Tag Archives: Brandon Choi

“Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 22

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

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

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

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

Dr Markus Rings

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

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

LaGauche is a d bag

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

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

Continuity Corner:

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

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

Advertisements

“Deathblow” Vol. 1 issues 20 – 21

This entry covers “Deathblow” volume one issues 20 and 21 by Brandon Choi, Trevor Scott, and Tom Joyner.

Deathblow v1 020Last we saw John Lynch he was being captured by a bunch of Black Hammers in Japan. Now we find out where he’s been taken. It’s a secret I/O base in San Diego where he’s being tortured by LeGauche. LeGauche is going to take his Gen-Factor. Yup, that can be taken right out of someone. Don’t you mind how! Craven even dipped in to give Lynch some shit. Craven wants all the Gen-Factor and is mightily pissed that Ivana took off with a bunch of frozen Gen-Factor pops and Lynch doesn’t know where the rest of the Gen13 kids are. Still, some Gen-Factor from a for realzie Team 7 member is more than good, and LeGuache extracts it.

Meanwhile, coincidently, Cray is thinking of Lynch. After the quick save he had in Gamorra from a bunch of Black Razors, Cray is pretty surprised to find Lynch not there. Colby informs him that Lynch no longer works for I/O which confuses Cray even further. You know things are bad when John “Company Man” Lynch defects from I/O! Cray explains to Colby about some of the stuff he saw on Gamorra, all the information about Project Genesis and Team 7 that Kaizen Gamorra had laying around. Cray tells Colby that he needs some help finding Lynch, but says he can put him in touch with someone who can.

The someone that can help Cray out is none other than Alicia Turner. She got a call from Colby and Cray, found out where to find Lynch and went to check it out before Cray joins her. Although she worries that this is either a trap or a means to draw out Lynch, she heads inside the La Jolla estate. Just about know the Gen13 kids finally show up after a long flight from Rome, and they are not happy to see a stranger in their home. Predictably, a fight breaks out between the kids and Alicia. It gets even worse once Cray is on the scene! Before too much damage can happen, Anna comes home from grocery shopping and is curious why the Gen13 kids are beating up on friends of Mr. Lynch.

EddieNAlicia

So yeah, time for some explanations! Cray learns that these kids are all the children of Team 7 members. Alicia discovers the location of Lynch. They learn about Operation Rebirth and that Kaizen Gamorra is mixed up in it, and that LeGauche is the man running the operation. And by “running the operation” I mean hunting down Team 7 members for their Gen-Factors at the behest of Miles Craven.

Deathblow v1 021On their way to rescue Lynch, Cray and Grunge come to a bit of a head. Grunge has been giving Cray a tough time ever since he showed up, but as soon as Cray mentions Grunge’s father things change. Grunge wants to know all about his Pops. It’s kind of sweet in a really sad way. Dude is just curious about his roots.

On to the actual rescue… it goes pear-shaped pretty fast with everyone but Cray and Grunge getting captured pretty quickly. Lucky for everyone that even a diminished John Lynch is still the definition of bad ass because he wipes the floor with all the I/O goons coming at him with what’s left of his Gen-Factor. He is even trying to use the Gen-Factor to try and locate the kids to save them. This isn’t as smooth as one would hope because Lynch’s Gen-Factor bugs out like we’ve seen before. This time Cray pops in to calm Lynch down and get a handle back on things.

LynchFactorOverdrive

Lynch, Cray, and Grunge regroup and put the hurt on LeGauche and the rest of Craven’s lackeys while saving all their captured friends. LeGauche gets away, and our heroes manage to get the hell away from the I/O base before backup arrives. Cray says he’s going to do what he can to prevent the other Team 7 members from having to deal with LeGauche alone like Lynch did. Lynch promises Cray that he’ll look through all the Project Genesis data he has to try and find out the latest scheme that Craven is up to. As Cray leaves Lynch and the kids he takes a page from their book and decides to stop Craven he needs to get Team 7 to regroup and work together again, like the brothers they are.

