All posts by bryanjose

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 26 & 27

this entry covers issues 26 and 27 of “StormWatch” volume one including the epilogue in issue 27

stormwatch_v1_26Alright, time to find out who the mystery man that shot Despot in the back was! Woo hoo! Aw yeah! And… uh… what? Huh? So turns out that blast didn’t happen? What? We get a full page rerun of Despot yelling at Timespan, word for word, and then… no blast? We even get the same “You may’ve beating Battalion, but you don’t stand a chance against me old man” line but no blast from behind before it is delivered? HUH? REALLY! All the text is line for line replicated but none of the action is!? That’s B.S. man! Ok, now that I’ve said my peace it is time to move on.

Looks like the mystery shooter is Battalion! I mean NOT the mystery shooter because he DIDN’T SHOOT THIS TIME! Ugh! For realz! Yes, I’m still on this! AGH! So, so, so frustrating! Ok, deep breaths… yeah, it’s Jackson King, back from the dead to kick his dad’s ass again. He took what he learned in his past when he was brought to issue 25 and trained in exactly in how to beat Despot. We also learned that Jackson faked his own death so that he could devote all of his time to his new mental training. I’ll admit, it was nice to see Jackson back, but man, I wish it could’ve waited a bit more. Warning, fanboying out time: I wish it was Malcolm finally overcoming his father and being the one to put him down. In issue 25 we saw him break away from Despot for a few minutes when he saw Jackson. I would’ve had Malcolm take down Despot (much the way we see in the comics already) but he’s channeling some unknown source of power. At the end of issue 27 or even later we find out that it is Jackson supplying that power to Malcolm somehow. Special King brother power or something. Jackson knew that he can affect Malcolm to break Despot’s hold, so we have them team up to take him down, only we keep Jackson’s involvement a secret for a few issues because it is way anti-climactic the way it actually ran. Oh, I wonder who the badass that just took out Despot after Jackson left. Oh, it’s Jackson… sigh… OK.

The fight goes on, it’s Despot vs. the New Battalion (he actually calls himself that), and he’s pulling out all the old tricks, getting in his head, using StormWatch and the WarGuard as puppets to bash Jackson up. Standard Despot stuff. Jackson eventually uses his new increased powers in conjunction with the downed SkyWatch circuitry to wrest Despot’s control over everyone near by. Jackson then starts to do a real number on his dear old Pops, right before Henry Bendix teleports in to pop Despot in the back of the head with a standard gun.

stormwatch_v1_27A standard gun you say? That’s not going to work on Despot! You fool! But it buys StormWatch enough time to teleport all of their personnel out of there and back to the U.N. building. Not that this is going to stop Despot for long, he gets to NYC from Death Valley, CA pretty quickly for an old guy that just almost got his head blowed up. It’s then that it is decided that Jackson and Spartan, the two StormWatch members that Despot cannot control, are going to fight him to the death. And to the death it is, for Spartan and for Despot. So yeah, that’s it for those two!

Before we leave, Timespan just has to dick around with Jackson again. Jackson is pretty pissed about it all despite it working as well as possible, and better than if he didn’t see exactly how the threat of Despot would rear its head. Before Jackson can give Timespan “what-for,” Nadia, the Traveller, pops in to give Timespan chrono-spankings or whatever. Timespan gives her the slip, then takes Jackson several months into the future and then leaves. If you’re sitting there thinking “WTF?” well buddy, I’m right there with you!

Continuity Corner:

