Tag Archives: Mike Miller

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 30 – 33

This entry covers “StormWatch” volume one issues 30 through 33 by H.K. Proger, Renato Arlem, Brad Vancata and Robert Jones as well as the “Synergy” back up story by Barbara Kesel and Mike Miller in issue 30. Best reading order would put the “Synergy” back up story from issue 30 as the first thing you read, followed by the rest of issue 30, then issues 31 through 33.

stormwatch_v1_030I’m going to start off by saying this. I don’t like these issues. I don’t like them at all. I find them a chore to get through. In fact, I think issue 31 was the issue that made me drop this title when I was a kid. I remember reading issues 28 and 29 and being “Uh… this isn’t exactly the book I’ve been digging… but, it’s still good.” Even then I could tell quality, and those issues were ok, but then this run followed. Ugh. It just seems so all over the place, and oddly paced. Also, there’s a bunch of art mistakes as well (See most of the Continuity Corner below). That and we’re just bombarded by new character after new character, it gets to be a bit much. There is one thing I did like, and that’s the “Synergy” back up story in issue 30, but, sigh, even that has a bit of a problem.

We see Christine Trelane being asked to activate a former StormForce member. Apparently, she’s a seedling. Providence came to the girl that if she isn’t activated, her and her family won’t be around in a year. Christine doesn’t trust Providence at first, but Providence comes to tell her that what she told the girl was true, but also because of the forking nature of the future there are two possibilities. The first, the girl is unactivated, something happens and the girl’s family will be killed, but if the girl is activated it sends her on a road that ends up in super-villainy. Providence leaves this choice to Christine, and Christine comes up with a solution. The solution is… to be continued. We never get any resolution to this short story. It’s a shame too, as it could’ve been interesting. With Barbara Kesel on the writing duties, it could’ve gone far. Dare I say, between this backup and the “Fuji” backup in “StormWatch” volume one issue 29, she has a much better handle on the characters than H.K. Proger (whoever that may be) and might’ve been a better choice to take on the rest of these issues.

stormwatch_v1_031Ok, on to the rest of these 4 issues… A lot happens, a lot. All of our rookies from last issue, along with less recent rookie Pagan, are with Christine Trelane helping the U.N. move some nuclear weaponry that Saddam Kussein has willingly surrendered to the U.N. The StormWatch team is mostly there because the U.N. requested them to, and these losers could use a simple mission after the last on in Germany. Oh, and there are two new rookies as well, Blitz and Damascus. Don’t get too attached to them, they’re going to be dead soon by the hands of Heaven’s Fist, a group of terrorist super-powered beings. Heaven’s Fist works for a terrorist known as Abu Fawaz, whom few people have laid actual eyes on. Heaven’s Fist is stealing these nukes to be used later to blow up various places in the name of, well, terrorism. Heaven’s Fist also kidnaps all the StormWatch members that survive their attack.

Henry Bendix gets the old crew back together, including a recently found and new bodied Hellstrike and a recently released from prison Flashpoint. Henry hooks them up with Unit Aleph, an anti-terrorism group of super-powered beings that work for the Isreali government. Unit Aleph has captured a man they believe to be Abu Fawaz but cannot prove it is him. He has a lot of documents that state he is Jawad Anani, and because he’s only been very rarely seen as Fawaz, they’re having trouble proving him wrong. After StormWatch and Unit Aleph gets some training in, they get the word as to the locations of the nukes that Heaven’s Fist stole. Turns out they’re proto-type neutron bombs that will destroy humans but leave buildings and landscapes intact.

stormwatch_v1_032The teams are split to do some good in the world. StormWatch headed towards Yugoslavia to stop a bomb, Cannon and Unit Aleph towards Tel Aviv to stop a bomb and Flashpoint to the kidnapped StormWatch members. Cannon and Unit Aleph make quick work of the Heaven’s Fist members they find in Tel Aviv. Likewise, Flashpoint has zero trouble saving Christine and the rookies from the scrubs that Heaven’s Fist leaves behind. Our regular StormWatch team isn’t so lucky while flying into Yugoslavia.

