Tag Archives: Coda

“WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 19

this entry covers “WildC.A.T.s : Covert Action Teams” volume 1 issue 19 and the backup story “Savant: Wings and a Prayer”

wildcats_v2_19To tell the truth, I thought there would be a lot more going on in this issue. I realize that I always get parts of issue 19 and issue 20 merged together in my mind. So, when I open the book, ready to be reminded of everything that’s going on in it to relay it to you, the fine reader of this blog and comic, I come up with… not much. That my friends makes me sad.

So, alright, we pick up from where Grifter mistakenly thinks that Hightower is the guy behind everything. Why? Bad intel from stupid informants. Or maybe, because Hightower is such a small fry all the remnants of the Cabal are willing to sell Hightower out to the WildC.A.T.s and keep their affiliations with Defile secret. Why not sell out S’yrn? Well, he might end up being Hellspont’s successor in the Cabal, so best not piss him off either. No, send the Kheribum do-gooders after that jackass Hightower. A jackass so jackass-like in his jackassery that even Defile is all “I need a shape-shifting Daemonite to do my bidding, and I’ll find and even resurrect that milquetoast hipster, Mr. White than even try to work with that jackass Hightower. What a jackass he is!”

Where is Hightower? Well, he seems to be the only Daemonite that remembers that keys to the Daemonite ship are also badges of rank, and he means to take part of one that’s recently been found and will be on display at a nearby museum. To do this he figures he should have some protection, so he goes to the best mercenaries in the WildStrom Universe, the Coda. Lucky for him, the Coda run a restaurant in Washington D.C., right where his key/badge bit is! He thinks he needs protection from Defile or other Daemonites, but he’d be wrong.

As Hightower is trying to convince the Coda to work for him, the WildC.A.T.s bust in and start wrecking the place. There goes the Zagats rating. Because the Coda are so bug-fuck crazy, they decide the best course of action is just to blow the whole building to hell. I mean, our heroes have already gotten all the actual patrons out of the place via Void, so there’s nothing to lose. Void has a crazy vision of the upcoming crossover and the bistro goes boom, with only the WildC.A.T.s left to survive. As the team is emerging from the rubble they are confronted with a StormWatch team, ready to kick them while they’re down.

In the backup story, we catch back up with Savant and her friend Mabel, while a gremlin sits on the wing of their plane. This gremlin means to tear up the wing and ruin Savant’s day. It’s just what gremlins do! After the ladies manage to shake the little bugger they land at, I’m figuring near where at least Mabel lives, and they pick up their piling mail. Savant has a letter from her dear friend Charles Russell and his new exhibit. It just so happens that it features the Daemonite key/badge and Savant knows she needs to get back to D.C. as soon as she possibly can!

Continuity Corner :

  • It’s nice to get reintroduced to Hightower as a player in the “WildC.A.T.s” books. We haven’t really seen him since “WildC.A.T.s Trilogy” but I had my suspicions he was behind the opening fight of “Spartan : Warrior Spirit” for what it’s worth.
  • Having both the Savant backups read after their issues proper may not be the more narrative and linear way to go about things. They may be better served to both be read right after “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 18. Either way works though, so I’m going to leave it as is.
  • Last we saw Mr. Russell he was hitting on Savant back in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue11. She should’ve taken him up on that offer, then she’d be too busy with her new man than to start getting cozy with TAO.

NEXT : “WildStorm Rising” Chapters 1 through 4 (Which consists of “WildStorm Rising” issue 1, “WildC.A.T.s” volume 1 issue 20, “Union” volume 2 issue 4 and “Gen13” volume 2 issue 2) by James Robinson, Brandon Choi, Barry Windsor-Smith, Travis Charest, Ryan Benjamin, J. Scott Campbell, Alex Bialy, John Floyd, Troy Hubbs, Chuck Gibson, Tom McWeeney and Alex Garner.

