Tag Archives: Mark Irwin

“Fire from Heaven” Chapters 12 – 14

This entry covers “Fire from Heaven” chapters 12 through 14, which include “StormWatch” volume one issue 36, “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 30 and “Sigma” issue 3 by Drew Bittner, Alan Moore, Brandon Choi, Renato Arlem, Ryan Benjamin, Travis Charest, Kevin Lau, Jose Pimentel, Richard Friend, Sandra Hope, Mark Irwin, Sal Regla, Luke Rizzo, and John Tighe.

Up front, sorry for being MIA for a bit. I’ve moved (not too terribly far from my last place) and a celebrated a birthday, Vegas style. It doesn’t seem like much but it’s been pretty busy for me and I didn’t have time to give this blog my full attention. But now, well now is a different story! Now we’re diving back into the gigantic “Fire from Heaven” crossover!

stormwatch_v1_036We join back up with Kaizen Gamorra reminding StormWatch that they need to do their damn jobs and take out the metahuman menace on his island. He even threatens to call in the UN to rat them all out personally. Even as StormWatch and StormForce are uneasily agreeing to get with the Kaizen program do the Mercs show up wanting to join forces with them. While the team doesn’t quite trust them, Deathtrap reminds the heroes that the Mercs live on Gamorra, why wouldn’t they want to defend it? The uneasy pairing takes off to track down the combined forces of  the WildC.A.T.s, Gen13, Team 7 and WetWorks (along with Union.)

So everyone is all caught up with each other and as the fight goes on the StormWatch and StormForce members want less and less to do with fighting. In fact, the only “good guy” interested in the fight at all is Flashpoint. Here, in the heat of the battle Flashpoint finally lets it slip that he has been working with Deathtrap all along! He lured StormWatch Prime to Kuwait to be captured. It’s pretty evil, then again it’s Flashpoint’s always been a bit of a jerk, so yeah, he’s an evil jerk. Might as well add stupid to that list too, because he takes on Jackson and gets his head exploded. What an evil stupid jerk.

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Alright, now we have StormWatch back on the side of the angels, ready to take the fight to Kaizen. But he keeps throwing things at them. First, it was Hunter-Killers, then some high-tech drones, now it is a bunch of these Omnibots. Mother-One figures out a way to hack into their shared signal of the Omnibots and force them to self-destruct. It doesn’t work on all of them, but it thins the heard enough to give the heroes an upper hand in taking out the rest. With that crisis over another one is on its way, that huge wave that we saw getting going at the end of our last chapter of “Fire from Heaven” is now right off the coast of Gamorra!

wildcats_v1_030Meanwhile, back in New York City, the Crime War is heating up between the New WildC.A.T.s and NYC’s organized crime families. The StormWatch rookies are not the help Savant was counting on. In the middle of the fight, Mr. Majestic just up and leaves, further pissing Savant off. Why did Mr. Majestic leave? Well, he saw something on television he didn’t like and had to get away to take care of it.

Back on Gamorra while a huge tsunami looms over Gamorra City, the Cybernary and her crew are breaking into Kaizen’s main base of operations. They manage to knock out his power and the combat drones protecting him. At this moment the wave crashes into the city, but Cybernary is lucky because Slayton is there to save her like she did him earlier in the crossover.

EasySaysYouMrMags

The wave hits, but not as hard as everyone assumes that it should have. It turns out that Mr. Majestic saved the day. He’s a smart one for sure, but now it is time to get down to business, time to confront Kaizen Gamorra… or is it? That’s right readers, the Kaizen Gamorra that we’ve known so far in WildStorm comics is not the real Kaizen Gamorra at all! In fact, it is an impostor that imprisoned the true Kaizen and took his place. This impostor is none other than (insert drumroll) Yon Kohl AKA John Colt from Team One… the one that Majestic killed by request back in the ’60s.

You know, the John Colt that had his memories uploaded into Spartan? So yeah, basically there’s two of this guy running around. The way fakey Kaizen sees it is that Spartan is no more than a cheap Yon Kohl knockoff. At first, Spartan wasn’t sure to believe all this, but he had been getting flashes of memories that he didn’t quite remember so it started to add up. Spartan sees himself as what Yon Kohl stood for, and takes Kaizen to task for being a fallen version of Kohl. Not so surprisingly, they are pretty evenly matched and Mr. Majestic steps in again to finish the job he’d started 30+ years ago, and kill his former friend and fellow Kherubim Lord.

OGKohlDed

With Kaizen killed and there being only one Yon Kohl left standing, the heroes start to speak of what Damocles could be doing on the moon. There’s a problem, morale is extremely low. Lucky for everyone, Spartan has just the speech to get everyone back into the ass-kicking spirit! That’s right, it’s time to head to the moon, bitches!

ShootTheMoon

sigma_003And that’s it for straightforward storytelling! This issue of “Sigma” and all the Finale issues are all jumbled in time/happening at the same time. More on the Finale issues when we get there, but this issue picks up shortly after Ethan, Dr. Tsung and Cray teleport away from Gamorra and back to California all the way back in chapter 8. We see a replay of Damocles’ abduction the Victoria and Celia Tsung. Other than showing us what we already know, we also find out about Dr. Tsung’s past including his previous wife and daughter, as well as his how he found the wee baby Ethan and how he started working for I/O.

Ethan, Cray and Dr. Tsung get their asses to the moon by way of Qeelocke to take on Damocles. The fight is just getting started when Damocles gets his helmet knocked off revealing to everyone that he’s an alternate universe version of Dr. Tsung. While this is shocking and surprising to everyone, even The Sword, it doesn’t stop the battle. What does put a big ole cooler on the fight is that Ethan uses too much power and accidentally engages a safety mode on his suit that basically turns him into a protected lump, unable to hurt anyone or be hurt himself. With Ethan out of the way, Damocles is pretty sure he’s got this fight won with no one else to stop him. Oh yeah, things are looking bad for Earth right about now!

