Tag Archives: Jim Lee

“WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 19

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continuity Corner :

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

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

“Union” Vol. 2 issues 1 & 2 and “Crusade : Release”

this entry covers the short story “Crusade : Release” that was originally published in the “Killer Instinct Tour Book” and reprinted in “WildStorm Rarities”, also being covered is “Union” Vol. 2 issues 1 and 2

We open with a short history of Voyager 1, leaving Earth in 1977. Suddenly, now in the ’90s, Voyager 1 has struck and object. In doing so, Voyager has found intelligent life. Life is a large naked bald man… baldish… he’s got a rat-tail… made out of dreadlocks… not the best look. The object struck was also some kind of rock/bunker that kept Baldy McGee in stasis but also had several sets of full armor, which Baldy dons. He seems pretty happy to see the Sun again, as well as to “clean the stain from the universe!” So he heads off towards Earth, on his, ahem, crusade!

Alright, now let’s see if we can boil these two issues of “Union” down. Mnemo sees that Baldy is coming, so he needs something to defend himself against that. He pulls out the body of another Protectorate he just had laying around, that he can also kinda/sorta remote control, and sends it after Baldy. Now I’m not sure where Big Blady was headed, but Mnemo is in China, not sure if that’s where the fight started, but it ended up in New York City, right outside Jill Monroe and Union’s apartment.

While all that is going on Union foils a terrorist plot at the U.N. Good for Union! Well, lucky timing at best, as he’s really there to try to score a job from StormWatch. Due to Jackson King being, well, “dead” his meeting is with Christine, in all her Weather Man glory. Why she’s planetside on not on SkyWatch is not brought up. Even though he’s hat in hand Christine has just too much going on with StormWatch to do much, but she tells him to keep his nose clean, and she’ll see what she can do.

Also at the same time, Jill, Union’s nominal girlfriend, is having a shit day. Jill is probably the most put-upon woman in all of WildStorm comics. I really feel sorry for her. By the end of the series, she’ll go through a lot, but she’ll stay alive. No worries about her being refrigerated, but life certainly does seem to suck more for her once Union becomes a part of it. So, at the end of her suck day, she sees a dude that looks like her boyfriend outside her window fighting a huge bald man in the air. In fact, she’s shocked once she sees Union walking in the door being all low key.

Naturally, Union has to join this fight, because hey, that’s his buddy Serren getting the snot beat out of him! Several dumb ass fight pages later, and the three calm down enough to talk things out. In fact, during the fight, only two things of note even happen. 1) Mnemo’s hold over Serren is lost and 2) Baldy says “You will fall before the might of Crusade” which clues us in, in story, to his name. So yeah, Crusade, who’s on a crusade against evil. That’s easy enough to remember. Anyway, as they all discuss how they’re going to go get Mnemo they’re all sitting in Jill and Unions apartment. There’s a nice visual bit with Crusade sitting on a chair flipped around backward. I know this is due to his bulk, and it’s the best way for him to fit and rest on a chair, but I’d like to think it’s because Crusade is fresh as hell.

The plan is this. Fly to Mnemo, kick his ass. Well, amend that, fly over water as much as they can, to remain incognito and if Mnemo throws anything at them as they’re flying, it’ll minimize human casualties. Once in China, and nearing Mneno’s base, the trio encounter some Chinese military jets. After smashing the first to bits, Union lets on to Crusade that those are the good guys, and to stop busting up their toys. They make it into Mnemo’s lair and the bastard sets off a chain reaction in Serren’s justice stone. It’s gonna go kablooie, and we saw what happened in Chichester, NY when a justice stone went supernova bang bang! Union flies Serren’s body up to the edge of space and says good-bye to his friend as he explodes. Meanwhile, Crusade is trying to make good with the Chinese military and Mnemo is getting away.

Back at home Union is kinda bummed. His old friend, Serren, that he just met back up with is dead. This new friend, Crusade, is just too crazy to hang out with. That douchebag Mnemo got away… again! On top of all that, he’s still jobless, and his lady hates her job. That’s when he gets a call from Christine Trelane! She heard about the help he gave to China, and she wants him to be a StormWatch member on retainer, available whenever needed. Good work Union! You got the job buddy, you got the job!

