Tag Archives: Mark McKenna

“WildStorm!” issue 4

This entry covers “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.

WildStorm_004This issue of “WildStorm!” is all about StormWatch. It features three pretty inconsequential stories regarding different StormWatch personnel. One for Sunburst and Nautika, one for Malcolm King and one detailing the time Fahrenheit discovered her powers. These stories get better as the issue progresses.

Sunburst is feeling all down. Poor dude feels useless now that he’s confined to a wheelchair. His wife, Nautika, is trying to cheer him up and let him know that he can still be a useful member of StormWatch. As he is doubting her two fully suited jackasses board his boat and start to attack him and Nautika. After Sunburst gives these two rapscallions what for, he goes to save Nautika and she reveals that she’s fine and points out to him how much fight he is displaying. Turns out the terrorist bros are only Pagan and Undertow, who were asked by Nautika to help her with her little ruse to prove to Sunburst that he still has what it takes.

Malcolm King is being an asshole at a bar. The boy is trying to figure out if he should be more like his brother or more like his father. This is a mental crossroads that Malcolm has and will go back and forth on for his entire history. Today the coin comes up Despot side, so it’s time to be a jerk. In fact, it’s time to mac on a lady at the bar. A lady who is uninterested. In fact, her boyfriends seems more interested in Malcolm than she is, so he starts a brawl with Malcolm. This just leads Malcolm to torch the whole place using his Strafe powers, then steal the guys motorbike. Yup, Malcolm King is certainly being an asshole right now.

In our final story we find Fahrenheit and Cannon sparring in the “totally-not-the-Danger-Room-from-X-Men” as Flashpoint and Christine observe. Flashpoint makes some comment about how Fahrenheit must be a real pyromaniac. Christine let’s Flashpoint know that that’s rather unlikely. Turns out Fahrenheit’s father and sister both died in a fire. It all started when Pops Pennigton fell asleep in his recliner, dropped his lit cigar on a stack of newspapers and then spilled his 151 run across the floor. Suddenly he was on fire freaking on Fahrenheit, then due to the fire raging around them, the floor gave way and her sister fell down. Then Fahrenheit laid down, not thinking she’d make it out, and besides, her only family are now both dead and gone. This is when her powers started to kick in and flames didn’t harm her. She’s lucky nothing else fell on her. Young Fahrenheit made the news and Christine went to go meet her, in the hopes that she’d found another seedling. They met at the hospital and then Christine brought Fahrenheit to StormWatch and she started her illustrious career.

Continuity Corner:

  • This book mainly gets the placement it does because of the first story starring SunBurst and Nautika. After the “Fire from Heaven” crossover both Undertow and Pagan are fired from StormWatch. So, you know, they can’t come to the emotional rescue of SunBurst as members of said team. It is rather odd to see Undertow suddenly up and about, but let’s just say that aboard SkyWatch II they had the tech to make the boy great again!
  • Malcolm’s story could happen any time after he was released in “StormWatch” volume one issue 32 and when The Changers capture him in issue 48.
  • Fahrenheit’s story could have happened sooner than this placement, and might even be better read prior to “StormWatch” volume one issue 20, but only to keep Flashpoint and Cannon’s hairstyles consistent. Also, it can’t have happened any later due to Flashpoint’s status as a team member of “StormWatch” after “Fire from Heaven.” Ultimately, other than art, it has a fine placement here.

NEXT: “Black Ops” issues 1 & 2 by Shon Bury, Dan Norton and Sandra Hope.

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“Wildcats : Ladytron”

this entry covers the “Wildcats : Ladytron” one shot

ladytronThis book, this book is a doozy! By that I mean pretty damn great! I really do love this book! I’m not going to lie, I found out about this book well after it was published. I had no idea that Maxine had her own one shot comic. Once I got ahold of it, I was pretty pleased with myself for tracking it down.

The book opens with Maxine living in some kind of toy factory. She’s got all kinds of crazy little robo-toy friends running around. It’s kind of cute. Looks like Maxine has made a real tiny little life for herself. She’s got a bed, she’s got some friends, what more could a gal want? I mean except to be normal and not half-mechanical of course. Maxine’s self-pity doesn’t last long before those little clockwork rascals pick a fight with her, knock her out and drag to an unknown location.

Said unknown location is the lair of Dr. Khaz. See, he built the little buggers to capture Maxine for him. As it turns out, he’s also the very person that gave Maxine her cyborgian enhancements in the first place. As Maxine is recovering from her injuries we get a glimpse into her life prior to her becoming Ladytron, and how she got to that point.