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Continuity Corner:

  • When Maul approaches Jackson King they make mention of the bad blood between them. This being Maul “killing” King which in a roundabout way kicked off the last big WildStorm crossover “WildStorm Rising.”
  • After Flashpoint is killed, the Mercs are taken down easily, Razor even officially surrenders. I’m sure they were supposed to be taken into custody by StormWatch, but they must’ve escaped quickly because after this they’ll join the Crime War in the pages of “WildC.A.T.s” and that’s only a matter of days after the conclusion of “Fire from Heaven.”
  • We have a few pages in “StormWatch” volume one, issue 36 where a doctor lands on Gamorra with a plan to work for Kaizen. He has a new kind of Hunter-Killer with him! This experiment turns out to be bounty hunter named Alexander Hutton and he will be the star of  the forthcoming book “Hazard.”
  • Finding out the depth of Flashpoint’s traitorous ways never quite fit well to me. Mainly because if he was working with Deathtrap, then all their dialogue near the end of “StormWatch” volume one, special issue 2 seems like it doesn’t fit. Unless he thought somehow that StormWatch was listening in on that conversation. Sorry, that’s the best I can come up with!
  • While there are a bunch of small continuity errors here and there throughout “Fire from Heaven” there’s a moment in “StormWatch” volume one, issue 36 where Mother-One loses her arm. In the next chapter in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one, issue 30 we see Caitlin Fairchild retrieving and giving Mother-One her arm back. A nice small moment in this massive and messy crossover.
  • Okay, I gotta mention this, somehow, somewhere Maggie Monroe and Capt. Lucius Morgan get off of Gamorra. Around this time some odd lights from the sky start to shine down onto the Earth and disintegrate anyone who it touches. Maggie, Lucius and some other bit players from “Sigma” get caught up in this. I could be wrong, but these characters are all dead now, right? What a lame way to go out for Maggie and Lucius!
  • Speaking of lame ways to go out… this is a pretty big revelation with Kaizen Gamorra actually being Yon Kohl and then being savagely beaten so quick! It just feel like a real loss of story opportunities.
  • Even though Pris is on the cover of “StormWatch” volume one, issue 36, she doesn’t appear anywhere inside this book. It was nice to see her though.

NEXT: “Fire from Heaven” Finale chapters 1 through 3, which includes “The Sword of Damocles” issue 2, “Fire from Heaven” issue 2 and “Deathblow” volume one issue 28 by Warren Ellis, Alan Moore, Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Randy Green, Jim Lee, Trevor Scott, John Tighe, Richard Friend, Luke Rizzo, JD, Sandra Hope, Troy Hubbs, Danny Miki, Sal Regla, Edwin Rosell, Art Thibert and Tim Townsend.

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“Fire from Heaven” Chapters 7 & 8

This entry covers “Fire from Heaven” chapters 7 and 8, which include “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 29 and “Deathblow” volume one issue 27 by Alan Moore, Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Travis Charest, Ryan Benjamin, Trevor Scott, JD, Richard Friend, Mark Irwin and Luke Rizzo.  

wildcats_v1_029Here we are once again to talk about “Fire from Heaven” the biggest damn WildStorm crossover there ever was! Once again we’re hitting a bit of a rewind button as we see how the WildC.A.T.s team makes their way to Gamorra. We also start to finally see a lot more of that fight with Team 7 and the Gen13 kids vs. Ivana and the DV8 kids while Ethan is starting to rumble with Damocles!

The story starts out the night before everyone is arriving on Gamorra, the night that the original WildC.A.T.s team gets back from their space trip. Cray and Cole are hanging outside the Halo building talking about the old team being back and they see Marlowe walking out. Cole offers his condolences about what went on on Khera and even apologizes for his past behavior. None of this does much to stop Marlowe, the little guy just keeps on walking, away from the team, away from his fortune and away from this volume of “WildC.A.T.s.”

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Marlowe isn’t the only one out the door either. Pris says goodbye to Jeremy and Reno and finally to Spartan. It’s an uneasy farewell, but hey, she’ll be back later after her mini-series. All other leaves of absence are short, like Cole taking off with Team 7 on the way to Gamorra to join the big crossover, or Max ditching the team after he wakes up in hospital. Don’t worry, both Cash brothers will officially be back on the team when all the time traveling starts.

As the members of each of the WildC.A.T.s teams (that actually stuck around) catch up with each other, Majestic finds out, and cannot comprehend the Daemonite/Kherubim war being over. Much in the same way that the old team cannot fathom why the new team is involved in this crazy crime war. Eventually, after a few insults from Zannah, what’s left of the old team heads to Gamorra to help their buddy Cole. As Reno says “We all need some sort of direction after getting back from Khera. I guess this is as good as any.”

The new team thankfully has some StormWatch rookies and Fuji to help them out even if the old team isn’t still around. Fighting in the streets isn’t easy, so it is still best to have some backup. Not that the old team is doing that well on their mission. In fact, their jet gets shot by the same space laser that’s been bringing down everyone else. Luckily Void teleports what’s left of the team safely to the island. Now that they’re on Gamorra, where are they going to start looking to help their friend?

deathblow_v1_027Meanwhile the big Team 7/Gen13/DV8 fight rages on! Only being momentarily interrupted when Damocles tosses Ethan into the middle of it from the other room. Ethan calls all the members of the fight, despite the side, to focus all their energy on Damocles instead of each other. Before they all join in Damocles gets a good look at Dr. Tsung and cannot believe what he sees! Obviously, more on that later. Before he can do anything all the Gen-Actives start to pour it on. Despite some early progress in beating him down, Ivana wants all the DV8 kids to leave with her immediately. Threshold, but more importantly the rest of the kids disagree with Ivana and refuse to leave the fight.

