Tag Archives: Mel Rubi

“Deathblow” Vol. 1 issues 17 – 19

this entry covers issues 17 through 19 of “Deathblow” volume 1.

Deathblow_Vol_1_17Reporter Karl Woodbern has info on Kaizen Gamorra. It’s information that Kaizen does not want to get out, in fact, the Gamoran leader wants him dead. Who’s a hotshot reporter supposed to turn to for protection? Why Rayna Masters of course! Not that Woodbern wants Rayna to protect him, or even her main dude the Sergeant-Major. Nope, Woodbern wants the protection of Micheal Cray more than anything! Here’s the kicker, Cray and Woodbern have a past and in the past Woodbern’s actions resulted in the death of one of Cray’s soldiers. Thusly, Cray hates Woodbern and does not want to work for him. Woodbern gets Cray to come around once Woodbern mentions that the information he has concerns Cray and is tied into files about Project Genesis.

Alright, then we get into some business with Woodbern needing to get his computer disk of information, but it’s all kind of too much. I mean there’s a strip joint and a stripper involved after all. And then Kaizen’s goons show up to shoot up the joint and kidnap Woodbern. While the goons get away Frank Colby and the Black Razor’s show up to spoil the fun. Rayna manages to intimidate Cobly into leaving them all alone, and the stripper hands off Woodbern’s info disk to Cray. Cray hits up his information buddy Henri Rothchild for help reading the disk, and finds more information on it than Woodbern let on! Not just information on Project Genesis but also about an organ harvesting program, Gabriel Newman and Cray’s Pops! Uh oh! Time to high-tail it to Gamorra!

Deathblow_Vol_1_18Rayna and the Sergeant-Major get into Gamorra by plane as Cray parachutes in, because that guy is bad ass always takes the hard road. Rayna pretty quickly gets taken in by more of Kaizen’s goons. And while the Sergeant-Major thinks he’s hot on the tail of these kidnappers, it turns out he’s been faked out too. Time to break into Kaizen’s compound. Not that he’s alone in that action.

As Cray descends down into the ocean to then swim to Gamorra after the skydiving (see, dude’s bad ass!) he recounts a previous mission in Gamorra where he met up with a freedom fighter named Mai-Li and took on a round of Hunter-Killers. Wouldn’t you know it that twenty years later, Cray’s contact for the compound infiltration happens to be Mai-Li! And damn if they don’t have to hunt down some more Hunter-Killers! While breaking in Cray and Mai-Li come across the Sergeant-Major. Ou boy Kaizen, trouble is headed your way!deathblow_18_trio

deathblow_v1_19So the Sergeant-Major, Mai-Li and Cray are hacking into Kaizen’s system to try and find exactly where Woodbern and Rayna are being held. First hurdle, they’re not together. Second hurdle, they’ve been noticed and the chief of security is throwing his big guns at the three of them. The Minotaur, Borgia, and Gila have been dispatched. They are the toughest of the tough, and come with their own Hunter-Killer army!

While things are looking dire for all our heroes, at least the Sergeant-Major has gotten Woodbern, and they’ve all converged on where Rayna is being held, the problem is the same as it has ever been. Mainly these: Kaizen, Kaizen’s goons. After the Minotaur kills Mai-Li, who was sacrificing her life for Crays, Colby and the Black Razors show up again. Seems as if they were sent by Craven, who was instructed to save Rayna and her employees by the First Lady of the United States. Rayna and the First Lady were old college pals, and Rayna used her influence to help wrap the mission. Though it could’ve gone sideways at any point, everyone is really lucky that Colby can get a job done. Too bad Woodbern is so brain damaged from his torture during his kidnapping that he can’t remember a bit of the information he wanted to protect.

