Tag Archives: Henry Bendix

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 15 – 17

this entry covers the main stories in “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 15 through 17, including the backup story “Loose Cannon : Part 1″ in issue 17

StormWatchVol1_15-17Alright, here’s how it all comes down, Battalion’s death, step one in StormWatch and the WildC.A.T.s turned against each other and Defile getting pretty proud of himself. Seriously, I wish there was a lot more to say about these three issues, but that’s basically it. Either that or I’m off my game after missing last week’s entry due to severe drunkenness (I’m of Irish, Scottish and German descent, we’re also Roman Catholic, and it was a family wedding, held in Denver, Colorado, with the reception at a brewery, you try to tell me how I was supposed to escape that weekend sober!)

Ok, we have Defile siccing a huge purple monster, with a time bomb strapped to him on Hawai’i. The intent is to reactivate the Mauna Loa volcano, which not only will wipe out the Big Island but will also mess up the other Hawai’ian islands, as well as the honeymoon plans of several young couples. This cannot stand! And because it is a big purple monster, the only team to call is StormWatch.

What I like about the away team here, is it is pretty much “StormWatch Classic” plus a few. We have Battalion, Diva, Fuji, Winter and Hellstrike all together on a mission again, the first since issue 6 I believe. We also have Fahrenheit, Cannon and Strafe along for the ride. So yeah, they’re fighting this big purple monster, with horns on his back… wait, these character traits seem awfully familiar… Battalion eventually rips the bomb off the monster, and the monster passes out. He then protects himself in one of his psychically projected bubbles, says the bad ass line of “Tell Malcolm I love him” and the bomb explodes in the bubble only killing him and sparing the volcano.

Oh yeah, and Timespan shows up to watch this apparent suicide. He also ends up pissing off Diva, because he’s only really there to stall her and prevent her from doing anything to alter Battalion from blowing himself the damn up. Timespan then teleports back to shortly after the 3rd Crusade and the Traveler shows up and they fight. He manages to escape in time again. It says he’s in “New York City, four months ago” but I’m not sure if that’s a reference to his first appearance or just to another time that he hung out to heal before he first confronted Battalion.

During the fall out of Battalion’s death, we see the team in disarray. Strafe is acting out until his mama sets him straight. Cannon is getting to be a big baby again because his girlfriend got the job he wanted, which leads him to quit StormWatch altogether. And Diva and Christine are having a hard time dealing with it all together. Eventually, there’s a funeral and even Henry Bendix shows up. But the big reveal is after the funeral when we see Argos show up to the grave and act all super villain like.

Continuity Corner:

  • The big purple monster? Yeah, that’s Maul from WildC.A.T.s. Defile made him look a bit different, but not too much. He’s still big, purple and has horns on his back. This is why Mr. White was posing as Maul in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 15 and 16. Defile is just sowing the seeds to make sure the two teams hate each other. Having a member of one team inadvertently kill the beloved leader of the other team would do it!
  • The Traveler’s name is Nadia? In “Gen13” issue 1/2 (“Backlist” trade version) she says her name was Loran. Wait, are there two “The Travelers?” To be fair, when Loran shows up she does say she’s only a traveler, so maybe there are several Travelers out to stop Timespan.
  • Why call StormWatch about this huge purple monster? Well, I’ll admit, this is something that works better once the WildStorm Universe is taken out of the greater Image Universe because the WSU does not have a lot of traditional superheroes. The WildC.A.T.s by their very definition are covert, as are WetWorks, the Gen13 kids are on the lam, Union works for StormWatch on an as needed basis, Mr. Magestic hasn’t officially come out of retirement yet, and Deathblow is a freelancer who doesn’t have any powers that would be of any use anyway. If we want to look ahead in the WSU timeline we’ll know that the $trangers were broken up by this time, and Planetary, while existing, are super underground, and don’t often take active missions anyway.
  • If we look at this situation as part of the larger Image Universe at the time it really gets you scratching your head, because where was Youngblood? They work for the U.S. Government, Hawai’i is U.S. soil. Or even Supreme, he’s a Superman type, and unlike Majestic, he’s active. This is why I really don’t get into the cross-overs w/ the Extreme books, they bring up a lot more questions than they can answer. At least with Cyber Force they are also an underground/off the radar kind of team and Freak Force seems to stick around in Chicago for the most part.
  • After the 2006 reboot there’s a ton of superheroes retconned into the WSU that’ve been active since the ’50s, but as of right now, StormWatch are the only real public “super heroes” in the WSU.
  • Also, spoiler, Battalion will be back…

