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the Ending of the WildStorm Universe

Recently, online, someone asked “How did the original WildStorm Universe end?” and I answered the standard: How did the original WildStorm universe end in 2011? After a few years of the Earth being a post-apocalyptic wasteland and the Authority’s Carrier taking several characters off-planet, the Carrier returns w/ the new Doctor and everyone gets to the hard work of getting the world back into shape.

While that’s technically correct, part of me kind of felt as if I’d lied when I posted that. Why? Mostly because the actual WildStorm Universe that started in 1992 ended in 2006 near the final pages of issue 9 of “Captain Atom: Armageddon.” Captain Atom literally blew it up! We as readers were saved that the new Void AKA Nikola was able to put it back together as best she could. She made changes such as keeping Grifter, Jenny, Apollo, and Midnighter alive. Grifter had met his end from Midnighter and Apollo, then they and Jenny bought it by the hands of Captain Atom.

So right there… that’s our true ending! Everything post that Capt. Atom series is a new WildStorm Universe, ever so slightly different than the one we had been reading since ’92. I will state that I don’t think for one minute this invalidates any of the stories on either side of the divide, but talking about the nature of the end of the “Original WildStorm Universe” unfortunately gets into a semantical argument about the word “Original.” It’s a reboot that’s softer than I think was intended.

Are there good points post-reboot? Oh heck yeah! We get a wealth of superheroic types going way back into the history of the post-2006 WSU. It’s not just Majestic, the High and John Colt that were out and out public heroes. We now have many of the characters from “Welcome to Tranquility” who due to being retired caused the characters from “the New Dynamics” to wonder where all the heroes went. I like this larger legacy being added to the backstory of the WSU. It’s one of the reasons I put the “Team Zero” series after “Captain Atom: Armageddon” to instantly show that there’s some new history now!

Bad point post-reboot? I comes down to this… and it’s a shame, because I love the hell out of the book, but “Gen13” in the post-2006 boot gets too confusing. A new past is created for the characters, which wouldn’t be a problem if other writers could’ve kept it straight. As time goes on, everyone kind of sidesteps it. Everything else is just a few characters that had died are alive without some huge backstory concerning it.

According to some fans the WildStorm universe ended even earlier than that. Some site the 1998 buy out by DC, others (the type who really didn’t like what Warren Ellis did to “StormWatch”) place it a year earlier, shortly after the conclusion of the “Fire from Heaven” crossover. But you know, this is comics, all opinions are justified and none are cannon unless it’s on the page. I’ll have to admit, post-“Fire from Heaven” is where I dipped out of the greater WildStorm comics universe I was a kid (save for “Gen13” and the occasional issue of “WildC.A.T.s”). We had a lot of things wrapped up (but apparently not everyone, as WS editor Drew Bittner has been dropping some tasty tidbits online as of late) and I was getting more into playing in bands and trying to date.

So yeah, there’s one official ending, one “I guess your kinda right, you pendantic jerk” ending and 2 subjective ones. Which, actually seems a bit fair. I’m curious to hear what you think of as the end of the original WildStorm universe, let me know!

Don’t Call it a Relaunch

Okay, yes, I know, I’ve been missing for… nearly a year? Umm… well damn! That’s not good, as I’ve never lost my love of Wildstorm, or my love of reading it, dissecting it and then writing about it. Things just get busy for me and projects fall on the back-burner for a bit and this was my project that suffered. So if you’re still here, thanks! And if you’re new to it all, also thanks for checking it out now!

So is this a full-fledged relaunch of the site? I’d love to not only say “yes” but “hell yes!” But also, I don’t want to lie. I do have a few things that’ll post up over the next few weeks, and hopefully, I can find a way to fit doing this on a regular basis into my life. I’m not going to make a promise that I’m not sure I can keep, but I will say that April should see a weekly post each Tuesday of some sort. Baby steps here, getting me back into the swing of it all.

Now onto the portion of this entry where I cover criticisms of Weathering WildStorm!

I’ve been told that my order here is “chaotic and weird” at times. Sometimes because I include every relevant story I can find or breaking up issues or storylines. Honestly, the breaking up of issues and story arcs is something I absolutely hate to do. I only go for it when I feel it is necessary for a bit of story clarity. Usually, I’ll leave things as they are if there isn’t a ton of information to catch up on, but sometimes I just gotta get in there and tweak a bit. Addressing including the magazine stories and other odd shorts, eh, I kinda wanted to be as thorough as possible. If you don’t want to read them, that’s cool, they’re fully unneeded, but finding places for them was fun.