  • For all my pissy-pants-ness I’m glad to have Jackson back! I just think it could’ve been handled better/different. When we do get him back he is noticeably less buff than we’re used to, which is how he’ll pretty much look from now on. I wonder if this was intentional or not. Not that he’s not muscular anymore, but he looks more like a regular tough guy than a body builder now.
  • In issue 27 we see several people watching the fight between Jackson, Spartan, and Despot on television, which means, I have some reading order rearranging to do!
  • Union home with Jill and not fighting, so that has to come after “Union” vol. 2 issue 6. Which means I have to push this up sooner in the reading order.
  • We see Slayton and Jack Rhodes watching from one of their safe houses. Since we know that Marc and Jack were staying together when Jodi started to live with them we can assume this is after “Backlash” issue 11 and they just went back to that safe house, no reason not to. We can’t really wait until the end of the next “Backlash” story arc in issue 14 because Marc finds Cray in his kitchen and Jack is on his way to Gamorra. So yeah, this all tracks, go me!
  • Cole is just hanging out with the television off. That’s my boy, making it easy on me!
  • Gen13 hanging out watching TV, yeah, this works too. As long as they’re in La Jolla, this is a pretty regular sight.
  • What kills me is we see the new WildC.A.T.s watching, which means this has to happen after the Ladytron special, “WildC.A.T.s” vol. 1 issue 21, and if we’re going to be fair also issue 22. I hate to push that up only because I like to keep the mystery of the final fate of the original WildC.A.T.s team for as long as possible, but it looks like it can’t be done. Issues 23 – 27 of “StormWatch” vol. 1 take place over the course of a night, while these issues of “WildC.A.T.s” take place over weeks at best. Looks like I’m going to have to push those up, too.
  • Whoa, Bendix is ready to take out Despot with a gun to the back of the head! Looks more like the evil bastard we’ll all come to know and loathe in the Ellis run of “StormWatch!”
  • With Jackson landing in the future we’re going to have 2 months of… ehh, pretty dull “StormWatch” until he pops back up in issue 30. The best things we get out of them are Flint and Swift.
  • Because of the crash of SkyWatch and the fact that we only saw StormWatch members rescued, this leaves a whole lot of evil bastards on the loose that didn’t bite it in that battle. This is why Slayton eventually runs into Talos in “Backlash” issue 23. Did the U.N. just assume everyone they didn’t teleport out died?
  • At the end of “WildStorm Rising,” it seemed like StormWatch was taking Helsponts body because they could properly confine it. I guess now we know how he got free to go back in time when we later see him “WildC.A.T.s” vol. 1 issue 45.

NEXT: “Union” Vol. 2 issues 5 & 6 by Mike Heisler, Pop Mhan, and Chuck Gibson

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 23 – 24

this entry covers “StormWatch” Volume one issues 23, 23 1/2 and 24, as well as the short story “Defile & Strafe : Homecoming” from “Overstreet Fan” issue 2 which occurs between pages 10 and 11 in issue 24.

StormWatch_vol_1_023We kick off this storyline with Spartan joining the team. While a few have some misgivings about it, he eventually becomes an accepted member of the team. And what a time too, as the team is getting ready to head off to StormWatch’s moon base (MoonWatch? LunaWatch?) to find out where Despot and friends are doing over there. They have pretty much been killing… oh, everybody! Just because StormWatch has shown up these bastards aren’t about to stop that killing either! Look out StormWatch!

Speaking of killing, we all know that it’s coming, that is, of course, Diva biting it. We also see Despot hit Malcolm with the psychic whammy causing Malcolm to turn on StormWatch, probably faster than he would have. Let’s face it, Malcolm has always been bad at running with the right crowd, in and out of StormWatch. But yeah, Diva she is trying to sacrifice herself to give the team the time to get away from the moon base, but that doesn’t happen. With her down Despot threatens the entire team and who steps up to challenge him? Lil Mr. Spartan of course!

StormWatch_vol_1_023halfMeanwhile, back on Earth, the UN council begs Henry Bendix to come back to StormWatch. He relents before agreeing, but this time it’ll be on his terms. Those terms being that there is no more UN council telling him how to run his team! It’s a big ask, but due to the circumstances, they agree. He’ll answer to the UN but not a bunch of bureaucrats. He has a plan, but it’s a doozy!

With the team all back on board StormWatch, Bendix gives Christine a little ringy ring to tell her what’s up. It goes something like this, “You’re a good Weatherman. Hey, I’m your boss again! And oh yeah, I gotta plan to finish off Despot! Whee! Get everyone off of SkyWatch.” That’s right, the plan is to stick around on SkyWatch just long enough to lure Despot and the WarGaurd (with Doreen & Stricture featuring Malcolm King) and then crash the whole thing into Death Valley because Henry is nothing but poetic in his large scale murder.

