The Cartoon Icon Known As Yogi Bear

Welcome back to Rotten Ink! I have a question for all your readers and friends, and it’s this:  growing up who was your favorite cartoon character? And I am not talking about a character that was created to sell a toy like He-Man or Optimus Prime, I am talking names like Bugs Bunny, Scooby-Doo, Mighty Mouse, Popeye, Porky Pig, Betty Boop and Huckleberry Hound! For me one at the top of the list is Yogi Bear as I can remember watching his cartoon at my house as well as at my Grandparents and enjoying every silly moment as something about Yogi Bear always drew my young mind in. And that is why I feel that for Rotten Ink’s 10 Year Anniversary I had to cover Yogi Bear as this update is long overdue and is one that I have been planning for over 8 years and saved for this Anniversary as this iconic cartoon character needs his time to shine here on Rotten Ink. So with that let’s head to Jellystone Park and have a picnic of some honey fried chicken and hope that a bear who’s smarter than your average one and his short sidekick don’t show up and steal it, or wait I think that is what we want!

Yogi Bear 1

Yogi Bear is smarter than your average bear and loves to sneak around and steal picnic baskets from park goers and is always trying to think of ways to do so and not to be caught, and that is what he has that iconic catchphrase. While he is a bear he is fun loving and is well liked by most of the other animals and rangers at Jellystone Park were he lives, even though he does get on many of their nerves with his ways. His best friend is Boo-Boo Bear and his lady is Cindy Bear and they a lot of times get stuck going along with his plans. While Ranger Smith gets annoyed by Yogi he as well is sort of his friend and goes out of his way to protect and help him when he gets into trouble. But Yogi has many friends outside of Jellystone Park as well like Huckleberry Hound, Doggie Daddy, Quick Draw McGraw and even Top Cat all who have as well went on adventures with him in the cartoons as well as the comics. Yogi was based on the Ed Norton character from the TV Show The Honeymooners and his name was a play off the baseball player Yogi Berra. Daws Butler was the voice actor for Yogi Bear from 1958 to 1988 when he sadly passed away from a heart attack at the age of 71, but while he was the main and original and most iconic voice actor to play Yogi many others have like Mel Blanc, Greg Burson, Billy West, Dan Aykroyd and Jeff Bergman to name a few. Paste Magazine rated Yogi Bear the 40th best Cartoon character on their top 50 Countdown while CNN ranked him # 36 out of 50 and Screen Rant ranked him # 30 out of 30 for their countdown. Yogi Bear is a truly iconic character that ranks in my top 10 for sure.

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Jellystone Camp is filled with other great characters that help make Yogi’s adventures more entertaining. First up of course is his best friend Boo-Boo Bear who is a small bear who at times acts as Yogi’s voice of reason and tries his best to talk him out of some of the more mischief plans he makes. Growing up Boo-Boo was always a popular cartoon character among my friends as I remember kids talking about him on the playground. We then have Cindy Bear is the southern belle on again and off again girlfriend of Yogi who as well gets into the same trouble as they do, and is a good supporting character in the cartoon series. And last of course is Ranger Smith that poor park ranger who has to deal with all the craziness of the park and is always having to run Yogi off as he tries to steal picnic baskets. But while Ranger Smith is annoyed with Yogi, they also kind of have a weird friendship as he looks out for the pain in the butt bear. All of these characters help make the Yogi Bear cartoon series great and help add to why Yogi is one of my favorite classic cartoons of all time.

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The Yogi Bear show was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and was a syndicated cartoon series that would first air on January 30, 1961 and would each episode would be 22 minutes long and would also feature cartoons of Snagglepuss and Yakky Doodle and would last for 33 episodes a total of two seasons and would end on January 6, 1962. But the show would continue on in reruns and even would get re-packaged under the name “Yogi Bear & Friends” that would show Yogi cartoons mixed with others like Huckleberry Hound, Pixie and Dixie among others. This version of the show would run for 98 episodes and would run from September 16, 1967-1968. Well in 1972 a TV movie special called “Yogi’s Ark Lark” aired on ABC and had Yogi along with other Hanna-Barbara animal characters in search of land that is not polluted, and this special would spawn a very short lived series called “Yogi’s Gang” that ran for only 15 episodes and would last from September 8, 1973-December 29, 1973, his next series “Yogi’s Space Race” would be released in 1978 and would have well Yogi in space with a new sidekick named Scare Bear and they would have a Space Race team, this would only last 13 episodes and would go into the next series called “Galaxy Goof-Ups” and would have Yogi still in space this time as a patrolman and would start in 1978 and would last until 1979 for a total of 13 episodes. And many more series would follow like “Yogi’s Treasure Hunt” that ran from 1985-1988 lasted 27 episodes, “The New Yogi Bear Show” lasted 45 episodes and was in 1988, “Yo Yogi!” that lasted 13 episodes and ran in 1991 and was one of my favorites as a kid as Yogi was young, hip and cool! And lastly “Jellystone!” started in 2021 and airs on HBO Max. And this is just the TV Shows as Yogi has also been a part of many TV Specials, Animated Movies as well as two live action films, showing that Yogi Bear is a true icon of the cartoon character world!

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I really did truly grew up watching Yogi Bear and just like so many other cartoons, it was must watch TV for me as I would never turn the channel when Yogi was on as for some reason this food stealing bear had always captured my attention, even if I had seen the episode many times before I would watch it again. While some I watched in re-runs like the classic Yogi Bear Show others I caught as they aired like The New Yogi Bear Show and Yo Yogi! both I watched when released and I can remember even having rubber stamps and some toys of Yo Yogi! that I got cereal boxes and fast food kids meals. Most of the classic Yogi shows I remember watching mostly on the USA Network as away of the Cartoon Express and have many great memories of sitting at my Grandparents house on my Dad’s side by the fireplace and watching Yogi Bear cartoons as snow fell outside and the warmth of the fire made my brother and I toasty as we watched the TV, and I also seem to remember that they also had some old VHS tapes of Yogi that we would watch as well when he was not on TV. At home as well we had VHS tapes of Yogi cartoons and one I am pretty sure we got via Jolly Time Popcorn as it was a send away, and it took forever for the tape to come but when it did I watched it a bunch. I always wanted to win a Yogi Bear stuff animal from Kings Island, but sadly never was that lucky to be able to. And while in modern times those who talk about Hanna-Barbra Cartoons will go on and on about Scooby-Doo (another amazing cartoon from my childhood) being the best and the main character from the company, I am here to tell you that back in the 60’s-80’s it was Yogi Bear who was the companies mascot and main character. And with that I will sum it up by saying Yogi Bear is a true Icon of Cartoons and will always be one of my favorites.

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Really quick, here is an old ad and coupon I found online about the Jolly Time Popcorn VHS that was from around 1994 and I was a teenager and movie collector at the time this was offered. And we ate lots of popcorn on weekends as my brother and I would eat it as a snack while we watched Horror Movies and Horror Hosts on TV. But after finding it I just wanted to share this with you all, and I also found a scan of the VHS cover! And I think at some point I am going to buy a copy of this tape so that I can have it back again.

Yogi Bear VHS Popcorn AdPopcorn Yogi Bear VHS

A very cool thing that fans of Yogi Bear can do is stay at a “Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park and Camp-Resorts” that are located in many starts including Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Texas, California, New York and so many more states and each have their own charms and events! Besides camping in tents and cabins many of these Jellystone sites also have live music concerts, water parks, fishing ponds, gift shops, pools and of course walk around versions of the characters! The parks are a family friendly good time with some locations even allowing pets! Each location also has different styles of comfort from RV Hook Ups, to cabins of all types to even just land that you can use a tent to rough it for the night. I first discovered the Jellystone Park Camps when going to Chicago, Illinois with my ex-girlfriend Jennifer as we drove by one and I was hooked when I seen Yogi on the sign. Sadly, since I saw the sign I never have stayed at the park, but that is about to change as sometime soon I plan on staying at one of the camps and when I do I will update you all about it on a future Rotten Ink update.

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Did you readers know that Yogi Bear has his own themed restaurant called “Yogi Bear’s Honey Fried Chicken” that is located in South Carolina and is a landmark and attraction for the area? And did you know that it was originally a fast food franchise that had stores all around America in the 1970’s and was created to enter the growing and popular fried chicken fast food boom created by KFC at the time and Yogi Bear was used as the mascot because he was super popular with kids and adults who enjoyed a good cartoon? Did you know many of the restaurants had very cool fiberglass statues of Yogi Bear, Boo-Boo and Ranger Smith? And sadly they are all now rotting in dumpsites as they were all disposed of when the restaurants closed, and that’s a shame as I wish that people would have rescued them and gave them places to live at their homes. Sadly the franchise was bought by Hardee’s very early in opening and by the mid 70’s all of them had been closed with the one that’s still opening being the last standing, as it was clear that Hardee’s had no idea how to push fried chicken as hamburgers was their main money maker. It’s sad to think that only one of these cool themed restaurants are around as I would love for them to be closer to Ohio as I would have loved to try a meal from them. Oh and for those wonder the restaurants was created by Eugene Broome who originally wanted to theme them around actor Jackie Gleason and Yogi Bear was his second choice after watching his cartoons on TV.

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Yogi Bear also has made his way into the world of video games and has delivered some fun adventures for fans to play through and allowed them to have their favorite cartoon character be the hero they all knew he was. “Yogi Bear” was released in 1987 for the Commodore 64 in Europe and had you play as Yogi as he had to save Boo-Boo who was kidnapped by a circus. In 1990 in Europe and for Commodore 64 came “Yogi’s Great Escape” a game based on the 1987 film. “Adventures Of Yogi Bear” was released in 1994 and was for the Super Nintendo had you play as Yogi to stop Jellystone into becoming a chemical dumping ground. And lastly “Yogi Bear’s Gold Rush” was released on the Game Boy in 1994 has Yogi going after a ghost who stole money from the park. And those where the classic games based on the animated Yogi Bear and I can remember playing both the Game Boy and Super Nintendo games and loving every second of them as they were fun adventure games. I should note that Video Games for the WII was made based on the live action film. Do you readers have any memories of playing any or all of these Yogi Bear games? And I am not going to lie when I say I wish a Yogi Bear game would be made for PS5 in the future and that it’s based on the classic cartoons and features all our favorite characters like Boo-Boo, Cindy Bear and Ranger Smith, but I don’t see this happening but one can wish.

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Yogi Bear being such an amazing cartoon character that has been so popular over many decades he has lots of amazing collectibles for fans to collect over the years as his face has graced things like Toys, Board Games, Home Media, Books, Video Games, Comics, Shirts, Posters, Buttons, Fast Food Items, Spoons, Cups, Glasses, Halloween Costumes, Masks, Lunch Boxes, Puppets, Statues, Stickers, Magnets, Christmas Ornaments, Valentine Day Cards, Patches, Hats, Cups, Rings, Plastic Eggs and so much more, basically if you can think of an item Yogi Bear probably was featured on it! Growing up I really loved a stuff doll I had of Yogi Bear and a kids paperback book called “Ghost Of A Chance” that was a spooky kid friendly take featuring Yogi and Boo Boo! In fact for my Birthday this year my lady Juliet will be making me a cake that looks like Yogi Bear from a vintage metal Yogi cake pan. So in other words if you are a fan of Yogi Bear you can collect so many cool items to add to your collection. Growing up I remember having a sticker of Yogi Bear that I am pretty sure I still have to this day packed away, as it was my favorite sticker I had as a kid next to the WWF Wrestler Ultimate Warrior one. And I had many more cool merchandise over the years like toys and shirts and even a poster and the video games. Oh and I had this plastic Egg that featured Yogi Bear on it that I got from a Vending Machine that had Fred Flintstone in the middle and he would spin around and an egg would come down and inside it was a prize, that was such a cool machine.

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Kings Island is an amazing Amusement Park located in Mason, Ohio and when I was a kid, it was one of the must go to attractions for kids on summer vacation even more so then Fantasy Farm and Americana Amusement Park that where the two I visited more in my youth as both us kids and our parents liked them. But besides rides like King Cobra, The Beast and Adventure Express for me one of the cool aspects of the park was “Hanna-Barbera Land” the kid friendly part of the park that featured rides and attractions that were all tied into the cartoon characters made by that animation studio. And also all around the park they would have merchandise and prizes that as well had the likeness of Scooby-Doo, Huckleberry Hound and Fred Flintstone to name a few. And one big attraction for many was the dark ride that featured the Smurfs as well as the Smurf Blue Ice Cream as still to this day both are talked about with great fondness by fans. But one awesome thing was that they had walk around versions of the cartoon characters and one that was always awesome to see was Yogi Bear and every time I went to Kings Island I would look for him as Yogi Bear is a true icon and I am shocked I never got a picture with him as back then I was a fool for taking pictures to capture the memories, but for me spotting him became almost like a real life “Where’s Waldo” book and added to the fun of being at the park. But sadly starting around 2001 Hanna-Barbera Land started to be phased out and by 2005 it was gone all together minus one Scooby-Doo ride. You see Kings Island went with a Nickelodeon theme instead and that made sense as Paramount Pictures ended up buying the theme park for a few years and wanted to brand areas with their own properties hence why rides like Top Gun, Face Off, Tomb Raider and Italian Job were all added. While gone, for those of us who grew up with Hanna-Barbera Land at Kings Island, the memories and fun time had will always live on. And I have heard a rumor that in one of the areas in the park that is the “Ride Graveyard” is filled not only with old ride parts, carts and signs but also many of the Hanna-Barbera stuff including the Smurfs from the Enchanted Forest as well as the walk around suits!

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Really quick I have to also point out that Yogi Bear once had a guest cameo on one of my favorite Horror Hosts shows “Nightmare Theater” with host Sammy Terry! It’s on a Christmas episode that has Sammy Terry along with his friends George The Spider and Ghoulsby the zombie talking about the big meal they will be having for dinner of Christmas day and of course its all gross stuff like poison ivy salad and brains, but when they start talking about the guests they want to invite that of course are all monsters and ghouls it’s George who wants to invite Yogi over for the dinner! Sammy is at first puzzled by this but goes along with the request and our classic cartoon icon is on the guest list. And the best part is when they say his name is image even appears making his cameo legit even if it is for only a few moments. Very cool to see and just wanted to share this with you readers, oh and the movie he hosted that night was the vampire film Deathmaster.

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Before we get to the review part of this update, I want to say that back in the 1970’s a cool team up happened when Marvel Comics and Hanna-Barbara came together and made some amazing kids comics based on their popular cartoons like Yogi Bear, The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, Dynomutt, Laff-A-Lympics as well as spotlight issues. And this was a very cool thing for comic readers as well as cartoon watchers as it gave fans of these characters new adventures to enjoy before the next episode would air. And when Marvel and Hanna-Barbara came together the comic company made a big deal about it as both companies came up together in the 60’s and even some of Marvel Artists over the years had worked for the cartoon company. This was very cool and I can remember growing up that I enjoyed the Marvel Comics versions of Hanna-Barbara characters more then the Dell and Gold Key Versions that I as well had. In these modern times Marvel Comics could never make comics based on these characters again as Hanna-Barbara is owned by Warner Brothers who also own DC Comics…so yeah it will never happen again. Check this very cool piece of art below that Marvel released to announce the team up.

Marvel and Hanna Come Together

Well we are at the review part of this update, and as you can see, Jellystone Park is packed with campers and visitors and that means Yogi and Boo-Boo have to be creeping around looking for food to steal. And I am really looking forward to reading these comics as some are ones I will be revisiting from my youth while others will be first time reads. I want to thank Mom Young, Lone Star Comics, Ebay Seller and Dark Star Comics for having these comics in stock and making this update possible. And I would like to remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So with that let’s find a quit place to sit back and relax eat some food and read some comics, and see if our picnic basket will go missing along the way.

Yogi Bear Comic 1

Yogi Bear # 1 ***
Released in 1977    Cover Price .35     Marvel Comics     #1 of 9

“The Secret Of Ghastly Grotto” in this story Yogi and Boo-Boo are exploring an off limits cave with a metal detector when they run into a dragon, and after running away Yogi notices that Boo-Boo is missing and he runs to Ranger Smith for help. Meanwhile inside we find that a crook has captured Boo-Boo as he has been hiding out in the cave for over 6 years as it’s almost 7 years and when that happens he can not be arrested for the million dollars worth of gold he has stolen! Yogi and Ranger Smith return to the cave to look for the missing bear and find the dragon and with the metal detector they find that it’s fake, and they rescue Boo-Boo and Ranger Smith arrests the crook when Yogi speeds up the clock to make him think he is protected by the statue of limitations law for his crime! In the end Yogi and Boo-Boo instead use the metal detector to find cans around the park as they feel its safer. “The Goodies Inspector” Yogi is hungry for food and is drawing mustaches on all the signs that warn camper not to feed him, but Yogi also has another idea and tells some campers that he is the Goodies Inspector and that their sandwiches have been banned by the government. As Yogi runs off with the basket the people start eating berries off the trees for lunch and when Ranger Smith walks by they tell him about the inspector and he knows this is a Yogi trick. Ranger Smith finds Yogi asleep with a belly full of sandwiches and wakes him up claiming that there really is a ban on the sandwiches and they need to find the campers who have them, Yogi thinks he is sick now and after a few moments Ranger Smith lets him in on the prank. In the end with some cut fur Yogi is now walking around with the mustache that he drew on the do not feed signs. “The Chummy Dummy” while in the park Howard Uvula gives Yogi five dollars and takes his picture and makes a comment on how they are worth a lot to him, so Yogi follows Howard and finds that he made a ventriloquist dummy that looks like him! Yogi sneaks in and takes the place of the dummy and during the show scares the audience and steals the dummy. You see Yogi was not about to be viewed as a dummy and this was his payback.

This first issue of Yogi Bear by Marvel Comics is fantastic and they creative team did a fantastic job of capturing the characters and making it feel just like the cartoons it’s based on. The issue has three Yogi Bear adventures and also has a backstory about The Flintstones and really are a great kids comic that is also must reads for fans of the character. Yogi Bear in all three stories is the normal conning and charming bear we all love and even when down and out he still ends up being ahead in some way. Boo-Boo and Ranger Smith add great backup to the stories and do their parts well. The villains of the comic is The Crook who is a robber and Howard Uvula who is just a jerk and bases his new Dummy on Yogi, I mean how rude is that. If I had to pick the best story from this issue I would say it has to be “The Secret Of Ghastly Grotto” as the haunted cave, fake dragon and a Crook looking to get away with his crime is a lot of fun and the fact that Yogi tricks the crook into give up his gun by speeding up the clock is a good cartoonish way to save the day and its perfect. Picking my least favorite is a little hard as I liked them all, but I guess I would have to say “The Chummy Dummy” just because the pay out of Yogi scaring the audience of the performer was just an ok ending for him to get revenge. The cover is very eye catching for fans of Yogi Bear and the interior art is top notched and is done by an Unknown Artist and whomever did it really draws all the characters so well and it really does help add to the enjoyment of the comic. This first issue is very cool and is one of the better kid comics based on a classic cartoon character we have covered here on Rotten Ink, so lets see what issue two is all about.

Yogi Bear Comic 2

Yogi Bear # 2 ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel Comics     #2 of 9

“The Trillionaire’s Bear” Jellystone Park has been sold to the rich Filthy McLucre who is wanting to turn the park into a massive shopping center. Yogi stops the bulldozer from starting the destruction of the park by acting as if Boo-Boo has been infected by sickness and that no noises and bulldozers can be around via doctors orders. Yogi then sneaks off and heads to the mansion of Filthy McLucre and acts as a teddy bear in order to get inside but soon meets Luke McLure the bratty grandson of Flithy and after being disrespected by Luke he says he would give anything in order for Luke to learn respect and discipline, and after the bratty kid torments Yogi by knocking him out of a window and even trying to run him down in a train, Yogi finally snaps and threatens to spank the mean little kid who claims he will be good! In return for teaching the kid a lesson in respect Filthy grants Yogi’s request that the park is safe and that the shopping center will be built someplace else. “Movie Madness” Yogi and Boo-Boo are walking near a cinema when they notice all the Horror Movies playing and one is about a killer bear and this makes everyone scared of the two friendly bears, and when Yogi goes to talk to the maker of the film he soon finds that the man is not very nice and kicks him out of his office. So Yogi to get revenge makes his own Horror Movie about the moviemaker and now people are scared of him! But in the end the film maker and Yogi team up and make a movie that pits both their horror film characters together and they make lots of money. “Signs Of The Time” Huckleberry Hound is visiting Jellystone Park with a picnic basket in hand and Ranger Smith tells him to make sure to please obey the park signs as its important for park safety and to help keep in clean. Yogi over hears this and decides he is going to have some fun and leaves silly signs in the path of Huckleberry like to walk on your hands, meow like a cat and of course to give your food to him! At the end of his park visit Huckleberry complains to Ranger Smith about the signs, meanwhile Yogi has eaten all of the food and is shocked when he finds out that other park goers are following his fake signs including Ranger Smith who is doing so cause he is leading by example.

What another fun issue that as well does justice to the cartoon as well as just Yogi Bear in general. This issue as well has three stories featuring Yogi and has one back-up story that is The Flintstones, with all three Yogi stories once more being very fun reads that has him saving the park to even conning the park goers for food! And like before the creators of the comic do a great job of making Yogi Bear the lovable character we all love as he is funny, silly and also even kind of a hero. My favorite story is “Movie Madness” as come on its everything I enjoy as it has Yogi Bear, Movie Theaters and of course Horror Films! Plus I love that its taking a jab at the Nature Run Amok Horror films that flooded the theaters in the 70’s like Jaws, Grizzly and Day Of The Animals to name a few. Plus I love that instead of the Moviemaker and Yogi pulling their films from theater they instead team up and make a crossover film for movie goers to see, the true nature of indie horror. And again selecting a least favorite is hard as all three were good stories but if I have to pick on I would say “The Trillionaire’s Bear” as while it’s a silly take it also is kind of just basic of a bratty kid with no manors being taught a lesson. The cover like before is really cool and has Yogi on a fishing pool being dunked in water while the kid rides on the front of a train! The interior art by Unknown Artist is once more very cool and well done and captures everything Yogi Bear. Let’s not also forget that we have a big guest star in this issue as Huckleberry Hound stops by Jellystone and is robbed of his tasty food and made to look silly by his pal Yogi in the process. Over all a great issue even if the copy I have is missing part of a panel due to a kid clipping a coupon. But lets see what issue three has in store for us!

Yogi Bear Comic 3

Yogi Bear # 3 ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel Comics     #3 of 9

“Below-Zero Bear” Yogi Bear has made a mistake and has hidden on a airplane that he thought was going south for the winter but it was really heading to the South Pole and worse he has been dropped off along with the supplies for a very angry man who wants to takedown Yogi for his fur to help keep him warm. Meanwhile Boo-Boo tells Ranger Smith about what Yogi has done and the two leave Jellystone to try and save their friend who they are sure is freezing and needs help getting home. Meanwhile Yogi escapes his attacker and finds the travel agent and tries to buy a ticket to get back home but is short on money, when a man offers to buy the ticket if Yogi and get a photo of the Abominable Snowman who has a summer home in the South Pole. Yogi ends up getting the picture and is shocked when the ticket he bought is not good for another six months so finds a warm bed to hibernate in, but is found by Ranger Smith and Boo-Boo and is going home. “Sheriff Yogi” has Yogi Bear going to visit his friend Quick Draw McGraw and by accident Yogi with a banana peel helps arrest Little Luke and by doing so the Mayor makes Yogi the new town Sheriff and this goes bad when Large Leo the brother of Luke comes to down and uses Yogi as a punching bag, and its Quick Draw who takes down and brings in Leo and once more becomes the Sheriff. “Swami Bear” has Yogi coming up with another plan to try and steal picnic baskets by dressing as a ranger and making park goers go through a metal detector so he can see what is in their baskets and then they visit him as a fortune teller who knows what they have brought for lunch and tells them its cursed, and of course Ranger Smith catches him and stops this scheme.

Yogi Bear in this issues goes from a Yeti photographer to sheriff to a fake swami and all the while he is bring us readers around for the fun and silly ride and of course Boo-Boo and Ranger Smith are caught up in many of these goofy plans and adventures. And what was also very cool in this issue is seeing Quick Draw McGraw and Baba Looey in the cameo spot and they are used well as Yogi and Boo-Boo visit them in the old west town. You also cannot go wrong with a comic that features Abominable Snowman who is on vacation in the South Pole. This issue as always features three Yogi stories and one Flintstones back up story and each of the Yogi stories are solid and I would say my favorite is Sheriff Yogi as I like the humor in it plus the adding of Quick Draw was awesome, and my least favorite is Swami Bear just cause the story is supper short and is pretty much a set up for Ranger Smith to but Yogi through the metal detector to show that his brain is hollow…silly and fun stuff. The cover for this issue is lots of fun and has Yogi in a tuxedo acting like a penguin while the Snowman is looking for him. And the Unknown Artist who does the interior art once more did fantastic work and all the characters look like they do in the cartoons. Over all yet another solid issue if you enjoy Yogi Bear like I do.

Yogi Bear Comic 4

Yogi Bear # 4 ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel Comics     #4 of 9

“Don’t Give Up The Sheep” has a farmer getting permission from the government to allow his sheep to graze as Jellystone while his land is getting re-seeded. But following the farmer is Hokey Wolf who steels the farmers eyeglasses as well as a sheep and does so acting as if he is Yogi Bear! The Farmer and Ranger Smith confront Yogi and do not believe him when he says he did not steel the sheep and rushes to the city to try and make things right when the Farmer threatens him if he does not bring the sheep back, so Yogi ends up entering a boxing contest and lasts 10 rounds with a heavy weight to get money to buy a sheep from a girl names Mary who is mad cause the sheep followed her to school! Once he buys the sheep he brings it to the farmer the same time Hokey shows up returning the glasses and sheep he stole as he felt bad for stealing and framing Yogi! In the end Yogi clears hi name and the Farmer goes after Hokey Wolf for causing all this drama. “The Ranger Stranger” Yogi is being annoying and out of control when Ranger Smith finally snaps and quits, and the new Ranger is mean who makes Yogi pick up trash all day around the park. Yogi escapes Jellystone and finds Ranger Smith and makes it seem that everyone that Smith see’s is him, so he thinks he misses Yogi and returns to his job at Ranger of Jellystone. “Going To Waist” Yogi is getting chubby and decides to loose a few pounds and goes to a workout instructor who pushes Yogi to the limit, but during lunch as Yogi has to eat one celery stock, he finds the instructor wears a girdle and is eating chicken! In order to hide his secret he gets Yogi a bear suit and a girdle and it now makes him look as if he lost weight.

This is another fun and silly comic that has three Yogi Bear adventures and of course is backed up by a short Flintstones one. Yogi in this issue boxes, picks up trash and gets chubby and all the while use readers are having a laugh with him. For me the best story in the issue is “Don’t Give Up The Sheep” as it not only guest stars Hokey Wolf but also has Yogi having to box a heavyweight to get money to buy a sheep from Mary who is from the Nursery Rhyme, and its also fun to see Yogi try and convince Ranger Smith that he did not steal the sheep. And the weakest story in this issue is “The Ranger Stranger” as while a fun story and some humorous gags are pulled off, I just feel the story is the weakest and the payout of getting Ranger Smith to return to his post is way to fast. One thing I have noticed as well this far in the series is that Boo-Boo while around is never fully focused on and that is a little shocking as he has always been a very popular cartoon character. The cover is pretty cool and has Hokey Wolf stealing a sheep as Yogi is bring a sheep and Boo-Boo is stuck in the middle. The interior art is good as always and one story has artist Dick Bickenback credited, the others do not and could be Bickenback or are Unknown Artist. Over all this is a good issue and truly does capture the silliness and mood of this cartoon, and with that let’s see what issue five has in store for us.

Yogi Bear Comic 5

Yogi Bear # 5 **1/2
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel Comics     #5 of 9

“The Jelly Jam” Ranger Smith is mad at Yogi for trying to steal picnic baskets and runs him off, and hungry and wanting pizza he decides that he and Boo-Boo should try and mine for gold in Jellystone and head into the caves to start mining. After awhile they do not find any gold or silver but they do find all kinds of jelly flavors…in fact it’s the best jelly ever and it was made by Mother Nature, and Yogi tries to sell his jelly find to the local jelly company who in turn is mad about this tasty treat and blows up Yogi’s mine to try and stop this jelly from getting into eaters sandwiches. Yogi figures out that the Jelly Company Owner is who caused the jelly to flood the area and tricks him into falling into a ditch filled with the gooey stuff. The owner admits to Ranger Smith that he caused the jelly flood and this ends the mining, as well as Yogi every wanting to eat jelly again. “Wrap Session” it’s Cindy Bear’s Birthday and Yogi has forgotten until he overhears her telling her friend about how Yogi every year makes her day special. Yogi rushes to the toy store and after begging the owner is able to get her a plush toy, and after trying to wrap it he destroys it as well as the wrapping paper is now all around him! So in the end he gives himself as the present for Cindy for her Birthday. “The Defective Detective” has Yogi and Boo-Boo showing up to the office of Snooper and Bladder as they were going to go get lunch and catch up, but the detective pair are running late and Yogi decides to take a case from a rich woman who is paying a grand to find her lost dog. And of course Yogi fails in his attempts to find the dog and ends up on the bad end of the hunt by being bitten and trampled on by attack and stray dogs. Finally Snooper and Bladder show up and put Yogi in a mailman outfit and they find the missing dog who is biting him.

And this is another good issue but I do have to be honest this one is not as good as the others that came before it as the best story in the issue is “The Jelly Jam” as its funny and silly as Yogi mines and uncovers natural made jelly and a owner of a jelly company tries to sabotage it and causes a jelly flood and eruption in Jellystone! The other two stories are good and entertaining but do seem a little rush and the stories do not have great payouts in the end. I think that “The Defective Detective” is my least favorite as it’s a shame as it even has cameos from Snooper and Bladder. Yogi is great and it’s a shame that this issue is just an average read and again I feel two of the three stories are rushed. This issue has another backup story of The Flintstones and the cover is good and has Yogi and Boo-Boo digging for jelly. The interior art is good and done by Unknown Artist and once more captures the characters well. I want to say keep in mind this is still a fun and good issue it just does not capture the magic like the past four issues did. But with that said let’s see what issue six has in store for us.

Yogi Bear Comic 6

Yogi Bear # 6  ***
Released in 1978     Cover Price .35     Marvel Comics     #6 of 9

“Surfer Bear” Yogi and Boo-Boo are in Hawaii and are looking forward to surfing, but when they get there they find that the ocean is frozen and is solid ice and this is running many peoples vacation as well as putting shops out of business. Yogi and Boo-Boo decided to get some skates and ice skate on the ocean when the ice cracks and Yogi is taken away by a monster who takes him to his cave and wants Yogi to tell the world for stop over fishing the area and Yogi is given the task to really try and stop one greedy Captain who has been bad for taking way to many fish. We also learn that the Sea Monster used icebergs to freeze the ocean, and after getting back topside and meeting the Captain a plan is in place that has the Sea Monster scare away the greedy fisherman and all is back to normal in Hawaii. “The Sinister Scheme” Yogi is dressed as Captain Yogi a superhero and is trying to nab a picnic basket when he is caught by Ranger Smith, and this causes Yogi to go into his full plan that has him acting super nice for nine days even helping around the park and not doing one thing bad, this of course makes Ranger Smith think he is planning something big and as the days go by the Ranger snaps and begs Yogi to go back to his normal ways and to not do whatever it was he was planning…and this of course is what Yogi wanted all along as he goes back to stealing the baskets from park goers. “The Homemade Hero” Yogi is in the city when he runs into his friend Top Cat and his gang of street cats and the word on the street is that Officer Dibble is in trouble and might be replaced on the street, and this would mean an officer who would be stricter on Top Cat could be assigned! So they come up with a plan to dress Yogi up as a wild bear and have Dibble capture him in front of one of his supervisors, but in the end with the help of Yogi, Top Cat and the other cats Dibble is able to capture two bank robbers and show he is a hero.

Ok this is a really fun issue of Yogi Bear by Marvel Comics as one of the stories even has Yogi teaming with one of my other favorite Hanna-Barbara cartoon characters Top Cat! And of course “The Homemade Hero” is my favorite story of the three presented in this issue as it’s a fun and silly tale of how Yogi and T.C. have to help Officer Dibble prove he is not a cop who has no results on a street that is overran by cats who eat from garbage cans and dumpsters. I also have to say I really do like how in these comics they play up the fact that Yogi is friends with all the other characters that make up the Hanna-Barbara universe. And picking my least favorite is hard as I do find both the other stories to be entertaining but if forced to pick I would say that “Surfer Bear” would be the one as its silly and a good read it also takes Yogi to Hawaii and that just seems weird. The Sea Monster and the Greedy Fisherman Captain are cool side characters and as I have said seeing Top Cat and his gang in the issue helped make it ever better. The cover on this one is also good and the use of pink makes it standout and I mean you cannot go wrong with a smiling Yogi with a surfboard. The first story has artwork by Dick Bickenback and the other two I am not sure so Unknown Artist it is and all looks great like always. Marvel Comics is back delivering another great issue for fans of Yogi with this one.

Yogi Bear Comic 7

Yogi Bear # 7  ***
Released in 1978    Cover Price .35     Marvel Comics     #7 of 9

“The Business Typhoon” Filthy McLucre is sick of all the headaches his money and business is given him so he heads to Jellystone to relax when he runs into Yogi and Boo-Boo who make him and honorary bear! And with that Yogi is selected to go run all the businesses and to take care of all the money! But soon Yogi finds that being rich is not great as Boo-Boo and Cindy Bear love living at Jellystone and have to interest in living or even visiting the McLure mansion. And worse one of McLure’s old workers wants the money and wants to ruin Yogi Bear in order to get it all. Finally Yogi has had enough and leaves the mansion and returns to Jellystone only to find that McLure is stealing picnic baskets and with the help of Ranger Smith and only the idea of eating berries and nuts Filthy McLucre returns to his mansion and his no good worker finds out just how hard it is to be in charge of that much money. “Exit Snagglepuss” Yogi is walking down the street when out of the TV Studio Snagglepuss is thrown out by the director who does not want to hire him for a commercial, and its then that Yogi figures out that what Snagglepuss needs is an agent and Yogi will be just that for only 10% of what he earns…but they soon find that the Director just wants nothing to do with them no matter how good Snagglepuss is! In the end after being thrown out, chased around and when he finally does get the parts its being dunked into water over and over…and he is not happy with Yogi and wants to dump water over his head.

The seventh issue in this series only features two stories with a backup The Flintstones one and each of the stories seem to be given a little more time to grow. And the guest star in this one is Snagglepuss another of my favorite characters even though I have to say his story “Exit Snagglepuss” is the weakest of the two as it just lacks something to make it full standout, again its not a bad tale just lacking something as the joke of them being kicked out of the station over and over is classic cartoon stuff. The best story is “The Business Typhoon” as it was cool to see billionaire Filthy McLucre return to Jellystone and remember Yogi as well as just be sick of being rich! And even when Yogi gets all the power and money he soon sees that the headaches are not worth it. What makes this issue also work is that the two stories are very simple and are filled with goofy jokes and as well places Yogi into odd situations that re somehow very fitting for him. The cover for this issue is good and while not it is in my opinion not the most eye catching of the series this far the art on the front and the blue color I am sure made it stand out at the newsstand. We got Dick Bickenback and Unknown Artist back on interior art and like a broken record I have to say its great stuff. Another fun issue and showed that Marvel and Hanna-Barbara should have kept working together to make these fun kids comics that are great reads for all ages.

Yogi Bear Comic 8

Yogi Bear # 8  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .35     Marvel Comics     #8 of 9

“Big Top Bear” Boo-Boo leaves the cave to go get some water when two men kidnap him and as Yogi tries to save his friend he his tossed away by one of them. And even with the help of Ranger Smith the bad guys get away with Boo-Boo, and all Yogi and Ranger Smith have to go by us a weird saying one of the men said and after calling Snooper Yogi discovers that the saying is circus talk and they are who have his friend captive. Yogi gets to the circus and finds that its full of corruption and Yogi is also kidnaped once found and thrown in the cage with Boo-Boo, but Yogi gets an idea and tricks the Circus owner to let them out of the cage and they trick the owner and the circus strong man into a cage and with that the corrupt circus is brought down and Yogi and Boo-Boo return to Jellystone. “Frontier Father” Doggie Daddy is taking his son Augie Doggie camping and Yogi watches as Doggie Daddy fumbles at camping like setting up a tent and even fishing, all the while Augie is ashamed of his dads failed attempts. Yogi tries to help Doggie Daddy and ends up almost going over a waterfall and has to really be saved by Doggie Daddy whose son now is very proud of his dad the hero.

This is another only two adventure issue that delivers a fun read that like always captures the feel of the cartoon, and for those wondering yep it has The Flintstones back up story. Yogi Bear in this issues brings down a terrible circus and even helps a father get the respect of his son and all the while does this all in typical Yogi fashion and also of course does it with his own charm. The cameo guests in this issue is Doggie Daddy and Augie Doggie and it was great seeing them in this issue as they are characters that all us Hanna-Barbara cartoon watches know and love, and they are used really well in this issue as it was great having them camp at Jellystone Park. I also have to say that I like the Circus Strongman who is said that he can rip Phone Booths in half…not Phone Books…Booths! I can not choose witch story I like better as both are really good and solid and to be fair are pretty much dead even so I am not going to choose and just say they are both great! The cover is great and has Yogi and Boo-Boo being fired out of a cannon and is eye catching and interior art (or at least the first story) is done by Dick Bickenback and is great stuff and again I can not stress how well this Marvel Comics captures the cartoon and its characters so well. Over all another amazing issue and continues to deliver great reads for fans of Yogi Bear.

Yogi Bear Comic 9

Yogi Bear # 9  ***
Released in 1979     Cover Price .35     Marvel Comics     #9 of 9

“Bearly Robin Hood” Jellystone Park is being forced to close do to a bill not passing that would help fund the parks of America and Yogi even goes to the congress man to try and get him to change his vote to help the park stay open, and he refuses and Yogi sits day and night trying to find a way to save the park. One night before bed he reads the story of Robin Hood and then has a dream about himself being Robin Yogi and with his Merry Men Boo-Boo, Doggie Daddy, Huckleberry Hound and Wally Gator and they robbed the rich like Snagglepuss and were being hunted by the Ranger who wanted to stop the crime wave. And after winning a archery contest he gets the Ranger off his back and wins a kiss from Cindy Bear…and then he wakes up he has a plan and when the Congress Man shows up to shutdown the park Yogi takes him around the park to show how hard life is at the park and it’s a good thing for it to go away and that all of the animals are happy that they now will be living with the Congress Man in his home, this ideas scares the government man who rips up the shutdown notice and says they will find the money to budget for the park and runs off…Yogi has saved the park again. “The Lonely Ranger” Huckleberry Hound is trying to get a job at being a park ranger at Jellystone and this is good news for Yogi who goes on a picnic basket stealing rampage and almost sets the world record and only needs one more to do so! Yogi sets out to get that record and picnic basket and ends up stealing one form Rancid Rob a bank robber who just robbed a bank and has the money hidden in his basket. Unknown to Huckleberry Hound that the basket is tied to a robber he goes after Yogi to get it back and enters Yogi’s cave…but just then the Police show up and surround the cave as the money has a tracker, in the end Rancid Rob is arrested, the money is returned, Huckleberry decides to not become a ranger and Yogi keeps on stealing picnic baskets.

This is the final issue of Yogi Bear from Marvel Comics and I have to say this is a great series and that all the creators behind it did a fantastic job of capturing the cartoon perfectly on the comic pages and delivering fun adventures of Yogi and Boo-Boo and do a fantastic job of working in Ranger Smith, Cindy Bear as well as many other Hanna-Barbara characters like Huckleberry Hound and Top Cat to name a few. This issue has two Yogi stories with one having him trying to save Jellystone Park from being shutdown by government greed and the other he stops a bank robber by accident and is able to return the money and get the robber behind bars. Both stories are great but I would say that “Bearly Robin Hood” is the better of the two as I really enjoy the Robin Hood dream and this opens the door for many cool cameos including Wally Gator and Magilla Gorilla two characters that are first time seen in the series and again two of my favorites. The worse part of this issue is that it’s the final issue as I had a blast covering this comic series and I wish that it would have lasted longer as again next to some of the Star Comics and Whitman Comics this is one of the better kids comics based on a cartoon. The cover for this issue is lots of fun and has Yogi dressed in his Robin Yogi look and is pretty eye catching if you’re a fan of Yogi’s. The interior art at least for this first story is done by Bickenback again and is great stuff and that’s the thing about this comic series as well all the art is great and really does look like the characters from the toons. Over all if you are a fan of Yogi Bear and enjoy comic books I say check out the Marvel Comics series as they truly are fun reads that does Yogi justice. Checkout the art below to see the style used in this comic series.

Yogi Bear Marvel Comic Art 1Yogi Bear Marvel Comic Art 2Yogi Bear Marvel Comic Art 3

Cartoons was a big part of my youth as watching them after school and on Saturday Morning was a wonderful time as much like a good Horror Host a good cartoon character ended up feeling like your friend that you would watch have fun, humorous and exciting adventures. Many of you my age grew up with Yogi Bear, Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse and so many others in reruns as well as new cartoons, and that’s the thing doing this update made me feel like a kid again and brought back the joy of watching Yogi on TV. But for the next update we will be leaving Jellystone Park and cartoons behind and will be heading to the world of Horror Films (or Dark Comedy) as we will be chatting about the 1982 film Mary Eating Raoul and the promo comic released alongside it. So until next time read a comic or three, watch a cartoon or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time as we have a dinner date with the Blands!

Eating Raoul Preview Logo

Malibu Comics Ultraverse Memories: Hardcase

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, friends and readers, and welcome to another trip down memory lane with Malibu Comics and the Ultraverse line of heroes. For this one we will be taking a look at Hardcase! Growing up Malibu Comics characters were on my radar as I found them to be very cool modern heroes.  Cool looking characters like Prime, Sludge, Prototype and Mantra were all ones I felt I had to read and others I was lukewarm on as their looks didn’t get my attention like the Ultra Hero that we will be covering here, the powerhouse known as Hardcase who just looked like a generic hero and a knock off of Wonder Man from Marvel Comics.  But over the years I have come to really enjoy the heroic adventures of Hardcase and am looking forward to this update, so with that, let’s check out the Ultraverse world and the join Hardcase in it.

Hardcase 1

Tom Hawke was a down on his lucky actor in Hollywood who was looking for a big break with a big role, and after the “Jumpstart Effect” was unleashed by the aliens to bring out the Ultra Powers of some people, he gained some abilities that included super strength, durability and decides to team with fellow Ultra Heroes and so with Starburst, D.J. Blast and Forsa they formed the team The Squad! And Hardcase and his friends became heroes who helped stop crime as well as did what they could for charity events. But after a fight with an entity called the NM-E, his superhero life was changed forever. And after returning to Hollywood he would become an action star actor and as well would once more be forced back into being a superhero, and would become a mainstay in the world of Ultras and be involved in many of the big events. His super powers include being super strong, can leap over a mile, is able to shrug off almost all battle damage, extreme temperature change does not effect him he also can hear and see long distances away. He would later team up with a female Ultra Hero called Choice who has the power to fly, fire beams from her eyes and is super strong. So as you can see Hardcase is one of Malibu Comics big Ultraverse heroes and some would say he is the leader when it comes to all the heroes having to come together to stop world shattering threats.

Hardcase 2Hardcase 3Hardcase 4

If the characters of the Ultraverse ended up in the Marvel Universe in modern times and I was writing it, this is what I would do with Hardcase! I would first start out Hardcase as a three issue mini series and set it in California and have Tom Hawke getting a gig starring as the lead in a big budget action sci-fi movie that is much in the style of films like Mars Attack and Independence Day and soon he finds out that the Alien Invasion is real and that the director of the film is using the production of the film as a contact spot to bring the aliens who are from another dimension to Earth with the goal of taking over! Hardcase would also be dating Choice and in the end he feels good about being a hero again and alerts his lady that he is returning to be a superhero and will be joining The West Coast Avengers! And from here on I would place Hardcase and Choice into The West Coast Avengers and the team members would be Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Moon Knight, Tigra, War Machine, Doctor Druid and Wonder Man, and I would play up a big rivalry with Hardcase and Wonder Man as both are Hollywood actors and at some point Wonder Man gets a crush on Choice and this would be like the Jean Grey, Cyclops and Wolverine story arch but this will end up with Hardcase and Wonder Man having a massive fight that takes the team to break them apart! And from there I would have Hardcase out of the team and being embarrassed he leaves the group as well as Choice and becomes a loner as he goes missing and I would have him end up going to the Philippines and fighting super villains, pirates as well as drug runners in his own on going series and at some point would have Choice tracking him down and trying to get him to come back to The Avengers. I really do think that Hardcase could fit into the modern Marvel Comics Universe and let’s cross our fingers that someday Disney the owners of Marvel will get the guts to bring all the Malibu Ultraverse characters back to the world of comic books.

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Hardcase was one of the heroes that appeared in the short lived Ultraverse cartoon along side Prime, Prototype, Topaz, Nightman and The Ghoul and this cartoon spawned a short lived action figure line from Galoob. And because I am a fan of Malibu Comics I of course have the Hardcase figure that while cool that it was made it is a little cheesy as he comes with a glider as his accessory. The figure has the characters look down with gold shoulder pads as well as his trademark pony tail and for some reason his eyes are a little crossed and he looks like he is trying to stare into your soul. Glad I have this figure and while he is not my favorite in the series he still is a cool one that looks great alongside the others in my collection. Oh and on a side note does anyone remember the old six-minute music video made by Malibu Comics and Wizard Magazine that featured kickboxer and actor Gary Daniels as Hardcase? If you want to watch it look it up on YouTube as it’s a fun and weird watch.

Hardcase 8

So now that we have chatted about Hardcase and who the character is and what I think Marvel Comics could have done with the character if they did not fail the fans of Malibu Comics like they did, it’s time for us to dive into the review of his comic series! Some of these issues will be a re-read for me while others will be a first time read and I am very much looking forward to diving in as I have really loved doing these updates that allows me to talk about these Ultra Heroes as well as revisit the comic series. I want to thank Bell Book And Comic, Lone Star Comics and Game Swap Kettering for having these comics in stock and making this update possible. I want to also remind all you readers that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready lets go on an epic Ultra adventure with Hardcase and see how he holds up all these years later.

Hardcase Comic 1

Hardcase # 1  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 1 of 26

Hardcase is hurt bad he is bleeding and his arm is dislocated and he is watching as one of his fellow The Guard member Forsa is being killed by a strange looking alien robot, his other friends D.J. Blast and Starburst are on the ground and are in very bad shape, as D.J. tells Hardcase to grab Starburst and get away as fast as he can and our hero does so just as D.J. forces himself to explode taking down the Alien thing. And Hardcase gets even more bad news as it looks like Starburst may never wake up as the fight left her with server brain damage. A year after this event and Hardcase is now a full time actor making action films based around himself and his co-star in all these films is a one time washed up teen actor named Justin Kuttner who is a royal jerk and still has an ego. While waiting for the next shot to be set up Hardcase is in his trailer when a cop stops by and asks him to sign a poster and tells him he wishes he was still a superhero as what he and The Squad did was very helpful to them, Hardcase tells him that his hero days are over…just as a call goes out about a bank robbery and the cop rushes off. At the bank a Ultra powered villain named Head Knocker is killing the cops who have came to stop his robbery and even their bullets seem to not affect him. When Hardcase still on set hears the gun fire he leaves the movie to help and finds the massacre, in a rage he fights Head Knocker and beats him with a car and swears he will never loose again and then tells the media that is on hand that he is back as a Ultra Hero! Meanwhile in a underground base a naked man named Rex Mundi is watching this news and is very mad to see him return to being a hero, and it’s clear he is responsible for sending the Alien Robot now named NM-E out to kill Ultras and looks like he might just do it again.