Where to find this story:

  • Excerpts from “StormWatch” volume one issue 16 are in the “WildStorm Rising” trade paper back.

NEXT: “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 17 by James Robinson, Travis Charest and Troy Hubbs

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 11 – 14

this entry covers “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 11 through 14.

StormWatchVol1_10-14Alright, right back into “StormWatch!” We have a couple arcs going on. We have Henry Bendix in trouble with his bosses, Winter facing an old foe, Cannon and Flashpoint becoming bigger and bigger assholes, Hellstrike starting to feel better and Defile laying more groundwork for his master plan. There’s kind of a lot going on, and it is all pushing towards issue 25 and the upcoming “WildStorm Rising” cross over.

We start off this batch of issues with StormWatch kicking some ass in Siberia, helping the Russians against a rebel insurgent group. Jackson asks permission to evacuate the base where everything is going down and then blow it up. Bendix is all “no can do buckaroo, get your ass back to space.” What the rebels were after, and what an issue later they activate is M.A.D. 1, an old USSR super-cyborg, who has a past with Winter.

Before we get to that, we need to address why StormWatch got pulled out of the mission early. Turns out it took this long for StormWatch’s bosses at the U.N. to get pissed over what went down in Gamorra, oh so long ago. The U.N. council wants to get rid of Jackson altogether, but Bendix takes one for the team and gets fired over it.

Meanwhile, we have Mr. Coma Pants Hellstrike starting to actually do something for the first time in six issues. The problem is, said “thing” is the uncontrollable explosion of SkyWatch. In a nice use of flashback, we get to know a bit of Fuji’s backstory, and how he manages his superpower. Fuji discovers that it has a lot in common with what Hellstrike is going through, and he finds a way to save him. It’s nice to give these two characters something to bond over. We still don’t have a good personality for Hellstrike yet, he’s still a bit one-note, but his look is getting a little less generic.

Speaking of underdeveloped characters, I need to bring up Cannon and Flashpoint. These guys are just dicks, acting like dicks. With Cannon, you can kind of see why, as when things don’t go his way he acts like a dick, acting like a dick gets him in trouble, getting in trouble makes more things not go his way, when things don’t go his way he acts like a dick and the cycle continues. Flashpoint, on the other hand, is just a jackass who hates Jackson. Later on, we’ll get to know a bit more about these guys and I’ll personally soften on Cannon, but Flashpoint will forever be a jerkface to me. Oh, yeah, they both take Malcolm out to a strip joint and he figures out real quick to leave these two losers behind.

Ok, back to work! The team is back in Siberia and this time they actually encounter M.A.D. 1. Bad news for StormWatch, M.A.D. 1 is really good and beating them the hell up! He wants to go and blow up Moscow, and the U.N. just can’t allow that. Winter, for the love of his homeland, really goes to town on M.A.D. 1! Winter’s power is to absorb energy, contain it, then expel it. You know, kinda like Sunbursts… but.. uh… cold based. Anyway, I’m just letting you know all this because after Winter gets done with his initial fight with M.A.D. 1, M.A.D. 1 sets several nuclear rockets to fly off and blow stuff up and Winter absorbs them all. He’s one badass Russian!

That basically takes care of issues 11 through 13. Issue 14 is kind of a “one shot” dealing with Christine growing into her new role as Weather Man-One. We see Jackson take a day off, then sneak back onto SkyWatch and attempt to kill his father Despot in the freezer lock-up. We also see Cannon and Diva still in love, despite them getting in a huge fight on a mission in Rwanda. The biggest revelation is on the last 2 pages of this issue with the reveal of Mr. White, a shapeshifting Daemonite, under the employee of Defile. What’s he doing? Oh, just taking on the forms of various WildC.A.T.s members!

