Tag Archives: Jason Johnson

“WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 23 & 24

This entry covers “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.

27071_20060303155409_largeAt long last, we get back to the flagship title of this WildStorm Universe! Man, I love these characters. I’m not just talking about the main team that’s stranded on Khera, I’m also talking about the makeshift team back on Earth. Bless Alan Moore, or whoever at WildStorm gave him the idea to assemble that team. Ladytron and Tao are the only characters that were created for the new series, so somebody is a genius for the (obvious) team-up of Savant and Majestic but also pulling in Cole’s little brother, Max. I could literally read another 20 issues of the teams being separate and their adventures on Earth and in space. I’ve always been happy with what we got, but this run looms large in my head, and I’ve always wanted more.

To the matter at hand. I’m going to split this recap up, I’ll do the Earth team’s issues first, then the Khera team’s issues. It just keeps this easier to recap, still best to read them as they are presented.

On Earth, the team is breaking into the home of H.A.R.M. of the Troika. Seems as if Slag and Attica are out of town so the new WildC.A.T.s team decides to take on one of the old team’s enemies. I believe the team is meaning to apprehend H.A.R.M. and then put him into stasis like they did with Ladytron when they first got her. I guess by that I mean that is the rest of the team’s idea, I’m pretty sure that Tao meant for the big lug to end up dead the whole time. If H.A.R.M. didn’t die then there’s no raid on his funeral later, leading to no apprehending of Slag and Attica, thus no distraction during their break out for Tao to make his escape when his plan falls apart later on. The best part of the “Capture/Kill H.A.R.M. Plan” is when Majestic drops Ladytron through the roof of H.A.R.M.s place as an ambush. She wasn’t sure she was going to survive the drop, and she’d only just found out dropping her was the plan during her fall. In true Maxine Manchester fashion, she hilariously stuck the landing.

MaxineEnters

Because we’re in the future we all know what an evil git that Tao is, so it is kind of fun seeing him take advantage of Maxine’s bloodlust knowing that if she landed on H.A.R.M.s head she’d try to rip off his noggin, exposing his brain. Then knowing Majestic would take enough action to scare H.A.R.M. towards the back entrance where Max and Savant had already snuck in. Either move H.A.R.M. made, be it threatening Max or Savant once he found them, would always result in Tao taunting Max about his brother’s shooting abilities and mentioning H.A.R.M.s exposed brain. Kind of brilliant in a sadistic way. That’s our Tao!

On the topic of sadistic, the team decides that they might as well crash H.A.R.M.’s funeral and see what other baddies they can nab. This is all going down at the Church of Gort, a religion created by and for cyborgs. The team does damage to the floor as they bust up through the catacombs and they manage to take down Attica pretty swiftly. Slag proves more complicated until that uncouth bastard Tao decides to subdue Slag with some liquid metal. Why is this so extra heinous? Because the super-hot liquid metal was the melted down remains of H.A.R.M. that were going to be used to cast his grave. Ew. For good measure, the team also take in Deathtrap as a bonus, even though he was just there paying his respects to a fallen comrade.

27072_20060303155425_largeOk, let’s get to space where… well… things aren’t looking so keen on Khera and Void is the only one that seems to notice or care. In her looking for where the heck Pris is she checks in with each member of her old team. Jeremy is looking to go see the sights of Khera. Reno is learning more about his powers from a Kherubim Lord at the Shaper’s Guild. Zannah is back with her Coda where she is being treated like the high queen she is. Zannah is becoming kind of a jerk, she’s not alone, Emp is too but we won’t see that just yet. The power of local politics amplifing the worst of people and all that. When Void meets up with Spartan she sees him playing with other Spartan guards. He fills her in on the Kherubim Senate seat that Zannah and Emp are each after and compares Emp’s side to Republicans and Zannah’s to the Ku Klux Klan.