This first issue of Hardcase is lots of fun and is a great way to kick off a series as it drops you smack in the middle of a fight that has our Ultra Powered heroes loosing with them being ripped apart and blood everywhere! And out first look at the books title hero has him bleeding, broken and beaten by a very sinister looking robot alien thing. And from there the comic is about Hardcase finding his way back to being a Hero and trying to overcome the fear of loosing and letting his friends down. Hardcase is a pretty interesting character as he is super strong, has super hearing and can leap for miles but also has issues like all of us as when he was beaten up and two of his friends killed before his eyes and another beaten so bad she has yet to wake up it effects his mind and causes him to step away from who he wants to be and instead he plays the hero he wants to be in movies. I also like that when he sees that other Ultras are running around and doing very bad things he steps back up and smacks them down and finds that spark to be the hero that he knows he is. And at this point I am not sure who all will be main characters in our story but I am sure we will see more of NM-E as well as Rex Mundi who lives underground and hates Ultras and I also think maybe Justin Kuttner that weasel will also come into play and will probably be a trader and do something to screw over Hardcase. This comic is also way more bloody then I would have thought as limbs are ripped off and skulls are crushed! The cover is a little puzzling and while it showcases Hardcase it also looks very generic and not as flashy as other first issue releases in the Ultraverse. The interior art is really good and is done by Jim Callahan and his work has the classic early 90’s look. Over all a great first issue that drew me into the story of Hardcase and is making me wanting to see what the next issue has in store for him now that he has returned as a hero.

Hardcase Comic 2

Hardcase # 2  ***
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu      # 2 of 26

Choice is on the run as she is being hunted down as a company wants her back as they use her as a spokes person for products, and she hates her life with them and wants to find Hardcase in order to get help. Meanwhile Hardcase himself is at the funeral of the cop he meet at the film set that was killed by Head Knocker and meets his brother who is also a cop and the two seem to build a friendship. Once back home Hardcase gets a visitor in Choice who tells him that the company she works for has messed with her mind and body and she needs his help, he agrees just as her attackers appear with orders now to kill Hardcase and bring Choice back to the company. They even blow up Hardcases home and this sets him off and he and Choice take out the attackers with one being killed as he was run over by a semi truck. It looks like Mr. Dixon of the Choice Cooperation is the one who sent them and now Hardcase and Choice are heading to his headquarters to get answers.

This second issue is good and introduces us to new characters as well as shows that Hardcase is a hero who feels lots of guilt if he feels that people have died that he could have prevented if he would have arrived quicker. The plot has a runaway Ultra being hunted down by a big company and having to find Hardcase in order to get help. Choice is the new Ultra we meet and she is very cool and has some great powers like she can fly, shoot laser beams from her eyes and also shrug off attacks…but only for an hour and when she is wearing a special suit. The raise the question that she is not really an Ultra, that she might not even be a human and also that she is crazy and only future issues will answer these questions. Hardcase is willing to help Choice as its clear he finds her attractive and he is still trying to show the world he is back as a hero and what better way to showcase his return then helping a beautiful product spokes woman! I also like that he has built two new friendships in this issue with one being Choice and the other being Officer Chuck Brown who I hope comes back into play in a future issue. Mr. Dixon and the Choice Corporation who are into making profits and as well trying their best to out do UltraCorp who has Prototype as their mascot of sorts. And while at this point they are not super threatening they do have armored suit assassins on their payroll who have no issues killing people. This issue also has a little bit of blood as one of the metal assassins is ran over by a truck and his blood is splattered all over the street! The cover for this issue is good and eye catching and has Hardcase standing looking mad and ready to fight with fire in the background. The interior art is a mixed bag as a group of artists known as Cranial Implant Studio worked on the issue with some art looking great others is 100% not my style of art. Over all a good issue that takes our hero into his first mission back as a Ultra Hero and does a great job of expanding his world and cast of characters.

Hardcase Comic 3

Hardcase # 3  **1/2
Released in 1993      Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 3 of 26

Mr. Dixon is holding a meeting as things have gotten out of hand as Choice has beat his forces and he fears that she and Hardcase are on their way, but we soon find that Rex Mundi who lives under ground has offered to help him stop the two Ultra Heroes and lends them a new team he has made called Omega Team (Gun Nut, The Needler & Trouble) to get Choice back as well as kill Hardcase. Meanwhile Officer Brown arrives at the destroyed house of Hardcase and warns him that the Choice Cooperation is very powerful, and Brown stays at the destroyed house and tries to get the press out of the home as Hardcase and Choice head to the beach as Choice is acting weird and saying things that contradict what she has said before and this causes Hardcase to question if she is sane, and they are attacked by Omega Team who start off by trying to blow our hero up with a missile. Omega Team strikes hard and end up taking Choice down and its Hardcase that ends up beating the three up and he and Choice talk to the press about the attack were part of Choice’s brainwashing kicks in and has here take up for the Choice Cooperation. In the end Hardcase and Choice head to another of his homes only to find the Ultra Hero team The Strangers are waiting for them.

This third issue has the story of what is the deal with Choice thicken as we learn fully that they have messed with her mind that limits what she can say about the company in public as well as they really want her back as they think she is a investment as she sells products for them and that’s all that really matters. Poor Hardcase is confused as she says lots of things that makes him question her sanity and sense meeting her has to fight Ultras as well as lost his home all for trying to help her. I like the character of Choice she is powerful and yet also flawed and not due to her own will and this makes her more interesting. Hardcase is clearly falling for Choice but is also a little shaky on her as he is not 100% sure if he can trust her as he knows that clearly something is off about her. Mr. Dixon and his company at this point are shown that while they are bad, they need help from truly bad people in order to do the bad stuff they do as Rex Mundi and his created Ultras are clearly the true evildoers as they only at this point want one thing and that’s to kill Hardcase as they have something against him. This is a good issue that keeps the story going and keeps in interesting as it shows us readers that Hardcase has found his groove and is really ready to be a hero again as he totally kicks the butts of Omega Team. The downside is I am not to happy that they already have a crossover set up as the story and issue could have done without The Strangers. The cover for this issue is ok and has Hardcase being shocked and the interior art is once more done by Jim Callahan and is good stuff and again really is the style I think of when looking back at the Ultraverse. So with that lets see what issue four has in store for us.

Hardcase Comic 4

Hardcase # 4  *1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 4 of 26

Hardcase and Choice are ready to fight The Strangers as they do not know them, but when tempers get in check Hardcase meets his new guests by his pool as they are new to the Ultra Hero business and are asking him for advice. The Strangers start by introducing themselves as well as their powers, next Hardcase tells them about how he got his Ultra powers during a film audition and how he meet those in his original hero group The Guard and they decided to use their powers to be heroes and stop crimes in California. Hardcase then tells them about the battle against NM-E that left almost all of his friends dead and gave him mental scares of having to witness it all. Hardcase then starts to think that maybe the Aladdin Company is who sent NM-E to kill them all those years ago and along with Choice and The Strangers they head to Groom Lake in order to find the answers but are meet by Ultra Villains he attack and get all our heroes as prisoners.

This issue is just a set up for the reader to but an issue of The Strangers and that really stinks as the Hardcase story really suffers from this. While in the issue we do get to see that Choice and Hardcase are getting closer and that maybe just maybe someone form the Aladdin Company is who wanted him and his old team killed! Other wise it’s mostly filled with flashback moments to the early days of Hardcase. Really disappointed in this issue and I honestly don’t have much to even say about it. Choice in the issue is very protective of Hardcase, as she gets a little jealous of the attention he is getting from one of the female members of The Strangers. Hardcase himself is stull trying to be a hero and tries to give advice as well as takes the rookie team on a mission with him, that ends up getting them all beat up! The cover is a pull out one and is pretty cool and showcases Hardcase as well as The Strangers and Choice and is eye catching. The interior art is done by James Hudnall and is well done. The reason this issue is getting such a low star rating is that it just feels like a comic that Malibu released in order to get Hardcase readers to buy the next issue of The Strangers, and I am not a fan of that tactic that comic companies use to do. Over all the Hardcase stuff that furthers his storyline is good the cheap add on stuff of The Strangers is not. Lets just move on and see what issue five has in store for us.

Hardcase Comic 5

Hardcase # 5  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $2.50     Malibu     # 5 of 26

Hardcase and Choice go and visit Officer Brown at the station and he informs them that he has never been to Hardcase’s home and that means someone acting like him showed up and watched the home after the attack, and this puzzles them all. But before the dive to deep into that Hardcase heads to the office of Mr. Dixon as well and tells him to leave Choice alone…the meeting does not go well. And while all this is going on a Ultra killer is murdering drug sellers as he is called Hardwire and is a killer for hire, and he has now been hired by Rex Mundi to kill Hardcase! A woman shows up and warns Hardcase and Choice about Rex and his hatred for them, but our heroes ignore the warning and go on a date for the night. Hardcase and Choice go dancing and have a late dinner and on the way back home they stop at a gas station and while Choice uses the restroom Hardcase is attacked by Hardwire who’s razor like nails cuts the skin of Hardcase and this shocks our hero as his skin is tough, but things get worse when Hardwire stabs Hardcase with his nails and our hero starts to bleed to death. As Choice rushes to his side unknown what has happened Hardwire is sneaking up behind her. And worse on a beach two friends find the head of NM-E and it takes over one of their bodies and wants to rebuild it’s self and finish its job of killing Hardcase it’s self.

In this issue we have zero clue on what happened at Groom Lake with The Strangers and our story picks back up with Hardcase and Choice wanting to get Mr. Dixon off her case and the meeting does not go well as its clear that he still has control over Choice. We also learn that a shape shifting Ultra is acting like Officer Chuck Brown and is keeping an eye on Hardcase and we also find out that a killer that has Ultra Powers has been hired by that scumbag Rex Mundi to kill our hero. And crazy enough we also now see that NM-3 is back and is wanting a rematch to finish the job of killing Ultra Heroes and all Hardcase wanted to do in this issue is stand up for his lady and have a nice night out with her. The issue also is a little bloody as when NM-3 takes over one of the teens he uses his powers and blows the guts out of the other with a blast! It also stinks that Mr. Dixon has a grip on Choice and can even make it so that she cannot speak at all, and that she really is living in fear as she has no control of herself when she is around him. Also Hardwire is a snuff film watching razor nailed slashing nut job that really does love killing anyone he is asked to slaughter. And another big question that I cannot wait to see how it plays out is who is the fake Officer Brown and are they friend or foe? I also wondering how Hardcase is going to survive the attack as he has been cut and stabbed pretty bad and he is bleeding out in a parking lot late at night, makes me wonder if Choice will have to go full power on Hardwire to save them both from being killed. The cover for this issue is eye-catching cause it has Hardcase bleeding and it’s more rare to show the comics hero bleeding that bad. The interior art is done by Scott Benefiel and is pretty good and while a little too sketchy for my taste I can see how some comic readers would enjoy it. I am glad this comic series is back on track and the focus is on Hardcase and Choice as they are what is making this series very good.

Hardcase Comic 6

Hardcase # 6  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 6 of 26

Hardcase is in the street dying and Choice activates her shields as well as ability to fly and dodges Hardwire and gets Hardcase to a hospital and he is lucky as he is able to heal fast and bounce back. Meanwhile Rex Mundi sees the news that he is not dead and then goes into a room that is filled with tons of Ultra Villains and they are told that they have all been hired by Rex as he wants to steal and take over The Moon! Hardware gets another visit from the mystery woman Regina who tells Choice and him that she can help them get the answers they are seeking and also tells them the location of Hardwire who is on another mission to kill. So not fully healed Hardcase and Choice head to a street that is the home of several gang members and find Hardwire there killing the crime members, but this time our heroes are prepared and they beat up the razor nailed bad guy and Hardcase even dislocates Hardwire’s shoulders to make it impossible to hurt the cops who show up to arrest him. In the end Hardcase goes home to sleep and thinks back to when he was dying and how he seen the spirit of Starburst who told him it was not his time to die.

This was another good issue in the Hardcase comic series as it starts with Hardcase at deaths gate and leaving his own body and encounters the spirit of his friend who is in a coma, and we also follow Hardcase as he heels up and gets his revenge on Hardwire they man who almost killed him! And while Hardcase and Choice are able to get their revenge on Hardwire who is brought to justice for not only the attack on them, but also all the murders he has done. But lots of new plot twists are thrown in including Regina still going out of her way in order to try and “help” our heroes, though I am not sure if I trust her as she seems to be promising lots. We also learn that while Hardcase has tough skin he can be cut by Ultra’s and can in fact die, even though he does heal fast. And the biggest new plot is why does Rex Mundi want to go to the moon and what is his end game plan for his Ultra Villains when they get there? This issue does also a great job of showing that Hardcase can be super tough and even slightly mean spirited as he uses his super strength to rip both of Hardwire’s arms out of their sockets and leaves him in pain! And due to all this other drama we still are not closer to finding anything out about Choices past and what has been done to her, and I am hoping that in the coming issues more of her backstory will start to unfold. The cover for this issue is ok and while not my taste, it does reek of 90’s Indie Superhero comic. The interior art is good and done by Scott Benefiel and looks a little less sloppy sketchy then the last issue. So another good issue that has new bait on the plot hooks to reel readers in.

Hardcase Comic 7

Hardcase # 7  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95      Malibu      # 7 of 26

Hardcase and Choice stop a pair of carjackers and head to the business office of Hardcase as she meets his employees who are working on trying to figure out a way for her to get out of the contract with the Choice Cooperation. Meanwhile NM-E has created a new twisted body and is looking for more Ultra Heroes as he wants to kill them all. Later that night Hardcase and Choice meet up with Regina for a late dinner and she tells them about how Ultra’s are born and it all comes from waves from The Moon! She tells them they need to get to the Moon before Rex and his crew do as there is an object up there that needs to be rescued from their grips, and Hardcase soon finds out she is making him team with the Ultra Team called The Solution. Once back home Hardcase and Choice notice an explosion on a near by island that triggers a tsunami and our heroes do they best they can to save lives before it its, they save some but sadly many die. Before our heroes have a moment to think Regina shows up and takes them to a massive space ship and alerts them its time to get to the moon.

This issue of Hardcase is pretty interesting as we now know that an object on the moon is what has give some people on Earth their Ultra powers and that included Hardcase. We learn that Rex hates Ultras and is the one who wants them dead, and is using them in order to get a power source from the moon. Regina has some answers and gives a little and is also hiding some to keep Choice and Hardcase in line to help her. And poor Hardcase feels like a pinball as he is being attacked and tricked as well as is doing what he can to help his new girlfriend to break free and discover her dark past. And this issue while not action packed is used to further the plot of the item on the moon as well as adds a little more drama with Regina knowing lots about our hero’s pasts. Plus lets not forget that we have added the team The Solution to this mission and a few members clearly do not think highly of Hardcase as they see him as an armature hero. The stuff with the tsunami is sad stuff as our heroes have to watch as many people die, and I wish they would have played out this part as their sadness is way to short due to Regina’s appearance to summon them to get to the ship. The cover is good and has Hardcase and Choice about to be hit by the tsunami, and the interior art is once more done by Scott Benefiel and is good for the most part with some panels I feel very much lacking. Over all a good issue and I cannot wait to see Hardcase on the moon!

Hardcase Comic 8

Hardcase # 8  *1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 8 of 26

Omega Team and the other Ultra villains have failed on the moon and are heading back to their ship only to watch it take off as Hardcase and the heroes have taken it to return to Earth leaving them stuck on the moon. They call Rex for help who tells them that he will not send a rescue ship as they have failed and if they make it back to Earth alive he will allow them to keep the money he has given them. Meanwhile back on the ship Hardcase and The Solution are starting to wonder what Regina’s real connection is to Rex as its clear that the two know each other and have the same goals, but before they can find the answers the ship is blown up by Rex still in space! Meanwhile Omega Team and the other Ultra Villains are able to get back to Earth but land in a desert when one member uses all his power to bring them home. Meanwhile in space Hardcase, Choice and The Solution survived the explosion and all head back to Earth. Once back home Choice alerts Hardcase that she has little bits of memory of her past and they find a note and some money left by Regina that tells them to head back to Groom Lake for more answers about Choice. Meanwhile Rex thinks he has killed Hardcase and is even more happy with NM-E arrives home as he now has his ultimate Ultra killing machine back.

Man Malibu Comics is really bad for these cross over series that start in one series and makes you buy another to finish the story, and with this one we miss all the moon stuff and you would have to buy Break-Thru in order to see the battle on the moon and I say that is B.S. and one reason Malibu frustrates me. The plot of this issue has our heroes coming back to Earth from the moon and wondering what Rex and Regina are all about before having the ship blown up and them having to drift their way back home. And we also see that Rex leaves his bad Ultras stuck in space and they have to use there wits and powers to as well return home. And the biggest things we get from this issue is that NM-E has returned to Rex and that Groom Lake really is the place that has the answers to Choices past. Cover is cool but miss leading as Hardcase fights no one let alone a creature in this issue and the interior art by Scott Benefiel is ok but he also uses lots of big panels to film out this rice paper thin plot of this issue. Over all just a fill in issue with some new plot elements sprinkled in.

Hardcase Comic 9

Hardcase # 9  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 9 of 26

Hardcase is at the hospital talking to Starburst who has been in a coma for over a year, and he is telling her he is sorry as she was his girlfriend and he fills her in on events that just happened that is the following. While on the set of his new movie Choice visits him and is upset that he has a love scene with an actress, as she wonders why he has never made the move on her yet, he explains he feels odd doing so over Starburst and the fact he does not want to take advantage of her. The next day they have a run in with a monster Ultra named Turf that has been killing celebrities and now wants to crush the life out of Hardcase, you see Turf is an Ultra who uses the soil around him to become the monster and who is a psychopath who is obsessed with famous people and is mad when they do not write back to his weird fan letters. When Choice shows up the heroes defeat him, as like always Aladdin shows up to take Turf away. Once home Hardcase and Choice finally fully fall in love and that brings us back to the hospital were Hardcase tells Starburst that he is in love with Choice and that he is sorry. As he leaves Starburst sheds a tear.

This is a good issue as it pushes the fact that Hardcase and Choice are now a couple and that they love each other, it is also lets Hardcase finally be able to not live in the past and dwell on his failures and opens his heart to his one time lady. While you feel good for Hardcase, you have to feel a little bad for Starburst who clearly has her heartbroken as the one she loved is now walking away from her when she needs him the most. The villain Turf in this issue is very much inspired by the Greek Mythology giant named Antaeus as they both get their powers from touching the land. But Turf is crazy as he brutally murders famous people that he feels disrespected him by not responding to his crazy letters, and while as the mud looking monster he is creepy as a person he is really just a chubby dude with no confidence. While the only major thing that happens in this issue being that Hardcase and Choice start dating, it still was a very good issue that was a way to move past the old and bring in the new plot elements. The cover is action packed and shows Turf beating up our heroes and the interior art by Brent Anderson is good and I like the way he draws the monster version of Turf. Lets see if our next issue gets us on track to once more crash into Groom Lake to find out the truth about Choice.

Hardcase Comic 10

Hardcase # 10  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu      # 10 of 26

The Aladdin Company has been watching and listening to Hardcase for weeks unknown to him and Choice, as they are thinking he is a threat to them and know that Regina has left him a note to head back to the Groom Lake base to find out about Choices past as well as her powers. Right before our heroes are set to go to the base Choice shares some memories that are conflicting like having loving parents in America as well as being orphaned in Vietnam and having to hide on a cramped boat with others to travel to America to find freedom. And after hearing these details Hardcase gets super mad and says that they Aladdin will pay for all this, as its clear he is hiding something more that is making him very mad. Agent Malik is one the case of killing Hardcase once he arrives at Groom Lake and he is allowed to release two captured Ultra Baddies in order to help his team of Ultra Heroes Dirt Devil, Foxfire and War Eagle bring down the actor turned hero, and he chooses Head Knocker and Hardwire to join the cause as each of those two hate Hardcase. And as Hardcase and Choice are driving to Groom Lake a helicopter appears and the Bad Ultras start jumping out.

Well we know that The Aladdin Company has been watching Hardcase as they do not like this Ultra Hero and want him dead now that he is trying to once more get into their base. Agent Malik is the man who has been given the duty of watching Hardcase as well as be the one who leads the task force to try and kill him. While he is clearly loyal to Aladdin his mission is clearly making him nervous. The return of Hardwire and Head Knocker is a nice touch as both of these Ultra baddies clearly want revenge of Hardcase the hero that beat them both and allowed them to be captured and placed in this situation via Aladdin, but it does make me wonder if these two will work well together as well as along with the other Ultras that have been sent to stop and eliminate Hardcase. Speaking of Hardcase his rage over Aladdin is clearly deeper then what he is sharing and he kind of rages and seems to almost forget that the mission is to help Choice and not his own grudge. This is a pretty cool issue as I like the idea that a company is spying on a Superhero as they find him to be a threat to their plans and are willing to kill him in order to have zero interruptions. And with only two Ultras against five it makes you wonder how Hardcase and Choice will survive. The cover is ok for this issue and the interior art by Kelly Krantz and is pretty good. Over all a good issue that builds up to the next issue that I am very much looking forward to reading, as I want to see how our heroes get out of this mess.

Hardcase Comic 11

Hardcase # 11  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 11 of 26

Hardcase and Choice are ready for a fight and after their car is blown up our heroes go on the attack! As Hardcase takes down Dirt Devil and Choice brings down Foxfire things turn bad for War Eagle who is also taken down. Choice tells their fallen foes that they better not see them at Groom Lake or next time they will not be so nice. Meanwhile Hardwire and Head Knocker have already headed back to the Aladdin base and are waiting for the heroes to arrive so they can attack and get their revenge on Hardcase. Our heroes decide to take a rest before attacking the base to find the answers as Choice needs to have her powers recharge but their rest is cut short, as Head Knocker and Hardwire have found them.

This issue is packed with action and has our heroes dealing with other Ultra powered heroes and this time the good guys are fighting hard as they have been pushed to far, and Hardcase is mad that all of his cars keep getting destroyed! Choice as well is more aggressive and that is because she is so close to getting the answers to her past. The team of Dirt Devil, Foxfire and War Eagle are just over powered and are defeated fast, and even Foxfire is forced to spill the beans on who sent them as well as how Aladdin has been keeping tabs on Hardcase and Choice. I have to say the team of Hardwire and Head Knocker are the smart ones as they do not rush into the fight and instead wait for the heroes to already have had a fight and need a rest before they go in for the kill, and leaving us on that cliffhanger was a great way to make readers look forward to the next issue. The cover is ok and has Choice crawling on the ground and the interior art by Scott Benefiel is good and has the classic Malibu look. Over all a good action packed issue that felt like a really quick read and with that lets see how our heroes deal with Head Knocker and Hardwire.

Hardcase Comic 12

Hardcase # 12  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 12 of 26

Head Knocker attacks Hardcase as Hardwire goes after Choice as the agents of Aladdin watch the battle via radar. Head Knocker is just as strong as Hardcase and lands some big punches and keeps our hero on defense and makes him worried for Choice who is being slashed at by Hardwire who has killing on his mind. And with the odds against them Hardcase makes the decision to grab Choice and retreat as he knows that they might not win this fight and they leap away. And with that Head Knocker and Hardwire decide that they are not going back to Aladdin as they are free and head towards a highway to try and steal a car to escape in. Meanwhile Hardcase tells Choice that they are going about this all wrong and when FireFox, War Eagle and Dirt Devil show up at their location they make a deal with Aladdin that they will both just leave each other alone…and the deal is accepted. Hardcase then tells Choice that he has another idea to get the answers about her past that is not them attacking the base at Groom Lake and they head to a hotel in Las Vegas and put a call to Tech from the group The Solution who will arrive in a few days, but while they wait they decide to have fun around town. Tech shows up and they raid the files of Aladdin and are all shaken badly when they find out that part of Choices brain is that of Starburst the ex-girlfriend of Hardcase that is in a coma.

This is another action packed issue that has our heroes going against two of the biggest Ultra Baddies they have fought this far, and worse this time around our heroes are both weakened from a previous battle and the odds are not in their favor to win. Hardcase who in the last two issues let his anger get the better of him shows that he can also use his mind to get the results he seeks and needs. While poor Choice finds that her mind is not her own and that she has part of another woman’s mind in hers and that very bad things have happened to her all to create a spokeswoman for a big corporation. And the people of Aladdin are clearly cold blooded and do not care who’s lives they ruin as long as their secrets do not leak out to the world. And Aladdin is also now responsible for letting two very dangerous Ultra Villains loose with Hardwire and Head Knocker who rival Hardcase in power once more in society to hurt innocent lives. The end of this issue leaves Hardcase and Choice heartbroken and crying and makes you wonder what will be in store for the Choice Corporation and Aladdin now that our heroes know the terrible backstory that lead to Choice and her powers. I really like that this issue as well shows that while Hardcase is strong he does have some major foes in Head Knocker and Hardwire who equal him in powers. The cover is pretty cool and showcases the heroes and villains fighting and the interior art by Scott Benefiel is good like before. The plot really has thickened for Choice and I like this new plot element that her brain has part of another’s and I for one am looking forward to reading the next issue.

Hardcase Comic 13

Hardcase # 13  **
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 13 of 26

Choice and Hardcase calm down and try and get their rage and heartbreak in check and sit down and start reading the files that Tech got from Aladdin. Meanwhile unknown beings are watching the two and are chatting that they need Choice in order to defeat their enemies. Choice learns that she was an orphaned child from Vietnam who was taken in by Aladdin once she arrived in America and was brainwashed and had her mind worked on by them and her memories erased when they choose her to be a test subject for make a Ultra that can be controlled. They use part of the brains of Starburts and other falling Ultras to give her powers, and even the boss of Choice Corporation used her and abused her. And when she started to regain memories of her own as well as that of Starblast they set her to be reprogramed in Brazil and that is when she escaped and ended up finding Hardcase for help. Choice takes a moment and then lets Hardcase and Tech know that a weight feels like it has been lifted from her, as she now knows her past and that with this information she will bring down both Aladdin and the Choice Corporation by releasing it all to the public. But just like that Choice is zapped away and finds herself face to face with the beings that welcome her to her new home.

We finally get the backstory to Choice who was a young woman who has had a very hard life from the start as her mother died, her father is an unknown American, when coming to USA she is brainwashed and experimented on and has parts of other peoples brains implanted in her own! When she is first forced with these facts she seems very upset and yet very shortly later seems to learn to be ok with it, and real quick I already dislike these alien being things that kidnap her…can we please leave aliens out of this, but to be fair they could also be demons. Hardcase is raged that Aladdin has removed part of Starburst’s brain and this will make sure she never will awake from her coma, and you know that he will not allow this to slide. This was a cool issue because they finally 12 issues in really do show the backstory of Choice, but I feel they do so poorly in presentation as its mostly done in text over splash pages of basic art and just kind of lacks the impact it should. And even more odd the shocking emotions that the characters have in the last page of issue 12 seems to disappear and they kind of all act normal and just more like “superheroes”. The cover is good and showcases Choice and the interior art this time is done by Kelly Krantz is ok but sometimes the screamy expressions on the characters faces is laughable. Over all an ok issue that does answers many lingering questions as well as moves stories along.

Hardcase Comic 14

Hardcase # 14  *1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 14 of 26

Hardcase is filled with anger and confusion and the burning desire to kill who ever has kidnapped Choice, but he is calmed down by Tech who calls Shadowmage an alien magician who is a member of the Solution and she shows up and says that is was alien magic like from her home world that made the portal that took Choice away. Hardware gets the two ladies to follow him home and as Tech destroys all the bugs in his home placed by Aladdin while Shadowmage tries to see if any magic has been in his home to also spy and she comes up empty handed. After the two ladies leave the home Hardcase pouts for a bit before heading out in order to alert the police of Choices abduction and he as well as swings by the hospital to visit Starburst. Meanwhile Rex Mundi has used his demonic forces to use little creatures to spy on Hardcase so that the newly rebuilt NM-E can watch and learn the heroes every move. And to top it all off Hardwire shows up at the home of Hardcase and is waiting for him to get home so that he can attack and kill him.

This issue is 100% filler and for the most part really boring as all it really does is set up that Rex is priming NM-E to learn all it can about Hardcase to kill him in their next fight, that Hardwire is waiting for his time for a rematch, magic is what took Choice away and that Hardcase goes to the police to report a missing person…this issue has zero action and has plot points that are dragged out way to long. Hardcase comes off like a child throwing a temper tantrum and then goes to the cops for help to find his missing girlfriend who has been taking away to another world, and the cops are even looking at him like he is dumb as what can they do about that. This is really a bad issue and it’s a shame that Malibu released it and did not add these elements of plot around at least some sort of action or even better drama. The cover is cool and eye catching and the interior art by Steve Carr are ok and is your standard indie 90s comic style. Over all a bland issue that I don’t want to spend any more time on so lets move onto the next issue.

Hardcase Comic 15

Hardcase # 15  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 15 of 26

Hardcase shows back up home and finds that not only his front door being destroyed but so is all the stuff inside all by the hands of Hardwire. And this pushes Hardcase to far who finds Hardwire in his house and the two start to fight, both want to do nothing more then destroy each other! Hardcase is really rough in his fighting style and beats the hell out of Hardwire who is still able to use his razor like nails to slice the skin and injury our hero. But Hardcase knocks Hardwire out when he rams his head through a wall and leaves him bloody on the floor. The whole fight Rex Mundi has been watching and as Hardcase wins and is injured he sends in NM-E to finish and kill Hardcase!

This is another action packed issue that has Hardcase very mad and ready to finish a feud that has been going on way to long and because of his crazy life for the past months and all the fights he has been in his fighting skill has gotten way better and he uses not only his powers but also plans out the fights better. Hardwire who is a deadly villain who has nails that slice and dice is a little to cocky and thinks the fight will be an easy win and soon finds out that he needed a better plan of action as he gets bloody and beatdown. Rex Mundi and NM-E meanwhile are enjoying the fight and will be going in for the kill when the fight is over as they both want to see Hardcase dead! The issue goes back to being bloody a trait that was missing from many issues and the fight between the two is really well done and both sides get some great hits off. This issue gives us nothing on what is going on with Choice and we focus on Hardcase and we add the new threat of the rebuilt and bigger and badder NM-E who has entered the battlefield on the last page and really makes me look forward to the next issue that I hope is as action packed as this one. The cover for this issue is great and eye catching and is pure 90’s superhero stuff! The interior art is done by two artist and one is good and the other is not my taste as the two’s style clashes and even at times they are drawing the character different! The good artist is Greg Luzniak and his style is fantastic and the not my cup of tea artist is Tim Hamilton. Over all this is a great issue and his action packed and delivers an ending that makes me really looking forward to the next issue.

Hardcase Comic 16

Hardcase # 16  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $3.50     Malibu     # 16 of 26

Hardcase has fear as he sees NM-E and knows that he must fight for his life, but like before he is no match for this monster who uses a blast that knocks Hardcase out of his home and burns his skin and even singes his hair off! NM-E also finds Hardwire and blasts him to keep him down and out of this final fight. Rex Mundi loves what he is seeing as NM-E keeps up the attack on Hardcase and keeps blasting, burning and punching him till he is near death. The media and the police show up and NM-E even takes down a media helicopter killing everyone on board. As NM-E goes in for the kill on Hardcase with orders from Rex to blow off the hero’s head he is stopped when Prime shows up and is ready to fight and protect his friend.

This is another action packed issue and has Hardcase getting his butt kicked by his worst enemy NM-E who was the thing responsible for killing his old team The Squad. And its clear from the start the Hardcase is our powered as well as his own fear is causing him to be on the loosing side of this fight, I mean his skin us burnt and his hair is gone and he looks like he just walked out of a massive explosion and he is the only survivor. Rex Mundi is loving every second of this one sided fight as he wants nothing more then to have Hardcase dead and if not for Prime I think his wish would have came true. And lets be honest seeing Prime enter this fight is great and lets hope he kicks some butt in the next issue! I like that we also went from an issue that had Hardcase being a badass to one that he looks weak and is tossed around like a ragdoll. The cover for this issue is great and showcases NM-E and really reminds me of a Dark Horse Comics cover for one of their Aliens comics. The interior art is done by Tim Hamilton again, but this time its not bad and I like the way he draws the injured Hardcase as he looks painful! Over all a great issue that now adds Prime into the action and this continues the trend of making me look forward to the next issue!

Hardcase Comic 17

Hardcase # 17  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 17 of 26

NM-E does not get the chance to kill Hardcase as Prime starts a fight with the creature and he as well finds that the NM-E can cause even him hard but the strongest Ultra pushes forward in the battle as he wants to avenge his friend Hardcase as well as The Squad. Meanwhile Regina shows up as well and takes Hardcase into the ocean and tells him to drink the water as it will help heal him and she as well tells him some tips about his true Ultra powers. Meanwhile Prime is doing what he can to battle NM-E, but the Ultra hero is not doing well as NM-E is just too strong and this causes Prime to turn back into teenager Kevin Green and just as NM-E goes for the kill he is stopped by the semi-healed yet still very burnt up Hardcase who gives Kevin enough time to run away and Hardcase himself keeps getting blasted but swears that this time NM-E will be the one who dies.

Another battle filled issue of Hardcase that sees him almost arrive at deaths door and if not for the help from Prime and Regina he surly would have been killed. Hardcase who’s really in bad shape truly learns that drinking water helps him heal and that he must put his fear aside if he wants to be able to truly fight NM-E who is a creature machine who clearly has no fear and only has a mission and that’s to kill. Rex Mundi is loving the fact that his assassin is able to beat up and almost kill two Ultra heroes and in time he thinks that this battle will lead to them both dying. And I think Rex now has figured out that Regina is working against his mission to kill Hardcase as well as other Ultras. The shocking thing about this issue is that Prime who is kind of like the Superman of Malibu Comics cannot seem to hurt NM-E and is almost killed by it showing just how much of a major threat this thing really is. Plus this also makes me wonder just who much this battle will change Hardcase and Prime when it comes to their attitudes of being heroes as now they have to think about how close they came to death. The cover is pretty cool and showcases Prime, Hardcase and NM-E and this makes it eye catching and the interior art by Tim Hamilton is good and once more I like they way he draws the injured Hardcase. Over all another good issue and like a broken record it makes me look forward to the next issue.

Hardcase Comic 18

Hardcase # 18  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 18 of 26

Hardcase is in a rage and goes on the attack of NM-E and while he himself is getting blasted and burned he keeps pushing the fight and this is draining NM-E who is finally starting show slowing down and showing signs of injuries as Rex Mundi is frustrated as he watches as he just wants to see Hardcase die by the hands of one of his creations. While Hardcase and NM-E are fighting the home of Hardcase is on fire and an unknown person enters the flames and saves the life of Hardwire and beams them out of danger. Finally Hardcase uses gasoline to catch NM-E on fire and then quickly tackles him into the ocean hoping that the extreme heat change from hot to cold will cause it to explode, and as NM-E sinks deeper into the water Hardcase comes ashore and is injured as the media swarms him asking silly questions. Big mistake to them as NM-E rises from the water and is firing his weapons wildly and some of the reporters are hit, Hardcase has seen enough and wants his redemption and uses all of his energy to destroy NM-E and the battle ends with the thing in pieces. After the fight is over Prime reappears and the two heroes check on each other when just like Choice our injured hero Hardcase vanishes as Prime screams out his friends name in anger.

Hardcase has finally done it as he defeats NM-E the creature machine that had killed his friends and been the source of his nightmares for years, and while Hardcase was injured bad as he is burnt horribly he still pushes himself to avenge his fallen teammates and his rage and anger no longer plays against him as it helps fuel him to victory. NM-E while super powerful and deadly shows that this creature machine even has its limits and when pushed beyond those limits it falls in battle, and this you know is the worst case scenario for Rex Mundi who’s plans keep failing when it comes to the killing of his Ultra arch nemesis. I also like how Kevin Green turns back into Prime as the battle is over and Hardcase questions him why he did not call in the other members of the Ultraforce. Another plot turn now is who is the person who saved Hardwire from burning to death and will he be coming for Hardcase again soon? I am not liking all this being zapped away to other worlds or dimensions as I feel it takes away from the true base hero stories of Hardcase and back then and even now I am sick of the alien, space and magic world adduction story lines that filled comic series for way to long. While I was not keen on the Hardcase vanishing in thin air ending I will say I do like the final fight between NM-E and Hardcase as it was a pretty brutal matchup. The cover is pretty cool and shows the twisted with anger burnt face of Hardcase and the interior art by Tim Hamilton is good and shows that Tim can do great work. Over all this is a good issue and a nice end to the nightmare of NM-E and with that lets see what the next issue has in store for us.

Hardcase Comic 19

Hardcase # 19  *1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu     # 19 of 26

Regina is on the beach as Prime stands over the broken parts of NM-E and the police are starting to show up as their investigation in this this battle is now underway, she wants to get her hands on the broken pieces of NM-E as she has a plan for them and tricks Prime into letting her take them by making herself look like Ultraforce member Mantra! Meanwhile Rex Mundi is mad about the loss of his # 1 assassin as well as the fact that Regina has its body parts, but his main concern is that the Ultras of the Earth need to be destroyed and Hardcase is the main one he wants to be brought down. While The Operator is mad as she has a mole in her crime group and she brings in Ultra Trauma who kills the mole for her and is now on her payroll. Meanwhile we also see Choice in another dimension and she is following some strange looking bugs and wonders if this will lead her back home.

This is another filler issue that has no Hardcase as Malibu wants you to buy their “God Wheel” mini series to find out what the title hero is up to, and things like this is why Malibu started to loose their grip on readers and would slip from being the third biggest comic company going in the 90’s. The only major plot element we get from this issue is that Regina has the parts of NM-E and has an idea for them and that The Operator who knows Rex and is the one who hired Hardwire for him now has an Ultra on her payroll with Trauma. The cover is bland and boring and the issue has several artist working on each character segment and some are good and some are ok and I don’t have much to say about this issue as it really is just a bad filler that once more I have to stress does not feature the title character as they want you to buy another mini series to see him…lets move on and hope the next issue is not bland filler.

Hardcase Comic 20

Hardcase # 20  **
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.50     Malibu     # 20 of 26

Hardcase is on a floating city that is above the God Wheel and is talking to a hologram named Ogma who is going to send him back to Earth, but our hero asks to be sent to Choice so he can bring her home as well…Ogma sends him to her but alerts him its for a short time and that he will not be sending her back with him! Hardcase finds himself with Choice who alerts him that she has been fighting for the freedom of the people of this world against these evil god like beings and that she really can not leave until she wins! And then Choice tells Hardcase that she is pregnant with his baby, the to celebrate before Hardcase is whisked away back to Earth and at his burnt down home. Our hero knows that his lady love will return to him soon and he heads to his office were his staff at first do not recognize him due to his mask, but are soon very happy to see him back and alive. But others are not so happy to see him return like Turf, Rex Mundi and Omega Team.

This issue takes place after the events of the God Wheel mini series and has Hardcase returning to Earth after helping as well as seeing hi lady Choice and finding out he is going to be a father. We also see his new look that is a mask and a gold and black body suit. Choice seems to have found her new calling as she seems to love being a hero to the helpless on the God Wheel and she also clearly is in love with Hardcase who she is looking forward to getting back to once her work is done. We also are teased that some of his enemies are coming back around with Turf and Omega Team looking to even the score and Rex Mundi is still trying to figure out a plan that will kill off the hero for good. And while this brings Hardcase back to his own comic series as well as back to Earth the comics big revel is the fact that he and Choice are going to have a child together. The downside to the comic is if to did not read the God Wheel series you would be lost and I think the writers did a bad job of explaining to readers on what has happened with our hero as they just drop us all in like we know. The cover is good and showcases Hardcase putting on his new mask…that reminds me of a generic Deadpool clone. The interior art by Ken Bivins is ok and while some panels look great others seem a little rushed. Over all a good issue but nothing special and seems like just a way to get our hero back to Earth.

Hardcase Comic 21

Hardcase # 21  **1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.50     Malibu     # 21 of 26

Hardcase at his office finds that his life has really changed after his battle with NM-E and the few days he vanished. Not only is his face not fully healed and he is forced to wear a mask to hide the scars, Hollywood does not want to hire him due to fear of Ultra Villains showing up to set and causing death and damage and worse he has no place to stay and all his friends are afraid to have him crash at their places! Hardcase gets an idea that he will buy a Hollywood prop RV and will live in it for a short time as well as set a course to find Rex Mundi and end this cat and mouse game once and for all. Meanwhile a man named The Genius is the one who saved Hardwire from the fire and has been treating him as well as giving him injections that he claims will make him as strong as his foe. And even odder a man who is phasing in and out is tracking Hardcase and acts as if the Ultra Hero is his dad!

This is back on track and this issue is pretty entertaining and I really like that they show that being a superhero is not that glamour’s as our heroes own friends and business partners are afraid of what trouble could be following him. And this shows another layer of Hardcase as clearly his feelings are hurt but he just keeps moving forward in order to try and make his life work the best he can. We also see that he gets along with his mom while his dad is another story as they both attempt to call to check in on him. And this weird costumed phasing man is he really Hardcases son trying to contact him for the future? I guess we will have to see in further issues if this is the case. And The Genius is a character that seems like he could be a heel that will be making a play for one of the series top villains as he has the means to make Ultra Villains even stronger! Also I am thinking that Hardcases secretary has a crush on him and he knows it as he rejects the offer to stay with her as he thinks of Choice. The cover is pretty great and has Hardcase look like he is hitchhiking and this is eye catching for the time. The interior art by Tim Hamilton is good for the most part, but does seem a little rushed in spots. Over all a good issue that adds in new elements to our story as well as picks up on old ones in the Hardcase and Rex blood feud. Lets see what the next issue has in store for us.

Hardcase Comic 22

Hardcase # 22  **1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.50     Malibu     # 22 of 26

Trauma sneaks around the mansion of a Russian crime lord and uses her power to kill him and his right hand man. Meanwhile Hardware visits Officer Brown and informs him that he has found Choice on another planet and that he as well was away doing a mission on another planet. As Officer Brown listens he is shocked when Hardcase asks about info on Rex Mundi who the cops think is really just an urban legend and together they start putting together attacks that could be put together! And with that information Hardcase starts digging deep and contacts Trouble of Omega Team for a meeting at a hole in the wall bar. Trouble tells Hardcase a little about what he knows about Rex and will tell him everything as well as how to find him if Hardcase promises to kill Rex once he finds him, but our hero can not take that deal as he will not murder someone. As Trouble and Hardcase are about to leave the bar we see that Trauma and Rex Mundi are there and Trauma uses her Ultra powers to snap the neck of Trouble killing him and everyone in the bar thinks that Hardcase is the one who killed him.

Hardcase is in deep trouble now as he is being looked at for murder that of course he didn’t do and was a set up by his arch nemesis Rex Mundi! Hardcase has finally figured out that Rex is the man who has caused him all this pain over the years as he is even the one who sent NM-E and killed all of Hardcases friends! And poor Officer Brown is so out of his league when it is coming to all these Ultra issues and battles, its as if the police can do nothing but sit back and watch and try to come in at the end to arrest the bad guy if he is on the loosing end. And when being told about Gods and new worlds you can tell Officer Brown is taken back by it all, but not shocked. I also like that Hardcase is driving around now in a RV and his basically homeless and broke and has nothing but bringing down Rex who is wise to the Ultras quest and is one step ahead of him. Also it looks like Trauma is working for Rex now and with her powers being able to kill some one brutally with the wave of her hands she could be the most dangerous villain in this series! And poor old Trouble of Omega Team is a bad dude who tries to help Hardcase on his quest as he as well hates Rex Mundi but his price tag of murder makes the two at odds is also the victim of Trauma and her powers that leaves his neck snapped and him dead on the floor of a nasty bar. The cover for this issue is pretty cool and has Trouble sneaking up and leaping on Hardcase, the interior art by Tim Hamilton is good and is fitting for this era of Malibu Comics. This was a fun issue to read and really is a countdown for a big fight that is surly to take place between Hardcase and Rex Mundi.

Hardcase Comic 23

Hardcase # 23  **
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.50     Malibu     # 23 of 26

Loki looses a time gem that falls to Earth from space and Hardcase finds it while blowing off steam in the desert, you see Hardcase had just left the police station and is being accused of killing Trouble in that bar and he knows once more that Rex has set him up and that with Choice being gone he has no one to talk to. And when he finds out that he can travel back in time he wants to save The Squad from death at the hands of NM-E and he makes the mistake of doing so and warns his old group and even helps in the fight against NM-E allowing them to win this time around and saves all their lives as well as changes the course of history. Once back in modern times Hardcase finds that his face has returned to normal and when talking to his sectary he soon finds that The Squad still died and that he now has no connection to Choice at all as she is now the spokes woman still for the Choice Company and is helping them sell soda. Hardcase rushes to the Choice Corparation and tries to speak to Choice who has no clue who he is now, and just then Loki appears and tells Hardcase to give him the gem so that he can set the world back…this of course is a trick and once the stone is in his hands he disappears and tells Hardcase to deal with this new reality he created. Rex Mundi watched this happen and is now ready for another attack on Hardcase who has confused and destroyed his own fate out of self-pity.

What has Hardcase done to his life as because of his doing he has now lost Choice in his life and this also means they are not having a child together, his friends he wanted to save still died and that now all his battles and friendships are all gone in a blink of an eye. And while an interesting turn of events I also kind of really dislike this major change as it makes the past 22 issues mean nothing as they have all been wiped out thanks to time travel…and again I really am sick of this trope in comics as time travel, other world and space have been so over done and most of these plots do not leave our character in a better place then before said event. And the appearance from Loki really feels shoehorned in and was clearly done by Marvel Comic who at this time owned Malibu Comics and wanted to use their character to try and boost sales. And it looks also like that the only person who remembers the past of Hardcase is Rex Mundi and maybe after the two fight he can force Rex if he has the power to restore things back to normal. And another kind of bad element to this time change is that Choice is once more being abused and used by the Choice Corporation and man this makes the reader mad as we know what she has been through and Hardcases dumb plan makes her stuck in this part of her life. The cover is ok and showcases Loki and the interior art by Tim Hamilton is good, so lets see what happens in the next issue as maybe this terrible plot change will be fixed.

Hardcase Comic 24

Hardcase # 24  **1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.50     Malibu     # 24 of 26

Hardcase goes to the office of J.D. Hunt and forces him to tell all he knows about Rex Mundi, and at first Hunt refuses to share any information that is until Hardcase threatens to expose Hunt’s dark dealings to the government. Hunt tells Hardcase about a building that has an American Flag painted on it that sometimes he meets Mundi at, and with that Hardcase heads to the location. Once inside the building Hardcase is greeted by Rex Mundi who is not there but is speaking to him via a intercom box and taunts the hero about never finding him, he then blows up the building with Hardcase in it and of course the police show up and blame him for the arson, and now he is facing two charges! Hardcase once out on bail contacts Shadowmage and Tech as he needs help finding some of the Ultra Villains that Mundi sent to the moon and they are able to locate Meathook and Death Dance who at first attack Hardcase until they find he came in peace, and after telling the hero about how Mundi left them for dead on the moon and that he also stole all their money they share the location of a entrance to a secret base of Mundi’s and of course Mundi is watching this happen. Meanwhile at Choice busts into the office demanding to speak to Hardcase just as the real Choice appears back on Earth at the site of our heroes burnt down house.

Hardcase’s quest to find and stop Rex Mundi continues and this time Rex blows up a building and blames our hero for it and also his own associates turn on him as Rex Mundi us truly an evil being who loves to ruin lives. Hardcase is really turning into a detective in this issue as he follows leads and asks questions to people that he might not be able to trust in order to get answers that inch him closer to his goal of capturing the man who has killed his friends and has by all accounts ruined the Ultra Heroes life! Rex Mundi as well is really playing a game as he is baiting Hardcase along and is very much enjoying doing so. And the biggest plot element shown in this issue is that there are now two versions of Choice on Earth with one being the one who is having a child with Hardcase and the other is under control of the Choice Corporation and it will be cool when these two ladies clash! Also I like that the law thinks Hardcase is turning bad as he has charges now for murder and arson and while they are trying to believe his stories of Rex Mundi being the real one responsible the lack of proof is giving them doubt. The cover is very fun and is based on the classic Amazing Fantasy # 15 and the interior art by Hugh Haynes is great and over all this really is a good solid issue and is getting the series back on track after the weird and kind of lame Loki crossover.

Hardcase Comic 25

Hardcase # 25  **1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.50     Malibu     # 25 of 26

Hardcase is driving his RV to the location that was given to him by Meathook as he takes a phone call from Choice who is mad at him for showing up at he work talking weird and calling her “Amy” as well as acting as if her bosses are treating her wrong, and thinking fast Hardcase tries to defuse what he caused and Choice storms out of the office just as the real Choice shows up at the office looking for Hardcase herself. Once Choice hears about another Choice she heads to talk to this woman that she feels is just a clone, and when the two meet the Clone Choice attacks the real one who must be super aggressive to stop her attack and make sure innocent people do not get hurt. Meanwhile Hardcase arrives at the entrance location and is attacked by massive rock people who are acting as bodyguard for Rex Mundi and as the fight goes on Hardcase finds out that he has more Ultra Powers then he expected as he freezes the rock men and wins the fight and in the end enters the hidden base of Rex Mundi.

