Better than Streaming: A look at V: The Final Battle Blu-ray (by Warner Archive)

By now, many of you should be aware about how much I loved watching V: The Original Miniseries and the best way to view it in high-definition is on Blu-ray. I was a kid when I first saw V: The Original Miniseries way back in the 1980s and it was a major hit not only in America but also around the world. Considering the way the 1983 miniseries ended and the success it achieved, a sequel was inevitable although it was not spearheaded by creator and genius Kenneth Johnson. 

That sequel is none other than V: The Final Battle which was another mini-series that played all over the United States in 1984. It was considerably longer than its predecessor as it had three episodes and combined for more than 270 minutes playtime. V: The Final Battle, which had the now iconic Michael Ironside as the most notable addition to the highly talented cast, was a TV ratings hit as well and eventually Warner Bros. proceeded with its plan to produce a regular TV series out of Kenneth Johnson’s creation. Oh yes, like the original mini-series of 1983, I saw both V: The Final Battle and the TV series locally back in the 1980s. My first bout of replaying V: The Final Battle digitally was on DVD format more than fifteen years ago.

Just two days ago, I received my Blu-ray copy of V: The Final Battle which I ordered online. 

The front cover of V: The Final Battle Blu-ray.

Released in April 2020 by Warner Archive, V: The Final Battle on Blu-ray comes with two discs (the first disc contained the first two episodes). Its technical specs goes as follows:

Video
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Audio
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono (48kHz, 24-bit)

Subtitles
English SDH

Discs
Blu-ray Disc
Two-disc set (1 BD-25, 1 BD-50)

Playback
2K Blu-ray: Region free

The people at Warner Bros. surely wanted to freak buyers out.

Having viewed the first episode the other night, the most telling difference I spotted right from the start was that V: The Final Battle’s footage did not fill the entire screen of our HDTV at home. In fact, what was presented was a more squarish image with black borders on both sides. This is because the sequel was formatted with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. Having seen V: The Original Miniseries Blu-ray with its widescreen imagery (aspect ratio of 1.85:1), I found the sequel’s 1.33:1 Blu-ray look not only weird (note: I still remember that TV imagery in the 1980s were more squarish than widescreen) but somehow less immersive on our HDTV. Regardless, I still had fun and engagement replaying V: The Final Battle’s first episode. The picture quality, so far, looks good and the colors look more vibrant than ever. As for the extra stuff, there is really not much here to satisfy fans of the sequel as the Blu-ray comes only with network teasers. If you are looking for behind-scenes stuff or interviews with the cast, you will be disappointed. How is the overall quality and fun of V: The Final Battle as a whole? That will be revealed in a future review. 

If you are a long-time V fan, or if you are looking for gems of the science fiction genre, or if you are looking for the standout entertainment properties of the 1980s to add to your Blu-ray collection, be aware that you can order V: The Final Battle Blu-ray online by clicking here.

In ending this piece, watch this short clip of V: The Final Battle from the Warner Archive YouTube channel. It’s got Michael Ironside as Ham Tyler doing action and a glimpse of established V franchise hero Marc Singer as Mike Donovan!

For more entries of my Better than Streaming series of articles, check out my pieces on The Beastmaster 4K Blu-rayThe Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-rayMortal Kombat 2021 4K Blu-raySpace Jam 4K Blu-ray and The Thing 4K Blu-ray.

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

Better than Streaming: John Carpenter’s The Thing 4K Blu-ray combo coming out on September 7, 2021

Calling all fans of director John Carpenter and star Kurt Russell as well as Blu-ray collectors fond of science fiction and horror films!

Get ready because Carpenter’s classic sci-fi horror film The Thing (1982) will be released in 4K Blu-ray format (in a combo including the Blu-ray disc and digital code) on September 7, 2021. In addition, those who insist on having the best 4K visuals with the classic movie will be delighted over the early confirmation that The Thing has been rendered in native 4K.

The cover of The Thing 4K Blu-ray combo.

As of this writing, there is no suggested retail price yet. Still, here are the product descriptions and specs from Blu-ray.com’s articles about The Thing 4K Blu-ray. Some parts in boldface…

SPECS

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)

HDR: HDR10

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Audio

English: DTS:X

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1

Subtitles

English, English SDH, French, Spanish

Discs

4K Ultra HD

Blu-ray Disc

Two-disc set (1 BD-100, 1 BD-50)

Digital

Digital 4K

Digital copy included

Playback

4K Blu-ray: Region free

2K Blu-ray: Region A

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

DISC ONE – 4K BLU-RAY

  • 4K RESTORATION OF THE FILM FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE
  • HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
  • DTS:X AUDIO TRACK
  • Audio Commentary with Director John Carpenter and Kurt Russell
  • John Carpenter’s The Thing: Terror Takes Shape
  • Outtakes
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Optional English SDH, Spanish, and French subtitles for the main feature

DISC TWO – BLU-RAY

  • Main feature
  • Audio Commentary with Director John Carpenter and Kurt Russell
  • U-Control: Picture in Picture
  • Optional English SDH, Spanish, and French subtitles for the main feature

For those who are not too aware about this old sci-fi horror movie, The Thing tells the story of an American research team stationed in Antarctica whose lives turn upside-down after a sled dog comes to them after being hunted by a helicopter from the Norwegian research team.

Historically speaking, The Thing was released in cinemas in the United States just two weeks after Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. The Carpenter-directed space alien monster film was trashed by movie critics of the time and in the American box office, Spielberg’s movie about a friendly alien creature from outer space was simply unbeatable. As time passed by, The Thing found its audience on TV and home video and its critical reception turned from negative to positive overall. In the awards circuit, The Thing was nominated for Best Horror Film and Best Special Effects (credit to Rob Bottin who went on to work on effects for RoboCop and Total Recall) in the 10th annual Saturn Awards given by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. Fans of actor Keith David will want to see his performance in this particular film. David also went on to work again with John Carpenter years later.

To get to know more about John Carpenter’s The Thing through trivia, watch the video posted below from Minty Comedic Arts. Be warned of potential spoilers…

For more entries of my Better than Streaming series of articles, check out my pieces on The Beastmaster 4K Blu-ray, The Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-ray, Mortal Kombat 2021 4K Blu-ray, Space Jam 4K Blu-ray and V: The Original Miniseries Blu-ray disc of Warner Archive (read my retro review).  

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

Better than Streaming: Space Jam 4K Blu-ray combo now available!