StormWatch_vol_1_024It’s a crazy plan… but it works… it actually works! Hellstrike stays behind to be the one that goes down with the ship. Actually, he volunteers for the job remember that he’s survived out in space before and heck, this is already his second lease on life, might as well use it to take out the worst villain he’s ever known. And like I said, it works! Despot and his cronies board, notice Hellstrike is the only one around, they go to rough him up and he sets SkyWatch on its way down! They seemingly kill Hellstrike and then start to panic like little babies.

Meanwhile, back on Earth (hey I got to say that twice in this write-up, rad!) Battalion shows up with Timespan. Time for issue 25 of “StormWatch” volume one to happen… again…

Continuity Corner:

  • Spartan expected his consciousness to get uploaded to another body after his current one got destroyed during “WildStorm Rising.” We all know Marlowe has a back-up with him on board the Kheran spaceship and the only other reason I can think that Spartan didn’t upload to any others was that he was out of them. I mean he did burn off 3 back-up bodies during “Spartan : Warrior Spirit” so maybe he was in his last official body and didn’t know it at the time. Luckily Link had his back to fix him up!
  • I’d always had the “Homecoming” short story falling in between issues 23 1/2 and 24 until I noticed what Despot told Malcolm on page 7 of issue 24 to remove his StormWatch uniform and find some other attire as he sees the uniform as offensive. Later when the two of them show up again Malcolm is wearing a dark navy blue jump suit. When we look at “Homecoming” we see that’s exactly what Malcolm is wearing. So, while “Homecoming” can narrative fit earlier (like I thought) the art in questions means it has to occur after page 7 of issue 24 and before they reappear on page 16.
  • Why exactly should “Homecoming” be read between pages 10 and 11 of issue 24? Well, pages 7 through 10 are detailing Christine’s report to Henry about the team’s escape from the Moon base. Pages 11 – 16 are all part of a scene that narratively would be hard to break up. It’s pretty much the only place to squeeze it in at all!
  • Oh, what is “Despot & Strafe: Homecoming” about? It’s a little two-page story of Despot trying to bond a bit with his son, Malcolm. They fly to Earth and go back to Despot’s hometown. Despot monologues and then kills two kids. It’s not much, but it does bring up the question of why didn’t Despot fly off of SkyWatch once it was in crash mode.
  • While this all leads to “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 25, I’ve always found it best not to re-read it again. Or if you do, put plenty of time between it and reading issue 26. For real, the recap on page 1 of issue 26 makes you feel foolish for spending time re-reading 25.

NEXT: “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 26 & 27 by H.K. Proger, Jeff Mariotte, Renato Arlem, Ron Lim, Keith Champagne, Rich Faber, Robert Jones, Dan Panosian and John Tighe

“Deathblow” Vol. 1 issues 17 – 19

this entry covers issues 17 through 19 of “Deathblow” volume 1.

Deathblow_Vol_1_17Reporter Karl Woodbern has info on Kaizen Gamorra. It’s information that Kaizen does not want to get out, in fact, the Gamoran leader wants him dead. Who’s a hotshot reporter supposed to turn to for protection? Why Rayna Masters of course! Not that Woodbern wants Rayna to protect him, or even her main dude the Sergeant-Major. Nope, Woodbern wants the protection of Micheal Cray more than anything! Here’s the kicker, Cray and Woodbern have a past and in the past Woodbern’s actions resulted in the death of one of Cray’s soldiers. Thusly, Cray hates Woodbern and does not want to work for him. Woodbern gets Cray to come around once Woodbern mentions that the information he has concerns Cray and is tied into files about Project Genesis.

Alright, then we get into some business with Woodbern needing to get his computer disk of information, but it’s all kind of too much. I mean there’s a strip joint and a stripper involved after all. And then Kaizen’s goons show up to shoot up the joint and kidnap Woodbern. While the goons get away Frank Colby and the Black Razor’s show up to spoil the fun. Rayna manages to intimidate Cobly into leaving them all alone, and the stripper hands off Woodbern’s info disk to Cray. Cray hits up his information buddy Henri Rothchild for help reading the disk, and finds more information on it than Woodbern let on! Not just information on Project Genesis but also about an organ harvesting program, Gabriel Newman and Cray’s Pops! Uh oh! Time to high-tail it to Gamorra!

