Tag Archives: Jeff Mariotte

Cybernary Vol. 1 issues 2 – 5

This entry covers “Cybernary” volume one issues 2 through 5 by Steve Gerber, Jeff Rebner and Richard Friend as well as the short story “Cybernary : the Price” by Jeff Mariotte, Jeff Rebner and John Tighe which originally appeared in “Overstreet’s Fan issue 6.” Due to what Cybernary is wearing, and where we are at in the story “Cybernary : the Price” should be read before moving on to issues 2 through 5.

cybernary_v1_003For the purposes of clarity, I’ll be referring the star of this book as Cybernary, and no longer Katrina or Yumiko. I’ll also be using the pronouns “her/she” instead of “they/them” like I did in the coverage of the previous Cybernary stories. At this point in the book, Cybernary is starting to act as more of a conduit between the two personalities instead of switching back and forth between them, so it feels more apt. Not that the independent sides of Cybernary still don’t crop up, and it seems in the stories she’s mostly called Katrina, but in reading, it seems more unified. I mean we’re opening on the story of a want for Katrina, that is, to find Cisco. There is seemingly no difference in this desire where Yumiko is against that idea, and Cybernary seems more like a whole being.

Cybernary_2_02_03

In the search for Cisco Miranda leads Cybernary to where they might be able to find some information. This is unfortunately in the Gamorran slums. Sketchy areas that have high technology by low income. Cybernary is left to wait as Miranda goes to gather information. Cybernary then stops a poor woman from selling her baby for cash to some tech experimenters. Due to the large fight that ensued, at the next stop, Miranda brings Cybernary in to meet with her friend Hiroshi to try and avoid the craziness. Too bad, a big fight breaks out here too, while Cybernary wasn’t initially involved she does some damage to many of the involved parties.

After Hiroshi tells the ladies they better run to avoid the Kaizens police squad, they end up at the home of Trantor “the Jumper” MacGregor. Trantor is a techie of some stripe and is in need of some specialty electronics to upgrade his work. He knows a man by the name of Lance Wernick that has some, and if they can get these chipsets, Trantor is happy to give them what little information he has on the whereabouts of Cisco. Yeah, Cybernary and Miranda are being sent on a fetch quest.

Wernick

Miranda and Cybernary track Wernick to some crazy kind of fetish club and use Wernick’s base instincts against him. Yeah, Wernick, stop thinking with your pants! Cybernary takes him back to his hotel and as Cybernary is casing the joint for chipsets that Trantor wants, Kaizen’s police blast a hole in the wall and are ready to arrest both Wernick and Cybernary. While they manage to get away all they’re really accomplishing is raising Kaizen’s interest into what is going on. He sets Minotaur and his best men to investigate.

You see, Kaizen has had some a particular interest in this crazy Nympho-Droid running around since he’s started talking to Dr. Vandalia. That’s right, Dr. Vandalia managed to survive his fight with Cybernary and even though he’s just a head in a jar, he persists. He spills the beans on Yumiko being a part of the Cybernary, so Kaizen means to get his little girl back. Dr. Vandalia would like to go get her himself, but Kaizen doesn’t yet trust him, that’s why Minotaur and crew are on the job.

cybernary_v1_004After Cybernary gives Trantor Wernick’s chips, Trantor turns over the information he has on Cisco. Turns out he’s part of a cyborg pig man… yeah… oh, and he’s being held on Minotaur’s crazy ass island. Before the crew can head out, Minotaur’s best gal Borgia attacks the team. She literally flies down on her Scooty Puff Jr. and starts messing Cybernary’s friends up. Cybernary isn’t having it and knocks Borgia’s jaw loose and steals her hoover scooter to go save Cisco.

Cybernary puts up a good fight, but she’s soon bested by Minotaur’s lesser goons. To be fair, there were a lot of them, firing from all directions, poor thing was just overwhelmed. She wakes up in the Minotaur’s labyrinth which leads her to find Cisco-cyborg-pig-man in an arena vs. her! When she eventually defeats this abombination of an ex-boyfriend she sets her eyes on Minotaur. Minotaur isn’t dumb, so he traps Cybernary and orders Gila to kill her. Before Gila can get a shot off Borgia shows up and tells them that Cybernary is the Nympho-Droid that Kaizen sent them after in the first place, and it’d be a stupid call to kill her at this moment.

cybernary_v1_005Kaizen has spies everywhere and doesn’t like what he sees on all his little spy cams. To get Cybernary back he puts Dr. Vandalia’s head on a new body that looks like a god damn Millenium Falcon and sets him to the task of retrieving Cybernary. Vandalia fails, and Cybernary rips him to shreds this time. Maybe he’ll really be dead this time! Cybernary makes it out onto the beach of the island and is greeted by several of her friends, and bunny with a huge brain named Bunny. They all watch Minotaur Island burn as they sail away.