Hardcase has turned his Ultra Powers to 11 as he is now really close to having the final fight against his arch-nemesis Rex Mundi and while Rex has set traps along the way I feel as if this has been the plan all along and that Rex wants him to arrive at his base as he has a trap set for him! And it’s clear that this fight that is coming will be epic as both men clearly hate each other and we know that Mundi wants death for Hardcase it’s unclear just how far Hardcase wants to push the fight. The real Choice being back is awesome and I am glad she is back on Earth and out of the God Wheel nonsense, and the “Clone” version of Choice is crazy and is very aggressive. The story is getting good as we approach the final issue in the series and its crazy to think that this journey has built to this moment of Hardcase and Rex Mundi and we have seen the sad life that actor turned hero has had all because a evil being has it out for him, and now we are at the verge of payback! The cover for this issue is ok and has Hardcase fighting the rock men and the interior art by Hugh Haynes is good and his style brings me back to mid 90’s comics. I am looking forward to reading the final issue in the Hardcase series and I can not wait to see how the Mundi and Hardcase feud ends as well as what will come of the Choice vs. Choice battle…and more important will Hardcase and Choice be able to live happily together.

Hardcase Comic 26

Hardcase # 26  **1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.95     Malibu     # 26 of 26

Hardcase makes it to the base of Rex Mundi and finds himself easily captured and both are now very much confused when the Time Stone is brought up and Loki as neither man seems to know who or why he was there and Mundi is impressed by the power that Loki seems to have and wonders what has changed due to the gem. Rex Mundi then tells Hardcase about who he is as we find out Mundi is the original Ultra who was a caveman who was infected by the alien ship and that over the centuries he broke the ships hold on him and had even found a mate and love in Regina, but the two found that they did not see eye to eye on how to deal with Ultras and humans on Earth and Regina left their home base to teach mankind while Mundi created NM-E to kill Ultras and his enemies. Mundi then tells him that he is really the worlds good guy as he is trying to keep is safe from Aliens as well as the raw power of Ultras and with that he starts to drain the energy from Hardcase who uses some of his new power to time jump and stops the masked version of himself from saving The Squad and when he returns to present time Rex Mundi is ready to end this struggle once and for all that is until Regina who is inside the newly rebuilt NM-E busts in and knocks Hardcase out of the base and goes after Mundi! Meanwhile the two Choice are fighting and each hit each other with a kill blow, but things can change now that Hardcase once more changed time, Hardcase forces himself to forget how to time travel and returns home to find the real Choice waiting for him and the two lovers are back together and happy. But Loki is watching this reunion and has plans of his own now that he has the gem stones.

The Hardcase comic series came to an end with this issue and while the character would float around in a few Marvel/Malibu comic series for a short time he would be gone around 1997 as Marvel walked away from the Ultraverse and the Malibu Characters as a whole. The final battle between Rex Mundi and Hardcase is a little of a letdown as most of the issue has our hero captured and the baddie Mundi explaining his history on Earth and why he does what he does, its weird as they almost try and make you feel that he is doing what is right as he wants to save the world from the harm that Ultras and Aliens cause! And while Mundi does have a fight it’s with Regina in her NM-E mech-suit and not Hardcase and the battle is not even really shown. And the lack of a fight between Hardcase and Mundi is a letdown as is the fact that this issue has to spend time just to re-change the events of the terrible Loki Time Gem crossover that was a waste of time and was just Marvel being Marvel and that was to ruin the story being created by the folks at Malibu Comics. And even the Choice vs. Choice story goes no place as we have them fighting to the death and both die…only for it to be changed thanks to time travel again. And what the heck was the masked phasing cloaked guy that appeared issues back who claimed he was the son of Hardcase that never shows back up, that was the main issue with the Hardcase comic series is that story and characters have no payouts, plot elements go in circle and I do feel that once Marvel bought Malibu you can tell that the characters attitudes change and not for the good. And while I will say that the Hardcase series is not the best we have looked at here on Rotten Ink re-reading and in some issues cases reading for the first time really did make me become a fan of his as I think the character could be used still to this day and could be a big part of the Marvel Universe in comics, shows and films if they would just give him the chance. The cover for this final issue is ok and had Hardcase and Rex Mundi facing off and the interior art by Hugh Haynes is good and as I have said before its pure 90’s stuff. While the Hardcase comic series has some really bad issues it also had many above average ones and even a few really great ones and was an enjoyable read that really does make me miss the characters that made up the Ultraverse. And if you are a comic reader who likes the 90’s Superhero boom, give Hardcase a chance and check out some of his issues. Checkout the artwork bellow to see the styles used in this comics series.

Hardcase Comic Art 1Hardcase Comic Art 2Hardcase Comic Art 3

I have been having lots of fun looking back at the Malibu Comic characters and it seems that you readers have been as well. And if you have not checked out my other updates on the likes of Prototype, Exiles, Sleepstalker and Bones make sure to do so. I can not stress just how disappointed I am in Disney and Marvel Comics for not using the character of Malibu comics anymore as they really should be just added into the regular Marvel Universe as should the characters of CrossGen another company that they bought and have buried. And Hardcase in my opinion should have been a member of The Avengers and hell the Ultraforce team should be still around. But we can not change what is when it comes to the House Of Mouse and The House Of Ideas and with that I would like to tell you that our next update will continue our 10 Year Celebration and will take us to the world of Horror Hosting as we chat about the host of Monsterpiece Theater the one and only Alistair Cookie who lives of Sesame Street! Until then make sure to read a Malibu Comic or three, watch a superhero movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. Oh remember to bring some cookies to the next update, as Mr. Cookie loves them.

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Streets Of Poison: Captain America’s Battle With Addiction

Welcome back to Rotten Ink and another update in this blogs 10 Year Anniversary, and I knew I had to cover one of my all time favorite Marvel Comic superheroes for one of the updates and that of course is Captain America, but what was harder to choose was witch story arch to cover as I had many to choose from like “Bloodstone”, “The Superia Stratagem”, “Operation: Galactic Storm”, “Man And Wolf” and more as Captain America has had some great stories in his comic pages and the one I finally decided on was “Streets Of Poison” a anti-drug story that brings in heroes like Daredevil, Black Widow and Diamondback all to try and stop the drug trafficking in New York as well help Captain America fight addiction…that’s right you read that correct! In the story arch we are covering Captain America becomes addicted to a new street drug. So if you are ready lets go for an action packed update with Captain America one of my all time favorite superheroes.

Captain America 2022 Logo

Captain America was a superhero that captured my imagination as a young kid, back when the American Dream was something you could believe in and tried so hard to obtain as our Nation and the people in Government always did a great job of making you believe in this idea as even the media companies at the time did their part in making you have pride. And while I am older I still do love the core values of America even if you can not trust many of those in the Government all that much, but lets get back on track as we are here to talk about Captain America. Growing up I read lots of comics as growing up in a small village comic books was very popular among my friend groups and some of my favorites to read was Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk, Batman, Superman, Luke Cage, Shang-Chi, Hawkman and at the top of the list was Captain America! And I can remember buying back issues of him at garage sales and would pick up copies from Big Bear/Hearts and at one point had a subscription so I had Captain America delivered to the mailbox. But as I have said before on here back when I was a kid Captain America was not the popular superhero he is now thanks to the films by Disney and I was always teased about Cap being my favorite hero as most of my friends were Batman fans and they all said that Cap was lame and old and I would always have to defend him and talk about how great he was, and when DC versus Marvel mini series was released and Batman was voted by readers to beat Captain America it fueled the fire. But I always have and always will stick behind my fandom of Captain America as he is just a very classic hero, who like the Hulk and Spider-Man was a huge part of growing up. The old Mattel Secret Wars Captain America figure is one of my favorite toys of all time, I always liked the made for TV films starting Reb Brown as Captain America and really I enjoyed the 1990 direct to video film as well! Still to this day I read old Captain America comics and even read new issues being released from time to time and in the new Disney Marvel Movies the Cap films are my favorite in all the series. Was not ashamed to say it as a kid and not ashamed to say it now as an adult I am a fan of Steve Roger aka Captain America as he is truly a noble, brave and iconic hero who really does have a legacy in comics and media that will live on forever in some shape or fashion. And I promise this will not be the last time we take a look at Captain America here on Rotten Ink as we have lots of great story arches to get through. And for those who are wondering in live action films and serials Captain America has been played by the following actors Dick Pursell, Aytekin Akkaya, Reb Brown, Matt Salinger and Chris Evans.

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When you think of rogues galleries for comic book heroes Captain America has some really cool ones with the likes of Red Skull, Baron Zemo and Baron Blood being some of his most iconic ones, but another name on the top of the list is Crossbones who was one of my favorites growing up as he was a bad ass hired killer who looked like he was a pro wrestler and even worse a cool skull mask. So I would like to take a few moments and take a look at who Crossbones is. The man behind the skull mask is Brock Rumlow a former leader of the street gang Savage Crims and who was a terrible person as he was know for assault and murder and did just this to Diamondback when he attacked her and killed one of her brothers. He would go on to be trained by the likes of Taskmaster and his school and would even be a trainer himself of up and coming assassins. He would go on to become a mercenary for hire and would be hired by the likes of Red Skull and from there would become a major thorn in the side of not only Captain America and Diamondback but also Baron Zemo who was on the bad side of the Red Skull. And Crossbones would stay loyal to Red Skull who was paying him very well and even would search for his missing boss when he went missing and formed his own group called the Skeleton Crew. And still to this day Crossbones is around in the Marvel Universe and is causing issues for Superheroes as he is a very skilled foe for any of them. Crossbones is a skilled fighter, has a great mind for strategy, is skilled with all types of weapons and does not mind killing in cold blood to get what he wants. In fact he has even kidnapped and tormented Diamondback in order to get into the mind of Captain America and lure him into a trap. Crossbones for me is my third favorite Captain America villain as I feel he was always a big threat, had a cool look and his fights with Cap were always brutal and entertaining. And yes Crossbones has made it to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is played by actor Frank Grillo and as well has appeared in Cartoons and Video Games.

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While many fans of Captain America would say that their favorite love interest for Steve Rogers would be Peggy Carter, Sharon Carter or even Bernie Rosenthal but for me one of my favorites was Rachel Leighton who was known as Diamondback who was a member of the villain team Serpent Society and who’s love for Steve added a great layer of drama to the comics as she was connected to bad guys and he is Captain America the symbol of all things good. I think what made Diamondback so interesting is that she was willing to risk everything for her love for Captain America and even could have faced death by her fellow Serpent Society members who where not pleased with her decision of following her heart and not the code of the society. And the worse part of it is that at times Captain America would ignore and push away Diamondback and it would break her heart and add so much drama to the issues. And when she went missing thanks to being kidnapped by Crossbones who was tormenting her I as a reader found myself being frustrated with Cap for not going out and looking for her. But the thing also about Diamondback that makes her my favorite is that she is a skilled fighter and can throw sharp diamond like objects at her opponents. She has went from bad to good and back again and even has been a member of S.H.E.I.L.D and while her relationship with Captain America is long over she really is one of the best love interest the hero has ever had in his very long running comic series.

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I am a kid of the 80’s and 90’s and one thing that was everywhere was the “Just Say No To Drugs” phrase and PSA’s that was geared towards kids in order to try and keep them from trying and becoming addicted to them and growing up into a life of crime. The buttons with the Say No To Drugs logo was given out at school and we would watch PSA specials about the dangers of drugs and would even get visits from McGruff the Crime Dog and local police officers trying to do their best to warn us to stay clear. On TV the likes of Pee-Wee Herman, Mr. T, Peter Weller and who could forget the egg in the pan being your brain on drugs ad! I was raised by great parents who also did a great job of warning of the horrors of addiction and that is why I have stayed away from it all, and it’s crazy to think that the War On Drugs is still going strong to this day and that is all I have to say on the subject as this blog is about fun and not drugs! But really seeing as a kid the animated special “Cartoon All Stars To The Rescue” was awesome cause who didn’t want to see the likes of Slimer, Papa Smurf, Daffy Duck, Ninja Turtle Michelangelo and more telling you to stay off drugs. I also have to say the old WWF anti-smoking PSA’s was also great as the Ultimate Warrior eating cigarettes is crazy stuff to try and get kids not to smoke. Or Pee-Wee Herman telling viewers not to smoke crack…I mean the 80’s and early 90’s was a strange time indeed.

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Who don’t love a classic arcade machine, and I am talking about the classic machines that took quarters or tokens that use to be located in almost every pizza parlor, movie theater and of course malls across America! And growing up it always seemed like only rich people and kids on TV had their very own arcade cabinet, but some 7 years ago I got my very own, and cool enough its one that I grew up playing as I am the owner of “Captain America And The Avengers” and this is the classic four player arcade that not only allows you to play as Captain America but also as Iron Man, Hawkeye and Vision as you battle against the likes of Ultron, Crossbones and Red Skull. The game was ported to Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis and while they are good they cannot compare to the Delta East Arcade version. And while this is one of two Arcade Machines I own (the other being Superman) they will not be the last as at some point I would like to get the Spider-Man four player game at sometime. Below is a picture of my Arcade machine being stored and used at a local media store.

Captain America 2022 My Arcade Machine

Speaking of arcade machines I really do miss the days of the big classic arcades from my past I mean sure we have DK Effect and Scene 75 to name a few around here in Ohio but I miss the days of Crazy Cats and Cap’n Bogey’s two places that as a kid I was at lots! Crazy Cats we talked about before way back in my “The Cougar” update from 2014. So now lets talk a little about the mega arcade known as Cap’n Bogeys that was in Beavercreek off of Dayton-Xenia Road and also had some amazing miniature golf courses and even bumper boats! I can remember going here a good amount of time with my Parents and Brother as well as with my cousins Dino, Norman, Nick and Stephen. I would play so many arcade games while using their tokens like X-Men, Street Fighter II, Spider-Man, House Of The Dead and WWF games. I was a masker of their claw machine and would always return home with a handful of plush dolls with my favorite one I got being cartoon icon Snagglepuss. I never did ride the Bumper Boats and I do remember playing the Miniature Golf a couple of times, and the golf was fun but not as iconic as the course at Magic Castle a still going entertainment center in Kettering. But the thing about Cap’n Bogeys is that as a youngster it felt very magical as they had so many arcade machines and as well had food and a walk around version of Cap’n Bogey himself and that was awesome seeing. And for some reason in the early to mid 2000’s it closed and the legacy was gone, it sat empty for awhile with rumors that the old site was going to be turned into a updates Krogers and over years it sat empty until it was finally torn down and in its spot a neighborhood was placed. In 2021 Juliet and I even drove around Beavercreek and ended up finding the site that it once was, and nothing is left and homes really do sit in its spot. I miss Cap’n Bogey’s and wish that some day it will return and bring back the games, golf and boats to a new generation of gamers.

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But enough of the flashback and love for arcades as this update is about Captain America and the Streets Of Poison and to be honest I am very happy to be bring another update about the First Avenger and this time on Rotten Ink’s big 10 Year Anniversary! I would like to say thanks to Mavericks Cards And Comics, Lone Star Comics and Game Swap Kettering for having these issues in stock and making this update possible. I also want to say thanks to Jack Kirby, Joe Simon and Marvel Comics for creating Captain America comics that have entertained me over the decades of reading them. I do want to also remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So with that let’s head to the streets of New York and see how Cap gets ride of the poison that is running wild in them.

Captain America Comic 372

Captain America # 372   **1/2
Released in 1990     Cover Priced $1.00    Marvel Comics     #372 of 454

Captain America is ridding around his new Sky-Cycle and decides to swing by his lady friend Diamondback’s apartment to see if she would like to go for a ride, but before he can call on her he finds Serpent Society Member Boomslang spying on her, and when trying to ask questions the villain runs and makes a mistake as a youth gang opens fire and shoots Boomslang for being in their alley and Cap has to try and save his life, but the fight cause the teens to fire their guns wildly even shooting each other. Captain America returns to The Avengers base only to find that his friend and tech mechanic Fabian is addicted to a new drug called ICE that was given to him by a friend, and now he is hearing voices and is breaking down. Cap calls a place to try and get Fabien into a drug rehab place and suspends him from working with The Avengers as well as finds out the place and the name of his dealer, a man that goes by Kid Gloves who is around Queens. Once he tracks down Kid Gloves he gets the name Moosemeat who is another dealer who then tells Cap that the main distribution for ICE and other drugs is a warehouse…and Cap gets all this information making the dealers think he is The Punisher and would kill them if they don’t share it with him. Once at the warehouse he finds a young man calling himself Napalm who sets off a bomb blowing up the warehouse! Also while this is going on two gang members are at the sight of the shooting trying to break into the gangs hideout and are run off, and Bullseye escapes prison and even kills a guard while doing so.

Captain America and his war on drugs starts here with the first part of “Streets Of Poison” as he is super mad over his young friend being addicted and wants to stop those from poisoning others with their street trash, and starts following the slime trail to figure out who is the main supplier of drugs in New York. Captain America is a man who has so much going on in his life and is even at war with himself over falling in love with Diamondback a former evildoer who was a member of the Society Member, he also has to worry about being the hero America needs as well as a roll model for the countries youth plus getting his young friend drug free! Captain America once he sets his mind set on something he does not give up until he cracks the case and stops the evil that’s plaguing America. He has John Jameson the son of J. Jonah Jameson as his back up on this mission and acts as his ride as well as eyes when staking things out. Poor goofy Boomslang a super villain who not only gets caught spying on a superheroes lady, but is also shot by young kids in a gang for running down the wrong ally, this loser cant seem to catch a break and then also makes you wonder why Serpent Society has him as a member. Bullseye proves that he is deadly even being locked away in a prison cell with nothing he could use as a weapon, he is just one of Marvel’s most deadly assassins. The Street Gang is clearly the ones pushing the ICE on the streets and they are the ones who give it to the likes of Moosemeat and Kid Gloves, but makes you wonder who the hell is their head boss! I love that Captain America fakes being The Punisher dressed as an old homeless guy in order to scare the pushers, and the best part is they are the ones who gave him the idea by thinking he is the vigilante. One character that I always disliked during this era of Captain America was Fabian as he is always a goof-up who seems to always mess things up and always blames other for his issues like in this case he thinks that the pressure Cap and The Avengers is what caused him to want to do this drug to stay up longer so he can work on repairs and gadgets…he is a liar and a goon and the worst Avengers employee. The cover for this issue is pretty fun and has Captain America falling out of a window, and the interior art by Ron Lim is great and has that classic Marvel Comics look that I grew up with. This is a great way to start off a story arch as the stakes are high as drugs are running wild in the streets of New York and a new gang is moving in to start a war with Kingpin and we end with not knowing if Cap has been blown up! So with that lets find out how Captain America survived the explosion!

Captain America Comic 373

Captain America # 373   **1/2
Released in 1990     Cover Priced $1.00    Marvel Comics     #373 of 454

Captain America’s friend John Jameson who drove him around on his quest to track down the main source of New York’s drug trade watches in horror as the warehouse explosions goes off and the fire engulfs it! He thinks quickly and calls Peggy Carter and alerts her to send the police and fire engines as well as to call in a member of The Avengers as he is not sure if Cap made it out alive! Peggy calls the authorities and then calls in Black Widow and as well calls Diamondback and alerts them of the bad situation. The Gang shows up and watches as their warehouse base burns down and think that Napalm set off the bomb cause The Kingpin’s men must have found them, and they now are ready for war. As Diamondback shows up at the scene she is in tears as John alerts her that no sign of Cap has been found, and just like that Captain America appears and says that he was able to jump out a window just in time, but the blast knocked him out for a bit on the roof from the building across the street. Cap is shaken by the blast but after a quick shower he heads back out on the street to crack this case, he has John wait in the van by the warehouse as he and Diamondback watch from across the street. Meanwhile one of Kingpins drug houses was blown up and this angers him and he hires Bullseye to find out who blew up his crack house and who is are the other crime family bringing drugs into his town. John spots someone going into the warehouse and Captain America goes in as Diamondback flies around above on the Sky-Cycle were she is attacked by Black Widow who thinks she stole it from Cap, as she does not know that he made it out of the explosion alive. Meanwhile Captain America in the warehouse sees a light and tries to sneak up on the person only to by accident makes a small noise that alerts the snooping shadow that turns out to be Bullseye who is looking for clues in order to get info on the creeps trying to take over Kingpins drug sales! Meanwhile Diamondback and Black Widow who are fighting on the Sky-Cycle crashes into the river.

The second part of “Streets Of Poison” has us the readers learning that Captain America survived the explosion only because of his reflexes and instincts causes him to leap out a window just in time, we also learn that he is acting a little off after the explosion and even finally gave Diamondback a big kiss only to not even mention it again, he also makes a rookie mistake by making noise while fallowing an unknown shadow who was snooping around a crime scene. Plus the words that Fabian said to Cap is sticking with him as he brought up that the Super Soldier Serum was like a drug, and he seems to think that maybe it is a drug that makes youngsters think that its cool. Diamondback is a one time villain who has turned hero that is confused by the way Captain America is acting and is also a little mad at him when he leaves her flying his Sky-Cycle without even telling her how to control it! Black Widow gets the call that her friend Captain America is missing after a massive accident and finds a strange woman driving his vehicle and she goes into hero mode and starts fighting without finding out answers. You have to feel back for Black Widow as she thinks her friend and teammate could be dead and is ready to crack heads to get answers to her quickly asked questions. Peggy Carter and John Jameson are doing what they can to help Captain America bust this drug ring and are for the most part doing a great job, I just wish John would rage out and turn into Moon-Wolf that would be awesome. Kingpin is really mad as he has just lost one of his drug houses by an attack done by another gang who has moved into his part of town and is selling the goods on the streets, and that other gang only attacked his drug house cause they think he is the one that caused Napalm to explode himself. Bullseye however is trying to get back into good graces with Kingpin and even takes a job of being a detective in order to find out who these people are selling ICE on the streets to they can be dealt with. And if you think about it both Captain America and Kingpin with their crews are looking for the same people, but both have their own reasons, and who are these people…we have not learned yet but we do know they hired a man named Moosemeat to sell drugs for them. The cover for this issue is ok and your typical late 80’s and early 90’s Marvel and is eye-catching for fans of Marvel. The interior art by Ron Lim is well done like before and he is another of Marvel’s underrated artists of the 90’s. So lets see what the third issue in this story arch has in store for us.

Captain America Comic 374

Captain America # 374   **1/2
Released in 1990     Cover Priced $1.00    Marvel Comics     #374 of 454

Captain America takes a leg wound from his unknown attacker that we know is Bullseye and tries to figure out a way to not only get his attacker down but also survive! Meanwhile Diamondback along with the Sky-Cycle come out of the river and she flies away to help Cap at the blown up warehouse, while Black Widow also pops out of the water and badly wants a rematch. Back at the warehouse Captain America figures out the man in the shadows is Bullseye and when Diamondback appears the man who don’t miss his target runs away into the night. Back at Avengers headquarters Captain America is mad at Peggy Carter for calling in Black Widow on his private mission and then gets back at Diamondback and kicks her out of the building, something is wrong with Cap as his anger is out of control. Meanwhile the young street gang is now doing drive by shootings on Kingpins drug sellers, and this is making the crime lord very mad and he just might send Typhoid Mary to deal with it…that is if they can figure out who the other gang is. While Captain America is fuming and storms off to continue his mission alone, Bullseye is shaking down ICE users to follow that trail, Diamondback has changed her costume in order to blend into the night and follow Cap and even Daredevil is in town wondering why Cap is acting so weird, and speaking of Cap he is bulling a rich drug user and is proud of himself. John Jameson meets up with Diamondback and the pair are walking down the street and she informs him that she thinks Cap is on drugs and he inhaled ICE during the explosion and that the drug has bonded to his blood due to the Super Solider Serum, and as John agrees a car drives by and they shoot Diamondback!

In this third part of “The Streets Of Posion” we clearly see that something is not right with Captain America as he is very filled with anger and goes off even on his own friends as Peggy Carter, Diamondback and John Jameson all feel his wrath. It’s clear that Cap is on the ICE and that he is hyped up and filled with raw emotions and has no time for anyone who questions him or gets in his way. Captain America clearly is not his normal self as he is also almost enjoying being a jerk to his friends and loves scaring the drug sellers. Poor Diamondback is yelled out and talked down to by her boyfriend (Cap) all cause he is paranoid and thanks she is talking about him behind his back, and even after being made look bad she still stands by her superhero man and is trying to figure out his strange behavior. And for all these she ends up getting shot in the back while walking down the street, I am going to guess she will be ok cause what superhero don’t wear armor? John Jameson is a loyal friend to Cap, but also its clear he is getting a crush on Diamondback, and he is fighting his emotions about her. Kingpin is getting more and more bad that his drug ring is taking a hit as its under attack by a unknown younger cartel that has moved into New York, and you know that the war is really about to go down when Kingpin sends Bullseye and Typhoid Mary to deal with them. I also like that Daredevil has a cameo and he is clearly going to come into play as he as well had a run in with Cap (in Daredevil #283) and he knows that his hero friend is acting weird. The Drug War that is about to go off is going to get really bad as people are being shot and buildings are being blowup, just imagine when the two sides really go head to head! The cover is pretty great and eye catching and has Cap being attacked by Bullseye and the interior art by Ron Lim is fantastic again. So let’s see if Captain America can just say no to drugs and kick his accidental high in the next issue.

Captain America Comic 375

Captain America # 375   **1/2
Released in 1990     Cover Priced $1.00    Marvel Comics     #375 of 454

Diamondback took several bullets to her back and lucky for her she was wearing a bulletproof vest, while she is hurt she is not dead and John goes inside a small store to check on the people inside. Meanwhile Captain America shows up at a nightclub and attacks a pusher named Jerkweed in order to get info about The Kingpin. Meanwhile at the gangs hideout Bullseye has found them and takes one hostage and gets him to squeal about who is the moneyman behind the new drug cartel in town. Captain America arrives at a small Italian restaurant were Kingpin and his men are having dinner and pushes the crime boss for answers on who is running the rival drug gang, the meeting turns up no answers and worse once Captain America leaves he runs into his friend Daredevil who shares his concerns on how Captain America has been acting, this does not go well. As Daredevil talks Cap’s anger and paranoia kicks into full gear and he attacks Daredevil and the pair fight in the streets and go back and fourth trading punches and attacks. As the fight goes on Captain America gets frustrated and ends the fight beating up Daredevil pretty bad and leaving him on the ground in pain, as Cap walks away footsteps come closer to Daredevil and its Crossbones!

The fourth part of the “Streets Of Poison” has Captain America getting closer and closer to busting the new drug family and all the while he himself is being over taken by the very drug he is fighting to get off the streets and he don’t even see his own trip into madness and paranoia. Cap in this issue not only beats up street punks and hired goons but also looses his temper on a fellow superhero that he beats up and leaves dazed on the streets. For some reason Captain America thinks that The Avengers want to silence him and take away his hero card and even at one point thinks they are sending Daredevil after him so that he can become the new Captain America! And speaking of poor Daredevil he just is coming to check on his friend and see if he can help and gets beat up for doing so, but I will say that while Daredevil looses the fight he at least put on a good showing against Cap. John Jameson is spending his time watching after the injured Diamonback who was injured after being shot several times in the back by a druggie gang. Bullseye is getting very close to figuring out who the main man is who is running the gang that is challenging the power of his boss Kingpin, and I feel bad for the ones in charge and Bullseye plays for keeps. The issue really is one that focuses on just how crazy Captain America is becoming due to inhaling that ICE, he is turning on his friends, making up conspiracy theories in his own mind, becoming more violent towards those he thinks are the bad guys and has become way to focus on his goal and even seems to forget what really pushed him to look into this new street drug. Plus we now see that Crossbones is involved in this madness and makes you wonder who’s side he is on as we know he is not with Cap but is he working on his own, is he with the new drug kids on the block or is he one of Kingpins. The cover for this issue is action packed and has Cap leaping at Daredevil like a madman and I can say is very eye catching for readers of Marvel, the interior art by Ron Lim is great like before. Let’s see what Captain America goes crazy on next and let’s see how Crossbones fits into this drug war.

Captain America Comic 376

Captain America # 376   **1/2
Released in 1990     Cover Priced $1.00     Marvel Comics     #376 of 454

Daredevil is on the ground as Crossbones mocks the fallen hero, and even lifts his mask to get a peek at the man behind it. Crossbones then heads off to the Italian restaurant and busts in as he has been hired to kill Kingpin! Crossbones almost kills the crime boss, but he is saved by Daredevil who ends up fighting the assassin as Kingpin makes his exit. As the cops are called Crossbones makes a break for it as Daredevil as well retreats as he is really hurt from his fight with both Captain America and Crossbones. Diamondback and John are ready to try and find Captain America now that she is slightly better and even run into Black Widow who ends up joining them in their hunt to try and get Cap help! Meanwhile Captain America is coming down hard in a ally as he is feeling bad and even hearing voices, but he thinks he just needs some sleep and pushes himself even harder to get up and solve this case. Meanwhile Crossbones who has failed his first attempt at killing Kingpin gets a call from his boss the man who sent him and it’s the Red Skull and he is not happy that he failed. Meanwhile Kingpin tells Typhoid Mary that they need to bring in Bullseye so that he can track and kill Crossbones and get him to rat out whom hired him. Meanwhile Captain America is ruffing up more drug addicts when Black Widow and Diamondback find him and end up having to fight the drugged out Cap and after some intense fighting Black Widow is able to knock him out with a widow sting, and along with John the two ladies take the out cold Cap back home. Meanwhile as Red Skull is having a meeting with Crossbones about his failed attempt to take Kingpins life, outside the window is Bullseye who is about to try and take the Skulls life.

Captain America is out of control fully in this fifth part of the “Streets Of Poison” storyline as the ICE drug that’s in his blood has turned him into a true wild man who is focused on solving the case but has very much lost touch with reality doing so. Captain America who has last issue beatdown Daredevil almost as well takes the heads off Black Widow and Diamondback the two heroes that are trying to help him. Captain America has not slept in days, has not bathed and looks like a homeless superhero by this point and has zero clue that he is in fact been infected with drugs that he inhaled. Poor Diamondback and Black Widow are forced to fight and fight hard in order to bring their friend down, and once they have him down they have to try and sneak him away in order to protect his image and his reputation. Daredevil as well has been beaten pretty badly and you have to feel for him as he stumbles his way home to rest up after saving the life of his biggest enemy. Kingpin can not catch a break himself as being the big crime boss of New York gives you lots of enemies as not only is their a new drug operation in town, but now he has hits placed on his life by the Red Skull and as a reader you have to wonder if Red Skull is also the main man behind the new drug business. Crossbones and Bullseye are two very deadly hitmen who are on a path to fight each other on their respected bosses orders, and what a great fight this will be! Also now its even more clear that John is having major feelings for Diamondback and is doing his best to fight them off, but I think good old CarWolf will fail the test. The idea also that superheroes had to team up to bring Captain America down because he needs to get drug rehab is something I am sure readers of Cap would never think would happen. This issues cover is pretty great as it shows many of this stories main characters with only Red Skull missing and also has a classic EC Comics feel to it with the side character bar, Ron Lim as always rocked the interior art and I have to say this is a great and fun Captain America story that I have had a blast this far rereading after all these years. So lets she what is in store for Captain America in the next issue and if he can get clean in order to bust this case wide open.

Captain America Comic 377

Captain America # 377   ***
Released in 1990     Cover Priced $1.00     Marvel Comics     #377 of 454

Bullseye busts into the hotel room and puts a bullet into the head of the Red Skull, and this of course angers Crossbones who goes onto the attack with each assassin getting the upper hand back and fourth finally Bullseye spits a tooth into the eye of Crossbones who was choking the life out of him, and then drives a digger into his harm allowing him to escape. Crossbones is pissed that he failed his boss who he thinks is dead on the floor, but he soon finds that the Red Skull is alive and that a robot dummy was the one to take the bullet. Bullseye calls the Kingpin and tells him the hit is done, Kingpin tells Bullseye that the money is waiting for him in a hiding spot and that he needs to disappear for three months or until he calls for him again. As Kingpin hangs up the phone he tells Typhoid Mary that he does not believe that Red Skull is dead. Meanwhile Crossbones gets a call from the real Red Skull to meat him at a bunker so that they can get plans ready. Meanwhile Captain America is out cold at The Avengers medical lab as his friends gather around him waiting on Hank Pym to show up to look at the effects of ICE in his blood, Black Widow takes her leave and builds a friendship with Diamondback before she does so, as both ladies have troubled pasts. Meanwhile Captain America is having a terrible nightmare about the Super Soldier Serum being a drug and that the drug is who made him, he wakes up in a feverish rage and trashes the medical room, as he is having a breakdown his friend Hank Pym comes in and talks him down and says he will help him get clean of ICE. The only way they can get the drug out of Captain America’s system is by giving him a total blood transfusion and that means he also looses the Super Soldier Serum…and he agrees to have it done. Meanwhile Red Skull has Crossbones call Kingpin in order to stop the drug war as he is the one behind the ICE and they pair meet at Yankee Stadium and speak for the first time in many years. Meanwhile the now drug free Captain America against doctors orders gets out of bed and heads out to solve this case and before he leaves he tells Peggy Carter that this is something he has to do as he has to know if the man or the drug made Captain America who he is.

I want to start by saying this is one of the comics I remember as a kid buying off the shelves at Big Bear when I was a kid and have read this issue so many times over the years, man I miss Big Bear and Hearts and wish someone would bring them back alongside Hills and Gold Circle Department stores. Captain America in this issue goes through very bad drug withdraws and has to have his blood drained in order to ride himself of the ICE that contaminates it, and by doing this he is also stripped of his Super Soldier Serum the very thing that helped him become Americas soldier. And now he can truly find the answer to his biggest question if Steve Rogers made the hero or if the serum did. And man I feel sorry for anyone who gets in his way right now as he is clean and focused and has lots to prove to himself! Diamondback, Black Widow, Peggy Carter and John Jameson take a backseat in this issue and while they are around they play more background support characters here. And Hank Pym is the man who comes in and saves Caps life from being a junkie by draining his infected blood, but don’t worry he is also working on a way to strip the ICE or the Super Solider Serum from the blood in order to make Steve Captain America again by injecting it back into him. Red Skull being the mastermind behind ICE as well as the one who is the head of the other side of the drug war is perfect as he is such a cold blooded villain who would not care about killing and spreading his addiction to the youth and lost, he also is never to be trusted and I like that he and Kingpin are having a meeting at Yankee Stadium in order to end a drug war. Plus let’s be honest, each side has very deadly people on their payroll as Crossbones and Bullseye have unfinished business and throw in Typhoid Mary into the mix and this could be a very bloody battle for territory. Funny part is that Captain America if he figures out the location of all targets he is walking into a very dangerous situation as the stadium is filled with trigger happy goons looking to please their bosses. One of the biggest highlights of this issue for me was the opening fight between Crossbones and Bulleyes in the hotel room as both fight hard and both go to kill and wound, and they are each other’s equals making it a very well matched fight. The cover is awesome and features a sedated Captain America in the middle as Bullseye and Crossbones fighting! The interior art by Ron Lim is great and has one panel that has always stuck with me over the years and that’s Bullseye stabbing Crossbones in his arm! Great issue that held up so well for me and next is our last issue in this mini series, so let’s see how Cap closes this case or even if he can.

Captain America Comic 378

Captain America # 378   **1/2
Released in 1990     Cover Priced $1.00     Marvel Comics     #378 of 454

Captain America on his Sky-Cycle is going through a plan in his mind of what to do when he finds the ones responsible for the drugs and who have started a violent war in the streets of New York. Meanwhile Kingpin is not having any of the plan of teaming with the Red Skull as he flat out says he would never work with a Nazi! And Red Skull is not bothered by this and makes a wager with the Kingpin and its simple they two fight in a hand to hand combat with this on the line if Red Skull wins he stays in New York and they are able to sell ICE with no pushback from Kingpins men, and if Red Skull looses her leaves New York and sells his drug factories to Kingpin for a small fee…they both agree and start the fight on the field of Yankee Stadium with both men showing they are skilled and know how to defend themselves, and the fight is also taking place in a bubble that Red Skull put into place to keep others out of the fight. Meanwhile Captain America notices the lights on at Yankee Stadium and lands only to be greeted by Crossbones who wants to smash The Avenger to a blood pulp, so while Red Skull and Kingpin are fighting on the field Captain America and Crossbones are fighting off it. Captain America is able to outsmart and out fight Crossbones beating him after a very tiring battler with a chop to his throat and done on the field Kingpin is able to use his size and skills to defeat the Red Skull, sending him packing for now out of New York. In the end Red Skull and Crossbones escape, Kingpin wins his New York turf back as well as gets the ICE market and Captain America returns to The Avengers base and learns that he can get the Super Solider Serum back if he wants it, and he Just Says No as he knows now that Steve Rogers that man is who makes Captain America and not the drug.

Captain America in this issue not only kicks the drug that was polluting his body, he also finds the answer that has always bothered him and that’s if the serum is what drove him to be the biggest hero in Americas eyes or was it the drive, morals and standards of Steve Rogers! He also shows that even without his super strength he can still fight like a first class superhero when he takes on and defeats Crossbones is a fist fight, Captain America is back and while different he still is the man that America needs. But while Captain America finds himself, when you think about it he does not stop ICE or the New York drug issue as now Kingpin is in charge and will be selling the poison to those looking for a quick long lasting life changing high. The Kingpin while a crime lord and a guy who is responsible for many deaths, drug sales and over all bad deeds still has some morals as he in no way would ever work with Nazis and then beats the Red Skull in a fair fight to chase him out of New York so makes you feel odd as you find yourself cheering for him because of this. The one downside to Kinpin in this final issue is that he sends Bullseye away so he is not present for the big fight and he as well does not bring Typhoid Mary at all and she is one character I feel like they underused and wasted in this story. Red Skull is the one who has brought ICE to New York as he has a goal to kill America any way he can and he thinks what better way then watch Americans kill themselves slowly with his terrible addictive drug. He also has Crossbones a coldblooded gun for hire as his right hand man, so as you can see Red Skull means business and is truly a mastermind of crime. Peggy Carter, John Jameson, Hank Pym and Diamondback are all close friends of Captain America and care about him and all are helpless when it comes to helping him as he was on a mission to prove himself worthy of the name Captain America. I think Marvel Comics was taking a stand against the drugs that was running wild in the streets of New York at the time and was trying to make a statement that you don’t need drugs to be great and buying drugs helps put money in the pockets of organized crime, and most important that drugs are trying to ruin America. While Streets Of Poison is not one of Captain America’s most iconic stories it is one that I remember from my youth and one that I read when it was released way back in 1990, and one that I find myself still enjoying in 2022 so for me it has aged well. I would say that the story telling in this arch is a little sloppy in spots and has you as the reader fill in the holes, like the whole thing started with goofball Fabian being hooked on drugs and by the end of the story he is never mention. So in other words Streets Of Poison is not for everyone. It has Captain America appear in a Daredevil issue during so in order to get the full drugged out Cap you would need to read it as well. The cover for this issue is well done and has Cap punching Crossbones in the face, and again Ron’s interior work is great and captures the full mood of this story. Also you cannot go wrong with a fistfight between Red Skull and Kingpin going down at Yankee Stadium I wonder if Dandy their old Mascot was in the bleachers watching it all go down? Check out the artwork bellow to see Ron’s style and you can see what I mean about him having a great style that was perfect for Marvel Comics during that time.

Captain America Streets Of Poison Art 1Captain America Streets Of Poison Art 2Captain America Streets Of Poison Art 3

So as you can see Captain America has kicked a forced on him drug addiction and tried to bring down two very big drug pushers and during the time played with the emotions of Diamondback and as well got help from his friends Hank Pym, Black Widow and Daredevil. This was a comic mini series that I really do remember reading as a kid and as I stated it held up pretty well after reading it again after these decades. And This was a great one to choose as you get so many villains as well as Red Skull, Crossbones, Bullseye, Kingpin, Typhoid Mary and even Boomslang make appearances with most beside the later playing big parts in this drug fueled story. Our next update however will take us out of the world of Marvel Comics and place us into the once created by Malibu Comics as we will take a look at another of there heroes who sadly is mostly forgotten by modern readers and I will be talking about Hardcase! So until next time read a comic or three, watch a superhero movie to two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you in a few weeks for an Ultraverse good time.

Malibu Hardcase Logo Preview

Marvel’s Star Police Academy

Welcome back to Rotten Ink. It really is hard to believe that this little blog of mine is 10 years old; what started out as just a silly way to feel nostalgic for things that I grew up loving has now turned into a way for many of you readers as well to take trips down memory lane about the topics covered. With that said, today’s update is no exception as growing up my brother and I loved the Police Academy films and we would watch them all the time, but in 1988 they also made an animated series…that was not watched all the time and this update is about that animated series and the Marvel Comics under the Star Comics branch comic series based on it. Who would have ever thought that Police Academy would get a cartoon and comic book series? I know growing up it seemed like Marvel and DC Comics did more oddball releases like this, and now they play it way too safe. So if you are ready let’s head to the station and see what is going on with Mahoney and his friends.

Police Academy Animated 1

The Police Academy Cartoon series started airing on September 10,1988 and was a syndicated show that was based on the movie series that was being released by Warner Brothers at the same time. The cartoon would follow Mahoney and his fellow Cadet friends as they bust crime and try to take down the evil Kingpin who is a member of the Council Of Crime and other baddies include Mr. Sleaze, Claw, Numbskull and Big Burger. The cartoon was made by Rudy-Spears and was released by Warner Bros. Television and would last for two seasons and a total of 65 episodes, as it would end on September 2, 1989. None of the movies cast would voice their cartoon counterparts and names like Dan Hennessey, Ron Rubin, Greg Morton and Frank Welker would lend their voices to help make the characters come alive. Growing up very few of my friends at school watched this cartoon as it really was not popular at all and to be honest while I did watch it from time to time it was not must see TV for me, and looking back this is a little odd as I was a big fan of the movies. I will say that the animation for the cartoon was good and that classic 80’s style but I do always remember not being a fan of the voices of the characters, as they sounded nothing like they should and even the kid friendly humor fell flat. The series would get some home media releases with select episodes making it to VHS and part of the series would get a DVD release. Now keep in mind while I was not a major fan of the cartoon I will say I enjoyed if even with all its flaws.

Police Academy Animated 2Police Academy Animated 3Police Academy Animated 4

While I was not a mega fan of the cartoon series, I was a fan of the action figures based on it that was released by Kenner that started in 1988 and ended in 1989 and only lasted three series. The first wave of figures featured Mahoney with Samson the dog, Tackleberry, Hightower, Jones and Zed for the heroes and for the baddies you could get Cat with Mouser Cat, Numbskull and Mr. Sleaze with FooFoo Dog. Wave one also had some cool play sets like the Precinct Police Station that was really just the Real Ghostbusters fire station re-done. Wave 2 had new versions of Tackleberry and Jones and then added baddies Flung Hi and Kingpin to the mix, and a mail away figure was Captain Harris that is very rare. The third and final wave that is called “Special Assignment Rookies” the cops added was House, Sweetchuck with new versions of Zed and Mahoney and no new baddies were added. They also had vehicles released that included Crazy Cruiser and Crash Cycle. And growing up I had several of these figures like Jones, Tackleberry, Mr. Sleaze and Cat and got them from of course Big Bear and Hearts. The one I always wanted was Hightower as he was at the top of my favorite characters in the films series as well as the animated one. Its weird as very few of the kids I grew up with had the Police Academy figures and I knew no kid who watched the cartoon, I do however knew a few classmates who had the Marvel Comics based on it. And to be honest I do not even remember Harts stocking them for very long and can not even remember them being at Hills Department Store, though I am sure they were as Hills was the place for Toys!

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And when I became a teenager I got ride of my Police Academy figures and regretted it later in life, so I did what any nerdy adult would do and I bought many of them back plus the ones I didn’t have when I was a youngster! And below is a group shot of the figures I have in my collection and I wanted to share it with you readers. No as you can see I do not have the full set as some figures are way over priced like House, Sweetchuck and Captain Harris as they are rare and while I had a chance to buy Sweetchuck at a local store I decided not to pay the price they were asking. But as you can see I do have a good amount of them with my two favorites being Hightower and Tackleberry as I do think they are good figures and are two of my favorite characters from the whole Police Academy series. But check below to see the figures I have, and yes over time I do hope to get more and complete the set, and when looking at them I really need to get more of the bad guys as I need Claw and Mr. Sleeze back.

Police Academy Cartoon Toys Mine

The Police Academy film series started in 1984 and followed Mahoney who is a cadet at the Police Academy who is a prankster and a ladies man who is hated by Lt. Harris, and worse his fellow cadets would follow his lead and they would become good cops who worked well with the people they are protecting. The series would spawn five sequels a cartoon and even a short-lived live action TV Show. The film series would star names like Steve Guttenberg as Mahoney, Bubba Smith as Hightower, Michael Winslow as Larvell Jones, David Graf as Tackleberry, Marion Ramsey as Laverne Hooks, Bobcat Goldthwait as Zed McGlunk to name a few. The first film in the series was the biggest success bringing in $81,198,894.00 at the Domestic Box Office but with each sequel the profits dropped hard as the sixth film in the series “Police Academy 6: City Under Siege” only did $11,567,217.00 showing that the series did not have much legs behind it in the end, but to be fair to the later sequels they did do great on home media and the rental market and did their job of keeping the series alive. I have worked for several used media stores over the years and have had many of customers ask if we had Police Academy films in stock, and mostly they are looking for the sequels so that’s a sign at least that they do have a fan following. I think that if I had to choose my top three films in the series I would say that for me “Police Academy”, “Police Academy 4: Citizen’s On Patrol” and “Police Academy 3: Back In Training” make up that list with my least favorite film in the series being “Police Academy 7: Mission Moscow” a barely in the theater film that had hardly none of the original cast and had many jokes that just fell flat, but to be fair the film did star Christopher Lee and Ron Perlman as Russians. Rumors of an eighth film have been floating around for years and Steve Guttenberg has also fueled those rumors in 2018 by claiming talks are taking place, but I think sadly this sequel will never happen and if anything a remake will be made that will go direct to streaming. Say what you will but Police Academy in the 80’s was a big comedy franchise that sparked so much other media and helped make Warner Brothers some money and brought laughs to movie watchers around the globe.

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I want to also take a moment before we take a look at the score for the first Police Academy film that was done by Robert Folk who is also know for his music work on such films as “Toy Soldiers (1991)”, “Beastmaster 2: Through The Portal Of Time (1991)”, “Rock-A-Doodle (1991)”, “Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995)”, “Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace (1996)” and “Beethoven’s Big Break (2008)” to name a few. But while all the above mentioned and even the none mentioned scores are good it really is his work on the Police Academy film series that is his crown jewel as the Main Title for the series is so iconic and when it starts to play almost everyone knows that its from the film and still even more will hum along to the catchy tune, and funny enough I still even hum this song at random from time to time. And my niece plays in a marching band and my brother use to try and get her to ask her teacher if they would play the Police Academy Theme at football games, he of course said no but it was worth a try. The soundtrack was released for a limited time on CD and I was lucky enough to nab a copy before it went out of print and to be honest the whole score by Folk is really good and if you can find it cheap enough and enjoy movie score soundtracks give it a listen.

Police Academy Animated 11

And yet still before we review these comics we should talk about my three favorite characters in this series with my first being Hightower who was played by Bubba Smith in the films and voiced by Greg Morton in the cartoon, and the reason he is my favorite is he is as strong as a bull, is fair when busting crime, is as big as a pro wrestler and just is a very cool character. Next would have to be Tackleberry who is Rambo with a badge and carries a massive handgun and is really unstable who comes from a family of cops who all act just as intense as he is, Tackleberry is played by actor David Graf in the films and was voiced by Dan Hennessey. And my third favorite is Zed who was a one time criminal who turns a new leaf and joins the Police Force, but he is just as crazy as he was when he was a bad guy he is played by the awesome Bobcat Goldthwait in the films and voiced by Dan Hennessey in the cartoon. And now that you know who my top three favorite characters are I want you to take a few moments to think who yours are as I think every fan of this series has their most as well as least favorites.

