Tag Archives: John Lowe

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 23 – 24

this entry covers “StormWatch” Volume one issues 23, 23 1/2 and 24, as well as the short story “Defile & Strafe : Homecoming” from “Overstreet Fan” issue 2 which occurs between pages 10 and 11 in issue 24.

StormWatch_vol_1_023We kick off this storyline with Spartan joining the team. While a few have some misgivings about it, he eventually becomes an accepted member of the team. And what a time too, as the team is getting ready to head off to StormWatch’s moon base (MoonWatch? LunaWatch?) to find out where Despot and friends are doing over there. They have pretty much been killing… oh, everybody! Just because StormWatch has shown up these bastards aren’t about to stop that killing either! Look out StormWatch!

Speaking of killing, we all know that it’s coming, that is, of course, Diva biting it. We also see Despot hit Malcolm with the psychic whammy causing Malcolm to turn on StormWatch, probably faster than he would have. Let’s face it, Malcolm has always been bad at running with the right crowd, in and out of StormWatch. But yeah, Diva she is trying to sacrifice herself to give the team the time to get away from the moon base, but that doesn’t happen. With her down Despot threatens the entire team and who steps up to challenge him? Lil Mr. Spartan of course!

StormWatch_vol_1_023halfMeanwhile, back on Earth, the UN council begs Henry Bendix to come back to StormWatch. He relents before agreeing, but this time it’ll be on his terms. Those terms being that there is no more UN council telling him how to run his team! It’s a big ask, but due to the circumstances, they agree. He’ll answer to the UN but not a bunch of bureaucrats. He has a plan, but it’s a doozy!

With the team all back on board StormWatch, Bendix gives Christine a little ringy ring to tell her what’s up. It goes something like this, “You’re a good Weatherman. Hey, I’m your boss again! And oh yeah, I gotta plan to finish off Despot! Whee! Get everyone off of SkyWatch.” That’s right, the plan is to stick around on SkyWatch just long enough to lure Despot and the WarGaurd (with Doreen & Stricture featuring Malcolm King) and then crash the whole thing into Death Valley because Henry is nothing but poetic in his large scale murder.

StormWatch_vol_1_024It’s a crazy plan… but it works… it actually works! Hellstrike stays behind to be the one that goes down with the ship. Actually, he volunteers for the job remember that he’s survived out in space before and heck, this is already his second lease on life, might as well use it to take out the worst villain he’s ever known. And like I said, it works! Despot and his cronies board, notice Hellstrike is the only one around, they go to rough him up and he sets SkyWatch on its way down! They seemingly kill Hellstrike and then start to panic like little babies.

Meanwhile, back on Earth (hey I got to say that twice in this write-up, rad!) Battalion shows up with Timespan. Time for issue 25 of “StormWatch” volume one to happen… again…

Continuity Corner:

  • Spartan expected his consciousness to get uploaded to another body after his current one got destroyed during “WildStorm Rising.” We all know Marlowe has a back-up with him on board the Kheran spaceship and the only other reason I can think that Spartan didn’t upload to any others was that he was out of them. I mean he did burn off 3 back-up bodies during “Spartan : Warrior Spirit” so maybe he was in his last official body and didn’t know it at the time. Luckily Link had his back to fix him up!
  • I’d always had the “Homecoming” short story falling in between issues 23 1/2 and 24 until I noticed what Despot told Malcolm on page 7 of issue 24 to remove his StormWatch uniform and find some other attire as he sees the uniform as offensive. Later when the two of them show up again Malcolm is wearing a dark navy blue jump suit. When we look at “Homecoming” we see that’s exactly what Malcolm is wearing. So, while “Homecoming” can narrative fit earlier (like I thought) the art in questions means it has to occur after page 7 of issue 24 and before they reappear on page 16.
  • Why exactly should “Homecoming” be read between pages 10 and 11 of issue 24? Well, pages 7 through 10 are detailing Christine’s report to Henry about the team’s escape from the Moon base. Pages 11 – 16 are all part of a scene that narratively would be hard to break up. It’s pretty much the only place to squeeze it in at all!
  • Oh, what is “Despot & Strafe: Homecoming” about? It’s a little two-page story of Despot trying to bond a bit with his son, Malcolm. They fly to Earth and go back to Despot’s hometown. Despot monologues and then kills two kids. It’s not much, but it does bring up the question of why didn’t Despot fly off of SkyWatch once it was in crash mode.
  • While this all leads to “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 25, I’ve always found it best not to re-read it again. Or if you do, put plenty of time between it and reading issue 26. For real, the recap on page 1 of issue 26 makes you feel foolish for spending time re-reading 25.