Are you fond of 1990s Hollywood movies? Do you love Michael Jordan during his reign in the NBA? Have you ever seen the famous Bill Murray act with Jordan and Larry Bird? Have you always been a fan of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and the rest of the Looney Tunes gang?

Here is the news that could be big to you in relation to the above questions – the 1996 hit live-action/animated comedy movie Space Jam is now available on 4K Blu-ray (with digital copy and Blu-ray disc included) and you can order it now at Amazon!

Space Jam 4K Blu-ray combo.

Here are the details on what comes with Space Jam 4K Blu-ray sourced from Blu-ray.com

Video
Codec: HEVC / H.265
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
HDR: HDR10
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1


Audio

English: Dolby Atmos
English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1
French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
German: Dolby Digital 5.1
Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1
Danish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Swedish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Norwegian: Dolby Digital 5.1
Finnish: Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles

English SDH, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish


Discs
4K Ultra HD
Blu-ray Disc
Two-disc set (1 BD-100, 1 BD-50)

Extra stuffCommentary with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and director Joe Pytka. Jammin’ with Bug Bunny and Michael Jordan featurette. Two music videos and the theatrical trailer.

For those who are not very aware about the legacy of Space Jam, it was a special project of Warner Bros.’ animation group and not only did it star Michael Jordan (who led the Chicago Bulls to its 4th NBA title in mid-1996), it involved big names like Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters) as producer, comedy icon Bill Murray in a key supporting role and a whole lot of great voice talents such as Billy West (Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd), Dee Bradley Baker (Daffy Duck), and Frank Welker (best known for Transformers’ Megatron) to name a few.

Adding further zest to the cast lots of NBA personalities such as Hall of Famer Larry Bird, Mugsy Bogues, Charles Barkley, Shawn Bradley, Patrick Ewing and Larry Johnson, plus cameo appearances of Danny Ainge, Horace Grant, Steve Kerr and A.C. Green to name a few.

Personally, I never saw Space Jam in the movie theater but I got to watch it in the airplane going to the United States in April 1997. I was not able to focus fully on its story as watching it on a small screen behind the passenger seat in front of me was never a comfortable experience. Still, the movie caught my attention when I saw Larry Bird (my favorite basketball player of all-time) act with Jordan and with the iconic Bill Murray. Of course, the quality of animation done by Warner Bros.’ creative teams was pretty good for its time. I should state that Elmer Fudd scoring a basket in basketball uniform was fun to watch.

Going back to the above specs and details about Space Jam 4K Blu-ray, it’s really nice to know that the visuals have been confirmed to be native 4K. Personally, I am interested to see how the 1996 mixed live-action/animation film would look like on the screen of our 4K smart TV at home.

In the official Blu-ray.com review for Space Jam 4K Blu-ray, the visuals were partially described as: Advertised as a new HDR-enhanced 4K master, Space Jam arrives on the format with a mostly pleasing 2160p transfer that corrects a few of the 2011 Blu-ray’s visual shortcomings but back-pedals elsewhere. For starters, it’s worth noting that portions of this film have always looked soft and very light on grain, such as Jordan’s arrival and stay in WB world, including the climactic basketball game; this was a necessary style choice to ensure that live-action elements didn’t stick too far out against the more smoothly-rendered animation. Other built-in source “defects” (for lack of a better word) include a bit of aliasing on specific CG backgrounds, such as a few sharp angles and edges on Moron Mountain and the baseline and free-throw paint on animated basketball courts; it’s easily spotted on screenshot #4, but again hardly distracting in-motion.

Space Jam 4K Blu-ray combo is now available and it should appeal to NBA fans, Looney Tunes fans and just about anyone who feels nostalgic about the 1990s. Take note that when Space Jam was released in cinemas in late 1996, Michael Jordan was on his way to a second three-peat of NBA championships and the movie was clearly part of the legacy of his basketball greatness which defined the NBA in the 1990s (note: Jordan and the Chicago Bulls won the NBA championship titles in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 1998). Space Jam was made at a time when Hollywood not yet dominated by the Satanic Left, those whiny socialists, the naked Communists and all those liberals who love to use movies as pieces to spread their poisonous propaganda. In short, Space Jam of 1996 was simply made to entertain without any political garbage.

For more entries of my Better than Streaming series of articles, check out my pieces on The Beastmaster 4K Blu-ray, The Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-ray, Mortal Kombat 2021 4K Blu-ray, and V: The Original Miniseries Blu-ray disc of Warner Archive (read my retro review).  

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

Yes! I want more sci-fi RPGs from Team Xbox, Bethesda and Obsidian!

As a geek, I often enjoyed the science fiction (sci-fi) genre of entertainment. Star Wars made its mark in movies, video games (note: I enjoyed playing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic on the original Xbox console), toys and comic books. I love watching V: The Original Miniseries and in recent times I successfully bought myself a Blu-ray copy of it to enjoy it all over again in high-definition. On Xbox 360, I enjoyed heavily replaying the three Mass Effect games (2007-2012) and even had one last replay of the entire trilogy using the backward compatibility feature on Xbox One a few years ago.

When it comes to recent gaming, I deeply enjoyed playing The Outer Worlds in its full design and concept (note: with the Peril on Gorgon and Murder on Eridanos DLC expansion packs included) from start to finish on my aging Xbox One console. That sci-fi RPG developed by Obsidian Entertainment is the best of its kind that I have played in the 8th console generation.

For the future, there are two things that keep me really interested in the sci-fi RPG sub-genre of video gaming as well as gaming on Xbox.

First is Bethesda’s Starfield which is anticipated to be exclusive to Xbox and PC and may be released in 2022. As the Xbox-Bethesda showcase on June 13 is approaching, my anticipation for Starfield is growing even though the key details about it remain a mystery. Having played Bethesda’s Fallout 4 on Xbox One and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on Xbox 360, I can imagine Starfield having 3rd person and 1st person views with in-depth exploration, varied forms of interacting with other characters and NPCs (non-playable characters), and shooting plus some melee combat.

The brand-new sci-fi RPG from Bethesda!

As Starfield is sci-fi in concept, there will surely be lots of gameplay features that will make it different from Fallout and Elder Scroll games, and stand out among sci-fi RPGs. I am anticipating space travel, spaceship battles, visiting planets, customizing spaceships, encountering alien lifeforms, the exploration of space stations and more. Such sci-fi concepts remind me of what I enjoyed in Mass Effect games and in The Outer Worlds, but given Bethesda’s RPG design and approach to gameplay, I am confident that Starfield will have features that will make it different as far as sci-fi concepts and game design go.  

