Category Archives: Union

“Fire from Heaven” Finale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ethan takes the shot.

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

Continuity Corner:

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

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

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“Fire from Heaven” Chapters 12 – 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Continuity Corner:

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

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

“Fire from Heaven” Chapters 9 – 11

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

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

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

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

ImNotCryingYoureCrying

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

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

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

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

PourOneOutForJack

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

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

Continuity Corner:

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

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

“Union” Vol. 2 issues 7 – 9 and “Union : Final Vengeance”

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

union_v1_007Jill is unhappy with Union. Union keeps ignoring Jill to fight crime. Jill gets more fed up and leaves his ass for a stranger she met in an alley one day. That stranger saved her from some thugs. This stranger? Oh, he’s just Regent, the bad guy from Aegena, where he and Union grew up. Yup, that Regent! Turns out Mr. Douchebag engineered the whole alley attack on Jill thing just to steal her and then beat Union’s ass. Really, when you do that, you know you’re the bad guy, right Regent? There’s no possible way you thought you were doing something positive right? But to be fair, Regent seems pretty a-ok with his evilness. Dude is owning it!

And by owning it, I mean really mean owning it! You see, Regent has killed Union’s best friend Maikone! Then he kicked Union’s booty and paraded it around NYC for a few hours before taking Union’s unconscious body and tossing it into the sea. Sounds like a real bastard, no? Not only that but like every good villain Regent monologues like a real sonuvabitch, revealing that Union really didn’t kill all those Directorate soldiers back in Chichester. That was just a failsafe that went off when Regent’s pop died. A failsafe that Regent put into his own dad’s justice stone! Union only survived because he was in the eye of the storm, so to speak.

While Union is chilling at the bottom of the ocean, we find out that Regent has not only kidnapped Jill, but he’s also kidnapped Union’s former main squeeze from back home, Eliya. He’s holding both of them captive on his secret hidden base, in outer freakin’ space! Eventually, Union’s justice stone wakes him and leads him to said space base. That’s when all hell breaks loose!

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Union goes in hot, and after a rocky start is holding his own against Regent. Meanwhile, Eliya and Jill get loose from the cages Regent was holding them in. Regent decides he’s not going to stand for a lowly Protectorate beating him up, so he tries to implant a second justice stone on this body! This just gives him more than he knows what to do with and Regent just starts blasting everything, resulting in ripping his satellite of loserdom apart. In the middle of this Regent tries to teleport away, but due to the doubled up justice stones he becomes some kind of portal/gate/black hole and sucks up everything, including Eliya, right in front of Union and Jill, who remain unharmed and unsucked up.

Union and Jill return to Earth and decide to live off the fake rich playboy life that Regent had constructed for himself. It’s not much, but it’s all they have except each other. And with these two, it’s a guess on how long that’s going to last.

Continuity Corner:

  • Not only was Union not paying attention to Jill when he should have, but he’s also been blowing off StormWatch and he got a real dressing down from Bendix for not being around when he’s needed.
  • The first few pages of issue 9 we are introduced to Data Assimilation Bureau of I/O consisting of Agents Kroger and Hanley and they both report to Director Sterling. I’m not sure we ever see these characters again. But if I’m wrong, let me know! They also refer to Director Rios and we’ll see him again in a lot of upcoming books. First in “Black Ops” but soon after that in pretty much any book that deals with I/O because he becomes the new director (until Ivana manages to steal that position from him.)
  • Union makes a big comeback in “Fire from Heaven” which in all actuality was published well before “Union : Final Vengeance.” “Final Vengeance” had several delays but indeed was set before “Fire from Heaven” according to the final letter collum.
  • Jill, however, we’re not going to see again. Maybe she finally left Union’s ass for good and that’s the reason for the despondency that leads to his suicide in “the Authority” volume one issue 21.
  • Also, I don’t recall that we ever see the final fate of Eliya and Regent. Which is a shame as I liked Eliya a lot and would have loved to see the proposed “Union” relaunch with her at the center.
  • During his fight with Regent, Union loses his staff. Don’t worry, he’ll steal one off of his alternate universe doppelganger The Sword in “Fire from Heaven.” Hrm… having an evil dude’s staff in your justice stone… maybe this is also something that leads to Union’s horrible last moments.

NEXT: “Cybernary” volume one issues 2 through 5 and “Cybernary : the Price” by Steve Gerber, Jeff Mariotte, Jeff Rebner, Richard Friend and John Tighe

“Union” Vol. 2 issues 5 & 6

this entry covers issues 5 and 6 of “Union” volume two

union_v2_005Union, this dude can’t catch a break. He gets home from his big adventure, helping to save the world with his part-time job at StormWatch, and he gets into a fight with his kinda-sorta-girlfriend. He’s also still paying for his drunken escapades in Chicago with the Savage Dragon. Not that I blame Jill at all, Union is just up and leaving without any kind of explanations. He’s playing an “asking forgiveness is easier than asking permission” kind of game, and fellas, that never ends well. But, by the end of the argument, he lets Jill know that she quit her crummy waitressing job, which does make her feel a little bit better.