Deathblow_Vol_1_18Rayna and the Sergeant-Major get into Gamorra by plane as Cray parachutes in, because that guy is bad ass always takes the hard road. Rayna pretty quickly gets taken in by more of Kaizen’s goons. And while the Sergeant-Major thinks he’s hot on the tail of these kidnappers, it turns out he’s been faked out too. Time to break into Kaizen’s compound. Not that he’s alone in that action.

As Cray descends down into the ocean to then swim to Gamorra after the skydiving (see, dude’s bad ass!) he recounts a previous mission in Gamorra where he met up with a freedom fighter named Mai-Li and took on a round of Hunter-Killers. Wouldn’t you know it that twenty years later, Cray’s contact for the compound infiltration happens to be Mai-Li! And damn if they don’t have to hunt down some more Hunter-Killers! While breaking in Cray and Mai-Li come across the Sergeant-Major. Ou boy Kaizen, trouble is headed your way!deathblow_18_trio

deathblow_v1_19So the Sergeant-Major, Mai-Li and Cray are hacking into Kaizen’s system to try and find exactly where Woodbern and Rayna are being held. First hurdle, they’re not together. Second hurdle, they’ve been noticed and the chief of security is throwing his big guns at the three of them. The Minotaur, Borgia, and Gila have been dispatched. They are the toughest of the tough, and come with their own Hunter-Killer army!

While things are looking dire for all our heroes, at least the Sergeant-Major has gotten Woodbern, and they’ve all converged on where Rayna is being held, the problem is the same as it has ever been. Mainly these: Kaizen, Kaizen’s goons. After the Minotaur kills Mai-Li, who was sacrificing her life for Crays, Colby and the Black Razors show up again. Seems as if they were sent by Craven, who was instructed to save Rayna and her employees by the First Lady of the United States. Rayna and the First Lady were old college pals, and Rayna used her influence to help wrap the mission. Though it could’ve gone sideways at any point, everyone is really lucky that Colby can get a job done. Too bad Woodbern is so brain damaged from his torture during his kidnapping that he can’t remember a bit of the information he wanted to protect.

Continuity Corner:

  • While it doesn’t weigh on our main character much in this story, we see Craven getting in trouble with Senator Killory about Project Genesis being reactivated. We’ll see more of Senator Killory later in the pages of “DV8.”
  • deathblow_17_tranceWe clearly see that Trance is in the shadows of Craven’s office. Posed much like when we saw him during “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue 2. And just like in that appearance he’s willing to give out information on the whereabouts of John Lynch. This time he’s seeking information about Kaizen Gamorra from Craven, where as before he was asking for information on Craven from Defile. Because he is in silhouette I’ve never really put together it was Trance before, but yeah, it’s totally Trance and I’m totally dense.
  • We’ve had a few references to some big operation that went down in Gamorra years back in a few past issues and here we have some flashbacks to it. Cray is with his Seal Team 6 team, so Tom Archer is accounted for, but I don’t see Armand Wearing at all! Maybe he was one of the kidnapped scientists?
  • No word if Mai-Li Tsung is related to the Tsung family we meet later on during “Fire from Heaven” but I’m going with a pretty strong “maybe” and am thinking it probably goes back a few generations. Third or fourth cousins at best for Mai-Li and the Doc.
  • deathblow_19_cybernaryWe have a small cameo by Cybernary in this run. While it was originally intended that when the “Deathblow/Cybernary” flip-book was coming out, they were occurring at the same time (this was in the letter pages) we now see that that cannot be the case. Those issues open with a Cybernary free of her creators running around before being captured by other curious parties and having her origin recounted. It’s not until her proper series begins that we even see the conclusion of her story concerning her escape from her creators. She recounts the escape story as happening in the not too recent past, which means for best reading, we should still put her books off a bit more to build some time between this appearance and the next. But how cool was it to see her and Cray in the same book again?
  • I like to keep this story line near the start of this section, just because it starts laying out a lot of what is to come in the WildStorm Universe. We learn about Kaizen and Craven working together. We also see that they’re working on a project concerning Gen-Actives. And we have Craven laying out his plan to hunt down the Team 7 members as well. Not to mention the first hint of what happened to Cray’s parents. We even have a doctor examine Cray and then start to refer him to genetics expert Dr. Tsung! There’s a lot of set up that slowly starts to pay off in the pages of “Deathblow,” “Gen13,” and the “Fire from Heaven” crossover.

