Tag Archives: Henry Bendix

“Fire from Heaven” Chapters 9 – 11

This entry covers “Fire from Heaven” Chapters 9 through 11, which include “Gen13” volume two issue 11, “Backlash” issue 20 and “Wetworks” volume one issue 17 by J. Scott Campbell, Brandon Choi, Jim Lee, Brett Booth, Sean Ruffner, Jonathan Peterson, Terry Shoemaker, Melvin Rubi, Cedric Nocon, Saleem Crawford, Richard Friend, Alex Garner, Tom McWeeney, Tom Raney, Luke Rizzo, John Tighe, Mark Pennington, Art Thibert and Chuck Gibson.

gen13_v2_011Well, here we are again, covering the massive “Fire from Heaven” crossover! Here’s some good news, these three issues are pretty much told in real time, chapter by chapter. No more rewinding to find out how who got where just straightforward storytelling. But I have some bad news… it lasts for a few more issues after this. Then it gets back to the whole “all these issues are happening at once” tactic. Enjoy this streamlined ride while you can!

When we last left Team 7 and Gen13 they were in a big fight against Damocles and his pals, being backed up by Kaizen with the Minotaur and his cronies, and we just saw Ethan, Dr. Tsung, and Michael Cray teleport away with Qeelocke.  It’s a bit too much for our heroes and they all get captured by Kaizen and detained. Before Kaizen can take them for himself, StormForce shows up to help and monitor the prisoners. Jackson King gets into an argument with Kaisen stating that because they were called to help, StormWatch is gonna help, and that means they take the prisoners.

In the detention center, things get a little more… well personal. Jodi is excited to see Amanda again, and Team 7 is happy to see Dane holding up. Alex Fairchild puts two and two together and realizes that Caitlyn is his daughter. They have a nice little moment until Grunge asks about his dad and Alex starts to tell him about how they smuggled the kids out of the country. This is when Lynch gets crazy mad because he just realized that it was Alex who kidnapped his son and sent him off, lost forever. Well, not entirely forever, as Alex tells Lynch that Bobby is his son. Whoa! Too much information and Lynch passes out.

ImNotCryingYoureCrying

Meanwhile, Damocles starts to put a few things together about this universe. While his motivations remain a mystery to the reader and those around him, Damocles kidnaps Victoria and Celia Tsung. Once the Tsung women are on the moon with him he calls for his doomsday device to be activated, just for a test run. It’s basically a huge rocket engine on the moon, and his plan is to smash the moon into the Earth and use the released energy to teleport him to another universe. Again. He seems to do something like this a lot from what we can gather. Anyway, like I said it was a test, so you know, the stars of these books still have plenty of time to get to the moon and stop him before he is for realzies about this moon missile plan.

Oh, and these three things happen. All of the WildCATs except for Spartan are immediately caught and thrown in the same prison as the rest. DV8 are wandering the woods of Gamorra and manage to secretly escape the island. Jackson King is starting to think that something is up, and is not comfortable holding so many good men and women hostage.

backlash_020Back in the main narrative, we see Slayton and the Cybernary starting to check out the prison compound where the rest of our story antagonists are located. They are quickly joined by Spartan. Suddenly they are under attack by Aries and a bunch of Hunter-Killers, and they unleash their most terrifying weapon of all: Evil Mind-Controlled Pimped Out CyberJack. Slayton can’t believe his eyes, or his ears as Jack isn’t talking with anything but his fists. Luckily Union shows up to even the odds out a bit.

The fight between Slayton and CyberJack is massive and eventually leads us right into the prison. All this destruction and distraction turns out to be a good thing as is leaves massive holes in the walls and dead HK guards making for an easier exit for all the captives. At one point Flashpoint tries to stop them all, but he’s met with a knock-out mind ray from Jackson King. Seriously, Jackson is really getting sick of his shit. Slayton manages a few good blows to CyberJack that momentarily give old Rhodes back his mind. Jack tells them all to clear out, he knows what Kaizen is going to do and wants them all safe. What is Kaizen going to do? Well, detonate a bomb in CyberJack’s cortex. Yeah… devastating. All our heroes manage to get free as they take a quick minute to mourn the loss of a friend and ally.

