George Perez (1954-2022)

George Perez, the incredible comic book artist who made major contributions to illustrated literature (especially the superhero comic book genre), sadly passed away due to complications related to pancreatic cancer. He was 67-years-old and I can say that superhero comic book art and dynamic expressions will not be the same without him.

George Perez with the two Wonder Woman plastic models. (photo source – DC Comics Facebook page)

Already there were comic book industry figures who reacted to the death of the legendary Perez. DC Comics co-publisher and legendary creator Jim Lee paid tribute stating, “We creators may all have access to the same tools of the trade: pen, paper and imagination, but what George could do with his prodigious talents was off the charts.”

For his part, Rob Liefeld stated, “I’ll remember George for his innovative and prolific storytelling. Thank you for all the great memories. Rest In Peace, George Perez.”

For the newcomers reading this as well as those who are simply unaware of Perez’s legacy, he was responsible for visualizing DC Comics’ 1985 epic maxi-series Crisis on Infinite Earths (note: he drew countless characters complete with varied settings or environments in high detail) and redefining Wonder Woman (note: he also wrote the stories) which made her a more essential pop culture icon. George Perez also worked for Marvel Comics over many projects and was chosen to illustrate the memorable 2003 JLA/Avengers crossover series of Marvel and DC. Perez also worked with other publishers such as Malibu Comics for several Ultraverse comic books and Image Comics for Crimson Plague and Witchblade. In recent years, he was responsible for Sirens published by BOOM! Studios.

For me, Wonder Woman was best defined during the post-Crisis era of DC Comics which involved George Perez and Len Wein who wrote the early issues of the Wonder Woman monthly series in the late 1980s.

In his decades-long career in comics, Perez unsurprisingly earned varied awards and honors (references here, here, here and here to name a few).

I should say that George Perez is a long-time favorite comic book illustrator of mine. I enjoyed reading the superhero comic books he illustrated and I love his art style on the characters, the environments and crowds. If there is anything I love about Perez’s art, it is his distinct style along with his implementation of high levels of details on the characters, objects, creatures and surroundings. Perez is also known to capture the distinct visual elements of superhero characters such as Spider-Man’s costume and his spaghetti-like web, Superman’s physique and distinct letter S, Prime’s overly muscular body and more. Every time Perez is involved as artist, the result is almost always a visual feast that often adds punch to the script prepared.

When I was still actively collecting comic books back in the 1990s, I often get excited whenever I learned that George Perez illustrated upcoming comic books. In 1992, he drew Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect (2 books) which was mind-blowing and intriguing for me! In 1993, I became a fan of the newly launched Ultraverse of Malibu Comics and I got very excited to learn that Perez was hired for their major UV crossover Break-Thru (2 issues). Perez also drew one issue of Prime and most of the early issues of the UV team UltraForce (issues #0, #1, #3, #4, #5 and #6). If you want to see Perez draw ALL the characters of the Ultraverse, you should read the 2-issue Break-Thru storyline.

A page from Break-Thru #2 showing just some of the many Ultraverse characters Perez illustrated. This was published before the release of UltraForce.

Speaking of UltraForce, check out this video by Crypto Comics (with observations on Perez’s art works)…

Going back to George Perez’s amazing run on Wonder Woman, I urge you to watch the video below…

For me, the most defining stories of Wonder Woman ever told in any art form are still the comics that Perez wrote (note: he co-wrote stories with Len Wein on the early issues) and illustrated during the post-Crisis era of DC Comics. Check out my retro reviews of Wonder Woman 1980s comics on this website.

Truly, George Perez will be missed by a lot of people and his countless pieces of works will be revisited in the foreseeable future. In closing this piece, posted below are varied works (comic book covers and interior art) done by the late creator through the decades for your viewing pleasure and learning. This is a tribute to Perez and may he rest in peace!

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Note: All images shown are properties of their respective companies.

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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

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.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. 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 #13 (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 1990s comics! This is another examination of the Ultraverse as told through the exploits of Mantra, the pretty armored lady whose body is occupied by the soul of the male warrior Lukasz.

Previously I reviewed Giant Size Mantra, which was a one-shot comic book that was part of the Archimage Quest storyline and it was indeed a well-made Mantra story that fit in nicely with the monthly series. That same comic book is notable for having the debut of Gwendor’s queen Topaz who went on to become a member of the memorable superhero team UltraForce.

