This entry covers “Deathblow” volume on issue 29 by Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, and Trevor Scott.
We pick up on this story with Rayna Masters getting ready for Michael Cray’s funeral following his death on the moon during “Fire from Heaven.” While she’s narrating what is going on, we keep getting the media’s reaction to what happened on the moon and in Gamorra on various televisions. StormWatch is very “deny, deny, deny” on all fronts. They’re saying there’s no connection between what happened on the moon and what happened in Gamorra, and moreover, there’s a peaceful exchange of power going on in Gamorra.
Rayna, however, isn’t the only one getting ready for Cray’s funeral. We are also treated to seeing all the members of Team 7 that are still around getting ready, or headed to New York for the event. Once in the big apple the remaining Team 7 members of Cash, Dane, Fairchild, Lynch, and Slayton meet up to toast to Cray at one of his favorite haunts, the Drop Zone. Meanwhile, the Gen13 kids and Jodi have to wait outside, because, you know, kids aren’t allowed in strip clubs.
Later in upstate New York for the funeral, we meet up with a lot of the “Deathblow” book’s extra cast members. Other than Rayna and the Sergeant Major, we get reacquainted Alicia Turner, Frank Colby, Alex Cray, and Sister Mary from the Order of the Cross. There are four people at the funeral who aren’t named, but from the looks of them, one could be Henri Rothschild and thusly two of the others may be his two young assistants, Balthazar and Yvette from the Bibliotheque. As for the last woman, I have no guesses on who she could be.
After the service, the funeral continues to the burial site, where both Alex and Rayna say many kind words about Michael. All of the present Team 7 members also say their peace while remembering their friend. Hell, even Grunge manages to say something sweet at the end of it all, despite being a total clod during most of this issue.
After everyone leaves the cemetery something crazy happens. No, it doesn’t turn out that Cray isn’t dead, not that at all. That’s far too “comic-booky” for this era of WildStorm. No, two mysterious men and a qeelocke teleport in next to the gravestone. One of the men scratches into the tombstone the same poem that Grunge was reciting earlier, before leaving, promising to continue to fight the good fight, lest Cray’s sacrifice mean nothing.
I like to put this issue directly after the “Fire from Heaven” story mainly because it is the denouement for that story arc. In reality, it is possible for the events of “Black Ops” issues 3 – 5 to go before this issue because we see that Lynch goes back in La Jolla before flying to New York for the funeral, as we see him, the kids, and Alex Fairchild in a plane over the Rockies headed there. But putting this issue here just feels and works better from a storytelling perspective.
We also know that “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 31 picks up very soon after the events of “Fire from Heaven” too, but due to Savant being in pretty good condition we know those issues have to come after this issue of “Deathblow.”
The moment where Sister Mary recognizes Cash and Dane is a fun one. She’s one of the few that remembers the events of “Deathblow” volume one issues 5 through 12, so she’s met them before, but they haven’t met her.
Of the two men that teleport in at the end of the issue, one is named Cain, while the other isn’t named. Later, in the pages of “Gen12” we will find out that it was Phillip “Bulleteer” Chang from Team 7, Grunge’s father. It is implied that Phillip taught Grunge the poem phrase that Grunge recites that Phillip then engraves on Cray’s headstone.
It is also implied that Phillip knew a bit about Damocles as well, and hell, his partner does have a qeelocke! Where ever this was headed never got much further, as we only see Phillip and Cain once more before the whole story-line gets dropped.
Speaking of dropped story threads, in this issue we have more flirting between Jodi and Bobby, something that started and was building up during “Fire from Heaven.” Poor Bobby, keeps getting linked to all kinds of girls, Rainmaker, Bliss, now Jodi and it never works out.
While Michael Cray is dead he still manages to pop up here and there. Mainly in the flashback book “Gen12” and then “Slipstream” alternate timeline crossover story where he’s a member of Gen13 with his daughter Rachel. Oh yeah, Rachel Goldman of DV8 is his daughter. Then there’s also this whole mess with a bunch of clones of him, too! Which sounds dumb, but is somehow awesome in “Deathblow: Byblows.” Cray casts a long and large shadow over the WildStorm universe before he comes back for the second volume of “Deathblow.” That book is… ugh… probably an alright book if it wasn’t a “Deathblow” book… but hey, he comes back again near the end of the WSU when the world is in its apocalyptic stage. He and Cole end up as members of the Authority and create some of my favorite moments in all of the WSU, so that’s awesome.
NEXT: “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issues 31 through 34 by Alan Moore, Jim Lee, Travis Charest, Josh Wiesenfeld, Mat Broome, Pat Lee, Rob Stotz, Richard Bennett, Trevor Scott, Jason Gorder, Troy Hubbs, Scott Taylor, JD and Sandra Hope.
This post covers “Fire from Heaven” Finale chapters 1 through 3, which includes “The Sword of Damocles” issue 2, “Fire from Heaven” issue 2 and “Deathblow” volume one issue 28 by Warren Ellis, Alan Moore, Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Randy Green, Jim Lee, Trevor Scott, John Tighe, Richard Friend, Luke Rizzo, JD, Sandra Hope, Troy Hubbs, Danny Miki, Sal Regla, Edwin Rosell, Art Thibert and Tim Townsend.
Alright, time to start wrapping this crossover coverage of “Fire from Heaven” up. By the looks of it, I took longer to write about it than the books took to come out. That’s… damn… didn’t expect to fall that far behind! Oh well, here we go, here we all go all the way to the moon!
Yup, that’s right, everybody gets to the moon via Void and some SkyWatch teleporters! I mean except for Cray, Dr. Tsung, and Ethan, they were already on the moon fighting Damocles, while The Sword, the Bounty Hunters, and some random Hunter-Killers watched. But like I said, everyone is on the moon now, so now it is time to kick some bad guy booty!
