Tag Archives: Daemonites

“Jim Lee’s WildC.A.T.s : Grifter vs. Daemonite” Special Edition issue 1

the entry covers “Jim Lee’s WildC.A.T.s : Grifter vs. Daemonite” Special Edition issue 1, which came boxed with the “Grifter vs. Daemonite” two pack from the Playmates WildC.A.T.s toy line

Grifter vs DaemoniteWhen I first got a hold of this book (thanks to fellow WildStorm fan Brian Hartless) I didn’t read it. I didn’t read it because I was sure it took place in the “WildC.A.T.s Adventures” series of titles, not the main WildStorm continuity, so you know, I thought it’d be a fun curio and not so much something for this site. Once I did read it, I thought “Damn… well… hmmm…” It is drawn much more in the style of the regular WSU titles, and there’s nothing here that contradicts anything we know about the regular series either. See, there are differences between cartoon and comics versions of the WildC.A.T.s, and this almost seems as if it was written to not touch on any of those differences. That’s pretty damn genius when you think about it.

So what’s the story? We have our old friend Cole busting up an executive board meeting in a high rise. There’s a suspected Daemonite among them. Cole uses a few tricks and gets the Daemonite to out them self. Then it’s a fight to the death, which even involves falling out of a skyscraper window and battling on a rooftop. While Cole is seemingly pinned down and out of ammo he calls for the rest of the team. The Daemonite overhearing this decides to charge Cole thinking him defenseless. Ha ha, you stupid alien, that was a bluff, Cole totally has more bullets to shoot into you! But wait, he wasn’t teasing about calling in the rest of the WildC.A.T.s, so now they’re here to kick your ass too! Fun, but short story, which is expected.

Continuity Corner :

  • I figure that this happens fairly early on in the “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 run. I put it shortly before 14 because much of the team is still acting like, well, a team. Cole is still a member of the WildC.A.T.s so we know this happened before issue 20. Also, we are also on Earth and have Pris on the team, so either this took place before issue 22 or after issue 50.
  • This issue presents us with a story that has the main motivation of the WildC.A.T.s team to be fighting the Daemonites, which kinda dropped off after they got back from space. Sure, Helspont and Defile kept causing trouble, but that was more out of revenge than trying to have the Daemonites win a centuries over war. Which is why I like having it before issue 15, as once we get to that issue, it’s pretty much a straight line towards “WildStorm Rising” which removes a lot of the characters and motivation for this story.
  • During the “WildStorm : Chamber of Horrors” special we don’t see Cole, so this is an acceptable solo mission for him to be on, while the others hang out, telling stories, waiting for him to make a call to action if he needs them.

NEXT : “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 14 by Erik Larsen

“WildStorm Rising” Chapters 8 – 10

this entry covers “WildStorm Rising” Chapters 8 through 10, which includes “Backlash” issue 8, “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 22 and “WildStorm Rising” issue 2

Alright, let’s wrap this crossover up! Slayton gets a call from Diva at StormWatch. He gets into his Backlash gear and meets up with her at Jackson King’s grave. She catches him up on the plot of “WildStorm Rising” and states that someone needs to take down Helspont. So off Slayton goes, solo even, without even thinking much about it. Turns out, it’s trick! A tricky trick! That was actually Mr. White posing as Diva and it’s all part of a plan from Defile to keep Helspont too busy to be nosing around for that Daemonite ship in Nicaragua.

So Slayton is fighting Helspont. Turns out, he’s not as easy to beat the hell out of, like every other weak ass Daemonite that Slayton’s fought. Slayton’s no slouch either, but despite surprising Helspont a few times, Slayton basically gets his ass kicked on Helspont’s submarine and gets left in the drink. Lucky for Slayton he gets saved by StormWatch, who is consisting of StormWatch teams 1 and 2 as well as members of StormWatch Prime. StormWatch just got permission from the U.N. council to try and stop Helspont so they’re going after that jerk as well. Even though Diva is confused at first when Slayton tells her that she asked him to fight Helspont the first time, she takes him along to go and kick Helspont’s booty as part of a team. StormWatch loses that fight. Helspont’s tough, yo!

