Category Archives: Deathblow

“Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 22

This entry covers “Deathblow” volume one issue 22 by Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner and Trevor Scott.

Deathblow_v1_022Cray is on the hunt for Dane. It’s either pure coincidence, or there’s something with “the mojo” that leads him to find Dane at the Korean War Memorial at Battery Park in NYC. Either way, it is a good thing, as Craven has indeed sent LeGauche after Dane and his Gen-Factor. Not only that, but the sickly Craven has told LeGauche to take some back-up with him.

Cray and Dane end up slinging back a few brews at the Drop Zone, catching up on old times. Cray catches Dane up on the fact that Craven is after their Gen-Factor. Not only that, but he’s already gotten Lynch’s. The boys decide they need answers, so they go look up Dr. Markus, one of Gabriel’s science/medical goons from the old I/O days.

Lucky for our duo, the bad Dr. Markus is also right here in New York. Dr. Markus realizes right away that he’s in trouble when he recognizes his two visitors. He hits an alert to let someone know he’s in trouble, but until his savior comes Dr. Markus stalls by giving away the secrets that Cray and Dane came to ask of him in the first place.

Dr Markus Rings

Dr. Markus shows them the genetic scans of all the Team 7 members. He also shows them footage of another Gen12 that had lost his Gen-Factor. That poor dude faded into nothingness after he tried to access them. Poor Highgain, rest in peace, brother. Then again, if you are anything like the other Gen12 that weren’t in Team 7 (and even and few who were) you were most likely a real bastard.

About this time is when LeGauche and Otto Bremer AKA Jackhammer show up to “save” Dr. Markus. Oh yeah, there’s no saving. First thing LeGauche does is flat out murder Dr. Markus. Bummer. Then LeGauche manages, by use of some crazy tool, to bypass Dane’s golden symbiote and steal his Gen-Factor. Meanwhile, Cray is beating the hell out of Bremer, before giving him the shock of his life, literally, to incapacitate him.

LaGauche is a d bag

LeGauche and Bremer get away with Dane’s Gen-Factor and deliver it to Craven. Satisfied that this operation went a bit smoother than the last one, Craven instructs LeGauche that his next target is Slayton. Craven also tells LeGauche to take more backup in the form of a group of Gen12s known as the Brethren.

After losing his Gen-Factor, Dane’s symbiote is going crazy, as his powers are out of control. Cray manages, just like he did with Lynch, to calm Dane down so he can hold it together. Cray doesn’t understand how he can keep helping, as he doesn’t understand his own powers. Cray’s Gen-Factor power makes him a tough bastard, and only kicks in when he’s dead. So no one really understand or knows he has this power except for the readers. Looking at the information that was left around in Dr. Markus’s office the Cray and Dane conclude that Slayton must be next on the hit list. The two need to head out East to try and find the man before the Brethren can.

Continuity Corner:

  • We get a replay of the Cray re-meeting Dane scene from Cray’s perspective. Neat.
  • In both those scenes, we have Dane saying “I… know you. Cray… Michael Cray. You were Deathblow!” After Cray mentions that the last time he saw Dane he was “doing a solid impression of a cabbage” the last they were around each other. Which doesn’t track. Yeah, we all know that the events of “Deathblow” volume one issues 5 through 12 “didn’t happen” (thanks editorial caption box) but uh… “Wetworks” volume one issue 8 certainly did (as did the rest of the “WildStorm Rising” storyline) and Dane recognized Cray right off the bat then. I get that Dane has some brain problems due to what I/O and the Blood Queen have been putting him through, but was Cray just pretending he that he hasn’t seen Dane in a long time because he wasn’t sure how Dane’s brain was doing that day? That seems off, but it’s the best I can do to try and make it work.
  • When Dr. Markus has the Team 7 medical charts up Cray noticed that Slayton’s DNA looks wrong. We know it’s cuz he’s an alien, but they don’t know. Also, I think we just found out that Cray has some crazy biology knowledge when it comes to the double helix! Michael Cray, always surprising you. Usually with guns, but sometimes with science.

NEXT: “Grifter” volume one issues 7 through 10 by Steven T. Seagle, Ryan Benjamin, Cedric Nocon, Roy Martinez, Chuck Gibson, Sandra Hope, Danny Bulanadi and Gerry Alanguilan.