NEXT: “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 23, 23.5, 24 and the Despot & Strafe “Homecoming” short story by Ron Marz, H.K. Proger, Renato Arlem, Darryl Banks, Robert Jones, John Lowe, Art Thibert and Dan Panosian

WSU vs. The Wild Storm 6

The Wild Storm 6AI 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 is going with this new series, and honestly, I couldn’t be more on board for what he and his 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 earlier this week.

Here we are at the end of the first big story arc! If I wasn’t already loving what was being laid out here early, I’d be fully on board after this issue! It’s a doozy of a story and does manage to pack in a few references and a lot of explanations. I’m not going to deep dive into those explanations, as really, you should be reading the book!

New vs. Old 

Warblade & Wetworks
WarbladeWetworks_tWSWarblade_WSUWe have two references for the price of a single panel. Let’s start with Warblade. For “the Wild Storm” this refers to a two person team, where as a CAT (covert action team) usually consists of three or four members. This just seems to be a reference to the old WSU character Warblade who was a member of the WildC.A.T.s. I have a feeling that means we’re not going to be seeing Reno Bryce anytime soon as his code name is now a term for something completely different.

WarbladeUnit_tWSWarbladeBeard_WSUAlso, I’m not sure if the bearded guy was supposed to remind me of Reno, but he did. We’ve seen Reno grow a beard before, and we know that brown is his natural hair color.

Now on to the second part. So, Wetworks is a team in the old WSU but is also is a term for a military action that is going to involve some spilled blood. While there’s is no direct reference to the WSU team there is no way that Ellis just dropped this word into the script without being a sly winking son of a bitch. At most, it’s a half reference, and it made me laugh more than anything.
Wetworks_WSU

Answers

Adrianna
Adri_powers_tWSWe can never get away from new answers on Adrianna, can we? We now see that she, much like the previous WSU version of the character is in fact, silver. The former Adrianna would also take off her face, leaving just her silver body as a hollow shell of her form, and you’d see into her “face hole.” This new Adrianna can take off her face, as well as her hair and outfit because it is all just covering her liquid silver body. We also see that she has some kind of short form weather based powers along with her teleportation. I vaguely recall at one time seeing the WSU Adrianna become more of a liquid-like version of herself, but I’m having trouble finding the visual reference.
VoidFaceOff_WSU

IO & Skywatch
Jacob pretty much just spelled out how IO and Skywatch each run the Earth and outer space and it is pretty interesting. I love his explanation as to why they are at odds.

Jacob & Kenesha
KheranXray_tWSWe’ve got confirmation that neither of these two is human. We can guess as to whether these two are going to be the race from the WSU, Kheribum or Kheran, or something completely new. I personally like how they are described as “human-shaped” and not actually human, with everything inside looking wrong. This is a point that rarely comes up in comics. Superman is an alien, but he looks human. It’s always struck me as odd that he still looks human on the inside as well, that seems like a bigger coincidence than him just looking human.

One Last Thing
FireFromHeaven_tWSFire from heaven? Ellis, you hilarious bastard! Did not expect to see a reference to the name of that WSU crossover event at all. I know it was an important and serious moment in the comic, but it did make me smile.
FireFromHeaven_WSU

 

Also, new blog alert! DeFaultlines is detailing the real world conspiracy’s that Warren Ellis is pulling from in building the world of “the Wild Storm.” Check it out, bunch of stuff that I’d never heard of, or hadn’t quite put together yet! Fascinating!

Weathering WildStorm Voter Results

Honestly, I wanted to get into “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issues 17 – 19, but have taken a small break because I’m short on time. I just got back from a crazy ass weekend back in the Midwest and am currently getting set for San Diego Comic Con. Which leaves me not as much time as I would like. So instead, a quick update about the readers poll conducted a few weeks ago!

First off, 20 people voted! Hot damn! I know, this site gets lots of hits from all over, so that seems like a small number. I’ve found that it is not. This is time, out of your day, and not a lot of folks will take that kind of time. The fact that 20 people did, and that 4 of you took the time to make a comment means a lot. It is a pretty high number in the end, glad to see it!

