Category Archives: Team 7

“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?

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

“Gen13” Vol. 2 issues 8 & 9

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

gen13_v1_008Our boys and girls in Gen13 are still hiding out in San Francisco where they were last seen after their adventure with Michael Cray.  Lynch is resting up as good as he can without the Gen-Factor. Roxy has been having nightmares starring the mysterious Trance, much to the concern of bother Caitlin and Anna. So, how long have the team been hanging out in San Francisco? Well, long enough for Grunge to get a haircut. A haircut, while it undermine’s his nickname/codename a bit, it’s a much better look for him. Wait, what is this site? “Styling the Storm : One Fanboy’s Fashionable Take on the Clothing of the WildStorm Universe”? No! Let’s get back to the recap!

SJW
How the hell did these damn SJWs get into my comic from Feb 1996? That can’t be right!

Some of the kids decide that they are going to go dancing, while Bobby and Sarah decide to stay in their safe house along with Lynch and Anna. While on the way to the club Roxy sees Trance out of the corner of her eye, but he disappears quickly enough to make the rest of the kids question her freak out. Later at the club, Roxy, Grunge, and Caitlin run into Trance again. Instead of big-time freaking out, Roxy just lets Caitlin start dancing with him. I mean, she has a bad feeling about it all, but she must be playing it cool. Once Trance puts Caitlin in, well, a trance and they walk out of the club together does Roxy get the nerve up to put a stop to it. It’s too little too late for her and Grunge just encounter a creepy little girl who hands them the address of the old amusement park. The girl tells them if they ever want to see Caitlin again, that’s where she’ll be.

Turns out this was all an elaborate ruse for Trance’s minions to get the jump on the rest of the Gen13 kids, as well as Lynch. For the most part, it works. Every Gen13 member is teamed up with someone who can easily thwart their superpowers. I’m of the mind that Trance specifically sought this team to deal with Gen13. It was a stroke of genius to turn Caitlin bad to take down Lynch too! But for all his planning he didn’t count on two things. The first being Queelocke opening a portal to bring in Anna, an android he cannot mind control and is hella tough. And second, that once his team isn’t matched up against their ideal Gen13 opponent that they are easy to defeat.

gen13_ v1_009The reason Trance wants to add the Gen13 kids too his army is because wants revenge on Damocles. We never find out how they’re tied together, so it is kind of a letdown. Of course, Trance knowing Damocles does explain why he was first around when the Bounty Hunters showed up at the Soil Machine. He was watching for them, it was just a bonus that he met with Roxy leading him to more members for his revenge society. Trance also knows that The Sword is after Qeelocke. Trance, for all his faults, is really out to stop Damocles, which is something the whole WSU can get behind during “Fire from Heaven.” Too bad he doesn’t show up to help.

With Trance and his crew on the run, the kids want to follow and continue the fight. Right at this moment, Lynch gets a call. It’s his Team 7 pals! They’re taking the fight to Craven and they’re going to need his help. Hell, bring the kids, let’s make this a party!

TakingItToTheStreets

While all this has been going on we’ve been seeing Threshold and Ivana get their team of Gen-Active teens ready to fight the Gen13 team. They’ll soon be called the Deviants or, yah know, DV8 for short. They are ready to stop wasting virtual versions of Gen13 and get their hands on the real deal.

Also, we see Capt. Lucius Morgan and his daughter Daphne from the Coda Island story. Turns out Lucius is looking up an old friend, one Alex Fairchild! He lets Alex know he’s met Caitlin as well as that he’s heard Kaizen is messing with some Gen-Factor stuff. They agree to head to Gamorra and see what they can find out, on the Gen-Factor projects as well as on the current whereabouts of Caitlin.

If that’s not enough, there are two more threads woven throughout these two issues! The first is a nightmare experienced by a teenage boy named Ethan McCain. A character who will become a big player during “Fire from Heaven.” The other character we meet is a young Gen-Active man who goes by the name Absolom who seemingly has control over ground next to him. Currently, all we know is that he’s on Gamorra and is from a different clan that calls Gamorra home.