NEXT: “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 26 & 27 by H.K. Proger, Jeff Mariotte, Renato Arlem, Ron Lim, Keith Champagne, Rich Faber, Robert Jones, Dan Panosian and John Tighe

“Grifter” Vol. 1 issues 2 – 6

this entry cover issues 2 through 6 of the first volume of “Grifter”

Grifter_v1_002The story picks up in Nicaragua, right in the aftermath of the “WildStorm Rising” cross-over. StormWatch is headed back to SkyWatch, supposedly with Slayton, and Wetworks is headed back to the States, supposedly with Cray. Dane not only offers Cole a ride home with him but also offers him a position on his team. Not being one for charity Cole turns him down. Dane forces some cash on Cole so that he can at least get home, and Cole considers it a loan.

It doesn’t take too long for Cole to find trouble in a small Nicaraguan town. This trouble is named Luiz Pacheco, and he calls a bunch of armor-suited hooligans on Cole. Pacheco is a member of the Nicaraguan secret police, and he’s calling in these hooligans for Neo who studies and tries to replicate fancy pants weaponry. The armor suits are evidence of Neo’s work, they’re close, but not quite. Turns out that Neo has had his eyes on Cole’s VADs and needs them stolen so he can study them. Neo totally gets away with the VADs after Cole is knocked out by previously mentioned hooligans.

Even though Cole was knocked down and couldn’t move while his VADs were being stolen, he could still hear, so he knows enough to follow Neo to Taipei, Taiwan. He is still recovering from the beating he took during “WildStorm Rising” as well as from Neo’s hooligan force. After passing out on the plane ride, he is woken up and proceeds to head to an old girlfriend’s place. Her name is Yim, an ex of Cole’s and boy is she a sass machine! She gives him a hard time, but ultimately she takes care of him… in more ways that one. Oh my!

After a rest, Cole steps out while Yim naps and is on the look out for Neo. Neo, being a very subtle kind of chap has a building with his name plastered all over it. While Cole is checking out the place from a nearby tea house he is stopped by Zaijian. Zaijian turns out to be Yim’s current boyfriend, and he saw Cole leave her place! Uh oh! Cole talks his way out of getting a beatdown (or worse) from Zaijian and then proceeds to break into Neo’s warehouse. Cole manages to find his VADs and encounter Koko, the fattest cat in the WildStorm Universe. As he is taking his VADs back an alarm goes off, while he’s searching for a place to hide, he spies a warhead trigger. Cole’s got a bad feeling about what Neo’s been up to.

So Neo is making a warhead trigger for an evil jack-wagon named Diabolik. Diabolik wants to blow up all of Japan because he had a bad time with a Japanese doctor. Alright, to be fair to Diabolik, this Japanese doctor did make him the abomination of a man he is today. Sure, he can now live on land as well as water, but the cost was too damn high in the end. So Diabolik, in a pretty much racist fashion, decides all of the Japanese are evil and must be blowed up. So Diabolik shows up at Neo’s warehouse, but before Diabolik can get away that warhead trigger from Neo, Cole makes his presence known. Diabolik not sure what to do starts using his crazy ass weaponry and hits some barrels full of explosive material, bringing the whole building down on himself. Also, Cole was on the balcony at this time, so you know, he gets hurt from a fall due to the explosion but doesn’t get a ton of rubble landing on him.

