Tag Archives: Chuck Gibson

“Fire from Heaven” Chapters 9 – 11

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

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

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

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

ImNotCryingYoureCrying

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

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

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

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

PourOneOutForJack

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

HeyaDozer

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

Continuity Corner:

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

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

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“Fire from Heaven” Chapters 4 – 6

This entry covers “Fire from Heaven” chapters 4 through 6, which include “Wetworks” volume one issue 16, “StormWatch” volume one issue 35 and “Sigma” issue 2 by Jonathan Peterson, Drew Bitner, Brandon Choi, Cedric Nocon, Renato Arlem, Randy Green, Chuck Gibson, Danny Bulanadi, Jose Pimentel and Sal Regla.

wetworks_v2_016Welcome back to the ongoing coverage of “Fire from Heaven” here at Weathering WildStorm. The thing about this crossover is is that it seems to jump around in time a lot more often than I remember. A lot of times we have books that are trying to present to us how their main characters got involved in the mess on Gamorra. So that’s not really a big deal if we keep rewinding in time to find out what certain groups were up to before they join a big fight with the other characters. Other times there’s some through stories that aren’t adding up correctly and that’s the kind of thing I point out in the “Continuity Corner” at the bottom. Right now the big fight everyone is heading to is in Kaizen’s lab where he’s just awoken his greatest feat, the Gen-Omega!

But first, there’s trouble on the moon! The Sword and several of Damocles’ crew are attacking the StormWatch moon base. They are trying to secure even more power to fully bring Damocles to this universe. Not only are they doing that, but they’re also readying a gigantic pulse cannon to fire at SkyWatch II! Yeah, this sure isn’t StormWatch’s day. SkyWatch II gets blasted, and it isn’t too terrible except for their communications array. They only end up being cut off from the Earthbound teams for a short time, but for a few pages there it could’ve been big big trouble!

Time to talk about “Wetworks”. This book doesn’t feel like it wants to be part of this crossover. It seems like “Fire from Heaven” is just getting in the way of the story they want to tell in that book. Now I’m not saying that “WildC.A.T.s” doesn’t encounter this to a small degree, but that book doesn’t go out of its way to show off far too much stuff that doesn’t relate to the overarching crossover. “Wetworks” just… well, they show us Armond Waering going to a party. We also see a population of fish people that aren’t too happy about what’s going on among the Night Tribes. Also, the team doesn’t do much before they decide to escape to find Dane after Mr. Waering takes off. Oh, we do see Mother One mack on Grail. Alright sure, finding out that Mr. Waering has a business rival is kind of cool, and we finally get full on confirmation of Waering being a werewolf, but man, those both could’ve waited until after the crossover. I want to see how the rest of the Wetworks team managed to find out where Dane was and how they snuck their way on to Gamorra, and that stuff is all sidestepped… frowny face is me.

stormwatch_v1_035Speaking of Dane, we catch back up to him and Amanda run from a StormWatch jet trailing them. They lose the jet by jumping off a waterfall. The StormWatch operatives must’ve never seen an action movie because they swear both Dane and Amanda couldn’t survive that drop and they fly off. Dane and Amanda are of course fine and after they come to they are confronted by a bunch of hunter-killers. After making short work of the HKs they run into Jackson King, who after a hard fight, including Amanda going super nuts, sees King best them and take them both into captivity.

TurncoatMageeElsewhere on the island, we see Flashpoint getting some drinks at a local bar. While he’s having a pint he’s recognized by Brutus of the Mercs. Brutus is still pissed about Flashpoint having killed Kilgore right before the last big WildStorm crossover. A fight breaks out, and Flashpoint is the eventual winner. Razor then shows up and starts to make out with Flashpoint!? What the heck? Turns out Flashpoint is working with the Mercs, but not all the Mercs know, just Razor and Deathtrap apparently. Flashpoint tells Razor that he needs to meet with Deathtrap soon.

