Tag Archives: Hightower

“WildStorm Rising” Chapters 8 – 10

this entry covers “WildStorm Rising” Chapters 8 through 10, which includes “Backlash” issue 8, “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 22 and “WildStorm Rising” issue 2

Alright, let’s wrap this crossover up! Slayton gets a call from Diva at StormWatch. He gets into his Backlash gear and meets up with her at Jackson King’s grave. She catches him up on the plot of “WildStorm Rising” and states that someone needs to take down Helspont. So off Slayton goes, solo even, without even thinking much about it. Turns out, it’s trick! A tricky trick! That was actually Mr. White posing as Diva and it’s all part of a plan from Defile to keep Helspont too busy to be nosing around for that Daemonite ship in Nicaragua.

So Slayton is fighting Helspont. Turns out, he’s not as easy to beat the hell out of, like every other weak ass Daemonite that Slayton’s fought. Slayton’s no slouch either, but despite surprising Helspont a few times, Slayton basically gets his ass kicked on Helspont’s submarine and gets left in the drink. Lucky for Slayton he gets saved by StormWatch, who is consisting of StormWatch teams 1 and 2 as well as members of StormWatch Prime. StormWatch just got permission from the U.N. council to try and stop Helspont so they’re going after that jerk as well. Even though Diva is confused at first when Slayton tells her that she asked him to fight Helspont the first time, she takes him along to go and kick Helspont’s booty as part of a team. StormWatch loses that fight. Helspont’s tough, yo!

In the midst of the ill-fated fight against Helspont, Christine is trying to justify going after him to the StormWatch UN Council. None of Council think that the team can take down a mean bastard like Helspont. I mean, they’re not wrong… The Council, in their infinite wisdom, decide to release WarGuard and Despot to deal with Helspont. Because having the WarGuard run free has always worked so well in the past. Despot and the WarGuard immediately fuck right off of SkyWatch saying “Ain’t my fight, bro, laters. Hey, formally frosted fiendish friends, let’s go hang out on the dark side of the moon for a bit. From there we will plot the future demise of StormWatch!”

The StormWatch team isn’t done licking their wounds before they decide they still need to pursue Helspont. Helspont’s in his submarine headed toward Nicaragua, as soon as he gets out to get the lay of the land StormWatch is getting ready to pounce. But what’s that? On the horizon? Is it? Could it be? Yes, it is! The WildC.A.T.s and WetWorks teams along with Cole and Cray! And in the middle of them all, is Savant, Majestic, and Union unearthing the spacecraft. Only, uh-oh, it’s not the Daemonite ship, it’s the Kherubim ship! Whomp whomp.

So now, everybody fights. Well, to be fair, the good guys aren’t fighting each other this time. They’re just taking on the Daemonites. Hightower’s goal is just to get on board the ship and peace out, but he’ll kill anyone to get on it. Defile and Helspont still want the ship to use it to dominate Earth. Spartan is having those same thoughts and boards ship to use its weaponry to help in the fight. Defile shows up to stop Spartan and orders the brainwashed StormWatch Prime members to kill Spartan, then each other. They’re successful in taking down Spartan, but Sunburst starts to kick Defile’s control and Nautika breaks his spine before she comes out of the fog. Meanwhile, Cole kills Hightower, rushes to the ship and lands a hit on Defile. Defile has had enough of this noise and messes with ship’s core and takes off. Whatever he did to that ship has made it so that it’s gonna blow-up. Big time. Right in the middle of our heroes.

Jacob is not having this blood on his hands. He’s going to board that ship to get far enough off planet to save everyone on the ground. Jacob is no dummy, he knows it’ll take a Kherubim Lord’s authority to launch the ship, but he needs some help because he’s lost the rest of his Kherubim technical know how to street livin’ and booze. Zealot is the first to volunteer as she remembers a lot and is the only one who knows how to pilot the ship. After that, all the rest of the WildC.A.T.s opt to get on the ship. The ship takes off, Void promises to teleport everyone off if something goes wrong and they can’t keep the ship from exploding. Then the ship explodes. No WildC.A.T.s members are found teleporting out. Everyone leaves upset except Cole, he’s just upset.

