Tag Archives: Pagan

“WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 31 – 34

This entry covers “WildC.A.T.s : Covert Action Teams” volume one issues 31 through 34 by Alan Moore, Jim Lee, Travis Charest, Josh Wiesenfeld, Mat Broome, Pat Lee, Rob Stotz, Richard Bennett, Trevor Scott, Jason Gorder, Troy Hubbs, Scott Taylor, JD, and Sandra Hope.

wildcats_v1_031Back to the blog! Back to old school WildStorm Universe continuity! Back to the WildC.A.T.s! Back to the Crime War! That’s right, even during the “Fire from Heaven” crossover, the new team of WildC.A.T.s were involved in a war against various mob bosses in New York City. The war was getting bigger and the rookies from StormWatch, along with Fuji, were being enlisted to help TAO and company fight those mobsters.

Leading us through what is going on is our old buddy Cole Cash, who’s just woken up from a crazy psychedelic dream he had about his old friend Michael Cray. We see the now awake Cole checking in with TAO and Savant as they direct the teams, we see Maxine and Zannah fighting about, well fighting, we even see Spartan become more and more like John Colt and how he would like to rekindle the romance that he once had with Zannah. This last one is a gut punch to Cole.

wildcats_v1_032Meanwhile, we see that the Mercs have been hired by the mob. They’ve taken a handful of hostages, one who swears he shouldn’t be there. Yep, it’s the surprising return of Vic Lazarr! Remember him from all the way back at the President’s Restaurant job and the bombing of Clark’s Bar? Sure you did! You know who else remembers? That’s right, Maxine! And she’s pretty confused as to why he’s a hostage, shouldn’t he be working again the WildC.A.T.s instead of being detained by the Mercs? Not that she gets too much time to think it through quickly, as it is time for her to meet the ace up the Mercs’ sleeve, Overtkill! A giant cyborg, that as much as Maxine wants to kill, she also wants to date. She kind of fangirls out on him, and he takes it in stride. Rather a nice guy for a homicidal mercenary robot son-of-a-bitch.

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While trading shots, Cole and Deathtrap get to talking. There’s no real reason why they’re fighting as the Mercs didn’t even bomb Clark’s Bar. The boys call a truce to talk it out. At this same time, Maxine manages to rip out Overtkill’s gyroscope, therefore putting him out of the picture, and then zeroing in on Lazarr. She gets him to spill the dirt on TAO, and Cole is there to hear it. The Mercs back off, as this is now a family problem for the WildC.A.T.s and the Crime War is pretty much done.

wildcats_v1_033As the remaining team (plus Fuji) talk it over, they decide that TAO is too dangerous to let live, and he needs to be taken out quickly. In the ambush on TAO, Savant ends up getting shot as she used her Seven League boots to enter the room too quickly for Cole to see her coming. While Zannah is attending to Savant’s injuries, the rest split up to better take out TAO. This proves to be a bit dangerous to those who didn’t follow the buddy system.

Fuji is the first to find TAO, but TAO evades capture from Fuji by tricking him mentally, putting his mind into a loop. When Maxine finds TAO he manages to get close enough to her to unhook the cooling system of the nuclear reactor that powers her body. So yeah, she’s going into meltdown. The only one that can save her is Majestic.

wildcats_v1_034After Mr. Majestic saves Maxine, by disconnecting her body and flying it out into space before the explosion, he vaporizes TAO. Why did it have to be Majestic? Well, no one else could pull the trigger on TAO. Seriously, the guy has the cure to all the problems in the world in his head. Even if he’s a world class dick if he’s the man that has the answers no right-thinking person would kill him. Despite Majestic being a “right-thinking person” like the rest of the WildC.A.T.s, he’s also the only one for whom TAO actions are personal, who in any state to do a thing about it. Majestic feels responsible for the new team, with Max missing and Maxine and Savant incapacitated, it is up to him to clean up the team’s final mess, TAO. Majestic fires up his laser eyes, baby, and blows TAO to atoms.

