Tag Archives: Fuji

“Fire from Heaven” Finale

This post covers “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.

Alright, time to start wrapping this crossover coverage of “Fire from Heaven” up. By the looks of it, I took longer to write about it than the books took to come out. That’s… damn… didn’t expect to fall that far behind! Oh well, here we go, here we all go all the way to the moon!

swordofdamocles_002Yup, that’s right, everybody gets to the moon via Void and some SkyWatch teleporters! I mean except for Cray, Dr. Tsung, and Ethan, they were already on the moon fighting Damocles, while The Sword, the Bounty Hunters, and some random Hunter-Killers watched. But like I said, everyone is on the moon now, so now it is time to kick some bad guy booty!

First to get done in is The Sword. Turns out that The Sword is an alternate version of Union. The Sword and Union are pretty evenly matched so… blah blah blah, fishcakes. You know what, Union wins, we all saw that coming, but how? Looks like Winter is back! Yup, remember way way back at the start of this crossover when The Sword tried to take out Winter? Looks like he should’ve done a better job because Winter proves his undoing. Union ultimately shoves the American flag left on the moon from the Apollo 11 mission, through The Sword’s Justice Stone and then takes The Sword’s… well, sword.

UnionVSwordDawnOfJusticeStone

firefromheaven_002While this is starting to wind down, the StormWatch moon base is secured from the Bounty Hunters. Zannah and Jeremy seem to do most of the work on that one despite other heroes being there. Most of the Bounty Hunters get away fine with Jade being the only one who gets nearly deaded.

Meanwhile, Spartan, Hellstrike, Union and Mr. Majestic are fighting off waves and waves of various henchmen of Damocles. While putting up a good fight, especially since 3/4th of them are supposed to be the WildStorm heavy hitters, they’re starting to get overwhelmed. Well, looks like blind luck and clumsiness to the rescue as Dozer shows up in even more gigantic-er armor than we’ve seen before and literally trips over and flattens pretty much the rest of the enemies. Oh Dozer, you lovable goof!

OopsieDoobleDozer

deathblow_v1_028Now back to our for real main event, and that’s Damocles versus Team 7 and Ethan. It is not going well for Team 7. Lynch and Cole are phasing in and out of reality and Dane’s symbiote is hardly keeping him together. Other heroes show up to join, but it doesn’t go too well for them. Cannon gets straight up knocked out and Void gets sent on a trip into broken space-time. So yeah, it doesn’t look good, but after seeing Cray take a savage attack from Damocles the rest of Team 7 get an idea.

It seems as if Cray’s Gen-Factor has made is obviousness known, Cray, well, is pretty indestructible. Now that it’s obvious, he starts feeling the rush of his Gen-Factor and Team 7 pull an old trick to help him amplify it. Cole, Lynch, Dane, Alex, Slayton and even Ethan gather in a circle, hold hands and concentrate together. It’s something they came across in their old Team 7 days. This not only helps amplify the Gen-Factor to help Cray get some extra strength but also helps give some of the Gen-Factor back to Cole, Lynch, and Dane.

Ethan leaves the power circle to help the charged up Cray fight Damocles because Damocles is one tough bastard. Suddenly the Qeelocke opens a portal that will vaporize anyone who goes through it. Cray is trying to push Damocles into it, but he still doesn’t quite have the power for it. Ethan wants to blast Damocles back into it, but can’t get a clear shot around Cray. Cray, knowing what is best for the world yells at Ethan to take the shot. Cray doesn’t see his life as more important than the rest of the Earth’s and demands Ethan to take the shot.

Ethan takes the shot.

Deathblow_28_20

Suddenly the book goes black and white and Cray is face to face with Gaby. He’s worried that he’s failed and Gaby lets him know that he did his best. Cray can’t understand what is happening. Then he sees the four men that lost their lives on one of his last few I/O missions and starts to get an idea of what exactly happened and where he is now.

Continuity Corner:

  • Looks like Union and The Sword is another case of someone fighting an alternate version of themselves in this series. We had Ethan fighting the Miles Craven Gen-Omega, we had Spartan fighting Yon Kohl and Dr. Tsung doing what he can against Damocles. It’s almost like it’s a theme…
  • This is also where Union gets a back a justice staff, as his got lost in “Union: Final Vengence.” Good thing too, as he’ll need one again when he shows up in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 35.
  • In “Fire from Heaven” issue 2, we see Fuji on a few panels. My best guess is that he got restationed from the New York Crime War to the moon based on priority. Hell, for all we know, that’s what Ladytron is yelling at TAO and Savant about on the first page of the issue.
  • I keep looking back and forth over these pages and I looks like Amanda and Jodi didn’t go to the moon. That’s acceptable, I can see Slayton telling Jodi to stay on Earth and Amanda helping him out by agreeing to stay behind with Jodi. But I also don’t see Claymore… WTF Claymore! Where are you!?
  • When teleporting to the moon Slayton says “Holy $#%@! we’re on the #$%@ing moon!” which feels out of character for him a bit. Actually, any of Team 7 to be honest. Should’ve saved that line for Roxy or Grunge.
  • It seems like Cray’s Gen-Factor only kicks in when he’s dead. This is how he came back after being killed by those Russians in the “Team 7: Dead Reckoning.” This is also how he survived his cancer earlier in his own book. It’s been his power the whole time but he didn’t know it.
  • While Damocles’ takedown of Void is savage, it doesn’t last long and she finds her way back to the team in no time.
  • For me, Damocles always seemed like a weak villain to be the main Big-Bad of this story. The revived Miles Craven Gen-Omega, Kaizen Gamorra in general before the reveal of him being Yon Kohl and hell, even The Sword all seem like better villains. It’s like a video game where all the mini-bosses are better than the final one.
  • If this last issue feels a little anti-climactic… well it kind of is. Not sure if it was by design or what. The real final issue of this massive crossover is actually the next issue of “Deathblow.” Without it, this crossover feels very incomplete.

