Category Archives: I.O.

“Fire from Heaven” Prelude

This entry covers “Fire from Heaven” issue 1/2 and the “Fire from Heaven” Prelude parts 1 through 3, which include “Sword of Damocles” issue 1, “Sigma” issue 1 and “Deathblow” volume one issue 26 by Johnathan Peterson, Warren Ellis, Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Randy Green, Tomm Coker, J.J. Kirby, Ryan Odagawa, Mel Rubi, Danny Bulanadi, Bob Wiacek, John Tighe, Mark Irwin, Richard Friend, Troy Hubbs and Trevor Scott.

firefromheaven_halfTime for the great big never-ending WildStorm crossover known as Fire from Heaven! This crossover is long… very long! Fourteen official chapters, a three issue prelude, a three issue finale, an almost unconnected preview type issue and an unofficial coda in “Deathblow” volume one issue 29. For those keeping count, reading the full story is 21 and a half issues of comics. That’s a LOT of story, so let’s get into the “Prelude” to it all, starting with that weird half issue I mentioned above.

We open on our first of four short stories in this half issue with Kaizen Gamorra admiring the major city of Gamorra, known as Zodome. Turns out Kaizen has no time to lollygag, as there’s science trouble down in the Gen-Lab. Kaizen has his scientists working on Gen-Active individuals, trying to figure out what makes them tick. But, for the final test, of the undefined goal, the latest Gen-Active guinea pig explodes. Leaving Kaizen upset and down a few scientists.

Meanwhile, across the Pacific Ocean in Berkley, CA, we encounter a pickup game of basketball. We have four kids playing with only one of them named. I’m pretty sure one of them is supposed Ethan McCain, who we saw in a page of “Gen13”. The guy who I think is Ethan sinks a three pointer by unknowingly using his powers and we move on to our next short story.

StormWatch is getting set up with all the military hardware they can think of! Every nation on the globe is willing to sink more personnel and weaponry into the StormWatch program. Good for Bendix, but will it be good for everyone else? We also check in on the moon based StormWatch members! Yay, looks like the StormWatch moon base got rebuilt after Argos wrecked it!


The final story before we get to the “Prelude” proper is introducing our big-bads for the crossover. They are Damocles and The Sword. A bunch of mercenary bounty hunters (unrelated to The Mercs, but kinda related to The Bountyhunters) has found an Earth in an alternate dimension. The kind that both The Sword and his master Damocles have been asking about. This pleases Damocles, for now, he has found his next target! Oh yeah, this Earth is the WildStorm Earth, if you didn’t see where this was going, I really can’t help you.

thesword_001It’s time for us to better get to know these villains! First, we see The Sword and he’s got company. These four are a bit familiar to us, they’re The Bountyhunters that faced off with Gen13 a few issues ago. They’re there letting him know they failed to get the Qeelocke. It’s a big deal. The Sword’s boss Damocles needs easier ways to hop from dimension to dimension, and a Qeelocke would be much more effective. Currently, only The Sword can easily skip around from universe to universe, the other means of transfer gates personally offend Damocles and thus are only to be used sparingly.

Damocles lets The Sword and the Bountyhunters know that on the latest new Earth that they’ve found, there are creatures with Gen-Factor. That mean only one thing, there’s a representation of Damocles’ greatest enemy there; Sigma. Sigma apparently destroyed the world, as well as Damocles’ family. Damocles isn’t sure if they’ve found a different version of Sigma, or if it is the same Sigma that ruined everything for him. He tells The Sword to forget the Qeelocke, go to this new world and find Sigma.

The Sword and The Bountyhunters wind up in Gamorra following on a Gen-Factor hunt. You see, after another failed Gen-Factor science mishap, this time a clone of Sigma, Kaizen has unwittingly sent up a telltale sign to The Sword that Gen-Factor shenanigans are going on over here. The crew Sword-ports to Gamorra and confronts him. Kaizen, ever the smoothy, tells The Sword to learn more about the Gen-Factor that he needs to hunt down our old pal Dr. Tsung in San Francisco and bring him back to Gamorra. Oh, also, before that, Kaizen recommends that The Sword take out Winter in NYC. Kaizen lets The Sword know that Winter is the only real threat he’d have on this planet, so it’s best to get him out of the way first.

You little stinker Kaizen! You’ve got quite the double cross going on here.

In a crazy turn of events, The Sword was able to take down Winter. That’s not good! Now he’s on his way to meet up with the rest of The Bountyhunters and their raid on Dr. Tsung’s house. Oh man, is this fake plan actually working for them?

sigma_001Okay, rewind back to before The Sword and pals are busting through the side of Dr. Tsung’s house. We meet Ethan McCain and he is having a hell of a day at college. Spilling acid on himself, contemplating joining a frat and watching the gal he has a crush on hanging out with a bigger oafish guy. All that and he’s being followed by some secret agent chick.