Continuity Corner :

  • Because this is post-1990, we know that Crusade’s space rock was past Neptune. That’s a pretty long haul for the big guy!
  • We find out a lot about Crusade later in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 35 and 36. Turns out he’s human but obviously augmented. Also, he’s calling the Kherubim the stain of the universe. He never explains why he hates them so much, but he just does. It really comes off as brainwashing and was probably part of the package when he got his powers. While hating the Kherubim first makes me think that maybe the Daemonites did this to him, I start thinking of another alien race. One that had contact on Earth long ago and also hated the Kherubim. Yup, I think this might be the first hint toward the Drahn storyline.
  • We last saw Mnemo with Serren’s broken body in “Union” Vol. 1 issue 3.
  • Also, there was mention of Serron, Union’s friend that went missing in “Union” Vol. 1 issue 0.
  • The terrorists outside the U.N. were there in support of Yurgovia, none too happy about the U.N. support of Kasmia, which we saw a bit of in”WildC.A.T.s” Special issue 1 and  “Voodoo / Zealot : Skin Trade”
  • We only ever see Union officially working for StormWatch once, when he’s called into action in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 20 to deal with what is happening during “WildStorm Rising.” I guess one could argue that in “Fire from Heaven” that Union was also called in by StormWatch, but we don’t see that event on the page. In the long run, Union does kind of end up working with Jackson and Christine in “the Monarchy” further down the line.

BONUS :
After seeing this entry online, writer Mike Heisler responded to with this on Twitter:
Michael Heisler Mnemo

NEXT : “WildStorm!” issues 1 through 3 by a whole host of various writers and artists!

“Gen13” Vol. 2 issue 1

this entry covers the first issue of the second volume of “Gen13”

Oh yeah, I finally get to talk about “Gen13” one of my favorite books! For a long time, “Gen13” was the only mainstream comic on my pull list. I’d pick up “WildC.A.T.s” when I could, and mostly would wait and scoop up other assorted WildStorm books from quarter bins, but I never wanted to miss “Gen13” even when I was reading a lot more small press black and white comics. I guess mostly because it was a fun book, and even at its darkest, it made some kind of weird connection to me. It helped that I was a teenage boy and there were lots of sexy ladies, but if that’s all it had going for it, I woulda dropped it quick. “Gen13” was more than just for ogling, it had a well-rounded cast of likable characters, and I liked visiting these crazy kids in SoCal while I felt trapped in the MidWest.

So, anyway, yeah, “Gen13” and their latest issue 1. Grunge pisses off Roxy because he can’t handle that he sucks at video games. Fairchild worries about the team. Sarah prances around naked. Roxy gets in trouble at a dance club with a host of no-good-niks. The rest of the Gen13 kids save her. Roxy comes home with a new pet. Only “Gen13” can take such a simple plot and make it a fun read. It’s hard for me to do any kind of review here because the book is really all about hanging out with these characters.

Plot summaries won’t do too terribly much for this issue, and several of the early issues because there’s not much to go on. Every time I start typing I feel like it’s the kind of story that ends with me laughing and saying “well, I guess you had to be there!” I think that speaks to the power of the relatability of these characters. Choi and Campbell had something really special going here, and it was great to see that catch on with other comic readers.

Coming into this issue you didn’t need to know much about the greater WildStorm Universe. It was refreshing in the ’90s not to see a book not be part of a multi-part crossover. Before you say “Hey, wasn’t the next issue part of “WildStorm Rising”?” I’ll point out, that, eh, it could pretty much drop right out of that story, and you wouldn’t miss it, as well as being a pretty stand-alone story on its own. So, yeah, that’s the first issue of “Gen13” volume 2!

Continuity Corner :

  • When looking around the house in La Jolla, Fairchild comes across an old photo of Lynch, with a captured creature in a net. We’ll meet this creature, Helmut, in the next issue, and we’ll get the full story in later on in the “Lynch” one shot.
  • This issue is the first time we’ll meet both Trance and the four bounty hunters. Trance will pop back up in the next issue and then become a real threat it “Gen13” issue #8. We’ll see the bounty hunters, as well as find out where they came from much later in “Sword of Damacles” issue #1 and the whole “Fire from Heaven” cross over.
  • Oh yeah, we also are introduced to the newest teammate/mascot, Qeelocke, the little green kinda-cat like creature, who takes a real shine to Roxy. I’ll admit, it took me until my re-read a few years ago to get that too-on-the-nose name. Qeelocke. Key lock. It opens dimensional rifts… duh!
  • When this book was originally published it had 13 different covers. Read all about it in this edition of “Gimmicks of Yesteryear.” I picked up the standard one, the “Pulp Fiction” parody and the blank one. I’m sure those comics are all still someplace at my parent’s house, I just wish I lived close enough to go snag them now!

NEXT : “Deathblow” issues 13 & 14 by Brandon Choi, Trevor Scott, and Tim Sale

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 15 – 17

this entry covers the main stories in “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 15 through 17, including the backup story “Loose Cannon : Part 1″ in issue 17

StormWatchVol1_15-17Alright, here’s how it all comes down, Battalion’s death, step one in StormWatch and the WildC.A.T.s turned against each other and Defile getting pretty proud of himself. Seriously, I wish there was a lot more to say about these three issues, but that’s basically it. Either that or I’m off my game after missing last week’s entry due to severe drunkenness (I’m of Irish, Scottish and German descent, we’re also Roman Catholic, and it was a family wedding, held in Denver, Colorado, with the reception at a brewery, you try to tell me how I was supposed to escape that weekend sober!)