NEXT: “Deathblow” volume on issue 29 by Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner and Trevor Scott.

Advertisements

“Fire from Heaven” Chapters 7 & 8

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

wildcats_v1_029Here we are once again to talk about “Fire from Heaven” the biggest damn WildStorm crossover there ever was! Once again we’re hitting a bit of a rewind button as we see how the WildC.A.T.s team makes their way to Gamorra. We also start to finally see a lot more of that fight with Team 7 and the Gen13 kids vs. Ivana and the DV8 kids while Ethan is starting to rumble with Damocles!

The story starts out the night before everyone is arriving on Gamorra, the night that the original WildC.A.T.s team gets back from their space trip. Cray and Cole are hanging outside the Halo building talking about the old team being back and they see Marlowe walking out. Cole offers his condolences about what went on on Khera and even apologizes for his past behavior. None of this does much to stop Marlowe, the little guy just keeps on walking, away from the team, away from his fortune and away from this volume of “WildC.A.T.s.”

EmpExits

Marlowe isn’t the only one out the door either. Pris says goodbye to Jeremy and Reno and finally to Spartan. It’s an uneasy farewell, but hey, she’ll be back later after her mini-series. All other leaves of absence are short, like Cole taking off with Team 7 on the way to Gamorra to join the big crossover, or Max ditching the team after he wakes up in hospital. Don’t worry, both Cash brothers will officially be back on the team when all the time traveling starts.

As the members of each of the WildC.A.T.s teams (that actually stuck around) catch up with each other, Majestic finds out, and cannot comprehend the Daemonite/Kherubim war being over. Much in the same way that the old team cannot fathom why the new team is involved in this crazy crime war. Eventually, after a few insults from Zannah, what’s left of the old team heads to Gamorra to help their buddy Cole. As Reno says “We all need some sort of direction after getting back from Khera. I guess this is as good as any.”

The new team thankfully has some StormWatch rookies and Fuji to help them out even if the old team isn’t still around. Fighting in the streets isn’t easy, so it is still best to have some backup. Not that the old team is doing that well on their mission. In fact, their jet gets shot by the same space laser that’s been bringing down everyone else. Luckily Void teleports what’s left of the team safely to the island. Now that they’re on Gamorra, where are they going to start looking to help their friend?

deathblow_v1_027Meanwhile the big Team 7/Gen13/DV8 fight rages on! Only being momentarily interrupted when Damocles tosses Ethan into the middle of it from the other room. Ethan calls all the members of the fight, despite the side, to focus all their energy on Damocles instead of each other. Before they all join in Damocles gets a good look at Dr. Tsung and cannot believe what he sees! Obviously, more on that later. Before he can do anything all the Gen-Actives start to pour it on. Despite some early progress in beating him down, Ivana wants all the DV8 kids to leave with her immediately. Threshold, but more importantly the rest of the kids disagree with Ivana and refuse to leave the fight.

Alright, let’s take a break from this never-ending battle to find out what is going on in the rest of Gamorra. We have The Sword out taking a stroll in Gamorra City and starting to feel very paranoid. It’s an unusual feeling for him. We find Slayton and Cybernary tricking their way into a Gamorrian listening station/data gathering location and shutting it down. But, most importantly, we see Cray finally, once and for all, take out Raymond LeGauche! It’s about damn time!

LeGaucheMoreLikeLeDead

Back to the main battle and we see Kaizen brazenly stroll in and interrupt the whole damn thing. The kind of thing you expect from a conceited douche who literally owns the place. He pledges his allegiance to Damocles, excuses Ivana and the DV8 kids and then sics the Minotaur, Borgia, and Gila onto his remaining enemies. Ethan is drawing from all the Gen-Factor in the room and delivers a pretty big pop to Damocles! But wouldn’t you know it, as soon as that happens The Sword and the rest of the Bountyhunters show up to the fight.

One may think that having the Bountyhunters join the fight would be a bad thing, but not exactly. See, Hardball is still carrying Qeelocke, and Qeelocke escapes, and Qeelocke has a sudden interest in Ethan. About this time Damocles is starting to put the hurt on Ethan. While Ethan may be more powerful, Damocles has experience, and experience is winning at this moment. But there is something that can help knock Damocles down a peg or two.

Earlier, when confronted with all the Gen-Omega clones where the reborn Miles Craven was found, Cray set up a virus to shut down on the containment chambers of the Gen-Omegas, thereby killing them. This causes a psychic backlash that incapacitates Damocles. This is the moment that Qeeklocke uses to get Ethan and Dr. Tsung back home to Berkley, CA. Oh yeah, and why not take along Cray as well. The Tsung/McCain family are back together, and now Cray, Ethan, and Dr. Tsung can better plot a way to defeat Damocles before they face him again, willing that their sudden absence doesn’t cost the lives of any of their friends.

