Category Archives: Team 7

“Grifter” vol. 2 issues 2 – 4

This entry covers “Grifter” volume two issues 2 through 4 by Steven Grant, Mel Rubi, Richard Friend, Luke Rizzo, Mark Irwin, Danna Stewart, and Peter Guzman

grifter_v2_002Our old pal Cole Cash is in his hometown of Chicago, and what a better thing to do than to meet up with some family. Well, stepfamily, that is. We see Cole fighting through about a dozen armed guards just to get to the front door of Sam Del Gracci, his stepfather, and notorious mafioso. Cole asks Samif he could use his Chicago connections to look into someone that’s hired him for a freelance job. Sam lets him know that he’s really trying to legitimize his business and that it isn’t the kind of thing he is into anymore. As Cole leaves Sam first admonishes his kids Peter and Anastasia for not greeting Cole and then instructs them to find out if Cole really needs help, or if Cole just wants to kill Sam.

As Peter and Anastasia are checking in on the woman, named Savana Love, that hired Cole, they find her running from an assassin known as Joe the Dead. Joe the Dead’s deal is that he shoots with finger guns and he can’t die. Yikes! Of course, we see Cole come in trying to protect Savana only to be chased off by Joe after a close call. Meanwhile, Savana has escaped, but Anastasia has her held by gunpoint where Savana tells Anastasia that real target is Cole, and she’s delivering him soon for a bounty of two million dollars. Anastasia literally just laughs and walks away.

Joe the Dead catches up with Sam and tells him about his trouble with Savana Love and wants information on Cole. Sam isn’t too forthcoming but agrees to help Joe the Dead when Savana is going to handover Cole to here employer, at a secret Wrigley Stadium meeting. What we watch unfold is Cole getting knocked out by Savana, Savana being stopped of further harm to Cole by Sam and his bodyguard, Joe the Dead killing Savana, the mysterious employer getting into a fistfight with Cole and then Sam accidentally shooting Cole trying to break up that fight. Sam feels like shit over this, he never wanted to hurt Cole, he actually seems a bit sincere in that. But while he’s going on about it, he lets slip that he shot Jake Cole for running a con game on him back in the day. And just like that, the show is over. Cole and Savana are fine, Savana is actually Alicia Turner, Joe the Dead is actually Cole’s FBI pal Joseph Brockmeyer, and it was all an elaborate sting to get Sam to admit he killed Cole’s real dad, for which Brockmeyer arrests Sam.

theReveal

grifter_v2_003Cole and Alicia go out for a night on the town to celebrate a successful con only for both of them to wake up chained to a lot of sci-fi nonsense with a maniac screaming at them. The maniac is Mad Jack Power and he wants Cole’s Gen-Factor. As he’s routing around Cole’s memories, looking for his power, Mad Jack keeps implying that they have a past. While Cole can’t seem to figure it out, he knows who can, Alicia. He tells Jack that he gave his power up, to someone he could trust, Mad Jack figures that it must be Alicia and goes to her. Alicia hits him with her own psychic powers and figures out Mad Jack is actually former Team 7 member Richard McNamara! With that info, Cole lets loose on his rarely used Gen-Factor power and tears Mad Jack to shreds. Still trying to cling to life Mad Jack tells Cole how addicting life can be, and it’s hard for him not to leap from body to body, but he’s so low on power, which why he wanted Cole’s Gen-Factor. Cole tells him to let go and Mad Jack turns to ash with both Alicia and Cole unsure if Mad Jack is truly dead or not.

grifter_v2_004Finally back to New York City, where Cole usually hangs his… bandana/mask. Cole came running because he got an e-mail from an old contact named Raymond saying he’s got information for Cole, but it’s “ears only” kind of info. This get Cole’s attention and he gets out of Chicago and heads to meet Raymond. Turns out people that the information is about found Raymond before Cole, and while Cole breaks it up. But it’s still too late for Raymond. and his parting words are telling Cole there’s a gangster by the name of Little Johnny Dollar who is looking to “Kill Cash.”

While Cole is trying to figure this out, as he’s never heard of a Little Johnny Dollar, he gets surprised by, you guessed it, Little Johnny Dollar and his goons. But if you think Cole is surprised, well, so is Little Johnny Dollar! He doesn’t know Cole, not at all. The Cash he is after is Max! Well, what the hell is Max up to then?

Max is currently playing bodyguard to a woman under police protection at a hotel. In true Max fashion, he ends up seducing her while a cop waits outside. Suddenly there’s a call to the hotel room letting Max know he’s been made. As Max scrabbles to get dressed we see that Cole is the one rushing down the hall guns blazing. Turns out that the woman the Max is protecting as well as the cop are on Little Johnny Dollar’s payroll and are to kill Max. Max doesn’t know this, Cole does, so when Cole kills both the woman and the cop Max is confused and starts going after Cole. As the Cash brothers continue to fire at each other and wrestle they are surrounded by Little Johnny Dollar and his men, once they realize this they give each other a shoulder shrug, take out the goon patrol and go grab a beer.

After a few pints, a handful of shots and a few stories Max lets Cole in on a secret. It’s a big one. Hell, it’s a doozy. Ole Jake Cash? That dude is alive. Sam only thought he’d killed Jake AKA the ultimate con-man! Also, Max knows all this and hadn’t bothered to tell Cole. Max lets Cole know that it didn’t go so well for him when he met Jake, so he doesn’t assume that Cole will fare any better. But Max knows Cole can’t stop himself from going, so he lets on that dear ole poppa Cash is somewhere down in New Orleans.