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Well as you can see we have somehow found ourselves in Comic Book Jail all because we said we enjoy old Marvel Comics over old DC Comics in a Warner Brothers part of town and now we have to wait for Mahoney to get here to straighten this mess all out, but while we wait lets take a look at the comic book series from Marvel Comics in connection to the Star Comics brand that of course is based on the super kid friendly animated series of Police Academy. I want to thank Bell, Book And Comic as well as Lonestar Comics for having these issues in stock and making this update possible. I also want to remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So with that let’s find a bunk and see what this comic series has in store for us. And on a side note I do remember reading the first issue as a kid and the rest will be first time reads for me.

Police Academy Animated Comic 1

Police Academy # 1  **1/2
Released in 1989     Cover Price $1.00     Marvel    # 1 of 6

Mahoney and Jones are acting as a two man parade for all of the higher officers at the academy, and this is bad news as they the higher ups showed up a day to early and this annoys many of them and worse when Hooks, Zed and Sweetchuck have made a float head that looks like criminal computer and tech mastermind Mad Byter! This gets Mahoney and his friends in hot water and they are sent on duty in a terrible part of town and while directing traffic Mad Byter and his henchmen drive by and the cops give chase, but the criminal makes it to his base that is a massive movie sound studio! Mahoney gets an idea and as he and the rest hide inside of the Mad Byter float head that they will have Sweetchuck drop off as a gift to the criminal and this will allow them to be inside the hideout…and it works! Once inside Mahoney and his fellow officers find that Byter is using props from movies against them and when he makes his escape Mahoney uses one of the props to capture him and get back into the graces of the higher ups. “Little Boy Blue” is the second story and is about Buster a kid who won a contest to be a police officer for a day, the downside is that he is a brat and Mahoney and Jones are the ones who end up having to take him out for the day. Buster is running wild and Mahoney comes up with a plan for him and Jones to wear ski masks and fake kidnap Dusty to teach him a lesson about manors, but a pair of real kidnappers beat them to it and this causes Mahoney and Jones to save the day and in the end they do teach Buster a life lesson on how to act.

This first issue of Police Academy is pure silly stuff and has one longer story as well as a small back up and both pack the same silly humor and jokes and while it is entertaining it does have lots of flaws including characters being in spots they should not be and jokes that are eye rolling bad, you know the type like a bad dad jokes. The first story has Mahoney and company screwing up a parade and being forced on a terrible part of town that they end up saving the city from a very bad man who is a computer hacker that robs places. And that baddie is Mad Byter and he does rob a place and even uses movie props to stall and keep the cops at bay as he and his goons try to escape, they do fail but at least he tried. The second story is shorter and has Mahoney and Jones having to watch the Mayors nephew and have to save him from kidnappers, and the odd part of this plot is that Mahoney himself has a plan to kidnap the kid to calm him down…very odd coming from a cop. Mahoney is clearly the leader of the cadets and is as snarky as ever and while he saves the day often he still is a joker who does so by falling backwards into being the hero as really in this comic he is very bad at his work! Jones is kind of the sidekick to Mahoney and because they are friends he seems to be roped into helping, even when the idea is a bad one. The rest of the characters like Sweetchuck, Zed, Hooks and so on are around they do very little in the stories and play background to Mahoney and Jones. So far this comic held up to what I remember it being as a kid and while the jokes are bad and I cannot stress that enough it was a very entertaining read and while the characters act nothing like they do in the film series they do act like their cartoon counterparts. The cover is eye catching and features the whole cast and the art by Howard Post is good kid friendly art, I do have to say that his Mahoney in some panels looks like an old woman. With that lets see what issue two has in store for us.

Police Academy Animated Comic 2

Police Academy # 2  **1/2
Released in 1989     Cover Price $1.00     Marvel     # 2 of 6

While on a date at the beach Mahoney sees a sea monster and rushes back to the station to warn his coworkers of this danger, and unlucky for him and his normal bank of fellow officers they get sent to the beach to stakeout and capture the creature! But when the sea monster eats Zed while he was surfing, it’s Mahoney and Jones that have to go after him in a tiny submarine that looks like a goldfish. They soon find themselves out of the sub and diving toward a sunken ship that is being robbed by diver, and Mahoney and Jones get caught in a net and captured by a Captain who is holding them and Zed prisoner as the sea monster is really a submarine that he and his crew are using to scare people away as they steal the safe from the boat! And when the criminals get the safe and try to escape, its Mahoney and Jones that escape the net and use the gold fish sub to attach onto the creature sub and crash them onshore! As the Captain and his men make a run for it with the safe to get to a van our officers go to work as Hightower makes one faint and Callahan uses her martial arts to take down another. As the Captain and one of his goons make it to the van it’s Tackleberry armed with an ice cream bazooka and Sweetchuck that brings the Captain down. The second story is “The Cookoo Commandant” and has Mahoney and his fellow officers being yelled at and sent on strange missions by Commandant Lassard who is acting very different and this has lead to The Chief to force the now missing Lassard to step down and Harris to take his place, but Mahoney thinks something is going on and after seeing an old year book he thinks he might have figured it out. Mahoney along with Jones, House and Sweetchuck head to a live taping of a kids show and soon find that the host was a former cadet at the academy at the same time as Lassard and was jealous of him because he got promoted and while the real Lassard was on vacation he wanted to show up and ruin his reputation. In the end all goes back to normal as Lassard returns from vacation and is just as laidback and silly as before.

The second issue in the Police Academy comic is slightly better than the first issue as the two stories just flow better and had less flaws in the art and character placement. The first story has Mahoney at the beach with his fellow officers and they put a stop to a sneaky Captain who is using a fake sea creature in order to rob a safe from a ship that had sunk, and in this story we see that Mahoney is a jerk as he is one a date trying to be smooth with the woman that he keeps forgetting her name. And the Captain is kind of a goofy bad guy for the story as his goal is to get the safe off the ship and he runs around like a goof on the beach with a stolen safe to get into a van! And I love how Mahoney and Jones leave Zed tied up on the ship so that Mahoney can be hero again, man Mahoney is really a jerk! The second and shorty story has a kids show host who went to the academy with Lassard being mad at him and using his master of quick change into characters to try and ruin his reputation at the academy and of course Mahoney is to smart to fall for that. Over all both stories are good fun natured stuff and Mahoney is always the hero of the day, the comedy is slightly less bad but still very goofy in nature. And like before this does a great job of capturing the feel of the cartoon series and does justice to the characters even if some are not getting the time to shine of these pages. I must also say that Tackleberry and his ice cream bazooka is amazing and I wish they would do more with him as well as Hightower as both officers are pushed back into just almost cameo roles. The cover is good and eye catching and has the officers along with the sea creature as sea and as before the talented kids comics artist Howard Post does a great job on the interior art and I like the way he draws Tackleberry! Over all a good solid kids comic that was a fun read and while the plots are simple and silly that is kind of the point with kids comics.

Police Academy Animated Comic 3

Police Academy # 3  **1/2
Released in 1989     Cover Price $1.00     Marvel     # 3 of 6

House has eaten way to many pizzas and hamburgers and has landed himself in the hospital and Mahoney and his fellow officers go to visit him on a stormy night, and when they are asked to leave the room so the doctor can look at him they learn that the doctor was a fake and now House is missing! Mahoney comes up with an idea that has them all act as staff at the hospital to find him as well as the crazed doctor. They soon find a trail of jellybeans and when they follow it they find a hidden lab and House is tied up and meet Doctor Jockensteen and his assistant Clarence who have an idea to take part of Houses brain to put into a robot monster that will be the biggest sports jock the world has ever seen. And when Doctor Jockensteen is mad cause Mahoney frees house the Jock Robot Monster goes on the attack and as the officers run off Mahoney, Jones and House jump into an ambulance and drives off only to be chased down by the robot monster, that they end up getting addicted to jellybeans and have him reprogramed to play on the youth policed baseball team. “The Singing Smash!” has Hightower being charge of a singing group that is he and his fellow officers singing, and because Zed is a fan of pro wrestling he sets up a gig at a wrestling event and they get booed out of the building but they stumble on a plot as a manger has a team kidnapped in order for his team to win the match and Mahoney comes up with an idea to teach them a lesson as Hightower, Zed and Callahan take the match and win the titles and Hightower even gets to sing for his victory.

The third issue is as well fun and the features two stories that have elements of some of my favorite things and that’s Horror and Pro Wrestling! The first tale takes place in the hospital and has a mad doctor on the loose that is trying to build a robot jock and wants to use an injured officers brain to keep it hungry for the win. While the second story has the officers having to enter a wrestling match to stop a con man from winning titles and also get the crowd to be on their side when it comes to singing Christmas carols. Mahoney as always is the main focus and the hero of the day when it comes to the first story but it is nice to see Hightower be the main officer in the second and his size and power comes in play as he beats three wrestlers pretty much by herself by slamming the whole ring on top of them! I also like that Zed as well as even House get a little more time to shine on the pages as they each have some stories, and while Mahoney and Jones are around they are not the full heroes of the issue. The main bad guy of this issue is the sinister Doctor Jockensteen who works for the hospital but is really working on his own experiments and all he cares about is making a robot that will be perfect at every sport, and the robot it’s self only follows orders and while it can be mean its only following orders. And I have to say I am glad Hightower got to be more showcased a little in the comic series, now if he can get them to do so for Tackleberry all would be good. The cover is good and fitting for a kid’s comic series and like before Howard Post did the interior art and is good for this kind of comic. With that let’s see what issue four has in store for us.

Police Academy Animated Comic 4

Police Academy # 4  **1/2
Released in 1990     Cover Price $1.00     Marvel     # 4 of 6

Lassard when he was a cadet captured a mad bomber called Baby Boomer that was tormenting the city, and after being put away for 40 years he has escaped jail and he is going after Lassard to even the score. Mahoney comes up with an idea that he along with the others will really capture Baby Boomer but will once more give Commandant Lassard the credit and make him the hero of the day again. As Baby Boomer heads into an old amusement park to get his stolen loot, Lassard goes in after him as does Mahoney and his fellow officers. After many failed attempts to capture Baby Boomer it is Mahoney and Lassard that capture him on a roller coaster and are able to stop a dropped misplaced bomb from going off, and Lassard is once more the hero as Baby Boomer heads back to jail. Our second wacky story is “Jonesy’s Day Off” has Jones off duty but yet as we walks around town he keeps seeing miner crimes being committed as well as bratty kids not listening to their parents and uses his sound effects to stop it all. He even saves a street musicians tips from being stolen before finally given up and clocking in to work.

This fourth issue in the series is good but does lack a little of the charm that the last few issues have had as both stories while silly and kid friendly do lack a little bit of charm as well as even a thought out story as they kind of come off a little generic. The first story is the better of the two and has Lassard going after an old criminal who has escaped from jail, and he is the one who put him away in the first place and along with the help of Mahoney he does so again when he recaptures him. The second story is kind of bad as it just is Jones walking around town and using the sound effects he makes with his mouth to stop small crimes, and he then because of the stress of being off work and yet still working he decides to just clock in. The main villain is Baby Boomer a criminal who likes to use bombs to strike fear as well as rob places, and when he escapes he only gets the chance to blow up on thing and that’s a package bomb that he sends to Lassard. Mahoney of is the main focus in the first story with Jones being the main cop used in the second story. Over all nothing special when it comes to this issue and the stories it brings to the readers. The cover is pretty cool and has Mahoney and his fellow officers on a roller coaster and the interior art by Howard Post is as solid as ever. While not the best issue in the series this far, it still is pretty fun I guess for the most part.

Police Academy Animated Comic 5

Police Academy # 5  **1/2
Released in 1990     Cover Price $1.00     Marvel     # 5 of 6

Sweetchuck is a big comic book reader and his favorite hero is Grasshopper and Flea Boy and he looses his mind when the movie based on the hero is shooting in their city and the cops have been asked to help keep the actors safe. But an accident on set leaves the actor playing Grasshopper believing he is the masked hero and he heads out into the city to stop crime, and this gives Sweetchuck an idea who puts on the Flea Boy costume and rushes to help keep an eye on the confused actor who ends up stopping a scam that is going on at a construction site, but as Sweetchuck makes it to the scene Grasshopper has another bump on the head and regains his memories and runs away from the scene of the crime leaving Sweetchunk to try and stop it on his own, that is until Mahoney and the others who up and help Sweetchuck become the Superhero of the city by stopping the concrete crime at the work site. “Callahan’s Big Date” is the second story and has everyone at the academy wanting Callahan to be their date at the Police Ball and Harris uses his power of being the one to select who enters the judo tournament to force a date from her, and when Mahoney and Jones tell her she should be herself on the date her power and skills scare Harris away and the date to the ball is cancelled and she still ends up being able to compete in the judo tournament.

This issue’s main story has Officer Sweetchuck being a big comic book reader who gets to live his dream of becoming a superhero as well as working on a move set that is based on his favorite comic superhero! And he gets to also along the way stop a crime that has a crooked man strong-arming a builder into having to buy a ton of concrete. And in the end Sweetchuck learns that cops are the true heroes and his new favorite hero is himself after he and his fellow officers really save the day. The second story is all about Harris being taught a lesson when he tries to bribe Callahan into being his date for a big ball, that is until he sees that she is not a Barbie doll and is a super strong woman that scares him with her fighting skills as well as weightlifting feats. While Harris is a scummy officer the issues main bad guy is the Concrete seller who is trying to force people to buy more than they need for construction work. Sweetchuck and Callahan are the two officers that get their time in the spotlight and Mahoney this time while around is not the main focus and that is a nice change of pace. The cover for this issue is fun and while not great is surly cool for a kid’s comic, and as always the interior artwork by Howard Post is good stuff for this style of comic. Over all a good issue that brings a few laughs and none threatening baddies.

Police Academy Animated Comic 6

Police Academy # 6  **1/2
Released in 1990     Cover Price $1.00     Marvel     # 6 of 6

The police van has broken down in front of a castle and when Mahoney and his fellow officers meet the owner they soon find that they are in the middle of a war as the former owners the Von Sluggs want it back and are using all types of weapons to attack from cannons to tanks and this has became dangerous for everyone involved. But when Mahoney decides that they are going to defend that castle the officers dress like knights and find ways to stop the attack. And it’s House that ends the war when he by accident is thrown from a catapult and brings down the helicopter that King Von Slugg was in, and they family surrenders. In the end the Von Slugg family are asked to live back in the castle and to give up their acts of war and are introduced to video games to get out their aggression. The second story is “Fast Company” has Mahoney being a terrible driver as he has wrecked many police cars over the weeks as he is ogling female officers and drives wreckless. Harris takes away Mahoney’s cruiser privileges and he is forced to use a super fast skateboard and of course he uses this to stop a car thief, and in the end Mahoney understands he drives everything to fast and buys himself an old car that only goes 30mph!

This sixth issue in the Police Academy comic series is also the final issue in the series, and clearly it was not suppose to be the final issue as a seventh issue is advertised in this issue and I would guess that maybe low sales is what did this Star Comics/Marvel Comics series in. The main story of this final issue has Mahoney and the officers fighting off a family who want to take over a castle that they have sold and are war hungry to get it back. And the second issue is about Mahoney wrecking cars and using a skateboard to stop a crime, when really the story is Mahoney is a sleazebag and harasses female officers and drives like a drunk person in order to catcall them. I do like in the first story House decides to order pizza during the battle as he is hungry, and when the delivery man is attacked and drops the pizza he goes out and ends the war so that he can eat. Both stories are ok and entertaining and do a pretty good job of bring a kids comic that captures the cartoon it was based on. While Mahoney and Jones get most of the attention throughout this series House, Sweetchuck, House, Callahan, Lassard, Zed and Harris get some stories while I think Hooks, Hightower and Tackleberry are very much underused and that’s a shame. And while some of the stories are better then the others I do find that over all they are fitting and deliver fun situations for Mahoney and the officers to solve and stop and this surly entertained young readers who enjoyed the cartoon. But while the stories are good they sometimes are way to simple and even at times flaws are all over them with even skin color of characters changing from panel to panel. The interior art work by Howard Post is good while very simple captures that perfect style of art that was used at the time for so many kids comics. The cover for the final issue is ok and has the officer dressed as knights on the castle. To sum this up the Police Academy comic series that was based on the cartoon was pretty good and did a good job of bringing the comic versions of these characters to the pages of a very kid friendly series that brought the humor side of law enforcement to readers. Check out the artwork bellow to see the style of Post used in this series.

Police Academy Animated Comic Art 1Police Academy Animated Comic Art 2Police Academy Animated Comic Art 3

Who would have ever thought that the 1984 comedy film Police Academy would have spawned a cartoon that would in turn spawn toys and a comic book series. And it’s also great that while all outside branding of this series says Marvel Comics inside its clear that this was a Star Comics release and I really do wish that Marvel would have ran with the Star brand for longer then they did as so many cartoons and toys could have gotten the comic book treatment. While the Police Academy cartoon was never super popular in my friend circle it still did make it’s mark in the world of 80’s cartoons and this update was a lot of fun to do for Rotten Ink’s 10 Year Anniversary as growing up the brand Police Academy was big for me growing up. But for our next update we will be leaving the police academy and will be heading into our July 4th update that will feature the America Hero known as G.I. Zombie released by DC Comics. So until next time read a Star Comic or three, watch a classic cartoon or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for some fireworks, grilled food and of course a DC Horror undead monster.

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Indie Luchador Files: El Increible Hulk

The Independents of Lucha Libre is filled with some of the most amazing wrestlers, who have all types of characters from famous monsters to ones based on popular movies, TV shows and comic books. And these unsung tecnicos and rudos of the ring really do deserve to get their time in the spotlight as no matter how big or small their runs were, they had fans who loved to cheer or boo them.  Here at Rotten Ink I am going to showcase them as part of my new update theme I am calling “Indie Luchador Files”! You see, I am going to showcase one Indie Luchador at a time and will try and showcase their career as well as a little about the men behind the mask.  Now keep in mind, many of these Luchadors have very little information and history about them, so I am going to dig deep and find all I can about them. So to start off the first of the Indie Luchador Files I chose a Luchador that is based on one of my all time favorite superheroes The Hulk, and the Luchador is El Increible Hulk! So sit back, grab your air horn and let’s head to the Rotten Ink Arena and chat about an Indie Luchador!

El Increíble Hulk 1El Increíble Hulk 2El Increíble Hulk 3

So before we head into the short bio of El Increible Hulk,B I want to thank every website, blog and person who helped in making this update possible. I want to also thank El Increible Hulk himself for being an interesting and cool Luchador who inspired the idea of these blog updates! Also last year I did an update called “RWI Top 60 Best Luchadors” where I listed well my Top 60 favorite Luchadors so make sure to give that a read as well. So if you are ready, let’s let this Hulk Smash his opponent!

El Increíble Hulk

El Increible Hulk
Started: 1970’s?      Companies: Indies      Active: Unknown     Seen Live: No

I want to start off by saying that sadly not much is known about El Increible Hulk as he was an indie wrestler in Mexico and his history in the ring was not that well preserved, so I have looked all over the world wide web and even spoke to a few of my friends who are Luchadors in order to try and get any and all information about him. El Increible Hulk, also known as “Hombre Increible” and “El Hombre Verde,” was Victor Zamora behind the mask and was a staple at Mexican indie promotions during the 1970’s and 1980’s as he was inspired by the popularity of the Marvel Comics The Incredible Hulk as well as the American television series of the same name as well based on the comics. He would at times team with Frankenstein and he was a main draw for many of the indie promotions he would work for. He was such an attraction that many of the posters and flyers would feature him in order to get the fans to attend the matches. El Increible Hulk would be a part of several bet matches that included him losing his mask twice and alerting the fans to who he was.  He lost his first to his onetime partner Frankenstein. But while he lost his mask in the bet matches, he would still to work the indies wearing it, and he also ended up working for AWWA and having several matches in the Azteca Stadium and was a brief member of the Superlibres that had a tent headquarters next to the stadium! During his run in AWWA he also would capture a title and once more show that he was a draw even for a bigger promotion. So what ever became of El Increible Hulk? Is he still working the indies today under another character? Did he ever make it to CMLL or AAA and capture any gold? Sadly all these questions I could not find the answer to, and it’s a shame as it would be very cool to find out what ever became of Victor Zamora aka El Increible Hulk.

El Increíble Hulk 4El Increíble Hulk 5El Increíble Hulk 6

El Increible Hulk is truly one of those Luchadors who gave his all in the ring and over time has been pushed back to just a memory in the minds of his fans, and that’s a shame as at this point in time no known matches of his can be seen via the internet to bring back his glory days in the ring as well as introduce a whole new group of fans to him. I really would love to find some of his matches and watch and see his in ring style to find out if he do more power moves or if he was a fast and technical grappler. Plus I would love to know if El Increible Hulk is still out there looking for his next match as like so many Luchadors that are older, I would guess he could still put on one hell of a match! I also wonder what Marvel Comics thought of this Luchador? I am sure they had zero clue that he was in Mexico being a draw for Lucha Libre fans at indie events. Readers, did you ever see El Increible Hulk live at a Lucha Libre event? If so leave your memories of it in the comments below. Before I wrap this update I want to close with I really do wonder what has happened to Victor Zamora, the man behind the mask, and I wonder if he ever had kids did they become a Luchador? One day I hope to find out these answers. Well for my next update I will be leaving the world of Lucha Libre to enter the world of cartoons as I will be taking a look at one of my favorite all time Looney Tunes characters with an update all about Daffy Duck! So until next time, read a comic or three, go to an indie wrestling event or two and as always support your local Horror Host! And remember the next update will be a zany good time with the world craziest and grumpiest duck!

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Matt Goes To The Movies 2021

Matt Goes To The Movies 2021 Logo

Welcome everyone to Rotten Ink, my little fun and goofy slice of the world-wide-web. This year 2022 is something very special for my blog as it turns 10 years old! It’s crazy to think that I have been covering comic books, horror hosts, movies, video games, toys and indie films for this long now as it does not seem that long at all to me, but I guess time does fly when you are doing something you love. This year I am going to celebrate in style as I am going to cover all types of things I love, from comics based on toys and cartoons all the way to horror hosts and wrestlers that I consider the best of the best! So 2022 will be a fun year for sure as I get to chat about so many things, and who knows, maybe I will even have a guest writer or two…maybe! But now let’s focus on why we are here at the Rotten Ink Theater as we are here to talk about movies that were shown in my local theaters that I was lucky enough to see on the big silver screen! The coronavirus pandemic was still in full effect so the films coming out were scarce for a while, but it did allow way more indie films to have their time to shine. And let’s not also forget the AT&T and Warner Brothers goofy idea of same day streaming.  I for one went to the theater to see the films I wanted as that was the way they are meant to be seen. I want to thank Cinemark Theaters and Englewood Cinema for being open during these times and help delivering amazing films on the big screen and also allowing private screenings that my friends and I enjoyed throughout the year. And for me, no matter what anyone says, nothing beats seeing films at the movie theaters; streaming just does not pack a punch for me. So with that, let’s grab some popcorn and find our seats as it’s time to talk about the movies of 2021 and rank them by genre, and man horror this year was on point as you will see later in the update. One note: all of the box office figures for the movies are as of the date of this update, January 2, 2021.

Matt Goes To The Movies 2021 Cinemark Logo

Let’s start with Comedy.  In 2021 I didn’t see many of them, but the ones I did were animated and based on classic characters, so with that let me share with you the two films that tickled my funny bone and kept me laughing at the cinema.

Comedy 21 copy

# 2

Tom and Jerry 2021 Poster

Kayla Forester is a young woman who is down and out when it comes to holding onto a job, and after sneaking her way into it, she finds herself working for the Royal Gate Hotel in New York during the wedding of a rich couple whose event is getting bigger and bigger by the minute. But things do not go smoothly for her when Tom and Jerry bring their fighting to the hotel and causes all kinds of chaos and issues that fall into Kayla’s lap! Can she get these two one the same page, can she guard her secret of having a fake resume and most importantly can she save the wedding from all this madness? This is a fun family film filled with silly slapstick comedy moments that brings the classic cartoon characters to a new generation of moviegoers. Plus it’s well casted with one of my favorite actresses Chloe Grace Moretz playing the part of Kayla Forester and other cast members include Michael Pena, Ken Jeong, Pallavi Sharda, Rob Delaney and Colin Jost. The humor is super silly and is a mix of modern cellphone emoji jokes as well as some dated 90’s gags making it fun for all ages. The only thing I would say that the film could have been a little shorter and that would have made the film flow at a better pace. The film did well at the US Box Office for Warner Brothers bringing in $46,041,123.00 on a budget of $79 million. This is worth watching if you enjoy Tom and Jerry and you would like to see them in modern time New York.

# 1

Addams Family 2 (2021) Poster

Wednesday Addams is having a hard time as she cannot relate to normal people and even her own family, and after a disappointing science fair and skipping family dinners several times Gomez Addams decides that a family vacation is needed to travel to some of Americas most gruesome places like Salam and Sleepy Hollow. But the family gets sidetracked when scientist Cyrus Strange tries to claim he is really Wednesday’s father and that she was switched at birth.  After a DNA test proves this true, she leaves her old family behind to be with her “real” family, and it’s up to The Addams Family to get to the truth and bring Wednesday back home were she belongs, and of course all types of kooky things happen along the way. This was a super fun horror themed kids film that was just as enjoyable as the first film.  It is well casted with names like Oscar Isaac, Chloe Grace Moretz, Charlize Theron, Bette Midler, Snoop Dogg and Bill Hader all lending their voices to the main cast. The film did okay for MGM at the Box Office given that they also did VOD day of release as well bringing in $56,489,153 on an unknown budget. This one is worth seeing and worth owning on home media if you are an Addams Family fan like myself.

So as you can see, The Addams Family took the top spot in comedy.  Now let’s jump into the action genre and see what high explosions I saw on the silver screen.

action-21-logo copy 2

# 4

F9 (2021) Poster

Dom Toretto and his fast car driving team once more find themselves helping the government in order to find a device that when used with other parts will bring on a massive nuclear assault on the whole world, and worse Jakob Toretto, his own brother, is working for the bad side.  Now it’s a race around the world and even space in order to save the world from this new threat, and Dom even has to get help from all of his “family” in order to pull this one off. This is a fun goofy over the top action film that by no means takes itself seriously, and because of that, it’s super fun and by all means cheesy. The film has the likes of Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, John Cena, Tyrese Gibson and Charlize Theron on cast. The film did well for Universal at the American Box Office bringing in $173,005,945.00 on a budget of $200 million and worldwide it did fantastic. If you are a fan of the Fast And The Furious series, this one is defiantly worth checking out.

# 3

The Marksman (2021) Poster

Jim Hanson is a former Marine who lives in Texas right at the border.  He has lost his wife to cancer and the bank is threatening to take his ranch away due to missed payments. While driving his property, he stumbles on Rosa and her son Miguel who are on the run from a Mexican drug cartel due to a family member stealing money from them, and when Rosa dies from a gunshot wound Jim promises her that he will get her son to family in Chicago.  All the while, the cartel is after them as is Jim’s step daughter who works for the border patrol and needs to take the child back. The film is a drama action movie that has a 68 year old Liam Neeson in the role of Jim Hanson, and he does a great job at playing the moody war hero. Also in the cast is Katheryn Winnick, Teresa Ruiz, Juan Pablo Rada and Jocob Perez. The film plays off the current hot topic of border security and as well as that no matter how defeated you feel in life, someone can come into your life and change that around. The film did okay for Open Road Films at the USA Box Office during the Virus Crisis bringing in $15,566,093.00 on a budget of $23 million. This was a fun way to kick off the 2021 movie going experience and is one that I might watch again someday.

# 2

nobody poster

Hutch Mansell is a family man who is living a boring life with a wife and two kids he loves but his job is lacking something. His life changes when a pair of robbers breaks into his home and steals a little money as well as his daughter’s cat bracelet, and then his past life comes speeding back into his present.  Hutch was once a government solider who took care of “problems” and after tracking down the robbers and beating up a group of punks on a bus, Hutch has got a price on his head placed their by a very powerful Russian and now he must get his family to safety and teach these criminals that they have messed with the wrong man. Nobody is a super fun film that was made by the same creative team that did the John Wick film series, and this one feels right at home in that universe. The film is well casted with Bob Odenkirk playing Hutch being spot on as he comes off as both a pushover family man as well as a kickass government trained skilled killer. Other names in the cast are Christopher Lloyd, RZA, Connie Nielsen and Aleksey Serebryakov. The film is filled with big action moments and is pretty violent and is a must watch for fans of revenge films. The film did pretty well for Universal at the US Box Office during the still on going virus crisis bringing in $27,268,035.00 on a budget of $16 million, showing that this John Wick universe film had some fans and that this is one that you should see.

# 1

no time to die poster

James Bond is living the retired life but does have some sins from his past haunting him including walking away from his true love, but when a new threat to the whole world emerges Bond is forced out of retirement and must team with the new 007 as well as once more see the woman he had left behind heartbroken in order to stop this new threat and save the world once again. This was a great James Bond adventure that has very high stacks and is unlike the others in this series.  Plus this is extra special as it’s Daniel Craig’s final time playing the iconic role, and its so well casted with names like Lea Seydoux, Rami Malek, Lashana Lynch and Ben Whishaw to name a few making up much of the main cast. The film is filled with drama, action and even suspense and is one of the better Bond films I have seen, and that is why it locked the # 1 spot in the action film section I saw in the theater! The film did well for MGM at the American box office and brought in $160,772,007 on a budget of $250 million dollars. If you are Bond fan, make sure to check this one out as it packs a very impactful ending that will pull at your heartstrings.

As you can see, 2021 had some great action films that made it to the theater and did a great job of entertaining my friends and I! Our next section is all about the sci-fi and fantasy films that did the same for us, so let’s chat about those.

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# 5

chaos walking Poster

The New World is a planet where men cannot hide their inner thoughts.  They can be heard by anyone with what they called the noise. Todd Hewitt is a young man who lives in Prentisstown, where all the woman have been killed, and works at a beet farm, but his life changes when a ship from Earth crashes and the only survivor is Viola, a beautiful woman who once discovered has the Mayor David and his men hunting her down like a wild animal as they think if she contacts another ship, the simple life they have will be ruined…or is it that their sinister secret will be exposed!? Now it’s up to Todd to control his thoughts and help Viola find a radio in order to save herself as well as start a new life. This is a fun sci-fi film filled with some alien creatures as well as interesting characters that is well cast with Tom Holland, Daisy Ridley, David Oyelowo and Mads Mikkelsen being in the lead roles. The film did not do great for Lionsgate at the American Box Office bringing in $13,287,908.00 on a budget of $100 million. This is a very interesting sci-fi film that you should check out on home media.

# 4

Green Knight (2021) Poster

Gawain is the nephew of King Arthur and during a feast at the round table, the mythical Green Knight appears and issues a challenge that he will allow any brave knight to strike him, but one year later the one who deals the blow must travel to the Green Chapel and will receive that same blow.  Gawain takes the challenge and shows off by cutting the head off of the Green Knight who picks up his head and rides off laughing. When the year is up, Gawain goes on a quest to the Green Chapel and along the journey comes across thieves, strangers, ghosts, giants and a talking fox before finally meeting his fate at the hands of the Green Knight. This is the classic round table story turned to film and is an epic tale and brings together elements of fantasy and even a dash of horror. The Green Knight looks very cool and is played by Ralph Ineson and the rest of the cast includes Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Sean Harris, Joel Edgerton. The film did okay for A24 at the American Box Office during the still lingering virus crisis bringing in $17,173,321.00 on a budget of $15million. Over all this is a slow burn fantasy film that will surely please fans of classic tales of King Arthur’s world and round table adventures.

# 3

Morta Kombat 2021 Poster

Many people on Earth have been born with a Dragon birthmark and this is not by chance as they have been selected to be a fighter in “Mortal Kombat,” a tournament held by realms in order to show dominance as well as used to conquer other worlds. Earth’s champion is Radian and his fighters have been finding themselves being killed off before the tournament as Shang Tsung has sent his fighters Sub Zero, Goro, Mileena, Nitara, Reiko and Kabal to stack the odds in their realm’s favor. But they are not ready when Cole Young as well as Earth’s other fighters Sonya Blade, Kano, Jax, Liu Kang and Kung Lao are ready to fight for the world and take the war back to them. And when Scorpion joins the fight, the big fights start way before the Mortal Kombat tournament. What will be the fate of Earth, who will live and who will die…watch this fantasy video game martial arts film to find out. This is a really fun film and the best Mortal Kombat film to date as the film captures the brutal nature of the game series it’s based on and the effects are well done as well. My favorite character in the film had to be Sub Zero as he is cold blooded (pun intended) and the history between he and Scorpion is well done. The film did okay for Warner Brothers at the US Box Office during the lingering pandemic and their foolish HBO Max day of release nonsense and brought in $42,201,013.00 on a budget of $55 million. If you like the game and like martial arts films filled with crazy characters, then you should check this one out.

# 2

Dune (2021) Poster

Duke Leto and his family consort Jessica and son Paul have been assigned to planet Arrakis to harvest Spice.  The planet was previously under the rule of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen who is not happy that he and his soldiers have been pulled out due to the choice of the Emperor. But when Leto arrives, he finds that the odds have been staked against him to fail as the machines he was left to harvest the Spice aare broken down, the area is surrounded by the massive Sand Worms and the area is also the home of the Fremen, the natives of the planet who are not happy that outsiders are harvesting their land and are at war with them. Paul meanwhile seems to have a gift and is having visions and has to protect his mom when his family and kingdom are attacked by Baron Harkonnen, and his father Leto is killed and all his friends who are warriors are assumed to be dead. Paul and his mom must wander around the desert and avoid the Sand Worms as well as try and get shelter from the Fremen. And man this is a very brief write up as this film has more layers of plot than what I can squeeze in here! This was a film I was not looking forward to, but after seeing it, I loved it and that is why it’s my # 2 film in this category. The film looks fantastic and the effects are top notch and is well casted with names like Oscar Isaac, Stellan Skarsgard, Zendaya, Josh Brolin, Timothee Chalamet, Jason Momoa, Dave Bautista and Rebecca Ferguson making up the cast. The film did well for Warner Brothers at the American Box Office given that they again did a streaming day of release bringing in $106,985,276 on a budget of $165 million. It’s a really great sci-fi film that in my opinion is leaps and bounds better than the 1984 version.

# 1

Ghostbusters Afterlife Poster

Phoebe Spengler is the granddaughter of original Ghostbusters member Egon Spengler, and she has inherited his love for science.  But she has never knew him due to him leaving his family behind to live in a farmhouse in a very small town many years back. When Phoebe and her mother and brother have to move into Egon’s old rundown farmhouse after his death, she uncovers that the town is a hot spot for the second coming of Gozer! With the help of her grandfather’s spirit, she along with her brother Finn, her new friend Podcast and teenage waitress Lucky find the tools to bust ghosts and have to save the town from the upcoming apocalypse.  Along the way, they get the help of Ray Stantz, Peter Venkman and Winston Zeddemore in order to save the world and let everyone know who to call when paranormal activity enters your home. This fourth film in the Ghostbusters series is a great horror comedy film that does a great job of mixing the two genres as well as capturing that magic that makes the Ghostbuster films so special. And besides bringing in the classic cast Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts and Sigourney Weaver the new cast of McKenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon. Paul Rudd and all the others fit right in with Grace stealing the film. The film also does a great job of introducing new ghosts as well as showcasing some familiar ones as well. The film did well for Sony at the American box office bringing in $122,388,000 on a budget of $75 million. This is a fun film, and like before, don’t listen to online critics and make up you own mind as this film was great, and yes I will be buying it when it’s released on home media.

Lots of great fantasy and sci-fi films was released in the theaters in 2021, and really Dune was a big surprise for me as I was not looking forward to it and after watching it I found it at my # 2 spot! With that, let’s see what superheroes brought to the silver screen in 2021.

super-hero-21 copy 2

# 6

Eternals (2021) Poster

The Eternals are a race of immortals sent from The Celestial Arishem to Earth to act as protectors and to stop a race of creatures called Deviants. The Eternals are leader Ajak along with Ikaris, Sersi, Kingo, Thena, Phastos, Makkari, Druig, Gilgamesh and Sprite, and each have amazing powers that will help mankind move along. When they think that their mission is done, they disband with many of them going their own ways, but when the Deviants return and their one time leader Ajak is found dead, they must come back together and save mankind again…but is that their real mission as they end up digging deeper and finding the truth about Arishem as well as their true origin. This was a way better then I expected as I was never a big fan of the comic series. The film was well cast with names like Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Gemma Chan and Kit Harington and had a few surprise cameos from characters that will be appearing in future Marvel Universe films and shows. The film has done well for Disney at the American box office bringing in $164,611,651 on a budget of $200 million. While not the best superhero film I have ever seen, it sure as hell was an entertaining one that really surprised me.

# 5

black widow (2021) Poster

The Black Widow meets up with her “sister” Yelena Belova who is on the run as she has broken the hold of Dreykov, the man who has warped the minds of many young woman and turned them into killers for hire. Yelena has an antidote for this mind control and this has marked her for death. As Widow and Yelena go and get the help of The Red Guardian who once acted as their father, they find out that the ultimate fighter known as Taskmaster has been sent to kill them both. And now Black Widow along with her “family” must comeback together and fight in order to finally bring down Dreykov and his evil empire that has enslaved and tormented women into killers for decades. This superhero film is filled with action as well as some twists and turns and explores the backstory of Black Widow and allows you to peek into her youth that was filled with so much bad and explains her mental stress as an adult about the actions of her past. Scarlett Johansson is fantastic as always as Black Widow.  I am a big fan of Florence Pugh, and it was great to see her as Yelena Belova, who, by the end of this film is clearly going to be the new Black Widow. It was also great to see Rachel Weisz, William Hurt and David Harbour in big roles as they all did great in their parts. This film did pretty well for Disney at the US box office bringing in $183,651,655.00 on a budget of $200 million. It’s worth watching, and while I was not a fan of the “twist” of Taskmaster, it was still a great watch on the big screen and is one I will watch again for sure.

# 4

venom let there be carnage Poster

With the help of Venom, the alien that lives inside him, Eddie Brock finds the bodies of the victims of Cletus Kasady, a serial killer who is rotting away in jail. And after a last interview before he is sent to die via lethal injection, Cletus bites Eddie and a small piece of the symbiote that is Venom enters Cletus’s blood stream and he becomes Carnage, a cold blooded killing machine that is out for revenge! And worse, Eddie and Venom have a fight that leaves Eddie open to be murdered by Cletus who wants him to pay for getting him on Death Row, and Venom is left jumping from person to person. Meanwhile Cletus breaks his super powered screaming girlfriend Shriek out of a research asylum and the two go on a reign of terror! It takes Eddie’s ex-girlfriend Anne Weying to finally get Venom and Eddie to come back together and to go up against Carnage and Shriek and stop their murdering ways once and for all. This was a good sequel that added more comedy elements as well as some really cool fight scenes between Venom and Carnage that moviegoers have been waiting to see. Both Tom Hardy and Woody Harrelson are great as Eddie and Cletus, and it is always great seeing Michelle Williams in films. The film did really well for Sony at the American box office bringing in $212,527,511 on a budget of $110 million. Plus Spoiler Alert Venom is placed in the MCU after this film when he is transported into their dimension while on vacation and sees Spider-Man on the TV.

# 3

Suicide Squad (2021) Poster

Amanda Waller needs two teams to head into Corto Maltese in order to destroy a laboratory that has a very world-threating project going on.  This of course is a suicide mission and she needs super villains to join the squads in order to get time shaved off their prison time. The first team is lead by Rick Flag as well has Harley Quinn, Savant, Captain Boomerang, Detachable Kid, Weasel, Javelin, Mongal and Blackguard, and they are mostly killed by an ambush, with the survivors finally meeting up with the second team that is lead by Bloodsport and consists of Peacemaker, King Shark, Polka-Dot Man and Ratcatcher 2.  Together they must take on the mercenaries that have taken over the island and finally have to come face to giant eye with the world changing project that is the massive alien known as Starro! This is a fun, zany, crazy superhero like no other as it’s packed with great jokes, bloody moments and characters that you find your self cheering for! Director and writer James Gunn has a way of making superhero movies more fun and adds his touch of humor and style to them that always seems to work. The film is well cast with Margot Robbie returning once more as Harley Quinn and adds such names as Idris Elda, John Cena, Sylvester Stallone and Daniela Melchior to the cast and all do fantastic in their roles with Stallone as King Shark being funny and awesome. The film was released on HBO Max by Warner Brothers at the same time as the theatrical release but it still did really well for them at the US box office bringing in $55,800,219 on a budget of $185 million. While I enjoyed the first film, this second one was in another league and is one that I think fans of none traditional superhero movies should watch.

# 2

shang chi and the legend of The ten rings Poster

Shang-Chi is the son of Xu Wenwu, the man who has the ten rings, and a magical fighter Ying Li who was the guardian of the mythical and magical village Ta Lo.  When his mom passes away and his father thinks that her old village is really keeping her hostage, he must travel to China and stop his father from unleashing ultimate evil onto the world, as well as work alongside his sister who he left behind at a young age. Will Shang-Chi be able to stop his father or will the universe be in the grip of evil darkness…watch this fun superhero martial arts film and find out. I grew up reading Shang-Chi, and while this film is pretty different from the classic 70’s Marvel comics, I still found it to be very entertaining and one of the best superhero films of the year! Simu Liu was well cast as Shang-Chi and captures the heroic spirit that is making up the Marvel Cinematic Universe and other actors like Awkafina, Meng’er Zhang and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai all do great in their respected roles as well. The film did great for Disney at the American box office bringing in $224,543,292 on a budget of $200 million. This is a fun action film that has cool fantasy elements thrown in, and you cannot go wrong with a film that has a cameo from the Hulk villain Abomination. Check this film out if you are enjoying these Marvel Comics movies as this is a really good one.

# 1

spiderman no way home Poster

The world knows that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, and this has caused him major issues as the press is harassing him and even many New Yorkers have turned on him, looking at him as a masked menace. So Peter goes to Doctor Strange and asks for a spell to be cast that will make people forget he is Spider-Man, but things go off the rails when Peter keeps changing the spell on who should remember his secret and this opens a rift in the multiverse and so enter Green Goblin, Sandman, Doctor Octopuss, Electro and The Lizard (from the past Sony Spider-Man films!) all of whom know Spider-Man’s secret but are confused when the Peter Parker they know is not the one they are seeing. Now Doctor Strange wants to send the villains back to their universe where many are dead, and Spider-Man wants to try and cure them before sending them home. The action and drama is turned up as Spidey tries to save them as Strange is trying to right the wrong of his spell. This is one amazing Superhero film and could be the best Marvel Film made up to this point as it has great surprises and brings together the past Spider-Man films and brings viewers once more some of the best Super-Villains from the past films as well as brings us past Spider-Men! The film has done amazing for Disney at the American box office and as of this update has brought in $572,642,000 on a budget of $200 million. Make sure to see this film on the big screen as it’s a great watch and a must own on home media when released.

So as you can see, both Marvel and DC delivered some great films for cinema-goers in 2021 and it looks like 2022 will also be delivering some great films in this genre. But with that said, let’s move onto my favorite genre: horror! And man I got to see so many limited released films in the theater and want to thank Englewood Cinema and Cinemark Dayton South for making all these horror films available to see on the silver screen.

horror21logo copy 2

# 33

The Stairs (2021) Poster

A young kid and his grandpa go missing after finding a strange staircase in the woods.  20 years later, a group of friends going on a hike stumble upon the stairs as well as a few strange people who seem to be stuck in a loop and even take on a slight monstrous appearance. And soon they are hunted down and killed by a creature that lives inside these phantom stairs and they must fight to stay alive, and even find the missing kid who was stuck inside the stairs and has not aged in the 20 years he was missing! But will they be able to get away from the creature the kid calls Grub Daddy? Or will they all become mangled mounds of flesh that the creature shreds? Watch this indie horror fright flick and find out. This is a fun B-Movie film that has some cool ideas and even uses practical effects, but is lacking a little in the story that is filled with some holes and characters that go no place and are never explained. The creature called Grub Daddy is kind of cool and reminded me of the Fluke Man from the show X-Files. Actress Tyra Colar is fantastic in her role as Jordon, one of the hikers, and Josh Crotty as hiker Dirty Doug steals the show. The film was a Fathom Event and did okay for Wandering Dragon Productions despite unknown box office numbers on an unknown budget. Over all this is a fun creature flick that took place in the woods, was well acted and is worth watching if you like films about unknowns being seen in our forests.

# 32

In The Earth (2021) Poster

Martin Lowery and park scout Alma head into the woods to find scientist Olivia Wendle to check on her and bring her equipment as no one has heard from her in months while she is working on a cure for a virus that has affected the world. But things go wrong for them while they hike to the site as they are attacked at night and their shoes are stolen.  Martin gets a very bad cut on his foot, and they meet Zach, a man who has taken them prisoner and alerts them that woods are alive and nature is mad! Even when they escape, they run into Olivia who as well is a believer that nature is talking to them. A hallucinating mist created by mushrooms is trapping Martin and Alma in the woods and forcing them to witness and see the madness of the woods. Now Alma and Martin must find away to escape the woods as nature does not want them to leave nor do Zach and Olivia and their time and sanity is running out. This is a nature themed horror movie that uses lots of light, sound and editing tricks to throw the viewers off and draws them into this madness. The film was shot in 15 days by director Ben Wheatley and was made during the pandemic of 2020. The film does a pretty good job of bring the slow moving creepy horror and even has a few very bloody scenes. The character of Alma is very likable while Martin is a little bland allowing the viewers to choose whom they really think is the main star and the one nature wants. The film had a very limited release for Neon and did well given that at the American Box Office bringing in $1,113,723.00 on an unknown budget. Over all it was a cool watch that was a great theater experience and one that I will watch again to see what hidden plot details I might have missed.

# 31

The Resort (2021) Poster

It’s Lex’s birthday and her friends want to surprise her by taking her to an abandoned resort on a Hawaiian island that is said to be haunted by many spirits but the worse being the half face girl! The reason they are being secretly dropped off by helicopter is due the fact Lex is writing a book all about hauntings, spirits and ghosts and this is one of her main attractions. Once they get there, the land is beautiful and the resort is creepy but nothing is paranormal, that is until night comes and the legend of the half face girl proves to be true and she is out for souls. This was a fun little horror flick that had a short run time, some cool effects and some good classic horror moments. The downside is the film at times seems disjointed as if scenes have been removed from the movie. The Half Face Girl is a cool looking ghost who can get the dead to be her servants and that makes her interesting as she controls them. The gore is pretty great and unexpected, and the ladies Bianca Haase and Michelle Randolph are very beautiful and good actresses. The film had a very small limited run in theaters and did okay for Vertical Entertainment bringing in $191,996.00 on an unknown budget. It’s worth seeing, and I’m glad I caught it in the theater. This is one I will watch again on home media.

# 30

Wrong Turn (2021) Poster

Jen Shaw and her friends go on a trip to hike the Appalachian Trail so that she can decide on what she wants to do with her life, and while hiking they make the mistake of going off the trail and run into sinister booby-traps as well as a group of people dressed in skulls and brush that call themselves The Foundation who have been living up in the mountains for generations since before the Civil War. But The Foundation doesn’t like trespassers, and they like it even less when strangers kill one of their own and now Jen and her friends are being picked off one by one and judged by the people of the mountain…and just for good measure Scott Shaw who is Jen’s rich and worried father has come looking for her. How will Jen survive and what will be left of her? This remake of the 2003 film series takes the deformed cannibals out of the picture and adds a secret society of mountain people who just want to be left alone, and I give it credit for trying something different, it’s just not a Wrong Turn film and takes more of a Midsommar approach to the tale and should have been called something else. The film is well cast with names like Charlotte Vega, Bill Sage, Emma Dumont, Daisy Head, Darius Clemons and Matthew Modine all fantastic in their roles. The film also did have a few bloody moments and did okay at the US Box Office bringing in $1,251,184.00 for Saban Films on a very small limited release. Over all this was just okay and will be one I will watch again someday as I got it on its home media release.

