A Look Back at Freex #14 (1994)

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

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the mid-1990s which was a really wild time for comic collectors. To be more specific, this newest retro comic book review revisits Ultraverse through the exploits of Freex, the monthly series about a group of young adults with unusual capabilities (or abnormalities) who are constantly on the move as they are social outcasts.

In my previous retro review, the Freex (already without Ray but with Cayman from Contrary’s institution as his replacement) continued their search deep underground and encountered the ancient being called Prometheus. Elsewhere, Atalon and his group move nuclear weapons deep underground setting up a major conflict with the nations on the surface. After some struggle and more movement, the Freex find themselves in Denver.

With those details laid down, here is a look back Freex #14, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Gerard Jones and drawn by Scott Kolins.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in Denver, Colorado, where the Freex retreated into a cave dreading the assault by police officers who spotted them. It turns out, the group don’t have only the police to worry about but also the Night Patrol, a group of armed vigilante thugs who hate freaks.

As the Night Patrol start firing at him, Michael realized the protection he got was done by concentrating through the crowns and think about the suits, which he tells his teammates. As the conflict continues, one of the Night Patrol members hits Angela which in turn triggers Michael to take action by using his power to seize control of communications and motility systems and knock down the freak-hating thugs.

Suddenly, one of the Night Patrol members managed to subdue Michael. Valerie tells her teammates to strike back but it turned out unnecessary as the thug falls down. Suddenly, Contrary appears to them…

Quality

Now with Ray back with them, the Freex go back underground.

To get straight to the point, this Freex story is more about the continuing development of the team with the Old Man as their mentor but with one notable turn of events that is not really a spoiler (due to the cover art)…the return of Ray to the team.

While the plot is thinner this time around, the character development was bumped up several notches. As the Freex found themselves cornered with opposition, the reappearance of Contrary (note: she took time away from UltraForce in this particular point of time) resulted in a few notable revelations regarding how she operates, how manipulative she is and how obsessed she is with having young freaks (note: those with powers or those injected with wetware) under her own definition of care, education and nurturing. The way the script was written, this comic book made me wonder if Contrary is insane while still maintaining a good amount of control given her vast resources to organize missions. Just thinking about her organizing UltraForce operations and maintaining her institution for powered students is indeed intriguing.

More on the return of Ray – one of the pioneering members of Freex – his return is not a throwaway portrayal. Rather Ray showed clear signs of maturity apart from learning something from his time at Contrary’s institution. Morever, Ray shows he has a big heart from his teammates. This alone added some emotional impact to the end of the comic book.

Conclusion

A quick appearance of UltraForce within this Freex tale.

Freex #14 (1994) does not have a deep story to tell, has little in terms of superhero spectacle and it recycled some misadventure elements from the previous issue to move the plot forward. The most defining things in this comic book are the respective returns of Ray and Contrary which added nicely to the character development. Any solid Freex fan will have something to enjoy, especially if they continue loving the main characters.

Overall, Freex #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 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 Exiles #2 (1993)

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

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the mid-1990s which was a really wild time for comic collectors. To be more specific, this newest retro comic book review revisits Ultraverse through the very short series titled Exiles.

It has been years since I reviewed Exiles #1 (1993). Since after, I reviewed a lot of Ultraverse comic books and went through notable storylines such as the Atalon Saga in UltraForce, the Hostile Takeover in Prototype, The Solution, The Night Man and Solitaire, and more. That being said, it was just right that I returned to Exiles for retro reviewing.

With those details laid down, here is a look back Exiles #2, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Gerber and drawn by Robb Phipps.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Exiles members Catapult and Mustang staring at two bodies (a large man and a lady) on the floor. It turns out their mission was a failure as Timmy Halloran (the young guy they tried to save) went missing while his mother just died.

As soon as the two step out of the house feeling bad about their failure, they suddenly find themselves confronted by several police officers. Police cars and a helicopter have surrounded the place. Just as Catapult and Mustang turned themselves in, the large man named Bruut suddenly regains consciousness and attacks the police.