The lack of clear details about Starfield only make its anticipated unveiling at the Xbox-Bethesda special event even more attractive. I am confident that Todd Howard will make the big presentation of it.

Second is the future of The Outer Worlds as a game franchise under the control of Team Xbox and Xbox game studio Obsidian Entertainment (note: they were acquired in 2018). To make things clear, game publishing label Private Division (under Take-Two) has the publishing rights of the original game that came out to multiple platforms in 2019. As to who owns the The Outer Worlds as an intellectual property, it is Microsoft which is the result of its acquisition of Obsidian (the creator of The Outer Worlds) which happened during the development of the said game. That being said, Private Division and Take-Two stake is limited to the first game. The rest (note: future iterations) belong to Microsoft and Team Xbox and Obsidian will be managing it.

A quick look back at 2019’s The Outer Worlds.

To put things in perspective, check out this excerpt from Gamasutra’s May 19, 2021 article which was updated with clarifications from Take-Two. Some parts in boldface…

A spokesperson from Private Division, the American publisher owned by Take-Two, has explained the company won’t be involved with “future iterations” of The Outer Worlds franchise, noting that Obsidian and owner Microsoft will be steering the ship moving forward.

Microsoft has been looking to expand its stable of first-party titles for some time, having spent huge sums of cash on a variety of studios over the past few years, such as its recent $7.5 billion acquisition of Bethesda.

Although the company purchased Obsidian back in 2018, The Outer Worlds developer worked with Take-Two’s subsidiary Private Division to publish the game. Recent remarks from Take-Two president Karl Slatoff had indicated that relationship would continue, but an update from Private Division has confirmed that Microsoft now intends to take charge of the franchise.

“Private Division is still supporting and marketing The Outer Worlds, including the upcoming release of Murder on Eridanos DLC on Nintendo Switch,” said the company. “Moving forward, Obsidian and Microsoft will be publishing future iterations in the franchise, and we’re absolutely thrilled to see where they take it.

Now that it is clear that Microsoft, Team Xbox and Obsidian Entertainment have The Outer Worlds under their belt and with commercial and critical success achieved with the first game, it is anticipated that the developers behind it may announce a sequel during the Xbox-Bethesda showcase on June 13. Here’s an excerpt from Windows Central Gaming’s recent article

Building content for E3 takes a huge chunk of dev time, and many of these games are just in deep content development right now, rather than being prepped for marketing materials.

Obsidian, however, could appear in a big way. I’ve been told conflicting information about the possibility of Avowed being at the show, which is Obsidian’s first-person RPG set in the Pillars of Eternity universe, making me think there’s a 50/50 chance we could see something on it. I’ve also been told that, surprisingly, Outer Worlds 2 may be announced.

And then there is this video by Colteastwood mentioning that Obsidian is ready to announce The Outer Worlds sequel at the June 13 showcase.

I believe it is inevitable that Starfield and The Outer Worlds will be confirmed very soon as Xbox and PC-exclusive franchises (beyond the games, take note) of the sci-fi RPG sub-genre.

While I can only speculate what story concept, characters and game design for Starfield will turn out with under Bethesda, I can imagine future games of The Outer Worlds getting more varied in terms of game design, characters, settings, in-game environments, storytelling, exploration and more now that Obsidian has better resources under Team Xbox.

As it is clear Obsidian is very busy already working on the fantasy RPG Avowed, it is very likely they will make the announcement of the sequel to The Outer Worlds in the form of a CGI trailer. As to how The Outer Worlds 2 will turn out in the years to come, I hope the developers will add spaceship battles (with real-time shooting on other ships for great interaction), more boarding of other spaceships, more varieties of monsters and enemies to fight with on-foot, building a brand-new colony or settlement and the like.   

With the upcoming Starfield and future The Outer World games under the Xbox umbrella, sci-fi role-playing games will not only establish Xbox as the haven for RPG enthusiasts in the years to come but also help increase the Xbox Game Pass (XGP) base of paying subscribers, help increase the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X console userbase and help the overall Xbox LIVE membership grow a lot! Also imagine the many other fans of The Outer Worlds on the PS4 and Nintendo Switch (who don’t own Xbox consoles) buy Xbox Series consoles for the sequels.

More on the sci-fi RPG sub-genre, I can say that Team Xbox, Bethesda and Obsidian have a potential gold mine once their upcoming games turn out great, keep gamers very happy and convince them and other enthusiasts of RPGs and science fiction to come back for more.

If the current success of EA’s Mass Effect: Legendary Edition indicates anything, it only serves as a reminder that the Mass Effect franchise’s greatness happened long ago and EA and BioWare themselves still have yet to achieve brand new success with the said franchise without resorting to nostalgia.

The way things are right now, Team Xbox/Bethesda/Obsidian are in better positions than EA/BioWare when it comes to making great sci-fi RPGs. For the Xbox fans who love RPGs and science fiction, the games from Bethesda and Obsidian are sure to be exclusive on their consoles plus Windows PC.

To watch the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase on June 13, posted below are the links for your reference.

In closing this article, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

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

Better than Streaming: A close look at V: The Original Miniseries Blu-ray (by Warner Archive)

Welcome back, my readers, fellow Blu-ray disc collectors and fellow pop culture enthusiasts! Last time around, I informed you about the approaching June 15, 2021 release of the respective 4K Blu-ray discs of Godzilla vs. Kong (2021) and In the Line of Fire (1993). If you missed that article (which contains lots of details and links), check it out now.

In this latest edition of Better than Streaming, I want you to join me in taking a close look at the Blu-ray disc of V: The Original Miniseries (1983) which was released on August 27, 2019 as part of the Warner Archive Collection. I bought this Blu-ray release only this year and I can confirm to you all that I had a great time replaying it from start to finish and in high-definition! Having seen V: The Original Miniseries on TV and video tapes in the 1980s and to its early digital form on DVD in 2001, the Blu-ray release is the best visual experience yet!

If you have not seen my retro review, head on to https://carlocarrasco.com/2021/05/08/a-look-back-at-v-the-original-miniseries-1983/

Going on with the Blu-ray release of V: The Original Miniseries, posted below is a new picture of my copy that I photographed for this article.

