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 The Night Man #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.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors, 1990s pop culture enthusiasts and fans of Malibu Comics! Today we return to the Ultraverse through the 3rd issue of The Night Man series. While the Night Man continues his pursuit of a rather deformed rival, this comic book is a spin-off of the Ultraverse crossover Break-Thru and it also marks the protagonist’s continuing crossover with Freex (which officially started in Freex #6).

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Night Man #3, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Gene Ha.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Night Man overlooking a portion of a major city from a high tower. He wonders how he could find five kids, referring to Freex who have gotten involved with his rival Mangle. For Night Man, the team of teenagers think Mangle is a freak like them and he knows that his rival targets kids as victims.

After acquiring almost a thousand Dollars worth of new equipment, he goes on the air reaching out to Freex. Freex, meanwhile, are with Mangle hiding inside am unknown place. After a news report was aired revealing that the Strangers used a rocket to go to the moon and mentioned J.D. Hunt’s name, Mangle reacts loudly and states that the said business tycoon will be at Moffett Field.

Freex, believing that Hunt can cure them, leave with Mangle by car…

Quality

Night Man, Mangle and Freex!

With regards, Steve Englehart raised the stakes and added a lot of intrigue throughout the story. Without spoiling the plot, I can say that I enjoyed the pay-off executed here in relation to what was built up in Freex #6 and The Night Man #2.

The biggest selling point of the story is not the crossover between Night Man and Freex, but rather the presentation of JD Hunt and his young but wicked son Guy, as well as their involvement with Mangle. Themes explored in this comic book include manipulating a person to actually believe what evil acts he commits are not evil, and the manipulation of helpless youth to join a wrongful cause.

As for the title character himself, Night Man does more than just action and solving problems. You will see a more ethical side of his personality and his insistence on doing what is right without ever going overboard.  

Conclusion

Night Man learning something from the people on the street.

The Night Man #3 (1993) is an enjoyable and compelling part of the Break-Thru crossover (with creative connections to what happened in Prototype #5 and The Strangers #7) that also succeeds in developing Night Man further while showing more personality from JD Hunt and his son. The crossover between Freex and the title hero, again, did not last long but this is understandable considering the focus on the Hunts and Mangle. Lastly, I should state that artist Gene Ha’s dark and gritty style worked nicely in this comic book.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Night Man #3 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $16.

Overall, The Night Man #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 The Strangers #24 (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.

Wow! What a journey it has been! Back in the 1990s, I could never forget the first time I read The Strangers #1 which was so captivating, I decided to follow its monthly series and it was easily my favorite superhero team of the Ultraverse. It was also my first time to see the collaboration of Steve Englehart and Rick Hoberg leading the creativity which, as the many months and issues went on, resulted a series that was never boring and often satisfying and fun to read. I should state that the literary team of strangers composed of Atom Bob, Grenade, Lady Killer, Yrial, Spectral, Zip-Zap and Electrocute was memorable. Truly Malibu Comics had very talented creators for the Ultraverse which eventually lasted just a few years (read: Marvel Comics acquired Malibu Comics).

This brings me to my next point…this retro comic book review is about the last issue of The Strangers monthly series ever published. As I love the Ultraverse, it is sorrowful to see the end of an enjoyable monthly series. In recent times, I reviewed the final issue of the Prototype monthly series (which itself was fun overall) which ended in a rather unsatisfying manner. Prototype’s final issue was not even written by the original creators of the series!

How will this final issue of The Strangers series turn out? We can all find out in this look back at The Strangers #24, published in 1995 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Rick Hoberg with inkwork done by Barbara Kaalberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Teknight, Spectral, Grenade, Lady Killer, Yrial, Zip-Zap and Electrocute back together (note: Lady Killer and Yrial went somewhere far in the previous issue). They talked about Electrocute’s codition, Atom Bob being in a comatose state at the Clinique de Parsival, and the dangerous encounter with Taboo.

Meanwhile inside a passenger jet flying above the North Atlantic, a man expresses his passion and fondness of the Strangers to the passenger sitting to his left. The said passenger wants to learn more about the team.

The following night at Union City in California, the same passenger knocks on the window of a van with a man and a lady kissing passionately inside. As the man comes out of the van feeling very annoyed, the passenger introduces himself to him as Taboo. A new team of TNTNT is being formed…  

Quality

Pay close attention to the details on the words of Lady Killer.