This blog and reading order has also been bomb-barded with requests to find a place for every WildStorm cross-over. Honestly, to me, a lot of them seem inessential, or they contribute conflicting information. At worst they introduce some big continuity questions, despite being good books with great WildStorm relevant content. Off the top of my head are “Backlash / Spider-Man” and “Gen13 / Superman.” We have seen New York so many times, yet never Spider-Man, and we won’t again so that raises more questions than it may be worth for me… but we have Taboo at the sight of her father’s grave and that’s a hard scene for me to not want to include for a reader. In regards to the “Gen13 / Superman” book… well damn, they all know Superman and he’s so famous… yet we’ve never heard from him or seen him before and we won’t after. It is a bigger disconnect for me than the issue of Spider-Man meeting Backlash. It’s like a plot hole that can be completely paved over if we skip books like that. I’m still of two minds on some of them and I’ll talk about that a bit later.

Another criticism I take to heart (there a lot of criticism that I don’t take to heart and that I, in fact, laugh off) is what seems to be non-sensical order choices. I’ll admit that yeah, I don’t like to read the Team One books until after Jacob gets his memories back in “WildC.A.T.s” volume 1 issue 9, that’s just a personal preference that makes more sense in storytelling and reading for me. I’ll even admit that kicking off my reading order with the back-up story from “WildC.A.T.s” volume 1 issue 10 is very inelegant though. I never said this was the ironclad/only way to read these comics, but just my personal preference, rearrange as you see fit. On that “WildC.A.T.s” 10 story… maybe I’ll need a slight revise.

On the topic of revising: I only revise when I find I’ve made some kind of terrible error that inhibits the reading experience. This list is not concrete, it is evolving as it needs, to be as accurate as possible. As always, I welcome fellow fans to point out any errors they may see so that I can double-check, or keep them in mind when I get there. For reals, this blog has been made so much better because of suggestions from others.

Future ideas for this blog!

Currently, my biggest plan for the future is to get back to it. I think I may’ve carved out enough time to get several entries a month out of me to make this worthwhile. Not only for you but for me as well. One of the best parts of this blog is I never felt like I was typing into the void and being unseen, WildStorm fans are always up for some debate and supporting their fellow fans.

Secondly, regarding crossovers that may or may not work, but also including stories never intended to work. Sometimes WildStorm did stories they never intended to be part of continuity, and I’d still like to cover those as they’re usually fun. To that end, the idea is a reoccurring article called “Tales from the Bleed” to take on stories like these. Possibly every other month, or whenever I find something timely to talk about. This is kind of a gamble. It doesn’t fit the theme of the blog, but it also addresses stories folks have asked for me to cover. Is this a good idea?

Third, if you’ve gone back through older entries you may see that I updated entries with where to find these stories. It may be in trades or digitally, but I wanted to make it easier to find and read these issues even if you weren’t raiding the back issue bins of your local shop. I hope it helps to spread the love of WildStorm and help others get caught up!

There’s a part of me wants to do more articles about topics in the WildStorm Universe. In fact, originally this entry was going to lean much more into that after an introductory paragraph. I was going to talk about the main WSU, the post-2006 WSU, the sub-universes within them, a bit about WildStorm in the New 52 and “The Wild Storm” but as I typed it became, well, what you’ve read. I still plan on writing all that up, but it’s something that I’d like to do a bit more often.

Finally, I’ve also been toying with doing reading lists of certain titles. You know like all the books you’d want to read to, and in what order, for just “Gen13” or “WildC.A.T.s” stories, or something like that. Not sure the best way to make those engaging, but I’m sure you all will let me know if you support the idea!

Ok… with that out of the way, I’d also invite you all to ask me questions! Maybe set up a regular “Ask a WildStorm Continuity Geek” kind of thing. I dunno. Could be fun. Hell, it could be about anything tangentially related to WSU. Not sure, but I’d be game for that!

But for reals, you all are great! Thanks so much for reading! I’ll be back next week covering “Gen12” issues 1 and 2, can’t wait for you all to finally read it!

“Gen13” Vol 2 issues 6 – 7

This entry covers “Gen13” volume two issues 6 and 7 by Brandon Choi, J. Scott Campbell, Jim Lee and Scott Williams.

Gen13_v2_006The Gen13 kids are on their way to America, but due to an airport strike, they get stuck in Rome, Italy. Apparently, James McArthur hooked the kids up with a friend of his and Lynch’s to take care of the kids while they wait for a flight home. Mr. Bovini gets the kids outfitted in fancy high fashions, and new haircuts for the ladies, before taking them out to a swanky dinner.

At din din, Grunge acts like a cad and upsets Roxy, but Bobby cheers her up. Speaking of “cheers” the kids share a bit too many drinks. Which results in Grunge throwing up and Rainmaker and Bobby making out until they pass out. The next morning Rainmaker brushes Bobby off, which sends him into a tizzy, leading him to overreact flying straight up into the air, blazing flames. Unfortunately, this attracts the attention of the local authorities, as it is a violation of something or other, and Italy thinks it may be under superpowered attack or whatever.

