Tag Archives: Michael Cray

“Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 23

This entry covers “Deathblow” volume one issue 23 by Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Jeff Johnson, Scott Kolins and Trevor Scott.

deathblow_v1_023Don’t you hate it when uninvited guests show up? Especially the kind that help themselves to your food? Well, that’s the pickle that Marc Slayton finds himself in when he encounters Michael Cray and Jackson Dane helping themselves to the contents of his fridge. Ok, to be fair it’s CyberJack’s fridge, but Slayton totally lives there too. And goddammit, Slayton bought those Cheerios for the house, not for people who just pop by!

The actual reason the Cray and Dane are crashing in on Slayton is that they’re sure he is next on the I/O hit list. While Slayton knows that Craven and his goons won’t be able to get at his Kheribum altered Gen-Factor, Cray and Dane know that that isn’t going to matter. The Brethren will come for them on Craven’s orders no matter what. Slayton and CyberJack are worried that Cray and Dane are being less than truthful and have either been sent after them either by Craven or StormWatch. And wouldn’t you know it, right when the boys are all starting to get along again Slayton gets a phone call. It’s a call from his ex-boo Diane LeSalle.

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Cray, such a kind guest, leaving you your own Zimas for later.

LeSalle has been at a StormWatch base working while the new SkyWatch is being built. Somethings went wrong, hence the call to Slayton. Slayton sees it as a way to have Cray and Dane prove that they are on his side, and they agree “Let’s go save Diane!” This isn’t easy, and little did any of them know, but there’s a new member of the Brethren, a shapeshifter type known as Double Take. Yeah, she’s posing as Diane to lure in Slayton. LeGauche and JackHammer don’t do much but stand around and taunt Slayton and Diane for each being captured so easily, while StormForce finally shows up to the StormWatch base to defend it, and mistakenly takes Cray and Dane for the jerks that wrecked the place.

Eventually, the real Diane gets free from her restraints to try and stop the Brethren from getting away with what little of the Gen-Factor they got off Slayton. LeGauche, being the psycho that he is, unloads his gun on Diane killing the poor woman. The Brethren bug out just as Cray and Dane are getting to Slayton to save the day. They saved diddly. Way to go boys!

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As Slayton, Cray and Dane exit the StormWatch station they surmise that Cash will be the next one. Is this because they all kind of know where Cash is generally at? Hanging with a bunch of aliens in New York? Or is it because he maintains a relationship with Alicia Masters? They figure if they can track Cash down I/O certainly can. They don’t seem to be concerned with Fairchild or Chang, and maybe because those guys went underground a lot better than them. Speaking of Alicia, Craven has finally cottoned on to her workings with the Team 7 members that he’s been after. He’s none too pleased with it, but he’s ready to use this information as he sees fit. Probably for evil stuff, this is Craven we’re talking about!

Continuity Corner:

  • Halfway through this issue, Cray gets a call from that lady doctor who had the hots for him. She tells him once again that he should be looking up her pal Dr. Tsung. The threads for “Fire from Heaven” are starting to pull together tighter!
  • At the end of this issue, we have Slayton telling Cray and Dane that there’s some stuff he has to take care of before he can meet back up with them to stop Craven in “Deathblow” volume one issue #24. This mostly involves ignoring his feelings for Amanda and drinking in “Backlash” issues 15 and 16. But hey, he gets a run in with Cash before the rest of the boys! Bonus!

NEXT: “Backlash” issues 15 & 16 by Sean Ruffner, Brett Booth, Mel Rubi, John Tighe and Mark Irwin

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“Cybernary” Back Ups & Vol. 1 issue 1

This entry covers the “Cybernary” stories from “Deathblow/Cybernary” volume one issues 1 through 3, the “Cybernary” story from “Deathblow” volume one issue 4 and “Cybernary” volume one issue 1 by Brandon Choi, Jim Lee, Steve Gerber, Nick Manabat, Jeff Rebner and Richard Friend.

Cybernary_vol_0_001Alright, Cybernary is one of those books that reveals itself over the course of reading it. I’m going to present the story pretty much chronologically, not the order the story is told in. Why? Because I’m as boring as dry toast. Also, I’m imploring you to read these books as presented as Nick Manabat’s art on the first 4 short installments is fantastic and you should really get a look at them. My words will never do justice to that art, so I’m not even going to compete, hence my uninspired coverage!

