“Grifter : One Shot”

this entry covers “Grifter : One Shot” issue 1

Woo hoo! A Grifter solo book! Officially! Not just “the Savage Dragon” Vol. 2 issue 13 this time! So yeah, that’s good! The not so good news is that it isn’t by Choi and Lee. Awwwwwww… But, it still is a pretty damn fun book regardless!

So Cole is tooling around DC and he sees a couple at a bar. He knows the loudmouth the next booth over is a spy named Polchow and he is with a date. He also knows that spies like he and Polchow have been winding up dead as of late. Cole’s even betting that Polchow ends up on the chopping block before he does, so Cole hatches a plan to find out how, why and hopefully prevent it! Well, turns out that Polchow’s date was the killer, and Cole fails in trying to save Polchow and even manages to get stabbed with a poisoned blade, which causes him to pass out, at the scene of a crime. This is why you can’t let dames get in the way!

Cole wakes up tied to a chair. Who is holding him captive? An old frenemy named Gallows. He was on the Russian side during the Cold War, that’s the major difference between the two. Other than the fact that Gallows is mostly robotics now. What they have in common, is that they were both trained to be spies by the same man, Hans Arp. Cole is putting it together that the chickie he fought was trained by Arp as well, and Gallows lets him know that Arp has a crew of spy/assassin gals, and he’s using them to take out the competition AKA former Arp trained spy/assassins. It’s kinda like Molotov Cocktease’s plan during the season three finale of “the Venture Brothers” complete with a gaggle of female ass-kickers.

After figuring they can trust each other Gallows and Cole are getting reacquainted, during which we get a flashback to the last time they were together, and what they had thought were the final days of their former trainer. Arp was a real James Bond type back in the ’60s, but after the loss of his wife and kids he couldn’t go on. The US government decided to keep him on as a trainer for future spies, but eventually, Arp went into business for himself and started training spies for any and every country with the cash to pay. All the secret agencies in the world got together and sent their best to take out Arp, which, of course, were all trained by him. This all happened in the mountains of Switzerland, with snow, heights, the works. Gallows got shot down early but managed to survive enough to have a cyborg body built for him later, and Cole was the official last man standing against Arp. Cole had his gun to Arp’s head, and before he could pull it Arp shot his own climbing rope and fell. Everyone just shrugged their shoulders and assumed “Homey’s dead.”

As you can guess, Arp didn’t die at all. Now he’s back and he only has Gallows and Cole to stop him. There’s a bit of business with Cole and Gallows going undercover to find out more information, and dealings with a mad scientist type, but in the end, all leads us to Arp’s home of operation. So, Cole and Gallows burst in and start taking on all these assassin ladies. They manage to take out all the women, save one named Andromeda, and in the process Gallows sacrifices himself to save Cole. The lone woman standing almost gets Cole because he’s distracted by Arp running away, like a little baby. Cole makes short work of her and takes off to the roof after Arp.

On the roof, Cole and Arp are shouting at each other as they fire back and forth. Each of them are going a bit wild with the bullets, but it’s easy to understand because as spies they’re both good shots, but better dodgers. Arp’s main downfall is that he misjudges a gap in the roof as he jumps for Cole and falls to his death. This time, for real. Homey’s dead. Cole is a bit upset about all he’s gained and lost over the last few days. And as he leaves the premises of Arp’s would be spy headquarters he notices that Andromeda’s body is nowhere to be found. He wonders if he’ll see her again, and if they’ll be friends or enemies then, because if there’s anything this caper has shown him, it’s that you never know who’s with or against you.

Continuity Corner :

  • On the scale of WildStorm cybernetics from Ivana Baiul to Ladytron, Gallows rates at somewhere between Henry Bendix and CyberJack.
  • One of the reasons this book is placed here in continuity is due to the fact that Cole is already in Washington DC at the end “WildC.A.T.s” volume 1 issue 18. I figure he needs something to do while the team is busy helping Backlash out with all his lady troubles.
  • For a bit, I thought that this might come before Cole joins the WildC.A.T.s, but he mentions Zealot isn’t the only trainer he’s ever had. This leads me to believe that he may have already with the team. Also, he has his bullet bike and VADs, which I’m pretty sure are Halo issue.