Alright, before we get to our next few big happenings, here’s a few small things that have happened over the course of these issues. Slayton and Cybernary agree to join forces to take out Kaizen Gamorra. Fahrenheit, Cannon, and Battalion all wonder when Winter will be well and what happened to him. We check in with Ethan’s nerd friend hanging out with Ethan’s jock friend while they get coffee and are gawked at by the ladies. And finally, without telling us how, Wetworks finally arrives on Gamorra.

sigma_002Outside of Kaizen’s compound Bobby, Jodi and Aries arrive. Aries is expecting Kaizen’s guards to take out Bobby and Jodi but is surprised to see them all dead. It seems the DV8 crew did a pretty good job as they gained entry. Once inside Bobby finds his friends and joins the fight immediately. Jodi, unsure of what to do, let’s Aries go, as he actually ended up helping them get to where they wanted to be. While Aries walks right out the front door, Alex Fairchild and Capt. Lucius Morgan walk right in and join the fight alongside their Team 7 pals.

While we have all this action with Team 7 and Gen13 fighting the DV8 crew, there’s still a matter of what is going on in the basement, and that’s a Gen-Omega Craven! Fortunately, it is having no luck taking down Ethan, Dr. Tsung or Secret Agent Maggie, even w/ LeGauche’s help. Cray comes to even the score, but the fight doesn’t last too much longer. The Gen-Omega Craven starts to deteriorate. Craven claims this is because Kaizen forgot to account for the virus in Slayton’s Gen-Factor. The reborn Craven burns away into nothing and Ethan absorbs the Gen-Factor into his own body. Dr. Tsung reveals that Ethan is the source of all the Gen-Factor in the world. He said his original plan was to get some of the Gen-Factor out into the world to give superpowers to various people so they can help stop the madman he dreams about. But it was taking too long, so he redoubled his efforts into making Ethan the strongest and best wielder of the Gen-Factor so that he can single-handedly defeat Damocles.

CravensLastStand

Around this time The Sword and his minions have generated enough power to bring Damocles to the moon. Once there Danocles feels an overwhelming source of Gen-Factor on Earth and knows it to be his mortal enemy, Sigma AKA Ethan. He gets to Earth to find Kaizen hiding from all that is going on. After a quick scan of Kaizen’s mind to find out where Sigma is, he goes to confront Ethan, Dr. Tsung and Secret Agent Maggie in Kaizen’s basement lab.

DamoclesArrives

Continuity Corner:

  • We have a page out of no where of Lucius and Alex parachuting… wait Lucius and Alex are parachuting? Into where? We’ve already seen them on Gamorra twice! Once at the end of “Gen13” volume two issue 9 and in issue 10. If they needed to cross the island there has to be plenty of easier ways than to fly up in controlled airspace and parachute! I mean their pilot got vaporized right after they jumped out of the plane! They could’ve easily gotten to where they needed to go without that risk.
  • Lucius ever the cool dad tells Rainmaker that Daphne says hello, remembering their bond from “Gen13” volume two issue 5.
  • So Lucius is Team 7? We saw in “Gen13” volume two issue 10 that guy Pigmy calls him and Alex Team 7, but also that guy also didn’t know Alex, meaning he only really knows that Lucius was Team 7. Then when they join in the fight, all the other Team 7 dudes know him. Also, that’s when we find out Lucius has powers too. Oh, there was also that giant 7 on his pirate boat… At any rate, it’s odd they never retconned him into any of the old stories somehow. They still had the “Gen12” book to finally squeeze him in with and they didn’t even take the opportunity.
  • When Craven’s Gen-Omega body is burning up he blames Kaizen for not accounting for the virus in Slayton’s Gen-Factor. Is it not a virus, is it due to Slayton being Kherubim, so he has different blood? Did Kaizen not notice this because [SERIOUS SPOILER THAT WE’RE SO CLOSE TO GETTING TO FINALLY REVEAL]?

NEXT: “Fire from Heaven” chapters 7 and 8, which include “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 29 and “Deathblow” volume one issue 27 by Alan Moore, Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Travis Charest, Ryan Benjamin, Trevor Scott, JD, Richard Friend, Mark Irwin and Luke Rizzo.

