“Hazard” issues 5 – 7

“Hazard” issues 5 through 7 by Jeff Mariotte, Jason Johnson, Roy Allen Martinez, Edgar Tadeo, Richard Friend and Gerry Alanguilen

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Alright let’s get back to “Hazard” where we find our friend Alex fighting against the clock to find Dr. D’Oro and get these damn nanobots out of him! D’Oro is out on an old oil platform off the coast of Los Angeles. How’d Alex find that out? Why his assistant Carolyn put it together! Smart one she is, he’s lucky to have her around. Once Alex finds Dr. D’Oro to confront him, he finds that D’Oro and Johnny Pepper are conspiring to dropping nano-tech on all of LA so they can control everyone like D’Oro can control Alex’s life. Alex gets smart and knows there would need to be some kind of transmitter to control everything, so he goes about destroying that before blowing up the whole platform with Dr. Doro still on it.

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After an 8 hr swim back to shore Alex is pretty sure that it’s his last day on Earth, so let’s make it count. Without Dr. D’Oro’s nano-tech, Johnny Pepper’s ability to overthrow the current mafia in LA, run by a man named Vince Carbonaro, is in jeopardy, so Johnny orders hits on Carbonaro’s men. This doesn’t sit well with Carbonaro and he get his men fitted with some tech that syncs several men up at once in awesome tech suits, and sends them after Pepper. How does our hero Alex figure into it? Well, Pepper informs his men to kill his girlfriend Madison if anything happens to him, and Madison calls Alex to come save her because they are pretty smitten with each other. For now, to save Madison, Alex needs to save Johnny Pepper.

While Carbonaro’s men are quickly, and ruthlessly taking out Pepper’s men Alex is formulating a plan. He’s starting to see how they’re synced up with each other, and he figures there has to be something that is relaying information from one person to another. He guessed that one of Carbonaro’s men is acting as a relay server for the others. After taking him down Alex figures that Johnny Pepper’s men can take care of the rest as they no longer have an advantage. Alex then finds Pepper, instructs him to fly the both of them to Nevada to get Madison, then to let him and Madison leave. After a few punches Pepper begrudgingly agrees, Alex gets Madison and starts the drive home, hoping that at Midnight his time doesn’t run out.

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Would you look at this! Either Dr. D’Oro was lying to Alex, didn’t really understand his technology, or Alex managed to do something to keep from dying after 2 weeks. Way to go Alex! Now it’s time to go save your assistant, Carolyn’s church which is on fire. Who set it on fire? It was two members of a hate group called the Aryan Militia, but getting the blame is former StormWatch operative and drunken mess Prism. Prism really managed to fuck up his life. He got a portion if his severance stolen, then he managed to lose all his StormWatch credentials, which means no access to U.N. housing, thus he’s homeless, and he’s completely forgotten how to get in proper contact with anyone in the StormWatch bureaucracy to get set up again. He made the choice to be an alcoholic, be homeless as well as be a warmer place and that’s how he ended up drunk and homeless in Los Angeles. He had a run in with the firestarters and is freaking out using his powers in proximity to the church. So, while the cops are swarming around seeing Prism blast off his light powers not knowing how to take him down Alex shows up. It’s Carolyn’s church after all, that makes it personal.

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It’s no doubt that Alex is able to subdue Prism in little time allowing the fire department to roll in and save what they can of the church. But there’s the matter of the Aryan Brotherhood that still needs to be dealt with, and Alex and Prism are the men to do the job. While the Aryan Militia are ready to kill the two men for starting the fire, reason being that they brought police attention to the group, Alex won’t let that happen as he believes the men need to go to court for their crime. Which is noble, but as the leaders of the Brotherhood try to get away Alex manages to crash their plane killing them… so that’s a hell of a moral line you straddle there Alex! In the end the day is saved, Prism is arrested until the police can work out the entirety of the church burning, Carolyn still has Alex’s back, and Madison and Alex are together and happy.

Continuity Corner:

  • Sad to see the downfall of Prism, but man he really managed to mess up any avenue he could to save himself. I can understand his feelings of worthlessness and directionless leading to his drinking, but also getting so far gone as to lose his access to StormWatch is just so sad.
  • We won’t see Alex again anytime soon. In fact we don’t see him referenced at all until “WildCats” volume five issue 22 where he is listed as a hero left on Earth that would be able to help get society righted. So hey, that means he survived the 2006 reboot as well as Armageddon. Turns out those nanobots were worth it!
  • In the letters pages it was teased that Alex may return in another book, and sadly that never happened. Also in the letters pages of “Wynonna Earp” it was suggested that she had an ex-boyfriend in the WildStorm Universe… was her ex Alex? Was it? This has been bothering me since I thought of it.

NEXT: “StormWatch” volume one issues 39 and 40 by Warren Ellis, Tom Raney, Pete Woods, and Randy Elliot

“DV8” issues 1 & 2

This entry covers “DV8” issues 1 and 2 by Warren Ellis, Humberto Ramos, Sal Regla, Troy Hubbs, and Peter Gazman

DV8_v1_001Alright, time to catch up with Ivana’s reprobates from Project Genesis. It’s the DV8 kids and they’re really not as bad as we’ve been lead to believe from previous comics. In fact, most of them could be pretty stand up folks if it wasn’t for who’s in charge of them, that being Ivana, Threshold and to a lesser extent Bliss. And adding to the cast of unstable, unreliable, and inadequate guardians we’re introduced to Sideways Bob, a former I/O agent who is kinda nuts and doesn’t mind working for Ivana. He also has a mannequin head named Lucille for a girlfriend.  While the DV8 kids aren’t too sure about him, it’s always good to have more muscle protecting them around.

OK, who are the DV8 kids AKA the Deviants? We have Leon AKA Frostbite who can control heat, Rachel AKA Sublime who can control her personal density, Hector AKA Powerhaus who can amass muscle and strength based on surrounding emotion, Michael AKA Evo who can change into various animal forms to survive practically anything and Gem AKA Copycat who can control body movements of other people. Oh and Gem also has multiple personalities, in addition to her own, mostly dominate personality, that can take over her own body named Little Gemma, the Soldier, the Spy and the Nihilist. That’s a lot going of for this character, along with a fairly large cast, but I’ll have to say it works more often than not.

Getting to the issues at hand, we see the kids being introduced to their new digs in a New York City penthouse. They all run to claim their own suites in the penthouse like an upscale version of Big Brother as Threshold doubts if it was wise to set up shop so close to normal people. Ivana explains it’s all a bit of an experiment, as the kids have little to no idea what the real world holds and it’ll be interesting to see how they’ll react. She gives the kids wads of cash to go and do whatever their hearts desire before shortly calling them all back home to go on a mission for her.

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Ivana’s mission is to steal an object from I/O in upstate New York before I/O has a chance to ship it to France. The team goes in following Threshold’s direction, Rachel and Gem seem a little dubious about Threshold’s order to kill, but follow his direction anyway. They find the package and it’s a small grey alien. After arguing who’s going to carry the thing to their get-away-chopper the manage to take flight. Unfortunately I/O shot up the chopper so much that by the time the team made back to NYC they had a crash landing and the alien exploded all over Gem.

