Tag Archives: Jeff Mariotte

“Hazard” issues 1 – 4

This entry covers “Hazard” issues 1 through 4 by “Hazard” Jeff Mariotte, Roy Allan Martinez, Gerry Alanguilan and Edgar Tadeo w/ some help from Whilce Portacio

HazardIssue001So covering this book is odd. Odd, because it is only tangentially related to the overall WildStorm Universe / Story, but certainly has its roots in it and also because it leaves no lasting relevancy. I know it is hard for a new book to make an impact, and not everything thrown at the wall sticks, but this might be the first big “failure” that I’m covering here at Weathering WildStorm, so lock-in, it’s an interesting ride.

At the start of the first issue, we are immediately met with the star of the book, a bounty hunter by the name Alex Hutton. Alex is in Vegas hunting down some gangsters for information, and when he catches up with them they are very surprised to see him. Why you ask? Because while hunting down a bail jumping gangster named Leo Kyle things go all sorts of wrong for Alex, and all these gangsters were there and saw when said things went wrong. You see, Kyle is friends with a gang boss by the name of Johnny Pepper and when Alex goes to find Kyle at Pepper’s dessert estate, Pepper’s men get the best of Alex. They incapacitate Alex with the help of some Hunter-Killers and then ship him off to Gamorra as a guinea pig for a doctor by the name of Emilio D’Oro.

When Alex comes to on Gamorra he’s informed that he’s been pumped full of nanobots, bots that will make him so much stronger than before. In Dr. D’Oro’s words, Alex is now a superassassin. He’s got crazy great vision, a little bit quicker, and a hell of a lot stronger! But D’Oro isn’t dumb, he’s put in a kill switch, for which Alex will need to see the doctor at least once every two weeks to keep from dying. In the short term the doctor can also inflict pain on to Alex, so you know, that sucks. Before Dr. D’Oro can get Alex, or as D’Oro calls him “Hazard,” to do a damn thing there’s a bunch of earthquakes that start to crumble Dr. D’Oro’s lab. D’Oro gets away, but not before seeing that Alex made it out alive as well.

HazardIssue002While we don’t see Alex making his way back to America, we do see him once he’s here, and that’s where we started, in Las Vegas with him scaring the be-jebus out of Leo Kyle just by being alive. Alex wants to know how to get ahold of Dr. D’Oro, and Kyle has no idea other than to go ask Johnny Pepper. Yeah, back to that guy. Alex goes after Pepper at his compound and comes up short. Other than a bunch of fighting, all Alex manages to do is meet a feisty red-head and piss Pepper of more because Pepper doesn’t know how to find D’Oro any more either. Sucks to be Alex Hutton.

NitroGrrlDoctorShockSo while all this is going on we also are privy to a few subplots as well that come into focus soon. The first is that Alex has an assistant named Carolyn, and Carolyn is a widow. Carolyn’s husband was a cop, and she’s just starting to date his old partner Ollie, the partner is the one who killed Carolyn’s husband and covered it up. Luckily Alex has a buddy on the force named Bratton, and he’s is zeroing in on the proof of Ollie being a murderer. We also find out about two young super-powered robbers by the names of Nitro Grrl and Doctor Shock. They’ve been robbing their way across the South West and now they’re in Los Angeles (by the way, Alex is based out of L.A. but he spends so much time outside of it, it’s easy to forget.) The latest target of Nitro Grrl and Doctor Shock is an electronics store that happens to have a large safe in the back. What’s in that safe? A ton of money. Who’s money? Johnny Pepper’s, because he’s been using the electronics shop as a way to launder that money! Uh-oh!

HazardIssue003Alright, I skimmed over something earlier, and that’s how Alex got put on the trail of Leo Kyle in the first place which lead to all this… well you know, mess. It was a fellow bailsman by the name of Al. While it didn’t seem all that important then it turns out to be important when we learn that it was Al who sold Alex out to Dr. D’Oro! After exacting some revenge on Al, and taking the money that Dr. D’Oro had paid Al, Alex gets a number from Al that could put him on a new lead.

So while Alex is using this number to find a connection to Dr. D’Oro, Johnny Pepper has found Nitro Grrl and Doctor Shock and made them a deal. The deal is that they have to hunt down and take out Alex. These two aren’t the smartest, they’re just kids, and they do have a bit of trouble keeping track of him. Hell, he even manages to sneak up behind their car and flatten a tire! Alex gets away for a bit, just enough time to get a call from Bratton telling Alex he has the proof on Ollie, Carolyn’s husband’s killer, and to meet him at the pier to find out more. While this is happening Carolyn gets kidnapped by Ollie.