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“Deathblow” Vol. 1 issues 20 – 21

This entry covers “Deathblow” volume one issues 20 and 21 by Brandon Choi, Trevor Scott, and Tom Joyner.

Deathblow v1 020Last we saw John Lynch he was being captured by a bunch of Black Hammers in Japan. Now we find out where he’s been taken. It’s a secret I/O base in San Diego where he’s being tortured by LeGauche. LeGauche is going to take his Gen-Factor. Yup, that can be taken right out of someone. Don’t you mind how! Craven even dipped in to give Lynch some shit. Craven wants all the Gen-Factor and is mightily pissed that Ivana took off with a bunch of frozen Gen-Factor pops and Lynch doesn’t know where the rest of the Gen13 kids are. Still, some Gen-Factor from a for realzie Team 7 member is more than good, and LeGuache extracts it.

Meanwhile, coincidently, Cray is thinking of Lynch. After the quick save he had in Gamorra from a bunch of Black Razors, Cray is pretty surprised to find Lynch not there. Colby informs him that Lynch no longer works for I/O which confuses Cray even further. You know things are bad when John “Company Man” Lynch defects from I/O! Cray explains to Colby about some of the stuff he saw on Gamorra, all the information about Project Genesis and Team 7 that Kaizen Gamorra had laying around. Cray tells Colby that he needs some help finding Lynch, but says he can put him in touch with someone who can.

The someone that can help Cray out is none other than Alicia Turner. She got a call from Colby and Cray, found out where to find Lynch and went to check it out before Cray joins her. Although she worries that this is either a trap or a means to draw out Lynch, she heads inside the La Jolla estate. Just about know the Gen13 kids finally show up after a long flight from Rome, and they are not happy to see a stranger in their home. Predictably, a fight breaks out between the kids and Alicia. It gets even worse once Cray is on the scene! Before too much damage can happen, Anna comes home from grocery shopping and is curious why the Gen13 kids are beating up on friends of Mr. Lynch.

EddieNAlicia

So yeah, time for some explanations! Cray learns that these kids are all the children of Team 7 members. Alicia discovers the location of Lynch. They learn about Operation Rebirth and that Kaizen Gamorra is mixed up in it, and that LeGauche is the man running the operation. And by “running the operation” I mean hunting down Team 7 members for their Gen-Factors at the behest of Miles Craven.

Deathblow v1 021On their way to rescue Lynch, Cray and Grunge come to a bit of a head. Grunge has been giving Cray a tough time ever since he showed up, but as soon as Cray mentions Grunge’s father things change. Grunge wants to know all about his Pops. It’s kind of sweet in a really sad way. Dude is just curious about his roots.

On to the actual rescue… it goes pear-shaped pretty fast with everyone but Cray and Grunge getting captured pretty quickly. Lucky for everyone that even a diminished John Lynch is still the definition of bad ass because he wipes the floor with all the I/O goons coming at him with what’s left of his Gen-Factor. He is even trying to use the Gen-Factor to try and locate the kids to save them. This isn’t as smooth as one would hope because Lynch’s Gen-Factor bugs out like we’ve seen before. This time Cray pops in to calm Lynch down and get a handle back on things.

LynchFactorOverdrive

Lynch, Cray, and Grunge regroup and put the hurt on LeGauche and the rest of Craven’s lackeys while saving all their captured friends. LeGauche gets away, and our heroes manage to get the hell away from the I/O base before backup arrives. Cray says he’s going to do what he can to prevent the other Team 7 members from having to deal with LeGauche alone like Lynch did. Lynch promises Cray that he’ll look through all the Project Genesis data he has to try and find out the latest scheme that Craven is up to. As Cray leaves Lynch and the kids he takes a page from their book and decides to stop Craven he needs to get Team 7 to regroup and work together again, like the brothers they are.

Continuity Corner:

  • How did Alicia know where to possibly find Lynch in La Jolla? I assume this is from the information that Trance gave to Craven back in “Deathblow” volume one issue 17.
  • Oddly enough, Cray knows who LeGauche is, but doesn’t know him well enough to realize that he was fighting him in “Deathblow” volume one issue 15. He still thinks LeGauche is locked up until Alicia tells him otherwise in issue 20.
  • Cray makes the same mistake I always used to make, assuming that the Gen13 kids are the children of Team 7 because Team 7 were the only Gen12s. Nope! LeGauche and his team of bastards (which we’ll start meeting soon) are all Gen12s, too! It’s just a coincidence that the Gen13 kids all have Team 7 poppas. The DV8 team seems a bit more realistic with only a handful of them having Team 7 dads.