Continuity Corner:

  • Henry Bendix takes the blame for the actions of Jackson in “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 6 & 7 and their adventures on Gamorra. With him out of the way, Christine gets the promotion to Weather Man-One as we knew she would by issue 25.
  • At one point we see Sunburst accessing some files from the StormWatch database. The files are sent to Defile and are of the WildC.A.T.s whom StormWatch started watching after the events of issues 6 & 7 of Vol. 1 of “StormWatch”
  • Even though he takes a hell of a beating, M.A.D. 1 will be back in a few issues and we’ll find out his actual motivation, besides just wanting to kick the snot out of Winter and his new pals.
  • Mr. White isn’t named at all in his first appearance in issue 14. Defile mentions that he has the shapeshifting talent, but that’s about it. I’ll have to keep an eye out for when he’s finally named.
  • After stating in the write up for “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 25 that I don’t think we ever see Doreen again, I’m proven wrong when she appears and is name-checked in the cold storage prison on SkyWatch in issue 14.
  • If there was anything pertinent to place between issues 13 and 14 I would, but due to other factors, I really can’t. Maybe a couple issues of “Deathblow” could fit in but “WildC.A.T.s, ” “Backlash” and “Union” depend on how things are playing out right now in “StormWatch.”
  • Defile sure does talk about how much he wants to take down the WildC.A.T.s an awful lot for a guy who is mainly appearing in “StormWatch” and getting referenced in “Backlash” most of the time.

Where to read these stories:

NEXT: “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 15 – 16 by James Robinson, Travis Charest and Troy Hubbs.

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 10

this entry covers “StormWatch” volume one, issue ten.

Before we get started I’d like to bring all of your attention to three things WildStorm related. First, the KickStarter for a book all about WildStorm Studios called “Wild Times“. If you’re into WildStorm at all, back this! Second, we now have a “sister site”! Reader Martin has started his look at how the WildStorm characters were retrofitted into the DCU with New 52. It’s obviously named New 52’s WildStorm and well worth a look. And lastly, the blog Crushing Krisis did a month long feature on early WildStorm books and while it covers the same issues I’m covering now, he takes a different angle. Also, take a quick look at that WildStorm Chronology: WildStorm Rising section, there’s been a wee bit of restructuring to match up with some hard dates in the texts of “Gen13” Vol. 1, this issue of “StormWatch” and an issue of “WetWorks.” I assure you, it all still works! But it is one of the reasons I’m only covering this single issue rather than the five I had planned.

stormwatchvol1_10Ok, so this issue is just a pretty simple one-shot type issue. It is mostly dealing with Jackson coming to terms with his future, or rather, lack there of.  Jackson has to lead the StormWatch team on a mission to Japan to capture Talos before he can get his hands on some serious hardware. Nothing is easy for the StormWatch crew because as it turns out, Japan doesn’t want StormWatch there, they never requested the U.N.’s support.

Jackson and company reject the notion that the Japanese can handle it, because, well, it’s goddamn Talos and buncha robot samurai and they’ll royally eff the place up while the Japanese keep throwing normal soldier after normal soldier after them. The whole StormWatch crew pretty much says “Screwa youse, buddy, we’ll save your asses whether you want us to or not,” as they each use their unique abilities to take down Talos and Co. Jackson gets downright suicidal as he knows he’s not much longer for this world, and as he says “We all have to die someday.”

Like I said, it’s a simply structured story, but it really gets into Jackson’s head. How he thinks about his impending death. How he views his life. What he thinks of his co-workers. Not to mention that this book is frickin’ gorgeous! I know that Mat Broome takes over soon, and he draws really pretty too, but damn does Dwayne Turner’s art look fabulous here!