Ok, we have Defile siccing a huge purple monster, with a time bomb strapped to him on Hawai’i. The intent is to reactivate the Mauna Loa volcano, which not only will wipe out the Big Island but will also mess up the other Hawai’ian islands, as well as the honeymoon plans of several young couples. This cannot stand! And because it is a big purple monster, the only team to call is StormWatch.

What I like about the away team here, is it is pretty much “StormWatch Classic” plus a few. We have Battalion, Diva, Fuji, Winter and Hellstrike all together on a mission again, the first since issue 6 I believe. We also have Fahrenheit, Cannon and Strafe along for the ride. So yeah, they’re fighting this big purple monster, with horns on his back… wait, these character traits seem awfully familiar… Battalion eventually rips the bomb off the monster, and the monster passes out. He then protects himself in one of his psychically projected bubbles, says the bad ass line of “Tell Malcolm I love him” and the bomb explodes in the bubble only killing him and sparing the volcano.

Oh yeah, and Timespan shows up to watch this apparent suicide. He also ends up pissing off Diva, because he’s only really there to stall her and prevent her from doing anything to alter Battalion from blowing himself the damn up. Timespan then teleports back to shortly after the 3rd Crusade and the Traveler shows up and they fight. He manages to escape in time again. It says he’s in “New York City, four months ago” but I’m not sure if that’s a reference to his first appearance or just to another time that he hung out to heal before he first confronted Battalion.

During the fall out of Battalion’s death, we see the team in disarray. Strafe is acting out until his mama sets him straight. Cannon is getting to be a big baby again because his girlfriend got the job he wanted, which leads him to quit StormWatch altogether. And Diva and Christine are having a hard time dealing with it all together. Eventually, there’s a funeral and even Henry Bendix shows up. But the big reveal is after the funeral when we see Argos show up to the grave and act all super villain like.

Continuity Corner:

  • The big purple monster? Yeah, that’s Maul from WildC.A.T.s. Defile made him look a bit different, but not too much. He’s still big, purple and has horns on his back. This is why Mr. White was posing as Maul in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 15 and 16. Defile is just sowing the seeds to make sure the two teams hate each other. Having a member of one team inadvertently kill the beloved leader of the other team would do it!
  • The Traveler’s name is Nadia? In “Gen13” issue 1/2 (“Backlist” trade version) she says her name was Loran. Wait, are there two “The Travelers?” To be fair, when Loran shows up she does say she’s only a traveler, so maybe there are several Travelers out to stop Timespan.
  • Why call StormWatch about this huge purple monster? Well, I’ll admit, this is something that works better once the WildStorm Universe is taken out of the greater Image Universe because the WSU does not have a lot of traditional superheroes. The WildC.A.T.s by their very definition are covert, as are WetWorks, the Gen13 kids are on the lam, Union works for StormWatch on an as needed basis, Mr. Magestic hasn’t officially come out of retirement yet, and Deathblow is a freelancer who doesn’t have any powers that would be of any use anyway. If we want to look ahead in the WSU timeline we’ll know that the $trangers were broken up by this time, and Planetary, while existing, are super underground, and don’t often take active missions anyway.
  • If we look at this situation as part of the larger Image Universe at the time it really gets you scratching your head, because where was Youngblood? They work for the U.S. Government, Hawai’i is U.S. soil. Or even Supreme, he’s a Superman type, and unlike Majestic, he’s active. This is why I really don’t get into the cross-overs w/ the Extreme books, they bring up a lot more questions than they can answer. At least with Cyber Force they are also an underground/off the radar kind of team and Freak Force seems to stick around in Chicago for the most part.
  • After the 2006 reboot there’s a ton of superheroes retconned into the WSU that’ve been active since the ’50s, but as of right now, StormWatch are the only real public “super heroes” in the WSU.
  • Also, spoiler, Battalion will be back…

NEXT: “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 17 by James Robinson, Travis Charest and Troy Hubbs

“Gen13” issue 1/2 and 0

this entry covers “Gen13” 1/2 and issue 0. “Gen13” 1/2, which was reprinted at one time as “Gen13” issue -1, was also in the “WildStorm Rarities” book, and had a complete overhaul in art and dialogue in the “Gen13 : Backlist” trade.

gen13vol2_0An alternate name for this entry could be “Five Short Stories Featuring Gen13.” As both issues are shorts that are chronicling what the Gen13 members were up to between the first volume and the second. They’re mostly small and fun stories, and they’re done by a variety of artists. I imagine one of the many reasons they were done was to give more lead time for J. Scott Campbell for the series proper and keep the “Gen13” name alive and out in front of the comic buying and reading audience.