Continuity Corner:

  • We won’t see the Cybernary again until she pull’s Slayton’s bacon out of the flames during the “Fire from Heaven” crossover.
  • Then again, that’s much earlier than when we’ll see Miranda and Cisco again, that won’t happen until the “Savant Garde” book starts up, and we won’t even know Cisco is there hiding in plain sight for a few issues either.
  • Speaking of Cisco, we don’t see Cybernary leave Minotaur’s island with any pieces of Cisco, how does she get him into that big green robot body later?
  • Don’t weep for Minotaur’s island, it’ll be rebuilt and DV8 will visit it in “DV8” issue XX
  • Also… Fart Man? Really? I get being a Howard Stern fan, but really, Fart Man as part of Minotaur’s entourage? Maybe have him walking the streets of Gamorra or something instead,  you know like Rebner had already done with Jay and Silent Bob in “the Price.”
  • Ok, time to talk about something confusing… the Gamorra Family, specifically Kaizen and his relationship to Yumiko. So we all know that John Colt impersonated Kaizen Gamorra for years. I mean, we don’t know when he started, but we know he started sometime after the ’60s and well before the early ’90s. When we see the real Kaizen Gamorra we find that he doesn’t look much like the fake Kaizen Gamorra, unalike enough so that no one would confuse the two. My question is, when was Yumiko Gamorra born? Is she the real Kaizen Gamorra’s daughter, or is she John Colt’s kid? Did John replace Kaizen early enough in Yumiko’s life that she’s only ever known John as her father and doesn’t notice the difference? At the very least, after the 2006 reboot, she saw the real Kaizen as her true father, but that doesn’t mean it was always supposed to be the case in the earlier version. Truth be told, there’s so much left open-ended here for us to have some wild ideas! Seriously, she looks young enough that she could’ve been John Colt’s kid and been half Kherubim.

NEXT:  “StormWatch” volume one issues 30 through 33 by H.K. Proger, Barbara Kesel, Renato Arlem, Mike Miller, Brad Vancata and Robert Jones

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“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 28 & 29

This entry covers “StormWatch” volume one issues 28 and 29 by Jeff Mariotte, Ron Lim, and Robert Jones, and of course the “Fuji” backup story from issue 29 by Barbara Kesel, Mike S. Miller, and Randy Elliot.

StormWatch_v1_028What we have here is two really interesting issues of “StormWatch.” To be honest, it really feels like they’re trying to reboot the series with both a new StormWatch team and a militaristic team of non-superpowered people known as StormForce. It’s an odd road to go down, throwing a lot of new characters at the readers once the last big story arc ended and we finally got Jackson King back.

This story revolves around the Dr. Martin Krug. He’s not only cooking up horrible viruses, but he’s also creating superpowered beings, as well as hiring them to cause international incidents that may tip the whole world towards war. Henry Bendix sends StormForce to find Krug’s lab to find his latest virus so that StormWatch and nutralize it as well as create vaccines for it. Bendix sends the new StormWatch team to find a man who set off a bomb in Berlin, who somehow survived that blast. That man is called LittleJohn, and he works for Krug. LittleJohn also has superpowered evil asshole friends named Tripwire, Vise and Jackrabbit who are ready to defend both him and Krug from nosy U.N. strikeforce types.

The new StormWatch team consisting of Swift (fast flying bird-gal), Flint (skin hard as a rock and muscles to match), Comanche (shapeshifter) and Blademaster (uh… a master of blades) go to confront LittleJohn and pals, while a photo-journalist named Nick Chaplin is hired to follow and snap pics of their first adventures. Seems that StormWatch and the U.N. are out for a little good PR after Despot, Spartan and Jackson did a number on NYC a few weeks back.

During the fight in an isolated forest in Germany, Chaplin gets bored and starts to wander. I can see why, seeing a bunch of characters fight that I have zero investment in is kinda boring. In his wandering, he comes across a building. He first thought is to find a way on top of it to get some good distance shots of the super-fight, but once he steps inside he sees that this old farmhouse isn’t exactly what it seems to be. You guessed it, it is the lab of Dr. Krug and he has a lot of failed experiments lying around. Not just that, but he’s got a couple frat guys from I/O telling Chaplin all about how Krug has been helping I/O work on creating superpowered beings for them. Craven, will you stop at nothing to get your own supergroup?

StormWatch_v1_029Eventually, a fight breaks out with Krug and the I/O goons versus Chaplin. For some dumbass reason, Chaplin picks up a beaker full of fluid and threatens to toss it in Krug’s eyes. Krug basically shrugs his shoulders and says “No, you.” and shoots the beaker causing all the liquid to fly into Chaplin’s eyes. The now “blind” Chaplin now has light bending powers and can still kinda see, just not like normal. He’s basically a mash-up of Daredevil and Dazler. He takes out the I/O goons, Dr. Krug and the four jerks that were kicking the ass of the new StormWatch team. He’s given the name Prism and joins StormWatch.

Meanwhile, StormForce does their job, gets the virus sample, captures all the mad scientists for interrogation and destroys the compound killing off all the remaining virus samples. Done so easily. That’s what you get when you send in professionals, no one needs to be bailed out by an accidentally superpowered photo-journalist.

In the backup story, we see Fuji up on the SkyWatch II as it is being built. He encounters a man going by the name or title Black Knight who is either trying to break into SkyWatch II or attach some fancy machinery to the hull. Fuji or course stops him and turns him over to the StormForce personnel on the satellite. Then he looks towards the Earth, recalling why it is all worth fighting for and stating that Fuji’s strength will always be a part of StormWatch.