My Blu-ray copy of V: The Original Miniseries.

The cover really gives V: The Original Miniseries its own distinct look. A look that fans of V will instantly recognize and given the fact that it does not feature any pictures of the actors and only had images of the alien motherships (read: very huge saucer-like space ships that can carry thousands of people plus equipment) on the cover, I can imagine this Blu-ray release standing out when placed with many other Blu-ray discs on store shelves. The tag line on the top – Humankind’s Last Stand – adds punch to the cover.

When it comes to the technical specifications, it goes as follows…

1080p High Definition

16×9, 1.78:1

DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English

Single disc – Region free

To be clear, the above specs were written on the back of the Blu-ray box and they refer specifically to the main feature…the 2-episodes of the miniseries totaling 197 minutes (3 hours, 17 minutes).

Speaking of the main feature of V: The Original Miniseries contained in the Blu-ray disc, it is entirely presented in one single selection. The two episodes are not presented as separate selections. It means that once you are done with watching the first episode, you only need to wait for the end credits to finish and just let the video play on with the opening credits of the second episode to start and lead further to the story. However, if you saw the first episode and decide to watch the second episode at a later time, only then will you need the remote control of your Blu-ray player to go through chapter selection (skip the chapters of the first episode) to start the second episode.

As mentioned earlier, V: The Original Miniseries was presented in 1080p high-definition and for me it is the best-looking form to date! If you want specifics about the visual quality (as opposed to the high-definition look of the mini-series), I can say that its visual aesthetics from 1983 are still intact but with added benefits due to the higher resolution and digital format. To put things in perspective, the level of visual details, the color-grading, the textures seen on the actors’ faces and the natural look of their skin tone are all improved over the 2001 DVD.

As this is a 1980s production, the film grain also made it and even though it intensifies or weakens as the main feature plays, it never was annoying to watch. If there are any weak spots on the visuals, it’s the fact that the high-definition state made the matte lines in key special effect shots (note: specifically in the scenes of people on the street looking up at a mothership above them) look very obvious and fake. As for other visual effects, the laser blasts look even better and the perfect timing on simulating on-set explosions (specifically the spots that got hit by the laser blasts) add a lot of punch to the spectacle!  

The disc.

As for the extra stuff, I regret to say that V: The Original Miniseries Blu-ray only has the exact same stuff the 2001 DVD had…the feature-length commentary by Kenneth Johnson and a behind-the-scenes documentary. Nothing new at all and this easily reminds me of the words describing this release – Warner Archive Collection.

To be clear about the extra stuff, I really find it very disappointing that the 24-minute behind-the-scenes documentary was presented only in standard definition and had a sub-par quality visually which kinda ruins the fascinating stuff of the production (Johnson and crew filming scenes, Marc Singer and Faye Grant being interviewed, etc.) shown.

The real meat of the extra stuff is the feature-length commentary of Kenneth Johnson. All throughout the two episodes, Johnson provided a lot of insight on the filmmaking, the creative concepts, the symbolism connecting the mini-series with the rise of the 3rd Reich in Europe, etc. I replayed the mini-series entirely with Johnson’s commentary turn on and it was really engaging as a viewing experience!

Conclusion

While the lack of new extra stuff somewhat hampers it, I still had great enjoyment with my Blu-ray copy of V: The Original Miniseries (1983). Its main feature and the Kenneth Johnson commentary are the best things about it and therefore make it worth buying. I can only speculate that if more V fans (plus the many people out there who have yet to discover V of the 1980s for their home entertainment and sci-fi craving) bought a lot of copies of this Warner Archive Collection Blu-ray release, the executives at WB could be convinced to release another Blu-ray of the 1983 mini-series with all new stuff involving the participation of Johnson, the other production team members and the surviving actors (note: it would be great to come up with brand new interviews with Marc Singer, Faye Grant, Jane Badler, David Packer, Blaire Tefkin, Robert Englund and others). It would be great to see pop culture convention footage related to V compiled not to mention an all-new feature commentary with the actors participating.

Overall, the V: The Original Miniseries – Warner Archive Collection Blu-ray is highly recommended! Fans of V of the 1980s will love it and all others who have yet to discover it will find something new and compelling to watch at home with this. Add this to your shopping list and your Blu-ray disc collection!

In closing this Better than Streaming piece, posted below for your enjoyment is the 43-minute YouTube video of the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con panel that had Kenneth Johnson and Marc Singer as guests focused on V.

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

Better than Streaming: Godzilla vs. Kong and In the Line of Fire 4K Blu-ray releases coming out this June!

Welcome to this new series of articles titled Better than Streaming. As many of you, my readers, already know, I am not fan of streaming when it comes to watching movies and TV shows in the comfort of home. My current preference for such home entertainment is the Blu-ray disc format as well as its high-end format the 4K Blu-ray disc! I simply want the best for my personal viewing of movies and TV shows, and the advantages of disc media (specifically 4K Blu-ray) over streaming are clear and undeniable!

I personally own a lot of movies on Blu-ray and I own one Blu-ray disc of V: The Original Miniseries (which is so enjoyable and this time it was presented in high-definition). I recently started building up my personal collection of 4K Blu-ray releases with Total Recall and Wonder Woman 1984.

For this article, we can focus on two notable movies – one new and one old – that will be released on 4K Blu-ray in the middle of June 2021!

Let’s start with Godzilla vs. Kong, the 2021 pandemic-era blockbuster which will be released on 4K Blu-ray disc (plus Blu-ray for 1080p viewing) on June 15, 2021. Pre-orders for the 4K Blu-ray release can be done right here.

The Godzilla vs. Kong 4K Blu-ray combo preview.

As of this writing, Godzilla vs. Kong in optic media will come with the following technical specs and special features:

  • ENGLISH DOLBY ATMOS AUDIO TRACK
  • Audio Commentary by Director, Adam Wingard
  • Kong Discovers Hollow Earth
  • Kong Leaves Home
  • Behold Kong’s Temple
  • The Evolution of Kong, Eighth Wonder of the World
  • Godzilla Attacks
  • The Phenomenon of GŌJIRA, King of the Monsters
  • Round One: Battle at Sea
  • Round Two: One Will Fall
  • Titan Tag Team: The God and the King
  • The Rise of MechaGodzilla
  • Optional English SDH, Latin Spanish, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Italian-SDH, Cantonese, Complex Chinese, Korean, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish subtitles for the main feature

Video
Codec: HEVC / H.265
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10+
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Because the movie theaters here in my place remain closed due to the COVID-19 (China Virus) pandemic, I was not able to watch Godzilla vs. Kong. Along the way, I stayed away from streaming it via HBO Go because I’d rather pay for the best home viewing option which is the 4K Blu-ray release of the movie that is coming. Oh yes, Godzilla vs. Kong’s visuals have been rendered in native 4K (2160p).