DadAlive

Continuity Corner:

  • After the events of “Gen12” issue 2, Cole is still in Chicago after meeting with Commander Thomas Morgan at the Sear’s Tower.
  • I figure that Alicia catches up with Cole in Chicago to make sure the meeting with Commander Thomas Morgan worked out right and he brings up this plan to help bust his dear old stepdad.
  • When Sam and Cole talk, Sam mentions he’s heard Cole has been “heroing these days” to which Cole reacts to by saying “that gig sort of crashed… I’ve been freelancing,” which kinda tracks if you thank about it, and it influenced the reading order as I’ve laid out. Cole quit the team in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 20, does his own thing until the “Fire from Heaven” crossover which was really his war with his Team 7 pals. The WildC.A.T.s team follows to help basically because Zannah was going to help Cole no matter what. When they get back they have the long night of the Crime War, which at the end Cole hasn’t really said if he’s back on the team or not. Especially after all the drama now surrounding Zannah and John Colt/Spartan, I’m not sure he wants to stick around much, so I figure he takes off. He’s not seen back in the “WildC.A.T.s” book until volume one issue 36, and by issue 40 he’s so a part of the team he goes back in time with them. So yeah, I’d still say he isn’t heroing with the ‘CATs and is freelance for the entire run of “Grifter” volume two, and much of it slots easily in-between “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 34 and 35. For all the crimes that Del Gracci has committed, I have to thank him for giving me the perfect opportunity to discuss this continuity reasoning in full!
  • I thought for sure the Joseph Brockmeyer was a made-up personality of Cole’s from “Gen12” issue 2, but it’s nice to see he was real, and Cole pretty much gave a straight story to Commander Thomas Morgan on his life and Joseph’s role in it.
  • Cole and Alicia muse that they hope that the real Suzana Love and Joe the Dead don’t find out about the con they just pulled impersonating them. We will eventually meet the real Joe the Dead in “Grifter” volume two issue 13 and he really isn’t pleased about the whole thing.
  • When Richard McNamara killed himself in “Team 7” issue 2 it turns out his consciousness could move from body to body and he took over the body of the janitor that came to clean up his body. He’d since been through several over the years.
  • Wait… what are Roxy and Grunde doing in New York on the first page of issue 4? Maybe Lynch left the kids on the East Coast for a bit after Cray’s funeral and got himself back to La Jolla before them, knowing he was going to be meeting up with Marisa Chambers as seen in the “Black Ops” book. An old spook like Lynch would surely know when someone is honing in on him and made sure the kids were far enough away to be safe, just in case. Plausible enough for me…

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

“Gen12” issues 1 & 2

This entry covers “Gen12” issues 1 and 2 by Brandon Choi, Michael Ryan, Sal Regla, Luke Rizzo, Armando Durruthy, John Tighe and Peter Guzman.

Gen12-01coverIt’s Miles Craven’s funeral and everyone is celebrating the life of a well-loved public servant. Come on, the American people don’t know any better and don’t know what a right bastard he was! One man is tasked with getting to the bottom of what was really going on with Craven and I/O and that’s Commander Thomas Morgan and he’s working for Senator Kilroy and his group of cronies that want to fill the intelligence power vacuum that Craven left behind. They’re called the Intelligence Oversight Committee, and they mean business! So where to go first, why not I/O’s Black Razor director, Ben Santini.

Meeting Santini is no easy task, well I mean meeting him is easy, but he immediately has Morgan suit up with the Black Razors and go take on a crazy militia group. They do the job, Morgan performing perfectly, pretty much for Santini to tell him “You got the goods kid, hell you coulda been Team 7 material. By the by, I purposly kept myself outta all that mess, go find Alicia Turner.” With that, Morgan is on his way to the next part of his fetch quest.

Alicia Turner also doesn’t tell Morgan much. In fact, all she does is show off some fancy remote viewing technology and reveal that the Iraquis are “at it again.” I know kinda thin stuff that builds to nothing later in the WSU. Morgan asks her about the Gen-Actives and the picture of Cole she has behind her desk. All she does is kick him the name Joseph Brockmeyer and tells him to scram.

Gen12-02coverMorgan sets up a meeting with Brockmeyer to meet in Chicago and get whatever information on Cole there is to have. Morgan was a bit puzzled as to why Brockmeyer is so much older than Cole but lets it go the hear some intel. We hear a bit about Cole’s home life and him leaving it behind and trying to join a life of crime. Even though he was a driver for some small-time thieves, he drew the line at taking hostages and killing. This put him in the good graces of the FBI agent that was busting Cole’s new friends. This man was Brockmeyer, and he got Cole into the military where he impressed everyone enough to get into Team 7.

We then have Brockmeyer filling in a lot of life/story details about Cole. Like leaving and returning to Team 7 over the years, finding out his mother had passed and becoming a soldier of fortune. We even get a glimpse of what I suppose is the first time he meets Zannah. We then see Cole and his involvement from the first issue of “Gen13” vol. one, and the aftermath when he’s tracked down by Colby. Colby says some ominous words and then leaves, giving an opportunity for the rest of the patrons at the Hot Spot that night to reveal they are Daemonites. Soon into the fight, when all hope is lost, Zannah shows up and saves Cole. After that, Brockmeyer lets us know, Cole was never seen again. Morgan takes this information in stride and bids Brockmeyer ado. We then find out that Brockmeyer was Cole in disguise all along, and wondering how much of what he told Morgan was even true in the first place. (But, uh, it seems like much of it is true…)

Continuity Corner:

