this entry covers “Team One : StormWatch” issues 1 & 2 and “Team One : WildC.A.T.s” issues 1 & 2.
Alright, let’s kick this off with an explanation to a question that’s been posed, “Why does this come in your reading order after “WildC.A.T.s” and “StormWatch” have started? All the events take place before.” It’s a fair question, so I always refer to first page of “Team One : WildC.A.T.s” which is captioned “the Present” and features a contemporary Jacob Marlowe and Void speaking, as he says he’s thinking of his past. Then we get a caption that reads “the Past” and we flashback to a young Marlowe going by the name Saul Baxter. The use of the “the Past” captions continue through all four books showing that this is a story being told about the past from the present. Why not put it closer to when it was published? Well that is right around the lead up to “WildStorm Rising” and interrupting that storytelling inertia just seems sadistic. So basically I put it after a few issues of “WildC.A.T.s” and “StormWatch” each, so you’d know some of the main players and where their paths will take them.
If I ever got another question about the “Team One” books it might be “What order should I read these in?” The answer is, that’s up to you. I’m fond of reading “Team One : WildC.A.T.s” issue 1 first, followed by both “Team One : StormWatch” books and then concluding with “Team One : WildC.A.T.s” issue 2. There might be a better way to do this, but that’s going to include tearing the pages out of the books, mixing together and arranging them from there. It is more work than necessary (but I’d be willing to give it a go on a rainy Sunday.)
So yeah, this is the past. How far past? I’m never exactly sure, but I always think it’s 1962. Why? In “WildC.A.T.s” it’s been mentioned that there was an event that occurred that gave the Daemonites an upper hand 30 years prior to that series. I figure that since it’s set in 1992, you subtract 30 from that, and you get 1962. Also the letter pages say it’s the ’60s, I guess it could be any year in that decade, but 1962 feels good narratively.
So who is on Team One? We have a few folks we know, Henry Bendix as Think Tank, Mark Slayton as Slay, Miles Craven from I/O and Jacob Marlowe as Saul Baxter, a different side of the man that even he possibly doesn’t remember. We also meet Mr. Majestic one of the few “out” as well as traditional superheroes in the WildStorm Universe, having been a powerhouse of the Allies in WWII. Somewhat familiar to us is Lucy Blaize, because as it turns out, she’s Zealot, there is telepath Isaiah King, father to Jackson and Malcolm King, and John Colt who is [Redacted due to “Fire from Heaven” spoilers]. We do get two all new “good guys” with Regiment (musclebound guy-with-a-gun and an attitude to kick all the asses) and Mason (beat generation rebel who has a few tricks up his sleeve). There’s also Khasm, who we see for a single panel before Craven arbitrarily says she’s no good for the team. The enemies we meet are also a mix of known, new and kind of familiar. Helspont is back, looking suave in a trench coat over his armor. Slaughterhouse Smith is a mobster that can fly and shoot lasers from his eyes. Then there’s Pike, who may or may not be related to the half-breed traitor of the same name that we all love to hate!
Team 1 is put together because there’s been 2 different alien sightings right close together, but the aliens are being called U.L.F.s, unidentified life forms. One involved Baxter/Marlowe and a Daemonite attacking a submarine a military base. The second involved Slayton and a Daemonite trying to sabotage the Icarus 5 launch at Cape Canaveral. (Another tip that this story is at least likely early ‘60s, as Cape Canaveral is named Cape Kennedy in 1963, and remains so for the next 10 years.) So Baxter/Marlowe and Lucy/Zealot, both working for the American government decide that since the government is getting all hung up on U.L.F.s that they should get a task force together, not so much to stop the Daemonites but to also help cover up the fact that their are any aliens on Earth and especially the Kheribum involvement in its history.They know that I/O and Craven are going to be involved and that’s just a problem they’re going to have to deal with. Even down to his unimaginative name of “Team One.”