In the midst of the ill-fated fight against Helspont, Christine is trying to justify going after him to the StormWatch UN Council. None of Council think that the team can take down a mean bastard like Helspont. I mean, they’re not wrong… The Council, in their infinite wisdom, decide to release WarGuard and Despot to deal with Helspont. Because having the WarGuard run free has always worked so well in the past. Despot and the WarGuard immediately fuck right off of SkyWatch saying “Ain’t my fight, bro, laters. Hey, formally frosted fiendish friends, let’s go hang out on the dark side of the moon for a bit. From there we will plot the future demise of StormWatch!”

The StormWatch team isn’t done licking their wounds before they decide they still need to pursue Helspont. Helspont’s in his submarine headed toward Nicaragua, as soon as he gets out to get the lay of the land StormWatch is getting ready to pounce. But what’s that? On the horizon? Is it? Could it be? Yes, it is! The WildC.A.T.s and WetWorks teams along with Cole and Cray! And in the middle of them all, is Savant, Majestic, and Union unearthing the spacecraft. Only, uh-oh, it’s not the Daemonite ship, it’s the Kherubim ship! Whomp whomp.

So now, everybody fights. Well, to be fair, the good guys aren’t fighting each other this time. They’re just taking on the Daemonites. Hightower’s goal is just to get on board the ship and peace out, but he’ll kill anyone to get on it. Defile and Helspont still want the ship to use it to dominate Earth. Spartan is having those same thoughts and boards ship to use its weaponry to help in the fight. Defile shows up to stop Spartan and orders the brainwashed StormWatch Prime members to kill Spartan, then each other. They’re successful in taking down Spartan, but Sunburst starts to kick Defile’s control and Nautika breaks his spine before she comes out of the fog. Meanwhile, Cole kills Hightower, rushes to the ship and lands a hit on Defile. Defile has had enough of this noise and messes with ship’s core and takes off. Whatever he did to that ship has made it so that it’s gonna blow-up. Big time. Right in the middle of our heroes.

Jacob is not having this blood on his hands. He’s going to board that ship to get far enough off planet to save everyone on the ground. Jacob is no dummy, he knows it’ll take a Kherubim Lord’s authority to launch the ship, but he needs some help because he’s lost the rest of his Kherubim technical know how to street livin’ and booze. Zealot is the first to volunteer as she remembers a lot and is the only one who knows how to pilot the ship. After that, all the rest of the WildC.A.T.s opt to get on the ship. The ship takes off, Void promises to teleport everyone off if something goes wrong and they can’t keep the ship from exploding. Then the ship explodes. No WildC.A.T.s members are found teleporting out. Everyone leaves upset except Cole, he’s just upset.

Continuity Corner :