# 29

Fear Of Rain Poster

Rain Burroughs is a teenage girl who is struggling with her schizophrenia and has just gotten out of the hospital after a really bad breakdown and finds that she is friendless at school and is only one more bad episode away from being put into a mental hospital. But her luck starts to change as she makes a new friend in Caleb, a new kid at school, and her medication seems to be helping slightly. But when she thinks that her schoolteacher who is also her neighbor has kidnapped a young girl and is keeping her chained up in her house, Rain does not know if what she is seeing is real or is all just in her head. With her father not believing her, her new friend Caleb not knowing what is really going on, her mother being there for her but not taking her side, it’s up to Rain to solve the case of who’s real and who’s not and to come to terms with her own mental illness. The film is a thriller mixed with some horror elements and it stars Katherine Heigl, Harry Connick Jr, and Madison Iseman as Rain. This film had a very small limited theatrical release before it was put out on home media and brought in some money for Lionsgate at the US Box Office bringing in an unknown amount on an unknown budget. This is a good little thriller that has you guessing at what and who is real and was worth a watch at the theater, and Madison Iseman was really solid in her role as Rain Burroughs.  I picked it up on home media later in the year.

# 28

Zombie Reddy Poster

Mario is a game designer who along with his developing friends head to a friends wedding that gets them stuck in the middle of a family feud that will lead to their friend’s death! And after running into a stranger with their car, one of Mario’s friends is bitten and so a zombie outbreak breaks out in the middle of all this madness. Now Mario and his remaining friends as well as members of both families must fight together to stay alive and find a cure to the outbreak that only a crazy old man in the woods knows! This is a fun horror action comedy and the first zombie film in Telugu cinema that not only has splatter but also a few good laughs out loud moments. The film is well cast with Sajja Teja as Mario and actress Anandhi being two great standouts. The film had a limited screening in the US and did okay for Geetha Arts at the Box Office bringing in an unknown amount on a budget of $48 million. If you like Bollywood Horror films and films like Zombieland, The Dead Don’t Die and Shaun Of The Dead make sure to give this one a watch, but be warned it’s over two hours and it takes a bit for the zombie madness to kick in.

# 27

Antlers (2021) poster

Julia Meadows is a schoolteacher who has mental scars due to abuse at her father’s hands and when she sees the same issues in a student of hers named Lucas Weaver she tries to help.  But she soon learns that Lucas is hiding a big secret, that his father is turning into a Wendigo as is his baby brother who were attacked in an abandoned mine. And when his father fully turns and starts killing around the town, its up to Julia and her police officer brother Paul to try and save not only the town but also Lucas who is trying to keep what is left of his family together no matter how flesh eating they are becoming. This film has some creepy moments as well as some gruesome scenes and is a creature feature that was a great theater watch during the Halloween season. And I really did enjoy the effects and the film was more gruesome in spots then I expected. The film did okay for Searchlight Pictures at the American box office brining in $10,619,670 on an unknown budget. This is a fun freaky film that is one I bought on home media when released.

# 26

Separation (2021) Poster

Jeff Vahn is a struggling creator and comic book artist who is going through a terrible divorce from his wife Maggie who wants sole custody of their daughter Jenny as she thinks he is too irresponsible to be raising their child. But after Maggie is killed by a hit and run driver, Jeff finds that his daughter is not doing well as she has an imaginary friend that she says is a monster, the babysitter Samantha has a crush on him, and his father in law wants to take Jenny away.  He is working for an old college friends comic book company working on a dark horror comic and it is clear that something evil has entered his house and wants to scare and take. This is a creepy little horror flick that is very much in the same spirit as films like The Conjuring, Insidious and other supernatural horror. The effects of the monster spirit are really cool.  I like that it also adds the world of comic book making into its story. The film did okay for Open Road Films at the American Box Office bringing in $4,509,143.00 on an unknown budget. This is a fun creepy little film that has some cool evil spirits and some cool kills. I bought it once it was released on home media.

# 25

funhouse (2021) Poster

On an internet reality TV Show, the world watches as down and out celebs from internet blogs, Instagram and reality shows are brought together in one house with the promise of winning big prize money! The viewers also get to vote on who is their favorites and the bottom pick has to compete in a challenge in order to stay in the house by spinning a wheel. But soon the competitors and the viewers find out this house is one of horror as the losers are put into challenges that end in death and the celebrities are trapped in the house. One by one the bottom %’s have to compete in killer challenges as onlookers watch live on their laptops and cellphone screens, as the law tries to find the location of this killer red room reality show. Will the celebrities find a way to escape, who will win and why is the man in charge doing what he is doing and killing these internet famous people off in gruesome fashion? Well watch the Funhouse and find out. This was a limited release and was pretty dang entertaining and was filled with some cool kills, beautiful women and even monster themed MMA fighters! The film did okay for such a limited release for Magnet at the Box Office and brought in $110,571.00 worldwide. This is a fun watch for fans of films like Hostel and Saw that is a little less gruesome and gory and is worth a watch.

# 24

Seventh Day 2021 Poster

Father Daniel is a young priest who is teamed with Father Peter to learn the ways of performing exorcisms on possessed people and saving their lives and souls. When Daniel is taken to a home where a young boy killed his family, he opens his mind to evil and witnesses the massacre and realizes that the young boy has been possessed by a demon! Now he must find a way to save the boy’s soul and all the while try and figure out Father Peter and his past priests that learned the ways of the Exorcist from him. Can Father Daniel save the young boy’s soul from this very powerful demon or will he watch as the youngster burns in the flames of damnation? Watch this creepy little horror flick and find out! The Seventh Day is one of many films based on evil demonic spirits that was released in 2021, and like all the others, it was a solid and spooky watch that brought the chills as well as the twist and turns that made it a very entertaining watch on the big screen. I really liked the mood and pacing of the film and enjoyed the moments when the demon would take over the young boy and wreak havoc on those who were in his way. The film had a very limited release and did well given the time of release at the World Box Office for Vertical Entertainment bringing in $963,938.00 on an unknown budget. This was a fun fright flick and fans who like possession films should check it out. I also liked this one enough that I bought it on DVD when released.

# 23

The Unholy (2021) Poster

Gerry Fenn is a disgraced reporter who used to write for the big newspapers and is now writing for a tabloid that sends him to a small town in New England to cover a cow mutilation, but when the story turns out to be a bust, he soon finds himself a new one as a deaf and mute teenage girl Alice starts speaking and claims that the Virgin Mary is speaking to her and has given her the power to heal the sick and dying and crazy enough she is doing the miracles she claims! But soon Gerry, who helps the Catholic Church with this miracle and also gets the exclusive with Alice as the two have started to be come friends, finds out about Mary, a witch that was killed in the town that was the Bride Of Satan, and as strange deaths start happing to those who doubt Mary he must find the truth if Alice has been touched by holy goodness or touched by pure evil. This Sam Raimi produced PG-13 fright flick is a fun film that features a cool demonic ghost witch that is the stuff of nightmares.  The thing I liked about the film is that it has an early 2000’s feel to it and has the Raimi feel of jump scares and a demonic villain. The film did okay for Screen Gems at the American Box Office during the ongoing Virus Crisis bringing in $15,530,440.00 on a budget of unknown. It’s a fun creepy watch that has a cool evil sprit baddy that I ended up buying on home media.

# 22

Conjuring III Poster

Ed and Lorraine Warren are at the Glatzel home to try and perform an exorcism on an 8-year-old boy who is being possessed by a demon. At the exorcism the demon proves to be really strong and gives Ed a heart attack and then goes into Arne, a young man who is dating the boy’s sister. While Ed is recovering in the hospital, the demon makes Arne kills his girlfriend’s boss and now he is in prison waiting for trial. Once out of the hospital, Ed and Lorraine come to Arne’s aid and are a part of his defense team as they have to prove that the devil made him do it! So the Warrens soon find out that a devil cult is to blame as they have left a cursed totem in the Glatzel home, and that this totem was also found in another murder case and that whomever placed these totems has now targeted the Warrens and it makes them have to race against time to save the soul of Arne, stop the cultist and watch out for one another. The third film in The Conjuring series is a good spooky watch that showcases another case file of the Warrens. But while I did enjoy the film, it was the weakest of the series thus far and the demon and cult leader are neither as spooky nor motivated as that of the past spirits and the film just seemed to be lacking the charm that director James Wan brought to the series. But while a little underwhelming, it still was a good fright flick and seeing the chemistry of actors Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga always is a plus. The film did ok for New Line Cinema at the American Box Office bringing in $65,565,074.00 on a budget of only $39 million. The Conjuring III is a good film, and if you like the series check it out. I bought a copy once it was released on home media.

# 21

The Little Things (2021) Poster

A serial killer is killing women in California and has been for a while now and former Detective Joe Deacon meets the new detective on the case, Jim Baxter, and the pair start to work together to try and find who the killer is as the bodies of young women keep being found. They both find clues and start checking off the suspects and that’s when they find the creepy appliance repairman Albert Sparma, a man who is into true crime and even once confessed to a murder he didn’t do, but is he our man our cold blooded killer…or is their more to uncover in this horror thriller noir film? Watch for yourself and find out, and see who you think the killer is. This was a very well made film that reminded me a lot of films like Seven and Silence Of The Lambs.  It takes its time to build the case and has the viewers along for the investigation. The film is well cast with Denzel Washington and Rami Malek as the Detectives and Jared Leto is fantastic as the creepy murder suspect. The film did well for Warner Brothers at the Box Office in the US even during the ongoing pandemic bringing in $15,244,012.00 on a budget of $30 million. This was a great watch in the theater and was a nice edition to the thriller genre of Horror.

# 20

shadow in the cloud poster

Flight Officer Maude Garrett along with a top-secret package come aboard the plane “Fools Errand” on a secret mission and is not well welcomed by the crew and is forced to stay in the Sperry during take off.  Soon things start to get crazy as Japanese Fighter planes attack, and worse, a gremlin is on the plane causing destruction and panic like trapping her inside the Sperry. During all this the crew find out that Officer Maude Garrett is not who she says she is and is hiding a secret that will change the way they look at her as well as their trust in her. But in the end will Officer Garrett be able to save not only herself but also the package and the crew from the attacks from above as well as on the plane? This film was lots of fun and was the first horror film I saw in theater in 2021 and was a great way to kick off the year for horror.  Once more, this film proves why Chloe Grace Moretz is one of my favorite actresses doing cult style horror, action and sci-fi films, and she is great as Officer Maude Garrett who is a great character. The Gremlin is also really cool looking and almost appears to be part bat, rat and creature and is aggressive and very sneaky and destructive. The film was released still during the pandemic of early 2021 and had a very limited release at theaters and brought in $156,932.00 for Vertical Entertainment. This one I enjoyed lots and is one I bought on home media when released.

# 19

Resident Evil (2021) Poster

Raccoon City has been under the care of the Umbrella Corporation and now they are leaving the town and this is causing the town to slowly die…like really die as the townspeople are getting sick and are becoming flesh eating zombies! Claire Redfield returns to her hometown to get to the bottom of this evil plot and along with her brother Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Leon S. Kennedy, Richard Aiken, Brad Vickers and Chief Brian Irons they must survive the zombie carnage, expose the dirty secrets of Umbrella, find help in a unusual young woman, fight off a evil doctor, deal with a team trader, survive the attacks of mutated monsters and get out of Raccoon City alive. This film combines elements from the first two Capcom games in the Resident Evil series, and while I feel the final act of the film seems rushed, the film does have a few moments that are creepy and the zombies and monsters are pretty cool. One thing big fans of the game series might be annoyed with is that some of the characters do not act like they do in the games, and some are treated like the joke of the film…looking at you Leon. The film did sadly poorly for Screen Gems at the US box office brining in $16,890,005 on a budget of $25 million. Over all this is a fun zombie film that sticks more true to the games than the film series that came before it. And yes, I will buy on home media when released.

# 18

djinn (2021) poster

Dylan Jacobs is a young boy who is mute and witnessed a tragedy the took his mom at a young age and now he and his father who is a Radio DJ have moved into a new apartment. While unpacking he finds a book hidden in his closet and it’s a Book Of Shadows, and after his dad leaves for work the youngster uses the book in order to get a voice, but it comes with a catch as he has to survive one hour in the small apartment with an evil Djinn who wants to eat his heart and steal his soul, and has to blow out a candle that can only be put out after one hour. So Dylan must use his wits and what he can find around in order to keep the creature at bay. Can Dylan do it? Will the Djinn steal his soul? Will his wish come true and if so will it have a big price to pay? Well watch this fun film and found out those answers. This is one part haunted house, one part supernatural, one part Home Alone and one part Conjuring inspired as the Djinn is one evil character who tricks and tries to kill with aggression and glee. The film had a very limited release and brought in $124,772.00 on an unknown budget at the US Box Office for IFC. Over all a cool simple Horror Movie with some great moments and one I got on home media when released.

# 17

werewolves within (2021) poster

Finn Wheeler is a Forest Ranger who is assigned to a small town called Beaverfield after breaking up with his girlfriend, when he gets there its winter time and a big storm is on its way and me meets all the strange people of the town including young mail carrier Cecily as well as Jeanine a woman who owns the towns lodge. Also in town is businessman Sam who wants to build a pipeline through the town and is throwing around money and making the town split. But when a big storm hits, the towns generators are tampered with and the town people have to stay at the lodge for safety and that’s when they find out that a werewolf is loose in the town and is taking them out one by one, will Ranger Wheeler be able to save the town and stop the beast? Watch this funny Horror Comedy based on the video game and find out for yourself. The film stars Milana Vayntrub as mail carrier Cecily Moore who is known as the AT&T Girl and she is fantastic as is all of the cast who help create this strange small town. The film is really funny and the horror elements are well done with yes even the werewolf being seen. The film had a limited release and did good for IFC bringing them in an extra $575,614.00 at the US Box Office. A film that I bought on home media once released and again is a fun Horror Comedy that has a haunted house meets Twin Peaks feel.

# 16

Old (2021) Poster

The Cappa family head to a resort that is amazing and the reason they are doing so is that Guy and Prisca are having marriage issues and will be getting a divorce and want to have one more family outing before they tell their kids Maddox and Trent. But when they are invited to a private section of the beach they find that they are joined by a few select others and all seems perfect that is until a dead body washes ashore and everyone finds out that they are stuck on this beach and time is running fast as kids are growing up super fast, parents are getting older and anyone with a illness is finding that they are getting worse. And now they all must find away to escape this beach and find out why they were brought there with what seems is to die! And like always this film has a twist that was well thought out and helped this film feel like an episode of the Twilight Zone and was well casted with every actor doing their parts top notch with Thomasin McKenzie, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Aaron Pierre and Rufus Sewell all being great in their roles. The film did well during the ongoing pandemic at the US Box Office for Universal Pictures bringing in $48,242,510.00 on a budget of $18 million. M. Night Shyamalan is truly back on track on bringing fans creepy Horror Thrillers and Old is one I enjoyed and bought on home media when released.

# 15

Don't Breathe 2 Poster

Phoenix is a young girl who was grown up thinking that The Blind Man Norman Nordstrom is her father and that her mother died in a house fire, and he does his best to try and raise her to be a survivalist and does not allow her to go into town of have friends. But soon her real past comes calling when her real father who was in prison and was a meth dealer along with his friends show up to tell her the truth and get her back, but this family reunion is sour as her father has no interest in really getting his daughter back as he only wants her heart in order to give to his wife who is dying from inhaling meth fumes. Now its up to Norman to get her back as well as come clean to her on the monster he really is. This is a gritty horror film that in my opinion was leaps and bounds better then the first and while Norman is the “hero” in ways he still is the same cold-blooded killer who assaulted women and now his past and lies are catching up with him. The real hero of the film is Phoenix the young girl who fights to stay alive as well as to live a normal life surrounded by terrible people. Also the film is bloody and has some really cool and interesting kills. The film did pretty well for Sony at the US Box Office even during the then ongoing pandemic bringing in $32,638,038.00 on a budget of $15 million. Worth watching if you liked the first film and if you like you Horror Flicks a little gritty. Bought when on home media.

# 14

spiral from the book of Saw Poster

Detective Zeke Banks is a cop who is a loner after his department treat him like a rat after he turned a dirty cop in for a murder. But things turn weird for Zeke when a Jigsaw Copycat killer starts targeting dirty cops and is putting them into traps of self-mutilation that all end in death. No Zeke must trust his fellow officers who don’t respect him in order to stop the killings and figure out who this Jigsaw copycat killer is! This is the 9th film in the Saw series and takes a new direction and yet still feels right at home with the Jigsaw saga. The film has some great trap kills that are bloody and gory, an interesting story and is very topical about the trail of sadness that dirty cops can leave behind. Chris Rock is great in the role of Detective Banks and goes from funny to serious when he needs to. The film did just ok for Lionsgate at the US Box Office bringing in only $23,216,862.00 on a budget of $20 million. I for one hope that the Saw series continues on as I would like to see what’s next for Zeke Banks and the next chapter of the Book Of Saw has in store for us. Bought on home media when released.

# 13

escape room tournament of champions Poster

Survivors Zoey Davis and Ben Miller head to New York to try and find the headquarters of the Minos Corporation and when they get their they are tricked by a homeless man to get on a subway train, and they soon find that this was a trap by Minos and that the people also on the train with them was former players of their escape rooms. And this time around the traps are more mean spirited and more deadly as Minos does not like when players beat them and escape. One by one Zoey watches as the other players die in traps and she is always trying to figure out the room and keep her fellow players alive, and when she gets the shock of her life she goes truly against the wishes of Minos and does what she can to bring them down from the inside out. This is a fun sequel that adds more questions and delivers some answers and leaves me wanting to see a third film in the series. The films rooms are well thought out and add a level of Saw to them making them more dangerous then ever and the film is also casted really well with Taylor Russell, Logan Miller and Deborah Ann Woll return to their rolls from the first film and new names like Holland Roden and Indya Moore bringing new characters to this sick and twisted game. The film did well for Sony at the American Box Office given the time bringing in $25,188,958.00 on a budget of $15 million, and this I hope makes it that we get a part three. To sum it up if you liked the first film you will more than likely enjoy this second film and it is one I bought once released on home media.

# 12

The Vigil (2020) Poster

Yakov Ronen is a Jewish man who has went through a tragic event that has shook his faith, but running low on money he takes a job to act as a Shomer for a man who has just passed away. While in the house late at night watching over the mans body he meets the mans wife Mrs. Litvak who is battling Alzheimer’s as well as he starts seeing a shadow person as well as has bad visions of not only his past memories but the dead mans as well! Now trapped in this home with something demonic he must find his inner power to forgive himself for his past as well as fight for his soul as well as that of the one he is there to watch over. What a fun little ghost haunted house style film that feels like it could be right at home in the Conjuring film universe, the creature known as a Mazek that is a demonic sprit that’s head is backwards as it is always looking to the past is a creepy and strange creature that is fitting for its own film franchise. The acting is fantastic with Dave Davis, Lynn Cohen and Ronald Cohen being the standouts and the score by Michael Yezerski is top notch. A great and creepy PG-13 horror film that did pretty well for IFC at the American Box Office bringing in $50,439.00 on an unknown budget for a limited release. On a side not it was odd the films USA rights was originally with Blumhouse they sold the film to IFC for release, and that’s odd as this film was a perfect fit for Blumhouse.

# 11

halloween kills poster

Michael Myers survives the inferno trap that the Strode family left him to die in and is now back on the killing rampage in Haddenfield and the people have had enough and are wanting to fight back and kill the evil that has tormented their town for decades. Tommy Doyle as well as other survivors of the original 1978 massacre have came together and along with others are now looking for Michael to make evil die tonight. But they soon find out that Michael Myers might be more than human and his want for murder might just be stronger than their hatred for him. This sequel to the 2018 film is a down and dirty bloodbath that is filled with gruesome kills and showcases that Michael Myers is truly a killing machine who is brutal and cruel and kills for killing sake. This was a entertaining slasher film that was a fun watch on the big screen, but also had lots on puzzling moments that was tied into bad scripted segments with characters making head scratching decisions that didn’t fit the vibe of the film. But keep in mind while I did not like it as well as the 2018 film I did still enjoy it and it was a fun experience seeing it on the big screen opening night with a theater filled with Horror fans. It is well casted as well with Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Anthony Michael Hall, Judy Greer, Michael McDonald and actress Andi Matichak steals the film again as Allyson. The film did well for Universal at the American box office bringing in $92,002,155 on a budget of $20 million dollars. If you like the Halloween series, check this one out and of course got it on home media when it was released.

# 10

forever purge poster

The New Founding Fathers are back in control and the Purge has returned the night that all crime is legal is back as a yearly event, but there is something else brewing as a new movement has gripped the nation called Forever Purge a group of people who are now on a mission to kill any and all foreigners and wrong doers and keep the Purge going every day as their American right! And now ranch owners The Tuckers have to try and stay alive as they join their Hispanic helper Juan his wife Adela and friend T.T. in order to get to Mexico for safety as they have been marked by the Forever Purgers for death! And on their way to Mexico they must fight off their would be killers as well as try and help each other stay alive to see safety south of the border. This was a good Purge sequel that had a Horror Western feel to it and tried to mirror what was going on in society at the time. The film has some great kills, cool effects and some of the masked Purge killers have cool looks. I really liked the idea of a radical group who want to keep the Purge going year round being the ones that even the Founding Fathers do not like as they are to extreme even for them. The film did ok for Universal at the US Box Office during the ongoing pandemic bringing in $44,500,860.00 on a budget of $18 million. Over all a good sequel with a good story and is well acted…bought on home media when released. And I have to say also that this was leaps and bounds better then 2018’s “First Purge” film.

# 9

Night House (2021) Poster

Beth is a schoolteacher who’s husband Owen built them a dream house on the lake, and her life changes when one night Own takes the rowboat out on the lake and commits suicide. She is now alone at this house and strange things start to happen as if her dead husband is trying to talk to her from beyond the grave and the deeper she digs into his life the more strange things she discovers from the occult, to affairs to a weird unfinished home he built across the lake. Now Beth must try her best to find the truth and uncover if she is really being reached out to by the spirit of her husband or something much worse. This was a great spooky watch in the theater and several time throughout it my gal Juliet and my cousin Stephen both jumped from the scares. The blurred line between what is reality and what might be in her mind or even another dimension is really well done and the film has a great atmosphere that captures the feeling of loneliness and sadness. The films cast is also really great with Rebecca Hall killing it as widow Beth and Sarah Goldberg, Vondie Curtis-Hall and Stacy Martin all being fantastic in their supporting roles. The film did well for Searchlight Pictures giving the on-going pandemic at the American Box Office bringing in $7,100,581.00 on an unknown budget. This was a fun little fright flick and is one I got once on home media.

# 8

Malignant Poster

Maddie Mitchell is pregnant and when home from work with labor pains her husband and her get into it and he slams her head into a wall, and oddly enough that night the husband is killed by a long haired, mutated melted faced, disjointed killer who then also kills many old doctors who are all connected to helping kids. And Maddie is starting to have bad visions of the murders and are seeing how brutal they are being committed, and the killers name is Gabriel and some how he and Maddie are linked. Why are they connected? Why is he killing Doctors? Will the cops find the link? Is there more to Maddie then what is seen? Watch this weird and highly entertaining film to find out for yourself. The film has great effects and was way bloodier then expected and the killer Gabriel is really cool looking. And you know the film has to be good as it was from the mind of James Wan one of the new masters of modern Hollywood Horror. The film stars Annabelle Wallis, Marina Mazepa, Maddie Hasson and George Young in lead roles and are all well casted. The film did ok for New Line Cinema at the US box office bringing in $13,374,014.00 on a budget of $40 million, and keep in mind they did the same day release on streaming for this film on HBO Max. Very creepy a cool film that is one I bought when released and is one you should checkout if you like weird films.

# 7

Saint Maud Poster

Katie who is now going by the name Maud was a nurse at a hospital that had an accident during CPR to a patient and now finds herself as a home caregiver to a woman named Amanda who was once an actress who is now battling stage 4 cancer and is an atheist. Maud has found religion and wants so bad to save the soul of Amanda who she thinks has been sent her way by the will of God, but when Maud is fired she goes on a downward spiral and feels that she really needs to save the soul of Amanda and goes on a soul searching mission to do so, but Maud is so far gone mentally she does not live in reality and thinks God is always with her and is speaking to her. In the end Maud thinks she has done what has been asked of her she does an act that will deliver her to Gods waiting arms. This is a really downbeat film that captures the creepy slow burn feel of films like Carrie and The Exorcist and is a must watch for fans of A24 Horror! The film is filled with a very uneasy feeling throughout and is a Horror Film that feels real to life. The film had a very limited release here in America and did well for A24 at the Box Office world wide bringing in $1,383,868.00 on an unknown budget. This is a great film for those who like slow burn Horror Films that have a touch of art house film feel thrown in. Got on home media when released!

# 6

Army Of The Dead (2021) Poster

After a military experiment zombie escapes from a road accident he infects all of Vegas to the point where a group of survivors try to save others before the whole area is sealed off by metal containers. After time passes a rich businessman tracks down the survivors and offers them millions of dollars in order to go back into Vegas and get the large amount of cash out of his casino vault before the government drops a nuclear bomb on the city to kill the zombie horde. So this new group is lead by Scott Ward and his daughter Kate as the enter the city and learn that these zombies are way smatter then thought and have created their own savage society. But when something goes wrong and the Queen of the zombies is killed the group is in real trouble as the zombies want to rip them apart to avenge their Queen. Can Scott get the money and his crew out of Vegas before they become zombie dinner or are blown up by the bomb? Watch this Zach Snyder zombie flick to find out! This is an epic and fun zombie action film that had Zach Snyder return to the zombie genre and was well casted with names like Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Harwick, Ana de la Reguera and Nora Arnezeder to name a few. The film is loaded with zombie kills and is bloody and even brings in a zombie tiger! A fun, bloody ride the whole time! The film did well for Netflix on a limited release at the US Box Office bringing in an unknown amount on a budget of $90 million. This is a fun fright flick that I cannot wait to see a sequel to and hope Netflix ends up releasing it on Blu-Ray and DVD so that I can get a copy for my collection.

# 5

Psycho Goreman Poster

Mimi is a young girl who does what she wants to do and is a very strange kid and her older brother Luke just goes along with her strange ideas including her game “Crazy Ball” and after loosing she makes her brother dig his own grave in the backyard and instead they find a jewel stone that frees an imprisoned alien killing machine called Arch-Duke Of Nightmares! While the monster is a killing machine he has to follow the orders of Mimi who holds the stone and she turns this killing machine into her fiend and calls him Psycho Goreman or PG for short! But when a group called The Templers find out they send Pandora to Earth to kills PG once and for all. But with the help of Mimi and her family Psycho Gorman does battle with Pandora and if he wins he can fulfill is mission of murder and destruction and if Pandora wins the world will be filled with slavery and no free will. This is an amazing Horror Comedy from writer director Steven Kostanski the man behind such films as The Void, Manborg and Father’s Day that is gory and funny all at the same time and has what I think could be the next creature feature icon of Horror Comedies along side the likes of Wolf Cop. The film had a limited release in theaters during the ongoing pandemic and did well for RLJE at the US Box Office bringing in $95,182.00 showing that Indie Horror is alive and well. If you have not seen this one yet, make sure to check it out and of course I bought this on home media when released.

# 4

last night in soho (2021) poster

Eloise is a young woman who is going to London for fashion school and finds that she does not fit in and when leaving her dorm to live in a old apartment building visions of the cities past fill her dreams and she finds herself involved in finding out who killed inspiring singer Sandie who’s manager promised her the world, but delivered her into sex work. But when Eloise thinks she has figured out who has killed Sandie she tries to bring them to justice as well as find Sandie, but this causes her classmates and the police to think she is crazy! But is Eloise crazy and will she uncover what really happened to the missing singer…well watch this film and find out. First thing I have to say is that this film made me fall in love with Thomasin McKenzie who plays Eloise as an actress and she is quickly becoming one of my favorite newer actresses in the Horror genre. The film does a great job of going from modern times to flashing back to the 1960’s and the characters and story had be drawn in and that’s surprising as I am not a big fan of most of Edgar Wright’s films but this one I think is his best. The film had a few spooky moments and enough twist and turns to really help add to the chills, and yes some of the twists can be predictable but I still enjoyed it. The film is well casted with names like Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, Diana Rigg, Terence Stamp and Michael Ajao making up the lead cast. The film sadly did not do well for Universal at the US box office bringing in only $10,127,625 on a budget of $43 million. This was a really cool stylish Horror Film that does a great job also on the use of lights, and yes will buy on Home Media.

# 3

Candyman (2021) Poster

Anthony McCoy is a visual artists who has it all, a beautiful and successful girlfriend named Brianna, he lives in a upper class high rise apartment and is loving life even if he is having an artist block that is keeping him from painting his next masterwork, but when hearing the legend of Helen Lyle and Candyman he gets the inspiration for his next series of work. Anthony has made a big mistake though as he has gotten the attention of Candyman and he learns the legacy, roots and horror that is behind this hooked handed boogeyman killer…but he also learns that his own life just might be connected to him and that the hive is many when it comes to Candyman. This is a great sequel to the 1992 cult classic film and helps add to the legend of the film series and even does a good job of not totally forgetting about parts 2 and 3 in the series. The film is well casted with names like Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Michael Hargrove and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett all being fantastic in their roles and it was also amazing seeing Tony Todd and Vanessa Williams returning in their roles from the first film. The film has some bloody and creepy moments and really was a fantastic fright film on the big screen. The film did well at the American Box Office given the pandemic was coming back around with a new wave as it brought in $61,186,570.00 for Universal on a budget of $25 million dollars. If you like the Candyman film series give this one a watch, and yes bought on home media when released.

# 2

Godzilla vs Kong (2021) Poster

Godzilla is running wild and attacking company Apex factories and they seem unprovoked turning mankind against the titan they once called a protector. Their only hope is to use Kong to find out if the Hollow Earth energy is true as it is the place they think the titans might have came from and was the place Godzilla and Kong’s kind had wars with one another making them bitter enemies. With mankind taking Kong from Skull Island and taking him to the gateway to Hollow Earth in Antarctica Godzilla is annoyed that another alpha Titan is present and goes on the attack causing the two Titans to be at odds with each other even when the battle ends and this makes it that Godzilla and King Kong are bitter rivals that while they respect each other they also clearly hate each other. While Kong enters Hollowed Earth and learns about his own families past as well as finding a powerful axe that holds lots of power. All the while Godzilla is stomping around and destroying Apex factories causing Monarch and mankind to fear his wrath! And when Kong shows up in Hong Kong he and Godzilla have a massive fight that leaves them both wounded and one Titan near death, and worse for everyone Apex has been working on a project that is creating their own Titan made of metal and is called Mechagodzilla! Who will win this epic battle of Kong vs. Godzilla and what terror does Mechagodzilla have in store for the winner? Check out this Monstervese movie and find out for yourself. What a fun film that pits the worlds two most iconic Kaiju against each other for the amusement of the viewers, plus for me I am always up for a new King Kong and Godzilla film! Plus its been way to long sense we seen these two Titans of cinema in the same movie again as it was 1962 when they last shared a film, and that’s crazy. The film did great for Warner Brothers at the US Box Office bringing in $100,563,133.00 on a budget of $200 million, even though WB tried their best to ruin the release with the crappy HBO Max same day release. You can never go wrong with Giant Monster Horror, and this is one that I bought on physical media when released.

# 1

Quiet Place II Poster

Evelyn Abbott and her kids Regan, Marcus and the baby are leaving their farm behind and heading towards another survivors shelter and find that the long time family friend Emmett is the one that has been signaling to the family for years. And once inside his shelter in a factory they find out that a radio station has been playing the same song “Beyond The See” by Frank Sinatra and Regan has an idea to get onto the air and use her hearing aid to broadcast over the airwaves and give the humans a chance to fight back, and she sneaks away from her family to become the hero the world needs. Emmett goes after her and together the two go on a quest to get a boat and get to the island to pull off this plan and along the way must dodge the creatures as well as the corrupted humans who want to steal what they have. In the end Regan and Emmett make it to the island and find that its filled with peaceful families and survivors…and one creature has also made it ashore. So now it’s a race to the radio station to give humans a chance to strike back against these killing machine monsters. This was a great sequel that I would say is on par if not slightly better then the original and that’s saying something as the original was an amazing fright flick. They also did a great job of making sure the original cast of Millicent Simmonds, Emily Blunt and Noah Jupe returned as well as added names like Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou to the cast. The film did great for Paramount Pictures at the US Box Office bringing in $160,072,261.00 on a budget of only $61 million. A great film that took my # 1 spot and once released on home media I for sure bought a copy.

What a fun year of seeing movies at the theater as during these last stressful years, getting lost in films on the silver screen is a great way to relax and forget the issues that are plaguing the real world. And man I have to stress that so many amazing horror films got released this year and many are sequels to series that I really have enjoyed and glad to see horror alive and well at the cinema and I am looking forward to the films of 2022! While we are sitting here in the Rotten Ink Theater, I also want to think you for reading Rotten Ink as its amazing that this blog is now 10 years old, and I would also like to let you know that the next update will continue our look at the original cast Star Trek movies and we are on “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” so that should be a fun one. So until next time read a comic or three, watch a movie at the theater or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for another voyage with the crew of the Enterprise.

Star Trek V Preview Logo

The Marvel Adventures Of Doc Savage!

Welcome to Rotten Ink and the first post in our countdown to the Christmas Eve countdown.  It’s crazy to think that we are so close to Christmas 2021, and I for one am looking forward to being around my family to enjoying a good meal with them as well as sharing fun conversations about life and entertainment. And as you friends and readers know, I like to try and cover things in December that brings back memories of not only my youth, but also yours and that’s why I chose to cover classic pulp icon Doc Savage as our first update! Growing up, I can remember Doc Savage not only in the pages of comic books, but also novels that I would pick up at used book stores and garage sales. He was a classic style hero that I liked when I was a kid and unlike Lone Ranger, Flash Gordon and Tarzan for some reason I lost interest in him over the years, and that forgetfulness ends  during this update as I will dive back into my love for Doc Savage and his epic adventures! So sit back, grab a mug of hot coco and let’s chat about the Man Of Bronze.

Doc Savage 1

Clark Savage Jr. aka Doc Savage was the son of an adventurer and and scientist who was trained from birth to become the perfect man with the physic of a bodybuilder and the intelligence of a genius! He was trained in many skills to fit his training of being a perfect man as he learned engineering, chemistry, archeology, electricity and even to be a surgeon. He was trained in fighting, being stealth, disguises, driving and other skills needed to be a master spy and man of action. He can fly planes, drive any kind of land vehicles as well as sail any boat. He can play music, throw his voice, remember anything, has a keen sense of smell and can take high levels of pain. Think about your favorite athletes from every sport and times that by 10 and that is how good Doc Savage really is! He started his life as a crime stopper and true hero after his father was murdered and along with a skilled group he calls The Fabulous Five, they save the day and solve mysteries. For his hero life he also has tons of fleet of vehicles of all types at his finger tips, has a base set in a New York skyscraper and has a company called “The Hidalgo Trading Company” and has a hideaway in the Arctic he calls “The Fortress Of Solitude”! He was given the nickname The Man Of Bronze and in his early days of being a crime fighter, those he would captured would be forced to have a brain operation in order to remove the parts on their minds that caused them to be criminals. Doc Savage is considered a true golden age superhero, and while he is not as popular now, he still has made a massive impact in the world of pulp heroes and beyond.

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The first Doc Savage novel was released on 1933 and was called “The Man Of Bronze” and was written by Lester Dent who was one of the creators of the character alongside John L. Nanovic and Henry W. Ralston. And the last novel in the series was released in 2018 as of this writing and was called “The Valley Of Eternity” and get this a total of 203 novels were written about Doc Savages adventures! Doc Savage while he made his way to comic and even cinema was more well known for his novel adventures and this is were he built his loyal fan base and fans that kept coming back for more and more adventures. Growing up I can remember seeing many Doc Savage paperback books at garage sales as well as the antique stores in town, and I know that when I was a kid I bought a few of the books…but I don’t ever remember if I read them or just had them. And I know that I got them because I knew of the popularity of the character and had to have the books just in case I wanted to read them and be hip to what was popular why before my time. And to be honest growing up I always loved many of the classic heroes of movies, TV, novel, radio and comics as Dick Tracy, Lone Ranger, Tarzan, Zorro, The Shadow, Captain Kirk, The Phantom, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes and Flash Gordon where all classic characters I loved and could not get enough of…while Doc Savage was in that category of classic heroes he was always sadly on the bottom of the list. Also growing up I can remember that some relative of mine had a large collection of the Doc Savage books, I want to say on my Mom’s side like maybe my Uncle Thurman or even my Grandma or Grandpa. If I have read a Doc Savage novel in my youth I don’t remember, but I know as I get older and have a little more free time I have plans of picking one up and given it a read. Oh and I should note many of the classic Doc Savage novels have fantastic cover artwork!

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Did you know that in 1975 a movie was released based on Doc Savage and was released by Warner Brothers? Did you know that actor Ron Ely played Doc Savage in the film? Did you know that originally back in the 60’s Chuck Connors was casted to play Doc Savage in a film that never was? Well now you do! Lester Dent, who was one of the creators of Doc Savage, owned the radio, film and television rights to the character and wanted to get the character on the big screen so bad, and tried to get Hollywood’s attention for decades…but they just would not bite and Dent went to his grave without being able to get a Doc Savage film off the ground. After his death in 1959, the rights went to his widow Norma Dent who as well tried her hardest to get the film to be made, and she got a bite in, well sort of you see a 1966 film was in the works with Chuck Connors on board to play Savage and producers Mark Goodson and Bill Todman were super hyped to develop the film, so hyped that they forgot to secure the rights from Norma and by the time all was worked out, the filmmakers had moved on and made the western film “Ride Beyond Vengeance”. One funny thing about this never made film is that Gold Key Comics in 1966 released what would have been the comic book adaptation! I should also note that Lester did get a very short-lived Doc Savage Radio show off the ground, but sadly it did not have an impact and was canceled.

Years would pass and producer George Pal secured the rights from Norma with the idea of making a massive film series that would rival James Bond in classic spy type action. George wanted Steve Reeves who was known for playing Hercules to play Doc Savage, and while he said yes to the part, a writers strike put the film on hold and with that Reeves left the production. When the dust settled it was George Pal and Joe Morhaim who ended up writing the film and casting started with Ron Ely playing Doc Savage, Paul Wexler as Captain Seas, Pamela Hensley as Mona Flores and even Hills Have Eyes actor Michael Berryman played a small part. Michael Anderson was then selected to direct with Warner Brothers agreeing to disrepute and the film rushed into filming. The film when done went up against Jaws and was buried and bombed and worse critics and fans alike seemed to not like the films forced humor and bland story. But the film did have one major fan and that was Norma Dent who praised Ron Ely’s performance as Savage!

The film was a bomb, and this ended the idea of a film series as the sequel that was to be called “Doc Savage: The Arch Enemy Of Evil” was set with even some press shots even being taken, but that was as far as the film got. The film would end up getting released on VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray later on. And this one 1975 film was the only film version of Doc Savage ever released. It’s a shame that this film had to be released alongside Jaws as that locked the film for failure and this also killed the push for this to become a major film series! It also makes me wonder if Chuck Connors or Steve Reeves would have played Doc Savage in the film would it have done better? Or would it have been doomed to the same fate? I saw the film only once and it was on a bad VHS bootleg some many years back. I do own the Warner Archive DVD and should dust it off and give it a watch sometime soon.

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Doc Savage was a mega hit in the world of pulp novels, but failed when it came to radio and film, but he was a semi big hit in the world of comic books as some of the biggest publishers have released issues of Savages adventures! I mean look at these publishers that released comics based on Savage: Marvel, DC, Gold Key, Dynamite, Dark Horse and Millennium all gave fans something to read. Growing up I had the Marvel Comic issues as well as the DC and Millennium ones. It’s crazy that Doc Savage comics are not going still and I would love to see the character return to Marvel Comics as imagine Doc having his own series as well as mixed in with other Marvel series like The Avengers and even Predator!

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Doc Savage really is one of those classic characters that to me belongs in the same standing with Tarzan, Zorro, Dick Tracy and James Bond to name a few and I for one am glad that he is finally getting the Rotten Ink treatment. I want to think Ebay and Etsy sellers for having these comics in stock and making this update possible. I want to remind you that I as well grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready, let’s travel to the Marvel Universe and see what Doc Savage is up to, and I also need to say that I am looking forward to reading many of these issues again, and some for the very first time so also let’s see if they hold up!

Doc Savage Marvel 1

Doc Savage # 1  **1/2
Released in 1972     Cover Price .20     Marvel    # 1 of 8

A man dressed in green and yellow climbs a skyscraper that is being built with a sniper rifle in hand, he finds his target window that is the office of one Doc Savage…who happens not to be in at the moment but his five friends are who are all on edge. As Doc Savage arrives at the office he gets some very bad news that while he was away his father has passed away from an unknown sickness. This triggers Doc Savage to go to his fathers hidden safe and finds very important papers and a land grant…but before he can read them all the way through the assassin takes his shot and Doc and his friends hit not only the ground but the lights and start their work of figuring out who has shot at them and from where. The group acts fast and figures out the place the shot came from and as Doc and most of his friends rush off to get the would be killer the groups lawyer Ham Brooks rushes off to get legal papers ready so they can fly out in the morning to the land from the grant. As Doc Savage and his remaining four friends arrive the rush up the to be built skyscraper as their killer is annoyed that Doc Savage still lives and he thought his shot killed him. When the service elevator jams Doc Savage climbs out and makes his way to the gunman all the while dodging laser blasts from his gun, and when Doc Savage reaches him the fight ends fast and Doc alerts his friends that the man is speaking ancient Mayan. The only thing they get from the assassin is that he is a follower of The Son Of The Feathered Serpent and jumps to his death as he would rather die than to speak. Doc Savage and his friend return to the office to find a warning written on the wall from another of the cult members of The Son Of The Feathered Serpent and they swear as a group to get revenge for Doc Savage’s father who they all think now was killed.

The first issue in Marvel Comics Doc Savage is a very fun classic hero read for an aging comic reader like myself who enjoys a slow burn adventures…but I am sure most modern younger comic readers would not enjoy this comic as it really is very “old” in feeling. This issue’s plot has Doc Savage returning home to his office only to find out that hid dad has passed away, he now has a grant for lots of land out of the country and also has someone trying to take his life all this in a matter of minutes! Doc Savage is a hero who shows zero emotion to everything that is going on around him, and uses his skills and training well in order to achieve his goals. We also see that he not only is super strong but is also very skilled in using his brain to win. His friends are called The Fabulous Five and are Ham, Johnny, Monk, Renny and Long Tom all who have skills that help Doc Savage and each other on their world adventures. It’s clear that right now our bad guys are all from The Son Of The Feathered Serpent cult who might even been the ones who infected Savage’s father with the illness and seem to really want the land grant that was left for Doc Savage in his fathers safe. They are dangerous for sure as they do not seem to care about taking another persons life and also seem pretty set on ending their own if it comes down to it. While the plot moves pretty fast and feels like the old novels as well as even a hint of James Bond films the downside is that the comic is very wordy and much of the time the things characters are saying really don’t mean much to the over all story, and while some will find that to be a reason not to read this comic…I found it charming in a old school kind of way. The cover for this first issue is pretty cool and I think captures the elements of Doc Savage while also adding a Marvel Comics touch. The interior art is well done and is done by Ross Andru who is an artist that I feel does not get the recognition he should in these modern times. While not a perfect start for a comic series I do think it’s a good one and I am looking forward to reading the second issue.

Doc Savage Marvel 2

Doc Savage # 2  **1/2
Released in 1972     Cover Price .20     Marvel    # 2 of 8

Doc Savage and his five friends are flying above an airfield in South America and are being fired at by enemies of the government that causes them to crash land…and to the government of Hidalgo they are happy to find Doc Savage and crew to be ok and they also give them another plane to use as our heroes fly deep into the jungle to find the location that was left on the land grant. The area they land in is called “The Valley Of The Vanished” and once out of the plane they are attacked by The Son Of The Feathered Serpent cult and as the fight starts to truly break out they are all commanded to stop by King Chaac and Princess Monja who welcome Doc Savage as they knew and respected his father, but this welcoming is not liked by all when the tribe warrior chief Morning Breeze alerts the King that he and his warriors do not like outsiders in their land! The King informs Doc that he was sent to his kingdom in order to be judged as their land has so much gold that they would like to share with him as well as the Hidalgo people…but only if he is deemed worthy in the next 30 days. That night Morning Breeze and his warriors sneak into the sleeping area of The Fabulous Five and kidnap and drop three of them into a deep well, but unknown to the warriors Doc Savage had over heard the plan and hide in the well and saves his friends before they fall to their deaths fully, and he uses parlor magic the next morning to expose Morning Breeze as a would be killer as well Doc makes himself look even more powerful. Looking like a fool Morning Breeze sulks away and meets with a man who is calling himself The Son Of The Feathered Serpent who informs his defeated warrior that he is now going to unleash The Red Death the same illness that took the life of Doc Savage’s dad. The Son Of The Feathered Serpent places the red death into the water supply of the kingdom and so many are fallen ill, and Morning Breeze and Son Of The Feathered Serpent are spreading rumors that its Doc Savage and his men that have brought this deadly illness, while in reality Doc has studied some of the people fallen ill and has made a cure that he is rushing around given to the ill as the warriors following the word of Son Of The Feathered Serpent try and gun him down! In the end Doc Savage saves the lived of all that are infected, is able to kill Son Of The Feathered Serpent by knocking him off a temple, watch as Morning Breeze is gunned down, proves he is worthy of the gold, breaks the heart of the Princess who has fallen in love with him and loads up gold and flies away with his friends.

This second issue cracks the case of what and who killed Doc Savage’s father as well as who is the man who put a hit on Doc was and it was a crazed man who ran a cult that called himself The Son Of The Feathered Serpent who was really a member of the government of Hidalgo who would fly back and fourth from the civil world and the lost Mayan one. Doc Savage is one tough hero who can duke it out with the best of them and can also use his quickness to dodge gun and laser fire…plus he has a rule that he will not kill…well that is unless he can kill you with an accident! One thing that I think Doc does in this issue that is awesome is he uses smoke bombs and his friends with ropes to appear as if he can bring back the dead. I also like that he is willing to risk is own life in order to save the lives of those in need. The Fabulous Five are around and help during the case with even Monk able to fight with some Mayan warriors, but to be honest for the most part in these first two issues you could have cut them and they would not have effected the story all that much. Now I know that sounds like I don’t like The Fabulous Five as I am saying they at this point don’t add much to the comic story, but I do like them and hope they get more to do in the upcoming issues. Morning Breeze is a sneaky warrior who is pure evil that he goes along with a plot the spread a deadly disease into his tribes water supply…what a goon and then tries to run away from battle only to be shot in the back by the one he served. The Son Of The Feathered Serpent is a man with no morals who is ruled by greed and power and who has no issues with killing lots of people to get what he wants, and because of his greed and evil ways he finds himself going splat after falling off a temple. I also like that the cold blooded main killer and villain of this two issue story arch is of course also a member of the nations Government…classic spy stuff. While the pacing is once more semi fast it does also feel like a slow burn like the first issue making it drag a little in spots. The cover is great as is the interior art done Ross Andru again, and with that let’s see what issue three has in store for us.

Doc Savage Marvel 3

Doc Savage # 3  **1/2
Released in 1973     Cover Price .20     Marvel    # 3 of 8

Ham and Long Tom and hanging out at Monks house when the office of a cruise ship company is blown up! The three friends rush up to see if they can help and watch as one of the workers is shot in the back with an arrow fired by one of the members of the Silver Death’s Head group…the three friends give chase but are out stepped and worse then they go to call Doc Savage a whole attack armored vehicle filled with members bust in and take them all hostage and then flee the scene. Doc Savage rushes to his friends place only to find them missing and the cops on the scene not having any real answers. Doc Savage decides to go to the docks and snoop around the dead man’s business and finds his secretary Lorna Zane knocked out and another worker Harry Pace hiding the shadows. After a few moments of speaking to them members of the Silver Death’s Head as well as their leader Ull come busting in and want to finish the job of killing Lorna, but Doc Savage just in time hides both workers and takes a beating at the hands of the Silver Death’s Head just so he can fake being knocked out and hear them mention the name of Bedford Burgess Gardner who runs another of the cruise ship companies as well as they are looking for blueprints to something. After the baddies leave, Doc Savage along with Harry and Lorna leave as Doc leaves Lorna at his cousin Pat Savage’s beauty saloon for her safety as he takes Harry with him to find the home of Gardner. Once there they find the butler dead and Gardner is not happen to see them and as Doc Savage searches the house for the killer he is attacked by members of the Silver Death’s Head and in less then a minute he takes them all out and even manages to find a man named Hugh McCoy tied up in the closet who claims Gardner shot his own butler! By the time Doc Savage makes it back to Gardner’s room he finds Harry knocked out and the member of the Silver Death’s Head group swallows a poison capsule. And after all this drama Doc Savage is now really mad and wants his friends back!