Throughout the short series we learn a few things about the participants. Zealot has some sort of romantic past with John Colt, and another kind of past with Slayton of the non-romantic type. We meet both a young eager Henry Bendix, but also his ex-wife for some reason, and she’s supposedly a weak telepath. Regiment is supposed to be a bit secret to everyone but Craven so he is shocked to see Regiment tapped for Team 1. Regiment needs regular shots of an experimental drug to stay as strong as he is. In fact, of the other “test subjects” that have taken the drug, all but Regiment have succumbed to psychosis. Regiment just might have be the first successful stab that Craven had at created a super soldier. Not sure what is exactly up with Mason, he seems to have a very dark side to him, and is delighted to find out he’s fighting aliens and that he gets to kill them. And I’m pretty sure that he erects a force field for himself at one point. I used to suspect that he’s the half Kheribum/half Daemonite that is Voodoo’s father, but I don’t think that history bears that out.Isaiah King goes from being distrustful participant to pants-wetting newbie once the mission starts. Hell, he just wants to get back to his wife and unborn first son, I get that, but they went overboard on how far he went from badass to baby on that mission.
To get to the mission we first need to see the bad dudes hook up. We have Slaughterhouse Smith zipping around, blasting folks and we find that he rose to the top of the mob using these powers. Helspont approaches him after this attack and offers Smith whatever he wants if they can work together to meet Helspont’s goals. Those goals, take over the Earth. After a few short words with Pike, Smith agrees and a plan is hatched. The plan, take over a missile silo, point the missiles at Washington DC and hold all of America at ransom. After breaking into the missile silo, taking it over and getting Team 1 called on them, the plan changes. The new plan is the take out NYC with the missiles and show America they’re not fucking around, so meet our demands faster to save other cities this same fate. Smith hates this new plan, but too late, all of his mob underlings have turned on him and now only serve Helspont. Do’h!
Team One shows up and starts kicking ass, but things don’t go their way. They barely manage to stop the missile aimed at NYC, and that’s the only real victory they get. John Colt sacrifices himself to give Isaiah the time he needs to redirect the missiles. In fact he has Mr. Majestic blast him and all the Daemonites and mobsters that surround him. So the missile’s navigation system is destroyed, with Regiment riding on top of the missile to redirect it, I guess. And… and… and… that’s all we really know, because the lights go out in the missile silo and the story ends there.
Knowing the WSU future, we know a few things about the fate of Team 1’s members, but what we know also gives us more questions:
- In the last few pages we find that Lucy/Zealot is pregnant. Is she pregnant with John Colt’s baby, or some different baby? Did that baby end up becoming a member of StormWatch?
- Is this when Isaiah King started to go crazy? How long before he is full blown nuts? We know he had to stay at least normal enough to have Malcolm and then raise both King boys enough that they know and have some respect for the man he was.
- How did Baxter/Marlowe fall so far down from where he was, to living on the streets in 1990?
- John Colt got a super eye blast from Mr. Majestic that was enough to kill the Daemonites, so he’s a assumed dead, but why does he look so damn much like Spartan?
- Is this the incident that made Mr. Majestic go into hiding, or at least start working very secretly, out of the public eye?
- Regiment survives his missile ride, but how did he get the experimental drugs that he needs to stay normal and kick-ass before we see him in the ‘90s in the pages of “Grifter?”
- Who really was Mason, and what is his backstory?
As far as the characters we have full knowledge of, Bendix goes on to create his own superpowered team between Team 1 and his appointment to StormWatch, while Slayton stays on with I/O and joins Team 7. Craven continues to run I/O and gets much more into trying to create superhumans to fight under his command as he grows him super spy empire. Things we find out about the WSU in general is that the Russians are several years ahead of America in telepathic research in 1962, which is a possible explanation for the three powerful telepaths that battled Team 7 during the ‘70s in “Team 7 : Objective : Hell.” So here we are, a bit more of the tapestry that is the WildStorm Universe. I’m glad that this was produced later down the line when it was, I’m afraid that there’d be some Extreme Studios or more likely some Top Cow characters in here if it had been produced any earlier. In my opinion the WSU has enough compelling characters and ideas that it can fill any need and stand on its own without any help.