It seems like the feeling is, is that I’m updating at about what is expected. Once a week, but twice a week with one shots or very short “not much happened” arcs. Cool. I’m glad we’re on the same page there!

Was surprised to see that you want to see all the covers in a given arc. I’m glad to do that, and have already started to include them! I have nothing against it, I was just surprised by this a bit!

I figured once I floated the idea of including some key panels you’d be all for it. I’d always toyed with the idea, but never went for it out of time obligations. As I’ve seen the readership grow I can justify a bit more time for such things. Also, after starting to do the “WSU vs. The Wild Storm” entries I’ve come up with a pretty quick way of getting that done. I’m going to start including these, as I can when it works with the entry and the story. Glad to see we’re all thinking alike!

To the smart ass who clicked on both the “I’m a crazy rich guy” options, well, if you’re not a smart ass and are actually a crazy rich WSU fan, hit me up on twitter @radjose. Also, hey, if yr going to be at SDCC this weekend, might as well hit up that twitter, too! I’m going to try and make most of the WildStorm related events, so we’ll be close enough to each other anyway. Might as well give each other high-fives and talk about WSU geekery.

“Backlash” issues 9 – 11

this entry covers “Backlash” issues 9 through 11

Backlash_Vol_1_9So Slayton, nice chap that he is, is going to spring Amana Reed from her incarceration now that he’s back from Nicaragua. Through CyberJack he’s found where she’s being held in preparation for her transfer back to Purgatory Max prison, a place called Stonewall Prison. He knows it’s dangerous, as he’s still on the Most Wanted list and he’s breaking into a government facility. What he doesn’t know,  is that he’s going to be running into Dingo again during this rescue.

Well, to be fair, Dingo will be running into Reed first, as she’s being chased by the aptly named Chasers. It doesn’t take long before the trio all meet up and take the hell off. Even though they just escaped the Chasers they all split up. Dingo’s done due to his stealth mission for info busted up, but as we’ll find out later, his real job was to free Reed, attach a tracker to her, follow her to Slayton. He did one better and got it on the target directly. Amanda leaves because she got all “I don’t need you to fight my battles, Marc” leaving Slayton to go hang with CyberJack. This could be a relaxing time, save for Slayton’s apparent long lost daughter, Jodi, showing up!

Backlash_Vol_1_10Turns out Slayton did the nasty in the pasty with Jodi’s mom. 1980 to be exact. So he thinks it’s plausible. He even thinks to himself that even if Jodi isn’t his, he still owes it to her dead mom, his past love, to take care of Jodi. Awwwww, so sweet. The biggest thing we miss when we’re not seeing Slayton in “Backlash” or “WildCore” is seeing his sweet side. He can be such a lovable guy, but he usually chooses to ignore those impulses.

The next day CyberJack goes to pick up more supplies for the new safe house.  Also, Slayton decides to take Jodi to Coney Island for a day of fun. This is when the Kindred start to track the homing beacon Dingo placed on Slayton during the Amanda rescue. They arrive at an empty house. The Kindred, in this case, are Fennix, Kamin, Slider, the aforementioned Dingo and of course their leader, Bloodmoon. As Jack gets home he sees it being ransacked, before he can roll into action the creatures all leave. During this their tearing of the place down,  they find Slayton’s note about being at Coney Island and they head off to confront him there.

Backlash_Vol_1_11Well, it’s not hard to catch a man when it’s five against one, so the Kindred just the best of old man Slayton. Bloodmoon’s plan is to get some of Slayton’s blood, look more into the Gen-Factor contained in his blood to refine the Kindred process. Unfortunately for them, the Gen-Factor has been mutated by Slayton’s Kheribum genetics. But hey, the got Jodi and low and behold, her blood just might work. This upset Dingo, it’s not what he signed on for, hurting innocent girls. In fact, if it wasn’t for his change of heart, Slayton and Jodi wouldn’t have gotten out of that mess at all. I mean Slayton did do some damage after escaping from his shackles, and Jodi did manifest her Gen-Active powers during the fight, but Dingo saved the day in the end.