TheQeelockeToBerkley

Continuity Corner:

  • Other than Pagan, I was never able to figure out exactly who the other “StormWatch Rookies” were. Of the StormWatch team members, we only see Fuji, Pagan and then 3 nondescript rookies. Ok, one of them kinda looks like Blademaster, but not enough for me to swear by it, mainly because he isn’t holding any sort of blades. In “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 32 we officially have Pagan named checked for confirmation. We also get a name check from Prism too, but we never actually see him. Also, by the time we get there we also see Fahrenheit helping the WildC.A.T.s in the crime war, so you know, they may’ve deployed more help than just Fuji and the rookies after the main team gets back from Gamorra.
  • The reason The Sword is paranoid is that he feels like he’s being followed. Later we’ll find out that this was Union stalking him. It’s possible that he felt Union’s eyes on him more than any others because [SPOILER I JUST DON’T WANNA SPOIL YET, JUST ‘CUZ]
  • Part of me really wishes that these two issues were flipped in the chapter order. Mainly because the “Deathblow” issue picks up with the big fight that we’ve been having in Kaizen’s lab. Also, that issue ends with Kaizen either kicking everyone out or capturing them, while Qeelocke transports a handful of heroes away. Near the end of the “WildC.A.T.s” issue, we see an android report on the fact that several Team 7 and Gen13 members have been captured. To me, it would read just a tiny bit better if they were switched.

NEXT: “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.

“WildC.A.T.s” Vol 1 Issues 25 – 28

This entry cover “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issues 25 through 28 by Alan Moore, Travis Charest, Scott Clark, Aron Wiesenfeld, Kevin Nowlan, John Nyberg, Dave Johnson, Troy Hubbs, JD, Scott Williams, Dexter Vines and Bob Wiacek

wildcasts_v1_025When we last left “WildC.A.T.s” we had our original team on the planet Khera, home to team members Lord Emp and Lady Zannah, and the rest of the team just found out that the Kherubim/Daemonite War is over. Not only that but it’s been over for quite some time. The rest of the team are going to ask Emp and Zannah what is up with that, and what they, as a group, are going to do? Turns out neither Emp nor Zannah have any plans to leave. In fact, they are running against each other for a Kheran senate seat! After Emp blows them off and Zannah gets into a mini-smackdown with Pris, Pris pretty much calls the whole “WildC.A.T.s” thing bullshit and is already aiming to leave the team, and Khera, as soon as she can.

wildcasts_v1_026Since the team has been on Khera, the latest bootup of Spartan has been, well, little more than Emp’s lap dog. Turns out Spartan has just been biding his time and set a late-night alarm to wake himself up to be, well, himself! He immediately goes forth to find his teammates and find out why everything is spiraling out of control. While he’s no closer to any real answers while visiting any of them, when he goes to visit Zannah he finds her asleep and some of her Coda sisters scheming against her as well as Emp. They have a plan to disrupt the entire Kherubim Senate! Before Spartan can get a good idea of what they’re going on about, a few other Coda sisters find and trash him, eventually leaving him for dead in the Daemonite ghetto where Pris has been confined.

wildcasts_v1_027Once the team has Spartan up and running he lets them know the Coda is involved in the sabotage that not even Zannah knows about. All they know is that the Titanothropes will be blamed for whatever is going to happen. Once on site Void puts it together that the fancy sword that the Coda gave Zannah, that she has at her side, was made by the Titanothropes. Also, that sword has a bomb inside it. Uh-oh! Before any of our regular heroes can react, Jeremy’s alien gal-pal Glingo grows big, snatches the sword and keep growing to get the sword as far away from everyone as she can. The sword explodes and Glingo gives her life for the planet she loved so dearly.

 

Zannah is shocked that she was chosen for martyrdom rather than a true shot at the Senate seat. Emp, meanwhile, is becoming disgusted with how his fellow Parthenon members are ready to seize upon the horrors of the day to further their goals. The whole team is now in agreeance, it’s time to go home, time to get back to Earth.

Speaking of Earth, we see the All-New, Not Entirely Different WildC.A.Ts dealing with the aftermath of H.A.R.M.’s funeral. They’ve taken Attica, Slag, and Deathtrap into custody and have them hooked into the same virtual reality prison that they’d previously used to tame Maxine. While imprisoning them Savant starts mad crushing on Tao. They eventually start making out, only being interrupted by a drunken Irish superhero getting into a fight with Majestic.

takethatyalousydrunk

“Wait? How’d that happen?” you ask. Well, I’m here to tell you. It’s kinda the point of this whole blog. Cole Cash is meeting up with his buddy Michael Cray, and Cray is already drinking with Hellstrike from StormWatch. They get to talking and Cole mentions that the new WildC.A.T.s have managed to capture Deathtrap. Due to the personal history between them, Deathtrap being a StormWatch target, and the fact that ole Hellstrike’s had a few too many pints, he decides to go after the new WildC.A.T.s and show them a thing or two about respect!