The next upcoming 4K Blu-ray release that is worth looking forward to is none other than In the Line of Fire which starred the legendary Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich (who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in this very movie) and Rene Russo. It will be released also on June 15, 2021 and you can order it in advance right here.

The cover of the 4K Blu-ray release of In the Line of Fire.

For your reference, here are the available technical specs and features…

  • NEWLY REMASTERED IN 4K FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE WITH HDR10
  • ALL-NEW DOLBY ATMOS TRACK + original theatrical 5.1 + original theatrical stereo
  • Audio Commentary with Wolfgang Petersen
  • 5 Deleted Scenes
  • “The Ultimate Sacrifice” Featurette
  • “Catching the Counterfeiters” Featurette
  • “How’d They Do That” Featurette
  • “Behind the Scenes with the Secret Service” Featurette
  • Theatrical Teaser

Video
Codec: HEVC / H.265
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
HDR: HDR10
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

I saw In the Line of Fire on video tape in 1993 and on DVD in 2001. I would love to replay the movie with native 4K visuals and see how good the promised new remaster for the 4K Blu-ray will turn out. In pop culture, In the Line of Fire was kind of like a reintroduction of Clint Eastwood to the public and helped younger moviegoers in 1993 (especially those who missed out on his Dirty Harry and cowboy movies) get to know him and his cinematic art better. In the Line of Fire was directed by Wolfgang Petersen and apart from getting solid performances from the cast, he successfully told a compelling story and presented really good hard-action scenes.

So there you have it! June 15, 2021 will be an exciting day for 4K Blu-ray enthusiasts as well as those who love King Kong, Godzilla and Clint Eastwood! While there are indeed a lot of other movies coming out on 4K Blu-ray in the month of June, Kong vs. Godzilla and In the Line of Fire are the standouts for those who love spectacle.

Before I end this article, let me ask you readers – Do you have a large collection of 4K Blu-ray movies right now? What do you enjoy most about watching movies or TV shows in 4K resolution? What is the one movie or TV show you wish will be released soon on 4K Blu-ray format?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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

A Look Back at V #5 (1985)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book, watching the V mini-series (Original Miniseries and The Final Battle) and the 1984 TV series, 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, science fiction enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of the V entertainment franchise of the 1980s! Before I start this newest retro comic book review, I am happy to say that I recently published my retro review of V: The Original Miniseries which is one of the most in-depth retro reviews I wrote so far. I recommend you to read it now. If you are a fan and you are interested to buy yourself the original mini-series on Blu-ray disc format, head on to Amazon. Now we can return to the 1980s comic book series.

Last time around, Ham Tyler and Chris continued their operation which resulted getting reunited with the star child Elizabeth Maxwell (refer to V: The Final Battle mini-series of 1984). Meanwhile, Mike Donovan and Julie Parrish met with delusional astronomer Earl Meagan (patterned after Carl Sagan) who is obsessing with meeting Diana of the Visitors.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at V #5, published in 1985 by DC Comics with a story written by Cary Bates and drawn by Tod Smith.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Diana, Linda and Charles watching a video message from the delusional Earl Meagan expressing his thanks to her (Diana) for accepting his peace proposal for a summit of peace between the humans and the Visitors. He expressed more of his delusion stating that he is confident that both of their races will benefit from the meeting.

Diana explains to her powerful companions that they have a lot to gain by turning one of Earth’s most influential figure to their side. After Diana left, Linda expresses that their commander has gone too far. Charles tells her what she is thinking of.

On Earth, in the presence of Ham, Chris and Bates, a weakened Elizabeth recalls her time with Kyle when they went into hiding away from the Visitors’ search team. She then makes mental contact with Kyle.

Elsewhere, as Mike Donovan and Willie watch the newscast about the peace summit between Diana and Earl Meagan set to happen soon, Julie Parrish personally tells the astronomer (by the helipad within a city) that he just can’t go as such a meeting is suicide. Still delusional, Meagan tells Julie that she is no different from her short-sighted friend Mike, leaves her and rides the helicopter to push through with the summit…

Quality

Realizing her mistake with the delusional astronomer Earl Meagan, Julie comes back to Mike.

First thing to mention is the good news that the quality of the writing and plotting by Cary Bates has the high quality maintained throughout. While the story about the peace summit between Earl Meagan and Diana is the highlight here, the other story (told through Ham and Chris) about the discovery of a secret camp where the Visitors conduct experiments on humans is itself very intriguing as it parallels what the Nazis did to prisoners during the dark days of World War II.

Going back to the highlighted plot of the comic book, Earl Meagan is not only delusional with his old belief that any extraterrestrial race capable of traveling through the depths of space is surely friendly and benevolent to humanity…he is completely wrong and a danger to his own people as clearly lost his touch with truth and reality. He is a perfect example of what happens when a scientist refuses to realize the limits of science and goes over the edge believing in the falsehood that another scientific breakthrough will prove him right and all others wrong. By today’s standards, Meagan can be compared with the radical socialists in America who foolishly believe that all foreigners (including criminals and terrorists) should be allowed free entry into their country without consequence and without responsibility, and at the expense of their fellow American citizens.

When it comes to characterization, I still recognize Ham and Chris as I remembered them from V: The Final Battle thanks to solid writing. Julie’s portrayal in this comic book, however, takes a drastic turn from powerful receiver of Earl Meagan in issue #4. More notably, it is refreshing to see the relationship between Mike and Julie getting strained as a result of Meagan.

Conclusion

The closest thing you can have about Carl Sagan betraying the entire human race in favor of aliens from outer space.

V #5 (1985) is another solid tale about the conflict between the Resistance and the Visitors, but with Earl Meagan as the mad scientist with charisma who puts his fellow humans into more danger. It’s a worthy read from start to finish.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of V #5 (1985), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $28 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $36.

Overall, V #4 (1985) is highly recommended.

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

A Look Back at V: The Original Miniseries (1983)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from watching V: The Original Miniseries 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.