Our old pals the Order of the Cross seem to have their superhero team known as the Centurions. They’re not fooling around as they manage to capture Roxy, Grunge, and Caitlin. They also knock a whole building down on Rainmaker, which can’t be good. While most of the Centurions team are concentrating on the aforementioned capture of the kids, one member, Domina, is after Bobby. She just about takes him out before he’s saved by an unlikely ally. It’s Ms. Bliss! By “Ms. Bliss” I mean Nicole Callahan and not Hayley Mills.

Gen13_v2_007So where has Bliss been? Well, her, her brother Threshold and their boss Ivana Baiul have been holed up on Caballito Island hiding from I/O. Not only are they hiding out, they’re defrosting and training the Gen-Active kids that Ivana put on ice as Project Genesis was falling apart. Bliss got sick of all that and decided to bounce and tour the world while Ivana and Threshold trained the DV8 kids. Not sure if she was specifically searching the Gen13 kids out with her little “Gen-Active finder device” or she was just looking for other Gen-Actives for the fun of it. Either way, she ended up in Italy just in time to save Bobby’s bacon.

Bobby and Bliss team up to save the rest of the Gen13 kids. As luck would have it Rainmaker ended up falling down a manhole into the sewer as that building was falling down around her. With her safe, she joins the rescue squad to go and find Grunge, Roxy, and Caitlin. The trio ends up breaking into the Order of the Cross by way of the men’s room. Meanwhile, Roxy and Grunge manage to break free due to getting into an actual fight, even though Caitlin thinks it’s a diversion at first. Speaking of fights, Bliss and Rainmaker can’t stop their own bickering for a second, even when taking down a hefty group of the Order’s men. That’s commitment to an argument!


Both teams meet up and are trying to find a way out of this mess. Caitlin is accessing all of their files and is trying to get to more of their top secret ones, but keeps getting blocked. As luck would have it, Bliss knows that Ivana has backdoors in just about every computer network ever created! Bliss gets Caitlin where she needs to be and gets a compliment from Caitlin at the same time. Caitlin then threatens to upload all of the Order of the Cross’s secret information to the public. Since the Order has secrets they’d rather keep to themselves, they let the kids go.

The Gen13 kids, plus Bliss get a private jet from the Vatican to get them back to Cali. While the team is celebrating another win, Bobby and Bliss share a few tender moments near the back of the plane. However; Bliss being Bliss just can’t be pinned down, and opens the jet door and leaps out of it with a parachute, as if to prove to Bobby, you can never predict some girls.

Continuity Corner:

  • We’re finally following up on where Ivana, Threshold, and Bliss have been up to since the end of “Gen13” volume one issue 5.
  • We initially see an unnamed DV8 member in the VR training. We don’t see her in the training session itself, but afterward, stuck in her VR suit. This would later be retconned to have been Freestyle, and it was explained that she so underwhelmed Ivana she got put back on ice.
  • One of the files that Caitlin threatened to release from the Order of the Cross was Project Lazurus. I literally cannot remember if that ever comes up again. To tell the truth, I sure wish it would’ve along with more appearances by the Centurions.
  • I really liked the direction that this book was taking Bliss in, but it wasn’t much longer before she went back to being the super crazy chick she used to be. Of course, there may be a narrative reason for return to nutso-land. You know, with her getting kind of possessed by a Kindred lizard-person. See “DV8” issue 26 for more details.

NEXT: “Deathblow” volume one issues 20 and 21 by Brandon Choi, Trevor Scott and Tom Joyner

Weathering WildStorm Voter Results

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

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

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

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

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

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

the State of Weathering WildStorm

Ok, so I’ve been doing this blog for just about two years now. Sure, you’re right, I’ve only been consistent about it since last October, and that’s fair enough. But here we are, 2 years later, when it has never been a better time to be a WildStorm fan! Woo-hoo! Before we go on with the blog, there are a few things I need to say.