To start with, I confirm that the usual high quality of writing and art by the Englehart-Hoberg duo is evident in this comic book. Not a single part of it looks rushed to me. The plot is very well structured and the visuals are great to see!

While the story is not as conclusive as I hoped it would be, it is still a lot of fun to read. For one thing, it’s nice to see the Strangers together again (note: Teknight has been with the team for some time already) and it was entertaining to see them face worthy opposition in the form of a new team of their rival TNTNT (with an obsessed Taboo as the new addition). The Strangers-TNTNT battle was not an all-out brawl but the match-ups were nicely done complete with really fun action scenes. I should state that not only did Rick Hoberg frame the action scenes greatly, he pushed his imagination up a few notches with regards to adding a lot of flair to the battle between Teknight and Taboo.  

As mentioned earlier, this comic book was unfortunately the last of the series and clearly it was not written to be the end (note: the comic book ended with the anticipation of the celebration of the Jumpstart). There was a part in which Lady Killer told her teammates about using the funds they made from licensing to build for themselves their own headquarters and Grenade even mentioned having a room for Atom Bob in anticipation of a return. There was also a sub-plot about J.D. Hunt and his very rebellious son who clearly wants to do more while he exists. More on the battle between the Strangers and TNTNT, it’s clearly not decisive and in my own view, a rematch was needed.

Conclusion

The updated TNTNT.

As the final issue of its monthly series, The Strangers #24 (1995) is pretty entertaining on its own. It was definitely not a conclusive story and in fact, art was made for what could have been the 25th, the 26th and 27th issues of The Strangers (see the A Fond Farewell excerpt below). It’s too bad those conceptualized issues did not materialize because there was a lot of good and enjoyable stuff to read in this comic book. This only shows that Steve Englehart and Rick Hoberg still had more great and new stuff to tell through The Strangers.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #24 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $50.

Rick Hoberg’s farewell message plus art for what would have been The Strangers #25, #26 and #27.

Overall, The Strangers #24 (1995) is highly recommended!

+++++

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

A Look Back at The Night Man #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 fans, comic book collectors, fans of 1990s arts and culture, and fans of Malibu Comics! Today we return to the Ultraverse for another tale of The Night Man, specifically from one of the early issues of its monthly series that launched in 1993.

For the newcomers reading this, Night Man is a solo hero within the Ultraverse who is a musician by day and a crime fighter by night. He was involved in a major accident with a certain cable car in San Francisco that got hit by a bolt of energy from the sky (as told in The Strangers #1). His life was never the same.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Night Man #2, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Gene Ha.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Johnny Domingo (Night Man) failing to sleep during the night. The operation he had recently kept him awake and his mind is just racing. He could not even properly play his saxophone.

He dresses again as the Night Man, takes his motorcycle out of his place and then he speeds away. Shortly after, he senses another person’s thoughts…those of a man wearing a trench coat messing with a young boy. Night Man decides to jump in, intervene and save the boy but to his surprise, the man easily hit him moving him back and making him fall on the road.

Unwilling to give up, Night Man goes back to him and strikes back with a kick to the head. During their conflict, Night Man pulls the man’s trench coat revealing a rather shocking form for a body that looked inhuman. This shocks the costumed vigilante giving the man time to pull down scaffoldings in an attempt to hurt him and the boy…

Quality

Night Man and Mangle fight!

Focusing on the plot, while the first issue showed Night Man beginning as a vigilante and self-made detective, this comic book shows him struggling to do what he believes to be good (by means of saving another person’s life) and having to face both rejection and skepticism from people. Of course, Night Man himself is flawed with his execution and the way he presents himself to others (note: including doing the radical thing of climbing a tall building just to talk to someone powerful). It does not help that he is restless which clearly impacts his perception even though he has the will to be helpful and make local society a bit safer from dangerous people.  

Back to the story, the introduction of a new villain named Mangle is quite intriguing and it seems very fitting that Night Man’s reaction to seeing him in his inhuman form would reflect the same shocked reaction on the part of the reader. Mangle is very distinct from the many other villains of the Ultraverse and he is indeed a powerful adversary to Night Man.

When it comes to the visuals, Gene Ha’s art style is excellent. He has this distinct, gritty style on drawing people as well as their facial expressions. His art on Mangle made the villain look really scary and intimidating. Gene Ha also proved to be good with framing the action scenes while keeping enough creative space for the dialogue or narration to come in for readers to follow.

Conclusion

Nothing like coming all the way down from a very tall building to move on.

