A Look Back at Prototype #3 (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.

Are you geeks and comic readers ready for another trip back to the good old days in the 1990s when the Ultraverse line of comic books was published by Malibu Comics in competition with the superhero offerings of Marvel, DC and Valiant Comics?

Here is a look back at Prototype #3, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story by Tom Mason, Len Strazewski and drawn by David Ammerman.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Jimmy Ruiz (current Prototype user) in a private jet with his corporate companion Hastings. He’s feeling restless over the delay at the airport.

On a large commercial airplane, a gang of armed, masked men suddenly enter stating they claim the plane in the name of Terrordyne, Inc. Passengers naturally got frightened.

From a distance, Jimmy noticed the trouble happening and told Hastings to call security.

Meanwhile in Chicago, an armed lady talks to someone over the phone. In New York, men start to do some work on the body of Glare, a huge green-skinned figure. He is being prepared for Aladdin…

Quality

11
The money shot of this comic book.

Unsurprisingly, stories of heroic struggles (told through Jim and Bob respectively), corporate intrigue and fighting the bad (in this issue: new villain Heater) were the most defining elements of this comic book. The good news here is that there is still a cohesive story told by Tom Mason and Len Strazewski. One of the more notable parts of the story was Bob Campbell’s reuniting with Felicia which for me made a lot of sense since I already read Prototype #0. Once again, David Ammerman did a good job visualizing the script.

Conclusion

5
Glare in the possession of a group.

Prototype #3 is another fun read that has a careful mix of spectacle, character development and corporate culture exposition. While it does not have the horror element of issue #2, its focus on the corporate side and secret operations made this comic book deep. At the same time, this comic book solidly established Jimmy and Bob as the protagonists of the series.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prototype #3 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $4. The near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $13.

Overall, Prototype #3 (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 Prototype #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.

Over a year ago, I reviewed Prototype #1 and published other Ultraverse comic book reviews that had the armored superhero involved. In recent times, I reviewed Prototype #5 since that comic book was the first of a 2-part crossover between Prototype and The Strangers. Since I already reviewed Prototype #0 to get a good look at the origin of the armored superhero (composed of two different pilots or users working for a corporation), it’s time to go back to one of the early issues of Prototype to discover more of the ultra-hero.

This is my look back at Prototype #2, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story co-written by Len Strazewski and Tom Mason, and drawn by David Ammerman.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

 

The story begins with Prototype (piloted by Jim Ruiz) battling with mechanized opponents as he tries to achieve something. It turns out, the entire encounter was a virtual reality training mission which ended after Jim overloaded his armor’s circuits during the heat of training.

While taking off his armor, Jim discusses some matters with his assistant. He recalls his hard battle with an over-sized, muscular opponent whom he noticed to be communicating with someone. The opponent died which gave the public the false impression that Prototype killed him.

Meanwhile over the headquarters of Ultratech, Marjorie listens to Stanley ranting about the negative press their company got recently. As soon as Stanley calms down, Marjorie noticed that Jim was in trouble according to tech read-outs. They analyzed the risk they are taking with Jim being the Prototype pilot as they make sure nobody would learn that there is more than one active Prototype in their company. Marjorie states that she has taken the initiative and assigned someone to take care of Bob Campbell (the other Prototype pilot)…

Quality

5
Jim Ruiz is already struggling with the stress of piloting Prototype.

In terms of storytelling, this comic book is quite gripping as it deals with elements of corporate politics, heroism and even horror. Without spoiling too much, I should say that the battle near the end of the story brought back memories of the 1984 movie The Terminator which itself combined elements of horror, film noir and sci-fi. There was not much room for character development but that was no problem considering the strong storytelling. For his part, David Ammerman’s drawings were nice and detailed to look at, especially when the story focused more on Bob Campbell.

Conclusion

2
The money shot of the comic book!

No doubt about it. Prototype #2 is a very good and entertaining comic book to read. It successfully told two tales (one on Jim and the other on Bob) and cleverly mixed genre elements to deliver solid storytelling. Not only that, this comic book marks one of the early connections between Prototype and Prime as the story took place after the events told in Prime #4.

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

Overall, Prototype #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 #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.

In a previous review, Prototype #5 served mainly as a build-up leading to the crossover between the armored superhero and The Strangers. While that comic book had a cover that looked suggestive, Prototype and the group did not appear together until the final page.