Zaijian, ever the nice guy, doubles back to save Cole. Not because he’s talked with Yim, but because he heard the explosion and just knew Cole was involved. Zaijian seems like a pretty stand up guy in the end. Also, it turns out he’s totally a secret agent too! He’s a member of the Temple of Confucius and they’ve been after Diabolik for awhile. The Temple decides to hire Cole as a contractor to help Zaijian take down Diabolik once and for all because of course Diabolik survived the explosion. Cole has a plan and a good idea what Diabolik is up to. He needs to get that trigger back to where ever the warhead and missile are located.

Cole has the idea that the rest of Diabolik’s plan does not take place in Taipei, and surmises that Diabolik will be heading off to wherever the show is supposed to go down via a helicopter. There only so many buildings that have a helipad in Taipei, so that’s where Cole sets up his sting operation. It’s at the Sun and Moon Bank and while chasing down Diabolik a woman gets caught in the crossfire and is injured. As Diabolik is getting away, the Temple of Confucius are on him. Turns out that the helicopter was all part of the plan and they can use it to track Diabolik. Cole tells Zaijian to use his paycheck to make sure that the woman who got injured is cared for, then he and Zaijian take off in jet pack/glider thingies and land on the island Diabolik has set up for his missile launch.

So, Diabolik is ready to pound Japan with a gigantor missile. On this island is an old friend of Diabolik’s named Dr. Denning. It looks like Dr. Denning is being held captive by Diabolik. Not so, the good doctor is already dead. Diabolik just kept Denning around because he technically owned the island, and Big D thought that Denning actually understood his hatred of the Japanese. Cole and Diabolik spar and Cole eventually gets the upper hand. He also figures out where the missile is so that Zaijian’s T. of C. buddies can take care of it. With the battle all but over, and the island starting to blow up for… reasons… Zaijian and Cole find only one of the jet pack/glider things in working order. Cole is ready to let Zaijian have it when Zaijian grabs Cole’s arms and flies off the island with him. Eventually, the weight is too much and with the explosions over Cole tells Zaijian to drop him and come back later with help. Zaijian complies, and drops Cole into the ocean with the warning “Watch out for the sharks.”

Grifter_v1_005Cole ends up being caught in a Japan tuna fishing boat net. The Japanese sailors get him back to Japan and the first place Cole heads is the Tokyo I/O office. He confronts the head of the office, a man by the name of Crenshaw, and asks for help getting a passport. This being I/O, there’s a string attached to everything. Crenshaw wants Cole to help in getting back Regiment, a Team 1 member that was sold to the Japanese for research and assumed dead. Turns out, he just woke up and is on a Hulk-like rampage. Cole says no dice, and storms out. He’s never working for I/O again. He then heads to a bathhouse and massage parlor. While taking his much-needed shower (he smelled like ocean water and fish) Regiment tears down the wall screaming for Craven. Like it or not, Cole is now doing a job for I/O.

Cole goes about kicking Regiment’s ass as well as he can. He gets the promise from Crenshaw that he’ll get everything he needs to get back to the U.S. as well as some background information on Regiment. Cole soon realizes how outmatched he is, and requests some bigger, badder weapons to out the big boy to sleep. While I/O is coming up with that tech, Zaijian shows up to help Cole. Apparently, the Temple of Confucius was called in to aid Cole until that requested VAD cannon could be delivered. VAD cannon in hand, Cole knocks Regiment out and takes his passport and cash with him as he heads back to Taipei with Zaijian. What’s Cole up to? Well, he wants to see the young woman that got injured during his fight with Diabolik at the Sun and Moon Bank.

Continuity Corner :

  • I don’t think Cole ever paid Dane back for that wad of cash.
  • We finally see the fate of Regiment after the disastrous Team 1 mission. He rode that missile towards New York City but was able to steer it off course to upstate New York. Not only that, he absorbed all the radiation. His passed out irradiated body was then sold to Dr. Tei in Japan, which is where he resided until I/O decided they wanted him back and he subsequently woke up and was brought back into the WSU narrative.