Continuity Corner :

  • Spoilers, but the Kherubim ship didn’t explode, it made the jump to hyperspace or whatever. As far as anyone on Earth knows, they’re dead, luckily for us readers, they’re about to go on a pretty rad adventure.
  • Helspont has a damn submarine? What is he? Some kind of G.I.Joe villain?
  • There’s this moment when Helspont is fighting over the Kherubim ship and he’s all like “Oh, great, here come the half-breeds!” and he’s shown facing Maul, Warblade and Winter. We’ve seen that Helspont can recognize Kherubim ancestry on sight from his battle with Slayton in “Backlash” issue 8. Him recognizing Winter as part Kherubim is a fun easter egg, and one I’m glad didn’t get fully retconned with his intended lineage in the planned and canceled “WildC.A.T.s : Ground Zero” book.
  • This is the last we’ll see of Defile, Helspont and Hightower for quite some time. Most immediately some of the WildC.A.T.s will go time traveling and run into the three of them, but seeing as how Hightower’s dead, that’s it for him. Defile pops up here and there not doing too much, but comes back in a big way years down the road in “StormWatch PHD” and then keeps up appearances from then on out in the WSU. I’m pretty sure the next time we see Helspont is when he’s acting like a goofy perv towards Caitlin Fairchild and getting his ass beat by Tao in “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue 50. Then he goes back underground until the ill-fated Lee/Morrison team up in “WildCats” Vol. 4 issue 1.
  • StormWatch took the remains of Spartan, which explains why he’s on that team during “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 25.
  • Majestic wonders if StormWatch got anything of value from Spartan’s remains, as usually by now Spartan would’ve downloaded into a new body. The only reason I can think he doesn’t is that Jacob has the Spartan backup copy on his person, so it’s out in space with the rest of the original team. Sure, this means there’s two Spartans in the universe now, and it won’t be the last time either.
  • StormWatch also took Helspont saying they had the means to imprison him. Majestic doubts this, but we’ll never know because it isn’t long before SkyWatch comes crashing down and I have to assume Helspont escapes.
  • Cole stays stuck in Nicaragua, which kicks off his solo title that’ll have him ending up in all sorts of places before getting back to New York pretty much in time for “Fire from Heaven” to start.
  • We do get a two-page epilogue to the whole thing, with Savant and Majestic at the Halo Building talking about the end of an era. I have to admit, it is a pretty nice ending, and it doesn’t lead you to think what must come next. I had no idea at the time that “WildC.A.T.s” would even keep going, or that there would be a new team on Earth, or that the original team was alive at all! I appreciate that. It was a pat ending. A rarity! It seems like these big events just chain themselves together and go on and on with fuzzy endings at best these days. I know this makes financial sense, but a true ending like this feels pretty damn great as well as earned!

NEXT : “Grifter” Vol. 1 issues 2 through 6 by Steven T. Seagle, Ryan Benjamin, Randy Green, Cedric Nocon, Tom McWeeney, Sal Regla, John Lowe and Norm Rapmund

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“WildStorm Rising” Chapters 5 – 7

this entry covers “WildStorm Rising” Chapters 5 – 7, which consists of “Grifter” Vol. 1 issue 1, “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 16 and “WetWorks” Vol. 1 issue 8

Good old Cole Cash is on a personal mission to find his old buddy Micheal Cray, who he is pretty sure has half of the MacGuffin Daemonite spaceship key/leadership badge, that all the bad guys are looking for. In fact, Defile and his minions are spying on Cole seeing what information he has. Hell, for all they know Cole has the key/badge piece as they only know a Team 7 member has it, but they’re also following Cole to see if he has any idea where Cray is, as they can’t seem to locate Cray at all. Not that Cole was having much luck either until he suddenly remembered Cray’s old shack of a house out in the wilds of Virginia.

After talking to Cray at a payphone (hey kids, remember payphones?) Cole decides it is best to start heading for Virginia. He hardly gets out of the phone booth when he starts getting pelted with lasers by some of the goofiest looking villains that WildStorm has ever coughed up. Seriously, two-tone (red and blue) tights under super boxy gold armor, with a small helmet that has tiny horns. It’s not a good look. But they, they have laser guns and flying sled thingies, so who am I to judge.

Cole manages to take a hit during this battle and keeps passing out. Each time he’s down he has a hallucination about his past. We learn all kinds of things about Cole’s life. Such as him running away from home, getting the nickname “Grifter” from Slayton, and leaving Zealot for the first time. Ultimately he gets it together enough to fight off the goons and steal a rocket sled/chariot dealy to get on his way to Cray.

What’s up with Cray? Well, he’s getting his Virginian shack all set up to be Daemonite proof. More booby traps set up around the property and more firepower contained inside the domicile itself. Of course, the Daemonite goons show up to hunt down Cray, but he’s pretty much got them licked. All except for Mr. White who is predicatively too cool for school about this kind of thing. All the other goons are using brute force and losing terribly to Cray. Eventually with most of the goons wiped out Cole shows up, talks to Cray and gets the bit of the key/badge Cray took so many years ago. Cray was using it as a door handle, ha ha! Cole takes it and takes off. Minutes later Cole is back… wait a minute, Cole is back? Oh no! That first Cole was actually Mr. White! Dammit! Now they gotta find their pal Jackson to bail them out of trouble, you guys!

