“WildStorm!” issues 1 – 3

this entry covers issues 1 through 3 of “WildStorm!” an anthology of short stories, some which were longer stories divided up between issues 

I’m just gonna start off this entry by letting you all know that I’m just going to break it up into the individual stories. I’m not sure if there is very much to tell as some of these stories are rather short. When it comes to short story collections, they sometimes work better if you divide all the stories up so that they can occur better with their respective titles, but in this case, the first three issues work pretty great all together like this for their respective titles.

In the Gen13 story, “Now Departing from Gate 37” we have Roxy and Grunge shipping a package for Lynch at the San Diego airport. While on this chore they witness two shady individuals try to kidnap a child. Of course, they save the kid, by crashing a helicopter, and also find out that the would-be kidnappers are from I/O! They figure the boy must be gen-active and that’s why I/O was after him. Roxy and Grunge tell the family, due to no one seeing them cause the helicopter crash, a freaking helicopter crash, it would seem that anyone from I/O would assume that the boy died in the crash along with the agents. Since the family is going to Chile, Grunge just tells them to stay there and hide, no one knows the boy survived, so if you keep a low profile you shouldn’t be bothered again by any secret government kidnappers.

The “Deathblow” story isn’t so much a story of Michael Cray, so much as it is something that happens while Cray is around. This seriously could’ve happened to any of the WildStorm heroes, but it happens to befall Cray. So there Cray is, stuck in traffic and there’s a crazy guy yelling in a Celtic language who rode a stolen horse over Cray’s car and busted the windshield. I’m not being rude, the dude is legitimately crazy. Of course, Cray has no idea of this until after he’s done kicking this dude’s ass and the guy’s doctor fills him in. Not that Cray seems to care, he just wants to know who to bill for his car repair. To be honest, this doesn’t really feel much like Cray at all. It feels a lot more like Brock Sampson, to tell the truth.

In the “Spartan” story we find the titular Spartan scoping out a factory that’s producing Hunter-Killers. In fact, they’re new improved Hunter-Killers! Also, Spartan’s not the only one, Ben Santini and the Black Razors are there too. No one is really happy about this “team-up” to stop a bigger bad and spend more time bickering amongst themselves rather than investigate the factory. Worse comes to worse and Santini is knocked out and the Razors aren’t sure who to follow. First, they follow Fleming, until they all decide he’s a dink and they start taking orders from Spartan. During all of this Spartan is having a crisis of conscious as to why anyone would follow him, a robo-man. In the end, the Hunter-Killers are stopped, the factory is in ruins, Santini is fine and Spartan learns a valuable lesson about himself and teamwork. Gag.

In “Taboo” we finally learn how Amanda Reed ran afoul of the Cabal and ended up in Purgatory Max. I’ll admit I had my doubts about this tale, but the creative team pulled it off fine. See, the Cabal was trying to trick Amanda into killing the doctor that first bonded her symbiote suit to her. Amanda, didn’t want to, she fled, and Pike finished the job. Once the doctor was found dead, the authorities reviewed the security footage from the doctor’s office and found Amanda all over them. They hunted her down, captured her, had her stand trial. She was found guilty and then sentenced to Purgatory Max for life. Well at least up until Slayton came to break her out.

Finally, we get Union starring in “My Enemy, My Monkey” a short little yarn that is… well, it’s about the dumbest story in these books. Union sees a giant cyborg gorilla being ridden by some kind of samurai lizard man in the middle of New York City. Union dives in to stop this crazy occurrence, only to find out he’s on the set of a movie. How hilarious. For me, it doesn’t track, simply for how damn long the fight goes on before the director yells “Cut!” Also, throughout the whole story Union is still treating the man in the gorilla suit as if he is an actual gorilla, and Union has never seemed that dense or ignorant before. Hell, he just saw the lizard samurai take off his mask, he should’ve put two and two together like we’ve seen him do before! Also, there’s a crazy fan that wants revenge on the actor playing the lizard samurai, revenge by shooting, and Union stops him because, hell, he’s there. Man, this is dumb. I’d almost rather see this lizard samurai/cyborg gorilla movie!