NEXT : “Backlash” issues 9 through 11 by Sean Ruffner, Jeff Mariotte, Brett Booth, Dan Norton, Mel Rubi, Edwin Rosell and Sandra Hope

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 20 & 21 as well as Special issue 2

this entry covers “StormWatch” volume 1 issues 20 and 21 as well as the backup stories within each book and the “StormWatch” volume 1 Special issue 2. The best reading order would the backup of from issue 20 “Cross Currents” followed by the backup from issue 21 “Tagged” followed by issue 20, then the Special issue 2 and then issue 21. It still works fine if you don’t pull is the backups out though, as long as you keep the Special in between issues 20 and 21. Note: due to a misprint issue 21 read as if it was issue 1 on the cover.

So, let’s start with those two backup stories! Both of which feature parents who abandoned their super powered children. We’re not sure exactly why Undertow’s mom left, but we are left with the mystery of who his mom is, who apparently works on SkyWatch. Both of these stories just cover who Undertow and Pagan are when they show up as new recruits in issue 20.

We then move on to see Nautika and Sunburst talking about taking some time off. This is interrupted by Trelene with a special mission. In fact, this same exact scene will play out in the Special issue as well, proving this poor couple can’t catch a break. In this issue, it leads to the three members of StormWatch Prime picking up Undertow and Pagan, not much else.

The second mission for StormWatch Prime is a bit different. Sunburst and Nautika are interrupted by Trelene to go after Flashpoint because this time he’s killing folks. By folks I mean the Mercs, the ones that imprisoned him and the rest of that team for years. Flashpoint is wise to the fuckery that was done to their minds and wants answers and revenge! He actually does manage to take down Kilgore before being cornered trying to kill Hellslayer.

Flashpoint’s murder spree is stopped by the rest of the Mercs, who are in turn stopped by Sunburst and Nautika. Deathtrap is starting to have misgivings about this whole thing. Yeah, he’s a mercenary, and Defile has paid him well, but seeing what Flashpoint has become, due to some of his actions, isn’t sitting well with him. Before Deathtrap gets out a full confession to Flashpoint, Nautika stops Flashpoint and lets Deathtrap walk. Flashpoint is tossed in StormWatch prison and lectured by Trelene while Defile revels in the fact that two of his pawns, Sunburst and Nautika are still in play.

Might as well mention it here, Malcolm starts talking to his frozen Pop.

Meanwhile, we have Winter, Cannon and Bendix fighting Winter’s personal battle against MAD-1 and his cronies. Three cronies, in fact, that are armed in MAD suits all of their own. Bendix brought his latest iteration of the Think Tank armor and due to some harsh battle, it is starting to fail, meaning this side mission is going sideways.

Eventually, after Bendix’s armor has been roasted he manages to hotwire one of the MAD suits that Cannon and Winter managed to fell. They use this to take down the other MAD units and stage a ruse to get into see the men in charge. Bendix posing as MAD-1 presents his bosses with the “defeated” Winter and Cannon to gain an audience with them. Once inside the Russian compound, filled with hundreds of more MAD suits, the unofficial StormWatch crew take out the evil Russians and then blow up the hell out of the compound.

How the heck could an explosion like that go unnoticed by StormWatch? It doesn’t! Winter is called in by Trelene for a right ass chewing! She’s probably still keyed up from the one she gave Flashpoint. Before she suspends or punishes Winter, Diva bursts in the room saying they’ve found Battalion’s killers, they’ve found the WildC.A.T.s, no time for administrivia, get to D.C. and kick their asses already!