Continuity Corner:

  • Without being too obvious a lot of this book is setting in motion the events of issue 25 of “StormWatch” Vol. 1. The biggest being getting Talos back aboard Sky-Watch One so that he can escape during the crash.
  • The StormWatch team defies what the local authorities want in regards to help with Talos, and this too will have implications very soon, that also lead to some of the changes we see in issue 25.
  • Jackson is writing his report or journal, or what have you, and it is dated 6/15/1994, which puts it shortly after the events of “Gen13” Vol. 1 which started in May of 1994. I’m pretty confident that that story played itself out over a matter of a few weeks at most.

Where to find this story:

NEXT : “Savage Dragon” Vol. 2 issue 13 by Jim Lee, Brandon Choi and Scott Williams

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 6 & 7 and “StormWatch : Deadly Tidings”

this entry covers “StormWatch : Deadly Tidings” originally from “Image 0” and reprinted in “WildStorm Rarities” as well as “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 6 & 7. For best reading order, read “Deadly Tidings” first then issues 6 and 7.

StormWatchVol1_04-07Here we go, we’re finally getting to things I really want to discuss that happen with in the WildStorm Universe! I’m excited! Ok, these 2 issues and short story call back to “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 0. We finally see the true fate of the StormWatch Prime team. Basically they were thought dead by the hands of Deathtrap, but in reality they were captured by him and held hostage in secret after a battle in Kuwait. Also, Sunburst is added to the roster of StormWatch Prime, along side Flashpoint, Nautika, Battalion and their leader Backlash. I’m not going to lie, it is a very basic story, but a few rad as hell in universe things are happening.

First we’re getting to know a bit more about the island nation of Gamorra, it’s leader Kaizen Gamorra, and the why it rose to power. Basically there are no concerns for human safety, black market arms deals are made there, and there is a national embrace of bleeding edge technology. The latter two are the reason for the former and it means all kinds of crazy cybernetic experiments are going on in the WSU as a result. We’ll see more direct results of of this in “Cybernary,” “Allegra” and “Hazard.”

Second we see a mountaintop research facility explode. I know, not some huge deal… right? Mountaintop research facilities are always exploding around Gamorra! Actually, this explosion is the result of what is currently going on in “WildC.A.T.s” at that very moment, and I have to say, it is an event that sticks out very clearly in the minds of comic readers from the time. It was a first moment of seeing the two books come so close together that the characters could’ve met. At the point we had not idea if the heroes of the WSU had met before (other than Union and StormWatch) and we really don’t know how many other characters know of the WildC.A.T.s, I mean staying covert is in their very name. We know that the Mercs knew Helspont and the Cabal, but that’s about all we know as far as current relationships among the teams. Even the members of Team 7 don’t know the whereabouts of each other and have no idea how much their lives will start to intertwine again.

The last few issues of “StormWatch” set up the Daemonite menace as something affecting the WSU on the whole, and not just the WildC.A.T.s battle. This issue is showing us an island where more and more action in the WSU will be centered as well as introducing us to a major player in the WSU.

StormWatch battles the Mercs, saves the captured members of StormWatch Prime, WeatherMan-One blackmails Kaizen Gamorra to keep things quiet, as well as royally piss him off. Like I said, the story isn’t too much, but the action was decent and the strands are starting to come together on this universe. I’m a continuity nut, so seeing these things gets me pretty damn excited! I need to mention that Deathtrap did something to seriously mess up Hellstrike, but we’ll see more of that later. Also, we see Diva and Jackson King flirt a little bit before getting cock-blocked by Fuji. Christine Trelane thanks you Fuji.

OK, sure, we’ll still have to see a bit of the WSU’s cousin universe, Top Cow, but Lee and Choi are serious about the connectivity of their side. Speaking of Top Cow, they figure pretty big in our next entry, for better or for worse (I still say worse).

Where to find these stories:

Next : “Killer Instinct” by Jim Lee, Brandon Choi, Marc Silvestri and Eric Silvestri

“Team One”

this entry covers “Team One : StormWatch” issues 1 & 2 and “Team One : WildC.A.T.s” issues 1 & 2.