 

“Fire from Heaven” Chapters 1 – 3

This entry covers “Fire from Heaven” chapters 1 through 3 which include “Fire from Heaven” issue 1, “Backlash” issue 19 and “Gen13” volume two issue 10 by Alan Moore, Sean Ruffner, Brett Booth, Brandon Choi, J. Scott Campbell, Jim Lee, Ryan Benjamin, Ryan Odagawa, Chuck Gibson, Richard Friend, Mark Irwin, Mark Pennington, Alex Garner, JD, Tom McWeeney and Scott Williams

firefromheaven_001Ok, now it is time for us to properly get this crossover started! We see StormWatch making their presence known on the island nation of Gamorra. The leader of this island is Kaizen Gamorra, and he’s mixed up in researching the Gen-Factor. While this is usually enough to get Team 7 involved, they have more reason after finding out he’s been working with their former boss Miles Craven, the man who recently had the Gen-Factor extracted from many former Team 7 members. Kaizen knows that Team 7 will be coming for him, so he’s requested StormWatch to come and protect him from the rebels that threaten him. Little does StormWatch know that the rebels aren’t actually all that bad once you consider Kaizen, and that Team 7 and the Gen13 kids aren’t really part of the Gamorra rebel group, they’re just concerned citizens trying to find their friends and family that have been captured by Kaizen and the Bountyhunters. Yeah, the Bountyhunters and Kaizen have struck up a shaky alliance. Hey, it’s a cross-over, pretty much every major player in the WildStorm Universe is tied-in somehow, that’s the whole point!

While Team 7 and Gen13, along with Ethan and Secret Agent Maggie, are on their way to Gamorra, their jet gets shot. While the jet is going down Slayton, Bobby and Dane get into an escape pod and safely land far from the rest of the team. Yeah, even though their flight plan was changed due to a frickin’ laser from space, Cole, Caitlin, Grunge, Sarah, Lynch, Cray, Ethan and Secret Agent Maggie manage to survive the landing. While getting their bearings on the beach they are attacked by Flashpoint, Cannon, and Fahrenheit of StormWatch. Depending on which book you read (“Fire from Heaven” issue 1 or “Gen13” volume two issue 10) shows you a different outcome to the fight. Either way, the fight is resolved and StormWatch moves on.

BeachFight

Before we check in with the trio in the escape pod, we first need to catch up with a few other characters. To this end we see Jodi and Amanda looking for leads on where CyberJack might be. While lurking they see and are squicked out by, Ivana and the DV8 kids, who are on Gamorra because Ivana found out about the clone of Ethan, and she wants it. Eventually, Jodi and Amanda end up in a bar where they overhear from Kaizen’s right-hand man Aries, that Team 7 is on the island. They take off, hoping to find Slayton, before Aries, the Minotaur or his goons see them.

backlash_019Now back to Marc, Bobby, and Dane, who get separated from the rest of their crew when their plane was shot down by a frikkin’ space laser! The boys argue a bit while the girls are catching up to them. Just as suddenly as Jodi and Amanda get to Bobby, Dane, and Marc they are joined by Aries, the Minotaur, Borgia and a number of hunter-killers.

Our heroes seem to make short work of the bad guys before an earthquake occurs. Turns out this earthquake is over a volcano and magma starts pushing itself up to the surface. At this point, Bobby grabs Jodi and Aries and flies off, Marc tosses Amanda to Dane and a font of magma flies up between Marc and the rest knocking him over. Fearing him for dead Amanda and Dane mournfully move on. But come on, nothing like that could kill ole Backlash! Truth be told, he his holding on for dear life on the edge of a cliff hoping not to drop when Cybernary comes to save the day! She’d been watching the brawl, and anyone who’s against Kaizen and his crew are friends to her.

SlaytonGetsAllTheLadies

Back in New York, we are seeing the WildC.A.T.s team start to splinter. Zannah leaving the team to follow Cole to Gamorra and we have Pris and Jacob straight up leaving everything. The new team wants the old team to stay behind and help out with the crime war, but Zannah isn’t hearing it.

We get one quick page of seeing what Kaizen has done to CyberJack after all his time on this island. He’s more Cyber than Jack now and has seemed to have lost his personality. Kaizen’s plan is to turn Jack on his old friends… uh oh!