Hellstrike holds his own against Majestic and Maxine and isn’t really taken down until Max fires a concussive shell near his head, giving Hellstrike an instant headache. This gives Majestic the edge to thump him one and start getting an explanation. While explaining that StormWatch was going to after Deathtrap and the Mercs in a few weeks, Tao walks up and lets Hellstrike know that Deathtrap has escaped. Not only that, but Tao left a tracker on Deathtrap and gives Hellstrike the device to track the tracker. Cole and Cray take Hellstrike with them and wish the new team luck. This is when Tao reveals that the tracking device he gave Hellstrike can also be used by the team to spy on Hellstrike and StormWatch. While Majestic is pretty miffed about all this, the rest of the team thinks it’s pretty funny.

hahahasulkproud

 

Well since it hasn’t been two weeks yet, this leaves Deathtrap plenty of time to be checking up on this new WildC.A.T.s team that trapped him and busted up a funeral. He happens upon a reality show called “Fuzz” and it features the team in action against the shapeshifting Mr. White. He takes a recording of this to New York City crime boss Tony Twist and shows him that this new WildC.A.T.s team is a proactive one, and if he means to continue to run the NYC underworld, he best take out this team before they come gunning for him.

wildcasts_v1_028Twist first sets his boys on taking out Max. Max manages to keep outsmarting and gunning down Twist’s men while wearing only his undies. Maxine shows up just in time to help, even though she thinks this is a date with her and Max. Max admits that he does like her and takes her to Clark’s later that night. While at Clark’s Max spots a familiar face, turns out it is Vic Lazaar, the goon from the presidential theme restaurant. Max thinks “Why the hell is a villain at Clark’s?” Turns out that Vic was dropping off a bomb, and Max runs to where Vic just came from to check it out/stop it, but that doesn’t matter, it blows up injuring Max pretty terribly.

While Cole, Cray, and Maxine rush Max to the hospital Majestic is wondering why the villains of today would bomb such an establishment as Clark’s. While this makes Majestic angry, Tao suggests that it could help them grow their ranks in the crime war, now that StormWatch and other super folks had been in the line of fire. Tao sets up a meeting with StormWatch and while said meeting is going on, the intruder alarms in the Halo building are going off. What or who could it be? Why it is the original WildC.A.T.s team back home and wondering what the hell is going on!

whatthehell

Continuity Corner:

  • When we catch up with Cray and Cash at Clark’s, Cray remarks about Cash just getting back in town. I guess after the raid on the towers the Team 7 boys split up for just a bit to deal with what just happened in their own ways.
  • We also see Grunge and Lynch hanging out at Clark’s. Grunge is once again having no luck with getting underage drinks, and Lynch, who knows who he’s hanging out with? Maybe it’s Dane, they always kinda got along, or maybe it’s Slayton showing why Cash didn’t go sit with them instead.
  • Never been sure if the Deathtrap that talks Tony Twist into the crime war was actually Deathtrap or if it was Mr. White. We know that Tao wanted the crime war to start and know later that Tao hypnotized Mr. White. Plus when we next see Deathtrap shooting at Cole during the crime war he only mentions H.A.R.M.’s funeral and not the takedown of Mr. White as his motivating factor joining the war in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 32.
  • When Max and Maxine are headed to Clark’s he talks about how he and Cole used to hang out around Clark’s and check out the superheroes that patronized the place. Cute story, but the Cash boys grew up in Chicago, not NYC. Maybe their gangster step-dad had business out East and took the boys with him… that’s my best guess to make this work.
  • Savant tells Majestic not to act like her father! Ha!
  • While everyone else in the Halo building looks shocked to see Reno asking “What the hell is going on here?” Tao looks upset like his favorite video game just got taken away from him. If it wasn’t for the whole “Fire from Heaven” craziness I’m sure the old team would’ve cottoned on to Tao’s plan earlier and stopped it and he knew it. He looks like a kid who is fearing his looming bedtime.

NEXT: “Fire from Heaven” issue 1/2, “Sword of Damocles” issue 1, “Sigma” issue 1 and “Deathblow” volume one issue 26 by Johnathan Peterson, Warren Ellis, Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Randy Green, Tomm Coker, J.J. Kirby, Ryan Odagawa, Mel Rubi, Danny Bulanadi, Bob Wiacek, John Tighe, Mark Irwin, Richard Friend, Troy Hubbs and Trevor Scott,

 

“Backlash” 17 & 18

This entry covers “Backlash” issues 17 and 18 by Sean Ruffner, Brett Booth, Mel Rubi, John Tighe, Mark Irwin and Mark Pennington.

backlash_017Slayton is feeling odd ever since he woke up to save the day against that space-vampire. Where can a guy go to see what’s up with his crazy bod? Why not the guy who’s been like a doctor to you for the last several years? That’s right, Slayton drops in on his old pal Link from StormWatch. Link is happy to oblige, as well as meet Jodi and Amanda.

As soon as the tests are concluded StormWatch shows up to… well I guess to take Slayton in for being a wanted felon. Not only that, but they’re none too keen to find out that Slayton had, at some point, been funneling information about StormWatch to I/O. They even accuse him of being glad that LaSalle is dead because she was on to him. But ultimately the StormWatch team cannot take down the man who trained them.