The police officers respond by firing several bullets at Bruut which slowed him down. After noticing that Bruut was only regaining his strength, the two Exile members made their moves before the large man strikes the police…

Quality

Inside the headquarters of Exiles. Ghoul’s mentioning of Prime and Hardcase seems to foreshadow his eventual part in UltraForce.

As expected, the storytelling in this comic book really progressed and paid off some of the build-up that happened in issue #1. Here, the conflict between the Exiles and the enhanced forces of business tycoon Victor Kort got clearly defined and what they have in common other than having enhanced beings is their pursuit of individuals who carry within their bodies the Theta virus which unlocks unexpected powers or capabilities. Such developments could impact the people and the world around them when left unguarded or deliberately developed with assistance of guidance.

Amber, who was a key figure in issue #1, appears much less in this comic book but her purpose with the Exiles gets more elaborated. The lack of spotlight on Amber is not surprising as the creators had to emphasize the conflict between the titular team and Kort’s forces while also introducing Timmy Halloran as a new Theta-carrying individual.

There is a good amount of superhero spectacle here and along the way, the dialogue is good and got witty as well. By the time I reached the end, I found myself anticipating what would come next in issue #3.

Conclusion

The two Exiles members take on Bruut right in the presence of police officers.

Exiles #2 (1993) is a worthy follow-up to its predecessor and the creators succeeded in making the conflict more engaging while cleverly releasing new details that defined what is at stake and what could follow. In retrospect, Amber Hunt later became a key figure in the 2-part Break-Thru crossover storyline (which was memorably drawn by the late George Perez) and the story here defined how much impact super beings can have on societies filled with mostly people who don’t have super powers or special talents. The conflict between the Exiles and Kort’s forces not only got emphasized a lot, their respective agendas and resources are also well defined.

Overall, Exiles #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 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 Freex #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, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the mid-1990s which was a really wild time for comic collectors. To be more specific, this newest retro comic book review revisits Ultraverse through the exploits of Freex, the monthly series about a group of young adults with unusual capabilities (or abnormalities) who are constantly on the move as they are social outcasts.

In my previous retro reviews of Freex, the team encountered Contrary (who later became a significant part of UltraForce) and her so-called school of gifted children. Subsequently, they left Contrary’s lair but without Ray who decided to stay behind. Freex, who gained a new member in replacing Ray, went underground encountering Prime and a lone individual called Old Man. After separating from Prime, the team move further underground with Old Man and discovered a lot of things they never expected.

With those details laid down, here is a look back Freex #13, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Gerard Jones and drawn by Scott Kolins.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins deep under the Earth’s surface wherein the Freex – AJ, Angela, Michael, Valerie and new member – and Old Man encounter a huge and intimidating sentient being which has the head and tusks of an elephant. The being calls itself Prometheus and claims that he has lived underground for a very long time, created new beings and saw the development of settlements that the people on the surface are not even aware of.

Intriguingly, he reveals to the Freex that he created the substance that were injected by a certain nurse into the bodies of each team member when they were still infants which later manifested into the capabilities and abnormalities they now have…

Quality

This short scene about Atalon and his army is a prelude to the Atalon storyline in the early issues of UltraForce.

The most significant aspect about this comic book’s story is the clever approach taken by the creators to not only show the further development of Freex but also emphasize and expand the lore of the Ultraverse while connecting this series to UltraForce (the early issues written by Gerard Jones and drawn by the late George Perez) which itself had a great conflict between Atalon’s forces and Earth’s governments. To put it short, this Freex tale is a prelude to the events seen in UltraForce #0, UltraForce #1 and the rest of the Atalon saga. The good news is that the emphasis of in-universe connection (as opposed to crossovers) was done well and nicely structured.