The payoff for the crossover happens to be in The Strangers #7.

Will the crossover be worth it? Find in this look back at The Strangers #7, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart (shared plot credit with Tom Mason and Len Strazewski) and drawn by Rick Hoberg. This comic book is part of the Break-Thru crossover.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

Picking up where Prototype #5 ended, the story begins inside the space station wherein The Strangers encounter large, ugly monsters just as Prototype and his two companions – Empire 7 from Vietnam and Supra from the Baltic States – arrive. Equipped with high technology, Prototype proceeds to help the Strangers surprising them as a result.

After some struggle, Prototype, the Strangers plus Empire 7 and Supra start talking about what has been going on. As far as the Strangers are concerned, they need to know why they got their powers which explains why the needed J.D. Hunt’s rocket to reach space. Supra explains that she, Empire 7 and Prototype were sent to reclaim Hunt’s rocket.

After Prototype insists on reclaiming the rocket, Grenade strikes him which leads to Yrial to using her magic on him. The armored hero reacts by bodily attacking Yrial and damaging the wall behind her leading to outer space…

Quality

22
A nice scene between Prototype and two of the Strangers.

As this comic book was wonderfully written, I do confirm that the payoff for the build-up leading to the crossover between Prototype and The Strangers was undeniably worth it! There is a lot of richness in the script and I really enjoyed the interactions between the Strangers and the armored ultra.

I should state that the plot was structured to have the heroes together for initial interaction, have a few of them separated temporarily, bring them back together for unity and separate them into small groups as they search for answers.

In between, there is a lot of character interaction and development. These are the elements that defined this comic book and by the time I reached the end, I managed to grasp how the connection (as well as the level of trust) between Prototype and the Strangers turned out. Along the way, there were a few sub-plots and even some exposition on the in-universe history of ultras (emphasized by Empire 7). There were also some action scenes to balance things out with the characterization.

With no surprise, the art by Rick Hoberg here is great. I should state that his art on Prototype made the character look recognizable. More importantly, Hoberg drew the characters, the monsters and the environments with a good amount of detail. This is hard work that nicely paid off!

Conclusion

2
The first interaction between Prototype and the Strangers.

I really enjoyed The Strangers #7 and it definitely paid off nicely after the build-up to the crossover established in Prototype #5. If I were to make comparisons, the crossover here is just as good as the Hardcase-Strangers crossover. I should also state there is a good amount of fun here.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #7 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $4 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition is priced at $8.

Overall, The Strangers #7 (1993) 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 Prototype #0

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.

If you are looking for a great origin story set within the Ultraverse, you can’t go wrong with Prototype #0. Before we explore the said comic book, let me remind you that during my review of Prototype #1, I stated that it was great and it had a nice balance between spectacle, storytelling and characterization. There were also references to some threads to the past with regards to Bob Campbell (the original Prototype pilot) who could not help but witness his replacement Jimmy Ruiz have the spotlight being the new Prototype.

That being said, we can take a trip to the events that happened in the past with this look back at Prototype #0, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Tom Mason and Len Strazewski with illustrations done by Gordon Purcell and Keith Conroy.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins some time in the past with an interview with top executive Stanley Leland who recalls how Bob Campbell got involved with his corporation Ultratech. As it turned out, Campbell was working in Hollywood as a stunt performer in science fiction films. Campbell fit in nicely with Hollywood job having previously served as a member of the United States Army’s special forces and has been experienced with tactical weapons and hand-to-hand combat.

The advertising agency of Leland’s company hired Campbell to wear a multipurpose exoskeleton prototype armor for the filming of a promotional project meant for the military. Campbell used what turned out to be the original Prototype armor which was very bulky and had a dome-style metallic head (that reminds of Marvel’s Mysterio). Even though it was bulky, the armor was still loaded with weapons and enhanced the pilot’s physical strength by twenty times complete with artificial intelligence (AI) assisting with the operation.

21
Taking care of Bob Campbell, the original Prototype pilot.

Even though there was a hitch (something went offline) during the filming, Bob Campbell still managed to make great use of the armor and delivered results so spectacular, Leland hired him with a high-paying contract to work officially as Prototype.