NEXT: “Wetworks” volume 1 issues 12 – 15 by Francis Takenaga, While Portacio, Jonathan Peterson, John Ruzum, Tom Raney, Terry Shoemaker, Ryan Odagawa, Roy Martinez, Rick Bryant, Sal Regla, JD, Brad Vancata, John Nyberg, Gerry Alanguilan, Danny Bulanadi, Randy Elliott and Jeff Whiting

“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?
  • This story line 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: “Gen13” volume two issues 6 – 7 by Brandon Choi, J. Scott Campbell, Jim Lee and Scott Williams

“WildStorm Rising” Chapters 8 – 10

this entry covers “WildStorm Rising” Chapters 8 through 10, which includes “Backlash” issue 8, “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 22 and “WildStorm Rising” issue 2

Alright, let’s wrap this crossover up! Slayton gets a call from Diva at StormWatch. He gets into his Backlash gear and meets up with her at Jackson King’s grave. She catches him up on the plot of “WildStorm Rising” and states that someone needs to take down Helspont. So off Slayton goes, solo even, without even thinking much about it. Turns out, it’s trick! A tricky trick! That was actually Mr. White posing as Diva and it’s all part of a plan from Defile to keep Helspont too busy to be nosing around for that Daemonite ship in Nicaragua.

So Slayton is fighting Helspont. Turns out, he’s not as easy to beat the hell out of, like every other weak ass Daemonite that Slayton’s fought. Slayton’s no slouch either, but despite surprising Helspont a few times, Slayton basically gets his ass kicked on Helspont’s submarine and gets left in the drink. Lucky for Slayton he gets saved by StormWatch, who is consisting of StormWatch teams 1 and 2 as well as members of StormWatch Prime. StormWatch just got permission from the U.N. council to try and stop Helspont so they’re going after that jerk as well. Even though Diva is confused at first when Slayton tells her that she asked him to fight Helspont the first time, she takes him along to go and kick Helspont’s booty as part of a team. StormWatch loses that fight. Helspont’s tough, yo!

In the midst of the ill-fated fight against Helspont, Christine is trying to justify going after him to the StormWatch UN Council. None of Council think that the team can take down a mean bastard like Helspont. I mean, they’re not wrong… The Council, in their infinite wisdom, decide to release WarGuard and Despot to deal with Helspont. Because having the WarGuard run free has always worked so well in the past. Despot and the WarGuard immediately fuck right off of SkyWatch saying “Ain’t my fight, bro, laters. Hey, formally frosted fiendish friends, let’s go hang out on the dark side of the moon for a bit. From there we will plot the future demise of StormWatch!”

The StormWatch team isn’t done licking their wounds before they decide they still need to pursue Helspont. Helspont’s in his submarine headed toward Nicaragua, as soon as he gets out to get the lay of the land StormWatch is getting ready to pounce. But what’s that? On the horizon? Is it? Could it be? Yes, it is! The WildC.A.T.s and WetWorks teams along with Cole and Cray! And in the middle of them all, is Savant, Majestic, and Union unearthing the spacecraft. Only, uh-oh, it’s not the Daemonite ship, it’s the Kherubim ship! Whomp whomp.

So now, everybody fights. Well, to be fair, the good guys aren’t fighting each other this time. They’re just taking on the Daemonites. Hightower’s goal is just to get on board the ship and peace out, but he’ll kill anyone to get on it. Defile and Helspont still want the ship to use it to dominate Earth. Spartan is having those same thoughts and boards ship to use its weaponry to help in the fight. Defile shows up to stop Spartan and orders the brainwashed StormWatch Prime members to kill Spartan, then each other. They’re successful in taking down Spartan, but Sunburst starts to kick Defile’s control and Nautika breaks his spine before she comes out of the fog. Meanwhile, Cole kills Hightower, rushes to the ship and lands a hit on Defile. Defile has had enough of this noise and messes with ship’s core and takes off. Whatever he did to that ship has made it so that it’s gonna blow-up. Big time. Right in the middle of our heroes.

