All posts by bryanjose

“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.

theReveal

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.

DadAlive

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…

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

“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

Don’t Call it a Relaunch

Okay, yes, I know, I’ve been missing for… nearly a year? Umm… well damn! That’s not good, as I’ve never lost my love of Wildstorm, or my love of reading it, dissecting it and then writing about it. Things just get busy for me and projects fall on the back-burner for a bit and this was my project that suffered. So if you’re still here, thanks! And if you’re new to it all, also thanks for checking it out now!

So is this a full-fledged relaunch of the site? I’d love to not only say “yes” but “hell yes!” But also, I don’t want to lie. I do have a few things that’ll post up over the next few weeks, and hopefully, I can find a way to fit doing this on a regular basis into my life. I’m not going to make a promise that I’m not sure I can keep, but I will say that April should see a weekly post each Tuesday of some sort. Baby steps here, getting me back into the swing of it all.

Now onto the portion of this entry where I cover criticisms of Weathering WildStorm!

I’ve been told that my order here is “chaotic and weird” at times. Sometimes because I include every relevant story I can find or breaking up issues or storylines. Honestly, the breaking up of issues and story arcs is something I absolutely hate to do. I only go for it when I feel it is necessary for a bit of story clarity. Usually, I’ll leave things as they are if there isn’t a ton of information to catch up on, but sometimes I just gotta get in there and tweak a bit. Addressing including the magazine stories and other odd shorts, eh, I kinda wanted to be as thorough as possible. If you don’t want to read them, that’s cool, they’re fully unneeded, but finding places for them was fun.

This blog and reading order has also been bomb-barded with requests to find a place for every WildStorm cross-over. Honestly, to me, a lot of them seem inessential, or they contribute conflicting information. At worst they introduce some big continuity questions, despite being good books with great WildStorm relevant content. Off the top of my head are “Backlash / Spider-Man” and “Gen13 / Superman.” We have seen New York so many times, yet never Spider-Man, and we won’t again so that raises more questions than it may be worth for me… but we have Taboo at the sight of her father’s grave and that’s a hard scene for me to not want to include for a reader. In regards to the “Gen13 / Superman” book… well damn, they all know Superman and he’s so famous… yet we’ve never heard from him or seen him before and we won’t after. It is a bigger disconnect for me than the issue of Spider-Man meeting Backlash. It’s like a plot hole that can be completely paved over if we skip books like that. I’m still of two minds on some of them and I’ll talk about that a bit later.

Another criticism I take to heart (there a lot of criticism that I don’t take to heart and that I, in fact, laugh off) is what seems to be non-sensical order choices. I’ll admit that yeah, I don’t like to read the Team One books until after Jacob gets his memories back in “WildC.A.T.s” volume 1 issue 9, that’s just a personal preference that makes more sense in storytelling and reading for me. I’ll even admit that kicking off my reading order with the back-up story from “WildC.A.T.s” volume 1 issue 10 is very inelegant though. I never said this was the ironclad/only way to read these comics, but just my personal preference, rearrange as you see fit. On that “WildC.A.T.s” 10 story… maybe I’ll need a slight revise.

On the topic of revising: I only revise when I find I’ve made some kind of terrible error that inhibits the reading experience. This list is not concrete, it is evolving as it needs, to be as accurate as possible. As always, I welcome fellow fans to point out any errors they may see so that I can double-check, or keep them in mind when I get there. For reals, this blog has been made so much better because of suggestions from others.

Future ideas for this blog!

Currently, my biggest plan for the future is to get back to it. I think I may’ve carved out enough time to get several entries a month out of me to make this worthwhile. Not only for you but for me as well. One of the best parts of this blog is I never felt like I was typing into the void and being unseen, WildStorm fans are always up for some debate and supporting their fellow fans.

Secondly, regarding crossovers that may or may not work, but also including stories never intended to work. Sometimes WildStorm did stories they never intended to be part of continuity, and I’d still like to cover those as they’re usually fun. To that end, the idea is a reoccurring article called “Tales from the Bleed” to take on stories like these. Possibly every other month, or whenever I find something timely to talk about. This is kind of a gamble. It doesn’t fit the theme of the blog, but it also addresses stories folks have asked for me to cover. Is this a good idea?

Third, if you’ve gone back through older entries you may see that I updated entries with where to find these stories. It may be in trades or digitally, but I wanted to make it easier to find and read these issues even if you weren’t raiding the back issue bins of your local shop. I hope it helps to spread the love of WildStorm and help others get caught up!

There’s a part of me wants to do more articles about topics in the WildStorm Universe. In fact, originally this entry was going to lean much more into that after an introductory paragraph. I was going to talk about the main WSU, the post-2006 WSU, the sub-universes within them, a bit about WildStorm in the New 52 and “The Wild Storm” but as I typed it became, well, what you’ve read. I still plan on writing all that up, but it’s something that I’d like to do a bit more often.

Finally, I’ve also been toying with doing reading lists of certain titles. You know like all the books you’d want to read to, and in what order, for just “Gen13” or “WildC.A.T.s” stories, or something like that. Not sure the best way to make those engaging, but I’m sure you all will let me know if you support the idea!

Ok… with that out of the way, I’d also invite you all to ask me questions! Maybe set up a regular “Ask a WildStorm Continuity Geek” kind of thing. I dunno. Could be fun. Hell, it could be about anything tangentially related to WSU. Not sure, but I’d be game for that!

But for reals, you all are great! Thanks so much for reading! I’ll be back next week covering “Gen12” issues 1 and 2, can’t wait for you all to finally read it!