This third issue is has a strange story plot that follows two owners of cruise ship companies that has one dying in a terrorist attack and another being accused of killing his own butler we then even have three of The Fabulous Five kidnapped by a group that calls themselves the Silver Death’s Head. Doc Savage in this one starts off just minding his own business at his office when three of his friends drag him into a murder investigation as well as a kidnapping plot as three of his friends end up missing. Doc Savage uses all his skills in this issue as he not only uses his fists he also uses his detective and chemistry skills as well in order to follow the clues to solve the crime as well as save his friends. Poor Monk, Ham and Long Tom are in the wrong place when an explosion goes off a few floors above Monks house and this leads them on the bad side of the issues bad guys. The Silver Death’s Head group wear costumes made of silver dollars and while they are lead by Ull it’s clear that some one else is calling the shots and while this issue wants you too think that its Gardner one of the cruise ship company owners I think that that the shots are being called by Harry Pace a man I just don’t trust at all! I do like also that this issue introduces us to Pat Savage an owner of a beauty shop who is also an adventurer who is the cousin of Doc. The look of the Silver Death’s Head group is really cool and reminds me of bad guys you would see in an issue of Amazing Spider-Man or Captain America at the time of this comics release. This issue has a really fun detective feel to it as I felt as a reader I was along for the ride to solve the case with Doc Savage and I also feel that the stakes are high in this issue as three of his friends lives hang in the balance. Great interior artwork from Ross Andru and a eye catching cover for this issue and I feel like this is the best issue this far in the Doc Savage Marvel Comic series…let’s see if issue four keeps up the good work of making Doc Savage apart of the Marvel Universe.

Doc Savage Marvel 4

Doc Savage # 4  **1/2
Released in 1973     Cover Price .20     Marvel    # 4 of 8

Doc Savage along with Harry Pace and Hugh McCoy find an old waterfront warehouse that is being used as a base for members of the Silver Death’s Head and after taking out many of the members and chasing off many others, Doc Savage finds his friends Monk, Long Tom and Ham tied up in a roof and sets them free. And after searching around they find a map that they will follow, and Doc Savage sends Ham to find all he can on Gardner as he has a hunch. Doc Savage and the rest head to the docks and all get aboard his own designed submarine as Doc informs them that he thinks that the Silver Death’s Head have their own and that’s how they get around to commit their crimes as well as avoid the police. And as always Doc was right as their sub is attacked by the Silver Death’s Head groups and when some of their members in scuba gear try and break into Doc’s sub he and his friends are forced to get into gear and fight them under water! Once Doc makes quick work of them he then follows a boat that Ull and the real head of the group are escaping on…he of course grabs a rope that is on the boat and follows them to a secret hideout. Doc busts in and knocks out Ull fast and then takes down the leader who ends up being Hugh McCoy who was also Gardner…you see Hugh created Gardner in order to have a fake face in order to mastermind these crimes.

Ok, Ok I was wrong as I was thinking Harry Pace was the main brains behind the Silver Death’s Head group and it was that slime Hugh McCoy the whole time, but hey Doc Savage didn’t figure it all out until the un-masking either! This issue’s plot has Doc save his friends and then find a map, go underwater to fight goons in scuba gear only to follow the two leaders of the crime group to a hidden hideout to kick them around and solve this case that involved murder and kidnapping! Doc Savage is a man of few words, but a man of action and you can always tell when his mind is working on solving a problem and coming up with a plan to end the issue. Doc Savage also we find out hates when people brag about the things he does as he does them not for the glory but because they are the right thing to do. Glad to see Ham, Long Tom and Monk alright even if as always they really don’t add much to the story and are just around for a reason to fully get Doc involved when they are kidnapped. Well I guess Ham does his job as he does dig up info on “Gardner” and his business that rose to power super fast in the world of shipping and cruise vacations. Hugh McCoy is a mastermind as he uses a fake persona to open a business, murder his computation, work alongside a murderous group and try to match his wits with Doc Savage all in the quest for power and money. Hugh also does a great job of acting friendly with the good guys, all the while playing them for fools. Ull and the Silver Death’s Head group are killers for hire who have the money and power to make people dead, but also wear heavy outfits that make them noisy as well as smell like silver…so stealth they are not. This case aka story arc of Doc Savage is very interesting and had me guessing all along on who the main man calling the shots was, and while I was wrong it made the ending a little more fun! The cover is great and pretty eye catching for the time of release and like before the interior art of Ross Andru is top notch. Another solid issue of Marvel’s Doc Savage, and I cannot wait to see what the next issue has in store for me.

Doc Savage Marvel 5

Doc Savage # 5  **1/2
Released in 1973     Cover Price .20     Marvel    # 5 of 8

A hunter is attacked and killed in his cabin and is discovered by his friend, the man’s dying words is for him to track down Doc Savage and hire him to crack this case and avenge him! The other hunter who’s name is Carl MacBride makes his way to New York and while traveling meets Jean Morris a country girl who fills him in on how Doc Savage works and takes cases. But once Carl arrives at Doc Savages office and once there before he can say a word a mobster with a tommy gun comes up the other elevator and blasts the man with gun fore before running away. Doc Savage along with Monk and Ham give chase and find that the shooter runs to a mansion that was is highly protected and find that Jean is also inside as she has a job interview and been hired by a man named Griswold Rock who owns a small railroad in Michigan and before they all know it the floor beneath them gives way and a giant monster appears causing them all to fall to the floor below and as they Doc Savage and his men get to their feet the watch as a red truck speeds off with the monster in the back and the gunman behind the wheel…and oddly enough Jean is also missing. Before the leave they find Griswold Rock locked behind a door who tells them he has been held prisoner by one of his former employees named Pere Teston who forced the man to sell his stock and bonds. Doc Savage along with Ham and Monk call in Long Tom, Renny and Johnny as he is going to need all their help in order to track down this red truck and crack this case. Renny in his plane is the first to spot the red truck, but he is shot down by the tommy gun mad man and taken from the wreckage and kidnapped. Renny watches as the gun man is joined by other hoods and they set a bomb that will blow up the truck, the monster in the back and him! He also sees that they have Jean with them…and as they all leave before the big explosion Doc Savage just in time arrives and saves Renny…but the poor monster is killed. Doc Savage has a hunch now with all the clues he has gathered and wants to solve this case of murder and crime.

This is a very interesting issue as of course it’s an action detective story, but it has a dash of horror added into the mix with monsters and a creepy cabin in the woods. This case has Doc Savage watching a man who was coming to him for help to solve the murder of his friend get gunned down only to follow the killer to a mansion that houses a giant monster and even more questions and no answers…yet. This issue Doc Savage is the hero like always but also seems a little confused by what the giant monster is and why a man was murdered in his office before he could speak. And Renny of The Fabulous Five owes his life to Doc as he was about to be blown sky high, before being rushed out of the way of a car bomb, but to also be fair Renny did a great job of tracking down the truck that the gang was looking for. Who is Jean Morris , Griswold Rock and Pere Teston and can any of them be trusted…only the next issue I am sure will give us that answer. The Monster was massive and looked like something straight out of a 40’s Atomic Age Horror Movie…but for some reason I have a feeling it was not real, as it’s a robot or a prop. The pacing for this issue is a little faster than the others as the killing and then the case really kick in fast and this one also seems a little more confusing as in the case is not as easy to piece together. The cover is pretty cool and looks more like a Marvel Horror cover or even a Doctor Strange one and the interior art once more is done by the underrated and under talked about Ross Andru, another solid issue in the series, and I cannot wait to read the next issue!

Doc Savage Marvel 6

Doc Savage # 6  **1/2
Released in 1973     Cover Price .20     Marvel    # 6 of 8

Doc Savage and his two friends Ham and Monk are flying above a lake in Michigan the area that the hunter was killed that started this whole case, but to their horror they are attacked by two massive giants that come out of the lake and if not for Doc Savage’s grenade that scared them off they could have surly all meet their deaths. Doc Savage on the time they bought away from the giants searches the cabins around and finds no clues, and when walking through the woods the tommy gun gunner tries to take them out, but slips and falls into a bog and drowns. Doc Savage uses rope to get the id and body of the man out of the bog and finds a note that says Death Mill! Doc Savage sends Ham and Monk to town and looks into the mill and finds Griswold Rock inside who claims he got a telegram from Savage to meet him there. With all of them back in town they get word that Renny in a helicopter has been shot down and as Doc Savage and Monk rush to his aid…its clear this is a trap as giants and gunmen are all around and Renny is not even there yet! As a gunfight breaks out and the Giants run off into the woods on a mission, the fight is a standstill and the gunmen flee and Monk follows them as Doc Savage hitches a ride with the now arriving Renny back to town as Doc has a bad feeling. Once back in town they find that the giants had attacked the hotel and took away Griswold Rock and left Ham injured! But now Doc Savage has it as he knows that the giants are old prisoners who have been given a chemical to grow that size, he thinks that Pere Teston is apart of these monster attacks in order to get money from towns that he has threatened with attacks and that the murdered hunter stumbled onto their plan and was killed for it. Doc and his crew go and try and solve this case and even along the way save Jean Morris who as well had been captured back at the mansion…but they are all captured by the giants that take them to the criminals base and Doc and his crew are thrown into a hole and left to die. That night Doc Savage has a plan and after making a human ladder he climbs to freedom and gathers papers that prove his chemical made giants theory as well as bugs the office of the main man in charge before sneaking back into the hole. Doc Savage then uses his brain and has the guards turn on each other by informing them that the chemical used will make the prisoners forever giants and that they are being used…this causes the hired guards to be attacked by the prisoner guards! Doc Savage then once more exits the hole during the battle and tosses down a rope for the rest to escape and run down to the water as he wants to bust the boss all his own. But things turn south real fast when a giant busts open a tank filled with very poisonous gas that kills everyone who breaths it in, as Doc Savage and his crew flee they find Pere Teston tied up and rescue him as it was Griswold Rock all along who was the mastermind of the giants.

This is a pretty solid issue that has Doc Savage and his friends heading to the woods of Michigan in order to solve some murders as well as battle giants…but the payout at the end seemed very rush and they could have cut down on the plane attacks and crashes and it would have allowed for more panels to be used for the big ending that seemed very underwhelming. Doc Savage who is a great hero and detective sure did make many mistakes in this one and his plans seemed to almost always lead to danger and even allow the bad guys to hear their plans as he took in the crime families leader on his word that he was kidnapped and held prisoner…you would have thought Doc would have been smarter then that. But I do give Doc credit when it comes to fighting the giants as he knows he is strong, but not match for them…but would die swinging if he had to fight them hand to hand. Being six issues into a only eight issue series its clear that the two main members of The Fabulous Five are Monk and Ham as they seem to be getting more adventures and are clearly the two most important in these comic series, but I will say Renny gets a tiny bit of time to shine in these last two issues. Jean Morris who was a lion tamer is around and really adds nothing to this story besides a female character. The Giants are dangerous as they are just prisoners and criminals who are turned into these monsters and who are being used as test rats by a man who just wanted more and more money and power and that man is the chubby, sweaty looking Griswold Rock who was a small time business man but a large con-artist. The Horror element of the first part of this story arch kind of fades in this second part as it becomes more of a crime adventure thriller. I do like also that this issue takes us out of the big city and takes us into the woods of Michigan and has Doc Savage having to fight in water, woods and even a hidden island. The cover is pretty great and is pure 70’s Marvel style and as always Ross Andru interior art is A+ stuff. The next two issues are the ones that I read in my youth so let’s see how well they hold up.

Doc Savage Marvel 7

Doc Savage # 7  ***
Released in 1973     Cover Price .20     Marvel     # 7 of 8

In the Canadian woods on the estate of Alex Savage the uncle of Doc Savage a man transforms into a werewolf and has the want to kill and murder Alex…and he does just that. The next day Doc gets a phone call from his cousin Pat Savage about the attack and murder and this puts Doc into a thinking mood as the murder was said to be very beast like. Doc Savage decides that he is heading to Canada to be with his cousin Pat during her sad time as well as he wants to find out what killed his uncle and why their household seems to be under attack. Doc along with Ham, Monk and Renny take the train to get there and even while ridding gets a fake telegram warning him not to go to his uncles house. As Doc and Renny make their way to the railcar of Ham and Monk they get all types of stares from passengers many who think they are dangerous killers with many having plans to protect themselves. When Doc gets to his friends he finds that he has gotten there just in time as some one has gassed them and left an image of a werewolf on their window. And this same thing was done to El Rabanos and his friends the Ovejas whom all thing Doc Savage and his men are bad people, and worse after the gas clears they find another werewolf image on a window, watch a black painted plane fly away from the train and are forced to a stop as logs now block the train from moving forward! As Doc Savage removes the logs his friends give chase to El Rabanos who runs into the woods, after clearing the way Doc as well gives chase and his jumped by four men with guns…they are no match for Doc who defeats them and rushes to find his friends. Meanwhile Pat Savage is home with her two Native American friends Tiny and her husband Boatface when they hear the howl of the werewolf, Pat grabs her gun to look for the beast only to find nothing and to return home to Tiny and Boatface knocked out from gas and she checks on a ivy cube with a werewolf on it that is very priceless. Unknown to Pat her cubes hiding place was seen by Boatface who steals it and tries to sell it to the werewolf, but the mans greed delivers his death as the werewolf murders him over the price of the cube. Pat and Tiny awake from the sound of a howl from the werewolf and notice Boatface missing so they head into the woods with gun in hand to find him. Meanwhile Doc Savage finds his friends at a tiny airfield in the woods and watch as El Rabanos and his friends make an escape in a plan and even kill one of their own airmen in the leave, before he dies he tells Doc Savage a string of clues. In the end Doc Savage with Monk, Ham and Renny make it to his uncles house to find Pat missing and the body of Boatface now in the living room of the home, Doc orders his friends to stay at the home as he rushes off to find his cousin only to be shot while walking across a rope.

All I can say is 100% this issue held up for me after all these years and has a super classic werewolf horror movie feel to it and that’s why I enjoy it so much! In this issue Doc Savage gets the sad news from his cousin that his uncle has been killed in a savage way and this makes the Doc head to Canada to figure out the murder as well as all the strange things going on around his uncles estate. This issue takes Doc Savage from his city office, to a train traveling across countries, to the snowy woods for Canada all the way to his uncle’s home in the middle of now where, and all the while he had to fight and use his detective skills. Doc Savage and his cousin Pat Savage are going through a very hard time as their loved one has been brutally murdered and all signs point to it being the work of a werewolf, but they also have to deal with shady people as well and thieves who want to steal an ivory cube that the Savage family owns. El Rabanos and his group are very shady and are clearly involved in this killing as they are also trying very hard to spread rumors of Doc Savage himself being a cold blooded killer and a curse to those who see him. As always Monk, Ham and Renny are around, but do very little in the over all story besides their friendship. Pat Savage is a warrior her own self as she along with her trusty gun have zero issues running off into the woods to face the werewolf, as she wants revenge really bad for her fathers death. Tiny is a loyal housekeeper to the Savage family even if her husband was a thief who allowed his own greed lead to his death. And finally The Werewolf is a talking beast who wants the Ivory Cube and who is also savage in his attacks and plans for murder, a classic looking werewolf that reminds me of Jack Russell the Werewolf By Night another Marvel Comics series that was running around the same time. The Werewolf while very beast like in nature and look, also has a human side as well that allows him to talk and plan. One has to wonder who the man beast is and if he is truly a werewolf or just a man in a suit playing a legendary creature. The cover is awesome and eye catching and the interior artwork by Ross is amazing stuff. A great issue and my favorite in the series this far in both art and in story, so let’s see what issue 8 the final issue has in store for us!

Doc Savage Marvel 8

Doc Savage # 8  **1/2
Released in 1974     Cover Price .20     Marvel     # 8 of 8

Doc Savage is holding onto the rope when the man fires one more bullet knocking him off and sending him to his death, or so the man thinks as he returns to camp he is meet by the Werewolf who is in charge and is told of the news that Doc Savage is dead and with this the Werewolf is happy as he knows now nothing will stand in his way of entering the Cave Of The Werewolf. Meanwhile in a tent in that very party we find Pat and Tiny tied up and being held captive and when they try to escape the ones holding them captive inform them that they are no longer needed as her cousin is dead so their worth is low, but before Pat and Tiny can be killed Doc Savage rushes to their rescue and after beating down the bad guys the Cousins and Tiny start to head back to the Savage home as Doc Savages is sure that El Rabanos and the Ovejas are involved in this murder and werewolf attacks, as they make their way home Doc Savage is challenged by the Werewolf and after a quick fight the beast is knocked out and his mask taken off to show just a thug in a costume. Once back at the Savage home Pat finds that the cube is missing and just then Senorita Cere Oveja comes busting in screaming that the werewolf is going to kill her father and El Rabanos if Pat does not give him the cube, Cere tells them that the original werewolf was just a nickname for one of her relatives that was a pirate and that the cube holds the location to all his stolen treasure and that she and her father along with El Rabanos was just trying to find it as they think the gold is theirs due to heritage. Doc sends Ham, Monk and Renny to search the pine trees in the area that has a birds nest in it as feathers and needles was found on the body of Boatface. After some time Ham finds the cube in a nest Doc solves the puzzle of it and unlocks the hidden map inside. The werewolf shows up and uses his gas on Pat, Tiny, Monk, Ham and Renny and takes Doc Savage hostage as he informs the hero its been a trick all along and El Rabanos and the Oveja’s are his partners in crime! Doc Savage awakens in a cave with his friends as El Rabanos is bragging to him that he was the mastermind behind this plot all along and killed his Uncle to draw Doc their to figure out the map puzzle, he also says he will turn on the Werewolf and the Oveja’s in order to keep all the treasure for himself! But surprise Doc Savage is free and his friends are not knocked out as Monk made an antidote for the gas and they are ready for a fight. After knocking out El Rabanos with a punch Doc Savage does after the Werewolf as his cousin and his friends go fight with the rest of the gang. Doc Savage out fights the Werewolf and after El Rabanos wakes up and fires his gun the cave collapses with only Doc Savage, Pat Savage, Tiny, Monk, Renny, Ham, The Oveja’s and the treasure escaping…all others are dead. In the end they inform The Oveja’s that they will not get a penny of the treasure and it all will go to build hospitals in Canada and also that Pat Savage is now apart of the group.

This issue holds up as well and while some of the horror elements are gone, by middle of the issue it becomes a crime thriller that has some twists and turns that many of true crime lovers will see coming, but are still super fun to watch unfold. Doc Savage through out this issue as well as the whole series is a man who keeps care of his mind and body and will risk it for good, as he believes that doing the right thing and helping others is very important. He will not kill unless he has no choice and has nerves of steel and is not shaken by anything and that includes near death experiences as well as facing monsters. And one thing about Doc Savage as well is that he is always one step ahead most of the time and has back up plans in order if things go wrong for he and his crew. The Fabulous Five are the best friends of Doc Savage and while around they don’t do much in this series, but with that said I would very much miss them of they were not around as the friendship between Ham and Monk is fun as they poke fun at each other all the time and while Renny, Long Tom and Johnny do very little they are still cool background hero characters. Pat Savage is the touch as nails, sweet and strong cousin of Doc who is an hero in her own right and who rushes into danger to avenge and save the innocent, and after loosing her Father to murder she is ready to join her cousin in the hero business. Tiny who’s husband Boatface was a loser shows that she is close to the Savage family and when all hell breaks loose in the cave she even fights with the hired thugs and bear hugs some of them into submission! The Oveja’s and El Rabanos are slimy and play all sides in order to get what they want and that’s the hidden pirate treasure, and would even turn on each other in order to get it. The werewolf is not a real creature but is a mad man in a costume who seems like he really does think he is one, he as well is motivated by greed but also has pride as he wants to be the man who kills Doc Savage! While he fails and is made quick work of and is later killed in the cave in, I find him to be a cool bad guy who a great classic werewolf look and has a Marvel Horror look. The story of this case is really cool and is set in the woods of Canada with a werewolf on the loose and oddly reminded me of the silent film Wolf Blood from 1925 that is a semi werewolf film set in the snowy woods of Canada. The Doc Savage series from Marvel Comics reminds me why I loved the 70’s era of Marvel as they had some many amazing comics going beyond their Superhero and original Horror lines with titles like Godzilla, Planet Of The Apes, Tarzan Lord Of The Apes, Star Trek, Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica showcasing they knew how to make good comic based on film, novel and TV properties. The cover for this one is eye catching and really cool and again like clock work Ross’s interior art is amazing and he really was one of Marvel’s talented artists of the time that should be way more respect in these modern times. Over all I have to say I enjoyed the Doc Savage comic run at Marvel Comics quite a bit and while Doc Savage is a dated character and even by 1970’s he was a little out of date, they did a great job of bringing the 1930’s into the 70’s and making it seem right at home in the disco era. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Ross and see how this series looked.

Doc Savage Marvel Comic Art 1Doc Savage Marvel Comic Art 2Doc Savage Marvel Comic Art 3

But wait there is more as the Doc Savage fun continues, as we will be also taking a look at his two other Marvel appearances that had him teaming with the likes of Spider-Man and The Thing! I also want to say that a Giant Size Doc Savage # 1 was released by Marvel but was just a reprint of the first two issues in the series. It also makes me wonder why Doc Savage only lasted for eight issues, I would guess poor sales…but I could not say for sure. So if you are still up for some classic detective adventure, let’s go on two more adventures with Doc.

Giant Size Spider-Man 3 Comic

Giant Size Spider-Man # 3  **1/2
Released in 1975     Cover Price .50     Marvel    # 3 of 6

Desinna is a strange woman from another world and time who has sent a message to Spider-Man to meet her at an old building in New York that is set to be torn down, and while inside she shows Spidey a look into the past as Doc Savage in the 1930’s also has gotten a message to investigate that very building as something is just not right with it. Back in the 70’s before Desinna can inform Spider-Man on what is going on the ground shakes knocking her out and Spider-Man is faced with a giant goat legged monster that wants him dead! The giant is named Tarros and he is also from the past and his body is made up of an electric field, and Spider-Man out smarts the giant and over loads the field and sends him away. After the fight Desinna wakes back up and once more has Spidey take a look at Doc Savage in the 30’s at this same sight. While Doc and The Fabulous Five are looking around they meet Desinna who informs them that she is from another dimension and that her world they have created a time machine, but something has went wrong and scientist Tarros had his life spirit taken away and now its twisted and evil and is about to run wild in New York, just then the Giant Tarros appears and Doc Savage and his friends spring into action fighting the creature and Doc Savage being the man he is figures out a way to trap Tarros into a dated stone that’s in the building trapping him inside it as long as the building stands. Back to Spider-Man’s time he figures out that Desinna is worried that when the building is demolished the next day the evil will be unleashed again, but Spider-Man has figured it out and Tarros is not the bad guy it’s Desinna who tricked the old man and had him stuck in time! Spider-Man frees the spirit of Tarros and Desinna is sent back to her world to face punishment.

This is a fun idea of a crossover between Spider-Man and Doc Savage that could have been a heck of a lot better as the major downfall for me is that Spidey and Doc never really meet nor do they even really team up! The plot has a lady from another dimension playing victim to heroes from two different decades in order to try and cover up her evil actions in her own world. Desinna is a pretty woman who has a sinister side that is hidden deep in her charm, she is a mastermind that tricked a wise old scientist from her world and is still using her charm to trick heroes into covering up her mistake and doing her dirty work. When she is figured out and sent to face punishment she still tries to use her charm and beauty to save her own hide. The man she tricked is Tarros who’s spirit was stuck in a field of energy and can not speak English and because of his monster look is easily judged by those tricked by Desinna’s charm and words. Doc Savage comes to the aid of a woman in need and battle a massive electric monster to save our world and hers, and uses his brains and strength to bring the creature down, but sadly he was played a fool all that time ago and was tricked into just beating down a victim even more by the one who started the crime. In other words the hero Doc Savage that has always been shown to be a very smart man as well as a great detective was tricked by a pretty face and the old time belief that women cannot be bad. Spider-Man meanwhile has to sit and watch the events of the past and then solve the case that he is about to be made a fool of just like Savage was by a lady who is evil. I like that Spidey quickly figured it all out, and even after fighting with the spirit puts the pieces together to help save him and allow justice to happen in another dimension. Also I get the feeling that Spider-Man knows that Doc Savage really dropped the ball bad, and is in his own way making excuses for him by saying he was a product of his time. While this was a fun way to bring two heroes together from two different periods of time, I felt that it could have been done better like why not have Desinna take Spider-Man back in time to team with Doc Savage in order to bring down her enemy, and have them both figure out she is the real bad one, or even vice versa. The lack of real interaction between Spidey and Doc was a major letdown and much of the issues pages are spent on Desinna’s lies and tricks. But with that said I did enjoy the elements of each hero doing their thing, that’s why I have given it a slightly above average star rating as while flawed it was still a fund read. The cover is pretty cool and reminds me of an old Marvel Team Up cover and the interior art is great as once more Ross Andru shows his talents. Over all a fun issue and a good read for fans of Spider-Man and Doc Savage, just don’t go in thinking you will see them fight the monster together. Check out some artwork below from this Giant Size issue.

Giant Size Spider-Man 3 Comic Art 1Giant Size Spider-Man 3 Comic Art 2Giant Size Spider-Man 3 Comic Art 3

Up next let’s see how Doc Savages team up with Fantastic Four member The Thing goes! And again what a strange crossover for our hero of the 1930’s!

Marvel Two In One 21

Marvel Two-In-One # 21  **1/2
Released in 1976      Cover Price .30     Marvel     # 21 of 100

At the Baxter Building The Thing is working out and The Human Torch goes to the elevator and is greeted by Janice Lightner who faints once she enters, meanwhile in 1936 Mrs. Lightner travels up the elevator and as well faints once hitting the office of Doc Savage! And in both times the Lightner ladies tell the story of abuse, crazy ideas, madness and wasted fortunes and Janice is the daughter of Mrs. Lightner and it seems like the past and present are playing out the same. The ladies asking for help both speak of The Sky Cannon a powerful weapon that pulls down star energy and places it into a human host and in both cases the weapon is about to be used by the males of the family to show that they are not mad and true power is out there and can be placed into one man! All the heroes from both decades rush to the lab and have their flying vehicles struck by The Star Cannon merging both words together so Doc Savage, Renny, Monk, The Thing, Human Torch and Janice Lightner fall from the sky as inside the lab father and son merge into a new super villain named Blacksun. As the heroes shake off the fall and introductions happen Blacksun appears and is ready for a fight using his beams of energy to try and bring down the heroes, Monk and Renny uses their none kill bullet to no effect and an attack by the Human Torch is shrugged off. The Thing is next up and tries to clobber Blacksun only for it also to fail, but Doc Savage is up next and notices that when the clouds black the stars he has a chance to land punches and does just that causing Blacksun to try and run away into space as he wants to enter a black hole. The Thing and Doc Savage hold onto the villain for as long as they can before falling back to solid ground, but Blacksun as well learns that he can not breath in high altitude and falls to Earth hard causing an end to his rampage and also sends Doc Savage and his crew back to the 1930’s. In the end The Thing and Human Torch promise to Janice to get Blacksun (her brother and father as one) the help that he needs.

See this issue of Marvel Two-In-One was done right as Doc Savage comes to the then modern time and fights alongside a Marvel superhero in order to stop a villain from destroying the universe. The plot for this issue has the Lightner family in the 1930’s and the 1970’s following the same path at using a weapon called The Star Cannon in order to draw pure power from the stars and when they fire it up it merges Doc Savage and his crew into the 70’s in order to help The Thing stop the end of the world and light as we know it. The Thing and Human Torch show why they are heroes as these two members of the Fantastic Four rush to aid a woman who needs them to stop her brother from doing something really stupid. The Thing is as strong as ever and tries his best to use his strength to k.o the issues villain as The Human Torch uses his fire blasts, and while they both fail in their attacks when teaming together with Doc Savage they are able to save the day. I also like that The Thing is a fan of Doc Savage and wants his autograph and is even star struck when he sees him! Renny and Monk are apart of Savage’s crew and while they try and help they really are background players. Doc Savage is as always quiet, watching and figuring out how to defeat the bad guy that is in his way! He is the one who figures out the clouds can be used in order to land hits of Blacksun and as well seems to understand that he has time traveled and just rolls with getting help from a man that is one fire and another that is massive and made of orange rocks. Blacksun is a interesting bad guy that is made up of star energy, a living son and the dead spirit of his father and as well almost like the backside of the sun who can fly, shoot energy beams and even has a dark force field around him, but his ego helps bring him down as he tries to fly to space only to blackout and burnout. Again I can not stress that this is a crossover done right as Doc Savage meets The Thing and Human Torch and works alongside them for the greater good of mankind. The cover is amazing and eye catching and has The Thing and Doc Savage rushing to action and the interior art is top notch and done by Ron Wilson. Oh and this issue also has a cameo from Tony Stark (Iron Man) and they mention Donald Blake (Thor) and this is also a part one of a three issue story but this one is the only one to feature Doc Savage as the next two issues has Thor teaming with them. Over all this was a solid and fun read that brings a classic hero together with superheroes and is well worth checking out. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Ron Wilson used in this issue.

Marvel Two In One 21 Art 1Marvel Two In One 21 Art 2Marvel Two In One 21 Art 3

As you can see, Marvel Comics did a good job of bringing Doc Savage to the pages of comic books, and while the novels are better, these comics are still a great read for fans of the character. For me it was lots of fun to look back at this character and it was nice to go back to my youth and relive the fandom I had for a character that sadly I have neglected for many years now. Next year 2022 Rotten Ink turns 10 years old, and I am going to cover the whole year stuff I love from comics to movies to horror hosts and will really go back to my youth and the joys of growing up in Waynesville! So for my next update, I will be of course covering a Horror Host to celebrate 10 Years Of The Horror Host Hall Of Fame and our last host for the year will be Ohio’s biggest one, and I am of course talking about Ghoulardi! So until next time, read a Marvel Comic or three, watch a cheesy action film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update and remember turn blue!

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Marvel Horror Showcase – N’Kantu The Living Mummy

It’s almost October, and that means Halloween.  For this update, that is a countdown to that holiday, we will be talking a look at another of Marvel Comics’ horror characters that spooked readers in the 1970’s after the comic code ban of monsters was lifted. And this time around I choose to take a look at N’Kantu The Living Mummy, a character who started out in the series “Supernatural Thrillers” and would go onto guest in many other titles in the Marvel Universe. It’s funny as when I was a youngster I always thought that The Living Mummy was a big time Marvel Horror Character and had his own series and was on the same level as Dracula, Werewolf By Night, Man-Thing and Ghost Rider, but as I grew up, I learned this was not true and besides the handful of Supernatural Thrillers issues he was in, he mostly was a background player in books…and to be honest not very often at all. But I don’t care; to me The Living Mummy is a true icon of Marvel Horror and it will be a blast to take a look at him again as I have not read these comics in many years now and I am interested to see if his story arc holds up! So if you guys are ready, let’s travel to Egypt and see what horror N’Kantu has in store for us.

Let’s start this update off right by talking about N’Kantu himself and how he became the Living Mummy! Born in ancient times, N’Kantu was a prince of a Northern African tribe and after going through a test he proves that he is a warrior and that he can rule the tribe when his father passes away. Once her is the Chieftain of his tribe he return to his village after a hunting party to find that all his people have been taken as slaves by Egyptions and when going to get them back he himself is taken as a slave and forced to work harder then all the others as they really wanted to break N’Kantu’s spirit. And when N’Kantu and his people are taken to a pyramid to be executed a revolt happens to save their life, N’Kantu is captured and his punishment is that he is numbed and then is turned into a Mummy complete with draining his blood and placed in a sarcophagus…all this while he was alive! Centuries pass and with the numbing agent wearing off N’Kantu now known as The Living Mummy rises and goes on a rampage through Egypt, but over time his madness wears off and he finds himself going from eternal sleep and becoming a hero of sort. He has teamed with Fantastic Four member The Thing, he has been a member of teams like Legion Of Monsters, Frightful Four and The Howling Commandos and even was rejected by The Grandmaster in competing in the Contest Of Champions. And over the years he has made random appearance even been killed by Deadpool with a fire hose. Let’s hope that one day Marvel Comics gives N’Kantu The Living Mummy one more chance at his own series and brings back the Horror elements to him.

Steve Gerber and Rich Buckler created the Living Mummy for Marvel Comics Horror series called Supernatural Thrillers in 1973 for issue five and would make a total of ten appearances for the series and by issue seven of Supernatural Thrillers he took over as the series main star until the series cancelation. You see the 70’s was a big boom for Marvel Comics to create and showcase monster characters and they had vampires covered with Dracula, werewolves with Jack Russell, zombies with Simon Garth, swamp creature with Man-Thing and even more monsters in the pages of their comics as Horror Comics was big business at the time as the Comic Code was loosing its grip on the industry and they opened up what could be covered in comics. The character was well liked by readers and that’s why he took over the Supernatural Thrillers series and even later appeared alongside The Thing in an issue of Marvel Two In One. Sadly though over the years The Living Mummy has lost traction with readers and Marvel creative and was just used in appearances alongside other monster characters and is never taken as a threat nor even a main star in comics anymore. It’s a shame that Marvel Comics has turned its back on almost all their Marvel Horror characters as Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, Man-Thing, The Golem, IT and so many more are just pushed back to bit parts in series or treated like outdated jokes who are easily beaten and are weak. I hope truly that Marvel one day wakes up and sees that readers like classic monsters and would love new scary issues of them.

Did you readers know that The Living Mummy has also had his fair share of other merchandise? Like did you know that he appeared in the 2017 video game “Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2” that you could play on PS4, Nintendo Switch and X-Box One? He also was featured as a sticker trading card in 1975 as apart of the Marvel Super Heroes Sticker Card Collection. As well was featured in the tabletop game called HeroClix as apart of the Amazing Spider-Man set. While he has not gotten the action figure or statue treatment yet, I am sure in time he may get those honors and who knows maybe he will rise again and even get his own comic series that will also spawn a show or movie…yeah I doubt it as well. Check out the merchandise below to see The Living Mummy in all his plastic, pixel and cardboard glory.

I have always liked The Living Mummy and I first discovered him thanks to the gone but never forgotten Bookie Parlor that was in Kettering, Ohio when I shopped there.  Hal, the owner, had all the issues of Supernatural Thrillers in stock and I would grab them all over time. I can remember reading them in my room late at night as well as have great memories of reading them while hiding in a club house that I had in my room, yeah I had a club house in my room when I was younger living in Waynesville. But let’s get to the review part of this Marvel Horror update, and I would like to think my friend Geoff Burkman for getting me better copies of this comic series many years back and I would like to remind you that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So let’s get ready to take a Supernatural Marvel Horror journey with The Living Mummy!

Supernatural Thrillers # 5  ***
Released in 1973    Cover Price .20      Marvel    # 5 of 15

In the desert of Egypt near a tank Avram and his girlfriend Davida are sitting talking about war and wishing it would end when they come face to face with The Living Mummy who attacks them and before he kills them the beauty of Divida causes him to walk away. A few days later in Cairo Doctor Skarab has uncovered the tale of N’Kantu a Prince turned slave who killed a Pharaoh and for this was turned into a Mummy and buried alive and allowed the evil Nephrus to rise to power, and he tells this tale to Janice and Ron. Doctor Skarab then tells them he thinks that he is related to Nephrus and that he wants to search the pyramids and find the Mummy of N’Kantu and see if the fluid used to embalm him really has kept him eternal and if his mind is still intact! The Living Mummy of N’Kantu has entered the city now and is on a rampage attacking people with a mission to find Nephrus and heads to the home of Doctor Skarab just as the Doctor and his friends leave to search the street for The Mummy as it’s rampage has been all over the news. Hours pass and when Doctor Skarab returns home The Living Mummy is out cold on the floor and when he wakes up he calls Doctor Skarab the name Nephrus and begs him to help make him human again, as the Doctor and his friends run from the room the Police show up and uses guns and tear gas on The Living Mummy enraging the creature that ends up pulling down an electric poll and by accident touches the wires and The Living Mummy electrifies himself and falls “dead” into the street. In the end Doctor Skarab asks the cops if he can take The Mummy’s body to study and make sure its dead and the cops agree for this to happen.

This was a great read that reminds me of a classic Universal Monsters film from the 40’s mixed with Hammer Horror from the 60’s! The plot has a cursed Mummy who was given eternal life over 3,000 years ago and buried alive as a punishment waking up in the 1970’s and is on a rampage in order to find a man he thinks can help end his pain and life. Doctor Skarab is a man who studies ancient Egyptian culture who thinks that he just might be the relative of an old Priest who made a fluid that have people eternal life as well as wants to find and kill The Living Mummy in order to protect Egypt! While he is a man of history as a reader I also get a very bad vibe from him as I think he is hiding something behind his tales of the past as well as his want to “help” his nation. Ron and Janice are two good young adults who are friends with Doctor Skarab and who are being dragged into his tales and also into the path of a rampaging Mummy. Janice seems to almost have a little compassion for The Mummy and even wants to try and warn him about the danger of electric wires. N’Kantu The Living Mummy was a strong young Prince who was forced into being a slave and then is buried alive after leading a revolt of slaves, and now as a Mummy he is unstable and confused and is attacking anyone in his way as he wants to find a cure for his ever lasting life. While he is a dangerous Mummy he does have a moment or two of reality setting in and it helps save a few human lives. The Living Mummy also can shrug off bullets as well as tear gas, but cannot withstand very high voltage. The Horror elements of this Marvel Horror issue is well done and while The Living Mummy goes on a rampage against mankind it’s not overly violent nor bloody and is a great issue to get young readers into Horror Comics. The story by Steve Gerber is well written and clearly was really inspired by classic Horror Movies. The cover for this issue is amazing and very eye-catching for fans of Horror Comics and the interior art by Rich Buckler is top notch and is so fitting for this style of classic Marvel tales. Lets see what the next issue has in store for us and I have to say that this issue was just as good as I remember it being.

Supernatural Thrillers # 7  **1/2
Released in 1973     Cover Price .25       Marvel      # 7 of 15

At the New York Museum late at night a crate is broken apart from the inside and out comes N’Kantu The Living Mummy who rampages through the museum until he escapes into the streets of New York. The Security Guard calls the police as well as his boss Dr. Carroll Harter who shows up with his guest Doctor Skarab who once more tells the story of the legend of The Living Mummy as well as his thoughts of being related to Priest Nephrus from Ancient Egypt, and that the fluid that runs through the body of The Living Mummy is what gives him his eternal life and helped build his strength. Meanwhile in the streets of New York The Living Mummy is wondering around and confused by the modern city and wonders how his homeland is doing and when he hears a female voice calling for help he decides to help in order to get a native to this city on his side. The Living Mummy heads to Central Park and saves a young woman from a gang of punks, but all of them run away in fear and its then that The Living Mummy unwraps his hands and notices that he is in fact a rotting walking corpse! The punks alert the Police who all show up in order to stop the Mummy’s “rampage” and after taking many bullets he escapes into an ally and disappears to the horror of the cops.

This second issue to feature The Living Mummy has his wondering the streets of New York and finding his mind as well as discovering that he is really a walking corpse with powers. The downside to this issue is that Marvel Comics and writer Steve Gerber decided to downplay the Horror elements and turn The Living Mummy into a confused superhero who just wants to help, understand and get back to his home. It’s odd cause by removing The Living Mummy being a monster changes the whole mood of the character and series. N’Kantu The Living Mummy in this issue finds himself in New York and has gained his mind back as he is unable to speak his enter dialogue is that of a hero and brave man, he also in this issues really starts to put the pieces together that he is a walking undead creature who is living because of what was done to him during his embalming. We also see that bullets don’t hurt him and it also appears that just maybe he has the ability to warp or blend into the background and he vanishes from the alley. Doctor Skarab is also in New York and is only around to once more tell the story of N’Kantu and this is annoying as it eats up many of the page count for this issue. Plus Dr. Carroll Harter as well feels like a waste and is just around to listen to said origin story. While I like the idea that The Living Mummy is gaining his mind back I do not 100% like the fact he is turning into another generic superhero from the 70’s Marvel as I mean they did this same thing to Jack Russell aka The Werewolf By Night. I do like the fact that The Living Mummy is wondering around New York as this means he could run into the likes of Fantastic Four, The Avengers, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Doctor Strange or Luke Cage! The cover for this issue is great and very eye-catching and once more has a classic Horror Movie look to it the interior art this time is done by Val Mayerik and while its good he is not one of my favorite Marvel Comics artists of the 70’s as at times his style leaves out details of characters. Over all this was a fun read and one I enjoyed reading again after all these years, just not a fan of the change in mood for this series and character. Oh and this issue also has a classic reprint horror tale to add to the spooky nature of the series.

Supernatural Thrillers # 8  **
Released in 1974     Cover Price .25       Marvel     # 8 of 15

The Living Mummy is floating through a strange dimension as a beam of light has taken him from the ally of New York and has dropped him on an unknown world were he is attacked by monsters that rise from the dirt as well as wind and rain until he is knocked out and wakes up in a castle and meets The Elementals who consist of Hydron who controls water, Magnum that controls land, Hellfire that commands fire and Zephyr that controls the wind and they need the help of The Living Mummy in order to return to Earth to take over and rule and what they need him to do is get a gem that was used against them centuries ago that sent them to this world. They also promise that with the gem they can turn him back into a living man! The Living Mummy wants to so bad return to his life as the Prince N’Kantu and go back to his people, but he rejects the offer as its clear these powerful beings want to enslave the people of Earth and he can not stand by and allow this to happen and declines their order to help and they attack! The Living Mummy holds his own until his mind is affected by Zephyr and she sends him to Egypt to get the gem and return it to them. Back on Earth the Mummy has no control and starts his mission to get the gem, but is able to send a mental message to Doctor Skarab who alerts Janice and Ron that the Mummy is back in Egypt and they must go to him.

This third issue featuring The Living Mummy is a strange one and takes him into another dimension and world that is controlled by a group of would be godly rulers who want to use him in order to return to Earth and enslave mankind and take control, but of course our creature hero rejects this and tries to stop them, but in the end he falls under mind control and is forced to return to Egypt and get a gem that is the only thing that can stop them. In this issue The Living Mummy shows that while he might look like a monster he will never stand with people who want to rule and have slaves and will do what he can to try and stop them. And while he looses the battle he still puts up a massive fight and is quick witted enough to send a mental message to people he thinks can help him stop this madness even with his mind being wrapped by an enemies will. Doctor Skarab who is some how linked to The Living Mummy knows that the creature is back in Egypt and is going to go to him and it makes you really wonder is it to help him or destroy him! The Elementals are godlike beings who have been around for many centuries who want to take over the Earth and also have control of the elements like wind, fire, water and earth and have one weakness a gem stone that can send them packing their bags to another world in a strange dimension. They are pretty powerful but not really all that interesting when it comes to motive and appearance. The plot is ok and I do like the idea of The Living Mummy standing his ground as he does not want any one to become a slave, as he was once one and wants no one else to become one. The downside is much of the plot seems rushed and many big panels fill the story that is already short due to the issue having a classic reprint horror story. I also dislike the fact that New York has a zero payout and like most of Marvel’s horror and strange comics at the time deals with traveling dimensions…like we really don’t need this for this character and his story. The cover is pretty great and once more has a classic Horror Movie look to it and the interior art is good and done by Val Mayerik again. Over all this issue is a little weak but yet still a great read and a fun flashback to reading it all those years back.

Supernatural Thrillers # 9  **1/2
Released in 1974      Cover Price .25       Marvel     # 9 of 15

The Living Mummy is in Egypt with his mind filled with murder as he starts to choke the life out of a guard who was protecting the pyramid and after a few moments The Living Mummy breaks the mind hold of Zephyr and lets the guard live and now wants the gem not to give to them but to use to destroy The Elementals who are now super mad and decided that they will let The Mummy grab the gem and then kill him for it. Inside the pyramid the gem is in the hands of mutant The Living Pharaoh who is not happy to see The Living Mummy enter his research area and sends his guards to stop him and they try but fail, and as The Living Mummy gets closer Living Pharaoh uses a trapdoor to capture the Living Mummy and then fills it with water to try and kill the creature, it does not work as The Living Mummy lifts and breaks some stones and the water drains out. The Living Mummy now comes face to face with The Living Pharaoh and they start to fight over the fate of the gem and during the fight a hand grabs the gem and runs off as the two continue to battle. As the gem gets further away the power of The Living Pharaoh fade and breaks down as his powers are gone. The Living Mummy walks out into the desert to follow the footprints of the unknown person who stole the gem as high above on a plane Doctor Skarab with Ron and Janice are arriving back in Egypt.

The Living Mummy in this issue is able to break the mind control that was pushing him to find the gem and kill and also is able to do battle with the mutant The Living Pharaoh as well as an unknown thief has stolen the gem from them both and has rushed into the desert. The Living Mummy once more shows how strong he is not only in power but also in mind and spirit as he is able to break the hold a powerful being had on his mind and proves that once more while a monster he still tries to do good as he does not want to take a human life. He also shows that besides bullets not hurting him you cannot drown him either. Doctor Skarab who has a link with The Mummy does not play a factor in this issue as we only see him as he is about to land, to be honest The Elementals as well just are around and start the issue off being mad about the mind control not working and then just watch the events unfold. Seeing the X-Men villain The Living Pharaoh was a nice touch and while he tries his best to bring down The Living Mummy his powers are weak and he does not get the job done and in facts just breaks down in sorrow when he has no more powers to use. The real question that is on readers minds is who is the man who stole the powerful gem and then ran away into the desert, as who ever it was did not seem afraid to enter an area that had a Mutant and a Mummy fighting over it. The Horror Element slightly returns in this issue as we start with The Living Mummy chocking a man and also we see him shrug off attacks my man, great classic movie monster stuff. The cover is solid and eye-catching but does not fit fully for a Horror Comic and the interior art is once more done by Val Mayerik and is good. Another good issue in the series and helps had more power to The Living Mummy and shows that he is way stronger then us readers thought. Lets see what happens in the next issue and if we find out who this gem thief is!

Supernatural Thrillers # 10  **1/2
Released in 1974      Cover Price .25       Marvel     # 10 of 15

The Mummy is wandering the desert fallowing the tracks of the gem thief and remembers back to the time when his ill father sent him on a quest to kill a lion to prove that he could be the chief of the tribe and he did so and made his father proud. Meanwhile The Elementals are yelling at Zephyr about her failed mind control of The Mummy, and she decides to prove them wrong and use a bunch of her energy to return to Earth and try to get The Mummy under her control again. Meanwhile as The Living Mummy continues his search for the gem we find out that a man named ASP and his friend Old Dan are the ones who stole it and have a plane of selling it to Doctor Skarab and then stealing it back to him and continue the scheme of selling and stealing it on as many fools as they can trick. The Living Mummy hears a loud boom and watches as a tank is chasing and shooting at a female solider named Racha Meyer and once the tank runs out of shells they open fire on her with a machine gun, but luck is on her side when The Living Mummy stands in front of her and takes the bullets as she is able to throw a grenade and blow up the tank and killing her attackers. Racha thanks The Mummy for saving her life and while he does not understand the words he understands the respect and nods at her before walking off deeper into the desert.

This fifth tale of The Living Mummy has him tracking the stolen gem that holds a way to defeat his enemies as well as return him back to human and best for him he is able to get the respect of a human that sees that while he looks like a monster he is not a cold blooded undead creature. The Living Mummy in this issue has lots on his mind as he remembers the times with his father, the quest that proved his worth of leading his tribe as well as the thoughts of being human once more, and let us not forget that he shows that he understands danger when he saves the life of an out gunned female solider and helps her bring down her attackers. And the female Soldier known as Racha Meyer at first is scared of The Mummy, but soon learns to trust and respect him when he shows her that he is a protector and not the killer he appears to be. The Gem thief is a man named ASP and with him is a friend named Old Dan and they don’t do much besides share an idea to rip off as many people as they can with the gem. The Elementals are around and Zephyr goes to earth to right her wrong of not getting The Mummy under her control, I really wished that The Elementals would be phased out as they are kind of dragging the story and series down as their story arch is boring. The cover is pretty cool and has The Living Mummy taking fire from a tank and the interior art is done by Val Mayerik again and is good like before. Over all a good issue that shows The Living Mummy finally getting the respect of at least one human, so with that lets see if he finds ASP and gets the gem from him!