Continuity Corner :

  • I’m basing the Gen13 story placement off of that fact that it was reprinted in the “Backlist” trade along with other early adventures of the team. In that book, it occurs between issue 0 and issue 1 of volume 2. From a storytelling perspective, you need something in between those issues to justify the time jump that occurs between issues, most noticeably seen with Rainmakers hair length. “Now Departing from Gate 37” is just another one of the things they did in the period. With us reading this as part of the WildStorm Universe, on the whole, we have other titles showing us time progression to account for that.  So, yeah, we’re keeping it in the early days where it is needed, but we are having a different placement than if we were reading it as just a perfect progression for “Gen13”
  • For the placement of “Deathblow,” I think this is the time that Cray spent in New York telling Rayna about the Los Angeles job, in “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issues 13 and 14. It also explains why he’s so close to Virgina before we see him in “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 16.
  • From the way that Spartan talking about Marlowe, it’s pretty clear that the little guy is still around, so it has to take place before “WildStorm Rising.” Also, Spartan isn’t wearing his StormWatch gear so it can’t have happened after “WildStorm Rising” at all. And because Marlowe basically disappears after he gets back to Earth during “Fire from Heaven” there’s no place for this story to take place at any other time.
  • I also like to think that this is what Spartan was up to when Warblade was off in “Warblade : Endangered Species”.
  • It is nice to see the Black Razors as depicted in WildC.A.T.s Vol. 1 issues 15 & 16… well pretty much. Coleman isn’t really the right skin color, but everything else is close enough.
  • There’s a member of the Black Razors being referred to as simply “Fleming.” No word on the first name being either Alex or Cyril.
  • While everyone wants to seem to place this Taboo story much earlier in the timeline, because it is her origin, both parts are clearly labeled “Five years earlier,” so it’s a flashback. Also, having this story take place right before she’s on the lam again in “Backlash” issue 7 adds a certain sense of tragedy to that storyline. She’s not good at running on her own. Also, “Backlash” issues 1 through 5 are so tightly strung together there wasn’t room to put it closer to her introduction.
  • When Slayton was breaking into Purgatory Max to get Taboo in the first place there was such a big deal made about him both breaking in and out, as if no one had ever done that before. Obviously, Pike had, or else how could he have been there to taunt Amanda? I just don’t see the authorities letting Pike just come and go as he pleases.
  • I think this is a good place for “My Enemy, My Monkey” as well, because Union is still in New York at the end of “Union” Vol. 2 issue 2. He goes to Chicago in “Union” Vol. 2 issue 3 and we don’t see him leave that city at the end of the issue. Also, there’s no real explanation as to how he got onsite to start fighting with Majestic by the time issue 4 rolls around, he’s just there. There’s not a lot of decent windows for this story to take place, honestly. I was surprised I found this one!

NEXT : “Union” Vol. 2 issue 3 by Mike Heisler, Ryan Benjamin, and Tom McWeeney


“Union” Vol. 2 issues 1 & 2 and “Crusade : Release”

this entry covers the short story “Crusade : Release” that was originally published in the “Killer Instinct Tour Book” and reprinted in “WildStorm Rarities”, also being covered is “Union” Vol. 2 issues 1 and 2

We open with a short history of Voyager 1, leaving Earth in 1977. Suddenly, now in the ’90s, Voyager 1 has struck and object. In doing so, Voyager has found intelligent life. Life is a large naked bald man… baldish… he’s got a rat-tail… made out of dreadlocks… not the best look. The object struck was also some kind of rock/bunker that kept Baldy McGee in stasis but also had several sets of full armor, which Baldy dons. He seems pretty happy to see the Sun again, as well as to “clean the stain from the universe!” So he heads off towards Earth, on his, ahem, crusade!

Alright, now let’s see if we can boil these two issues of “Union” down. Mnemo sees that Baldy is coming, so he needs something to defend himself against that. He pulls out the body of another Protectorate he just had laying around, that he can also kinda/sorta remote control, and sends it after Baldy. Now I’m not sure where Big Blady was headed, but Mnemo is in China, not sure if that’s where the fight started, but it ended up in New York City, right outside Jill Monroe and Union’s apartment.

While all that is going on Union foils a terrorist plot at the U.N. Good for Union! Well, lucky timing at best, as he’s really there to try to score a job from StormWatch. Due to Jackson King being, well, “dead” his meeting is with Christine, in all her Weather Man glory. Why she’s planetside on not on SkyWatch is not brought up. Even though he’s hat in hand Christine has just too much going on with StormWatch to do much, but she tells him to keep his nose clean, and she’ll see what she can do.

Also at the same time, Jill, Union’s nominal girlfriend, is having a shit day. Jill is probably the most put-upon woman in all of WildStorm comics. I really feel sorry for her. By the end of the series, she’ll go through a lot, but she’ll stay alive. No worries about her being refrigerated, but life certainly does seem to suck more for her once Union becomes a part of it. So, at the end of her suck day, she sees a dude that looks like her boyfriend outside her window fighting a huge bald man in the air. In fact, she’s shocked once she sees Union walking in the door being all low key.