NEXT : “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 20 & 21 and “StormWatch” Vol. 1 Special issue 2 by by Ron Marz, Steven T. Seagle, Mat Broome, Melvin Rubi, Michael Lopez, Cully Hammer, Allen Im, Terry Shoemaker, Pop Mhan, Chuck Gibson, Robert Jones, Gary Martin, Jon Holdredge, Randy Elliot, Jason Martin, Jeff Albrecht, Mike Christian, Saleem Crawford, Richard Friend, John Lowe, Mike Miller and Jason Rodriguez

“Backlash” issues 6 & 7

this entry covers “Backlash” issues 6 and 7

So after Slayton had gotten Dane to go on one adventure with him, he decides that his extended cast isn’t big enough and calls Dane back and tell him to bring a friend for his next mission. This new mission is to two fold. Part the first, Cyberjack and Taboo go and kidnap Dianne LaSalle from a bunch of StormWatch ground crew scrubs. Part the second, Slayton, Dane and Grail go to the lair of the Daemonite Lord S’ryn and nab him from right in front of Pike and pals.

Why do all this now? Well, good question. I mean, in the end, we see him calling in his favor with Jacob and the rest of the WildC.A.T.s and since they have Voodoo, a better understanding of Daemonites, and crazy sci-fi equipment they can get LaSalle back into her right mind. But do we know all this going in? How does it get set up? Ugh, I’m going to have to go reread this again aren’t I? Ok, just did, and nope, no elucidation. When Slayton shows up at the Halo building, via Void’s transport, he says to Jacob that he’s “calling in his favor” which doesn’t make much sense, as he must’ve called in that favor earlier because Jack and Taboo are already there with LaSalle and Void is the one who got him there, this was all set up already. Either Slayton is kind of dense or he’s super socially awkward.

Pris is able to extract the mind of LaSalle from the Daemonite, but is having trouble extracting the Daemonite from the body of the man it was possessing. S’ryn isn’t going down with out a fight. S’ryn pops out of the dude’s body, but as we’ve seen, that’ll probably leave the host brain dead. S’ryn is looking for a new host, but that’s not the best plan as there isn’t a lot of options for him in a room full of Kherubims and such. Taboo pops him one and then Slayton goes all smoke-form and gets into S’ryn mouth then reconstitutes and tears S’ryn apart from the inside out. As he’s dying, S’ryn makes fun of Slayton for not knowing himself. S’ryn is taunting Slayton’s Kherubimness with his final breath. This is confusing to Slayton as he doesn’t even understand the term. Jacob explains it to him, as he’s saying “welcome to the family!” This doesn’t last too long as LaSalle is back and she wants to spend some time with Slayton after all he’s done.

The next issue is split into three stories. The first of which concerns Slayton trying to connect back with LaSalle. It isn’t going so well. She’s having trouble coming to terms with all the people that he’s killed along the way to save her. Also, she’s not too keen on him hooking up with Taboo. Slayton goes for a walk to clear his head. When he’s out Taboo calls, saying that there’s some sketchy folks following her, and that message goes straight to the answering machine. Which LaSalle hears. After that call she phones StormWatch asking to be put back on active duty and where to go to catch the next shuttle to SkyWatch.

In Taboo’s story, we see her making the call that broke up Slayton and LaSalle, and we meet the crew that’s been following her. We saw a bit of these guys a few issues earlier, but they were yet to make their move. Now, without Slayton and Jack around, it is time to strike and capture that scofflaw Taboo. For all her powers, Taboo is really crap when she’s in a fight alone. You could say “but it’s 4 against one, the odds aren’t in her favor!” and I’d counter that saying that when she’s part of a group of as little as her and Slayton, she can take out at least 20 goons. You can’t tell me Slayton is carrying her the whole fight! Besides, these jokers are going at her one at a time anyway! But yeah, in the end, she done got captured.