Way back in 1983, I was fortunate to watch the 2-episode sci-fi mini-series on television titled V: The Original Miniseries. Because there was no Netflix, no YouTube, no Internet access and no DVD at the time, getting to replay the said mini-series as well as its sequel V: The Final Battle was really hard. Replays of them on local TV rarely happened.

Then in 2001, V: The Original Miniseries was released on DVD format and I got to watch it all over again with a good amount of enjoyment. In recent times, I purchased the Blu-ray release and replayed the original miniseries in high-definition at last!

You must be wondering if the original mini-series aged well through the decades, and is it still good to watch by today’s standards? While I will comment about its overall quality below, what I can say is that its theme about people fighting to be free from fascism, oppression, terrorism and dictatorship remains relevant to this day.

For his part, star Marc Singer stated: “I think themes of what holds society together and what tears society apart, those themes are universal themes and I think they’re always going to be relevant. I think there’s going to be a necessity for things like V to be revisited in order that society remember what it is that’s cohesive and coherent about it and why is it that we should all stand together and treat each other well.”  

With those details laid down, here is a look back at V: The Original Miniseries, written and directed by Kenneth Johnson. The first episode was broadcast on television in the United States on May 1, 1983.

V: The Original Miniseries

Early story

The story begins in El Salvador where camera operator Mike Donovan (Marc Singer) and his companion Tony risk their lives capturing footage of an armed conflict. As the two tried their best to move away from the heat of battle, a helicopter of the enemy tracks them and corners them. Just as hope seems lost for Mike Donovan, the helicopter suddenly flies away. He turns to the other direction and witnesses the presence of a huge, floating saucer-like space ship coming his way. He begins to record footage of it.

Soon enough, several other space ships arrive and float above many other cities around the world. In America, medical student Julie Parrish (Faye Grant) and her colleagues carefully watch the TV news coverage. In a nice neighborhood, several residents – including Robin Maxwell (Blaire Tefkin), Eleanor Dupres (Neva Patterson), Daniel Bernstein (David Packer) and his grandfather Abraham (Leonardo Cimino) to name a few – marvel at the sight of a space ship above them. At another location, the research of scientist Robert Maxwell (Michael Durrell) and his colleague got interrupted with the arrival of a space ship.

The Visitors formally begin their new relationship with the people of Earth.
Diana of the Visitors played by Jane Badler.

Some time later, the Visitors make verbal contact with the people around the world using varied languages of Earth. In a special arrangement held at the top of the United Nations (UN) building in New York closely viewed on TV by the general public, the Visitors reveal themselves represented by John (Richard Herd) who expresses their message of reaching out peacefully to the people of Earth, seek their help and, in return, share with them their advanced technologies that could help humanity a whole lot for future generations. The Visitors are human in appearance but speak with very distinct sounds.

As a result, the governments of Earth agree to the offer of the Visitors and establish ties with them. Symbolically, a large group of Visitors’ engineers led by Diana (Jane Badler) and security chief Steven (Andrew Pine) arrive at a refinery to formally begin collecting chemicals and minerals.

Then things start to turn bad…

Quality

I can clearly declare that the writing and directing done by Kenneth Johnson remains great, and for many reasons why. On storytelling, Johnson (who was inspired by the anti-fascist novel It Can’t Happen Here and made an adaptation of it before finally coming up with V) clearly took his time on establishing the core concept stage-by-stage, and he also found efficient ways of explaining details to viewers by using in-story news reports and videos and retrospective as effective tools of exposition (these helped cut down the reliance on expository dialogue).

As the story goes on, Johnson carefully introduced the many characters on-screen (including the use of quick introductions of some characters who are located away from others they are connected/related with), established who they are and, most notably, showed how the events that took place affected them.

The Visitors (and one member of their youth auxiliary movement wearing brown) posting propaganda material to condition people’s minds they are friendly and trustworthy. These posters are familiar to many Nazi propaganda materials used in Europe decades earlier. Prior to the release of the Original Miniseries, a real-life marketing campaign of putting up such posters happened in real life.

Johnson also used symbolism which reflects what happened decades ago in Europe with the rise of the Third Reich. The Visitors’ symbol resembles the Nazi Swastika while the persecution of scientists (as well as their families and associates) resembles the Nazi persecution of Jewish people, and the scene of Daniel Bernstein joining the Visitors through their “Friends of Visitors” movement recalls memories of the Hitler Youth. I should state that Earth citizens who chose to collaborate with the aliens from space (strongly symbolized through Eleanor Dupres), images of the armed Visitors watching several helpless Earth people being taken away from their homes and the dominance of propaganda over the free press also reflect what happened back in World War II when the Nazis occupied many parts of Europe. The fact that Johnson used alien humanoids as the Visitors make them a more universal antagonistic force that viewers can relate with.

When it comes to the cast members and their respective performances, there is a whole lot to enjoy here and I can confirm that the quality of dramatic performances is pretty good and adds a whole lot of believability to the story. The most notable performer here is none other than Faye Grant who believably portrayed Julie Parrish on her in-depth transformation from a promising medical student to a reluctant organizer of a movement of freedom-loving people called the Resistance. Faye Grant excellently portrayed emotions and even showed the fragile side of Julie as she struggles to strengthen herself to lead her fellow people who seek freedom and survival. Julie also is the most charismatic and likeable character in my view.

Marc Singer’s Mike Donovan is the closest thing this miniseries has to an action hero. Donovan is not a soldier, nor a policeman, nor a combat specialist. He is a hard-working media employee who has covered a lot of armed conflicts overseas and along the way he learned how to fight. As he is not a fighting machine, Donovan was portrayed to be vulnerable and really ends up struggling a lot. In a way, Donovan symbolizes people who take action once they realize what is wrong and what lies they have been fed with. It should be noted that before Bruce Willis wowed audiences as the vulnerable hero John McClane in Die Hard, Marc Singer’s Donovan was the vulnerable and struggling action performer realized ahead in time. On the dramatic side, Donovan’s talk with his mother Eleanor is a great scene to watch, and his contrast with Kristine Walsh (Jenny Sullivan) must be seen! If you ask me, Mike Donovan is Marc Singer at his best!

Faye Grant’s portrayal of Julie Parrish is highly believable complete with a good range of emotions. Her character development all throughout the Original Miniseries is very believable.
Marc Singer as Mike Donovan.