Once he gets back at home Ethan is involved in some kind of VR experiment with his adoptive dad. That dad just happens to be Dr. Tsung! Whaaaaa? I guess these are some kind of tests to open up Ethan’s Gen-Factor potential, but I’m really not sure. Dr. Tsung has also been pulling visuals from his nightmares to plug into the VR environment to test Ethan. One of these enemy combatants looks an awful lot like Damocles! Just as the test ends Dr. Tsung’s house is invaded by a bunch of Hunter-Killers sent by Kaizen. Ethan reacts on instinct and manages to fire some kind of multi-phasic energy blast! It works! Ethan has real powers! And it might be enough to take out some HKs, but suddenly he’s staring down The Sword and he knows things are only going to get harder!

deathblow_v1_026There’s really no time to worry for Ethan and Dr. Tsung as Team 7 arrives with Gen13 to try and even the odds/save the day. Oh, don’t forget that secret agent chick, too! Her name is Maggie Monroe and she’s there to protect Ethan and the doc. In a case of too little, too late The Sword manages to capture Dr. Tsung and the Bountyhunters nab Qeelocke and then ‘port back to Gamorra. Roxy jumps into the portal to save Qeelocke and ends up in Gamorra with Dr. Tsung and most of the bad guys for this arc. We also find out that Maggie was hired by Cray’s father to always watch out for and protect Dr. Tsung and Ethan as long as Miles Craven lives. With Craven dead, she thinks she’s out of a job, but after what she’s seen, she knows she needs to team up with this group of near strangers to save Dr. Tsung from Kaizen.

Back in Gamorra, Kaizen lets it slip to LeGauche that he’s planning to bring Craven back to life. Also, he contracts LeGauche to do a job for him while he’s in between masters. LeGauche teams up with Minotaur and his goons to murder a handful of United Nations members while they’re touring Zodome. The idea is to frame the rebels, such as Cybernary and her group, and have StormWatch come to Gamorra to protect Kaizen from anyone that could stop him from his ultimate goal of creating a Gen-Omega!


Continuity Corner:

  • “Fire from Heaven” issue 1/2 might be able to have been read between issues 24 and 25 of “Deathblow” volume one. The science “accident” Kaizen had could account for the break in the connection that Craven experienced.
  • Man, that basketball scene in “Fire from Heaven” 1/2… Like I said, I’m pretty sure the blond kid is Ethan but you wouldn’t know it from the art or the fact and no one calls him by his name. Seriously, the only person named is the redhead girl, Laurie. Also, I think the woman that gets hit by the basketball is the secret agent Maggie Monroe who was hired to follow and protect Ethan, despite her looking nothing like what we see in “Sigma” issue 1.
  • We see Team 7 and Gen13 in “Sigma” issue 1, they’re on a plane that is called “a commandeered I/O stealth transport.” Later we’ll come to find that the jet wasn’t procured from I/O, it was taken from the WildC.A.T.s by Cole. That doesn’t keep it from being a plane that was built by I/O as we all know that Jacob had access to that kind of stuff. At least I think that’s what’s happening in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 29. Either that or no one told Alan at the time where Cole was supposed to be and he wrote that before he was informed and then wrote “Fire from Heaven” issue 1.

NEXT: “Fire from Heaven” issue 1, “Backlash” issue 19 and “Gen13” volume two issue 10 by Alan Moore, Sean Ruffner, Brett Booth, Brandon Choi, J. Scott Campbell, Jim Lee, Ryan Benjamin, Ryan Odagawa, Chuck Gibson, Richard Friend, Mark Irwin, Mark Pennington, Alex Garner, JD, Tom McWeeney and Scott Williams


“Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 25

This entry covers pages 18 – 22 of “Deathblow” volume one issue 24 and then all of issue 25 by Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Jeff Mariotte, Scott Kolins, Geof Isherwood, Trevor Scott and Rick Bryant.

deathblow_v1_025The Gen13 kids are on their way to meet Team 7 out in the wilds of Virginia. While the kids are wondering why they’re alone in the middle of nowhere, Lynch informs him that his old friends are already all around them. Cash, Cray, Dane, and Slayton emerge from the foliage to meet the young group. While most of the guys are either giving Lynch the business for becoming a “family man” or teasing Cray because of his report with Grunge, Roxy is the only thinking that, hey, one of these Team 7 guys could be her father. Is it a coincidence that all Team 7 members that are Gen13 fathers are dead or in hiding except for Lynch? Is there something here about not wanting our heroes to be dads for some reason?


Soon the group comes upon the I/O towers. Team 7 and Gen13 are going to break into them to take the fight directly to Craven in revenge for stealing their Gen-Factor. As they’re figuring out the best way to break in, we see Craven sending LeGauche to Gamorra with the Gen-Factor extracts. He’s also giving other members of the Brethren (who are joined by another member named Animus) orders to keep everyone out of I/O at all costs. Finally, he calls up Kaizen, straps into some crazy contraption and starts an up-link to Gamorra and the Gen-Omega.