Why Jackson and not any of the other living Team 7 members? Well, Cray and Cole beat some information out of one of Defile’s men named Harka that was still alive after trying to break into Cray’s place. Harka let him know about the plan and that Defile is sending a man named Bastion after Jackson.

Bastion finds Jackson at the grave of Crossbones. While pouring his heart and regrets out Mother-One butts in and warns him of Bastion’s approach. Jackson makes pretty short work of Bastion, but Bastion ends up teleporting out of there, by means unknown. Jackson then notices two other figures on his tail and scrambles the rest of the WetWorks team to his location. It ends up just being Cole and Cray, so it’s time for a team-up!

Because they now know that Defile has 1 1/2 key/badges Cole leads the WetWorks crew (plus he and Cray) to where Helspont was last seen. You know, the astrological research facility from the first major “WildC.A.T.s” story arc? Yep, that place! There they hope to find Helspont’s dead body and key/badge to make sure there’s no way Defile or Hightower can get to it. Well, they’re not the only team to have this idea and see that the WildC.A.T.s are already there. And since there hasn’t been a team vs. team fight in a while, it’s time for the WetWorks crew to get into it with the WildC.A.T.s. Yawn.

Once again we have superteam fighting superteam, that can only mean that Hightower is sneaking off again to grab a key/badge, just like he did in D.C. when the ‘C.A.T.s fought StormWatch. Hightower comes across what appears to be Helsponts nearly dead body, half buried in rubble, with his key/badge in his hand held aloft. Hightower says “Don’t mind if I do” and reaches in to snag it. Not so fast, Helspont was merely resting, you fool! Yeah, so with Helspont awake he taunts the fighting superheroes and this teleports away, with two henchmen that appeared out of nowhere.

Helspont being back is pissing everyone off. First, Hightower, who got a good neck ringing for trying to get Helspont’s key/badge. Second, the WildC.A.T.s who really don’t want to have to deal with that asshole again, especially now that knows the Daemonite ship has been found. And third, Defile, who doesn’t seem to even want to tolerate Helspont’s foolishness and wants to know if the Daemonite ship has been found yet. Much to his dismay, it hasn’t. Not just for Defile either, Savant hasn’t had any luck either, but she’s going to press on.

Continuity Corner :

  • Remember, Cray found that hand sticking out of the ground on that Nicaragua mission holding the key/badge that he broke off part of for himself back in “Team 7 : Objective : Hell” issue 1. I guess all this time that Cray was held the half rank of Daemonite Lord, who knew!
  • After “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 15 I figure Cray makes his way back to New York to check back in with Rayna about the Los Angeles job. After that we see him in traffic in “WildStorm!” issues 1 and 2, which seems to be like NYC, putting him pretty close to Virginia when Cole calls.
  • Jackson knows Defile becasue Defile is trying to sell the symbiotes of Crossbones and Flattop? What? Is this a plot point I forgot about?
  • Void drops the first hint that Jester has bonded with his symbiote in a way that isn’t immediately obvious and has yet to be made clear to the reader.
  • Look… Helspont is still alive… Yay… Really, Helspont… he’s just such a crap villain. He’s supposed to be the “Big Bad” of the WSU and he just never ever is. Does he even make top five? Let’s see, starting at the top, the five biggest bastards in the WildStorm Universe are 1) Miles Craven 2) TAO 3) Defile 4) Henry Bendix 5) Kaizen Gamorra (both of them). I mean Helspont looked cool, but he was such a crap villain. I’ll give him this though, he was better than the Drahn.

NEXT : “WildStorm Rising” Chapters 8 through 10 (which includes “Backlash” issue 8, “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 22 and “WildStorm Rising” issue 2) by Ron Marz, Brett Booth, Renato Arlem, Kevin Maguire, Sandra Hope, Alex Garner, Chuck Gibson, Sal Regla, Robert Jones, Terry Austin and Al Vey.

“WildStorm Rising” Chapters 1 – 4

this entry covers “WildStorm Rising” Chapters 1 through 4, which consists of “WildStorm Rising” issue 1, “WildC.A.T.s : Covert Action Teams” volume 1 issue 20, “Union” volume 2 issue 4 and “Gen13” volume 2 issue 2 as well as the “Grifter : Sneak Peak” story from “Overstreet’s Fan” issue 1, which is best read after “WildC.A.T.s” issue 20

Okay, here we go, let’s get started, here’s what many of the WildStorm titles have been leading to for so long! WildC.A.T.s meet StormWatch. StormWatch meet WildC.A.T.s. Now by the law of comics you must fight! Even if said fight is in a parking lot in downtown Washington D.C. I have to say it’s an interesting choice. It feels more real that an abandoned warehouse. More immediate than an empty section of the city. There are even cops telling the rubberneckers to get back. Maybe it’s me, but stuff like this really brings a lot of reality into the comics.