More on the Freex themselves, the revelation that the members’ powers were the result of being injected (by Wetware Mary) into them with the substance created by Prometheus resulted in dramatic reactions from them which also adds to the tension of their current misadventure together so far away from society. The revelation also added tremendous weight into the series’ narrative raising questions such as the following: Wow will each Freex member reintegrate into society as they know the truth about what caused them to have powers/abnormalities? Where will they go once they made it back to the surface? Will they keep secret the existence of Prometheus?

In relation, the creative team took their time to develop each member’s personality and emotions. Most notable was the portrayal of the new friendship between Valerie and their new member (indoctrinated by Contrary) which hints that something significant could happen to not only themselves but to the team itself.

What also struck me in this comic book was the way the 2nd half of the story was presented…by becoming really wild and crazy. Eerily, the confusion felt by Freex during the 2nd half was something I as a reader felt. To find out what I’m talking about, I urge to get a copy of this comic book and read it yourselves.

Conclusion

This page revealed more about the origins of the Freex members.

While the 2nd half of the story had a crazy ride, I still found Freex #13 (1994) to be really engaging and intriguing mainly on the big revelation and UltraForce connections told in the first half. At this stage in the series, it really looked like that the team was on its way into the unknown as their own place within the Ultraverse really widened (similar to what happened on the part of The Solution in issues #10, #11 and #12).

Overall, Freex #13 (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 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/

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 Greg Potter and Len Wein respectively 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!

+++++

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 Freex #12 (1994)

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

Welcome back, Ultraverse fans, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors, enthusiasts of 1990s pop culture and all other geeks! Today, we revisit the Ultraverse for more 1990s comic book nostalgia through another tale of Freex, the team of super-powered social outcasts!

Last time around, Plug’s origin story was told just as Freex had a very notable encounter with Contrary and her super-powered students (with ex-teammate Ray on their side) at the headquarters of the Academy for The New Elite. After going through some hard struggles, Freex left losing Ray but gained a scaley new member who left Contrary’s school.

To find out what happens next, here is a look back at Freex #12, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Gerard Jones and drawn by Scott Kolins.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the middle of an ongoing misadventure (note: started with Giant Size Freex #1) with the Freex, Prime, and Old Man together beneath the Earth. To the shock of Freex, there are statues of them. The Old Man claims that more than a thousand years prior, he saw people with powers very much like those of Freex. Legend has it that they came from underground and got chased back by some scared fools. What Valerie and her teammates realize is that the cavern they are in is a place of retreat for super-powered freaks that existed before them.

Suddenly, an oversized deformed creature walks through them and grabs Valerie. Prime tries to help by punching the creature but this only made his body deteriorate into green liquid matter. Freex’s newest teammate jumps to strike the creature’s head which helps Valerie get free.

After noticing a hole on the ground, Lewis calls his teammates to escape. He forms his body into a makeshift slide to pave the way for escaping…

Quality

Angela takes action!

To begin with, I should state that this comic book really had a very wild and ambitious concept for its plot. Something really big with adventuring in mind which, in my opinion, was meant to be made to make the 12th issue anniversary of the Freex series stand out. The good news here is that the script if well-written and continues to deliver the good stuff that dedicated Freex readers and superhero enthusiasts will enjoy.

As this is the continuation of the story that started in Giant Size Freex #1, the team of misfits went on to travel and work together with Old Man and Prime (whose spotlight is lessened in this comic book) in a wild misadventure that brought them deep underground which reveals the existence of creatures and remnants of creation that the whole world has not seen. What was conceptualized here significantly expanded Earth’s realm within the Ultraverse and quite intriguingly, there are connections between the new places and Wetware.

When it comes to character development, new team member Cayman’s fitting in was portrayed nicely and his interactions with the other members were pretty interesting. What stood out most, however, are the interactions between Kevin Green (Prime) and Angela (Sweet-face) which I encourage you to read as it will open up a new dimension within his personality (and his being a teenager).

Conclusion

How would you react if you discovered all of that deep underground?