While Slayton was taking down the StormWatch kids, Amanda and Jodi were busy stealing their transport ship. As soon as Slayton is finished with Jackson, Link tells him to get the heck out of there, so Slayton, Amanda and Jodi fly off in their ill gotten jet. The flight doesn’t last long as Slayton gets a call from Cray to meet up with the other Team 7 members in New York. Now if Slayton had thought to ask Cray, he would’ve known that kids were invited to this party, but he didn’t and so he drops Amanda and Jodi off at the nearest payphone and leaves.

backlash_018Amanda calls up CyberJack to get back to the safe house and hears that he’ll be staying in Gamorra longer than previously thought, but they are free to stay at the safe-house as long as they need. Amanda immediately picks up on the fact that there’s something wrong with this message. In it, Jack calls her Taboo. Jack never calls her Taboo. This can only mean one thing: Girls Weekend Trip in Gamorra!

I wish I had more to say about these issues, but really, unlike other “Backlash” stories there isn’t too much going on plot wise. Character development wise? Yeah, it’s in there. Seeing Slayton have to take on his former students? It’s rad as hell, especially when we have Rubi and Booth drawing it for us. But when it comes to a the type of recaps I do here, it looks a lot more slight than the book actually is. I have to say, it was really fun to see StormWatch vs. Slayton before we get to “Fire from Heaven” and it’s StormWatch vs. Everyone for a bit. It’s like a preview of what’s to come.

Continuity Corner:

  • When Link is examining Slayton they find that Slayton’s Kherubim blood has mostly burned out all the Gen-Factor in his system, which explains why LeGauche couldn’t get much off him in “Deathblow” volume one issue 23.
  • Slayton will catch up with Cray, Lynch, Cash, Dane and the Gen13 kids near the end of “Deathblow” volume one issue 24.
  • Seeing the stealth suits that StormWatch put on for this issue made me angry that they don’t really stick around. For the most part they are just streamlined and better looking versions of their current outfits. Except for Fahrenheit. That isn’t a good look, it’s far too basic and boring. Her original outfit is awesome and I’ll forever miss it when she abandons it completely after “Fire from Heaven.”
  • After their beat down, the StormWatch team heads back to the U.N. StormWatch base in “StormWatch” volume one issue 34.

NEXT (if you need to get back to “StormWatch” 34): “StormWatch” volume one issue 34 by H.K. Proger, Renato Arlem, and Joe Pimentel.

NEXT (if you already finished “StormWatch” 34): “WildStorm!” issue 4 by Michael Jan Friedman, Merv, Sarah Becker, Ryan Odagawa, Tom Raney, Randy Green, Mark McKenna, Randy Elliot, John Tighe and Rich Ketchum.

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 34

This entry covers “StormWatch” volume one issue 34 by H.K. Proger, Renato Arlem, and Joe Pimentel. Best reading order is to read the first 18 pages of this issue, then read “Backlash” issues 17 & 18 and then coming back to finish off this issue. Then again, that’s pretty wonky and it works just as well to read this then the “Backlash” issues.

stormwatch_v1_034This book is basically several short stories, chopped up only giving us a few pages of each, before flipping to the next. They all converge on the last page with StormWatch heading back up to the newly completed SkyWatch 2. This issue is also getting a few more things in place for “Fire from Heaven” besides the team being back home. I’ll basically be breaking down these stories individually instead of flipping back and forth between them.

We open with Christine and Fahrenheit training. Then showering together. There’s some girl talk followed by a lot of work talk, but it is all pretty normal stuff that you’d expect. Just a nice way to open the issue, I guess.

When checking in with Jackson we find him hanging out with his mother. She forgives him for killing Despot, as that was no longer the man she married. Jackson also finds out that his mother didn’t authorize the release of his brother Malcolm as he was previously told. On top of all this Jackson has been going through the late Diane LaSalle’s StormWatch diary/reports and had found that she suspected Slayton of sharing secrets with I/O. When Jackson questions Bendix about it, Bendix basically says “yeah, I knew, so what?” which only serves to further piss off Jackson. Now Jackson is super angry and wants to hunt down Slayton, I mean he’s an enemy of the U.S. Government, so why not?

Fuji is worried about how Cannon is doing. He’s taking the death of Diva pretty hard. It’s not like he didn’t have Uzi from Team Aleph throwing herself at him in Tel Aviv, but he’s not ready to move on, no matter how forward other women are. Cannon is sharpening his skills by fighting combat droids that look like himself. This is a red flag, and Fuji sees it as such, but Cannon isn’t ready to talk about it. Instead, they meet up and head to find Jackson to go beat on Slayton.

(Here’s where you could jump to “Backlash” issues 17 – 18 by Sean Ruffner, Brett Booth, Mel Rubi, John Tighe, Mark Irwin and Mark Pennington.)

While Flashpoint is busy getting chewed out by Bendix for killing too much, Winter comes back the U.N. StormWatch base with Scythe. In “StormWatch” volume one issue 33’s epilogue there was the murder of a StormWatch council member. Bendix tells Flashpoint to take care of it, as he’ll have to go to Russia to find out this info. Bendix informs him that Winter is Suspect Number One! Uh-oh!

Off to Russia Flashpoint heads, and who does he run into? Right where it looks the most incriminating? Yup, it’s Winter. Turns out there’s no way Winter killed that council member because that was the guy that was supplying Winter with all the info about what’s going on in Russia. The info that leads him, Cannon and Bendix into that fight against M.A.D. 1. Flashpoint isn’t sure about this until they’re attacked by “the Death Patrol” because really, what this run of “StormWatch” from issue 28 through 34 does best is introducing us to scads and scads of new and disposable characters. Flashpoint and Winter barely escape with their lives.