DV8_v1_002Our second issue opens with the kids trying to get drinks at Clark’s. This of course doesn’t go well and after a dust up with Hellstrike from StormWatch a full-on bar brawl ensues. Lucky for the DV8 kids they find Sideways Bob outside with a limo and ready to kids to their next mission. There’s a group out in LA that goes by the name “Twist,” they’re Gen-Active and they are also lead by a former I/O agent. The DV8 kids (minus Threshold) head out to the desert to confront Twist. While everyone else is in the dark, Bliss was told by Ivana to try and recruit any of the Twist kids if possible. The rest of the kids make it clear to Bliss that Bliss keeping the rest of the kids out of the loop can’t lead to anything good.

The group heads out into the desert surrounding Los Angeles and after meeting the Twist kids: Texas, Blind Lemon, the Smoking Boy and Virginia Dentata they are greeted with their leader, Menlove. While Bliss and Menlove go inside the Twist house to see if they can come to an agreement the rest of kids hang out with each other in the sand. Blind Lemon tells Leon that he’s going to kill her, the Smoking Boy keeps creeping out Rachel and smoking crack and Virginia and Micheal try to find a quite place away from everyone. Virginia’s quite place is the house cellar and it’s not empty, it’s full of Gen-Active’s that Menlove found that didn’t develop powers, just mutations. Meanwhile Bliss is finding out all about Menlove’s past and how he got kicked out of I/O. Turns out he liked messing with young girls, particularly one named Nicole. Bliss realizes he’s talking about her and kills him, she then bursts out of the house telling the DV8 kids everyone needs to die. Rachel and Leon had already got the idea that they needed to get the hell out of there, they didn’t need to be told twice and Leon proceeds to explode the place. Once home they wake Ivana for answers, where she tells them that Twist needed to be eliminated, but wanted the DV8 kids to see how good they had it with her before destroying them. Bliss suddenly knows what it is like to be kept in the dark.

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Continuity Corner:

  • While at Clarks’s we have Hellstrike and Fuji looking a bit different to their current “StormWatch” version, but I suppose Hellstrike can look however he wants, and Fuji has a variety of “suits” he can use, so it isn’t too out of continuity. I cannot explain what Pris is doing at Clark’s though, maybe she’s still traveling around before she lands in New Orleans.
  • I figure that the first issue could’ve happened during the same week as our last several books, but the second issue feel like it occurs some time later. I’m fine with putting them both together here for readability’s sake.

Where to find these stories:

NEXT: “Hazard” issues 5 – 7 by Jeff Mariotte, Jason Johnson, Roy Allen Martinez, Edgar Tadeo, Richard Friend and Gerry Alanguilen

“StormWatch” vol. 1 issues 37 & 38

This entry covers “StormWatch” volume one issues 37 & 38 by Warren Ellis, Tom Raney, and Randy Elliott.

StormWatch_v1_037Ok, here’s where one of two things happens, you either think “Thank goodness, WildStorm is bringing in some more great creators to make all their books awesome and somewhat challenging” or “Goddamn it WildStorm, what were you thinking? Why did you ruin StormWatch? This is the beginning of the end for the entire line!” I admittedly fall into the first camp, but I also must add, after feeling burn out from “Fire from Heaven” I never picked up this book as a kid. I had been a “StormWatch” loyalist, but after “Fire from Heaven” and the uneven issues prior to that I did not go on. In fact, I pretty much only continued to pick up “WildC.A.T.s” and “Gen13” after this, because of a shrinking budget due to going to local concerts, trying to date girls, and I dunno… late ’90s teen-ager-y stuff, I don’t have to explain myself you… On to the book!

So we have a new sheriff in town, and his name is… wait, no, it’s still just Henry Bendix, but now his dial has been turned up from hard-assed “Stick-the-Mud” leader to hardcore “I’ll Do the Tough Things that Need Doing” leader than will define the Ellis era of “StormWatch.” The team is on their way back from Flashpoint’s funeral, traitorous bastard he may’ve been, he was still one of their own. Bendix, however, is nowhere to be found. You see, ole Henry is on a recruitment drive, gathering up new team members for StormWatch, like Jenny Sparks, Jack Hawksmoor and Rose Tattoo. No sooner than he introduces these three new members to the squad, he pretty much fires everyone else. The StormWatch memebers that get to stick around are Winter, Fuji, Fahrenheit, Hellstrike, Flint, and Swift. Battalion and Synergy get moved off active duty to the training and seedling activation for StormWatch, and Sunburst and Maya are kinda forced into retirement with the idea that they’ll still help with logistics and research when needed. Oh, and when I say everyone else was fired, I mean everyone, including Union.

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SwiftComesAliveAnother change is that all remaining StormWatch personal are given teleport fetishes for direct teleportation… neat! Speaking changes we have Synergy… sorry, I’m just going to call her Christine from now on… we have Christine letting Swift know that back when Swift was activated, she wasn’t fully activated, just enough to get her seedling powers jump-started. Now it’s time for her full activation which now includes full on extra wings, just not wings under her arms. But let’s get to some action, ok?

In the German countryside there is a naked skull faced man killing people in the snow, this is the kind of job for StormWatch. Nakey-Skull-Face calls himself Father and the StormWatch operatives on site are having no luck defeating him. On the ground we have StormWatch Prime (Winter, Hellstrike & Fuji) and StormWatch Red (Fahrenheit, Flint and Rose Tattoo) and all that strength is nothing against Father. But something about Father seems familiar to Bendix. Bendix goes to cold storage and thaws out a Dr. Martin Krug, who not only tried to engineer a virus that would kill anyone except white Europeans, but was also known to try and create super powered beings. Yup, Father is one of his, while Father was at one time contained, that container has now failed, thus Father is loose and Krug has a certain sense of satisfaction about the whole thing. After Krug lets Bendix know that killing Father will be hard, Bendix murders Krug and then freezes him again, after all he still has a 100 year sentence to go! So how does the StormWatch team eventually take out Father? They pin him with two different transport fetishes, and tear him in half by teleporting his legs away from the rest of his body.

StormWatch_v1_038Meanwhile, back in America, newly jobless Undertow is bummed. First off, his mom got him that job and he just lost it, and secondly, where is he going to live? While he’s able to stay at his UN accommodations indefinably, I can’t imagine that would feel comfortable for long. Well, he doesn’t have to worry much about that, because as soon as he opens the door the whole apartment explodes! Poor Undertow never had a chance, but his death will not remain a mystery, Bendix puts Hellstrike, Fahrenheit and Hawksmoor on the case to find out who killed him. Turns out, it was domestic terrorist who hate the United Nations! Fahrenheit manages to grab the security guard who was a part of letting the bombers in, and he get handled over to Bendix. Bendix extracts the information from the guard leading them to the bombers, which Fahrenheit, Hellstrike and Hawksmoor capture. Bendix takes the bomber’s bodies and literally throws them on the desk of the President of the United States! Bendix sees it as an act of aggression against the UN and StormWatch and takes it as a message saying StormWatch is no longer safe or wanted in America, and they will officially steer clear. But of course Bendix says it all menacingly in his menacing way. Like I said, he’s a total super tough guy now!