Continuity Corner:

  • The last we saw Trance was in “Deathblow” volume one issue 17 trading information with Miles Craven. We know he was asking for information on Kaizen Gamorra, yet we haven’t seen him confront Kaizen or know what he’s doing with that information.
  • The next we’ll see Trance and friends is a long way off in a few issues of “Gen13 Bootleg” then he’ll bother some of the DV8 kids in “Gen-Active.” None of it has anything to do with his relationship or knowledge of Damocles.
  • At one point Trance almost gets to say that Caitlin and Roxy are sisters before Qeelocke summons Anna to come kick his ass. I cannot believe how long and how often they teased this!
  • What an introduction for Absolom. Too bad we’ll never see him again! He’s supposed to be a brother of Grunge’s but the only way to know any of this is from the “WildStorm Universe Source Book.” So it is acceptable that we don’t know any of this. I wonder how he and his story line got dropped? Note: his father didn’t fare much better in this department either.
  • Not sure if it has already been mentioned, but Capt. Lucius Morgan was a member of Team 7. We’ve never seen him in any flashbacks, so I figure he was like Bloodmoon and quit the team early and didn’t get super-powers. But later we’ll see him with some… so… yeah, I dunno… he must also have the power of half-assed retcons.
  • When Lynch gets the call it seems like the whole gang is already there with Cray. We don’t really see them all coming together, but it’s interesting to note that they were all together when they called. Considering how much some of them hate each other, that’s a pretty tall order.

NEXT: “Brass” volume one issues 1 through 3 by Richard Bennett and Aron Wiesenfeld

“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.

HejHejMonikaHejPaDigMonika

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.

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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

“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.

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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!

deathoflasalle

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

“Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 22

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

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

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

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

Dr Markus Rings

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

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

LaGauche is a d bag

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

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

Continuity Corner:

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

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

“WildStorm Rising” Chapters 5 – 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continuity Corner :

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

Where to find these stories:

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

“WildStorm Rising” Chapters 1 – 4

this entry covers “WildStorm Rising” Chapters 1 through 4, which consists of “WildStorm Rising” issue 1, “WildC.A.T.s : Covert Action Teams” volume 1 issue 20, “Union” volume 2 issue 4 and “Gen13” volume 2 issue 2 as well as the “Grifter : Sneak Peak” story from “Overstreet’s Fan” issue 1, which is best read after “WildC.A.T.s” issue 20

Okay, here we go, let’s get started, here’s what many of the WildStorm titles have been leading to for so long! WildC.A.T.s meet StormWatch. StormWatch meet WildC.A.T.s. Now by the law of comics you must fight! Even if said fight is in a parking lot in downtown Washington D.C. I have to say it’s an interesting choice. It feels more real that an abandoned warehouse. More immediate than an empty section of the city. There are even cops telling the rubberneckers to get back. Maybe it’s me, but stuff like this really brings a lot of reality into the comics.

During the brawl, we have Hightower watching and smiling. He’s glad to see the WildC.A.T.s so preoccupied with fighting StormWatch that they’ve forgotten about him. Now it’s time to for him to slip off to the Smithsonian to take the part of the key/badge that Charles Russell will have on display at his new exhibit. Hightower gets into the museum to talk to Dr. Russell disguised as a guard. After pumping the good doctor about where the key/badge was found he cold-cocks the doc and absconds with the key/badge.

Void shows up all big and badass and basically rescues all of the WildC.A.T.s and gets the hell out of that trashed D.C. parking lot. Before she ports everyone to safety, she creates an image in the sky of the Daemonite key/badge. This gets the attention of one Daemonite High Lord named Defile. He decides that his scheme of pitting the WildC.A.T.s against StormWatch must be suspended, he needs that key/badge! Meanwhile, the WildC.A.Ts arrive back at the Halo building to find Hightower just chillin’ with the key/badge wanting to talk to the team.

It is too bad for Hightower that no one wants to hear him out. The WildC.A.T.s just start wailing on the guy. After he finally gets the team to calm down, by holding Jacob at claw-point, he tells them all about Defile and how he’s the guy they’re after. He also tells the team all about the key/badges and how it is his goal to complete the part of the one he has, snag the other two, find the Daemonite warship and go back to Daemon. He’s got no love for Earth or continuing the war here. He reminds them all of the awesome firepower on the Daemonite ship and persuades them that his are the best hands it could be in, and he’ll just leave, while Defile would just use that kind of power enslave Earth.