Craven’s idea of leaving the Brethren in charge comes to a head once Frank Colby clocks in. He immediately questions why the hell the Brethren is in the Tac-Ops department, and where the hell Alicia Turner is. The Brethren threaten Colby’s life and he relents to working with them. Just at that moment Team 7 and the Gen13 kids are breaking into I/O via the old service tunnels. Colby eventually meets the group in the service tunnel and agrees to help them continue to break into I/O. Colby is a straight shooter and even though he’s been seen as Craven’s stooge, he’s only been doing it for the better of his country. Until Craven shows exactly how crazy he is being, Colby will do as directed by him. Locking up Alicia and calling in the Brethren is too much for Colby to ignore. If Team 7 is at I/O to exact revenge, he’ll help them out.


Well, Colby helped Team 7 and Gen13 right into a Black Hammer ambush. Uh oh! The two sets split up, Team 7 will handle the Brethren and the Black Hammers, Gen13 will take Colby and go rescue Alicia. After a few twists and turns, this eventually happens and the two teams are reunited to confront Craven. Well, kinda. Team 7 wants to take care of Craven themselves, leaving the Gen13 kids with Alicia and Colby outside of the crazy tech room where Craven is residing.

When Craven is confronted he starts spilling even more secrets that Gabrielle did an issue back. Turns out that Cray’s parents were killed by LaGuache on behalf of Craven because Craven was pissed that Cray Sr. helped Dr. Tsung get away with his research. Then, Craven, had Cray kill the man that had gotten the blame for the “terrorist attack” that ended up with both his parents dead. When I say that Craven is a certified dick, these are the kinds of things I’m talking about. Then Team 7 goes around and tells Craven exactly what he’s stolen from each of them. Suddenly, off-panel a gun goes off and Craven receives a single shot in the head. For now Craven is dead, and Team 7 can stand down for a night.


Continuity Corner:

  • We pick up on page 18 of issue 24 of “Deathblow” because we need the Gen13 kids to get the call from the full Team 7 group at the end of “Gen13” volume two issue 9, and on page 17 Slayton isn’t with the crew yet. While I really hate to split up books in the middle of pages, I think this one is reasonable and necessary.
  • And yes, Grunge is sporting longer hair again, despite having it cut and a big deal made about it in “Gen13” volume two issue 8. It’s a bit of a common mistake that will plague a lot of Grunge’s depiction in the “Fire from Heaven” crossover.
  • Old service tunnels, the air duct system, a wall in a top level bathroom, all ways to break into I/O, and all but the last one are super obvious. What kind of high security are the I/O Towers supposed to have?
  • Colby full on admits to Lynch that if he was really Craven’s stooge, that Lynch wouldn’t have made it out of I/O after being caught in “Gen13” issue 0.
  • Wait, aren’t the Brethren Gen12 like Team 7 is? Why doesn’t Craven just steal their Gen-Factor? Are they not powered with the Gen-Factor? If not, why are they also labeled as Gen12? Or is it that because Craven likes the Brethren and hates Team 7 that he only wants to steal the Gen-Factor from them?
  • What exactly is Craven attempting to do in his tech room? He’s uploading himself to a new body, a Gen-Omega body soon to be chock fulla Team 7 Gen-Factor. This body was constructed by Kaizen Gamorra and is in Gamorra. Not sure why he’s spilling all this truth to Team 7 as he doesn’t think he’s really going to be dying. If he was dying what would he have to lose? Sure, tell away! But he plans on being back, in a younger body… so… uh… why give your enemies MORE reason to want to come after you?
  • We found out about Cray killing the supposed architect of the terrorist attack that killed his parents back in “Team 7 : Dead Reckoning.”
  • While it is never stated who fired the shot that killed Craven, I’ve always assumed it was Cray. Mainly because it is his book and the title of the book is “Deathblow.” Kinda works on two levels.

NEXT: “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issues 25 – 28 by Alan Moore, Travis Charest, Scott Clark, Aron Wiesenfeld, Kevin Nowlan, John Nyberg, Dave Johnson, Troy Hubbs, JD, Scott Williams, Dexter Vines and Bob Wiacek.

“Brass” Vol. 1

This entry covers “Brass” volume one issues 1 through 3 by Richard Bennett and Aron Wiesenfeld.

Brass_v1_001Hershel Goldstein has a lot of problems. First, he’s working a job he hates scrubbing toilets in a dance club. The upside is that this job, and a good friend, is what helped him out of homelessness. Second, he had a cat that I’m not sure if he likes or not. Such is the way with kitties. Finally, Hershel Goldstein is dying of cancer. A soon to be hero unsure of life because he is dying of cancer? That sounds a little familiar…

After getting the bad news Hershel is riding the city bus back home. Coincidentally there’s another guy on the bus with similar build, longish hair and a trench coat similar to Hershel’s. This doppelganger first exposes himself to a child and then shoots and kills the bus driver. The bad guy gets away and Hershel ambles on home, once again bemoaning his fate as a reason why he shouldn’t care about what just went down. The world sucks, so why should I try, an edgy teenager who just read Nietzsche kinda thing.