The first story, as detailed in “Gen13” 1/2 has the kids pretty fresh out of the mini-series going on a bit of a road trip. Rainmaker has already left to be with her family in Arizona and the kids are now just driving around, supposedly they’re just killing some time before meeting up with Lynch down in San Diego, but they could just be being silly ass teens with no real direction. They have been told by Lynch to stick to the backroads to avoid altercations with local authorities or Ivana’s Keepers. They’re having some real problems with reading the map to said backroads, but that’s only the start of their troubles. When they pull over to ask directions and get some gas they also encounter Loran, a Traveler, or rather The Traveler, who shifted through time. She’s on the hunt for Langston, better known as Timespan who we’ve seen in a few issues of “StormWatch.” Loran has no time to deal with the primitives of this time, and in her little freak out bully time against some innocent bystanders, she catches the attention of Bobby, which in turn gets the rest of the kids to go after her. It’s a tough battle, but in the end, Loran gets tied up with a stop sign and left of the cops, as the kids continue their road trip to San Diego.

The next story is the first of four from issue 0, it stars Caitlin as she’s meeting up with her cousin and her family in Portland. Caitlin isn’t quite sure at this point if she really wants to go down to San Diego, and she might just stay in Portland with family. No sooner than she starts talking to her cousin (and her jerk husband) do some suited men start walking their way. Caitlin fears the worst, that they were sent by Ivana or by I/O and she does what she can to get away. This involves being hit by a train, then picking up said train and tossing it. That puts some distance between her and the rude boys, but she knows it’ll only slow them down for so long. Lucky for her a friend of Lynch’s pulls up and whisks her to the airport to catch a flight to San Diego. Did I say one of Lynch’s friends? Oh, turns out all these guys were pals of Lynch and it was all a set up to make sure Caitlin didn’t find a reason to stay in Portland and to make sure she joined the team. Oh, Lynch, it’s stuff like this that made so many Team 7 members dislike you.

We move on to Bobby picking up Sarah at the reservation she grew up at. Bobby act like a jerk, Sarah schools him and he gets all boo hoo emo boy. It’s all pretty uneventful, but a decent character moment for both. It’s nice seeing Rainmaker so excitable and enthused showing her world off to Bobby, as she pretty much becomes the cool level headed character of the book. I’m not saying it comes across as out of character either, it perfectly fits, but it’s a side we rarely see.

On to Las Vegas, where we find Roxy and Grunge trying to track down Roxy’s stepmom. Vegas was her stepmom’s last known whereabouts, but after hitting up all the major casinos they find out she’s already left and headed to New York City. Regardless of this Grunge and Roxy manage to stir up some trouble. We have some business with a hitman who looks a lot like Grunge, so much so that he gives him his jacket, in order to… I dunno, sneak out of the casino easier? Not sure what all that was about, but we do see Roxy using her power to win big at roulette. The casino notices this and sends goons out to stop the pair. Maybe Grunge had to be mistaken for the hitman so that we’ll see why the goons are using such extreme force, but come one, this is a fictional universe, where casinos always employ over the top goons as security. We’ve seen it a million times. What we see for the first time is Grunge using his power on Roxy as well as himself to evade said goons. Just as the pair is running out of the casino Bobby and Sarah pull up to help them get out of town in a hurry.

The final story concerns Lynch, breaking back into I/O to wipe records of Project Genesis and steal some files as well as some funds. Lynch knows all the secret ways in because he went over the plans when the I/O towers were build and made a few alterations. He gets all high-tech and uses a refraction suit, which basically makes him invisible. He almost gets away without being caught, but he just couldn’t shield his thoughts from Alicia Turner. We get reintroduced to Frank Colby and find that he took Lynch’s former position at I/O. Due to their past Colby and Alicia let Lynch go, but neither seem happy about it, and you can tell a bridge has been fully burned between them and John.

We get a single page wrap up, showing all the teens meeting up in La Jolla (which is a seaside community in San Diego) arriving at their new home. The kids meet Anna for the first time and Lynch lets them all know, it’s time to learn something, and he’s ready to teach! It’ll be at least a few months, comic time, before we catch back up with the Gen13 crew, heck, Rainmaker has to grow out her hair! But this was a pretty fun way to show us what the kids and Lynch get up to in their off time. Not to mention that it was a bonus for all of us to see Jim Lee and Travis Charest do some art for these stories!