Naturally, Union has to join this fight, because hey, that’s his buddy Serren getting the snot beat out of him! Several dumb ass fight pages later, and the three calm down enough to talk things out. In fact, during the fight, only two things of note even happen. 1) Mnemo’s hold over Serren is lost and 2) Baldy says “You will fall before the might of Crusade” which clues us in, in story, to his name. So yeah, Crusade, who’s on a crusade against evil. That’s easy enough to remember. Anyway, as they all discuss how they’re going to go get Mnemo they’re all sitting in Jill and Unions apartment. There’s a nice visual bit with Crusade sitting on a chair flipped around backward. I know this is due to his bulk, and it’s the best way for him to fit and rest on a chair, but I’d like to think it’s because Crusade is fresh as hell.

The plan is this. Fly to Mnemo, kick his ass. Well, amend that, fly over water as much as they can, to remain incognito and if Mnemo throws anything at them as they’re flying, it’ll minimize human casualties. Once in China, and nearing Mneno’s base, the trio encounter some Chinese military jets. After smashing the first to bits, Union lets on to Crusade that those are the good guys, and to stop busting up their toys. They make it into Mnemo’s lair and the bastard sets off a chain reaction in Serren’s justice stone. It’s gonna go kablooie, and we saw what happened in Chichester, NY when a justice stone went supernova bang bang! Union flies Serren’s body up to the edge of space and says good-bye to his friend as he explodes. Meanwhile, Crusade is trying to make good with the Chinese military and Mnemo is getting away.

Back at home Union is kinda bummed. His old friend, Serren, that he just met back up with is dead. This new friend, Crusade, is just too crazy to hang out with. That douchebag Mnemo got away… again! On top of all that, he’s still jobless, and his lady hates her job. That’s when he gets a call from Christine Trelane! She heard about the help he gave to China, and she wants him to be a StormWatch member on retainer, available whenever needed. Good work Union! You got the job buddy, you got the job!

Continuity Corner :

  • Because this is post-1990, we know that Crusade’s space rock was past Neptune. That’s a pretty long haul for the big guy!
  • We find out a lot about Crusade later in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 35 and 36. Turns out he’s human but obviously augmented. Also, he’s calling the Kherubim the stain of the universe. He never explains why he hates them so much, but he just does. It really comes off as brainwashing and was probably part of the package when he got his powers. While hating the Kherubim first makes me think that maybe the Daemonites did this to him, I start thinking of another alien race. One that had contact on Earth long ago and also hated the Kherubim. Yup, I think this might be the first hint toward the Drahn storyline.
  • We last saw Mnemo with Serren’s broken body in “Union” Vol. 1 issue 3.
  • Also, there was mention of Serron, Union’s friend that went missing in “Union” Vol. 1 issue 0.
  • The terrorists outside the U.N. were there in support of Yurgovia, none too happy about the U.N. support of Kasmia, which we saw a bit of in”WildC.A.T.s” Special issue 1 and  “Voodoo / Zealot : Skin Trade”
  • We only ever see Union officially working for StormWatch once, when he’s called into action in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 20 to deal with what is happening during “WildStorm Rising.” I guess one could argue that in “Fire from Heaven” that Union was also called in by StormWatch, but we don’t see that event on the page. In the long run, Union does kind of end up working with Jackson and Christine in “the Monarchy” further down the line.

After seeing this entry online, writer Mike Heisler responded to with this on Twitter:
Michael Heisler Mnemo

NEXT : “WildStorm!” issues 1 through 3 by a whole host of various writers and artists!

“Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 15

this entry covers “Deathblow” volume one issue number 15.

This issue opens with everyone’s second favorite bastard doing bastard like things. That’s right, LeGauche A.K.A. Old Frenchy is throwing John Donnely, the leader of Navy Seal Team 6off of a cliff. We’re lead to believe later that this is all under the direction of Craven. And knowing Craven, this is probably true. LeGauche is tasked with killing at least seven of the eight members of former Navy Seal Team, which includes the afore mention Donnely as well as a man named Tom Archer, and seemingly not on the list, Michael Cray.