During the brawl, we have Hightower watching and smiling. He’s glad to see the WildC.A.T.s so preoccupied with fighting StormWatch that they’ve forgotten about him. Now it’s time to for him to slip off to the Smithsonian to take the part of the key/badge that Charles Russell will have on display at his new exhibit. Hightower gets into the museum to talk to Dr. Russell disguised as a guard. After pumping the good doctor about where the key/badge was found he cold-cocks the doc and absconds with the key/badge.

Void shows up all big and badass and basically rescues all of the WildC.A.T.s and gets the hell out of that trashed D.C. parking lot. Before she ports everyone to safety, she creates an image in the sky of the Daemonite key/badge. This gets the attention of one Daemonite High Lord named Defile. He decides that his scheme of pitting the WildC.A.T.s against StormWatch must be suspended, he needs that key/badge! Meanwhile, the WildC.A.Ts arrive back at the Halo building to find Hightower just chillin’ with the key/badge wanting to talk to the team.

It is too bad for Hightower that no one wants to hear him out. The WildC.A.T.s just start wailing on the guy. After he finally gets the team to calm down, by holding Jacob at claw-point, he tells them all about Defile and how he’s the guy they’re after. He also tells the team all about the key/badges and how it is his goal to complete the part of the one he has, snag the other two, find the Daemonite warship and go back to Daemon. He’s got no love for Earth or continuing the war here. He reminds them all of the awesome firepower on the Daemonite ship and persuades them that his are the best hands it could be in, and he’ll just leave, while Defile would just use that kind of power enslave Earth.

Jacob gives Hightower’s words some thought and decides that Hightower is right, it is best that they team up with him. Cole isn’t cool with this. Mostly on account of what Hightower did to him and his pal Lonely back in “WildC.A.T.s Trilogy.” Jacob threatens Cole with being fired and Cole over reacts, backhands Jacob and walks away. Wait, did I say he just walks away? Nah, he was also purposely hateful and a little bit racist towards the rest of the team on his way out. While it’s tough to read, this is completely in character when what we know of Cole. Try to make them hate you on your way out, so they never ask you to come back. Classic tough-guy bravado.

Meanwhile, Savant and Charles have been trying to call the WildC.A.T.s but the team can’t hear the damn phone ring due to all the fighting and yelling. She’s already called in Majestic to help (he’s on his way), but the WildC.A.T.s would provide more of the back-up they may need. Because she can’t get a hold of her sister and pals, she does the next best thing, calling her old pal Christine at StormWatch for help. Christine decides that the best operative to answer Savant’s call for help is Union. Before either of Majestic or Union can get Savant’s location at Charles’s house, Mr. White and a handful of the Mercs bust in a wall and start to interrogate Charles. Before the Mercs and Mr. White can do too much damage on behalf of Defile, Majestic swoops in to save the day. He’s doing a bang-up job of it too before Union shows up and thinks that Majestic is the bad guy and start beating on him.

Fresh from a nap and some booze, Cole gets to thinking about quitin’ the ‘C.A.T.s. He’s still sure he made the right choice, but something is bugging him. He knows he’s seen that missing bit of the key/badge before. It dawns on him that it is back in his Team 7 days, and he remembers Cray taking it when they found it in the jungles of Nicaragua. Cole knows he needs to find Cray, but needs some coffee first. Presumably, after that coffee, Cole takes a short job to make some cash protecting some diamonds. While in a warehouse he’s attacked by a woman named Prayer who’s “holier-than-thou” act isn’t so much of an act, but a way of life. Cole’s employers are less than clean, and Prayer means to steal the diamonds and get them to their rightful owner. Cole’s no slouch. He sees when he can play a grift, you might say. In the end, Cole still has the diamonds and all Prayer got away with was half a sandwich in a fancy case.

Back to the action. The action being Union and Majestic beating on each other. These two just won’t listen, and in their brawl, Mr. White and the Mercs manage to escape. They also cause more property destruction on Charles’ house before knocking out the power to a quarter of D.C. Once they stop to think for a few seconds Savant calls them out on their douchebaggery and lets each of them know they’re all on the same side. Seem he’s got a plan. While everyone is scrambling back and forth looking for the rest of the key/badges they’re going to Nicaragua to find the lost Daemonite ship. Savant has sketchy ideas about the location from Charles, but Savant can find anything, especially with the help of Majestic and sure, I guess Union can tag along too.

Defile is starting to get pissed. There are two halves of one key/badge out there, and another whole key as well. He’s gotten enough information to know that one of the members of Team 7 has the half that Hightower doesn’t have. The problem is, he’s not sure which on holds that key/badge part and sends his minions off to snag it for him. One of his minions is Helmut, an old enemy of John Lynch, who’s ready for revenge, but where is Lynch?