The other most notable role is none other than the Visitors’ commander Diana excellently played by Jane Badler. Diana was played to be charismatic, powerful, and sadistic at the same time. She is not a mere evil figure nor is she your typical pure evil antagonist. In fact, she is the powerful extension of an unseen high authority of the aliens and this alone makes her worth your attention. Also, through her interactions with her fellow aliens Steven and Brian (Peter Nelson), you will see very interesting traits of Diana’s personality. I should state that Jane Badler’s eyes and expressions really gave her character a very commanding presence on-screen. Even though her screen time is not dominant, Diana’s impact remains very strong.

As for the other cast members and their contributions in the film, I can state that Robert Maxwell was excellently portrayed by Michael Durrel to be the very caring father striving to protect his family even as society has been manipulated to demonize scientists like him. Daniel Bernstein is clearly the traitorous Earthling who has gotten so involved with the Visitors, and I am confident that David Packer will get on your nerves. Willie is the good-natured Visitor who tries to fit in with the people of Earth and his friendship with Harmony Moore (Diane Cary) is very symbolic. Given the reputation of Robert Englund as a horror icon, his performance as Willie is a must-see!

The most notable of all the supporting cast members here is none other than Leonardo Cimino’s Abraham Bernstein who is a Jewish man who went through the Holocaust and survived to establish the family in America only to see evil return in the form of the Visitors. His dramatic scene of protecting a certain family is a must-watch, and most likely it will stir your emotions.

This scene shows the contrast between Abraham Bernstein (Leonardo Cimino) in the background and his grandson Daniel (David Packer) in the foreground. Abraham is an old Jewish man who went through the Holocaust and lived on. Daniel, who is 17-years-old, willingly joined the Visitor’s youth auxiliary movement which parallels that Hitler Youth.

In addition to being successful with telling the story, spreading the details and getting solid performances from the cast, Kenneth Johnson also proved to be really crafty with the way the camera captured images and how the very important moments were presented to captivate viewers. Johnson’s work here is clearly a labor of love. As for the music, Joseph Harnell did a good job overall. His style gives V a distinct aesthetic on tunes and I noticed his music becomes more lively late in the 2nd episode. Harnell also knew how to add musical excitement when the narrative needed a boost of energy or speed.

People of Earth, including children, are helpless under the Visitors.

Last but not least, I want to talk about the action and visual effects here. The action is, for the most part, raw and believable to watch. The action performers dressed as the Visitors never looked like they were trained but at least their ways of positioning themselves to fire their laser weapons made up for it. The hard action has that raw aesthetic which I actually liked because the action performers – including Marc Singer himself – were convincing with the way they exerted efforts. In this modern age of wire works and digital effects, seeing raw action and real human effort combined with risk taking is refreshing to watch.

More on the action scenes, I should state that the concept of showing the humans using conventional guns against the laser-armed Visitors was done in a satisfying and believable manner on-screen. Such concepts could have turned out bad had Kenneth Johnson and his team lacked talent and precision. As for the visual effects, they resulted a mixed bag as far as quality and artistry are concerned. While the laser blasts still look very good (and their impact was felt thanks to excellent timing with the on-set explosions and fireworks), the huge motherships really look dated as they were matte images (not miniatures), and in a few shots the matte lines were clearly exposed in high-definition which broke the immersion for me. The smaller space crafts that were shown flying also had that similar, out-of-place look (note: they did not match the lighting of the live-action footage). Still, the practical effects used are good to see and the matte paintings used for two key shots in the 2nd episode were photo-realistic.  

Conclusion

The free and righteous praying to the Lord.

As it is clearly still great and engaging to watch, V: The Original Miniseries (1983) certainly aged well, it remains essential to watch even by today’s standards and most of all, its theme about the conflict of freedom and dictatorship makes it completely relevant to this day. It is a reminder about what your part in your society is, who you are, what your values are, and why you have freedom in your local society which can be destroyed by an alienating force once your fellow people refuse to resist it. As mentioned earlier, the cast is great and I am confident that you readers will find a character or two to relate with.

The focus of this miniseries on fascism invading the lives of the free people easily reminds me about how, in this modern age, sinister influences like Marxism, socialism, Communism, unrestrained political correctness and fascism poisoned the minds of millions of people through the academic system and turned them into social rebels, domestic terrorists, looters, rioters and new criminals who are so determined to go against their fellow people who do not share their beliefs. In modern-day America, the ongoing movements of Black Lives Matter, Antifa, SJWs, the anti-Semitic BDS movement, the rabid LGBTQ+ movement, the so-called democratic socialists and other agents of Satan have been harming patriotic Americans, attacking their values, taking the innocence of the youth and children away, destroying businesses and tearing down societies as we know it. The 1983 mini-series will remind you that from time to time, social order will be pushed hard by the invaders (be it people or be it influences so alien to the society) and the people who are righteous can choose to restore the said order as well as their respective lives.

Seriously, if you value your freedom, your culture, your values, your people and your faith in the Lord, you certainly would not want to submit yourselves to a foreign people who intend to destroy you.

No matter what happens, people should never lose faith in the Lord and they must look up to Him for deliverance. The Lord will punish the wicked and make ways happen to lift up the faithful. Clearly, V’s theme about the fight for freedom is truly universal.

Symbolism and socio-political relevance aside, V: The Original Miniseries (1983) also comes with a good amount of spectacle that make sense within the narrative. Do not expect to see extensive, over-the-top action scenes of modern-day cinema/television here but I assure you that the spectacle (note: even with the flawed matte imagery of the visual effects) in this production paid-off nicely in relation to the build-up of events throughout the story.

I strongly recommend you acquire V: The Original Miniseries on Blu-ray while it is still available. Watching it in high-definition is a great experience on my part.

Overall, V: The Original Miniseries (1983) is highly recommended! That being said, I strongly encourage you to buy it on Blu-ray disc format while it is still available and affordable. If you want more of Kenneth Johnson’s other work related to V, I suggest you to look for his book V: The Second Generation. Don’t forget to visit Johnson’s website at http://www.kennethjohnson.us/

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

For more V-related writings of mine, check out my retro comic book reviews of the V comic books (published by DC Comics) issues #1, #2, #3 and #4.