Jacob is not having this blood on his hands. He’s going to board that ship to get far enough off planet to save everyone on the ground. Jacob is no dummy, he knows it’ll take a Kherubim Lord’s authority to launch the ship, but he needs some help because he’s lost the rest of his Kherubim technical know how to street livin’ and booze. Zealot is the first to volunteer as she remembers a lot and is the only one who knows how to pilot the ship. After that, all the rest of the WildC.A.T.s opt to get on the ship. The ship takes off, Void promises to teleport everyone off if something goes wrong and they can’t keep the ship from exploding. Then the ship explodes. No WildC.A.T.s members are found teleporting out. Everyone leaves upset except Cole, he’s just upset.

Continuity Corner :

  • Spoilers, but the Kherubim ship didn’t explode, it made the jump to hyperspace or whatever. As far as anyone on Earth knows, they’re dead, luckily for us readers, they’re about to go on a pretty rad adventure.
  • Helspont has a damn submarine? What is he? Some kind of G.I.Joe villain?
  • There’s this moment when Helspont is fighting over the Kherubim ship and he’s all like “Oh, great, here come the half-breeds!” and he’s shown facing Maul, Warblade and Winter. We’ve seen that Helspont can recognize Kherubim ancestry on sight from his battle with Slayton in “Backlash” issue 8. Him recognizing Winter as part Kherubim is a fun easter egg, and one I’m glad didn’t get fully retconned with his intended lineage in the planned and canceled “WildC.A.T.s : Ground Zero” book.
  • This is the last we’ll see of Defile, Helspont and Hightower for quite some time. Most immediately some of the WildC.A.T.s will go time traveling and run into the three of them, but seeing as how Hightower’s dead, that’s it for him. Defile pops up here and there not doing too much, but comes back in a big way years down the road in “StormWatch PHD” and then keeps up appearances from then on out in the WSU. I’m pretty sure the next time we see Helspont is when he’s acting like a goofy perv towards Caitlin Fairchild and getting his ass beat by Tao in “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue 50. Then he goes back underground until the ill-fated Lee/Morrison team up in “WildCats” Vol. 4 issue 1.
  • StormWatch took the remains of Spartan, which explains why he’s on that team during “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 25.
  • Majestic wonders if StormWatch got anything of value from Spartan’s remains, as usually by now Spartan would’ve downloaded into a new body. The only reason I can think he doesn’t is that Jacob has the Spartan backup copy on his person, so it’s out in space with the rest of the original team. Sure, this means there’s two Spartans in the universe now, and it won’t be the last time either.
  • StormWatch also took Helspont saying they had the means to imprison him. Majestic doubts this, but we’ll never know because it isn’t long before SkyWatch comes crashing down and I have to assume Helspont escapes.
  • Cole stays stuck in Nicaragua, which kicks off his solo title that’ll have him ending up in all sorts of places before getting back to New York pretty much in time for “Fire from Heaven” to start.
  • We do get a two-page epilogue to the whole thing, with Savant and Majestic at the Halo Building talking about the end of an era. I have to admit, it is a pretty nice ending, and it doesn’t lead you to think what must come next. I had no idea at the time that “WildC.A.T.s” would even keep going, or that there would be a new team on Earth, or that the original team was alive at all! I appreciate that. It was a pat ending. A rarity! It seems like these big events just chain themselves together and go on and on with fuzzy endings at best these days. I know this makes financial sense, but a true ending like this feels pretty damn great as well as earned!

NEXT : “Grifter” Vol. 1 issues 2 through 6 by Steven T. Seagle, Ryan Benjamin, Randy Green, Cedric Nocon, Tom McWeeney, Sal Regla, John Lowe and Norm Rapmund

“WildStorm Rising” Chapters 5 – 7

this entry covers “WildStorm Rising” Chapters 5 – 7, which consists of “Grifter” Vol. 1 issue 1, “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 16 and “WetWorks” Vol. 1 issue 8

Good old Cole Cash is on a personal mission to find his old buddy Micheal Cray, who he is pretty sure has half of the MacGuffin Daemonite spaceship key/leadership badge, that all the bad guys are looking for. In fact, Defile and his minions are spying on Cole seeing what information he has. Hell, for all they know Cole has the key/badge piece as they only know a Team 7 member has it, but they’re also following Cole to see if he has any idea where Cray is, as they can’t seem to locate Cray at all. Not that Cole was having much luck either until he suddenly remembered Cray’s old shack of a house out in the wilds of Virginia.