After Defile has discharged all his minions, except his zombie rude boy, a young man comes to him with exactly what he wants, the location of Lynch. It’s Trance, the creepy guy from the nightclub that tried to charm Roxy. He obviously knows the location of Lynch and will trade it to Defile for the secrets of Miles Craven. That’s the deal of the century! Go Trance you skinny slick bastard! That’s kind of badass, especially for you.

Defile contacts Helmut and he’s on his way to ruin the Gen13 girls’ day by the pool. Well, Grunge wasn’t helping make it much better, but Helmut made it so much worse. Everyone is doing their best to hold their own against Helmut, but he’s a tough S.O.B. in his armor. Suddenly Lynch yells to Bobby to set up his guitar and amps. See, Lynch remembers from the first time he encountered Helmut that Helmut is susceptible to sonic vibrations. Bobby gets his gear all set up and starts striking a chord in his Soundgarden t-shirt (R.I.P. Chris Cornell.) This act stuns Helmut enough for Grunge to pop in and hit the release button on Helmut’s armor. Once again Lynch strings Helmut up in a net and takes a photo, this time with his young wards.

That’s where I leave you for now. Cole is on the hunt for Cray. Defile’s thugs are on the hunt for Cole, Cray, Jackson and Slayton. Savant, Majestic and Union are on the hunt for the lost Daemonite ship. And the WildC.A.T.s are on the hunt for… well… we don’t really know right now, but we have a double page spread of them kicking some ass, so we know they’re on the hunt for something!

Continuity Corner :

  • When the WildC.A.T.s and StormWatch are fighting each other, Zealot and Winter keep getting matched up against each other. When this was happening did anyone know they were supposed to be mother and son? We know that Winter is Zealot’s son because of “Voodoo / Zealot : Skin Trade” but that was published after “WildStorm Rising”, but there’s no place chronologically for it to take place after “WildStorm Rising.” (Pris is on the team, still training to be a Coda, she gets along with Zealot.) Also, according to an interview in “Wild Times : An Oral History of WildStorm Studios” (go get your copy today!) it’s revealed that Winter was also supposed to not just be the son of Zealot but also of Yon Kohl! Winter was intended to be a full-fledged Kheribum! This was to be revealed in the never released “WildC.A.T.s : Ground Zero.” In the end, going by the comics, we never find out who is Winter’s actual father, and as far as we know, it could’ve ended up being rewritten to have been just a random human. Either way, unknowingly fighting your own Mom, pretty messed up.
  • So, Hightower can shape-shift. Is this just a rarity for Daemonites? We have Mr. White, Hightower and Olympia with this talent. One of the things that I always assumed was that Daemonites cannot live on Earth without a host. Maybe the shape-shifty ones can. Or maybe I was wrong about Daemonites needing hosts to live, maybe it’s just been that we’ve seen Daemonites in very bad situations where they need a new host because they’re so hurt like in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 Special issue 1 and “Backlash” issue 6. Oh, also Pris has a bit of shape-shifting going on with her “were-form” ability.
  • Hey, why is Void huge and golden when she comes back to D.C. to stop the big battle? Well, according to the writer James Robinson in “Wild Times : An Oral History of WildStorm Studios” (have you seriously not gotten a copy yet?) it is because when the pages got back from Barry Windsor-Smith, Void was just drawn huge. It wasn’t something Robinson asked Barry to draw, Barry just did. Not sure who decided she should be golden, but hey, if she’s going to be so much bigger, why not literally go for the gold as well.
  • We get a lot of background on Hightower in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 20. We find out that he was both Genghis Khan and John, King of England. This conflicts as their lifespans overlap each other by quite a bit. Khan is only four years older than John but ended up outliving him by a shade over a decade. Since Hightower can shape-shift, and reading the text literally, we only need Hightower to be acting as John, King of England long enough to get the Magna Carta created, and then have him only pose as Khan to lead Khan’s horde for a time. He needn’t have been either for their full lives. It’s possible he worked with Khan to lead the horde on two fronts, and usurped John late in life for his own ends. Yes, this blog has gotten me to do far more historical research than I ever thought was possible.
  • Had Hightower’s goal of getting the ship and getting back Daemon worked, man, he would’ve been in for a rude awakening finding the war over and Daemon lost. Whoops, spoilers…
  • We never get the back story on how Christine Trelane and Savant are friends, but they’re apparently old friends. We’ll see Savant encounter StormWatch again in “Savant Garde” issue 6.
  • Why put this 2 page “Grifter : Sneak Peak” story in after issue 20 of “WildC.A.T.s?” Well, first off Cole is still on his way to get some coffee and I’d assume he needs some cash as well to track down Cray, so why not just take a small easy job to do just that. Also, the name of this story is “Sneak Peak” and that implies it comes before “Grifter” Vol. 1 issue 1. Also, after “Wild.C.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 20, we see Cole in a bar drinking in “Union” Vol. 2 issue 4. Drinking booze, just after he was just looking coffee. Maybe he had something to soak up all that booze, say, that half a sandwich he ate during “Sneak Peak?”
  • The next time we’ll see Prayer is in “Grifter” Vol. 1 issue 7. There’s she’s on the West Coast and seems to have been there for a time. To be fair, there’s plenty of time for her to have crossed the continent and ended up in Los Angeles before Cole runs into her again.
  • Eventually we’ll see Lynch face off with Helmut for the first time in “Lynch” issue 1. Also Helmut will be back to terrorize the team in “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue issue 16.
  • And that’s the first four chapters of “WildStorm Rising!” I decided to group them by writer, with the first three being by James Robinson. The “Gen13” issue is the oddball that is written by it’s normal team. perhaps leading to it being the least connected to the over all story. Well, neither was “Team 7 : Operation : Hell” issue 1, but that book is even more disconnected. Oh, and that “Grifter : Sneak Peak” that was probably by Steven T. Seagle. But look, there isn’t a single cut away in “Gen13” to any of the other WSU characters like there is in “Union” and “WildC.A.T.s”. Every page of “Gen13” is serving that book and only that book. Even the Defile pages feature Trance!
  • For now I’m back to a weekly (Tuesday) schedule due to how much there is to cover each entry, hopefully I can get back to twice a week after the crossover!