  • Spoilers, but the Kherubim ship didn’t explode, it made the jump to hyperspace or whatever. As far as anyone on Earth knows, they’re dead, luckily for us readers, they’re about to go on a pretty rad adventure.
  • Helspont has a damn submarine? What is he? Some kind of G.I.Joe villain?
  • There’s this moment when Helspont is fighting over the Kherubim ship and he’s all like “Oh, great, here come the half-breeds!” and he’s shown facing Maul, Warblade and Winter. We’ve seen that Helspont can recognize Kherubim ancestry on sight from his battle with Slayton in “Backlash” issue 8. Him recognizing Winter as part Kherubim is a fun easter egg, and one I’m glad didn’t get fully retconned with his intended lineage in the planned and canceled “WildC.A.T.s : Ground Zero” book.
  • This is the last we’ll see of Defile, Helspont and Hightower for quite some time. Most immediately some of the WildC.A.T.s will go time traveling and run into the three of them, but seeing as how Hightower’s dead, that’s it for him. Defile pops up here and there not doing too much, but comes back in a big way years down the road in “StormWatch PHD” and then keeps up appearances from then on out in the WSU. I’m pretty sure the next time we see Helspont is when he’s acting like a goofy perv towards Caitlin Fairchild and getting his ass beat by Tao in “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue 50. Then he goes back underground until the ill-fated Lee/Morrison team up in “WildCats” Vol. 4 issue 1.
  • StormWatch took the remains of Spartan, which explains why he’s on that team during “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 25.
  • Majestic wonders if StormWatch got anything of value from Spartan’s remains, as usually by now Spartan would’ve downloaded into a new body. The only reason I can think he doesn’t is that Jacob has the Spartan backup copy on his person, so it’s out in space with the rest of the original team. Sure, this means there’s two Spartans in the universe now, and it won’t be the last time either.
  • StormWatch also took Helspont saying they had the means to imprison him. Majestic doubts this, but we’ll never know because it isn’t long before SkyWatch comes crashing down and I have to assume Helspont escapes.
  • Cole stays stuck in Nicaragua, which kicks off his solo title that’ll have him ending up in all sorts of places before getting back to New York pretty much in time for “Fire from Heaven” to start.
  • We do get a two-page epilogue to the whole thing, with Savant and Majestic at the Halo Building talking about the end of an era. I have to admit, it is a pretty nice ending, and it doesn’t lead you to think what must come next. I had no idea at the time that “WildC.A.T.s” would even keep going, or that there would be a new team on Earth, or that the original team was alive at all! I appreciate that. It was a pat ending. A rarity! It seems like these big events just chain themselves together and go on and on with fuzzy endings at best these days. I know this makes financial sense, but a true ending like this feels pretty damn great as well as earned!

NEXT : “Grifter” Vol. 1 issues 2 through 6 by Steven T. Seagle, Ryan Benjamin, Randy Green, Cedric Nocon, Tom McWeeney, Sal Regla, John Lowe and Norm Rapmund

“Backlash” issues 6 & 7

this entry covers “Backlash” issues 6 and 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continuity Corner :

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

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

“Warblade : Endangered Species”

this entry covers the “Warblade : Endangered Species” mini-series, which was composed of issues 1 through 4.

Ugh. This mini-series. Where do I begin? I… don’t like it much. Unlike “Spartan : Warrior Spirit” which I eventually came around to, I just can’t see that happening here. Which, in the end, is rather odd, as I’m a fan of the other work that Steven T. Seagle and Scott Clark were doing for WildStorm. This book, though… this effing book…

Here we have Reno going to Japan to hang out with his old friend Master Kenkichi. OK, they’re not friends, and Reno is just there to give some hot shot student of Kenkichi’s some humility by beating him in a kendo match. Something like that. Really, it isn’t important, what’s important is that Reno sees an old friend named Pillar. Turns out he used to know Pillar, way back in the day. Like back in the time he was a slave to CyberData with Ripclaw and Misery. Turns out he and Ripclaw had a third bestie before Misery came between them, and that was Pillar. Turns out, that on a mission the three of them faced a Daemonite, and that Daemonite took over Pillar’s body and mind. Reno never forgave himself for letting that Daemonite get away in Pillar’s body, and is once again ready to take him down once he sees Pillar in Japan.

Pillar has been a busy boy since he was overtaken. Lately, it seems as if he’s working against a, say it with me, Daemonite splinter group, that want to take over the world in their own fashion. Also, this group has a name, they are The Faction. Actually, he seems to want to take down this group from the inside. It really seems like the old Pillar is in charge when he’s talking to Reno about it. This is also after Pillar killed a whole mess of folks to steal some technology from them. The Faction’s ultimate tech’s name is the Trident, and it is made up of three components, that they call the three Spears. Pillar convinces Reno to team up with him to make sure the Faction can never succeed.

Meanwhile, Ripclaw is messing around with a jaguar in the North American desert and ends up getting kidnapped by the Faction. Dummy.

Pillar and Reno meet up with other Faction members, and Reno convinces Faction member Rodriguez that he’s one of the Daemonites that Pillar killed in Japan, just in a new body. Rodriguez doubts this lie and tells Reno that in order to prove himself, he needs to kill this rando they just caught. Said rando is Ripclaw, duh. While fighting each other Reno and Ripclaw hatch a plan to only make it look like Ripclaw is dead. It doesn’t matter, and Ripclaw’s fake death is overturned in a matter of seconds. While Reno and Ripclaw take out the Faction lackeys, Pillar takes down Rodriguez.