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Continuity Corner:

  • Bendix’s caption boxes at the start of issue 37 say that Flashpoint’s funeral takes place about a week after the events of “Fire from Heaven.” This would mean that so far our timeline is holding intact, if we consider “Gen12” 1 & 2, “Black Ops” 3 – 5, “Hazard” 1 – 4,”Grifter” volume two issues 2 – 4, and “JLA/WildC.A.T.s : Crime Machine” all happening over the same week… Which mostly plausible. Sure it’s a busy week, but hey, comics!
  • There’s also a mention of the StormWatch moon-base which was destroyed during “Fire from Heaven”
  • We see a dejected and confused Cannon walking away after being told he’s been fired. We’ll catch back up with him in “Grifter” volume two, issue #11.
  • Pulling in Dr. Krug from “StormWatch” volume one issues 28 & 29 wasn’t what I expected and I didn’t put it together at first either!
  • While at Clark’s, Clark gives Hellstrike shit for busting part of the place up back in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one, issue #25.
  • We also see TAO at the bar in Clark’s… which, yeah, he’s assumed dead as of “WildC.A.T.s” volume one, issue #34, but as we’ll find out later… that was Mr. White who disguised as TAO that Majestic killed, the real TAO escaped! Maybe the word hadn’t spread yet that he was dead and a villain. So yeah, looks odd now, but in the long view it’s possible and not really an error. Then again, there’s a guy looking at TAO who seems to be awful confused by that fact…
  • Most of the “StormWatch” issues for this run will be kinda one-shot-ish, but I don’t think I’ll be sprinkling them like that through the reading order, I’ll keep a few issues together for readability’s sake. They eventually fall into three issue arcs, but these 2 issues happen one right after another, so that’s not a consideration of my own, it’s flat out in the text of the story.

NEXT: “DV8” issues 1 and 2 by Warren Ellis, Humberto Ramos, Sal Regla, Troy Hubbs, and Peter Gazman

“JLA / WildC.A.T.s : Crime Machine”

This entry covers the “JLA / WildC.A.T.s : Crime Machine” one shot by Grant Morrison, Val Semiks, and Kevin Conrad.

Layout 1This is way more of a JLA book with the WildC.A.T.s guest starring. And not even all of the WildC.A.T.s! For whatever reason, Warblade & Spartan are left out. Sure Savant is still healing from the Crime War, so she can’t be there… my only other guess is that Spartan and Warblade were fighting some of the other super-villians known as the Seven Deadly Sins in another area when the JLA landed in the WildStorm Universe and took the 5 that were closest. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Ok, like I said this is mainly a JLA story and the JLA (in this case, Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, the Flash and the Green Lantern) have some trouble. There’s a guy by the name of Epoch and he calls himself the Lord of Time, and he’s fighting the JLA. The JLA have managed to get his Chrono-Cube away from him, but his new 41st Century warsuit has been upgraded to contain the same time machine as the cube, so basically the JLA chasing Epoch in his the Chrono-Cube across time as he tries to find interesting 4th denominational ways to kill each of JLA the members.

Epoch eventually goes pretty far back in time, all the way to 65,000,000 BC during a “Dark Nova Event” in which a black sun is blacking out the sky. Epoch starts to feed off it and it gives him enough power to temporarily disable the Chrono-Cube as well as suck up the energy of the black sun, giving Epoch’s war-suit a serious power boost. Epoch eventually rotates through time away from the JLA leaving the the JLA stranded until they can relocate the Chrono-Cube’s power source. The JLA flip it on to try and catch back up with Epoch, but end up in the WildStorm Universe. This is due to Epoch’s messing of the DCU timeline, causing dimensional reverberations so bad that when the JLA try to time travel back to 1997 they get shunted over to a different universe than their own, finding the handful of WildC.A.T.s thT are fighting the Seven Deadly Sins.

Layout 1So now the JLA and the WildC.A.T.s are in the same place and… ugh, it’s time for a superhero fight… at least Cole is as over it as I am. Why even recap it, they beat on each other until they talk enough to find out they are not enemies and they work together. I guess after talking to the Mercs during the Crime War and seeing how it stopped a lot of the fighting, Cole decided to try that strategy again. After everyone else figures out that they don’t need to be throwing punches, Void surmises that lot of the dimensional disturbances that are riling up these bad guys just might be alleviated if the WildC.A.T.s help the JLA defeat Epoch, because one collapsing timeline could do a lot of damage! Void and the Green Lantern (for the record it’s Kyle) manage to find away to ride a wave to the DCU and get to Epoch and end this cosmic crisis.

Once we’re back in the DCU we find it overrun by various future technology that is helping Epoch be an undefeatable god-like being. As the teams close in on Epoch, they know something Epoch doesn’t know, they know that Epoch did not account for the WildC.A.T.s and when they confront him he is very braggadocios until he realizes he isn’t talking to the JLA. While the WildC.A.T.s are kicking Epoch ass, the JLA have altered the Chrono Cube to take Epoch back in time as he is falling apart. In fact they send him back to 65,000,000 BC where he explodes becoming the Dark Nova Event that powered him, thus putting him in a time loop prison. The teams make hasty good-byes and Void rides the last stable wave she can, taking the WildC.A.T.s team back home. Crossover over!

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Continuity Corner:

  • This was not the entry I had planned on writing this week… in fact… I had pretty much had half the entry I was writing done (I guess that’s going to save me time for next week though, silver linings and all that). You see, I was just reading ahead in my little reading order, making sure everything was still lining up fine… and one panel undoes it. That’s right, a single panel said “Yo, what you laid out cannot be right, not in the slightest my friend. There’s no “No-Prizing” your way out of that one, you continuity nerd! Back to the drawing board.” While I’ve moved this book around a few times I knew pretty much where it needed to be, somewhere around “WildC.A.T.s” volume on issues 35 & 36. At one point it was after them, then based on things Majestic says I figured it must happen before them. And then on re-read this week I not on cememted that it happened before “WildC.A.T.s” volume one #35 but that it needed to happen closer to the heels of “Fire from Heaven” and then one panel showed me exactly where it needed to take place. Wanna see that panel? Here you go!
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  • Yup! It’s StormWatch with Battalion in his battle armor and Cannon as still on the team… this issue takes place before “StormWatch” volume one issue 37! Arg! Everything else slots in fine after moving this, especially because “StormWatch” volume one issue 37 builds in a week from the end of “Fire from Heaven” to Flashpoint’s funeral which happens at the start of that issue.
  • When writing about “Grifter” volume two issues 2 – 4 last week I almost didn’t include 4, as it can happen at various times before or after a lot of the other books around then. But it’s a good thing I kept it there, as it solidly puts Cole back in New York to be able to be with the WildC.A.T.s when they need him for this crossover, so… yay for me? I got it right on accident… I hate when that happens.
  • Based on Void saying “Something is triggering the last week’s acceleration of latent Gen-Active tendencies in the general population” powering up the villain group The Deadly Seven Sins, this is a good reason that this has to be soon after “Fire from Heaven.” I figure the “acceleration” from “last week” was “Fire from Heaven” as there was a load of Gen-Factor manipulation going on perhaps all that craziness w/ the Moon did set off some previously unknown Gen-Factor latency. Also considering that the Gen-Factor has other dimensional ties, the fact of the JLA coming in from another dimension and Epoch accidentally causing dimensional trouble, these are good causes to the “Something” that is triggering everything and works well plot wise.
  • And while it’s not a WildStorm continuity note, Cole’s VADs did end up in the JLA trophy room.
  • When Majestic and Superman meet up again in “Majestic” volume one issue 1, they don’t directly acknowledge this adventure, but they do talk to each other as if they know each other.

