Tag Archives: Isaiah King

“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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“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 9 and 25

this entry cover “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 9 and issue 25

StormWatchVol1_08-09_25

I originally had these much later in the timeline… then, when reading “Deathblow” I realized my mistake, so these two move up! Originally I was trying to preserve the narrative of Timespan on the run from Nadia, but, uh, they go around in time, so that was kind of silly of me. Stories involving time traveling characters work differently. So instead of reading this after “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue ½, and meeting Nadia as she curses losing Timespan, I know, complicated, but it makes more sense this way (the correct way) for the main storyline for the WildStorm Universe that what I had previously posted/though. Thankfully not too much actual time travel goes on in the WSU, just Timespan, Nadia and the WildC.A.T.s that one time… all of which impact very little as far as contradictions go, so good going WSU! Doing time travel stories pretty much right! Alright, got that? This issue opens with us seeing Timespan just after he used a “triple shift” landing in the present day. He seems to be pretty pleased with himself for out “running” Nadia.

Suddenly we are joining a StormWatch mission already in progress and things are going wrong. StormWatch Prime is there, and it seems StormWatch One has turned traitor on them. Wait… it’s all just a dream from StormWatch Prime member Sunburst. Dream? More like crazy nightmare! StormWatch Prime hasn’t done much since being rescued from Deathtrap on Gammora. They’ve just been resting up on SkyWatch One while WeatherMan One and Synergy watch and wait to see if they’re ready to be active again. Well, wouldn’t you know it, a big enough problem comes along, with multiple terrorists hitting multiple locations, threatening to blow up places of international importance, and StormWatch doesn’t have enough members to go around and just HAS to activate StormWatch Prime to help out in Rome.

The mission goes on pretty normally, but these terrorists are really giving Rome a beating. Suddenly a bomb is brought out, and it is the same as the bomb in Sunburst’s dream! Oh no! He’s even more freaked out when Battalion shows up, having completed his mission early, and wants Sunburst to turn over that bomb. Sunburst, still spooked from his dream, doesn’t trust Battalion and flies up into the air to let the bomb explode all around him. He absorbs the energy of the explosion and then channels it straight up and away from the city. He feels better about himself that he took care of the issue on his own, and gets some self-confidence back. Not so fast Burster Brown, turns out all of this, the nightmare, the terrorist attacks, the coincidental bomb, it was all a plot by Lord Defile! Turns out when StormWatch Prime was captured, it was Defile who was paying Deathtrap to keep them hostage and break down their will. I guess so that they could serve Defile, but Sunburst was bending while in captivity, so Defile invaded his dreams… why didn’t he go with Plan B in the first place? He then set up the terrorist attacks to get StormWatch to put his puppets StormWatch Prime back in action.

After the mission Battalion is just looking for some rest by himself when Timespan pops up and kidnaps him into the future. The future is in Death Valley, California, and it is a problem. Within minutes of being there, Battalion sees SkyWatch One crashing to the ground. Battalion, ever the hero, dashes forward to see what he can do to help in this situation before he’s even done yelling at Timespan for ambushing him. What he sees he cannot believe. It’s a slightly different StormWatch team, and they’re just as confused about him being there are he is.

The biggest change is that we see two new members to the team, Fiend and Undertow. We also see that Synergy has become the new WeatherMan. While it takes the team a few beats to realize that yes, somehow, this is the Battalion you know, love and miss, now is not a time for celebration. Mainly because they’re on the run from the WarGuard, Despot and they can’t find their leader. And who is this leader? None other than Spartan of the WildC.A.T.s! “What the huh? Frickin’ awesome!” Well, that’s what my reaction as a teenager, and it’s pretty much the same here. My mind filled up with so many questions, just as the book’s creative team had intended, it worked on me, big time! This was the coolest idea ever, and man, they were throwing out some big crazy changes just a few pages in! WOAH! “StormWatch” certainly is going to be a heck of a ride to get to this point!