Supernatural Thrillers # 11  **1/2
Released in 1975      Cover Price .25       Marvel     # 11 of 15

ASP and Old Dan are now back in the city of Cairo when The Living Mummy finds them and busts into their home and before he can attack them and get the gem back he is set on fire and as he burns his two thieving targets makes a run for it. As the fire burns out The Living Mummy lies hurt in the streets, just as Zephyr returns to Earth and notices the state of the area as its filled with the poor and sleazy people and while moving deeper into the city she finds and heals The Living Mummy of his burned wounds. Meanwhile ASP and Old Dan have found Doctor Skarab and sell him the gem, and Doctor Skarab wants to find The Living Mummy and give him the gem to try to right the wrongs that his ancestor did to him those many centuries ago. As ASP and Old Dan return to their shelter they are greeted by The Living Mummy and Zephyr who demands that they give them the gem and once they find out its sold they threaten to kill Old Dan unless ASP gets it to them and the thief agrees to get it back and along with The Living Mummy they head to Doctor Skarab. Once inside The Living Mummy and Doctor Skarab talk and know that the gem is the only way to stop the world from being ruled by The Elementals and then as they are walking back to ASP’s home they inform him that Zephyr is also on the side of good but before they get to her they find that she and Old Dan are now the prisoners of the rest of The Elementals!

Ok the plot has truly thickened now as we learn now that The Living Mummy is not the only one working on trying to save the world as with the gem and the story he now has ASP, Doctor Skarab and even Zephyr on his side as they know that if The Elementals take control the world will be in a bad place as they will control it with egos and an iron fist! The Living Mummy is hurt very badly with fire as his bandages and decided dead skin is scorched, but like before his will is strong and he even fights back the pain to try and do the right thing and that’s to help the world even if so many of mankind fears and hates him. Doctor Skarab turns out to be a good person as he really wants to help The Living Mummy, as he knows the monster is not evil and that he feels that he owes him something for what his relative did to him in the past. ASP as well as Old Dan and thieves and conmen they as well seem to understand that now the stakes are super high if the gem falls into the wrong hands. The Elementals have all returned to Earth and want the gem in order to rule, all but Zephyr who now seems to understand that what they want to do is wrong, or maybe she has fallen in love with The Mummy only the next issue will answer that for us. The stakes finally feel big now as the fate of the world is on the line and crazy enough the path falls into the hands of a Mummy, a Doctor, a Thief and a Wind Goddess! But I also still want to stress I am not a fan of The Elementals and almost wish that The Living Pharaoh would have been the main bad guy as he is way more interesting of a character. Cover is great and has The Living Mummy on fire and the interior art is good and done by Val Mayerik. Over all another good issue that is truly starting to build The Living Mummy as a superhero, so let’s see what happens in the next issue.

Supernatural Thrillers # 12  **1/2
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25       Marvel      # 12 of 15

The Elementals are mad and Hellfire tells them that if they do not hand over the gem now they will kill Old Dan and Zephyr and will attack them to get it! ASP has heard enough and wants to save his friend and leaps into action and beats up Hellfire as The Living Mummy also starts his attack, but our heroes are forced to retreat when ASP is being zapped by Hydron who is draining all the water from his body and the Cairo Police have showed up and is using gas in order to break up the fight. Janice and Ron has also showed up and gets The Living Mummy and Doctor Skarab to safety as they try and figure out how to use the gem. Meanwhile The Elementals make short work of the police and decide to rehydrate ASP as they plan on using him as a hostage to get the gem the want. The Elementals place a massive force field around Cairo and madness runs through the streets as people start turning on each other and many start to serve The Elementals in their quest for the gem. The Living Mummy and Ron hit the streets, as they need to get to the collage and find some old scrolls that might be able to tell them how to use the gem and watch as Hellstorm kills a massive amount of students with his fire powers burning them alive! Ron and The Living Mummy make it inside and grab some scrolls only to have them burnt up after a student uses a flame thrower on them, as the student runs away The Mummy is burnt as are the hands of Ron and the secrets of the scrolls are gone forever and as is possibly the hope to save mankind.

All Hell has broken loose now in Cairo cause The Elementals have arrived and not only killed most of the cities police department but has also surrounded it with a massive force field causing temperatures to rise and madness to run wild in the streets. And finally I feel that The Elementals are true dangers to mankind as they have zero issues with killing humans and now are starting to showcase their full powers. And its clear that Hellfire is the worst of them as he takes the lives of so many college kids by burning them alive! The Living Mummy does what he can but while he is strong and almost un-killable he is out powered by he enemy, but he has made new friends with Ron, Janice and Doctor Skarab all who stand with him in this battle. Doctor Skarab also this far has shown that he is not a nut job crazy man and is really just trying to do what he can to help as he has a link with The Mummy. The city of Cairo has also turned mad in a matter of minutes as madness is running wild in the streets and everyone is using weapons against each other, crazy it seems like almost everyone has guns! I do like that The Living Mummy saved the life of Ron when a crazy man opened fire on them, and its now clear that the two have a friendship. Plus again I like that this story with the cheesy The Elementals is finally getting interesting and the stakes finally feel big! And we have to also talk about the collage kid who for some reason has a massive flamethrower and blasts The Mummy and Ron with it burning the scrolls and then runs off into the streets like a madman, he is a true idiot as he has doomed the world with his fire attack. The cover for this issue is good but reminds me more of something you would see for a Doctor Strange comic and the interior art is good and done by Val Mayerik still. Over all a good issue that has stripped away the Horror and is clearly a full fledge superhero comics series now, lets see what the next issue has in store for us.

Supernatural Thrillers # 13  **1/2
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25       Marvel      # 13 of 15

Days have passed and Ron and The Living Mummy where out to get food to bring back to their hideout when they are attacked by a group of men who are following the orders of The Elementals to bring these rebels in so that this war and dome can end and their rule can begin. As some of the men start shooting The Mummy another gets ready to blast him with a flamethrower and Ron is forced to pick up a gun and fire, the shot hits the gas tank and the man explodes and Ron has taken his first life in order to save his undead friend. Once back at the hideout they watch TV and see all the madness that The Elementals are causing, they listen as governments and superhero teams like The Avengers are on call but not being used yet and when they show ASP, Old Dan and Zephyr being held captive with reports of their executions coming up Ron as heard enough and grabs a rife and declares that he is going to save their friends as waiting on the gem is not working! Ron and The Living Mummy go to the location that their friends are being held prisoners and watch as Hydron torments people of the city, and our heroes attack knocking around those who follow The Elementals and as Hydron tries to drain the water and fluid from The Living Mummy’s body Ron is able to shoot and wound the Water God making his loose his grip on the prisoners setting them free. Zephyr uses her wind powers to push away the mob that has attacked Ron and The Mummy just as Hydron wakes up and makes it rain so hard that a great flood is in the making! But Zephyr uses her wind powers to push back the rain and then carries our heroes away like a breeze. The heroes land at the hideout only to find that Janice, The Gem and Doctor Skarab are gone!

The war in the streets of Cairo have turned even more deadly as innocent lives are being taking not only by the followers of but The Elementals themselves! While Hellfire sets ablaze to those who stand against them the equally evil Hydron is using is powers of water to dehydrate and drown those who cross his path! This twisted wannabe god even uses his powers against an old farmer and his son looking for water to use on their crops, and he kills the son in front of his father’s eyes! Hydron can be injured and by the looks of it could be killed by a gun shot if it in a deadly place. Ron who takes a mans life at the start of this issue has been pushed too much and goes after the bad guys with force by the end using a gun to mow down those who wish to enslave. Zephyr shows that she is just as powerful as her fellow Elementals and uses her wind powers to make a fool of Hydron. She is a great ally for The Living Mummy in his fight to save the world. Old Dan, ASP, Janice and Doctor Skarab are around and do what they can, well all but Doctor Skarab who has the gem and has failed to figure out the secret of using it. The Living Mummy is a true hero at this point as he has risked his undead life to save others and it’s clear that he has now a true friendship with the humans that are fighting alongside him. And again the Horror elements are gone from this issue as its pure classic 70’s Marvel Superhero story telling, and besides the fact the lead hero is a Mummy the scares are just not happening. The cover is ok for this issue but has zero to do with out story and the interior art by Mayerik is good. Over all a good issue that furthers our war to save the world and a issue that flushed out a personality and character for Ron.

Supernatural Thrillers # 14  **1/2
Released in 1975     Cover Price .25       Marvel     # 14 of 15

The Living Mummy stands in the empty room and remembers back to the day when he was the living N’Kantu and watched as his own tribe was taken as slaves and he himself tried to save them only to be our powered and taken as one as well. It’s then that ASP finds a note written by Doctor Skarab that alerts them that he is going to the lab with Janice in order to try to do an experiment on the gem and with that The Living Mummy and Zephyr head to the lab to bring the pair back as Ron, ASP and Old Dan are left behind to keep their hideout safe. In the lab nothing Doctor Skarab is doing is working on the gem and he lashes out and starts speaking that he just don’t care anymore about the gem and the war and is quickly put back on track by Janice who speaks of friendships and doing the right thing. Meanwhile Zephyr herself is speaking of wishing at times she did not take the side of mankind and if not for the fact she is drawn to The Living Mummy she might have went through with ruling the world with the others. Back at the lab the gem lights up and rushes Doctor Skarab with what power is needed and informs him that he is the key to using the gem and this causes him to pass out just as The Living Mummy and Zephyr get there. Meanwhile ASP, Old Dan and Ron decide to head to the lab as well to check on their friends and this was a bad idea as they are attacked by crazed men! Meanwhile at the lab more crazed men attack and very quickly Zephyr and Living Mummy make quick work of them. As Doctor Skarab, Janice, Zephyr and the Living Mummy leave the lab they are meet by The Elementals who want the gem and want to end this war once and for all!

This issue is bringing this story to an end as we now know that The Elementals are done playing games and just want to kill our heroes and get the gem and they each have a score to settle with The Living Mummy as well as Zephyr. And speaking of The Living Mummy and Zephyr its clear that they are starting to fall in love with each other and while she is starting to second guess turning good she has no full doubts due to her connection with The Mummy and wanting to turn him back to a human once more. And really it also seems that The Living Mummy is ready to end this war and wants to smash him some Elementals brains! Doctor Skarab finally has cracked the code of the gem and made himself useful and he better do so in the next issue cause the final fight is now! Poor Ron is all mixed up as his mind is a mess as he fells bad for killing a man, but also apart of him wants to kill more of The Elementals followers as he is sick and tired of these scumbags hunting them and killing innocent people. Janice is keeping it together for her love for Ron and her respect for Doctor Skarab as the three have been friends for so long. ASP and Old Dan are around and make the silly plan to go with Ron to get to the lab and we are left with a cliffhanger if the three win the fight or if they meet their end at the hands of the mob. And again this issue has no Horror elements and this time it seems like they add a little war comic into the superhero mix. The cover is good and showcases The Living Mummy on a rampage and the interior art by Mayerik is good like before and almost seems a little better then past issues. Over all this is a great issue to build up the final issue in this series and the end of the first Living Mummy story arch as well as his first and only series. So with that lets see how this ends and if the Living Mummy will get his flesh back and if he can save the world.

Supernatural Thrillers # 15  **1/2
Released in 1975      Cover Price .25       Marvel     # 15 of 15

The Elementals go on the attack and Hellfire uses his flames against our heroes as Doctor Skarab tries his best to clear his mind and use the gem but its hard as they are being beaten around by The Elementals powers! Finally Doctor Skarab is able to use the gem and the blast from it goes wild and causes the fire from the sky to fall on them and if not for The Living Mummy they would have burned alive, and with that Zephyr uses her wind powers and buys the heroes a little more time. As Doctor Skarab is about to use the gem again it’s stolen from him by Hydron and The Elementals think they have won, but things are about to get real bad for them as its now clear that the power is Doctor Skarab himself as he unleashes his powers on them and even takes the city of Cairo into another dimension. And with this new dimension Doctor Skarab brings Ron, Old Dan and ASP to them and The Living Mummy learns that they now all have the powers of The Elementals and as he and Zephyr hold them off the others join hands and with their powers send The Elementals flying into long forgotten places and the war is over as Cairo returns back to normal and the force field is gone. With the gem drained our heroes meet up for one last time as ASP, Old Dan and Zephyr leave The Living Mummy stays with Doctor Skarab, Ron and Janice and to no ones surprise ASP has stolen the gem to sell it.

The final issue has our group of heroes having to work together against the would be world rulers and the battles take place in our dimension and others with the heroes coming out on top thanks to the gem given them the same powers to make the battle field very even. The Elementals are very cocky and while the are super strong with powers that are deadly, but because they have such massive egos they are very open for defeat and they do get beat when they are matched with their own powers. And it feels so good watching them loose the war and be flung out into a new dimension with fear on their faces. ASP and Old Dan do what they can to fight for the worlds freedom but in the end ASP is shown to be a total scumbag as he steals the gem to try and sell to make quick money, you almost wish he would get his in the end. Zephyr who is an Elemental for some reason decides to go with the thieves and not stay with The Living Mummy who she throughout the series acted like she was building a bond with, very odd payout for her. Ron and Janice really don’t have a payout besides they survive the war and end up still together. Doctor Skarab turns out to be a hero and while he fumbles and falls ass backwards into using the gem that ends up saving the day, he is a hero of sorts and not because he knows how to use the powers he was given. While Doctor Skarab had a pay off it was a little weak and slightly silly that he himself was the power. The Living Mummy is really the hero as he just never stopped and took a beating and always did what he could to protect people as well as is the one who really figures out that the power of The Elementals is now something they can all use, and the poor guy also gets stuck being The Living Mummy and looses his chance of being human again and even his lady leaves him to go with a sleazy thief! While The Living Mummy is a create, a monster even but most important he is 100% a hero and knows right from wrong and wants to always protect the weak and innocent. The comic started off as a Horror Comic and as issues kept going the Horror elements faded and it became a normal superhero story complete with dimension traveling that was a big deal in comics from Marvel in the 70’s. While I liked the over all story I do wish they would have kept it as a Horror Comic series and not mudded the ink too much with making it a standard superhero fare. The cover for this issue is pretty eye catching and well done and this time around the interior art is done by Tom Sutton and is good stuff. Over all this comic series is just as I remember it and while The Living Mummy is not the most iconic of the Marvel Horror Monsters he is one that you should give a chance to and give it a read. Checkout the artwork below to see they styles used in this series.

But we are not done with The Living Mummy just yet as I would like to also cover his appearance in Marvel Two-In-One when he teamed up with The Thing from the Fantastic Four! So if you are ready, let’s take one more comic adventure with The Living Mummy!

Marvel Two-In-One # 95   **1/2
Released in 1983     Cover Price .60       Marvel     # 95 of 100

The Thing and his girlfriend Alicia Masters get a package in the mail that has an Egyptian helmet inside and it takes ahold of Alicia and makes her the Bride Of Nephrus and she gets powers and even attacks The Thing throwing him through the air when he tries to get her to take the helmet off. She disappears as The Thing tries his best to shake off the attack and then rushes to the Museum in order to get information on Nephrus and Egyptian history and meets the really rude Lillian Templeworth who informs him that a man named Gamal Hassan stole that helmet and choose Alicia to wear the hat because she is blind and an artist and needs her to find a gem that could bring the end of the world if he gets his hands on it! At the New York dock Alicia Masters summons a ship that appears and takes her to Egypt, while The Thing and Lillian as well start to make their way to Egypt. The Living Mummy is in the desert remembering back to his past and wondering how long his undead life will last and watches as Alicia and Gamal arrive in the desert at some ruins. The Thing and Lillian make it to Egypt and as they try to blend in and buy camels they are attacked by a group Gamal supporters who believe in his quest to bring Nephrus back and The Thing makes quick work of them. Meanwhile Alicia under the trance goes into the ruins in order to find the jewel as Gamal notices and tries to fend off The Living Mummy who has made his way to the site, but all goes wrong when the jewel is found and Gamal uses it and becomes Nephrus!! The newly brought back Nephrus goes on the attack and uses his magic on The Living Mummy and The Thing when he and Lillian show up at the ruins. As our heroes are being thrown around and beaten down Lillian quickly breaks the mind hold of Alicia and she uses the power of the helmet to attack Nephrus and allow The Thing to grab the jewel and without the jewel Gamal who is now the living Nephrus turns to dust ending the madman’s rampage and also ending the only hope of The Living Mummy returning back to human and find peace, the issue ends as The Thing, Alicia and Lillian watch as The Mummy walks off into the desert.

Marvel Two-In-One just like Marvel Team-Up are fantastic fun reads as they always have The Thing for Two-In-One and Spider-Man in Team-Up paring with another superhero to fight crime and bring down a super villain or two. This is a pretty fun team-up as it pairs The Living Mummy and The Thing having to team up against a great evil, but the downside is that they barely even acknowledge each other as they fight for their lives. The plot has The Thing having to travel to Egypt in order to save his girlfriend who has been brainwashed by a crazed man who wants to bring back a dead priest in order to get power and while in Egypt this also gets the attention of The Living Mummy who wants to get revenge on the returning Priest who turned him into the walking corpse. The Thing in this issue is very high strung as he is pissed that his ladylove got a gift that was an Egyptian Hat that was a curse and caused her to beat him up and travel to Egypt to find a jewel to bring back a dead Priest…so yeah I can see why he is so high strung! I enjoy Marvel Two-In-One comics as seeing The Thing of the Fantastic Four team with so many random heroes over the 100 plus issue run is very entertaining. Alicia Masters the poor blind artist girlfriend of The Thing in this issues goes from being a mind controlled pawn to find a jewel to a free woman who uses the power of her gifted cursed hat to bring down the issues main villain. And we should also say that Lillian Templeworth while a prude museum worker also helps big time bring down the villain as she is the one that breaks the mind control of Alicia as well as who pushes her to use the powers of the hat! The ego driven Gamal Hassan who was fired from the museum is oddly really into bringing the Priest Nephrus back to life and is willing to give his own life to brining him back by allowing him to live inside his body, but while Nephrus does return without the jewel around he crumbles to dust ending his rebirth as well as the life of Gamal. The Living Mummy in this issue is alone with no friends and is trying to find the relief of death and as always he is cheated from being cured or killed and barely even notices The Thing as while the pair get beat up together they do not work together in order to defeat the evil Nephrus. The cover for this issue is really cool and has The Thing and The Living Mummy being attacked by giant snakes and the interior art by Alan Kupperberg is great and captures the feeling of both The Thing and The Living Mummy. While I wish that The Mummy and The Thing teamed up more and that the two misunderstood monsters would have become friends its still a fun read that allowed fans one more chance to have an adventure with The Living Mummy before the modern comics era arrived and took the fun out of comics. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Alan used in this issue.

The Living Mummy is a fun Marvel Horror character that should be given more respect by them and they should make a mini series about him and go back to his Horror roots and deliver a spooky read featuring a Mummy! One thing that I should also say about The Living Mummy and his Supernatural Thrillers run is that every issue is filled with flashbacks of events that we have covered so many times and it almost seems like they did so as filler as it was before the Jim Shooter years as editor in chief who forced the rule of explaining the heroes origin in every issue. Silly I know but the reason they did it was because they looked at each issue could be the first issue a reader could have discovered and that way they would not be lost about how the superhero is the way he or she is. But while The Living Mummy will never get his time to shine in this modern Marvel world as they have moved past many of their lower tier Horror Characters and sadly they will forever be left in supporting roles in issues as well as be treated as jokes and punching bags for the likes of Deadpool, but he and all the others will forever get the respect here on Rotten Ink. For the next update we will be walking away from the world of Marvel Horror and will be stepping into the squared circle as I share my Top 60 Luchadors! So until next time read a Marvel Horror Comic or three, watch a Mummy film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. Really I can not wait to share my list of favorite Luchadors with you friends and readers so will see you real soon for the countdown.

Malibu Comics Ultraverse Memories: Prototype

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, my little spot on the web where I enjoy looking back at things I enjoyed from my past all the way up to present day.  For this update I think it’s time that we again take a look at a hero from the world of Malibu Comics that was part of their Ultraverse comic line and one I can remember reading when I was a kid. The hero I decided to choose for this one is my third favorite character from the Ultraverse who was their version of Iron Man, and of course I am talking about Prototype! And if you are ready I am ready to talk about Malibu Comics and another hero from the Ultraverse.

Malibu Comics was, for a short time in the 90’s, the third top selling comic company in America and wanted so badly to topple Marvel Comics that was sitting at the top of the mountain, and they thought that the Ultraverse was the way to do so, as they created characters that were very similar to some of Marvel and DC’s top heroes.  With the character Prototype, they wanted to have a strong contender to Iron Man! So let’s take a brief moment and talk about who Prototype is and what powers he wields. Jimmy Ruiz is a man who works for Ultra-Tech and was an Ultra Human himself as he had his own internal energy source that was perfect for their Prototype Armor as he could power it himself. But in order to get the armor Jimmy had to allow them to surgically implant the cybernetics that allows him to also control the armor. You see Ultra-Tech on purpose injured the original wearer of the armor by the name of Bob Campbell so that they could replace him with Jimmy and the pair later on team up to break free of Ultra-Tech and become the heroes they know they are supposed to be. And after this Jimmy would go onto join the superhero team UltraForce! Jimmy’s powers are that his body acted as an energy source for the suit, with the suit on as well he could control powers he had such as the ability to fly and fire blasts from hands as well as lift up to 100 tons! And what of Bob Campbell you ask, well after Marvel Comics took over Malibu Comics, during the Black September Event they wiped away Jimmy and had Bob be the only Prototype, but before that while still being under Malibu Comics, he had a new set of Armor given to him by the group Aladdin and called himself Ranger. So that was a quick crash course on who was the hero known as Prototype.

What they could have done with the character in the Marvel Universe? Of course place him in Iron Man Comics! As Tony Stark is testing new armor and weapons, and he hires Jimmy Ruiz to test them out for him, and the reason he chooses Jimmy is he himself is a metal armored hero known as Prototype and could handle the pressure of using the armors and weapons. Imagine this in the Marvel Universe in an Iron Man comic storyline that has him teaming with Iron Will, War Machine and Prototype as they have to all come together to stop a terrorist group that has hijacked tech from a Stark Industry warehouse of old weapons of war! It’s the Iron Family vs. those who want to take over the world…in my book Prototype fits so well into the Iron Man family tree. You could also use Prototype as a member of The Avengers or even bring back the team Ultraforce and have the team being lead by Prime and the members be Prototype, Hardcase, Ghoul, Mantra, Sludge, The Night Man, Rune, Firearm and Solitaire and they are the outsiders of the Marvel Universe and stick together and fight crime and evil all the while earning the respect of the Marvel Heroes. No joke, I really do think that Prototype should be dusted off and placed in the Marvel Universe…in fact all of the Malibu Characters should be.

Okay, let’s talk about this again as I think that its worth talking about often and that’s the fact that Marvel Comics has really dropped the ball with buying the Malibu Comics library and characters as they have done nothing with them and for the most part the characters have sat around collecting dust and allowing most modern comic readers to even forget they ever existed with some never even knowing they did. We readers and fans will never get the real reason of why these comic characters are being benched and sent to the Comic Character retirement home, and that is just such a major waste of characters as I feel they all have so much more to offer to readers. I don’t think that the 5% profits to creators of the characters is really a factor as 5% of sales is really not much even with how poor comic sales have been for the past few years. The fact that former Malibu Comic owner Scott Mitchell Rosenberg is the producer for all Malibu projects could be a factor as rumor has it that he is very hard to deal with and could be making their comic returns just to miserable for Marvel to want to deal with, and this I think could be a possibility and would make more sense to why they are not being used. And it could be what Marvel Comics Tom Brevoort was speaking about when he said its had nothing to do with the 5% on why no return and the explanation could not be talked about due to a non-disclosure agreement…that makes me think that the deal must have been real bad that Marvel made to buy Malibu back in the 90’s. Plus there is always the rumor that has floated around that at the time Marvel’s powers that be decided that they disliked the Malibu characters and that they didn’t fit into the Marvel Universe vision, but I don’t believe this one and think that’s just fan/readers speculation.

Whatever the reason, I feel that Marvel Comics should work it out as they now have the power of Disney behind them and get these characters back into the pages of comics as well as get them into the Marvel movies, shows and video games! In fact why doesn’t Marvel Comics just bring back the Ultraverse characters as well as all the CrossGen characters they have bought and shelved as well like Simon Archard, Emma Bishop, Arwyn, Gareth and all the others that are being hoarded and hidden away by Disney! Why not give these characters another shot at making a splash in the stale world of mainstream comics? Why not allow Prototype to smash some baddies or have Arwyn go on anther epic adventure? But sadly I think with the sad state that mainstream comics are in right now, these characters will be left in the Retirement Home Long Box all itching to be unleashed at least one more time so they can show readers what they can bring to the table. But I really do hope that one day Marvel just opens the door and allows Ultraverse and CrossGen into the Marvel Universe as the character could work very well and add the spice needed to make their stale stories much better.

Before I get to the comics, I want to take a brief moment to remind you readers about the very short lived 1994-1995 cartoon series UltraForce that not only features Prototype but also had team members like Prime, Hardcase, Topaz, Contrary and Ghoul and they fought such characters as Rune, Sludge, Lord Pumpkin and Atalon. The cartoon would also have cameos from heroes like Night Man and the hero team The Strangers. The cartoon lasted a total of 13 episodes and aired on the USA Network. And sadly the show was met with very poor reviews from critics. And also during this time toy company Galoob did a very cool toy line for the show that allowed you to get some of your favorite Malibu Comic Characters as action figures! I have had the figure of Prime for awhile now and just recently got myself a figure of Prototype for my collection, and yes I have picked up several of the other figures and will show them off when we cover their comic series. Below is a look at the cartoon series that has never gotten an official DVD release and my figure of Prototype!

Well I don’t know about you, but I am really ready for the review part of this update as it’s been a while since I have read the comic adventures of Prototype and I want to see if they hold up as I can remember really enjoying them in my youth. I want to thank Game Swap Kettering, Bell Book And Comic and Lone Star Comics for having these in stock and making this update possible as well as by stocking these I was able to put them in my comic collection again. I want to remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you are ready, let’s dive back into the Ultraverse and spend some superhero time with Prototype!

Prototype # 0  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $2.50    Malibu Comics   # 0 of 18

Stanley Leland is sitting on a couch talking to a psychiatrist as he is one of the heads of Ultratech and is talking about Bob Campbell, the original Prototype! Campbell was an ex-military and working as a stuntman on cheap Sci-Fi and Action films when he meets Leland who hires him to wear a tech suit for a demo reel that would be seen by the military powers that be, and Campbell does such a great job he is put on Ultratech payroll and travels around in the Prototype suit. But this power goes to Campbell’s head as he starts becoming a real life hero and saving the day, this angers Leland as every time he takes the suit out it coasts the company money and if pisses of Campbell’s wife Felicia as well who watches as all the ladies of the city swoon over her husband even though they can not even see his face! Campbell started drinking again and would spend his time traveling to make public appearances and fight with a metal suited bad guy named Arena that kept showing up! Bob Campbell over times keeps having a short fuse and is at odds with his employer as they want to place implants into his body and he refuses. They even create a genetic man named Glare to bring him down as they would like to see Bob die now as they just want him out of the way in order to bring in a younger man to use the Prototype suit. After Glare fails, Ultratech gets their wish when an “accident” happens that leaves Bob losing an arm and losing his job with Ultratech and that’s when Jimmy Ruiz is hired in to become Prototype.

This issue zero is a great way to try and get readers hooked on Prototype…but wait a minute this comic came out a year after the first few issues in the series was released…oh you have to love the gimmicks of 90’s comics! This comic does a fantastic job of showing the history of the original man in the Prototype suit Bob Campbell and his rise and fall of becoming the hero he thinks he was supposed to be. We see that the stress of being in this powerful suit forces him to become a hero as well and makes him start to drink heavy and even ignore his wife. Thinking about it, Bob Campbell takes to drinking just like Marvel’s Tony Stark aka Iron Man did…showing that Prototype and Iron Man really do go hand and hand. Bob Campbell aka Prototype is a military man who after serving finds himself working in movies as a stuntman and is hired by a tech company to test and showcase their new suit, but because he has a good heart he uses the suit for good and saves the day for many people who are in need, but the stress of being a hero that he thinks he needs to be drives him to drink as well as causes him to lose his wife. In the end all the good he has done for people leaves him missing and arm, no wife and no job…he is a broken hero with no suit as well. Stanley Leland, one of the heads of Ultratech, is a true scumbag as it’s clear as day that he is the one who set up Campbell’s fall from grace as he is the one who steals his wife and its very much hinted he is the one who caused the accident that took his arm as well. Stanley Leland is also the type of guy who puts profits before human life and is so greedy that he will do anything to gain cash. Arena and Glare are two villains who are clearly created by Ultratech to help show off the powers of the Prototype suit, so in other words, they are just pawns in this company’s war games for profits. I like that this comic is from three different prospective of what happened with Bob Campbell and gives you more of a look into his life and his want to truly become a hero. The cover is eye catching and shows the Prototype we all know and not the bulky suited original version that was Bob and the interior art is great and done by Gordon Purcell and is great Malibu Comics stuff. So with issue zero done, let’s see what the first issue has in store for us!

Prototype # 1  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95    Malibu Comics     # 1 of 18

Bob Campbell wakes up in the morning and remembers back to his accident as the Original Prototype that caused him to lose his arm as well as job for Ultratech and he heads out as Ultratech has a shareholders event that afternoon. Meanwhile running wild in the streets is Glare who is now on a rampage, as he wants revenge on Ultratech and Stanley Leland for turning him into a green skinned monster and he is using his power to blind people on the streets. Meanwhile at the Ultratech shareholder conference and Bob sneaks in and watches as they show the new Prototype suit that is way thinner and lighter than his old bulky suit, and the new suit, while slimmer, is having some tech issues. After Prototype heads to the backstage lab, he alerts the workers and Leland that he is having bad headaches from the suit, while out front Bob is thrown out after asking about a lawsuit he has against them about his firing after the accident. After taking some pills, the new Prototype goes out to shake hands and get his picture taken with the holders at the lunch line, but before he can do so, Glare is out front of the building taking on the police force and Ultratech send Prototype into action! Outside the building the press is filming and broadcasting as Glare and Prototype start fighting it out, but the news is not the only ones watching as Bob Campbell as well as a man from a group called Aladdin are collecting details and judging the new suited hero. The fight ends with Prototype beating Glare and it appears as if he has killed him and the onlookers are not so sure what to think of this new version of Prototype.

The first issue of Prototype starts off with a bang as we follow the rise of a new man in the Prototype suit who is being judged by the original who has been shunned by the company who made the suit. We also see that Ultratech is truly a company who does not care about people as much as they care about money and fame. The new Prototype is younger and really seems to be digging his job as the man in the suit, well besides the head splitting headaches that come with the implants and the suit that glitches. The new Prototype is also very trusting of Ultratech and seems to worry about what they think of him and the job he is doing. Bob Campbell has a new mechanical arm and is super bitter of being let go from Ultratech as being Prototype was all he had left in life, and he so wants to make them pay for firing him. Stanley Leland is as big of a scumbag as he ever has been as he only worries about getting on the news as well as making large profits for Ultratech.  It’s clear as well that he will do whatever he can in order to protect himself from failure or danger and will put others in that spot to do so. And of course Glare, who was an Ultratech experiment gone wrong, is now wanting revenge as he feels that they have to pay for what they did to him…and that’s made him a green skinned monster with freaky blinding powers of light. And for his revenge filled hate he ends up dying at the hands of the new Prototype. When reading this as a new reader you get also some mysteries that will get you hooked, like who is this guy watching the fight from Aladdin and also when will heroes like Prime and Hardcase will show up as they are both mentioned. The one downside to the first issue I feel we get more character development from Bob Campbell then we do for the new young man in the Prototype suit, and they should spent a little time building him as he is the hero we will have going forward. The cover is great and eye catching and has that 90’s charm that hooked so many buyers back in the day…wait that was because it had the # 1 on it. The interior art by David Ammerman is very well done and shows why Malibu Comics had its own house style and charm. This first issue is great and has held up for me and is making me looking forward to reading some of these issues again as well as reading many for the first time. So with that let’s get to issue two!

Prototype # 2  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95    Malibu Comics    # 2 of 18

Prototype is in a virtual reality training program when things go wrong and he uses his own power to override the suits programing and by doing so his levels go off the chart and this impresses the workers of Ultratech, but also causes the suit to catch on fire! Once put out, he has another pounding headache and talks to his handler Hastings about the death of Glare and still doesn’t understand how his death happened and hates that the press is painting him out as a killer. Hastings does what he can to calm Prototype’s nerves over the killing and orders a woman to come down and give him a massage. Meanwhile at Ultratech headquarters Stanley Leland is mad about all the bad press over Glare dying in the streets in front of witnesses and almost wishes that Jimmy Ruiz, the new Prototype, would have died, as his main goal is a new suit called Prototype 2000! His assistant and creator of some of the tech Marjorie informs Leland that she has hired someone to take care of Campbell once and for all ending one of the company’s major headaches. At a bar Bob Campbell is buying parts from a smuggler as he is building his own suit, but he is also the target of a woman named Kaitlyn O’Hare who claims she is a stunt talent agent casting for a new Warner Brothers film. Bob and Kaitlyn end up at his place and the she shows that she is a razor clawed assassin named Backstabber who has been sent to kill him! And after almost doing so Bob saves himself thanks to help from his cat Thelma and is able to get his home made Prototype suit and is ready to fight for his life! And with the help of a buzzsaw arm he does just that, and injured he shows up at his ex-wife’s home as she is a doctor as his wounds from Backstabbers claws are deep and he needs help.

This second issue in the series once more has most of the focus being on Bob Campbell who was the original Prototype as his former employers Ultratech who wants him dead as his outspoken nature is causing them money! And to close his mouth once and for all they hire a razor clawed woman to slice and dice him! And oh yeah there is a very small amount of Jimmy Ruiz as we get he has headaches, is becoming one with the tech, feels bad about the death of Glare and that his employers are not loyal to him at all! The loose cannon that is Bob Campbell is not only trying to get answers from Ultratech about his firing but is also building his own metal suit as he wants to become a hero again. And it’s clear that while Bob is missing an arm he does not let his handicap slow him down as he fights for his life when it’s in danger and does not let him slow him down. Jimmy Ruiz meanwhile is young and seems to be enjoying his time as the main in the Prototype suit and while is comes with side effects he thinks the fame and money it brings him will be worth it. Stanley Leland is a true scumbag as he only cares about profit and the lives of Bob and Jimmy mean nothing to him, in fact after stealing Bob’s wife he also seems to now have no time for her and he lives and breathes Ultratech. The razor nailed Backstabber is a killer female who uses her good looks to bring the targets in and then takes them out, but while she is made of a metal she is not unbeatable as Bob uses a buzzsaw in order to take her out! The main thing that this issue builds up is that Leland’s end goal is a new suit of armor that he will show off in the year 2000 that is called Prototype 2000 and that he dislikes Jimmy as well as he finds him to young and annoying. We are three issues into the series when you count issue zero and all seem to be mainly focused on Bob, and I think Malibu needed to also start building Jimmy up and laying the groundwork for him to become a hero. The cover for this issue is pretty great and very 90’s and the interior art by David Ammerman is good stuff and has that Malibu Comic style. Let’s now move onto issue three and see what happens now that Bob is at his ex-wife’s house and needs help after being attacked!

Prototype # 3  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $2.50    Malibu Comics    # 3 of 18

Jimmy Ruiz and Hastings are on a plane waiting for takeoff but like always there are delays and Jimmy is getting antsy as he wants to be on the go. Meanwhile on another plane the terrorist group Terrordyne Inc. is taking hostages as a sport team is on board and they want money for them to be returned unharmed! Jimmy hears about this and suits up as Prototype and has Hastings freaks out as they need Lelands permission to do so Prototype alerts his handler he has removed the suits shut down lock and heads off to be the hero he is hired to be. Meanwhile Bob Campbell is having his wounds treated by his ex-wife Felicia and they talk about the breakup and Bob lets her know he still cares for her very much. Meanwhile Prototype takes out the masked goons of Terrordyne Inc. but soon meats their leads the super villain called The Heater who uses fire blasts to knock Prototype down, and delivers a beating to our hero before he is able to blast Heater away. But before he can deliver a beat down to Heater he finds that the Ultratech plane has been hijacked and Hastings as been thrown from the plane that is now in the air! Prototype leaves the battle to save his friend and once back on the ground Heater is gone and Hastings alerts him that lots of tech is on that plane that needs to be saved! Prototype blows up the run away plane and this angers Leland who is getting more bad press from the event. And all the while the Aladdin company has the body of Glare and they steady it and the tech that’s inside him and then hire masked hero Wrath to follow Prototype and get the chips that are needed to make the suit any way he can.

This issues plot has a great classic superhero feel to it as a terrorist group holds hostages on a plane at an airport and out hero rushes in to save the day and by doing so more subplots are open and more tension is created between he and his employers. Jimmy Ruiz aka Prototype in this issue goes from being a bored young man into a hero who’s action saves the lives of a popular baseball team as well as takes down a bunch of henchmen that work of a terrorist company group. Jimmy also shows that he has studied his suit and is really starting to master its powers and how to control it on his own while being offline. While Jimmy is being a hero its also clear that he is making Leland very mad as he does not want him to do anything besides make money for Ultratech at public events. Leland also shows that he has more tricks up his sleeves as he wants to have staff now watch every move of Prototype as well as for them to hire more young men that can take over the role of the suited hero. We learn that Bob Campbell let Backstabber live who ran off into the night vowing revenge and that he wants his wife back! The goons of Terrordyne Inc. are masked well-armed troopers who do what they are told and they as well have an Ultra named Heater who is working for them, and he is dangerous as he has the power of fire and even puts a seed in the mind of Prototype that they are both working for criminals the only difference is his people are open about their evil deeds. And lastly we have to talk about Wrath on his way to get the chips from the Prototype suit and this hero vs. hero showdown that is about to happen has me looking forward to the next issue! Plus this issue puts us on the right track as Jimmy is the main focus and his storyline is getting new parts added to his arch. The cover is pretty dang cool and the interior art is once more great and done by David Ammerman. So let’s see what issue four has in store from Prototype as he has a list now of threats that could test his skills and even take his life as Wrath, Heater and even Backstabber are around and looking for a fight!

Prototype # 4  **1/2
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95   Malibu Comics   # 4 of 18

Jimmy Ruiz is living in a high rise apartment that is paid for by Ultratech and while he enjoys the life of being rich and having a job, he’s missing his friends as well as having control of his own life. While downstairs his ex Angella is looking for Jimmy and the night watchmen runs her off just as Wrath enters and drugs the guard and breaks into the hidden lab in the basement of the building to steal the chip off the Prototype suit and by trying one of the chips inside Jimmy alerts him something is wrong and he rushes downstairs to check on the suit and his punched in the face by Wrath who leaves Jimmy stunned on the floor. As Jimmy gets back on his feet he changes into Prototype and rushes to the lobby and has a back and fourth fight with Wrath with both one upping each other with hits! Meanwhile Leland gets the call about the fight and instead of calling for backup, he sends in the media to cover the fight! Wrath ends up getting the upper hand as he has been trained in fighter way better and when Prototype gets distracted by his ex-girlfriend Angella and takes a massive blast that damages the suit and allows Wrath to escape via a helicopter pick-up. With all his energy he uses a microwave ray to hit the chip and he hopes it ruined the data on it as Wrath is angry that this might have happened. Prototype who’s on fire is put out and Leland tries to pay Angella to go away but she tries her best to get Jimmy’s attention. Meanwhile Bob Campbell has finished his new metal suit and takes it for a test fly as well as uses the weapons he installed, but he his interrupted by the cops who alert him he is under arrest for breaking into an Ultratech lab.

This issue is a full fledged battle issue as we see Prototype from Ultratech take on Aladdin’s very own Wrath as they duke it out in a lobby of a building as well as in the streets of New York! Prototype in this issue goes from being a young man messing around with his hot company paid lady, drinking beer and looking at the moon to getting his first taste of a real fight with a really skilled fighter who can expose all his flaws and show that the suit can only do so much again experience. And this also alerts Jimmy to how flawed this armor is as it does not take damage well and becomes damaged very easily. Wrath is a hero who thinks he is on the right side of the tech war and uses his powers to try and right the wrongs and his powers are great as he can turn his opponent’s own blasts and powers against them! Wrath I am sure is both impressed and annoyed with Prototype and you know the two will meet again to finish the fight. Leland as always is a jerk and wants to use the fight as good press for him and Ultratech and don’t care about the safety of others. Angella is trying so hard to find and talk to Jimmy in order to tell him he is going to be a father, and instead gets money thrown at her by Leland to go away showing he don’t care about anyone besides himself. I also like that the police and Ultratech are blaming Bob Campbell for the break-in and that he has crafted his own big heavy armored suit in order to be a hero again! The cover is pretty good and eye catching for fans of Malibu and the art by David Ammerman is great and classic 90’s stuff. Really enjoyed this issue and am looking forward to see what happens with Bob as well as Jimmy cause both have really good stories going.

Prototype # 5  **
Released in 1993     Cover Price $1.95    Malibu Comics    # 5 of 18

Security Guards are all around a launchpad where a rocket called JDH-3000 is set to launch the next day, but the Ultra-Powered team The Strangers (Atom Bob, Lady Killer, Grenade, Yrial, Spectral, Zip Zap and Electrocute) break in and steal the rocket as they need to get to the moon in order to find out more about why they have these powers. J.D. who owns the rocket is very mad as it was under the watch of Ultratech who he hired as the guards and the rocket coast them a ton of money to build. While at an Ultratech meeting Mr. Bell appearing only as a hologram is ripping into Leland and the others about the bad press of Prototype and Bob Campbell, and they get interrupted by J.D. Hunt who phones in and is raising hell over his stolen rocket as he wants Ultratech to pay for it or get it back. Meanwhile in jail Bob Campbell is sprung by Jake Alexander of the Aladdin Corporation who wants to discuss so very important business with him. Leland goes to Jimmy Ruiz and has him change into Prototype and alerts him that he is going to space to fight The Strangers and get the stolen rocket back and if he screws this up he can be replaced, he is also alerted that he will be joined by Empire-7 from Vietnam and team leader being the ravishing Russian Supra and they head off to space. The Strangers find that they can not control the stolen rocket as it will not allow them to land on the moon and instead lands on an abandon Russian space station and are attacked by an alien just as Prototype and his crew land at the station and come aboard.

I want to start by saying I know that I gave this issue only two stars and that it seems low as for me 2 ½ stars means that its great and above average read and this was a great read I just felt that so much of this issue is spent on J.D. Hunt screaming, Mr. Bell screaming and Leland screaming and plotting and not enough time was spent on Prototype or even Bob Campbell. With that said, it does do its job of setting up a run in between Prototype and The Strangers in space all over a stolen rocket and the need for answers of why powers was given to some people on Earth. Prototype in this issue is watching footage of The Strangers only to find himself being forced to fly to space to fight them and is forced to team with two other unknown powered people and is even threatened with if he don’t do this and get the rocket back they stole he will be replaced. The Strangers really just want to get to the moon as they think that the origin of what gave them all their powers came from there, but they find themselves instead on a rundown space station being attacked by an alien. Leland once more is a weasel who uses his gift of talking to try and smooth things over with a client and even dodges the rage of Mr. Bell and Mr. Hunt who are both displeased with him. Supra is clearly powerful and has some type of Ultra powers and is leading the Ultratech team on getting the rocket back, and I would guess Empire-7 as well has powers. I like the rundown Russian Space Station being the place that this showdown is going to happen in and adding a dangerous Alien is a great Sci-Fi Film touch. The cover is good and eye catching and this time around Roger Robinson is doing art and it’s well done. Over all this is an okay issue that builds a story and that’s pretty much all I can say about it. I should also say that this was part of the Break-Thru story arch.

Prototype # 6  **1/2
Released in 1994    Cover Price $1.95     Malibu Comics     # 6 of 18

Prototype is heading back to Earth and is following Prime through the Earth’s atmosphere and is starting to burn up and is second-guessing if this was a good idea to trust Prime and the idea of The Strangers member Lady Killer who came up with the idea of using Prime as a heat shield. And lucky for Prototype it works and he get back to Earth, but his suit is burnt and molded together in a lump of metal. At the office of Jake Alexander he alerts Bob Campbell that he knows everything about him and they discuss that fact that Ultratech is using Jimmy Ruiz and when they are done with him they will have him killed, Jake they informs Bob that he wants the original Prototype to work for Aladdin and they even have made him a new suit that is big and heavy and filled with lots of powerful weapons. Ultratech have found the hidden office of Aladdin and have sent in a female killer that is invisible who’s touch and kiss can kill a person in minutes and she gets into the office of Jake and fights with Original Prototype and places a kiss on Jake before she flees the battle and forces Original Prototype to take Jake to the hospital to save his life. While back at the Ultratech Offices Leland gets a visit from a very angry Jimmy Ruiz who is ranting about his space mission and almost dying getting back home when Leland calms the young man down with a big money bonus as well as a new Prototype suit that once Jimmy has on Leland shows him that the suit now has a brain attack button that overloads Jimmy’s brain like a drug! Jimmy hates this new feature but before they can chat about it the office windows are blown out and the armored bad guy Arena is there, looking for a fight.

Malibu Comics dropped the ball as they did the one thing that I think Comics in the late 80’s and 90’s did that was really dumb and that’s make it that to finish a story they started in one series continue in multiple others the dreaded multi-book crossovers…and then they screw up even more by not really even explaining to readers what took place with The Strangers, Alien, Moon and so on in this issue as all we get is that Prototype is following hero Prime to get back to Earth. With that said and that terrible annoying comic trope exposed, this is a good and solid issue that features growth for both Jimmy and Bob who are now both officially Prototypes! Jimmy learns that he has friends with other Ultra-Heroes and that he should not fully trust the words of Ultratech as they do not have his well being in mind when they send him on mission of both no and total danger. Bob Campbell learns that he as well as new friends with the Aladdin Corporation do have his best interest at heart and even have built him a new suit and with that the Original Prototype is back in the hero business. I am guess the invisible woman who is a killer with a deadly touch and kiss, I would guess is Marjorie Fredericks who works for Ultratech and wants to cut off loose ends. Jake Alexander is in bad shape by the end of this issue and has a very deadly poison running through his veins thanks to Marjorie. I also like that Arena has returned and once more wants to clash with Prototype, but unknown to him this is a new person in the armor…but I don’t think it would change his mind much of beating him up or ending his life. This is again a great issue I just really dislike the lack of closer to The Strangers and The Moon storyline as they wanted you to buy two other comics to close the story. The cover is pretty cool and shows Bob “Original” Prototype in his new armor and the interior art is done by Roger Robinson and is really good. Issue six of Prototype really does want me to see what happens with many of the characters and also want to see how the characters will grow in more issues, so with that let’s see what issue seven has in store for us.

Prototype # 7  ***
Released in 1994    Cover Price $1.95   Malibu Comics   # 7 of 18

Prototype and Arena start a fight above the city of New York as onlooker watch as the suited up Ultra’s exchange powerful hits. As the fight goes on Prototype alerts Arena that Bob is no longer in the suit and that he Jimmy is and that he is better then the original, Arena seems not to mind as he turns up the attacks and this leads him to also drop his powerful sword to the street bellow. While at the Hospital Bob Campbell talks to the doctor and finds that he got Jake Alexander help just in time, and Bob covers for how Jake was poisoned and goes into visit his new friend. Leland is in the Ultratech Building talking with the invisible woman who is now named Veil and she turns out to be Marjorie Fredericks and she has been hired to babysit and watch after Jimmy, and while Leland wants her to still protect him she thinks they should take him out after the fight with Arena and replace him. While poor old Angella ex-girlfriend of Jimmy is being chewed out by her mother to just forget all about Jimmy and move on with her life as she says he is beyond her now. Earl and T.J are gang members who are talking to a young girl from their neighborhood when a rival gang does a drive by, while T.J returns fire the poor young girl is shot dead. The government of New York is getting sick and tired of Leland and Ultratech and they have build their own armor hero called The Manhattan Project 1994 and they plan on letting him loose soon! While back at the battle Arena is beating up Prototype and is still comparing him to Bob Campbell and this angers Jimmy who blasts his opponent with a powerful blast and is ready for a fight!