  • The Team 7 story we see in issue 1 is based on a real event, commonly called “Operation Opera” when the Israeli Air Force bombed the first active nuclear reactor in Iraq. The Nuclear reactor was started in 1979 and while there was a bombing that year of components meant for the reactor by Israeli actors, this is when that equipment was still in France. A full-scale bombing of the Iraqi site by the Israeli Air Force, as depicted in Gen12 #1 did not occur until 1981 and would be at odds w/ the WSU timeline re: Team 7 and their defection from I/O to protect the Gen13 children in 1979 in “Gen13” volume one issue #1, it must be assumed this incident occurred slightly sooner in the WSU than in ours.
  • The main reason it must happen sooner is due to Fairchild, Cole, and Chang being on that mission. If the Team 7 mission took place in 1981, Fairchild and Chang would still be with the Gen13 tots on Coda Island (as we’ll see in “Gen12” issue 4) after the opening events of “Gen13” volume one issue #1. Also, right after the 1979 event, Cole headed straight to the Hot Spot and encountered Colby, followed by some Daemonites, which lead straight into teaming back up with Zannah, whom he sticks with this time (so it seems) until they join up w/ the WildC.A.T.s in 1992 (in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 1)
  • We see a lot of the Team 7 members that we currently know the whereabouts of at the small Arlington cemetery burial of Craven. I figure most were still in the area after Cray’s funeral, except for Cole who went up to NYC, only to come back. It’s a little messy, but there’s no decent reason to put this before the WildC.A.T.s issues due to the flow of that story also following hot on the heels of “Fire from Heaven.” I suppose we could put the first issue before “WildC.A.T.s” vol. 1 issue 31, but the second issue is only a 48hrs after the first so while that may be enough time for the ‘Cats defeat of TAO, I’m not sure if it is enough time to account for the third funeral that Cole goes to that week. Also, the double dose of getting to know Morgan with both issues at once is good for the readability.
  • When finding out about Cole’s backstory we also see his two step-siblings, which will come up in the pages of “Grifter” volume two issue 2
  • Speaking of “Grifter” volume two issue 2, we also meet the real Joseph Brockmeyer!
  • Because we now have Cole in Chicago for this meeting in the Sears Tower (it’ll always be the Sears Tower to me, take that Willis Tower nonsense somewhere else,) we have him right in place for “Grifter” volume two issues 2 and 3 which also take place in Chicago which we’ll cover soon.
  • Getting a LOT of Cole and Zannah backstory here… but still not the full story of their initial meeting! Goddamn it WildStorm!
    colezannah1colezannah2

NEXT: “Hazard” issues 1 – 4 by Jeff Mariotte, Roy Allan Martinez, Gerry Alanguilan, and Edgar Tadeo w/ some help from Whilce Portacio

“Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 29

This entry covers “Deathblow” volume on issue 29 by Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, and Trevor Scott.

deathblow_v1_029We pick up on this story with Rayna Masters getting ready for Michael Cray’s funeral following his death on the moon during “Fire from Heaven.” While she’s narrating what is going on, we keep getting the media’s reaction to what happened on the moon and in Gamorra on various televisions. StormWatch is very “deny, deny, deny” on all fronts. They’re saying there’s no connection between what happened on the moon and what happened in Gamorra, and moreover, there’s a peaceful exchange of power going on in Gamorra.

Rayna, however, isn’t the only one getting ready for Cray’s funeral. We are also treated to seeing all the members of Team 7 that are still around getting ready, or headed to New York for the event. Once in the big apple the remaining Team 7 members of Cash, Dane, Fairchild, Lynch, and Slayton meet up to toast to Cray at one of his favorite haunts, the Drop Zone. Meanwhile, the Gen13 kids and Jodi have to wait outside, because, you know, kids aren’t allowed in strip clubs.

AReasonToToast

Later in upstate New York for the funeral, we meet up with a lot of the “Deathblow” book’s extra cast members. Other than Rayna and the Sergeant Major, we get reacquainted Alicia Turner, Frank Colby, Alex Cray, and Sister Mary from the Order of the Cross. There are four people at the funeral who aren’t named, but from the looks of them, one could be Henri Rothschild and thusly two of the others may be his two young assistants, Balthazar and Yvette from the Bibliotheque. As for the last woman, I have no guesses on who she could be.

After the service, the funeral continues to the burial site, where both Alex and Rayna say many kind words about Michael. All of the present Team 7 members also say their peace while remembering their friend. Hell, even Grunge manages to say something sweet at the end of it all, despite being a total clod during most of this issue.

Ashes2Ashes

After everyone leaves the cemetery something crazy happens. No, it doesn’t turn out that Cray isn’t dead, not that at all. That’s far too “comic-booky” for this era of WildStorm. No, two mysterious men and a qeelocke teleport in next to the gravestone. One of the men scratches into the tombstone the same poem that Grunge was reciting earlier, before leaving, promising to continue to fight the good fight, lest Cray’s sacrifice mean nothing.

BigPhil

Continuity Corner:

  • I like to put this issue directly after the “Fire from Heaven” story mainly because it is the denouement for that story arc. In reality, it is possible for the events of “Black Ops” issues 3 – 5 to go before this issue because we see that Lynch goes back in La Jolla before flying to New York for the funeral, as we see him, the kids, and Alex Fairchild in a plane over the Rockies headed there. But putting this issue here just feels and works better from a storytelling perspective.
  • We also know that “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 31 picks up very soon after the events of “Fire from Heaven” too, but due to Savant being in pretty good condition we know those issues have to come after this issue of “Deathblow.”
  • The moment where Sister Mary recognizes Cash and Dane is a fun one. She’s one of the few that remembers the events of “Deathblow” volume one issues 5 through 12, so she’s met them before, but they haven’t met her.
  • Of the two men that teleport in at the end of the issue, one is named Cain, while the other isn’t named. Later, in the pages of “Gen12” we will find out that it was Phillip “Bulleteer” Chang from Team 7, Grunge’s father. It is implied that Phillip taught Grunge the poem phrase that Grunge recites that Phillip then engraves on Cray’s headstone.
  • It is also implied that Phillip knew a bit about Damocles as well, and hell, his partner does have a qeelocke! Where ever this was headed never got much further, as we only see Phillip and Cain once more before the whole story-line gets dropped.
  • Speaking of dropped story threads, in this issue we have more flirting between Jodi and Bobby, something that started and was building up during “Fire from Heaven.” Poor Bobby, keeps getting linked to all kinds of girls, Rainmaker, Bliss, now Jodi and it never works out.
  • While Michael Cray is dead he still manages to pop up here and there. Mainly in the flashback book “Gen12” and then “Slipstream” alternate timeline crossover story where he’s a member of Gen13 with his daughter Rachel. Oh yeah, Rachel Goldman of DV8 is his daughter. Then there’s also this whole mess with a bunch of clones of him, too! Which sounds dumb, but is somehow awesome in “Deathblow: Byblows.” Cray casts a long and large shadow over the WildStorm universe before he comes back for the second volume of “Deathblow.” That book is… ugh… probably an alright book if it wasn’t a “Deathblow” book… but hey, he comes back again near the end of the WSU when the world is in its apocalyptic stage. He and Cole end up as members of the Authority and create some of my favorite moments in all of the WSU, so that’s awesome.