When Union goes to think over the happenings of “WildStorm Rising” and about finding his place with StormWatch as well as with Jill, he’s interrupted. No mind that he’s sitting atop the Statue of Liberty, when someone wants to find you, they’ll find you. The “they” in this case is the witch Rhiannon. She pretty much just straight out casts a spell that sends Union into a parallel universe.

Luckily, Union is dropped off in this new universe pretty much where he was in his universe. Also, this universe’s Rhiannon was there to greet him. I call this the Sideways Universe after the title of issue 5 because, why the hell not, you know. It’s better than nothing. So, Sideways Rhiannon catches Union (and the reader) up to speed on an evil bastard named Lord Necros who has pretty much taken over either much of the world or just New York and the rest of the world lives in fear of him. He’s done this through magic, which is a bit more powerful here in the Sideways Universe.

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Sideways Rhiannon leads Union to her team’s hideout. Only it looks to Union as if they’re getting hit by a subway car! Not so, it’s just Sideways Alex Fairchild using his telepathy to make you think a subway car is hurtling at you! Oh, those crazy Team 7 guys! Sideways Rhiannon gives some more background on Necros’ rise to power, and we see a bit more of Necros getting mad and wanting to crush Sideways Rhiannon’s new champion, but not much happens until the end issue 5 when Sideways Caitlin Fairchild shows up! And by “not much happens” I mean that the hidden rebel base is found by some of Necros’ minions and Sideways Caitlin Fairchild shows up, took them down and being all sassy.

union_v2_006A few days prep and now it is time for the main event. It’s time to take the fight right to Necros himself. Union, Sideways Rhiannon and the Sideways Fairchilds lead the cause. But when it comes to the big battle vs. Necros, Union starts to lose his nerve. Come on Union, don’t be a big baby! Suddenly Union is down there, mixing it up with Necros, but he isn’t doing too well. In fact, it looks like Union got killed by Necros in a huge purple blast! What? Is this the end of our hero? Wait, no, of course not, it was just Sideways Alex Fairchild and his wacky powers of perception!

Sideways Alex Fairchild’s death turns out not to be in vain. It gave Union the balls to jump into the fight. And bonus, because of everyone, even Necros, thought that Union was already in the fight, Necros used a ton of power when he shot the snot out of Sideways Alex Fairchild, leaving him fairly weakened. Before Necros can draw more power Union starts to share the energy from his justice stone/staff with Necros. It is more than Necros can take and he croaks, too.

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Sideways Alex Fairchild pretending to be Union ends up for realsies dead.

Ultimately, Union has saved the day. Sideways Rhiannon helps Union heal fast so that she can get him home. Before he goes away, Sideways Caitlin Fairchild tells him to leave normal Caitlin Fairchild alone, cuz he’s nothin’ but trouble! When Union is back to his normal reality he’s told by the regular Rhiannon that she’s left him a gift back at his home. The gift turns out to be Jill Monroe with a magically changed mind about how mad Union had made her. Messing with somebody’s mind like that? Not cool Rhiannon, not cool at all!

Continuity Corner:

  • Last we saw Rhiannon she was taking over the body of Rainmaker in the “Gen13: the Unreal World” one shot.
  • Sideways Rhiannon informs Union that his justice stone is a living creature as much as he is. This is kinda seems like new information to Union, but it also seems he’s suspected this. I mean, he’d flat out know it was living if he had been paying attention as a kid in “Union” Vol. 1 issue 0 where his people explain it to him in school.
  • I always wanted to know why there wasn’t another Union for the Sideways Universe. What happened to their Union? We know alternate Unions exist, or at least we will once we meet The Sword during “Fire from Heaven.”
  • Sideways Rhiannon mentions that the version of Necros in the regular WildStorm Universe never had a chance to get as powerful as hers. I was always wondering if we’d ever meet him. I suspected Cull from “Gen13: the Unreal World” due to it also featuring Rhiannon, but so much of it doesn’t quite feel right or add up for my liking.
  • Sideways Alex Fairchild mentions that he’d lost another of his children to Necros, which is another in a long list of hints that Caitlin has a sibling. We get it already WildStorm!
  • We’ll visit the Sideways Universe again sans Lord Necros at the end of “Savant Garde” issue 2 and several issues after that.
  • Speaking of alternate universes this is only the second for sure one that we know about. The other one is where that Alternate Pilgrim from “WetWorks” is from. I still have my suspicions about where exactly the Huntsman and pals came from in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 10, but that could just be space. Next up we have the parallel universe that all the baddies from “Fire from Heaven” live and that’s about it… well until Ellis comes along and busts open the Bleed!

NEXT: “Backlash” issues 9 – 11 by Brett Booth, Jeff Mariotte, Sean Ruffner, Dan Norton, Melvin Rubi, J.J. Kirby, Sanda Hope & Edwin Rosell

“WildStorm Rising” Chapters 8 – 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continuity Corner :

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

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

“WildStorm Rising” Chapters 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!

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.