“Cybernary” is all about how a girl named Kat, in a land of extreme have and have-nots, and how she tried to lead a revolution to save the less fortunate. Katrina, along with her “boyfriend” Cisco intercepts a dairy truck that is carrying weaponry. The idea is for that weaponry to be used to arm her and her fellow revolutionary types. Nothing, of course, can go this easy on Gamorra, and it isn’t long before Katrina and her rebel group are attacked by Gamorran madman Gila and an army of Hunter-Killers to get the weapons that were stolen from them.

While all their partners in crime were getting mowed down, Cisco and Kat are very close to getting free. While Kat makes it out, Cisco is snagged at the last second. Kat manages to track Cisco to the labs of one Dr. Vandalia in a Gamorra Industries building. Like most evil scientists in Gamorra, he’s totally given himself some kind of crazy-ass techno body. He’s doing his evil mad professor thing of replacing Cisco’s body with mechanical parts when Kat tries to stop him. For reasons known only to him, Vandalia takes a shine to Kat and offers her Cisco’s life for hers. He even goes so far as to offer return Cisco to his organic state before letting him go. Kat sheds a tear and takes him up on the horrible deal.

Cybernary_vol_0_002What Dr. Vandalia has in mind is to turn her into a gift for Kaizen Gamorra. He’s reshaped her ears, as well as some other questionable “upgrades” to make her more resemble a high-end Gammoran Nympho-Droid. While working on this “gift” Vandalia has fallen behind on the latest upgrades to the ever-present Hunter-Killers. A man by the name of Mr. Chang goes to confront Vandalia on his slacking off, and takes Yumiko, the bosses daughter, as a power play move. It doesn’t quite go the way Chang would like and he leaves in a huff, Yumiko, however, stays behind.

Yumiko is trying to smooth things over with Dr. Vandalia as best she can, but she makes a simple, costly mistake. She reminds Vandalia and Kaizen Gamorra can have any woman he wants, so what would make even the greatest Nympho-Droid useful to him? Valdalia, always the messed up dick, decides to incapacitate Yumiko, hook her up to a bunch of machinery, remove her consciousness from her body, download it into a computer chip, and then install that computer chip in Kat’s brain. So yeah, now this crazily advanced cyborg now has two distinct personalities in a single body, and one is Kaizen Gamorra’s only child. Oh, and they both HATE Dr. Vandalia now.

Suddenly, a door in Vandalia’s lab is blown clean open as a charred body flies through it. Sensing an opportunity, Kat/Yumiko kick the stuffing out of Dr. Vandalia and make their escape. They find their savior is one Mr. Michael Cray. While they didn’t know him at first, the Yumiko side searched her data banks and noticed that he was a sworn enemy of the Gamorra Clan, and thusly our 2-in-1 heroine, slunk back into the shadows to avoid him.

Cybernary_vol_1_001Once free of the Gamorra Industry building they were trapped in, our gals are suddenly being pursued by a bunch of HKs. The ladies make short work of the green guys, and their little dogs too. But after mistiming a single grenade explosion, the body that the women inhabit crashes to the ground a goes limp. She’s picked up by the underground inhabitants known as the Techno-Dwarves who mean to scavenger the body for spare parts. While investigating their new prize they start to learn it’s history and that it is no ordinary Nympho-Droid. Because of this, one of the Techno-Dwarves accidentally fries his mind trying to interface with it. After this, the Techno-Dwarves send in a small cyborg named Miranda to talk to the Nympho-Droid and get information the old-fashioned way. Come on boys, don’t be scared to talk to pretty girls.

Meanwhile, all manner of creature are out looking for Kat/Yumiko. Minotaur is on the hunt at the behest of Kaizen. Mr. Chang is on the case because he knows that something crazy is up with all the destruction of Gamorra Industries property brought on by both Cray and Kat/Yumiko, and he means to find the party still on the island. For all his troubles Chang finds a scavenger named Guggen who lets him know that there’s no body here for him to retrieve, even if he wanted to get mixed up in all this mess. At this point, Chang gives up, but Minotaur and his crew won’t be stopped and will continue to pursue our girls for as long as it takes to capture them.