Continuity Corner :

  • During a battle with the Chaser Gaze Slayton start seeing more of his past. There’s a shot of him as a samurai in Japan which we’ll see more of in “Backlash” issue 14, as well as Gaze and Slayton stating there’s block in his memories, and they aren’t sure why. I mean, we know why, but not how or by whom.
  • At the end of the big fight with the Kindred, we only see Bloodmoon and Slider get away. I assume Fennix is dead from her gunshot wounds and Kamin just kind of disappears. Never sure what the final fate of those two was. EDIT: reader DAMartin points out that Kamin was electrocuted. And I’m ashamed as to where my head was at while writing this, because, yeah, it’s right there, blatantly on the page! Thanks DAMartin!
  • Throughout these issues both Slayton and CyberJack keep making mention of how Giavonni can help them out. We’ll meet Giavonni soon.

NEXT : “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issues 17 through 19 by Brandon Choi, Mel Rubi, Duncan Rouleau, Shawn McManus, Trevor Scott, Rick Magyar and John Tighe

“Grifter” Vol. 1 issues 2 – 6

this entry cover issues 2 through 6 of the first volume of “Grifter”

Grifter_v1_002The story picks up in Nicaragua, right in the aftermath of the “WildStorm Rising” cross-over. StormWatch is headed back to SkyWatch, supposedly with Slayton, and Wetworks is headed back to the States, supposedly with Cray. Dane not only offers Cole a ride home with him but also offers him a position on his team. Not being one for charity Cole turns him down. Dane forces some cash on Cole so that he can at least get home, and Cole considers it a loan.

It doesn’t take too long for Cole to find trouble in a small Nicaraguan town. This trouble is named Luiz Pacheco, and he calls a bunch of armor-suited hooligans on Cole. Pacheco is a member of the Nicaraguan secret police, and he’s calling in these hooligans for Neo who studies and tries to replicate fancy pants weaponry. The armor suits are evidence of Neo’s work, they’re close, but not quite. Turns out that Neo has had his eyes on Cole’s VADs and needs them stolen so he can study them. Neo totally gets away with the VADs after Cole is knocked out by previously mentioned hooligans.

Even though Cole was knocked down and couldn’t move while his VADs were being stolen, he could still hear, so he knows enough to follow Neo to Taipei, Taiwan. He is still recovering from the beating he took during “WildStorm Rising” as well as from Neo’s hooligan force. After passing out on the plane ride, he is woken up and proceeds to head to an old girlfriend’s place. Her name is Yim, an ex of Cole’s and boy is she a sass machine! She gives him a hard time, but ultimately she takes care of him… in more ways that one. Oh my!

After a rest, Cole steps out while Yim naps and is on the look out for Neo. Neo, being a very subtle kind of chap has a building with his name plastered all over it. While Cole is checking out the place from a nearby tea house he is stopped by Zaijian. Zaijian turns out to be Yim’s current boyfriend, and he saw Cole leave her place! Uh oh! Cole talks his way out of getting a beatdown (or worse) from Zaijian and then proceeds to break into Neo’s warehouse. Cole manages to find his VADs and encounter Koko, the fattest cat in the WildStorm Universe. As he is taking his VADs back an alarm goes off, while he’s searching for a place to hide, he spies a warhead trigger. Cole’s got a bad feeling about what Neo’s been up to.

So Neo is making a warhead trigger for an evil jack-wagon named Diabolik. Diabolik wants to blow up all of Japan because he had a bad time with a Japanese doctor. Alright, to be fair to Diabolik, this Japanese doctor did make him the abomination of a man he is today. Sure, he can now live on land as well as water, but the cost was too damn high in the end. So Diabolik, in a pretty much racist fashion, decides all of the Japanese are evil and must be blowed up. So Diabolik shows up at Neo’s warehouse, but before Diabolik can get away that warhead trigger from Neo, Cole makes his presence known. Diabolik not sure what to do starts using his crazy ass weaponry and hits some barrels full of explosive material, bringing the whole building down on himself. Also, Cole was on the balcony at this time, so you know, he gets hurt from a fall due to the explosion but doesn’t get a ton of rubble landing on him.

