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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 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…
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.
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.
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