With the details made clear, we can find out what happens next in the Archimage Quest in this look back at Mantra #13, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Jason Armstrong.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in an unknown realm. Mantra (wearing her usual mask and armor) and Eden Blake are walking together and talking. After exchanging some words about the displacement of souls, Eden clings to Mantra and apologizes from now realizing what a shock the situation is to Mantra on top of everything else that happened. Eden tells Mantra there is something she wants from her and addresses Lukasz by name.

Suddenly Mantra/Eden Blake/Lukasz wakes up to the call of a technician. She is still in Gwendor and being completely naked, she goes through the process of armoring which is done with highly advanced technology. With her new armor on, Mantra is approached by queen Topaz who brings to her a notable sword to use. They discuss some matters as they walk together.

Meanwhile back in the United States, Eden’s daughter Evie visits a shop and talks to the old lady behind the counter. The young girl asks her about magic…

Quality

In the realm Mantra is in, it’s difficult for men and women to work together.

This is one very unique story of Mantra. Carrying over the elements from Giant Size Mantra, you will get to see the protagonist still spending time in the women-filled Gwendor (note: opposite it is another city filled with men) and starts her alliance with queen Topaz who is a very hands-on type of leader, willing to take risks going into battle. As Mantra does not have her mask and armor, she learns to use the magic power within her to make things happen. This is kinda like seeing Marvel’s Tony Stark adjusting and taking action without his Iron Man suit of armor.

Events aside, this story shows a significant development of Lukasz/Mantra’s personality as she adjusts to the ways of the men and women in their realm. The science fantasy elements of the story gave this comic book a unique style of visual presentation nicely pulled off by the illustrator. When it comes to the Archimage Quest, both Mantra and Boneyard are respectively struggling with disadvantages which is a nice storytelling touch. I should state that in this particular story, the complexities between males and females in the new realm is explored.

Conclusion

Yet another new thing worn by Mantra.

Mantra #13 (1994) is another solid story to read. As it continues the quest for Archimage, it explores more of the science fantasy world Mantra finds herself in as well as the differences between the two local societies separated by gender.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #13 (1994), 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 variant edition costs $12.

Overall, Mantra #13 (1994) is recommended.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. 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

Fans of the Ultraverse are encouraged to visit the Ultraverse Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/73184525691

A Look Back at Giant Size Mantra (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! In my recent reviews of the Mantra monthly series, the events of the Archimage Quest were examined. For the newcomers reading this, Archimage is the leader of the tribe of warriors that Lukasz served for fifteen centuries. As told in issue #1, Boneyard neutralized Archimage’s power and Lukasz died one last time in a male body only to be reincarnated as a woman (displacing the soul of single mother Eden Blake). As it turned out, the transfer of Lukasz’s soul into Eden Blake’s body was planned by Archimage some time prior.

The Archimage Quest lasted several chapters and one of them took place in a one-shot Mantra comic book. With the details laid down, here is a look back at Giant Size Mantra, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Mike Heike (1st half) and David Williams (2nd half).

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Mantra (wearing original costume) waking up in the presence of a lady wearing white. Upon waking, Mantra sees her and recognizes her from some time back at the Moon (refer to Mantra #6). The lady turns out to be none other than Eden Blake whose soul Lukasz displaced.

Mantra, now wearing a new costume, wakes up suddenly. A short time has passed since she left The Strangers during the previous encounter with Boneyard and now she finds herself trapped in dream-like place. Being really the man (Lukasz) inside the body, Mantra does what she can to break out of the place…

Quality

The first appearance of Topaz, the queen of Gwendor.

There is no surprise that Mike W. Barr’s writing remains strongly solid. The story is really engaging from start to finish and by this time, Barr not only knew the characters well but also showed clear signs that he prepared how to portray the characters as the story of Mantra continues. Here are further good news…Barr wrote a pretty expansive story that is worthy of this one-shot comic book that has almost 40 pages of content (told in two portions). While the first half told briefly what happened between The Strangers #13 and this comic book, and had Mantra discovering a brand new science fantasy realm with two cities (one male, one female), the second half was were the narrative really became more fantastic especially since this comic book marked the debut of Topaz (who went on to become a key member of the UltraForce) not to mention the introduction of not one but two different societies separated by gender and city walls. To see Topaz and her society of women comes with vibes of Wonder Woman and Themyscira.

The pace of the story ranged from moderate to fast, and Mike W. Barr carefully took his time with the exposition, the spectacle, the characterization and the sense of discovery with the new realm. This is a story worthy of the one-shot format and as a Mantra story, it clearly stands out and fits in well with the main narrative in the monthly series.

When it comes to the art, Mike Heike and David Williams did good jobs visualizing the script. Most notably, their art really brought the fantasy realm (as well as the two societies and cities) to life.