The Night Man #2 (1993) is pretty compelling and as it is free from the baggage that came with building up the vigilante in issue #1, this one has a more cohesive story and shows more of the him doing his best to be helpful. The story is good enough to keep me interested for the next issue. I should also state that if readers love seeing a hero struggle in helping others, then there is a lot to like in this story.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Night Man #2 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $14.

Overall, The Night Man #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 #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, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors, 1990s culture enthusiasts and fans of Malibu Comics! Today we return to the Ultraverse through another tale of The Strangers which has been a pretty solid monthly series that I’ve been reviewing. As of this writing, I’m getting closer to finishing all 24 issues of this particular series and I can say that it has been a lot of fun doing retro comic book reviews of it. I’ve got a retro review about the 11th issue of The Strangers right here.

Before going to it, I should state a recap of the events in issue #10. That story had the Strangers (without Yrial who by then was held captive by her black tribe) doing a search by the sea in the Caribbean and they eventually discover a portal that sent them to another realm filled with monsters. After a big battle, the team attempted to get away only to fall over a cliff.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Strangers #11, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Rick Hoberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the Strangers falling down from what turned out to be a very great height. While his teammates could not do anything, Zip-Zap uses his power to make the air whirl around them and land safely on the ground below.

As they are in the middle of nowhere, searching for the way back seemed like an impossibility. Electrocute realizes there is an answer sensing the something is present in that lost world they are in and she points to some far-away direction. Zip-Zap then proceeds to run towards it leaving the team behind…

Quality

A nice display of fine art and character development.

Starting with the writing, I should say that this comic book’s plot is very simplistic with its concept and clearly lacks the richness of the story told in issue #10. Technically, this story is more like a filler serving as a build-up to issue #12 (which itself has a deeper story filled with spectacle and lots of intrigue). That’s not to say this is a disappointing issue of The Strangers in relation to the overall quality of the series as a whole. It’s just different with its plot structuring. Along the way, there were some short but sweet character development moments that took place most notably with regards to the romance between Atom Bob and Lady Killer.

What this comic book excels at is the really fine and varied artwork done by Rick Hoberg. Through the scenes in which Zip-Zap runs and explores the unknown realm they are lost in, you will really see Hoberg’s great talent with visual details as well as his creativity with regards to making varied locations filled with creatures that are truly out of this world. For the lack of superhero action, Hoberg’s visuals are the true spectacle here.

Conclusion

Really great art by Rick Hoberg.

Even though its plot lacked depth and its execution in storytelling is very different, The Strangers #11 (1994) succeeds in expanding the lost realm and zones within the Ultraverse. As for building up suspense or excitement for issue #12, this comic book achieved it as well. For a comic book that lacked superhero action, this one did not end up boring and that’s quite an achievement by the creators.

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

Overall, The Strangers #11 (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 Prototype #17 (1995)

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

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors, fans of 1990s culture and fans of Malibu Comics. Today we return to the Ultraverse and I should say that I am getting very close to closing my retro review run on the Prototype monthly series. So far, I found Prototype to be a really enjoyable and engaging series. It is too bad that the Ultraverse did not last too long because as far as armored superheroes go, Malibu Comics’ armored hero concept is very unique and fun to read. Had the Ultraverse lasted long, Prototype would have been explored a whole lot more and writers Tom Mason and Len Strazewski would have created more new stories of him.

Last time around, Jimmy Ruiz (who no longer has the high compensation and big-time perks of his original employer) got into trouble and had to use his armor as he was the target of another huge and powerful armored rival. The battle ended costly for Prototype.

What will happen next to him? We can all find out in this look back at Prototype #17, published by Malibu Comics in 1995 with a story written by Len Strazewski and drawn by George Dove.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside a top-secret facility. A man realizes that all the flesh below his waste are gone, completely replaced with metallic tentacles which make him look like a human octopus. The man in shock is none of other than Stanley Leland and his is welcomed to Terrordyne. Terrordyne makes clear they do not want to hurt him but have him as their new CEO  and they know he desires revenge against Prototype.

Elsewhere, the Prototype armor is being repaired by Bob Campbell (Ranger). Jimmy, who is desperate to get Angella back, is eager to get back into action but the repair of his armor is not moving as fast as he wanted. Fortunately, Bob’s wife arrives with a man who believes he can help them. She tells Jimmy that the Prototype armor’s power coupling will be improved by forty percent.