PourOneOutForJack

wetworks_v1_017Alright, everyone, it’s time for the team up of the WildStorm decade! Pretty much all their characters are together (save StormWatch) on the way to punish Kaizen Gamorra as a group! Seeing them in such a big mass together, sneaking around Gamorra, interacting with each other is a trip! This is the kinda thing that makes comics so fun. Well fun for me, the reader, not so much the characters. This trek isn’t so easy. In fact, at one point they all get surrounded by some new high-tech attack drones. While the fight seems all but lost, there’s a sudden save from a massive (and I do mean massive) Dozer from Wetworks being dropped like a machine gun blazin’ bomb. He saves the day and everyone soldiers on.

HeyaDozer

Back on the moon, Damocles readies his weapon for reals. That’s right, it’s time to shoot the moon right into the Earth. It’s go time! And of course, that means things going haywire on Earth again. We have more earthquakes! We have volcanos erupting! And we have an even bigger big ass wave headed towards the island of Gamorra! Could all our heroes be wiped out by the wave before they get to Kaizen? If the wave takes them out but also Kaizen is that a good thing? Wait, why am I worried about this huge wave THE FRIKKIN’ MOON IS ON A COLLISION COURSE WITH EARTH!

Continuity Corner:

  • The first few pages of “Gen13” volume two issue 11 here is the only real retread we get of what we’ve seen before. It gives us a nice J. Scott Campbell 2 page spread of the end of the fight, this time branching off to see what is going on in Gamorra instead of following Ethan, Dr. Tsung and Cray to California.
  • We currently don’t know much about the Gen-Active child smuggling that Alex was involved in just yet, but we’ll find out all about it in the “Gen12” series.
  • Too bad The Bleed had yet to be officially “found” in the WildStorm Universe, could’ve saved Damocles a lot of time and effort.
  • While we don’t see an official meet up the Wetworks team being imprisoned with the rest. Those characters are suddenly there, in jail. I think a page or two could’ve been spared to address this… maybe even a single panel.

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

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“Fire from Heaven” Chapters 4 – 6

This entry covers “Fire from Heaven” chapters 4 through 6, which include “Wetworks” volume one issue 16, “StormWatch” volume one issue 35 and “Sigma” issue 2 by Jonathan Peterson, Drew Bitner, Brandon Choi, Cedric Nocon, Renato Arlem, Randy Green, Chuck Gibson, Danny Bulanadi, Jose Pimentel and Sal Regla.

wetworks_v2_016Welcome back to the ongoing coverage of “Fire from Heaven” here at Weathering WildStorm. The thing about this crossover is is that it seems to jump around in time a lot more often than I remember. A lot of times we have books that are trying to present to us how their main characters got involved in the mess on Gamorra. So that’s not really a big deal if we keep rewinding in time to find out what certain groups were up to before they join a big fight with the other characters. Other times there’s some through stories that aren’t adding up correctly and that’s the kind of thing I point out in the “Continuity Corner” at the bottom. Right now the big fight everyone is heading to is in Kaizen’s lab where he’s just awoken his greatest feat, the Gen-Omega!

But first, there’s trouble on the moon! The Sword and several of Damocles’ crew are attacking the StormWatch moon base. They are trying to secure even more power to fully bring Damocles to this universe. Not only are they doing that, but they’re also readying a gigantic pulse cannon to fire at SkyWatch II! Yeah, this sure isn’t StormWatch’s day. SkyWatch II gets blasted, and it isn’t too terrible except for their communications array. They only end up being cut off from the Earthbound teams for a short time, but for a few pages there it could’ve been big big trouble!

Time to talk about “Wetworks”. This book doesn’t feel like it wants to be part of this crossover. It seems like “Fire from Heaven” is just getting in the way of the story they want to tell in that book. Now I’m not saying that “WildC.A.T.s” doesn’t encounter this to a small degree, but that book doesn’t go out of its way to show off far too much stuff that doesn’t relate to the overarching crossover. “Wetworks” just… well, they show us Armond Waering going to a party. We also see a population of fish people that aren’t too happy about what’s going on among the Night Tribes. Also, the team doesn’t do much before they decide to escape to find Dane after Mr. Waering takes off. Oh, we do see Mother One mack on Grail. Alright sure, finding out that Mr. Waering has a business rival is kind of cool, and we finally get full on confirmation of Waering being a werewolf, but man, those both could’ve waited until after the crossover. I want to see how the rest of the Wetworks team managed to find out where Dane was and how they snuck their way on to Gamorra, and that stuff is all sidestepped… frowny face is me.

stormwatch_v1_035Speaking of Dane, we catch back up to him and Amanda run from a StormWatch jet trailing them. They lose the jet by jumping off a waterfall. The StormWatch operatives must’ve never seen an action movie because they swear both Dane and Amanda couldn’t survive that drop and they fly off. Dane and Amanda are of course fine and after they come to they are confronted by a bunch of hunter-killers. After making short work of the HKs they run into Jackson King, who after a hard fight, including Amanda going super nuts, sees King best them and take them both into captivity.