Continuity Corner :

  • We have Flashpoint running around trying to kill the Mercs in Special issue 2, but we find out later in issue 35 that he was in on everything with them. I know it resulted from a change in writer and direction for the character, but that’s a pretty big retcon. If he was working for Deathtrap the whole time, then what was up with their final moments alone together before Nautika shows up? It just doesn’t track!
  • Special issue 2 starts the long road to Deathtrap tiring of his life of crime. We see a bit of it in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 32 and it will culminate in “WildStorm Spotlight” issue 4.
  • We’ll see the results of Defile’s brainwashing of Sunburst and Nautika in “WildStorm Rising.”
  • Speaking of, we’re right on the cusp of the first big crossover for the WildStorm books. We just need to get the WildC.A.T.s into place! We just need to find out how they ended up in that rubble in Washington D.C.

NEXT : “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 19 by James Robinson, Jim Lee, Richard Bennett, Terry Dodson and Gary Martin.

“Voodoo / Zealot : Skin Trade”

this entry covers the one shot “Voodoo / Zealot : Skin Trade” as well as the short story “Voodoo : Skin Game” from “Overstreet’s Fan” magazine issue 3.

VoodooZealotSkinTradeVol1_01This book… this effing book. Ok, let’s be serious for a minute, this book is basically a bunch of pin-ups arranged as a story. But trashier than that sounds. For all the cheesecake glory that is “Gen13” when compared to this book “Gen13” ends up looking rather tame. And, if I was a better reviewer, and thought this was the place to get into it, I’d comment on how WildStorm went from putting out a book like this, where the women are all posed as sexual objects first and to serve the story second, to eventually putting out books that dealt with a more mature take on sex and sexuality in such a small span of time. Not to mention how much ahead of the curve on that kind of thing they were in regards to DC and Marvel. But this isn’t the blog for that and I’d never do that argument justice anyway!

We catch up with Zealot training Priss in the ways of the Coda. Along for the “It’s Not the Danger Room!” session is Cole and Jeremy who both admonish Zealot for being too harsh with Priss. Little Big Jake tells Zealot that she needs to lay off of Priss a bit and she needs a break. Zealot storms off and is then confronted by Providence. Providence tells Zealot she has information about her Zealot’s previously unknown child and proceeds to give some long convoluted story of how it’s been cryogenically frozen and will still be a young kid. Also, it’s in Yurgovia and she should go save it. Most of this is a lie, but Providence needs to get Zealot to Yurgovia and Zealot will meet her kid, so she embellished a lot.

So why does Providence need to get Zealot to Yurgovia? Well, ok, remember Yurgovia from the “WildC.A.T.s Special”? Remember how there was this Coda gal named Destine that was running it? Remember how she died getting shot in the back by Cole? Welp, I guess it didn’t take because she’s back and she’s pissed. She’s out to take Yurgovia back from the people that’d been running it since she’d been assumed dead, and also to grow her own little branch of the Coda as well. She has a few recruits already and she’s looking for more to train, which means kidnapping the children of Yurgovia. In the end, it seems that Providence didn’t like all this, because who would, and vowed to put and end to Destine’s schemes. Oh, and Destine has a bit of “the Orb” that created her and Void and she means to have it back. Not that Providence went about it attaining her goals in any logical manner, she handed out half truths to Zealot and double crossed Destine.

Long convoluted plot short, a woman named Cathy is trying to save a bunch of Yurgovian kids from the horror on the civil war by secretly getting the kids to Greece. Providence says she’ll help her. Destine’s forces are after Cathy and the kids because one of the kids was supposed to be in Destine’s Coda Scouts troop. This girl has white hair. Destine encounters Providence, says she wants revenge on Zealot in exchange for her orblet. Providence provokes Zealot to show up, Zealot brings Priss under Jake’s orders. Everyone assumes the little white haired girl is Zealot’s kid. Priss and Zealot kick Destine’s ass, and eventually Zealot tosses the orb in the sky and Destine grabs it and blows up. This pisses off Providence, who basically tells Zealot to suck it. Zealot is all “No, you suck it, bitch, my kid ain’t even here! Also, why do you get hair and Void has to be bald?” To which Providence is all “Your kid is in the room, look around” and Zealot sees StormWatch, who’ve come to rescue the kids by order of the UN and sees Winter with his white hair.