Our final story introduces a new character. An Aussie dog-man named Dingo. Yes, yes, Dingo is a Kindred, but a member of the Kindred that was brought to Australia from Cabillito Island at a young age. We see his past as a young dog-boy who is adopted by an Australian military man and raised to be a respectful member of society, as apposed to being raised as the weapon he was brought to the country for. After the passing of his adopted father, he goes out into the world to see what it is like. Of course he ends up running into and working for Bloodmoon and other members of the Kindred. As soon as we saw his “such-a-good-puppy” face, we knew this was going to be a Kindred thing? Right? Was it just me?

Continuity Corner :

  • After Slayton takes off with S’ryn, Pike mentions to Hestia, the Cabal’s pet Coda, that this is the second Daemonite Lord they’ve lost in their service. This is what you get for selling out your people Pike!
  • At one point S’ryn calls himself a High Lord of the Daemonites. Is that because he took Hellspont’s place in the Cabal? We know that both Hellspont and Defile are High Lords, and then there’s the dead one that had his hand sticking out of the ground, but that’s it, right? Isn’t there only three High Daemonite Lords that came to Earth, and each one holds a key? And isn’t that why Hightower is trying to get a key? To up his level? Without actually having Hellspont’s key why does S’ryn think he’s automatically granted High Lord status?
  • Good thing Slayton visited the WildC.A.T.s when he did with Cole out on assignment in DC. I’d hate to have to sit through another few panels of them being bitter towards each other.
  • I’m not entirely sure that issue 7 was originally drawn to be issue 7. Excepting a few exposition panels, you can swap it with issue 8 and be kinda fine. Maybe there was some reason why the “WildStorm Rising” crossover had to be issue number 8. My main reason for thinking of there is something up, is that Slayton says that it had been 2 weeks since the WildC.A.T.s helped with LaSalle in issue 7. There may be something do this, as according to comicbookdb.com issues 4 and 5 each had a cover date of February, meaning they may’ve gotten ahead, thus the slight wrinkle in continuity. Was there a last minute rewrite on the first page of  issues 8 and 9 to address this? Who knows.
  • More at odds is the fact that in issue 8 Slayton says he stepped out on LeSalle to help Taboo… but we saw him leave in a huff not knowing about Taboo’s trouble, LeSalle doing what she could to get out of there and rejoin StormWatch and then the message being left on the machine by Taboo. Did Slayton come back, not see LeSalle, heard the message, and bolted, figuring she’d be back soon, not knowing that LeSalle had already taken off? Again, who knows. I’m probably overthinking this one!
  • Slayton has spent a handful of issues of “StormWatch” volume 1, four issues of “the Kindred” volume 1 and six issues of his own series trying to save his lady, and LaSalle just ditches him? Because he killed? Really? What did she think he occasionally had to do in Team 7 or for StormWatch? Oh, I see LaSalle, it’s alright to kill for your government but not for love.
  • To be honest, I’m of the mind that the WildC.A.T.s did take a little bit of time from the end of issue 18 to the start of issue 19 of “WildC.A.T.s” volume 1 to properly mount an attack on Hightower and the Coda in DC, (more of that in the next entry) but 2 weeks seems a bit long for them to wait.

NEXT : “Grifter : One Shot” by Steven T. Seagle, Dan Norton, Chuck Gibson, Troy Hubbs and Edwin Rosel.

“WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 18

this entry covers “WildC.A.T.s : Covert Action Teams” volume 1 issue number 18, as well as the backup story “Savant : Wedding Day Jitters”

This issue is all about Pris and Cole! Yay! Just like the Special! Well, not exactly. First off, they’re not teaming up on a mission. Secondly, while Cole’s part of the story is totally “A Day in the Life of Grifter,” the Pris story is a story of the girl’s history, hopes, and dreams. It’s two stories happening at the same time, and either one would’ve been an awesome full issue, but it was fun to see them unfold side by side.