First to get done in is The Sword. Turns out that The Sword is an alternate version of Union. The Sword and Union are pretty evenly matched so… blah blah blah, fishcakes. You know what, Union wins, we all saw that coming, but how? Looks like Winter is back! Yup, remember way way back at the start of this crossover when The Sword tried to take out Winter? Looks like he should’ve done a better job because Winter proves his undoing. Union ultimately shoves the American flag left on the moon from the Apollo 11 mission, through The Sword’s Justice Stone and then takes The Sword’s… well, sword.
While this is starting to wind down, the StormWatch moon base is secured from the Bounty Hunters. Zannah and Jeremy seem to do most of the work on that one despite other heroes being there. Most of the Bounty Hunters get away fine with Jade being the only one who gets nearly deaded.
Meanwhile, Spartan, Hellstrike, Union and Mr. Majestic are fighting off waves and waves of various henchmen of Damocles. While putting up a good fight, especially since 3/4th of them are supposed to be the WildStorm heavy hitters, they’re starting to get overwhelmed. Well, looks like blind luck and clumsiness to the rescue as Dozer shows up in even more gigantic-er armor than we’ve seen before and literally trips over and flattens pretty much the rest of the enemies. Oh Dozer, you lovable goof!
Now back to our for real main event, and that’s Damocles versus Team 7 and Ethan. It is not going well for Team 7. Lynch and Cole are phasing in and out of reality and Dane’s symbiote is hardly keeping him together. Other heroes show up to join, but it doesn’t go too well for them. Cannon gets straight up knocked out and Void gets sent on a trip into broken space-time. So yeah, it doesn’t look good, but after seeing Cray take a savage attack from Damocles the rest of Team 7 get an idea.
It seems as if Cray’s Gen-Factor has made is obviousness known, Cray, well, is pretty indestructible. Now that it’s obvious, he starts feeling the rush of his Gen-Factor and Team 7 pull an old trick to help him amplify it. Cole, Lynch, Dane, Alex, Slayton and even Ethan gather in a circle, hold hands and concentrate together. It’s something they came across in their old Team 7 days. This not only helps amplify the Gen-Factor to help Cray get some extra strength but also helps give some of the Gen-Factor back to Cole, Lynch, and Dane.
Ethan leaves the power circle to help the charged up Cray fight Damocles because Damocles is one tough bastard. Suddenly the Qeelocke opens a portal that will vaporize anyone who goes through it. Cray is trying to push Damocles into it, but he still doesn’t quite have the power for it. Ethan wants to blast Damocles back into it, but can’t get a clear shot around Cray. Cray, knowing what is best for the world yells at Ethan to take the shot. Cray doesn’t see his life as more important than the rest of the Earth’s and demands Ethan to take the shot.
Ethan takes the shot.
Suddenly the book goes black and white and Cray is face to face with Gaby. He’s worried that he’s failed and Gaby lets him know that he did his best. Cray can’t understand what is happening. Then he sees the four men that lost their lives on one of his last few I/O missions and starts to get an idea of what exactly happened and where he is now.
Looks like Union and The Sword is another case of someone fighting an alternate version of themselves in this series. We had Ethan fighting the Miles Craven Gen-Omega, we had Spartan fighting Yon Kohl and Dr. Tsung doing what he can against Damocles. It’s almost like it’s a theme…
This is also where Union gets a back a justice staff, as his got lost in “Union: Final Vengence.” Good thing too, as he’ll need one again when he shows up in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 35.
In “Fire from Heaven” issue 2, we see Fuji on a few panels. My best guess is that he got restationed from the New York Crime War to the moon based on priority. Hell, for all we know, that’s what Ladytron is yelling at TAO and Savant about on the first page of the issue.
I keep looking back and forth over these pages and I looks like Amanda and Jodi didn’t go to the moon. That’s acceptable, I can see Slayton telling Jodi to stay on Earth and Amanda helping him out by agreeing to stay behind with Jodi. But I also don’t see Claymore… WTF Claymore! Where are you!?
When teleporting to the moon Slayton says “Holy $#%@! we’re on the #$%@ing moon!” which feels out of character for him a bit. Actually, any of Team 7 to be honest. Should’ve saved that line for Roxy or Grunge.
It seems like Cray’s Gen-Factor only kicks in when he’s dead. This is how he came back after being killed by those Russians in the “Team 7: Dead Reckoning.” This is also how he survived his cancer earlier in his own book. It’s been his power the whole time but he didn’t know it.
While Damocles’ takedown of Void is savage, it doesn’t last long and she finds her way back to the team in no time.
For me, Damocles always seemed like a weak villain to be the main Big-Bad of this story. The revived Miles Craven Gen-Omega, Kaizen Gamorra in general before the reveal of him being Yon Kohl and hell, even The Sword all seem like better villains. It’s like a video game where all the mini-bosses are better than the final one.
If this last issue feels a little anti-climactic… well it kind of is. Not sure if it was by design or what. The real final issue of this massive crossover is actually the next issue of “Deathblow.” Without it, this crossover feels very incomplete.
NEXT: “Deathblow” volume on issue 29 by Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner and Trevor Scott.
This entry covers “Fire from Heaven” chapters 12 through 14, which include “StormWatch” volume one issue 36, “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 30 and “Sigma” issue 3 by Drew Bittner, Alan Moore, Brandon Choi, Renato Arlem, Ryan Benjamin, Travis Charest, Kevin Lau, Jose Pimentel, Richard Friend, Sandra Hope, Mark Irwin, Sal Regla, Luke Rizzo, and John Tighe.