TeamOneAlright, let’s kick this off with an explanation to a question that’s been posed, “Why does this come in your reading order after “WildC.A.T.s” and “StormWatch” have started? All the events take place before.” It’s a fair question, so I always refer to first page of “Team One : WildC.A.T.s” which is captioned “the Present” and features a contemporary Jacob Marlowe and Void speaking, as he says he’s thinking of his past. Then we get a caption that reads “the Past” and we flashback to a young Marlowe going by the name Saul Baxter. The use of the “the Past” captions continue through all four books showing that this is a story being told about the past from the present. Why not put it closer to when it was published? Well that is right around the lead up to “WildStorm Rising” and interrupting that storytelling inertia just seems sadistic. So basically I put it after a few issues of “WildC.A.T.s” and “StormWatch” each, so you’d know some of the main players and where their paths will take them.

If I ever got another question about the “Team One” books it might be “What order should I read these in?” The answer is, that’s up to you. I’m fond of reading “Team One : WildC.A.T.s” issue 1 first, followed by both “Team One : StormWatch” books and then concluding with “Team One : WildC.A.T.s” issue 2. There might be a better way to do this, but that’s going to include tearing the pages out of the books, mixing together and arranging them from there. It is more work than necessary (but I’d be willing to give it a go on a rainy Sunday.)

So yeah, this is the past. How far past? I’m never exactly sure, but I always think it’s 1962. Why? In “WildC.A.T.s” it’s been mentioned that there was an event that occurred that gave the Daemonites an upper hand 30 years prior to that series. I figure that since it’s set in 1992, you subtract 30 from that, and you get 1962. Also the letter pages say it’s the ’60s, I guess it could be any year in that decade, but 1962 feels good narratively.

So who is on Team One? We have a few folks we know, Henry Bendix as Think Tank, Mark Slayton as Slay, Miles Craven from I/O and Jacob Marlowe as Saul Baxter, a different side of the man that even he possibly doesn’t remember. We also meet Mr. Majestic one of the few “out” as well as traditional superheroes in the WildStorm Universe, having been a powerhouse of the Allies in WWII. Somewhat familiar to us is Lucy Blaize, because as it turns out, she’s Zealot, there is telepath Isaiah King, father to Jackson and Malcolm King, and John Colt who is [Redacted due to “Fire from Heaven” spoilers]. We do get two all new “good guys” with Regiment (musclebound guy-with-a-gun and an attitude to kick all the asses) and Mason (beat generation rebel who has a few tricks up his sleeve). There’s also Khasm, who we see for a single panel before Craven arbitrarily says she’s no good for the team. The enemies we meet are also a mix of known, new and kind of familiar. Helspont is back, looking suave in a trench coat over his armor. Slaughterhouse Smith is a mobster that can fly and shoot lasers from his eyes. Then there’s Pike, who may or may not be related to the half-breed traitor of the same name that we all love to hate!

Team 1 is put together because there’s been 2 different alien sightings right close together, but the aliens are being called U.L.F.s, unidentified life forms. One involved Baxter/Marlowe and a Daemonite attacking a submarine a military base. The second involved Slayton and a Daemonite trying to sabotage the Icarus 5 launch at Cape Canaveral. (Another tip that this story is at least likely early ‘60s, as Cape Canaveral is named Cape Kennedy in 1963, and remains so for the next 10 years.) So Baxter/Marlowe and Lucy/Zealot, both working for the American government decide that since the government is getting all hung up on U.L.F.s that they should get a task force together, not so much to stop the Daemonites but to also help cover up the fact that their are any aliens on Earth and especially the Kheribum involvement in its history.They know that I/O and Craven are going to be involved and that’s just a problem they’re going to have to deal with. Even down to his unimaginative name of “Team One.”