Continuity Corner:

  • How did Alicia know where to possibly find Lynch in La Jolla? I assume this is from the information that Trance gave to Craven back in “Deathblow” volume one issue 17.
  • Oddly enough, Cray knows who LeGauche is, but doesn’t know him well enough to realize that he was fighting him in “Deathblow” volume one issue 15. He still thinks LeGauche is locked up until Alicia tells him otherwise in issue 20.
  • Cray makes the same mistake I always used to make, assuming that the Gen13 kids are the children of Team 7 because Team 7 were the only Gen12s. Nope! LeGauche and his team of bastards (which we’ll start meeting soon) are all Gen12s, too! It’s just a coincidence that the Gen13 kids all have Team 7 poppas. The DV8 team seems a bit more realistic with only a handful of them having Team 7 dads.

NEXT: “Wetworks” volume 1 issues 12 – 15 by Francis Takenaga, While Portacio, Jonathan Peterson, John Ruzum, Tom Raney, Terry Shoemaker, Ryan Odagawa, Roy Martinez, Rick Bryant, Sal Regla, JD, Brad Vancata, John Nyberg, Gerry Alanguilan, Danny Bulanadi, Randy Elliott and Jeff Whiting

“Gen13” Vol 2 issues 6 – 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gen13_arguement

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

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

Continuity Corner:

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

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

“Gen13” Vol. 2 issues 3 – 5

This entry covers “Gen13” volume two issues 3 through 5 by J. Scott Campbell, Brandon Choi, Jim Lee, Alex Garner and Scott Williams.

gen13_v2-003Caitlin doesn’t trust Lynch. He says he’s going to help the Gen13 kids to find their parents, but so far it hasn’t happened. She decides to take matters into her own hands and she starts snooping on Lynch’s computer. She even manages to find info about her father Alex Fairchild that Lynch has not made her privy to. Lynch catches her red-handed and tells her that that lead on Alex is a dead end. Caitlin doesn’t agree and leaves in a huff. She will not be told what to do.

Caitlin takes what little information she knows and convinces the other Gen13 kids to come with her on an investigation. This leads the team to Beverley Hills to meet with Mrs. McArthur, head of the philanthropic McArthur foundation. Turns out she knows Lynch from way back when and is willing to help the kids. Mrs. McArthur lets Caitlin know that the information about her father came from the Isle du Mystere, not only that but she’s recently lost an expedition in that area. An expedition led by her son James. Caitlin promises Mrs. McArthur that the team will follow in the footsteps of that expedition and hopefully find what they’re looking for, as well as find James for her. With that, the team is off to cross the United States, the Atlantic Ocean, and Africa to get to the Mozambique Channel, home of the Isle du Mystere.

gen13_v2_04_p18Lynch catches up with Mrs. McArthur and she tells them where she sent the kids. Lynch gets hella mad, leaves, making the poor old bird weep. While trying to get to the kids Lynch starts to beat himself up for the way he handled Mrs. McArthur, just then gets captured by Black Hammers. Sucky day for Lynch.

The team is on a boat getting as quickly as they can to the Isle du Mystere, when suddenly, out of the fog they’re hit by a big ass boat! In fact, it’s a pirate ship and sends the kids flying and mostly separated. Caitlin finds find James McArthur alone in a crashed out plane on the Isle du Mystere. Roxy and Bobby manage to get saved by the pirates that knocked them into the drink in the first place. Sarah and Grunge wake up on the island too and discover the “mystere” of Isle du Mystere is that it is Coda Island!gen13_v2_03_p19

 

gen13_v2-004You’d think the life of a pirate is fun a one, looting booty, swashling some bucks, sharing torrents online, but it isn’t if your name is Roxanne Spaulding. The pirates have put her to work as the head cook aboard the boat, but she isn’t good at it. All the pirates give her a hard time about it, just making it even worse for her. Not only that, but Bobby is being treated like royalty while she slaves away. It’s really tough for Roxy right now.

You know who else is having a tough time? Sarah. She’s been captured by the Coda and locked up in a dungeon. While locked up she makes friends with a young girl named Daphne. Now, Daphne, she ain’t like the other women ’round these parts. Modest dress (comparatively) and not even a lick of face paint! Meanwhile, Grunge sexes up a lot of Coda ladies. That dirty dog. Little does he know that he’s going to be sacrificed the next day at the Coda blood ceremony.

