This entry covers “Black Ops” issues 1 & 2 by Shon Bury, Dan Norton, and Sandra Hope.
I’m just going to get this out of the way, the premise of this book is that there’s an undercover I/O Black Razor team out there doing missions. The only person at I/O that knows about them is John Lynch. Lynch is no longer with I/O so there’s no one to either call them back home or vouch for them as I/O employees. Also, Miles Craven is doing business with the main dude they are going after, so this book is pretty much I/O vs. I/O. Why do I want to get that out of the way? Because, maybe it’s just me, but I kept getting this confused the first few times I read it.
The I/O Black Ops team is who we are concerned with. The team consists of Shire, GQ, Redbird and Jason Takomi with Geek back at the safehouse. Don’t get attached to Takomi, he bites it right away on the big I/O mission against a company called Spectrum. Spectrum is a company that manufactures machines of war and is selling them to the highest bidder. The man that runs Spectrum is Gennady Markov and he’s pissed that all the CEOs of Spectrum have been murdered by this black ops team. He goes running to Miles Craven because Spectrum is I/O. Of course, it is! It is an evil corporation profiting off war, damn straight Craven is involved. Craven makes it a point to let Markov know that whoever did this will be dealt with.
An aside: I’m wondering if Lynch knew that Spectrum was involved with Craven and I/O? Is this one of his last few acts as an I/O employee trying to take down the bad elements of the company he works for? We all knew he was paying a visit to the Gen13 compound because he was wanting to see what they were up to, and that’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. If the Black Ops team found out that they were fighting I/O and reported that to Lynch would he have taken flight from I/O with them instead?
So the undercover Black Razor team (our heroes) get a visit from an I/O Black Hammer team. While this is going on, Geek is getting an encrypted file from a mysterious someone inside I/O. The Black Ops team now knows they are on their own as they just fended themselves off from other I/O agents. While jetting away on their plane, the Talon, Geek cracks the code and it is leading them to a former I/O Black Razor leader named Donovan J. Crane, currently residing in Montana.
Meanwhile, Miles Crane is telling the new I/O director, Alejandro Rios, that he wants the terrorists who shot up the Spectrum CEOs found and eliminated. Director Rios puts together a small group of I/O talent to talk it over, in attendance is Ben Santini as well as two women, one named Cathrine Kwan and one named Rose. Rios assures the room that he’s dealing with the situation, but if anyone in the room could be of help he’s ready to hear it. Not much happens here other than some I/O director drama.
The Black Ops team are getting a boatload of drama of their own. Namely, one Col.Crane who doesn’t want to be bothered. Things cool down so that they can eventually tell Crane their hard luck story. He kindly decides to train them, because the only reason he took them out so easily is that they’d become too reliant on their I/O gadgets and technology. Speaking of technology, while the rest of the team is training, Geek is building and upgrading a robot that he found in Crane’s backyard.
Just about the time that Geek is showing off his invention, named HERB, he also lets it slip that I/O has located the team and another Black Razor team is coming after them. Brace for a new fight Black Ops! Meanwhile, we see that Gen. Markov’s plan all along was to get enough I/O tech to build his own Black Hammer suit in order to make Russia great again.
- This book has a tough placement. The first two issues happen before “Deathblow” volume one issue 25 (the death of Miles Craven), and issues 3 through 5 happen after “Fire from Heaven” is over (Jack Lynch is back in La Jolla). When you get down to it though, the time in the WildStorm Universe from “Deathblow” volume one issue 24 through “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 34 is only really a matter of a handful of days, like a week, tops. The problem is, is that there is a whole mess of books between issue 2 and issue 3, and it’s very easy to forget about these characters when you get to see them again.
- It doesn’t help when there’s a reference on the first page of this book referring to Laslo making a heroin drop off the day before, a nod to “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue #21. Not sure if we are to suppose that Laslo got away as well after the events of that book, or that Laslo is already out on bail after the events of that book and back to his old drug slinging ways. Or if we are to suppose that this book takes place the day after “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue #21. If so, then damn… I think this may be a time where my head canon/no prize explanation of the story makes it fit a little bit in the wider scheme of things.
- We do have a reference that the last time the Black Ops team got a money drop was four months prior, so it’s been at least that long since Lynch left I/O.
- Still not sure who that Rose woman was that we see at the I/O meeting. It wasn’t Rose Grady from the Black Razors. This book sure throws a lot of new characters at you, and pretty quickly, too!
- In “Deathblow” volume one issue #24 we’ll find out why Alicia Turner isn’t at this I/O director’s meeting. Turns out she’s being held by the Brethren because she was caught trying to help former Team 7 members from getting their Gen-Factor sucked out.
- I’m willing to buy that the time it took Col. Crane to train up the Black Ops team and the time it took I/O to find them that a week or two could’ve passed fitting this all into the timeline pretty well.
- Lynch has twice left people out in the field. First with the Black Ops team then later with Holden Carver. Get your head together Lynch!
NEXT: “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issues 23 & 24 by Alan Moore, Ryan Benjamin, Jason Johnson, Art Thibert, Terry Austin, Tom McWeeney, Hakjoon Kang, Andy Owens and Harry Thuran