Continuity Corner:

  • Vandalia’s lab and even the “man” himself is very reminiscent of the HK lab that Cannon found in “StormWatch” volume one issue 18’s backup story.
  • 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 the Techno-Dwarves 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, but based on Chang’s yelling, at the start of “Cybernary” volume one issue 1, her escape happened the night before, so these stories happen sooner than I’d previously thought! Like, right after Cray’s adventures in Gamorra in “Deathblow” volume one issues 17 through 19.

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

“Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 22

This entry covers “Deathblow” volume one issue 22 by Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner and Trevor Scott.

Deathblow_v1_022Cray is on the hunt for Dane. It’s either pure coincidence, or there’s something with “the mojo” that leads him to find Dane at the Korean War Memorial at Battery Park in NYC. Either way, it is a good thing, as Craven has indeed sent LeGauche after Dane and his Gen-Factor. Not only that, but the sickly Craven has told LeGauche to take some back-up with him.

Cray and Dane end up slinging back a few brews at the Drop Zone, catching up on old times. Cray catches Dane up on the fact that Craven is after their Gen-Factor. Not only that, but he’s already gotten Lynch’s. The boys decide they need answers, so they go look up Dr. Markus, one of Gabriel’s science/medical goons from the old I/O days.

Lucky for our duo, the bad Dr. Markus is also right here in New York. Dr. Markus realizes right away that he’s in trouble when he recognizes his two visitors. He hits an alert to let someone know he’s in trouble, but until his savior comes Dr. Markus stalls by giving away the secrets that Cray and Dane came to ask of him in the first place.

Dr Markus Rings

Dr. Markus shows them the genetic scans of all the Team 7 members. He also shows them footage of another Gen12 that had lost his Gen-Factor. That poor dude faded into nothingness after he tried to access them. Poor Highgain, rest in peace, brother. Then again, if you are anything like the other Gen12 that weren’t in Team 7 (and even and few who were) you were most likely a real bastard.

About this time is when LeGauche and Otto Bremer AKA Jackhammer show up to “save” Dr. Markus. Oh yeah, there’s no saving. First thing LeGauche does is flat out murder Dr. Markus. Bummer. Then LeGauche manages, by use of some crazy tool, to bypass Dane’s golden symbiote and steal his Gen-Factor. Meanwhile, Cray is beating the hell out of Bremer, before giving him the shock of his life, literally, to incapacitate him.

LaGauche is a d bag

LeGauche and Bremer get away with Dane’s Gen-Factor and deliver it to Craven. Satisfied that this operation went a bit smoother than the last one, Craven instructs LeGauche that his next target is Slayton. Craven also tells LeGauche to take more backup in the form of a group of Gen12s known as the Brethren.

After losing his Gen-Factor, Dane’s symbiote is going crazy, as his powers are out of control. Cray manages, just like he did with Lynch, to calm Dane down so he can hold it together. Cray doesn’t understand how he can keep helping, as he doesn’t understand his own powers. Cray’s Gen-Factor power makes him a tough bastard, and only kicks in when he’s dead. So no one really understand or knows he has this power except for the readers. Looking at the information that was left around in Dr. Markus’s office the Cray and Dane conclude that Slayton must be next on the hit list. The two need to head out East to try and find the man before the Brethren can.

Continuity Corner:

  • We get a replay of the Cray re-meeting Dane scene from Cray’s perspective. Neat.
  • In both those scenes, we have Dane saying “I… know you. Cray… Michael Cray. You were Deathblow!” After Cray mentions that the last time he saw Dane he was “doing a solid impression of a cabbage” the last they were around each other. Which doesn’t track. Yeah, we all know that the events of “Deathblow” volume one issues 5 through 12 “didn’t happen” (thanks editorial caption box) but uh… “Wetworks” volume one issue 8 certainly did (as did the rest of the “WildStorm Rising” storyline) and Dane recognized Cray right off the bat then. I get that Dane has some brain problems due to what I/O and the Blood Queen have been putting him through, but was Cray just pretending he that he hasn’t seen Dane in a long time because he wasn’t sure how Dane’s brain was doing that day? That seems off, but it’s the best I can do to try and make it work.
  • When Dr. Markus has the Team 7 medical charts up Cray noticed that Slayton’s DNA looks wrong. We know it’s cuz he’s an alien, but they don’t know. Also, I think we just found out that Cray has some crazy biology knowledge when it comes to the double helix! Michael Cray, always surprising you. Usually with guns, but sometimes with science.