Throughout the short series we learn a few things about the participants. Zealot has some sort of romantic past with John Colt, and another kind of past with Slayton of the non-romantic type. We meet both a young eager Henry Bendix, but also his ex-wife for some reason, and she’s supposedly a weak telepath. Regiment is supposed to be a bit secret to everyone but Craven so he is shocked to see Regiment tapped for Team 1. Regiment needs regular shots of an experimental drug to stay as strong as he is. In fact, of the other “test subjects” that have taken the drug, all but Regiment have succumbed to psychosis. Regiment just might have be the first successful stab that Craven had at created a super soldier. Not sure what is exactly up with Mason, he seems to have a very dark side to him, and is delighted to find out he’s fighting aliens and that he gets to kill them. And I’m pretty sure that he erects a force field for himself at one point. I used to suspect that he’s the half Kheribum/half Daemonite that is Voodoo’s father, but I don’t think that history bears that out.Isaiah King goes from being distrustful participant to pants-wetting newbie once the mission starts. Hell, he just wants to get back to his wife and unborn first son, I get that, but they went overboard on how far he went from badass to baby on that mission.

To get to the mission we first need to see the bad dudes hook up. We have Slaughterhouse Smith zipping around, blasting folks and we find that he rose to the top of the mob using these powers. Helspont approaches him after this attack and offers Smith whatever he wants if they can work together to meet Helspont’s goals. Those goals, take over the Earth. After a few short words with Pike, Smith agrees and a plan is hatched. The plan, take over a missile silo, point the missiles at Washington DC and hold all of America at ransom. After breaking into the missile silo, taking it over and getting Team 1 called on them, the plan changes. The new plan is the take out NYC with the missiles and show America they’re not fucking around, so meet our demands faster to save other cities this same fate. Smith hates this new plan, but too late, all of his mob underlings have turned on him and now only serve Helspont. Do’h!

Team One shows up and starts kicking ass, but things don’t go their way. They barely manage to stop the missile aimed at NYC, and that’s the only real victory they get. John Colt sacrifices himself to give Isaiah the time he needs to redirect the missiles. In fact he has Mr. Majestic blast him and all the Daemonites and mobsters that surround him. So the missile’s navigation system is destroyed, with Regiment riding on top of the missile to redirect it, I guess. And… and… and… that’s all we really know, because the lights go out in the missile silo and the story ends there.

Knowing the WSU future, we know a few things about the fate of Team 1’s members, but what we know also gives us more questions:

  • In the last few pages we find that Lucy/Zealot is pregnant. Is she pregnant with John Colt’s baby, or some different baby? Did that baby end up becoming a member of StormWatch?
  • Is this when Isaiah King started to go crazy? How long before he is full blown nuts? We know he had to stay at least normal enough to have Malcolm and then raise both King boys enough that they know and have some respect for the man he was.
  • How did Baxter/Marlowe fall so far down from where he was, to living on the streets in 1990?
  • John Colt got a super eye blast from Mr. Majestic that was enough to kill the Daemonites, so he’s a assumed dead, but why does he look so damn much like Spartan?
  • Is this the incident that made Mr. Majestic go into hiding, or at least start working very secretly, out of the public eye?
  • Regiment survives his missile ride, but how did he get the experimental drugs that he needs to stay normal and kick-ass before we see him in the ‘90s in the pages of “Grifter?”
  • Who really was Mason, and what is his backstory?

As far as the characters we have full knowledge of, Bendix goes on to create his own superpowered team between Team 1 and his appointment to StormWatch, while Slayton stays on with I/O and joins Team 7. Craven continues to run I/O and gets much more into trying to create superhumans to fight under his command as he grows him super spy empire. Things we find out about the WSU in general is that the Russians are several years ahead of America in telepathic research in 1962, which is a possible explanation for the three powerful telepaths that battled Team 7 during the ‘70s in “Team 7 : Objective : Hell.” So here we are, a bit more of the tapestry that is the WildStorm Universe. I’m glad that this was produced later down the line when it was, I’m afraid that there’d be some Extreme Studios or more likely some Top Cow characters in here if it had been produced any earlier. In my opinion the WSU has enough compelling characters and ideas that it can fill any need and stand on its own without any help.

