Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ultraverse Month 1 -- June, 1993

June. 1993. Hardcase #1, Strangers #1, Prime #1, and Ultra Monthly #1 hit the stands . . .

When they first came out, I didn't buy ANY of them. Three months later, I DID buy Strangers #1 . . . but only because Johnny from Night Man made his first appearance in that book. So the FIRST time I read any of these other books was after the Ultrsaverse was a just a nearly forgotten memory, when I started compiling my collection.

None of the books in this month's batch were new to me reading through them now, though. I'm excited about some upcoming months that will have some stories and even some complete series that will be brand new!

Hardcase #1
Hardcase starts out with a flashback to the death of the Squad . . . flash forwards to his current career -- playing himself in movies . . . and ends with his decision to get back into the crime fighting game . . . Writer, James Hudnall. Pencils, Jim Callahan. Inks, Norm Breyfogle. Letters, Tim Eldred. "Color design", Paul Mounts.

Prime #1
Prime was cool too. I forgot the way they introduced him this way . . . without anyone knowing his identity -- reader included . . . although they had some clues, and some very good writing that made sense considering his true identity. He starts by beating up a gym teacher who "touched" some girls in his class. He then busts up a drug house. And then goes to give aid to the U.N. against terrorists in Somalia. The reveal of his secret identity was pretty good, and as I said the writing was good, essentially presenting Shazam/Captain Marvel done the right way (although still not the way I'd do it, but it's really good . . . probably better than the way I'd do it). Reference is made to Prototype, an upcoming series. Writer, Len Strazewski & Gerard Jones. Art, Norm Breyfogle. Letters, Tim Eldred. "Color design", Paul Mounts.

Strangers #1
Strangers was the weakest of the lot -- a standard origin story, with the origins of all the members of the team and then HOW they become a team. This is the first mention of the Jumpstart -- the event in the Ultraverse that created most of its heroes.* Here, a bolt of lightning strikes a cable car and everyone in it is given some powers. So we have introductions to over a half dozen main characters: briefly digging into their pre-powers existence, revealing their powers, showing them deal with their powers, and then gathering together to fight! It was a LOT to jam into an issue. But it also was indeed the first appearance of Night Man (remember, Night Man was my introduction to the Ultraverse), who was in a Miata that was hit by the cable car. These seeds were being planted, though, because the writer of Strangers also created Night Man. Writer, Steve Englehart. Pencils, Rick Hoberg. Inks, Tim Burgard. Letters, Tim Eldred. "Color design", Paul Mounts.

Ultra Monthly #1
Ultra Monthly . . . somewhere along the line I accumulated this book to complete the collection (I've been working on and off on collecting teh entire Ultraverse) . It was interesting, with articles about the Ultras but written BY "normal humans" . . . a clever way to supliment and introduce a new comic book universe. Of course, today this would be a fake news blog or something.

The surprising thing about all these books is the mature content. In Prime, allusions are not so subtly made to a teacher taking advantage of his students sexually. In Hardcase, the flashback to the aftermath of the death of his teammates is bloody and violent -- bodies have been torn in half, blood is everywhere.

~ Ben

* I'll be seeing about getting some cover images to go with these "mini-reviews". I want to get permission before I just use images from other websites.

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