So… what’s the big plan? Pillar has part one of the Trident, there are two other parts, and then a meeting location for the Faction to assemble them. While en route to one of the three locations, Pillar’s plan was to drop Reno and Ripclaw each off at two of the three locations, go to the third and then come get them. Reno calls bullshit, and wants to work as a team, and Ripclaw states that he and Reno will keep the jet and then come back to meet Pillar. Seems like Pillar was doing some straight up TAO shit, because this is exactly what he wants as he parachutes out into the rain forest below.

As Pillar lands he meets up with three other members of the Faction. Here Pillar just messes with the Faction more. He tells the Faction that he shook Reno and Ripclaw and sent them to other enemies of the Faction, thinking that if he’ll have cut the potential Faction enemies list in half. He also tells the Faction that he lied to Reno and Ripclaw because there is no Trident to be gathered since he picked up the tech in Japan, they’re good to go. Pillar takes down the creator of the blaster tech and the Faction is ready to take down the world!

Now, on to where Reno and Ripclaw went on their wild goose chase for vaporware. Ripclaw is dropped off near a big game hunter named Skinner. He, uh, kills and skins Daemonites. Gross hobby, but it doesn’t take long for he and Ripclaw to catch on that they are not each other’s enemy. Reno finds himself in the house of the Daemonites that burned down the orphanage he was living in, in Japan. Reno makes short work of them, picks up Ripclaw and hightails it back to the rain forest to have some stern words with Pillar. Kidding, they plan on slaying him.

Once they arrive they see Pillar taking down the members of the Faction. Due to Reno being a real jerkface, he reminds Pillar that after the Faction are dealt with he’s coming after Pillar. True to his word, after the Faction are dealt with, he comes after Pillar, but he just can’t kill him. Pillar the Daemonite is still so close to Pillar the human and Reno just can’t perform the killing stroke and lets him walk. As Pillar leaves and Ripclaw wonders why he turned on the Faction, Pillar reminds him that the human Pillar believed in honor, and that carried through after the merge. Pillar believes the Daemonites will win over mankind, but the tech that the Faction had gotten their hands on would make the battle too unfair.

Yup, that it. I mean, there’s a whole lot more stuff with the jaguar and craziness on Ripclaw’s reservation, but it feels more tacked on than all the gratuitous fight scenes in the book. Maybe it’s the length of the book that I find fault with. Maybe a 3, or even 2 issues would’ve worked better for me, there just seems to be a lot of padding on this story. Also, it’s hard to know who to root for, I mean we’re with Reno and Ripclaw all the way, but Pillar keeps us guessing… but not in a good way. His double, triple and quadruple crosses just get tiresome for after awhile.

Continuity Corner:

  • Why the hell do all the Daemonites in this story go by their human names? That’s never been a thing before! Pillar, Rodriguez, Pamola… come on!
  • Two of the three Daemonite women that Reno takes down are carrying clef blades. That’s a Coda weapon. Are those more trinkets for their trophy room, are did someone forget that Daemonites and Kherubim don’t mix?
  • Why place this story here? Well, in “WildC.A.T.s” vol. 1 issue 13 we have Marlowe mentioning that Reno wants some time to himself soon, and with Maul back in “WildC.A.T.s” vol. 1 issue 17, the immediate threat to the team is over and some personal time can be allotted. For me, it just seems like too early of a story to be placed after he gets back from outer space and Ripclaw still seems to be dealing with the emotional baggage from “Killer Instinct” so I don’t want it to be years since that incident.

NEXT : “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue 1 by Brandon Choi, J. Scott Campbell, Jim Lee and Alex Garner

“Backlash” issues 1 through 5

this entry covers the first five issues of the title “Backlash”.

BacklashVol1_01-05

Alright, Backlash is still on the hunt to find more out about Daemonites so that he can help out his girlfriend before she dies of terminal coma! Heck yeah, he’s totally going to do it! He got some info from I/O, he may’ve picked up a thing or two from Grifter while they were on Caballito Island, and you know, it’s about time to save her. So he’s totally going to get that done in these first few issues, right? RIGHT? Nope, even with her life on the line Backlash decides to find a new chick, go to a party with the WildC.A.T.s, almost get arrested by the Savage Dragon and plays video games with his old pal from Team 7. Way to dick around and not save your lady Slayton!