So, you may be asking yourself, how is this all connected? Well, turns out the head of the pirates, one Capt. Lucius Morgan had a relationship with a Coda warrior from the Isle du Mystere. That union resulted in a pregnancy, and because there was love involved Lucius was kept away from the island, and his love was chained up until the birth of their child, and then she was put to death. That little girl grew up to be, you guessed it, Daphne. The Captain wants to storm the island and get his baby back!

gen13_v2-005Here’s where it all comes together. Caitlin and James head further into the island to find her friends. Sarah manages to get free of her restraints with the help of Daphne and is going to escape any way she can. The pirates are attacking the island with Roxy and Bobby and Grunge is brought center stage for his impending doom. As Caitlin and James watch the first part of the blood ceremony they see the Coda Majestrix cutting flesh wounds on her self for the other Coda to drink. It’s a freaky scene to be sure, and then the pirates bust in!

As the pirates are cutting down the Coda one manages to get the jump on the Majestrix. Sarah ends up saving the Majestrix’s life and trades in the life debt for Daphne’s freedom from Coda Island. Caitlin frees Grunge from where he’s tied up and Roxy and Bobby get to center stage after the show is nearly over. The team leaves Coda Island and James manages to get them on a plane the heck outta dodge.

gen13_v2_05_p19

Continuity Corner:

  • In the Coda blood ceremony, they speak to the fact that Zannah’s blood is what gives them long life. Who knew that a blood transfusion from a Kheran was all you needed to secure a near-immortality?
  • While the main Coda base is in Greece on Mt. Themiscrya, they also apparently have this island in the Mozambique Channel. Them Codas is everywheres!
  • Lynch will remain in I/O custody and be tortured by LeGauche until the Gen13 kids team up with Alicia Turner and Cray in “Deathblow” volume one issues 20 and 21 to save him.
  • Lucius mentions that he knows Alex and he was part of that damn mission on Gamorra back in the day that everyone is talking about!
  • Lucius also talks about how he and Alex accidentally ended up on Coda Island and the Coda tolerated and kind enjoyed having them around. This was all up until Lucius and Daphne’s mom fell in love. I believe this is the event mentioned in “Gen12” that results in Alex no longer being able to hide the young Caitlin, Grunge, and Bobby on Coda Island.
  • These 3 issues feature back-up stories in the form of “Robot Ruckus” which, while both hilarious and fun, is way too meta and “out-there” to be considered for a real place in the continuity. Do not skip them as you read, there’s some good humor in there.

NEXT: “Lynch” issue 1 by Shon Bury, Trevor Scott, John Tighe and Luke Rizzo

“Deathblow” Vol. 1 issues 17 – 19

this entry covers issues 17 through 19 of “Deathblow” volume 1.

Deathblow_Vol_1_17Reporter Karl Woodbern has info on Kaizen Gamorra. It’s information that Kaizen does not want to get out, in fact, the Gamoran leader wants him dead. Who’s a hotshot reporter supposed to turn to for protection? Why Rayna Masters of course! Not that Woodbern wants Rayna to protect him, or even her main dude the Sergeant-Major. Nope, Woodbern wants the protection of Micheal Cray more than anything! Here’s the kicker, Cray and Woodbern have a past and in the past Woodbern’s actions resulted in the death of one of Cray’s soldiers. Thusly, Cray hates Woodbern and does not want to work for him. Woodbern gets Cray to come around once Woodbern mentions that the information he has concerns Cray and is tied into files about Project Genesis.

Alright, then we get into some business with Woodbern needing to get his computer disk of information, but it’s all kind of too much. I mean there’s a strip joint and a stripper involved after all. And then Kaizen’s goons show up to shoot up the joint and kidnap Woodbern. While the goons get away Frank Colby and the Black Razor’s show up to spoil the fun. Rayna manages to intimidate Cobly into leaving them all alone, and the stripper hands off Woodbern’s info disk to Cray. Cray hits up his information buddy Henri Rothchild for help reading the disk, and finds more information on it than Woodbern let on! Not just information on Project Genesis but also about an organ harvesting program, Gabriel Newman and Cray’s Pops! Uh oh! Time to high-tail it to Gamorra!

Deathblow_Vol_1_18Rayna and the Sergeant-Major get into Gamorra by plane as Cray parachutes in, because that guy is bad ass always takes the hard road. Rayna pretty quickly gets taken in by more of Kaizen’s goons. And while the Sergeant-Major thinks he’s hot on the tail of these kidnappers, it turns out he’s been faked out too. Time to break into Kaizen’s compound. Not that he’s alone in that action.