NEXT: “StormWatch” volume one issues 37 & 38 by Warren Ellis, Tom Raney, and Randy Elliott

“Grifter” vol. 2 issues 2 – 4

This entry covers “Grifter” volume two issues 2 through 4 by Steven Grant, Mel Rubi, Richard Friend, Luke Rizzo, Mark Irwin, Danna Stewart, and Peter Guzman

grifter_v2_002Our old pal Cole Cash is in his hometown of Chicago, and what a better thing to do than to meet up with some family. Well, stepfamily, that is. We see Cole fighting through about a dozen armed guards just to get to the front door of Sam Del Gracci, his stepfather, and notorious mafioso. Cole asks Samif he could use his Chicago connections to look into someone that’s hired him for a freelance job. Sam lets him know that he’s really trying to legitimize his business and that it isn’t the kind of thing he is into anymore. As Cole leaves Sam first admonishes his kids Peter and Anastasia for not greeting Cole and then instructs them to find out if Cole really needs help, or if Cole just wants to kill Sam.

As Peter and Anastasia are checking in on the woman, named Savana Love, that hired Cole, they find her running from an assassin known as Joe the Dead. Joe the Dead’s deal is that he shoots with finger guns and he can’t die. Yikes! Of course, we see Cole come in trying to protect Savana only to be chased off by Joe after a close call. Meanwhile, Savana has escaped, but Anastasia has her held by gunpoint where Savana tells Anastasia that real target is Cole, and she’s delivering him soon for a bounty of two million dollars. Anastasia literally just laughs and walks away.

Joe the Dead catches up with Sam and tells him about his trouble with Savana Love and wants information on Cole. Sam isn’t too forthcoming but agrees to help Joe the Dead when Savana is going to handover Cole to here employer, at a secret Wrigley Stadium meeting. What we watch unfold is Cole getting knocked out by Savana, Savana being stopped of further harm to Cole by Sam and his bodyguard, Joe the Dead killing Savana, the mysterious employer getting into a fistfight with Cole and then Sam accidentally shooting Cole trying to break up that fight. Sam feels like shit over this, he never wanted to hurt Cole, he actually seems a bit sincere in that. But while he’s going on about it, he lets slip that he shot Jake Cole for running a con game on him back in the day. And just like that, the show is over. Cole and Savana are fine, Savana is actually Alicia Turner, Joe the Dead is actually Cole’s FBI pal Joseph Brockmeyer, and it was all an elaborate sting to get Sam to admit he killed Cole’s real dad, for which Brockmeyer arrests Sam.

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grifter_v2_003Cole and Alicia go out for a night on the town to celebrate a successful con only for both of them to wake up chained to a lot of sci-fi nonsense with a maniac screaming at them. The maniac is Mad Jack Power and he wants Cole’s Gen-Factor. As he’s routing around Cole’s memories, looking for his power, Mad Jack keeps implying that they have a past. While Cole can’t seem to figure it out, he knows who can, Alicia. He tells Jack that he gave his power up, to someone he could trust, Mad Jack figures that it must be Alicia and goes to her. Alicia hits him with her own psychic powers and figures out Mad Jack is actually former Team 7 member Richard McNamara! With that info, Cole lets loose on his rarely used Gen-Factor power and tears Mad Jack to shreds. Still trying to cling to life Mad Jack tells Cole how addicting life can be, and it’s hard for him not to leap from body to body, but he’s so low on power, which why he wanted Cole’s Gen-Factor. Cole tells him to let go and Mad Jack turns to ash with both Alicia and Cole unsure if Mad Jack is truly dead or not.

grifter_v2_004Finally back to New York City, where Cole usually hangs his… bandana/mask. Cole came running because he got an e-mail from an old contact named Raymond saying he’s got information for Cole, but it’s “ears only” kind of info. This get Cole’s attention and he gets out of Chicago and heads to meet Raymond. Turns out people that the information is about found Raymond before Cole, and while Cole breaks it up. But it’s still too late for Raymond. and his parting words are telling Cole there’s a gangster by the name of Little Johnny Dollar who is looking to “Kill Cash.”

While Cole is trying to figure this out, as he’s never heard of a Little Johnny Dollar, he gets surprised by, you guessed it, Little Johnny Dollar and his goons. But if you think Cole is surprised, well, so is Little Johnny Dollar! He doesn’t know Cole, not at all. The Cash he is after is Max! Well, what the hell is Max up to then?

Max is currently playing bodyguard to a woman under police protection at a hotel. In true Max fashion, he ends up seducing her while a cop waits outside. Suddenly there’s a call to the hotel room letting Max know he’s been made. As Max scrabbles to get dressed we see that Cole is the one rushing down the hall guns blazing. Turns out that the woman the Max is protecting as well as the cop are on Little Johnny Dollar’s payroll and are to kill Max. Max doesn’t know this, Cole does, so when Cole kills both the woman and the cop Max is confused and starts going after Cole. As the Cash brothers continue to fire at each other and wrestle they are surrounded by Little Johnny Dollar and his men, once they realize this they give each other a shoulder shrug, take out the goon patrol and go grab a beer.

After a few pints, a handful of shots and a few stories Max lets Cole in on a secret. It’s a big one. Hell, it’s a doozy. Ole Jake Cash? That dude is alive. Sam only thought he’d killed Jake AKA the ultimate con-man! Also, Max knows all this and hadn’t bothered to tell Cole. Max lets Cole know that it didn’t go so well for him when he met Jake, so he doesn’t assume that Cole will fare any better. But Max knows Cole can’t stop himself from going, so he lets on that dear ole poppa Cash is somewhere down in New Orleans.

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Continuity Corner:

  • After the events of “Gen12” issue 2, Cole is still in Chicago after meeting with Commander Thomas Morgan at the Sear’s Tower.
  • I figure that Alicia catches up with Cole in Chicago to make sure the meeting with Commander Thomas Morgan worked out right and he brings up this plan to help bust his dear old stepdad.
  • When Sam and Cole talk, Sam mentions he’s heard Cole has been “heroing these days” to which Cole reacts to by saying “that gig sort of crashed… I’ve been freelancing,” which kinda tracks if you thank about it, and it influenced the reading order as I’ve laid out. Cole quit the team in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 20, does his own thing until the “Fire from Heaven” crossover which was really his war with his Team 7 pals. The WildC.A.T.s team follows to help basically because Zannah was going to help Cole no matter what. When they get back they have the long night of the Crime War, which at the end Cole hasn’t really said if he’s back on the team or not. Especially after all the drama now surrounding Zannah and John Colt/Spartan, I’m not sure he wants to stick around much, so I figure he takes off. He’s not seen back in the “WildC.A.T.s” book until volume one issue 36, and by issue 40 he’s so a part of the team he goes back in time with them. So yeah, I’d still say he isn’t heroing with the ‘CATs and is freelance for the entire run of “Grifter” volume two, and much of it slots easily in-between “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 34 and 35. For all the crimes that Del Gracci has committed, I have to thank him for giving me the perfect opportunity to discuss this continuity reasoning in full!
  • I thought for sure the Joseph Brockmeyer was a made-up personality of Cole’s from “Gen12” issue 2, but it’s nice to see he was real, and Cole pretty much gave a straight story to Commander Thomas Morgan on his life and Joseph’s role in it.
  • Cole and Alicia muse that they hope that the real Suzana Love and Joe the Dead don’t find out about the con they just pulled impersonating them. We will eventually meet the real Joe the Dead in “Grifter” volume two issue 13 and he really isn’t pleased about the whole thing.
  • When Richard McNamara killed himself in “Team 7” issue 2 it turns out his consciousness could move from body to body and he took over the body of the janitor that came to clean up his body. He’d since been through several over the years.
  • Wait… what are Roxy and Grunde doing in New York on the first page of issue 4? Maybe Lynch left the kids on the East Coast for a bit after Cray’s funeral and got himself back to La Jolla before them, knowing he was going to be meeting up with Marisa Chambers as seen in the “Black Ops” book. An old spook like Lynch would surely know when someone is honing in on him and made sure the kids were far enough away to be safe, just in case. Plausible enough for me…

I was lucky enough to get some of the writer of “Grifter” volume two Steve Grant and his reaction to this article as well as to his time writing on the book!
Grifter-v2_002-004_StevenGrantReacts

Where to find this story:

NEXT: “JLA / WildC.A.T.s : Crime Machine” one shot by Grant Morrison, Val Semiks, and Kevin Conrad.