Yugoslavia does not want StormWatch there. At all. Even though they are trying to help. They keep trying to chase off StormWatch’s jet. Eventually, StormWatch just leaves, but they play it sneaky and manage to leave Winter behind to stop the bomb. Not so sneaky it turns out because former StormWatch member Scythe is aware of Winter right away. She’s quit StormWatch to help her country, but unlike the rest of the military, she’s not dumb enough to let a bomb go off, killing people, over politics, so she agrees to help Winter. Winter of course succeeds but the Yugoslavian authorities are still pissed, so Scythe helps Winter get outta there.

stormwatch_v1_033With two of the bombs stopped and the rookies saved, what’s left? Just a single mystery bomb out there, and trying to get to the bottom of if the guy they have in holding is Abu Fawaz. Heaven’s Fist makes their play with the final bomb, and the action is all going down in Paris. So the OG StormWatch save Paris. It’s kinda boring and kinda silly at the same time. Meanwhile, Heaven’s Fist’s sneaky Assassin, Hassasin, is trying to free Kinda-Maybe-Probably-Fawaz from lockup, but he’s stopped Unit Aleph returning from Tel Aviv. Here’s the problem, Bendix has put together that four men have seen the man they have in holding plan the terrorist attacks as Fawas, but all four of these men have ended up dead. One by Flashpoint while searching for the rookies and finding info about the Paris attack. One by Swift while the rookies were breaking out of their kidnapping. One by Jackson while saving Paris. Finally, the last one was by Unit Aleph, in shooting Hassasin. Ergo, Fawaz walks free. So, while StormWatch has won the battle, the war still rages on.

The biggest part of these issues, besides pacing, is the pure glut of new characters introduced. Especially because most of them end up dead as soon as they are introduced. We get Unit Aleph, which could be cool to see again, as well as Scythe, who brings in a new dynamic with the whole “I quit StormWatch, but I’m kinda back now” thing. I think that Abu Fawaz was set up to be a new StormWatch archvillain, which would work well against a U.N. superhero group, so in the end, it is fine when we see him walk. We expect to see him back, but next time with all new terrorist super-baddies because of his huge crew, only three managed to survive. I really think that if Ellis hadn’t’ve come on and taken the book in a wildly different direction we would’ve seen a lot more of Fawaz and Friendz.

Continuity Corner:

  • I had always had these issues running between “Backlash” 16 and 17, but upon rereading I realized that there are a few panels of Diane LeSalle still alive… Dammit… looks like I’ll have to rearrange these to have happened after she left Backlash, but before we hit that arc that she ends up dead.
  • I like to place the “Synergy” story before the main action for two reasons. First of, if we don’t, then this story can’t have happened until after issue 33, and that seems like a long time to wait for so little. Secondly, it gives us an idea of what Christine does between big StormWatch missions. Even “off-the-clock” she’s a company gal, which sits perfectly with her character as it gets more defined by Ellis.
  • I still wonder what happened with that girl the Christine was sent to help in her backup story. I can’t even “no-prize” it out like I enjoy doing because we just have so little to go on!
  • When Fahrenheit is hanging out in Brazil she gets called back to StormWatch, she’s with a woman named Mayinga. Mayinga also seems to be an employee of StormWatch. Were we supposed to know who the hell she is?
  • For some reason, except for the ponytail, Cannon and Flashpoint switch hairstyles in issue 30 for Cannon and 31 for Flashpoint.
  • Trelane, while kidnapped has a costume change from her purple leotard to her red and black thong with shoulder pads between issues 31 and 32.
  • In issue 31 Undertow is suddenly a kidnap victim even though we see him laid up in issue 30 while the other rookies are getting kidnapped. We’ll see him still his recovery chamber again when we get to issue 34. Don’t worry, after issue 34 he gets better pretty quickly, just in time to meet his demise in issue 37.
  • Malcolm King is released from StormWatch lockup in issue 32 and Bendix seems pretty angry about it. Oddly, it seems that Jackson thinks Bendix is the one that had Malcolm released in issue 34. Someone got Malcolm out and now he’s on the loose, that’s about all we know.

NEXT IN THE READING ORDER: “Backlash” issues 12 – 14 by Sean Rufner, Brett Booth, Chuck Gibson, Al Vey and Mark Pennington

NEXT ON THE BLOG: “StormWatch” issue 24 by H.K. Proger, Renato Arlem, and Joe Pimentel

Advertisements

“Union” Vol. 2 issues 5 & 6

this entry covers issues 5 and 6 of “Union” volume two

union_v2_005Union, this dude can’t catch a break. He gets home from his big adventure, helping to save the world with his part-time job at StormWatch, and he gets into a fight with his kinda-sorta-girlfriend. He’s also still paying for his drunken escapades in Chicago with the Savage Dragon. Not that I blame Jill at all, Union is just up and leaving without any kind of explanations. He’s playing an “asking forgiveness is easier than asking permission” kind of game, and fellas, that never ends well. But, by the end of the argument, he lets Jill know that she quit her crummy waitressing job, which does make her feel a little bit better.