Continuity Corner:

  • I have to say, not a lot of this new StormWatch team had sticking power outside of Swift and Flint. And even with Flint, she kind of disappeared after “StormWatch” volume two ended until “StormWatch : Team Achilles” started several years later.
  • We do see Blademaster, Comanche, and Prism all get fired in “StormWatch” volume one issue 28, and that’s the last we see of Comanche but the other two do pop up again.
  • Blademaster went deep into comic book limbo before coming back only to die in the first issue of “StormWatch : PHD.” Eventually, his title and blades were taken up by a young woman who would work along with the old StormWatch team in “StormWatch : PHD” and “The Authority : Prime.”
  • The next time we see Prism he’s become a drunk hobo on the streets of Los Angeles in “Hazard” issue 7.
  • StormForce also seemed to have continued on in some fashion but unseen to us comic readers, as they also figure into Blademasters death in “StormWatch : PHD” issue 1. Although this could be a consequence of the slightly altered WildStorm Universe after the end of “Caption Atom : Armageddon.”
  • Seeing as how the name of the operative that Fuji stops is “Black Knight” I think that he might have been an I/O employee. What with their Black Razors, Black Hammers and such. I/O spying on StormWatch, I mean, it’s a thing, it’s why Craven wanted Backlash as a part of StormWatch, makes sense that now that he’s gone and a new satellite is being built that Craven would want to know what’s going on up there still.

NEXT: “Union” volume two issues 7 – 9 and “Union : Final Vengeance” issue 1 by Mike Heisler, Pop Mahn, Allen Im, Carlos Mota, Jim Lee, Travis Charest, Whilce Portacio, Scott Clark, Chuck Gibson, John Lowe, Gary Martin, Mark Pennington, John Tighe, Mark Irwin, Rene Micheletti and Sal Regla.

 

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 26 & 27

this entry covers issues 26 and 27 of “StormWatch” volume one including the epilogue in issue 27

stormwatch_v1_26Alright, time to find out who the mystery man that shot Despot in the back was! Woo hoo! Aw yeah! And… uh… what? Huh? So turns out that blast didn’t happen? What? We get a full page rerun of Despot yelling at Timespan, word for word, and then… no blast? We even get the same “You may’ve beating Battalion, but you don’t stand a chance against me old man” line but no blast from behind before it is delivered? HUH? REALLY! All the text is line for line replicated but none of the action is!? That’s B.S. man! Ok, now that I’ve said my peace it is time to move on.

Looks like the mystery shooter is Battalion! I mean NOT the mystery shooter because he DIDN’T SHOOT THIS TIME! Ugh! For realz! Yes, I’m still on this! AGH! So, so, so frustrating! Ok, deep breaths… yeah, it’s Jackson King, back from the dead to kick his dad’s ass again. He took what he learned in his past when he was brought to issue 25 and trained in exactly in how to beat Despot. We also learned that Jackson faked his own death so that he could devote all of his time to his new mental training. I’ll admit, it was nice to see Jackson back, but man, I wish it could’ve waited a bit more. Warning, fanboying out time: I wish it was Malcolm finally overcoming his father and being the one to put him down. In issue 25 we saw him break away from Despot for a few minutes when he saw Jackson. I would’ve had Malcolm take down Despot (much the way we see in the comics already) but he’s channeling some unknown source of power. At the end of issue 27 or even later we find out that it is Jackson supplying that power to Malcolm somehow. Special King brother power or something. Jackson knew that he can affect Malcolm to break Despot’s hold, so we have them team up to take him down, only we keep Jackson’s involvement a secret for a few issues because it is way anti-climactic the way it actually ran. Oh, I wonder who the badass that just took out Despot after Jackson left. Oh, it’s Jackson… sigh… OK.

The fight goes on, it’s Despot vs. the New Battalion (he actually calls himself that), and he’s pulling out all the old tricks, getting in his head, using StormWatch and the WarGuard as puppets to bash Jackson up. Standard Despot stuff. Jackson eventually uses his new increased powers in conjunction with the downed SkyWatch circuitry to wrest Despot’s control over everyone near by. Jackson then starts to do a real number on his dear old Pops, right before Henry Bendix teleports in to pop Despot in the back of the head with a standard gun.

stormwatch_v1_27A standard gun you say? That’s not going to work on Despot! You fool! But it buys StormWatch enough time to teleport all of their personnel out of there and back to the U.N. building. Not that this is going to stop Despot for long, he gets to NYC from Death Valley, CA pretty quickly for an old guy that just almost got his head blowed up. It’s then that it is decided that Jackson and Spartan, the two StormWatch members that Despot cannot control, are going to fight him to the death. And to the death it is, for Spartan and for Despot. So yeah, that’s it for those two!

Before we leave, Timespan just has to dick around with Jackson again. Jackson is pretty pissed about it all despite it working as well as possible, and better than if he didn’t see exactly how the threat of Despot would rear its head. Before Jackson can give Timespan “what-for,” Nadia, the Traveller, pops in to give Timespan chrono-spankings or whatever. Timespan gives her the slip, then takes Jackson several months into the future and then leaves. If you’re sitting there thinking “WTF?” well buddy, I’m right there with you!