Conclusion

All those men staring at Mantra do not realize that the soul of male warrior Lukasz occupies her body.

I can say that Giant Size Mantra (1994) is a pretty good comic book to read. Its overall concept and high-quality script made it a very worthy one-shot comic book. While this story is not the conclusion of the Archimage Quest, it serves as a turning point in the life of Mantra and the results can be seen in subsequent issues of the monthly series.

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

Overall, Giant Size Mantra (1994) is recommended.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. 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 UltraForce #6 (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.

After reading issues #0 to #5 of the UltraForce series of the mid-1990s, I should say that I clearly enjoyed them all as creators Gerard Jones and legendary illustrator George Perez (plus their supporting crew) really delivered great stories, dynamic visuals and very engaging interactions between the UltraForce members.

So far, each and every UltraForce issue I reviewed here is fun and compelling to read. The high levels of artistic and literary quality in each issue is evident right from the start and, more importantly, it emphasizes the overall concept of the Ultraverse itself even deeper than what I discovered in its early stage (launch year 1993). Very clearly, UltraForce as a comic book series raised the stakes of the Ultraverse (much like Break-Thru did) when it comes to how the public perceived ultras (superheroes), who are the secretive sinister forces and how they impact the whole world, why being an ultra has lots of advantages and disadvantages, why ultras are hard to unite in the face of danger, and so on. These creative concepts were really great and it was in the year 1994 – the same year UltraForce launched – when the Ultraverse was at a stage to go further to a bolder direction with its creative evolution. Unfortunately all of that got screwed up after Marvel Comics acquired Malibu Comics.

More on UltraForce, the saga of king Atalon’s fire people rising from the depths of the Earth and possessing nuclear missiles to attack people on the surface has lasted quite long and its narrative remained consistently engaging. In issue #5, something terrible happened to UltraForce member Pixx during a big battle. What transpired next, we can find out in this look back at UltraForce #6, published in 1995 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Gerard Jones and drawn by George Perez and Steve Butler.

The cover! They even misspelled Ghoul!

Early story

The story begins as tensions rise between Atalon and UltraForce over their respective losses. For Atalon, his grand dream involving the use of humanity’s nuclear weapons has been destroyed. For Prime, Hardcase, Prototype, Ghoul and Topaz, the hanging lifeless body of Pixx shocked them deeply.

Suddenly, out of intense anger, UltraForce jointly attack the king of the fire people. Topaz states that Pixx will not die unavenged as Prototype blasts Atalon. Hardcase strikes the king followed by blows delivered by Prime and Topaz. Prime is about to strike Atalon but gets distracted when the downed king mentioned he wants to reform the whole world. Atalon strikes Prime’s head and gets back up to keep fighting the rest of UltraForce.  

Their battle is so intense, the entire island shakes and the ground crumbles bringing the nuclear weapons down along with Pixx’s body. Ghoul goes down after her…

Quality

Dynamic action delivered with high detail!

Like all the previous issues released, this comic book has high-level qualities on its writing and artistry. This is not a surprise since the Jones-Perez creative team really pushed hard to keep telling what is clearly the epic event of the Ultraverse (post-Break-Thru). The consistency of quality up to this issue is very evident.

When it comes to the quality of this comic book’s story, which happens to be the conclusion of the Atalon saga, I can say that I’m very satisfied. As the events went on, a few but very significant twists happened which really shook the foundation of this particular saga backed with great visuals (although there are some pages that were clearly not drawn by George Perez), strong dialogue and a great presentation of the impact on the world and its people. What happened with king Atalon in the 2nd half of the story is very memorable and it definitely is one of the biggest twists in the entire Ultraverse. This one alone makes the comic book worth reading.

Conclusion

This is a great way to start the comic book along with the opening credits!

UltraForce #6 is indeed a great comic book and it is a strong conclusion to the saga (which started really in issue #0) that brought Prime, Hardcase, Prototype and others together as a team. This comic book is, in my honest view, also one of the finest UV stories Malibu Comics published in 1994. If there is anything to be regretful about, it is the fact that the Ultraverse got screwed up and ended in an undesirable state as a result of Marvel’s acquisition of Malibu. This is why there was no follow-up to the Atalon saga and UltraForce as a series turned for the worse shortly after (again, as a result of Marvel’s acquisition). Considering the events of the first major UltraForce saga, Atalon could have turned out as a more significant character of the Ultraverse and another epic follow-up (to the Atalon saga) could have happened.

More on the team itself, Prime, Prototype, Hardcase and their lesser known teammates were truly presented with a strong amount of balance. Ghoul and Contrary really had their nice share of the spotlight and how they worked in tandem with the others, as well as the very events of the comic book, was really fluid and believable. By the end of this comic book, you will realize the true values and the different personalities of the entire UltraForce!

