This entry covers “Grifter” volume one, issues 7 through 10 by Steven T. Seagle, Ryan Benjamin, Cedric Nocon, Roy Martinez, Chuck Gibson, Sandra Hope, Danny Bulanadi and Gerry Alanguilan.
Our old buddy Cole Cash finds himself in Los Angeles. In fact, he’s dropping into the ocean just off of Venice Beach. What’s with this dude and falling into the ocean? Cole comes to and makes friends with a bum named Eddie. While Cole’s getting to know his new buddy a strange handoff is going on in the background, and it isn’t going well.
The handoff is a book. And the book details Los Angeles’ mayor John Thomley’s mismanagement of the subway system fund. A former assistant to the mayor is selling it to the man running against Thomley, Mario Reynaldo, so Reynaldo has blackmail on Thomley, hoping to get him to drop out of the upcoming election. Reynaldo sends a street gang, the Carnivores, who work for him to pick up the book. To stop the exchange of the book, Thomley hires mercenary Serge to snag the book back for him. With all this going on the exchange is getting pretty violent, that’s where Cole steps in.
Not that Cole does a whole lot of good either. He pretty much gets hit with some kind of poisoned bullet that causes him to hallucinate a whole bunch. First, he starts to hallucinate his fight with Serge as a crazy wild west scene. Serge eventually sees that Eddie the bum has ended up with the book as all hell was breaking loose, and manages to get it from Eddie. At the point Eddie goes to hide, Serge takes off to return the book to Thomley and Cole starts to hallucinate seeing Zealot.
Why Zealot? Well, Prayer is also in LA, only she’s looking for vengeance. She’s a tough no nonsense kinda chick who knows her way around a battle. You can see how he could get them confused if he was way way out of his mind. What is Prayer doing here? Turns out Prayer’s sister was an assistant to Mayor Thomley and they had a child out of wedlock together. Thomley then had his assistant killed and aimed to have his daughter in hiding. Prayer means to find this girl, her niece, and goddaughter, and give her a better life. Oh, and Reynaldo already had a reporter killed and has kidnapped this little girl too so he’ll have more leverage over Thomley. Reynaldo, it’s called overkill, but you can’t blame a man for having some backup contingencies.
With the book out of the picture, Prayer goes hunting down Serge and find out what is in the book that Thomley is trying to suppress. Maybe there’s information about her niece in it. Turns out Eddie pulled a fast one and exchanged the much-wanted book with a bible. This amuses no one and serves to piss off Thomley and Serge as they meet up and discover this. It also angers Prayer who is watching this exchange from afar.
Meanwhile, Cole stops seeing things but forgets who he is. He is dragged from where all the action went down and he wakes up in the lair of the Carnivores. He eventually makes it through their initiation and becomes a full-fledged member of the gang. The gang then starts to get ready for the next day, where they will crash the Mayoral debate in Santa Monica and the opening of the new SeaWatch base and present the public with Manda, Thomley’s daughter. While prepping for the day Cole creates a mask… his Grifter mask, and as soon as he puts it on he is in his right head again. Now he just has to find a way out of this mess.
Everything comes to a head at SeaWatch. Thomley has hired his own street gang, the Predators, and tasks them with keeping the Carnivores for trying anything during the debate. We have most of the Carnivores, with Cole and Manda, breaking into the SeaWatch base via the sewer lines. There’s also Serge, now joined by his large pal, Mahkinot who’re are pissed off at Thomley for stiffing them because, well, they didn’t bring him the book they were hired to. Honestly, I’m with Thomley on this one. Oh, and Prayer is there too, to assassinate Thomley. But before everything went down, Eddie approached SeaWatch and met one of the directors of the research project, and handed her the book everyone has been after.
It becomes just a huge mess of violence that ends in both the Mayor and his opponent dead, with only a week until elections. And almost all the gang members in the Carnivores and the Predators dead as well. Manda is saved by Cole when the two of them almost drowned because they were on a submarine as it was launching accidentally from SeaWatch. We are left to assume that Serge and Mahkinot moved on, Prayer took Manda to care for, and the SeaWatch director that was handing around Eddie the Bum presented the book of Thomley’s misdeeds to the media.
Alright, that last part is pretty much a fact. The media suddenly seems to know everything about Manda being Thomley’s illegitimate kid. The Los Angeles police have publicly stated that they’d like to talk to Cole, AKA the masked man that saved Manda, just to see how he was involved in the event. Cole decides to time to start moving towards home and gets a bus headed to Las Vegas. Hey, East is East buddy, and New York is a lot East of Los Angeles, Cole needs to get moving.
- We last saw Prayer when Grifter was fresh off the WildC.A.T.s team in “Grifter: Sneak Peak” from Overwatch’s Fan issue 1.
- The lines that Prayer says as Zealot mostly work for both characters, neat.
- And even though we know better, Cole still thinks that Zealot is dead and gone since “WildStorm Rising” issue 2.
- Serge and Mahkinot will next pop up in “Backlash” 12 – 14, even though I think those books may’ve been published earlier. For either appearance it doesn’t really matter which you read first, I just wanted to get caught up with Cole because we haven’t seen him in so long.
- At the SeaWatch opening, the local press talks about the trouble that StormWatch is going through. That being the whole SkyWatch crashing and the U.N. being partially destroyed.
- Seeing SeaWatch made me realize that there is no real Aquaman/Namor analogue in the WildStorm Universe. Sure, we have characters with water-based powers, and there’s even Atlantis where Slayton’s pop was king. But no real “Lord of the Seas” kinda guy.