjusting to life without Atom Bob. For Lady Killer, the loss is very painful not only for her leadership of the team but also on her heart as she had a relationship with him.

What will happen next? How will the team move forward without Atom Bob? We can all find out in this look back at The Strangers #20, published in 1995 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Sam Payne.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside the home of a mother and her son enjoying indoor basketball. Their happiness got disrupted when a large, muscular man with blonde hair crashes through their door. With him is another man named M.C. who tells the lady that he and his companion want to “borrow” her son. As the mother resisted, the slimmer man knocks her out while Beater (the large guy) grabs her son.

Elsewhere, The Strangers react to the official trading card featuring Candy/Electrocute. Leon/Zip-Zap is familiar with the value of trading cards and he shows them his card of a basketball player called Missile Monroe from his days as a rookie.

As he is eager to have the trading card signed by the basketball player, Zip-Zap heads on to the city. On his way, he notices people gathered outside Holt’s Gym which he heard is the place where Missile Monroe works out at. He then uses his super speed to go past a few more people, climb up the wall, step on the ledge and look through the window. Zip-Zap sees the basketball player shooting indoors in the presence of a friend.

Sensing opportunity, Zip-Zap decides to sneak in and make his grand entrance to meet Monroe..

Quality

Zip-Zap slams!

I can start by saying that this comic book’s story is much less of The Strangers and more about their youngest and fastest member Zip-Zap. Rather than presenting a story about Zip-Zap going back to his old neighborhood, the story is about him meeting someone very important while taking advantage of his own celebrity status as a member of The Strangers (now known by the public) to get to him.

Other his personal obsession with a sports celebrity, this comic book also explores Zip-Zap’s determination to do something heroic without the presence of his teammates. As he is still a teenager, this part of the story alone is intriguing.

Also intriguing is the introduction of two new villains in this series, MC and Beater. How they became powerful and what their connection with Missile Monroe is something you readers should discover. I personally enjoyed what was revealed.

Other than heroic happenings, the story here explores the consequences that come with big money and lucrative deals. There is also the theme about social elevation with regards to the progress a person can make coming from the local communities to the big league. Also the events in this comic book will remind readers to respect the boundaries between them and the celebrities or important people they encounter in person.

Conclusion

Zip-Zap meets Missile Monroe and friend.

Even though it had much less of the team itself, The Strangers #20 (1995) is a worthy and fun read. The story about Zip-Zap going solo temporarily for his pursuit was nicely crafted and the new characters introduced had personalities that were interesting, most notably with Missile Monroe. Apart from characterization, there is sufficient superhero spectacle to enjoy as well. Going back to Zip-Zap, anyone who loves the character will be pleased with the spotlight on him. I should also state that this story shows additional depth to Zip-Zap’s character.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #20 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $14.

Overall, The Strangers #20 (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 Strangers #19 (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 the Ultraverse! In this retro comic book review, we will revisit The Strangers in one of their later stories published in 1995. In issue #18, things got more complex as The Strangers not only had a genuine opposition to deal with but also another group of individuals with varied powers. For this new review, the story took place even way after issue #18 as there was a 100-page finale that took place in Night Man Annual #1 and The Strangers Annual #1.

To find out what happened next to the superhero team and its members, here is a look back at The Strangers #19, published in 1995 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Steve Ellis.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in a private place where members of The Strangers each take time of silence across the floors. Noticeably absent was Atom Bob. Lady Killer recalls Atom Bob as her lover, their team’s brightest star and, unfortunately, a betrayer towards them all. She remembers several moments from recent times such as realizing Atom Bob’s desire to do something heroic, realizing that power to equal another one’s power is the better power, and the time he asked her to marry him. Deeply hurt by the betrayal, Lady Killer cries.

For his part, Grenade is feeling the anguish over the betrayal given the fact that they have been really close friends since childhood. When Grenade had trouble entering college, Atom Bob encouraged him to join him in enrolling at art school. The betrayal was so painful, he releases his anger using a bit of his power. A teammate appears behind him to try to talk sense to him…  

Quality

A very touching scene between Yrial and Zip-Zap.

Firstly, I should say that the writing done by Steve Englehart here is very rich with a strong emphasis on dramatizing the Strangers deeply. The dialogue written for each character reflects not only their emotions but also what is living within their respective hearts and what is in their minds. The character development is also rich and I love the way Englehart further developed the sister-brother-like bond between Yrial and Zip-Zap. As for Lady Killer, her pain will most likely resonate with readers who experienced betrayal and the loss of a loved one.