It takes some time for Void to find Pris, but once she does she’s in for a surprise. Turns out that Pris wasn’t out all night dancing in a nightclub like literally, everyone thought. Seriously, how shallow are they all and how shallow do they all think Pris is? Pris reveals that she’s been staying in a Daemonite ghetto since they landed on Khera. Why there? Because she has Daemonite blood. Why is there a Daemonite ghetto? Oh, for all the refugees of the Kherubim/Daemonite war. Refugees? Why yes, see, the war, well that’s been done 300 some years. Uh…. what?

MerryXmasTheWarIsOver

Jeremy’s sightseeing takes him to an area underground called “Down-Town” where everyone looks like him. We’ve always seen other Kherubims and they’ve looked human, only Jeremy ever turned another color, now we know why. Technically, he’s Titanothrope, not Kherubim. Well. Kind of. Turns out that the Titanothropes are native to Khera, the Kherubim just took over their planet and made second-class citizens of the native population. Jeremy is finding all this out from a young woman he meets name Glingo, who he starts to develop a crush on. It isn’t long before Jeremy finds himself challenged by a local boy named Baxa. Baxa is Glingo’s brother and he doesn’t like Jeremy hitting on his lil sis. Of course, the challenge is a fight, and Jeremy uses his brains and beats Baxa, what does he win? Surprise, it’s Glingo! Oh Jeremy, what a pickle you’ve found yourself in now. Just looking for a little fun in what seems like paradise and you end up with an alien fiance. Jeremey’s excited confusion is replaced by frustrated confusion as soon as he gets back to his hotel room and finds Void, Pris and Reno looking pretty damn dour. Yikes! Odd day out for all the non-elite WildC.A.T. team members.

Continuity Corner:

  • The Earth events of “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue #24 occur the day before issue #25 based on Majestic’s naration in issue #25, which means that most of “Deathblow” volume one issue #24 and “Gen13” volume two issues #8 & #9 are all happening at the same time.
  • Intentional or not, seeing Deathtrap without the other Mercs at the funeral is showing us the man’s softer side, leading to his eventual doubts about the mercenary lifestyle that he starts to have.
  • Arresting Deathtrap must’ve been a real wildcard for Tao. He goes with it, despite not knowing where it will lead. He thinks he makes the most of it when he tricks Hellstrike in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue #25 into taking some spy-tech on to SkyWatch II, but he’s mistaken. Ultimately it is Deathtrap questioning how the whole crime war got started and then putting it together for Cole that Tao is behind it all. If Deathtrap wasn’t at the funeral he would’ve never mentioned that while taunting Cole and then have all the other info spill out. One of the few things Tao couldn’t account for that lead to his undoing.
  • I’m going to have to guess that the Daemonites that were coming to join Helspont on “Reunification Day” in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue #4 were all either hardline supporters of a war centuries over or just homeless Daemonites that didn’t have anything better to do.
  • I’ve always been bothered that Jeremy stays in his Maul form this whole run. Not once does he go back to normal nerdy Jeremy Stone self. What’s wrong with looking like that guy on an alien planet, huh?

NEXT: “Deathblow” volume one issue #24 pages 1 through 17 by Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Jeff Mariotte, Geof Isherwood, Scott Kolins and Rick Bryant.

“Wildcats : Ladytron”

this entry covers the “Wildcats : Ladytron” one shot

ladytronThis book, this book is a doozy! By that I mean pretty damn great! I really do love this book! I’m not going to lie, I found out about this book well after it was published. I had no idea that Maxine had her own one shot comic. Once I got ahold of it, I was pretty pleased with myself for tracking it down.

The book opens with Maxine living in some kind of toy factory. She’s got all kinds of crazy little robo-toy friends running around. It’s kind of cute. Looks like Maxine has made a real tiny little life for herself. She’s got a bed, she’s got some friends, what more could a gal want? I mean except to be normal and not half-mechanical of course. Maxine’s self-pity doesn’t last long before those little clockwork rascals pick a fight with her, knock her out and drag to an unknown location.