Continuity Corner:

  • I mentioned this up top, but when the “Gen13” 1/2 story was reprinted in the “Gen13 : Backlist” trade the art and dialogue are completely different. The penciling is still done by Ryan Benjamin, but it’s been a few years and he’s got a better sense of the characters. It’s paced a lot better too, but the original wasn’t bad to begin with. Choi took over the dialogue on this version from H. K. Proger and makes a few small changes. In his version Caitlin wasn’t lost, Bobby isn’t so angry, Caitlin is sending a letter to her family instead of sending a payment for the stolen VW bus, and Loran is calling everyone “devols” instead of “primitives.” Oh, and Loran is named, she wasn’t in the original version. It is interesting to see the pages side by side and note the differences! Also, big shout out to John Pannozzi for bringing the two different versions to my attention in the first place!
  • The “StormWatch” and “Gen13” books have so little in common tone-wise, that it’s kind of jarring to see these books interact in any way outside of a line-wide crossover. This book is the only WildStorm book that even references The Traveler and Timespan outside of StormWatch, it wasn’t like we saw these two fighting their way through the background of “WildC.A.T.s” or “Union.”
  • Roxy does eventually find her stepmom in “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue 27 when the team is in New York.
  • Grunge says he was born in Hong Kong, but grew up in Seattle. Did he forget about all that time he spent on that Coda island?

NEXT : “Spartan : Warrior Spirit” issues 1 through 4 by Kurt Busiek, Mike McKone and Mark McKenna with Mick Gray

“Savage Dragon” Vol. 2 issue 13

this entry covers “Savage Dragon” Vol. 2 issue 13, the Image X-Month version written by Brandon Choi and penciled by Jim Lee.

savagedragonvol2_13Alright, right at the top, why am I doing an issue of “the Savage Dragon?” Well, listen up kids, here’s a story about the craziness of ’90s comics and it’s called “Image X-Month!” See, “Image X-Month” was a “clever” “marketing” “ploy” that was a lot more fun than was intended. In it, each of the 6 Image Comics founders, would take on an issue of another Image Comics founder’s main book. I mean, each book was pretty closely tied to each of the creators, so this would be a silly little shake up. I only picked up Eric Larsen doing “WildC.A.T.s” and Jim Lee doing “the Savage Dragon” as I was picking up “WildC.A.T.s” regardless, but I wanted to see the other side of the coin with Lee and Choi doing “the Savage Dragon.” Little did I know it was going to end up being a pretty important Grifter book!

Seriously though, and I’ll get into this in a few weeks, but Eric Larsen gave us a pretty fun little “WildC.A.T.s” book for Image X-Month. Sure, Savage Dragon and the Freak Force figure into the story, but it is mostly a “WildC.A.T.s” cross-over issue. In “the Savage Dragon” the Dragon is a mere bit player. If I was a “Savage Dragon” fan back then, I would’ve felt super short changed! Not sure how the other four books fared, but this always seemed a bit unbalanced to me, even though I was basically getting what I wanted, a Grifter solo book!

So we pick up with Cole and Alicia Turner living it up in Chicago. We find out that this is the old stomping grounds of Cole, he grew up in Chicago, not only that, but he used to do some work for the mob as well. The mob is alive and well in Image’s Chicago, as regular readers of “Savage Dragon” know. One booth over and there is some of that well-known mob action going down. Also, out on the street, the Savage Dragon and some of Chicago’s finest are monitoring the situation.

Of course, a fight breaks out. Mobsters never do mob stuff subtly anymore. Cole, seeing bullets flying gets in on the action too. Whether it’s to protect Alicia or just shoot some obviously bad dudes, it’s unclear, actually, it’s probably both. The main guys shooting up the joint are Spetsnaz and Max, and they are shooting on behalf of a new wanna-be boss named Demonseed. It’s at this point I wish I’d read “the Savage Dragon” because seeing Demonseed, who has a Darth Vader Mask on under the bubble dome on his bright red armor, that has bat wings, being taken as a credible mob boss type is nuts. But, as not a regular “Savage Dragon” reader, I guess I don’t know what Dragon nemesis Overlord looks like, so this could be keeping in line with the tone of the book. Cole recognizes Spetsnaz clearly, and Max a bit, before Max fires a bullet at Cole that causes him to pass out. Then the Savage Dragon and the police kick down a wall to join the fight. Some of the mob guys have goddamn “flash suits” and the Dragon’s partner gets shot up by Spetsnaz as he and Max get away. As sad as that all is, all I’m thinking is that “flash suits” are still hella-dumb.

Next thing we know Cole is waking up in a hospital and getting grilled by the Dragon. It doesn’t last long as Alicia soon turns up pulling US government rank on behalf of I/O to get Cole out of there. While Alicia wants to get Cole to safety, he knows that he has to go find this Max character.

