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Comic Book / Ultra Force

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Ultra Force was a team composed of several established Ultraverse heroes; it had its own short-lived animated series produced by DiC Entertainment. The original series lasted for 11 issues, from July, 1994 to July, 1995. It started with an issue #0. The final issues added a Marvel character to the team, Black Knight/Dane Whitman. Vol. 2 featured Whitman as team leader. It lasted for 16 issues, from October, 1995 to December, 1996. 27 regular issues in total. There were also a few one-shots, mostly crossovers with The Avengers.

Ultra Force provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Contrary looked, dressed, and acted similar to White Queen/ Emma Frost.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Prime was a superhero fan who actually became a superhero.
  • City in a Bottle: The subterranean Fire People were an offshoot of humanity that lived in a hidden community Beneath the Earth for so long that the "world of light and air" was considered a myth.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Contrary is always depicted in her white outfit.
  • Does Not Like Men: Topaz is the warrior queen of an amazonian race and as a result of her upbringing has a low opinion of males in general.
  • Flying Brick: Prime's power is that he can turn into a classic Flying Brick, gaining Super-Strength, flight, and invulnerability when he transforms. Most of the time, he's really a skinny thirteen-year-old who generates a mass of pseudo-organic tissue around himself to appear as a muscular adult. Basically, he's Captain Marvel, but Darker and Edgier. Another twist: his superpowered form's appearance is based on his idea of what a hero should be like. His first form looked like a standard Cape. After a run of bad luck and encounters with various antiheroes, his Prime form took a Darker and Edgier appearance. After regaining some of his original idealism tempered with maturity, his third and final form looks like a mix of the previous two though it looks more like the first one. All of his forms also have a face that strongly resembles his father.
  • Home Base: During the first arc, the team mostly uses Contrary's base of operations: a giant technological sphere.
  • Hour of Power: Prime can only hold his superhero form for a limited amount of time before his "shell" dissolves into goo and leaves him as an ordinary 13 year old again. It's never quite spelled out exactly how long he can maintain it, but injury or serious exertion causes him to revert faster.
  • Living Toys: In a true case of From Nobody to Nightmare, villain Lord Pumpkin started out as one. He was a living toy created by a wizard to be a playmate for a Spoiled Brat of a prince. However, the prince (who liked to torture animals, among other disturbing hobbies) sadistically tormented his playmate, until it rebelled, killed him, grew far more powerful, and took over the kingdom. Since then, Lord Pumpkin no longer fit the Trope at all (Evil Overlord is more appropriate), but that's where he started.
  • Matriarchy: While Topaz's world is never shown, she tells Pixx the workings of her home dimension, where men and women are gender-segregated and women make up a military society divided in three classes.
  • Older Alter Ego: Prime. He's actually a 13 year old boy with the ability to transform into a large, muscular man who appears to be in his 30s or 40s.
  • Power Armor: Prototype wears a suit of powerful battle armor. He didn't design it himself, a corporation did and he works for them.
  • Psychometry: Ghoul is able to see the history of objects by touching them.
  • Revenant Zombie: Ghoul, in the sense that he retains his mind. He's still a rotting corpse like traditional zombies, though.
  • Scary Scarecrows: Lord Pumpkin is a scarecrow with a pumpkin head and a magic candle inside who hails from another dimension called Godwheel. He was created by the court magician to be the prince's playmate. The sadistic prince tormented him until Pumpkin retaliated with murder. Then he staged a coup, took over the throne, grew bored, and came to Earth to be a mob boss. Lord Pumpkin ended up killed a few times, but as long as a seed from his pumpkin head survives, he can be reborn, although he needs his candle to be complete. Some rebirths leave him a Plant Person, while at other times he manages to gain a scarecrow's straw body again.
  • Stripperiffic: Contrary wears an almost diaphanous outfit that barely covers her body.
  • There Was a Door: Prime has a habit of making new entrances wherever he goes, even right next to existing ones. Partially justified as he's a massive 7+ foot tall mountain of muscle and wouldn't fit through many conventional openings. Played with in the first 3-part opening of the animated series, where he (and other Ultras) enter and exit Contrary's ship by busting through a wall, much to her exasperation while mentioning that they have a perfectly serviceable hatch.
  • Two Girls to a Team: After Pixx's Heroic Sacrifice, the Ultraforce team is reduced to two women, Topaz and Contrary.
  • Ultraterrestrials: The Fire People who have advanced technology way before humans invented the wheel.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: During the first arc, the team is barely formed, and the members are arguing against each other, more interested in pursuing their own agendas (Contrary, Prime, Prototype) or too caught up in their own problems (Hardcase). As the team has to get a grip and start to work together, Contrary gives a pep talk to the youngest members: Prime and Prototype.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After the Marvel-reboot/Black September event, the Ultraverse reality was rewritten. Contrary and Prototype (Jimmy Ruiz) vanish and are never seen again. Another Prototype appears in Vol. 2: his predecessor, Bob Campbell.
  • Younger Than They Look: Prime is really a thirteen-year-old boy who takes on an adult appearance when powered up. Makes for some raised eyebrows when he proudly announces that the thirteen-year-old girl he has a crush on is his girlfriend.