After the events in Los Angeles, Cray heads down to San Diego, a place that has always felt like home to him. It’s where he ended up after completing his ROTC program back in Rhode Island and started his Seal training. Thinking back on these old days, he goes to pay his old Seal pal Tom a visit. Seems as if Tom is now one of the trainers for incoming wanna-be Seals. While Tom is happy to see his old buddy, his wife Anne is not. Turns out, she was an old flame of Cray’s that he passed on when he was being hired by I/O to be part of Team 7. She never forgave him and hates him to the core.

You wanna know who else is unhappy to see Cray? A bunch of the other Seals. Why? Because they were all friends with Conrad. Remember Conrad? He lead the team that was supposed to kill Cray after he took down Ortega in Costa Rica. If you’ll recall this was all supposed to be hush hush, but somehow this information was leaked. Knowing this, and being friends of Conrad, these boys mean to beat the hell out of Cray as revenge. Now, Cray tries twice to talk to these men, but they won’t hear it. Right before one goes to stab him, Archer pops up and saves the day.

The next morning Archer lets Cray in on all the murders of their former Seal Team 6 members. Apparently, there’s a reporter who knows about these supposed accidental deaths and wants to talk to Archer about it. Cray and Archer are curious how he even knows about their connection and they are anxious to meet him and find out. Before the reporter has a chance to

Before the reporter has a chance to show up, LeGauche calls Archer and lets him know that he’s got Archer’s wife and kids hostage, and will exchange their lives for his. Archer knows he has to go save them, and he’s been told to come alone. That’d be a bad deal if you old Team 7 buddy wasn’t visiting! Archer takes LeGauche head on by plowing into him in a pick-up through the side of his freakin’ house! All the while Cray is sneaking in the back and helping the family get loose from their restraints and disarming the bomb that LeGauche has planted. Cray then hands a shotgun to Anne and heads to help Tom. It’s too late, LeGauche as already killed Tom, and as he moves into to do the same to Cray, Anne blasts LeGauche through a window.

Cray is bummed. Another friend of his is dead. LeGauche got away. He’s no closer to finding out why the rest of this Seal Team is dead and he barely has an idea where to start. I’d like to say things start to get better for Cray, but I’m sad to report that they don’t.

Continuity Corner :

  • Once again we have someone mentioning a past event that went down in Gamorra. This time it’s Tom Archer, a friend of Cray’s back when he was on Seal Team 6. Apparently, Cray saved his life on that mission while they were there w/ the six other members of their eight-member team. The last person to mention this Gamorra mission was Wearing in “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 14.
  • We also get some hints to this Gamorra mission, we find that Cray was still with his Seals and it was a counterterrorism strike.
  • There’s also mention of the Gamorra mission being “nearly 20 years ago” but I’m not sure if that works. Here’s my best theory. We know from this very issue he was with his Seal Team on Gamorra and not on Team 7. But we know from “Brass” Vol. 1 issue 2, that he, Lynch and Chang were on Team 7 and working for I/O in 1967. That’s nearly 30 years ago that he was on Team 7 after leaving the Navy Seals. I was always sure that Cray was working for I/O after the rest of Team 7 got the mojo and he was kinda sidelined, but I guess he could’ve gone back to being a Seal for a bit.
  • This issue, much like “Gen13” Vol. 1 issue 1 seems to be laying out breadcrumbs for “Fire from Heaven.” In this case with LeGauche’s involvement and hunting down people for Craven.
  • From now on LeGauche will primarily be a reoccurring “Deathblow” villain, despite having him first mentioned in “WetWorks” Vol. 1 issue 2 as an agent sent by Craven to either spy on or take down the WetWorks team.

NEXT : “Union” Vol. 2 issues 1 & 2 by Mike Hiesler, Ryan Benjamin and Tom McWeeney and the “Crusade : Release” short story by Jim Lee, Sean Ruffner, H. K. Proger, Bill Kaplan and again, Ryan Benjamin

“Gen13 : the Unreal World”

this entry covers the one-shot book “Gen13 : the Unreal World”

We join the story already in progress… and we see Fairchild as a waitress? Say what? And she’s having a terrible, no good, very bad day. Turns out she’s not alone, in another part of La Jolla a young orphan named Roxy is getting into a food fight at a Catholic school. So yeah, it’s pretty clear to see, something is amiss.

That something turns out to be a man named Cull. He’s tall, wears a face paint, as well as boots that make it look like he has two gigantic toes, and he’s the guy who is in control. By control I mean, he’s basically erased everyone in La Jolla’s memory and substituted them with whatever he wanted. He then commands them all to watch him on television every night. Watch him sit there and stare at the camera. It’s all rather dumb, Cull comes off as the kind of guy with a godlike power, but he’s too damn dull of a person to do anything interesting with it. It’s not like he even realized that he’d ensnared the members of Gen13 in his trance, or else one would hope he’d have a plan to prevent his demise from them, or at least use their powers for evil, something like that at least!