Jacob gives Hightower’s words some thought and decides that Hightower is right, it is best that they team up with him. Cole isn’t cool with this. Mostly on account of what Hightower did to him and his pal Lonely back in “WildC.A.T.s Trilogy.” Jacob threatens Cole with being fired and Cole over reacts, backhands Jacob and walks away. Wait, did I say he just walks away? Nah, he was also purposely hateful and a little bit racist towards the rest of the team on his way out. While it’s tough to read, this is completely in character when what we know of Cole. Try to make them hate you on your way out, so they never ask you to come back. Classic tough-guy bravado.

Meanwhile, Savant and Charles have been trying to call the WildC.A.T.s but the team can’t hear the damn phone ring due to all the fighting and yelling. She’s already called in Majestic to help (he’s on his way), but the WildC.A.T.s would provide more of the back-up they may need. Because she can’t get a hold of her sister and pals, she does the next best thing, calling her old pal Christine at StormWatch for help. Christine decides that the best operative to answer Savant’s call for help is Union. Before either of Majestic or Union can get Savant’s location at Charles’s house, Mr. White and a handful of the Mercs bust in a wall and start to interrogate Charles. Before the Mercs and Mr. White can do too much damage on behalf of Defile, Majestic swoops in to save the day. He’s doing a bang-up job of it too before Union shows up and thinks that Majestic is the bad guy and start beating on him.

Fresh from a nap and some booze, Cole gets to thinking about quitin’ the ‘C.A.T.s. He’s still sure he made the right choice, but something is bugging him. He knows he’s seen that missing bit of the key/badge before. It dawns on him that it is back in his Team 7 days, and he remembers Cray taking it when they found it in the jungles of Nicaragua. Cole knows he needs to find Cray, but needs some coffee first. Presumably, after that coffee, Cole takes a short job to make some cash protecting some diamonds. While in a warehouse he’s attacked by a woman named Prayer who’s “holier-than-thou” act isn’t so much of an act, but a way of life. Cole’s employers are less than clean, and Prayer means to steal the diamonds and get them to their rightful owner. Cole’s no slouch. He sees when he can play a grift, you might say. In the end, Cole still has the diamonds and all Prayer got away with was half a sandwich in a fancy case.

Back to the action. The action being Union and Majestic beating on each other. These two just won’t listen, and in their brawl, Mr. White and the Mercs manage to escape. They also cause more property destruction on Charles’ house before knocking out the power to a quarter of D.C. Once they stop to think for a few seconds Savant calls them out on their douchebaggery and lets each of them know they’re all on the same side. Seem he’s got a plan. While everyone is scrambling back and forth looking for the rest of the key/badges they’re going to Nicaragua to find the lost Daemonite ship. Savant has sketchy ideas about the location from Charles, but Savant can find anything, especially with the help of Majestic and sure, I guess Union can tag along too.

Defile is starting to get pissed. There are two halves of one key/badge out there, and another whole key as well. He’s gotten enough information to know that one of the members of Team 7 has the half that Hightower doesn’t have. The problem is, he’s not sure which on holds that key/badge part and sends his minions off to snag it for him. One of his minions is Helmut, an old enemy of John Lynch, who’s ready for revenge, but where is Lynch?

After Defile has discharged all his minions, except his zombie rude boy, a young man comes to him with exactly what he wants, the location of Lynch. It’s Trance, the creepy guy from the nightclub that tried to charm Roxy. He obviously knows the location of Lynch and will trade it to Defile for the secrets of Miles Craven. That’s the deal of the century! Go Trance you skinny slick bastard! That’s kind of badass, especially for you.

Defile contacts Helmut and he’s on his way to ruin the Gen13 girls’ day by the pool. Well, Grunge wasn’t helping make it much better, but Helmut made it so much worse. Everyone is doing their best to hold their own against Helmut, but he’s a tough S.O.B. in his armor. Suddenly Lynch yells to Bobby to set up his guitar and amps. See, Lynch remembers from the first time he encountered Helmut that Helmut is susceptible to sonic vibrations. Bobby gets his gear all set up and starts striking a chord in his Soundgarden t-shirt (R.I.P. Chris Cornell.) This act stuns Helmut enough for Grunge to pop in and hit the release button on Helmut’s armor. Once again Lynch strings Helmut up in a net and takes a photo, this time with his young wards.

That’s where I leave you for now. Cole is on the hunt for Cray. Defile’s thugs are on the hunt for Cole, Cray, Jackson and Slayton. Savant, Majestic and Union are on the hunt for the lost Daemonite ship. And the WildC.A.T.s are on the hunt for… well… we don’t really know right now, but we have a double page spread of them kicking some ass, so we know they’re on the hunt for something!