TurncoatMageeElsewhere on the island, we see Flashpoint getting some drinks at a local bar. While he’s having a pint he’s recognized by Brutus of the Mercs. Brutus is still pissed about Flashpoint having killed Kilgore right before the last big WildStorm crossover. A fight breaks out, and Flashpoint is the eventual winner. Razor then shows up and starts to make out with Flashpoint!? What the heck? Turns out Flashpoint is working with the Mercs, but not all the Mercs know, just Razor and Deathtrap apparently. Flashpoint tells Razor that he needs to meet with Deathtrap soon.

Alright, before we get to our next few big happenings, here’s a few small things that have happened over the course of these issues. Slayton and Cybernary agree to join forces to take out Kaizen Gamorra. Fahrenheit, Cannon, and Battalion all wonder when Winter will be well and what happened to him. We check in with Ethan’s nerd friend hanging out with Ethan’s jock friend while they get coffee and are gawked at by the ladies. And finally, without telling us how, Wetworks finally arrives on Gamorra.

sigma_002Outside of Kaizen’s compound Bobby, Jodi and Aries arrive. Aries is expecting Kaizen’s guards to take out Bobby and Jodi but is surprised to see them all dead. It seems the DV8 crew did a pretty good job as they gained entry. Once inside Bobby finds his friends and joins the fight immediately. Jodi, unsure of what to do, let’s Aries go, as he actually ended up helping them get to where they wanted to be. While Aries walks right out the front door, Alex Fairchild and Capt. Lucius Morgan walk right in and join the fight alongside their Team 7 pals.

While we have all this action with Team 7 and Gen13 fighting the DV8 crew, there’s still a matter of what is going on in the basement, and that’s a Gen-Omega Craven! Fortunately, it is having no luck taking down Ethan, Dr. Tsung or Secret Agent Maggie, even w/ LeGauche’s help. Cray comes to even the score, but the fight doesn’t last too much longer. The Gen-Omega Craven starts to deteriorate. Craven claims this is because Kaizen forgot to account for the virus in Slayton’s Gen-Factor. The reborn Craven burns away into nothing and Ethan absorbs the Gen-Factor into his own body. Dr. Tsung reveals that Ethan is the source of all the Gen-Factor in the world. He said his original plan was to get some of the Gen-Factor out into the world to give superpowers to various people so they can help stop the madman he dreams about. But it was taking too long, so he redoubled his efforts into making Ethan the strongest and best wielder of the Gen-Factor so that he can single-handedly defeat Damocles.

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Around this time The Sword and his minions have generated enough power to bring Damocles to the moon. Once there Danocles feels an overwhelming source of Gen-Factor on Earth and knows it to be his mortal enemy, Sigma AKA Ethan. He gets to Earth to find Kaizen hiding from all that is going on. After a quick scan of Kaizen’s mind to find out where Sigma is, he goes to confront Ethan, Dr. Tsung and Secret Agent Maggie in Kaizen’s basement lab.

DamoclesArrives

Continuity Corner:

  • We have a page out of no where of Lucius and Alex parachuting… wait Lucius and Alex are parachuting? Into where? We’ve already seen them on Gamorra twice! Once at the end of “Gen13” volume two issue 9 and in issue 10. If they needed to cross the island there has to be plenty of easier ways than to fly up in controlled airspace and parachute! I mean their pilot got vaporized right after they jumped out of the plane! They could’ve easily gotten to where they needed to go without that risk.
  • Lucius ever the cool dad tells Rainmaker that Daphne says hello, remembering their bond from “Gen13” volume two issue 5.
  • So Lucius is Team 7? We saw in “Gen13” volume two issue 10 that guy Pigmy calls him and Alex Team 7, but also that guy also didn’t know Alex, meaning he only really knows that Lucius was Team 7. Then when they join in the fight, all the other Team 7 dudes know him. Also, that’s when we find out Lucius has powers too. Oh, there was also that giant 7 on his pirate boat… At any rate, it’s odd they never retconned him into any of the old stories somehow. They still had the “Gen12” book to finally squeeze him in with and they didn’t even take the opportunity.
  • When Craven’s Gen-Omega body is burning up he blames Kaizen for not accounting for the virus in Slayton’s Gen-Factor. Is it not a virus, is it due to Slayton being Kherubim, so he has different blood? Did Kaizen not notice this because [SERIOUS SPOILER THAT WE’RE SO CLOSE TO GETTING TO FINALLY REVEAL]?