Ultratech benefited nicely in terms of sales with Prototype as their key figure and Campbell had that Rambo style which impressed the military. Shortly after, the success started entering Campbell’s head resulting more costs for Ultratech…

Quality

7
The original Prototype saved a pretty lady!

This is one great and very cleverly crafted superhero origin story! When it comes to the presentation, the exploration of past events by means of recollections and memories of different people interviewed is excellent! Having worked before as a reporter for a local community newspaper, I myself interviewed a lot of people to dig for information about the past and as such, this comic book’s approach is something I personally strongly relate with.

Through the words of Leland, Campbell’s ex-wife, Marjorie Fredericks and Hastings the caretaker, the details of what happened with Bob Campbell as the original Prototype are clearly defined. The same goes with the nature of Ultratech as a corporation and owner/developer of the powered suits of armor, not to mention how they affect the public’s perception and how they treat their employees. The last chapter focused on Jimmy Ruiz and how he became the present-day Prototype was handled in a more conventional way.

Along the way, the dialogue is very well written and the characters are nicely defined which is no surprise considering the combined high talents of Tom Mason and Len Strazewski. The art provided Gordon Purcelli and Keith Conroy is very good. Apart from the in-depth writing, the dynamic action and strong visuals, I should say that this comic book is a lot of fun to read and it perfect connects with issue #1.

Conclusion

5
Bob Campbell hired full-time as Prototype pilot.

Prototype #0 is undoubtedly a great comic book to read and easily one of the very best Ultraverse stories I read (apart from being one of the best superhero origin stories of the UV) so far. I was really engaged from start to finish, and I should state that Bob Campbell’s importance is real even as he became the has-been character in the later Prototype issues. This comic book successfully achieved its purpose on telling the origin of Prototype and made sense out of what Roland Mann said: the race has only just started!

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prototype #0, be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $4.

Overall, Prototype #0 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 Prototype #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.

Previously, I took a look back at the two-part Ultraverse crossover story between Hardcase and the Strangers. It was, indeed, an enjoyable reading experience as a whole to see Hardcase and Choice have an adventure together with the Ultras who previously gained powers while riding a cable car in San Francisco that got hit by energy from the sky. The way the crossover was done resulted an entertaining story and even added to the continued development of some of the characters involved.

This time we examine another crossover of heroes within the Ultraverse by taking a look back at Prototype #5, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Tom Mason and Len Strazewski (with Steve Englehart on the plot) and drawn by Roger Robinson.

Cover
Now this is a smashing cover!

Early story

The story begins at North California facility where the Strangers – Atom Bob, Grenade, Electrocute, Zip Zap, Yrial, Spectral and Lady Killer – break in and bring down several uniformed personnel. Their purpose is to get into the rocket and make their way to the moon.

Quite conveniently, the Strangers wore space suits, get into the rocket (the JDH-3000) and launch successfully. This upsets the rich and powerful JD Hunt who rejects the idea of destroying the rocket. The next morning at the office, Hunt is very mad over the fact that his rocket has fallen into the hands of ultras. Knowing where exactly the JDH-3000 is heading, he tells one of his staffers to get him Gordon Bell as he plans to send someone up there to bring it back…

Quality

15
Visual build-up of the crossover between Prototype and the Strangers.

To put things in perspective, Prototype #5 is a well-written part of the big Break-Thru crossover of the Ultraverse that happened in late 1993. On its own, it forms the first part of the crossover between Prototype and The Strangers, and it sure is loaded with a lot of build-up (of key elements within the Ultraverse) and exposition.

In terms of writing, this comic book moved at a medium pace with strong emphasis on build-up. What I really found intriguing here is the politics of the fictional corporate world within the Ultraverse. There were these very powerful corporate executives communicating with each other, and there was JD Hunt who intensely joined a meeting blaming Gorden Bell for costing him billions of Dollars. The corporate politics here are actually connected with Prototype and the Strangers.

As this is a build-up comic book, you won’t get to see Prototype (Jimmy Ruiz the pilot to be precise) physically together with the Strangers until very, very late in the story. In fact, there is a lot development and a few character introductions to go through before Prototype (with two foreign companions developed by his corporate handlers) leaves for space.

Conclusion

10
The corporate forces behind the Ultraverse.

Being heavy on exposition and light on spectacle, Prototype #5 is a decent Ultraverse comic book to read. If you were expecting to see Prototype together with the Strangers for the majority of the comic book (note: the cover art is quite suggestive), you will get disappointed. However, this comic book builds up mainly on other elements of the Ultraverse, specifically the corporate forces behind the scenes. By the time you finish reading Prototype #5, you will gain a better view of what causes events to happen and how they affect the ultras. The ending of the story, I should say, is compelling enough to make you anticipate what would happen next in The Strangers #7.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prototype #5 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $4. The near-mint copy of the newsstand edition meanwhile costs $13.