HazardIssue004So it’s all coming to a head here, Alex meets up with Bratton under the pier. It turns out that Bratton is as dirty as Ollie and it’s all a setup. Damn! They are going to kill Carolyn unless Alex gives himself up. While Alex is preparing to let himself be shot, Nitro Grrl and Doctor Shock finally catch up to Alex. The involvement of Carolyn makes them each think twice about what to do, but Nitro Grrl blows up the pier anyway because Carolyn isn’t near there. It’s a good enough distraction, and Doctor Shock manages to take out Bratton. Now Alex knows that the kids are here to kill him, and despite them murdering Bratton he isn’t sure if they will kill him next or Ollie, and Ollie is ready to kill Carolyn. Alex makes a tough choice and shoots Doctor Shock to prevent his own death, leaving him to save Carolyn. Only Carolyn doesn’t need saving as Nitro Grrl takes out Ollie. But there’s no time to slow down, the clock is ticking on Alex’s life. He’s got about a week to find Dr. D’Oro so that he can continue to live!

Continuity Corner:

  • In “Hazard” issue 2 we find out that everything that occurred on Gamorra and his nanotech implants was four days ago, that’s why we put this so soon after the conclusion of “Fire with Heaven”
  • The reason we truck on through the first four issues is that they are occurring pretty much over the next few days. By issue 4 Alex confirms that it has been three more days getting and he is through his first week, and needing to get to D’Oro soon! When we catch back up with Alex is “Hazard” issue 5 we find him with just 28 hours left to live, so that affords us a decent break to catch up with other books.
  • The end of issue 1 and the beginning of issue 2 are a flashback that occurs during the “Fire from Heaven” storyline. News about Kaizen Gamorra comes to Dr. D’Oro at one point, and the earthquakes caused by the Moon are ultimately what saves Alex.
  • The number that Al gives Alex comes in handy off-panel, and we’ll find out more about it and the results it got in issue 5.
  • The “feisty red-head” as I called her, comes back in issue 6. She probably would’ve been a main cast character if the book continued for longer than 7 issues.
  • I wish we could see more from Nitro Grrl. It’s a shame that Doctor Shock is dead, but damn I love those two dopey kids!

NEXT: “Black Ops” issues 3 – 5 by Shon Bury, Dan Norton, and Sandra Hope

“Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 25

This entry covers pages 18 – 22 of “Deathblow” volume one issue 24 and then all of issue 25 by Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Jeff Mariotte, Scott Kolins, Geof Isherwood, Trevor Scott and Rick Bryant.

deathblow_v1_025The Gen13 kids are on their way to meet Team 7 out in the wilds of Virginia. While the kids are wondering why they’re alone in the middle of nowhere, Lynch informs him that his old friends are already all around them. Cash, Cray, Dane, and Slayton emerge from the foliage to meet the young group. While most of the guys are either giving Lynch the business for becoming a “family man” or teasing Cray because of his report with Grunge, Roxy is the only thinking that, hey, one of these Team 7 guys could be her father. Is it a coincidence that all Team 7 members that are Gen13 fathers are dead or in hiding except for Lynch? Is there something here about not wanting our heroes to be dads for some reason?

CrayDude

Soon the group comes upon the I/O towers. Team 7 and Gen13 are going to break into them to take the fight directly to Craven in revenge for stealing their Gen-Factor. As they’re figuring out the best way to break in, we see Craven sending LeGauche to Gamorra with the Gen-Factor extracts. He’s also giving other members of the Brethren (who are joined by another member named Animus) orders to keep everyone out of I/O at all costs. Finally, he calls up Kaizen, straps into some crazy contraption and starts an up-link to Gamorra and the Gen-Omega.

Craven’s idea of leaving the Brethren in charge comes to a head once Frank Colby clocks in. He immediately questions why the hell the Brethren is in the Tac-Ops department, and where the hell Alicia Turner is. The Brethren threaten Colby’s life and he relents to working with them. Just at that moment Team 7 and the Gen13 kids are breaking into I/O via the old service tunnels. Colby eventually meets the group in the service tunnel and agrees to help them continue to break into I/O. Colby is a straight shooter and even though he’s been seen as Craven’s stooge, he’s only been doing it for the better of his country. Until Craven shows exactly how crazy he is being, Colby will do as directed by him. Locking up Alicia and calling in the Brethren is too much for Colby to ignore. If Team 7 is at I/O to exact revenge, he’ll help them out.

