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Blood Loss: A Tale of Wolverine?

RCO001_1467447586SNIKT! That’s right, Legions of the Unspoken! Symbifan has returned with yet another article about my favorite time in comicdom history, the grungy 90’s! And, as I have hinted above, this is an article about everyone’s favorite clawed mutant, Wolverine! You may be asking yourselves, why no part 2 to the Justice League article I wrote last? (I know. I sense an instant literary classic there too!) Well, you see, I have my reasons. And since I hold nothing back from you, my loyal readers, trust me when I say that all will be explained at the end of this article. Be patient. That’s all I ask. As you know, Wolverine is not known for his patience, so let’s begin with our story, shall we?

We begin with two unsavory types play poker within a decrepit old boat as they wait to reach their destination. A bigger scary man sits almost completely concealed by shadows. Across from him sits a weaselly small man that is this ship’s captain. The bigger man, sure of victory, plays his hand; a full house. The captain then plays his, four aces! But, before the good captain can celebrate, he is hauled over the table by powerful hands! As this occurs, another card drops from the “victor’s” shirt sleeve! It is the last time he will ever cheat at cards…..or breathe again! (You’re welcome for the mood I set there. Make sure to pause to let the goosebumps go down.)

RCO007_w_1467447586-1Meanwhile, within the forests of Madripoor, the man called Logan hunts a deer alongside an aging gray timber wolf. Does Logan hunt for trophies or food? No. He hunts most probably to keep his inner beast calm and pacified. (Apparently this means running around in the woods completely nekkid! I mean, there are cleverly positioned bushes and deep shadows to cover Wolvie’s junk, but come on! Modesty, bro!) The wolf, unsure of it’s company, continues to stalk it’s prey regardless. It finds it’s moment and pounces, ending the life of the deer in one fatal slash of claws! (Damn! You’d think Bambi would be safe since this whole Disney/Marvel merger! As it turns out……) Wolverine notices the trouble that the old wolf is having with devouring it’s meal. Cautiously, the mutant creeps forward and uses his adamantium claws to more easily cut up the deer meat for his companion. After a short pause, the wolf nudges some of the raw meat towards our hero. They then both feast until sleep overtakes them. Wolverine is awakened a short time later by a strangely familiar scent coming from the city below.

RCO009_w_1467447586-1Later, now wearing his familiar costume, (Thank God!) The clawed mutant warrior enters the home of his ally and sometimes lover, Tyger Tiger. This unannounced visit is met with a dagger thrown directly at his face! Slightly amused, he snatches it from the air. The two then decide to communicate more verbally. Logan asks if there are any new criminals that have recently entered the city. Tyger replies that indeed a General Coy has been making new drug connections. As he turns to go and investigate this, Tyger Tiger decides that now’s the perfect moment to break her off a piece of that Wolvie-pie! They make love into the night. (Only Wolverine can turn a B & E into sex! I think this might be an unknown mutant power of his.)

At the docks, a man approaches our dark mystery man. He calls him Cyber and states that his boss, General Coy, looks forward to doing business with him. Cyber says the same about whoever he is working for. As they shake hands, a metallic hand is seen in the moonlight, belonging to the Man called Cyber.

RCO010_1467447586-1We next find our hero using his unbreakable adamantium claws to scale the outside wall of the aforementioned General Coy’s penthouse. As this is going on outside, we find our two criminals beginning a meeting of sorts. As pleasantries are exchanged, Cyber’s attention suddenly shifts. He says that he senses something. Something from his past. (I’m reminded of Darth Vader here when he says, “I sense something. A presence I haven’t felt since…..” And then he just walks off, sentence left lingering!I know Sith Lord’s are supposed to be evil but, rude much?!)

RCO003_w_1467447646-1By this point, Wolvie has just about reached the top of the criminal compound. He enters without a sound, guards completely unaware of him. In the meantime, Cyber begins slowly taking off his hat and trench coat while he explains to the crime boss seated across from him that he possesses certain psionic abilities that allow him to pick out familiar brain patterns. He continues by saying that he has just sensed another man who he thought dead long ago. As the villain continues to disrobe, he reveals that most of his body consists of a metallic alloy of some sort! (Wouldn’t this be an uncomfortable meeting? First the dude starts talking like Darth Vader, now he’s taking his clothes off! I feel sorry for General Coy here!)