Overall, Prototype #5 (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 Break-Thru #1

When done right, a crossover storyline showcasing a big mix of superheroes getting involved in a huge event can be memorable and worth revisiting years after getting published.

Back in 1993, Malibu Comics launched the Ultraverse which involved many talented creators. Right from the start, it was made clear that there was a shared universe occupied by The Strangers, Night Man, Prototype, Prime, Mantra, Hardcase and many others.

Before the end of 1993, Malibu launched Break-Thru #1 which started a new storyline that involved many of the above characters plus Firearm, The Solution, Sludge and Solitaire. Adding more punch to this comic book was Malibu’s hiring of legendary artist George Perez who worked on the classic Crisis on Infinite Earths maxi-series of DC Comics.

2019-10-17_074138~2.jpg
A great cover! One of the best ever for any Ultraverse comic book!

Here is a close look at Break-Thru #1 mainly written by Gerard Jones, drawn by George Perez and inked by John Lowe with colors by Moose Baumann. Credited as contributing writers were Steve Englehart, Mike W. Barr, Steve Gerber, James D. Hudnall, Tom Mason, George Perez, James Robinson and Len Strazewski.

Early story

The story begins immediately after the end of Exiles #4. A man falls to his death from the top of a tower thinking he was reaching the moon at night. Elsewhere, an airplane sharply goes up with too much altitude as the pilot obsesses with going to the moon

As it turns out, the media reports about people trying to reach the moon and getting restless. A member of Exiles lies helplessly on a bed with his entire body covered with medical materials for his injuries. A doctor presses him for answers and he claims to know that Amber, one of the Exiles members, looks a lot like a young lady floating over Los Angeles. He thinks she is responsible for the madness that has been going around the world.

The injured confirmed that the lady, floating high above with reddish energy around her, is none other than Amber. He claims, however, that he has no idea what happened but shared that she was already prone to volatile energy blasts.

Behind the scenes, members of Aladdin discuss what has been happening. One of them believes that Amber may hold important clues to the nature and origin of Ultras. The Aladdin people get distracted with noise caused by Eden Blake (Mantra in civilian form) who secretly eavesdropped on them pretending to be lost (note: a reference is made to Mantra #5 to explain her new employment with Aladdin.)

2019-10-17_075309~2.jpg
The military and Prime.

Aladdin decides to activate their own Ultra named Wrath. Over at the Pentagon, military officers discuss the information about Wrath they got received from their moles at Aladdin. Their leader wondered about sending Prime (with a modified look) on a mission but he can’t have anyone see how he modified the Ultra.

Meanwhile in the bowels of the Earth, a man who is not really a man watches…

Quality

In terms of storytelling, Break-Thru #1 has a nice build-up. It took its time making references to the many, many characters of the Ultraverse. By the end of the comic book, you will realize there are different kinds of Ultras: the solo Ultras, the corporate Ultras, the freelancers, the work-for-hire Ultras, the accidental Ultras and the like. With regards to emphasizing the shared universe, this comic book shows that connections with the individual comic books are tight. References in what happened in Exiles #4, Prime #6, Mantra #5 and others all helped build-up the concept of Break-Thru. The story is 35-pages long which, in my opinion, was sufficient not only to emphasize the conflict Break-Thru but also give readers enough space to get to know what exactly is going on, who are these many characters, what the institutions involved are, etc.

2019-10-17_075441~2.jpg
Mantra with Prototype.
2019-10-17_075133~2.jpg
The Strangers discuss what has been happening.

More on Break-Thru’s concept, I like the way the comic book emphasized how the sudden presence of multiple Ultras affected local societies, members of the public, the government, the secret groups and others. It also sheds light on how people, regardless of social class or status, react to the presence of people who carry special powers or have unusual talents over them. This reminds me of a key scene in the 2012 Avengers movie in which Col. Fury mentioned how the sudden presence of super beings caused a disturbance.

Spectacle? Unsurprisingly there is a good amount of action as well as incidental moments that kept the narrative entertaining.