Soon enough, the armor gets enhanced and Jimmy could sense the differences already. Soon enough, he goes on a mission with Ranger accompanying him…

Quality

Prototype and Ranger inside a restaurant.

Starting with the story, I’m happy to say that the writing here is stronger, the dialogue has more depth and the plot is much more intriguing to read compared to the previous few issues. The concept of this comic book is about the effort to find and save Angella but with Ranger getting involved not only to add assist Prototype on the field but also provide him insight on dealing with a serious matter like the kidnapping done by very powerful opponents. In a way, having upgraded armor and weapons are not sufficient and even though he fought lots of enemies before, Jimmy Ruiz lacks the maturity, the self-control and strategy needed to do his mission. The scenes showing Ranger providing Prototype assistance in the form of strategies related to past experiences (that Bob Campbell went through) were done cleverly and never hampered the pace of the story.

As for the art, George Dove did a good job visualizing the armors of Prototype and Ranger. He also was good with drawing the action scenes.

Conclusion

Really nice art by George Dove.

To be clear, Prototype #17 (1995) is a two-heroes-in-one type of story that is character-led. For one thing, Jimmy is desperate, impatient and does things recklessly while Bob Campbell does his best to keep him stable and to prevent him from screwing up everything due to recklessness. It shows that the protagonist is not only humanly fragile, but also getting close to his breaking point. The emotional element makes the story worth reading.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Prototype #17 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $27.

Overall, Prototype #17 (1995) is recommended.

+++++

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

A Look Back at The Strangers #6 (1993)

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

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors, fans of 1990s culture and fans of Malibu Comics! Do you want to see another fight against evil within the Ultraverse? You will find it right here through The Strangers.

Last time around, The Strangers had to cut short their return to private life because they were need to deal with a new force of evil called Deathwish. What was revealed was that the person behind Deathwish turned out to be one of the many people who rode the very same San Francisco cable car with the members of The Strangers (when they were still civilians without powers) that was hit by energy from the sky.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Strangers #6, published by Malibu Comics in 1993 with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Rick Hoberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the impact of Deathwish still felt by The Strangers and the locals. Deathwish left behind a lot of physical damage and the team does what it can to repair it even though some emergency personnel are already present.

A short time later, an old survivor was found and was brought to a hospital for treatment. Yrial, Zip-Zap and Lady Killer decide to go to the hospital and observe the emergency procedure. Suddenly, a loud voice from somewhere was heard and Zip-Zap speedily went around to find the source. He found a hospital room which had a patient warning others that darkness has arrived.

Back inside the emergency room, something happens to the old survivor and Deathwish suddenly emerges out of thin air. Lady Killer is stunned with the sight of the monster’s return…

Quality

The Strangers fight Deathwish again.

Without spoiling important plot details, this story marks the second conflict between The Strangers and Deathwish. The good news here is that the script is well written and the creative duo found new ways to keep the rematch fresh and fun to read. What the Strangers did the previous time to beat Deathwish did not work anymore which forced their members to find new ways and tactics overcome the challenges. As for the villain, this comic book showed more of his personality (as opposed to his desire for power and absorbing life).

When it comes to character development, it’s pretty much non-existent here. The scene showing Yrial working with her magic does not count as character development but more of exposition of what she could do. It feels hollow but the visuals are nice to look at.

Conclusion

The Strangers helping with cleaning up the mess.

While The Strangers #6 (1993) is a fun read and really nice art drawn by Rick Hoberg, it still is a step down from its predecessor in terms of engagement and depth. The rematch between The Strangers and Deathwish was fun but it ended in a way that felt like a creative way of cheating readers who preferred to see a more engaging conclusion.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #6 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $14.

Overall, The Strangers #6 (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 The Solution #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.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors, 1990s culture enthusiasts and fans of Malibu Comics! Are you ready for another return to the Ultraverse? I’ve got another retro review of The Solution.

Last time around, The Solution went to Japan on a mission that involved a secret meeting between leader Lela Cho/Tech and a man referred to as Kronstein. However, something unfortunate happened that led to violence. What The Solution encountered was a force of opposition in the form of another team (that was introduced also in issue #1).

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Solution #3, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story by the late James Hudnall and drawn by Darick Robertson (with ink work done by Barbara Kaalberg).

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in Los Angeles. A lady is struggling with finding her car key as two monstrous figures approach her. One of them is holding her set of keys. They fully transform into over-sized monsters with razor sharp teeth right in front of her. The monsters’ focus gets disrupted when they hear the sound of a harmonica being played by a man sitting on top of a car. As they approach him, the man grabs his rod and fights them fearlessly.