Said unknown location is the lair of Dr. Khaz. See, he built the little buggers to capture Maxine for him. As it turns out, he’s also the very person that gave Maxine her cyborgian enhancements in the first place. As Maxine is recovering from her injuries we get a glimpse into her life prior to her becoming Ladytron, and how she got to that point.

In the flashbacks we see that Maxine has been bad news since she was a kid. Sure, her family life was pretty rough, so she just made life rough for everyone else, including the children’s home she stayed at. It wasn’t much longer before Maxine was a little more grown, picking up men, having her way with them and then straight up murdering them. In telling her life’s story to a guy at a pool hall he asks if she’d like to join him on a robbing spree. Maxine is game, and after six months they’re trapped in a stand off with the cops. The girl doesn’t want to go out like a chump and she rushes the cops. Maxine catches several bullets and winds up in an emergency room, where somehow Dr. Khaz has the authority to take Maxine from the police and hospital for his experiments.

ladytron shot

Whew… now that we know all that we see that Dr. Khaz has her trapped. His main goal is to get her to track down another robotical creation of his. It’s a hulking man-bot by the name of Stanley. Despite how often Dr. Khaz calls him her brother, Maxine can only see him the perfect man for her.

ladytron loveIt doesn’t take long for Maxine to find him, and lucky for her, Stanly is also a fan of wanton destruction, as well as it also being love at first sight for him. So Stanley and Maxine team up and are back to her old ways shooting and robbing. The couple manages to get married and celebrate their honeymoon. Here’s where they start talking about how killing innocents just doesn’t have the old thrill that it used to. The hatch a plan to find their “father” Dr. Kahz and kill him, think of the buzz!

Confronting Dr. Khaz doesn’t go so well. He deactivates Stanley, then brings him back online with a mission to “discipline” Maxine for taking so long to bring Stanley back. This doesn’t go so well and in fact, it drives Maxine to kill her one-time love. Good night Stanley, we hardly knew ya. Then Dr. Khaz starts to go all creepy father again ending in Maxine giving him a literal kiss of death before destroying more tiny toy robots and getting the hell out of Khaz’s lair of techno-creepiness.

ladytron-kiss
Talk about Electra Complex! Wait… that’s not what that means? Like at all? Damn reality ruining my lame electricity puns.

Maxine over hears two thugs talking about a big heroin deal going down at a theme restaurant in Chicago, Maxine decides to get involved in it. There’s going to be plenty of cash, and hey, free drugs if that’s your kind of thing!

Continuity Corner:

  • This story takes place before, during and technically after some of the events in “WildC.A.T.s” volume 1 issue 21. That issue of “WildC.A.T.s” is a series of nested flashbacks setting up the new status quo for that book. Reading “Wildcats: Ladytron” prior to it causes no real problems, and works incredibly well. Hats off to Joe Casey!
  • On the last few pages, we see Lucius Simpson discussing the heroin deal that leads Maxine to “Presidents” in “WildC.A.T.s” volume 1 issue 21.
  • When I first found this book I thought it was going to be contemporary with what was going on in the current “Wildcats” book with some flashbacks. Even when I was reading it I didn’t expect it to be a straight up “Here’s what Maxine was up to before we knew her, and nothing else” kind of a book. Pleasantly surprised when I got to the end.
  • A note of extremely minor continuity error is the license plate on the car that Maxine drives away with on the last page. In “Wildcats : Ladytron” it is “QUEN BCH” and in “WildC.A.T.s” volume 1 issue 21 it’s “QUN BCH.”
  • Another teeny tiny difference between “WildC.A.T.s” volume 1 issue 21 and “Wildcats : Ladytron” is that Majestic mentions that Maxine took 5 shots in the police stand off. When we see this scene play out in “Wildcats : Ladytron” it’s more like fifteen! I mean, it isn’t a big deal in the least, but it’s the kind of thing a blog dedicated to pulling apart and over analyzing the ins and outs of the WildStorm Universe would notice and comment on.
  • It’s fair to say that a lot of characters in the WildStorm universe are twists on more famous mainstream characters from comics. Midnighter is WildStorm Batman. Majestic, Apollo and Union can each be looked at as WildStorm Superman. Hell, Maul is very much like the WildStorm version of the Hulk now that I think about it. I bring this up to say this, while there’ve been many cyborgs in comics, there haven’t any like Maxine. In fact, I’ve always seen Maxine more as the WildStorm version of Tank Girl if anything at all. Those two characters even have the same voice in my head. Does this make sense to anyone else?