NEXT : “WildStorm Rising” Chapters 5 – 7 (Which consists of “Grifter” Vol. 1 issue 1, “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 16 and “WetWorks” Vol. 1 issue 8) by Steven T. Seagle, Ryan Benjamin, Trevor Scott, Mel Rubi, Tom Raney, Whilce Portacio, Tom McWeeny, Rick Mayar and Scott Williams.

“WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 19

this entry covers “WildC.A.T.s : Covert Action Teams” volume 1 issue 19 and the backup story “Savant: Wings and a Prayer”

wildcats_v2_19To tell the truth, I thought there would be a lot more going on in this issue. I realize that I always get parts of issue 19 and issue 20 merged together in my mind. So, when I open the book, ready to be reminded of everything that’s going on in it to relay it to you, the fine reader of this blog and comic, I come up with… not much. That my friends makes me sad.

So, alright, we pick up from where Grifter mistakenly thinks that Hightower is the guy behind everything. Why? Bad intel from stupid informants. Or maybe, because Hightower is such a small fry all the remnants of the Cabal are willing to sell Hightower out to the WildC.A.T.s and keep their affiliations with Defile secret. Why not sell out S’yrn? Well, he might end up being Hellspont’s successor in the Cabal, so best not piss him off either. No, send the Kheribum do-gooders after that jackass Hightower. A jackass so jackass-like in his jackassery that even Defile is all “I need a shape-shifting Daemonite to do my bidding, and I’ll find and even resurrect that milquetoast hipster, Mr. White than even try to work with that jackass Hightower. What a jackass he is!”

Where is Hightower? Well, he seems to be the only Daemonite that remembers that keys to the Daemonite ship are also badges of rank, and he means to take part of one that’s recently been found and will be on display at a nearby museum. To do this he figures he should have some protection, so he goes to the best mercenaries in the WildStrom Universe, the Coda. Lucky for him, the Coda run a restaurant in Washington D.C., right where his key/badge bit is! He thinks he needs protection from Defile or other Daemonites, but he’d be wrong.

As Hightower is trying to convince the Coda to work for him, the WildC.A.T.s bust in and start wrecking the place. There goes the Zagats rating. Because the Coda are so bug-fuck crazy, they decide the best course of action is just to blow the whole building to hell. I mean, our heroes have already gotten all the actual patrons out of the place via Void, so there’s nothing to lose. Void has a crazy vision of the upcoming crossover and the bistro goes boom, with only the WildC.A.T.s left to survive. As the team is emerging from the rubble they are confronted with a StormWatch team, ready to kick them while they’re down.

In the backup story, we catch back up with Savant and her friend Mabel, while a gremlin sits on the wing of their plane. This gremlin means to tear up the wing and ruin Savant’s day. It’s just what gremlins do! After the ladies manage to shake the little bugger they land at, I’m figuring near where at least Mabel lives, and they pick up their piling mail. Savant has a letter from her dear friend Charles Russell and his new exhibit. It just so happens that it features the Daemonite key/badge and Savant knows she needs to get back to D.C. as soon as she possibly can!

