Tag Archives: Claymore

“Fire from Heaven” Chapters 12 – 14

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

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

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

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

FlashpointExpoldy

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

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

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

EasySaysYouMrMags

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

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

OGKohlDed

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

ShootTheMoon

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

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

DamoclesWins

Continuity Corner:

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

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

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“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.

“Wetworks” Vol. 1 issues 12 – 15

This entry covers “Wetworks” volume 1 issues 12 – 15 by Francis Takenaga, Whilce 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. The best reading order would be issues 12 and 13 in full, followed by the main story in issue 14, then skipping to issue 15 and reading both the main and backup story “Fly on the Wall” before getting back to issue 14’s backup story “Fieldtest” AKA “Fire from Heaven Prelude.”

Wetworks_v1_012The team wants to save Claymore, but no one has any ideas on how to do that. Whatever Drakken tossed at him during their last big battle, really seemed to do a number on the poor guy. The team is running out of steam, not knowing what to do. Hell, even Mother-One is only sleeping a single hour a day and is trying to use all her computery bits to figure out the mystery of Claymore’s disease. Then, suddenly the whole team has a dream. A crazy dream. A dream about a pyramid. A pyramid with werewolf statues standing outside of it on each corner. Because they all had this dream, they figure it must mean something. For now, that’s on hold as they head out on their next mission.

What’s the mission? Seems like the dwarves and the little hippo dude Night Tribes are out in the Marshall, Minnesota aiming to cause some trouble. This gets shut down pretty quickly, and we even get to see Dozer in a lot of action. Of course, he damages his new robotic outfit so much as he and the team take out the threat, that he has to have Waering’s people get him back to base separately from the rest of the team. Which means Dozer misses out on the next big batch of fun. That fun is trying to find out where the dream pyramid is!

So yeah, the team flies from Minnesota all the way to Egypt! As Grail says to the team “Egypt is a large place” how the hell are they going to find a single pyramid amongst all that sand? Lucky for everyone, Mother-One has a feeling, a feeling that will tell her where the pyramid is! And low do they find it! Not as easily as you’d think, apparently it was hidden by a cloaking device from the naked eye, but that won’t stop our Wetworks team, boy howdy!

Pyramid Time

Wetworks_v1_013The team get in the pyramid and find a sarcophagus with a mummy Egyptian prince in it. How do we know all this? Well, we find it out later when it’s dying golden symbiote starts to communicate with Dane’s. Pretty intense story, the prince was a werewolf. Not sure where he got a symbiote, but he did, so good for him! Turns out he died of the same thing that is affecting Claymore back home! We find most of this out while the team is battling some rock monsters in the pyramid. It takes some paying attention, but the team figures out how to defeat them. They then head home, now with the knowledge they need to defeat Claymore’s infection.

It is a tough job, but the team ends up creating what is needed to cure Claymore. When I say tough job, I mean that there is there is considerable damage to Waering’s facility, the team, and Dane in particular. There’s also some business with his arm splitting open, and the infection being alive and then quarantined, but I really didn’t follow it exactly. I mean, hell, it is drawn way awesome, but I don’t get EXACTLY what went on.

Wetworks_v1_014The Blood Queen is out whooping it up in NYC, killing folks left and right. She keeps carving a serpent in the chests of her victims. Long-suffering Persephone has already had an ass full of the Blood Queen’s nonsense but has to take it in stride, as it is her royal duty to stick with the notorious T.B.Q. Queeny is just reveling in the murder and mayhem she’s causing only pausing for a bit to talk about her love for Dane. I’m pretty sure this is the first indication that the Blood Queen personally knows anyone on the Wetworks team other than their benefactor Mr. Waering.

Time for a training session with Dane! And Dane tells them they all suck. He’s schooling the whole team left and right. He’s worried that they’ve started to rely too much on the power they’ve gotten from the symbiotes and are getting lazy. He orders more and more training sessions to get the team back up to snuff. We get a touching (get it) moment between Mother-One and Grail, we see Jester once again unwittingly use his power, and we Dane confused, hearing a voice in his head. The voice is the Blood Queens, and we all know, that lady ain’t right in the head! Look out, Dane!