Visually, Break-Thru #1 is a great looking comic book thanks to George Perez who is famous for drawing multiple characters environments with his distinctive style complete with a high level of detail. There is not a single boring moment with his art and each panel has really nice visuals. The action scenes and incidental happenings (example: Valerie’s sudden burst of energy) come with a lot of punch.

2019-10-17_075541~2.jpg
Freex got affected.

Very notably, Perez’s take on each of the Ultraverse characters is very good to look at and in some ways, certain characters look a lot better than they did in their respective comic book series. A perfect example here is the team Freex whose characters look more human (in style) and more lively. Of course, I don’t mean to say that the illustrators of the Freex series did not do a good job.

Perez’s drawing of Mantra is very good. Similar results with The Strangers, Hardcase, Solitaire and Prototype. Very clearly George Perez carefully did his research on the characters and their respective designs.

Conclusion

2019-10-17_074728~2.jpg
Hardcase, Choice and The Solution on the move!

Overall, Break-Thru #1 is a great comic book to read and it reflects the high quality and deep engagement the Ultraverse had when it was still under the control of Malibu Comics (note: Marvel Comics acquired them and drastically changed the UV for the worse in the mid-1990s). It definitely still is one of the finest superhero crossover comic books of the 1990s and, personally, I found it to be more engaging than the launch issues of other crossover storylines like Zero Hour and The Infinity Gauntlet. If you are interested, Break-Thru continued in Firearm #4, Freex #6, Hardcase #7, Mantra #6, The Night Man #3, Prime #7, Prototype #5, Sludge #3, Solitaire #2, The Solution #4, The Strangers #7 and then in Break-Thru #2.

Break-Thru #1 is highly recommended and you can buy a near-mint copy of it for $4 at Mile High Comics’ website.


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

A Look Back At Ultraverse Premiere #0

What is the one thing I love most about superhero comics of the 1990s? It’s easy – the Ultraverse! Launched in 1993 by Malibu Comics during the late stage of what is now called the Comic Book Speculator Boom in Amerca, the Ultraverse was a line of superhero comic books featuring all-new characters and concepts which were the result of intense brainstorming by the founders of the Ultraverse.

Back in mid-1993 here in the Philippines, I first got to discover the Ultraverse through print ads in comic books and take note that the Internet was not yet publicly accessible. By June that year, I visited a comic book store in BF Homes, Paranaque and was astonished to see the store’s wall with multiple Ultraverse comic books on display. With my limited funds at that time, I only managed to buy Freex #1 and Mantra #1. By the end of the evening, I greatly enjoyed what I read and became an Ultraverse fan ever since.

As the months passed by, I enjoyed reading more Ultraverse comic books. What was also fun to read were the special double-sized UV comic books, the Ultraverse Double Feature comic books (flip comic books) and then there was the Ultraverse Premiere #0 comic book which had a cover of Mantra drawn by the great Jim Lee! This is the one comic book I am taking a look back at.

UVprem1
The front cover drawn by Jim Lee!

So what Ultraverse Premiere #0 and what made it special other than having a cover drawn by Jim Lee? Released in late 1993, the comic book is a showcase of separate stories featuring Prime, The Strangers, Rune, Hardcase, Mantra and Freex. It is also a showcase of the respective talents of a big mix of writers and artists that include Len Strazewski, Tom Mason, Gerard Jones, Steve Englehart, Barry Windsor-Smith, Rick Hoberg, James Hudnall, Mike W. Barr, Norm Breyfogle and others.

Given its release date, the stories served as preludes leading to the stories told in the launch comic books. For example, the Hardcase story shows Tom Hawke/Hardcase with his team called The Squad performing what turned out to be their last mission leading directly to the events that started Hardcase #1.

UVprem3
Tom Hawke/Hardcase with his lovely teammate during his time with The Squad.

The story of Mantra in the comic book however was presented more like a side-story. Lukasz is already shown as Mantra with her mystical powers and revealing outfit in place. The short story adds a nice perspective on the personality of Mantra as well as her burden of having to take care of a daughter.

The Rune segment meanwhile was a look at the making of the character involving Barry Windsor-Smith and his art. In the text written by Chris Ulm, what caught my attention was the following segment.

After writing up the concept in the Ultraverse bible, I shortly added Rune to “Fusion”, the story of a conspiracy to develop the ultimate biological weapon by a covert group called Aladdin.

UVprem4
This opening of the Freex short story starts very strongly.