Where to find these stories:

NEXT : “the Kindred” Vol. 1 issues 1 – 4 by Jim Lee, Brandon Choi, Brett Booth and Sean Ruffner

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 1 – 3

this entry cover “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 1 through 3
Comixology Links: “StormWatch” vol. 1 issues 1, 2 & 3

StormWatchVol1_01-03I have a long and troubled history with “StormWatch.” In a lot of ways I always wanted to like it more than “WildC.A.T.s,” I’m not sure why. Point of the matter is, “WildC.A.T.s” can get fun when it the storytelling gets messy, and boy, does it gets messy, but “StormWatch” just gets boring later in its run. Until Warren Ellis start writing for it, “StormWatch” is the underdog of the WildStorm Universe, at least of the Lee/Choi books I Guess that “Wetworks” is the true underdog of the WSU. See, I usually root for the underdog, so maybe that’s why I was attracted to it, and kept reading it far longer than I should have, because after a bit, I really wasn’t enjoying it. However, the start was pretty strong and that carried me through quite a bit!

First page is a splash page and we meet Jackson King, AKA Battalion, shooting some big ass guns even though he has super crazy mind powers. Kick ass! Turn the page and we get another splash page featuring the rest of the team! The team is a product of the United Nations, so the idea is that there is several heroes, representing several different UN member countries will work together as a team to help with global issues, as they arise. We meet Fuji (the Big Guy from Japan), Winter (energy blaster from Russia), Diva (sonic screamer from Italy) and Hellstrike (another energy blaster, this time from Scotland). The team is on a mission to stop a group of mercenaries from finding a seedling to give to Helspont’s group. Oh, and just a reminder, a seedling is someone who was granted powers by a magical comet that passed close to earth, or is the child of someone who received powers from said magicomet. This is what the merc’s were after, a potential super powered being that Helspont had paid them to track down. I’m starting to get the idea that this story takes place before the events of “WildC.A.T.s” issues 0 – 4, as we all saw Helspont bite it at the end of that story arc, and the second part of this issue takes place at a funeral. No way are they gonna keep that guy on ice for more than a few days. Okay, maybe this could take dream/memory/flashback takes place before the start of “WildC.A.T.s” as that plays out over a day or two, and then since the funeral is in America it took a few days for the body to get there from Sarajevo… I’m stretching here. I guess it should be either before “WildC.A.T.s” 0 -4 or RIGHT after it but before getting to the “WildC.A.T.s” Special.

The Mercenaries are introduced to us too, but there’s only one that is really worth remembering, and that is Deathtrap. I mean, maybe Razor is worth remembering, but I don’t think they ever expound on her former connection with StormWatch, so she’s mostly just there. I think that Slayer may be a Coda or former Coda, but she doesn’t have a clef blade, just crazy face paint, and she pops up from time to time in the background of various WildStorm titles. When it comes to Kilgore and Brutus, there’s nothing much to be said. In fact when we meet the mercs, not only is Brutus not pictured as part of their group until a few pages later, he isn’t even named until the next issue. Poor Brutus. No love for the poor evil mercenary.

On the ground helping with saving the seedling is Windsor, a simple human on the ground who is an old pal of Jackson’s. I’ve already mentioned the funeral earlier, well it’s Windsor’s. He gets blown up but good by Deathtrap, but his sacrifice isn’t in vain as the seedling is saved! Before we move on to the funeral we meet a few more of the players in StormWatch, Jackson’s little Malcolm and Synergy, or more commonly known as Christine Trelane. Malcolm got mixed up with some hooligans and Synergy got the Chicago PD to bring him Jackson’s and drop the charges. Working for the United Nations comes with quite a few perks, in this case, diplomatic immunity! This does upset Jackson a bit, that Sarajevo mission was supposed to be his last one for StormWatch, and now, with the loss of his friend, he goes out with the deep sadness of another loss in his life.

We finally get a look at SkyWatch, the base of operations for StormWatch. It’s a goddamn USS Enterprise crossed with a satellite that orbits the Earth ready to find trouble and send help. The Star Trek comparison is more than apt, as the crew wear Trek-like unitards, the beam up and down from orbit to the Earth and they’re even lead by a bald guy. This particular baldy is Henry Bendix who is on the role of Weather Man One, the general manager of StormWatch, if you will. The UN are the bosses, but Bendix calls the shots on a daily basis. He’s also hard wired in to Skywatch to better monitor the whole shebang.