Worried Dane

Wetworks_v1_015Well, Dane isn’t feeling well, so he goes on a break. Of course, this isn’t going to be a joyous vacation for him to think and collect himself. Nope, poor Dane stops at a diner and is accosted by a creature trying to steal his golden symbiote! The creature was once a man named Paul, whose soul was bound to his body even after he was killed. He must have some kind of low-level psi-powers as he can command flys to cover his body and keep he decaying body mobile. He made a mistake that afternoon going after Dane, and may’ve paid the price. At the end of their battle all that is left if Paul’s skull, still containing Paul’s eternal soul.

Time for a training session without Dane! And Waering tells them they all suck. He has a point, without Dane around the team is coming across as next to useless. OK, it isn’t that bad, but it really seems that Mother-One is the only team member to get how serious the team needs to get if they are to function without Dane leading them. Without Dane you say? Yup! Mother-One is worried about his health and wants to be prepared if worse comes to worse and Dane isn’t around. Well, where’s Dane this now? Turns out he’s made it to Battery Park in NYC at the Korean War memorial, where he runs into his old friend Michael Cray.

Dane Remeets Cray

Continuity Corner:

  • One of the reasons for the unorthodox reading order is this: issues 12, 13 and the main story from 14 all concern the teams desire to cure Claymore. The backup story in 14 ends with Dane meeting up with Michael Cray, whom he pretty much stays with up through the events of “Fire from Heaven.” In my head, it makes no sense for him leave Cray to go back across the country to do a training exercise with the team in the “Fieldtest” story and then leave them to meet right back up with Cray again. If we read the book in the order I’ve laid out we get the entire arc of the team saving Claymore, then Dane leads a training session, followed by seeing Dane on the road in “Fly on the Wall.” After that, we see the team do a training session without Dane while he meets up with Cray for “Deathblow” volume one, issue 22 and next big “WildStorm” cross-over. It has a better narrative flow, but I’ll admit, it’s a bit of a tortured order to have things in.
  • Also, at the end of the training session in issue 15 we see Dane drop his gold. After the events of “Deathblow” volume one issue 22 he can’t really do that due to the lack of Gen-Factor in his system. The symbiote is the only thing holding him together at that point, sooooooo… my crazy order stands! Suck it, doubters!
  • Alright, I’ll admit it, maybe “Fly on the Wall” doesn’t go here. I just thought that it would be pointless to pull it out, as we know that Dane is on the move, so why not. But frankly, I just can’t think of anywhere that is a desert between where Waering’s place is and New York City. Then again, it seems like he’s kind of wandering in this story, so maybe it wasn’t exactly a straight line from point A to point B in this case.
  • It’s a bit of a retcon, but we’ll find that the Blood Queen has been messing with Dane for years in the pages of “Gen12.” Issue 15 of “Wetworks” volume one was our first hint of something going on between the two of them.
  • You’d think the Blood Queen killing folks in NYC would gain the attention of some of the other New York City-based WildStorm characters. I guess StormWatch is busy rebuilding and the New WildCats are trying to get themselves established keeping them away from the action. I guess the real question is, where the hell is Union?

NEXT: “Deathblow” volume one issue 22 by Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner and Trevor Scott

“Wetworks” Vol. 1 issues 9 – 11

This entry covers “Wetworks” volume one, issues 9 through 11 by Whilce Portacio, Francis Takenaga, Steven Grant, Dan Norton, Mark Pacella, Tom Raney, Mike S. Miller, Dan Panosian, Sal Regla, Scott Williams and Sandra Hope.

wetworks_v1_009Ugh. Just… I mean… sigh… these three issues… these three damn issues… Ok to be fair issues 9 and 11 are pretty good! I guess it’s just issue 10 that sticks in my craw a bit. To be fair, I’m not against fill-in issues at all… it’s just that this one seemed pointless. Also, it’s not even written by Portacio and/or Takenaga. I understand when Whilce can’t draw fast enough to keep up, that’s fair, but at least keep one of the writers on the book so that it all makes relative sense. As it is, we have such a large story with a lot of moving pieces, then to have issue 10 tossed in the middle of the mix makes everything even more disjointed than it needed to be.