“Black Ops” issues 3 – 5

This entry cover “Black Ops” issues 3 – 5 by Shon Bury, Dan Norton, and Sandra Hope.

Why do I keep getting confused reading this series? It all seems straight forward on review, but when reading closely I just lose the thread constantly. Basically, it’s a deep undercover I/O team (our heroes, the Black Ops) that even I/O doesn’t know are I/O vs. an evil Russian named Markov and his company Spectrum, who were funded by I/O, so before he died, Craven sent out I/O’s Black Hammer’s to hunt down and kill the Black Ops. I’m not going to sit here and lie, I’m not the brightest guy, but I’m not that dim, so I constantly wonder why this book keeps confounding me. Have I experienced this on other books written by Shon Bury? Nope! Have I ever experienced confusion over the art of Dan Norton? Hell no! Do I experience any of that with the follow up “DV8 vs. Black Ops” by the same creative team? Of course not! It’s just this book, so bear with me as I try to gather my thoughts for all of you.

BlackOps-003So as we’re picking the book back up we need to recall that the Black Ops team was in Montanna, training with Col. Crane, who is now joining up with the Black Ops team to lead them. Col. Crane lost his significant other Rachel while on a previous mission in Gamorra at the hands of one Gennady Markov. While he and one of his other crew members, Lee Gardener, made it out alive, he just didn’t have it in him to continue. However, with I/O closing in on the Black Ops team at his house, he takes up the burden of leadership to help the team make short work of them.

Wait, Black Razors and Black Hammers are closing in? Yup, and a mole in I/O sent that message along to the Black Ops team! If John Lynch is the only person from I/O to know that the Black Ops team are I/O, and if Lynch is too busy hanging out with a bunch of teenagers at the beach to know I/O is after them… then who is our mole? Either way, as soon as the I/O teams are getting close Col. Crane sends the Black Ops team off to a safe house while he keeps the Razors and Hammers distracted.

Crane is successful in distracting the I/O groups, and hey, check that out, we know those Black Razors! It’s Cyril Fleming and Rose Grady! And their failure is not appreciated when they call up Santini to let him know how it went. Guess who else it upsets that “the terrorists” got away? Newly minted I/O director Alejandro Rios, that’s who. Though a few of his reports at I/O are starting to find out that “the terrorists” aren’t so bad after all and in fact, they may be I/O, and despite what the I/O records show, they’re not dead. News to Director Rios, but not news to some nerdy guy spying on this information download from Marisa. Nerdy dude is very worried about I/O figuring this all out too soon, and that Catherine Kwan will not be happy about it.

Getting back to the Black Ops team, we see the safe house they were sent to belongs to Lee Gardner, Col. Crane’s old friend, who fills the team in on Crane’s past. Once Crane catches up (by pick up truck from Montana to West Virginia?) the team takes off to Estonia to find Markov and put an end to his plan. Markov’s plan? To make a more advanced form of Black Hammer type weaponry. He’s planning to use that to take down any and all comers who challenge him at anything. Maybe it’s for the glory of Russia, but you never can tell with this chap, and I’m sure as hell Craven wasn’t bankrolling him to develop anything other than I/O.

Once the Black Ops team touches down in Estonia they fight a bunch of robots guarding Markov’s research facility. Once that’s done, the Black Razors are back with Cyril Fleming heading them up. This puts Col. Crane even more on edge, as he thought he’d shaken those bastards. And then it all hits the fan, there’s a new heavily armored person present, they go by the name Cricket and they’re working for Markov. With this obviously being no good, the Black Ops team decides to launch an EMP grenade to shut down all electronics. This includes some of their equipment, the Black Razor’s suits, and supposedly the new player on the field. But no, somehow the Markov’s agent has enough power to get back to the facility, and with the Razors taken care of, all the Black Ops team has to do is follow the leaking coolant that Cricket is leaving behind.

BlackOps-004Once inside the facility Crane and Shire head one way, and GQ and Redbird head another. There are lots of things to disable to keep Markov from interfacing any more humans with tech to make more creatures like Cricket. I mean, they’re a little late on that, there’s already two more finished, and they’re calling themselves the H.E.A.T.E.R.S and they are hunting down the Black Ops team as they sneak around trying to prevent a fourth H.E.A.T.E.R. from coming online. Of course, right about now is when Shire notices Markov’s head scientist, and old friend of her’s named Misha, who is naturally the bio-matrix engineer that the Soviet Union ever had.

Now things in the narrative are coming together a bit. The three H.E.A.T.E.R. units online are all Americans. So that sorts out what Craven was up to, he was having Markov get the units created and ready for him. We also now find out that the H.E.A.T.E.R.s are still reporting to Kwan at I/O and she and her little weasel are trying to get away from I/O quickly. We also now know that Markov was “skimming off the top” a bit by creating some of this advanced technology for himself to use as needed. He’s currently trying to interface with said tech inside a bio-bath chamber at Misha’s misgivings. Sweet, straightened out… time to get back to the action? Sure!

BlackOps-005So we have GQ and Redbird fighting Cricket, Crane and Shire fighting the H.E.A.T.E.R known as Pinpoint, and Geek and H.E.R.B. fighting the giant red unnamed H.E.A.T.E.R. (I say unnamed because I cannot remember it, and flipping through the book a few times I couldn’t find it… yet someone in the comments will probably correct me, and I look forward to that.) Despite being at a slight disadvantage, the Black Ops team manages to hold their own against the H.E.A.T.E.R.s, but it isn’t easy. A stroke of luck occurs when Kwan decides the best course of action for her is an immediate disavowal of everything that Markov was up to. This means zeroing out Markov’s slush fund, erasing all information on having anything to do with his organization, asking Cricket and Pinpoint to immediately destroy the building and all inside and leave.

Things don’t go exactly according to plan for anyone. Geek and H.E.R.B. take out the big red robot while H.E.R.B. is pulling the same media quoting schtick as Jeff the Monster from “Scud the Disposable Assassin.” Cricket and Pinpoint were told to leave their fights, so our Black Ops team is safe for now, and even when they all have the same agenda, to destroy Markov’s work, they still won’t get along. In fact, a bit of a pissing match between Crane and Pinpoint on who gets to kill Markov ultimately leads to H.E.R.B. becoming destroyed. Either way, neither one of them could’ve done the job from outside the bio-bath and Misha ends up sabotaging it to kill Markov and set the self-destruct countdown for good measure.