The Ultraforce animated series contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Amalgamation: In "Pump It Up!", Kevin Green (Prime's real self) falls prey to the musician's song of chaos and anarchy and molds his Prime persona into "Rogue Prime", a Darker and Edgier, mullet-wearing man with a spiked diadem, a five o'clock shadow, a scar near his right eye, spiked boots and a cluster of chains around his waist. This change actually occurred in his solo book, and lasted for a good few issues. Also, it was not caused by any anarchy song.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Since the Ultraforce comic at the time had only a full story arc (issues #0-6) and a one off story featuring Ghoul (issue #7), and the rest of the run (issues #8-10) involved preparing for the "Black September" event, the series had to bring in plot points and characters from other Malibu series. To wit:
    • In "Night and the Nightman", a Mass Empowering Event happens to the passengers of a San Francisco tram, like in The Strangers comic. The same event leads to the creation of hero Nightman, who becomes the main focus of the episode.
    • The episode "Pump It Up!" is a loose adaptation of the aforementioned Ghoul-focused single issue: he investigates the death of a musician with Ultra powers. In the episode, the musician is indeed an Ultra, but his potential is amplified by a magic guitar given by Lord Pumpkin, who was not part of the original issue.
    • The villains of episode "Prime Ambition" are Dr. Gross and his son/sidekick, a duo that appeared in Prime's solo book as his enemies, never in Ultraforce, although Hardcase did ally himself with Prime to fight against Dr. Gross.
    • The metallic alien-like NM-E features in the first three-episode arc, which covers Ultraforce's first seven issues. In the original storyline, it does not feature at all, but appears in Hardcase's solo book.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Two instances:
    • To the heroines, Contrary gets a subtle makeover and wears a bit less revealing outfit.
    • To the heroes, Prime's reversion to his kid self has him clothed, bypassing the problems of "borrowing" clothes whenever he destransformed (which happened in his solo book).
  • Animated Adaptation: DiC Entertainment made a 13 episode cartoon series in 1994.
  • Bittersweet Ending: At the end of the first three-episode arc, a better send-off is given to Pixx: while they never managed to recover her body in the original storyline, she is given a decent burial this time.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The first three episodes were a fairly faithful adaptation of the comic's first arc (with the Invasion of the Fire People), which took up seven parts (including a zero issue). However, some of the arc's elements had to be condensed to fit a 3-part, 23-minute TV episode.
  • Green Is Gross: Taking a page from Prime's own book, in the animated series, Kevin Green transforms into his bulkier alter ego, Prime, by oozing a green liquid from his chest that covers him and molds into Prime. When he turns back, the "Prime" body dissolves into a pile of goo and some of it stains Kevin's normal clothes.
  • Secret-Keeper: During the first three-episode story arc, Prime reverts to Kevin Green. Hardcase, Ultraforce's leader and his teammate, promises to keep his secret.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Kevin Green (Prime's true self), being a teenager and a student, was actually shown going to school in some episodes:
    • In "Prime Ambition", after a stakeout as Prime, he returns to school and tries to impress his crush by saying he is going to soccer practice.
    • In "Pump It Up!", the villain of the piece is a teenage musician that strikes first in his school with his magical music. While his classmates (including his crush) are at the improvised concert, Kevin is actually taking a school test in a classroom.