In our first story, Void takes on a mission to help our gal Pris. So Pris is still knocked out from that Daemonite attack several issues ago. She’s not coming out of her coma, so the best thing to do is put her in some crazy sci-fi contraption to link her brain to Void’s, you know, for easier brain access. Comic books everybody! As Void tours Pris’s mind she finds it divided up into various rooms. In the first, she sees Pris’s background as a dancer of various types, only thing is, Pris isn’t hiding in this room. Void moves to the next to see Pris and Spartan fighting twisted versions of the rest of the team. Void joins in the fight and even takes down her own evil doppelganger. On to the next room and the trio is fighting straight up Daemonites! Finally, there’s one room left, Pris must go there alone and confront her darkness. After all this, both women wake up. End Pris’s story.

Cole is on a mission. He’s been sent by Marlowe to figure out the Daemonites that are after the WildC.A.T.s and sicced Mr. White on them recently. The good news for Cole is that he gets information on a Daemonite that is plotting against the team and follows it up to find where that Daemonite currently is. The bad news for Cole is all roads have led him to Hightower when it was actually Defile that he’s after. I mean, Hightower is usually up to something, but for getting revenge for Pris, he isn’t your guy. I have a feeling that Defile got everything set up to go that way, but we never see it on the page. Cole tracks down Hightower hanging out with a bunch of Coda in Washington DC and calls the team to let them know what is up. This isn’t going to end well…

And, in our final story, Savant’s personal mission is to find King Solomon’s skull. It’s taken her and her pal Mabel all around the world and back to hunt down, and it turns out it’s on an island in the South Pacific. She finds out that she can have the skull if she marries the king of the island. She’s cool with that, as she’s just planning on grabbing the skull, knocking the king out and then flying away with Mabel. Well, not so easy it turns out! See, the king is a gigantic four-armed ape named Loooooth, uh oh! But come on, it’s Savant! She manages to get the skull, bop Magilla on the nose and catch her flight. But before she and Mabel can start high-fiving they find that there’s a gremlin on the plane’s wing! Womp-womp!

Continuity Corner :

  • During Pris’s story, Void finds an encoded memory (or meme, before that word became hijacked and lost all meaning) that fills in how Pris is part Kheribum and part Daemonite. It was a Daemonite experiment to create life, so their evil scientists mixed the blood of each race, twenty thousand souls and then let it bake for 15 days. Out popped the man who would one day lead us to Pris, and as it turns out, he turned on his creators. He’s no friend of Daemonites either.
  • We’ll see Pris’s ancestor again, but not until the “WildC.A.T.s Annual” issue 1, which doesn’t even occur until after “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 50! That’s a long wait for a return Mr. Voodoo’s Grandpappy!
  • For all seriousness, after looking at the cover and reading the book, how badass would it’ve been for Pris to always have a lightsaber? So awesome, right?
  • I’m not going to lie, I usually forget when the hell Pris got hurt. Even reading “WildC.A.T.s” on its own I usually have to pull up issues going backwards until I re-encounter those first few pages of issue 15.
  • I know there’s no possible way for it to be true, but I’d like to think that Looooth arrived on the South Pacific island to rule after he escaped the island of gigantic monsters from “Planetary” issue 2. There’s nothing that contradicts that, and Looooth does have 4 arms, he could probably swim pretty well. Hey, it’s still in the Pacific, just a little further South and warmer, I’m not ruling it out!

NEXT : “Backlash” issues 6 and 7 by Brett Booth, Jeff Mariotte, Sean Ruffner, Dan Norton, Melvin Rubi, Chuck Gibson, Sandra Hope, Edwin Rosell, and Tim Townsend.