Anyway, Caitlin and Roxy eventually bump into each other at Caitlin’s job and remember who they really are. They then go hunting for the other members of the team. Lynch is a soccer coach, Bobby’s a hobo and Grunge is a preppy little son of a bitch. Once they break them all out of their fake lives, they all get to Sarah and find out she’s pretty cognizant of what is going on. Before she gets a chance to fully explain what’s going on, a pissed off Cull pops in to kick everyone’s ass.

The team ends up… well… working like a team and takes out Cull. While Cull is laying on the floor, not getting taken into custody, or restrained in any way, we see a ghostly figure fly out of Sarah. This is Rhiannon, the witch. Seems as if she can leave her body and take over others. She’s a witch, that’s totally a witch thing! Anyway, she did this so that she could hide from Cull and get together a group to help her stop him. Hurrah, it worked and Rhiannon takes off leaving Sarah wondering what the heck had just gone on, and why is there a creepy fetish freak laying on the floor? Is anyone going to do anything about that guy? Just leave him there never to be seen again? Oh, OK.

Continuity Corner:

  • Why place this book here of all places? One of the reasons was that there’s a note in this issue that it takes place before “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue 8. The other is a bit more obscure. I’ve mentioned before the “Gen13 : Backlist” collection. It collects the 1/2 and 0 issues of the series. It also has the first issue of Vol. 2 in it. After that issue, we’re presented with “the Unreal World” to close out the book. It looks like to me that it had been established that “the Unreal World” takes place after Vol. 2 issue 1 and before Vol. 2 issue 8. When we look at Vol. 2 issues 3 – 7 are an arc we see that the kids far from La Jolla, on Coda Island and in Rome, not to mention that Lynch isn’t with the kids at all during this time. Lynch doesn’t rejoin the kids until “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 21, which if you don’t read makes Lynch’s return in “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue 8 seemingly come out of nowhere, so for me, it would be just too jarring to see a story like this after what they just went through, not that picking up at 8 is much better. There are only a few places for this book fit into continuity. Right after Vol. 2 issue 1 or Vol. 2 issue 2. I like it better just after issue 1 because we get one more story with the team before being tossed into the “WildStorm Rising” cross-over. Also, it has a lighter tone, much like these early few issues.
  • Cull did seem to know the identity of Lynch, and of Team 7. How he knew that is anyone’s guess. I thought that was all classified. Maybe he read Lynch’s mind, that’s my best answer.
  • We won’t see Rhiannon the witch until later in Union Vol. 2 issue #5 where we will learn… well, not too much more about her.
  • Rhiannon drops a hint to the relationship between Caitlin and Roxy… I swear, there’s like a million not-so-subtle hints to this, that us fans were yelling at our comics “Just tell us they’re sisters already!” making the actual reveal a bit anti-climatic.

NEXT : “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 15 by Brandon Choi, Mel Rubi and Rick Magyar

“Deathblow” Vol. 1 issues 13 & 14

this entry covers “Deathblow” volume 1 issues 13 and 14.

Armand Waering has a problem. He wants to be featured in a comic book, but Whilce Portacio can’t draw “WetWorks” fast enough. He must take drastic measures and get into the pages of “Deathblow!” Also, something about a killer on the loose in Hollywood and the fact that he knows it’s a werewolf. Waering has to take care of this problem but he can’t be seen taking down a fellow werewolf and everyone knows he’s buddy buddy with WetWorks, so he calls Rayna Masters and she gets her best man on it.

Said man is Michael Cray, who is trying to spend some time at the grave of his former wife. This doesn’t last long before Miles Craven sends some goons to try to bring Cray back to I/O once again. He takes out a few, but the final goon is taken out by Rayna because nothing can ever be boring around Cray. She gets him on the next flight to LAX telling him that he’s got a bodyguard gig in the City of Angels.

He’s there to guard a frightened washed up starlet named Caroline Conroy. She’s afraid she’ll be the next victim of the Hollywood Hills Killer, and she thinks having just one bodyguard isn’t enough, so that’s where Cray fits in. He doesn’t really get along with the main guard Tony, but hey, a job is a job. Speaking of a job, as soon as Cray meets Caroline, it’s off to a party, not downtime in this line of work.

