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Welcome back, superhero fans, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the Ultraverse of Malibu Comics and examine one of its many stories told through an issue of the Sludge comic book series.
In my previous retro review, a more character-driven story about Sludge was told as the city crime war story has ended. What made issue #10’s story standout was the unexpected physical change Sludge goes through which is something he had desired apart from wanting death. Ironically, this made him more vulnerable to physical attacks. Needing help on something, he reaches out to the New York Daily Globe’s reporter Shelley Rogers.
With those details laid down, here is a look back at Sludge #11, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written by Steve Gerber and drawn by Robb Phipps.
The story begins with Sludge about to engage in a physical battle with the Bash Brothers just outside the Lalama Clinic. Shelley Rogers is just standing nearby. The Bash Brothers proved to be troublesome for Sludge until Shelley explains to one of them that their mother was not harmed. The said mother comes out and after an exchange of talk between them all, they realize Sludge needs the help of Dr. Ferdinand Lalama who was involved with the Caldwell Pharmaceuticals which itself was responsible for the stuff that affected Sludge in the first place.
Shelley then notices that Sludge is reverting back to his previous gooey state. At the same time, Dr. Lalama made no communication for almost a week…
As a story that started with Sludge needing to find a specialist to help treat him, this one went wild with the fantasy concepts. Without spoiling the plot, this wild ride has strong science fiction elements such as energy streaming and traveling to another dimension through a portal. The sci-fi elements are indeed a factor that made this tale of the search of Dr. Lalama a really intriguing read.
With regards to the titular hero, this story encourages researching details of his origin (how he went from human into a chemical being) as well as reading issue #1. Sludge himself is more vulnerable than before and the unpredictable changes with him added suspense to the narrative. This story also contains themes of scientific experimentation and molecular manipulation which were nicely planted into the story’s sci-fi aspect. That being said, I can say that what was explained near the end of the comic book was both intriguing and worth reading.
Sludge #11 (1994) is indeed a really intriguing and entertaining read. Without spoiling anything, I can say that it cleverly answered questions about how Sludge came to be, what Zuke and a regeneration formula did to his state and what forces behind the pharmaceutical company took place that affected the titular character. This is really fitting as this comic book was the 2nd-to-the-last issue ever published. That being said, I can say that I am looking forward to what will be told in issue #12.
Overall, Sludge #11 (1994) is highly recommended.
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