After talking to Cray at a payphone (hey kids, remember payphones?) Cole decides it is best to start heading for Virginia. He hardly gets out of the phone booth when he starts getting pelted with lasers by some of the goofiest looking villains that WildStorm has ever coughed up. Seriously, two-tone (red and blue) tights under super boxy gold armor, with a small helmet that has tiny horns. It’s not a good look. But they, they have laser guns and flying sled thingies, so who am I to judge.

Cole manages to take a hit during this battle and keeps passing out. Each time he’s down he has a hallucination about his past. We learn all kinds of things about Cole’s life. Such as him running away from home, getting the nickname “Grifter” from Slayton, and leaving Zealot for the first time. Ultimately he gets it together enough to fight off the goons and steal a rocket sled/chariot dealy to get on his way to Cray.

What’s up with Cray? Well, he’s getting his Virginian shack all set up to be Daemonite proof. More booby traps set up around the property and more firepower contained inside the domicile itself. Of course, the Daemonite goons show up to hunt down Cray, but he’s pretty much got them licked. All except for Mr. White who is predicatively too cool for school about this kind of thing. All the other goons are using brute force and losing terribly to Cray. Eventually with most of the goons wiped out Cole shows up, talks to Cray and gets the bit of the key/badge Cray took so many years ago. Cray was using it as a door handle, ha ha! Cole takes it and takes off. Minutes later Cole is back… wait a minute, Cole is back? Oh no! That first Cole was actually Mr. White! Dammit! Now they gotta find their pal Jackson to bail them out of trouble, you guys!

Why Jackson and not any of the other living Team 7 members? Well, Cray and Cole beat some information out of one of Defile’s men named Harka that was still alive after trying to break into Cray’s place. Harka let him know about the plan and that Defile is sending a man named Bastion after Jackson.

Bastion finds Jackson at the grave of Crossbones. While pouring his heart and regrets out Mother-One butts in and warns him of Bastion’s approach. Jackson makes pretty short work of Bastion, but Bastion ends up teleporting out of there, by means unknown. Jackson then notices two other figures on his tail and scrambles the rest of the WetWorks team to his location. It ends up just being Cole and Cray, so it’s time for a team-up!

Because they now know that Defile has 1 1/2 key/badges Cole leads the WetWorks crew (plus he and Cray) to where Helspont was last seen. You know, the astrological research facility from the first major “WildC.A.T.s” story arc? Yep, that place! There they hope to find Helspont’s dead body and key/badge to make sure there’s no way Defile or Hightower can get to it. Well, they’re not the only team to have this idea and see that the WildC.A.T.s are already there. And since there hasn’t been a team vs. team fight in a while, it’s time for the WetWorks crew to get into it with the WildC.A.T.s. Yawn.

Once again we have superteam fighting superteam, that can only mean that Hightower is sneaking off again to grab a key/badge, just like he did in D.C. when the ‘C.A.T.s fought StormWatch. Hightower comes across what appears to be Helsponts nearly dead body, half buried in rubble, with his key/badge in his hand held aloft. Hightower says “Don’t mind if I do” and reaches in to snag it. Not so fast, Helspont was merely resting, you fool! Yeah, so with Helspont awake he taunts the fighting superheroes and this teleports away, with two henchmen that appeared out of nowhere.

Helspont being back is pissing everyone off. First, Hightower, who got a good neck ringing for trying to get Helspont’s key/badge. Second, the WildC.A.T.s who really don’t want to have to deal with that asshole again, especially now that knows the Daemonite ship has been found. And third, Defile, who doesn’t seem to even want to tolerate Helspont’s foolishness and wants to know if the Daemonite ship has been found yet. Much to his dismay, it hasn’t. Not just for Defile either, Savant hasn’t had any luck either, but she’s going to press on.