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Just as the mutant tracker locates the office, Cyber crashes right through the wall! The two square off. Cyber speaks of how he thought Wolverine was dead. The hero looks momentarily confused. Recognition then crosses his features and he grits his teeth as he roars the metal man’s name in rage! They clash! The ol’ canuckle-head begins slashing wildly with his claws but Cyber merely looks amused as zero damage is done to his silvery hide!

Cyber then reveals that he has claws of his own as needle-like metal fingernails extend from his hands! Before Wolverine can react, Cyber cuts our hero! Cuts him deep! Bleeding profusely our hero is forced to retreat. He throws himself through a nearby window as Cyber looks on pleased.

RCO009_w_1467447646 (1)-1Later, Logan finds himself slowly dragging his terribly wounded form up a nearby cliffside. He is unsure why he’s doing this or where exactly this rocky formation came from. His only thoughts are of escape. While this is going on, in another part of Madripoor, Tyger Tiger wonders where Wolverine is. He should have returned from General Coy’s long ago. Just then, a redressed Cyber crashes his fist through her door! Unafraid she asks the madman if he would care for some tea. He replies that he would. (Cool scene. Personally, in the same instance, I’d have offered some Kool-Aid. You know, just to throw him off his game.)

RCO003_1467447700-1The exact time this is going on, our pal Wolvie lies in a forested area. While his body bleeds, his mind drifts. It, oddly enough, drifts back to a 1950’s looking diner. He sits upon a pink Cadillac speaking to a young girl named Janet. He tells her that he’s not used to having to work so hard to get a girl. To illustrate this, he calls out and several women surround him in an almost cartoon-like fashion. He then tells them to go, returning his attention to the blonde. She replies that perhaps he should ask one of his worshippers to the upcoming dance instead of her. Plus, there’s this other guy…..To save face and show off a bit, Logan lets his claws loose, betting that this other guy posesses nothing as cool as his adamantium claws.

RCO008_1467447700-1-2-1-1That gets her attention! She seems mesmerized by the shiny but deadly instruments of death. She admits that this other guy has nothing like these, but happens to be older, a teacher in fact. This completely enrages the furry mutant! He demands the name of said teacher. She admits that it’s the gym teacher, a Mr. Cyber. Logan slashes wildly at the air, vowing to put a stop to this right away by removing him from the picture in a most final way!

(Anyone else confused?) Finally, Cyber sits in the living room of Tyger Tiger, sipping his tea. He speaks of a deal he’s attempting to finalize with General Coy for a new type of hallucinogenic drug that is so addictive, one can become addicted by simply smelling it! The villain continues by adding that a drug this powerful could make one into a powerful player in the world of crime. She seems interested. Too interested. (Ah! I get it! Wolverine’s stoned out of his gourd! Uh…..um…..say no to drugs, kids!)

The next part of our Wolverine epic shows him still in the woods barely able to hold his internal organs in with his forearm. But, as this is going on, he continues to hallucinate. He dreams of arriving at a high school. A girl he must know approaches and tells him that the coach just left with Logan’s girl, Janet. But, before the mutant can race off in his car, Cyber and Janet pull up next to him in a bigger vehicle. (It should be noted here that the “cars” or “vehicles” I’m speaking of are…..well…..I guess you’d call them weiner-mobiles. Now, before you laugh yourselves silly, remember that this is just a hallucination. By the way, Wolverine dreams of Cyber’s weiner-mobile dwarfing his in size. Ponder the hidden meaning there, folks!) After exchanging challenging words, Cyber races off with Wolverine in hot pursuit!

RCO003_1467447767-1Meanwhile, Tyger Tiger and Cyber sit in the living room of her apartment haggling over the cost of keeping this new drug from General Coy and putting it into her own hands. A price is not agreed upon and Cyber grows aggitated. Within the dream-world, Cyber pulls ahead of our hero easily, but instead of just winning or escaping, he turns quickly and smashes his vehicle into Wolverine’s with full force! Minutes later, within the firey destruction, Logan walks from the wreckage, the dead body of Janet held in his arms! He places her carefully on the ground and unleashes his claws as Cyber approaches. Both appear ready to fight!