Mr. Waering is having the Wetworks crew sneak into the big coronation of Drakken as the new head of the Vampires. It is such a big deal the other Night Tribes are in attendance. Even Waering himself! Basically, it’s a big ole party to show that the Blood Queen is out of power. Bonus for us, we get to meet some of the other Night Tribes, like those little hippopotamus looking fellows and some freakin’ dwarves! So what exactly are Dane and crew there to accomplish? You’d think it is to kill Drakken, but it seems in the end, unbeknownst to the Wetworks team, they were just there to run interference while other werewolves capture Drakken to take him to Waering, the Jaquar, for him to kill Drakken.

wetworks_v1_010Once the fighting starts Dane and Claymore manage to get pretty close to Drakken, then Drakken pulls out some kind of device and tosses it at Claymore. It flies right into his forehead, sticks there and then makes his symbiote go nuts and is also trying to kill Claymore. This effects Dane’s symbiote and his mind via some crazy psychic feedback. He’s starting to remember back to when Void was telling him that Jester was something other than he seemed. This then turns into a hallucination with Dane and Void merging and having an existential crisis. After freaking out for about a century about how big and empty the universe is, and how we’re all so small, Dane snaps out of it and gets back to the real world. Looks like it’s time to call in Mother-One to save their asses from Drakken and other vampires and have Dozer save the whole team from this entire debacle.

wetworks_v1_011So… um… OK. In the end I guess Wetworks did their job, they killed a lot of vampires, but they didn’t kill Drakken. Drakken killed a lot of everyone, included vampires from his faction, the ones that had saved him from getting killed by werewolves. Drakken’s thingy has left Claymore is hella wounded. A version of Pilgrim pops in and saves Dane’s bacon. The underground city of Dras’adin is starting to crumble. And finally, the Blood Queen is ready to party now that she has no more royal responsibilities and Persephone is all “Oh boy, here we go again” and rolls her deep red eyes.

Continuity Corner:

  • The events that Dane are remembering with Void are from “Wetworks” volume one issue 8. But the landscape looks a lot more lush this time around.
  • Issue 10 seems to happen between the last few pages of issue 9. I mean Dozer is called in to crash the party at the end of each issue.
  • Pilgrim is back for a hot second before she officially comes back in “Wetworks” volume one issue 19.

NEXT: “the Lone One : a Tale Every Vampire Knows” back-up stories from “Wetworks” volume one, issue 7, 9 – 11 by Tom Harrington, Jeff Rebner, Mark Pennington and John Lowe.

“WildStorm Rising” Chapters 5 – 7

this entry covers “WildStorm Rising” Chapters 5 – 7, which consists of “Grifter” Vol. 1 issue 1, “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 16 and “WetWorks” Vol. 1 issue 8

Good old Cole Cash is on a personal mission to find his old buddy Micheal Cray, who he is pretty sure has half of the MacGuffin Daemonite spaceship key/leadership badge, that all the bad guys are looking for. In fact, Defile and his minions are spying on Cole seeing what information he has. Hell, for all they know Cole has the key/badge piece as they only know a Team 7 member has it, but they’re also following Cole to see if he has any idea where Cray is, as they can’t seem to locate Cray at all. Not that Cole was having much luck either until he suddenly remembered Cray’s old shack of a house out in the wilds of Virginia.

After talking to Cray at a payphone (hey kids, remember payphones?) Cole decides it is best to start heading for Virginia. He hardly gets out of the phone booth when he starts getting pelted with lasers by some of the goofiest looking villains that WildStorm has ever coughed up. Seriously, two-tone (red and blue) tights under super boxy gold armor, with a small helmet that has tiny horns. It’s not a good look. But they, they have laser guns and flying sled thingies, so who am I to judge.