Up on SkyWatch II, Henry Bendix is sensing some crazy shit going on behind the moon. It looks like the Bountyhunters are using some crazy tech to open a portal for Damocles to come through. All this power so close to the moon is also starting to affect the tides on Earth.

gen13_v2_010Back down on Gamorra Alex Fairchild and Lucius Morgan are combing this island for info about what’s going on. They eventually find out pretty much everything on their first try! That Team 7 killed Craven, that Team 7 is on the island, and that Kaizen is keeping a hostage, that of a Team 7 child. The duo surmises that Team 7 is on Gamorra to kill Kaizen and they head off to join their old friends.

Ivana wants that Gen-Omega so her and the DV8 kids are breaking into Kaizen’s compound through the front gates. While a slight annoyance to Kaizen, he isn’t too worried. He just decides it is time to awaken the Gen-Omega a little ahead of schedule. What could it hurt, it’s probably what they’re after anyway. As Dr. Tsung and Roxy talk about how they each ended up on Kaizen’s floor in chains, their friends in Team 7 and Gen13 are sneaking in the back door.

Meanwhile, Jodi and Bobby get to know Aries. Well not really. All they know is that he’s their key to getting to Kaizen and that his and Jodi’s powers go all wonky when they get too close to each other. Aries reluctantly agrees to take them to Kaizen.

BadAssBobby

Back to Berkley for a quick page to see Colby and Alicia leave the Tsung ladies to go back to work at I/O. Mrs. Tsung and Celia are devastated by what they’re seeing on the news about Gamorra but know that Colby and Alicia could do more good back at the newly Craven-free I/O.

In Gamorra there’s less good news. Team 7 and Gen13 reach Dr. Tsung and Roxy and before anyone can celebrate too much Ivana and the DV8 kids burst into the same room. Predictably a fight is on! It doesn’t go too well for the DV8 kids, and it seems that Ethan is the secret weapon, as he even took down Threshold! During the fight, Ethan starts to feel woozy, and Dr. Tsung thinks it might have something to do with the Gen-Omega coming online. Ethan, Dr. Tsung and Secret Agent Maggie head down the same corridor that Kaizen disappeared into earlier. They arrive at the Gen-Omega pod just in time to meet it… the reborn Miles Craven! In a fresh new body, complete with the Gen-Factor stolen from Team 7. This… this is gonna be trouble!

RebornCraven

Continuity Corner:

  • Jesus, is Hellstrike miscolored here! I mean they even allude to his “jade glow” later and still managed to miscolor him for pages! Which colorist and editor were asleep at the wheel for this one?
  • Speaking of, seeing Frostbite and Evo in DV8 colored as pale white guys gives me the heeby-jeebies! It just looks so very very wrong!
  • We’ll see an expanded version of the WildCATs scene from “Fire from Heaven” issue 1 in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 29.
  • At the end of “Fire from Heaven” issue 1 we see Hunter-Killers move in on the Team 7/Gen13 crew after StormWatch has subdued them and leaves. When we get to “Gen13” volume two issue 10 we never see that scene. We have Team 7 and Gen13 kicking the StormWatch boy’s asses and then moving to Kaizen’s place after Fahrenheit takes Flashpoint and Cannon away.
  • One of the reasons I always forget that Minotaur has a horse-body is because sometimes he doesn’t! Like in the bar in “Backlash” issue 19. I figure that Minotaur must be mostly cybernetic and any of his organic parts left are must be in his upper body so that he can just mount himself on either robot-horse legs or robot-human legs, his choice on how centaur-like he feels in the morning. This would also explain how easily he can replace his left arm after Slayton lops it off.
  • Cray mentions the sneaky way into Kaizen’s place cost a friend of his their life, I assume he means Mai-Li T’Sung from “Deathblow” volume one issue 19.
  • An odd bit of continuity here with the Bountyhunters in chapters 2 and 3. In “Backlash” issue 19 (Chapter 2) we see them already on the moon getting the portal ready for Damocles. In “Gen13” volume two issue 10 (Chapter 3) we see the Bountyhunters with Kaizen, then they leave to go to the moon. I have to figure these events are happening at the same time, because later on in the “Gen13” issue we see Bobby with Jodi and Aries. If we wanted to get super picky I’d say that “Backlash” issue 19 should be read after the first 10 pages of “Gen13” volume two issue 10, right after the Bountyhunters attack the StormWatch members on the moon. But man… that’d be super convoluted, even for me!