RCO008_1467447767-1Next, we find Tyger Tiger seemingly alone in her apartment. Cyber has gone but she now aims a gun at an intruder of some type! As it turns out, it’s the timber wolf from earlier on in our tale. She senses that the wolf wishes her to follow it. Back in the dream-world, Wolverine and Cyber rush each other, slicing and dicing as they meet and then take opposite sides. Suddenly, Logan quite literally falls to chopped-up pieces! (Don’t you hate that in anime? You know, when two rivals rush each other and then end up on other sides. One then looks back and the other’s head falls off. Nobody’s weapon is that sharp and precise, people! Ugh! Anyway, returning to our story…..) Cyber spits down on the pieces of our hero and turns to leave.

RCO005_1467447818-1Back in the real world, the old timber wolf has led our leading lady to the wounded Wolverine at last! He remarks that he’s just about healed when he suddenly catches wind of Cyber’s scent upon her! Still confused and reeling from the drugs, he turns to attack his savior! She soon talks him down, though, and helps him walk away from the bloody scene, towards a more safe area to speak further.

RCO007_1467447818-1Back at the headquarters of the crime boss, General Coy, Cyber finishes up his business. He has sold the drugs. The General seems worried that there will be retribution from Tyger Tiger and her “friend”. Cyber replies that he’s counting on it!

RCO003_1467448063-1At the home of Tyger Tiger, Wolverine is now safely letting his mutant healing factor do it’s job. As this goes on, she asks the question upon everyone’s minds: Who is Cyber? In true Wolverine fashion, though, he is cryptic and uncooperative. He tells her very little. Tyger tells him how she is supposed to meet Cyber at midnight for the purchase of his powerful hallucinogen. It’s imperative she know what she’s gotten herself into. Logan tells her that if she’s involved with Cyber, she’s already lost. Tyger is understandably confused. Is this not the famous scrapper from the Weapon X program? It’s then that he admits that Cyber has beaten him in the past. Not just beat him physically, but mentally. If she’s goes up against that madman, she’ll have to do it alone. (Shocker, right? Who would have ever pegged the deadly Wolverine for a coward? That’s it, I’m burning my Wolverine Fan Club membership card right now!)

RCO010_1467448063-1-1Midnight comes. Tyger Tiger and General Coy stand on the docks, opposite one another. Both have their own personal armies surrounding them. Before much can be said between the two, Cyber interrupts from the shadows. Looking, you can glimpse the villain standing upon the corpses of the aforementioned armies from minutes ago! He steps down slowly, admitting that he did in fact bring the drugs, but he won’t be selling to either of them! He will now be the authority in Madripoor! Tyger starts to stand up to him but is hit with a metallic fist for her trouble! That’s when we hear the familiar SNIKT noise from the shadows! Wolverine came after all and, by the look on his face, Cyber had better begin to pray! (P. S. I never got around to burning that membership card.)

RCO006_1467449343-1-1Claws are unleashed from both combatants’ bodies as they begin to square off. Wolverine remarks how his claws are longer. (Ohhhhh! Burn!) Tyger Tiger and General Coy hold handguns aimed at one another as the two clawed men lunge at one another! The two beat and slice the holy hell out of each other as the fight moves onto the top of a nearby truck! Meanwhile, Tyger and the General have moved their standoff inside. It soon becomes a battle of words between both parties. The hallucinogen from Cyber’s claws work into his system as he fights to crash through the windshield of the truck that Cyber has taken control of. At one point, he even pictures the truch and driver to be a gigantic rushing bull! (Whoa! That must be some great stuff! Cheech and Chong would be so jealous! And Logan’s getting this stuff for free!) As the two continue to bicker, Cyber suddenly loses control of the vehicle! The truck careens off of an cliff!

RCO010_w_1467449343-1The two, of course, survive the horrendous fall. As Tyger Tiger and General Coy decide how to best explain the loss of so many of their  men to one man, Wolverine and Cyber continue their brawl! Cyber leaps from tree to tree in pursuit while Wolverine dodges and moves every time the madman attacks. Finally, his luck runs out and he’s cornered. Cyber pins Wolverine to a tree, telling him that he’ll never hurt him with his adamantium claws as his skin itself is adamantium! He finishes his threat by spitting in our heroe’s face! All this does is anger the ol’ canuckle-head further and he breaks loose of Cyber’s grasp, slashing out one of Cyber’s quite vulnerable eyes!