When Union goes to think over the happenings of “WildStorm Rising” and about finding his place with StormWatch as well as with Jill, he’s interrupted. No mind that he’s sitting atop the Statue of Liberty, when someone wants to find you, they’ll find you. The “they” in this case is the witch Rhiannon. She pretty much just straight out casts a spell that sends Union into a parallel universe.

Luckily, Union is dropped off in this new universe pretty much where he was in his universe. Also, this universe’s Rhiannon was there to greet him. I call this the Sideways Universe after the title of issue 5 because, why the hell not, you know. It’s better than nothing. So, Sideways Rhiannon catches Union (and the reader) up to speed on an evil bastard named Lord Necros who has pretty much taken over either much of the world or just New York and the rest of the world lives in fear of him. He’s done this through magic, which is a bit more powerful here in the Sideways Universe.

Union_v2_005-fairchild

Sideways Rhiannon leads Union to her team’s hideout. Only it looks to Union as if they’re getting hit by a subway car! Not so, it’s just Sideways Alex Fairchild using his telepathy to make you think a subway car is hurtling at you! Oh, those crazy Team 7 guys! Sideways Rhiannon gives some more background on Necros’ rise to power, and we see a bit more of Necros getting mad and wanting to crush Sideways Rhiannon’s new champion, but not much happens until the end issue 5 when Sideways Caitlin Fairchild shows up! And by “not much happens” I mean that the hidden rebel base is found by some of Necros’ minions and Sideways Caitlin Fairchild shows up, took them down and being all sassy.

union_v2_006A few days prep and now it is time for the main event. It’s time to take the fight right to Necros himself. Union, Sideways Rhiannon and the Sideways Fairchilds lead the cause. But when it comes to the big battle vs. Necros, Union starts to lose his nerve. Come on Union, don’t be a big baby! Suddenly Union is down there, mixing it up with Necros, but he isn’t doing too well. In fact, it looks like Union got killed by Necros in a huge purple blast! What? Is this the end of our hero? Wait, no, of course not, it was just Sideways Alex Fairchild and his wacky powers of perception!

Sideways Alex Fairchild’s death turns out not to be in vain. It gave Union the balls to jump into the fight. And bonus, because of everyone, even Necros, thought that Union was already in the fight, Necros used a ton of power when he shot the snot out of Sideways Alex Fairchild, leaving him fairly weakened. Before Necros can draw more power Union starts to share the energy from his justice stone/staff with Necros. It is more than Necros can take and he croaks, too.

Union_v2_006-shot
Sideways Alex Fairchild pretending to be Union ends up for realsies dead.

Ultimately, Union has saved the day. Sideways Rhiannon helps Union heal fast so that she can get him home. Before he goes away, Sideways Caitlin Fairchild tells him to leave normal Caitlin Fairchild alone, cuz he’s nothin’ but trouble! When Union is back to his normal reality he’s told by the regular Rhiannon that she’s left him a gift back at his home. The gift turns out to be Jill Monroe with a magically changed mind about how mad Union had made her. Messing with somebody’s mind like that? Not cool Rhiannon, not cool at all!

Continuity Corner:

  • Last we saw Rhiannon she was taking over the body of Rainmaker in the “Gen13: the Unreal World” one shot.
  • Sideways Rhiannon informs Union that his justice stone is a living creature as much as he is. This is kinda seems like new information to Union, but it also seems he’s suspected this. I mean, he’d flat out know it was living if he had been paying attention as a kid in “Union” Vol. 1 issue 0 where his people explain it to him in school.
  • I always wanted to know why there wasn’t another Union for the Sideways Universe. What happened to their Union? We know alternate Unions exist, or at least we will once we meet The Sword during “Fire from Heaven.”
  • Sideways Rhiannon mentions that the version of Necros in the regular WildStorm Universe never had a chance to get as powerful as hers. I was always wondering if we’d ever meet him. I suspected Cull from “Gen13: the Unreal World” due to it also featuring Rhiannon, but so much of it doesn’t quite feel right or add up for my liking.
  • Sideways Alex Fairchild mentions that he’d lost another of his children to Necros, which is another in a long list of hints that Caitlin has a sibling. We get it already WildStorm!
  • We’ll visit the Sideways Universe again sans Lord Necros at the end of “Savant Garde” issue 2 and several issues after that.
  • Speaking of alternate universes this is only the second for sure one that we know about. The other one is where that Alternate Pilgrim from “WetWorks” is from. I still have my suspicions about where exactly the Huntsman and pals came from in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 10, but that could just be space. Next up we have the parallel universe that all the baddies from “Fire from Heaven” live and that’s about it… well until Ellis comes along and busts open the Bleed!