Alright, let’s take a break from this never-ending battle to find out what is going on in the rest of Gamorra. We have The Sword out taking a stroll in Gamorra City and starting to feel very paranoid. It’s an unusual feeling for him. We find Slayton and Cybernary tricking their way into a Gamorrian listening station/data gathering location and shutting it down. But, most importantly, we see Cray finally, once and for all, take out Raymond LeGauche! It’s about damn time!

LeGaucheMoreLikeLeDead

Back to the main battle and we see Kaizen brazenly stroll in and interrupt the whole damn thing. The kind of thing you expect from a conceited douche who literally owns the place. He pledges his allegiance to Damocles, excuses Ivana and the DV8 kids and then sics the Minotaur, Borgia, and Gila onto his remaining enemies. Ethan is drawing from all the Gen-Factor in the room and delivers a pretty big pop to Damocles! But wouldn’t you know it, as soon as that happens The Sword and the rest of the Bountyhunters show up to the fight.

One may think that having the Bountyhunters join the fight would be a bad thing, but not exactly. See, Hardball is still carrying Qeelocke, and Qeelocke escapes, and Qeelocke has a sudden interest in Ethan. About this time Damocles is starting to put the hurt on Ethan. While Ethan may be more powerful, Damocles has experience, and experience is winning at this moment. But there is something that can help knock Damocles down a peg or two.

Earlier, when confronted with all the Gen-Omega clones where the reborn Miles Craven was found, Cray set up a virus to shut down on the containment chambers of the Gen-Omegas, thereby killing them. This causes a psychic backlash that incapacitates Damocles. This is the moment that Qeeklocke uses to get Ethan and Dr. Tsung back home to Berkley, CA. Oh yeah, and why not take along Cray as well. The Tsung/McCain family are back together, and now Cray, Ethan, and Dr. Tsung can better plot a way to defeat Damocles before they face him again, willing that their sudden absence doesn’t cost the lives of any of their friends.

TheQeelockeToBerkley

Continuity Corner:

  • Other than Pagan, I was never able to figure out exactly who the other “StormWatch Rookies” were. Of the StormWatch team members, we only see Fuji, Pagan and then 3 nondescript rookies. Ok, one of them kinda looks like Blademaster, but not enough for me to swear by it, mainly because he isn’t holding any sort of blades. In “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 32 we officially have Pagan named checked for confirmation. We also get a name check from Prism too, but we never actually see him. Also, by the time we get there we also see Fahrenheit helping the WildC.A.T.s in the crime war, so you know, they may’ve deployed more help than just Fuji and the rookies after the main team gets back from Gamorra.
  • The reason The Sword is paranoid is that he feels like he’s being followed. Later we’ll find out that this was Union stalking him. It’s possible that he felt Union’s eyes on him more than any others because [SPOILER I JUST DON’T WANNA SPOIL YET, JUST ‘CUZ]
  • Part of me really wishes that these two issues were flipped in the chapter order. Mainly because the “Deathblow” issue picks up with the big fight that we’ve been having in Kaizen’s lab. Also, that issue ends with Kaizen either kicking everyone out or capturing them, while Qeelocke transports a handful of heroes away. Near the end of the “WildC.A.T.s” issue, we see an android report on the fact that several Team 7 and Gen13 members have been captured. To me, it would read just a tiny bit better if they were switched.

NEXT: “Fire from Heaven” Chapters 9 through 11, which include “Gen13” volume two issue 11, “Backlash” issue 20 and “Wetworks” volume one issue 17 by J. Scott Campbell, Brandon Choi, Jim Lee, Brett Booth, Sean Ruffner, Jonathan Peterson, Terry Shoemaker, Melvin Rubi, Cedric Nocon, Saleem Crawford, Richard Friend, Alex Garner, Tom McWeeney, Tom Raney, Luke Rizzo, John Tighe, Mark Pennington, Art Thibert and Chuck Gibson.

“Fire from Heaven” Chapters 1 – 3

This entry covers “Fire from Heaven” chapters 1 through 3 which include “Fire from Heaven” issue 1, “Backlash” issue 19 and “Gen13” volume two issue 10 by Alan Moore, Sean Ruffner, Brett Booth, Brandon Choi, J. Scott Campbell, Jim Lee, Ryan Benjamin, Ryan Odagawa, Chuck Gibson, Richard Friend, Mark Irwin, Mark Pennington, Alex Garner, JD, Tom McWeeney and Scott Williams

firefromheaven_001Ok, now it is time for us to properly get this crossover started! We see StormWatch making their presence known on the island nation of Gamorra. The leader of this island is Kaizen Gamorra, and he’s mixed up in researching the Gen-Factor. While this is usually enough to get Team 7 involved, they have more reason after finding out he’s been working with their former boss Miles Craven, the man who recently had the Gen-Factor extracted from many former Team 7 members. Kaizen knows that Team 7 will be coming for him, so he’s requested StormWatch to come and protect him from the rebels that threaten him. Little does StormWatch know that the rebels aren’t actually all that bad once you consider Kaizen, and that Team 7 and the Gen13 kids aren’t really part of the Gamorra rebel group, they’re just concerned citizens trying to find their friends and family that have been captured by Kaizen and the Bountyhunters. Yeah, the Bountyhunters and Kaizen have struck up a shaky alliance. Hey, it’s a cross-over, pretty much every major player in the WildStorm Universe is tied-in somehow, that’s the whole point!