RCO006_1467449401-1He then continues his assault until Wolvie’s friend, the timber wolf, pounces from a nearby ledge, knocking Cyber down into the mangled wreckage below! The hallucinogens within seep into the open wound where his eye once was! (To say Cyber was now “tripping balls”, as the kids like to say, is an understatement!) The battle-hardened warrior then leaps to solid ground. Tyger Tiger awaits him. He takes her in his arms and kisses her passionately.

END.

RCO010_1467449401-1-1And now for the real reason I wrote this article. Five years ago today, my stepfather passed away from a heart attack. He had had a severe one some time before and recovered from it. Unfortunately not enough. The stronger one from earlier had weakened his heart to the point where the second one took his life. Now, I know that when the death of someone you care about hits so suddenly and from seemingly out of nowhere, the shock you feel is unbelievable. But you see, my stepdad was always my Wolverine. He looked and healed like the character so that’s what I called him.

But sometimes heroes pass away and they don’t return. Sadly, this was one of those times. My dad always encouraged me to write. I know he would be proud of me and this article. This article isn’t about the “blood loss” from Wolverine’s body. Its about the loss of my “blood”. My family. My father. The question mark in the title hints that this article isn’t about Logan at all. That is correct. This is dedicated in the memory of Bobby Allen Metz. He is and will always be my hero. SNIKT!

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Dark Reflections (part 1)

RCO001-1Whazzzz upppp?!  (I’m sorry! There is no, and I mean no excuse for that intro!) It’s me again, Symbifan! I’m here to deliver my musings once again to you, my favorite retro-junkies, pertaining to the exciting subject of 1990’s comic books! And, boy oh boy, are you in for a treat! That’s right! Besides the honored privilege of reading my words, you are about to be transported to another dimension! But it’s not a bright and sparkling one. No. It is one of pain and tragedy. Welcome to one of the infinite number of realities that make up DC’s Elseworlds! So strap in tight and prepare yourselves. This one’s a doozy!

We begin as an alien force that the human race later dubbed The Horde advances upon the Earth! The Horde’s ultimate goal is to conquer. Simple as that. The heroes that protect our planet of course come to our aid. As is expected, the battle begins with The Horde being completely caught off guard as superheroes of all types band together and work as a powerful unit against a common foe. For a short time it seems as if they might even succeed. That is until their leader lets himself be known.

RCO004He calls himself Grend’ll. Grend’ll decrees that one thousand humans will be slaughtered every time a being with powers is sighted, five thousand should they dare to even raise a fist against his people! Coast City becomes their killing ground. Green Lantern wastes no time in attacking with a small group of heroes. They succeed in retaking the city but over seven million people are executed as promised. One is a reporter. Her name was Lois Lane! The story of “Ghost City”, as this event was later called, is not forgotten. The Horde need do nothing now but sit back and watch. (Man, E.T. got downright vindictive after his movie career went down the toilet, huh?)

The humans turn upon their heroes, most violently! The governments of the world help by using their resources to hunt them down like animals! It isn’t long before the superheroes of Earth are forced into hiding, lest they hurt in defense those they were sworn to protect! The Horde had won. But, it was whispered that one remained. A “Shadow Warrior” that left no proof his existence after an attack. (Gee. I wonder who that is! That’s right! It’s the “Dark One” himself….Ambush Bug! Sorry. It was just too easy! Uh-hem….Back to our grim setting….)

Within one year, most of the human race were in camps as The Horde took control of the world! We were meant to keep them supplied and strong. During one exchange, Lex Luthor, Director of Human Affairs, was meant to present them with new technology upon the Watchtower. Instead, a button was pushed and the Watchtower defenses went down, allowing non-powered heroes and those without their costumes to enter and attack!

RCO010This did not go as expected. The entirety of this human resistance party was easily extinguished! There were no survivors. Lex Luthor himself was killed by Grend’ll himself, his corpse left on display to remind others of what would happen should this ecer be attempted again. The message was received. There was never another uprising. (Let us take a moment to mourn the loss of not only these brave resistance fighters, but Lex Luthor’s long red hair and beard from the 90’s. R.I.P.)