NEXT: “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.

 

“Fire from Heaven” Chapters 1 – 3

This entry covers “Fire from Heaven” chapters 1 through 3 which include “Fire from Heaven” issue 1, “Backlash” issue 19 and “Gen13” volume two issue 10 by Alan Moore, Sean Ruffner, Brett Booth, Brandon Choi, J. Scott Campbell, Jim Lee, Ryan Benjamin, Ryan Odagawa, Chuck Gibson, Richard Friend, Mark Irwin, Mark Pennington, Alex Garner, JD, Tom McWeeney and Scott Williams

firefromheaven_001Ok, now it is time for us to properly get this crossover started! We see StormWatch making their presence known on the island nation of Gamorra. The leader of this island is Kaizen Gamorra, and he’s mixed up in researching the Gen-Factor. While this is usually enough to get Team 7 involved, they have more reason after finding out he’s been working with their former boss Miles Craven, the man who recently had the Gen-Factor extracted from many former Team 7 members. Kaizen knows that Team 7 will be coming for him, so he’s requested StormWatch to come and protect him from the rebels that threaten him. Little does StormWatch know that the rebels aren’t actually all that bad once you consider Kaizen, and that Team 7 and the Gen13 kids aren’t really part of the Gamorra rebel group, they’re just concerned citizens trying to find their friends and family that have been captured by Kaizen and the Bountyhunters. Yeah, the Bountyhunters and Kaizen have struck up a shaky alliance. Hey, it’s a cross-over, pretty much every major player in the WildStorm Universe is tied-in somehow, that’s the whole point!

While Team 7 and Gen13, along with Ethan and Secret Agent Maggie, are on their way to Gamorra, their jet gets shot. While the jet is going down Slayton, Bobby and Dane get into an escape pod and safely land far from the rest of the team. Yeah, even though their flight plan was changed due to a frickin’ laser from space, Cole, Caitlin, Grunge, Sarah, Lynch, Cray, Ethan and Secret Agent Maggie manage to survive the landing. While getting their bearings on the beach they are attacked by Flashpoint, Cannon, and Fahrenheit of StormWatch. Depending on which book you read (“Fire from Heaven” issue 1 or “Gen13” volume two issue 10) shows you a different outcome to the fight. Either way, the fight is resolved and StormWatch moves on.

BeachFight

Before we check in with the trio in the escape pod, we first need to catch up with a few other characters. To this end we see Jodi and Amanda looking for leads on where CyberJack might be. While lurking they see and are squicked out by, Ivana and the DV8 kids, who are on Gamorra because Ivana found out about the clone of Ethan, and she wants it. Eventually, Jodi and Amanda end up in a bar where they overhear from Kaizen’s right-hand man Aries, that Team 7 is on the island. They take off, hoping to find Slayton, before Aries, the Minotaur or his goons see them.

backlash_019Now back to Marc, Bobby, and Dane, who get separated from the rest of their crew when their plane was shot down by a frikkin’ space laser! The boys argue a bit while the girls are catching up to them. Just as suddenly as Jodi and Amanda get to Bobby, Dane, and Marc they are joined by Aries, the Minotaur, Borgia and a number of hunter-killers.

Our heroes seem to make short work of the bad guys before an earthquake occurs. Turns out this earthquake is over a volcano and magma starts pushing itself up to the surface. At this point, Bobby grabs Jodi and Aries and flies off, Marc tosses Amanda to Dane and a font of magma flies up between Marc and the rest knocking him over. Fearing him for dead Amanda and Dane mournfully move on. But come on, nothing like that could kill ole Backlash! Truth be told, he his holding on for dear life on the edge of a cliff hoping not to drop when Cybernary comes to save the day! She’d been watching the brawl, and anyone who’s against Kaizen and his crew are friends to her.