Up front, sorry for being MIA for a bit. I’ve moved (not too terribly far from my last place) and a celebrated a birthday, Vegas style. It doesn’t seem like much but it’s been pretty busy for me and I didn’t have time to give this blog my full attention. But now, well now is a different story! Now we’re diving back into the gigantic “Fire from Heaven” crossover!
We join back up with Kaizen Gamorra reminding StormWatch that they need to do their damn jobs and take out the metahuman menace on his island. He even threatens to call in the UN to rat them all out personally. Even as StormWatch and StormForce are uneasily agreeing to get with the Kaizen program do the Mercs show up wanting to join forces with them. While the team doesn’t quite trust them, Deathtrap reminds the heroes that the Mercs live on Gamorra, why wouldn’t they want to defend it? The uneasy pairing takes off to track down the combined forces of the WildC.A.T.s, Gen13, Team 7 and WetWorks (along with Union.)
So everyone is all caught up with each other and as the fight goes on the StormWatch and StormForce members want less and less to do with fighting. In fact, the only “good guy” interested in the fight at all is Flashpoint. Here, in the heat of the battle Flashpoint finally lets it slip that he has been working with Deathtrap all along! He lured StormWatch Prime to Kuwait to be captured. It’s pretty evil, then again it’s Flashpoint’s always been a bit of a jerk, so yeah, he’s an evil jerk. Might as well add stupid to that list too, because he takes on Jackson and gets his head exploded. What an evil stupid jerk.
Alright, now we have StormWatch back on the side of the angels, ready to take the fight to Kaizen. But he keeps throwing things at them. First, it was Hunter-Killers, then some high-tech drones, now it is a bunch of these Omnibots. Mother-One figures out a way to hack into their shared signal of the Omnibots and force them to self-destruct. It doesn’t work on all of them, but it thins the heard enough to give the heroes an upper hand in taking out the rest. With that crisis over another one is on its way, that huge wave that we saw getting going at the end of our last chapter of “Fire from Heaven” is now right off the coast of Gamorra!
Meanwhile, back in New York City, the Crime War is heating up between the New WildC.A.T.s and NYC’s organized crime families. The StormWatch rookies are not the help Savant was counting on. In the middle of the fight, Mr. Majestic just up and leaves, further pissing Savant off. Why did Mr. Majestic leave? Well, he saw something on television he didn’t like and had to get away to take care of it.
Back on Gamorra while a huge tsunami looms over Gamorra City, the Cybernary and her crew are breaking into Kaizen’s main base of operations. They manage to knock out his power and the combat drones protecting him. At this moment the wave crashes into the city, but Cybernary is lucky because Slayton is there to save her like she did him earlier in the crossover.
The wave hits, but not as hard as everyone assumes that it should have. It turns out that Mr. Majestic saved the day. He’s a smart one for sure, but now it is time to get down to business, time to confront Kaizen Gamorra… or is it? That’s right readers, the Kaizen Gamorra that we’ve known so far in WildStorm comics is not the real Kaizen Gamorra at all! In fact, it is an impostor that imprisoned the true Kaizen and took his place. This impostor is none other than (insert drumroll) Yon Kohl AKA John Colt from Team One… the one that Majestic killed by request back in the ’60s.
You know, the John Colt that had his memories uploaded into Spartan? So yeah, basically there’s two of this guy running around. The way fakey Kaizen sees it is that Spartan is no more than a cheap Yon Kohl knockoff. At first, Spartan wasn’t sure to believe all this, but he had been getting flashes of memories that he didn’t quite remember so it started to add up. Spartan sees himself as what Yon Kohl stood for, and takes Kaizen to task for being a fallen version of Kohl. Not so surprisingly, they are pretty evenly matched and Mr. Majestic steps in again to finish the job he’d started 30+ years ago, and kill his former friend and fellow Kherubim Lord.
With Kaizen killed and there being only one Yon Kohl left standing, the heroes start to speak of what Damocles could be doing on the moon. There’s a problem, morale is extremely low. Lucky for everyone, Spartan has just the speech to get everyone back into the ass-kicking spirit! That’s right, it’s time to head to the moon, bitches!
And that’s it for straightforward storytelling! This issue of “Sigma” and all the Finale issues are all jumbled in time/happening at the same time. More on the Finale issues when we get there, but this issue picks up shortly after Ethan, Dr. Tsung and Cray teleport away from Gamorra and back to California all the way back in chapter 8. We see a replay of Damocles’ abduction the Victoria and Celia Tsung. Other than showing us what we already know, we also find out about Dr. Tsung’s past including his previous wife and daughter, as well as his how he found the wee baby Ethan and how he started working for I/O.
Ethan, Cray and Dr. Tsung get their asses to the moon by way of Qeelocke to take on Damocles. The fight is just getting started when Damocles gets his helmet knocked off revealing to everyone that he’s an alternate universe version of Dr. Tsung. While this is shocking and surprising to everyone, even The Sword, it doesn’t stop the battle. What does put a big ole cooler on the fight is that Ethan uses too much power and accidentally engages a safety mode on his suit that basically turns him into a protected lump, unable to hurt anyone or be hurt himself. With Ethan out of the way, Damocles is pretty sure he’s got this fight won with no one else to stop him. Oh yeah, things are looking bad for Earth right about now!
When Maul approaches Jackson King they make mention of the bad blood between them. This being Maul “killing” King which in a roundabout way kicked off the last big WildStorm crossover “WildStorm Rising.”
After Flashpoint is killed, the Mercs are taken down easily, Razor even officially surrenders. I’m sure they were supposed to be taken into custody by StormWatch, but they must’ve escaped quickly because after this they’ll join the Crime War in the pages of “WildC.A.T.s” and that’s only a matter of days after the conclusion of “Fire from Heaven.”