Cole manages to take a hit during this battle and keeps passing out. Each time he’s down he has a hallucination about his past. We learn all kinds of things about Cole’s life. Such as him running away from home, getting the nickname “Grifter” from Slayton, and leaving Zealot for the first time. Ultimately he gets it together enough to fight off the goons and steal a rocket sled/chariot dealy to get on his way to Cray.

What’s up with Cray? Well, he’s getting his Virginian shack all set up to be Daemonite proof. More booby traps set up around the property and more firepower contained inside the domicile itself. Of course, the Daemonite goons show up to hunt down Cray, but he’s pretty much got them licked. All except for Mr. White who is predicatively too cool for school about this kind of thing. All the other goons are using brute force and losing terribly to Cray. Eventually with most of the goons wiped out Cole shows up, talks to Cray and gets the bit of the key/badge Cray took so many years ago. Cray was using it as a door handle, ha ha! Cole takes it and takes off. Minutes later Cole is back… wait a minute, Cole is back? Oh no! That first Cole was actually Mr. White! Dammit! Now they gotta find their pal Jackson to bail them out of trouble, you guys!

Why Jackson and not any of the other living Team 7 members? Well, Cray and Cole beat some information out of one of Defile’s men named Harka that was still alive after trying to break into Cray’s place. Harka let him know about the plan and that Defile is sending a man named Bastion after Jackson.

Bastion finds Jackson at the grave of Crossbones. While pouring his heart and regrets out Mother-One butts in and warns him of Bastion’s approach. Jackson makes pretty short work of Bastion, but Bastion ends up teleporting out of there, by means unknown. Jackson then notices two other figures on his tail and scrambles the rest of the WetWorks team to his location. It ends up just being Cole and Cray, so it’s time for a team-up!

Because they now know that Defile has 1 1/2 key/badges Cole leads the WetWorks crew (plus he and Cray) to where Helspont was last seen. You know, the astrological research facility from the first major “WildC.A.T.s” story arc? Yep, that place! There they hope to find Helspont’s dead body and key/badge to make sure there’s no way Defile or Hightower can get to it. Well, they’re not the only team to have this idea and see that the WildC.A.T.s are already there. And since there hasn’t been a team vs. team fight in a while, it’s time for the WetWorks crew to get into it with the WildC.A.T.s. Yawn.

Once again we have superteam fighting superteam, that can only mean that Hightower is sneaking off again to grab a key/badge, just like he did in D.C. when the ‘C.A.T.s fought StormWatch. Hightower comes across what appears to be Helsponts nearly dead body, half buried in rubble, with his key/badge in his hand held aloft. Hightower says “Don’t mind if I do” and reaches in to snag it. Not so fast, Helspont was merely resting, you fool! Yeah, so with Helspont awake he taunts the fighting superheroes and this teleports away, with two henchmen that appeared out of nowhere.

Helspont being back is pissing everyone off. First, Hightower, who got a good neck ringing for trying to get Helspont’s key/badge. Second, the WildC.A.T.s who really don’t want to have to deal with that asshole again, especially now that knows the Daemonite ship has been found. And third, Defile, who doesn’t seem to even want to tolerate Helspont’s foolishness and wants to know if the Daemonite ship has been found yet. Much to his dismay, it hasn’t. Not just for Defile either, Savant hasn’t had any luck either, but she’s going to press on.

Continuity Corner :

  • Remember, Cray found that hand sticking out of the ground on that Nicaragua mission holding the key/badge that he broke off part of for himself back in “Team 7 : Objective : Hell” issue 1. I guess all this time that Cray was held the half rank of Daemonite Lord, who knew!
  • After “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 15 I figure Cray makes his way back to New York to check back in with Rayna about the Los Angeles job. After that we see him in traffic in “WildStorm!” issues 1 and 2, which seems to be like NYC, putting him pretty close to Virginia when Cole calls.
  • Jackson knows Defile becasue Defile is trying to sell the symbiotes of Crossbones and Flattop? What? Is this a plot point I forgot about?
  • Void drops the first hint that Jester has bonded with his symbiote in a way that isn’t immediately obvious and has yet to be made clear to the reader.
  • Look… Helspont is still alive… Yay… Really, Helspont… he’s just such a crap villain. He’s supposed to be the “Big Bad” of the WSU and he just never ever is. Does he even make top five? Let’s see, starting at the top, the five biggest bastards in the WildStorm Universe are 1) Miles Craven 2) TAO 3) Defile 4) Henry Bendix 5) Kaizen Gamorra (both of them). I mean Helspont looked cool, but he was such a crap villain. I’ll give him this though, he was better than the Drahn.