NEXT: “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 21 and 22 by Alan Moore, Travis Charest, Kevin Maguire, Troy Hubbs, Randy Elliot, Sal Regla, Trevor Scott and Scott Williams.

“WildStorm : Chamber of Horrors”

this entry covers the short story “Portrait” from “Overstreet Fan Magazine” issue 4 and the “WildStorm : Chamber of Horrors” one shot.

“Portrait” is a two-page story that opens with Zealot stealing something from the Coda. While Zealot is fighting we get a narration from Savant about how different they each are and why. The story ends with Zealot delivering what she took from the Coda to Savant. It’s the head of an ancient Greek statue, a statue of Zealot herself. The story ends in Savant’s office in the Smithsonian, coincidently, that’s exactly where our next story takes place!

wildstormchamberofhorrosOk, so what we have here is WildStorm’s attempt at their very own “Treehouse of Horror.” Remember when those started, there was a framing story of the Simpson kids telling scary stories to each other, and we have that here. The team, sitting around in the Smithsonian telling spooky stories. Some are stories from their past, a history of Tapestry that Zealot knows, or in Reno’s case, a horrible dream!

There’s not too much here. Reno keeps having a nightmare of visiting his parents’ graves, them rising as zombies, turning into Daemonites, trying to kill him and succeeding. We’ll find out more about Reno’s background later, but it’s that as a kid some Daemonites burned down his folks’ house and he carries the guilt of not being there to save them. Him telling this story to Savant gets the whole ball of wax going.

Jacob chimes in with his story from back in his Saul Baxter days. Seems he got set up with a woman whose whole body had been taken over by spiders who were then controlling her, much like 3 kids in a coat and fedora pretending to be a grown man. Also, there was a crazed axe murderer, who flummoxed the cops who shot him due to his not having a hook for a hand. Basically, a bunch of old urban legends tossed together. I don’t know if we can trust Jacob on this one.

Zealot tells a story of Tapestry being the witch that set off the Salem Witch Trials. And Savant gives a story of being careful what you wish for, but back in pirate times! While all of the stories are kinda meh, these last two don’t do much storywise other than showing us a bit of WSU history. I mean, that’s what I assume because Savant saw a pirate getting hanged by the name of Henry Fletcher/the Bloody Hawk, and I can’t find any reference to him being a real person or pirate. We shoulda got some sweet WildStorm pirate stories outta that guy!

Continuity Corner:

  • In this issue, Zealot has short hair. The editor must’ve been asleep at the wheel because there’s just no way for this to’ve happened. Unless Zealot grows her hair very quickly. Is that a known Kherubim trait? Rapid hair growth? I know this kind of puts it at odds with having “Portrait” right before it, but this is something that’s best overlooked.
  • Maybe rapid hair growth is a Kherubim trait, Savant grew quite a coiffe in a few pages!
  • I did the research, the beehive hairdo was created in 1960, so Jacob’s story (if he’s not pulling our leg, as it’s the only story that seems like it could be false) would have to be happening shortly before the “Team One” books.
  • So, Tapestry was active in 1692. And this was still years before Zealot had her 100 years of indentured servitude with her? I always thought “the Price” from “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 13 had taken place centuries earlier!
  • Savant still seems fine just 12 years later in 1704, so I guess she hadn’t been poisoned quite yet. Man, when does Zealot submit to Tapestry for all that time? I guess there’s still time, I mean, as long as it happens before 1860, I guess we’re still looking at a workable timeline.
  • Also, yes, I do find it odd that Deathblow is on the cover of this issue and it only concerns the members of the “WildC.A.T.s” book.