A Look Back at V #4 (1985)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book, watching the V mini-series (Original Miniseries and The Final Battle) and the 1984 TV series, 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, science fiction enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of the V entertainment franchise of the 1980s! Before I start this newest retro comic book review, I am happy to say that I recently received at last my copy of V: The Original Miniseries on Blu-ray disc format! It definitely is a major upgrade and it is the best yet! That being said, looking back into the past, I got to watch V: The Original Miniseries on television, video tape, DVD and now on Blu-ray disc format from 1983 to this year! If you are a fan and you are interested to buy yourself the original mini-series on Blu-ray disc format, head on to Amazon. Now we can return to the 1980s comic book series.

Last time, a small team of the Resistance encountered the Visitors who arrived at an isolated small town in California to collect something precious which is the result of the aliens’ special ties with the locals. That story ended nicely.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at V #4, published in 1985 by DC Comics with a story written by Cary Bates and drawn by Tod Smith.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Lorne, a Visitor whose fake human skin on his face got damaged a lot, his reptilian skin and eye have been exposed. He brought with him a transport (carrying what looked like human bodies) and tries to enter the Science Frontiers building to meet with a certain Mr. Bates.

Inside, Lorne meets with Bates who turns out to be his client and eagerly wants to get paid. Bates wants to see first the bodies brought to him and when Lorne pulls the blankets, Ham Tyler and Chris Farber suddenly come out to take on them both. Lorne is pushed out of a nearby window falling several feet down. Ham and Chris cornered Bates who turns out to be dealing with Diana of the Visitors.

Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Mike Donovan and Julie Parrish are having quality time together cherishing their relationship. They are enjoying the relief and relaxation after successfully surviving in a dangerous encounter with the Visitors at an isolated California town.

As they dance, Julie recognizes a well-known astronomer whose image appears on TV. She suddenly stops dancing and moves closer to the TV, leaving Mike puzzled…

Quality

This shows how sadistic Diana is even towards her own people.

If there is anything that really stood out in this story, it is the entrance of astronomer Earl Meagan (modeled after Carl Sagan) whose presence not only attracts Julie but also rekindles the passion of science in her which she had during her days as a medical student (before the Visitors arrived). He was written to be highly intelligent and insightful which paves the way for the story to be laced with concepts about the so-called advancement of life forms that traveled through the galaxy and evolved. Meagan also symbolizes delusion resulting from scientific theories, as well as letting his own people down in favor of a foreign people.

More on the story, I should state that Cary Bates wrote this comic book to smoothly reconnect with V: The Final Battle by means of including the star child Elizabeth Maxwell who is now a young adult. The connections with the V TV productions solidified even further through more scenes of Diana whose evil nature and leadership tactics are dramatized here.   

Conclusion

Ham and his pal take action!

The creative team delivered another solid and satisfying tale in V #4 (1985). This time around, the narrative got shaken with the introduction of Meagan, the sudden change of attitude of Julie, and the build up for more intriguing events to come in.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of V #4 (1985), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $29 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $38.

Overall, V #4 (1985) is recommended.

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

A Look Back at V #3 (1985)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book, watching the V mini-series (Original Miniseries and The Final Battle) and the 1984 TV series, 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, science fiction enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of the V entertainment franchise of the 1980s! Before I start this newest retro comic book review, let me ask you…if you were a resident of a small, rural town in America, would you be willing to accept offers from visitors who claim to come in peace?

The above question hits on theme that defined the first arrival of the Visitors (Reptiloids covered with fake flesh to look human on the outside) in the first episode of V: The Original Miniseries in 1983. I remember the scene in which the Visitors’ so-called leader John first appeared and he acted gentle and friendly. The events that followed was pop culture history.

Last time around, Mike Donovan, Julie Parrish and their companion got jailed in a small, rural town whose people (a lot of which were senior citizens) trusted the Visitors a whole lot. The three could find themselves in deeper trouble as a group of Visitors arrive in town for an activity. To find out what happens next, here is a look back at V #3, published by DC Comics in 1985 with a story written by Cary Bates and drawn by Carmine Infantino.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the arrival of a large transport ship at the town of Sparkling Springs. The group of Visitors, led by Captain Devon (who replaced his predecessor), is warmly welcomed by the residents. In the town jail, Mike, Julie and Hart noticed from a distance that the arrival of the Visitors was six hours earlier than anticipated.

At another part of town, the young Billy (who promised to help Mike, Julie and Hart) is hiding behind plants with Willie (a good-natured Visitor who sided with the Resistance) and Boyce carefully observing the large transport ship. Being a Reptiloid himself, Willie found it logical that his fellow aliens want the rich abundance of minerals in natural spring water as it is beneficial for their physiology.

Willie then asks Billy to take them to the jail where their friends are locked up…

Quality

Mike and Willie take action!

As expected, the high-quality writing of Cary Bates really brought the continuing story to life and the engagement also remains strong.

While the previous showed how the town people became trusting of the Visitors, this one further emphasized that through the latest visit of the aliens. What I liked most about this comic book was the way Cary Bates portrayed the way the Visitors perceived their relationship with the town people and how they perceived a threat made by one of the locals could rattle the mutual give-and-take relationship of the two sides. There is even this chilling writing about how the life of one wasted youth compares the benefits that the two sides enjoy.

More on the writing, there is this very impassioned speech by Mike Donovan that makes clear the true intentions of the Visitors as the town people accepted the aliens so warmly while turning their backs on the human race. So far, this is the most socially relevant expression in this old comic book series and if you take into context the fact that certain people in the world today would give up on their established values (examples: patriotism, the nuclear family) in favor of destructive, radical values and concepts (examples: Marxism, Socialism, Communism, Fascism, critical race theory) and then deform society with them, Mike Donovan’s speech remains strongly relevant. In fact, I easily imagined the voice of Marc Singer speaking as I read the said speech.

When it comes to spectacle, there is a good amount of action to enjoy here.

Conclusion

With the help of local boy Billy, the Resistance make their moves against the Visitors.

I can say that V #3 (1985) succeeded in telling an engaging story (which concluded in a very satisfying way) and pushed the narrative forward. Having seen the original miniseries as well as V: The Final Battle a long time ago, I could easily relate with the portrayals of Mike Donovan, Julie Parrish and Willie in this story. I also love the fact that this story emphasized that peace and freedom are achieved not by mere reforms but with sacrifices (which was visualized with a very notable death scene that also showed the comic book creators took a huge risk as it is really sensitive in nature). Its social relevance will remind you not to give in to sinister forces.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of V #3 (1985), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $28 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $38.

Overall, V #3 (1985) 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