What is so special about Max you ask? Turns out, he’s Cole’s little brother. Not only that, apparently he’s also an I/O secret agent, infiltrating the Chicago mob scene. While Cole is off talking to his bro filling the readers in on the former, Alicia is looking up I/O files figuring out the latter. Bad news for Alicia, this is when Spetsnaz breaks into her hotel and kidnaps her, leaving a note for Cole, written in lipstick on the mirror, like some horrible 1980’s urban legend. Of course during the kidnapping someone in a neighboring room called the cops, so when Cole shows up, so does the Dragon. This series of near-misses and misunderstandings is hitting a “Three’s Company” kind of level.

So Cole fills the Dragon in on what’s going down. There’s an arm’s shipment at the docks for Demonseed, so he and Spetsnaz will be there to collect. Also, they have Alicia. Also, Cole has a guy on the inside, Max. The team up happens, the Dragon and Cole burst in guns blazing, Max jumps in and as soon as Alicia is free she also picks up a gun. Demonseed and Spetsnaz are on the run, trying to get away in a small boat when Cole opens a crate to find a rocket launcher and blows the escape boat to hell.

And that’s it, team up over. The Dragon feels like he got what he wanted, the bad guys and their weapons off the streets, so he has no reason to detain or delay the Cash brothers or Alicia any longer. Max and Cole exchange hugs and catch up a bit, and now it’s time for Cole to Alicia to head back to New York.

Continuity Corner:

  • I’d always had this happening right before “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 14, the other Image X-Month book, but I realized, we have Cole here with Alicia and not in New York. It makes the most sense that this is post “the Kindred” series and before his return to New York in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 12.
  • When Cole is in the hospital we’re introduced to nurse Ann Stevens. We’ll see much more of her in “WildC.A.Ts” Vol. 1 issue 14.
  • This is the first we see of Max Cash AKA Max Proffit, who will become a big player in the book in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 21.
  • Real world moment, Cole and Max’s secret spot is up on top of this apartment building across the street from Wrigley Field where they would watch Cubs games together. I’m trying to figure out where this could be. I grew up in Illinois, I made it to a handful of Cubs games, and have hung around the general Clark & Addison area, can’t think of any logical place this could be. Then again, it’s been ten years since I’ve been around there, there could be gaps in my memory.

NEXT: “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 10 – 13 by Chris Claremont, Jim Lee and Scott Williams (with H. K. Proger, Ryan Benjamin, Dan Norton, Richard Johnson, Al Vey, Tom McWeeny and Karl Story)

“Gen13” Vol. 1

this entry covers all five issues of volume 1 of “Gen13” also known as the “Gen13” miniseries.

Gen13Vol1_01-05At long last, John Lynch becomes the hero that he was always destined to be! I mean, we still have almost the entire page run of “Gen13” Vol. 1 before we get to that! And it’s about damn time! It might be obvious, but much of how the early part of my reading chronology is arranged is watching the heroic rise of John Lynch. Look at the section named “Part 1 : WildStorm Rising” and you’ll find “Gen13” Vol. 1 right smack in the middle of it! Maybe I’m not being clear, but “Gen13” was one of my favorite books when I was younger, with “WildC.A.T.s” being a close second and I always thought a lot about John Lynch and his history.

I fanboyed hard for this book, I even bought 2 copies of each issue so I could cut out the coupon and mail away for what ended up being “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue 0. I gave my cut up versions to my Cousin Sean, just to spread that WildStorm love! I remember getting that 1/2 issue from my friend Randy because I’d missed out on that issue of “Wizard.” I should reverse that, at the time Randy wasn’t my friend, but a good acquaintance who was also into comics and ska music who I formed a solid friendship with years later. But issues 0 and 1/2 are still a bit of time away, for now, we need to get to issue 1!

This issue opens in the late ’70s with Stephen and Rachael Callahan getting taken down! In front of their children, lil Matthew and Nicole, how horrible! Even worse, Frank Colby was the trigger-man on Stephen! Well, that might be worse for us, see, we know both of these characters, I’m not sure at that time if Colby knew Callahan or not, but he did need to be convinced to pull that trigger. After that, the team from I/O brings in the kids as instructed, fulfilling Dane’s warning in “Team 7: Dead Reckoning” that “Craven wants your children.”