“WildCats Trilogy” issues 1 – 3 & “Voodoo : Passed Lives”

this entry covers the first issue of “WildCats Trilogy” then the back-up story from “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 8 entitled “Voodoo : Passed Lives” before wrapping up with “WildCats Trilogy” issues 2 and 3.

wildcatstrilogyRight away looking at this book, we’re seeing the fantastic artwork of Jae Lee. Jae is one of my absolute favorite artists working in comics, and seeing him work on any WildStorm title is just magic for the eyes. Also, if you’ve ever seen the cover in person, man, it is a foil-y ‘90s comic masterpiece. Sorry kids, scans don’t do this thing justice! Shiny badass Jae Lee art to catch your eye and make you buy. I know that the ‘90s has a bad reputation for all the cover gimmicks that went on during the decade, but when a little bit of artistry is added, it really makes a decent case for them having been produced.

We kick off the story in this first issue of “WildCats Trilogy” by seeing Grifter hunting down his old friend Lonely. Lonely is an information broker, and Lonely has heard some info on “the Cabal.” Yes, this is early WildStorm, and they’re still trying to make “the Cabal” a thing. Listen up WildStorm, “the Cabal” is never going to happen! At the time the references to the Cabal rebuilding and making some kind of comeback, with or without Helspont seemed like a real and fearful possibility, but knowing that literally nothing comes of it, it just reads as clunky. Lonely, unfortunately, wasn’t really out to help his old friend Cash, but to help himself to his better friend, cash, and is selling out Grifter to a Coda and the Daemonite Hightower. And yes, Hightower is supposed to be representing the Cabal, even though we never saw him working with Helspont’s group in the original “WildC.A.T.s” book, and he is a new character here.

Hightower is an odd character. He never comes across as evil or as Machiavellian as Helspont, any other run-of-the-mill Daemonite, or even random WildC.A.T.s villain that we’ll see later on. Hightower is also the kind of Daemonite that spends his time shapeshifted into a human form on a regular basis, rather than his more alien form. The dude seems downright bored to have to get mixed up with the WildC.A.T.s at all. Not to say he doesn’t take delight in trying to finish off the team, he gives it his all, but Hightower just never seems into it. He just wants to kill them because he knows they’ll stop him if they find out whatever he’s trying to accomplish. Luckily for him, he finds a Coda named Artemis who’s got a beef with Zealot

Artemis has a long standing grudge against Zealot for betraying her at the fall of Troy during the Trojan War. You think there was a major war in the world where the Coda weren’t somehow involved? While we don’t see any hint of activity from other Kheribum or Daemonite, we’ve been told over and over again that they were near the center of almost every major war on Earth. I guess most of them just skipped this one, leaving Zealot and 2 of her Coda, Artemis and Andromache to lead the charge for this one. The whole reason Artemis captured Grifter, and chained him up, was to draw Zealot out to fight her, again, to the death. Hell, she has even less of an interest of the other WildC.A.T.s meeting their end than Hightower does. The plan of course works like a charm, Zealot comes running, and Artemis is ready to throw down. All the while Hightower and Grifter trade lame comic book tough-guy barbs with each other. Hightower even calls Grifter a half-breed, he must’ve not gotten the memo on Grifter being just a human with a Gen-Factor. That, or due to the blood-bond that he shares with Zealot, Hightop smells Kheribum on him.

We then are directed to, well by way of a months later retcon, to a short story of Voodoo changing her outfit. Voodoo gets a call from her old buddy Tina, who she used to work with at the Hot Spot. That strip joint that blew up in DC where the WildC.A.T.s first met Voodoo. While dancing there she gets in an altercation with the scarred Coda warrior she thought died in the explosion. The Coda is there to get revenge on Voodoo for ruining her life and standing in the Coda. During the fight the Coda uses the long streamers on the back of Voodoo’s outfit to catch and almost choke her. After Voodoo manages to beat the Coda she meets back up with the WildC.A.T.s in a new outfit, that looks more like a streamlined wetsuit. That’s a pretty nice little fill in the gaps kind of story. I always liked this as a kid when I read it, but I wasn’t being all that critical, now when I go back and read “WildCats Trilogy” I have a lot of questions. All during “WildCats Trilogy” Voodoo still has the streamers coming off the back of her outfit! Even after what was flesh colored in the first issue is now colored yellow in issues 2 and 3, and yet the streamers still remain. Was the suit change a way to explain a coloring mistake? Was it a mistake that WildStorm liked better, so when “WildC.A.T.s” issue 5 came out they made Voodoo a new suit that conformed with this color scheme? Was Jae Lee not fully updated that the new outfit wouldn’t have the streamers on it? Bah, on with the rest of “WildCats Trilogy.”