Continuity Corner:

  • While it doesn’t weigh on our main character much in this story, we see Craven getting in trouble with Senator Killory about Project Genesis being reactivated. We’ll see more of Senator Killory later in the pages of “DV8.”
  • deathblow_17_tranceWe clearly see that Trance is in the shadows of Craven’s office. Posed much like when we saw him during “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue 2. And just like in that appearance he’s willing to give out information on the whereabouts of John Lynch. This time he’s seeking information about Kaizen Gamorra from Craven, where as before he was asking for information on Craven from Defile. Because he is in silhouette I’ve never really put together it was Trance before, but yeah, it’s totally Trance and I’m totally dense.
  • We’ve had a few references to some big operation that went down in Gamorra years back in a few past issues and here we have some flashbacks to it. Cray is with his Seal Team 6 team, so Tom Archer is accounted for, but I don’t see Armand Wearing at all! Maybe he was one of the kidnapped scientists?
  • No word if Mai-Li Tsung is related to the Tsung family we meet later on during “Fire from Heaven” but I’m going with a pretty strong “maybe” and am thinking it probably goes back a few generations. Third or fourth cousins at best for Mai-Li and the Doc.
  • deathblow_19_cybernaryWe have a small cameo by Cybernary in this run. While it was originally intended that when the “Deathblow/Cybernary” flip-book was coming out, they were occurring at the same time (this was in the letter pages) we now see that that cannot be the case. Those issues open with a Cybernary free of her creators running around before being captured by other curious parties and having her origin recounted. It’s not until her proper series begins that we even see the conclusion of her story concerning her escape from her creators. She recounts the escape story as happening in the not too recent past, which means for best reading, we should still put her books off a bit more to build some time between this appearance and the next. But how cool was it to see her and Cray in the same book again?
  • This story line starts laying out a lot of what is to come in the WildStorm Universe. We learn about Kaizen and Craven working together. We also see that they’re working on a project concerning Gen-Actives. And we have Craven laying out his plan to hunt down the Team 7 members as well. Not to mention the first hint of what happened to Cray’s parents. We even have a doctor examine Cray and then start to refer him to genetics expert Dr. Tsung! There’s a lot of set up that slowly starts to pay off in the pages of “Deathblow,” “Gen13,” and the “Fire from Heaven” crossover.

NEXT: “Gen13” volume two issues 6 – 7 by Brandon Choi, J. Scott Campbell, Jim Lee and Scott Williams

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“Backlash” issues 9 – 11

this entry covers “Backlash” issues 9 through 11

Backlash_Vol_1_9So Slayton, nice chap that he is, is going to spring Amana Reed from her incarceration now that he’s back from Nicaragua. Through CyberJack he’s found where she’s being held in preparation for her transfer back to Purgatory Max prison, a place called Stonewall Prison. He knows it’s dangerous, as he’s still on the Most Wanted list and he’s breaking into a government facility. What he doesn’t know,  is that he’s going to be running into Dingo again during this rescue.

Well, to be fair, Dingo will be running into Reed first, as she’s being chased by the aptly named Chasers. It doesn’t take long before the trio all meet up and take the hell off. Even though they just escaped the Chasers they all split up. Dingo’s done due to his stealth mission for info busted up, but as we’ll find out later, his real job was to free Reed, attach a tracker to her, follow her to Slayton. He did one better and got it on the target directly. Amanda leaves because she got all “I don’t need you to fight my battles, Marc” leaving Slayton to go hang with CyberJack. This could be a relaxing time, save for Slayton’s apparent long lost daughter, Jodi, showing up!

Backlash_Vol_1_10Turns out Slayton did the nasty in the pasty with Jodi’s mom. 1980 to be exact. So he thinks it’s plausible. He even thinks to himself that even if Jodi isn’t his, he still owes it to her dead mom, his past love, to take care of Jodi. Awwwww, so sweet. The biggest thing we miss when we’re not seeing Slayton in “Backlash” or “WildCore” is seeing his sweet side. He can be such a lovable guy, but he usually chooses to ignore those impulses.

The next day CyberJack goes to pick up more supplies for the new safe house.  Also, Slayton decides to take Jodi to Coney Island for a day of fun. This is when the Kindred start to track the homing beacon Dingo placed on Slayton during the Amanda rescue. They arrive at an empty house. The Kindred, in this case, are Fennix, Kamin, Slider, the aforementioned Dingo and of course their leader, Bloodmoon. As Jack gets home he sees it being ransacked, before he can roll into action the creatures all leave. During this their tearing of the place down,  they find Slayton’s note about being at Coney Island and they head off to confront him there.