  • Oh jeez, I’ve realized how much of a mess the “Shattered Image” and “New Horizons” sections are! I don’t know what the hell I was thinking! A lot of that just doesn’t work at all! I’m going to spend some time cleaning it up.
  • Speaking of the “Shattered Image” section… well… there’s no way that the “Shattered Image” event could’ve happened. At least not there. We need Pris to still be a WildC.A.T. and for Deathtrap to still be all about that merc lifestyle. That means it would have to take place before “WildStorm Rising.” I think I’m going to have to reluctantly use my rule for cross-overs on it. That rule is “If it adds something, is exceptionally great, or at least doesn’t contradict, find a place for it.” Right now, “Shattered Image” isn’t fitting any of my 3 desired wants for a cross-over.
  • Of course, this brings up what to do with that section? I think I’m going to restructure things a bit. Have what is currently listed as “Shattered Image” go a bit longer than it currently does, leading everything up to “New Horizons,” while the “New Horizons” section is going to be dealing with the newly established status quo of the WSU at that time. But what do I title the now nameless “Part 4?” Suggestions are welcome.
  • There are still a handful of books that are official (read: not cross-over) books that are unaccounted for in the continuity. Tales of possible futures (“Phantom Guard” and “Mostly Wanted”) probably won’t be, sorry. I’ll eventually work in all the “Gen13” stuff too (the Yearbook, 3D special and novels.) I’m still looking for good places to place “Allegra” and “Disavowed” too. I’m also looking forward to the “WildStorm 25th Anniversary” book and finding places for those stories, once it comes out!

Which brings me to the final part of this entry, what do you, the reader, want to see from this blog? Continuing to do the compare and contrasts of the original WSU to what we’re presented with in “the Wild Storm” has been a lot of fun, and was totally continued due to a request and support from readers. I really do care what you have to say! So, yeah, what do you think, sirs?

If you have nothing much to suggest, at least answer this poll:

Issue 0 : Introduction

As I’m getting packed up and ready to head south to go to SDCC I thought I’d take the time to introduce myself and what I hope to accomplish with this ongoing column. I first got into comics when I was in high school in the early ‘90s. I had a few buddies who were more of the collector type at the time, and that didn’t interest me so much. Comics and comic talk were all around me, but it was still a year before I started picking them up for myself. When I started off, I was mostly picking up some Marvel and DC stuff just to see what clicked with me, this being the early ‘90s also meant that I eventually picked up some Image and Valiant comics as well. Not a lot of that did anything for me either, except for the books coming out of the then named Homage studio from Image.

When I look back, I’m pretty sure that “WildC.A.T.s Special #1” was my first official Wildstorm comic, something worked for me in that book. The art and coloring were nothing like what I was seeing in “The Infinity Crusade” or the “Death of Superman” stories that I was also reading. Sure, the writing wasn’t as good, but there was a certain appeal that stuck with me. I’m sure initial appeal was that these characters were as new to comics as I was. The secondary appeal of the Wildstorm comics over other Image books was that I didn’t actively dislike any of the characters. I could never get into “Spawn,” “Youngblood” or “Pitt” despite how much I tried as a kid (looking back I think I would’ve enjoyed “Savage Dragon” had I given it a shot.) I voraciously consumed the Wildstorm books for several years before getting into more independent comics, quitting comics, getting back into comics, getting a job at a comic shop, leaving said job and quitting comics again, getting back into comics again, moving across the country, quitting comics once more, then getting married to a woman who had a small interest in comics and has slowly dragged me back into the habit.

The Wildstorm universe has always had a big place in my heart and mind when I think about comic books and I really wanted to revisit that, as well as find out what happened during all those vacations away from comics that I took. So, armed with my well-traveled long box, a bunch of trades, Comixology, a dozen trips to various comic shops around the Los Angeles area and the Valley (and I’ll admit, a few unsavory websites) I’ve just about gathered all the titles that took place in the Wildstorm U. My first goal was the read them in the order of release. While reading I thought it would be interesting to arrange them in order of continuity. I got really excited about this idea because the writers at Wildstorm (mostly Brandon Choi) seemed to make sure that these books were all very closely related to each other. For the first several years of Wildstorm there was a very solid backbone running through the books that I didn’t notice as a kid that I’m seeing and appreciating now!

I started talking about how excited I was to “put Widlstorm in order” and Tim at Comic Nerds Unite suggested that I write about it. Now I love doing things purely for fun (like reading comics), but more so I love doing things for fun and then doing something with the information that I’ve taken in (like putting said stories in continuity order then telling people about it). Writing about revisiting my youth and re-reading the comics that made me love comics was too good of an offer to pass up. I knew I needed to be prepared so I went ahead and re-read them. I read them all. I’ve put them in order of events (for the most part) and now I’m reading them again and commenting on them, seeing how well they hold up, teasing out all the in-universe connections and reflecting on an 18 year shared universe that took a lot of odd turns before folding.

I’ll tackle the history of the Wildstorm universe several issues at a time, usually by story arc or mini-series, not so often by oversized one-shot or cross-overs. It may be harder to keep up at some times than at other, but I hope you’ll find it interesting, none the less.

Next: “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 10 backup story : “Soldier’s Story” by H.K. Proger, Ryan Benjamin and Tom McWeeney