The Black Ops manage to get out of there, with Geek carrying H.E.R.B.’s head, in the nick of time. While flying over the Atlantic back to who-knows-where (Montana?) they are discussing something that didn’t feel right, and how ultimately their mission isn’t quite over yet. There are things they’ll need to get into once the heat is off but until then Col. Crane still has a few friends in high places. Oh, and that mole at I/O who was in communication occasionally with the Black Ops crew? Oh, that was Marisa Chambers. Also of note, not only did she trace everything back to John Lynch, but also went to find him and ask that he contact I/O so that Director Rios can officially “bring them back home.” But clever-clever Lynch is all “Nah, we need folks like Crane out there fucking shit up old skool. Besides, I’d like to point the Black Ops at my old enemy Ivana, because mark my words, that bad-ass so-n-so is up to something… she always is…”

Continuity Corner:

  • At the end of “Black Ops” issue 2, the team was being trained by Crane to be able to rely less on their Razor suits to get their jobs done. I figure this could account for the days that “Fire from Heaven” took place over.
  • I consider “Black Ops” issues 3 through 5 and “Hazard” issues 1 through 4″ happening at pretty much the same time. Pretty much a few days after “Fire from Heaven” and lasting a week or so.
  • We have the flashback to the Gamorra mission that went wrong for Crane, I figured it might’ve been tied to the one that we’ve been reading references to in various books, but I didn’t see Cray, Waering or Alex Fairchild anywhere near it.
  • It’s nice that when we’re dealing with the Black Razors, we’re seeing a familiar face in Cyril Fleming, but also, if you keep your eyes peeled, there’s a cameo by Rose Grady too. I really thought WildStorm was building to a full-on Black Razors title.
  • From the battle we saw, the H.E.A.T.E.R. named Cricket survives, but I don’t think we ever see her again.
  • We see Shire start to mention that at the initial CEO meeting that the Black Ops team broke up, there was one person that wasn’t there that should’ve been, one of Craven’s best puppet directors, and all she says is “Arm-” before getting cut off. Who the hell is she talking about? Armand Waering? He worked with/for Craven? Am I not remembering something right? Who else could it have been?
  • At the end, we also have Crane saying that he’ll be contacting his friend Giovanni, who we’ve seen a bit of in the pages of “Backlash” at this point, but don’t know too much about. He’s the director of P.S.I. and when we see the Black Ops crew again in “DV8 vs. Black Ops” they will indeed be working at P.S.I.
  • On the last page, we see a set up for the upcoming conflict between the Black Ops team and the DV8 team, and the DV8 team is clearly on Caballito Island. This is where they had been previous to “Fire from Heaven” once we get to their full-on book they’ll be based out of New York. I don’t take this to literally mean Ivana and the DV8 kids stopped there after “Fire from Heaven” before continuing on to New York (they didn’t, Frostbite even says as much in the first issue of “DV8”) it’s just a rad and relevant establishing page.

NEXT: “Grifter” volume two issues 2 through 4 by Steven Grant, Mel Rubi, Richard Friend, Luke Rizzo, Mark Irwin, Danna Stewart, and Peter Guzman

 

the Ending of the WildStorm Universe

Recently, online, someone asked “How did the original WildStorm Universe end?” and I answered the standard: How did the original WildStorm universe end in 2011? After a few years of the Earth being a post-apocalyptic wasteland and the Authority’s Carrier taking several characters off-planet, the Carrier returns w/ the new Doctor and everyone gets to the hard work of getting the world back into shape.

While that’s technically correct, part of me kind of felt as if I’d lied when I posted that. Why? Mostly because the actual WildStorm Universe that started in 1992 ended in 2006 near the final pages of issue 9 of “Captain Atom: Armageddon.” Captain Atom literally blew it up! We as readers were saved that the new Void AKA Nikola was able to put it back together as best she could. She made changes such as keeping Grifter, Jenny, Apollo, and Midnighter alive. Grifter had met his end from Midnighter and Apollo, then they and Jenny bought it by the hands of Captain Atom.

So right there… that’s our true ending! Everything post that Capt. Atom series is a new WildStorm Universe, ever so slightly different than the one we had been reading since ’92. I will state that I don’t think for one minute this invalidates any of the stories on either side of the divide, but talking about the nature of the end of the “Original WildStorm Universe” unfortunately gets into a semantical argument about the word “Original.” It’s a reboot that’s softer than I think was intended.

Are there good points post-reboot? Oh heck yeah! We get a wealth of superheroic types going way back into the history of the post-2006 WSU. It’s not just Majestic, the High and John Colt that were out and out public heroes. We now have many of the characters from “Welcome to Tranquility” who due to being retired caused the characters from “the New Dynamics” to wonder where all the heroes went. I like this larger legacy being added to the backstory of the WSU. It’s one of the reasons I put the “Team Zero” series after “Captain Atom: Armageddon” to instantly show that there’s some new history now!

Bad point post-reboot? I comes down to this… and it’s a shame, because I love the hell out of the book, but “Gen13” in the post-2006 boot gets too confusing. A new past is created for the characters, which wouldn’t be a problem if other writers could’ve kept it straight. As time goes on, everyone kind of sidesteps it. Everything else is just a few characters that had died are alive without some huge backstory concerning it.

According to some fans the WildStorm universe ended even earlier than that. Some site the 1998 buy out by DC, others (the type who really didn’t like what Warren Ellis did to “StormWatch”) place it a year earlier, shortly after the conclusion of the “Fire from Heaven” crossover. But you know, this is comics, all opinions are justified and none are cannon unless it’s on the page. I’ll have to admit, post-“Fire from Heaven” is where I dipped out of the greater WildStorm comics universe I was a kid (save for “Gen13” and the occasional issue of “WildC.A.T.s”). We had a lot of things wrapped up (but apparently not everyone, as WS editor Drew Bittner has been dropping some tasty tidbits online as of late) and I was getting more into playing in bands and trying to date.

So yeah, there’s one official ending, one “I guess your kinda right, you pendantic jerk” ending and 2 subjective ones. Which, actually seems a bit fair. I’m curious to hear what you think of as the end of the original WildStorm universe, let me know!

“Hazard” issues 1 – 4

This entry covers “Hazard” issues 1 through 4 by “Hazard” Jeff Mariotte, Roy Allan Martinez, Gerry Alanguilan and Edgar Tadeo w/ some help from Whilce Portacio

HazardIssue001So covering this book is odd. Odd, because it is only tangentially related to the overall WildStorm Universe / Story, but certainly has its roots in it and also because it leaves no lasting relevancy. I know it is hard for a new book to make an impact, and not everything thrown at the wall sticks, but this might be the first big “failure” that I’m covering here at Weathering WildStorm, so lock-in, it’s an interesting ride.

At the start of the first issue, we are immediately met with the star of the book, a bounty hunter by the name Alex Hutton. Alex is in Vegas hunting down some gangsters for information, and when he catches up with them they are very surprised to see him. Why you ask? Because while hunting down a bail jumping gangster named Leo Kyle things go all sorts of wrong for Alex, and all these gangsters were there and saw when said things went wrong. You see, Kyle is friends with a gang boss by the name of Johnny Pepper and when Alex goes to find Kyle at Pepper’s dessert estate, Pepper’s men get the best of Alex. They incapacitate Alex with the help of some Hunter-Killers and then ship him off to Gamorra as a guinea pig for a doctor by the name of Emilio D’Oro.