NEXT: “WetWorks” Vol. 1 issues 4 – 7 by Whilce Portacio, Francis Takenaga & Scott Williams

“Team 7 : Dead Reckoning” 1 – 4

this entry covers “Team 7 : Dead Reckoning” (aka Team 7 series 3) issues 1 – 4

Team7series3Here it is the final series of Team 7… kinda. More on that later, but first up; Lynch finally loses that pesky eye! So, there we go, one Wildstorm Universe mystery totally solved! Unfortunately this series is a bit of a letdown because it moves so fast and so herky jerky in time that it seriously could’ve been at least 2 if not 3 different mini-series. The biggest problem is that we have no sense of time outside of flashbacks to Team 7’s final mission.

The team’s final mission is a trip to Leningrad to rescue a young scientist who is at work for a superhuman program in Russia. This is the program that was set up by the Old Russian dude on crutches that bought it in the last “Team 7” series. When Cray, Slayton & Zig Zag took care of Old Dude, Fatty & Girl in Cambodia it more or less wiped out the fruits of the Russian superhuman program. Now the Russians are trying to get back in the game and it is up to our old buddies in Team 7 (minus Dane who was banished to Level 9 at the end of series 2) to stop those Evil Ruskies and gain a brilliant scientific mind in the process. Of course the mission goes pear-shaped almost immediately.

First things first, Team 7 finds Russia’s one new super-powered being and Lynch takes it on to give the rest of the team time to find the young scientist. Lynch is using all the psi-power he can muster to fight this being. The being is kicking Lynch’s ass, and Lynch tries to pour it on as much as he can to fight back. The drawback is that Lynch’s psionic powers are creating such a pressure on his skull that Lynch knows that he has to tear out his own eye to release a torrent of a psi-blast to take on his enemy. Time being of the essence, and with Lynch literally being the Clint Eastwood of the WildStorm Universe, he goes for it, explodes the other dude’s head and then passes out while the rest of the team meets their objective. While the team his having better luck, they certainly aren’t all that happy.

The team easily finds the man they’re after, a man by the name of Dbovchek, who wants to defect to America with all his scientific knowledge. They grab him, wrap him in the flag of the Soviet Union, grab Lynch and get the hell out of there. One twist, now that Lynch is down for the count Slayton is in charge and this pretty much pisses off the rest of the team, primarily Cash, who thinks he should be in charge. They rest of them don’t like Slayton either, but Slayton doesn’t care. He has secret orders and those orders are to get rid of Dbovchek when he has a chance. He sees his chance when Team 7, after a harrowing chase through the sewers of Leningrad, is being airlifted to safety. This is when Slayton shoves Dbovchek out the door of the helicopter to his death. Cash tries to save him, but has no luck. Why would Slayton do what he did? Because the powers that be want to keep the Cold War running, and a man like Dbovchek on either side threatens that balance. Who would give Slayton that kind of side mission? You guessed it, Miles Craven!

Ok, go back and re-read those last two paragraphs up there, go ahead, I’ve got time. Ok, you back, realize that those paragraphs, that single mission in the USSR, take place via flashbacks throughout the four issue run. You might think to yourself “What? But the actions of that mission inform the whole rest of the series, how can we get a feeling of what is going on when we don’t know how that mission resolved?” And I’d say to you “You’re damn right!” Reading this is kind of like a fever dream, a lot of things happening at once and you’re not sure how it folds altogether in a single satisfying story. Well, it doesn’t, but the structure is only half of the problem, the rest is a lack of year sign posting on the story in progress as well as trying to squeeze in a bunch of references to the WildStorm Universe at large.