RCO013-1Nine years have passed. Jimmy Olsen sits in an alleyway with others, warming his hands over a fire within an old metal barrel. He speaks to the others of his race of change, of revolution. These words don’t fall upon deaf ears. No, they are heard. The problem is that they are heard by the enemy! A clawed hand belonging to a Horde soldier throws Jimmy to the ground, a large lazer-rifle aimed at his face! But, before the trigger is pulled, the soldier is halted by the words of a superior officer. Strangely enough, that officer is human!

The creature calls her Councillor Lang! She takes Jimmy into her hovering vehicle and speeds away. Later, safely away from Horde ears, Lana Lang and Jimmy Olsen speak on a rooftop together. Jimmy thanks her for all that she has done in helping the resistance as a double agent. She in turn thanks him for his service and asks if the others are prepared for a fight. He seems unsure as he speaks of the loss of life from nine years ago. She smiles and reassures him that this time will be different. This time she knows where Superman is! (As long as no-one says “Martha”, there may just be hope!)

RCO020-1We next visit what seems to be a prison and a familiar-looking guard that sports a broken pair of glasses. He calls himself Clark Small and he’s about to have a shocking reunion. As he walks the prison corridors, he’s ordered by a Horde guard to enter a nearby room for a visitation of some sort. Confused, he enters a sees Jimmy Olsen and Lana Lang. The Horde guards are ordered to leave the room by Councillor Lang as she will see to this reunion between brothers personally. Once alone, the secret to Clark’s identity as Superman is discussed  (Jimmy didn’t know! Seriously? He looks shocked when Lana tells him! Oh wait! He WAS wearing glasses. Okay. That explains it. Moving on. Hehehe…..) and the reasons as to why he hasn’t been fighting the “good fight”.

He tells them that he couldn’t bear the deaths of so many on his conscience if he were to fight. Plus, after the loss of Lois, he had lost the will. That’s when a note is given to him. It states that “the neverending battle continues” and tucked within it, a lock of Lois’ hair! She lives! Wasting little time, Clark Small rips the wall apart, as if it were made of paper, revealing a familiar and iconic costume! Moments later, Superman bursts through the prison walls with Jimmy Olsen held close! He shoots off into the air, gone before the witnesses below know what hit them! Lana, feigning attack by Clark, puts the Horde guards’ minds at rest. After all, what can one man hope to do against the mighty Horde?

RCO024-1Later, Superman and Jimmy Olsen ponder their present circumstances. Superman asks if Jimmy knows if other heroes are still active and if they’d be willing to join their cause. Jimmy States that Batman is known to still be fighting but in secret and that he knows where the third Flash, Wally West, is hiding. However, he doubts Wally would be willing, as he was nearly crippled by an angry mob. Just then, they are interrupted by the sudden appearance of Wonder Woman! (Great hiding place, fellas! I mean, Wonder Woman says that she only found them due to the words of magical Greek oracles. Me? I think that it’s more like the “animal-like attraction” between Supes and Double W. Call me crazy, but if he is “super” in all ways, why not “super-sexiness”? Let that sink in…..) Without hesitation, she joins the cause!

RCO027_w-1Batman is found soon after. He is found by the trio after blowing up a Horde-controlled oil refinery in Texas. He stops what resembles a “Bat-Tank” in its tracks when Superman lands in front of it. Batman asks after a bitter exchange, “Tell me, do you bleed?” (HA! I got you! That was from the movie! It was just too easy! Uh. Anyway…..) What’s really said is that Batman accuses Superman and Wonder Woman of abandoning the Earth while he’s been fighting continuously for ten years. He doesn’t say whether he’ll join or not, but grumbles something about having their fun for now with their “little war” and that they’ll abandon them all again when it ceases to be fun. (Uh! Batman needs to lighten up! It’s like he’s PMS personified!) He then drives away, leaving the heroes in the dust.

RCO033-1The next stop is Coast City, or “Ghost City”, as it is now called. When the heroes arrive, they are met with a scene that angers them. They witness a man in green, attempting to bury the bones of one of the unlucky ones from the attack so long ago. He is besieged by Horde graverobbers of some sort that are toying with him as he sets about his grim work. This will not stand! The heroes get to work defending him. As they begin, they are interrupted by the appearance of a boy in his teens, wearing a leather jacket and sporting the Superman symbol upon his chest! The boy makes quick work of the aliens but they are finished off by the sudden arrival of Batman! It seems the Dark Knight has changed his mind! (Big surprise! Glory hound!)