Continuity Corner:

  • For all my pissy-pants-ness I’m glad to have Jackson back! I just think it could’ve been handled better/different. When we do get him back he is noticeably less buff than we’re used to, which is how he’ll pretty much look from now on. I wonder if this was intentional or not. Not that he’s not muscular anymore, but he looks more like a regular tough guy than a body builder now.
  • In issue 27 we see several people watching the fight between Jackson, Spartan, and Despot on television, which means, I have some reading order rearranging to do!
  • Union home with Jill and not fighting, so that has to come after “Union” vol. 2 issue 6.
  • We see Slayton and Jack Rhodes watching from one of their safe houses. Since we know that Marc and Jack were staying together when Jodi started to live with them we can assume this is after “Backlash” issue 11 and they just went back to that safe house, no reason not to. We can’t really wait until the end of the next “Backlash” story arc in issue 14 because Marc finds Cray in his kitchen and Jack is on his way to Gamorra. So yeah, this all tracks, go me!
  • Cole is just hanging out with the television off. That’s my boy, making it easy on me!
  • Gen13 hanging out watching TV, yeah, this works too. As long as they’re in La Jolla, this is a pretty regular sight. Seeing as how they’ll be leaving La Jolla soon to visit Coda Island in “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue 3, this slots right in.
  • What kills me is we see the new WildC.A.T.s watching, which means this has to happen after the Ladytron special, “WildC.A.T.s” vol. 1 issue 21, and if we’re going to be fair also issue 22. I hate to push that up only because I like to keep the mystery of the final fate of the original WildC.A.T.s team for as long as possible, but it looks like it can’t be done. Issues 23 – 27 of “StormWatch” vol. 1 take place over the course of a night, while these issues of “WildC.A.T.s” take place over weeks at best. Looks like I’m going to have to push those up, too.
  • Whoa, Bendix is ready to take out Despot with a gun to the back of the head! Looks more like the evil bastard we’ll all come to know and loathe in the Ellis run of “StormWatch!”
  • With Jackson landing in the future we’re going to have 2 months of… ehh, pretty dull “StormWatch” until he pops back up in issue 30. The best things we get out of them are Flint and Swift.
  • Because of the crash of SkyWatch and the fact that we only saw StormWatch members rescued, this leaves a whole lot of evil bastards on the loose that didn’t bite it in that battle. This is why Slayton eventually runs into Talos in “Backlash” issue 23. Did the U.N. just assume everyone they didn’t teleport out died?
  • At the end of “WildStorm Rising,” it seemed like StormWatch was taking Helsponts body because they could properly confine it. I guess now we know how he got free to go back in time when we later see him “WildC.A.T.s” vol. 1 issue 45.

NEXT: “Gen13: Ordinary Heroes” issues 1 – 2 by Adam Hughes and Mark Farmer

“Backlash” issues 9 – 11

this entry covers “Backlash” issues 9 through 11

Backlash_Vol_1_9So Slayton, nice chap that he is, is going to spring Amana Reed from her incarceration now that he’s back from Nicaragua. Through CyberJack he’s found where she’s being held in preparation for her transfer back to Purgatory Max prison, a place called Stonewall Prison. He knows it’s dangerous, as he’s still on the Most Wanted list and he’s breaking into a government facility. What he doesn’t know,  is that he’s going to be running into Dingo again during this rescue.

Well, to be fair, Dingo will be running into Reed first, as she’s being chased by the aptly named Chasers. It doesn’t take long before the trio all meet up and take the hell off. Even though they just escaped the Chasers they all split up. Dingo’s done due to his stealth mission for info busted up, but as we’ll find out later, his real job was to free Reed, attach a tracker to her, follow her to Slayton. He did one better and got it on the target directly. Amanda leaves because she got all “I don’t need you to fight my battles, Marc” leaving Slayton to go hang with CyberJack. This could be a relaxing time, save for Slayton’s apparent long lost daughter, Jodi, showing up!

Backlash_Vol_1_10Turns out Slayton did the nasty in the pasty with Jodi’s mom. 1980 to be exact. So he thinks it’s plausible. He even thinks to himself that even if Jodi isn’t his, he still owes it to her dead mom, his past love, to take care of Jodi. Awwwww, so sweet. The biggest thing we miss when we’re not seeing Slayton in “Backlash” or “WildCore” is seeing his sweet side. He can be such a lovable guy, but he usually chooses to ignore those impulses.

The next day CyberJack goes to pick up more supplies for the new safe house.  Also, Slayton decides to take Jodi to Coney Island for a day of fun. This is when the Kindred start to track the homing beacon Dingo placed on Slayton during the Amanda rescue. They arrive at an empty house. The Kindred, in this case, are Fennix, Kamin, Slider, the aforementioned Dingo and of course their leader, Bloodmoon. As Jack gets home he sees it being ransacked, before he can roll into action the creatures all leave. During this their tearing of the place down,  they find Slayton’s note about being at Coney Island and they head off to confront him there.

