Tag Archives: Lord Emp

“WildC.A.T.s” vol. 1 issues 21 & 22

This entry covers “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issues 21 & 22 by Alan Moore, Travis Charest and Kevin Maguire.

Wildcats_vol_1_21First, I want to point this out, there’ve been a lot of story arcs in the WildStorm Universe up to now that have been pretty damn good. And when they’re not good, they’re fun. And when they’re not fun, they’re interesting. And if they’re not any of those, at least they add to the tapestry that is the WSU. What we have here, with Alan Moore taking on the writing duties of “WildC.A.T.s” is what I see as the first truly GREAT story arc in WildStorm history! I, personally, am very hot and cold on the work of Mr. Moore, but these comics knock it out of the park for me, so let’s get started.

Savant and Mr. Majestic set out to pick up where the original WildC.A.T.s left off, because there’s Daemonites still about, and someone has to stop them, right? Savant manages to get Max Cash to defect from I/O and the mob that he’s working undercover in. If you can’t get Grifter, get Grifter Jr. I guess. Savant also has the smart idea to get a super-powered being from the Optigen lab. Optigen has several options, but only one is catching Savant’s attention, and that is TAO, the tactically augmented organism. Optigen refuses to let him go, but TAO himself uses some trickery to get himself released in order to join the new team. TAO is a sneaky one for sure!

Speaking of TAO being sneaky, he tricks Majestic into helping get a known mass murder onto the team. We’re talking about Maxine Manchester, the one, and only Ladytron. Majestic was aware of the pattern she’s been taking since breaking out of prison, and it is leading to Chicago. He also knows of a major drug deal going down at an American presidential theme restaurant there too. Diamonds to donuts, Maxine will be there for the new WildC.A.T.s to nab. And nab her they do, with the help of several pounds of cocaine, enough to incapacitate a three-ton cyborg.

OMG, final page reveal of issue 21 is that the OG WildC.A.T.s are still alive! Their spaceship didn’t blow up after all! It just made the jump to hyperspace and left what seemed like an explosion in its wake. It’s quickly on its way back home, Khera, A.K.A. Lord Emp and Lady Zannah’s home as well. Neat! After spending time with all these alien’s it is going to be fun seeing their home planet… right?

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Hurrah they live! And they have snazzy jumpsuits for this panel… and ONLY this panel.

Wildcats_vol_1_22When the team lands on Khera, things do seem kinda of awesome. I mean Marlowe and Zannah get separated from the rest by their old homies, so that kind of sucks. Jeremy finds out that there are other big purple folks like him, and Pris also gets separated due to being part Daemonite. The worst part is, nobody notices that Pris is gone! No, wait, the real worst part is, she’s stuck in an area that is crawling with Daemonites? This can’t be a good start to their space vacation.

Back on Earth, we find the new WildC.A.T.s team trying to pacify Maxine into being a working member of the team. It doesn’t go well. She electrifies Majestic, shoots up Max and cracks Savant so hard on the head that it possibly kills her. Maxine eventually walks in on TAO watching cartoons and shoots him up as well. TAO, unphased by his body full of bullets, tells her she’ll have to start again. Maxine is confused for a second before getting a hint of deja vu. That’s right, TAO has her in a virtual reality stasis rig, trying to pacify her enough to work with the team. If you can’t beat ’em, get mentally beat into submission to join ’em.

wildcats_maxine_vr
Maxine is just starting to get it…

Continuity Corner:

  • Return of the Max! That’s right, Max Proffit AKA Max Cash, Cole’s little brother is back for the first time since his introduction in “Savage Dragon” volume two issue 13.
  • mytwodadsLater in the pages of “Sleeper: Season Two” issue 5 we find out that Optigen was partially funded by I/O. TAO considers John Lynch his father of sorts because he signed the authorization papers for his creation. But because Halo is a major investor in Optigen, doesn’t this also make Jacob Marlowe his other father? Can someone commission a piece of TAO, Lynch, and Marlowe posing like the first season DVD cover of “My Two Dads?” I see Lynch as the B.J. McKay dad and Marlowe as the Paul Buchman dad. This is either the best or worst idea I’ve ever had.
  • Majestic mentions that he’s followed Maxine’s trek across the country since she’s broken out of prison. While we never see the jail break, I guess what we’re seeing in “Wildcats : Ladytron” is just after her latest prison escape. It must be her recent crime wave with Stanley that made Majestic aware of her.
  • We see Marlowe relive the events, from his perspective, of “WildStorm Rising” issue 2, only in nightmare form! Harsh!
  • wildcats_hardrian_whaMarlowe has a back-up of Spartan on his person. Fair enough, seems like the kind of forward planning Marlowe would be up to. They get to Khera… and there are Hadrian bodies? And they spoke of them as the upgraded model? Huh? I thought the Hadrian 7 body was bought from Gammora and had the memories of Yohn Kohl uploaded to it and had its body design reminiscent of Kohl. I’m trying to straighten this out in my head, sure Khera had robots, did they always kind of dress like Yohn Kohl? They may have. That could’ve been some kind of standard Kheran uniform. But if Marlowe got the Hadrian 7 body on Earth in the ’90s, why does Kheran have a similar technology? Is it something they always had on Khera and Marlowe had the techies in Gamorra build something similar to what he remembered from when he was there? I dunno, it doesn’t take anything away from the books, but it’s always kind of bugged me.
  • For all intents and purposes, the events on Khera take place over a much shorter time that what is happening on Earth. When you account for all the unseen space travel time it probably works out to about the same, and it would be pretty pedantic of me to chop all the Moore “WildC.A.T.s” books in half for timeline reasons when, in the end, it doesn’t matter, and to tell the truth, narrative cohesion actually does matter to me a bit more than strict adherence to the timeline.
  • Honestly, I don’t like having the final page reveal for issue 21 before issue 23 of “StormWatch” volume one. I like the readers to be along for the ride with Spartan not knowing that his former teammates are still alive. But “StormWatch” volume one issues 23 – 27 starts during the evening of one day and ending during the morning of the next. When Spartan, Despot, and Jackson are battling it out around the UN building in New York in issue 27 of “StormWatch” we see a panel of the New WildC.A.T.s watching the action. In this panel we see Maxine just chilling with the rest, meaning that her VR experience is over, and she’s fully part of the team, meaning it has to happen after “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 22.
  • At one point I was all “Hey, could these issues slot in between issues 24 and 26 of “StormWatch?”” and no, no they can’t. Mainly because “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 21 takes place over the course of several days in September, so that really breaks the narrative in ways that are more confusing than anything.

NEXT: “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 23, 23.5, 24 and the short “Despot and Strafe : Homecoming” by Ron Marz, H.K. Proger, Renato Arlem, Darryl Banks, Robert Jones, John Lowe, Art Thibert and Dan Panosian

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“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.

“Backlash” issues 6 & 7

this entry covers “Backlash” issues 6 and 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continuity Corner :

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

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

“WildStorm : Chamber of Horrors”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continuity Corner:

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

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

“WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 10 – 13

this entry covers “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 10 through 13 and two of the back-up stories, issue 11’s “Interlude: Mr. Majestic” and 13’s “the Price”. (Issue 10’s back-up story “Soldier’s Story” was covered earlier.)

WildCATsVol1_10-14I’m not going to mince words when these issues came out, I was really torn. I didn’t like them that much, but I really loved the new heroes it introduced. Well, not Huntsman so much, but Savant, Mr. Majestic, and Soldier! But that was back in the day when I didn’t have that much comic reading under my belt, and scarcely knew the name Chris Claremont. Now that I’ve grown up, and read all those classic X-Men back issues and I’m more on board with this run than I was as a kid. Hell, thanks to “Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men” I can’t help but hear some of Wu’s narration in their “Angry Claremontian Narrator” voice. I’m a more nuanced comic reader now that I’ve learned some more history… some 20 odd years later, and I actually kind of enjoy it. Mind you, not as much as I did later issues of “WildC.A.T.s” but I didn’t dislike this as much as I did in my youth.

The first issue in the arc kicks off with Zealot trying to combat train Priss down by the waterfront near New York. Now, I have no idea if this kind of area even exists in New York City, but it does in the WSU, so we’re going have to accept it. Priss isn’t high on becoming a Coda warrior and Zealot seems chill not to take it that far (well, chill as a clef blade to the neck) when suddenly a ship explodes into the sky featuring a wounded man named Alabaster Wu. Mr. Wu’s being pursued by a beast known as a Raksha. Zealot makes short work of the Raksha, decapitating it in front of Priss, as she goes to investigate the ship while Wu takes the hell off. Turns out, Wu knows Jacob, and he needs his help! But getting to Marlowe is easier than it sounds, as he’s being chased by Priss. Oh yeah, that cut up Raksha, it totally infected Priss, taking over her mind and body, giving her a mad on to hunt down Wu.