Backlash_Vol_1_11Well, it’s not hard to catch a man when it’s five against one, so the Kindred just the best of old man Slayton. Bloodmoon’s plan is to get some of Slayton’s blood, look more into the Gen-Factor contained in his blood to refine the Kindred process. Unfortunately for them, the Gen-Factor has been mutated by Slayton’s Kheribum genetics. But hey, the got Jodi and low and behold, her blood just might work. This upset Dingo, it’s not what he signed on for, hurting innocent girls. In fact, if it wasn’t for his change of heart, Slayton and Jodi wouldn’t have gotten out of that mess at all. I mean Slayton did do some damage after escaping from his shackles, and Jodi did manifest her Gen-Active powers during the fight, but Dingo saved the day in the end.

Continuity Corner :

  • During a battle with the Chaser Gaze Slayton start seeing more of his past. There’s a shot of him as a samurai in Japan which we’ll see more of in “Backlash” issue 14, as well as Gaze and Slayton stating there’s block in his memories, and they aren’t sure why. I mean, we know why, but not how or by whom.
  • At the end of the big fight with the Kindred, we only see Bloodmoon and Slider get away. I assume Fennix is dead from her gunshot wounds and Kamin just kind of disappears. Never sure what the final fate of those two was. EDIT: reader DAMartin points out that Kamin was electrocuted. And I’m ashamed as to where my head was at while writing this, because, yeah, it’s right there, blatantly on the page! Thanks DAMartin!
  • Throughout these issues both Slayton and CyberJack keep making mention of how Giavonni can help them out. We’ll meet Giavonni soon.

NEXT : “Wildcats : Ladytron” by Joe Casey, Eric Canete, Jason Johnson, Mark Irwin, Mark McKenna, Arthur Nichols, Luke Rizzo, Joe Rubinstein and Juan Vlasco

“WildStorm Rising” Chapters 5 – 7

this entry covers “WildStorm Rising” Chapters 5 – 7, which consists of “Grifter” Vol. 1 issue 1, “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 16 and “WetWorks” Vol. 1 issue 8

Good old Cole Cash is on a personal mission to find his old buddy Micheal Cray, who he is pretty sure has half of the MacGuffin Daemonite spaceship key/leadership badge, that all the bad guys are looking for. In fact, Defile and his minions are spying on Cole seeing what information he has. Hell, for all they know Cole has the key/badge piece as they only know a Team 7 member has it, but they’re also following Cole to see if he has any idea where Cray is, as they can’t seem to locate Cray at all. Not that Cole was having much luck either until he suddenly remembered Cray’s old shack of a house out in the wilds of Virginia.

After talking to Cray at a payphone (hey kids, remember payphones?) Cole decides it is best to start heading for Virginia. He hardly gets out of the phone booth when he starts getting pelted with lasers by some of the goofiest looking villains that WildStorm has ever coughed up. Seriously, two-tone (red and blue) tights under super boxy gold armor, with a small helmet that has tiny horns. It’s not a good look. But they, they have laser guns and flying sled thingies, so who am I to judge.

Cole manages to take a hit during this battle and keeps passing out. Each time he’s down he has a hallucination about his past. We learn all kinds of things about Cole’s life. Such as him running away from home, getting the nickname “Grifter” from Slayton, and leaving Zealot for the first time. Ultimately he gets it together enough to fight off the goons and steal a rocket sled/chariot dealy to get on his way to Cray.

What’s up with Cray? Well, he’s getting his Virginian shack all set up to be Daemonite proof. More booby traps set up around the property and more firepower contained inside the domicile itself. Of course, the Daemonite goons show up to hunt down Cray, but he’s pretty much got them licked. All except for Mr. White who is predicatively too cool for school about this kind of thing. All the other goons are using brute force and losing terribly to Cray. Eventually with most of the goons wiped out Cole shows up, talks to Cray and gets the bit of the key/badge Cray took so many years ago. Cray was using it as a door handle, ha ha! Cole takes it and takes off. Minutes later Cole is back… wait a minute, Cole is back? Oh no! That first Cole was actually Mr. White! Dammit! Now they gotta find their pal Jackson to bail them out of trouble, you guys!