Secondly, the betrayal by Atom Bob really shows its emotional impact on the team. This one is not only a heavy burden on the characters but also a wave of shock via reading which long-time Strangers fans (who dedicatedly followed Atom Bob’s thoughts and exploits) can strongly relate with. Atom Bob’s overall value as a Strangers member is easily reevaluated in this comic book and his personal connections with Grenade, Yrial, Spectral, Zip-Zap, Electrocute and, most notably, Lady Killer are strongly emphasized. This should compel readers to revisit the early issues of The Strangers.

Of course, I should state that this comic book is not a pure emotion ride. There are still some scenes of action and spectacle that still make sense with the narrative. A certain character from The Strangers #4 makes a return here and another intriguing character appears here. They are both worth discovering.

The art done by Steve Ellis is very good, and his style is eerily very similar to that of Rick Hoberg. There were several images that reminded me of Hoberg’s take on each character.  

Conclusion

Lady Killer painfully remembering what happened.

There is no doubt about it. The Strangers #19 (1995) is another very good Ultraverse comic book to read and collect! Not only does it succeed in serving as the aftermath to the stories in in Night Man Annual #1 and The Strangers Annual #1, it also fulfilled its purpose in raising the stakes for the Strangers who are struggling with the pain and shock of Atom Bob’s betrayal. If you love character development, you will love this one.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #19 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $11.

Overall, The Strangers #19 (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 Mantra #18 (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 the Ultraverse! We take another journey into the Ultraverse through the exploits of Mantra whose story and character development got more intriguing since after the conclusion of the Archimage Quest.

Last time around, Lukasz and Eden took their relationship even further The infiltration of Aladdin’s secret facility took place and Mantra even met a certain tycoon (best known for interacting with The Strangers). The events of the last issue then continued into the Godwheel mini-series and into this next Mantra comic book I’m about to review.

Are you excited yet? What do you hope to see with regards to Lukasz and Eden? We can find out what happens next in Mantra #18, published in 1995 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Scott Lee.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside a high-tech facility. An executive named Paul expressed that the laboratory will never be operational in time for the new year as a result of what happened previously. Several armed men are on the floor searching.

Suddenly, a pink portal opens with Lukasz (in a male body) and Mantra (now occupied by Eden’s soul) coming out. The two just came back from much struggle in another realm and Eden has not yet fully familiarized herself with Mantra’s body and magic. Noticing Eden/Mantra’s hesitation, Lukasz takes action against the armed men. Eden slowly blasts a few enemies before Lukasz saves her from being attacked from the rear.

Suddenly, someone from nowhere throws a few gas grenades at them…

Quality

The romance weakened by the art style.

Starting with the storytelling, the plot in this comic book can be quite jarring with regards to Lukasz and Eden as this one took place after the Godwheel mini-series. How Eden fully became Mantra (which is her rightful body of flesh in the first place) is fully explained in the said mini-series.

The romance between Lukasz and Eden here is easily the biggest selling point of this comic book. After going through rough action and misadventure in Godwheel, it is in this comic book where the two really express love for each other in the flesh. This is a welcome change considering how long we’ve seen Lukasz occupy Eden’s body followed by Lukasz and Eden being spiritually linked with each other. This one marks the start of a new chapter of the Mantra series. As for what the cover of the comic book showed, that is something you will have to discover for yourselves and it is worth the read.

Sadly, I should state that I found the art by Scott Lee here looking sub-par. There is this cartoony aesthetic to all the characters and there were shots in which their bodies looked disproportionate from certain angles. Lee’s take on visualizing Boneyard, Warstrike, NecroMantra and others all looked cartoony. This is the weakest looking Mantra issue I’ve read as of this writing.

Conclusion

Lukasz in a male body, Eden in Mantra form.

Once again, author Mike W. Barr succeeded in advancing the story and character developments with Mantra #18 (1995) putting the series into another storytelling phase with Lukasz (the long-time Mantra) and Eden as separate, living beings more involved with each other than ever before. The art quality this time went down a lot but the storytelling saved the comic book from turning into a disaster.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #18 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $21.

Overall, Mantra #18 (1995) 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 Mantra #17 (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.

A lot has changed with Mantra since the title character got more involved with the elements (both in character and in plotting) with the different realms which led to a particular quest about her captured leader Archimage. In the last issue, not only were Lukasz (the male soul who occupied the body of Eden Blake and became Mantra) and Eden Blake continued to spiritually interact with each other (going as far as having feelings for each other), the impostor living with Eden’s family was revealed.