Continuity Corner :

  • Remember, Cray found that hand sticking out of the ground on that Nicaragua mission holding the key/badge that he broke off part of for himself back in “Team 7 : Objective : Hell” issue 1. I guess all this time that Cray was held the half rank of Daemonite Lord, who knew!
  • After “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 15 I figure Cray makes his way back to New York to check back in with Rayna about the Los Angeles job. After that we see him in traffic in “WildStorm!” issues 1 and 2, which seems to be like NYC, putting him pretty close to Virginia when Cole calls.
  • Jackson knows Defile becasue Defile is trying to sell the symbiotes of Crossbones and Flattop? What? Is this a plot point I forgot about?
  • Void drops the first hint that Jester has bonded with his symbiote in a way that isn’t immediately obvious and has yet to be made clear to the reader.
  • Look… Helspont is still alive… Yay… Really, Helspont… he’s just such a crap villain. He’s supposed to be the “Big Bad” of the WSU and he just never ever is. Does he even make top five? Let’s see, starting at the top, the five biggest bastards in the WildStorm Universe are 1) Miles Craven 2) TAO 3) Defile 4) Henry Bendix 5) Kaizen Gamorra (both of them). I mean Helspont looked cool, but he was such a crap villain. I’ll give him this though, he was better than the Drahn.

NEXT : “WildStorm Rising” Chapters 8 through 10 (which includes “Backlash” issue 8, “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 22 and “WildStorm Rising” issue 2) by Ron Marz, Brett Booth, Renato Arlem, Kevin Maguire, Sandra Hope, Alex Garner, Chuck Gibson, Sal Regla, Robert Jones, Terry Austin and Al Vey.

“WildStorm!” issues 1 – 3

this entry covers issues 1 through 3 of “WildStorm!” an anthology of short stories, some which were longer stories divided up between issues 

I’m just gonna start off this entry by letting you all know that I’m just going to break it up into the individual stories. I’m not sure if there is very much to tell as some of these stories are rather short. When it comes to short story collections, they sometimes work better if you divide all the stories up so that they can occur better with their respective titles, but in this case, the first three issues work pretty great all together like this for their respective titles.

In the Gen13 story, “Now Departing from Gate 37” we have Roxy and Grunge shipping a package for Lynch at the San Diego airport. While on this chore they witness two shady individuals try to kidnap a child. Of course, they save the kid, by crashing a helicopter, and also find out that the would-be kidnappers are from I/O! They figure the boy must be gen-active and that’s why I/O was after him. Roxy and Grunge tell the family, due to no one seeing them cause the helicopter crash, a freaking helicopter crash, it would seem that anyone from I/O would assume that the boy died in the crash along with the agents. Since the family is going to Chile, Grunge just tells them to stay there and hide, no one knows the boy survived, so if you keep a low profile you shouldn’t be bothered again by any secret government kidnappers.

The “Deathblow” story isn’t so much a story of Michael Cray, so much as it is something that happens while Cray is around. This seriously could’ve happened to any of the WildStorm heroes, but it happens to befall Cray. So there Cray is, stuck in traffic and there’s a crazy guy yelling in a Celtic language who rode a stolen horse over Cray’s car and busted the windshield. I’m not being rude, the dude is legitimately crazy. Of course, Cray has no idea of this until after he’s done kicking this dude’s ass and the guy’s doctor fills him in. Not that Cray seems to care, he just wants to know who to bill for his car repair. To be honest, this doesn’t really feel much like Cray at all. It feels a lot more like Brock Sampson, to tell the truth.

In the “Spartan” story we find the titular Spartan scoping out a factory that’s producing Hunter-Killers. In fact, they’re new improved Hunter-Killers! Also, Spartan’s not the only one, Ben Santini and the Black Razors are there too. No one is really happy about this “team-up” to stop a bigger bad and spend more time bickering amongst themselves rather than investigate the factory. Worse comes to worse and Santini is knocked out and the Razors aren’t sure who to follow. First, they follow Fleming, until they all decide he’s a dink and they start taking orders from Spartan. During all of this Spartan is having a crisis of conscious as to why anyone would follow him, a robo-man. In the end, the Hunter-Killers are stopped, the factory is in ruins, Santini is fine and Spartan learns a valuable lesson about himself and teamwork. Gag.

In “Taboo” we finally learn how Amanda Reed ran afoul of the Cabal and ended up in Purgatory Max. I’ll admit I had my doubts about this tale, but the creative team pulled it off fine. See, the Cabal was trying to trick Amanda into killing the doctor that first bonded her symbiote suit to her. Amanda, didn’t want to, she fled, and Pike finished the job. Once the doctor was found dead, the authorities reviewed the security footage from the doctor’s office and found Amanda all over them. They hunted her down, captured her, had her stand trial. She was found guilty and then sentenced to Purgatory Max for life. Well at least up until Slayton came to break her out.