The next day in nearby Hollywood, Lela/Tech and her teammates have a meeting in a hotel room. Dropkick and Vurk express concern about Lela engaging in media interviews that could undercut what they have been trying to do. Lela does not see anything wrong about it and she reminds Dropkick that their team is a business and they could use the free advertising.

Apart from the media talk, The Solution is preparing to meet their new client at 9PM. Vurk, seeking some fresh air and use the free time, decides to head out for a while. Discreetly, Lela asks Aera to use her magic to put a trace on him…

Quality

Vurk in his monster form during his fight with the hunter of his race.

Like issue #2, this one continues to build-up the team but with one notable difference…more focus on the creepy looking Vurk (also referred to as Outrage). While it was established in issue #1 that, like Aera/Shadowmage, he is not human. Rather he belongs to a race called the Darkurians which are oversized monsters in their true forms. In this story, you get to see more of Vurk’s nature as a Darkurian as well as his personality complete with how much he has learned to walk along the many people around him.

This comic book also introduces readers to a new character who hunts Darkurians as part of his campaign to rid the world of them. As it turns out, that man has a history of conflict with Vurk and this issue reignites their conflict. This easily produces the spectacle of this comic book which is filled with hard-hitting action, collateral damage and action moves that Vurk could pull off only in his monster form. It’s pretty entertaining stuff.

Conclusion

The team in their private meeting.

The Solution #3 (1993) is a fun Ultraverse story that succeeded in building up the series’ concept but with more focus on Vurk. Vurk is not exactly an appealing character on face value but at least his background details and his rivalry with the hunter of his race added a good amount of depth into the story. It is also interesting to see Vurk trying his best to be good with the good guys (his team). Having read his incidental involvement with the team in issue #8, this comic book makes more sense out of him.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Solution #3 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $14 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $42.

Overall, The Solution #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 The Strangers #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.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors, 1990s culture enthusiasts and fans of Malibu Comics! As of this writing, I am coming close to finally reviewing all issues of The Strangers series of comic books under the Ultraverse line of Malibu Comics. If you have been following my retro reviews, I reviewed issue #23 which was the 2nd-to-the-last of all published issues of The Strangers.

Then I checked for issues I have not reviewed. I went on to review issues #14 and #15. Now I am about to review a few more issues that were published during the first six months of The Strangers.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Strangers #5, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Rick Hoberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins somewhere in California (shortly after parting ways with Hardcase and Choice). It was decided by the team to take a break from being the Strangers and return to their respective private lives.

Bob Hardin/Atom Bob returns to his parents at home and learns that not only were he and his teammates publicized in the local news, there are many reporters who arrived and stayed just outside their home seeking him.

Zip-Zap arrives in his old neighborhood and immediately encounters a local gang of his fellow black people. Grenade and Electrocute, who are in the same neighborhood as Atom Bob, walk down the street and start to get close with each other. Elena/Lady Killer goes back to her business while Yrial finds herself unable to return to her private life (at the floating island). Suddenly, someone on the sidewalk calls out to Yrial for help…

Quality

Suspense and tension builds up for the Strangers.

Given how hectic times were for The Strangers in the first four issues, this story is a welcome change of pace. The pacing was adjusted to give readers some much needed breathing space to help them focus on the characterization moments, to get to know each team member better and to realize what their place in the entire Ultraverse truly is. For one thing, it is nice to see Atom Bob with his folks and it is quite something to see Yrial finding herself somewhat lost and lonely in the middle of the city as she is unable to come back to her tribe on the floating island.

More on storytelling, this comic book still has a good amount of space left for spectacle which was structured in a way to be a pay-off for all the character development scenes that preceded it. That being said, the new villain introduced here is Deathwish who turns out to be quite powerful (powerful enough kill and make corpses rot faster than usual) and easily challenged the Strangers a lot. The encounter results some pretty interesting character moments for each team member. Deathwish also is one of the many other people who rode the same cable car with the Strangers on the day they got hit by energy from above.

More on the spectacle, I just love the way Steve Englehart and Rick Hoberg presented the teamwork dynamics of The Strangers in their fight with Deathwish.

Conclusion

Elena/Lady Killer as the very busy businesswoman.