Backlash_Vol_1_11Well, it’s not hard to catch a man when it’s five against one, so the Kindred just the best of old man Slayton. Bloodmoon’s plan is to get some of Slayton’s blood, look more into the Gen-Factor contained in his blood to refine the Kindred process. Unfortunately for them, the Gen-Factor has been mutated by Slayton’s Kheribum genetics. But hey, the got Jodi and low and behold, her blood just might work. This upset Dingo, it’s not what he signed on for, hurting innocent girls. In fact, if it wasn’t for his change of heart, Slayton and Jodi wouldn’t have gotten out of that mess at all. I mean Slayton did do some damage after escaping from his shackles, and Jodi did manifest her Gen-Active powers during the fight, but Dingo saved the day in the end.

Continuity Corner :

  • During a battle with the Chaser Gaze Slayton start seeing more of his past. There’s a shot of him as a samurai in Japan which we’ll see more of in “Backlash” issue 14, as well as Gaze and Slayton stating there’s block in his memories, and they aren’t sure why. I mean, we know why, but not how or by whom.
  • At the end of the big fight with the Kindred, we only see Bloodmoon and Slider get away. I assume Fennix is dead from her gunshot wounds and Kamin just kind of disappears. Never sure what the final fate of those two was. EDIT: reader DAMartin points out that Kamin was electrocuted. And I’m ashamed as to where my head was at while writing this, because, yeah, it’s right there, blatantly on the page! Thanks DAMartin!
  • Throughout these issues both Slayton and CyberJack keep making mention of how Giavonni can help them out. We’ll meet Giavonni soon.

NEXT : “Wildcats : Ladytron” by Joe Casey, Eric Canete, Jason Johnson, Mark Irwin, Mark McKenna, Arthur Nichols, Luke Rizzo, Joe Rubinstein and Juan Vlasco

“Backlash” issues 6 & 7

this entry covers “Backlash” issues 6 and 7

So after Slayton had gotten Dane to go on one adventure with him, he decides that his extended cast isn’t big enough and calls Dane back and tell him to bring a friend for his next mission. This new mission is to two fold. Part the first, Cyberjack and Taboo go and kidnap Dianne LaSalle from a bunch of StormWatch ground crew scrubs. Part the second, Slayton, Dane and Grail go to the lair of the Daemonite Lord S’ryn and nab him from right in front of Pike and pals.

Why do all this now? Well, good question. I mean, in the end, we see him calling in his favor with Jacob and the rest of the WildC.A.T.s and since they have Voodoo, a better understanding of Daemonites, and crazy sci-fi equipment they can get LaSalle back into her right mind. But do we know all this going in? How does it get set up? Ugh, I’m going to have to go reread this again aren’t I? Ok, just did, and nope, no elucidation. When Slayton shows up at the Halo building, via Void’s transport, he says to Jacob that he’s “calling in his favor” which doesn’t make much sense, as he must’ve called in that favor earlier because Jack and Taboo are already there with LaSalle and Void is the one who got him there, this was all set up already. Either Slayton is kind of dense or he’s super socially awkward.

Pris is able to extract the mind of LaSalle from the Daemonite, but is having trouble extracting the Daemonite from the body of the man it was possessing. S’ryn isn’t going down with out a fight. S’ryn pops out of the dude’s body, but as we’ve seen, that’ll probably leave the host brain dead. S’ryn is looking for a new host, but that’s not the best plan as there isn’t a lot of options for him in a room full of Kherubims and such. Taboo pops him one and then Slayton goes all smoke-form and gets into S’ryn mouth then reconstitutes and tears S’ryn apart from the inside out. As he’s dying, S’ryn makes fun of Slayton for not knowing himself. S’ryn is taunting Slayton’s Kherubimness with his final breath. This is confusing to Slayton as he doesn’t even understand the term. Jacob explains it to him, as he’s saying “welcome to the family!” This doesn’t last too long as LaSalle is back and she wants to spend some time with Slayton after all he’s done.

The next issue is split into three stories. The first of which concerns Slayton trying to connect back with LaSalle. It isn’t going so well. She’s having trouble coming to terms with all the people that he’s killed along the way to save her. Also, she’s not too keen on him hooking up with Taboo. Slayton goes for a walk to clear his head. When he’s out Taboo calls, saying that there’s some sketchy folks following her, and that message goes straight to the answering machine. Which LaSalle hears. After that call she phones StormWatch asking to be put back on active duty and where to go to catch the next shuttle to SkyWatch.

In Taboo’s story, we see her making the call that broke up Slayton and LaSalle, and we meet the crew that’s been following her. We saw a bit of these guys a few issues earlier, but they were yet to make their move. Now, without Slayton and Jack around, it is time to strike and capture that scofflaw Taboo. For all her powers, Taboo is really crap when she’s in a fight alone. You could say “but it’s 4 against one, the odds aren’t in her favor!” and I’d counter that saying that when she’s part of a group of as little as her and Slayton, she can take out at least 20 goons. You can’t tell me Slayton is carrying her the whole fight! Besides, these jokers are going at her one at a time anyway! But yeah, in the end, she done got captured.

Our final story introduces a new character. An Aussie dog-man named Dingo. Yes, yes, Dingo is a Kindred, but a member of the Kindred that was brought to Australia from Cabillito Island at a young age. We see his past as a young dog-boy who is adopted by an Australian military man and raised to be a respectful member of society, as apposed to being raised as the weapon he was brought to the country for. After the passing of his adopted father, he goes out into the world to see what it is like. Of course he ends up running into and working for Bloodmoon and other members of the Kindred. As soon as we saw his “such-a-good-puppy” face, we knew this was going to be a Kindred thing? Right? Was it just me?