Well, let’s give him some credit, he started with the best of intentions. He meets up with Diva from StormWatch to get some more info on what is going on with his beloved LaSalle. Turns out that she’s in worse condition, and she’s being moved from SkyWatch to a hospital in Detroit for closer inspection. Why Detroit would have better medical staff and tech than a crazy sci-fi satellite is beyond me, but I’m just reading these comics, not writing them. Backlash visits the hospital and while there the Daemonite that had possessed LaSalle is there in it’s new host, along with Pike. So Backlash has found the Daemonite that he needs to save LaSalle, but the Daemonite kicks his ass, and seems to be in league with a newly forming version of the Cabal.

So now Backlash has another problem. He has no real knowledge of the Cabal, and he just got his butt handed to him by only two members of the group. Time for “Operation: Hire a Tough Sidekick with Insider Knowledge!” To this end he finds out about a former member of the Cabal named Taboo, AKA Amanda Reed, who claims the Cabal framed her for murder when she was threatened to quit their little tea party. Upon being found guilty of murder… Sorry, aside; murder? A Cabal member getting found guilty of murder? Really? The first time we meet these jerks they are murdering people. They are murderers! That’s what they do on their way to enslave the planet! How does a member of the Cabal get captured in the first place, and then how does the rest of the Cabal co-ordinated with each other and the local judicial system to get Taboo both arrested and framed and they don’t get in trouble themselves? It is a stretch too far. Anyway, after being found guilty (smh) Taboo is locked up in the Edward H. Levi Federal Penitentiary, better known as Purgatory Max, a huge prison for super powered criminals. It’s also located in the far far North of Alaska, inside the Arctic Circle.

Thing about Purgatory Max, is that no one has ever broken out, but Backlash is planning to break in! That’s new and different, he might pull that off! Then he’ll get Taboo and break out! Woah! Doing the one thing that’s never been done! Backlash, you have your work cut out for you! Wouldn’t you know it, he pulls it off, his name is on the book after all, but in the process of the escape he does have to remove Taboo’s power inhibitor to beat some the guards back as they run. Taboo has a symbiotic suit that gives her strength, claws and green eyes (for now, later wings). It’s kinda like a WetWorks suit in that it can come out of nowhere and is related to vampires and aliens, but it is different, because no one thought all of this through or talked to each other while writing it. Just when you think Backlash and Taboo are cornered, they sink into the ice and are suddenly on a sub with CyberJack! Ah, Jack Rhodes, you’re the best bud Backlash will ever have!

Cut to a super secret Cabal club meeting! We find that the Cabal has been running under the rules that Hellspont had put in place by a Daemonite (I assume) named H’Tar. Not all is well in Cabal-land as a challenger approaches. It’s K’Rul, but he’s not there to step into that role, no, he states that not just any Daemonite should run the Cabal, but a Lord Daemonite should run, and it just so turns out that he is a representative of Lord Defile, and hey he’d make a good leader. This may be the earliest reference we get to Defile in the WildStorm Universe, and I was surprised to find it on my re-read! While the other Cabal members talk about what a terrible idea it is to rope in Defile, Pike and S’Ryn (the Daemonite that put LaSalle in her coma) show up and says “put me in charge guys, I’ll get those pesky Kherubim!” Even gets K’Rul to renounce Defile in favor of him! Woah! Now, let’s drink some blood and get this party started!

Meanwhile, back in Chicago, Backlash, Taboo and CyberJack and chilling out in one of Backlash’s many safe houses. Through a convoluted story that doesn’t bear repeating, the trio find out that S’Ryn is going to be at a charity bash, so they’re going to get him. At one point Taboo does something to Backlash’s face with her symbiote. At first I thought she was just giving him a shave, but he remarks “Doesn’t look at all like me.” and she responds “Yeah, quite an improvement, isn’t it?” and I’m left thinking “Is he supposed to look a lot different? Are they joking? He just got a shave, right? Or is Booth’s art here so samey that I can’t tell a difference that was intended?”