The Strangers #5 (1993) is another entertaining read from the Englehart-Hoberg duo. This comic book further developed the characters and even gave readers a look at their private lives before resuming the superhero spectacle. It also tried to be socially relevant for the 1990s with insertions about AIDS, cancer and homosexuality (an abomination as clearly written in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 in the Holy Bible) which are channeled through one particular team member. More notably, it sheds light on the cable car incident from issue #1 to point out that the Strangers are truly not the only ones who got affected by the energy blast from the sky.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #5 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $14.

Overall, The Strangers #5 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 #15 (1994)

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

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors, 1990s culture enthusiasts and fans of Malibu Comics! Are you ready for another return to the Ultraverse as seen through another tale of The Strangers?

Last time around, I had a lot of fun reading the debut and origin story of Powerhouse who turned out to be an ultra whose powers were realized in 1938 (coincidentally the same year DC Comics launched Action Comics #1 which introduced Superman in real life) and ended up spending more than fifty years of his life in containment. As for the Strangers, only Atom Bob and Grenade were featured but their encounter with Powerhouse (an ultra who was rejected for his being powerful  during his youth and eventually witnessed how modern-day ultras like the two mentioned Strangers were received positively by the public which knew of their powers) proved to be fun and memorable to read.

Now we can go on to another tale of The Strangers but with focus on two other members. To find out, here is my look back at The Strangers #15, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Rick Hoberg.

Early story

The story begins with the Strangers doing a review of their own members (6) plus ten others who happened to have been on the very same cable car with them the day they all got struck by energy from the sky which turned them into ultra beings. Their leader Lady Killer noted that there are still 43 others unaccounted for who may or may not have realized the got powers. The first ten they verified as ultras were all bad guys they fought with in recent times.

After the end of their discussion, the Strangers decide to take time off to go back to their respective private lives. Yrial asked Leon/Zip-Zap if she could join him. Zip-Zap tells her that his local community is very different from the floating island community she came from. Even so, Yrial stressed she wants to come with him and he accepts.

Some time later at another part of town, Yrial and Zip-Zap (both wearing civilian clothes) walk together. A few people somewhat recognized Yrial which reflects the public’s knowledge of her team. As they move on, a gang of tough-looking black people calls Zip-Zap by his real name. It turns out that Colvin (the apparent gang leader) and Leon had a conflict some time back and he knows Leon is with the Strangers.

Colvin introduces Yrial and Zip-Zap to Gangsta and Brazen. This prompts the teenage Leon to warn Yrial that Gangsta is dangerous. Gangsta then unleashes an energy blast on the two Strangers…  

Quality

Yrial and Zip-Zap plus the gang.

I like this story and the way it developed Yrial and Zip-Zap. To be clear, this story is not a typical, good-versus-evil superhero presentation. You won’t see the entire Strangers engage with another group of bad guys nor go against one powerful villain. It’s really all about Zip-Zap and his black lady friend who find trouble at a time when they are supposed to have a restful and easy time together. In other words, what happened to Atom Bob and Grenade in the previous issue also happened to the two black members of the team.

There clearly is a strong visual element of black people here and the story even touches on racial barriers. The new villain Gangsta openly stated that he got his powers from the ancient Egyptian pharaohs which he also described as the direct ancestors of the black race. He even tells Zip-Zap to honor Colvin’s gang, otherwise he will die.

The match-ups here are strategic. Yrial and Gangsta fight each other using magic, and they represent different cultures even as they are both black. For his part, Zip-Zap fights with a gang of black people led by a rival from his past. Their respective conflicts were portrayed in compelling ways.

Going back to Zip-Zap being reluctant in having Yrial with him on his return to his old neighborhood, the teenage member of the Strangers admits that his life has been uneasy. His father died before he was born and his mother died a few years before the day he and his teammates gained their powers while riding the cable car. Zip-Zap also was the littlest kid in a gang. Then life in the neighborhood became harder for him when Gangsta showed up. I should state that the way Steve Englehart emphasized Zip-Zap’s background is really compelling and also believable.   

Conclusion

Visually, having Yrial and Zip-Zap in civilian clothing is a fresh change from the usual.

Thanks to the creative duo of Englehart-Hoberg, The Strangers #15 (1994) is another fun-filled story that succeeded in developing Yrial and Zip-Zap while also keeping the series’ storytelling fresh. It touches on black people and the different cultures that brought the characters together. It even touches on the stereotypes of black gangsters as well as black youth who grew up without a father. That being said, it is a wonder as to how Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists would react if they read this comic book.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #15 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $14.

Overall, The Strangers #15 (1994) is recommended!

+++++

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