Continuity Corner :

  • When the WildC.A.T.s and StormWatch are fighting each other, Zealot and Winter keep getting matched up against each other. When this was happening did anyone know they were supposed to be mother and son? We know that Winter is Zealot’s son because of “Voodoo / Zealot : Skin Trade” but that was published after “WildStorm Rising”, but there’s no place chronologically for it to take place after “WildStorm Rising.” (Pris is on the team, still training to be a Coda, she gets along with Zealot.) Also, according to an interview in “Wild Times : An Oral History of WildStorm Studios” (go get your copy today!) it’s revealed that Winter was also supposed to not just be the son of Zealot but also of Yon Kohl! Winter was intended to be a full-fledged Kheribum! This was to be revealed in the never released “WildC.A.T.s : Ground Zero.” In the end, going by the comics, we never find out who is Winter’s actual father, and as far as we know, it could’ve ended up being rewritten to have been just a random human. Either way, unknowingly fighting your own Mom, pretty messed up.
  • So, Hightower can shape-shift. Is this just a rarity for Daemonites? We have Mr. White, Hightower and Olympia with this talent. One of the things that I always assumed was that Daemonites cannot live on Earth without a host. Maybe the shape-shifty ones can. Or maybe I was wrong about Daemonites needing hosts to live, maybe it’s just been that we’ve seen Daemonites in very bad situations where they need a new host because they’re so hurt like in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 Special issue 1 and “Backlash” issue 6. Oh, also Pris has a bit of shape-shifting going on with her “were-form” ability.
  • Hey, why is Void huge and golden when she comes back to D.C. to stop the big battle? Well, according to the writer James Robinson in “Wild Times : An Oral History of WildStorm Studios” (have you seriously not gotten a copy yet?) it is because when the pages got back from Barry Windsor-Smith, Void was just drawn huge. It wasn’t something Robinson asked Barry to draw, Barry just did. Not sure who decided she should be golden, but hey, if she’s going to be so much bigger, why not literally go for the gold as well.
  • We get a lot of background on Hightower in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 20. We find out that he was both Genghis Khan and John, King of England. This conflicts as their lifespans overlap each other by quite a bit. Khan is only four years older than John but ended up outliving him by a shade over a decade. Since Hightower can shape-shift, and reading the text literally, we only need Hightower to be acting as John, King of England long enough to get the Magna Carta created, and then have him only pose as Khan to lead Khan’s horde for a time. He needn’t have been either for their full lives. It’s possible he worked with Khan to lead the horde on two fronts, and usurped John late in life for his own ends. Yes, this blog has gotten me to do far more historical research than I ever thought was possible.
  • Had Hightower’s goal of getting the ship and getting back Daemon worked, man, he would’ve been in for a rude awakening finding the war over and Daemon lost. Whoops, spoilers…
  • We never get the back story on how Christine Trelane and Savant are friends, but they’re apparently old friends. We’ll see Savant encounter StormWatch again in “Savant Garde” issue 6.
  • Why put this 2 page “Grifter : Sneak Peak” story in after issue 20 of “WildC.A.T.s?” Well, first off Cole is still on his way to get some coffee and I’d assume he needs some cash as well to track down Cray, so why not just take a small easy job to do just that. Also, the name of this story is “Sneak Peak” and that implies it comes before “Grifter” Vol. 1 issue 1. Also, after “Wild.C.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 20, we see Cole in a bar drinking in “Union” Vol. 2 issue 4. Drinking booze, just after he was just looking coffee. Maybe he had something to soak up all that booze, say, that half a sandwich he ate during “Sneak Peak?”
  • The next time we’ll see Prayer is in “Grifter” Vol. 1 issue 7. There’s she’s on the West Coast and seems to have been there for a time. To be fair, there’s plenty of time for her to have crossed the continent and ended up in Los Angeles before Cole runs into her again.
  • Eventually we’ll see Lynch face off with Helmut for the first time in “Lynch” issue 1. Also Helmut will be back to terrorize the team in “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue issue 16.
  • And that’s the first four chapters of “WildStorm Rising!” I decided to group them by writer, with the first three being by James Robinson. The “Gen13” issue is the oddball that is written by it’s normal team. perhaps leading to it being the least connected to the over all story. Well, neither was “Team 7 : Operation : Hell” issue 1, but that book is even more disconnected. Oh, and that “Grifter : Sneak Peak” that was probably by Steven T. Seagle. But look, there isn’t a single cut away in “Gen13” to any of the other WSU characters like there is in “Union” and “WildC.A.T.s”. Every page of “Gen13” is serving that book and only that book. Even the Defile pages feature Trance!
  • For now I’m back to a weekly (Tuesday) schedule due to how much there is to cover each entry, hopefully I can get back to twice a week after the crossover!