Ok, we skip to the relative present and meet Caitlin Fairchild, a Princeton student at the end of her sophomore year. She suddenly is getting an offer for a Summer internship that she knows nothing about. Well, we know what it’s about, it’s H.B.I.C. of I/O’s Sci-Tech department, Ivana Baiul’s Project Genesis, now renamed Project Gen13. This is the closest that Miles Craven will ever come to having his own team of super-powered beings… and still, it fails for him. If he wasn’t such an evil bastard, I’d feel sorry for him. But, yeah, this entire “Summer internship” is just a cover for what’s really going on out here, and by out here I mean in a government compound built into a goddamn mountain in the Nevada desert. Several children of Gen12 parents are brought here in order to see if they can get their powers to manifest and in turn work for I/O.

Caitlin soon comes to find herself as part of Pod 7, where her and her pod-mates, Grunge, Roxy, and Bobby, are subject to a battery of physical tests. These tests are set up to see if they are indeed gen-positive and will manifest powers or not. Not only does it include weight lifting and treadmill running, but also being placed into an “incubation” tube. If that wasn’t enough, the food in the commissary is full of drugs meant to jumpstart the student’s latent powers.

While up late one night feeling sick due to her gen-factor kicking in, Caitlin discovers Roxy and Grunge goofing off after hours. This leads to a full on altercation with the security team at the Nevada base. Which in turn leads to a group of I/O’s Keepers to start chasing them down. When the kids hit a dead end, suddenly, to the rescue is Bobby and Rainmaker along with a mysterious new pal that turns out to be Matthew Callahan in disguise.

Oh wait, I hadn’t told you about what happened to Matthew and Nicole after being captured. They were raised by I/O and they’re kinda messed up because of it. Ivana seems to have done a number on Matthew personally, and Nicole is suffering from what seems to be all kinds of abandonment issues. Also, unlike their Gen13 (the team) counterparts, they usually go by their code names full time, so from now on, I’ll pretty much call them Threshold and Bliss.

Ok, so Threshold in disguise leads the Gen13 kids out into the Nevada desert and tells them that they need to take the fight back to I/O and Ivana. It’s all just a ruse to see in their powers will activate under pressure. Everyone except for Grunge has, and is using their powers by the end of it. Caitlin makes it clear she’s done fighting, so she stays behind as the others return to the compound and get captured. She gets a psychic flash from Roxy saying that she and the others are in trouble and she grabs a gun and is headed towards the compound to get her buds back.

If only breaking back into the compound was easy. Ok, actually it was. But once inside Caitlin encounters a huge hulking noseless beast named Pitt. Pitt was brought to this compound by Lynch, as he re-enters the narrative. Lynch picked him up, and as I/O protocols say, until he can get a captured threat to a more secure location, that he is to house any capture at the nearest I/O location, in this case, the Nevada compound. Lucky for Pitt, his buddy Timmy was captured by Ivana for being possibly gen-positive, so that’s what Pitt was doing in that area in the first place. Anyway, Pitt breaks free as Caitlin is on the search for her pals, and they start to tussle. Not sure why I don’t have as big of a problem w/ Pitt being in these comics, as I did w/ Youngblood in WildCATs. Perhaps, like Savage Dragon, we don’t need to know too much about Pitt’s backstory. Also, by tieing Timmy and his possible powers into it, it gives us a bit more of a narrative reason for them to be there whether we know the characters are not.

Caitlin and Pitt continue to fight until they fall through enough floors that they’re right in front of Lynch and Ivana. Meanwhile, Grunge finally manifests his powers and knocks out Threshold and as they begin their escape they find the hole left by Caitlin and Pitt’s fighting. As Caitlin and Pitt are lying in front of Ivana and Lynch, Lynch gives the order for his men to stand down, as there’s been too much destruction already. Ivana pissed off at that statement, and at Lynch in general, just starts shooting up both her and his soldiers. The rest of the Gen13 kids catch up, Pitt and Timmy escape, and the fight just gets bigger.

Lynch sees that the kids are pretty good at what they do, battling back the Keepers, but he thinks their inexperience could get them killed. Lynch calls in his experimental task group, the Black Hammers, and helps the kids escape. When asked why he would do this, he relates to them the story of Team 7 and their fathers. Basically, we’re watching a man as he realizes his career is crumbling as he has far too much doubt about what the company he’s worked for has done to the world, and to the children of his friends. So he sends the kids down a garbage chute and goes to confront Ivana.

Ivana is busy freezing and trying to get gen-active kids into transport to continue Project Genesis elsewhere. When Lynch gets to her he finds out that she’s replaced much of her body with robotics. That bionic bitch! After she gets Lynch to use his powers to save himself she takes off in her helicopter and activates a self-destruct sequence on the compound, knowing that using his powers tuckers Lynch out. But Lynch still as access to the Black Hammers, who save his ass, and not a moment too soon! While all that was going down, the Gen13 kids were getting their asses kicked by Threshold until Rainmaker manages to get ahold of Bliss and reach a stalemate. With Lynch and the Black Hammers arriving, the stalemate is over and the two Callahan kids take off. Lynch agrees to take the kids underground and help them find a way to do something good with their powers. It’s a sweet ending to a pretty sweet comic.