Void intuits through the aether that something is wrong with Grifter, or I should say the Grifter, as he’s called the Grifter all through “WildCats Trilogy.” So eventually they’ll show up, as inferred from the title of the book. We also see that Coda have been searching for a member of their ranks they call “the Heretic” and Delphae has finally found her. Now, the Majestrix of the Coda, Andromache, is ready to gather the troops and is gearing up to find and punish the heretic. Who is the heretic? Is this going to intercede with our current story? Is the set up for “WildCats Trilogy” way more exciting that the actual follow thought and action? The answers are, Artemis (but we were lead to believe it was Zealot) no duh and you bet.

The least interesting part of this book is actually seeing the WildC.A.T.s battle Hightower and his army of hybridroids. It is kind of interesting that Hightower took over Voodoo’s body for a short time to get in close to the rest of the team to attack them, but past that, the Coda vs. Artemis vs. Zealot (with her sidekick Grifter) are the main event. Getting a little bit of Coda history (the afore mentioned Trojan War) as well as learning where they live and a bit of their hierarchy adds a lot to the WildStorm universe in terms of world building. Looking at the WSU on the whole, it seems like Zealot is the only full blooded Kheribum that is Coda. We know she was Coda on Khera, so when she lands on Earth, she starts her own splinter faction of the Coda. She is the Majestrix at that time and she finds women to join her, she trains them, and they engage in the blood ritual, and that exchange helps humans gain the long life spans, and youthful looks that the Kheribum enjoy. I mean, that’s what I’ve taken from the years of reading WSU titles. It explains by Grifter looks so young as well. It seems like only a few women joined up with Zealot right away to form the Coda on Earth, two of the major ones being Artemis and Andromache. As payment for kicking ass in Troy, the Greeks have agreed to give the Coda pretty much all the baby girls they have as well as a ton of gold. In Troy things got a little heavy when Zealot wouldn’t let Artemis kills the royal family, feeling that the fall of Troy was enough to fulfill the contract with the Greeks. Artemis called Zealot out for going against the Coda rules by letting them go, as Majestrix and the only OG Coda Zealot’s all STFU and then Artemis is all “well then kill me for betraying you! Do it! I learned it by watching you!” Zealot is still all STFU and leaves Artemis to live

Back to the present for the currently occurring Coda throw down. Artemis hates Zealot, because Zealot left her alive in Troy. Andromanche hates Zealot and Artemis for leaving the Coda, but hates Zealot less for some reason. Zealot hates Andromanche for ruining the good name of the Coda, turning them in to high priced mercenaries with no principles. Artemis isn’t cool with Andromanche because Andormanche is after her. Zealot isn’t cool with Artemis because she got the WildC.A.T.s mixed up in what should be personal business, as well and involved a Daemonite. All three are pissed off at Grifter for trying to get in the middle of this fight, it’s women’s work dammit, stay the hell away! During the fight Artemis and Zealot find a little bit of resolve as they battle Andromanche and the rest of the Coda together. In fact, Artemis takes a clef blade in the chest meant for Zealot. Zealot sad for Artemis, cradles her, and while doing so almost loses her own life, but Grifter steps in with his gun and the day is saved. Kinda. Grifter has Andromanche at gunpoint and is ready to take her out. She reminds him that if anything happens to her, the whole Coda will be after him and nothing will be able to keep them all back. Just as he is saying he doesn’t care the rest of the WildC.A.T.s show up and Void teleports them all out of there. It’s all a little anti-climactic.

We have a short epilogue with Grifter attending Lonely’s funeral. There’s only one other person there besides the priest, and the grave is simply marked “John Doe.” The other dude reminds Grifter that Lonely once gave up his entire life to save Grifter’s because of their friendship. While Grifter knows that Lonely betrayed him to the Cabal, he ultimately understands that Lonely was a good guy, and he mourns the passing of his friend.