NEXT : “WildStorm Rising” Chapters 8 through 10 (which includes “Backlash” issue 8, “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 22 and “WildStorm Rising” issue 2) by Ron Marz, Brett Booth, Renato Arlem, Kevin Maguire, Sandra Hope, Alex Garner, Chuck Gibson, Sal Regla, Robert Jones, Terry Austin and Al Vey.

“WetWorks” Vol. 1 issues 4 through 7

this entry covers “WetWorks” Vol. 1 issues 4 through 7.

WetworksVol1_04-07The thing about “WetWorks” is, is that it isn’t as ingrained into the greater WildStorm Universe as the other titles, especially the launch titles. Sure, Dane was a member of Team 7, but considering that he also seems like the victim of a mind wipe/personality overhaul, it comes off as tenuous at best. I know I’ve said this before, but these issues kind of get to the heart of it. The WetWorks team is so busy hunting down the Night Tribes that they don’t have time for dealing with the craziness of the Daemonites… usually… but when a certain vampire wants to speak to a certain Daemonite Lord… well I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.

Deep below San Fransisco is a massive base owned by Armand Waering, and it is home to his personal new team. They were once Team 7 Jr., but now they’re WetWorks. Or that’s what we the readers call them, do they ever call themselves that? I mean, sometimes the WildC.A.T.s called themselves that, but not often. And for that matter did Gen13 ever call themselves that at all? I certainly don’t recall that. Team names in the WSU; sometimes they’re not used. Anyway, down deep in this underground lair is Dozer who is growing seriously huge, so huge the guy is confined to this basement level while Waering’s people are trying to figure out how to help him. Grail is chilling with Dozer telling him that he symbiotes are just giving each one of them what they really want. He suggests that Dozer just aways wanted to be big, just like Tom Hanks. But wait, it’s time for a mission!

The mission takes us South America, near the Columbian/Amazonas border. There’s a lab there, and it seems that Drakken and his men are meeting up there with a mysterious figure. WetWorks are out to get Drakken so they’re on their way! Waering and co. weren’t the only one to get the message of Drakken’s whereabouts, Miles Craven does too! Thing is, homeboy knows who Drakken is meeting with, a Daemonite Lord named Defile. Santini (yay Santini!) suggests taking some Black Razors and blasting the hell out of the place, but Craven says he has plans, his puppets will move as he wishes. I’m not sure what Craven’s ultimate plan was. We have the bait for both WetWorks and WildC.A.T.s meeting up. Did he plan for a huge fight? To take out one team or the other? Not sure as to what Craven wanted to happen, because as soon as WetWorks starts shooting Defile takes off, and as soon as the WildC.A.T.s show up, it’s enough of a distraction for Drakken to escape. With both of their enemies gone, the fight between the two teams dissipates quickly and the ‘C.A.T.s are exiting right as Cash starts to recognize Dane.

Alright, following that mess it’s time for leave of action! Grail visits his ex-fiance, lets her think he’s an angel, coming to say goodbye one last time. Jester and Claymore go get drunk, and while sobering up the next morning, Claymore drops a coffee mug into Jester! Waering finally reveals to the reader that he’s a werewolf, and also the leader of all werewolves know as the Jaquar.