When Alex comes to on Gamorra he’s informed that he’s been pumped full of nanobots, bots that will make him so much stronger than before. In Dr. D’Oro’s words, Alex is now a superassassin. He’s got crazy great vision, a little bit quicker, and a hell of a lot stronger! But D’Oro isn’t dumb, he’s put in a kill switch, for which Alex will need to see the doctor at least once every two weeks to keep from dying. In the short term the doctor can also inflict pain on to Alex, so you know, that sucks. Before Dr. D’Oro can get Alex, or as D’Oro calls him “Hazard,” to do a damn thing there’s a bunch of earthquakes that start to crumble Dr. D’Oro’s lab. D’Oro gets away, but not before seeing that Alex made it out alive as well.

HazardIssue002While we don’t see Alex making his way back to America, we do see him once he’s here, and that’s where we started, in Las Vegas with him scaring the be-jebus out of Leo Kyle just by being alive. Alex wants to know how to get ahold of Dr. D’Oro, and Kyle has no idea other than to go ask Johnny Pepper. Yeah, back to that guy. Alex goes after Pepper at his compound and comes up short. Other than a bunch of fighting, all Alex manages to do is meet a feisty red-head and piss Pepper of more because Pepper doesn’t know how to find D’Oro any more either. Sucks to be Alex Hutton.

NitroGrrlDoctorShockSo while all this is going on we also are privy to a few subplots as well that come into focus soon. The first is that Alex has an assistant named Carolyn, and Carolyn is a widow. Carolyn’s husband was a cop, and she’s just starting to date his old partner Ollie, the partner is the one who killed Carolyn’s husband and covered it up. Luckily Alex has a buddy on the force named Bratton, and he’s is zeroing in on the proof of Ollie being a murderer. We also find out about two young super-powered robbers by the names of Nitro Grrl and Doctor Shock. They’ve been robbing their way across the South West and now they’re in Los Angeles (by the way, Alex is based out of L.A. but he spends so much time outside of it, it’s easy to forget.) The latest target of Nitro Grrl and Doctor Shock is an electronics store that happens to have a large safe in the back. What’s in that safe? A ton of money. Who’s money? Johnny Pepper’s, because he’s been using the electronics shop as a way to launder that money! Uh-oh!

HazardIssue003Alright, I skimmed over something earlier, and that’s how Alex got put on the trail of Leo Kyle in the first place which lead to all this… well you know, mess. It was a fellow bailsman by the name of Al. While it didn’t seem all that important then it turns out to be important when we learn that it was Al who sold Alex out to Dr. D’Oro! After exacting some revenge on Al, and taking the money that Dr. D’Oro had paid Al, Alex gets a number from Al that could put him on a new lead.

So while Alex is using this number to find a connection to Dr. D’Oro, Johnny Pepper has found Nitro Grrl and Doctor Shock and made them a deal. The deal is that they have to hunt down and take out Alex. These two aren’t the smartest, they’re just kids, and they do have a bit of trouble keeping track of him. Hell, he even manages to sneak up behind their car and flatten a tire! Alex gets away for a bit, just enough time to get a call from Bratton telling Alex he has the proof on Ollie, Carolyn’s husband’s killer, and to meet him at the pier to find out more. While this is happening Carolyn gets kidnapped by Ollie.

HazardIssue004So it’s all coming to a head here, Alex meets up with Bratton under the pier. It turns out that Bratton is as dirty as Ollie and it’s all a setup. Damn! They are going to kill Carolyn unless Alex gives himself up. While Alex is preparing to let himself be shot, Nitro Grrl and Doctor Shock finally catch up to Alex. The involvement of Carolyn makes them each think twice about what to do, but Nitro Grrl blows up the pier anyway because Carolyn isn’t near there. It’s a good enough distraction, and Doctor Shock manages to take out Bratton. Now Alex knows that the kids are here to kill him, and despite them murdering Bratton he isn’t sure if they will kill him next or Ollie, and Ollie is ready to kill Carolyn. Alex makes a tough choice and shoots Doctor Shock to prevent his own death, leaving him to save Carolyn. Only Carolyn doesn’t need saving as Nitro Grrl takes out Ollie. But there’s no time to slow down, the clock is ticking on Alex’s life. He’s got about a week to find Dr. D’Oro so that he can continue to live!

Continuity Corner:

  • In “Hazard” issue 2 we find out that everything that occurred on Gamorra and his nanotech implants was four days ago, that’s why we put this so soon after the conclusion of “Fire with Heaven”
  • The reason we truck on through the first four issues is that they are occurring pretty much over the next few days. By issue 4 Alex confirms that it has been three more days getting and he is through his first week, and needing to get to D’Oro soon! When we catch back up with Alex is “Hazard” issue 5 we find him with just 28 hours left to live, so that affords us a decent break to catch up with other books.
  • The end of issue 1 and the beginning of issue 2 are a flashback that occurs during the “Fire from Heaven” storyline. News about Kaizen Gamorra comes to Dr. D’Oro at one point, and the earthquakes caused by the Moon are ultimately what saves Alex.
  • The number that Al gives Alex comes in handy off-panel, and we’ll find out more about it and the results it got in issue 5.
  • The “feisty red-head” as I called her, comes back in issue 6. She probably would’ve been a main cast character if the book continued for longer than 7 issues.
  • I wish we could see more from Nitro Grrl. It’s a shame that Doctor Shock is dead, but damn I love those two dopey kids!

NEXT: “Black Ops” issues 3 – 5 by Shon Bury, Dan Norton, and Sandra Hope

WSU vs. the Wild Storm 22, 23 & 24

I know, the main point of this blog is to talk about the continuity of WildStorm Universe as it was from ’92 – ’11… but I really like doing this compare and contrast thing! I just thought I’d have some fun, point out some of the references/differences from the old WSU to the last set of issues of “the Wild Storm” that came out last year.

New vs. Old
Battalion / Jackie King & the Battalion Device

BattalionDeviceWe finally have Jackie King and the word “Battalion” used together. After using the device that Angie called “Scary AF” to take out Santini she calls it the “Battalion Device” and that’s as close to that code name as she’ll get.

New & What we don’t Know
OK, sure there shouldn’t be too much that we don’t know to come at us in these final issues. But there is one thing to think on: Did the Daemon also have creatures like Jenny Mei Sparks in the Bleed to protect it from the Khera? I only say that because these two panels mirror each other.

BleedHandElectricHand

The mission of the Khera is to get to a higher/better dimension where life isn’t so cold and brutal, why haven’t they used Bleed Space to get there? This might be the reason, but we’ll never know for sure.

Answers
Apollo & Midnighter’s Real Names
Names
While they find out their names before their Skywatch code names, they both decide they like the code names better, which cracked me up.

Terrance’s Kindness Saves Him
Terrance

It’s a small moment, but because of the kindness extended to Angie in issue 1, she makes sure that I.O. gets Terrance out of NYC safe and sound.

So Much Death
Santini, Slayton, Cray, Craven, Skywatch powered beings and various Skywatch & I.O. employees. Frankly, I’m surprised that Ivana gets away with only being arrested.

Skywatch & I.O. are both publically known
In both the ultimate revenge by Jenny and Angie, Skywatch can be seen and tracked, and files about I.O. have been uploaded to the internet. There is now no longer a secret power struggle on Earth between the two entities. With Jackie in charge of I.O. and Henry too paranoid now that he can be seen, who knows what will go on between the two, but for the most part, they are partially neutered.

DCU Connections
There’s mention of the Daily Planet again… every time it comes up and I don’t point that out again, someone does in the comments…

A Few Last Things
NotInTheVaginaBiz

I sometimes forget how hilarious Ellis can be… and then we get this page. I miss him writing any version of Midnighter & Jenny.