Next : “Deathblow “ Vol. 1 issues 0 – 4 by Jim Lee, Brandon Choi and Tim Sale (with Trevor Scott)

“WildC.A.T.s : Covert Action Teams” Special issue 1

this entry covers “WildC.A.T.s Special” issue 1

WildCATsVol1_Special_01This is the first WildStorm book I ever picked up. I’m not sure why. I’ve never been an action movie guy, so Grifter on the cover holding guns wouldn’t have piqued my interest. I was a haughty young man who often rejected anything that I found that was pandering to the general interests of a teenage boy, so I wouldn’t’ve picked up on the grounds of “hot scantily clad lady” on the cover either. I dunno, I guess the cover just looked cool to me. How it was all put together looked a lot more like a work of art. It’s commercial art sure, but a damn site better than what I had been used to seeing as cover art on comics up to that point. This cover had no speech bubbles, no crowding of text, just a well-done image, colored beautifully with the title at the top and the artists names at the bottom (why the writer didn’t get a credit on the cover bothered me though). Either way, it doesn’t really matter why I picked it up, just the point that I did pick it up, and as I read it I found a comic universe that I found entertaining engaging and interesting enough to keep exploring.

The story opens up with a Daemonite losing its host body, a Hollywood actor who is dying of a drug overdose. The Daemonite quickly moves to the body of a doctor who was trying to save the actor and from there he calls Gnome asking where he can get a better human host to take on. Ok, so I was wrong last week when I listed future appearances of Gnome, because he’s represented here pretty well. He still has information on “gifted ones” to sell to anyone who wants it. At the same time Providence, formally of Helspont’s Cabal, is visiting her former home and trying to find comfort in her new life as a mostly seeing, mostly knowing being of great power. Meanwhile Void is having a dream about a very special baby in a war torn land. Obviously, this is all going to come together somehow.

The war torn country is Yurgovia. Yurgovia is currently at war with Kasmia and is being run by a former Coda warrior known as Destine. Destine is in contact with Gnone, because that little goof wants to get back at Jacob for what went on in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. #4. So he sends the Daemonite to Providence and then has Providence teleport them both to Yurgovia to meet up with Destine. At this same time the WildC.A.T.s have interpreted Void’s dream and are on their way to Yurgovia to find the “gifted one” as well as take down the Daemonite. The best way to do this is to send in Grifter, because he’s been in Yurgovia before, and Voodoo, because she’ll be able to spot the Daemonite easily, and if they need help, they can always call in the rest of the team.

Things can never go as planned, and because both Void and Providence teleported at the same time, Void’s coordinates are slightly off, so Grifter and Voodoo landing outside of town. After a short fight with a couple crazy tanks in a cemetery, they’re both off to investigate the town for a new born baby of a very pregnant woman. They end up at a place called the “Laughing Wolf” where the bartender is an old buddy of Grifters. The bartender has the information they want and gives them the address of a girl that’s being called “Eliska the Witch” who just recently gave birth. So the duo set out in the direction of where Eliska’s family calls home and find a sight that leaves Grifter awe struck.

No one ever expects to find a Coda warrior standing over the body of a dead woman, holding back a girl from her baby, which a Daemonite is standing over, while a creepy girl in a robe is floating over them all. It is a shocking scene to be sure, but it is time to go and as Grifter and Destine begin to fight as the Daemonite takes over the “gifted one” baby. So things are looking down, obviously, that’s when the rest of the C.A.T.s ‘port in and help save the day. I know I don’t get down into details about the fights, I’m not a huge fan of that kind of stuff in comics, and it is never the parts of the story that stick with me. When there are pages of fight scenes I kind of check out. I love so many characters in the WSU, but without a doubt, nothing could ever be done to make Warblade more interesting to me, because his main shtick was fighting in a cool and badass way, and that does nothing for me. Also, for my money, Maul isn’t all the interesting as the big brute, when he’s smaller and smarter he’s awesome, as soon as he gets big, eh, what’s the rest of the team up to?

With Destine and the Daemonite dead, the WildC.A.T.s take in Eliska and her baby and resolve to teach them a thing or two about their heritage. This leaves a couple of plot holes I’d love to have seen followed up on. We learn from the bartender that Eliska has some sort of psychic powers, so that must mean that is another Kheribum out there that is loving and leaving ladies with super powered kids. Who is this Kheribum? Also, with Destine out of power, does that mean Yurgovia is going to fall to Kasmia any day now? We know that the war was near its end, but what happens now when Kasmia takes over completely? Whatever becomes of Eliska and her kid? Seems like the type of characters that could make a pretty rad come back in a future story to me.