Nautika and Sunburst are having a tough time. Neither wants to leave the team, but both have kinda been ruined by it. Sunburst can’t walk, and Nautika feels guilty about their part causing his disability. At the same time, they’re both watching over the body of Undertow in his incubation tube. They both agree to stay with StormWatch, even though Sunburst feels like a burden.

Bendix finally gathers the whole team at the U.N. building and they all take a mini-spaceship up to SkyWatch 2. I mean, why didn’t they beam up? They just used their beaming tech in the last story arc, so… never mind, it’s a cool page, I’ll let it stand.

SkyWatch2-FirstLook

Continuity Corner:

  • We’ll find out in “Gen12” issue 3 about how Slayton got hooked up with joining StormWatch. It was a favor to both Slayton and Craven by Bendix on account of them all being old Team One buddies.
  • We get our first ideas that Flashpoint isn’t anywhere near a kind of good guy when he starts thinking out the “real reason” he killed Kilgore. This will all come to a head when he sees the Mercs again in Gamorra.
  • When Jackson’s raid on Slayton ends, the characters come back in different uniforms than we saw them in earlier. This is to match the special stealth suits that they wore in “Backlash” 17 – 18.
  • When boarding the mini space shuttle there’s a dude that looks like Link, but can’t be, because that means he beat Jackson’s raid team back to base, and they were raiding his house and late returning. I mean Bendix was getting mad because they were running behind. The timing, it doesn’t add up!
  • On SkyWatch 2 we first see the “eye in the lightning bolt triangle” that will become StormWatch’s logo for much of Ellis’s run.
  • On the last page we see that Bendix has an incoming message from Kaizen Gamorra, explaining StormWatch’s presence on the island at the start of “Fire From Heaven” issue 1.

NEXT (if you didn’t dip out to read it yet): “Backlash” issues 17 – 18 by Sean Ruffner, Brett Booth, Mel Rubi, John Tighe, Mark Irwin and Mark Pennington.

NEXT (if you already read “Backlash” 17 – 18): “WildStorm!” issue 4 by Michael Jan Friedman, Merv, Sarah Becker, Ryan Odagawa, Tom Raney, Randy Green, Mark McKenna, Randy Elliot, John Tighe and Rich Ketchum.

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 30 – 33

This entry covers “StormWatch” volume one issues 30 through 33 by H.K. Proger, Renato Arlem, Brad Vancata and Robert Jones as well as the “Synergy” back up story by Barbara Kesel and Mike Miller in issue 30. Best reading order would put the “Synergy” back up story from issue 30 as the first thing you read, followed by the rest of issue 30, then issues 31 through 33.

stormwatch_v1_030I’m going to start off by saying this. I don’t like these issues. I don’t like them at all. I find them a chore to get through. In fact, I think issue 31 was the issue that made me drop this title when I was a kid. I remember reading issues 28 and 29 and being “Uh… this isn’t exactly the book I’ve been digging… but, it’s still good.” Even then I could tell quality, and those issues were ok, but then this run followed. Ugh. It just seems so all over the place, and oddly paced. Also, there’s a bunch of art mistakes as well (See most of the Continuity Corner below). That and we’re just bombarded by new character after new character, it gets to be a bit much. There is one thing I did like, and that’s the “Synergy” back up story in issue 30, but, sigh, even that has a bit of a problem.

We see Christine Trelane being asked to activate a former StormForce member. Apparently, she’s a seedling. Providence came to the girl that if she isn’t activated, her and her family won’t be around in a year. Christine doesn’t trust Providence at first, but Providence comes to tell her that what she told the girl was true, but also because of the forking nature of the future there are two possibilities. The first, the girl is unactivated, something happens and the girl’s family will be killed, but if the girl is activated it sends her on a road that ends up in super-villainy. Providence leaves this choice to Christine, and Christine comes up with a solution. The solution is… to be continued. We never get any resolution to this short story. It’s a shame too, as it could’ve been interesting. With Barbara Kesel on the writing duties, it could’ve gone far. Dare I say, between this backup and the “Fuji” backup in “StormWatch” volume one issue 29, she has a much better handle on the characters than H.K. Proger (whoever that may be) and might’ve been a better choice to take on the rest of these issues.

stormwatch_v1_031Ok, on to the rest of these 4 issues… A lot happens, a lot. All of our rookies from last issue, along with less recent rookie Pagan, are with Christine Trelane helping the U.N. move some nuclear weaponry that Saddam Kussein has willingly surrendered to the U.N. The StormWatch team is mostly there because the U.N. requested them to, and these losers could use a simple mission after the last on in Germany. Oh, and there are two new rookies as well, Blitz and Damascus. Don’t get too attached to them, they’re going to be dead soon by the hands of Heaven’s Fist, a group of terrorist super-powered beings. Heaven’s Fist works for a terrorist known as Abu Fawaz, whom few people have laid actual eyes on. Heaven’s Fist is stealing these nukes to be used later to blow up various places in the name of, well, terrorism. Heaven’s Fist also kidnaps all the StormWatch members that survive their attack.