Freex #12 (1994) has a fine mix of grand misadventure, discovery, as well as memorable interactions between Freex and Prime. This is definitely not a throw-away story of Freex, nor is it generic when compared to other superhero comic book tales. This comic book also expands the Ultraverse in a really solid way just as it also moved smoothly on redefining the Freex themselves.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Freex #12 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $16.

Overall, Freex #12 (1994) 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 #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 fans, comic book collectors, fans of 1990s culture and fans of Malibu Comics! After going through reviewing seventeen issues of the Prototype monthly series that started with the 1993 launch of the Ultraverse, the end of the said series is here.

Before doing the retro review of the 18th and final issue of Prototype, I should state that the armored hero is indeed one of the most significant Ultraverse heroes of them all. Other than having a standalone monthly series (which includes issue #0) plus a giant size one-shot comic book, Prototype also was part of UltraForce and his presence and overall contribution in that short-lived series were undeniably good. Prototype is also memorable for his conflicts with Prime (read my review of Prime #4). As a series, Prototype also sheds light on the concept about how society would react to an actual functioning, flying armored hero who was also marketed for commercial purposes.

You must be wondering…is the 18th issue a conclusive story of the monthly series? What were the effects of Marvel’s acquisition of Malibu Comics on the creative team? We can all find out in this look back at Prototype #18, published in 1995 by Malibu Comics with a story written by R.A. Jones and drawn by Paul Abrams.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in a certain department store in Manhattan where a special anniversary celebration is being held and Prototype (piloted by Jimmy Ruiz) is the special guest. The affair turns out to be an assignment for him from his employer. Suddenly an armored figure (human-like above the belt, mechanical below the belt) breaks into the store causing a major disturbance. He calls himself Battlewagon.

Battlewagon suddenly opens fire and hits many items around, causing people to panic. Prototype decides to take action and their conflict causes even more damage.

As Battlewagon speaks out against him, Prototype notices the use of a word which was a reference to the gang that he (Jimmy Ruiz) used to hang out with. Prototype also realizes that his new foe is after him in a rather personal way…

Quality

Does this scene remind you of today’s manipulative and irresponsible news media coverage?

To put it straight to the point, this comic book is not as conclusive as what Prototype fans would hope for. Sure the words “The end.” were written on the last page but, without fully spoiling the story of the comic book, sub-plots that started building up in the few previous issues were left unresolved. You hoped to see Jimmy reunited with Angella in this issue? You hoped to what happened to the deformed Stanley Leland? You will be disappointed.

More on the comic book itself, the conflict between Prototype and Battlewagon is actually written to be intense in terms of dialogue and interaction between the two. While that is a good thing, it does not hide the fact that Battlewagon, as a villain, felt more like an afterthought in terms of character introduction and the flashback relating to collateral damage in Prototype #7 does not really add much to the him. What I liked most in the script written by R.A. Jones was the look back at the past of Jimmy Ruiz when he was younger and was a thug on the streets.

Conclusion

Chaos inside the department store.

While it is not strong enough to be a worthy conclusion to its series, Prototype #18 (1995) managed to tell its own tale in a satisfying manner by adding another villain for the hero to fight with, and also expanding Jimmy Ruiz’s past as a gang member. Of course, I don’t have the details about what happened behind the scenes at Malibu Comics as a result of getting acquired by Marvel Comics, and how all that impacted the creators working on Prototype. I can only speculate that there were planned stories of Prototype that did not get published. In fact, there was a short announcement of Prototype: Turf War #1 shown.

If this comic book is any indication, its story really felt more like a substitution as it had no references to the plot elements of the immediate few issues before it. Considering what happened at the end of issue #17, Jimmy Ruiz really acted out of character in this story.   

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prototype #18 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $35.

Overall, Prototype #18 (1995) is satisfactory. As a series’ final issue, however, it is a disappointment.

+++++

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 Freex #11 (1994)

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

Welcome back, Ultraverse fans, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and all other geeks! Today, we revisit the Ultraverse for more 1990s comic book fun through another tale of Freex, the team of misfits who have no place to stay.