Continuity Corner :

  • After Slayton takes off with S’ryn, Pike mentions to Hestia, the Cabal’s pet Coda, that this is the second Daemonite Lord they’ve lost in their service. This is what you get for selling out your people Pike!
  • At one point S’ryn calls himself a High Lord of the Daemonites. Is that because he took Hellspont’s place in the Cabal? We know that both Hellspont and Defile are High Lords, and then there’s the dead one that had his hand sticking out of the ground, but that’s it, right? Isn’t there only three High Daemonite Lords that came to Earth, and each one holds a key? And isn’t that why Hightower is trying to get a key? To up his level? Without actually having Hellspont’s key why does S’ryn think he’s automatically granted High Lord status?
  • Good thing Slayton visited the WildC.A.T.s when he did with Cole out on assignment in DC. I’d hate to have to sit through another few panels of them being bitter towards each other.
  • I’m not entirely sure that issue 7 was originally drawn to be issue 7. Excepting a few exposition panels, you can swap it with issue 8 and be kinda fine. Maybe there was some reason why the “WildStorm Rising” crossover had to be issue number 8. My main reason for thinking of there is something up, is that Slayton says that it had been 2 weeks since the WildC.A.T.s helped with LaSalle in issue 7. There may be something do this, as according to comicbookdb.com issues 4 and 5 each had a cover date of February, meaning they may’ve gotten ahead, thus the slight wrinkle in continuity. Was there a last minute rewrite on the first page of  issues 8 and 9 to address this? Who knows.
  • More at odds is the fact that in issue 8 Slayton says he stepped out on LeSalle to help Taboo… but we saw him leave in a huff not knowing about Taboo’s trouble, LeSalle doing what she could to get out of there and rejoin StormWatch and then the message being left on the machine by Taboo. Did Slayton come back, not see LeSalle, heard the message, and bolted, figuring she’d be back soon, not knowing that LeSalle had already taken off? Again, who knows. I’m probably overthinking this one!
  • Slayton has spent a handful of issues of “StormWatch” volume 1, four issues of “the Kindred” volume 1 and six issues of his own series trying to save his lady, and LaSalle just ditches him? Because he killed? Really? What did she think he occasionally had to do in Team 7 or for StormWatch? Oh, I see LaSalle, it’s alright to kill for your government but not for love.
  • To be honest, I’m of the mind that the WildC.A.T.s did take a little bit of time from the end of issue 18 to the start of issue 19 of “WildC.A.T.s” volume 1 to properly mount an attack on Hightower and the Coda in DC, (more of that in the next entry) but 2 weeks seems a bit long for them to wait.

NEXT : “Grifter : One Shot” by Steven T. Seagle, Dan Norton, Chuck Gibson, Troy Hubbs and Edwin Rosel.

“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

“Backlash” issues 1 through 5

this entry covers the first five issues of the title “Backlash”.

BacklashVol1_01-05

Alright, Backlash is still on the hunt to find more out about Daemonites so that he can help out his girlfriend before she dies of terminal coma! Heck yeah, he’s totally going to do it! He got some info from I/O, he may’ve picked up a thing or two from Grifter while they were on Caballito Island, and you know, it’s about time to save her. So he’s totally going to get that done in these first few issues, right? RIGHT? Nope, even with her life on the line Backlash decides to find a new chick, go to a party with the WildC.A.T.s, almost get arrested by the Savage Dragon and plays video games with his old pal from Team 7. Way to dick around and not save your lady Slayton!

Well, let’s give him some credit, he started with the best of intentions. He meets up with Diva from StormWatch to get some more info on what is going on with his beloved LaSalle. Turns out that she’s in worse condition, and she’s being moved from SkyWatch to a hospital in Detroit for closer inspection. Why Detroit would have better medical staff and tech than a crazy sci-fi satellite is beyond me, but I’m just reading these comics, not writing them. Backlash visits the hospital and while there the Daemonite that had possessed LaSalle is there in it’s new host, along with Pike. So Backlash has found the Daemonite that he needs to save LaSalle, but the Daemonite kicks his ass, and seems to be in league with a newly forming version of the Cabal.

So now Backlash has another problem. He has no real knowledge of the Cabal, and he just got his butt handed to him by only two members of the group. Time for “Operation: Hire a Tough Sidekick with Insider Knowledge!” To this end he finds out about a former member of the Cabal named Taboo, AKA Amanda Reed, who claims the Cabal framed her for murder when she was threatened to quit their little tea party. Upon being found guilty of murder… Sorry, aside; murder? A Cabal member getting found guilty of murder? Really? The first time we meet these jerks they are murdering people. They are murderers! That’s what they do on their way to enslave the planet! How does a member of the Cabal get captured in the first place, and then how does the rest of the Cabal co-ordinated with each other and the local judicial system to get Taboo both arrested and framed and they don’t get in trouble themselves? It is a stretch too far. Anyway, after being found guilty (smh) Taboo is locked up in the Edward H. Levi Federal Penitentiary, better known as Purgatory Max, a huge prison for super powered criminals. It’s also located in the far far North of Alaska, inside the Arctic Circle.