While Team 7 and Gen13, along with Ethan and Secret Agent Maggie, are on their way to Gamorra, their jet gets shot. While the jet is going down Slayton, Bobby and Dane get into an escape pod and safely land far from the rest of the team. Yeah, even though their flight plan was changed due to a frickin’ laser from space, Cole, Caitlin, Grunge, Sarah, Lynch, Cray, Ethan and Secret Agent Maggie manage to survive the landing. While getting their bearings on the beach they are attacked by Flashpoint, Cannon, and Fahrenheit of StormWatch. Depending on which book you read (“Fire from Heaven” issue 1 or “Gen13” volume two issue 10) shows you a different outcome to the fight. Either way, the fight is resolved and StormWatch moves on.

BeachFight

Before we check in with the trio in the escape pod, we first need to catch up with a few other characters. To this end we see Jodi and Amanda looking for leads on where CyberJack might be. While lurking they see and are squicked out by, Ivana and the DV8 kids, who are on Gamorra because Ivana found out about the clone of Ethan, and she wants it. Eventually, Jodi and Amanda end up in a bar where they overhear from Kaizen’s right-hand man Aries, that Team 7 is on the island. They take off, hoping to find Slayton, before Aries, the Minotaur or his goons see them.

backlash_019Now back to Marc, Bobby, and Dane, who get separated from the rest of their crew when their plane was shot down by a frikkin’ space laser! The boys argue a bit while the girls are catching up to them. Just as suddenly as Jodi and Amanda get to Bobby, Dane, and Marc they are joined by Aries, the Minotaur, Borgia and a number of hunter-killers.

Our heroes seem to make short work of the bad guys before an earthquake occurs. Turns out this earthquake is over a volcano and magma starts pushing itself up to the surface. At this point, Bobby grabs Jodi and Aries and flies off, Marc tosses Amanda to Dane and a font of magma flies up between Marc and the rest knocking him over. Fearing him for dead Amanda and Dane mournfully move on. But come on, nothing like that could kill ole Backlash! Truth be told, he his holding on for dear life on the edge of a cliff hoping not to drop when Cybernary comes to save the day! She’d been watching the brawl, and anyone who’s against Kaizen and his crew are friends to her.

SlaytonGetsAllTheLadies

Back in New York, we are seeing the WildC.A.T.s team start to splinter. Zannah leaving the team to follow Cole to Gamorra and we have Pris and Jacob straight up leaving everything. The new team wants the old team to stay behind and help out with the crime war, but Zannah isn’t hearing it.

We get one quick page of seeing what Kaizen has done to CyberJack after all his time on this island. He’s more Cyber than Jack now and has seemed to have lost his personality. Kaizen’s plan is to turn Jack on his old friends… uh oh!

Up on SkyWatch II, Henry Bendix is sensing some crazy shit going on behind the moon. It looks like the Bountyhunters are using some crazy tech to open a portal for Damocles to come through. All this power so close to the moon is also starting to affect the tides on Earth.

gen13_v2_010Back down on Gamorra Alex Fairchild and Lucius Morgan are combing this island for info about what’s going on. They eventually find out pretty much everything on their first try! That Team 7 killed Craven, that Team 7 is on the island, and that Kaizen is keeping a hostage, that of a Team 7 child. The duo surmises that Team 7 is on Gamorra to kill Kaizen and they head off to join their old friends.

Ivana wants that Gen-Omega so her and the DV8 kids are breaking into Kaizen’s compound through the front gates. While a slight annoyance to Kaizen, he isn’t too worried. He just decides it is time to awaken the Gen-Omega a little ahead of schedule. What could it hurt, it’s probably what they’re after anyway. As Dr. Tsung and Roxy talk about how they each ended up on Kaizen’s floor in chains, their friends in Team 7 and Gen13 are sneaking in the back door.

Meanwhile, Jodi and Bobby get to know Aries. Well not really. All they know is that he’s their key to getting to Kaizen and that his and Jodi’s powers go all wonky when they get too close to each other. Aries reluctantly agrees to take them to Kaizen.

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Back to Berkley for a quick page to see Colby and Alicia leave the Tsung ladies to go back to work at I/O. Mrs. Tsung and Celia are devastated by what they’re seeing on the news about Gamorra but know that Colby and Alicia could do more good back at the newly Craven-free I/O.

In Gamorra there’s less good news. Team 7 and Gen13 reach Dr. Tsung and Roxy and before anyone can celebrate too much Ivana and the DV8 kids burst into the same room. Predictably a fight is on! It doesn’t go too well for the DV8 kids, and it seems that Ethan is the secret weapon, as he even took down Threshold! During the fight, Ethan starts to feel woozy, and Dr. Tsung thinks it might have something to do with the Gen-Omega coming online. Ethan, Dr. Tsung and Secret Agent Maggie head down the same corridor that Kaizen disappeared into earlier. They arrive at the Gen-Omega pod just in time to meet it… the reborn Miles Craven! In a fresh new body, complete with the Gen-Factor stolen from Team 7. This… this is gonna be trouble!