This little shindig is going down in Chicago, so you know what that means, right? Yup, Savage Dragon time! In my mind there is a Savage Dragon in most universes of the multi-verse, and this is the WildStorm U version of that character. He’s slightly different than the one appearing regularly in “Savage Dragon,” the one that teamed up with Madman in “the Atomics” and the one that we find in “Invincible” a few times. It’s just a co-incidence that he just seems like the same guy in most universes. Hell, the most different version I’ve ever seen is named “Dino Cop” as part of a DCU multiverse, but that was due to several factors, including being unlicensed, but I mean, come on, we all know what Grant Morrison was pulling with that. Oh, uh, yeah, back on point, if you’re a comic character and you find yourself in Chicago, you may just meet up with a Savage Dragon, and that likelihood increases if you are a creator owned or an Image Comics character. This is getting out of hand, look, what I’m getting at is that the Savage Dragon will be working security at the charity ball. Also, he mainly took the job because he saw that Jacob Marlowe was going to be there.

So at the party Taboo is getting flirty with Backlash, he’s all “I tells ya woman, Imma taken!” and we see Marlowe getting drunk, living it up since he quit his superteam. S’Ryn notices Marlowe and wants to get in close, as the new leader of the Cabal (stop trying to make the Cabal happen, it’s not going to happen!) he needs to take out this problem Kherubim Lord. S’Ryn is in human form without the goofy ass, middle school tossed together outfit he had on earlier, and has Pike by his side. Pike is a large guy, and I don’t think I’ve ever noticed that before. A note on what Pike looks like out of outfit: I like that Pike is depicted as no particular ethnicity. I’m not sure if that is necessarily intended or is another case of Booth’s artistic flair. I know I’m coming down hard on Booth and his art, but he is crazy hit or miss, and when he hits (look at any drawing of Zealot that he does) he’s amazing, and then there’s times like this…  come on Brett, we know you can do better! Eventually a fight breaks out and S’Ryn flashes into his dumbass suit, Taboo and Backlash notice this and suit up as well, and then the Savage Dragon busts in to try and break up the fight. Marlowe runs off and tries to call the WildC.A.T.s, but he’s followed by Pike who puts a stop to that, and Pike’s followed by Taboo who puts a stop to his attempted murder of Marlowe. In the main ballroom the Savage Dragon takes out S’Ryn and tells both he and Backlash that they are both officially under arrest.

Backlash is at a loss because he can’t afford to take the time to go to jail, or to lose S’Ryn to the feds before getting the information he needs to save LaSalle. Meanwhile Pike has suited up in his bootleg Deadpool cos-play and takes out Taboo as Marlowe finally reaches the WildC.A.T.s and Void and Zealot teleport in. Lots a fighting goes on, Zealot accidentally stabs Taboo and Pike gets away. CyberJack threatens to shoot Void if she doesn’t step away from Taboo until she let’s him know “Nah, Rhodes, the silver chick is with me.” Rhodes gathers the troops enough to go save Backlash and the Savage Dragon from being taken out by S’Ryn because they’re too damn busy fighting each other. This is where the bad guys make a play to blow up the good guys, but they each get away, ultimately leaving Dragon alone in the rubble.

Marlowe and Backlash talk a bit, Marlowe offers Backlash a job, which Backlash turns down due to his past trouble with Grifter. Fair enough, besides Zealot and Backlash will get to be teammates later and they butt heads constantly too. As he, Taboo and CyberJack are ‘ported off to CyberJack’s place Void makes comment that Backlash will have to face his destiny soon. Ooooo, ominous!

Back at CyberJack’s crash pad we see Jack walk! Wha! Turns out the special cybersuit he has on gives him limited mobility… which if we or any of the characters had been paying attention the past 2 issues we would’ve noticed his walking while saving the day! If you noticed it you’re a swifter person than me, Backlash or Taboo. But walking takes a lot out the man so he starts to crash on the couch while Backlash and Taboo go out for a drink. Drinking and superheroics lead to them hooking up when they get back home. Oops! Oh, and CyberJack totally spies on them with his motion sensors! Whatta perv.