Finally, we get Union starring in “My Enemy, My Monkey” a short little yarn that is… well, it’s about the dumbest story in these books. Union sees a giant cyborg gorilla being ridden by some kind of samurai lizard man in the middle of New York City. Union dives in to stop this crazy occurrence, only to find out he’s on the set of a movie. How hilarious. For me, it doesn’t track, simply for how damn long the fight goes on before the director yells “Cut!” Also, throughout the whole story Union is still treating the man in the gorilla suit as if he is an actual gorilla, and Union has never seemed that dense or ignorant before. Hell, he just saw the lizard samurai take off his mask, he should’ve put two and two together like we’ve seen him do before! Also, there’s a crazy fan that wants revenge on the actor playing the lizard samurai, revenge by shooting, and Union stops him because, hell, he’s there. Man, this is dumb. I’d almost rather see this lizard samurai/cyborg gorilla movie!

Continuity Corner :

  • I’m basing the Gen13 story placement off of that fact that it was reprinted in the “Backlist” trade along with other early adventures of the team. In that book, it occurs between issue 0 and issue 1 of volume 2. From a storytelling perspective, you need something in between those issues to justify the time jump that occurs between issues, most noticeably seen with Rainmakers hair length. “Now Departing from Gate 37” is just another one of the things they did in the period. With us reading this as part of the WildStorm Universe, on the whole, we have other titles showing us time progression to account for that.  So, yeah, we’re keeping it in the early days where it is needed, but we are having a different placement than if we were reading it as just a perfect progression for “Gen13”
  • For the placement of “Deathblow,” I think this is the time that Cray spent in New York telling Rayna about the Los Angeles job, in “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issues 13 and 14. It also explains why he’s so close to Virgina before we see him in “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 16.
  • From the way that Spartan talking about Marlowe, it’s pretty clear that the little guy is still around, so it has to take place before “WildStorm Rising.” Also, Spartan isn’t wearing his StormWatch gear so it can’t have happened after “WildStorm Rising” at all. And because Marlowe basically disappears after he gets back to Earth during “Fire from Heaven” there’s no place for this story to take place at any other time.
  • I also like to think that this is what Spartan was up to when Warblade was off in “Warblade : Endangered Species”.
  • It is nice to see the Black Razors as depicted in WildC.A.T.s Vol. 1 issues 15 & 16… well pretty much. Coleman isn’t really the right skin color, but everything else is close enough.
  • There’s a member of the Black Razors being referred to as simply “Fleming.” No word on the first name being either Alex or Cyril.
  • While everyone wants to seem to place this Taboo story much earlier in the timeline, because it is her origin, both parts are clearly labeled “Five years earlier,” so it’s a flashback. Also, having this story take place right before she’s on the lam again in “Backlash” issue 7 adds a certain sense of tragedy to that storyline. She’s not good at running on her own. Also, “Backlash” issues 1 through 5 are so tightly strung together there wasn’t room to put it closer to her introduction.
  • When Slayton was breaking into Purgatory Max to get Taboo in the first place there was such a big deal made about him both breaking in and out, as if no one had ever done that before. Obviously, Pike had, or else how could he have been there to taunt Amanda? I just don’t see the authorities letting Pike just come and go as he pleases.
  • I think this is a good place for “My Enemy, My Monkey” as well, because Union is still in New York at the end of “Union” Vol. 2 issue 2. He goes to Chicago in “Union” Vol. 2 issue 3 and we don’t see him leave that city at the end of the issue. Also, there’s no real explanation as to how he got onsite to start fighting with Majestic by the time issue 4 rolls around, he’s just there. There’s not a lot of decent windows for this story to take place, honestly. I was surprised I found this one!

NEXT : “Union” Vol. 2 issue 3 by Mike Heisler, Ryan Benjamin, and Tom McWeeney

“Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 15

this entry covers “Deathblow” volume one issue number 15.