ColbyToTheRescue

Well, Colby helped Team 7 and Gen13 right into a Black Hammer ambush. Uh oh! The two sets split up, Team 7 will handle the Brethren and the Black Hammers, Gen13 will take Colby and go rescue Alicia. After a few twists and turns, this eventually happens and the two teams are reunited to confront Craven. Well, kinda. Team 7 wants to take care of Craven themselves, leaving the Gen13 kids with Alicia and Colby outside of the crazy tech room where Craven is residing.

When Craven is confronted he starts spilling even more secrets that Gabrielle did an issue back. Turns out that Cray’s parents were killed by LaGuache on behalf of Craven because Craven was pissed that Cray Sr. helped Dr. Tsung get away with his research. Then, Craven, had Cray kill the man that had gotten the blame for the “terrorist attack” that ended up with both his parents dead. When I say that Craven is a certified dick, these are the kinds of things I’m talking about. Then Team 7 goes around and tells Craven exactly what he’s stolen from each of them. Suddenly, off-panel a gun goes off and Craven receives a single shot in the head. For now Craven is dead, and Team 7 can stand down for a night.

blamm

Continuity Corner:

  • We pick up on page 18 of issue 24 of “Deathblow” because we need the Gen13 kids to get the call from the full Team 7 group at the end of “Gen13” volume two issue 9, and on page 17 Slayton isn’t with the crew yet. While I really hate to split up books in the middle of pages, I think this one is reasonable and necessary.
  • And yes, Grunge is sporting longer hair again, despite having it cut and a big deal made about it in “Gen13” volume two issue 8. It’s a bit of a common mistake that will plague a lot of Grunge’s depiction in the “Fire from Heaven” crossover.
  • Old service tunnels, the air duct system, a wall in a top level bathroom, all ways to break into I/O, and all but the last one are super obvious. What kind of high security are the I/O Towers supposed to have?
  • Colby full on admits to Lynch that if he was really Craven’s stooge, that Lynch wouldn’t have made it out of I/O after being caught in “Gen13” issue 0.
  • Wait, aren’t the Brethren Gen12 like Team 7 is? Why doesn’t Craven just steal their Gen-Factor? Are they not powered with the Gen-Factor? If not, why are they also labeled as Gen12? Or is it that because Craven likes the Brethren and hates Team 7 that he only wants to steal the Gen-Factor from them?
  • What exactly is Craven attempting to do in his tech room? He’s uploading himself to a new body, a Gen-Omega body soon to be chock fulla Team 7 Gen-Factor. This body was constructed by Kaizen Gamorra and is in Gamorra. Not sure why he’s spilling all this truth to Team 7 as he doesn’t think he’s really going to be dying. If he was dying what would he have to lose? Sure, tell away! But he plans on being back, in a younger body… so… uh… why give your enemies MORE reason to want to come after you?
  • We found out about Cray killing the supposed architect of the terrorist attack that killed his parents back in “Team 7 : Dead Reckoning.”
  • While it is never stated who fired the shot that killed Craven, I’ve always assumed it was Cray. Mainly because it is his book and the title of the book is “Deathblow.” Kinda works on two levels.

NEXT: “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issues 25 – 28 by Alan Moore, Travis Charest, Scott Clark, Aron Wiesenfeld, Kevin Nowlan, John Nyberg, Dave Johnson, Troy Hubbs, JD, Scott Williams, Dexter Vines and Bob Wiacek.

“Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 24

This entry covers the first 17 pages of “Deathblow” volume one issue #24 by Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Jeff Mariotte, Geof Isherwood, Scott Kolins and Rick Bryant.

deathblow_v1_024Last we encountered Michael Cray he was hanging out with Jackson Dane and they’d just finished their team-up with old Team 7 pal Marc Slayton. They figure that next on the Brethren’s the hit list will be Cole Cash. Not the worst assumption, as there are only so many other Team 7 members to go after, and I/O knows that Cash is as active somewhere as Cray, Dane, Lynch, and Slayton have been. As far as I/O knows Fairchild and Chang are dead, and they took out Callahan themselves.