The next day CyberJack mentions that there’s some technology that if he got, would help him track down S’Ryn’s base of operations, so they can take the fight right to him. Turns out that this kind of Virtual Reality tech is in a building owned by Waering Enterprises, the same Waering that that helps run a little outfit we all know as WetWorks. Turns out that Waering is having Jackson Dane upgrade the security on that building, the same night as his old pal is trying to break in. Backlash leaves Taboo behind while he breaks in, Dane finds Backlash, they start to tussle, a mysterious stranger sneaks up on Taboo and takes her down, Dane and Backlash recognize each other just in time for the same mysterious stranger to take them both out, while he drags in the body of a nearly unconscious Taboo.

The mysterious stranger turns out to be a loser named Virtual Bob, and he’s working for an entity known as Mindscape. Mindscape was a man whose body was destroyed while he was in his virtual reality machine, the machine saved his soul. Virtual Bob eventually discovered him while doing some hacking. The two of them build Mindscape a new body out of computer parts. Mindscape is now building robots and wants the soul of a top fighter to use a template so he can have an army of robots to take down the company that he was working for when his body blew up. So when he comes along Backlash and Dane he pits them against each other in the VR realm to see who is strongest and the winner will be the template for his murder-bots. He says he doesn’t intend to harm them in the long run… but he already seems like the kind of guy who totally would.

Mindscape eventually enters the VR realm itself and gets wailed on by Dane. Backlash is starting to figure out how everything works and finds a way to hi-jack Virtual Bob’s mind and tell Taboo how to help them get out of the VR world. The boys are freed, Taboo literally unplugs Mindscape to “erase his ass” and it is a happy ending for all! Dane even lets Backlash and Taboo borrow the bit of VR equipment that they went to the Waering building to steal, as long as they promise to return it! A pretty happy ending for all… well, everyone except for LaSalle who’s still in a coma, being sent to Detroit, no closer to having the Daemonite information she needs to live, and her boyfriend just cheated on her with a criminal. Dammit, Slayton!

Continuity Corner!

  • I’m trying to figure out why Marlowe doesn’t recognise Backlash. I know it had been several decades since their time with Team One, but I expected something. Further proof that the Team One books should be pushed back in the reading order, as Marlowe gotten all his memories back yet!
  • It makes sense that Zealot doesn’t say much to Backlash, she didn’t seem to be too fond of him during Team One and she’s probably heard stories from Grifter about him.
  • Speaking of remembering who they were, is there any real reason that Backlash only seems to remember as far back as the ‘70s? Is there anything anywhere that says what happened? Not a one off line someplace about trauma he experienced during the failed Team One mission?
  • When the crew gets back to CyberJack’s place Taboo makes fun of how run down it is. He blames it all on Backlash on the I/O goons that trashed it in “the Kindred” Vol. 1 issue 1.
  • When Mr. Waering asking Dane what he’s doing while WetWorks has some R&R, he remarks he’s going to New York for personal reasons. I’d always assumed these reasons to be joining up with Deathblow.
  • Also, when Dane is talking to Waering he mentions that this is going on during “WetWorks” Vol. 1 issue 5. While that might be, it doesn’t really invalidate any of the overall narrative going on in the WSU and keeps the arcs in both “WetWorks” and “Backlash” pretty much intact.
  • I don’t know if it was intended, but seeing how Purgatory Max is both one of the highlights in Backlash’s life (meeting Taboo) and the worst moments in his life (the final mission of WildCore) is a pretty decent narrative call-back/mirror when we get to it.
  • Also, unmentioned above, but there’s some super powered bounty hunters hired by the government following Backlash around and trying to catch him for freeing Taboo. They don’t do much now, but are become important later.

Next: “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 25 and 9 by Steven T. Seagle, H. K. Proger, Scott Clark, Ryan Benjamin, Sandra Hope, Trevor Scott, Troy Hubbs, Tom McWeeney and Frank Percy