We have a few pages in “StormWatch” volume one, issue 36 where a doctor lands on Gamorra with a plan to work for Kaizen. He has a new kind of Hunter-Killer with him! This experiment turns out to be bounty hunter named Alexander Hutton and he will be the star of the forthcoming book “Hazard.”
Finding out the depth of Flashpoint’s traitorous ways never quite fit well to me. Mainly because if he was working with Deathtrap, then all their dialogue near the end of “StormWatch” volume one, special issue 2 seems like it doesn’t fit. Unless he thought somehow that StormWatch was listening in on that conversation. Sorry, that’s the best I can come up with!
While there are a bunch of small continuity errors here and there throughout “Fire from Heaven” there’s a moment in “StormWatch” volume one, issue 36 where Mother-One loses her arm. In the next chapter in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one, issue 30 we see Caitlin Fairchild retrieving and giving Mother-One her arm back. A nice small moment in this massive and messy crossover.
Okay, I gotta mention this, somehow, somewhere Maggie Monroe and Capt. Lucius Morgan get off of Gamorra. Around this time some odd lights from the sky start to shine down onto the Earth and disintegrate anyone who it touches. Maggie, Lucius and some other bit players from “Sigma” get caught up in this. I could be wrong, but these characters are all dead now, right? What a lame way to go out for Maggie and Lucius!
Speaking of lame ways to go out… this is a pretty big revelation with Kaizen Gamorra actually being Yon Kohl and then being savagely beaten so quick! It just feel like a real loss of story opportunities.
Even though Pris is on the cover of “StormWatch” volume one, issue 36, she doesn’t appear anywhere inside this book. It was nice to see her though.
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! Admittedly, I have no idea where Ellis and Davis-Hunt are going with this new series, and honestly, I couldn’t be more on board with what they and their team are bringing. I just thought I’d have some fun, point out some of the references/differences from the old WSU to the new book “the Wild Storm” that came out a week ago.
New vs. Old
Marc Slayton / Backlash So we’re finally meeting members of Project Thunderbook, and the first is Marc Slayton. Originally in the old WildStorm Universe, Marc Slayton was both Kherubim and was Gen-Active, meaning he was double super-powered. He had shock white hair, psi-whips that came out of his hand, and he could turn his body into a mist. He was a member of Team One, Team 7, StormWatch and the leader of WildCORE, so he’s used to being on a team. Hell, in even in his “solo” series he acquired several partners quickly enough anyway, so you know, he’s not usually the loner type. The Slayton we find in “the Wild Storm” has a few things in common with the former version. The white hair is present, but because this version is actually old There’s even a reference to him getting his powers before going grey. He’s most definitely human this time, but he’s still gen/active which gives him his whips, but they come from the bottom of his wrists where it meets his hand rather than the top of his hands. We have a reference to him formally being a real people person who has now hidden himself away on a remote farm. This version of Marc is totally mad. He thinks that he should be allowed to eat the other gen/active results for Project Thunderbook and seems to be murdering people to send their souls to outer space based on a voice/being in his mind named “Carer.”
Levin’s Diner / a Diner in the Middle of Nowhere
John Lynch gets a bite to eat at a Levin’s diner, a diner in the middle of a desert. This recalls the diner in the middle of nowhere were Jakita Wagner first recruits Elijah Snow to be a member of Planetary in the old WSU. Not sure if this is just a storytelling tick of Ellis, or he’s trying to draw a parallel here to what Lynch is up to, or what may be buried out here in this desert. One thing is for sure, there doesn’t seem to be a dog adding flavor to any of the coffee in this book.
Gen/Active / Gen-Active In the old WSU being Gen-Active meant that you had either been exposed to the Gen-Factor or had a parent that was and you were born with the Gen-Factor. Basically, you were super-powered. The Gen-Factor is pretty convoluted, but it lead to several Gen-Actives running around the old WSU. In “the Wild Storm” gen/active seems to refer to the alien biology that can plug into human biology so that humans can become something more than human. This genetic merging is what gave Marc Slayton his powers… and also a wicked imaginary friend.
A DOOR! SHEN MAKES A GODDAMN DOOR! Ok, sure, it’s not gold and shimmery, but it’s Shen, using her magic to make a door that leads from a record store entrance straight to Jenny’s flat. Also, based on the colors we’re seeing here and Shen’s past magic ability, it is probably tied into the Bleed.
Khera / Kherubim Looks
We’ve been over this a bit before when Angie noted that the insides of the Khera that she’s met do not have the same bone structure as normal humans. In the old WSU Kherubim look just like Earth humans and could even breed with them. We see in this issue that Khera are shape-shifting humanoids who take up Earthling features to blend in easier. Oddly enough this was something a select few Daemonites could do in the old WSU continuity.
Jacob Marlowe and John Colt’s Relationship / Jacob and Spartan’s Relationship
In the old WSU Jacob and John Colt/Spartan’s relationship was close, extremely close. So close that once the original Jacob passed away, Spartan took the last name Marlowe and continued on as his son. Also, the original WSU John Colt was killed and the Spartan robot was built in his honor with Colt’s memories. Also, that version of Colt survived being killed came back and was super evil and then was killed by his robotic doppelganger. So yeah, this version of Colt in “the Wild Storm” pestering Jacob is pretty much all new. No previous version of the character acted like this towards Jacob. Spartan was always “do or die” by what Jacob said, only with Grifter being angry enough with Jacob to quit the team and at times Zannah begrudgingly following him (except when they were political rivals on Khera).