“Union” Vol. 2 issue 3

this entry covers “Union” volume 2, issue number 3

union_v2_003Looks like Union, having scored that sweet sweet StormWatch gig, is now flush with cash! Seems that even being on retainer pays pretty damn well! Jill decides this can only mean one thing: Vacation time! And where are Jill and Union going to go on vacation? Why Chicago of course! We all see where this is headed right? Yup, team-up with the Savage Dragon!

But before the greatest cop in Chicago gets involved we have Union and Jill flying by airplane to Chicago, much to Union’s dismay. Union has also started going by the name Homer for his civilian identity. And is it me, or Union with that oversized button up, and big hair remind anyone else of Tommy Wiseau in “the Room?”  Oh, it is just me, ok. Anyway, they’re meeting up with Jill’s friend Kathy from college.

Kathy is really trying to show Union a good time. She takes him to the Sears Tower. She takes him to a video game arcade. She takes him to the Art Institute of Chicago. Hell, this guy is just a Cubs game and a rousing rendition of “Danke Schoen” during German-American Appreciation Society Parade away from the full on “Ferris Bueller” experience and he can’t even manage a smile! What a Cameron he is. It isn’t until Union has his first beer that he even acts like anything more than Mr. Dour Pants. Figures, if a guy calls himself Homer, that guy is going to be in love with beer.

A couple blocks away our plot is building. The Dragon is as undercover as he can be. I just typed out all what was going down in that exchange, but I read it back, twice, and it didn’t make sense. I put this down more to my lack of being able to type well, and less due to the fact that it is super convoluted. I mean, it is convoluted, but a skilled comics blogger could’ve sorted it out for you. I’ve failed you again dear readers! Now you know why I don’t have a Patreon for this site. Ain’t nobody gonna pay for this!

Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo… it ends up that the bad guys cause the Dragon to fly through the big glass window of the bar. Union, noticing that the Dragon doesn’t look like normal humans, decides the Dragon must be a monster and decks him. Union is a bit of a racist. One of the barflies points out that the Dragon is a cop. That’s a word Union understands, and he knows he has messed up. He goes to help the Dragon up, and the Dragon decks him. I still think this is funny. I swear I’m not twelve!

A lot more superhero shenanigans later and the boys decide to team up and take down the bad guys. Once the bust is over what are two super dudes to do? Why go to a strip joint and down a lot more brews. Of course, Lightweight McGee Union can’t hold his booze and throws up in front of the Dragon in a public restroom. When he winds up back at Kathy’s place, he’s still so wasted that he passes out on the floor. This causes Jill to seriously rethink their relationship. Dude’s a mess, time to move on girl!

Continuity Corner :

  • Nothing. Sorry, there’s not always going to be stuff to put here on such short entries.
  • Really, this was a simple one and done with the only consequeses being Jill getting her life together without having Union in it.

NEXT : “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 18 by James Robinson, Travis Charest and Troy Hubbs

WSU vs. the Wild Storm 3

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 really like doing this compare and contrast thing! 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.

To be fair, this week just might as well be called “DCU references in “the Wild Storm”” but we’ll get to that eventually. But let’s start out this entry in our usual way.

New vs. Old

Jenny?
Alright, I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that this a Jenny. You know, a woman who will live 100 years and be the spirit of that century. The most well known was Jenny Sparks. After her, we got Jenny Quantum AKA Jenny Quarx. We also had met, via some special Jenny Heaven craziness Jenny Fire, Jenny Steam and just a whole lot of other Jennys. The Jenny we have here, well, she reminds me a lot like Jenny Sparks, only from Mongolia in the 21st Century and not England in the 20th Century. She seems to be traveling via electronic screens, be they televisions, advertisement billboards, tablets or cell phones. Jenny Sparks used to travel by way of electricity wires, so that again leads me to think of her more as a Jenny Sparks type rather than a Jenny Quantum type. More to come for this young lady for sure! (I was thinking her name was most likely Jenny Media, but then I saw that Carl K. Li scooped me with that name. I’m sticking with it, but I have to give credit where credit is due, he said in a public way before I got around to it!)