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Continuity Corner:

  • Jesus, is Hellstrike miscolored here! I mean they even allude to his “jade glow” later and still managed to miscolor him for pages! Which colorist and editor were asleep at the wheel for this one?
  • Speaking of, seeing Frostbite and Evo in DV8 colored as pale white guys gives me the heeby-jeebies! It just looks so very very wrong!
  • We’ll see an expanded version of the WildCATs scene from “Fire from Heaven” issue 1 in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 29.
  • At the end of “Fire from Heaven” issue 1 we see Hunter-Killers move in on the Team 7/Gen13 crew after StormWatch has subdued them and leaves. When we get to “Gen13” volume two issue 10 we never see that scene. We have Team 7 and Gen13 kicking the StormWatch boy’s asses and then moving to Kaizen’s place after Fahrenheit takes Flashpoint and Cannon away.
  • One of the reasons I always forget that Minotaur has a horse-body is because sometimes he doesn’t! Like in the bar in “Backlash” issue 19. I figure that Minotaur must be mostly cybernetic and any of his organic parts left are must be in his upper body so that he can just mount himself on either robot-horse legs or robot-human legs, his choice on how centaur-like he feels in the morning. This would also explain how easily he can replace his left arm after Slayton lops it off.
  • Cray mentions the sneaky way into Kaizen’s place cost a friend of his their life, I assume he means Mai-Li T’Sung from “Deathblow” volume one issue 19.
  • An odd bit of continuity here with the Bountyhunters in chapters 2 and 3. In “Backlash” issue 19 (Chapter 2) we see them already on the moon getting the portal ready for Damocles. In “Gen13” volume two issue 10 (Chapter 3) we see the Bountyhunters with Kaizen, then they leave to go to the moon. I have to figure these events are happening at the same time, because later on in the “Gen13” issue we see Bobby with Jodi and Aries. If we wanted to get super picky I’d say that “Backlash” issue 19 should be read after the first 10 pages of “Gen13” volume two issue 10, right after the Bountyhunters attack the StormWatch members on the moon. But man… that’d be super convoluted, even for me!

NEXT: “Fire from Heaven” chapters 3 through 5, which include “Wetworks” volume one issue 16, “StormWatch” volume one issue 35 and “Sigma” issue 2 by Jonathan Peterson, Drew Bitner, Brandon Choi, Cedric Nocon, Renato Arlem, Randy Green, Chuck Gibson, Danny Bulanadi, Jose Pimentel and Sal Regla

“Fire from Heaven” Prelude

This entry covers “Fire from Heaven” issue 1/2 and the “Fire from Heaven” Prelude parts 1 through 3, which include “Sword of Damocles” issue 1, “Sigma” issue 1 and “Deathblow” volume one issue 26 by Johnathan Peterson, Warren Ellis, Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Randy Green, Tomm Coker, J.J. Kirby, Ryan Odagawa, Mel Rubi, Danny Bulanadi, Bob Wiacek, John Tighe, Mark Irwin, Richard Friend, Troy Hubbs and Trevor Scott.

firefromheaven_halfTime for the great big never-ending WildStorm crossover known as Fire from Heaven! This crossover is long… very long! Fourteen official chapters, a three issue prelude, a three issue finale, an almost unconnected preview type issue and an unofficial coda in “Deathblow” volume one issue 29. For those keeping count, reading the full story is 21 and a half issues of comics. That’s a LOT of story, so let’s get into the “Prelude” to it all, starting with that weird half issue I mentioned above.

We open on our first of four short stories in this half issue with Kaizen Gamorra admiring the major city of Gamorra, known as Zodome. Turns out Kaizen has no time to lollygag, as there’s science trouble down in the Gen-Lab. Kaizen has his scientists working on Gen-Active individuals, trying to figure out what makes them tick. But, for the final test, of the undefined goal, the latest Gen-Active guinea pig explodes. Leaving Kaizen upset and down a few scientists.

Meanwhile, across the Pacific Ocean in Berkley, CA, we encounter a pickup game of basketball. We have four kids playing with only one of them named. I’m pretty sure one of them is supposed Ethan McCain, who we saw in a page of “Gen13”. The guy who I think is Ethan sinks a three pointer by unknowingly using his powers and we move on to our next short story.

StormWatch is getting set up with all the military hardware they can think of! Every nation on the globe is willing to sink more personnel and weaponry into the StormWatch program. Good for Bendix, but will it be good for everyone else? We also check in on the moon based StormWatch members! Yay, looks like the StormWatch moon base got rebuilt after Argos wrecked it!

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The final story before we get to the “Prelude” proper is introducing our big-bads for the crossover. They are Damocles and The Sword. A bunch of mercenary bounty hunters (unrelated to The Mercs, but kinda related to The Bountyhunters) has found an Earth in an alternate dimension. The kind that both The Sword and his master Damocles have been asking about. This pleases Damocles, for now, he has found his next target! Oh yeah, this Earth is the WildStorm Earth, if you didn’t see where this was going, I really can’t help you.

thesword_001It’s time for us to better get to know these villains! First, we see The Sword and he’s got company. These four are a bit familiar to us, they’re The Bountyhunters that faced off with Gen13 a few issues ago. They’re there letting him know they failed to get the Qeelocke. It’s a big deal. The Sword’s boss Damocles needs easier ways to hop from dimension to dimension, and a Qeelocke would be much more effective. Currently, only The Sword can easily skip around from universe to universe, the other means of transfer gates personally offend Damocles and thus are only to be used sparingly.

Damocles lets The Sword and the Bountyhunters know that on the latest new Earth that they’ve found, there are creatures with Gen-Factor. That mean only one thing, there’s a representation of Damocles’ greatest enemy there; Sigma. Sigma apparently destroyed the world, as well as Damocles’ family. Damocles isn’t sure if they’ve found a different version of Sigma, or if it is the same Sigma that ruined everything for him. He tells The Sword to forget the Qeelocke, go to this new world and find Sigma.