Despite the story’s many loose ends, there’s so much that I loved about this story, as much now as when I read it in my high school pal’s living room after I first picked it up. First off, Travis Charest’s art, damn, that is good art! To know how much better he’s going to get and see what he’s going to do for future “Wildcats” books is awesome. I’m not going to lie, I had the Charest pin-up from this issue taped up on my bedroom wall, right next to a “Back to the Future” poster. The characters over time had slight personality shifts and after reading the opening “WildC.A.T.s” series I was stuck with how much I liked Grifter right away. His hitting on Voodoo to no avail, as well as goofing on Jacob by calling him “Little Buddy” made me laugh. Yeah, Grifter was an early favorite of mine, what kind of odd ball, comic reading 13-year-old wouldn’t find that character at least a little bit cool and fun? If you don’t get it, you’re not the first, I tried telling my pal Mike as I read it how great Grifter was, but he was way more interested in watching a “Gummi Bears” rerun at the time. Ok, neither of us was cooler than the other, but I still think I was getting the better entertainment.

Next Week“Wetworks” Vol. 1 issues 1 through 3 by Brandon Choi, While Portacio and Scott Williams

“WildC.A.T.s : Covert Action Teams” Vol. 1 issues 0 – 4

this entry covers issues 0 through 4 of “WildC.A.T.s”

WildCATsVol1_00-04Here we are at the true beginning of the WildStorm Universe, ground zero if you will! Set in 1992 and released in 1992, we are finally in “real time” with the books as they are released. Not that this will always continue, but more or less the rest of the WSU titles will occur in the years they are released, of course there’s odd compression, sure a year or two will pass and only be reflected as a month or two and will be referred to as either in text, depending on the situation, but that is just standard comics nonsense. It is nonsense that we all accept due to suspension of disbelief, because if we’re already onboard with super strong meta-humans and aliens running around, why can’t we accept chronological oddities as well?

Let’s get issue zero out of the way first. It adds up to very little. It mostly tskrd place in the time between pages 6 and 7 of the first issue of “WildC.A.T.s.” In fact, all that ends up being something more than filler is the few pages depicting Void’s origin and the one page that establishes second string villains Gnome (as well as Alberto Cassini’s relationship with him) and the Triad. It also tries to top how each of the individual WildC.A.T.s members are introduced, but it cannot top the first issue of “WildC.A.T.s” as Jim Lee was on top of his game when he drew that and Brett Booth just can’t match up with that kind of awesome.

So, the first four issues of “WildC.A.T.s” are… uh, kind of a mess. I really hate saying that too. I hate that I will say it again as well in regards to WildStorm stories, especially WildC.A.T.s stories. There is so much going on here, yet, at the same time it seems like such a small story. Oddly compacted in a way. All the main players in this story are after either the Orb, “the gifted one” or both.

The main players you ask? Well, there’s Jacob Marlowe a wealthy man who’s past is a mystery to himself, but is told he’ll do great things (turns out, he’s an alien lord), leading a team consisting of Void (silver coated teleporter), Spartan (super tough android), Warblade (shapes limbs into sharp objects) and Maul (obligatory big strong guy). This team is looking for “the gifted one” as well as being interested in finding out more about the Orb. Our next team is a small one consisting of Zealot (alien Coda warrior) and Grifter (our old buddy Cash from Team 7) who are looking for “the gifted one” as well, but don’t give a fuck about the Orb. Next up is our main bad guy, an alien named Hellspont and his crew of evil doers which consists of Pike (mercenary), a nameless Coda assassin, Alberto Cassini (done in by Pike in half a page), M’Koi (alien scientist), B’Lial (alien posing as Dan Quayle), Providence (think a younger Void in a flowing robe), two suits, and a dude that sports both a monocle and an eye patch! We don’t see much of those last three unfortunately (which sucks, I want to know a lot more about monocle/eye patch dude!) but we also know that Hellspont has multiple Coda and various other aliens working for him too, these guys are after both the Orb and “the gifted one.” Finally we have Gnome, who we don’t know too much about and his band of a Coda warrior and the Triad, consisting of Slag (lava monster), Attica (cyborg) and H.A.R.M. (robot). Gnome knows all about “the gifted one” but he doesn’t care, in fact he’s selling that information so that he can get closer to his true desire, the Orb. Not only do we have these 4 groups running around, but we also have the I/O Psi-Ops department getting involved, so we get to see Lynch (yay!) in his current role in international espionage but also we meet Youngblood for a bout of inter-company crossover synergy for Image! Yeah, that’s a lot to keep track of, it’s easier reading the issues of the comic than hearing the explanation, then again knowing that it all makes some kind of sense in the end does make it a little easier to read.