NEXT: “Grifter” volume one issues 7 through 10 by Steven T. Seagle, Ryan Benjamin, Cedric Nocon, Roy Martinez, Chuck Gibson, Sandra Hope, Danny Bulanadi and Gerry Alanguilan.

“Deathblow” Vol. 1 issues 20 – 21

This entry covers “Deathblow” volume one issues 20 and 21 by Brandon Choi, Trevor Scott, and Tom Joyner.

Deathblow v1 020Last we saw John Lynch he was being captured by a bunch of Black Hammers in Japan. Now we find out where he’s been taken. It’s a secret I/O base in San Diego where he’s being tortured by LeGauche. LeGauche is going to take his Gen-Factor. Yup, that can be taken right out of someone. Don’t you mind how! Craven even dipped in to give Lynch some shit. Craven wants all the Gen-Factor and is mightily pissed that Ivana took off with a bunch of frozen Gen-Factor pops and Lynch doesn’t know where the rest of the Gen13 kids are. Still, some Gen-Factor from a for realzie Team 7 member is more than good, and LeGuache extracts it.

Meanwhile, coincidently, Cray is thinking of Lynch. After the quick save he had in Gamorra from a bunch of Black Razors, Cray is pretty surprised to find Lynch not there. Colby informs him that Lynch no longer works for I/O which confuses Cray even further. You know things are bad when John “Company Man” Lynch defects from I/O! Cray explains to Colby about some of the stuff he saw on Gamorra, all the information about Project Genesis and Team 7 that Kaizen Gamorra had laying around. Cray tells Colby that he needs some help finding Lynch, but says he can put him in touch with someone who can.

The someone that can help Cray out is none other than Alicia Turner. She got a call from Colby and Cray, found out where to find Lynch and went to check it out before Cray joins her. Although she worries that this is either a trap or a means to draw out Lynch, she heads inside the La Jolla estate. Just about know the Gen13 kids finally show up after a long flight from Rome, and they are not happy to see a stranger in their home. Predictably, a fight breaks out between the kids and Alicia. It gets even worse once Cray is on the scene! Before too much damage can happen, Anna comes home from grocery shopping and is curious why the Gen13 kids are beating up on friends of Mr. Lynch.

EddieNAlicia

So yeah, time for some explanations! Cray learns that these kids are all the children of Team 7 members. Alicia discovers the location of Lynch. They learn about Operation Rebirth and that Kaizen Gamorra is mixed up in it, and that LeGauche is the man running the operation. And by “running the operation” I mean hunting down Team 7 members for their Gen-Factors at the behest of Miles Craven.

Deathblow v1 021On their way to rescue Lynch, Cray and Grunge come to a bit of a head. Grunge has been giving Cray a tough time ever since he showed up, but as soon as Cray mentions Grunge’s father things change. Grunge wants to know all about his Pops. It’s kind of sweet in a really sad way. Dude is just curious about his roots.

On to the actual rescue… it goes pear-shaped pretty fast with everyone but Cray and Grunge getting captured pretty quickly. Lucky for everyone that even a diminished John Lynch is still the definition of bad ass because he wipes the floor with all the I/O goons coming at him with what’s left of his Gen-Factor. He is even trying to use the Gen-Factor to try and locate the kids to save them. This isn’t as smooth as one would hope because Lynch’s Gen-Factor bugs out like we’ve seen before. This time Cray pops in to calm Lynch down and get a handle back on things.

LynchFactorOverdrive

Lynch, Cray, and Grunge regroup and put the hurt on LeGauche and the rest of Craven’s lackeys while saving all their captured friends. LeGauche gets away, and our heroes manage to get the hell away from the I/O base before backup arrives. Cray says he’s going to do what he can to prevent the other Team 7 members from having to deal with LeGauche alone like Lynch did. Lynch promises Cray that he’ll look through all the Project Genesis data he has to try and find out the latest scheme that Craven is up to. As Cray leaves Lynch and the kids he takes a page from their book and decides to stop Craven he needs to get Team 7 to regroup and work together again, like the brothers they are.