Big time Hollywood schmooze fest kinda party. The kind of party where you just might run into the head of a secret society that employs one of your old war buddies. Yup, here’s where Cray runs into Waering for the first time and gets handed the silver bullet. After he downs his Coors Light, Cray also sees that he’s been handed a silver .45 bullet by Waering. As Waering slips back into the shadows we find Caroline arguing with a man. This man turns out to be John Barry, deputy director of the CIA and former boyfriend of Caroline. As Cray talks down Barry, we see another man make some moves on Caroline, a guy who’s just too damn smooth to live.

Who is this smooth ass ladies man? Why it’s Johnny Savoy, the world’s most beloved vampire rockstar! Seriously, if you hadn’t been reading “WetWorks” and paying attention, Savoy being a vampire is a big “what the hell?” when Cray plugs him through the chest a few times later in the night, after the party, outside Caroline’s estate. So yeah, he’s a vampire and that was a hell of a run-on sentence.

Where was I, oh yeah, later that night Cray shoots Savoy a bunch, but it doesn’t kill him. Then they hear gunfire and Caroline screaming. They both rush to the scene to see a man cloaked all in black with night vision goggles and a syringe, along with 2 other similarly clad buddies. Cray takes down the guy with the syringe, and Savoy makes the other two redundant. Caroline lets on that these men are from the CIA, and were sent by Barry to kill her. Why? Because when she was dating Barry she found out he’s a werewolf, and he’ll kill her to keep his secret! Cray isn’t buying this werewolf stuff and Savoy counters with “Hey, come on dude, it’s possible! Check me out, Imma vampire!”

In order to better protect Caroline from Barry and his CIA lackeys, they move the party over to Savoy’s mansion. It’s a sound plan, as the man has two tigers. Again, John Barry’s CIA lackeys show up, this time in white cover-alls, and even Tony the missing bodyguard is there! Feels like we’re headed to the climax. Savoy and Cray still think Barry and the CIA are the bad guys, with Tony working for them. Unfortunately for them, this isn’t the case and a lot of CIA dudes get killed before we find out that Caroline is the werewolf killer. Yup, the werewolf was inside the house the whole time. Cray makes the killing shot and the job, due to the passing of the lady paying the bills, is over.

Barry, Savoy and Cray promise to never tell the world what really happened that night, figuring it’s better to let Hollywood have one more mysterious killer, for tourists to take bus tours about. At Caroline’s funeral Waering shows up to talk to Cray. They exchange a few words and Cray gives Waering back the bullet. It’s a bittersweet ending for this short chapter in Cray’s life, having to shoot someone he really liked due to their inner, unwanted, evil.

Continuity Corner:

  • What a “WetWorks” ancillary character heavy issue. The plot was set in motion by Armand Waering and featured Johnny Savoy!
  • Another moment of the WildStorm/Top Cow universe connection with Cray running into Stryker from “Cyber Force” in a club.
  • When talking to Cray at the club, Waering mentions not getting a chance to thank Cray back in Gamorra. Later on, there are a lot of mentions about some event in Gamorra that members of Team 7 were a part of, currently I’m either forgetting what that is, or they never revealed it. Because right now, I can’t remember a single book that has Cray, Fairchild and Waering all on Gamorra in a flashback.
  • The last page mentions Cray going back to New York and Rayna being pissed at Cray for letting Caroline die. More so, as she figures that Caroline was just some kind of pawn for John Barry. Eventually, Savoy sends Rayna some security camera footage of that night, and she never brings the subject up again. I like this ending, but it implies that Cray will be back in New York next issue and this all happened before the next issue begins. However, the next issue is just down the coast in San Diego, which kinda makes this ending feel a little hollow after you hit page one of issue 15.

NEXT : “Gen13 : Unreal World” issue 1 by Mike Heisler, Humberto Ramos and Troy Hubbs.

WSU vs. the Wild Storm 2

I know, the main point of this blog is to talk about the continuity of WildStorm Universe as it was from ’92 – ’11… but I actually had a request to keep up this feature last week! Admittedly, I have no idea where Ellis is going with this new series, and honestly, I couldn’t be more on board for what he and his team are bringing. I just thought I’d have some fun, point out some of the references/differences from the old WSU to the new book “the Wild Storm” that came out last week.