Later, for whatever reason, the team holds a funeral for TAO. It is a ceremonial funeral and burial due to TAO having been blowed-up real good. He’s technically the first team member to die, so there’s a bit of a somber “I guess we should do this” feel about it. Savant and Majestic hobble out to the service and quite fittingly dance on the grave of TAO as well as their version of the WildC.A.T.s.

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Continuity Corner

  • By this count, the WildStorm Universe has lost 4 of the major villains that would define the entire line. First Helspont bites it at the end of “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue #4, then the man we all knew as Kaizen Gamorra and Miles Craven end up dead by the end of “Fire from Heaven” and now TAO is gone. Of course, Helspont comes back in fits and spurts, and the real Kaizen Gamorra reveals himself, but TAO stays “dead” or at least underground for a long long time. Only Craven gets the short end of the stick on this front.
  • So yeah, TAO isn’t dead, as we’ll come to find out in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 50. Turns out that it was actually Mr. White posing as TAO by the time that Mr. Majestic encountered him.
  • We’ll also see in “Sleeper : Season Two” issue 5 that Lynch tried to warn them about TAO and his cleverness, to the point where he called Cole to tell him it was very possible that TAO survived them eye-beams.
  • We see TAO at Clark’s in issue #38 of “StormWatch” volume one, which I assume was probably being published during this arc without knowing of the final outcome and TAO’s villainy. I guess it could be a bit of a continuity error that we see him alive and out and about because he is supposedly dead, even if we will know he’s been alive the whole time. We can’t really push this “WildC.A.T.s” arc after this issue of “StormWatch” because most of the StormWatch members fighting in the Crime War are fired in “StormWatch” volume one issue #37. So yeah… tiny looking error, that’s not really an error, but takes years to reveal in-universe why it’s not an error.
  • Speaking of StormWatch, we never really see Fuji out of commision for too terribly long as it was speculated he would be. I guess his non-traditional physiology worked in his favor and he was a quicker mental healer than expected.
  • Mr. Majestic saving Maxine, and her calling him “a dad” sets up one of my favorite relationships in the WildStorm Universe. The only real follow up was in “Mr. Majestic” issue #3, but it was awesome enough.
  • Not to mention that Majestic is literally the dad of someone on the new WildC.A.T.s team as well.
  • I figure the only reason why Cole, who quit the team in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue #20, is back with the team, is that he has decided to repay the favor to the ‘C.A.T.s helping out him and his Team 7 buddies on Gamorra by helping them end this war on crime.
  • MysteryMercHey, who was this new woman with the Mercs? The one in the mech suit. Did they say her name? I seriously couldn’t find it. I double checked and everything. She seems badass and we never see her again! Half the time it seemed like she was a Razor redesign based on the accent and relationship to Deathtrap, that is until we see the actual Razor a page later. So who in the hell was she? A character from before that I’ve forgotten all about? She doesn’t seem to appear again after this. Even Hellslayer manages to keep making cameos for years after the Mercs’ heyday, so why not this woman? Seriously… who the heck is she?

NEXT: “Gen12” issues 1 and 2 by Brandon Choi, Michael Ryan, Sal Regla, Luke Rizzo, Armando Durruthy, John Tighe and Peter Guzman

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“Fire from Heaven” Chapters 12 – 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ShootTheMoon

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

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

DamoclesWins

Continuity Corner:

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

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

“Fire from Heaven” Chapters 7 & 8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LeGaucheMoreLikeLeDead

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

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

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

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Continuity Corner:

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

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

“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.

“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

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 23 – 24

this entry covers “StormWatch” Volume one issues 23, 23 1/2 and 24, as well as the short story “Defile & Strafe : Homecoming” from “Overstreet Fan” issue 2 which occurs between pages 10 and 11 in issue 24.

StormWatch_vol_1_023We kick off this storyline with Spartan joining the team. While a few have some misgivings about it, he eventually becomes an accepted member of the team. And what a time too, as the team is getting ready to head off to StormWatch’s moon base (MoonWatch? LunaWatch?) to find out where Despot and friends are doing over there. They have pretty much been killing… oh, everybody! Just because StormWatch has shown up these bastards aren’t about to stop that killing either! Look out StormWatch!