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Back in New York, we are seeing the WildC.A.T.s team start to splinter. Zannah leaving the team to follow Cole to Gamorra and we have Pris and Jacob straight up leaving everything. The new team wants the old team to stay behind and help out with the crime war, but Zannah isn’t hearing it.

We get one quick page of seeing what Kaizen has done to CyberJack after all his time on this island. He’s more Cyber than Jack now and has seemed to have lost his personality. Kaizen’s plan is to turn Jack on his old friends… uh oh!

Up on SkyWatch II, Henry Bendix is sensing some crazy shit going on behind the moon. It looks like the Bountyhunters are using some crazy tech to open a portal for Damocles to come through. All this power so close to the moon is also starting to affect the tides on Earth.

gen13_v2_010Back down on Gamorra Alex Fairchild and Lucius Morgan are combing this island for info about what’s going on. They eventually find out pretty much everything on their first try! That Team 7 killed Craven, that Team 7 is on the island, and that Kaizen is keeping a hostage, that of a Team 7 child. The duo surmises that Team 7 is on Gamorra to kill Kaizen and they head off to join their old friends.

Ivana wants that Gen-Omega so her and the DV8 kids are breaking into Kaizen’s compound through the front gates. While a slight annoyance to Kaizen, he isn’t too worried. He just decides it is time to awaken the Gen-Omega a little ahead of schedule. What could it hurt, it’s probably what they’re after anyway. As Dr. Tsung and Roxy talk about how they each ended up on Kaizen’s floor in chains, their friends in Team 7 and Gen13 are sneaking in the back door.

Meanwhile, Jodi and Bobby get to know Aries. Well not really. All they know is that he’s their key to getting to Kaizen and that his and Jodi’s powers go all wonky when they get too close to each other. Aries reluctantly agrees to take them to Kaizen.

BadAssBobby

Back to Berkley for a quick page to see Colby and Alicia leave the Tsung ladies to go back to work at I/O. Mrs. Tsung and Celia are devastated by what they’re seeing on the news about Gamorra but know that Colby and Alicia could do more good back at the newly Craven-free I/O.

In Gamorra there’s less good news. Team 7 and Gen13 reach Dr. Tsung and Roxy and before anyone can celebrate too much Ivana and the DV8 kids burst into the same room. Predictably a fight is on! It doesn’t go too well for the DV8 kids, and it seems that Ethan is the secret weapon, as he even took down Threshold! During the fight, Ethan starts to feel woozy, and Dr. Tsung thinks it might have something to do with the Gen-Omega coming online. Ethan, Dr. Tsung and Secret Agent Maggie head down the same corridor that Kaizen disappeared into earlier. They arrive at the Gen-Omega pod just in time to meet it… the reborn Miles Craven! In a fresh new body, complete with the Gen-Factor stolen from Team 7. This… this is gonna be trouble!

RebornCraven

Continuity Corner:

  • Jesus, is Hellstrike miscolored here! I mean they even allude to his “jade glow” later and still managed to miscolor him for pages! Which colorist and editor were asleep at the wheel for this one?
  • Speaking of, seeing Frostbite and Evo in DV8 colored as pale white guys gives me the heeby-jeebies! It just looks so very very wrong!
  • We’ll see an expanded version of the WildCATs scene from “Fire from Heaven” issue 1 in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 29.
  • At the end of “Fire from Heaven” issue 1 we see Hunter-Killers move in on the Team 7/Gen13 crew after StormWatch has subdued them and leaves. When we get to “Gen13” volume two issue 10 we never see that scene. We have Team 7 and Gen13 kicking the StormWatch boy’s asses and then moving to Kaizen’s place after Fahrenheit takes Flashpoint and Cannon away.
  • One of the reasons I always forget that Minotaur has a horse-body is because sometimes he doesn’t! Like in the bar in “Backlash” issue 19. I figure that Minotaur must be mostly cybernetic and any of his organic parts left are must be in his upper body so that he can just mount himself on either robot-horse legs or robot-human legs, his choice on how centaur-like he feels in the morning. This would also explain how easily he can replace his left arm after Slayton lops it off.
  • Cray mentions the sneaky way into Kaizen’s place cost a friend of his their life, I assume he means Mai-Li T’Sung from “Deathblow” volume one issue 19.
  • An odd bit of continuity here with the Bountyhunters in chapters 2 and 3. In “Backlash” issue 19 (Chapter 2) we see them already on the moon getting the portal ready for Damocles. In “Gen13” volume two issue 10 (Chapter 3) we see the Bountyhunters with Kaizen, then they leave to go to the moon. I have to figure these events are happening at the same time, because later on in the “Gen13” issue we see Bobby with Jodi and Aries. If we wanted to get super picky I’d say that “Backlash” issue 19 should be read after the first 10 pages of “Gen13” volume two issue 10, right after the Bountyhunters attack the StormWatch members on the moon. But man… that’d be super convoluted, even for me!