New and What We Don’t Know
How I.O. Will Respond to Mitch’s Death? Miles doesn’t want to go the diplomatic way and set up a meeting with Henry. Mainly because this really does look like a punishment killing. He’s tasking three CATs and has authorized a kill order for Ground Division workers. While he’s saying this he also states that he wants a plan on how to carry all this out with the resources he’s made available. It’s up to Jackie to decide how they will be carried out.
Who is the Cryptic Guy at the Diner? He seems to know things… Is there really a basement? I swear that in the last issue when Lynch said “Road trip” he was talking to someone in his basement, but I could be wrong. This could just be a madman talking shit, but maybe there’s some kind or prophesy here. Who am I kidding, this is a narrative story, he wouldn’t be there saying things like “Heaven’s Box” if it meant nothing. Waiting to see how this all plays out…
Dead Khera on Earth? Based on what Lynch has said to Slayton, it seems like the members of Project Thunderbook were merged with that of alien DNA found from dead extraterrestrials. After we see Colt reveal his “birthday suit” and compare it to how Slayton sees Carer we know that the dead aliens that I.O. used to create gen/active humans were of Khera. The question is, how did they die, and were they affiliated with Jacob’s team or not.
The Beginnings of Project Thunderbook
We find out through Lynch and Slayton’s dialogue about the origin of Project Thunderbook. How they found the dead aliens with the gen/active material. How they asked for volunteers. And even how Marc was ready and willing to be a part of this project. We’re not sure how the others got involved but I’m sure we’ll find out.
Carer, Slayton’s “Imaginary” Friend So yeah, Slayton is crazy and is seeing and hearing something in his head. He calls it Carer, which I think is just him parsing the word “Khera” wrong, Mainly because he doesn’t know or understand the word “Khera.” I’m not sure how much of what Slayton understands/hears is really what Carer needs him to do. Slayton reveals to Lynch that he is killing, but he says that he doesn’t consider any of the victims people. Could Slayton be killing other Khera and possible Daemon and then sending their souls into space because he’s misunderstanding Carer telling him to send the stranded Khera back to their home planet? How much of what Slayton hears in his head is really what the gen/active genes are wanting him to do vs. how he’s processing it through Carer.
We see Skywatch sending a ship to Mars. Henry seems to think it is barbaric that it’s going to take as long as a week to get there, Lauren is thankful that Jump Rooms are not so standard. We’ve had it said before that there are underground Skywatch facilities on Mars that they have to keep hidden from Earth. And I just put together that, duh, Jenny was on had to help Skywatch out way back in ’55 when they first went to Mars. You know, hence the lighter as a memento for that major accomplishment. Who knows what she did, or how she was involved with Skywatch in 1955, but she was there, on Mars, and Skywatch is going back there.
How will Skywatch Go to War with I.O.? Henry tasks Lauren with coming up with two plans for attacking I.O. One that shuts down some of their locations, and the same plan but it also leaves a lot of bodies. Lauren comes back later and tells Henry that she has his information, but she’s got a better idea. Her idea involves a list of actions that will take out I.O. and ensure that there won’t be a way of I.O. to ever gain back the control over Earth it once had. What will Henry choose?
Colt’s Alien Form So once a year Colt sheds his clothes, then shape-shifts back to his original Khera form. And he usually taunts Jacob with this? That pretty hilarious. What are the chances that this phone video falls into the wrong hands? I’d say pretty damn high!
We’ve learned before that there are five different clades of Khera. In this issue, we get a good look at the lowest clade, the ones with 8 syllable names with a “U” sound in the middle with Colt. We also see the one that Slayton is talking to, which seems to be a match in look, but a different color. I don’t know if that’s enough to be a different clade, or that he was merged with another low clade Khera. Several issues ago we got a look at Jacob’s memories and we saw a humanoid alien much like these, but it differed from the Khera we see here. It only had 2 eyes, a tail and a Cthulhu/Dr. Zoidberg like tentacle mouth. Could this be Jacob’s clade? Have we now seen 2 different ones in their native look? Is the Daemon part of a Khera clade or a rival alien race? So far the two Khera clades we may’ve seen look a lot more similar to each other than they do the Daemon, so that’s still up in the air.
In issue 1 we see Jacob attack Michael Cray with his spur, from his wrist. I wasn’t sure at first if this was biological or if it was some sort of mechanical device that Jacob had implanted. But looking at Slayton’s whips, and where they come from, I’m pretty damn sure that they are biological.
How Pris Knows Things Seems like the Daemon is influencing her dreams, and we know from the last issue that Pris sees things in her dreams about people like the Mayor. So the Daemon must have some kind of psychic powers in addition to some level of teleportation.
Getting the Authority Together We have Shen and Jenny Mei going after and picking up the Mayor. This… this makes me happy! They really only need to meet up with Angie and we have our new version of the Authority! Ok, fine, yeah, we don’t have a Midnighter or Apollo yet, but once Angie joins we’ll have an Engineer, a Jenny, a King of the Cities and a Doctor of the World, I think that’ll be enough to officially be a new version of the Authority.
Quinn Harleen Productions The “Challengers of the Unknown” is a Quinn Harleen Production which is a DCU reference to Harley Quinn / Harleen Quinzel and to real-world television producer Quinn Martin and his Quinn Martin Productions.
Challengers of the Unknown Another DCU property that has been re-purposed for the name of a television show in the world of “the Wild Storm” much like “Doom Patrol” and “Crime Doctor” before it. Based on the fact that we’re seeing the show on a tube television, and the original QM Productions was active from the ’60s through the early ’80s we can safely guess this is an older show and is being played from a VHS tape and not currently on the air.