NEXT: “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issues 31 through 34 by Alan Moore, Jim Lee, Travis Charest, Josh Wiesenfeld, Mat Broome, Pat Lee, Rob Stotz, Richard Bennett, Trevor Scott, Jason Gorder, Troy Hubbs, Scott Taylor, JD and Sandra Hope.

“Fire from Heaven” Finale

This post covers “Fire from Heaven” Finale chapters 1 through 3, which includes “The Sword of Damocles” issue 2, “Fire from Heaven” issue 2 and “Deathblow” volume one issue 28 by Warren Ellis, Alan Moore, Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Randy Green, Jim Lee, Trevor Scott, John Tighe, Richard Friend, Luke Rizzo, JD, Sandra Hope, Troy Hubbs, Danny Miki, Sal Regla, Edwin Rosell, Art Thibert and Tim Townsend.

Alright, time to start wrapping this crossover coverage of “Fire from Heaven” up. By the looks of it, I took longer to write about it than the books took to come out. That’s… damn… didn’t expect to fall that far behind! Oh well, here we go, here we all go all the way to the moon!

swordofdamocles_002Yup, that’s right, everybody gets to the moon via Void and some SkyWatch teleporters! I mean except for Cray, Dr. Tsung, and Ethan, they were already on the moon fighting Damocles, while The Sword, the Bounty Hunters, and some random Hunter-Killers watched. But like I said, everyone is on the moon now, so now it is time to kick some bad guy booty!

First to get done in is The Sword. Turns out that The Sword is an alternate version of Union. The Sword and Union are pretty evenly matched so… blah blah blah, fishcakes. You know what, Union wins, we all saw that coming, but how? Looks like Winter is back! Yup, remember way way back at the start of this crossover when The Sword tried to take out Winter? Looks like he should’ve done a better job because Winter proves his undoing. Union ultimately shoves the American flag left on the moon from the Apollo 11 mission, through The Sword’s Justice Stone and then takes The Sword’s… well, sword.

UnionVSwordDawnOfJusticeStone

firefromheaven_002While this is starting to wind down, the StormWatch moon base is secured from the Bounty Hunters. Zannah and Jeremy seem to do most of the work on that one despite other heroes being there. Most of the Bounty Hunters get away fine with Jade being the only one who gets nearly deaded.

Meanwhile, Spartan, Hellstrike, Union and Mr. Majestic are fighting off waves and waves of various henchmen of Damocles. While putting up a good fight, especially since 3/4th of them are supposed to be the WildStorm heavy hitters, they’re starting to get overwhelmed. Well, looks like blind luck and clumsiness to the rescue as Dozer shows up in even more gigantic-er armor than we’ve seen before and literally trips over and flattens pretty much the rest of the enemies. Oh Dozer, you lovable goof!

OopsieDoobleDozer

deathblow_v1_028Now back to our for real main event, and that’s Damocles versus Team 7 and Ethan. It is not going well for Team 7. Lynch and Cole are phasing in and out of reality and Dane’s symbiote is hardly keeping him together. Other heroes show up to join, but it doesn’t go too well for them. Cannon gets straight up knocked out and Void gets sent on a trip into broken space-time. So yeah, it doesn’t look good, but after seeing Cray take a savage attack from Damocles the rest of Team 7 get an idea.

It seems as if Cray’s Gen-Factor has made is obviousness known, Cray, well, is pretty indestructible. Now that it’s obvious, he starts feeling the rush of his Gen-Factor and Team 7 pull an old trick to help him amplify it. Cole, Lynch, Dane, Alex, Slayton and even Ethan gather in a circle, hold hands and concentrate together. It’s something they came across in their old Team 7 days. This not only helps amplify the Gen-Factor to help Cray get some extra strength but also helps give some of the Gen-Factor back to Cole, Lynch, and Dane.

Ethan leaves the power circle to help the charged up Cray fight Damocles because Damocles is one tough bastard. Suddenly the Qeelocke opens a portal that will vaporize anyone who goes through it. Cray is trying to push Damocles into it, but he still doesn’t quite have the power for it. Ethan wants to blast Damocles back into it, but can’t get a clear shot around Cray. Cray, knowing what is best for the world yells at Ethan to take the shot. Cray doesn’t see his life as more important than the rest of the Earth’s and demands Ethan to take the shot.

Ethan takes the shot.

Deathblow_28_20

Suddenly the book goes black and white and Cray is face to face with Gaby. He’s worried that he’s failed and Gaby lets him know that he did his best. Cray can’t understand what is happening. Then he sees the four men that lost their lives on one of his last few I/O missions and starts to get an idea of what exactly happened and where he is now.