NEXT: “Backlash” issues 9 – 11 by Brett Booth, Jeff Mariotte, Sean Ruffner, Dan Norton, Melvin Rubi, J.J. Kirby, Sanda Hope & Edwin Rosell

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 20 & 21 as well as Special issue 2

this entry covers “StormWatch” volume 1 issues 20 and 21 as well as the backup stories within each book and the “StormWatch” volume 1 Special issue 2. The best reading order would the backup of from issue 20 “Cross Currents” followed by the backup from issue 21 “Tagged” followed by issue 20, then the Special issue 2 and then issue 21. It still works fine if you don’t pull is the backups out though, as long as you keep the Special in between issues 20 and 21. Note: due to a misprint issue 21 read as if it was issue 1 on the cover.

So, let’s start with those two backup stories! Both of which feature parents who abandoned their super powered children. We’re not sure exactly why Undertow’s mom left, but we are left with the mystery of who his mom is, who apparently works on SkyWatch. Both of these stories just cover who Undertow and Pagan are when they show up as new recruits in issue 20.

We then move on to see Nautika and Sunburst talking about taking some time off. This is interrupted by Trelene with a special mission. In fact, this same exact scene will play out in the Special issue as well, proving this poor couple can’t catch a break. In this issue, it leads to the three members of StormWatch Prime picking up Undertow and Pagan, not much else.

The second mission for StormWatch Prime is a bit different. Sunburst and Nautika are interrupted by Trelene to go after Flashpoint because this time he’s killing folks. By folks I mean the Mercs, the ones that imprisoned him and the rest of that team for years. Flashpoint is wise to the fuckery that was done to their minds and wants answers and revenge! He actually does manage to take down Kilgore before being cornered trying to kill Hellslayer.

Flashpoint’s murder spree is stopped by the rest of the Mercs, who are in turn stopped by Sunburst and Nautika. Deathtrap is starting to have misgivings about this whole thing. Yeah, he’s a mercenary, and Defile has paid him well, but seeing what Flashpoint has become, due to some of his actions, isn’t sitting well with him. Before Deathtrap gets out a full confession to Flashpoint, Nautika stops Flashpoint and lets Deathtrap walk. Flashpoint is tossed in StormWatch prison and lectured by Trelene while Defile revels in the fact that two of his pawns, Sunburst and Nautika are still in play.

Might as well mention it here, Malcolm starts talking to his frozen Pop.

Meanwhile, we have Winter, Cannon and Bendix fighting Winter’s personal battle against MAD-1 and his cronies. Three cronies, in fact, that are armed in MAD suits all of their own. Bendix brought his latest iteration of the Think Tank armor and due to some harsh battle, it is starting to fail, meaning this side mission is going sideways.

Eventually, after Bendix’s armor has been roasted he manages to hotwire one of the MAD suits that Cannon and Winter managed to fell. They use this to take down the other MAD units and stage a ruse to get into see the men in charge. Bendix posing as MAD-1 presents his bosses with the “defeated” Winter and Cannon to gain an audience with them. Once inside the Russian compound, filled with hundreds of more MAD suits, the unofficial StormWatch crew take out the evil Russians and then blow up the hell out of the compound.

How the heck could an explosion like that go unnoticed by StormWatch? It doesn’t! Winter is called in by Trelene for a right ass chewing! She’s probably still keyed up from the one she gave Flashpoint. Before she suspends or punishes Winter, Diva bursts in the room saying they’ve found Battalion’s killers, they’ve found the WildC.A.T.s, no time for administrivia, get to D.C. and kick their asses already!

Continuity Corner :

  • We have Flashpoint running around trying to kill the Mercs in Special issue 2, but we find out later in issue 35 that he was in on everything with them. I know it resulted from a change in writer and direction for the character, but that’s a pretty big retcon. If he was working for Deathtrap the whole time, then what was up with their final moments alone together before Nautika shows up? It just doesn’t track!
  • Special issue 2 starts the long road to Deathtrap tiring of his life of crime. We see a bit of it in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 32 and it will culminate in “WildStorm Spotlight” issue 4.
  • We’ll see the results of Defile’s brainwashing of Sunburst and Nautika in “WildStorm Rising.”
  • Speaking of, we’re right on the cusp of the first big crossover for the WildStorm books. We just need to get the WildC.A.T.s into place! We just need to find out how they ended up in that rubble in Washington D.C.

NEXT : “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 19 by James Robinson, Jim Lee, Richard Bennett, Terry Dodson and Gary Martin.