NEXT: “Fire from Heaven” chapters 3 through 5, which include “Wetworks” volume one issue 16, “StormWatch” volume one issue 35 and “Sigma” issue 2 by Jonathan Peterson, Drew Bitner, Brandon Choi, Cedric Nocon, Renato Arlem, Randy Green, Chuck Gibson, Danny Bulanadi, Jose Pimentel and Sal Regla

“Backlash” issues 12 – 14

This entry covers “Backlash” issues 12 – 14 by Sean Ruffner, Brett Booth, Chuck Gibson, Al Vey and Mark Pennington.

backlash_012Get this everybody, Amanda Reed is pissed off! Say what? Is she acting sassy, too? See, she is on the hunt for Gilbert Branum. Gilbert is the guy that can set her clear her name so she can officially be a free woman again. Of course, Slayton is going to show up and help her, it’s what friends do. Especially friends who are newly single and happened to have hooked up with other said friend in the past.

Slayton already has the inside scoop on Branum’s whereabouts, because Slayton called his old friend Giavonni at the government agency Paranormal Search & Investigations (P.S.I.) and got the skinny. After getting reacquainted, Reed and Slayton make a stop at CyberJack’s latest safehouse to get ready to capture Branum. Amanda also gets to meet Slayton’s daughter, Jodi, which was new to her (and still pretty new to us all.) The duo then jet off to the Florida Keys on their self-serving mission.

backlash_013So, how can Branum help Slayton and Reed? Well, it turns out that he was a mole for the government in the Cabal. In fact, he helped stage the murder of Professor Hoagland, which Reed was wrongly accused of just so he could rise up the Cabal’s ranks and get further embedded for his spy work. He is the only guy that can say on the record that Reed is innocent, not only that but if Reed is innocent then Slayton breaking her out of Purgatory Max can’t be illegal because she was never supposed to be imprisoned in the first place. Getting close to Branum is the hard part, this is due to the government getting him round the clock protection, you know, due to him being a spy while being in the Cabal. Sure, the Cabal really isn’t a thing anymore (I mean the WildStorm Universe seems to still think it is, but it doesn’t really write to it being truly active anymore) but there’s Pike and the Cabal’s pet Coda still running around, so an order of protection is sensical. Heck, those two fantastical futuristic mercenaries Serge and Mahkinot are helping protect Barnam.

You know what happens. Reed and Slayton come up against Serge and Mahkinot and they all start to fight. It takes some crazy event for them to all see that they are on the same side. In this case, it is space monsters. Specifically a space vampire and a space mummy. I kind of wish this was a joke because of how silly it sounds, but with the drawing talents of Brett Booth, it works. In an instant Mahkinot takes Barnum away to safety, Reed and Serge get stunned by the space vampire Lilitu and Slayton… well… he dead.

backlash_014The action relocates to Arizona where Lilitu has a pyramid built. Slayton’s “dead” body is be monitored by Lilitu’s people, Serge is in her thrall and Reed is some sort of transfixed. This is all due to Reed’s body armor. There was some deal between Lilitu’s space vampire big daddy Calobis and Helspont. Helspont was supposed to cure the space vampires of their space vampirism. Helspont failed, but they apparently built Reed’s suit with DNA that the Cabal had taken from Calobis. Complicated, sure, but this is comics, and this is why we LOVE comics. Well, at least it is why I love comics. Oh, ready to get more complicated? Turns out Calobis is still kinda sorta alive in this suit, but he’s too bonded with Amanda for anyone to remove it and not kill him. Turns out there’s another suit like this out there, and if Lilitu can find it, she can smoosh them together and Calobis will be free of Reed. Neat.