Thing about Purgatory Max, is that no one has ever broken out, but Backlash is planning to break in! That’s new and different, he might pull that off! Then he’ll get Taboo and break out! Woah! Doing the one thing that’s never been done! Backlash, you have your work cut out for you! Wouldn’t you know it, he pulls it off, his name is on the book after all, but in the process of the escape he does have to remove Taboo’s power inhibitor to beat some the guards back as they run. Taboo has a symbiotic suit that gives her strength, claws and green eyes (for now, later wings). It’s kinda like a WetWorks suit in that it can come out of nowhere and is related to vampires and aliens, but it is different, because no one thought all of this through or talked to each other while writing it. Just when you think Backlash and Taboo are cornered, they sink into the ice and are suddenly on a sub with CyberJack! Ah, Jack Rhodes, you’re the best bud Backlash will ever have!

Cut to a super secret Cabal club meeting! We find that the Cabal has been running under the rules that Hellspont had put in place by a Daemonite (I assume) named H’Tar. Not all is well in Cabal-land as a challenger approaches. It’s K’Rul, but he’s not there to step into that role, no, he states that not just any Daemonite should run the Cabal, but a Lord Daemonite should run, and it just so turns out that he is a representative of Lord Defile, and hey he’d make a good leader. This may be the earliest reference we get to Defile in the WildStorm Universe, and I was surprised to find it on my re-read! While the other Cabal members talk about what a terrible idea it is to rope in Defile, Pike and S’Ryn (the Daemonite that put LaSalle in her coma) show up and says “put me in charge guys, I’ll get those pesky Kherubim!” Even gets K’Rul to renounce Defile in favor of him! Woah! Now, let’s drink some blood and get this party started!

Meanwhile, back in Chicago, Backlash, Taboo and CyberJack and chilling out in one of Backlash’s many safe houses. Through a convoluted story that doesn’t bear repeating, the trio find out that S’Ryn is going to be at a charity bash, so they’re going to get him. At one point Taboo does something to Backlash’s face with her symbiote. At first I thought she was just giving him a shave, but he remarks “Doesn’t look at all like me.” and she responds “Yeah, quite an improvement, isn’t it?” and I’m left thinking “Is he supposed to look a lot different? Are they joking? He just got a shave, right? Or is Booth’s art here so samey that I can’t tell a difference that was intended?”

This little shindig is going down in Chicago, so you know what that means, right? Yup, Savage Dragon time! In my mind there is a Savage Dragon in most universes of the multi-verse, and this is the WildStorm U version of that character. He’s slightly different than the one appearing regularly in “Savage Dragon,” the one that teamed up with Madman in “the Atomics” and the one that we find in “Invincible” a few times. It’s just a co-incidence that he just seems like the same guy in most universes. Hell, the most different version I’ve ever seen is named “Dino Cop” as part of a DCU multiverse, but that was due to several factors, including being unlicensed, but I mean, come on, we all know what Grant Morrison was pulling with that. Oh, uh, yeah, back on point, if you’re a comic character and you find yourself in Chicago, you may just meet up with a Savage Dragon, and that likelihood increases if you are a creator owned or an Image Comics character. This is getting out of hand, look, what I’m getting at is that the Savage Dragon will be working security at the charity ball. Also, he mainly took the job because he saw that Jacob Marlowe was going to be there.

So at the party Taboo is getting flirty with Backlash, he’s all “I tells ya woman, Imma taken!” and we see Marlowe getting drunk, living it up since he quit his superteam. S’Ryn notices Marlowe and wants to get in close, as the new leader of the Cabal (stop trying to make the Cabal happen, it’s not going to happen!) he needs to take out this problem Kherubim Lord. S’Ryn is in human form without the goofy ass, middle school tossed together outfit he had on earlier, and has Pike by his side. Pike is a large guy, and I don’t think I’ve ever noticed that before. A note on what Pike looks like out of outfit: I like that Pike is depicted as no particular ethnicity. I’m not sure if that is necessarily intended or is another case of Booth’s artistic flair. I know I’m coming down hard on Booth and his art, but he is crazy hit or miss, and when he hits (look at any drawing of Zealot that he does) he’s amazing, and then there’s times like this…  come on Brett, we know you can do better! Eventually a fight breaks out and S’Ryn flashes into his dumbass suit, Taboo and Backlash notice this and suit up as well, and then the Savage Dragon busts in to try and break up the fight. Marlowe runs off and tries to call the WildC.A.T.s, but he’s followed by Pike who puts a stop to that, and Pike’s followed by Taboo who puts a stop to his attempted murder of Marlowe. In the main ballroom the Savage Dragon takes out S’Ryn and tells both he and Backlash that they are both officially under arrest.