New vs. Old

In the old WSU Ivana was the stone cold bitch that worked for I/O, slept her way to the top, restarted Project: Genesis and kidnapped a whole lot of gen-active kids. She was the anti-John Lynch and had her own group of hellraisers known as DV8 at her beck and call up until she took over I/O following Craven’s death. This new version seems much more adept at her job at I/O without having to trick or mess with anyone. She’s a little condescending, but it doesn’t seem to come from an over-inflated sense of ego, she’s just good at her job and she knows it. Also, as far as well know, this version of Ivana is all human and isn’t mostly computery parts like the last one.

Cole Cash
There’s so much to say about the new version of Cole. But I’m grasping for words. It’s pretty much the same guy. Still a smart ass, still has a kind of antagonistic relationship with Marlowe, but not as goofy, I don’t see this Cole calling Marlowe “little buddy” anytime soon. Seems to be a lot more understood respect between the two here. Also, this version of Cole has reddish auburn hair, as opposed to the blond and dirty blond/brown hair that he’d sport, depending on the artist, in the old WSU

In the WSU Kanesha was better known as Savant. Savant was an alien like half of the WilC.A.T.s cast. The old Kanesha had a very different look than the new one, but the spunky attitude and the goggles are still there. Also, saying that she can redraw plans she saw 18yrs ago seems to be giving her some savant-like qualities… oh, I see what you did there Mr. Ellis.

Henry Bendix
Still bald and still in charge of SkyWatch/Skywatch, looks like not much has changed. A reference is made that he’s more machine than man at this point, and while that may be true, he doesn’t show the outward signs of cyborgification like he did in the old continuity.

Christine Trelane
Christine Trelane is a character that changed her look drastically over time in the original WSU. She was depicted as a typical ’90s comic book girl, it wasn’t until later, under Ellis’s writing, did she really become a much more normal woman, in look, and in character. Normal being a relative word for comics of course. “The Wild Storm” version of her looks a lot more like her later incarnation, despite not having her trademark glasses and vest. Here’s she’s still second in command under Henry Bendix as she was in the WSU. She’s not going by Synergy this time and shows no kind of powers, but she does run the investigative division of the ground crew of Skywatch.

Mary Cross
I’m not really sure if I (and other WildStorm fans) are drawing a true connection here or not. We’re presented with Dr. Mary Cross, a therapist that Cray often goes to. Her name, as well as being involved with Cray, leads many to think she is the new version of Sister Mary who worked for the Order of the Cross. It’s possible that this is all a big coinkidink. But I say no-inkidink! I think it’s just a sly reference for all of us fanboys/girls out there, but no real resemblance in actions, appearance or place in Cray’s life to Sister Mary.

SkyWatch was the satellite station, high above the Earth, that StormWatch operated out of in the WSU. It was mostly a base for the personal of StormWatch, active superhero types or not. Now it seems as if Skywatch is the name of the agency that polices, or is at least in charge of outer space/the area of space around Earth. So instead of “SkyWatch, the home of StormWatch” it’s more like a “Skywatch, the home of Skywatch” kind of thing. Also, we have no idea what it looks like yet in “the Wild Storm.”

New & What We Don’t Know

Majestic Level Event
We have mention of a Majestic Level Event, but nothing more on what that might mean. As WildStorm fans, we’re all expecting it to be a reference to Lord Majestros AKA Mr. Majestic. It probably is, but we have no idea what the event was, or why it is important.

Marlowe makes a reference to a John for Cole to take to capture/rescue Angela. Could it be John Colt, the inspiration for Spartan in the old continuity? John Lynch, of Team 7 and Gen13 fame? That could work, as he and Cole knew each other quite well in the old WSU. John Stone? Eh, probably not. Besides just the core group, I doubt we’re going to see any “Planetary” characters at all in “the Wild Storm.” My money is on John Colt.

Miles Craven’s Assistant
How is it that we still don’t know this woman’s name? Is it going to be some big twist on an old character? Is she going to end up being Joan Lynch, Francine Colby or Bebe Santini? I kinda hope so. Odds are, that it’s probably just the new version of Alicia Turner.

Lady Backlash Records
Ah ha ha ha. Ok, so this the record label Voodoo is on. I think it might be as close to any reference to Backlash as we’re going to get. You might be saying “Hey, wasn’t Backlash a dude?” well, yeah, he was, but then his daughter took over the name (after going by both Crimson and Jet) for a short time. Though, she was simply just Backlash, not Lady Backlash. Such a small throw away line leads me to think that this is it for any kind of Backlash revival, but if Jody Slayton is running the record label, that could be pretty neat.


Cray’s Cancer
As predicted, this version of Cray also has cancer. The previous Cray had cancer of the god-damn-everything, this one just has brain cancer.