Henry Bendix gets the old crew back together, including a recently found and new bodied Hellstrike and a recently released from prison Flashpoint. Henry hooks them up with Unit Aleph, an anti-terrorism group of super-powered beings that work for the Isreali government. Unit Aleph has captured a man they believe to be Abu Fawaz but cannot prove it is him. He has a lot of documents that state he is Jawad Anani, and because he’s only been very rarely seen as Fawaz, they’re having trouble proving him wrong. After StormWatch and Unit Aleph gets some training in, they get the word as to the locations of the nukes that Heaven’s Fist stole. Turns out they’re proto-type neutron bombs that will destroy humans but leave buildings and landscapes intact.

stormwatch_v1_032The teams are split to do some good in the world. StormWatch headed towards Yugoslavia to stop a bomb, Cannon and Unit Aleph towards Tel Aviv to stop a bomb and Flashpoint to the kidnapped StormWatch members. Cannon and Unit Aleph make quick work of the Heaven’s Fist members they find in Tel Aviv. Likewise, Flashpoint has zero trouble saving Christine and the rookies from the scrubs that Heaven’s Fist leaves behind. Our regular StormWatch team isn’t so lucky while flying into Yugoslavia.

Yugoslavia does not want StormWatch there. At all. Even though they are trying to help. They keep trying to chase off StormWatch’s jet. Eventually, StormWatch just leaves, but they play it sneaky and manage to leave Winter behind to stop the bomb. Not so sneaky it turns out because former StormWatch member Scythe is aware of Winter right away. She’s quit StormWatch to help her country, but unlike the rest of the military, she’s not dumb enough to let a bomb go off, killing people, over politics, so she agrees to help Winter. Winter of course succeeds but the Yugoslavian authorities are still pissed, so Scythe helps Winter get outta there.

stormwatch_v1_033With two of the bombs stopped and the rookies saved, what’s left? Just a single mystery bomb out there, and trying to get to the bottom of if the guy they have in holding is Abu Fawaz. Heaven’s Fist makes their play with the final bomb, and the action is all going down in Paris. So the OG StormWatch save Paris. It’s kinda boring and kinda silly at the same time. Meanwhile, Heaven’s Fist’s sneaky Assassin, Hassasin, is trying to free Kinda-Maybe-Probably-Fawaz from lockup, but he’s stopped Unit Aleph returning from Tel Aviv. Here’s the problem, Bendix has put together that four men have seen the man they have in holding plan the terrorist attacks as Fawas, but all four of these men have ended up dead. One by Flashpoint while searching for the rookies and finding info about the Paris attack. One by Swift while the rookies were breaking out of their kidnapping. One by Jackson while saving Paris. Finally, the last one was by Unit Aleph, in shooting Hassasin. Ergo, Fawaz walks free. So, while StormWatch has won the battle, the war still rages on.

The biggest part of these issues, besides pacing, is the pure glut of new characters introduced. Especially because most of them end up dead as soon as they are introduced. We get Unit Aleph, which could be cool to see again, as well as Scythe, who brings in a new dynamic with the whole “I quit StormWatch, but I’m kinda back now” thing. I think that Abu Fawaz was set up to be a new StormWatch archvillain, which would work well against a U.N. superhero group, so in the end, it is fine when we see him walk. We expect to see him back, but next time with all new terrorist super-baddies because of his huge crew, only three managed to survive. I really think that if Ellis hadn’t’ve come on and taken the book in a wildly different direction we would’ve seen a lot more of Fawaz and Friendz.

Continuity Corner:

  • I had always had these issues running between “Backlash” 16 and 17, but upon rereading I realized that there are a few panels of Diane LeSalle still alive… Dammit… looks like I’ll have to rearrange these to have happened after she left Backlash, but before we hit that arc that she ends up dead.
  • I like to place the “Synergy” story before the main action for two reasons. First of, if we don’t, then this story can’t have happened until after issue 33, and that seems like a long time to wait for so little. Secondly, it gives us an idea of what Christine does between big StormWatch missions. Even “off-the-clock” she’s a company gal, which sits perfectly with her character as it gets more defined by Ellis.
  • I still wonder what happened with that girl the Christine was sent to help in her backup story. I can’t even “no-prize” it out like I enjoy doing because we just have so little to go on!
  • When Fahrenheit is hanging out in Brazil she gets called back to StormWatch, she’s with a woman named Mayinga. Mayinga also seems to be an employee of StormWatch. Were we supposed to know who the hell she is?
  • For some reason, except for the ponytail, Cannon and Flashpoint switch hairstyles in issue 30 for Cannon and 31 for Flashpoint.
  • Trelane, while kidnapped has a costume change from her purple leotard to her red and black thong with shoulder pads between issues 31 and 32.
  • In issue 31 Undertow is suddenly a kidnap victim even though we see him laid up in issue 30 while the other rookies are getting kidnapped. We’ll see him still his recovery chamber again when we get to issue 34. Don’t worry, after issue 34 he gets better pretty quickly, just in time to meet his demise in issue 37.
  • Malcolm King is released from StormWatch lockup in issue 32 and Bendix seems pretty angry about it. Oddly, it seems that Jackson thinks Bendix is the one that had Malcolm released in issue 34. Someone got Malcolm out and now he’s on the loose, that’s about all we know.