The Sword and The Bountyhunters wind up in Gamorra following on a Gen-Factor hunt. You see, after another failed Gen-Factor science mishap, this time a clone of Sigma, Kaizen has unwittingly sent up a telltale sign to The Sword that Gen-Factor shenanigans are going on over here. The crew Sword-ports to Gamorra and confronts him. Kaizen, ever the smoothy, tells The Sword to learn more about the Gen-Factor that he needs to hunt down our old pal Dr. Tsung in San Francisco and bring him back to Gamorra. Oh, also, before that, Kaizen recommends that The Sword take out Winter in NYC. Kaizen lets The Sword know that Winter is the only real threat he’d have on this planet, so it’s best to get him out of the way first.

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You little stinker Kaizen! You’ve got quite the double cross going on here.

In a crazy turn of events, The Sword was able to take down Winter. That’s not good! Now he’s on his way to meet up with the rest of The Bountyhunters and their raid on Dr. Tsung’s house. Oh man, is this fake plan actually working for them?

sigma_001Okay, rewind back to before The Sword and pals are busting through the side of Dr. Tsung’s house. We meet Ethan McCain and he is having a hell of a day at college. Spilling acid on himself, contemplating joining a frat and watching the gal he has a crush on hanging out with a bigger oafish guy. All that and he’s being followed by some secret agent chick.

Once he gets back at home Ethan is involved in some kind of VR experiment with his adoptive dad. That dad just happens to be Dr. Tsung! Whaaaaa? I guess these are some kind of tests to open up Ethan’s Gen-Factor potential, but I’m really not sure. Dr. Tsung has also been pulling visuals from his nightmares to plug into the VR environment to test Ethan. One of these enemy combatants looks an awful lot like Damocles! Just as the test ends Dr. Tsung’s house is invaded by a bunch of Hunter-Killers sent by Kaizen. Ethan reacts on instinct and manages to fire some kind of multi-phasic energy blast! It works! Ethan has real powers! And it might be enough to take out some HKs, but suddenly he’s staring down The Sword and he knows things are only going to get harder!

deathblow_v1_026There’s really no time to worry for Ethan and Dr. Tsung as Team 7 arrives with Gen13 to try and even the odds/save the day. Oh, don’t forget that secret agent chick, too! Her name is Maggie Monroe and she’s there to protect Ethan and the doc. In a case of too little, too late The Sword manages to capture Dr. Tsung and the Bountyhunters nab Qeelocke and then ‘port back to Gamorra. Roxy jumps into the portal to save Qeelocke and ends up in Gamorra with Dr. Tsung and most of the bad guys for this arc. We also find out that Maggie was hired by Cray’s father to always watch out for and protect Dr. Tsung and Ethan as long as Miles Craven lives. With Craven dead, she thinks she’s out of a job, but after what she’s seen, she knows she needs to team up with this group of near strangers to save Dr. Tsung from Kaizen.

Back in Gamorra, Kaizen lets it slip to LeGauche that he’s planning to bring Craven back to life. Also, he contracts LeGauche to do a job for him while he’s in between masters. LeGauche teams up with Minotaur and his goons to murder a handful of United Nations members while they’re touring Zodome. The idea is to frame the rebels, such as Cybernary and her group, and have StormWatch come to Gamorra to protect Kaizen from anyone that could stop him from his ultimate goal of creating a Gen-Omega!

protectandswerve

Continuity Corner:

  • “Fire from Heaven” issue 1/2 might be able to have been read between issues 24 and 25 of “Deathblow” volume one. The science “accident” Kaizen had could account for the break in the connection that Craven experienced.
  • Man, that basketball scene in “Fire from Heaven” 1/2… Like I said, I’m pretty sure the blond kid is Ethan but you wouldn’t know it from the art or the fact and no one calls him by his name. Seriously, the only person named is the redhead girl, Laurie. Also, I think the woman that gets hit by the basketball is the secret agent Maggie Monroe who was hired to follow and protect Ethan, despite her looking nothing like what we see in “Sigma” issue 1.
  • We see Team 7 and Gen13 in “Sigma” issue 1, they’re on a plane that is called “a commandeered I/O stealth transport.” Later we’ll come to find that the jet wasn’t procured from I/O, it was taken from the WildC.A.T.s by Cole. That doesn’t keep it from being a plane that was built by I/O as we all know that Jacob had access to that kind of stuff. At least I think that’s what’s happening in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 29. Either that or no one told Alan at the time where Cole was supposed to be and he wrote that before he was informed and then wrote “Fire from Heaven” issue 1.

NEXT: “Fire from Heaven” issue 1, “Backlash” issue 19 and “Gen13” volume two issue 10 by Alan Moore, Sean Ruffner, Brett Booth, Brandon Choi, J. Scott Campbell, Jim Lee, Ryan Benjamin, Ryan Odagawa, Chuck Gibson, Richard Friend, Mark Irwin, Mark Pennington, Alex Garner, JD, Tom McWeeney and Scott Williams

“Backlash” 17 & 18

This entry covers “Backlash” issues 17 and 18 by Sean Ruffner, Brett Booth, Mel Rubi, John Tighe, Mark Irwin and Mark Pennington.

backlash_017Slayton is feeling odd ever since he woke up to save the day against that space-vampire. Where can a guy go to see what’s up with his crazy bod? Why not the guy who’s been like a doctor to you for the last several years? That’s right, Slayton drops in on his old pal Link from StormWatch. Link is happy to oblige, as well as meet Jodi and Amanda.

As soon as the tests are concluded StormWatch shows up to… well I guess to take Slayton in for being a wanted felon. Not only that, but they’re none too keen to find out that Slayton had, at some point, been funneling information about StormWatch to I/O. They even accuse him of being glad that LaSalle is dead because she was on to him. But ultimately the StormWatch team cannot take down the man who trained them.