Where to find these stories:

  • the “WildStorm Rising” trade paperback
  • the “James Robinson’s Complete WildC.A.T.s” trade paperback contains both “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 20 and “WildStorm Rising” issue 1

NEXT : “WildStorm Rising” Chapters 5 – 7 (Which consists of “Grifter” Vol. 1 issue 1, “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 16 and “WetWorks” Vol. 1 issue 8) by Steven T. Seagle, Ryan Benjamin, Trevor Scott, Mel Rubi, Tom Raney, Whilce Portacio, Tom McWeeny, Rick Mayar and Scott Williams.

“Blood and Faith”

this entry covers the short story “Blood and Faith” starring Team 7 from the “WildStorm Halloween : Trilogy of Terror”

wildstormhalloweentrilogyofterrorTo be honest, I’d completely forgotten about this story. The “Gen13” short in this collection stuck with me, but “Team 7” one didn’t, and more than likely I never read the “WetWorks” one back in the day. Perhaps it was because the “Gen13” story was set in the modern continuity of the time and both the “Team 7” and “WetWorks” stories both had to have notations as to when they occurred. You expect that with “Team 7” but “WetWorks” get your stuff together!

This is an odd little story, featuring just a small number of Team 7 members, and set before they got their any kind of special abilities. I know this for sure because in the table of contents it tells me so. And by smaller team, I basically just mean who the readers really care about: Lynch, Dane, Cray, Cash, Fairchild and Chang. That’s right, we don’t have to suffer through Slayton being a dick or Callahan standing around. Filling the “Oh damn, I keep forgetting about this guy” roll that Callahan usually steps into for the artist, is Chang. The dude is usually seen from the back, and the only frontal drawing of him is covered up by a word balloon!

Ok, onto the story, it’s the early ’70s and there’s trouble on the Yucatan Peninsula. Seems like there’s a group of revolutionaries that want to take the land of their heritage (the Mayans) back from the Mexican government. Big Mexico doesn’t like that, and calls their pals in the US government for Team 7 to make an “unofficial” visit. Running with the revolutionaries is a man by the name of Terence Crandall, he seems like he’s a reporter that wants to witness and document what is going on with the revolutionaries. That isn’t true, what he’s really doing is looking for is the temple of Mayan bat god named Camazotz. While Crandall finds his temple in a cave, Team 7 is making short work of the revolutionaries.

Team 7 is indeed taking out all the revolutionaries, Dane sees the cave, and he never leaves a job half done, even if I/O said it was fine to leave a few of the rebels alive. Once inside the cave, half of Team 7, Dane, Lynch and Fairchild see Crandall reviving Camazotz and having his form take over the mummified body of a long dead Mayan king. This crazy creature really takes it to Team 7, for a bag of bones it is really scrapping hard.

Fairchild doesn’t do much except get almost strangled to death, Dane brings the firepower and Lynch tries to stab the bat god in the chest. Also Dane butts Crandall in the head with gun to knock his crazy ass out. As Fairchild gets free all three of them leg it out of the cave with Camazotz screaming about a curse he’s placing on them and their blood. Once they are to safety, Chang blows the hell out of that cave, and Lynch swears nothing can survive, they’re finally in the clear… not so fast, Johnny boy!

Somehow Crandall survives the explosion, and vows revenge on all of Team 7, but he’ll becoming for Dane first. He’ll do it, too, in the third part of comic, but not for several more years. And indeed does Camazotz’s curse bear fruit later on, too! The bat god just didn’t count on Fairchild and Lynch’s kids having powers to thwart him. We’ll read and talk about those stories, all in good time.