Now Cash thinks he’s going to get some time to chill out in NYC now that he’s home. No sooner does he turn on the television he gets a call from Alicia Turner. She’s letting him know about Craven sending the Brethren out for him and they plan to meet up later. As soon as Alicia hangs up she’s taken hostage by the Brethren and Double-Take morphs into her to try and pull the same trick on Cash as they did on Slayton. While Cash is headed towards that ambush, Cray and Dane make it to Cash’s crash pad and find it crawling with I/O agents ready to kill. They eventually get the info out of one of the I/O assassins about the ambush and rush to save Cash.

The meet up is at Union Station and as soon as Cash talks to “Alicia” he knows her to be a fake. However, it is four on one and Cash gets knocked down and has his Gen-Factor stolen by LeGauche. Just as the Brethren are leaving, Double-Take wants to get revenge on Cash for decking her when they met. She doesn’t get a chance before Cray bursts in and murders her. The Brethren beat feet as Cray and Dane gather up Cash and head for drinks at the Drop Zone. While hitting a few brews the boys catch Cash up on what’s going on with Craven and the Gen-Factor theft. When mention of Gabriel Newman comes up the three of them decide to find out where he is so they can pay him a visit.

HejHejMonikaHejPaDigMonika

Meanwhile, Craven is getting the Gen-Factor samples all ready to be sent off to Kaizen Gamorra for the mysterious Project Renaissance. It seems that Craven is willing to trade state secrets for the technology that Kaizen can provide. Also, it looks like Craven is willing to team up with Kaizen to take over the world if all goes according to plan.

Cray has called up his old pal Rayna Masters and asked her if she can find out where I/O has been hiding Gabriel. Turns out he’s in a secret I/O prison on Plum Island. The trio manages to con their way in and confront Gabriel.

Gabriel’s prison is quite nice, a pretty swanky apartment suite, with the exception of one of the walls being thick plexiglass. Gabriel immediately notices what is wrong with the Team 7 members and decides to unload upon them all his secrets. He lets them in on the fact that he wasn’t part of starting Project: Genesis, he just took over after Dr. Tsung left because he was fearful of Craven’s goals. Dr. Tsung only left notes and a few Gen-Factor samples, he took most of his knowledge and the Gen-Factor source with him. Gabriel then lets Dane and Cash in on the fact that they will die soon without their Gen-Factor, and that Craven needs it to stay alive because that old bastard is finally dying. He also lets it slip that Craven is working with Kaizen Gamorra to meet his goal.

The boys are all disheartened at their impending mortality. Well, more so than usual. Cash swears he’s going to blast a hole through the plexiglass and another one though Gabriel. Cray manages to convince him that Gabriel isn’t worth it, against Cash’s better judgment. But after Cash and Dane have left Cray slips Gabriel a gun through the plexiglass food-slot saying that “a condemned man’s entitled to a last meal.” Which is really goddamn dark even for this book! Gabriel recites some lines from a Yeats poem and ends his life.

GoodbyeGabe

Continuity Corner:

  • Why only the first 17 pages? Well, we have “Gen13” volume two, issue 9 which ends with Lynch getting a call from all his old Team 7 buddies telling him about the raid, and until we’re 17 pages into this book they are not planning the raid on the I/O Towers yet.
  • On page 18 the book really picks up like an entirely new issue with the Gen13 kids looking for the rest of Team 7. Without having read the “Gen13” issues you have no idea why the kids are there. We only know Team 7 called Lynch and the kids from the pages of “Gen13.” Unlike the “Gen13” issues, you don’t need to have read the “WildC.A.T.s” issue to understand anything, it’s just that there are no real other places it can slot into the continuity as easily.
  • Then there’s “Brass” volume one to read before we finish “Deathblow” volume one issue 24, but I’ll talk more about that when I get to covering that series in a few entries.
  • We got such an info dump from Gabriel’s final confession in this issue! The big takeaway is that the Gen-Factor keeps you young… mostly. I think that’s certainly the case for Cash, Chang, and Dane keeping their youthful looks, but Lynch, Fairchild, and Cray look like they’ve all aged, some more than others.
  • The other thing we find out is that Cray’s father was responsible for bringing Dr. Tsung to the United States from Hong Kong, therefore kind of making Mr. Cray a little bit responsible for his own son’s super-powers I guess.
  • Come on, the way page 17 ends it seems like a real ending, right? It’s not just me seeing this, right? I’m pretty sure this was intended by Choi for us to catch up on “Gen13” right here. If I’m right I have to admit, that man had some rad ideas!

NEXT: “Gen13” volume two issues 8 & 9 by Brandon Choi, Jim Lee, J. Scott Campbell, Humberto Ramos, Alex Garner, Al Gordon and Wayne Faucher

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

“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