Considering the events that took place since then, one has to wonder where would Mike W. Barr lead the Mantra series to next. We can all find out in this look back at Mantra #17, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story by Barr and illustrations done by Jason Armstrong.  

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in a secret, high-tech facility of Aladdid. Lukasz (as Mantra) quietly begins infiltrating the place by taking out one of the armed guards and doing what he could to gain more access around. Eden tells Lukasz that she does not the fallen guard to be hurt and that her time is almost over. She reiterates to Lukasz that he has to live her life and take care of her children.

Shortly after wearing the Aladdin guard uniform, Lukasz starts to get involved with the other guards. He witnesses a wetware engineering work in progress which reveals a scientist working on a so-called patient (the subject).

Suddenly, the subject begins to move causing trouble in the laboratory. Realizing that the engineer is having trouble dealing with the subject already moving, the Aladdin guards (including Lukasz in disguise) enter the place. As the two guards fire their weapons against the subject, Lukasz instead uses one of the computers to gain access to classified information…

Quality

Time with Eden’s family.

After going through the mysticism, the intrigue and threads of Mantra’s past in the last several issues, this comic book’s story is a nice change of setting and concept. Instead of the fantasy elements that pretty much dominated Mantra stories, this one has a sci-fi flavor as well as corporate intrigue (which is pretty prominent in Prototype comics and Hardcase comics) and the very concept of this story is pretty good.

Along the way, the story shows the aftermath of the death of a certain uncle named Moe (once occupied by Thanasi, a long-time rival of Lukasz’s), Mantra having a reunion with a key character from issue #1 and even meeting a notable supporting character from The Strangers comics. The good news here is that Mike W. Barr wrote a very strong script that not only resonates with Ultraverse fans but also tell a cohesive story packed with spectacle, character development and something very notable that happened (which I never anticipated).  

Conclusion

Infiltrating a top secret facility.

Mantra #17 (1994) is not only fun and compelling to read. It is also refreshing and, as if the cover was not obvious enough, marked the beginning of a new chapter in the life of Mantra.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #17 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $15.

Overall, Mantra #17 (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 #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.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors, geeks and fans of the Ultraverse! Today, we will revisit the Ultraverse in another tale from The Strangers monthly series. Previously, the Strangers had an encounter with rather strong enemies while they were exploring the Caribbean.

With that encounter over, the Strangers are still in the Caribbean and to find out what happens next, here is a look back at The Strangers #10, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story by Steve Englehart and drawn by Rick Hoberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the Strangers (without their black magician) still pursuing their search in the Caribbean. They are looking for one particular spot that they believe holds the key to the secrets of sky island. Spectral, Electrocute, Lady Killer and Atom Bob start exploring under water.

After discovering something significant, they gradually returned for air only to witness a portal opening up near them while they were on the water. Creepy looking arms grab Spectral and Electrocute and pulled them into the portal leading to another realm…

Quality

Really nice art work by Rick Hoberg.

While issue #9 was a misadventure that saw the Strangers tackle with powerful, new enemies, this story is about them moving into an unknow realm. It is in that realm wherein artist Rick Hoberg really pushed his creative vision hard to make it look really fantastic and even alien-like. As far as the story is concerned, this one is a major build-up leading to the events that culminated in issue #12 (which itself had strong revelations) and on its own, it is a worthy read.

When it comes to characterization, the one member of the Strangers who really stood out here is Atom Bob. Without spoiling the details, I can say his importance really grew in this story and the way the Englehart-Hoberg duo handled it, his personal development and understanding of his super power are very believable. It was also in this issue where he and Elena/Lady Killer started thinking about each other.

Conclusion

Atom Bob and Lady Killer start thinking about each other.

The Strangers #10 (1994) is an adventurous read and any fan who is fond of the member Atom Bob will have so much to enjoy. If you love the art of Rick Hoberg, there is a lot of eye candy to enjoy here.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #10 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, The Strangers #10 (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 #9 (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 the Ultraverse! We return to the Ultraverse and this time we will join The Strangers in one of their misadventures. In recent times, I reviewed issues number 16, 17 and 18. This time, I want to go back to one of their comic books that were published within the first year of the Ultraverse.

With that being said, here is a look back at The Strangers #9, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story by Steve Englehart and drawn by Rick Hoberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the Caribbean where the US Coast Guard is patrolling. They receive a distress call and the captain commands the ship to move full speed ahead. He is searching for pirates they encountered previously. They come close to another ship and start communicating with them. Suddenly something caught the crew off guard and an explosion happens.