Continuity Corner:

  • Looks like Union and The Sword is another case of someone fighting an alternate version of themselves in this series. We had Ethan fighting the Miles Craven Gen-Omega, we had Spartan fighting Yon Kohl and Dr. Tsung doing what he can against Damocles. It’s almost like it’s a theme…
  • This is also where Union gets a back a justice staff, as his got lost in “Union: Final Vengence.” Good thing too, as he’ll need one again when he shows up in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 35.
  • In “Fire from Heaven” issue 2, we see Fuji on a few panels. My best guess is that he got restationed from the New York Crime War to the moon based on priority. Hell, for all we know, that’s what Ladytron is yelling at TAO and Savant about on the first page of the issue.
  • I keep looking back and forth over these pages and I looks like Amanda and Jodi didn’t go to the moon. That’s acceptable, I can see Slayton telling Jodi to stay on Earth and Amanda helping him out by agreeing to stay behind with Jodi. But I also don’t see Claymore… WTF Claymore! Where are you!?
  • When teleporting to the moon Slayton says “Holy $#%@! we’re on the #$%@ing moon!” which feels out of character for him a bit. Actually, any of Team 7 to be honest. Should’ve saved that line for Roxy or Grunge.
  • It seems like Cray’s Gen-Factor only kicks in when he’s dead. This is how he came back after being killed by those Russians in the “Team 7: Dead Reckoning.” This is also how he survived his cancer earlier in his own book. It’s been his power the whole time but he didn’t know it.
  • While Damocles’ takedown of Void is savage, it doesn’t last long and she finds her way back to the team in no time.
  • For me, Damocles always seemed like a weak villain to be the main Big-Bad of this story. The revived Miles Craven Gen-Omega, Kaizen Gamorra in general before the reveal of him being Yon Kohl and hell, even The Sword all seem like better villains. It’s like a video game where all the mini-bosses are better than the final one.
  • If this last issue feels a little anti-climactic… well it kind of is. Not sure if it was by design or what. The real final issue of this massive crossover is actually the next issue of “Deathblow.” Without it, this crossover feels very incomplete.

NEXT: “Deathblow” volume on issue 29 by Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner and Trevor Scott.

“Fire from Heaven” Chapters 12 – 14

This entry covers “Fire from Heaven” chapters 12 through 14, which include “StormWatch” volume one issue 36, “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 30 and “Sigma” issue 3 by Drew Bittner, Alan Moore, Brandon Choi, Renato Arlem, Ryan Benjamin, Travis Charest, Kevin Lau, Jose Pimentel, Richard Friend, Sandra Hope, Mark Irwin, Sal Regla, Luke Rizzo, and John Tighe.

Up front, sorry for being MIA for a bit. I’ve moved (not too terribly far from my last place) and a celebrated a birthday, Vegas style. It doesn’t seem like much but it’s been pretty busy for me and I didn’t have time to give this blog my full attention. But now, well now is a different story! Now we’re diving back into the gigantic “Fire from Heaven” crossover!

stormwatch_v1_036We join back up with Kaizen Gamorra reminding StormWatch that they need to do their damn jobs and take out the metahuman menace on his island. He even threatens to call in the UN to rat them all out personally. Even as StormWatch and StormForce are uneasily agreeing to get with the Kaizen program do the Mercs show up wanting to join forces with them. While the team doesn’t quite trust them, Deathtrap reminds the heroes that the Mercs live on Gamorra, why wouldn’t they want to defend it? The uneasy pairing takes off to track down the combined forces of  the WildC.A.T.s, Gen13, Team 7 and WetWorks (along with Union.)

So everyone is all caught up with each other and as the fight goes on the StormWatch and StormForce members want less and less to do with fighting. In fact, the only “good guy” interested in the fight at all is Flashpoint. Here, in the heat of the battle Flashpoint finally lets it slip that he has been working with Deathtrap all along! He lured StormWatch Prime to Kuwait to be captured. It’s pretty evil, then again it’s Flashpoint’s always been a bit of a jerk, so yeah, he’s an evil jerk. Might as well add stupid to that list too, because he takes on Jackson and gets his head exploded. What an evil stupid jerk.

FlashpointExpoldy

Alright, now we have StormWatch back on the side of the angels, ready to take the fight to Kaizen. But he keeps throwing things at them. First, it was Hunter-Killers, then some high-tech drones, now it is a bunch of these Omnibots. Mother-One figures out a way to hack into their shared signal of the Omnibots and force them to self-destruct. It doesn’t work on all of them, but it thins the heard enough to give the heroes an upper hand in taking out the rest. With that crisis over another one is on its way, that huge wave that we saw getting going at the end of our last chapter of “Fire from Heaven” is now right off the coast of Gamorra!

wildcats_v1_030Meanwhile, back in New York City, the Crime War is heating up between the New WildC.A.T.s and NYC’s organized crime families. The StormWatch rookies are not the help Savant was counting on. In the middle of the fight, Mr. Majestic just up and leaves, further pissing Savant off. Why did Mr. Majestic leave? Well, he saw something on television he didn’t like and had to get away to take care of it.

Back on Gamorra while a huge tsunami looms over Gamorra City, the Cybernary and her crew are breaking into Kaizen’s main base of operations. They manage to knock out his power and the combat drones protecting him. At this moment the wave crashes into the city, but Cybernary is lucky because Slayton is there to save her like she did him earlier in the crossover.

EasySaysYouMrMags

The wave hits, but not as hard as everyone assumes that it should have. It turns out that Mr. Majestic saved the day. He’s a smart one for sure, but now it is time to get down to business, time to confront Kaizen Gamorra… or is it? That’s right readers, the Kaizen Gamorra that we’ve known so far in WildStorm comics is not the real Kaizen Gamorra at all! In fact, it is an impostor that imprisoned the true Kaizen and took his place. This impostor is none other than (insert drumroll) Yon Kohl AKA John Colt from Team One… the one that Majestic killed by request back in the ’60s.

You know, the John Colt that had his memories uploaded into Spartan? So yeah, basically there’s two of this guy running around. The way fakey Kaizen sees it is that Spartan is no more than a cheap Yon Kohl knockoff. At first, Spartan wasn’t sure to believe all this, but he had been getting flashes of memories that he didn’t quite remember so it started to add up. Spartan sees himself as what Yon Kohl stood for, and takes Kaizen to task for being a fallen version of Kohl. Not so surprisingly, they are pretty evenly matched and Mr. Majestic steps in again to finish the job he’d started 30+ years ago, and kill his former friend and fellow Kherubim Lord.

