TITLE: Firearm – Vol. 1, Issue 1
YEAR: September 1993
COMPANY: Ultraverse/Malibu Comics
Written by James Robinson
Penciller: Cully Hamner
Letterer: Tim Eldred
Color Design: Paul mounts
Editor: Chris Ulm
June 1993. The launching of the Ultraverse line from Malibu Comics.
Having already purchased titles from Malibu Comics such as “The Protectors” and seeing the quality of the writing coming from Independent comic book companies such as Valiant, Mirage Studios, Dark Horse, Image, to name a few… it was the first time in my life where my attention was really being taken away from Marvel and DC.
The Ultraverse line from Malibu Comics was like an awakening of sort.
Granted, while my hard-earned money as a college student was still being eaten by Marvel and DC thanks to their “death of” storylines, their many variant covers and Wizard Magazine promoting the major artists of the time (which I really bought into and was spending money of having all comics creates by these artists), I was really craving for substance. Captivating storylines over amazing art. If it had both, that would be great. But I was now wanting to get into something new and different.
The Ultraverse was new and it was different. And they came into the comic scene with a bang. Commercials, merchandise including animated comics on CD with full voice acting. To even a mini-movie released on VHS.
Already, I was spending a lot of money on comics but these initial issues of Ultraverse were quickly winning me over, especially one title… “Firearm”.
“Firearm” may not have the “popular” artwork that was being seen at the time from the likes of the artists who went to create Image Comics but it had a captivating storyline that left me craving more with each issue released.
The story revolved around Alec Swan, a former operative from England’s Government Bureau known as “The Lodge”. His codename was “Firearm” courtesy of the special weapon he used.
He also happens to be a private investigator who takes on jobs that involve Ultras, people who have been gifted with special abilities known as “Ultrapowers”.
Alec Swan is not an Ultra but he is a guy (with special ops skills) who is not afraid to take on a challenge (as long as it pays well and keeps him afloat).
The first issue features Alec being hired to find a man named Arnie Tate who vanished before his wedding date. His fiance feels something bad has happened to Arnie, but her father thinks that Arnie may have had cold feet but she knows that she and her fiance loved each other very much and wouldn’t be gone or miss their wedding unless something bad has happened.
And suffice to say, when Alec starts looking into the disappearance of Arnie Tate, immediately he becomes a target.
As “Firearm” was probably one of the better written titles from the Ultraverse line, a few months later, “Firearm” would be released in a special limited 30-minute film release (limited to 30,000 copies) on VHS and came with a special 32-page issue #0.
I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, Malibu is really going all out!” but I suppose at the time, no one knew that Malibu was having troubles because with their promotional campaign, I never expected Marvel to buy Malibu Comics. And despite Marvel Comics trying, Ultraverse would no longer be the same.
Nevertheless, the Ultraverse stories from 1992-1994 were truly special for those who grew up and read the comic books at that time. It’s a shame that people who never read Ultraverse, only think about Ultraverse when it was owned by Marvel and the line being a failure.
But when Malibu Comics were responsible for Ultraverse, the stories were absolutely refreshing, addictive and entertaining and if you really want to read a comic book series that you can probably find entire collections on eBay for cheap, “Firearm” is worth purchasing!