Due to a murder in a public place, there are police questioning witnesses to the crime. Not sure how they got ole Hersh’s info, but they show up at his doorstep. As mentioned, Hershel has long hair as well as a trench coat. The cops see this, as well as some blood on Hershel’s shirt, and they like him for the murderer. Hershel smartly notices this, and then not-so-wisely runs. Hershel tries to lose the police by running down a subway tunnel. As he’s booking through the subway he falls down into a strange room full of highly advanced tech. He touches some and becomes a kick-ass robot bastard!


How did this hidden room full of tech come to be? Well, if it walks like crazy fringe science and talks like questionable super-powered human upgrades, it’s gotta be Miles Craven. It seems as if I/O found the Brass Virus, of course, and that means Miles wants them to use it to see if they can create some superhumans to do his bidding for the government. So the I/O scientists injected it into a fly as well as 4 humans. They all got teched out, but then went on a rampage. It took I/O and some pre-superpowered Team 7 members to calm this new species down. In the end, I/O decided to hide all the Brass experiments as well as the virus in the sewers and tunnels under the NYC subway. Not a bad place I guess, it’s been the hideout of everything from ninja turtles to a beastly Ron Pearlman.

Deathblow and Arclight are just as curious as we are about their Team 7 cameo.

Back to the Present: Just as Hershel is getting used to his big brassy body, the Brass virus also infects the cops that were after Hershel. These others start to cause destruction in New York City. Hershel tries his best to stop them and is helped out by not only I/O’s jet fighters but also an electromagnetic pulse from the goddamned MIR space station. That last one takes out the final member of the Police Brass, but it takes down Hershel along with it.

While Hershel is down for the count he enters a dreamlike state while his body is hauled away by I/O. In this dream, he meets a representation of the Brass Virus. The virus tells Hershel that I/O has implanted a retrovirus into him to control the Brass Virus, and thus control each of them. The virus suggests that they merge together which will destroy I/O’s retrovirus and also keep I/O from being able to control either of them. Hershel pulls an “Invisibles” move and becomes friends with the virus and manages to survive it, beating I/O at their own game.


I/O and Craven send him home figuring their retrovirus beat out the Brass Virus. I guess they figure they can activate Hershel at will and he’d do their bidding to have them shut down his Brass body. This could’ve been a cool idea, but hey, it’s also cool that Hershel is in control and I/O doesn’t even know it. This may’ve come to a head if Craven was around longer to do anything about it. By the way, seems Hershel’s cat got loose, but I/O finds him and Craven personally returns the cat. It seems lil Micho has managed to become to be Brassed up as well!


Continuity Corner:

  • I always liked “Brass” volume one placed here because we see Roxy and Grunge in issue 3 trying to sneak into a bar in NYC. I figure it’s after they got to NYC, but before they meet up with Team 7. Grunge’s short hair point to this being a solid placement. The only problem with that is the “Weeks later” caption we see when Craven comes to return Hershel’s cat. I doubt the Gen13 kids spent a week in NYC waiting to raid the I/O Towers, and due to the events of their raid (Craven’s death) we can’t assume this “Weeks later” event took place weeks after the next batch of books we’re about to read. So we have to ignore the “Weeks later” caption because even if we ignore Grunge’s short hair, I can’t place the Gen13 team in NYC at all. Their trip to Coda Island didn’t have a layover there (it flew from San Diego to Puerto Rico) and their flight back from Rome was direct to San Diego (Roxy mentions it was 16hrs straight, and that flight would indeed be 16 without layovers.)
  • Pretty sure the reason we see Craven with this woman Sharon by his side is that all his other lackeys are busy. It’s telling that we never see her again, once Craven was gone she high-tailed it out of I/O. She was probably as dirty as he was. Also, it is nice that by using Sharon we can’t come across any other continuity errors like we could’ve if had been one of the Brethren, Alicia Turner or Frank Colby in that role.
  • All the Brass Virus experiments are going on in an I/O underground bunker in Arizona. We know that I/O has Sector 52, which is a vast underground bunker in the Mojave Desert, and part of the Mojave Desert is in Arizona, so I’m going to figure this is the same place we see later on as Sector 52 starting in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 37.
  • The initial 4 Brass Virus victims must move fastly, as they’ve gone from Arizona all the way to a tropical island in the Gulf of Mexico. Also, Craven and Lynch seem to get to the Gulf of Mexico pretty quickly from wherever they’re at… it looks like somewhere in the Rockies.
  • Craven is drawn in 1967 as looking pretty much the same as modern-day Craven, we’ll see later in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 39 that young Craven had blond curly hair. I’ll admit, it helps us here track who he is and how it relates to this story, even if we’ll encounter a slight continuity wrinkle later.
  • The Team 7 scenes take place back in 1967 and we already see John Lynch working with Miles. We know that Lynch had his little adventure in the “Lynch” one-shot in 1968. In that story, the narrator states that after the ’68 adventure Lynch went on to great things in the military. For me that doesn’t mean he wasn’t already in the military and wasn’t in Team 7 yet, he had just yet to attain the greatness that the narrator spoke of.
  • In “Brass” volume two we find out that the Brass Virus is from another dimension that unloaded it to our dimension because it was too dangerous to be near and they couldn’t destroy it. So that’s some crazy alien robo-tech that Hershel has going on up in his bloodstream.