Last time around, the narrative of Freex suddenly got much stronger X-Men vibes as it was revealed that Freex member Ray/Boom Boy was brought in by Contrary (best known in UltraForce comics) to her team of students (each with different powers and abilities) called the Academy for the New Elite. The rest of the Freex eventually found their way to the secret base of Contrary’s academy.

With those details laid down, we can continue with this look back at Freex #11, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story by Gerard Jones and drawn by Ben Herrera.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside the secret facility of the Academy for New Elite. There the surviving members of Freex (Valerie/Pressure, Lewis/Anything, Angela/Sweetface and Michael/Plug) are restrained. Plug can’t do anything except speak gibberish physically as his mind is still connected with the Internet.

Contrary arrives with her students and she tells Freex that she herself works miracles in the minds of troubled young people with powers. She welcomes them to her academy. Valerie, who has often been a rebel, reacts by telling Contrary that she won’t brainwash her like her little “puppets”. In response, Contrary emphasized that her students joined her voluntarily.

Just moments after Lewis made an issue about their teammate Boom Boy getting abducted and asking what Contrary did to turn him against them, Boom Boy suddenly appears and rebukes him.

“She didn’t do nothing…except promise to teach me. Teach me everything my parents took away from me,” Boom Boy said. “I don’t want to be dumb anymore, Lewis.”

The Freex members are stunned…

Quality

Plug’s origin story is interesting but not engaging enough when compared with the main plot.

While the storytelling in the previous issue was a nice mix of surprise and intrigue, this comic book has an even more intriguing tale which really tested the bond that held Freex members together. A notable theme in the story is loyalty which was emphasized in the form of interactions between characters, as well as the student-mentor bond between the Academy’s students and their leader Contrary. It should also be stated that perceptions about becoming loyal to the leader and the struggle to win trust are nicely dramatized in this comic book.

More on the plot, I really enjoyed the confrontation between Contrary’s team and Freex as they symbolize the conflict between being nurtured (educated as students) and being free (freedom that comes with being social outcasts). There are some really nice twists that you should discover for yourselves. Oh yes, the superhero spectacle here are fun to read.

Conclusion

Freex are the youth who are free as social outcasts while Contrary leads a team of youth who are trained and nurtured.

Freex #11 (1994) is another solid entry in the monthly series. It has a more symbolic story and the dramatics have been ramped up. The story itself is pretty cohesive and combined with all the emotions and twists, it all makes sense. It even has key elements that will remind you about today’s developments and movements like the dreaded Cancel Culture, the sinister Democratic Socialists and the wicked Black Lives Matter movement. That being said, the side story emphasizing the origin of Plug just could not match the engagement of the main plot. Regardless, this comic book marks a notable turning point for the Freex as a whole.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Freex #11 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $14.

Overall, Freex #11 (1994) 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 Freex #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 and fans of the Ultraverse! Today we will revisit the Ultraverse following the team of misfits called Freex. In my past Freex review, we saw the first appearance of Contrary who went on to become one of the more intriguing members of the superhero team UltraForce. As seen in the UltraForce monthly series, Contrary proved to be very intelligent, very resourceful and has what it takes to manipulate the behaviors and direction of even the likes of Hardcase (the team leader), Prototype and Prime.  

Of course, before the events of UltraForce happened, many of Contrary’s traits and operations were first explored in the Freex monthly series. To learn more about her, here is a look back at Freex #10, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Gerard Jones and drawn by Ben Herrera.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside a secret facility. Ray/Boom Boy of Freex has just been abducted and is restrained in the presence of Contrary who is just seating near him looking sexy and comfortable. Knowing that Boom Boy has no chance to escape and fight back, she releases him and mentions that she has other students who will fight for her.

Slowly, Contrary leads him into another place of the facility telling him that he’s not locked up (like a prisoner) but rather he is home (implying there is a place for him at the facility). She introduces him to her Academy for the New Elite with her students engaging in a training session against drones and obstacles. Her students are Feline, Waver, Flygirl and Cayman.