On the vampire side of things we see the Blood Queen as she is about to address her loyal pointy toothed subjects. Seems like every 50 years or so she does this. But this year, her brother Drakken attacks her men! Oh no! He’s leading a coup to take over the vampire nation! Waering gets wind of all this and is fearful that is Drakken wins, that means the current truce between the Night Tribes and Humanitiy may be broken, he of course blames Dane and the rest of his team. Drakken in the end does convince many of the vampire families that he should be the one in charge… this does not look good for WetWorks

Also not looking good for WetWorks is that Mother-One is talking to entity known only as “Mother” who doesn’t seem to be on Waering’s side. We also see that Pilgrim finds that when she’s going undercover for trackib, she goes deep undercover, like invisible and stuff. This comes in handy as all of sudden on a mission an alternate universe version of Pilgrim pops up to attack her. This alternate version of Pilgrim infers that she’s been killing several different version of herself in several different universes, and our Pilgrim is the last to go. She mentions there’s a prize to be had as well, this is kind of reminding me of the movie “the One” in a way. I’d be more sure if I’d seen that movie more than once, and I wasn’t completely intoxicated at the time. Either way, during the fight our Pilgrim accidentally trips a “safety command” that takes both her and alternate Pilgrim back to alternate Pilgrim’s alternate universe. Alternate.

And that’s where they leave the reader. Cliffhanger for sure! Waering unhappy with Dane and the team. Drakken in charge of all the vampires. Mother-One having a mystery friend and Pilgrim so very far from home!

Continuity Corner:

  • I guess in reality issues 4 and 5 could come earlier in the sequence and not change too much, I’d put them before “Backlash” issue 1, but I like keeping Slayton’s story arc of hunting down the Daemonite that put Diane in a coma all together.
  • To be fair, issues 6 and 7 don’t even need to really be filed together either, just drop them both in sometime before “WildStorm Rising” and you’d be fine continuity wise.
  • Another reason I group these issues all together is that we don’t ever get to spend enough time with the “WetWorks” crew due to the high number of team members and the low number of issues coming out. So getting a blast of four that follow a small arc together helps me at least, keep everything and everyone straight.
  • Speaking of issues slow to come out, the next issue we meet up with the WetWorks team will be during the “WildStorm Rising” cross over. Yeah, it’s a long time before we see these cats again!
  • One last thing about keeping these four issues in a group here, is that we get the canonical first reunoin of Cash and Dane, in “WetWorks” Vol. 1 issues 4 and 5, sure, they re-meet again in that “Deathblow” story that never happens and then once they see each other in “WetWorks” Vol. 1 issue 8, they comment on their meeting in issue 5. Because the “Deathblow” arc never happened we’re clear either way, but them not commenting on “Hey, didn’t I just see you?” in the pages of “Deathblow” seems a bit odd to me. Sure, it doesn’t break anything, or create any kind of big continuity error, but for me it is just a bit cleaner.
  • Look, it’s Defile and his rude boy zombie, up to no good as usual.
  • Nice touch that when the WildC.A.T.s pop in that Marlowe isn’t there with the team, after all, he quit the team in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 9.
  • At this point in the WSU, I think this is our first “alternate universe” mention. Up until the introduction of the Bleed in “StormWatch” Vol. 2 issue 7 we don’t even get that many of them. We have the ones mentioned by alternate Pilgrim, the Sideways from “Union” Vol. 2 issues 5 and 6, and that’s all I can recall.
  • Issue 7 also introduces us the first part in a series of back-ups entitled “the Lone One : a Story Every Vampire Knows.” This series stops and starts as the back-up several times, so I’ll tackle it all a bit later.

NEXT: “Jim Lee’s WildC.A.T.S : Grifter VS. Daemonite” special edition issue 1 by Dan Vado, Terry Shoemaker and John Holdredge

“WetWorks” Vol. 1 issues 1 – 3

this entry covers “Wetworks” Vol. 1 issues 1 – 3 and the “Wetworks” back-up story from “WildC.A.T.s : Covert Action Teams” Vol. 1 issue 2.