Ok, Windsor’s funeral. Jackson, Malcolm and Synergy attend, but they’re not alone, the mercs are there too! Oh, sheesh y’all, no way! Also, we find out Synergy’s comet power, she can activate seedlings (this is before her power of… I dunno, world’s greatest project manager?) She activates Malcolm to keep the mercs from taking him. Suddenly Fuji is there to help punch the bad dudes, so that’s cool. Synergy calls Bendix and he agrees to send Diva and Hellstrike ASAP, but that’ll take 5 minutes. He has another StormWatch group he can send, but he elects send them to Chernobyl, where something odd is happening. This grouping consists of Winter, Fahrenheit (fire based energy blaster), Cannon (energy blaster with a ponytail) and our cannon fodder characters: Ion & Lancer. They beam down into the craziness, to see what’s going on down there. Cut back to the funeral and we see Hellstrike and Diva help drive off the mercs and then everyone goes back to SkyWatch to help out Malcolm and take stock of what just happened. While there, a very beaten up Cannon beams aboard with out the rest of his team, uh oh, this doesn’t look good!

Cannon tells everyone that his team encountered a real bad ass named Regent, who wormed his way into their demention via the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. He also says that Winter activated Cannon’s teleport to beam back to SkyWatch to grab others to help in the battle against Regent. We find that Regent has kept both Winter and Fahrenheit alive, but has inhibited them from using their powers. He is impressed with their strength; however, they won’t stop his conquest of Earth. StormWatch catches up with Regent and tries to defeat him, but the task is proving a bit too difficult. In fact this fight is going so poorly that the UN council wants to send in the Wargaurd, even though SkyWatch crew member Major Dianne LaSalle strongly disagrees with that idea. Bendix knows she’s right, but says the Wargaurd will be sent in, if needed. Luckily StormWatch beats up enough on Regent that he runs away. Don’t worry, we’ll find out more about him in the pages of “Union.” But what of Malcolm? While in hospital he has the pleasure of meeting StormWatch’s favorite grandpop, Backlash! Ok, sure we all know him as Marc Slayton of Team 7, he seems like a big deal here, and not quite the asshole we knew back in the ’70s.

I remember reading these books in my parent’s basement and my cousin Matt looking at it and saying “that book looks awesome!” He was mainly remarking on the look of Jackson King, but it was pretty true none the less. I immediately liked Winter and Fuji the best. I dunno, Winter seemed like the underdog on the underdog team and Fuji, he just seemed like a really down to Earth cool guy with a gigantic body! I’m not going to lie and say that “eventually I learned to really enjoy all of these characters” because that didn’t happen. Seriously, I never became a fan of Cannon or Diva. Hellstrike grew on me a few redesigns and a personality upgrade later (I may be a loner in digging his ’70s cop look). You can’t tell me that Hellstrike’s initial look was anything special. Hell, even Ion was only just a recolor of his very generic uniform. Admittedly, it takes years for Fahrenheit to become worthwhile in the pages of “StormWatch : PHD” but when she does, wow, and it is crazy thinking about her evolution based on this first appearance. It is also nice to see how Jackson went from a pretty bland character to a fully fleshed out one over the course of the WildStorm tenure. Hell, the evolution of Synergy is a crazy one, resulting in an entirely different look for the character, going from ’80s pin up girl to a ’00s Annie Hall.

The WildStorm Universe is really starting to gel with “StormWatch.” In it we have references to Helspont, as well as setting up the backstory for the forthcoming “Union” book. Really the only thing missing is a more overt mention of I/O, besides having Slayton appear. Still, I wanted to know more about how the UN created StormWatch, how Bendix became Weather Man One, and if Malcolm King would ever get his shit together. Also, who in the hell is the Warguard and why people pissing themselves over it, but their bosses still think using them is a sensible last ditch effort?

NEXT : “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 0 through 4 by Jim Lee, Brandon Choi, Alex Garner and Brett Booth.