While Slayton was taking down the StormWatch kids, Amanda and Jodi were busy stealing their transport ship. As soon as Slayton is finished with Jackson, Link tells him to get the heck out of there, so Slayton, Amanda and Jodi fly off in their ill gotten jet. The flight doesn’t last long as Slayton gets a call from Cray to meet up with the other Team 7 members in New York. Now if Slayton had thought to ask Cray, he would’ve known that kids were invited to this party, but he didn’t and so he drops Amanda and Jodi off at the nearest payphone and leaves.

backlash_018Amanda calls up CyberJack to get back to the safe house and hears that he’ll be staying in Gamorra longer than previously thought, but they are free to stay at the safe-house as long as they need. Amanda immediately picks up on the fact that there’s something wrong with this message. In it, Jack calls her Taboo. Jack never calls her Taboo. This can only mean one thing: Girls Weekend Trip in Gamorra!

I wish I had more to say about these issues, but really, unlike other “Backlash” stories there isn’t too much going on plot wise. Character development wise? Yeah, it’s in there. Seeing Slayton have to take on his former students? It’s rad as hell, especially when we have Rubi and Booth drawing it for us. But when it comes to a the type of recaps I do here, it looks a lot more slight than the book actually is. I have to say, it was really fun to see StormWatch vs. Slayton before we get to “Fire from Heaven” and it’s StormWatch vs. Everyone for a bit. It’s like a preview of what’s to come.

Continuity Corner:

  • When Link is examining Slayton they find that Slayton’s Kherubim blood has mostly burned out all the Gen-Factor in his system, which explains why LeGauche couldn’t get much off him in “Deathblow” volume one issue 23.
  • Slayton will catch up with Cray, Lynch, Cash, Dane and the Gen13 kids near the end of “Deathblow” volume one issue 24.
  • Seeing the stealth suits that StormWatch put on for this issue made me angry that they don’t really stick around. For the most part they are just streamlined and better looking versions of their current outfits. Except for Fahrenheit. That isn’t a good look, it’s far too basic and boring. Her original outfit is awesome and I’ll forever miss it when she abandons it completely after “Fire from Heaven.”
  • After their beat down, the StormWatch team heads back to the U.N. StormWatch base in “StormWatch” volume one issue 34.

NEXT (if you need to get back to “StormWatch” 34): “StormWatch” volume one issue 34 by H.K. Proger, Renato Arlem, and Joe Pimentel.

NEXT (if you already finished “StormWatch” 34): “WildStorm!” issue 4 by Michael Jan Friedman, Merv, Sarah Becker, Ryan Odagawa, Tom Raney, Randy Green, Mark McKenna, Randy Elliot, John Tighe and Rich Ketchum.

“Backlash” issues 15 – 16

This entry covers “Backlash” issues 15 & 16 by Sean Ruffner, Brett Booth, Mel Rubi, John Tighe and Mark Irwin.

backlash_015This issue opens with CyberJack being all “Peace out, Imma go to Gammora and hope they don’t screw me over while you, Marc Slayton, my best friend, deal with yr dead ex-fiance, later yo!” I know they’re supposed to be hardened badasses, but Slayton literally just saw his ex get murdered right in front of him! So, Jack, maybe stick around for your buddy, a least a little bit before taking off. That’s such a jerk move that I really wish that Cray had drunk all of Jack’s Zimas. We’ll get back to Jack’s adventures in Gamorra in a bit, first, we have to talk about hard-luck Slayton.

As stated previously, Slayton’s former fiance is dead and he’s bummin’. Then his friend with benefits, Amanda, starts to put the moves on him, only for the whole thing to be interrupted by Jodi. Slayton, in a huff, decides to go and get a beer at a local dive. Of course, he ends up befriending a man who is sitting in the in the seat of local tuff Beck, who is all set to beat Slayton and his new “pal”  down for this infraction along with the help of his posse. When Beck calls “seat save” he means it. While all of Beck’s buds go down easy, it turns out that Beck is much more than he first appears and it doesn’t look good for Slayton.

Also not looking good for Slayton is his daughter Jodi hitting on his best frenemy Cole Cash. Wait, what? How does Cole figure into all this? Well, it turns out Cash needed a part for his bike that he is cruising cross country on. He called his old pal CyberJack about it and sure, Jack could help, and if he’s not there, one of his “roommates” would be happy to hand over what Cash needs. Amanda is a bit distrustful of Cash, but Jodi is completely and totally enamored with the man. Amanda sends Cash on his way with his fixed motorbike and mentions that Cash can get a bite to eat at the dive in town, which is when Cash meets up with Slayton.

backlash_016As it turns out, Cash’s arrival is not a moment too soon! Beck has turned into a huge lizard creature and is starting to thrash Slayton and the back up certainly helps. My personal favorite bit of this story is the little old lady who is happy to see someone kicking Beck’s ass. Apparently, she’s been harassing StormWatch to send someone to deal with him. Doesn’t she know that StormWatch isn’t allowed to take care of American problems? At any rate, Cash makes quick work of Beck, save Slayton’s bacon and then it’s time for each of them to move on. Cash to find more trouble in Colorado and Slayton back to Amanda and Jodi.