One Last Thing Cute “Sleeper” reference! More in the line of products being named after DCU properties in this book like the Dr. Midnight cigarettes and such in issue 3.
This entry covers “Fire from Heaven” Chapters 9 through 11, which include “Gen13” volume two issue 11, “Backlash” issue 20 and “Wetworks” volume one issue 17 by J. Scott Campbell, Brandon Choi, Jim Lee, Brett Booth, Sean Ruffner, Jonathan Peterson, Terry Shoemaker, Melvin Rubi, Cedric Nocon, Saleem Crawford, Richard Friend, Alex Garner, Tom McWeeney, Tom Raney, Luke Rizzo, John Tighe, Mark Pennington, Art Thibert and Chuck Gibson.
Well, here we are again, covering the massive “Fire from Heaven” crossover! Here’s some good news, these three issues are pretty much told in real time, chapter by chapter. No more rewinding to find out how who got where just straightforward storytelling. But I have some bad news… it lasts for a few more issues after this. Then it gets back to the whole “all these issues are happening at once” tactic. Enjoy this streamlined ride while you can!
When we last left Team 7 and Gen13 they were in a big fight against Damocles and his pals, being backed up by Kaizen with the Minotaur and his cronies, and we just saw Ethan, Dr. Tsung, and Michael Cray teleport away with Qeelocke. It’s a bit too much for our heroes and they all get captured by Kaizen and detained. Before Kaizen can take them for himself, StormForce shows up to help and monitor the prisoners. Jackson King gets into an argument with Kaisen stating that because they were called to help, StormWatch is gonna help, and that means they take the prisoners.
In the detention center, things get a little more… well personal. Jodi is excited to see Amanda again, and Team 7 is happy to see Dane holding up. Alex Fairchild puts two and two together and realizes that Caitlyn is his daughter. They have a nice little moment until Grunge asks about his dad and Alex starts to tell him about how they smuggled the kids out of the country. This is when Lynch gets crazy mad because he just realized that it was Alex who kidnapped his son and sent him off, lost forever. Well, not entirely forever, as Alex tells Lynch that Bobby is his son. Whoa! Too much information and Lynch passes out.
Meanwhile, Damocles starts to put a few things together about this universe. While his motivations remain a mystery to the reader and those around him, Damocles kidnaps Victoria and Celia Tsung. Once the Tsung women are on the moon with him he calls for his doomsday device to be activated, just for a test run. It’s basically a huge rocket engine on the moon, and his plan is to smash the moon into the Earth and use the released energy to teleport him to another universe. Again. He seems to do something like this a lot from what we can gather. Anyway, like I said it was a test, so you know, the stars of these books still have plenty of time to get to the moon and stop him before he is for realzies about this moon missile plan.
Oh, and these three things happen. All of the WildCATs except for Spartan are immediately caught and thrown in the same prison as the rest. DV8 are wandering the woods of Gamorra and manage to secretly escape the island. Jackson King is starting to think that something is up, and is not comfortable holding so many good men and women hostage.
Back in the main narrative, we see Slayton and the Cybernary starting to check out the prison compound where the rest of our story antagonists are located. They are quickly joined by Spartan. Suddenly they are under attack by Aries and a bunch of Hunter-Killers, and they unleash their most terrifying weapon of all: Evil Mind-Controlled Pimped Out CyberJack. Slayton can’t believe his eyes, or his ears as Jack isn’t talking with anything but his fists. Luckily Union shows up to even the odds out a bit.
The fight between Slayton and CyberJack is massive and eventually leads us right into the prison. All this destruction and distraction turns out to be a good thing as is leaves massive holes in the walls and dead HK guards making for an easier exit for all the captives. At one point Flashpoint tries to stop them all, but he’s met with a knock-out mind ray from Jackson King. Seriously, Jackson is really getting sick of his shit. Slayton manages a few good blows to CyberJack that momentarily give old Rhodes back his mind. Jack tells them all to clear out, he knows what Kaizen is going to do and wants them all safe. What is Kaizen going to do? Well, detonate a bomb in CyberJack’s cortex. Yeah… devastating. All our heroes manage to get free as they take a quick minute to mourn the loss of a friend and ally.
Alright, everyone, it’s time for the team up of the WildStorm decade! Pretty much all their characters are together (save StormWatch) on the way to punish Kaizen Gamorra as a group! Seeing them in such a big mass together, sneaking around Gamorra, interacting with each other is a trip! This is the kinda thing that makes comics so fun. Well fun for me, the reader, not so much the characters. This trek isn’t so easy. In fact, at one point they all get surrounded by some new high-tech attack drones. While the fight seems all but lost, there’s a sudden save from a massive (and I do mean massive) Dozer from Wetworks being dropped like a machine gun blazin’ bomb. He saves the day and everyone soldiers on.
Back on the moon, Damocles readies his weapon for reals. That’s right, it’s time to shoot the moon right into the Earth. It’s go time! And of course, that means things going haywire on Earth again. We have more earthquakes! We have volcanos erupting! And we have an even bigger big ass wave headed towards the island of Gamorra! Could all our heroes be wiped out by the wave before they get to Kaizen? If the wave takes them out but also Kaizen is that a good thing? Wait, why am I worried about this huge wave THE FRIKKIN’ MOON IS ON A COLLISION COURSE WITH EARTH!
The first few pages of “Gen13” volume two issue 11 here is the only real retread we get of what we’ve seen before. It gives us a nice J. Scott Campbell 2 page spread of the end of the fight, this time branching off to see what is going on in Gamorra instead of following Ethan, Dr. Tsung and Cray to California.
We currently don’t know much about the Gen-Active child smuggling that Alex was involved in just yet, but we’ll find out all about it in the “Gen12” series.