Why Jackson and not any of the other living Team 7 members? Well, Cray and Cole beat some information out of one of Defile’s men named Harka that was still alive after trying to break into Cray’s place. Harka let him know about the plan and that Defile is sending a man named Bastion after Jackson.

Bastion finds Jackson at the grave of Crossbones. While pouring his heart and regrets out Mother-One butts in and warns him of Bastion’s approach. Jackson makes pretty short work of Bastion, but Bastion ends up teleporting out of there, by means unknown. Jackson then notices two other figures on his tail and scrambles the rest of the WetWorks team to his location. It ends up just being Cole and Cray, so it’s time for a team-up!

Because they now know that Defile has 1 1/2 key/badges Cole leads the WetWorks crew (plus he and Cray) to where Helspont was last seen. You know, the astrological research facility from the first major “WildC.A.T.s” story arc? Yep, that place! There they hope to find Helspont’s dead body and key/badge to make sure there’s no way Defile or Hightower can get to it. Well, they’re not the only team to have this idea and see that the WildC.A.T.s are already there. And since there hasn’t been a team vs. team fight in a while, it’s time for the WetWorks crew to get into it with the WildC.A.T.s. Yawn.

Once again we have superteam fighting superteam, that can only mean that Hightower is sneaking off again to grab a key/badge, just like he did in D.C. when the ‘C.A.T.s fought StormWatch. Hightower comes across what appears to be Helsponts nearly dead body, half buried in rubble, with his key/badge in his hand held aloft. Hightower says “Don’t mind if I do” and reaches in to snag it. Not so fast, Helspont was merely resting, you fool! Yeah, so with Helspont awake he taunts the fighting superheroes and this teleports away, with two henchmen that appeared out of nowhere.

Helspont being back is pissing everyone off. First, Hightower, who got a good neck ringing for trying to get Helspont’s key/badge. Second, the WildC.A.T.s who really don’t want to have to deal with that asshole again, especially now that knows the Daemonite ship has been found. And third, Defile, who doesn’t seem to even want to tolerate Helspont’s foolishness and wants to know if the Daemonite ship has been found yet. Much to his dismay, it hasn’t. Not just for Defile either, Savant hasn’t had any luck either, but she’s going to press on.

Continuity Corner :

  • Remember, Cray found that hand sticking out of the ground on that Nicaragua mission holding the key/badge that he broke off part of for himself back in “Team 7 : Objective : Hell” issue 1. I guess all this time that Cray was held the half rank of Daemonite Lord, who knew!
  • After “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 15 I figure Cray makes his way back to New York to check back in with Rayna about the Los Angeles job. After that we see him in traffic in “WildStorm!” issues 1 and 2, which seems to be like NYC, putting him pretty close to Virginia when Cole calls.
  • Jackson knows Defile becasue Defile is trying to sell the symbiotes of Crossbones and Flattop? What? Is this a plot point I forgot about?
  • Void drops the first hint that Jester has bonded with his symbiote in a way that isn’t immediately obvious and has yet to be made clear to the reader.
  • Look… Helspont is still alive… Yay… Really, Helspont… he’s just such a crap villain. He’s supposed to be the “Big Bad” of the WSU and he just never ever is. Does he even make top five? Let’s see, starting at the top, the five biggest bastards in the WildStorm Universe are 1) Miles Craven 2) TAO 3) Defile 4) Henry Bendix 5) Kaizen Gamorra (both of them). I mean Helspont looked cool, but he was such a crap villain. I’ll give him this though, he was better than the Drahn.

NEXT : “WildStorm Rising” Chapters 8 through 10 (which includes “Backlash” issue 8, “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 22 and “WildStorm Rising” issue 2) by Ron Marz, Brett Booth, Renato Arlem, Kevin Maguire, Sandra Hope, Alex Garner, Chuck Gibson, Sal Regla, Robert Jones, Terry Austin and Al Vey.

“Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 15

this entry covers “Deathblow” volume one issue number 15.

This issue opens with everyone’s second favorite bastard doing bastard like things. That’s right, LeGauche A.K.A. Old Frenchy is throwing John Donnely, the leader of Navy Seal Team 6off of a cliff. We’re lead to believe later that this is all under the direction of Craven. And knowing Craven, this is probably true. LeGauche is tasked with killing at least seven of the eight members of former Navy Seal Team, which includes the afore mention Donnely as well as a man named Tom Archer, and seemingly not on the list, Michael Cray.