WetworksVol1_01-03I’m not going to lie; I was never a “WetWorks” reader growing up. I picked up the first issue when it came out due to curiosity, but it didn’t catch me like the rest of the WildStorm books did. Luckily for me when going to read this, the back issues were pretty damn cheap to find, I guess I’m not the only person that wasn’t too into this series. Oddly, I really dug “WetWorks” Vol. 2 when that came out a decade later, so reading the backstories and origins for some of these characters was kind of fun… kind of. I guess I always regarded the WetWorks team as characters that had a few cross-overs with the normal WildStorm Universe but I didn’t really need to follow them all that closely, more like the “Cyberforce” characters, less like the Savage Dragon.

I’m not even joking when I say that “WetWorks,” while having deep historical ties to the WSU, rarely has anything to do with the rest of the WildStorm books during its Volume 1 run. Aside from Dane we really don’t see much of the other characters outside of their own book. Even during the two big cross-overs “WildStorm Rising” and “Fire from Heaven” the other members of the team aren’t seen much even in crowd shots. Dane, the leader of WetWorks we all know as Jackson Dane from Team 7, so whenever those geezers get back together we know that Dane will have a thing or two to do with that adventure. The WetWorks team is also the modern incarnation of Team 7 at I/O. So yeah, a second Team 7, led by one of the former members. The one that went crazy. This was a good idea.

We don’t know how long this “new” Team 7 has been working for I/O, or for how long Dane has been able to lead a team, or even how long he’s been shaving off that exquisite beard. What we do know is that Miles Craven is sending them all on a mission, a mission to Transylvania. Another mission from Craven, that Craven knows is doomed from the start, much like the first Team 7 mission that we saw over in “Team 7.” The only thing is that this time Craven doesn’t expect the team to survive, in fact he wants to be rid of them, and the targets he sent them after, so he can have those sweet sweet golden symbiotes, that he knows are contained there, for himself. How does he know about the symbiotes? He’s Miles Goddamn Craven; dude knows everything shady going on in the WSU, always, count on it.

Luckily for Dane and the rest of his crew, this mission has another backer and a few mysterious allies. The backer is Mr. Waering of the Waering Institute of Higher Werewolf Learning. Or something like that. He’s a werewolf, but it’s supposed to be a secret for now, even though from his very first line it is obvious that he’s a werewolf. Either way, he’s the one that’s apparently been pulling the strings on Dane’s professional life for a while. He got Dane onto Team 7 (the first or second version, we aren’t told) and made sure that Team 7 would be taking care of this Transylvanian mission. Waering wants Team 7 to find the symbiotes and take control of them, kill all the vampires (duh, the Transylvanians Team 7 were sent out to kill are vampires) and then come work for him. He even installs one of his own people, Mother-One the cyborg, as a pilot of one of the I/O ships.

Team 7 has no idea what is going on, or why some of these vampires are hard to kill, because they don’t know they are vampires yet. After everything that Dane has seen and done he doesn’t think there are vampires? Eh, small quibble, because he and the rest of the team seem to accept that they’re killing vampires pretty damn quickly. But there’s more vampires coming, and Team 7 is running low on fire power. What is there to do? Hey, look at these pretty tubes full of gold liquid! Now, it isn’t Team 7’s initial idea to get those tubes open and dump them on themselves. Nope! Persephone, a vampire from a rival vampire faction, shoots open the glass on one and it gets all over Team 7 member Claymore. The team figures out pretty quickly that this new golden skin is protecting Claymore and they bust open the rest of the tubes to “suit up” and take down the rest of these vamps. See, Persephone is the right hand lady to the Blood Queen, ruler of the vampires, and this Transylvanian faction means to take her power from her to rule the vampire nation. Persephone is sent to make sure the Transylvanian dorks are taken out by Dane’s group, and if the symbiotes are the way to go, so be it. The Blood Queen has been messing with Dane’s mind for years. The book says it has only been 6 years, but from what we later see in “Gen 12” we know that it has been a bit longer than that (unless this book takes place several years earlier than it seems.) So the Blood Queen kind of gets what she wants, her thrall/secret weapon is now in possession of a powerful weapon, which is now on a personal mission to take down other vampires that might challenge her rule.

