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.