Zaijian, ever the nice guy, doubles back to save Cole. Not because he’s talked with Yim, but because he heard the explosion and just knew Cole was involved. Zaijian seems like a pretty stand up guy in the end. Also, it turns out he’s totally a secret agent too! He’s a member of the Temple of Confucius and they’ve been after Diabolik for awhile. The Temple decides to hire Cole as a contractor to help Zaijian take down Diabolik once and for all because of course Diabolik survived the explosion. Cole has a plan and a good idea what Diabolik is up to. He needs to get that trigger back to where ever the warhead and missile are located.

Cole has the idea that the rest of Diabolik’s plan does not take place in Taipei, and surmises that Diabolik will be heading off to wherever the show is supposed to go down via a helicopter. There only so many buildings that have a helipad in Taipei, so that’s where Cole sets up his sting operation. It’s at the Sun and Moon Bank and while chasing down Diabolik a woman gets caught in the crossfire and is injured. As Diabolik is getting away, the Temple of Confucius are on him. Turns out that the helicopter was all part of the plan and they can use it to track Diabolik. Cole tells Zaijian to use his paycheck to make sure that the woman who got injured is cared for, then he and Zaijian take off in jet pack/glider thingies and land on the island Diabolik has set up for his missile launch.

So, Diabolik is ready to pound Japan with a gigantor missile. On this island is an old friend of Diabolik’s named Dr. Denning. It looks like Dr. Denning is being held captive by Diabolik. Not so, the good doctor is already dead. Diabolik just kept Denning around because he technically owned the island, and Big D thought that Denning actually understood his hatred of the Japanese. Cole and Diabolik spar and Cole eventually gets the upper hand. He also figures out where the missile is so that Zaijian’s T. of C. buddies can take care of it. With the battle all but over, and the island starting to blow up for… reasons… Zaijian and Cole find only one of the jet pack/glider things in working order. Cole is ready to let Zaijian have it when Zaijian grabs Cole’s arms and flies off the island with him. Eventually, the weight is too much and with the explosions over Cole tells Zaijian to drop him and come back later with help. Zaijian complies, and drops Cole into the ocean with the warning “Watch out for the sharks.”

Grifter_v1_005Cole ends up being caught in a Japan tuna fishing boat net. The Japanese sailors get him back to Japan and the first place Cole heads is the Tokyo I/O office. He confronts the head of the office, a man by the name of Crenshaw, and asks for help getting a passport. This being I/O, there’s a string attached to everything. Crenshaw wants Cole to help in getting back Regiment, a Team 1 member that was sold to the Japanese for research and assumed dead. Turns out, he just woke up and is on a Hulk-like rampage. Cole says no dice, and storms out. He’s never working for I/O again. He then heads to a bathhouse and massage parlor. While taking his much-needed shower (he smelled like ocean water and fish) Regiment tears down the wall screaming for Craven. Like it or not, Cole is now doing a job for I/O.

Cole goes about kicking Regiment’s ass as well as he can. He gets the promise from Crenshaw that he’ll get everything he needs to get back to the U.S. as well as some background information on Regiment. Cole soon realizes how outmatched he is, and requests some bigger, badder weapons to out the big boy to sleep. While I/O is coming up with that tech, Zaijian shows up to help Cole. Apparently, the Temple of Confucius was called in to aid Cole until that requested VAD cannon could be delivered. VAD cannon in hand, Cole knocks Regiment out and takes his passport and cash with him as he heads back to Taipei with Zaijian. What’s Cole up to? Well, he wants to see the young woman that got injured during his fight with Diabolik at the Sun and Moon Bank.

Continuity Corner :

  • I don’t think Cole ever paid Dane back for that wad of cash.
  • We finally see the fate of Regiment after the disastrous Team 1 mission. He rode that missile towards New York City but was able to steer it off course to upstate New York. Not only that, he absorbed all the radiation. His passed out irradiated body was then sold to Dr. Tei in Japan, which is where he resided until I/O decided they wanted him back and he subsequently woke up and was brought back into the WSU narrative.

NEXT : “Backlash” issues 9 through 11 by Sean Ruffner, Jeff Mariotte, Brett Booth, Dan Norton, Mel Rubi, Edwin Rosell and Sandra Hope