Meanwhile, in the exciting adventures of CyberJack, we have our old pal Jack Rhodes meeting up with an old cohort in Gamorra. Makoto used to work with Jack and he even stayed there working after Jack left. The reason Jack left the first time was mainly that he saw his work being used to create things like Hunter-Killers and he wasn’t about that life, fam. Based on what Jack had left behind Makoto was able to keep working from Jack’s plans and he wanted to show them all to Jack. I mean, this is Gamorra, of course, Makoto was going to double cross Jack! But why? Kaizen wants Jack back in Gamorra to invent more stuff and Makoto was the willing lure. Kaizen says that Jack skipped out on their contract, and he means to have Jack back by hook or by crook, and yeah, that even means siccing the Mercs on Jack to keep him in line. Looks like CyberJack’s stuck in Gamorra now, he certainly is in a pickle!

Continuity Corner:

  • Cash must’ve picked up his bike in Vegas. Not sure if he or Halo had it stashed there or he bought it, but I figure that’s where he got it, as the last time we saw him, he was hoping a bus from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
  • In human form, Beck looks an awful lot like the form of Richard McNamara from Team 7 took when he popped up in “Grifter” volume two issue 3. Coincidence, right? Eh, Mel Rubi drew them both so maybe not too big of a coincidence.
  • When the little old lady asks if Cash is Cannon or Flashpoint he joking says that he’s Condition Red. I mean, us the readers get the joke, but how did he know that was Max’s code name in the new WildC.A.T.s? I don’t think we’ve seen them speak yet.
  • At the end of issue 16, Kaizen confronts Jack and he’s flanked by a guy in big ass eff-off armor. His name is Aries. He’s apparently Jodi’s twin brother and thusly Slayton’s son. I always forget this because I can’t remember if this was ever stated in the actual comics or not. I came across this info in “WildStorm Universe ’97” issue 3 when I was trying to look up his name real quick.

NEXT: “Grifter” volume two issue 1 by Steven Grant, Mel Rubi and Richard Friend.

“Union” Vol. 2 issues 7 – 9 and “Union : Final Vengeance”

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

union_v1_007Jill is unhappy with Union. Union keeps ignoring Jill to fight crime. Jill gets more fed up and leaves his ass for a stranger she met in an alley one day. That stranger saved her from some thugs. This stranger? Oh, he’s just Regent, the bad guy from Aegena, where he and Union grew up. Yup, that Regent! Turns out Mr. Douchebag engineered the whole alley attack on Jill thing just to steal her and then beat Union’s ass. Really, when you do that, you know you’re the bad guy, right Regent? There’s no possible way you thought you were doing something positive right? But to be fair, Regent seems pretty a-ok with his evilness. Dude is owning it!

And by owning it, I mean really mean owning it! You see, Regent has killed Union’s best friend Maikone! Then he kicked Union’s booty and paraded it around NYC for a few hours before taking Union’s unconscious body and tossing it into the sea. Sounds like a real bastard, no? Not only that but like every good villain Regent monologues like a real sonuvabitch, revealing that Union really didn’t kill all those Directorate soldiers back in Chichester. That was just a failsafe that went off when Regent’s pop died. A failsafe that Regent put into his own dad’s justice stone! Union only survived because he was in the eye of the storm, so to speak.

While Union is chilling at the bottom of the ocean, we find out that Regent has not only kidnapped Jill, but he’s also kidnapped Union’s former main squeeze from back home, Eliya. He’s holding both of them captive on his secret hidden base, in outer freakin’ space! Eventually, Union’s justice stone wakes him and leads him to said space base. That’s when all hell breaks loose!

union_v1_008-009_and_Final

Union goes in hot, and after a rocky start is holding his own against Regent. Meanwhile, Eliya and Jill get loose from the cages Regent was holding them in. Regent decides he’s not going to stand for a lowly Protectorate beating him up, so he tries to implant a second justice stone on this body! This just gives him more than he knows what to do with and Regent just starts blasting everything, resulting in ripping his satellite of loserdom apart. In the middle of this Regent tries to teleport away, but due to the doubled up justice stones he becomes some kind of portal/gate/black hole and sucks up everything, including Eliya, right in front of Union and Jill, who remain unharmed and unsucked up.

Union and Jill return to Earth and decide to live off the fake rich playboy life that Regent had constructed for himself. It’s not much, but it’s all they have except each other. And with these two, it’s a guess on how long that’s going to last.

Continuity Corner:

  • Not only was Union not paying attention to Jill when he should have, but he’s also been blowing off StormWatch and he got a real dressing down from Bendix for not being around when he’s needed.
  • The first few pages of issue 9 we are introduced to Data Assimilation Bureau of I/O consisting of Agents Kroger and Hanley and they both report to Director Sterling. I’m not sure we ever see these characters again. But if I’m wrong, let me know! They also refer to Director Rios and we’ll see him again in a lot of upcoming books. First in “Black Ops” but soon after that in pretty much any book that deals with I/O because he becomes the new director (until Ivana manages to steal that position from him.)
  • Union makes a big comeback in “Fire from Heaven” which in all actuality was published well before “Union : Final Vengeance.” “Final Vengeance” had several delays but indeed was set before “Fire from Heaven” according to the final letter collum.
  • Jill, however, we’re not going to see again. Maybe she finally left Union’s ass for good and that’s the reason for the despondency that leads to his suicide in “the Authority” volume one issue 21.
  • Also, I don’t recall that we ever see the final fate of Eliya and Regent. Which is a shame as I liked Eliya a lot and would have loved to see the proposed “Union” relaunch with her at the center.
  • During his fight with Regent, Union loses his staff. Don’t worry, he’ll steal one off of his alternate universe doppelganger The Sword in “Fire from Heaven.” Hrm… having an evil dude’s staff in your justice stone… maybe this is also something that leads to Union’s horrible last moments.

NEXT: “Cybernary” volume one issues 2 through 5 and “Cybernary : the Price” by Steve Gerber, Jeff Mariotte, Jeff Rebner, Richard Friend and John Tighe