Too bad The Bleed had yet to be officially “found” in the WildStorm Universe, could’ve saved Damocles a lot of time and effort.
While we don’t see an official meet up the Wetworks team being imprisoned with the rest. Those characters are suddenly there, in jail. I think a page or two could’ve been spared to address this… maybe even a single panel.
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, and frankly, looking at the view numbers, you readers do too! Admittedly, I have no idea where Hill, Harris, and Ellis are going with this new series, and honestly, I couldn’t be more on board with what this team is bringing. I just thought I’d have some fun, point out some of the references/differences from the old WSU to the last few issues of “Michael Cray” as we get ready for a new issue to drop soon.
New vs. Old
Michael asks Christine if there if Atlantis is real, she says that they (read: Skywatch) has never found it. In the old WSU Atlantis was real, and Backlash’s poppa was the king of it.
Dr. John Constantine Ph.D. / Jack Carter
In issue 6, we find out about Dr. John Constantine Ph.D., who seems to be a bald version of John Constantine. We’ve kind of seen this before in the old WSU, wherein Planetary we are introduced to Jack Carter. He starts out as a regular Constantine analog, but after revealing that he faked his own death comes back and is, well, bald. Versions of John Constantine in the old WildStorm Universe and in the new The Wild Storm books are bald, it’s a constant between the two. Good to know.
New and What We Don’t Know
What Christine is Up To
Christine is unhappy with both the Barry Allen mission and the Arthur Curry mission, as neither of them provided any information on how they gained their powers. Also, Christine is very unhappy that Michael refuses to use his team all that much and that he hung up on her in issue 6. She is frustrated to hell and back at his antics, but still is sending him to London for his next target.
Leon Loses an Arm
In issue 6 Leon loses one of his arms to sharks. Michael is pretty sure that there is something that Christine has access to that can help him out. When we first met Henry Bendix in “the Wild Storm” it was said that there wasn’t much of him human that was left. This speaks to some kind of technology that can replace limbs and organs. So yeah, Michael is probably right, not that it makes Leon feel any better in the moment.
Michael’s Doc re: His “Tumor”
Dr. Homa starts to surmise that the tumor is not quite what it seems, but not only that, she’s narrowing in on how it works. She thinks that it gives Cray exactly what he wants when he wants it. That’s why it saved him from Oliver Queen the way it did. Also, possibly why it killed that little mouse, as at that time Michael said he wanted to be alone.
the Tumor Starts to Talk to Michael
In issue 5, but much more in issue 6 the tumor, or whatever is growing in Michael’s head is starting to talk to him. It keeps calling Michael “the Host” and refers to Michael dying. It’s also saying that change equals death, so it might just be telling Michael that “hey, you’re going to change, you and I are about to become one and the same, and that’s a death for each of us, but our new whole will be awesome!” or something to that effect.
Arthur Curry / Aquaman The original DCU version of Aquaman was… Ok, it’s complicated. He was originally the son of a mermaid and a lighthouse keeper, then he was the king of the ocean and always had been. Either way, he still talked to the fishies in the deep blue sea and was really good around water. This new version is just plain evil and he and his family fancy themselves the lost royal family of Atlantis. Either he has spliced himself with aquatic DNA, or his family before him messed with him in utero to be born with the powers of aquatic beings. Either way, he’s got crazy strength powers and can still talk to fish. Not true royalty, but revered and feared by the locals because he is too powerful and nuts to cross. And by nuts, I mean that he claims to be beyond science.
Dr. John Constantine Ph.D. / John Constantine
To put a finer point on the differences between the two Constantines, this new one seems, I dunno, more of a psycho? I’m not going to sit here and tell you how well adjusted the original DCU/Vertigo version of the character is, but the one we see in “Michael Cray” seems particularly more unhinged. Oh yeah, and he’s bald.
One Last Thing
So when we see Dr. John Constantine Ph.D. at the end of issue 6 the first thing I’m struck by is the fact that this page is a call back to the cover of “Hellblazer” volume one issue 61.
The second thing that hits me is that this version of Constantine looks a lot like Grant Morrison! Of course, I think this is intentional. As noted above, the old WSU had Jack Carter, while a minor character, was still pretty well known as the WSU version of John Constantine. Also, I had noted that when he reappeared he was bald. This was a two fold reference in the end. The original script (according to Ellis) he just had Carter coming back bald. When John Cassady drew it, he decided to add the tattoos of Spider Jerusalem from “Transmetropolitan.” I always saw that version of Carter as a version of King Mob from “the Invisibles” with Spider’s tattoos. The King Mob character was loosely based on Grant Morrison. With all this in my head, re: Grant Morrison/John Constantine/Jack Carter, I was primed for a Morrison reference and was surprised to see this response from N. Steven Harris, penciler of “Michael Cray,” when I asked him about it.
When provided with some evidence Harris admits to the uncanny likeness.
Evidently, I guess I’m not the only one that was surprised by the revelation that this new Constantine wasn’t based on Morrison. Check “Michael Cray” writer Bryan Edward Hill’s response to Harris.
Also, because “Michael Cray” has been written in 2 issue arcs, that’s how I’m going to cover it going forward. So next time I type about it, it will be after issue 8 covering both issues 7 and 8.
This entry covers “Fire from Heaven” chapters 7 and 8, which include “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 29 and “Deathblow” volume one issue 27 by Alan Moore, Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Travis Charest, Ryan Benjamin, Trevor Scott, JD, Richard Friend, Mark Irwin and Luke Rizzo.