Razors
Not sure why I didn’t mention this last issue, but the main team that I/O will send out to do field work are the Razors. In the old WSU they were called the Black Razors and were lead by both John Lynch and Ben Santini. In “the Wild Storm” they’re known as Razor C.A.T. as being a Covert Action Team is a much bigger deal in this new universe.

Whak! Supersoda
In the original WSU we had Whak Cola. It seems like there’s a newer version of this, and it’s a “Supersoda” vs. a regular cola. Although, the Drummer and Max Faraday seemed to like the original formula a lot more than Jenny seems to enjoy the new one.

New and What We Don’t Know

Jenny’s Conspiracy Board
Basically almost everything on our new Jenny’s board! So much new info. For real, just go check out Carl’s breakdown of the board, he’s done a better job than I ever could!

Who Ivana is Talking to
Who is Ivana on the phone with? Is this just a good way to get some exposition out, or will who she’s talking to come into play?

Craven’s Assistant
No confirmation on who it is, but based on how smart she is, and how she’s treating the proceedings, I still think it’s Alicia Turner. Also, Cole put on his mask as soon as the Razor’s popped in. Not sure if it was just to prevent effects of a gas attack, or because he thought that someone watching might recognize him. In the old WSU Cole and Alicia had a past, so if it is her, and they also share a past in the new continuity it would be one of many good reasons for him to put on the mask.

Answers

Ivana
I guess I was wrong about this version of Ivana not being as much of a schemer as the last one! She really seems to be after Craven’s job!

Mars Expedition 1955
Jenny has a lighter commemorating the Mars Expedition of 1955. Not sure if the former Jenny was there, and she got this lighter in memory of her, or if it was something she found while doing here conspiracy hunting.

John Colt
We can assume after seeing Jenny’s board that the John that Jacob and Cole were talking about last issue is most likely John Colt.

DCU Connections

Commander Steel
The DCU really does have a character named Commander Steel. In fact, there are three of them, it’s a family thing. But nowhere does it look like they’ve ever been drawn by Chris Ware as seen here.

Galaxy Network
In the DCU we have the Galaxy Broadcasting System or just GBS for short. Slight name change to Galaxy Network for “the Wild Storm.”

Crime Doctor
In the DCU the Crime Doctor is an old Batman villain, here it seems to be the basis of some kind of CSI type show.

Doom Patrol
Much like “Crime Doctor” being a television show in “the Wild Storm,” “Doom Patrol” are also real characters in the DCU whose name is being borrowed for some sort of formulaic show here. (In all honesty, Doom Patrol are some of my other favorite comics. Glad to see them get a tip of the hat here.)

KORD
Possibly related to Ted Kord, the second Blue Beatle. It’s possible in this reality he never had to save the world, inherit the Blue Beatle legacy and instead used his wealth along with his tech and business smarts to create a YouTube-like video company.

Martian Manhunter
This might be my favorite joke of the whole run. Instead of the self-serious strong green guy from Mars we all know as the Martian Manhunter, we have a green woman with a praying mantis type head, shouting catchphrases at a club, while holding a champs in one hand and a cell phone in the other, presumably on a Tinder-like application. It’s just too funny.

Dr. Mid-Nite
The name of a superhero who could see in the dark in the DCU, “the Wild Storm” reappropriates the name as a brand of cigarettes.

One Last Thing
Because there was so much action going on in this issue, we don’t get too much info on what is going down behind the scenes. This is fine. I mean, it leaves me wanting more, but it satisfies the lack of action in the last issue. I’m perfectly fine with that kind of give and take on that front. Also, I’ll love this issue forever, just because of this panel alone:

“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.

BONUS :
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!

One fanboy's chronological journey through the Wildstorm Universe