NEXT: the rest of “Deathblow” volume one issue 24 and then all of issue 25 by Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Jeff Mariotte, Scott Kolins, Geof Isherwood, Trevor Scott and Rick Bryant

“Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 24

This entry covers the first 17 pages of “Deathblow” volume one issue #24 by Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Jeff Mariotte, Geof Isherwood, Scott Kolins and Rick Bryant.

deathblow_v1_024Last we encountered Michael Cray he was hanging out with Jackson Dane and they’d just finished their team-up with old Team 7 pal Marc Slayton. They figure that next on the Brethren’s the hit list will be Cole Cash. Not the worst assumption, as there are only so many other Team 7 members to go after, and I/O knows that Cash is as active somewhere as Cray, Dane, Lynch, and Slayton have been. As far as I/O knows Fairchild and Chang are dead, and they took out Callahan themselves.

Now Cash thinks he’s going to get some time to chill out in NYC now that he’s home. No sooner does he turn on the television he gets a call from Alicia Turner. She’s letting him know about Craven sending the Brethren out for him and they plan to meet up later. As soon as Alicia hangs up she’s taken hostage by the Brethren and Double-Take morphs into her to try and pull the same trick on Cash as they did on Slayton. While Cash is headed towards that ambush, Cray and Dane make it to Cash’s crash pad and find it crawling with I/O agents ready to kill. They eventually get the info out of one of the I/O assassins about the ambush and rush to save Cash.

The meet up is at Union Station and as soon as Cash talks to “Alicia” he knows her to be a fake. However, it is four on one and Cash gets knocked down and has his Gen-Factor stolen by LeGauche. Just as the Brethren are leaving, Double-Take wants to get revenge on Cash for decking her when they met. She doesn’t get a chance before Cray bursts in and murders her. The Brethren beat feet as Cray and Dane gather up Cash and head for drinks at the Drop Zone. While hitting a few brews the boys catch Cash up on what’s going on with Craven and the Gen-Factor theft. When mention of Gabriel Newman comes up the three of them decide to find out where he is so they can pay him a visit.


Meanwhile, Craven is getting the Gen-Factor samples all ready to be sent off to Kaizen Gamorra for the mysterious Project Renaissance. It seems that Craven is willing to trade state secrets for the technology that Kaizen can provide. Also, it looks like Craven is willing to team up with Kaizen to take over the world if all goes according to plan.

Cray has called up his old pal Rayna Masters and asked her if she can find out where I/O has been hiding Gabriel. Turns out he’s in a secret I/O prison on Plum Island. The trio manages to con their way in and confront Gabriel.

Gabriel’s prison is quite nice, a pretty swanky apartment suite, with the exception of one of the walls being thick plexiglass. Gabriel immediately notices what is wrong with the Team 7 members and decides to unload upon them all his secrets. He lets them in on the fact that he wasn’t part of starting Project: Genesis, he just took over after Dr. Tsung left because he was fearful of Craven’s goals. Dr. Tsung only left notes and a few Gen-Factor samples, he took most of his knowledge and the Gen-Factor source with him. Gabriel then lets Dane and Cash in on the fact that they will die soon without their Gen-Factor, and that Craven needs it to stay alive because that old bastard is finally dying. He also lets it slip that Craven is working with Kaizen Gamorra to meet his goal.

The boys are all disheartened at their impending mortality. Well, more so than usual. Cash swears he’s going to blast a hole through the plexiglass and another one though Gabriel. Cray manages to convince him that Gabriel isn’t worth it, against Cash’s better judgment. But after Cash and Dane have left Cray slips Gabriel a gun through the plexiglass food-slot saying that “a condemned man’s entitled to a last meal.” Which is really goddamn dark even for this book! Gabriel recites some lines from a Yeats poem and ends his life.


Continuity Corner:

  • Why only the first 17 pages? Well, we have “Gen13” volume two, issue 9 which ends with Lynch getting a call from all his old Team 7 buddies telling him about the raid, and until we’re 17 pages into this book they are not planning the raid on the I/O Towers yet.
  • On page 18 the book really picks up like an entirely new issue with the Gen13 kids looking for the rest of Team 7. Without having read the “Gen13” issues you have no idea why the kids are there. We only know Team 7 called Lynch and the kids from the pages of “Gen13.” Unlike the “Gen13” issues, you don’t need to have read the “WildC.A.T.s” issue to understand anything, it’s just that there are no real other places it can slot into the continuity as easily.
  • Then there’s “Brass” volume one to read before we finish “Deathblow” volume one issue 24, but I’ll talk more about that when I get to covering that series in a few entries.
  • We got such an info dump from Gabriel’s final confession in this issue! The big takeaway is that the Gen-Factor keeps you young… mostly. I think that’s certainly the case for Cash, Chang, and Dane keeping their youthful looks, but Lynch, Fairchild, and Cray look like they’ve all aged, some more than others.
  • The other thing we find out is that Cray’s father was responsible for bringing Dr. Tsung to the United States from Hong Kong, therefore kind of making Mr. Cray a little bit responsible for his own son’s super-powers I guess.
  • Come on, the way page 17 ends it seems like a real ending, right? It’s not just me seeing this, right? I’m pretty sure this was intended by Choi for us to catch up on “Gen13” right here. If I’m right I have to admit, that man had some rad ideas!