RCO035-1The boy begins to get a bit mouthy with Wonder Woman. She uses her staff to put the cocky teen in his place, on the ground! This moment is interrupted however as they hear the man in green as he recites the name and profession of the owner of the bones he is carefully laying within the dirt. (This moment’s sad. I’d take this time to listen to some uplifting music as you read this paragraph. I suggest “So What” by Metallica. Trust me. Hehehe!) Superman tells the man that he knows him to be the Green Lantern. After a moving pep talk from the Man of Steel, the man speaks the solemn oath of the Green Lantern Corps aloud as he powers up! And just like that, another great hero joins our motley band! The boy isn’t quite as lucky. It is agreed that he is too young and reckless to be of help and he is forcibly removed by the Green Lantern’s emerald power beam.

RCO041-1Next on the list is Wally West. The man in question walks to the outer door to his apartment and turns the key. As he does so, a familiar ring with a lightning bolt upon it is seen. When he opens the door, he is met with the group of superheroes, already inside! The look on his face is one of shock and then fear. He stammers that his hero days are behind him and shows them mechanical braces upon both legs that allow him to walk to further illustrate his point. It’s then that Superman illustrates a point of his own. He throws a bunch of large books directly at Wally, all of which are caught at super speed!

(Kind of a jerk move really. What if he had some sort of mental block and it prevented him from catching those books? With super speed and strength, Superman could have caved the poor guy’s head in with an encyclopedia! Can you imagine the obituary? “Man dies in severe reading accident!” HA! Imagine an episode of Reading Rainbow like that!) But alas, he remains frightened of what would lie ahead should he join them. Understanding, they turn to leave. As they do, they hear a sound behind them. Turning, they see Wally dressed in the Kid Flash costume from his youth! Ladies and gentlemen, we now have a Flash!

RCO047-1Finally, our group heads stealthily to Metropolis. When they arrive, they’re met with Horde soldiers’ bodies lying everywhere and a very smug and familiar superpowered youth leaning against a wall, surrounded by them! Unimpressed, Batman scolds him that many others of the Horde must have escaped the youth’s onslaught and that many would surely die now in retribution! (Uh-oh! Looks like a certain Superboy is in need of a bat-spanking!)  It’s decided to take the boy with them to the Resistance HQ, before he gets in any more trouble.

When they arrive, the alarms within go off almost immediately! The humans emerge, not to greet their heroes, but to attack them! The boy then admits that he set the alarm off on purpose. This was to get everyone’s attention. He states that if those with powers and the human race don’t stand unified, there will never be freedom. (Makes you think of the speech from Mel Gibson in Braveheart, huh? You know? Back when he had a career?) The speech is met with clapping. Clapping from the holographic body of Lex Luthor! Turns out that ol’ Lex had his brain preserved when his body was destroyed! The brain now occupies the metallic body of one of Superman’s other enemies from the disrant past…..Metallo, complete with kryptonite heart!

RCO054_w-1But Luthor, or Metallex as he now calls himself, wishes no harm to the Last Son of Krypton. He wishes to join them because he is, after all, a human being too. (More or less.) It is then, that the superheroes put their differences aside with the one-time supervillain. The superteam of the future has now officially been born! The Horde will rue the day that they ever heard of the Super Seven!

To be continued…..

RCO056This article is dedicated to my daughter, Jade Leigh Miller. Though we have had our hardships, my love for you has never waned. I will love you until I breathe my last. You are and will forever be my little Supergirl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Technological Marvels Of Yesterday: A Hacker Files Podcast

 

Hello Legions of the Unspoken!  Have a listen as Dean Compton welcomes newcomers Jesse Starcher and Chris Armstrong to the site to discuss the forgotten DC Comics gem of the early 1990s, The Hacker Files!  It’s non-stop computer action in the DC Universe, and you can goddamn hear all about it right here, right now!!!

[Audio File Below Covers]

 

The Hacker Files #6 (1993) - Page 1The Hacker Files #11 (1993) - Page 1The Hacker Files #1 (1992) - Page 1The Hacker Files #12 (1993) - Page 2