In the flashbacks we see that Maxine has been bad news since she was a kid. Sure, her family life was pretty rough, so she just made life rough for everyone else, including the children’s home she stayed at. It wasn’t much longer before Maxine was a little more grown, picking up men, having her way with them and then straight up murdering them. In telling her life’s story to a guy at a pool hall he asks if she’d like to join him on a robbing spree. Maxine is game, and after six months they’re trapped in a stand off with the cops. The girl doesn’t want to go out like a chump and she rushes the cops. Maxine catches several bullets and winds up in an emergency room, where somehow Dr. Khaz has the authority to take Maxine from the police and hospital for his experiments.

ladytron shot

Whew… now that we know all that we see that Dr. Khaz has her trapped. His main goal is to get her to track down another robotical creation of his. It’s a hulking man-bot by the name of Stanley. Despite how often Dr. Khaz calls him her brother, Maxine can only see him the perfect man for her.

ladytron loveIt doesn’t take long for Maxine to find him, and lucky for her, Stanly is also a fan of wanton destruction, as well as it also being love at first sight for him. So Stanley and Maxine team up and are back to her old ways shooting and robbing. The couple manages to get married and celebrate their honeymoon. Here’s where they start talking about how killing innocents just doesn’t have the old thrill that it used to. The hatch a plan to find their “father” Dr. Kahz and kill him, think of the buzz!

Confronting Dr. Khaz doesn’t go so well. He deactivates Stanley, then brings him back online with a mission to “discipline” Maxine for taking so long to bring Stanley back. This doesn’t go so well and in fact, it drives Maxine to kill her one-time love. Good night Stanley, we hardly knew ya. Then Dr. Khaz starts to go all creepy father again ending in Maxine giving him a literal kiss of death before destroying more tiny toy robots and getting the hell out of Khaz’s lair of techno-creepiness.

ladytron-kiss
Talk about Electra Complex! Wait… that’s not what that means? Like at all? Damn reality ruining my lame electricity puns.

Maxine over hears two thugs talking about a big heroin deal going down at a theme restaurant in Chicago, Maxine decides to get involved in it. There’s going to be plenty of cash, and hey, free drugs if that’s your kind of thing!

Continuity Corner:

  • This story takes place before, during and technically after some of the events in “WildC.A.T.s” volume 1 issue 21. That issue of “WildC.A.T.s” is a series of nested flashbacks setting up the new status quo for that book. Reading “Wildcats: Ladytron” prior to it causes no real problems, and works incredibly well. Hats off to Joe Casey!
  • On the last few pages, we see Lucius Simpson discussing the heroin deal that leads Maxine to “Presidents” in “WildC.A.T.s” volume 1 issue 21.
  • When I first found this book I thought it was going to be contemporary with what was going on in the current “Wildcats” book with some flashbacks. Even when I was reading it I didn’t expect it to be a straight up “Here’s what Maxine was up to before we knew her, and nothing else” kind of a book. Pleasantly surprised when I got to the end.
  • A note of extremely minor continuity error is the license plate on the car that Maxine drives away with on the last page. In “Wildcats : Ladytron” it is “QUEN BCH” and in “WildC.A.T.s” volume 1 issue 21 it’s “QUN BCH.”
  • Another teeny tiny difference between “WildC.A.T.s” volume 1 issue 21 and “Wildcats : Ladytron” is that Majestic mentions that Maxine took 5 shots in the police stand off. When we see this scene play out in “Wildcats : Ladytron” it’s more like fifteen! I mean, it isn’t a big deal in the least, but it’s the kind of thing a blog dedicated to pulling apart and over analyzing the ins and outs of the WildStorm Universe would notice and comment on.
  • It’s fair to say that a lot of characters in the WildStorm universe are twists on more famous mainstream characters from comics. Midnighter is WildStorm Batman. Majestic, Apollo and Union can each be looked at as WildStorm Superman. Hell, Maul is very much like the WildStorm version of the Hulk now that I think about it. I bring this up to say this, while there’ve been many cyborgs in comics, there haven’t any like Maxine. In fact, I’ve always seen Maxine more as the WildStorm version of Tank Girl if anything at all. Those two characters even have the same voice in my head. Does this make sense to anyone else?

NEXT: “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 21 and 22 by Alan Moore, Travis Charest, Kevin Maguire, Troy Hubbs, Randy Elliot, Sal Regla, Trevor Scott and Scott Williams.

“Spartan : Warrior Spirit”

this entry covers the four issues of the “Spartan : Warrior Spirit” mini-series.

SpartanWarriorSpiritVol1_01-04I’m gonna be honest, I didn’t like this book when I was a kid. I didn’t like it two years ago when putting the chronology together for this website/blog. But I have to admit, I didn’t find it too bad going back to this time around. Not sure what changed. I’d always been a fan of Busiek, so there was no “later in life appreciation” or anything. Maybe it was just a case of lowered expectations. Or it is a good book and I couldn’t see past the art, because while fine for a regular book, we’re talking about a WildStorm/Image book, they’re supposed to be a bit flashier than this, right?

The story opens up with four of Spartan’s spare bodies waking up at the HALO building and flying off, cut to the WildC.A.T.s in the middle of a Daemonite battle, one in which Spartan is sacrificed. Lucky for us this means there won’t be a “but who’s the real Spartan” showdown later with Cole pointing a gun at both as he keeps switching which one he’ll pull the trigger on. The team is dismayed to get home and see the bodies are gone and they can’t reboot their team leader, pal and part-time lover.