As all this craziness is going on inside where the symbiotes were stored, outside I/O copters wait for Team 7 to be done with the mission. But like I said earlier, Craven means for this to be Team 7’s final mission, so when Team 7 is exiting the building, Craven tells his men to take out Team 7. This is when Mr. Waering let’s Mother-One know to put his secret plan into action and she shoots down the other I/O helicopters and takes out the I/O agents in hers. She suits up with her own golden symbiote and gets the team out of there to go and meet Mr. Waering and find out his plan for them. Dane really doesn’t trust him all that much, but he’s no worse than his previous employer, so what the hell, we need cash to fight vampires, so no more I/O and Team 7, bring on WetWorks!

The next mission is overly complicated for what is a pretty simple story. Some vampires want to release a virus at a concert that will start to take down humanity. They also hate the Blood Queen. We find that the Blood Queen long ago brokered a truce not only between vampires and humans, but also between the other Night Tribes, including werewolves, trolls and creatures of that nature. Maybe. Sometimes the phrase “the Night Tribes” is used for all those kinds of creatures, sometimes just for vampires and sometimes just for a certain group of vampires. It’s all jumbled up and kind of a mess. Anyway, the reason the “evil” Vampires pick the concert of Johnny Savoy to target is because he is the Blood Queen’s brother, so you know, kill two bats with one stone.

The WetWorks team takes down the bad vamps and become buddies with (and a little star-struck by) Johnny Savoy. The team member Pilgrim is saved by a mystery man going by the name of the Wilder, and we see Mother One kick some ass. Unfortunately the Wetworks team loses two of members; Crossbones and Flattop. The thing about the Wetworks team is that outside of Dane and Mother-One we don’t get to know any of the other characters well enough to care for them. We’ve just lost two of them and you don’t care because there are still so many more. It doesn’t help that they are not too differentiated in look from each other, in or out of gold covering. The team consists of Dane (the leader), Mother-One (the cyborg), Dozer (soon to be the “big guy”), Grail (the ass kicking loner), Jester (the wisecracker), Crossbones (the other guy) and Pilgrim (the girl). I don’t know if it is too many characters, or because this title actually devotes too many pages letting us get to know Mr. Waering and the Blood Queen, that none of the characters come across as deeper than a bowl of soup. Even after reading all the “WetWorks” books I only ended up with an attachment to Dane and Mother-One. Later in the future when a few more team members die I actually thought “good, not enough room in this book for them anyway!”

Back to the story. Craven is super pissed that not only did Team 7 survive and that Mr. Waering double crossed him, but that those awesome super powered suits got away! Also, after everything went down Lynch warned Craven that Dane will be gunning for him now. Craven means to have his revenge and gets presidential approval to reinstate one of his best operatives to hunt down the former Team 7. This man’s name is Raymond LeGauche and he’s a right bastard. Even the other members of the National Security Council think it’s a bad idea, but when the Commander-in-Chief says it’s cool, you let that maniac out of prison to do the dirty work! Also in the “we didn’t really think this out” department, a television reporter and camera man find out that vampires can’t be caught on tape, ruining what they assume will be their big break. Even few secret agent types still confiscate the video in question from them, which is basically just a video of a concert hall ceiling. The very next page has the Blood Queen spying via video camera on the vampire faction that means to dethrone her. So we’ve learned that vampires won’t show up on video playback, but can be clearly seen on live video. That reporter and camera man should’ve gone live with their story!

We end this entry with what was a four page preview of “WetWorks” from the back of an early issue of “WildC.A.T.s.” It takes place as the team is starting to work together and understand their suits, so I’d put it just after these first three issues of volume one. Its main focus is on Dane being the leader as the team takes on a small enclave of vampires. For what it is, it’s a nice little story, the main thing is how much better the coloring team got at WildStorm. Seriously, in the series proper they really look like they’ve been coated in gold, where in this story they look more like they’ve been coated in urine.

Next : “Union” Vol. 1 issues 0 – 4 by Mike Heisler and Mark Texeira (with Ryan Benjamin)