Backlash is at a loss because he can’t afford to take the time to go to jail, or to lose S’Ryn to the feds before getting the information he needs to save LaSalle. Meanwhile Pike has suited up in his bootleg Deadpool cos-play and takes out Taboo as Marlowe finally reaches the WildC.A.T.s and Void and Zealot teleport in. Lots a fighting goes on, Zealot accidentally stabs Taboo and Pike gets away. CyberJack threatens to shoot Void if she doesn’t step away from Taboo until she let’s him know “Nah, Rhodes, the silver chick is with me.” Rhodes gathers the troops enough to go save Backlash and the Savage Dragon from being taken out by S’Ryn because they’re too damn busy fighting each other. This is where the bad guys make a play to blow up the good guys, but they each get away, ultimately leaving Dragon alone in the rubble.

Marlowe and Backlash talk a bit, Marlowe offers Backlash a job, which Backlash turns down due to his past trouble with Grifter. Fair enough, besides Zealot and Backlash will get to be teammates later and they butt heads constantly too. As he, Taboo and CyberJack are ‘ported off to CyberJack’s place Void makes comment that Backlash will have to face his destiny soon. Ooooo, ominous!

Back at CyberJack’s crash pad we see Jack walk! Wha! Turns out the special cybersuit he has on gives him limited mobility… which if we or any of the characters had been paying attention the past 2 issues we would’ve noticed his walking while saving the day! If you noticed it you’re a swifter person than me, Backlash or Taboo. But walking takes a lot out the man so he starts to crash on the couch while Backlash and Taboo go out for a drink. Drinking and superheroics lead to them hooking up when they get back home. Oops! Oh, and CyberJack totally spies on them with his motion sensors! Whatta perv.

The next day CyberJack mentions that there’s some technology that if he got, would help him track down S’Ryn’s base of operations, so they can take the fight right to him. Turns out that this kind of Virtual Reality tech is in a building owned by Waering Enterprises, the same Waering that that helps run a little outfit we all know as WetWorks. Turns out that Waering is having Jackson Dane upgrade the security on that building, the same night as his old pal is trying to break in. Backlash leaves Taboo behind while he breaks in, Dane finds Backlash, they start to tussle, a mysterious stranger sneaks up on Taboo and takes her down, Dane and Backlash recognize each other just in time for the same mysterious stranger to take them both out, while he drags in the body of a nearly unconscious Taboo.

The mysterious stranger turns out to be a loser named Virtual Bob, and he’s working for an entity known as Mindscape. Mindscape was a man whose body was destroyed while he was in his virtual reality machine, the machine saved his soul. Virtual Bob eventually discovered him while doing some hacking. The two of them build Mindscape a new body out of computer parts. Mindscape is now building robots and wants the soul of a top fighter to use a template so he can have an army of robots to take down the company that he was working for when his body blew up. So when he comes along Backlash and Dane he pits them against each other in the VR realm to see who is strongest and the winner will be the template for his murder-bots. He says he doesn’t intend to harm them in the long run… but he already seems like the kind of guy who totally would.

Mindscape eventually enters the VR realm itself and gets wailed on by Dane. Backlash is starting to figure out how everything works and finds a way to hi-jack Virtual Bob’s mind and tell Taboo how to help them get out of the VR world. The boys are freed, Taboo literally unplugs Mindscape to “erase his ass” and it is a happy ending for all! Dane even lets Backlash and Taboo borrow the bit of VR equipment that they went to the Waering building to steal, as long as they promise to return it! A pretty happy ending for all… well, everyone except for LaSalle who’s still in a coma, being sent to Detroit, no closer to having the Daemonite information she needs to live, and her boyfriend just cheated on her with a criminal. Dammit, Slayton!

Continuity Corner!

  • I’m trying to figure out why Marlowe doesn’t recognise Backlash. I know it had been several decades since their time with Team One, but I expected something. Further proof that the Team One books should be pushed back in the reading order, as Marlowe gotten all his memories back yet!
  • It makes sense that Zealot doesn’t say much to Backlash, she didn’t seem to be too fond of him during Team One and she’s probably heard stories from Grifter about him.
  • Speaking of remembering who they were, is there any real reason that Backlash only seems to remember as far back as the ‘70s? Is there anything anywhere that says what happened? Not a one off line someplace about trauma he experienced during the failed Team One mission?
  • When the crew gets back to CyberJack’s place Taboo makes fun of how run down it is. He blames it all on Backlash on the I/O goons that trashed it in “the Kindred” Vol. 1 issue 1.
  • When Mr. Waering asking Dane what he’s doing while WetWorks has some R&R, he remarks he’s going to New York for personal reasons. I’d always assumed these reasons to be joining up with Deathblow.
  • Also, when Dane is talking to Waering he mentions that this is going on during “WetWorks” Vol. 1 issue 5. While that might be, it doesn’t really invalidate any of the overall narrative going on in the WSU and keeps the arcs in both “WetWorks” and “Backlash” pretty much intact.
  • I don’t know if it was intended, but seeing how Purgatory Max is both one of the highlights in Backlash’s life (meeting Taboo) and the worst moments in his life (the final mission of WildCore) is a pretty decent narrative call-back/mirror when we get to it.
  • Also, unmentioned above, but there’s some super powered bounty hunters hired by the government following Backlash around and trying to catch him for freeing Taboo. They don’t do much now, but are become important later.

Next: “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 25 and 9 by Steven T. Seagle, H. K. Proger, Scott Clark, Ryan Benjamin, Sandra Hope, Trevor Scott, Troy Hubbs, Tom McWeeney and Frank Percy