NEXT: “Fire from Heaven” chapters 3 through 5, which include “Wetworks” volume one issue 16, “StormWatch” volume one issue 35 and “Sigma” issue 2 by Jonathan Peterson, Drew Bitner, Brandon Choi, Cedric Nocon, Renato Arlem, Randy Green, Chuck Gibson, Danny Bulanadi, Jose Pimentel and Sal Regla

“Fire from Heaven” Prelude

This entry covers “Fire from Heaven” issue 1/2 and the “Fire from Heaven” Prelude parts 1 through 3, which include “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.

firefromheaven_halfTime for the great big never-ending WildStorm crossover known as Fire from Heaven! This crossover is long… very long! Fourteen official chapters, a three issue prelude, a three issue finale, an almost unconnected preview type issue and an unofficial coda in “Deathblow” volume one issue 29. For those keeping count, reading the full story is 21 and a half issues of comics. That’s a LOT of story, so let’s get into the “Prelude” to it all, starting with that weird half issue I mentioned above.

We open on our first of four short stories in this half issue with Kaizen Gamorra admiring the major city of Gamorra, known as Zodome. Turns out Kaizen has no time to lollygag, as there’s science trouble down in the Gen-Lab. Kaizen has his scientists working on Gen-Active individuals, trying to figure out what makes them tick. But, for the final test, of the undefined goal, the latest Gen-Active guinea pig explodes. Leaving Kaizen upset and down a few scientists.

Meanwhile, across the Pacific Ocean in Berkley, CA, we encounter a pickup game of basketball. We have four kids playing with only one of them named. I’m pretty sure one of them is supposed Ethan McCain, who we saw in a page of “Gen13”. The guy who I think is Ethan sinks a three pointer by unknowingly using his powers and we move on to our next short story.

StormWatch is getting set up with all the military hardware they can think of! Every nation on the globe is willing to sink more personnel and weaponry into the StormWatch program. Good for Bendix, but will it be good for everyone else? We also check in on the moon based StormWatch members! Yay, looks like the StormWatch moon base got rebuilt after Argos wrecked it!

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The final story before we get to the “Prelude” proper is introducing our big-bads for the crossover. They are Damocles and The Sword. A bunch of mercenary bounty hunters (unrelated to The Mercs, but kinda related to The Bountyhunters) has found an Earth in an alternate dimension. The kind that both The Sword and his master Damocles have been asking about. This pleases Damocles, for now, he has found his next target! Oh yeah, this Earth is the WildStorm Earth, if you didn’t see where this was going, I really can’t help you.

thesword_001It’s time for us to better get to know these villains! First, we see The Sword and he’s got company. These four are a bit familiar to us, they’re The Bountyhunters that faced off with Gen13 a few issues ago. They’re there letting him know they failed to get the Qeelocke. It’s a big deal. The Sword’s boss Damocles needs easier ways to hop from dimension to dimension, and a Qeelocke would be much more effective. Currently, only The Sword can easily skip around from universe to universe, the other means of transfer gates personally offend Damocles and thus are only to be used sparingly.

Damocles lets The Sword and the Bountyhunters know that on the latest new Earth that they’ve found, there are creatures with Gen-Factor. That mean only one thing, there’s a representation of Damocles’ greatest enemy there; Sigma. Sigma apparently destroyed the world, as well as Damocles’ family. Damocles isn’t sure if they’ve found a different version of Sigma, or if it is the same Sigma that ruined everything for him. He tells The Sword to forget the Qeelocke, go to this new world and find Sigma.