Continuity Corner:

  • Because this story is set pre-powers it would’ve been a perfect time to include Johnson, Diaz, Rhodes, MacNamara or even Breckmann, but nah, let’s stick to what people really wanna see, and that’s the Gen13 dads kicking some ass!
  • It does kind of feel odd to read this story so far ahead of the other two, but we’re going by a timeline dammit, and it’s already messed up enough with me forgetting about short stories like these as it is!
  • Also, it’s great how all these stories tied together. At first I wasn’t really sure why it wasn’t just two stories, a Team 7 and a Gen13 one, just because of how tightly those two stories are tied together. But “Trilogy of Terror” is a better title, just wish they would’ve had the third story be about a crazy haunted time in Cray’s life instead. But that’s me, I just dig Cray!

Next: “Team 7” by Chuck Dixon, Aron Wisenfeld, Trevor Scott, Scott Williams, JD, Alex Garner and John Tighe

“Deathblow” Vol. 1 issues 5 through 12

this entry cover “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issues 5 through 12.

DeathblowVol1_05-12Ugh, where do I start with this one? Yeah, this is one of the longer “runs” of issues together from a single series for this project that usually ping-pongs back and forth between the titles to keep some kind of consistent chronological continuity. The reason for this is that this stretch, once you get to the end of it, never happened. Ugh. I know. Exactly. Maybe “never” is a strong word. Parts of this probably happened… maybe, and most of what came before in this series (issues 0 – 4) mostly happened… I think. See, this is what happens when you wipe some stuff away, but not everything… OK, where to start… I guess we just dive right into issue 5.

So, we are treated to finding out about a young man named Christopher. Kid is amazing, in a Jesus heal-the-sick kind of way, after bringing a drowned orphan back to life. Cray sees this on the news in his doctor’s waiting room, unimpressed. He gets an MRI and is told “Uh… your cancer is worse, sir”. What do you do with this kind of info? Why go out and find yourself a stripper that looks a lot like your ex-wife Gaby. That’s some good thinking!

While this is going on, there’s a serial killer on the loose, he’s named Herod by the media and cops and he’s taking out children. All signs point to him being military, secret military, like an I/O type guy. While everyone seems to think it is Cray for a variety of reasons, we know he’s innocent and that Trickle is the real Herod. Bad news for Cray that Trickle is Herod, because that also means that Trickle is working for the Black Angel.

There’s a lot of nonsense that goes on, backstabbing, double crossing, all that, and if I wanted this entry to be as long as the comics I’d get into it, who’s got time for all that. I don’t, you don’t, let’s cut to the chase. Sister Mary has the magical Christopher and they trust Cray. They get information that they need from Cray’s friends Henri and Ryana and are on the run. Trickle is after them and wants to capture Christopher for the Black Angel, and he manages to kill Gaby. Ok, on with the story!

The Black Angel gets a hold of the sigil headbands that will assist  the Black Angel in getting the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse going. The Black Angel then tasks his minions with getting the corpses of the I/O men who died in “Deathblow” issue 0 to turn them into the Horsemen. Bad ass idea Mr. Angel! But before the Horsemen start raising hell, Trickle is still trying to take down Cray and get Christopher, all he has to do is wait for them to exit the abbey that they’re holed up in.

While in Montcairn Abbey, Cray is told he needs to confess his sins, as well as what is holding him back in life, and they’ll give to the Holy Grail. This is what Cray’s really been after this whole time, the Holy Grail, a sip will cure him of his cancer. He hits the confessional booth, sips from the cup and he’s getting ready to leave when he’s suddenly ambushed by Trickle, the Black Angel and a ton of demons. Lucky for him Lynch is near with a Black Razor squad. Why is Lynch around? After those bodies were taken from I/O cryogenic storage he and Craven started to think that Cray was involved in something, so they tracked him down. Lynch and his boys join in the fight, but it matters not, the Black Angel gets away with Christopher and Cray knows it is up to him to save the lad. The monks give Cray the Sword of Heaven and let him drink from the true Holy Grail, those wacky monks and their fake outs, before they take off to save the day.

While Sister Mary, Cray and a bunch of monks get ready to storm New York and get back Christopher before the Black Angel can summon Lucifer, we see Lynch put in a call to Jack Rhodes telling him Cray’s going to need some help, call some of our old Team 7 buds! This works, and just as Cray is seeing the destruction of the Horsemen on television, Cash, Slayton and Backlash show up to help. Holy shit, it’s Team 7 versus the Four Horsemen of the damn Apocalypse! It is pretty awesome. I mean, I dunno, this is as crazy and rad as it sounds. I can’t do it words, just go pick up that fancy trade and see this in its glory!