The next day, at a local port within the Caribbean, the Strangers rent a large boat to explore the see. Although they have been warned about pirates, they still set sail with Lady Killer doing the navigating (using the coordinates Yrial handed to them). As Lady Killer works, the rest of the team relax (as instructed).

From a distance, a band of creepy looking pirates watch the Strangers from a distance and prepare to board them…

Quality

The Strangers meet the pirates in the Caribbean.

This is another fun-filled, compelling story done by the Englehart-Hoberg creative team. It is one unique misadventure of the Strangers set in a tropical environment in which their relaxing exploration suddenly turns into a series of unfortunate events. The pirates introduced here really gave the Strangers their biggest challenge yet (as far as team battles go). I should state that very clever creativity was implemented on how the action was presented and how the pirates’ respective abilities were introduced. More on the powers of ultra beings, there are references to a certain entity on the moon as well as the bolt of energy that hit the San Francisco cable car in issue #1.

When it comes to character development, there is additional attention paid towards Atom Bob who is bothered somewhat about not have the ideal lady in his life. Also emphasized was Elena (Lady Killer) who turns out to be over 30-years-old and tries her best to avoid getting personally involved with any of her teammates as she is their leader and organizer. Of course, Atom Bob and Lady Killer would eventually get romantically involved in subsequent issues.

Conclusion

Nothing like enjoying the natural wonders of the Caribbean.

The Strangers #9 (1994) is one thrill ride which I believe will satisfy not only Ultraverse fans but also any reader who like action-packed team superhero stories in general. Steve Englehart and Rick Hoberg succeeded in telling another fun-filled story that had a nice mix of spectacle, surprise and some character development.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #9 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, The Strangers #9 (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 Mantra #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 and fans of the Ultraverse! As you might have seen in my most recent retro reviews of Mantra comic books, I’ve been following the Archimage Quest which really brought the title character (Lukasz occupying the body of Eden Blake whose soul he displaced) to a several places and situations. She got to be with The Strangers temporarily (The Strangers #13 and Mantra #12) in pursuing the wicked Boneyard, went into the fantasy realm where men and women are divided, and more.

While issue #14 marked the end of the said quest, there is still more to come in the next Mantra issue I recently reviewed. In fact it is the aftermath of the Archimage Quest and we can all find out more in Mantra #15, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Mark Heike.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Mantra surprised by Boneyard while being bothered mentally by Eden who warns that they may end up both getting killed. Appearing in a misty form, Boneyard enjoys the fact that Mantra killed her superior Archimage (whom she thought was Boneyard). As the wicked man fades away, he tells her, “I shall return to take my revenge on our wedding night…”

Right then, Boneyard’s troops arrive led by Notch who at this point of time is very determined to defeat Mantra. Mantra makes short work of the troops until Notch is the one left standing. In response to Notch’s arrogance that he will be brought back to life by Boneyard as before, Mantra tells him that his leader abandoned him and notices him getting fearful suddenly. Mantra kills him successfully.

Mantra and Eden communicate with each other. The armed sorceress tells her that the war will never end until Boneyard is killed and she becomes a man again. As far as Eden is concerned the war is pointless…

Quality

Mantra (Lukasz inside) interacts with Eden Blake.

As before, Mike W. Barr continues to deliver very solid writing. To break it down, the aftermath of the Archimage Quest was done with nice care filled with lots of relevant details to read not to mention the lively portrayal of Mantra making an impact on the people in the fantasy realm especially in the absence of Topaz who, at this point in the story, was on her way to the contemporary world where she was destined to join UltraForce.

The 2nd half of the story is set in the contemporary world. While Mantra spent days in the fantasy realm, a certain Eden Blake returned to the lives of Evie, Gus, Jr. and former husband Gus. The Blake family, combined with Prime getting involved with Mantra in the contemporary world, were also nicely dramatized.

For the most part, Mark Heike’s art is good although his take on Prime looks awkward.

Conclusion

Mantra takes on Notch and other troops of Boneyard.

Mantra #15 (1994) is a fun comic book to read and it is more layered this time mainly due to the settings and the character developments that happened in between. The Archimage Quest, in my opinion, ended satisfactorily and this aftermath added more punch to it.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #15 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Mantra #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 Prime #7 (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 and geeks! Today we will take another journey back into the Ultraverse touching on their first major crossover event Break-Thru but told through the exploits of Prime.

For the newcomers reading this, Break-Thru was a 2-part crossover that involved all the Ultraverse characters in multiple ways. There were Break-Thru crossover spinoff issues of Mantra, Hardcase, Prototype, The Strangers, Solitaire and The Solution to name some. This time, we will find out Break-Thru in an issue of Prime.