Zealot is working her way through the ship, and she comes upon a small and passed out girl. She vows to protect this child from the beasts and starts kicking some Raksha booty. Eventually, the girl’s protector, the Huntsman, shows up and they declare a truce after a bit of back and forth between them. During the battle, Zealot took some damage from a Raksha, and a Raksha has blood that’ll eff you up, it’s a “turn you into a literal Raksha” eff you up kind of problem, so Huntsman wants to help get Zealot someplace where they can get her some help. I mean, a good idea would be to go meet back up with the rest of the WildC.A.T.s, right?

Well, the rest of the team is busy. See, Wu got a hold of Jacob and Jacob goes to meet Wu alone. While this is happening, Raksha possessed Priss convinces the team that Wu is trouble and that they need to go save Jacob from him. So Void teleports the team to where Wu and Jacob are and they’re suddenly under attack from the Troika (Attica, H.A.R.M., and Slag) who are joined by Void Jr. AKA Providence. It’s all a set up by the true villains of the story, Tapestry and Lord Soma. They hired the Troika, who I guess brought Providence along for the hell of it, and are quite pleased to see a Raksha take over one of their enemies already, Priss.

Who is Tapestry? She’s some kind of witch that can undo your life’s events and rewrite them. Not sure if she’s overwriting these events in reality, or just in one’s brain. Either way, in the end, it’ll bend your personality to whatever Tapestry wants. Lord Soma? Oh, he hangs out with Tapestry. That’s about it. We’re not even sure if he’s a Kherubim or Daemonite high lord, like everyone else who has the title “Lord” in WildStorm books. Maybe Lord is just his first name, and his parents didn’t spell it “Lorde” because he’s a precious little snowflake with his gray skin, facial tattoos and on point mustache and soul patch game.

While all that is going down we cut away from the action to meet a young woman with a short haircut, who’s at an art gallery, getting hit on. She introduces herself as Cordelia Matheson, but we’ll quickly come to know her as Savant (AKA Kenesha AKA Zealot’s little sister AKA I ain’t spoiling the dumbest reveal in WSU history if you don’t know it already.) Zealot sent a message to her, because when there’s big trouble, like turning into a beastly alien trouble, you call family. Savant get’s a hold of our old friend Soldier, as it is up to her to round up the cavalry, mainly because I don’t think she knows about the rest of the WildC.A.T.s, not that it would do her much good right now anyway. Hell, the only other person she knows to call on is Mr. Majestic.

Who’s Mr. Majestic you ask? Mr. Majestic lives above the arctic circle and is basically Superman. I mean, so is Union, but Mr. Majestic more so. Also, he’s Kherubim, so he fits in the WildC.A.T.s side of the WildStorm Universe a bit better. He was also on Team One, so he knows Zealot and Marlowe at least. Savant, using her skills and artifacts, finds him, and talks him out of his self-imposed exile to help Zealot. And boom, he changes from a flannel and jeans to a full on superhero outfit, complete with cape, and he’s off to save the day.

Ok, back to the main action, Tapestry has royally messed with all of the WildC.A.T.s she can get her hands on, in one way or another, and they’re all beholden to her. To stave off become a Raksha, Zealot unleashes the powers that she learned from Tapestry in their shared history (more on that later.) So now Zealot has frizzed out hair and wields the same ability to rewrite souls/back stories (or what have you) that also Tapestry wields. Savant and Mr. Majestic show up and they are not having it! Hell, even Zealot knows it and is pissed that Savant took too long to get there to help her, and she had to manifest this unknown power. Hell, Zealot used it to take down Slag! While Savant, Mr. Majestic, Zealot and Huntsman are sitting around arguing, Zealot realizes that H.A.R.M. had been taken out, too! Turns out, that was thanks to our old buddy Cole, back from Chicago! Yay, Cole!

So, game plan time. Mr. Majestic, Savant, Cole, Soldier and Huntsman take on the Tapestry altered WildC.A.T.s, Zealot goes after Tapestry and Lord Soma, while everyone forgets about Priss. Don’t worry, Priss gets totally saved by the power of friendship from the two HALO employees that don’t have superpowers, go Stansfield and Jules! The fight mostly works and all the pieces fall into place, and in the end it is Huntsman who saves that day. He does it with a piece of the orb that gave Void and Providence their powers. Tapestry and Soma make their escape and the heroes are all kind of left standing around trying to figure out what to do with crazy god-mode Zealot.