Through Calobis puppeting Reed, a small beat down is happening against Lilitu and her space mummy sidekick. Even Serge is coming in and out of his thrall to through a few punches in the correct direction. CyberJack and Jodi are on their way to save Marc and Amanda when they encounter Mahkinot and decide to team up. Meanwhile, newly re-alive Slayton is playing out an old memory of him being in ancient Japan. It works wonders and he ends up where all the action is going down until he snaps back into the real world. Before he can do anything heroic to save the day, Mahkinot Kool-Aide Man’s it and bursts through the wall. This throws sunlight everywhere and even though she’s a space vampire, Lilitu can’t be in sunlight. Thusly, our heroes manage an escape on Mahkinot’s jet.

Arriving back at CyberJack’s safehouse Jodi notes that a proximity alarm has been tripped. Slayton commands everyone to stay back as he goes to investigate. Who’s waiting for him? Turns out it’s his old pal Cray, fixing himself a bowl full of Cheerios. Hell of a time for a drop in Cray.

Continuity Corner:

  • The end of this story picks right up in “Deathblow” volume one issue 23. We’re presented with only Cray in the kitchen in “Backlash” 14, but both he and Dane will be present in the “Deathblow” issue. It doesn’t seem like more than a few seconds have even passed, that’s why I’m not a fan of the reading order in the back of an issue of “Deathblow” that has Dane return to Wetworks to do a training exercise between the two issues. It just doesn’t work as well as my somewhat wonky way to read issues 14 and 15 of “Wetworks” volume one.
  • Next time we’ll meet Lilitu is in “WildCore” issues 5 and 6, so keep her in the back of your mind.
  • While it is never specified in the comic which government agency Branum was working for, he eventually goes on to work for P.S.I. as does the entire cast of “Backlash” after “Fire from Heaven.”
  • We’re getting our first vision of Slayton’s long life with his memories of old Japan. It is 1642 and he’s in the Edo area of Japan as a ninja, fighting other ninja and samurai because he was betrayed by the current warlord in charge, Lord Tokugawa. Edo is now known as Tokyo, and the year lines up with when Japanese society was under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate. Score one for historical accuracy (for once).
  • Serge and Mahkinot have that cool jet, I figure that’s how they got from one paying job in LA in “Grifter” volume one issues 7 through 10, to the Florida Keys in “Backlash” issue 12 so quickly.
  • Something’s been bugging me… how did Serge & Mahkinot get to the mid ’90s? I’ll admit, I may’ve missed it, but they’re from Mars and from the year 2017, right? So how did they get to Earth and in their past? Is it ever explained?

NEXT: “Deathblow” volume one issue 23 by Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Jeff Johnson, Scott Kolins and Trevor Scott

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continuity Corner:

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

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

“Grifter” Vol. 1 issues 7 – 10

This entry covers “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.

Grifter_v1_007Our old buddy Cole Cash finds himself in Los Angeles. In fact, he’s dropping into the ocean just off of Venice Beach. What’s with this dude and falling into the ocean? Cole comes to and makes friends with a bum named Eddie. While Cole’s getting to know his new buddy a strange handoff is going on in the background, and it isn’t going well.

The handoff is a book. And the book details Los Angeles’ mayor John Thomley’s mismanagement of the subway system fund. A former assistant to the mayor is selling it to the man running against Thomley, Mario Reynaldo, so Reynaldo has blackmail on Thomley, hoping to get him to drop out of the upcoming election. Reynaldo sends a street gang, the Carnivores, who work for him to pick up the book. To stop the exchange of the book, Thomley hires mercenary Serge to snag the book back for him. With all this going on the exchange is getting pretty violent, that’s where Cole steps in.

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Not that Cole does a whole lot of good either. He pretty much gets hit with some kind of poisoned bullet that causes him to hallucinate a whole bunch. First, he starts to hallucinate his fight with Serge as a crazy wild west scene. Serge eventually sees that Eddie the bum has ended up with the book as all hell was breaking loose, and manages to get it from Eddie. At the point Eddie goes to hide, Serge takes off to return the book to Thomley and Cole starts to hallucinate seeing Zealot.