Continuity Corner:

  • How did Alicia know where to possibly find Lynch in La Jolla? I assume this is from the information that Trance gave to Craven back in “Deathblow” volume one issue 17.
  • Oddly enough, Cray knows who LeGauche is, but doesn’t know him well enough to realize that he was fighting him in “Deathblow” volume one issue 15. He still thinks LeGauche is locked up until Alicia tells him otherwise in issue 20.
  • Cray makes the same mistake I always used to make, assuming that the Gen13 kids are the children of Team 7 because Team 7 were the only Gen12s. Nope! LeGauche and his team of bastards (which we’ll start meeting soon) are all Gen12s, too! It’s just a coincidence that the Gen13 kids all have Team 7 poppas. The DV8 team seems a bit more realistic with only a handful of them having Team 7 dads.

NEXT: “Wetworks” volume 1 issues 12 – 15 by Francis Takenaga, While Portacio, Jonathan Peterson, John Ruzum, Tom Raney, Terry Shoemaker, Ryan Odagawa, Roy Martinez, Rick Bryant, Sal Regla, JD, Brad Vancata, John Nyberg, Gerry Alanguilan, Danny Bulanadi, Randy Elliott and Jeff Whiting

“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:  The “Cybernary” stories from “Deathblow/Cybernary” volume one issues 1 through 3, the “Cybernary” story from “Deathblow” volume one issue 4 and “Cybernary” volume one issue 1 by Brandon Choi, Jim Lee, Steve Gerber, Nick Manabat, Jeff Rebner and Richard Friend.

“WildStorm Rising” Chapters 8 – 10

this entry covers “WildStorm Rising” Chapters 8 through 10, which includes “Backlash” issue 8, “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 22 and “WildStorm Rising” issue 2

Alright, let’s wrap this crossover up! Slayton gets a call from Diva at StormWatch. He gets into his Backlash gear and meets up with her at Jackson King’s grave. She catches him up on the plot of “WildStorm Rising” and states that someone needs to take down Helspont. So off Slayton goes, solo even, without even thinking much about it. Turns out, it’s trick! A tricky trick! That was actually Mr. White posing as Diva and it’s all part of a plan from Defile to keep Helspont too busy to be nosing around for that Daemonite ship in Nicaragua.

So Slayton is fighting Helspont. Turns out, he’s not as easy to beat the hell out of, like every other weak ass Daemonite that Slayton’s fought. Slayton’s no slouch either, but despite surprising Helspont a few times, Slayton basically gets his ass kicked on Helspont’s submarine and gets left in the drink. Lucky for Slayton he gets saved by StormWatch, who is consisting of StormWatch teams 1 and 2 as well as members of StormWatch Prime. StormWatch just got permission from the U.N. council to try and stop Helspont so they’re going after that jerk as well. Even though Diva is confused at first when Slayton tells her that she asked him to fight Helspont the first time, she takes him along to go and kick Helspont’s booty as part of a team. StormWatch loses that fight. Helspont’s tough, yo!

In the midst of the ill-fated fight against Helspont, Christine is trying to justify going after him to the StormWatch UN Council. None of Council think that the team can take down a mean bastard like Helspont. I mean, they’re not wrong… The Council, in their infinite wisdom, decide to release WarGuard and Despot to deal with Helspont. Because having the WarGuard run free has always worked so well in the past. Despot and the WarGuard immediately fuck right off of SkyWatch saying “Ain’t my fight, bro, laters. Hey, formally frosted fiendish friends, let’s go hang out on the dark side of the moon for a bit. From there we will plot the future demise of StormWatch!”

The StormWatch team isn’t done licking their wounds before they decide they still need to pursue Helspont. Helspont’s in his submarine headed toward Nicaragua, as soon as he gets out to get the lay of the land StormWatch is getting ready to pounce. But what’s that? On the horizon? Is it? Could it be? Yes, it is! The WildC.A.T.s and WetWorks teams along with Cole and Cray! And in the middle of them all, is Savant, Majestic, and Union unearthing the spacecraft. Only, uh-oh, it’s not the Daemonite ship, it’s the Kherubim ship! Whomp whomp.