As Cray descends down into the ocean to then swim to Gamorra after the skydiving (see, dude’s bad ass!) he recounts a previous mission in Gamorra where he met up with a freedom fighter named Mai-Li and took on a round of Hunter-Killers. Wouldn’t you know it that twenty years later, Cray’s contact for the compound infiltration happens to be Mai-Li! And damn if they don’t have to hunt down some more Hunter-Killers! While breaking in Cray and Mai-Li come across the Sergeant-Major. Ou boy Kaizen, trouble is headed your way!deathblow_18_trio

deathblow_v1_19So the Sergeant-Major, Mai-Li and Cray are hacking into Kaizen’s system to try and find exactly where Woodbern and Rayna are being held. First hurdle, they’re not together. Second hurdle, they’ve been noticed and the chief of security is throwing his big guns at the three of them. The Minotaur, Borgia, and Gila have been dispatched. They are the toughest of the tough, and come with their own Hunter-Killer army!

While things are looking dire for all our heroes, at least the Sergeant-Major has gotten Woodbern, and they’ve all converged on where Rayna is being held, the problem is the same as it has ever been. Mainly these: Kaizen, Kaizen’s goons. After the Minotaur kills Mai-Li, who was sacrificing her life for Crays, Colby and the Black Razors show up again. Seems as if they were sent by Craven, who was instructed to save Rayna and her employees by the First Lady of the United States. Rayna and the First Lady were old college pals, and Rayna used her influence to help wrap the mission. Though it could’ve gone sideways at any point, everyone is really lucky that Colby can get a job done. Too bad Woodbern is so brain damaged from his torture during his kidnapping that he can’t remember a bit of the information he wanted to protect.

Continuity Corner:

  • While it doesn’t weigh on our main character much in this story, we see Craven getting in trouble with Senator Killory about Project Genesis being reactivated. We’ll see more of Senator Killory later in the pages of “DV8.”
  • deathblow_17_tranceWe clearly see that Trance is in the shadows of Craven’s office. Posed much like when we saw him during “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue 2. And just like in that appearance he’s willing to give out information on the whereabouts of John Lynch. This time he’s seeking information about Kaizen Gamorra from Craven, where as before he was asking for information on Craven from Defile. Because he is in silhouette I’ve never really put together it was Trance before, but yeah, it’s totally Trance and I’m totally dense.
  • We’ve had a few references to some big operation that went down in Gamorra years back in a few past issues and here we have some flashbacks to it. Cray is with his Seal Team 6 team, so Tom Archer is accounted for, but I don’t see Armand Wearing at all! Maybe he was one of the kidnapped scientists?
  • No word if Mai-Li Tsung is related to the Tsung family we meet later on during “Fire from Heaven” but I’m going with a pretty strong “maybe” and am thinking it probably goes back a few generations. Third or fourth cousins at best for Mai-Li and the Doc.
  • deathblow_19_cybernaryWe have a small cameo by Cybernary in this run. While it was originally intended that when the “Deathblow/Cybernary” flip-book was coming out, they were occurring at the same time (this was in the letter pages) we now see that that cannot be the case. Those issues open with a Cybernary free of her creators running around before being captured by other curious parties and having her origin recounted. It’s not until her proper series begins that we even see the conclusion of her story concerning her escape from her creators. She recounts the escape story as happening in the not too recent past, which means for best reading, we should still put her books off a bit more to build some time between this appearance and the next. But how cool was it to see her and Cray in the same book again?
  • This story line starts laying out a lot of what is to come in the WildStorm Universe. We learn about Kaizen and Craven working together. We also see that they’re working on a project concerning Gen-Actives. And we have Craven laying out his plan to hunt down the Team 7 members as well. Not to mention the first hint of what happened to Cray’s parents. We even have a doctor examine Cray and then start to refer him to genetics expert Dr. Tsung! There’s a lot of set up that slowly starts to pay off in the pages of “Deathblow,” “Gen13,” and the “Fire from Heaven” crossover.

NEXT: “Gen13” volume two issues 6 – 7 by Brandon Choi, J. Scott Campbell, Jim Lee and Scott Williams

“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.

“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