After the events in Los Angeles, Cray heads down to San Diego, a place that has always felt like home to him. It’s where he ended up after completing his ROTC program back in Rhode Island and started his Seal training. Thinking back on these old days, he goes to pay his old Seal pal Tom a visit. Seems as if Tom is now one of the trainers for incoming wanna-be Seals. While Tom is happy to see his old buddy, his wife Anne is not. Turns out, she was an old flame of Cray’s that he passed on when he was being hired by I/O to be part of Team 7. She never forgave him and hates him to the core.

You wanna know who else is unhappy to see Cray? A bunch of the other Seals. Why? Because they were all friends with Conrad. Remember Conrad? He lead the team that was supposed to kill Cray after he took down Ortega in Costa Rica. If you’ll recall this was all supposed to be hush hush, but somehow this information was leaked. Knowing this, and being friends of Conrad, these boys mean to beat the hell out of Cray as revenge. Now, Cray tries twice to talk to these men, but they won’t hear it. Right before one goes to stab him, Archer pops up and saves the day.

The next morning Archer lets Cray in on all the murders of their former Seal Team 6 members. Apparently, there’s a reporter who knows about these supposed accidental deaths and wants to talk to Archer about it. Cray and Archer are curious how he even knows about their connection and they are anxious to meet him and find out. Before the reporter has a chance to

Before the reporter has a chance to show up, LeGauche calls Archer and lets him know that he’s got Archer’s wife and kids hostage, and will exchange their lives for his. Archer knows he has to go save them, and he’s been told to come alone. That’d be a bad deal if you old Team 7 buddy wasn’t visiting! Archer takes LeGauche head on by plowing into him in a pick-up through the side of his freakin’ house! All the while Cray is sneaking in the back and helping the family get loose from their restraints and disarming the bomb that LeGauche has planted. Cray then hands a shotgun to Anne and heads to help Tom. It’s too late, LeGauche as already killed Tom, and as he moves into to do the same to Cray, Anne blasts LeGauche through a window.

Cray is bummed. Another friend of his is dead. LeGauche got away. He’s no closer to finding out why the rest of this Seal Team is dead and he barely has an idea where to start. I’d like to say things start to get better for Cray, but I’m sad to report that they don’t.

Continuity Corner :

  • Once again we have someone mentioning a past event that went down in Gamorra. This time it’s Tom Archer, a friend of Cray’s back when he was on Seal Team 6. Apparently, Cray saved his life on that mission while they were there w/ the six other members of their eight-member team. The last person to mention this Gamorra mission was Wearing in “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 14.
  • We also get some hints to this Gamorra mission, we find that Cray was still with his Seals and it was a counterterrorism strike.
  • There’s also mention of the Gamorra mission being “nearly 20 years ago” but I’m not sure if that works. Here’s my best theory. We know from this very issue he was with his Seal Team on Gamorra and not on Team 7. But we know from “Brass” Vol. 1 issue 2, that he, Lynch and Chang were on Team 7 and working for I/O in 1967. That’s nearly 30 years ago that he was on Team 7 after leaving the Navy Seals. I was always sure that Cray was working for I/O after the rest of Team 7 got the mojo and he was kinda sidelined, but I guess he could’ve gone back to being a Seal for a bit.
  • This issue, much like “Gen13” Vol. 1 issue 1 seems to be laying out breadcrumbs for “Fire from Heaven.” In this case with LeGauche’s involvement and hunting down people for Craven.
  • From now on LeGauche will primarily be a reoccurring “Deathblow” villain, despite having him first mentioned in “WetWorks” Vol. 1 issue 2 as an agent sent by Craven to either spy on or take down the WetWorks team.

NEXT : “Union” Vol. 2 issues 1 & 2 by Mike Hiesler, Ryan Benjamin and Tom McWeeney and the “Crusade : Release” short story by Jim Lee, Sean Ruffner, H. K. Proger, Bill Kaplan and again, Ryan Benjamin