Continuity Corner :

  • It’s nice to get reintroduced to Hightower as a player in the “WildC.A.T.s” books. We haven’t really seen him since “WildC.A.T.s Trilogy” but I had my suspicions he was behind the opening fight of “Spartan : Warrior Spirit” for what it’s worth.
  • Having both the Savant backups read after their issues proper may not be the more narrative and linear way to go about things. They may be better served to both be read right after “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 18. Either way works though, so I’m going to leave it as is.
  • Last we saw Mr. Russell he was hitting on Savant back in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue11. She should’ve taken him up on that offer, then she’d be too busy with her new man than to start getting cozy with TAO.

NEXT : “WildStorm Rising” Chapters 1 through 4 (Which consists of “WildStorm Rising” issue 1, “WildC.A.T.s” volume 1 issue 20, “Union” volume 2 issue 4 and “Gen13” volume 2 issue 2) by James Robinson, Brandon Choi, Barry Windsor-Smith, Travis Charest, Ryan Benjamin, J. Scott Campbell, Alex Bialy, John Floyd, Troy Hubbs, Chuck Gibson, Tom McWeeney and Alex Garner.

“WildCats Trilogy” issues 1 – 3 & “Voodoo : Passed Lives”

this entry covers the first issue of “WildCats Trilogy” then the back-up story from “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 8 entitled “Voodoo : Passed Lives” before wrapping up with “WildCats Trilogy” issues 2 and 3.

wildcatstrilogyRight away looking at this book, we’re seeing the fantastic artwork of Jae Lee. Jae is one of my absolute favorite artists working in comics, and seeing him work on any WildStorm title is just magic for the eyes. Also, if you’ve ever seen the cover in person, man, it is a foil-y ‘90s comic masterpiece. Sorry kids, scans don’t do this thing justice! Shiny badass Jae Lee art to catch your eye and make you buy. I know that the ‘90s has a bad reputation for all the cover gimmicks that went on during the decade, but when a little bit of artistry is added, it really makes a decent case for them having been produced.

We kick off the story in this first issue of “WildCats Trilogy” by seeing Grifter hunting down his old friend Lonely. Lonely is an information broker, and Lonely has heard some info on “the Cabal.” Yes, this is early WildStorm, and they’re still trying to make “the Cabal” a thing. Listen up WildStorm, “the Cabal” is never going to happen! At the time the references to the Cabal rebuilding and making some kind of comeback, with or without Helspont seemed like a real and fearful possibility, but knowing that literally nothing comes of it, it just reads as clunky. Lonely, unfortunately, wasn’t really out to help his old friend Cash, but to help himself to his better friend, cash, and is selling out Grifter to a Coda and the Daemonite Hightower. And yes, Hightower is supposed to be representing the Cabal, even though we never saw him working with Helspont’s group in the original “WildC.A.T.s” book, and he is a new character here.

Hightower is an odd character. He never comes across as evil or as Machiavellian as Helspont, any other run-of-the-mill Daemonite, or even random WildC.A.T.s villain that we’ll see later on. Hightower is also the kind of Daemonite that spends his time shapeshifted into a human form on a regular basis, rather than his more alien form. The dude seems downright bored to have to get mixed up with the WildC.A.T.s at all. Not to say he doesn’t take delight in trying to finish off the team, he gives it his all, but Hightower just never seems into it. He just wants to kill them because he knows they’ll stop him if they find out whatever he’s trying to accomplish. Luckily for him, he finds a Coda named Artemis who’s got a beef with Zealot

Artemis has a long standing grudge against Zealot for betraying her at the fall of Troy during the Trojan War. You think there was a major war in the world where the Coda weren’t somehow involved? While we don’t see any hint of activity from other Kheribum or Daemonite, we’ve been told over and over again that they were near the center of almost every major war on Earth. I guess most of them just skipped this one, leaving Zealot and 2 of her Coda, Artemis and Andromache to lead the charge for this one. The whole reason Artemis captured Grifter, and chained him up, was to draw Zealot out to fight her, again, to the death. Hell, she has even less of an interest of the other WildC.A.T.s meeting their end than Hightower does. The plan of course works like a charm, Zealot comes running, and Artemis is ready to throw down. All the while Hightower and Grifter trade lame comic book tough-guy barbs with each other. Hightower even calls Grifter a half-breed, he must’ve not gotten the memo on Grifter being just a human with a Gen-Factor. That, or due to the blood-bond that he shares with Zealot, Hightop smells Kheribum on him.