What exactly happened to Prime in relation to Break-Thru? We can find out together in this look back at Prime #7, published by Malibu Comics in 1993 with a story written by Gerard Jones and Len Strazewski, and drawn by the late Norm Breyfogle.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Prime, wearing a special suit with air tanks, flying into space for a mission on the moon. Even as he is struggling with breaking through the atmosphere, he knows he cannot afford any setbacks knowing that US President Bill Clinton and military officials are counting on him. It has been some time since he was picked up by Colonel Samuels and his team after the big fight with Max-Man. As he approaches the moon, Prime expressed how much has changed over the past few days from attending science class to working secretly for the government.

After struggling long, Prime finally arrives on the moon’s surface albeit roughly. As he flies around searching for clues, a solid structure of rock suddenly rises from the surface leaving Prime no room to dodge it…

Quality

Prime on to something on the moon.

After going through lots of stories about superhero action, misadventures, intrigue and personal struggles as recorded in the first six issues of Prime, this particular story has a more unpredictable story which is refreshing to read. For one thing, this one has a whole lot of twists that actually test Prime’s sanity and keeps the narrative interesting throughout. Similar to what happened in Mantra #6, Prime encounters images of several people he knew while on the moon. This thing happens to be one of the capabilities of the entity on the moon.

As expected from the creative team of Jones and Strazewski, the writing is of high-quality. For his part, Norm Breyfogle continued to deliver striking visuals and in this issue he really showed off Prime’s modified look to the full extent.  

Conclusion

Prime and his thoughts as he travels to the moon.

Prime #7 (1993) is a pretty good comic book to read. Ultimately it is a worthy build-up to the Break-Thru crossover and more importantly it continues to show why Prime is truly one of the major characters of the Ultraverse.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prime #7 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $26.

Overall, Prime #7 (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 Mantra #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.

Hey comic book fans. Are you looking for more science fantasy stories and concepts within the Ultraverse? There is more in the Archimage Quest storyline told within the Mantra monthly series spearheaded by Mike W. Barr.

To put things in perspective, as recalled in issue #1, Lukasz got killed the last time he was in a male body shortly after the evil Boneyard defeated Archimage (Lukasz’s superior) which led to him getting reincarnated into the body of Eden Blake (displacing her soul). Lukasz-occupied Eden later acquired from Katinya a relic which helped her gain a mystical armor. Before dying, Katinya revealed that it was Archimage’s plan all along to have Lukasz placed in a woman’s body because his long-term use of weapons in fighting Boneyard did not work.

Since then, Lukasz has been struggling not only to stay alive, to keep on beating Boneyard’s forces and other forms of opposition, but also to live life as a woman with the family of Eden. After some time, Mantra temporarily joins The Strangers in confronting Boneyard (told in The Strangers #13 and Mantra #12). Afterwards, Mantra entered into a new dimension where two societies of separated men and women exist. The women are led by their queen Topaz. Together Topaz and Mantra led a group on a mission concerning Boneyard and Archimage.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Mantra #14, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Mark Heike.

The cover.

Early story

The story begin with Mantra and Eden Blake together. Suddenly Mantra’s appearance changes into a man.

In the present, Mantra is leading the group of men and woman in the absence of Topaz. As they try to take Boneyard by surprise, they encounter a caravan of people called the Tradesmen. One of them recognizes her as Lukasz and they met in another place some time ago. Being trade-oriented and very focused on honor, they make a deal which provides Mantra’s group some much-needed assistance in their mission…

Quality

Mantra versus one of Boneyard’s wives.

At this stage of the Archimage Quest, Mike W. Barr really raised the stakes by adding more twists, more intrigue and more references to the past. All of that were achieved backed with very strong writing, resulting a story that was more engaging than the previous issue. Not to be outdone is the spotlight given on the family of Eden Blake on Earth during the absence of Lukasz/Mantra. When it comes to the art, Mark Heike did a good job drawing Mantra and other related characters all of which are recognizable.

Conclusion

A deal made with one of the Tradesmen.

Mantra #14 (1994) is a fun read. At this stage in the life of the protagonist, the stakes were not only raised higher but things also got more complex particularly with Mantra’s interactions with certain enemies she encountered as well as certain characters who support opposition against Boneyard. It should be noted that there are still some fresh new details about Archimage’s organized strategy about having Lukasz contained in the body of Eden Blake. There was a solid build-up for the tension and intrigue, and there was nice pay-off in the end.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #14 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, Mantra #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