Break-Thru Crossover w/ Comic Book Time Machine

Sludge3On Ben’s other comic book podcast, he tackles the topic of Sludge, covering the first three issues of Steve Gerber’s Sludge, exploring the themes, stories, differences between Sludge and Man-Thing, and, of course, the way that Sludge fits into the Ultraverse’s first big crossover event, Break-Thru!

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Ultraverse Podcast: Prime of Your Life, Episode 04 – Break-Thru

Ultraverse Podcast: Prime of Your LifeIt’s the fourth episode of ULTRAVERSE PODCAST: PRIME OF YOUR LIFE!

The Ultraverse Network’s coverage of Break-Thru continues! This episode The Irredeemable Shag and David cover Break-Thru #1 & #2, as well as Prime #7 and The Solution #4! We wrap up with your Listener Feedback!

Thanks for listening!

Next week: The third episode of THE NIGHT MAN PODCAST!

Wrath of Aladdin Case File 001

A worldwide phenomenon, Often labeled with many names and showing up under many titles in our archives such as ‘the rise’ ‘moon called’ and ‘break thru’, followed closely on the heels of the birth of the Ultras.  Ultra Amber Hunt, with her shifting powers, was used as a catalyst for classified entities seemingly battling for control over the entire planet.  The events were rapidly changing the very ecosystem of our planet and were quite frankly difficult for Aladdin to keep up with.

Subject Solitaire, proving to be of continued interest to agent Rains, gathered intelligence from a private network regarding the activities of a cult following an individual known as the Moon Man who had invaded and succeeded in taking over Looneyville – the happiest place on earth. With the local authorities busy assisting us and the U.S. Army with the rising tide of Ultra’s needing to get to the moon subject Solitaire took it upon himself to use his incredible acrobatic skills to gain entry by way of the east quadrant of Looneyville.

What followed was a textbook account of counter insertion as Subject Solitaire traversed the rooftops of old town village, swimming through the wacky wave park and super slide surprise land, and finally snaking through the silly swamp where subject solitaire met with his first wave of resistance who were armed with a curious choice of classic weaponry that proved quite easy to smuggle into through the gates of Looneyville: bows and arrows.

With cunning and subterfuge subject Solitaire demonstrated a mastery of guerrilla warfare tactics, possibly programmed through his nanotech, as he disarmed and subdued cultist after cultist with little more than strength, speed, agility, and akido. Once given the opportunity subject solitaire displayed additional mastery of the bow and arrow with precise quickly drawn strikes that proved to increase his intelligence and pave the way through the heart of Looneyville to the large space observatory.



Solitaire #2 Moon Madness

It bares noting that not a single cultist was killed during subject solitaire’s infiltration and hundreds upon hundreds of straggling tourists were able to seek shelter and survive the coming events inside the depths of Looneyville which proved quite useful as a makeshift disaster shelter.

It bares further noting that agents within subject solitaire’s own private intelligence network report a bout of extreme delirium during the healing process of an arrow strike to the chest.  it would appear that Subject Solitaire is most vulnerable directly after a high impact wound delivered to a vital section of his still very human anatomy.  While the nanotech in subject solitaires system repaired his system his brain and very consciousness struggled to process the input causing fever like symptoms, visions, and while reports vary subject solitaire was seemingly unconscious from between 1 to 5 minutes during the process.

Further research by agent rains would lead Aladdin researchers to believe that subject solitaire suffers from intense reaction detachment disorder.  there is more data on that investigation in a separate case file.  These findings are of great interest to Aladdin, and agent Rains in particular, as we have additional intelligence that subject solitaire’s father Anton Lone was ultimately responsible for outfitting the moon cult with the atomic bomb that was intended to blow up Looneyville and send the occupants to the stars to meet the moon entity.

Anton lone’s motivations, clearly financial in origin and very involvement in this escapade only serve to fuel subject solitaire’s rage and motivation to continue his crusading quest to rid the world of his father’s legacy.

The Strangers # 7: Prototype!

strangers7The Strangers # 7
“Prototype-A Behavior”
Scripted by Steve Englehart with co-plot by Tom Mason & Len Strazewski
Art by Rick Hoberg & Tim Eldred
Edited by Roland Mann

This issue picks up from Break-Thru # 1 and Prototype # 5 so we start in the middle of the action — The Strangers, we are told, have stolen J.D. Hunt’s rocket to get to the moon in hopes of investigating the strange energies that are found there. Now, I thought about doing mini-reviews of those other issues but I chose not to because both series will be covered elsewhere and I think we all need to be reminded sometimes of what it’s like to follow only one or two series — and then have said series hijacked by a crossover. It’s been about 20 years since I’ve read Break-Thru and much of my memory is cloudy… so reading this issue of Strangers is very much like being a reader who chose not to follow the rest of the crossover.

How does it hold up?

Pretty well, actually!

We get some really fun interactions between Prototype and The Strangers — I particularly enjoyed Prototype claiming that he’s a more experienced Ultra than our heroes and Electrocute pointing out that all he did was trade shows and public appearances until The Strangers showed up. We also get to meet Supra and Empire, who are there to reclaim the rocket — as is Prototype. Obviously, this means that we get some classic hero-on-hero action! That sounds kinda rude but you know what I mean…

We also learn that Dave’s indigo power allows them to survive in space. Yes, it turns out that whatever force gave The Strangers their powers knew they’d eventually need to leave Earth and journey into the stars.

Meanwhile, Yrial and Electrocute battle Prototype out in space and we’re reminded once more that our android heroine is one of the most powerful members of the team. Her actions lead to Prototype realizing that fighting is getting him nowhere so he surrenders and offers to work with The Strangers. A wise decision.

After battling some carnivorous aliens, Empire is killed and Electrocute is reminded once more of how little she understands about the human experience… seeing death so close and personal greatly upsets her and leads to her begging Grenade for comfort. If it sounds like I focus a lot on Electrocute in these reviews it’s because Englehart’s characterization really shines in her scenes. She’s the classic “tin man” who yearns to be human and while it’s a classic trope, it’s always effective when done well.

There’s an emotional sacrifice on the part of Supra that allows our heroes to escape with the rocket and continue their trek to the moon — kind of a shame to see both of the new characters we’re introduce to here killed off but they’re more interesting in death than they were beforehand.

We then get an absolutely hilarious two-page strip featuring Englehart and Hoberg explaining The Strangers and their origins to some young fans, who continually point out all the other heroes that are similar or that these creators have worked on previously. I loved this. Really, really worth seeking out.

Story-wise, this is a fun issue with solid characterization. Even if you aren’t reading the rest of Break-Thru, it made sense and progressed not just the crossover’s plot but the ongoing Strangers subplots.

Great art from Hoberg — as always, his facial expressions are solid and he draws a fantastic Prototype!

Next issue: The End of a Stranger?! Can it be? Stay tuned….