The Black Angel is atop one of the World Trade Center towers, which is a real sign of when this comic was produced. He’s up there to use Christopher’s life energy to open a portal to Hell. On Cray’s journey up, he encounters “Death” and figures out how to beat him. It’s as easy as breaking the sigil head bands. He puts the word out to the other Team 7 members, but they don’t all hear him clearly over their communication system. They all eventually figure it out though. Cray gets to the top of the WTC with Sister Mary and some others and they are having a hard time. Cash shows up to help, dies. Slayton shows up, half skeletonized, dies. Dane shows up and reminds Cray to use the Sword of Heaven, dies. Cray uses it, stabs the Black Angel through the heart and it’s over.

It being over is Christopher trying to undo ever bad thing that has happened before he leaves. He know he can’t make everything right, and one of those things is bringing Gaby back to life for Cray. We found out earlier that during Cray and Gaby’s honeymoon in London Cray got roped into an I/O operation by Trickle. Things went all pearshaped, and in the middle of it all, a young child wondered into the fray and Gaby protected the little bugger. At that moment is when Gaby actually died and she was used a vessel on Earth for the archangel Gabriel. So yeah, Christopher can’t undo her death in the last few days because her actual death happened 2 years ago. Talk about a bummer. Christopher then ascends to heaven and the archangel has some words of encouragement for Cray, which in turn leads to Cray quitting I/O for good.

Ok, so yeah, this is a long story, and it is worth reading. I couldn’t really do these eight issues justice because there’s a lot going on. I’ve criticized some early WildStorm comics as having too much going on that it becomes a mess, but this isn’t the case. There’s just a lot of stuff going on, it all tracks well, and isn’t complicated for the sake of being complicated. It’s the story of Micheal Cray finding his redemption in this world as well as a way to go forward in it.

Continuity Corner

  • Because this all didn’t happen, and we know that Dane was on his way to New York from “Backlash” issue 5, now that this didn’t go down I’m assuming his plans were to go and have some brews with Cray at the Drop Zone, or just be there for his pal who’s dealing with cancer. Wait… did the cancer get wiped away in story too? See, this is messy!
  • Also, due to this not happening in any way, I guess Lynch didn’t have much going on before throwing in with the Gen13 kids, as he seemed pretty hot to get back to Nevada after helping Cray and the Sister at the abbey.
  • I’m just going to assume for my own sake that the reason Slayton and Cole aren’t acing pissy towards each other right now is because it’s the end of the world, and who cares about past grievances when you have to face the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Not one cocky comment towards each other the whole time.
  • Hey, this mini Team 7 reunion never having happened fits in better with the reactions of Dane and Cash re: the first and second meetings of their new teams. (The WildC.A.T.s crashing the WetWorks team’s pad for a hot second in “WetWorks” Vol. 1 issues 4 & 5 and the follow up conversation in “WetWorks” Vol. 1 issue 8 during the WildStorm Rising cross over.)
  • There seems to be some confusion on Cray’s GenFactor. In these early issues of “Deathblow” it seems as if it is being described as his GenFactor is just now kicking in, in response to his cancer, and hadn’t been present earlier, according to Lynch and Craven. But we’ve seen in “Team 7 : Objective : Hell” issue 3 that he was “killed” but then came back. Maybe the GenFactor only kicks in once he’s so close to death and he reads and GenFactor-less until that happens.
  • The owner of the strip club “the Drop Zone” was also the owner of “the Hot Spot” which is where Voodoo used to dance. His old place got blown the hell up, his new place is the scene of an attempted murder, guy can’t catch a break.
  • We actually see two different men act as Herod in these issues. First a lumberjack type, then later Trickle. Both are tasked to either kill or capture Christopher, and it is a job given to them by the Black Angel. Oddly, this isn’t the only “Herod” that is tasked with killing a supposed Christ child in the WSU. We also see a Herod, who was appointed by Maragret Thatcher get his comeuppance in “Planetary” issue 7. Being a Herod, it’s a job in the WildStorm Universe.

Where to find these stories:

  • the “Deathblow” hard cover and trade paperback
  • the older “Deathblow : Saints and Sinners” trade paperback
  • Comixology: “Deathblow” vol. 1 issues 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 & 12

Next“Gen13” Vol. 1 issues 1 – 5 by J. Scott Campbell, Brandon Choi, Jim Lee, Jeff Mariotte, Alex Garner and Sandra Hope