Meanwhile, members of the Freex are still homeless and are trying to figure out how to find Boom Boy… 

Quality

The Freex, without Boom Boy, struggling.

I want to start with the writing. This issue was clearly less about Freex and more of Boom Boy (note: his personal origin emphasized) and Contrary and her academy of people with powers and special abilities. Creatively, this story has strong X-Men vibes in it which I personally enjoyed. I do confirm that the writing is strong on storytelling, characterization and dialogue.

While the previous issue introduced her briefly, Contrary is heavily emphasized in this issue. Apart from being resourceful and highly intelligent, she is also erotic with her appearance (so much of her skin exposed always) and at the same time she is well portrayed as a mentor to her students complete with traits of motherly care to them. In comparison with what I’ve seen in X-Men comic books, Contrary is like a combination of Charles Xavier and Emma Frost with some traces of Moira MacTaggert. I should also state that Contrary has a keen perception on finding outstanding or special individuals that she can help develop in more ways than one.

Going back to Boom Boy, this comic book really redefined him not only as a questionable member of Freex but also as an Ultraverse character in general. By reading this story, you will not only relate with Boom Boy but also experience the challenge he is having on whether to decide to be with his old pals or join Contrary’s academy (which itself is inspired by Xavier’s School of Gifted Children in X-Men comics) to really leave his past behind and move forward personally.

While this comic book is heavy with characterization and exposition, there is still a good amount of superhero to enjoy here. The good news is that artist Ben Herrera showed a lot of creative stuff with the spectacle.   

Conclusion

This scene has very strong X-Men vibes.

Freex #10 (1994) is a great Ultraverse comic book! I really found this particular issue to be very engaging from start to finish. As a story about the Freex themselves, this one saw their story as desperate nomads move forward a lot. Still the standouts of the story are Boom Boy and Contrary. If you have not read any issues of UltraForce yet, I highly recommend reading this so you can get to know Contrary better as she is one of the core UF members.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Freex #10 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $11.

Overall, Freex #10 (1994) 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 Prime #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.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of the Ultraverse! By now, many of you should be familiar with Prime who was one of the main heroes of the Ultraverse as published in the 1990s by Malibu Comics. Many times in comics, Prime fought with lots of thugs, some very notable enemies (check out Prime #5), got involved with other notable ultras as part of a team (check out UltraForce #0 and #1), got involved awkwardly with ladies like Mantra and the mother of Kelly, and more.

Surely, Prime (who is a teenage boy named Kevin under all the muscle) went through a lot. Now how about seeing the overly muscular ultra hero take on a monster about as large as Godzilla? We can all find out in this look back at Prime #17, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written by Len Strazewski and Gerard Jones, and drawn by John Statema.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins somewhere on the bottom of the ocean. King Atalon raises an entire island to the surface of the sea claiming it will be new court of his and his people. Doing so, he releases a gigantic monster to the surface and immediately it encounters a ship. The monster grabs two men from the ship and eats them.

In the city of New York, Kevin Green and his mother have a meal together in a first-rate deli. His mother expresses her thoughts about how hard it was for him to move away from California at a short notice, leaving behind his school and his friends. She stressed that something had to be done in response to what happened to their family.

She recalled that Kevin’s father acted so strangely and left them. That being said, she did not want to make the situation worse by smothering him. Kevin thought to himself how could he tell her mother the truth that he and Prime are one and the same, and he went through different versions of his alter-ego each with a different attitude.

As Kevin and his mother traveled via the subway of the city, the giant monster in the Atlantic Ocean continues to create havoc moving towards New York…

Quality

A possible Godzilla reference spotted.

From a storytelling point of view, this comic book felt like the start of a new chapter in the life of Kevin/Prime. The sudden relocation to New York sparked Kevin to look back at the events he went through in the past year which, in my opinion, helped serve as an exposition dump to help readers – especially new ones – catch up with all the details on Prime. It was also interested to learn that Kevin’s mother is from New York and her action on having themselves relocate all the way from the West Coast was convincingly done. I also like the drama that unfolded when the mother brought Kevin to a spot to view the Statue of Liberty from a distance only to be shocked and hurt over the fact that the statue’s head is missing. Through really nice dialogue, you can feel the mother’s pain.