The Sword and The Bountyhunters wind up in Gamorra following on a Gen-Factor hunt. You see, after another failed Gen-Factor science mishap, this time a clone of Sigma, Kaizen has unwittingly sent up a telltale sign to The Sword that Gen-Factor shenanigans are going on over here. The crew Sword-ports to Gamorra and confronts him. Kaizen, ever the smoothy, tells The Sword to learn more about the Gen-Factor that he needs to hunt down our old pal Dr. Tsung in San Francisco and bring him back to Gamorra. Oh, also, before that, Kaizen recommends that The Sword take out Winter in NYC. Kaizen lets The Sword know that Winter is the only real threat he’d have on this planet, so it’s best to get him out of the way first.

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You little stinker Kaizen! You’ve got quite the double cross going on here.

In a crazy turn of events, The Sword was able to take down Winter. That’s not good! Now he’s on his way to meet up with the rest of The Bountyhunters and their raid on Dr. Tsung’s house. Oh man, is this fake plan actually working for them?

sigma_001Okay, rewind back to before The Sword and pals are busting through the side of Dr. Tsung’s house. We meet Ethan McCain and he is having a hell of a day at college. Spilling acid on himself, contemplating joining a frat and watching the gal he has a crush on hanging out with a bigger oafish guy. All that and he’s being followed by some secret agent chick.

Once he gets back at home Ethan is involved in some kind of VR experiment with his adoptive dad. That dad just happens to be Dr. Tsung! Whaaaaa? I guess these are some kind of tests to open up Ethan’s Gen-Factor potential, but I’m really not sure. Dr. Tsung has also been pulling visuals from his nightmares to plug into the VR environment to test Ethan. One of these enemy combatants looks an awful lot like Damocles! Just as the test ends Dr. Tsung’s house is invaded by a bunch of Hunter-Killers sent by Kaizen. Ethan reacts on instinct and manages to fire some kind of multi-phasic energy blast! It works! Ethan has real powers! And it might be enough to take out some HKs, but suddenly he’s staring down The Sword and he knows things are only going to get harder!

deathblow_v1_026There’s really no time to worry for Ethan and Dr. Tsung as Team 7 arrives with Gen13 to try and even the odds/save the day. Oh, don’t forget that secret agent chick, too! Her name is Maggie Monroe and she’s there to protect Ethan and the doc. In a case of too little, too late The Sword manages to capture Dr. Tsung and the Bountyhunters nab Qeelocke and then ‘port back to Gamorra. Roxy jumps into the portal to save Qeelocke and ends up in Gamorra with Dr. Tsung and most of the bad guys for this arc. We also find out that Maggie was hired by Cray’s father to always watch out for and protect Dr. Tsung and Ethan as long as Miles Craven lives. With Craven dead, she thinks she’s out of a job, but after what she’s seen, she knows she needs to team up with this group of near strangers to save Dr. Tsung from Kaizen.

Back in Gamorra, Kaizen lets it slip to LeGauche that he’s planning to bring Craven back to life. Also, he contracts LeGauche to do a job for him while he’s in between masters. LeGauche teams up with Minotaur and his goons to murder a handful of United Nations members while they’re touring Zodome. The idea is to frame the rebels, such as Cybernary and her group, and have StormWatch come to Gamorra to protect Kaizen from anyone that could stop him from his ultimate goal of creating a Gen-Omega!

protectandswerve

Continuity Corner:

  • “Fire from Heaven” issue 1/2 might be able to have been read between issues 24 and 25 of “Deathblow” volume one. The science “accident” Kaizen had could account for the break in the connection that Craven experienced.
  • Man, that basketball scene in “Fire from Heaven” 1/2… Like I said, I’m pretty sure the blond kid is Ethan but you wouldn’t know it from the art or the fact and no one calls him by his name. Seriously, the only person named is the redhead girl, Laurie. Also, I think the woman that gets hit by the basketball is the secret agent Maggie Monroe who was hired to follow and protect Ethan, despite her looking nothing like what we see in “Sigma” issue 1.
  • We see Team 7 and Gen13 in “Sigma” issue 1, they’re on a plane that is called “a commandeered I/O stealth transport.” Later we’ll come to find that the jet wasn’t procured from I/O, it was taken from the WildC.A.T.s by Cole. That doesn’t keep it from being a plane that was built by I/O as we all know that Jacob had access to that kind of stuff. At least I think that’s what’s happening in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 29. Either that or no one told Alan at the time where Cole was supposed to be and he wrote that before he was informed and then wrote “Fire from Heaven” issue 1.