We then are directed to, well by way of a months later retcon, to a short story of Voodoo changing her outfit. Voodoo gets a call from her old buddy Tina, who she used to work with at the Hot Spot. That strip joint that blew up in DC where the WildC.A.T.s first met Voodoo. While dancing there she gets in an altercation with the scarred Coda warrior she thought died in the explosion. The Coda is there to get revenge on Voodoo for ruining her life and standing in the Coda. During the fight the Coda uses the long streamers on the back of Voodoo’s outfit to catch and almost choke her. After Voodoo manages to beat the Coda she meets back up with the WildC.A.T.s in a new outfit, that looks more like a streamlined wetsuit. That’s a pretty nice little fill in the gaps kind of story. I always liked this as a kid when I read it, but I wasn’t being all that critical, now when I go back and read “WildCats Trilogy” I have a lot of questions. All during “WildCats Trilogy” Voodoo still has the streamers coming off the back of her outfit! Even after what was flesh colored in the first issue is now colored yellow in issues 2 and 3, and yet the streamers still remain. Was the suit change a way to explain a coloring mistake? Was it a mistake that WildStorm liked better, so when “WildC.A.T.s” issue 5 came out they made Voodoo a new suit that conformed with this color scheme? Was Jae Lee not fully updated that the new outfit wouldn’t have the streamers on it? Bah, on with the rest of “WildCats Trilogy.”

Void intuits through the aether that something is wrong with Grifter, or I should say the Grifter, as he’s called the Grifter all through “WildCats Trilogy.” So eventually they’ll show up, as inferred from the title of the book. We also see that Coda have been searching for a member of their ranks they call “the Heretic” and Delphae has finally found her. Now, the Majestrix of the Coda, Andromache, is ready to gather the troops and is gearing up to find and punish the heretic. Who is the heretic? Is this going to intercede with our current story? Is the set up for “WildCats Trilogy” way more exciting that the actual follow thought and action? The answers are, Artemis (but we were lead to believe it was Zealot) no duh and you bet.

The least interesting part of this book is actually seeing the WildC.A.T.s battle Hightower and his army of hybridroids. It is kind of interesting that Hightower took over Voodoo’s body for a short time to get in close to the rest of the team to attack them, but past that, the Coda vs. Artemis vs. Zealot (with her sidekick Grifter) are the main event. Getting a little bit of Coda history (the afore mentioned Trojan War) as well as learning where they live and a bit of their hierarchy adds a lot to the WildStorm universe in terms of world building. Looking at the WSU on the whole, it seems like Zealot is the only full blooded Kheribum that is Coda. We know she was Coda on Khera, so when she lands on Earth, she starts her own splinter faction of the Coda. She is the Majestrix at that time and she finds women to join her, she trains them, and they engage in the blood ritual, and that exchange helps humans gain the long life spans, and youthful looks that the Kheribum enjoy. I mean, that’s what I’ve taken from the years of reading WSU titles. It explains by Grifter looks so young as well. It seems like only a few women joined up with Zealot right away to form the Coda on Earth, two of the major ones being Artemis and Andromache. As payment for kicking ass in Troy, the Greeks have agreed to give the Coda pretty much all the baby girls they have as well as a ton of gold. In Troy things got a little heavy when Zealot wouldn’t let Artemis kills the royal family, feeling that the fall of Troy was enough to fulfill the contract with the Greeks. Artemis called Zealot out for going against the Coda rules by letting them go, as Majestrix and the only OG Coda Zealot’s all STFU and then Artemis is all “well then kill me for betraying you! Do it! I learned it by watching you!” Zealot is still all STFU and leaves Artemis to live

Back to the present for the currently occurring Coda throw down. Artemis hates Zealot, because Zealot left her alive in Troy. Andromanche hates Zealot and Artemis for leaving the Coda, but hates Zealot less for some reason. Zealot hates Andromanche for ruining the good name of the Coda, turning them in to high priced mercenaries with no principles. Artemis isn’t cool with Andromanche because Andormanche is after her. Zealot isn’t cool with Artemis because she got the WildC.A.T.s mixed up in what should be personal business, as well and involved a Daemonite. All three are pissed off at Grifter for trying to get in the middle of this fight, it’s women’s work dammit, stay the hell away! During the fight Artemis and Zealot find a little bit of resolve as they battle Andromanche and the rest of the Coda together. In fact, Artemis takes a clef blade in the chest meant for Zealot. Zealot sad for Artemis, cradles her, and while doing so almost loses her own life, but Grifter steps in with his gun and the day is saved. Kinda. Grifter has Andromanche at gunpoint and is ready to take her out. She reminds him that if anything happens to her, the whole Coda will be after him and nothing will be able to keep them all back. Just as he is saying he doesn’t care the rest of the WildC.A.T.s show up and Void teleports them all out of there. It’s all a little anti-climactic.

We have a short epilogue with Grifter attending Lonely’s funeral. There’s only one other person there besides the priest, and the grave is simply marked “John Doe.” The other dude reminds Grifter that Lonely once gave up his entire life to save Grifter’s because of their friendship. While Grifter knows that Lonely betrayed him to the Cabal, he ultimately understands that Lonely was a good guy, and he mourns the passing of his friend.

Next : “Deathblow “ Vol. 1 issues 0 – 4 by Jim Lee, Brandon Choi and Tim Sale (with Trevor Scott)