Ok, above I used the generic term “alien” more than a few times, and for the WSU “alien” really is a generic term as there are so many different kinds of races of alien here, I’m going to help sort this out a bit. The main aliens in the WSU are the Kherubim and the Daemonites. Lucky for the artists Kherubim look mostly like humans! Jacob and Zealot are full-fledged Kherubium. On the other hand Daemonites look monstrous, with huge heads and an extra set of tiny little T-Rex arms. Daemonites usually possess other creatures such as humans, or in the case of Hellspont who has possessed an alien from the Acuran race. Mostly Daemonites can’t survive outside of their hosts while on Earth, but this rule goes back and forth so it isn’t always true. Daemonites sometimes kill their host when they are separated, sometimes not, depends on what is more dramatic in the situation it seems. Daemonites can also shape shift when needed, this remains pretty consistent through-out the run of the WSU. Our Daemonites with hosts are Hellspont, M’Koi and B’Lial. We also have Maul who is half-alien and half human with his alien half being Titanthrope, which is a Kherubim race in name but not genetics. Warblade is usually referred to a half-breed as well, with half being Kherubim and being part of the Shapers Guild, but at least once his parents are both referred to being of Kherubim heritage. Pike is called a “half-breed traitor” by one of the Coda, so one can suspect that he is half Kherubim as well, but this is never expanded on beyond that off the cuff remark in “WildC.A.T.s #3.” All these half human half aliens are also referred to as “gifted ones” so who is the main “gifted one” that so many folks are after? That would be an exotic dancer known as Voodoo.

Voodoo is more than just half Kherubim and half human. In fact, halves would be a misnomer, thirds would be more accurate. She’s part Kherubim, human and Daemonite. It’s true! This is elaborated more in a future “WildC.A.T.s” annual that I can’t seem to find a good place for in continuity! Seriously, the 1998 annual just can’t have happened in any time line I construct! None the less, it deals with Voodoo’s heritage, and that heritage bears out in the rest of the comics, so it’s cannon whether or not the book itself is at odds with the reality of the WSU timeline. So what is so special about Voodoo being a tri-breed? What powers does that imbue her with? Why the power of “sight” for starters. That is to say, she can tell Daemonites are Daemonites while they are in possession of other hosts or are shape shifting. Also this power can affect people looking at her in some way that makes her seem super amazing. She can also develop Daemonite clawed hands while in hand to hand combat too.

As you can tell, a lot of cool comicy sci-fi fun is getting all set up with these first few issues, but so much so that it feels overstuffed, as this is a story of Jacob Marlowe’s team meeting up with Zealot and Grifter and adding Voodoo to their crew. All while keeping Hellspont and his minions from activating a space bridge that would link Earth to the Daemonite home world so they could invade. Oh yeah, the Kherubim and Daemonites have been in a war since forever and a handful of each race have spent the last several thousand years duking out on Earth. Sometime in the ‘60s the Daemonite’s gained the upper hand in the war and getting their hands on the Orb would give them the power to finally end the conflict by overwhelming the limited Kherubim forces on Earth with limitless Daemonites. Sounds like a good plan, except for, duh, the good guys are going to win and also (future spoiler), no one on Earth knows that the war has been over for a long long time and nobody bothered to tell the forces on Earth, as Earth is in the backwoods of the universe. All the other aliens laugh at it and call it Earthtucky. But yeah, this is a “how the team got together and defeated their first bad guy” story which is good, but with everything else going on, it is a bit overly complicated.