Speaking of killing, we all know that it’s coming, that is, of course, Diva biting it. We also see Despot hit Malcolm with the psychic whammy causing Malcolm to turn on StormWatch, probably faster than he would have. Let’s face it, Malcolm has always been bad at running with the right crowd, in and out of StormWatch. But yeah, Diva she is trying to sacrifice herself to give the team the time to get away from the moon base, but that doesn’t happen. With her down Despot threatens the entire team and who steps up to challenge him? Lil Mr. Spartan of course!

StormWatch_vol_1_023halfMeanwhile, back on Earth, the UN council begs Henry Bendix to come back to StormWatch. He relents before agreeing, but this time it’ll be on his terms. Those terms being that there is no more UN council telling him how to run his team! It’s a big ask, but due to the circumstances, they agree. He’ll answer to the UN but not a bunch of bureaucrats. He has a plan, but it’s a doozy!

With the team all back on board StormWatch, Bendix gives Christine a little ringy ring to tell her what’s up. It goes something like this, “You’re a good Weatherman. Hey, I’m your boss again! And oh yeah, I gotta plan to finish off Despot! Whee! Get everyone off of SkyWatch.” That’s right, the plan is to stick around on SkyWatch just long enough to lure Despot and the WarGaurd (with Doreen & Stricture featuring Malcolm King) and then crash the whole thing into Death Valley because Henry is nothing but poetic in his large scale murder.

StormWatch_vol_1_024It’s a crazy plan… but it works… it actually works! Hellstrike stays behind to be the one that goes down with the ship. Actually, he volunteers for the job remember that he’s survived out in space before and heck, this is already his second lease on life, might as well use it to take out the worst villain he’s ever known. And like I said, it works! Despot and his cronies board, notice Hellstrike is the only one around, they go to rough him up and he sets SkyWatch on its way down! They seemingly kill Hellstrike and then start to panic like little babies.

Meanwhile, back on Earth (hey I got to say that twice in this write-up, rad!) Battalion shows up with Timespan. Time for issue 25 of “StormWatch” volume one to happen… again…

Continuity Corner:

  • Spartan expected his consciousness to get uploaded to another body after his current one got destroyed during “WildStorm Rising.” We all know Marlowe has a back-up with him on board the Kheran spaceship and the only other reason I can think that Spartan didn’t upload to any others was that he was out of them. I mean he did burn off 3 back-up bodies during “Spartan : Warrior Spirit” so maybe he was in his last official body and didn’t know it at the time. Luckily Link had his back to fix him up!
  • I’d always had the “Homecoming” short story falling in between issues 23 1/2 and 24 until I noticed what Despot told Malcolm on page 7 of issue 24 to remove his StormWatch uniform and find some other attire as he sees the uniform as offensive. Later when the two of them show up again Malcolm is wearing a dark navy blue jump suit. When we look at “Homecoming” we see that’s exactly what Malcolm is wearing. So, while “Homecoming” can narrative fit earlier (like I thought) the art in questions means it has to occur after page 7 of issue 24 and before they reappear on page 16.
  • Why exactly should “Homecoming” be read between pages 10 and 11 of issue 24? Well, pages 7 through 10 are detailing Christine’s report to Henry about the team’s escape from the Moon base. Pages 11 – 16 are all part of a scene that narratively would be hard to break up. It’s pretty much the only place to squeeze it in at all!
  • Oh, what is “Despot & Strafe: Homecoming” about? It’s a little two-page story of Despot trying to bond a bit with his son, Malcolm. They fly to Earth and go back to Despot’s hometown. Despot monologues and then kills two kids. It’s not much, but it does bring up the question of why didn’t Despot fly off of SkyWatch once it was in crash mode.
  • While this all leads to “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 25, I’ve always found it best not to re-read it again. Or if you do, put plenty of time between it and reading issue 26. For real, the recap on page 1 of issue 26 makes you feel foolish for spending time re-reading 25.

NEXT: “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 26 & 27 by H.K. Proger, Jeff Mariotte, Renato Arlem, Ron Lim, Keith Champagne, Rich Faber, Robert Jones, Dan Panosian and John Tighe

“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.