Voodoo’s Job
It’s pretty clear that Pris is some kind of musical artist, considering she’s on a record label. She seems somewhere between Lady Gaga big spectacle oddness, and Beyonce cool. Her album is called “Blue Book” which is a direct reference to the alien theme for her project that she spoke of in issue 1.

the Division
Turns out that the Division is the ground forces for Skywatch. Glad that’s cleared up. In the old WSU there was an aquatic based version of StormWatch called SeaWatch, but that was more of a scientific exploration kind of thing by the U.N. than a super-hero kind of thing.

One Last Thing

Angela’s Armor
I thought of this earlier this week before issue 2 of “the Wild Storm” came out, and that’s that Angela’s armor isn’t as sleek as what she had in the former WSU. Also, that it now hurts her to change into that form. Suddenly, I remembered that there was an old WSU character very similar to this, and that was Brass.
His robo-form was a lot bigger and mech-like, but it was also bulky and it hurt him to change as well. I don’t think that this is an intentional reference, to be honest, and there’s nothing to show that Brass was ever even thought of when creating the new version of the Engineer. I just thought it was a cool connection to mention.

“Gen13” Vol. 2 issue 1

this entry covers the first issue of the second volume of “Gen13”

Oh yeah, I finally get to talk about “Gen13” one of my favorite books! For a long time, “Gen13” was the only mainstream comic on my pull list. I’d pick up “WildC.A.T.s” when I could, and mostly would wait and scoop up other assorted WildStorm books from quarter bins, but I never wanted to miss “Gen13” even when I was reading a lot more small press black and white comics. I guess mostly because it was a fun book, and even at its darkest, it made some kind of weird connection to me. It helped that I was a teenage boy and there were lots of sexy ladies, but if that’s all it had going for it, I woulda dropped it quick. “Gen13” was more than just for ogling, it had a well-rounded cast of likable characters, and I liked visiting these crazy kids in SoCal while I felt trapped in the MidWest.

So, anyway, yeah, “Gen13” and their latest issue 1. Grunge pisses off Roxy because he can’t handle that he sucks at video games. Fairchild worries about the team. Sarah prances around naked. Roxy gets in trouble at a dance club with a host of no-good-niks. The rest of the Gen13 kids save her. Roxy comes home with a new pet. Only “Gen13” can take such a simple plot and make it a fun read. It’s hard for me to do any kind of review here because the book is really all about hanging out with these characters.

Plot summaries won’t do too terribly much for this issue, and several of the early issues because there’s not much to go on. Every time I start typing I feel like it’s the kind of story that ends with me laughing and saying “well, I guess you had to be there!” I think that speaks to the power of the relatability of these characters. Choi and Campbell had something really special going here, and it was great to see that catch on with other comic readers.

Coming into this issue you didn’t need to know much about the greater WildStorm Universe. It was refreshing in the ’90s not to see a book not be part of a multi-part crossover. Before you say “Hey, wasn’t the next issue part of “WildStorm Rising”?” I’ll point out, that, eh, it could pretty much drop right out of that story, and you wouldn’t miss it, as well as being a pretty stand-alone story on its own. So, yeah, that’s the first issue of “Gen13” volume 2!

Continuity Corner :

  • When looking around the house in La Jolla, Fairchild comes across an old photo of Lynch, with a captured creature in a net. We’ll meet this creature, Helmut, in the next issue, and we’ll get the full story in later on in the “Lynch” one shot.
  • This issue is the first time we’ll meet both Trance and the four bounty hunters. Trance will pop back up in the next issue and then become a real threat it “Gen13” issue #8. We’ll see the bounty hunters, as well as find out where they came from much later in “Sword of Damacles” issue #1 and the whole “Fire from Heaven” cross over.
  • Oh yeah, we also are introduced to the newest teammate/mascot, Qeelocke, the little green kinda-cat like creature, who takes a real shine to Roxy. I’ll admit, it took me until my re-read a few years ago to get that too-on-the-nose name. Qeelocke. Key lock. It opens dimensional rifts… duh!
  • When this book was originally published it had 13 different covers. Read all about it in this edition of “Gimmicks of Yesteryear.” I picked up the standard one, the “Pulp Fiction” parody and the blank one. I’m sure those comics are all still someplace at my parent’s house, I just wish I lived close enough to go snag them now!

NEXT : “Deathblow” issues 13 & 14 by Brandon Choi, Trevor Scott, and Tim Sale

One fanboy's chronological journey through the Wildstorm Universe