Everything with I/O seems a bit tacked on. Don’t get me wrong, I love that Lee and Choi started world building this early on! I mean, we’re seeing Lynch and Turner (and even Santini, kinda) as well as establishing I/O a central interest in the WildStorm Universe titles. And while it feels a bit tacked on, it doesn’t feel as out of place as the involvement of Youngblood. I get that Youngblood works for the U.S. government and I’m pretty sure that both Stormwatch and I/O were created to deal with the rest of the world, and not the U.S. specifically because the WSU didn’t want to create conflict with in the greater Image Universe, but man, the look of those characters sticks out like a sore thumb. Yes, the WildC.A.T.s team looks oh so ‘90s, but in that “classic cool ‘90s” way, while Youngblood comes across as ‘90s in the “good lord, that is so ‘90s!” You get what I’m saying? Also, Youngblood just doesn’t seem to jive as well with what the WSU is setting up for me; oddly the “Cyberforce” and “Savage Dragon” crossovers that are to come have always worked fairly well in my eyes and feel much more organic than any of the others. Maybe I’m on my high horse and being an elitist about it, but Lee and Silvestri’s early Image work equals good, while Liefeld’s equals laughable. The Image Universe will fracture more and more as time goes on, and it is kind of cool to see what they were wanting to do before tossing in the towel on that front. After this we don’t get more than a few name checks toward the Extreme Studios side of Image comics in WSU books.

Another thing I might as well mention here is the use of super hero aliases in the WildStorm Universe. Sure, everyone has them, but in most cases they are hardly used. Many of the meta-humans go by their given name in most cases. There are always a few exceptions, but first names are pretty much the status quo here. Some of their code names stick longer than others, but it feels odd for me to type Maul when most characters start to just call him Jeremy on a regular basis as time goes on. I think Void and Warblade are the only two that are regularly called by their code names after a while. Even Zealot starts to be called Zannah more and more in the later issues, granted it never becomes as common as calling Grifter by either Cole or Cash, or Voodoo going by Priss, but it is none the less done fairly often. Then there’s Spartan, the robot with too many damn names! Spartan, Hadrian, Jon Colt, Yohn Cohl, Jack Marlowe, Metavac, and I’m sure there’s more I’m not remembering right now! These ended up being comics produced in the “post-ironic” age, so super hero names seemed both necessary, but also silly and needless. Not to mention that a team like the WildC.A.T.s are, by name, covert. Code names would only really be needed on missions and not so much the rest of the time that team is together, you know, hanging out or whatever.

The newly formed WildC.A.T.s saved the day with Youngblood by… well, let’s see… the day was saved… hrmmm, how do I put this… they all did heroic things, they saved Voodoo from being killed &/or drafted to Hellspont’s side, and… they exposed B’Lail as a mole in the U.S. government… and they kept the Orb away from Hellspont and Gnome. Now, they didn’t exactly stop Hellspont, Gnome blasted him with the Orb. Also, Gnome only “lost” the Orb after Jacob shot off his arm off his body causing him to drop it, then Gnome dives down a deep shaft after it. Not knowing anything about Gnome we don’t know if that would hurt him or not. For all we know and Jacob know, Gnome could survive that fall, and still have the Orb and a new hook hand. What is sad is that neither Hellspont nor Gnome come back in a real meaningful way after this. They were both seemingly set up as major villians here and then next to nothing. We do see Gnome later as part of a DV8/Gen13 cross over where he and the Orb play a small roll. With Hellspont we get a few glimpses of his rise to power in the pages of “Team One” as well as later “WildC.A.T.s” stories before we finally see his return in “Gen13.” Ugh, the less said about that return the better (really Lobdell, Hellspont channeling Deadpool?) The best use of Hellspont was in “Majestic” Vol. 2, but unfortunately that story came with a big reset button. Finally, Hellspont on an asteroid w/ Kaizen Gamorra in “Wildcats” Vol. 4 could’ve been rad as hell, but nothing really became of that as far as we ever saw. That might’ve been the problem, Hellspont should’ve been the big bad of the entire WSU but they always wanted to bring him back in a truly badass way and never quite got to where they wanted to be to prove that badass-ness! In a lot of ways I think that Tao overtook the roll of ultimate villain, because evil scheming smarts is more fun to write and read than badass alien overlord. But such is serialized media with a host of different creators working to build it bit by bit over the years, a few characters get left on the sidelines.