The highlight of this comic book is the uncanny match-up between Prime and the Godzilla-sized monster. While the battle between them was not too long, showing Prime struggle with fighting the monster while thinking a lot about strategizing, searching for weaknesses and even expressing concern for his mother all added a good layer of depth to bother the hero and the encounter.

Visually, I like the work done here by John Statema. His art on the monster was clearly Godzilla-inspired but he gave it a unique look of its own, especially with the way he drew its scaled which Prime found to be very tough. I also enjoyed Statema’s take on the events that happened in Prime’s life as seen in the exposition dump early in the comic book.

Conclusion

The big exposition dump.

Prime #17 (1994) is a fun read and definitely has the look and feel of a new turning point in the life of a superhero. It has excellent dialogue, a pretty nice build-up leading to the big battle between Prime and the monster, and most notably there is a good amount of dramatizing through Kevin’s mother.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prime #17 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, Prime #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 Prime #16 (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 revisit the Ultraverse yet again, only this time it will be through another issue from the Prime monthly series.

In Prime #15, an issue illustrated by the great George Perez, the overly muscular hero entered a certain Hollywood house which was believed to be the headquarters of a drug trafficking operation. What Prime found inside were not only junkies but also zombies and terrifying illusions that tested him mentally and emotionally.

So what happened next? We can find out in this look back at Prime #16, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Len Strazewski and Gerard Jones, and illustrated by Joel Thomas.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Prime struggling with questions from the media. Journalists ask him about his involvement with teenage boys, the truth about his youth crusade, and if he was recruiting boys for gangs. Prime, who is really teenager Kevin Greene inside, bluntly states he cares about teenagers and will do justice for them.

Questions about a certain backpack he (as Kevin) dropped and the young boy’s clothing that he carried bothered him deeply, making him remember he dropped a backpack filled with clothes at the office of Baker. Realizing he screwed up, he gets violent with the reporters who ask him hard questions.

Suddenly police helicopters arrive telling Prime he is under arrest….

Quality

The debut of Turbo Charge.

Set shortly after the events of UltraForce #2, the story here is pretty powerful on its own as the stakes were raised by Strazewski and Jones to develop Prime even further than before. Many times, we have seen how being Prime made life more complicated and harder for Kevin Green. In this comic book, the complications have gotten even bigger and deeper as the media has turned hostile towards Prime affecting not only Kevin but also his romantic interest Kelly and her mother. As if that was not enough, there are many fanatics of Prime called “Prime Gangs” who are so obsessed with their muscular idol, they serious believe they can do anything to honor him…even though it means harassing other people. Also notable here was the way Kevin (as Prime) tries to save his fragile friendship with Kelly. There is also the appearance of Turbo Charge here. Clearly, the writing here is really great.

I cannot say the same for the art done by Joel Thomas. His art style is too cartoony and he drew people’s bodies and faces lacking precision. Many times I had trouble recognizing Kevin, Kelly, her mother and other supporting characters. Visually, this is a letdown.

Conclusion

Powerful talk between Prime and Kelly ruined somewhat by the weak art.

Back by very strong writing, Prime #16 (1994) is absolutely engaging to read and it truly served as a crucial turning point in telling the continuing story of Prime. In many ways, the dramatic events here serve as the climax of all the dramatic build-up seen in the previous Prime issues. This comic book’s portrayal of the overly hostile and unrelenting media will easily remind any reader about today’s news media in which unprofessional journalism, secret agendas, political bias, conspiracy between media and political groups, malice and political activism among so-called journalists are now the norm.  

The dramatic turn of events here are so powerful, Turbo Charge’s presence really got overshadowed a lot. Visually, this comic book has some of the weakest looking Prime art I’ve seen.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prime #16 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, Prime #16 (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