When Spartan does wake up he finds himself in a small Tibetan village in the Alps. He’s being woken up by Dr. Able and the doctor’s daughter Allison, who is supposedly Spartan’s wife. Spartan doesn’t remember all of this, but once a Gamorran Hunter-Killer breaks into the base he remembers how to fight. This is all that Dr. Able really wants Spartan for, to fight off the Gamorrans as they continue to come after his scientific research base built into a Tibetan temple.

What is Dr. Able up to? Well, legend has it that an ancient evil was trapped deep underground long ago, and the temple was built on that spot. Dr. Able wants to bring this evil presence back out and into the world, but this time trap it in his computers so that he can control its evil energy.

Not that any of this is easy for Dr. Able to do. Mostly because Hunter-Killers from Gamorra keep crashing the gates. Why? Oh, because up until recently Dr. Able was working with the Gamorrans. He was even the creator of the Hadrian-7 android, which is the kind of machine Spartan is, and he tells Spartan to think of him as his dad. So, Spartan’s pop is basically chaotic neutral and Spartan married his own sister? Anyway, because Dr. Able backed out of his deal with the Gamorrans, Kaizen Gamorra keeps sending wave after wave of Hunter-Killers to either confiscate the research, kill Dr. Able or both.

Meanwhile, Spartan is growing frustrated that he can’t remember his life, but can remember how he’s an awesome team leader. Turns out Dr. Able tried to shield all that information from Spartan by way of memory wipes to the ole computer brain. After all, he just needed Spartan for defense purposes. Some images of his past life do come through on occasion, but nothing ever sticks long enough to make a lasting impression.

Eventually, the rest of the WildC.A.T.s team locate Spartan and go to get him. They meet a bit of resistance at first, as Spartan has no real idea who they are, and has been told they are mercenary bandits after Dr. Able. Dr. Able convinces Spartan of their “no-good-ness” when he tells them the WildC.A.T.s were responsible for inserting an override chip in his circuitry. Spartan eventually snaps out this falsehood just in time for the ancient evil to escape Dr. Able’s computer system and infect the doctor himself. Spartan, of course, saves the day and confronts Marlowe about the override chip. Marlowe admits it was for safety, but confesses it had never been used and promises Spartan there will be none in the future. Then everyone flys home. Happy ending.

Continuity Corner:

  • This book came out quite a bit later than you’d think. It was actually published after “WildStorm Rising” so it was odd to see a story with Spartan and the old WildC.A.T.s as he was leading StormWatch and the rest of the team was presumed dead/in space.
  • Falling where it does in continuity here gives us our first look at Hunter-Killers as well as Kaizen Gamorra. This is Kaizen as we’ll never see him again. Pudgy, cyborgian and of green skin. It almost makes more sense for it to be the first we see of him, as comics retcon small first appearances like this all the time. Also, it’s a flashback that could be old enough that Kaizen could’ve looked like that… I mean considering at this time we’re still not talking about the real Kaizen Gamorra. We all know that fake one had a lot of work done! More on this ridiculous WildStorm plot point in the “Fire from Heaven” cross-over.
  • In this story, the features for the Hadrian robots were said to be based on a man named Zachary Krieger. We also know just about everything that Dr. Able says is a lie, but his daughter seems to back at least that story up. We’ll soon find that Spartan’s look was more or less based on John Cole’s. Also, there’s an off-handed remark that Spartan’s face is wrong by Pris, even though it’s drawn pretty much the same as when the bodies woke up at the HALO building and flew off, as well as when the then active Spartan who perished in the opening fight. This is like that “disguise” that Taboo cooked up for Backlash isn’t it?
  • The first time we ever got any information on Spartan’s backstory, and how he was from Gamorra was in “WildC.A.T.s” vol. 1 issue 6 where Marlowe and Jules just acquired the Hadrian-7 tech shortly before finding Warblade washed up on the beach.
  • I’d like to imagine that the battle we meet the WildC.A.T.s in the middle of was the one that Void, Pris and Zealot were running off to join at the end of the “Zealot” mini-series.
  • Also, that battle featured the words “Daemonites splinter group.” This is at least the second time we’ve seen that phrase. The last was in “WildC.A.T.s” vol. 1 issue 14, and I’m wondering “a splinter from what? Daemonites are Daemonites!” Maybe a splinter group from The Cabal, perhaps? Seeing that the team was fighting Hybridroids would suggest that Hightower might’ve been behind this evil plot.
  • Oh, said evil plot was Daemonites taking over the bodies of the children of influential world leaders so that in a generation the Daemonites would be in charge. Holy heck, that’s a hell of a good plan!

NEXT : “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 11 – 14 by Ron Marz, Mat Broome, Joe Phillips, Trevor Scott, Jason P. Martin and Karl C. Story.