At the end of the day this was a very over-reaching story that was trying not only establish a team of very different characters, but also it’s own sub-universe and tone. It succeeds in the end due to it’s fresh feeling and refusal to stop. Sure, the books always shipped late from early Image, but we kept picking them up anyway. Well for me, I picked these up out of back issue bins, all story, no waiting, as next week I’ll cover the first WildStorm book I ever got my hands on, that started my love for the whole crazy mess!

Next Week : “WildC.A.T.s” Special issue 1 (by Steve Gerber, Travis Charest and Scott Williams)

“Gen13” Preview

this entry covers “Gen13” Vol. 2 Preview

Gen13Vol2_PreviewOk, yeah, I know that last week I stated that this would be the point where I finally got to WildStorm’s “proper start” or rather, start in real time with “WildC.A.T.s.” See, I forgot that this short Gen13 Preview (which was released during Vol. 2 near issue #25 for some reason) wasn’t actually presented as a flashback or a story told of the past from the present, but as a story fully contained as being in 1989. There aren’t many stories like this from WildStorm comics, they almost always have some part of them set in the present while presenting to the reader a story that took place in the past. Books like “Team 7,” “Team Zero,” and “Wildcats : Ladytron” are few and far between, so I always just assume that the book is a flashback and at this point I was wrong, good thing I went back and double checked!

What is odd about this book is that it stars the character Christine Blaze with John Lynch in a supporting roll and none of the other regular Gen13 characters. While there is some back up material about the new “Gen13” writer and artist taking over after issue #25 of that title, this feels more like it should be labeled with a “Team 7” title, or even, considering the main character, a “Divine Right” title. However, as the story plays out we do see the deep ties to “Gen13” so I guess it fits. Sometimes this feels like a story that they wanted to tell and stick somewhere else, and when everything else failed Jim Lee shrugged his shoulders and told his team to toss “Gen13” on the cover and polybag it with that month’s “Stormwatch” then ship it out to shops.

It is a fun little story, concerning Christine Blaze in Berlin shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall. She’s been in deep cover for I/O for quite a while and the Coda have been dispatched to take her out. This is the first we’ve seen of the Coda, which are a bunch of badass sci-fi warrior chicks, which while they have strict codes of conduct and honor, can also be hired as mercenaries to the highest bidder. We find out that part of Christine’s deep cover was infiltrate the Coda and learn what they are up to. As the book reads, it just seems like the Coda had finally caught up to Christine after she deserts them, and are going to make her pay with her life for turning traitor on them. If only a story this short could be so simple!

Before the Coda can lop off Christine’s head she gets rescued by I/O, specifically a small team lead by Lynch (and hey Santini gets a name check!) We know that Lynch stayed with I/O after the events of “Team 7 : Dead Reckoning” because he’s a company man, but he did have misgivings about Miles Craven. This book starts to cement those doubts that Lynch is having towards Craven when we find out that the Coda had been hired by Ivana Baiul, Craven’s latest appointee to head the Sci-Tech department at I/O.

What is Ivana up to with the Coda? Why she’s hired them to go on a worldwide scavenger hunt looking for the children of Team 7. Yup, just as Dane said in the last “Team 7” book, Craven wants their children, but now he has Ivana to do his dirty work for him. Christine reminds Lynch that his son is still out there, somewhere, and while Lynch thought his boy was safe, now he can’t be too sure. Boom, there, it finally ties into “Gen13” a bit more.

This is a fun little book, it introduces us to the character of Christine Blaze, gives us a bit more of the backstory of I/O and what Lynch was up to post-Team 7 and pre-Gen13. If anything it is a little too short and it would’ve been nice to see a bit more of Christine’s past with the Coda, as they were really talking up how great she was, and how she would’ve made a great warrior. Well, she already is, and will be in her future as well, so don’t worry Coda, Christine will get hers.

Next “WildStorm Rarities : StormWatch : Urban Storm” by Jim Lee and Brandon Choi