OGKohlDed

With Kaizen killed and there being only one Yon Kohl left standing, the heroes start to speak of what Damocles could be doing on the moon. There’s a problem, morale is extremely low. Lucky for everyone, Spartan has just the speech to get everyone back into the ass-kicking spirit! That’s right, it’s time to head to the moon, bitches!

ShootTheMoon

sigma_003And that’s it for straightforward storytelling! This issue of “Sigma” and all the Finale issues are all jumbled in time/happening at the same time. More on the Finale issues when we get there, but this issue picks up shortly after Ethan, Dr. Tsung and Cray teleport away from Gamorra and back to California all the way back in chapter 8. We see a replay of Damocles’ abduction the Victoria and Celia Tsung. Other than showing us what we already know, we also find out about Dr. Tsung’s past including his previous wife and daughter, as well as his how he found the wee baby Ethan and how he started working for I/O.

Ethan, Cray and Dr. Tsung get their asses to the moon by way of Qeelocke to take on Damocles. The fight is just getting started when Damocles gets his helmet knocked off revealing to everyone that he’s an alternate universe version of Dr. Tsung. While this is shocking and surprising to everyone, even The Sword, it doesn’t stop the battle. What does put a big ole cooler on the fight is that Ethan uses too much power and accidentally engages a safety mode on his suit that basically turns him into a protected lump, unable to hurt anyone or be hurt himself. With Ethan out of the way, Damocles is pretty sure he’s got this fight won with no one else to stop him. Oh yeah, things are looking bad for Earth right about now!

DamoclesWins

Continuity Corner:

  • When Maul approaches Jackson King they make mention of the bad blood between them. This being Maul “killing” King which in a roundabout way kicked off the last big WildStorm crossover “WildStorm Rising.”
  • After Flashpoint is killed, the Mercs are taken down easily, Razor even officially surrenders. I’m sure they were supposed to be taken into custody by StormWatch, but they must’ve escaped quickly because after this they’ll join the Crime War in the pages of “WildC.A.T.s” and that’s only a matter of days after the conclusion of “Fire from Heaven.”
  • We have a few pages in “StormWatch” volume one, issue 36 where a doctor lands on Gamorra with a plan to work for Kaizen. He has a new kind of Hunter-Killer with him! This experiment turns out to be bounty hunter named Alexander Hutton and he will be the star of  the forthcoming book “Hazard.”
  • Finding out the depth of Flashpoint’s traitorous ways never quite fit well to me. Mainly because if he was working with Deathtrap, then all their dialogue near the end of “StormWatch” volume one, special issue 2 seems like it doesn’t fit. Unless he thought somehow that StormWatch was listening in on that conversation. Sorry, that’s the best I can come up with!
  • While there are a bunch of small continuity errors here and there throughout “Fire from Heaven” there’s a moment in “StormWatch” volume one, issue 36 where Mother-One loses her arm. In the next chapter in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one, issue 30 we see Caitlin Fairchild retrieving and giving Mother-One her arm back. A nice small moment in this massive and messy crossover.
  • Okay, I gotta mention this, somehow, somewhere Maggie Monroe and Capt. Lucius Morgan get off of Gamorra. Around this time some odd lights from the sky start to shine down onto the Earth and disintegrate anyone who it touches. Maggie, Lucius and some other bit players from “Sigma” get caught up in this. I could be wrong, but these characters are all dead now, right? What a lame way to go out for Maggie and Lucius!
  • Speaking of lame ways to go out… this is a pretty big revelation with Kaizen Gamorra actually being Yon Kohl and then being savagely beaten so quick! It just feel like a real loss of story opportunities.
  • Even though Pris is on the cover of “StormWatch” volume one, issue 36, she doesn’t appear anywhere inside this book. It was nice to see her though.

NEXT: “Fire from Heaven” Finale chapters 1 through 3, which includes “The Sword of Damocles” issue 2, “Fire from Heaven” issue 2 and “Deathblow” volume one issue 28 by Warren Ellis, Alan Moore, Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Randy Green, Jim Lee, Trevor Scott, John Tighe, Richard Friend, Luke Rizzo, JD, Sandra Hope, Troy Hubbs, Danny Miki, Sal Regla, Edwin Rosell, Art Thibert and Tim Townsend.

“Fire from Heaven” Chapters 9 – 11

This entry covers “Fire from Heaven” Chapters 9 through 11, which include “Gen13” volume two issue 11, “Backlash” issue 20 and “Wetworks” volume one issue 17 by J. Scott Campbell, Brandon Choi, Jim Lee, Brett Booth, Sean Ruffner, Jonathan Peterson, Terry Shoemaker, Melvin Rubi, Cedric Nocon, Saleem Crawford, Richard Friend, Alex Garner, Tom McWeeney, Tom Raney, Luke Rizzo, John Tighe, Mark Pennington, Art Thibert and Chuck Gibson.

gen13_v2_011Well, here we are again, covering the massive “Fire from Heaven” crossover! Here’s some good news, these three issues are pretty much told in real time, chapter by chapter. No more rewinding to find out how who got where just straightforward storytelling. But I have some bad news… it lasts for a few more issues after this. Then it gets back to the whole “all these issues are happening at once” tactic. Enjoy this streamlined ride while you can!

When we last left Team 7 and Gen13 they were in a big fight against Damocles and his pals, being backed up by Kaizen with the Minotaur and his cronies, and we just saw Ethan, Dr. Tsung, and Michael Cray teleport away with Qeelocke.  It’s a bit too much for our heroes and they all get captured by Kaizen and detained. Before Kaizen can take them for himself, StormForce shows up to help and monitor the prisoners. Jackson King gets into an argument with Kaisen stating that because they were called to help, StormWatch is gonna help, and that means they take the prisoners.