Here we are once again to talk about “Fire from Heaven” the biggest damn WildStorm crossover there ever was! Once again we’re hitting a bit of a rewind button as we see how the WildC.A.T.s team makes their way to Gamorra. We also start to finally see a lot more of that fight with Team 7 and the Gen13 kids vs. Ivana and the DV8 kids while Ethan is starting to rumble with Damocles!
The story starts out the night before everyone is arriving on Gamorra, the night that the original WildC.A.T.s team gets back from their space trip. Cray and Cole are hanging outside the Halo building talking about the old team being back and they see Marlowe walking out. Cole offers his condolences about what went on on Khera and even apologizes for his past behavior. None of this does much to stop Marlowe, the little guy just keeps on walking, away from the team, away from his fortune and away from this volume of “WildC.A.T.s.”
Marlowe isn’t the only one out the door either. Pris says goodbye to Jeremy and Reno and finally to Spartan. It’s an uneasy farewell, but hey, she’ll be back later after her mini-series. All other leaves of absence are short, like Cole taking off with Team 7 on the way to Gamorra to join the big crossover, or Max ditching the team after he wakes up in hospital. Don’t worry, both Cash brothers will officially be back on the team when all the time traveling starts.
As the members of each of the WildC.A.T.s teams (that actually stuck around) catch up with each other, Majestic finds out, and cannot comprehend the Daemonite/Kherubim war being over. Much in the same way that the old team cannot fathom why the new team is involved in this crazy crime war. Eventually, after a few insults from Zannah, what’s left of the old team heads to Gamorra to help their buddy Cole. As Reno says “We all need some sort of direction after getting back from Khera. I guess this is as good as any.”
The new team thankfully has some StormWatch rookies and Fuji to help them out even if the old team isn’t still around. Fighting in the streets isn’t easy, so it is still best to have some backup. Not that the old team is doing that well on their mission. In fact, their jet gets shot by the same space laser that’s been bringing down everyone else. Luckily Void teleports what’s left of the team safely to the island. Now that they’re on Gamorra, where are they going to start looking to help their friend?
Meanwhile the big Team 7/Gen13/DV8 fight rages on! Only being momentarily interrupted when Damocles tosses Ethan into the middle of it from the other room. Ethan calls all the members of the fight, despite the side, to focus all their energy on Damocles instead of each other. Before they all join in Damocles gets a good look at Dr. Tsung and cannot believe what he sees! Obviously, more on that later. Before he can do anything all the Gen-Actives start to pour it on. Despite some early progress in beating him down, Ivana wants all the DV8 kids to leave with her immediately. Threshold, but more importantly the rest of the kids disagree with Ivana and refuse to leave the fight.
Alright, let’s take a break from this never-ending battle to find out what is going on in the rest of Gamorra. We have The Sword out taking a stroll in Gamorra City and starting to feel very paranoid. It’s an unusual feeling for him. We find Slayton and Cybernary tricking their way into a Gamorrian listening station/data gathering location and shutting it down. But, most importantly, we see Cray finally, once and for all, take out Raymond LeGauche! It’s about damn time!
Back to the main battle and we see Kaizen brazenly stroll in and interrupt the whole damn thing. The kind of thing you expect from a conceited douche who literally owns the place. He pledges his allegiance to Damocles, excuses Ivana and the DV8 kids and then sics the Minotaur, Borgia, and Gila onto his remaining enemies. Ethan is drawing from all the Gen-Factor in the room and delivers a pretty big pop to Damocles! But wouldn’t you know it, as soon as that happens The Sword and the rest of the Bountyhunters show up to the fight.
One may think that having the Bountyhunters join the fight would be a bad thing, but not exactly. See, Hardball is still carrying Qeelocke, and Qeelocke escapes, and Qeelocke has a sudden interest in Ethan. About this time Damocles is starting to put the hurt on Ethan. While Ethan may be more powerful, Damocles has experience, and experience is winning at this moment. But there is something that can help knock Damocles down a peg or two.
Earlier, when confronted with all the Gen-Omega clones where the reborn Miles Craven was found, Cray set up a virus to shut down on the containment chambers of the Gen-Omegas, thereby killing them. This causes a psychic backlash that incapacitates Damocles. This is the moment that Qeeklocke uses to get Ethan and Dr. Tsung back home to Berkley, CA. Oh yeah, and why not take along Cray as well. The Tsung/McCain family are back together, and now Cray, Ethan, and Dr. Tsung can better plot a way to defeat Damocles before they face him again, willing that their sudden absence doesn’t cost the lives of any of their friends.
Other than Pagan, I was never able to figure out exactly who the other “StormWatch Rookies” were. Of the StormWatch team members, we only see Fuji, Pagan and then 3 nondescript rookies. Ok, one of them kinda looks like Blademaster, but not enough for me to swear by it, mainly because he isn’t holding any sort of blades. In “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 32 we officially have Pagan named checked for confirmation. We also get a name check from Prism too, but we never actually see him. Also, by the time we get there we also see Fahrenheit helping the WildC.A.T.s in the crime war, so you know, they may’ve deployed more help than just Fuji and the rookies after the main team gets back from Gamorra.
The reason The Sword is paranoid is that he feels like he’s being followed. Later we’ll find out that this was Union stalking him. It’s possible that he felt Union’s eyes on him more than any others because [SPOILER I JUST DON’T WANNA SPOIL YET, JUST ‘CUZ]
Part of me really wishes that these two issues were flipped in the chapter order. Mainly because the “Deathblow” issue picks up with the big fight that we’ve been having in Kaizen’s lab. Also, that issue ends with Kaizen either kicking everyone out or capturing them, while Qeelocke transports a handful of heroes away. Near the end of the “WildC.A.T.s” issue, we see an android report on the fact that several Team 7 and Gen13 members have been captured. To me, it would read just a tiny bit better if they were switched.