NEXT IN THE READING ORDER: “Backlash” issues 12 – 14 by Sean Rufner, Brett Booth, Chuck Gibson, Al Vey and Mark Pennington

NEXT ON THE BLOG: “StormWatch” issue 24 by H.K. Proger, Renato Arlem, and Joe Pimentel

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 28 & 29

This entry covers “StormWatch” volume one issues 28 and 29 by Jeff Mariotte, Ron Lim, and Robert Jones, and of course the “Fuji” backup story from issue 29 by Barbara Kesel, Mike S. Miller, and Randy Elliot.

StormWatch_v1_028What we have here is two really interesting issues of “StormWatch.” To be honest, it really feels like they’re trying to reboot the series with both a new StormWatch team and a militaristic team of non-superpowered people known as StormForce. It’s an odd road to go down, throwing a lot of new characters at the readers once the last big story arc ended and we finally got Jackson King back.

This story revolves around the Dr. Martin Krug. He’s not only cooking up horrible viruses, but he’s also creating superpowered beings, as well as hiring them to cause international incidents that may tip the whole world towards war. Henry Bendix sends StormForce to find Krug’s lab to find his latest virus so that StormWatch and nutralize it as well as create vaccines for it. Bendix sends the new StormWatch team to find a man who set off a bomb in Berlin, who somehow survived that blast. That man is called LittleJohn, and he works for Krug. LittleJohn also has superpowered evil asshole friends named Tripwire, Vise and Jackrabbit who are ready to defend both him and Krug from nosy U.N. strikeforce types.

The new StormWatch team consisting of Swift (fast flying bird-gal), Flint (skin hard as a rock and muscles to match), Comanche (shapeshifter) and Blademaster (uh… a master of blades) go to confront LittleJohn and pals, while a photo-journalist named Nick Chaplin is hired to follow and snap pics of their first adventures. Seems that StormWatch and the U.N. are out for a little good PR after Despot, Spartan and Jackson did a number on NYC a few weeks back.

During the fight in an isolated forest in Germany, Chaplin gets bored and starts to wander. I can see why, seeing a bunch of characters fight that I have zero investment in is kinda boring. In his wandering, he comes across a building. He first thought is to find a way on top of it to get some good distance shots of the super-fight, but once he steps inside he sees that this old farmhouse isn’t exactly what it seems to be. You guessed it, it is the lab of Dr. Krug and he has a lot of failed experiments lying around. Not just that, but he’s got a couple frat guys from I/O telling Chaplin all about how Krug has been helping I/O work on creating superpowered beings for them. Craven, will you stop at nothing to get your own supergroup?

StormWatch_v1_029Eventually, a fight breaks out with Krug and the I/O goons versus Chaplin. For some dumbass reason, Chaplin picks up a beaker full of fluid and threatens to toss it in Krug’s eyes. Krug basically shrugs his shoulders and says “No, you.” and shoots the beaker causing all the liquid to fly into Chaplin’s eyes. The now “blind” Chaplin now has light bending powers and can still kinda see, just not like normal. He’s basically a mash-up of Daredevil and Dazler. He takes out the I/O goons, Dr. Krug and the four jerks that were kicking the ass of the new StormWatch team. He’s given the name Prism and joins StormWatch.

Meanwhile, StormForce does their job, gets the virus sample, captures all the mad scientists for interrogation and destroys the compound killing off all the remaining virus samples. Done so easily. That’s what you get when you send in professionals, no one needs to be bailed out by an accidentally superpowered photo-journalist.

In the backup story, we see Fuji up on the SkyWatch II as it is being built. He encounters a man going by the name or title Black Knight who is either trying to break into SkyWatch II or attach some fancy machinery to the hull. Fuji or course stops him and turns him over to the StormForce personnel on the satellite. Then he looks towards the Earth, recalling why it is all worth fighting for and stating that Fuji’s strength will always be a part of StormWatch.

Continuity Corner:

  • I have to say, not a lot of this new StormWatch team had sticking power outside of Swift and Flint. And even with Flint, she kind of disappeared after “StormWatch” volume two ended until “StormWatch : Team Achilles” started several years later.
  • We do see Blademaster, Comanche, and Prism all get fired in “StormWatch” volume one issue 28, and that’s the last we see of Comanche but the other two do pop up again.
  • Blademaster went deep into comic book limbo before coming back only to die in the first issue of “StormWatch : PHD.” Eventually, his title and blades were taken up by a young woman who would work along with the old StormWatch team in “StormWatch : PHD” and “The Authority : Prime.”
  • The next time we see Prism he’s become a drunk hobo on the streets of Los Angeles in “Hazard” issue 7.
  • StormForce also seemed to have continued on in some fashion but unseen to us comic readers, as they also figure into Blademasters death in “StormWatch : PHD” issue 1. Although this could be a consequence of the slightly altered WildStorm Universe after the end of “Caption Atom : Armageddon.”
  • Seeing as how the name of the operative that Fuji stops is “Black Knight” I think that he might have been an I/O employee. What with their Black Razors, Black Hammers and such. I/O spying on StormWatch, I mean, it’s a thing, it’s why Craven wanted Backlash as a part of StormWatch, makes sense that now that he’s gone and a new satellite is being built that Craven would want to know what’s going on up there still.

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