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of UltraForce #6 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $15.

Overall, UltraForce #6 (1995) is highly recommended!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. 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 UltraForce #1 (1994)

There is nothing like seeing squabbling individuals (each with a unique talent or two) realize that they have to end the division between them and work together to solve a problem that affects everyone.

Tropes like that are common in superhero comic books, animation, movies and other forms of media. The concept of having superheroes is precisely the key element behind the UltraForce of the Ultraverse.

To put things in perspective, UltraForce is a team of superheroes (called Ultras in the Ultraverse) composed of Prime, Hardcase, Prototype, Topaz, Ghoul, Pixx and Contrary. The team was formed to protect the public while, at the same time, keep their fellow Ultras (examples: Mantra, The Strangers, Night Man, etc.) from getting out of line with the general public and their government leaders.

Previously, I discussed what would it be like had superheroes conspired with government officials and corporate media as told in UltraForce #2. For this article, we take a look back at the formation of the team in UltraForce #1, published by Malibu Comics in August 1994 with a story by Gerard Jones and art by the legendary George Perez.

RCO001_1463648135.jpg
Great cover by George Perez.

Early story

The story begins with a disaster as fighter planes get pulled down to the ground by an unknown force. A pilot who ejected and flew by parachute finds himself pulled down as well. Down on his back, he feels intense pain and could not get himself up. His body begins to get destroyed when a voice is heard.

“You thought your little flying toys would stop me. You thought your mastery of light and air made you invincible. And no creature of the dark, hidden places could possibly beat you. Now feel the weight. Feel what we feel. The weight of the core of the Earth. The weight of eons of darkness. The age of light and air is done. Prepare for a new age. The age of Atalon!”

Inside a ship above the desert, Hardcase reacts as he watches multiple monitors showing current events highlighting people’s fear of the Ultras, citizen demanding controls, Hardcase reported as saying “only Ultras can control Ultras”, plus an image of Prime and Prototype in action. With him were Contrary, Pixx and Ghoul.

“No!” said Hardcase. “I won’t go through that again!”

Harcase clarifies to his companions that, due to his past with The Squad ending in tragedy, he won’t join a group and end up counting friends’ bodies again. Regarding his reported quote in the media, he stated that he specifically said that government could never control Ultras plus he did not say an UltraForce should try to do it. Being an actor in Hollywood, he decides to go to the media and wash his hands of this.

Contrary, who is the schemer in the team, asked him, “Won’t the public fear Ultras more and more…unless someone steps up to teach Ultras how to function in the world?”

Hardcase asked if she was the one to do the teaching.

Pixx butts into the conversation telling them that Prime and Prototype are about to approach the press. After calling Pixx an attentive student, Contrary tells Hardcase she is the to teach the Ultras which she claims is her business.

In front of the press, Prime (who is a kid inside that overly muscular body) talks impulsively to them and Prototype (who is receiving communication feed from Ultratech which seeks a public coup with the idea of him gathering the team) who states that an UltraForce is needed and that he will recruit one.

This sets off Prime to act even more impulsively over who has credit over the UltraForce idea. Behind the scenes, Ultratech’s Leland and Hardcase watch as things turn wrong (between Prime and Prototype) in front of the press.

RCO006_1463648135~2.jpg
An incident like that in front of the media is enough to mislead the public into thinking negatively about who got covered in the press. There are those who acted badly in front of the press and there are media operators who practice journalism wrongly.

“They’re going to force the government to crack down on Ultras!” – Hardcase.

Concerned that the embarrassment could start a civil war between Ultras and Normals (the people), Hardcase tells Contrary he wants to leave the ship to prevent things from getting worse. Contrary gets on his way saying she was going to talk to Prime and Prototype and even have their ship fly after them.

Hardcase disagrees with her idea and insisted she should not be near the mess (about Ultras and the public) until she comes clean with all her secrets and explain what her academy for Ultras is about.

“Is this the same Hardcase who didn’t want responsibility of leading other Ultras…laying down the law for me?” – Contrary

Eventually Contrary sends Hardcase away and tells Pixx to bring their ship to the Redstone Arsenal.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Topaz appears suddenly in the middle of a football game causing confusion to the players and the spectators.

RCO015_1463648135.jpg
The power of Prime!

Quality

I absolutely enjoyed reading UltraForce #1 for the fact that it has a very engaging story, great art, in-depth characterization and a great presentation of superheroes banding together for a higher cause. It is the complete package of what a fun yet thoughtful superhero comic book should be!