This issue opens with everyone’s second favorite bastard doing bastard like things. That’s right, LeGauche A.K.A. Old Frenchy is throwing John Donnely, the leader of Navy Seal Team 6off of a cliff. We’re lead to believe later that this is all under the direction of Craven. And knowing Craven, this is probably true. LeGauche is tasked with killing at least seven of the eight members of former Navy Seal Team, which includes the afore mention Donnely as well as a man named Tom Archer, and seemingly not on the list, Michael Cray.

After the events in Los Angeles, Cray heads down to San Diego, a place that has always felt like home to him. It’s where he ended up after completing his ROTC program back in Rhode Island and started his Seal training. Thinking back on these old days, he goes to pay his old Seal pal Tom a visit. Seems as if Tom is now one of the trainers for incoming wanna-be Seals. While Tom is happy to see his old buddy, his wife Anne is not. Turns out, she was an old flame of Cray’s that he passed on when he was being hired by I/O to be part of Team 7. She never forgave him and hates him to the core.

You wanna know who else is unhappy to see Cray? A bunch of the other Seals. Why? Because they were all friends with Conrad. Remember Conrad? He lead the team that was supposed to kill Cray after he took down Ortega in Costa Rica. If you’ll recall this was all supposed to be hush hush, but somehow this information was leaked. Knowing this, and being friends of Conrad, these boys mean to beat the hell out of Cray as revenge. Now, Cray tries twice to talk to these men, but they won’t hear it. Right before one goes to stab him, Archer pops up and saves the day.

The next morning Archer lets Cray in on all the murders of their former Seal Team 6 members. Apparently, there’s a reporter who knows about these supposed accidental deaths and wants to talk to Archer about it. Cray and Archer are curious how he even knows about their connection and they are anxious to meet him and find out. Before the reporter has a chance to

Before the reporter has a chance to show up, LeGauche calls Archer and lets him know that he’s got Archer’s wife and kids hostage, and will exchange their lives for his. Archer knows he has to go save them, and he’s been told to come alone. That’d be a bad deal if you old Team 7 buddy wasn’t visiting! Archer takes LeGauche head on by plowing into him in a pick-up through the side of his freakin’ house! All the while Cray is sneaking in the back and helping the family get loose from their restraints and disarming the bomb that LeGauche has planted. Cray then hands a shotgun to Anne and heads to help Tom. It’s too late, LeGauche as already killed Tom, and as he moves into to do the same to Cray, Anne blasts LeGauche through a window.

Cray is bummed. Another friend of his is dead. LeGauche got away. He’s no closer to finding out why the rest of this Seal Team is dead and he barely has an idea where to start. I’d like to say things start to get better for Cray, but I’m sad to report that they don’t.

Continuity Corner :

  • Once again we have someone mentioning a past event that went down in Gamorra. This time it’s Tom Archer, a friend of Cray’s back when he was on Seal Team 6. Apparently, Cray saved his life on that mission while they were there w/ the six other members of their eight-member team. The last person to mention this Gamorra mission was Wearing in “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 14.
  • We also get some hints to this Gamorra mission, we find that Cray was still with his Seals and it was a counterterrorism strike.
  • There’s also mention of the Gamorra mission being “nearly 20 years ago” but I’m not sure if that works. Here’s my best theory. We know from this very issue he was with his Seal Team on Gamorra and not on Team 7. But we know from “Brass” Vol. 1 issue 2, that he, Lynch and Chang were on Team 7 and working for I/O in 1967. That’s nearly 30 years ago that he was on Team 7 after leaving the Navy Seals. I was always sure that Cray was working for I/O after the rest of Team 7 got the mojo and he was kinda sidelined, but I guess he could’ve gone back to being a Seal for a bit.
  • This issue, much like “Gen13” Vol. 1 issue 1 seems to be laying out breadcrumbs for “Fire from Heaven.” In this case with LeGauche’s involvement and hunting down people for Craven.
  • From now on LeGauche will primarily be a reoccurring “Deathblow” villain, despite having him first mentioned in “WetWorks” Vol. 1 issue 2 as an agent sent by Craven to either spy on or take down the WetWorks team.

NEXT : “Union” Vol. 2 issues 1 & 2 by Mike Hiesler, Ryan Benjamin and Tom McWeeney and the “Crusade : Release” short story by Jim Lee, Sean Ruffner, H. K. Proger, Bill Kaplan and again, Ryan Benjamin