How do you calm a crazy all powerful being? Well, Savant and Mr. Majestic want to kill her, and Zealot isn’t as opposed to it as much as everyone else is. It takes the combined powers of Priss, Mr. Majestic, and Zealot herself to get her back to the normal benevolent bitch that we all know and lover her as. Before Huntsman leaves, he kisses Zealot good-bye earning the ire of Cole and Priss. It’s fun to see those two together like that, as it doesn’t happen often, and was a highlight of the “WildC.A.T.s Special.” Then Priss lets Zealot know she’s ready for Coda training and Zealot basically says “you’ve earned it, kiddo!”

Ok, now time for the secret origin of Tapestry and her ties to Zealot in a story coda named “the Price.” Alright, Tapestry was once an old crone, who apparently always had her powers, not much is know beyond that. Savant had become poisoned somehow, so Zealot sought Tapestry out to fix her. Tapestry tells Zealot that the price of helping her sister will be 100 years of servitude, and because she can, she’ll remake Zealot into a subservient personality type for the next 100 years as well. Zealot submits, and it’s the end of the whole story. It even says “Fin” at the end, which is infuriating when you know how often Claremont likes to end stories with the text “the beginning” and how that would’ve been 100% relevant this time!

These issues really take me back. I had kinda stopped picking up mainstream comics on a regular basis around this time, focusing more on black & white independents, and  yeah,  it was a money issue. The only WSU title I’d keep up on was “Gen13.” Whenever I could scrape enough cash together, I would pick up issues like these at a drug store. I pretty much picked up 10 through 12 at the same time from a Walgreens (or Walgreens equivalent, coulda been a Rite Aid I guess) where their comics newsstand employee got too lazy to return unsold out of date comics. Their slacking off equaled my gain! I also read them in the back of a car that night. Why was I reading comics in the back of a car as a teenager? Well, my best friend was bringing me along on would-be-dates with a girl he wasn’t into, I was supposed to be running interference, but I was too dense to get that at the time and ended up mostly staying out of the way. Too into comics, not enough into the real world, yup, I was that kid! (A revelation shocking no one.)

Continuity Corner:

  • I know I’m reading too much into things, but we have a ship, bursting into the air out of nowhere, and a bad guy yelling about chasing Alabaster Wu across one or a thousand worlds, and I’m starting to think “Is this the first time we have a reference to “the Bleed” and a type of Carrier? Nah, you’re right I’m just reading into things too much again.
  • Is it a shame that we don’t see Tapestry again until “Savant Garde” issue 3? Nah, she was only an OK villain in the end, wasn’t she?
  • I always assumed that Majestic went into his self-imposed hiding because of “killing” John Cole back during the Team One days, but how is that represented by a dolly? Is there something that we’re not knowing? Something that seemed like a good idea at the time, but after Alan Moore took a crack at Majestic it no longer made a lot of sense? I can’t remember, is the dolly or an incident regarding a child ever made clear or referenced again?
  • I really have to hand it to the WildC.A.T.s creative crew. Just because Cole was gone for a handful of issues, they didn’t have to try and release “the Kindred” in real time alongside them. Just because Cole is gone for 4 issues in “the Kindred” Vol. 1 doesn’t mean he has to be missing from halfway through issue 8 of “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 until the last few pages of issue 12. I mean, ok, yeah, it is that sort of thing that kept me thinking about WildStorm all these years and eventually lead me to want to create this blog in the first place but…

NEXT: “Voodoo / Zealot : Skin Trade” by Steven T. Seagle, Michael Lopez and Gary Martin (with Jeff Albrecht, Rick Bryant, John Lowe, Tom Raney, Edwin Rosell, Josef Rubenstein and John Tighe.)

“Backlash” issues 1 through 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continuity Corner!

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

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

“WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 8 & 9

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this entry covers the main story from “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 8 and 9 as well as the back-up story “Warblade : the Bonds of Blood and Steel” from “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 9.

The idea of these issues are to show how the team spends their time off from being a member of a covert action team. Grifter and Zealot hit up a dive bar, Warblade and Maul go out to look at art and mac on ladies, Jacob checks up on an investment, Spartan follows Jacob, Voodoo follows Spartan and Void stays at home all alone… so very alone. Of course something goes wrong eventually and they have to suit up and take down some jackass, but seeing the team with some downtime is fun.