Unlike a lot of the comics at the time, this was a pretty straight forward story. I’ve complained earlier about the wonderful mess that is many of these books. One of the reasons I think that “Gen13” caught on right away was the storytelling in both the art and the script. It didn’t constantly double back, it didn’t toss in a bunch of unnecessary information, it was just some good comics! But there are a few lingering questions, not so much story related ones either…

John Lynch has always been called “the Nick Fury of the WSU”. I find it interesting that they took that character type to be the mentor to the WSU’s teen team group. It was a good call, but I’ve always wondered whose call that was. Was it always intended that Lynch would leave I/O at some point? Or was it a choice Lee & Choi made once they wanted to do Gen13? I have so many questions just about the creation of this book!

Grunge ends up being the only character that goes by his “code name” at all. I mean, OK, in all reality Fairchild and Rainmaker’s code names are just their last names, and Bobby does go by Burnout every now and again. Is Roxy ever called anything but Roxy? She’s called Freefall so infrequently it’s kind of hilarious that she was ever given a code name of any sort.

Of all the gen-active kids, we know precious few of their parents. If we’re talking both Gen13 and DV8 we know of only 8 of their lineage (Roxy, Caitlyn, Grunge, Bobby, Sarah, Matthew, Nicole, and Rachel) and that’s only from 5 different Gen12 parents. Where the hell did all these other kids come from in Project Genesis?

Continuity Corner:

  • Ivana Baiul got her version Project Genesis started in “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 0 back in the late ’70s (when the Gen13 kids were just tiny tots) and we see it in full swing with the recruitment of Rainmaker in “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 8.
  • Had “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issues 5 – 12 actually happened, it’s pretty funny to have Lynch refer to Pitt as an “S.P.B. biker” in issue 9, hell, it’s pretty funny either way.
  • Final pages of “Gen13” Vol. 1 issue 5 show the set up for “DV8”, with Ivana freezing and stealing the bodies of other Gen-Active kids, but it still takes so long for us to get there!
  • Going by the 3 kids on ice that we get a good look at, it could be argued that two of them are Rachel Goldman and Hector Morales but I don’t know that we ever see the third one make another appearance. Then again, when they unfreeze Jocelyn Davis again in “DV8” issue 11, it’s implied that Ivana still has many gen-actives on ice somewhere, who don’t suit her needs and therefore remaining frozen.
  • Speaking of “DV8,” if Colby didn’t know Callahan when he shot him in issue 1, we find out in “DV8” issue 30 that Colby went to great lengths to save the (now retconned to be) severely wounded Callahan. That Colby, always surprising you! (EDIT: commenter Arclight points out that Colby indeed knows Callahan and with out saying it basically said “look at the panel again and read it, ya dummy!” Just kidding, Arclight didn’t really imply that, but yeah, they’re right! See their comment below.)
  • Oh, Helga! I loved this character. No nonsense tough gal. As much as I always thought there could be some kind of place for her to come back, when she did in Vol. 2 issue 50… it was kinda…well, horrible.
  • Bit of a real-time calendar S.N.A.F.U. but “Gen13” Vol. 1 issue 1 takes place in May/June 1994, and “WetWorks” Vol. 1 issue 5 takes place in November-ish of 1994. I’m sure there’s a way to move all this kind of stuff around to get it to even out correctly… but frankly I don’t know that you could ever get it perfect enough, I mean in all reality “Gen13” Vol. 1 issue 2 was coming out shortly after “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 8, and that was quite a while ago by my reading chronology. I also tend to arrange in story arcs for the best reading experience, while knowing a lot of these stories are happening at the same time, so yeah, little inconsistencies (to me at least) are bound to happen.
  • Speaking to the marketing, in the letter column for issue 4 it said to watch for the upcoming issue 6 after the mini-series was over. Part of me was glad they restarted the series, but on the other hand that put the second issue of volume 2 smack dab in the middle of “WildStorm Rising” not the best marketing move for a new book.
  • The orginal name for this book was “Gen-X” and was marked in other WildStorm comics as such, but that soon ran into some copyright issues with Marvel, who had planned on launching a book called “Generation X” as part of it’s X-Men line. Not sure if lawyers got involved, or just a “Hey, knock it off” kind of phone call, but the name had to be changed. If you’re wondering why they got to “Gen13,” it’s because an alternate name for what we currently call Generation X was The 13th Generation (among several others). In the end, I think it ended up becoming a much better name for the group. Much more distict and doesn’t feel as dated as the term Gen-X would become.

NEXT: StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 10 by Ron Marz and Dwayne Turner