In the detention center, things get a little more… well personal. Jodi is excited to see Amanda again, and Team 7 is happy to see Dane holding up. Alex Fairchild puts two and two together and realizes that Caitlyn is his daughter. They have a nice little moment until Grunge asks about his dad and Alex starts to tell him about how they smuggled the kids out of the country. This is when Lynch gets crazy mad because he just realized that it was Alex who kidnapped his son and sent him off, lost forever. Well, not entirely forever, as Alex tells Lynch that Bobby is his son. Whoa! Too much information and Lynch passes out.

ImNotCryingYoureCrying

Meanwhile, Damocles starts to put a few things together about this universe. While his motivations remain a mystery to the reader and those around him, Damocles kidnaps Victoria and Celia Tsung. Once the Tsung women are on the moon with him he calls for his doomsday device to be activated, just for a test run. It’s basically a huge rocket engine on the moon, and his plan is to smash the moon into the Earth and use the released energy to teleport him to another universe. Again. He seems to do something like this a lot from what we can gather. Anyway, like I said it was a test, so you know, the stars of these books still have plenty of time to get to the moon and stop him before he is for realzies about this moon missile plan.

Oh, and these three things happen. All of the WildCATs except for Spartan are immediately caught and thrown in the same prison as the rest. DV8 are wandering the woods of Gamorra and manage to secretly escape the island. Jackson King is starting to think that something is up, and is not comfortable holding so many good men and women hostage.

backlash_020Back in the main narrative, we see Slayton and the Cybernary starting to check out the prison compound where the rest of our story antagonists are located. They are quickly joined by Spartan. Suddenly they are under attack by Aries and a bunch of Hunter-Killers, and they unleash their most terrifying weapon of all: Evil Mind-Controlled Pimped Out CyberJack. Slayton can’t believe his eyes, or his ears as Jack isn’t talking with anything but his fists. Luckily Union shows up to even the odds out a bit.

The fight between Slayton and CyberJack is massive and eventually leads us right into the prison. All this destruction and distraction turns out to be a good thing as is leaves massive holes in the walls and dead HK guards making for an easier exit for all the captives. At one point Flashpoint tries to stop them all, but he’s met with a knock-out mind ray from Jackson King. Seriously, Jackson is really getting sick of his shit. Slayton manages a few good blows to CyberJack that momentarily give old Rhodes back his mind. Jack tells them all to clear out, he knows what Kaizen is going to do and wants them all safe. What is Kaizen going to do? Well, detonate a bomb in CyberJack’s cortex. Yeah… devastating. All our heroes manage to get free as they take a quick minute to mourn the loss of a friend and ally.

PourOneOutForJack

wetworks_v1_017Alright, everyone, it’s time for the team up of the WildStorm decade! Pretty much all their characters are together (save StormWatch) on the way to punish Kaizen Gamorra as a group! Seeing them in such a big mass together, sneaking around Gamorra, interacting with each other is a trip! This is the kinda thing that makes comics so fun. Well fun for me, the reader, not so much the characters. This trek isn’t so easy. In fact, at one point they all get surrounded by some new high-tech attack drones. While the fight seems all but lost, there’s a sudden save from a massive (and I do mean massive) Dozer from Wetworks being dropped like a machine gun blazin’ bomb. He saves the day and everyone soldiers on.

HeyaDozer

Back on the moon, Damocles readies his weapon for reals. That’s right, it’s time to shoot the moon right into the Earth. It’s go time! And of course, that means things going haywire on Earth again. We have more earthquakes! We have volcanos erupting! And we have an even bigger big ass wave headed towards the island of Gamorra! Could all our heroes be wiped out by the wave before they get to Kaizen? If the wave takes them out but also Kaizen is that a good thing? Wait, why am I worried about this huge wave THE FRIKKIN’ MOON IS ON A COLLISION COURSE WITH EARTH!

Continuity Corner:

  • The first few pages of “Gen13” volume two issue 11 here is the only real retread we get of what we’ve seen before. It gives us a nice J. Scott Campbell 2 page spread of the end of the fight, this time branching off to see what is going on in Gamorra instead of following Ethan, Dr. Tsung and Cray to California.
  • We currently don’t know much about the Gen-Active child smuggling that Alex was involved in just yet, but we’ll find out all about it in the “Gen12” series.
  • Too bad The Bleed had yet to be officially “found” in the WildStorm Universe, could’ve saved Damocles a lot of time and effort.
  • While we don’t see an official meet up the Wetworks team being imprisoned with the rest. Those characters are suddenly there, in jail. I think a page or two could’ve been spared to address this… maybe even a single panel.

NEXT: “Fire from Heaven” chapters 12 through 14, which include “StormWatch” volume one issue 36, “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 30 and “Sigma” issue 3 by Drew Bittner, Alan Moore, Brandon Choi, Renato Arnem, Ryan Benjamin, Travis Charest, Kevin Lau, Jose Pimentel, Richard Friend, Sandra Hope, Mark Irwin, Sal Regla, Luke Rizzo, and John Tighe.

“Fire from Heaven” Chapters 7 & 8

This entry covers “Fire from Heaven” chapters 7 and 8, which include “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 29 and “Deathblow” volume one issue 27 by Alan Moore, Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Travis Charest, Ryan Benjamin, Trevor Scott, JD, Richard Friend, Mark Irwin and Luke Rizzo.  

wildcats_v1_029Here we are once again to talk about “Fire from Heaven” the biggest damn WildStorm crossover there ever was! Once again we’re hitting a bit of a rewind button as we see how the WildC.A.T.s team makes their way to Gamorra. We also start to finally see a lot more of that fight with Team 7 and the Gen13 kids vs. Ivana and the DV8 kids while Ethan is starting to rumble with Damocles!

The story starts out the night before everyone is arriving on Gamorra, the night that the original WildC.A.T.s team gets back from their space trip. Cray and Cole are hanging outside the Halo building talking about the old team being back and they see Marlowe walking out. Cole offers his condolences about what went on on Khera and even apologizes for his past behavior. None of this does much to stop Marlowe, the little guy just keeps on walking, away from the team, away from his fortune and away from this volume of “WildC.A.T.s.”