Grifter and Zealot are at one of Grifter’s old haunts, the diveiest of dives. A place so divey that southern redneck types hang out there, despite the bar being in New York City. There’s a bar brawl, Zealot wins and Grifter gets a message on his pager from Cyberjack with the code “T7.” Grifter lets Zealot know that he’s gotta bolt, personal guy stuff. She gives him a rather forward kiss for luck, and he’s off to the pages of “the Kindred” a little dismayed that his ex, that he’s having trouble getting over, just frenched in an NYC alleyway. So if you want to follow the thread of Grifter’s story bale out now and wait a month and I’ll get to it (kidding, I hope it isn’t another month between blogs!)

Warblade and Maul. I’ve already told you. Maccin’ on babes, visiting art shows.

Jacob, Voodoo and Spartan are sailing the high seas on one of Jacob’s cruise liners. Jeeze, Jacob sure got a lot done in the two years after Void found him in the streets! That’s besides the point, Jacob and crew are out on this cruise because he just had another one of his cruise ships go missing in this location. What kind of heroes are these? So one ship goes missing, why not get aboard another ship, strike out towards the same location with a whole bunch more innocent people and see what happens. Nope, let’s not go this alone, let’s endanger folks. Good call. Also, known mutie scum may be aboard this vessel as well.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, just before Voodoo got Spartan all talked into a smooch does Jacob stop by. Even worse is that after Jacob delivers a few lines that the whole ship is sucked up into the air. Voodoo, you’re never going to get to bang that robot at this rate. This brings up an interesting point. Voodoo has never been presented as an innocent, hell she used to be an exotic dancer, but in these scenes with Spartan she’s coming on much more forward than we’ve ever seen and pretty much more than we’ll see going forward. It always stands out to me when I re-read this issue. It’s not totally off base, but just enough to notice.

Back to the main dilemma, a boat being sucked into the sky. Turns out this is the work of Lord Entropy, another one of the Kherubim high lords that came to Earth. And he’s seeking vengeance on our lil buddy Jacob a.k.a. Lord Emp. Why the vengeance? Turns out that back in the middle ages when Jacob and Entropy were fighting as English knights Jacob killed Entropy’s wife. Why? Because she had just become a host to a Daemonite. That’s what Kherubim do, they hunt Daemonites (and if they’re English knights at the time, they also probably give the Scots a hard time as well.) Either Entropy forgets that a Daemonite took over his wife, or he missed that happening, because it doesn’t matter to him a bit. Dude’s out for Emp blood.

Back in New York, Void gets a vision of what’s going on. It helps that Entropy is using an orb/part of an orb to torture Jacob and co. because that helps her clue right in on the problem and where to go. She gets Jules to find Zealot and Zealot tracks down Warblade and Maul and they all rocket out to sea to find their fellow teammates. In a floating castle. With innocent cruiseliner folks lining the walls, while crystals grow around them, embedding them. For some reason.

Entropy is kicking everyone’s ass. The WildC.A.T.s he captured and the WildC.A.T.s that just showed up. As I said earlier, he has the power of the orb/an orb and it is amping his natural Kherubim powers. This give Void the bright idea to bond with Jacob and shut this joker down. Team up and blast ‘em. It works! The ‘C.A.T.s book it back to their plain/spaceship M.I.R.V. and are on they’re way back to NYC. Jules managed to save about 20 civilians while the rest of the team was taking care of business.

While captured Entropy does something to Jacob’s brain that gets him to remember the long life he has had. Dude has virtually no memory of what came before that day in August of 1990 when Void found him drunk in an alley. After Entropy does his thing Jacob’s brain is fixed and he starts to come to terms with who he is as well as what he’s done over his long life on Earth. Technically for this reason the “Team One” stories should probably be placed here, as they “WildC.A.T.s” issues are flashbacks of Jacob thinking over his life, thoughts he couldn’t’ve had prior the the events of “WildC.A.T.s” issue 9, but everyone is always on my case of not putting “Team One” in the “Pre-History” section. But look, the books are from Jacob’s memories, which he just got back from that mess with Lord Entropy! Also, all this thinking makes Jacob want to quit the team. Hell, if he saw what was coming in the next few issues, I wouldn’t blame him.

Back-up story time! Warblade takes down a Daemonite in an apartment. The Daemonite had taken over the life of single father. The son of said father sees Warblade take down his pops, but the kid is none the wiser of the alien possession. Warblade does the right thing and gets kid to the Halo Legal Department and tells them to help the kid find a new and decent home. Kid does an adorable little kid punch at Warblade’s face. Eh, not the worst short story, but not much there except for Travis Charest’s artwork.

Next: “Team 1: WildC.A.T.s” issues 1 & 2 by James Robinson & Rich Johnson and “Team 1: StormWatch” issues 1 & 2 by Steven T. Seagle and Tom Raney