But the big reveals just keep coming! Despot is Battalion’s father, whom we saw as a member of Team One. He went totally nuts and is bent on taking down StormWatch. Malcolm sides with his father on the issue, but during the fight, he turns to Battalion and stutters out “D-D-D-Don’t join h-h-him!” and Timespan was all “I don’t remember this happening.” Now, I’m not sure what to make of this. Has Timespan been there before observing? Is Timespan present in another way, as in, is he hiding in the shadows or a future version of one of the team? I’m not sure this is ever answered, I guess I’ll keep this on my mind as I keep reading. After the warning, Malcolm has a personality shift and starts beating on Battalion.

Turns out Malcolm was being controlled by Despot. This is a thing he likes to do. He even likes to do the puppeting with the corpse of Diva. It’s gross. Then he rips Diva apart. It’s grosser. Then Battalion goes all Care Bears and tries to defeat his crazy dad with the power of love. Before he can fail, Timespan sends Battalion back to his own time while Despot screams in his face. With the rest of StormWatch still in battle with the WarGuard, Despot pulls a Thanos and starts to kill everyone in the universe, and we see people starting to fall over dead on city sidewalks. Ok, not really pulling a Thanos, he isn’t trying to impress a chick, he just finds it easier to puppet dead folks, that’s all. Suddenly Despot is struck from behind by an unknown attacker and is told: “You may have beaten Battalion, but you don’t stand a chance against me, old man!” And we are told that the issue #26 won’t be out until over a year from now!

 

Continuity Corner:

    • The semi-destroyed Rome will be mentioned in “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 6 which officially puts it after “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 9.
    • Why did StormWatch Prime have to go to Rome in the first place, did someone give the Centurions, Protectors of Rome the day off? (See “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue 6 for more details)
    • Hey, this is the first time we actually see Defile and his be-suited zombie side-kick, neat!
    • When we get to “WildStorm Rising” we’ll see Defile’s plan for StormWatch Prime pay off. Hell, “WildStorm Rising” is the explanation for many of the new developments that we see in “StormWatch” Vol. 1 #25.
    • Also, the WarGuard are joined by Stricture (the snake monster) who we’ll see a few more times, but won’t learn much more about, and a girl named Doreen. I don’t think we see any more about Doreen at all outside of this issue. I mean, with a name like Doreen it’s hard to see how she fell through the cracks.
    • Never will another artist draw Fiend as we see him here, he’ll never look like that at all. In fact, it is off-putting to see this version of the character if you read issue 25 after reading the issues leading up to it. Also, other than this issue, Fiend is known as Pagan. 
    • Speaking of when to read this book, you totally need to read it after “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 9, because it is really anticlimactic to read it right before “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 26. Trust me, I did that once… not a good idea.
    • Frankly, I don’t mind leaving you hanging before we pick up with the “StormWatch” book again because the book itself just left you with a long ass cliffhanger with the “Who shot Despot?” mystery.
    • If I remember correctly, “StormWatch” was the only title, out of the 4 comics that participated in the “Images of Tomorrow” gimmick that actually reached their 25th issue when they were supposed to, or at all. In case you didn’t know, different Image titles skipped to the future to see what their 25th issue would be as part of “Images of Tomorrow.” “Bloodstrike” petered out at issue 22, although when the series got rebooted they started at issue 26, so that’s kinda funny. “Brigade” also only made it to issue 22. While “Supreme” officially made it to issue 25, to do that they started doing two issues a month, so just in case they fell behind a bit they’d still hit it on time, they over did it, and wound up having what was to be an issue for July 1995, coming out in February of that year. Not to say that “StormWatch” didn’t employ a bit of padding to make sure to hit issue 25 on time and make sure the story was in the right place, I mean, that’s where “StormWatch” Special issue 2 and “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 23 ½ come from! Also, the more I think about it, the more I’m curious why “StormWatch” was a part of this event, all the others are Extreme Studios books, and we didn’t see any books from McFarlane, Highbrow, ShadowLine or Top Cow join in, so why the lone WildStorm book?

Next: “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issues 5 through 12 by Brandon Choi, Jim Lee and Tim Sale

“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.

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