NEXT: “Gen13” volume two issues 8 & 9 by Brandon Choi, Jim Lee, J. Scott Campbell, Humberto Ramos, Alex Garner, Al Gordon and Wayne Faucher

“Black Ops” issues 1 & 2

This entry covers “Black Ops” issues 1 & 2 by Shon Bury, Dan Norton, and Sandra Hope.

blackops_001I’m just going to get this out of the way, the premise of this book is that there’s an undercover I/O Black Razor team out there doing missions. The only person at I/O that knows about them is John Lynch. Lynch is no longer with I/O so there’s no one to either call them back home or vouch for them as I/O employees. Also, Miles Craven is doing business with the main dude they are going after, so this book is pretty much I/O vs. I/O. Why do I want to get that out of the way? Because, maybe it’s just me, but I kept getting this confused the first few times I read it.

The I/O Black Ops team is who we are concerned with. The team consists of Shire, GQ, Redbird and Jason Takomi with Geek back at the safehouse. Don’t get attached to Takomi, he bites it right away on the big I/O mission against a company called Spectrum. Spectrum is a company that manufactures machines of war and is selling them to the highest bidder. The man that runs Spectrum is Gennady Markov and he’s pissed that all the CEOs of Spectrum have been murdered by this black ops team. He goes running to Miles Craven because Spectrum is I/O. Of course, it is! It is an evil corporation profiting off war, damn straight Craven is involved. Craven makes it a point to let Markov know that whoever did this will be dealt with.

An aside: I’m wondering if Lynch knew that Spectrum was involved with Craven and I/O? Is this one of his last few acts as an I/O employee trying to take down the bad elements of the company he works for? We all knew he was paying a visit to the Gen13 compound because he was wanting to see what they were up to, and that’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. If the Black Ops team found out that they were fighting I/O and reported that to Lynch would he have taken flight from I/O with them instead?

So the undercover Black Razor team (our heroes) get a visit from an I/O Black Hammer team. While this is going on, Geek is getting an encrypted file from a mysterious someone inside I/O. The Black Ops team now knows they are on their own as they just fended themselves off from other I/O agents. While jetting away on their plane, the Talon, Geek cracks the code and it is leading them to a former I/O Black Razor leader named Donovan J. Crane, currently residing in Montana.

blackops_002Meanwhile, Miles Crane is telling the new I/O director, Alejandro Rios, that he wants the terrorists who shot up the Spectrum CEOs found and eliminated. Director Rios puts together a small group of I/O talent to talk it over, in attendance is Ben Santini as well as two women, one named Cathrine Kwan and one named Rose. Rios assures the room that he’s dealing with the situation, but if anyone in the room could be of help he’s ready to hear it. Not much happens here other than some I/O director drama.

The Black Ops team are getting a boatload of drama of their own. Namely, one Col.Crane who doesn’t want to be bothered. Things cool down so that they can eventually tell Crane their hard luck story. He kindly decides to train them, because the only reason he took them out so easily is that they’d become too reliant on their I/O gadgets and technology. Speaking of technology, while the rest of the team is training, Geek is building and upgrading a robot that he found in Crane’s backyard.

Just about the time that Geek is showing off his invention, named HERB, he also lets it slip that I/O has located the team and another Black Razor team is coming after them. Brace for a new fight Black Ops! Meanwhile, we see that Gen. Markov’s plan all along was to get enough I/O tech to build his own Black Hammer suit in order to make Russia great again.

Continuity Corner:

  • This book has a tough placement. The first two issues happen before “Deathblow” volume one issue 25 (the death of Miles Craven), and issues 3 through 5 happen after “Fire from Heaven” is over (Jack Lynch is back in La Jolla). When you get down to it though, the time in the WildStorm Universe from “Deathblow” volume one issue 24 through “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 34 is only really a matter of a handful of days, like a week, tops. The problem is, is that there is a whole mess of books between issue 2 and issue 3, and it’s very easy to forget about these characters when you get to see them again.
  • It doesn’t help when there’s a reference on the first page of this book referring to Laslo making a heroin drop off the day before, a nod to “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue #21. Not sure if we are to suppose that Laslo got away as well after the events of that book, or that Laslo is already out on bail after the events of that book and back to his old drug slinging ways. Or if we are to suppose that this book takes place the day after “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue #21. If so, then damn… I think this may be a time where my head canon/no prize explanation of the story makes it fit a little bit in the wider scheme of things.
  • We do have a reference that the last time the Black Ops team got a money drop was four months prior, so it’s been at least that long since Lynch left I/O.
  • Still not sure who that Rose woman was that we see at the I/O meeting. It wasn’t Rose Grady from the Black Razors. This book sure throws a lot of new characters at you, and pretty quickly, too!
  • In “Deathblow” volume one issue #24 we’ll find out why Alicia Turner isn’t at this I/O director’s meeting. Turns out she’s being held by the Brethren because she was caught trying to help former Team 7 members from getting their Gen-Factor sucked out.
  • I’m willing to buy that the time it took Col. Crane to train up the Black Ops team and the time it took I/O to find them that a week or two could’ve passed fitting this all into the timeline pretty well.
  • Lynch has twice left people out in the field. First with the Black Ops team then later with Holden Carver. Get your head together Lynch!

NEXT: “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issues 23 & 24 by Alan Moore, Ryan Benjamin, Jason Johnson, Art Thibert, Terry Austin, Tom McWeeney, Hakjoon Kang, Andy Owens and Harry Thuran

“Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 23

This entry covers “Deathblow” volume one issue 23 by Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Jeff Johnson, Scott Kolins and Trevor Scott.

deathblow_v1_023Don’t you hate it when uninvited guests show up? Especially the kind that help themselves to your food? Well, that’s the pickle that Marc Slayton finds himself in when he encounters Michael Cray and Jackson Dane helping themselves to the contents of his fridge. Ok, to be fair it’s CyberJack’s fridge, but Slayton totally lives there too. And goddammit, Slayton bought those Cheerios for the house, not for people who just pop by!

The actual reason the Cray and Dane are crashing in on Slayton is that they’re sure he is next on the I/O hit list. While Slayton knows that Craven and his goons won’t be able to get at his Kheribum altered Gen-Factor, Cray and Dane know that that isn’t going to matter. The Brethren will come for them on Craven’s orders no matter what. Slayton and CyberJack are worried that Cray and Dane are being less than truthful and have either been sent after them either by Craven or StormWatch. And wouldn’t you know it, right when the boys are all starting to get along again Slayton gets a phone call. It’s a call from his ex-boo Diane LeSalle.

Cray, such a kind guest, leaving you your own Zimas for later.

LeSalle has been at a StormWatch base working while the new SkyWatch is being built. Somethings went wrong, hence the call to Slayton. Slayton sees it as a way to have Cray and Dane prove that they are on his side, and they agree “Let’s go save Diane!” This isn’t easy, and little did any of them know, but there’s a new member of the Brethren, a shapeshifter type known as Double Take. Yeah, she’s posing as Diane to lure in Slayton. LeGauche and JackHammer don’t do much but stand around and taunt Slayton and Diane for each being captured so easily, while StormForce finally shows up to the StormWatch base to defend it, and mistakenly takes Cray and Dane for the jerks that wrecked the place.

Eventually, the real Diane gets free from her restraints to try and stop the Brethren from getting away with what little of the Gen-Factor they got off Slayton. LeGauche, being the psycho that he is, unloads his gun on Diane killing the poor woman. The Brethren bug out just as Cray and Dane are getting to Slayton to save the day. They saved diddly. Way to go boys!


As Slayton, Cray and Dane exit the StormWatch station they surmise that Cash will be the next one. Is this because they all kind of know where Cash is generally at? Hanging with a bunch of aliens in New York? Or is it because he maintains a relationship with Alicia Masters? They figure if they can track Cash down I/O certainly can. They don’t seem to be concerned with Fairchild or Chang, and maybe because those guys went underground a lot better than them. Speaking of Alicia, Craven has finally cottoned on to her workings with the Team 7 members that he’s been after. He’s none too pleased with it, but he’s ready to use this information as he sees fit. Probably for evil stuff, this is Craven we’re talking about!

Continuity Corner:

  • Halfway through this issue, Cray gets a call from that lady doctor who had the hots for him. She tells him once again that he should be looking up her pal Dr. Tsung. The threads for “Fire from Heaven” are starting to pull together tighter!
  • At the end of this issue, we have Slayton telling Cray and Dane that there’s some stuff he has to take care of before he can meet back up with them to stop Craven in “Deathblow” volume one issue #24. This mostly involves ignoring his feelings for Amanda and drinking in “Backlash” issues 15 and 16. But hey, he gets a run in with Cash before the rest of the boys! Bonus!

NEXT: “Backlash” issues 15 & 16 by Sean Ruffner, Brett Booth, Mel Rubi, John Tighe and Mark Irwin

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 28 & 29

This entry covers “StormWatch” volume one issues 28 and 29 by Jeff Mariotte, Ron Lim, and Robert Jones, and of course the “Fuji” backup story from issue 29 by Barbara Kesel, Mike S. Miller, and Randy Elliot.