NEXT: “Fire from Heaven” issue 1, “Backlash” issue 19 and “Gen13” volume two issue 10 by Alan Moore, Sean Ruffner, Brett Booth, Brandon Choi, J. Scott Campbell, Jim Lee, Ryan Benjamin, Ryan Odagawa, Chuck Gibson, Richard Friend, Mark Irwin, Mark Pennington, Alex Garner, JD, Tom McWeeney and Scott Williams

“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

“Union” Vol. 2 issues 7 – 9 and “Union : Final Vengeance”

This entry covers “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.

union_v1_007Jill is unhappy with Union. Union keeps ignoring Jill to fight crime. Jill gets more fed up and leaves his ass for a stranger she met in an alley one day. That stranger saved her from some thugs. This stranger? Oh, he’s just Regent, the bad guy from Aegena, where he and Union grew up. Yup, that Regent! Turns out Mr. Douchebag engineered the whole alley attack on Jill thing just to steal her and then beat Union’s ass. Really, when you do that, you know you’re the bad guy, right Regent? There’s no possible way you thought you were doing something positive right? But to be fair, Regent seems pretty a-ok with his evilness. Dude is owning it!

And by owning it, I mean really mean owning it! You see, Regent has killed Union’s best friend Maikone! Then he kicked Union’s booty and paraded it around NYC for a few hours before taking Union’s unconscious body and tossing it into the sea. Sounds like a real bastard, no? Not only that but like every good villain Regent monologues like a real sonuvabitch, revealing that Union really didn’t kill all those Directorate soldiers back in Chichester. That was just a failsafe that went off when Regent’s pop died. A failsafe that Regent put into his own dad’s justice stone! Union only survived because he was in the eye of the storm, so to speak.

While Union is chilling at the bottom of the ocean, we find out that Regent has not only kidnapped Jill, but he’s also kidnapped Union’s former main squeeze from back home, Eliya. He’s holding both of them captive on his secret hidden base, in outer freakin’ space! Eventually, Union’s justice stone wakes him and leads him to said space base. That’s when all hell breaks loose!

union_v1_008-009_and_Final

Union goes in hot, and after a rocky start is holding his own against Regent. Meanwhile, Eliya and Jill get loose from the cages Regent was holding them in. Regent decides he’s not going to stand for a lowly Protectorate beating him up, so he tries to implant a second justice stone on this body! This just gives him more than he knows what to do with and Regent just starts blasting everything, resulting in ripping his satellite of loserdom apart. In the middle of this Regent tries to teleport away, but due to the doubled up justice stones he becomes some kind of portal/gate/black hole and sucks up everything, including Eliya, right in front of Union and Jill, who remain unharmed and unsucked up.

Union and Jill return to Earth and decide to live off the fake rich playboy life that Regent had constructed for himself. It’s not much, but it’s all they have except each other. And with these two, it’s a guess on how long that’s going to last.

Continuity Corner:

  • Not only was Union not paying attention to Jill when he should have, but he’s also been blowing off StormWatch and he got a real dressing down from Bendix for not being around when he’s needed.
  • The first few pages of issue 9 we are introduced to Data Assimilation Bureau of I/O consisting of Agents Kroger and Hanley and they both report to Director Sterling. I’m not sure we ever see these characters again. But if I’m wrong, let me know! They also refer to Director Rios and we’ll see him again in a lot of upcoming books. First in “Black Ops” but soon after that in pretty much any book that deals with I/O because he becomes the new director (until Ivana manages to steal that position from him.)
  • Union makes a big comeback in “Fire from Heaven” which in all actuality was published well before “Union : Final Vengeance.” “Final Vengeance” had several delays but indeed was set before “Fire from Heaven” according to the final letter collum.
  • Jill, however, we’re not going to see again. Maybe she finally left Union’s ass for good and that’s the reason for the despondency that leads to his suicide in “the Authority” volume one issue 21.
  • Also, I don’t recall that we ever see the final fate of Eliya and Regent. Which is a shame as I liked Eliya a lot and would have loved to see the proposed “Union” relaunch with her at the center.
  • During his fight with Regent, Union loses his staff. Don’t worry, he’ll steal one off of his alternate universe doppelganger The Sword in “Fire from Heaven.” Hrm… having an evil dude’s staff in your justice stone… maybe this is also something that leads to Union’s horrible last moments.

NEXT: “Cybernary” volume one issues 2 through 5 and “Cybernary : the Price” by Steve Gerber, Jeff Mariotte, Jeff Rebner, Richard Friend and John Tighe