The story written by Gerard Jones shows lots of signs that things were carefully planned not just for the comic book but for the Ultraverse as a whole as it focused on the concept about the Ultras being on the edge of getting misunderstood by the general public (the people who don’t have powers) who in turn relied on the news coverage of corporate media (which itself has lapses or made deliberate moves that did not give the viewers an accurate look at the events that happened) to take a look at beings with powers.

This concept kinda reminds me of the traditional concept behind the X-Men. Charles Xavier founded the X-Men to train mutants to use their gifts for good while trying to establish a bond of understanding and tolerance between mutants and humans.

UltraForce’s concept of the fragile link between Ultras and ordinary people really went deep as it involved not only the media but also the private sector, the government leaders and the armed forces. Heck, in Prototype #1 the corporation Ultratech made its move with Ultras by having a flying, armored guy representing them. In Prime #1, the element of militarism was involved.

The comic book’s concept is nicely reflected in Hardcases thoughts below.

“Great. The military, the media, the eyes of the world…dying for a sign. Are Ultras for them or against them? And what sign are we giving them?”

Gerard Jones also achieved a great job with the characterization. Prime is the impulsive powerful superhero who is also a loose canon because he’s really a kind inside the large, muscular body of a man. Prototype is piloted by a young guy working for a corporation and along the way, he has trouble balancing himself between duty and personal interest. Hardcase, who has been living with guilt as one of two surviving members of The Squad, struggles between his internal struggle and keeping the peace between humans and Ultras. The way I remember these three notable Ultraverse lead characters from their respective comic book series, their personalities were successfully replicated and developed in this comic book.

Contrary meanwhile is subtle yet brainy and strategic figure of the team. For the most part, she is mysterious and yet already has a clear vision about mentoring people with super powers. She is easily the most defining member of UltraForce who does not have her own comic book series. Topaz, who comes from a society of women, is clearly the Ultraverse parallel to DC Comics’ Wonder Woman. She appeared in prior issues of Mantra and her addition to UltraForce added more depth and variety. Of course, given her background, working alongside men is a challenge for her personally. Pixx and Ghoul, meanwhile, contributed nicely as supporting characters in this comic book. For the villain King Atalon, he succeeded in presenting himself and his group as a credible threat to the world. Not only is he powerful in combat, he is very driven with a mission for his kingdom and his people strongly love him and support him.

Even though this was just the first story, UltraForce #1 is already a nice exploration of each member’s personality and the personal relationships between them. How these characters formed a team was not only convincing but was done with a lot of depth and focus. At the same time, the dialogue written for each character is lively to read. Take note how Atalon reacted to Prototype’s attack on him.

“Didn’t your Dr. Einstein tell your people decades ago that great gravity could bend even energy? But you never do listen to your own wise men, do you? Just like my people. We wise ones must find ways to make you listen.”

Spectacle and action? There’s lot of them in this comic book. More than enough to satisfy anyone who enjoys reading superhero stories that pack a lot of hard-hitting action, intense moments of damage on the surrounding made only possible by superheroes, energy blasts and the like.

This bring me to the next aspect of the comic book….George Perez’s great art! I should say that Malibu Comics made the best decision to hire Perez for UltraForce #1 given his established talent of drawing multiple superheroes in high detail (with that distinct style on drawing human faces) and ensuring that what was written on Gerard Jones’ script would come out not only looking great but also always look very lively. I love the way Perez drew the facial expressions of Hardcase, the visualization of Prime’s immense strength, Pixx looking really like a teenager, the high level of detail on the backgrounds, Ghoul’s creepy look and much more. No doubt about it, each and every panel drawn by Perez is great to look at!

Conclusion

I really love reading and re-reading UltraForce #1. It succeeded in its goal of getting the divided superheroes together to form a team in convincing fashion complete with a clear and present danger (Atalon and his people) that justifies the events. It’s got great writing and art, very engaging characters, heavy action and a good amount of characterization. The good news about this comic book is that it can be found in good supply online and you don’t have to worry about paying high prices for it. As of this writing, you can order a near-mint copy of UltraForce #1 for only $4 at the website of Mile High Comics. Apart from comic books, there were some action figures of UltraForce released and there was a short-lived animated series of it on TV.

If you are a comic book reader who is dissatisfied with today’s comic books (and even superhero movies), if you are reader looking for a great superhero team reading experience, or if you want the best superhero comic book experiences of not only the Ultraverse but of the 1990s as a whole, then UltraForce #1 is highly recommended! This comic book is a classic of its decade!


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