I mean, ok it’s not just the white hair, it’s that Zealot left her baby with a Russian couple. Get this, unless you haven’t been paying attention, but Winter is Russian. I know, mind blown. Not sure why the white hair was such a big thing considering that [seriously, the WildStorm revelation that I’m not going to spoil yet] doesn’t have white hair. Now, I thought all the members of StormWatch were supposed’ve been superpowered by a magical comet, how come Winter gets to be half Kherubim?

That about wraps that one up. Except for the ladies go on vacation to Greece before they get back to New York. I mean it was the cover story that Zealot gave to Priss in the first place, and they did live it up for a few days before going to Yurgovia. So you know, why not, more excuses to draw the girls in bathing suits.

Let’s finish this off with another short story featuring Priss and Zealot written by Steven T. Seagle as well. Priss is out for a night on the town, she gets a letter and rose delivered to her from an anonymous admirer. The note says to meet her out back in the rose garden because most bars have those. Once she’s back there she’s attacked. Don’t worry, it’s only Zealot surprise testing her, seeing if she’d fall back on her Coda training or on her instincts. Priss fails and Zealot lets her know there’s going to be more homework because of this.

Continuity Corner:

  • Winter is Zealot’s kid, we all got that right? I mean he’s supposed to be, later we’ll get some background on Kheran mating practices and the rarity of births in “WildStorm Winter Special” no less more than one (that’s another spoiler kids, sorry). Maybe it works differently with Human and Kherans though…
  • This book makes mention of a book called “WildC.A.T.s : Ground Zero” that never came to be. It seems like it would’ve outlined the adventures Zealot was having, who Winter’s father was and how she dealt with her pregnancy.
  • When we last saw Destine in the “WildC.A.T.s Special” she looked much different. Long hair, red outfit. She still has black hair (which was sometimes drawn long in this issue) and some tech over her right eye, but other than that she looks like a new character. When first reading this a few years ago (yeah, this wasn’t a story I grew up with, I found it while doing research for this blog) I knew that I knew her, but I couldn’t recall from where due to the complete redesign.
  • We do get a few callbacks to the storyline in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 10 – 13 with mentions of Tapestry and how Providence snuck into the HALO building.
  • The art on this book is something else. Starts off pretty solid and then gets worse and worse as it goes one. Also, there was like 15 different inkers on this book. There’s a handful of miscolorings as well as a handful of speech bubbles going to the wrong characters. Not to mention that the “white haired girl” is always seen with black hair. This book was kind of a mess in the final act of the story.
  • Speaking of the art seriously, am I the only person who thinks all the visual references for Priss and Zealot were from the pages of nudie magazines? Was that the point considering the name of the book?
  • Was this book popular? I mean, it came out pre-internet so it should’ve been a hit based on the “artwork” alone, but I had never heard of it before doing research into WildStorm books, and I was a teenage boy and a WS fan when this came out.
  • Regarding the placement of the “Skin Game” short. I feel it is odd to see Priss using her “were-form” here, as we don’t see that until a bit later. But we really aren’t going to see it until they get into space, and once they’re back from space Priss quits the team. So when’s this training taking place? Ultimately, Priss’s were-form isn’t really too crazy of a deal, so it is fine that it makes it’s appearance here, but I’m torn if the story should come before or after the “Skin Trade” book or not. They seem to be on better terms with each other in “Skin Game” as a result of “Skin Trade” but, Zealot getting on Priss’s case for being out of practice in “Skin Trade” could be a reference to the events in “Skin Game.” Like I said, it could go either way.

NEXT: “WildStorm : Chamber of Horrors” by Ron Marz, Steven Grant, Merv, Jeff Mariotte, Bernie Wrightson, Alex Baily, Trevor Scott, Jason Johnson, Tom Raney, Aron Wiesenfeld, Chris Carlson, Al Vey, John Beatty and Alex Garner. As well as the short story “Portrait” by Ron Marz, Ryan Odagawa and Jon Holdredge.