EmpExits

Marlowe isn’t the only one out the door either. Pris says goodbye to Jeremy and Reno and finally to Spartan. It’s an uneasy farewell, but hey, she’ll be back later after her mini-series. All other leaves of absence are short, like Cole taking off with Team 7 on the way to Gamorra to join the big crossover, or Max ditching the team after he wakes up in hospital. Don’t worry, both Cash brothers will officially be back on the team when all the time traveling starts.

As the members of each of the WildC.A.T.s teams (that actually stuck around) catch up with each other, Majestic finds out, and cannot comprehend the Daemonite/Kherubim war being over. Much in the same way that the old team cannot fathom why the new team is involved in this crazy crime war. Eventually, after a few insults from Zannah, what’s left of the old team heads to Gamorra to help their buddy Cole. As Reno says “We all need some sort of direction after getting back from Khera. I guess this is as good as any.”

The new team thankfully has some StormWatch rookies and Fuji to help them out even if the old team isn’t still around. Fighting in the streets isn’t easy, so it is still best to have some backup. Not that the old team is doing that well on their mission. In fact, their jet gets shot by the same space laser that’s been bringing down everyone else. Luckily Void teleports what’s left of the team safely to the island. Now that they’re on Gamorra, where are they going to start looking to help their friend?

deathblow_v1_027Meanwhile the big Team 7/Gen13/DV8 fight rages on! Only being momentarily interrupted when Damocles tosses Ethan into the middle of it from the other room. Ethan calls all the members of the fight, despite the side, to focus all their energy on Damocles instead of each other. Before they all join in Damocles gets a good look at Dr. Tsung and cannot believe what he sees! Obviously, more on that later. Before he can do anything all the Gen-Actives start to pour it on. Despite some early progress in beating him down, Ivana wants all the DV8 kids to leave with her immediately. Threshold, but more importantly the rest of the kids disagree with Ivana and refuse to leave the fight.

Alright, let’s take a break from this never-ending battle to find out what is going on in the rest of Gamorra. We have The Sword out taking a stroll in Gamorra City and starting to feel very paranoid. It’s an unusual feeling for him. We find Slayton and Cybernary tricking their way into a Gamorrian listening station/data gathering location and shutting it down. But, most importantly, we see Cray finally, once and for all, take out Raymond LeGauche! It’s about damn time!

LeGaucheMoreLikeLeDead

Back to the main battle and we see Kaizen brazenly stroll in and interrupt the whole damn thing. The kind of thing you expect from a conceited douche who literally owns the place. He pledges his allegiance to Damocles, excuses Ivana and the DV8 kids and then sics the Minotaur, Borgia, and Gila onto his remaining enemies. Ethan is drawing from all the Gen-Factor in the room and delivers a pretty big pop to Damocles! But wouldn’t you know it, as soon as that happens The Sword and the rest of the Bountyhunters show up to the fight.

One may think that having the Bountyhunters join the fight would be a bad thing, but not exactly. See, Hardball is still carrying Qeelocke, and Qeelocke escapes, and Qeelocke has a sudden interest in Ethan. About this time Damocles is starting to put the hurt on Ethan. While Ethan may be more powerful, Damocles has experience, and experience is winning at this moment. But there is something that can help knock Damocles down a peg or two.

Earlier, when confronted with all the Gen-Omega clones where the reborn Miles Craven was found, Cray set up a virus to shut down on the containment chambers of the Gen-Omegas, thereby killing them. This causes a psychic backlash that incapacitates Damocles. This is the moment that Qeeklocke uses to get Ethan and Dr. Tsung back home to Berkley, CA. Oh yeah, and why not take along Cray as well. The Tsung/McCain family are back together, and now Cray, Ethan, and Dr. Tsung can better plot a way to defeat Damocles before they face him again, willing that their sudden absence doesn’t cost the lives of any of their friends.

TheQeelockeToBerkley

Continuity Corner:

  • Other than Pagan, I was never able to figure out exactly who the other “StormWatch Rookies” were. Of the StormWatch team members, we only see Fuji, Pagan and then 3 nondescript rookies. Ok, one of them kinda looks like Blademaster, but not enough for me to swear by it, mainly because he isn’t holding any sort of blades. In “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 32 we officially have Pagan named checked for confirmation. We also get a name check from Prism too, but we never actually see him. Also, by the time we get there we also see Fahrenheit helping the WildC.A.T.s in the crime war, so you know, they may’ve deployed more help than just Fuji and the rookies after the main team gets back from Gamorra.
  • The reason The Sword is paranoid is that he feels like he’s being followed. Later we’ll find out that this was Union stalking him. It’s possible that he felt Union’s eyes on him more than any others because [SPOILER I JUST DON’T WANNA SPOIL YET, JUST ‘CUZ]
  • Part of me really wishes that these two issues were flipped in the chapter order. Mainly because the “Deathblow” issue picks up with the big fight that we’ve been having in Kaizen’s lab. Also, that issue ends with Kaizen either kicking everyone out or capturing them, while Qeelocke transports a handful of heroes away. Near the end of the “WildC.A.T.s” issue, we see an android report on the fact that several Team 7 and Gen13 members have been captured. To me, it would read just a tiny bit better if they were switched.

NEXT: “Fire from Heaven” Chapters 9 through 11, which include “Gen13” volume two issue 11, “Backlash” issue 20 and “Wetworks” volume one issue 17 by J. Scott Campbell, Brandon Choi, Jim Lee, Brett Booth, Sean Ruffner, Jonathan Peterson, Terry Shoemaker, Melvin Rubi, Cedric Nocon, Saleem Crawford, Richard Friend, Alex Garner, Tom McWeeney, Tom Raney, Luke Rizzo, John Tighe, Mark Pennington, Art Thibert and Chuck Gibson.