Alright, back to that evil bastard Craven. Apparently when the most recent Presidential Administration took charge they reinstated Craven back into his former job as head of I.O. The members of Team 7 are very upset that Craven is their boss once again and most of them quit Team 7 and I.O. in protest, just like at the end of the first series. Much like that time when most of them quit Lynch, Slayton and Cray stay with I.O.. Cash and Callahan both quit I.O. and end up going to work for other military agencies. While Chang and Fairchild also quit I.O. they both go back to work for I.O. at some point. I’m not sure when, as we see them quit, but then we see them working for I.O. again, so without any more information (like when things are happening) it gets a bit confusing. Dane remains locked up down on Level 9 of I.O. and is starting to get along with his C.H.U.D.-like roommates down there.

Now, as we’re moving quickly through the late ‘70s we’re also starting to get more connections to the WildStorm Universe that is occurring, more or less, in the real-time of the ‘90s. We find out about Callahan’s first wife who he knocked up. When she had her baby the doctor, under orders from Craven, told Callahan both his wife and his baby died. Craven wanted to raise this Gen-Factored baby for his own (evil) ends. Callahan’s wasn’t nearly as passed out as the doctor things, and she gets wise to things, knocks out the doctor, takes her baby and high tails it to an Indian reservation in Arizona where her family lives and convinces her uncle to raise it. Thus we see the secret history of Sarah Rainmaker of Gen13. We see Lynch pissing off either his wife or Christy Blaze, not quite sure which, with his suicidal actions. Cray, under Craven’s direction finds and kills the man supposedly responsible for the death of his parents, which we’ll find out more about later in the “Fire from Heaven” crossover story. Slayton almost biffs a mission in Germany and we see that Craven wants him to infiltrate the U.N.s emerging super-group as a spy for him and I.O.. While Slayton initially balks at the idea, he eventually decides to sign up for Stormwatch anyway. We also see baby Grunge as well as baby Threshold and Bliss when we check in on Callahan and his new wife. Heck, there’s even passing mention of former Team 7 members Diaz, Johnson, MacNamara and Rhodes, but oddly nothing on Breckmann. But what of Dane?

Dane, mind-wiped and all from the Old Russian in series 2 is locked on Level 9, and has been getting brainwashed by his buddies there. He knows he can break free with their help. He also knows that when he breaks free he should warn his friends; because somehow Dane knows that Craven is after all of their kids. How does he gather his best buds back to I.O. to tell them this? He makes them glow. They all come running, and Cray brings along Zig Zag who was just getting settled in at college. Dane busts loose with his Level 9 buds, Team 7 takes care of them, the armed forces of I.O. show up, Zig Zag scares the hell out of them, most of the team then make their escape with a Team 7 members left standing around with Craven. The Team 7 members that ran off are all the parents (Callahan, Chang, Fairchild and Lynch) along with Cash, because he just plain ole hates Craven. Dane is passed out on the ground and Slayton knocks out both Zig Zag and Cray to join Dane.

This is pretty much how it ends, Zig Zag is now in service of Craven and I.O. along with Cray. Slayton is working for the U.N. and Stormwatch, but is spying for I.O.. Callahan, Chang, Fairchild and Lynch want to protect their children and Cash says he has an idea, but first, get all the kids into hiding. Where do we go from here? Well, it’s going to take even more time for that story to be told. We have to wait until the first issue of “Gen13” to start to put it together, and that isn’t too long, but for all the real answers we have to wait until the “Gen12” series which is so much farther down the line. Why not review it next? Well, because unlike the “Team 7” series, the “Gen12” series is told in flashback to an investigative government agent while he is dealing with the after effects of “Fire from Heaven.” So I can’t get ahead without spoiling too damn much, besides, it really is worth the wait! Oh, and no, we never really find out how Dane gets better enough to kick ass leading Wetworks, so don’t expect to ever really solve that mystery.

Next Week : “WildStorm Winter Special : Deathblow Gets Dusted” Preview by Allen Warner, Carlos D’Anada and Carrie Strachan