And I can’t leave without saying how much I enjoyed Jon Davis-Hunts’ version of John Lynch. This panel in particular cracked me up simply because of the art.

LynchEnjoysTheChaos

Final Thoughts
I’m always going to hate that the WildCats characters got written out of the ending. This feels pretty clear to me, and why not, they were to set to get their own 6 issue series to hopefully put a bow on their part of the overall story… but that’s just not happening. I would’ve loved for this to officially launch some sort of new Wild Storm universe. One where we’d get a 6 issue miniseries at lease once a year or more, either written by Ellis or guided by him. I still liked how “Cray” turned out and was really looking forward to whatever the “Zealot” title would be like. Not getting “WildCats” just seems like such a bummer, and a waste because we didn’t see them in the climax of “The Wild Storm!” I mean, yeah, in my heart of hearts I want to see this new version of the Authority with Ellis and Davis-Hunt on it, I want to see a Gen13 book with Lynch & Steven Rainmaker hunting down the kids and maybe a few teenage Gen13 style hijinks. But not getting “WildCats” stings, because I really loved this new take on the universe and even without my wishlist books, it seems lacking without that final miniseries. Are there a handful of unanswered questions? Sure, but not seeing Cole, Kanesha, John, and Adri in the three issues was a shame.

But ultimately, I have to commend Warren and Jon on a memorable and fantastic series that I thoroughly loved from start to finish! Thank you, sirs! And also all the rest of the crew like Steve Buccellato, Brian Buccellato, Ivan Plascenia, John Kalisz, and Simon Bowland that brought this series to life!

Where to find these issues:

More issue comparisons of the old WildStorm Universe to “The Wild Storm.”

“Gen12” issues 1 & 2

This entry covers “Gen12” issues 1 and 2 by Brandon Choi, Michael Ryan, Sal Regla, Luke Rizzo, Armando Durruthy, John Tighe and Peter Guzman.

Gen12-01coverIt’s Miles Craven’s funeral and everyone is celebrating the life of a well-loved public servant. Come on, the American people don’t know any better and don’t know what a right bastard he was! One man is tasked with getting to the bottom of what was really going on with Craven and I/O and that’s Commander Thomas Morgan and he’s working for Senator Kilroy and his group of cronies that want to fill the intelligence power vacuum that Craven left behind. They’re called the Intelligence Oversight Committee, and they mean business! So where to go first, why not I/O’s Black Razor director, Ben Santini.

Meeting Santini is no easy task, well I mean meeting him is easy, but he immediately has Morgan suit up with the Black Razors and go take on a crazy militia group. They do the job, Morgan performing perfectly, pretty much for Santini to tell him “You got the goods kid, hell you coulda been Team 7 material. By the by, I purposly kept myself outta all that mess, go find Alicia Turner.” With that, Morgan is on his way to the next part of his fetch quest.

Alicia Turner also doesn’t tell Morgan much. In fact, all she does is show off some fancy remote viewing technology and reveal that the Iraquis are “at it again.” I know kinda thin stuff that builds to nothing later in the WSU. Morgan asks her about the Gen-Actives and the picture of Cole she has behind her desk. All she does is kick him the name Joseph Brockmeyer and tells him to scram.

Gen12-02coverMorgan sets up a meeting with Brockmeyer to meet in Chicago and get whatever information on Cole there is to have. Morgan was a bit puzzled as to why Brockmeyer is so much older than Cole but lets it go the hear some intel. We hear a bit about Cole’s home life and him leaving it behind and trying to join a life of crime. Even though he was a driver for some small-time thieves, he drew the line at taking hostages and killing. This put him in the good graces of the FBI agent that was busting Cole’s new friends. This man was Brockmeyer, and he got Cole into the military where he impressed everyone enough to get into Team 7.

We then have Brockmeyer filling in a lot of life/story details about Cole. Like leaving and returning to Team 7 over the years, finding out his mother had passed and becoming a soldier of fortune. We even get a glimpse of what I suppose is the first time he meets Zannah. We then see Cole and his involvement from the first issue of “Gen13” vol. one, and the aftermath when he’s tracked down by Colby. Colby says some ominous words and then leaves, giving an opportunity for the rest of the patrons at the Hot Spot that night to reveal they are Daemonites. Soon into the fight, when all hope is lost, Zannah shows up and saves Cole. After that, Brockmeyer lets us know, Cole was never seen again. Morgan takes this information in stride and bids Brockmeyer ado. We then find out that Brockmeyer was Cole in disguise all along, and wondering how much of what he told Morgan was even true in the first place. (But, uh, it seems like much of it is true…)

Continuity Corner:

  • The Team 7 story we see in issue 1 is based on a real event, commonly called “Operation Opera” when the Israeli Air Force bombed the first active nuclear reactor in Iraq. The Nuclear reactor was started in 1979 and while there was a bombing that year of components meant for the reactor by Israeli actors, this is when that equipment was still in France. A full-scale bombing of the Iraqi site by the Israeli Air Force, as depicted in Gen12 #1 did not occur until 1981 and would be at odds w/ the WSU timeline re: Team 7 and their defection from I/O to protect the Gen13 children in 1979 in “Gen13” volume one issue #1, it must be assumed this incident occurred slightly sooner in the WSU than in ours.
  • The main reason it must happen sooner is due to Fairchild, Cole, and Chang being on that mission. If the Team 7 mission took place in 1981, Fairchild and Chang would still be with the Gen13 tots on Coda Island (as we’ll see in “Gen12” issue 4) after the opening events of “Gen13” volume one issue #1. Also, right after the 1979 event, Cole headed straight to the Hot Spot and encountered Colby, followed by some Daemonites, which lead straight into teaming back up with Zannah, whom he sticks with this time (so it seems) until they join up w/ the WildC.A.T.s in 1992 (in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 1)
  • We see a lot of the Team 7 members that we currently know the whereabouts of at the small Arlington cemetery burial of Craven. I figure most were still in the area after Cray’s funeral, except for Cole who went up to NYC, only to come back. It’s a little messy, but there’s no decent reason to put this before the WildC.A.T.s issues due to the flow of that story also following hot on the heels of “Fire from Heaven.” I suppose we could put the first issue before “WildC.A.T.s” vol. 1 issue 31, but the second issue is only a 48hrs after the first so while that may be enough time for the ‘Cats defeat of TAO, I’m not sure if it is enough time to account for the third funeral that Cole goes to that week. Also, the double dose of getting to know Morgan with both issues at once is good for the readability.
  • When finding out about Cole’s backstory we also see his two step-siblings, which will come up in the pages of “Grifter” volume two issue 2
  • Speaking of “Grifter” volume two issue 2, we also meet the real Joseph Brockmeyer!
  • Because we now have Cole in Chicago for this meeting in the Sears Tower (it’ll always be the Sears Tower to me, take that Willis Tower nonsense somewhere else,) we have him right in place for “Grifter” volume two issues 2 and 3 which also take place in Chicago which we’ll cover soon.
  • Getting a LOT of Cole and Zannah backstory here… but still not the full story of their initial meeting! Goddamn it WildStorm!
    colezannah1colezannah2

NEXT: “Hazard” issues 1 – 4 by Jeff Mariotte, Roy Allan Martinez, Gerry Alanguilan, and Edgar Tadeo w/ some help from Whilce Portacio

One fanboy's chronological journey through the Wildstorm Universe