Of course, there is also the fine story of Prime by Len Strazewski and Gerard Jones with great looking art by the late Norm Breyfogle. Remember in the early pages of Prime #1 when the overly muscular superhero claimed he saw the school coach touch the young girls? That got emphasized in the Prime short story in this comic book.

And then there is the one very memorable whole page art of Prime by Breyfogle.

UVprem2
I love this art of Prime by the late Norm Breyfogle.

The stories and art, in my view, were done with a lot of passion by the creators. They make Ultraverse Premiere #0 a worthy comic book to collect even though Marvel (which acquired Malibu Comics in the mid-1990s) screwed the Ultraverse and left the characters and concepts in limbo with no clear sign of any revival coming.

Last but not least, there is this great art of the Ultraverse characters done by Art Nichols at the rear of the comic book.

Ultraverse
The best back cover of any superhero comic book of the 1990s!

Art Nichols’ work on the back cover is fantastic and timeless in my view. It’s great multi-character art that truly captures the spirit of the Ultraverse!

If you are going out to buy old comic books, I strongly recommend Ultraverse Premiere #0.


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

 

 

A Look Back At Prototype #1

There is nothing like witnessing a superhero use technology to fly around with high speed, blast with energy, lift heavy objects using extra strength and use whatever special features to beat the bad guys and save people from harm. I’m not talking about Marvel Comics’ Iron Man here. I’m talking about the Ultraverse parallel to him called Prototype and here is my retrospective review about the 1993 superhero comic book Prototype #1 published by Malibu Comics.

Proto1
Prototype #1 cover.

Co-written by Tom Mason and Len Strazewski with art by David Ammerman and James Pascoe, Prototype #1 is the story of the armored figure called Prototype but there is one huge thing to take note here – the armored figure is actually a high-tech project of a corporation called Ultratech and it involves more than one person piloting it.

To put things in perspective, some time in the past the Prototype armor (which was very large and bulky) was piloted by Bob Campbell until a major incident happened during an aerial exhibition that cost him his right arm. Subsequently he got replaced by a much younger man named Jimmy Ruiz. In the present, Campbell is a PWD (person with disability) who was dismissed by the company which compelled him to sue them for age discrimination.

Then he attends the stockholders’ meeting of Ultratech which was organized to be lavish and showy. It is here where Prototype (piloted by Ruiz) makes an energetic appearance sporting a leaner looking armor that closely resembles a human being.

Ruiz says “Stand back, America…it’s showtime!”

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The leaner and meaner armor of Prototype.

While showing off, Ruiz encounters some problems. He has not fully gotten used to the technology and his head feels like exploding. During the stockholders’ meeting, Bob Campbell causes some trouble prompting private security to escort him away. It turns out that Ultratech really distanced themselves from him.

Of course, the company is very happy with the Ruiz-piloted Prototype and they are confident their major financial bets will yield great results. Their executive Stanley Leland stated, “He’s not just a showpiece, he’s a corporate asset!”

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Jimmy Ruiz in the Prototype suit with the Ultratech executives.

As this is a superhero story, life is not normal. As such an incident happens that, predictably, requires Prototype to take action (and entertain readers like you and I).

Technically the story was nicely told and its pacing flowed smoothly. There is a nice balance between spectacle, storytelling and character development. Ultimately by the time I reached the 24th page, I got a grasp of the comic book’s concept, the characters (especially the two pilots) and where the series was going.

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Action for you. Really nice job done by the artists.

How does this comic book compare with Iron Man? To say the least, the concept of a large corporation owning and controlling a high-tech suit of armor piloted by their employee is not only a nice alternative but a very engaging alternative to the Iron Man concept (super rich industrialist who wears a powered suit of armor and uses his special talent on technology).

The Ultraverse was the most interesting and most entertaining superhero line of comic books I read back in the 1990s and Prototype went on to become one of the major heroes of the franchise. Prototype went on to become part of UltraForce, a superhero team that had its short-lived comic book series (with famous artist George Perez doing the art in some issues) as well as a short-lived animated series based on the said comic book series.

Had the Ultraverse lasted longer, succeeded and profited, chances are Prototype would have been a major contender among all other superheroes from the different publishers  today and there would have been more merchandise and perhaps even video games based on the character.

If you plan to visit a local comic book store to buy old comic books, I highly recommend Prototype #1.


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