So now, everybody fights. Well, to be fair, the good guys aren’t fighting each other this time. They’re just taking on the Daemonites. Hightower’s goal is just to get on board the ship and peace out, but he’ll kill anyone to get on it. Defile and Helspont still want the ship to use it to dominate Earth. Spartan is having those same thoughts and boards ship to use its weaponry to help in the fight. Defile shows up to stop Spartan and orders the brainwashed StormWatch Prime members to kill Spartan, then each other. They’re successful in taking down Spartan, but Sunburst starts to kick Defile’s control and Nautika breaks his spine before she comes out of the fog. Meanwhile, Cole kills Hightower, rushes to the ship and lands a hit on Defile. Defile has had enough of this noise and messes with ship’s core and takes off. Whatever he did to that ship has made it so that it’s gonna blow-up. Big time. Right in the middle of our heroes.

Jacob is not having this blood on his hands. He’s going to board that ship to get far enough off planet to save everyone on the ground. Jacob is no dummy, he knows it’ll take a Kherubim Lord’s authority to launch the ship, but he needs some help because he’s lost the rest of his Kherubim technical know how to street livin’ and booze. Zealot is the first to volunteer as she remembers a lot and is the only one who knows how to pilot the ship. After that, all the rest of the WildC.A.T.s opt to get on the ship. The ship takes off, Void promises to teleport everyone off if something goes wrong and they can’t keep the ship from exploding. Then the ship explodes. No WildC.A.T.s members are found teleporting out. Everyone leaves upset except Cole, he’s just upset.

Continuity Corner :

  • Spoilers, but the Kherubim ship didn’t explode, it made the jump to hyperspace or whatever. As far as anyone on Earth knows, they’re dead, luckily for us readers, they’re about to go on a pretty rad adventure.
  • Helspont has a damn submarine? What is he? Some kind of G.I.Joe villain?
  • There’s this moment when Helspont is fighting over the Kherubim ship and he’s all like “Oh, great, here come the half-breeds!” and he’s shown facing Maul, Warblade and Winter. We’ve seen that Helspont can recognize Kherubim ancestry on sight from his battle with Slayton in “Backlash” issue 8. Him recognizing Winter as part Kherubim is a fun easter egg, and one I’m glad didn’t get fully retconned with his intended lineage in the planned and canceled “WildC.A.T.s : Ground Zero” book.
  • This is the last we’ll see of Defile, Helspont and Hightower for quite some time. Most immediately some of the WildC.A.T.s will go time traveling and run into the three of them, but seeing as how Hightower’s dead, that’s it for him. Defile pops up here and there not doing too much, but comes back in a big way years down the road in “StormWatch PHD” and then keeps up appearances from then on out in the WSU. I’m pretty sure the next time we see Helspont is when he’s acting like a goofy perv towards Caitlin Fairchild and getting his ass beat by Tao in “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue 50. Then he goes back underground until the ill-fated Lee/Morrison team up in “WildCats” Vol. 4 issue 1.
  • StormWatch took the remains of Spartan, which explains why he’s on that team during “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 25.
  • Majestic wonders if StormWatch got anything of value from Spartan’s remains, as usually by now Spartan would’ve downloaded into a new body. The only reason I can think he doesn’t is that Jacob has the Spartan backup copy on his person, so it’s out in space with the rest of the original team. Sure, this means there’s two Spartans in the universe now, and it won’t be the last time either.
  • StormWatch also took Helspont saying they had the means to imprison him. Majestic doubts this, but we’ll never know because it isn’t long before SkyWatch comes crashing down and I have to assume Helspont escapes.
  • Cole stays stuck in Nicaragua, which kicks off his solo title that’ll have him ending up in all sorts of places before getting back to New York pretty much in time for “Fire from Heaven” to start.
  • We do get a two-page epilogue to the whole thing, with Savant and Majestic at the Halo Building talking about the end of an era. I have to admit, it is a pretty nice ending, and it doesn’t lead you to think what must come next. I had no idea at the time that “WildC.A.T.s” would even keep going, or that there would be a new team on Earth, or that the original team was alive at all! I appreciate that. It was a pat ending. A rarity! It seems like these big events just chain themselves together and go on and on with fuzzy endings at best these days. I know this makes financial sense, but a true ending like this feels pretty damn great as well as earned!

NEXT : “Grifter” Vol. 1 issues 2 through 6 by Steven T. Seagle, Ryan Benjamin, Randy Green, Cedric Nocon, Tom McWeeney, Sal Regla, John Lowe and Norm Rapmund

“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.