Grifter_v1_008Why Zealot? Well, Prayer is also in LA, only she’s looking for vengeance. She’s a tough no nonsense kinda chick who knows her way around a battle. You can see how he could get them confused if he was way way out of his mind. What is Prayer doing here? Turns out Prayer’s sister was an assistant to Mayor Thomley and they had a child out of wedlock together. Thomley then had his assistant killed and aimed to have his daughter in hiding. Prayer means to find this girl, her niece, and goddaughter, and give her a better life. Oh, and Reynaldo already had a reporter killed and has kidnapped this little girl too so he’ll have more leverage over Thomley. Reynaldo, it’s called overkill, but you can’t blame a man for having some backup contingencies.

With the book out of the picture, Prayer goes hunting down Serge and find out what is in the book that Thomley is trying to suppress. Maybe there’s information about her niece in it. Turns out Eddie pulled a fast one and exchanged the much-wanted book with a bible. This amuses no one and serves to piss off Thomley and Serge as they meet up and discover this. It also angers Prayer who is watching this exchange from afar.

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Grifter_v1_009Meanwhile, Cole stops seeing things but forgets who he is. He is dragged from where all the action went down and he wakes up in the lair of the Carnivores. He eventually makes it through their initiation and becomes a full-fledged member of the gang. The gang then starts to get ready for the next day, where they will crash the Mayoral debate in Santa Monica and the opening of the new SeaWatch base and present the public with Manda, Thomley’s daughter. While prepping for the day Cole creates a mask… his Grifter mask, and as soon as he puts it on he is in his right head again. Now he just has to find a way out of this mess.

Everything comes to a head at SeaWatch. Thomley has hired his own street gang, the Predators, and tasks them with keeping the Carnivores for trying anything during the debate. We have most of the Carnivores, with Cole and Manda, breaking into the SeaWatch base via the sewer lines. There’s also Serge, now joined by his large pal, Mahkinot who’re are pissed off at Thomley for stiffing them because, well, they didn’t bring him the book they were hired to. Honestly, I’m with Thomley on this one. Oh, and Prayer is there too, to assassinate Thomley. But before everything went down, Eddie approached SeaWatch and met one of the directors of the research project, and handed her the book everyone has been after.

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Grifter_v1_010It becomes just a huge mess of violence that ends in both the Mayor and his opponent dead, with only a week until elections. And almost all the gang members in the Carnivores and the Predators dead as well. Manda is saved by Cole when the two of them almost drowned because they were on a submarine as it was launching accidentally from SeaWatch. We are left to assume that Serge and Mahkinot moved on, Prayer took Manda to care for, and the SeaWatch director that was handing around Eddie the Bum presented the book of Thomley’s misdeeds to the media.

Alright, that last part is pretty much a fact. The media suddenly seems to know everything about Manda being Thomley’s illegitimate kid. The Los Angeles police have publicly stated that they’d like to talk to Cole, AKA the masked man that saved Manda, just to see how he was involved in the event. Cole decides to time to start moving towards home and gets a bus headed to Las Vegas. Hey, East is East buddy, and New York is a lot East of Los Angeles, Cole needs to get moving.

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Continuity Corner:

  • We last saw Prayer when Grifter was fresh off the WildC.A.T.s team in “Grifter: Sneak Peak” from Overwatch’s Fan issue 1.
  • The lines that Prayer says as Zealot mostly work for both characters, neat.
  • And even though we know better, Cole still thinks that Zealot is dead and gone since “WildStorm Rising” issue 2.
  • Serge and Mahkinot will next pop up in “Backlash” 12 – 14, even though I think those books may’ve been published earlier. For either appearance it doesn’t really matter which you read first, I just wanted to get caught up with Cole because we haven’t seen him in so long.
  • At the SeaWatch opening, the local press talks about the trouble that StormWatch is going through. That being the whole SkyWatch crashing and the U.N. being partially destroyed.
  • Seeing SeaWatch made me realize that there is no real Aquaman/Namor analogue in the WildStorm Universe. Sure, we have characters with water-based powers, and there’s even Atlantis where Slayton’s pop was king. But no real “Lord of the Seas” kinda guy.

NEXT: “StormWatch” volume one issues 28 and 29 by Jeff Mariotte, Barbara Kesel, Ron Lim, Mike S. Miller, Robert Jones and Randy Elliot

“Union” Vol. 2 issues 5 & 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continuity Corner:

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

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