StormWatch_v1_028What we have here is two really interesting issues of “StormWatch.” To be honest, it really feels like they’re trying to reboot the series with both a new StormWatch team and a militaristic team of non-superpowered people known as StormForce. It’s an odd road to go down, throwing a lot of new characters at the readers once the last big story arc ended and we finally got Jackson King back.

This story revolves around the Dr. Martin Krug. He’s not only cooking up horrible viruses, but he’s also creating superpowered beings, as well as hiring them to cause international incidents that may tip the whole world towards war. Henry Bendix sends StormForce to find Krug’s lab to find his latest virus so that StormWatch and nutralize it as well as create vaccines for it. Bendix sends the new StormWatch team to find a man who set off a bomb in Berlin, who somehow survived that blast. That man is called LittleJohn, and he works for Krug. LittleJohn also has superpowered evil asshole friends named Tripwire, Vise and Jackrabbit who are ready to defend both him and Krug from nosy U.N. strikeforce types.

The new StormWatch team consisting of Swift (fast flying bird-gal), Flint (skin hard as a rock and muscles to match), Comanche (shapeshifter) and Blademaster (uh… a master of blades) go to confront LittleJohn and pals, while a photo-journalist named Nick Chaplin is hired to follow and snap pics of their first adventures. Seems that StormWatch and the U.N. are out for a little good PR after Despot, Spartan and Jackson did a number on NYC a few weeks back.

During the fight in an isolated forest in Germany, Chaplin gets bored and starts to wander. I can see why, seeing a bunch of characters fight that I have zero investment in is kinda boring. In his wandering, he comes across a building. He first thought is to find a way on top of it to get some good distance shots of the super-fight, but once he steps inside he sees that this old farmhouse isn’t exactly what it seems to be. You guessed it, it is the lab of Dr. Krug and he has a lot of failed experiments lying around. Not just that, but he’s got a couple frat guys from I/O telling Chaplin all about how Krug has been helping I/O work on creating superpowered beings for them. Craven, will you stop at nothing to get your own supergroup?

StormWatch_v1_029Eventually, a fight breaks out with Krug and the I/O goons versus Chaplin. For some dumbass reason, Chaplin picks up a beaker full of fluid and threatens to toss it in Krug’s eyes. Krug basically shrugs his shoulders and says “No, you.” and shoots the beaker causing all the liquid to fly into Chaplin’s eyes. The now “blind” Chaplin now has light bending powers and can still kinda see, just not like normal. He’s basically a mash-up of Daredevil and Dazler. He takes out the I/O goons, Dr. Krug and the four jerks that were kicking the ass of the new StormWatch team. He’s given the name Prism and joins StormWatch.

Meanwhile, StormForce does their job, gets the virus sample, captures all the mad scientists for interrogation and destroys the compound killing off all the remaining virus samples. Done so easily. That’s what you get when you send in professionals, no one needs to be bailed out by an accidentally superpowered photo-journalist.

In the backup story, we see Fuji up on the SkyWatch II as it is being built. He encounters a man going by the name or title Black Knight who is either trying to break into SkyWatch II or attach some fancy machinery to the hull. Fuji or course stops him and turns him over to the StormForce personnel on the satellite. Then he looks towards the Earth, recalling why it is all worth fighting for and stating that Fuji’s strength will always be a part of StormWatch.

Continuity Corner:

  • I have to say, not a lot of this new StormWatch team had sticking power outside of Swift and Flint. And even with Flint, she kind of disappeared after “StormWatch” volume two ended until “StormWatch : Team Achilles” started several years later.
  • We do see Blademaster, Comanche, and Prism all get fired in “StormWatch” volume one issue 28, and that’s the last we see of Comanche but the other two do pop up again.
  • Blademaster went deep into comic book limbo before coming back only to die in the first issue of “StormWatch : PHD.” Eventually, his title and blades were taken up by a young woman who would work along with the old StormWatch team in “StormWatch : PHD” and “The Authority : Prime.”
  • The next time we see Prism he’s become a drunk hobo on the streets of Los Angeles in “Hazard” issue 7.
  • StormForce also seemed to have continued on in some fashion but unseen to us comic readers, as they also figure into Blademasters death in “StormWatch : PHD” issue 1. Although this could be a consequence of the slightly altered WildStorm Universe after the end of “Caption Atom : Armageddon.”
  • Seeing as how the name of the operative that Fuji stops is “Black Knight” I think that he might have been an I/O employee. What with their Black Razors, Black Hammers and such. I/O spying on StormWatch, I mean, it’s a thing, it’s why Craven wanted Backlash as a part of StormWatch, makes sense that now that he’s gone and a new satellite is being built that Craven would want to know what’s going on up there still.

NEXT: “Union” volume two issues 7 – 9 and “Union : Final Vengeance” issue 1 by Mike Heisler, Pop Mahn, Allen Im, Carlos Mota, Jim Lee, Travis Charest, Whilce Portacio, Scott Clark, Chuck Gibson, John Lowe, Gary Martin, Mark Pennington, John Tighe, Mark Irwin, Rene Micheletti and Sal Regla.