This is a battle issue that has some side stories thrown in for good measure and delivers one heck of a fun read! The plot for this issue has Arena returning for a fight and Jimmy not being fully prepared for a fight that has his enemy being more powerful than him and worse more skilled at fighting! Prototype is becoming way to cocky and thinking that his powerful suit will win him every fight, but while the suit is powerful his fighting spirit and knowledge is not good and he is slowing figuring out that he needs a battle plan before rushing in to a fight. I also like that he is getting to the point where he is sick and tired of hearing the name of Bob Campbell and is willing to now fight over it! Bob Campbell in this issue spends his time in the hospital looking after his new friend Jake, and also figures out that he should keep his mouth shut about Ultratech for awhile. Leland and Veil are watching the battle and each have their own ideas on how this one should end, and she is sick and tired of the brat Jimmy. I cannot wait to see Manhattan Project 1994 in action and see if he is with or against Prototype! Not sure what is going to happen with the gang members T.J and Earl, and to be honest what is going to happen with Angella and her baby. I also like how the Government in New York talk about Sludge living in the sewer, just a nice touch to showcase another of their character is active in New York at the same time of these events. Arena is an interesting character as he is very much into the Ying and Yang of life and is like a super powered and armored samurai who is all about battle. The cover for this issue is solid and eye-catching and like before the interior art by Roger Robinson is great 90’s stuff. This far this series is a great above average indie superhero series and this is I think the best issue to this point, even if it’s a little all over the place. Let’s see what issue eight has in store for us!

Prototype # 8  ***
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95   Malibu Comics   # 8 of 18

Arena is back up and now showcases some of his powers that once more show Prototype that he is losing the battle as he uses mini missiles to bring our hero down in front of a watching crowd. Bob Campbell is working in his garage when he sees the news and decides if he should put on his new suit and aid in the fight, but not before remembering back to all his battles with Arena…The Original Prototype does not come to Ultratech and Prototype’s aid this time. Besides the fight between Prototype and Arena, the news is also reporting on the state of New York going after Ultratech for a massive fine in the billion dollars and they also talk about the young girl killed in gang violence that was the cousin of poor Angella as she starts to realize that she is going to have to raise her child in a neighborhood that is overrun with gang activity. Arena defeats Prototype in the streets and has a chance to kill him, but does not and instead tells him to seek out Bob Campbell to be trained better for fights as he will alerts our hero he will return. Prototype is mad as the crowd hurl insults at him and he marches into Leland’s hidden panic room to have words with his boss, and Jimmy alerts Leland that he quits at being Prototype as well as quiets Ultratech and that he is going home!

What another great issue that showcases that Jimmy is really out of his league and is not ready for battle against any other super powered people and he gets beat up and knocked around by Arena and also comes to see that Leland and Ultratech have lied and used him this whole time! Jimmy who started off being super cocky and headstrong turns very humbled when he is handed his first major defeat. And he also does not take the defeat well at all cause he quits being the hero Prototype! Bob Campbell the Original Prototype is also interesting as he listens to the news as he works on his new suit and almost misses Arena as his battles with him seemed to be like hanging out with an old friend in his mind. Leland is a coward and during the fight runs and hides in a panic room and is scared when Jimmy comes in and quiets, as he knows that Ultratech is starting to crumble around him. Veil almost feels sorry for Jimmy after his loss as she knows what its like to be a Ultra and even a Prototype as her invisible suit is along the same line. Arena respects Jimmy’s spirit but also smartens him up to him not being a superhero like he thinks as he exposes the lack of training he has in combat. And let’s not forget to chat about poor Angella who’s having the baby of Jimmy who is paying her no attention and now also looses her young eight year old cousin for gang violence, this poor woman can not catch a break! I am really interested in finding out what Jimmy does from here as he is so filled with chips and tech and can he walk away from the suit or can they force him to come back to Ultratech and become their “hero” who is just a glorified mascot in many peoples eyes. Cover is pretty cool and showcases Arena and art by Roger is great like always. Another homerun issue and it seems that the creators at Malibu have found their stride with Prototype.

Prototype # 9  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95    Malibu Comics    # 9 of 18

Ultratech is holding a job interview to find the next person to wear the Prototype suit and it’s down to three people and they are all fighting each other in a open room while wearing different versions of the Prototype suit…in the end Donovan Jones gets the job! One of the interviewees is mad that he did not get picked and talks out loud about how he is going to expose Leland and Ultratech to his friend in the news and for this he is killed by Veil’s poison touch. Jimmy Ruiz is back home and chats with Angella at her cousin’s funeral and then heads to the hangout of his old street gang The Hardboys in order to try and talk them out of all the killings, they agree to stop killing only if he brings the trigger man who killed the young girl to the cops and he has only an hour to do so! Jimmy walks into the rival gangs hideout and dukes it out with them, when the gun man pulls a Uzi on him his time runs out and The Hardboys come running in with their guns, just in time to see Jimmy float into the air and shoot fire lasers from his eyes that cuts off the arm of the trigger man and leaves Jimmy passed out…the gangs run away and The Hardboys also denounce their friendship with Jimmy as they don’t think he is human anymore. Jimmy ends up at the hospital and the doctors cannot find out whats wrong with him and while there he also is told by Angella that he is going to be a father…and Jimmy knows that he must go back to Ultratech to get money for his lady and child as well as find out what the heck is wrong with him. While at Ulrtatech Leland is showing off the New Prototype who is in a bigger suit and now is Donovan Jones.

This ninth issue in Malibu’s Prototype series focuses more on Jimmy Ruiz the man who returns home to find that his old gang The Hardboys are at war with a rival and that more and more killings are happening and that his old girlfriend is about to have his baby! Jimmy shows that he has learned a little from his time at Ultratech as he learns how to take a beating, he learns that violence is not always the answer and he learns that those he cared about are suffering while he lived high on the hog working for Ultratech. I like how Jimmy tries his best to bring peace between two gangs and even risks his own life and safety to do so, but also finds that he has hidden powers even when not wearing the suit that gives him powerful eye blasts. We also see that Leland and Ultratech just move on fast even after Jimmy quite and hires a replacement in no time and even give him a more battle ready suit! Donovan Jones is the new Prototype, and I will call him Prototype III and he seems like a man who had nothing in life and is just happy to have a high paying job and will do whatever Leland and Ultratech wants, it will be interesting to see what he thinks when Jimmy comes back looking for his job as I think Donovan will fight to keep his job. Also glad that Angella finally got to tell Jimmy that she is having his baby, and also glad to see that Jimmy seems to be happy and will take being a father serious! Also I feel like The Hardboys will come back into play and will end up helping Jimmy in some way, even if he from time to time seems to have the powers of X-Men mutant Cyclops. The cover for this issue is just okay and remind me more of Robotech than Prototype and the interior art is good and done by Roger again. Well let’s see if Jimmy gets his job back at Ultratech or if he is out forever just like Bob Campbell.

Prototype # 10  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95    Malibu Comics    # 10 of 18

Terrordyne is back and has taken hostages at the Statue Of Liberty and even blow up the head of the statue and is killing hostages while filming! Bob Campbell and Jake Alexander are watching the news and they know that they have to do something to stop this terrorist attack and save lives, Bob once in his suit is now going by Ranger and the new friends head to gear up. While at Ultratech Leland is telling Prototype III that his time to be a hero is not now and tells him he will not be sending him to save the day…just yet. While at a government lab the android hero Manhattan Project 1994 is having some major bugs and attacks anyone in his sight, and this keeps it from being a hero as well as all eyes are on the Statue Of Liberty and at this point the state is without a hero. Karl is the leader of this Terrordyne group and while Ranger is getting into position Jake enters the area and takes a bullet to the knee when trying to work out a deal with Karl who informs him that they are making no deals. Jake stands back up and alerts them that he was wearing full body armor and that they are in deep trouble as he gives the signal and Ranger shows up and starts taking down all the Terrordyne agents while Jake and other Aladdin soldiers get the hostages to safety. Karl and Egon are the only two members of Terrordyne to escape and Ranger has to get ready as he has press interviews. After the interview Bob is loading up his jeep and is approached by Jimmy Ruiz who is asking him for help, Bob flies off the handle as he blames Jimmy for stealing his job and punches the young man who responds with his whole body being on fire begging Bob for his help!

Bob Campbell is now Ranger, a metal suited Ultra who is the hero New York is looking for as he stops a terrorist attack as well as saves the lives of many hostages, and he also now has Jake Alexander and the Agents of Aladdin at his side…and he loves every second of his new gig of being a hero! And the best thing for Bob is that his new suit of armor is better than his old and he no longer is saddled with the name Prototype as he is now Ranger! And Bob also in this issue gets to punch the face of Jimmy and man he blames for taken his job at Ultratech. And speaking of Jimmy, this young man is in a panic as he no longer has his Prototype suit, no longer has his job, his about to be a father and also has weird uncontrollable powers do to all the stuff Ultratech and is in a panic and needs help and Bob Campbell is the only person he can think off. Jake Alexander and Aladdin are trying to do what they can to keep New York safe from crime and terrorist and they along with Ranger are doing a great job. The Manhattan Project 1994 is a robotic would be hero that seems to be not controllable as he attacks even his own creators. This is a great issue and spends time building Bob back up at being the hero he loved being. Plus we find out in this issue that New York not only has a gang war issue but they are also having a terrorist war issue! The cover is pretty good and showcases Prototype and Ranger and like a broken record the interior art done by Roger is good stuff. I am looking forward to the next issue and seeing if Bob can not only help Jimmy but also if the two can bury the heat between them and become friends who both wear metal costumes.

Prototype # 11  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95    Malibu Comics    # 11 of 18

At the Aladdin Labs the thought to be dead bad guy Glare has woken up and is on a rampage and is blinding and killing anyone who is in his way…Jake Alexander has the lab sealed and as Glare pounds his way through the steal door they call Bob Campbell asking him to bring the Ranger suit! Before the call comes through Bob Campbell watches as Jimmy Ruiz almost explodes into a total meltdown and then pass out on the street as onlookers start to get rowdy about his fire and heat glow…Bob thinks fast and picks up Jimmy and drives off just as Donovan Jones watches them and judges them by comparing them to himself. Bob calls his ex-wife Felicia to meet him at the lab and while she tries to help Jimmy, he suits up and as Ranger heads into the lab to battle Glare and the pair punch it out. Meanwhile Felicia helps Jimmy as he is having another meltdown fit and works a way to reroute the power that is coming from one of him implants put in by Ultratech as they used his body to power the suit! Glare comes busting in and is ready to blind both Jake and Felicia and Jimmy uses his surging power to knock out Glare who before going down alerts Jimmy that he as Prototype never defeated him as it was Veil who did! After Glare is down, Felicia informs Jimmy that he is an Ultra and that Ultrateh used his powers to power the suit and that he needs to get the suit back on to stop the outbursts…and Bob agrees to help Jimmy break into Ultratech and steal the Prototype suit.

This issue’s plot shows that Leland and Ultratech have been users and liars from day one and have turned Jimmy Ruiz into a science experiment and fills his body with all types of chips and circuits and have turned him into a walking dangerous battery! And while Jimmy uses his power to take down Glare he is still very much a ticking time bomb that could kill and injury people. Bob Campbell aka Ranger goes hand to hand with Glare in order to save lives at the Aladdin Lab and even ends up getting his ex-wife to help Jimmy who he seems to now understand he shares a common enemy with and that Ultratech! I like the idea of Jimmy and Bob breaking into the lab in order to steal the Prototype suit as you know that when they get there they are going to have to fight Veil and Prototype III! Plus I think it’s clear that Felicia will start helping Jake and the rest of the Aladdin Lab crew as she knows much of the tech of Ultratech and the way Ultras work. Glare coming back from the dead and causing havoc is something I did not see coming and like before it shows that revenge is all that’s on his mind as he hates Leland and wants to do nothing but kill the man he blames for his strange look and powers. I would also guess that this might not be the final time we see Glare in this series, and I for one would like to see him join the side of Aladdin and become an Ultra Hero for them and as well help bring down Leland and Ultratech. Only downside for me is that I want to see Jimmy as Prototype and not just a man with X-Men type powers…so let’s hope he gets the suit back in the next issue. Interior art work by Roger is good and this cover is great and eye catching for fans of 90’s superhero comics. Over all another great issue and shows why Prototype was one of Malibu popular characters.

Prototype # 12  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95    Malibu Comics    # 12 of 18

At the Ultratech building Felicia Campbell comes to visit Leland and before she goes to visit him she knocks out the guard and brings in her ex-husband Bob as Ranger and Jimmy and they head to the basement so Jimmy can get into the Prototype suit as they all have payback on their minds to Leland, but before Jimmy can suit up, they are attacked by Donovan Jones aka Prototype III who is cocky and wants to showcase his power to Ultratech and impress Leland. While Jimmy tries to get his suit ready for battle with Felicia, Ranger springs into action and battles with Prototype III keeping him busy even with his suit being less powerful, finally Jimmy gets into his suit and as Prototype he enters the fight and its clear the fight between Jimmy and Donovan both who feel like they have something to prove and neither want to loose and in the end Jimmy defeats Donovan with a massive energy blast that destroys the Prototype III suit and as Donavon is bleeding on the floor Felicia treats his wounds as Ranger and Prototype head to Leland’s office. Marjorie Fredericks is in Leland’s office and turns invisible with orders to kill both Jimmy and Bob and as Leland distracts them with offers of hiring them both back as spokesmen for Ultratech Marjorie tries to attack them both but is stopped by a can of pepper spray fired by Felicia who then knocks out the invisible assassin with a metal briefcase. Prototype grabs Leland and is about to smash him like a bug when Ranger reminds him that they are heroes and that they are better than violence as revenge and then alerts Leland that they are going to bury him with a press conference! But Leland is not done yet as he calls in his last chance of killing Bob, Jimmy and Felicia, and it’s Prototype 2000 the same suit of armor that took Bob’s arm during a fight! As Prototype 2000 comes close he opens fire on Leland and then tells the shocked heroes that he is really Gordon Bell the founder of Ultratech!

So many Prototypes to keep track off as this issue has a total of five of them all with different looks and all with different names and model numbers! This issues plot has Bob, Jimmy and Felicia going to Ultratech towers to get the Prototype suit for Jimmy in order to control his powers as well as to alert Leland that they are going to expose his crimes to the world, and while trying to do so they meet his armored and invisible goons and then watch the man that has caused them all so much heartbreak be killed before their eyes by the founder of Ultratech! Bob Campbell aka Ranger is very level headed in this issue and fights when he needs to do so and also is the voice of reason to Jimmy who is lashing out in anger towards those who tricked him into becoming a ticking time bomb of energy. Jimmy is clearly getting out of hand and his power surges are out of control and if not for the Prototype suit he could and would end up killing a lot of innocent people. Felicia is showing that she has a great heart and is teaming with her ex-husband in order to expose Ultratech for the greedy scumbags they are. Leland is just as selfish and evil as ever and wants to kill those who stand in the way of him making money, that’s why it’s so shocking that he is killed…or so we think he is dead as he is blasted and knocked out of a window. Ultratech’s paid muscle of Prototype III and Marjorie Fredericks fail in their attempt to stop our heroes and end up both just knocked out on the floor. The long thought to be dead Gordon Bell being the one controlling the Portotype 2000 suit has be asking so many questions like was he controlling the suit when Bob was injured? Is he really alive or is he also just tech and does this mean Bob and Jimmy are now back on the payroll? I like were the story is going, but I have to say they need to chill on all the different Prototype suits as they keep pilling up! Also I like how Leland’s death was a touch of Robocop in it as it reminds me when the board member is gunned down by Ed-209! The cover for this issue is good and has a Marvel Comics feel to it and the interior art by Roger still and is good as always. Lets see what issue 13 has in store for us!

Prototype # 13  *1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $3.50   Malibu Comics   # 13 of 18

Prototype 2000 has the mind of Gordon Bell, but he is out of touch with the times and seems to be flashing back to the time he was always at the office and is enraged by the stock market drops of Ultratech! Bob, Felicia and Jimmy are confused and not sure what to do as Leland’s body has not been found and they cannot find a shut off switch to Prototype 2000 and when they try to get close to find one, the suit fights back. On the news hero Warstrike and bad guy Blind Faith are being attacked by what looks like Prototype at Yankee Stadium and this causes Jimmy to head to the ball park and fight with this imposter Prototype that seems to be a robot, and after a brief fight the robot gets away and Prototype gets no answers from Warstrike who was confused to why he and his super villain were attacked, and Prototype wastes no time using his energy and blowing the robot up leaving scrap metal behind and Warstrike in shock of Prototypes pure power. Meanwhile back at the Unltratech Office Bob and Felicia are getting nowhere on finding an off switch, but do know that a small amount of living organisms are inside the Prototype 2000 suit and Bob puts on his helmet and as Ranger blasts Prototype 2000 hoping to expose what’s living inside it only for the killer tech suit to figure out that their stock is under attack! We then show across town in a room filled with heroes including Night Man that they are the ones going for the stock!

What a silly issue in this series as the action is packed with goofy humor and an ending that leaves you interested but also having to but other comic series to figure out what and why heroes like Night Man are trying to buy mass amounts of Ultratech stocks! The plot has our heroes trying to figure out why Prototype 2000 thinks he is the chairman of Ultratech, why Leland’s body has not been found and why a robot version of Prototype is attacking a hero at a baseball stadium. Jimmy is puzzled by why a robot wearing his suit is trying to attack a hero and get him bad press and has to rush to Yankee Stadium in order to clear his name of this weird attack. Bob is watching as his ex-wife is acting like an employee off Ultratech in order to get answers of what Prototype 2000 really is! Warstrike is the hero who is under attack by the robot version of Prototype and he is knocked around pretty bad and is super confused by the end of his real meeting with Prototype. And as for Prototype 2000 he is a super powerful tech suit with the mind of Ultratech founder Gordon Bell who is acting super sexist and like he is from the 1930’s or something, his humor is silly and eye rolling and he smacks Felicia on the butt and makes groaning sexist remakes that will make you want to watch him explode into a million different pieces. This issue also ends with showing cool Malibu hero characters like Night Man, Teknight, Solitaire and more being the ones behind the hostile takeover of Ultratech’s stock and while cool its also very goofy and also leads to the crappy other comic series crossovers that force you to buy more books to finish the story. While this was a fun read its also very generic feeling and over all not a great issue. The cover is cool and screams 90’s Superhero Comic and the interior art is just ok and is done by Dean Zachary who is not one of my favorite artist from Malibu as at times I feel his work on panels is very sloppy and rushed looking. Over all a middle of the road issue that sets up a series crossover that brings stocks into play and does have some good moments for Prototype (Jimmy) to show his new outlook on life at being a hero.

Giant Size Prototype # 1  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $2.50    Malibu Comics    # 1 of 1

Ultratech stock is dropping fast and Nuware is buying it up dirt-cheap! Meanwhile Gordon Bell in the Prototype 2000 suit is going crazy as now the building is under attack as Ultra Heroes have shown up and Ranger heads to the lower level to confront Night Man and Solution and Prototype heads up to the roof to hold off the Teknight! After fighting the heroes in the basement Ranger is taking out of commission after putting up a good fight and the heroes have a talk with him. Meanwhile on the roof Prototype and Teknight are having a massive battle with each other and both are showing that their armor and skills are pretty evenly matched! While on the street below Ultratech workers are leaving the building with many of them quitting including Marjorie Fredericks who’s invisible and before she leaves the area decides to kill a reporter live on air! Meanwhile the battle takes Prototype and Teknight into the office of Gordon Bell and they see Ranger and the other Ultra Heroes are already there as on the street bellow J.D. Hunt of Nuware makes the announcement that his company is taking over Ultratech as they have bought the majority of the shares. Gordon Bell snaps and as the heroes run from the building her destroys Ultratech headquarters and then flies off into space with a thereat that he will one day come back for J.D. Hunt and make him pay!

This Giant Size issue showcases the end of the storyline of the Hostile Takeover and shows that Nuware and its owner J.D. Hunt was the man behind the stock takeover as well as sent the Ultra Heroes into the battlegrounds to help drive it lower so he can take it all over. Gordon Bell who is looney tunes has a part of his soul and memory inside the Prototype 2000 armor and is extremely dangerous and when pushed too far and learning that his company has been taken from him goes on a rampage and then runs away to space! He is super dangerous and to be honest all the Ultra Heroes should have teamed up and tried to destroy it before it could have went made and caused a building to come down, as think about it we have zero clue how many people might have died because of this. Prototype is fighting for Ultratech just because he needs the money that a job with them brings and Ranger is fight as he is not sure what the hell is really going on! The Ultra Heroes like Night Man and Teknight are around and while they are apart of the plot there is no real rhyme or reason for them to be helping Nuware take over Ultratech. To be honest Night Man does not even say one word! The highlight of this issue is the fight between Prototype and Teknight as they two slug it out and both are equals and each do not want to loose making them fight even harder. This also finally brings Ultrateh to an end as well as Leland and it looks as if they are bringing in a new story arch for our hero. This Giant Size comic also has a backup story that has Ranger fighting Arena and finding out that it was a she behind the armor all along. The cover is really cool and eye-catching and the interior art for the main story is done by Roger so you know its good. A great issue that helps us bring an end to the series main bad guys and that of course is the people of Ultratech.

Prototype # 14  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95    Malibu Comics    # 14 of 18

Desperate to stop the chaos in New York The Manhattan Project is brought online and even kills its creator Douglas Platt. Meanwhile Prototype and his fellow heroes watch as Prototype 2000 blows up the Ultratech building as well as attacks other parts of New York calling out Prototype for a fight! And then Jimmy snaps out of his day dream of those past events (other comic issues from Malibu) and finds out that Ultratech is now merged with Nuware and while he is offered a job its at half of what he made and it forces him to move to New Jersey, but with a kid on the way he takes the job. He meets a few of the lab workers of Ultratech who are waiting to be let go and they talk about how terrible big tech businesses are to employees, this angers Jimmy and he leaves in a rush to get his Prototype suit on before he has an energy blast out of anger. While flying around New York getting his mind clear and trying to find a better way for the energy he builds up to be used he is attacked by The Manhattan Project to knocks our hero around. Once down The Manhattan Project starts to use his powers to drain all of Prototypes energy as he is not just a machine but a living thing from space that is now wanting to feed and become the most powerful being on Earth! Prototype has had enough and breaks The Manhattan Project’s hold on him and then over loads him with pure energy ending the fight. Jimmy goes to Bob Campbell’s house and finds that Felicia and him are getting back together and that they are moving to California again as Bob is going to work for the movies again as well as part time for Aladdin, and that Nuware has given Bob a large amount of money to clear their books of lawsuits. Bob and Felicia then offer to rent their home to Jimmy and his new family.

This is a pretty solid issue as it’s all about the fight between The Manhattan Project and Prototype and also closes some loose ends to the Ultratech story arch. In this issue Jimmy finds himself being hired by the company who bought out Ultratech with a massive pay cut and also finds out that he must move to Jersey to report into work or commute everyday. He also learns that his two new best friends Bob and Felicia Campbell are moving out of state leaving him without an Ultra Healthcare worker as well as a friend who can repair his suit when damaged. Jimmy’s life is changing and he is both scared, stressed and also slightly happy. It’s as if he knows that he needed a major change but he also can not get his head on straight as he has some much anger over what Leland had the workers of Ultratech do to him. The Manhattan Project is an alien life form that is mixed with tech and is craving raw power and energy and while he is super strong he has never faced the power of Prototype when he unleashes full blast on him, is The Manhattan Project dead or will he rise again to strike…only time and other issues will answer that question. This issue also shows that the creators behind this series wanted to take it into another direction as Ultratch is fully gone, Bob and Felicia are leaving the state, Leland, Gordon and Douglas are all presumed dead. And The Manhattan Project is destroyed making all the characters that Jimmy met in the start of this series have an ending or sorts. I think that making this issue a mostly battle one was a smart move as after building up the fall of Ultratech in issue 13 and then making the conclusion happen in other Ultraverse Comics was a crappy move and they needed to try and make readers of Prototype happy. Also bringing Roger Robinson back onto interior art was super smart as it was solid and great as always. The cover for this issue is also really cool as it has The Manhattan Project chocking the life out of Prototype. Over all a good quick read with battles in the middle of two big new plot directions for the series.

Prototype # 15  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95     Malibu Comics     # 15 of 18

Donovan Jones is getting a laser energy tattoo of a dragon and has been accepted by Techuza, a group of Ninjas who are building him up in order to fight Prototype and Ranger in order to get revenge on the now gone Ultratech. Meanwhile Prototype and Ranger are saving people from a bridge collapse and talking about what its life to be a hero, and once everyone is safe they fly off to fanfare from those they rescued. The next day Jimmy takes the train to his new job at Nuware and meets his new boss Dennis Carlen in Marketing and the building is rundown and is a major step down for Jimmy. He gets orders that when he wears the suit he gets a $5,000 bonus from the company, but any tech repairs comes from his bonus. He then is told to sit at a desk along with many other Marketing Assistants with one massive one being called Ox. That night Jimmy takes Angella out for dinner and prepossess to her, before she answers she asks him to clear it up with her mothers as it’s a family tradition. As Jimmy and Angella leave the restaurant one of the staff is talking on the phone and is alerting someone that Jimmy is leaving and the time to strike is now. As the couple is driving away they are stopped by Donovan Jones who is now in new armor and calling himself Engine Of Destruction and Jimmy gets his Prototype suit on and the pair battle as Angella watches and questions if marrying Jimmy is what’s good for her baby and herself. We then cut to a meeting of the higher-ups of Terrordyne have a block of ice brought in and once it melts we see Leland Stanley was inside it and that he will now be the leader of the terrorist group.

The more things change the more they stay the same as it looked like we the readers had gotten away from Ultratech being the source for all the negative stuff going on in Prototypes life but while the company is gone we now see that their pains are back as Leland Stanley and Donovan Jones have came out of the wood work once more to cause some issues and deal out pain. I like that Jimmy is now working for a smaller company who just wants to use Prototype to help build their bank account and become a mascot for them of sorts, but with this new job its also clear that their bank account is not as big and that they are even more tight about money. Jimmy also is trying to be more grown up and is trying to find a way to become a “Hero” as well as a father and husband and is ready to settle his life down. Meanwhile Angella seems to be happy to have Jimmy in her life, but also seems to be fearful of his hero life and all the danger he is always in as well as what could cause issues for her and their soon-to-be born child. I like that Donovan is now working for Techuza and is now calling himself Engine Of Destruction and is so filled with hate and the want for revenge that he has forgotten his morals and just wants to kill Prototype for making him look bad and handing him his first major defeat when he was known as Prototype III. I have to be honest with you I hate the fact that Leland Stanley is back as his character had a great send off and should have been left dead, and now with him being the head of a terrorist group makes me know that his ego will be even more out of control. Over all this was a pretty solid issue that had a nice mix of adding in our new characters and stories as well as had a dash of the old story thrown in for nice measure wrapped around a grudge fight. The cover is cool and has Prototype with a cool Chinese Dragon and the interior art is done by Dean Zachary and I think that in this issue his art is really good and I will say I like it this time around and none of it looked rushed. Let’s see what issue sixteen has in store for us, and let’s hope it’s not a ton of Leland nor Jimmy being yelled at by his boss.

Prototype # 16  **1/2
Released in 1994     Cover Price $1.95   Malibu Comics   # 16 of 18

Prototype and Engine Of Destruction are fighting in the streets of New York as Angella watches on in shock and is wondering if this is what her life will be if she marries Jimmy. As the battle rages on Prototype learns that the more he hits Engine Of Destruction the stronger he becomes as the armor he wears repairs and protects itself, but by doing so it’s also making his suit more bulky and slowing him down. It works as Engine Of Destruction becomes too massive and it becomes hard for him to move around. As Angella watches, someone kidnaps her and says he is taking her to a place where Ultra babies are born. Meanwhile before Prototype can finish off Engine Of Destruction members of the Techuza attack and allow Engine Of Destruction to get the upper hand and take down Prototype and pound him into the ground, but Engine Of Destruction makes a big mistake when he removes Prototypes mask and Jimmy uses eye energy blasts to defeat Engine Of Destruction, but before he can really put him away the members of the Techuza come back and whisk their injured friend away and Jimmy sees that they also have kidnapped Angella and he is powerless now to save her as he wasted all his energy on that attack. We then see that Terrordyne doctors are working on Leland and are making him into something more than just a man.

Another battle issue that is surrounded by plot and like before this is a very entertaining issue that puts our hero in an epic battle and also ups the stakes as his lady love is taken away by his new enemies. Jimmy Ruiz who was a former gang member has a fighting nature and while it’s clear he wants to settle down and have a family, he also has way too much pride in being Prototype and cannot just stand around and allow bad guys to get away with crime. Angella who gets kidnapped also still is at war with herself as she loves her boyfriend and baby’s daddy Jimmy but also hates his fighting lifestyle. Terrordyne clearly has big plans for Leland as they have taken his corpse and are adding tech to it in order to bring him back to life to let him lead them as well as become more powerful than ever. Techuza are sneaky ninjas who watch out for each other but also seem to be very much into nabbing Angella as she has an Ultra Baby in her womb. Engine Of Destruction is a tank and can take a beating and use that beating to become stronger, but the man inside Donovan is also dealing with rage issues and this causes him to also make mistakes. The drama of Angella not being 100% sure if she can and should marry Jimmy adds that slight more human nature to this comic series and while she comes off very whinny its very understandable as who would want a life of super villains trying to kill your loved ones as well as yourself. The cover is pretty cool and eye-catching in a 90’s comic kind of way with the interior art being great and done by Roger Robinson again. Over all I have to say again a solid entertaining issue that makes me look forward to reading the next.

Prototype # 17  **1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $1.95    Malibu Comics    # 17 of 18

Stanley Leland wakes up after his resurrection surgery and has the body of a squid and is told by the terrorist group that he is the one they want to lead them and that they will help him get revenge on Prototype. Bob Campbell, Melina Campbell and Jake Alexander are working on the damage Prototype suit and they have made so very good adjustments to it making it run smoother and cause Jimmy far less pain when first putting it on. Once the armor is ready Prototype and Ranger fly off to save Angella from the grip of the Techuza and both in their own minds share how proud they are to be saving the day with the other. The heroes show up and fight off giant killer fish as well as Techuza henchmen and then finally they enter a room and their armor is scanned and Techuza alerts them that they have taken the fetus and that Angella is alive and they control the fate of Prototypes family! The Techuza also tells him that they are getting ready for war with Terrordyne and it will be fought with Ultras and bio-weapons and that Prototype should remember that he should be on their side as they control the fate of his family. Ranger tries to calm down Prototype who punches his hero friend and rushes to an image of Angella that turns into a pile of goo and he breaks down. Meanwhile the Techuza takes Angella back to New York and throw her out of a van minus her baby!

So a gang war between Techuza and Terrordyne is about to go down and both sides clearly will be playing for keeps as they are stockpiling Ultras as well as creating weapons that will cause mass destruction as well as death. So in other words we are in store for two terrorist groups fighting each other with heroes and normal people stuck in the middle! Prototype in this issue is filled with worry as well as rage as he just wants his girlfriend and baby back and is making bad decisions along the way cause he is lashing out and not using his mind in order to rescue her. And poor Angella has been kidnapped, her baby stolen from her womb and then dumped in a New York ally like she is trash, this poor woman has been through so much in a matter of hours. Ranger is doing his best to try and keep Prototype calm and on track and teaching him the ways of being an Ultra Hero, but is learning that Jimmy while a good guy is a little unstable and is always filled with anger. Leland is around and has the legs of an octopus, he is still snarky and ego driven and is promised revenge on Prototype if he helps Terrordyne in their quest for power, I wish Leland would have been left dead. The cover for this issue is terrible and is Leland his is octopus legs and is very cheesy and lame and not eye-catching and more laughable and the interior art this time around is done by George Dove and is good stuff. Crazy to think that we only have one more issue in this series and the Prototype would be over, let’s see how Malibu ends this series.

Prototype # 18  **1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $1.95.    Malibu Comics     # 18 of 18

Prototype is at a department store for their 10th Anniversary when he becomes under attack by Battlewagon a tech suited bad guy with tank treads for feet! The battle is going as reporter Lacy is on the scene broadcasting it live, when Battlewagon uses his force field to knock Prototype down with a hard blast he then uses a wall to trap our hero and reveals who he is as Battlewagon in Frankie the man who use to be Jimmy’s best friend! Frankie tells Jimmy that he feels like he was forgotten as he was given a job at Ultratech by Jimmy’s request and that was as a janitor and that one day when Prototype was fight Arena they knocked down a wall that killed Maria the love of Frankie’s life and put him into a coma. He then says that it was Terrordyne who brought him back and turned him into Battlewagon in order to get revenge on Prototype for taking everything away from him. Prototype snaps to and tries to talk to Battlewagon as he has something big to tell him, but the angry villain will not listen and as Prototype once more pulls his punches as he tries to talk to his one time friend who once more blasts Prototype with a massive shot and just as Battlewagon is about to kill our hero a voice stops him and its Maria who’s pregnant and very much alive, Terrordyne has lied to Frankie and he is overwhelmed and flees the scene. Prototype thanks Maria for coming and they both stand together wondering if Frankie will ever return.

The final issue of Prototype is a fun one that is its own story wrapped up in one issue, but it also does zero to answer the questions of issue 17 like the war between the two terrorist groups and what happed with Angella and her baby? But this issue has Prototype having a fight with a new Ultra Villain that turns out to be is one time best friend who blames Jimmy for all is issues and the death of his wife who is in fact very much alive. Battlewagon is the issue’s baddie and he is pretty cool as he has the torso of a man in a tech suit and the bottom half of a tank and he has massive firepower to boot! The downside to him is he is fighting with rage and this makes him sloppy in attacks as well as makes him way to talkative as he wants to alert our hero on why he hates him and wants him dead. Prototype in this issue is annoyed that he is having to do a meet and greet at a department store then turns into hero mode when he is attacked but ends up shocked and sadden when he fights out who his attacker is and why he is fighting. The story is very much like a soap opera and it’s clear that writer R.A. Jones knew this as he even has panels showing a soap opera on a TV, and while it feels out of place and disjointed from the last issue it still very much was an entertaining read. To be honest many times this comic series in its run feels disjointed as plots and characters seem to disappear and they also do the finish this story in this other comic series nonsense that has plagued mainstream comics for so long now. I really do enjoy Malibu Comics and Prototype is my second favorite character in the Ultraverse and it was a blast revisiting many of these issues again as well as for some a first time read and I still feel that Prototype and Ranger should be in the Marvel Universe as they are perfect fits in the Iron Man series. The cover is cool and eye-catching but has zero to do with what happens in the issue and the interior art is done by Paul Abrams and is good stuff! After this issue a mini series was suppose to be released called “Prototype Turf War” and would have been more about the terrorist war and would have wrapped up the story, but sadly it was never released thanks to the fine folks at Marvel Comics who botched everything Ultraverse from day one of them buying them. Check out some artwork bellow to see they style of art used in this series and I will say if you like 90’s Superhero comics make sure to check out Prototype as it really is a good series with some cool characters.

Prototype is one of my favorite characters from the Malibu Comics Ultraverse and his series was well done and had a nice build up and showcased many characters all with their own story arches and all building the world they live in. It’s a shame that Prototype as well as all the rest of the Malibu Ultraverse characters never fully got to have a solid ending or even found new life in the Marvel Universe. While Prototype did have flaws and some issues in storytelling, it really is a fun series to read, and I know this sounds crazy to many of you readers and friends but I would say that for me the Ultravese was better then just about everything Image Comics did in their first few years minus the likes of Spawn and Maxx, but let’s not get to much into that. For our next update I will once more be celebrating the 10 Year Anniversary Of The Horror Host Hall Of Fame and will be heading to the world of Crazyman! So until next time read a Malibu Comic or three, watch an Ultraforce episode or two and as always support your local Horror Host! On a side note I wonder if the Warden will have some beans for us to eat when we visit The Crazyman?

Tarzan’s Great Christmas Eve Adventure

Merry Christmas Eve! It’s hard to believe it’s that time of the year again when Santa Claus is gearing up to start his big night of present giving and spreading good cheer. And for this Holiday update I decided to take us out of the snow filled cold night of December here in Ohio and take us to the heart of the jungle as we go and visit the one and old Lord Of The Jungle Tarzan! This update is going to be a very long one as I have chosen the Marvel Comics series to review and have also decided to do a Game Boy Challenge as I try to beat the game Tarzan Lord Of The Jungle, plus talk about all things Tarzan from novels to cinema and everything in-between! I want to also let you know that this update was one that I have been working on since mid 2018 as I wanted to take my time and share my enjoyment of Tarzan with you all. So if you’re ready grab yourself a glass of eggnog, grab your safari hat and listen for the yell of Tarzan cause we are heading to the jungle for this epic and long Holiday update adventure.

Before we dive into the character Tarzan we should take a few moments and take a look at the man who created him and that is of course author Edgar Rice Burroughs. Edgar was born on September 1, 1875 in Chicago, Illinois to George and Mary Burroughs and had a pretty good childhood and was well educated and when old enough went to several Military Schools and even enlisted in the Army, but was discharged when they found that he had heart issues. In 1891 he left the Chicago area when a influenza outbreak infected many and he went to live with his brother were he worked on the ranch and was a cowboy and when returning back home he took work in his fathers battery factory. By 1900 he settled down and married is long time sweetheart Emma Hulbert and also began several years of working in many different jobs like being the manager at a mining company owned by his brother, worked for the railroad in Salt Lake City and even was a wholesaler salesman for pencil-sharpeners. But by 1911 with a wife and two children Edgar decided that he wanted to try his hand and writing and he started to do so, mainly doing pulp stories for magazines and built his style and talent. In 1913 he and his wife had their third and final child John Coleman Burroughs who would go on to be an amazing artist. Edgar also would end up being a pilot after he bought a plane and this allowed his whole family learn to fly. Edgar was getting more and more respect for his writing and in 1934 he separated from his wife Emma and ended up a year later marrying actress Florence Gilbert Dearholt who was known for her roles in such films as “Down Home (1920)”, “The Johnstown Flood (1926)” and “The Return Of Peter Grimm (1926)” to name a few…but the marriage ended by 1942. Another amazing fact is that in his 60’s Edgar was in Honolulu at the time of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and he ended up becoming a U.S. Correspondent being one of the worlds oldest! On March 19, 1950 and at the age of 74 Edgar Rice Burroughs passed away from a heart attack, and he at the time was an artist who made so much money off the movies and shows that were based on his characters he created. During his long career of being a writer he created the characters of Tarzan The Ape Man and John Carter Warlord Of Mars among others and for these characters he was placed in The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame in 2003! While he is gone and his work will forever live on in novels, comics, movies, shows, games and toys showing that he really is an icon of Sci-Fi fiction.

Growing up I read not only comic books & magazines but also lots of paperback books and some of my favorites to find at Half Price Books and the Paperback Rack were old Tarzan novels. I would gobble up any and all Tarzan books I could find and would crack them open some nights before bed and read a chapter or two all the while enjoying the jungle adventure. Still to this day when looking at paperback novels at places like Half Price Books and Bell Book And Comic when finding a Tarzan book I don’t have I pick it up! I have many good memories of reading Tarzan books in my room in Waynesville and picturing the words I was reading in my mind. That’s the thing about Tarzan is that when I read one of the old paperbacks I felt like I was in that jungle amongst the apes, lions and warriors and these books are some of the first novels that got me into reading not just comic books. I would say my favorite book of the series is “Tarzan Of The Apes” the first book in the series as I always felt it packed such a great impact and was what introduced me to the world of Tarzan. If you enjoy sitting down and reading a good book check out one of the Tarzan adventures on a cold winter night and I am sure you’ll enjoy it!

While Tarzan was a big hit in literature he was a star when it came to the world of cinema as well, as movie goers for decades could not get enough of his adventures on the silver screen. It’s crazy to think that Tarzan as been in movies sense the days of Silent Films and even as of 2016 he got a big budget movie thanks to Warner Brothers and the release of “Legend Of Tarzan”. And lets be honest Tarzan was a major box office draw in the 1930’s through 1960’s and actors like Gordon Scott, Lex Barker, Denny Miller and Johnny Weissmuller and truly made the character Tarzan a hero from many young kids world wide. Growing up I cannot count how many of these films I have seen from seeing them on TV, VHS and DVD and every time I watch one I feel like a kid again as they just don’t make jungle adventure films like this anymore. Hands down Johnny Weissmuller is the best Tarzan but I also really liked Gordon Scott in the role as well. I mean to be honest I cannot think of a really “Bad” actor to play the role. In fact over the years I have found myself buying every Tarzan live action film and who knows maybe some day here on Rotten Ink I’ll do an update that talks about each film in the series, as well as give an answer to what film is the best! While Tarzan might not be the box office draw he once was, he still made his massive mark on the world of adventure cinema and has entertained so many viewers over the years.

While he has always been a box-office draw Tarzan has also made his mark in the world of TV, as he has not only had live actions shows he has also been in cartoons. That’s right The Lord Of The Jungle has made his way to the world of animation and Saturday Moring Cartoons! And one that always sticks out to me and is one I seen when I was a youngster in reruns called “Tarzan, Lord Of The Jungle” that was shown in 1976 on CBS when originally broadcasted. The show was created by Filmation the same folks who brought the world iconic cartoons as “Masters Of The Universe”, “Fat Albert And The Cosby Kids”, “Blackstar”, “She-Ra: Princess Of Power”, “BraveStarr” and “The Groovie Goolies And Friends” to name a very small few. The cartoon ran from 1976-1980 for a total of 36 episodes that ran 30 minutes each. In the cartoon Tarzan who was well spoken would have all types of adventures with his ape friend N’kima and all his other jungle friends. Tarzan in the show was voiced by Robert Ridgely who would also voice iconic cartoon characters like Thundarr The Barbarian, Flash Gordon in “The New Adventures Of Flash Gordon” and The Peculiar Purple Pie in “Strawberry Shortcake” showing that he was a master of the voice talent arts. I am not sure where I seen episodes of this show I tend to think TV like on USA Cartoon Express or maybe it could have been on a old VHS Tape. One thing that’s for sure that I do know is that the first season was released by Warner Brothers on DVD in 2016, and the series very much has a cult following among fans of the character. If you have not seen this cartoon series make sure to track down the DVD season and give it a watch as it does a great job of bring Tarzan alive via animation.

The first ever Tarzan comic book series was published by Dell in 1948 and was a long running series having a total of 206 issues and ending in 1972. But even before that Tarzan was the star of his own comic strip that started in 1929 and has been reprinted as well as have had many talented artist working on it like Russ Manning and Hal Foster. After Dell cancelled the series DC Comics picked it up in 1972 with issue 207 and ran till issue 258 ending the original series in 1977. Marvel Comics in 1977 decided that they were going to give Tarzan and try and re-launched it with a new number 1 and their series lasted 29 issues as well as 3 annuals. From their many other comic companies have released comics based on Tarzan from Dark Horse to Dynamite and while he is not a major player in the world of comics he has very much made his mark. Tarzan has also teamed up and fought many other comic characters in his adventures like Planet Of The Apes, Batman, Predator and Red Sonja. Growing up I have read many Tarzan comics with most of them being the ones from Marvel as my late Uncle Thurman gave my brother and me a stack of them when we were younger, and can say just like the films I have always enjoyed him in comics as well.

Like all iconic characters that is geared towards kids and collectors Tarzan has had his fair share of cool figures and dolls made in his likeness making it very easy for fans to get their hands on cool action figures and have their very own adventures. When I was a kid many companies released figures based on the Lord Of The Jungle companies like Dakin, Trendmasters and Mattel and I had figures from them all besides Mattel as they were based on the animated Disney film. In fact when I was playing Toy Wars the figure of Tarzan’s mom Kala was used and was in the rebels base helping fight off attacks from Stormtroopers and Cobra Guards. But while those toys were cool and parts of my childhood the one figure I always wanted and still want to this day is the Mego Tarzan figure as I have always found it to be a must have and never have gotten one. Plus all of these figures we have talked about are just a drop in the hat of ones made based on Tarzan. So in other words if you liked Tarzan growing up and played with action figures toy companies had you covered. Check out the pictures below to see some of these toys in all their glory.

Besides toys and comics Tarzan has also made his way onto all types of other cool merchandise like shirts, posters, magazines, buttons, lunch boxes, board games, vinyl records, comic books, video games, home video, drinking glass, books, coloring books and so much more! Showing that over the year’s fans of Tarzan has had lots of great things to choose from and could add to their love for the character. It’s crazy to thank that in 2020 Tarzan is not as big of a hero to the young and young at heart, but for those of use who still really enjoy The King Of The Jungle there is so much cool collectibles out in the world to add to your collection.

Lets now talk video games as the Lord Of The Jungle has had his share of digital adventures as well. Like in 1984 for the ColecoVision the game Tarzan was released to cash in on the film Greystroke: The Legend of Tarzan. 1991 saw the release of Tarzan Goes Ape for the Commodore 64. 1994 seen Tarzan: Lord of The Jungle come out for both Game Boy and Game Gear. Disney’s Tarzan in 1999 got many video games for many systems like Sony Playstation, N64, PC and Game Boy Color! And of course many other Disney Tarzan games were made for such systems as Playstation 2, Game Cube, PC and GBA. And even in 2019 a Tarzan slot machine was released in casinos and became a hit with players. Over the years to be honest the only video game I have played of Tarzan was the one based on the Disney film for the Playstation and always wanted to play the one for the ColecoVision. But for this Holiday Christmas Eve update I have a little something special planned. So keep reading!

Game Developers Euroncom developed a game based on Tarzan that was published by GameTech in 1994 for the Nintendo Game Boy and the Sega Game Gear. The game was called Tarzan: Lord Of The Jungle and has the player take control of Tarzan as he tries to complete six stages with each having their own storyline from stopping evil poachers to curing a primate disease. The game is an action platformer and each mission/level has a time limit that is pretty tight and leaves very little room for error. When released the game was meet with mediocre reviews and scores as many just thought it was to average and to repetitive with not having a password system meaning you had to play the same levels over and over in order to try and beat it. The games sales were also not that great as the US version for Game Gear didn’t even make it out and was cancelled. Below is some screen shots from the game as well as the cover for the Game Boy Version, and I must say the box art is great…but the in game look is a little cartoonish and reminds me more of George Of The Jungle!

So wanting to do this update for awhile as I have always been a big Tarzan fan I had to really think long and hard on what video game to play and try and beat and it came down to either the Playstation one based on the Disney animated movie or the Game Boy version and for me hands down I had to pick the Game Boy one as its more classic and closer to the Tarzan I grew up loving. So I also decided that I am going to play this game on my Game Boy Color and even better drove out to the woods to play the game as while I might not have a jungle near were I live, I do have lots of wooded areas and parks! I choose to play the game near the woods by Calvary Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio as it is a super peaceful place and one I visit often to relax and read comics at. I choose September 23, 2020 to do so as it was sunny out and was only 75 degrees out with a nice small breeze. I gave myself a playtime of 35 minutes to see how far I could get in the game and the first mission had me collecting flowers to give to a witch doctor in order to get a potion to give to a sick great ape…this level is a run around and find objects to go bring to one character to only take it to another…this level is timed like all levels in this game and after running around and failing a few times I was able to clear the first level and save the Great Ape by throwing the cure in bottles at him as he tried to attack me!

The second level is as far as I got in the time I gave myself and has Tarzan trying to get stolen gold back from a Crocodile who has hidden it. I must say he gameplay for this game is easy and not hard at all to play, the only real annoying parts is the game maps are all over the pace and sometimes swinging from the vines can be annoying. The music is pretty standard stuff and is catchy. Over all this is a pretty fun fetch side scrolling game that is worth checking out if you enjoy the old style Game Boy games.

As you can see Tarzan is a true icon in culture and has made an impact on many fans life over the decades. I would also like to thank Bell Book & Comic, Lone Star Comics, Half Price Books, Game Swap Kettering and Mavericks Cards And Comics for having these issues in stock and making this update possible as well as letting me relive reading them again! I want to also remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you’re ready lets head to the jungle and have an adventure with the one and only Tarzan!

Tarzan # 1  ***