“Deathblow Gets Dusted”

this entry covers  the short story “Deathblow Gets Dusted” starring Deathblow from the “WildStorm Winter Special”

WildStormWinterSpecial_01Here’s a short story set in Columbia in 1985 concerning Michael Cray, aka Deathblow, on an assassination assignment. I assume he was sent here by I/O, but who the hell knows because a few things don’t add up. First, who is there with Cray? At first I assumed it was Slayton, but by stories end that dude is dead, so it can’t’ve been Slayton. Second, this dude is giving Cray orders, and we’d already seen in “Team 7 : Dead Reckoning” that Cray gets his orders directly from Craven. Did Craven let another government agency “borrow” Cray to pull off this assassination? Doesn’t seem like Craven’s style at all, but is possible. Also, there’s a super powered being lurking in those Columbian jungles, as Cray is soon to find out. Don’t tell me Craven didn’t know about this dude, that evil jerk knows everything! Hell, Craven would’ve told Cray to bring that dude in if he could! Not seeing Craven involved just brings up so many questions as to why Cray is even involved in this mission.

Cray is supposed to be killing a drug kingpin, while setting up the shot he notices a man that goes by the name of “the Butcher” is hanging out with the drug lord. Cray knows all about the Butcher, the man had a bus full of kids rigged to explode and ran it into a police headquarters. Cray wants to take this guy out too, his mission commander says this mission is one shot, one kill, leave the Butcher out of this. Right then a guy dressed up like a fancy pants mummy stabs both the commanding officer and then Cray. Poor dude didn’t know that nothing can kill the Deathblow! As Cray punches his body into dust, that dust begins to surround him, and as he inhales it, he goes on the trip of his life!

Seriously, Cray finds himself inside a real crazy hallucination. He sees the foppish mummy stand up and leave.  He’s running around some kind of old temple. Cray is smart; he gets what has happened and knows this is all in his head. That is until he finds himself on a bus flying over the bodies of everyone he’s ever killed. Also, it is full of zombie kids that are clawing at him. He asks the children what they want and they cry out for vengeance.

Cray wakes to find himself right where he was earlier, the fancy assassin on one side, his commanding officer on the other. The commanding officer, while dying, tell Cray that he still needs to complete the mission. Then he reveals that the Butcher is an informant to the government and is reminded that he is under orders to only take out the drug lord, before passing out. Cray understands this, but the phrase “one shot” from his commanding officer, and the phrase “vengeance” from the zombie bus dream kids keep going through his mind as he’s lining up his shot. Cray waits. He waits until he can take out both the kingpin and the Butcher with a single shot.

Man, this is a great short story. Allen Warner and Carlos D’Anada added something great to Cray’s life without taking anything away from the established character. And damn, if Carrie Strachan as colorist, especially during the hallucination didn’t absolutely nail it, well I don’t know what you want. The story seems substantial and looks beyond fantastic. This might be the most perfect comic short in WildStorm history.

Next Week : “Gen13” Preview by Jim Lee, Brandon Choi & Mike Deodato Jr.

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