Tag Archives: Providence

“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

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“Voodoo / Zealot : Skin Trade”

this entry covers the one shot “Voodoo / Zealot : Skin Trade” as well as the short story “Voodoo : Skin Game” from “Overstreet’s Fan” magazine issue 3.

VoodooZealotSkinTradeVol1_01This book… this effing book. Ok, let’s be serious for a minute, this book is basically a bunch of pin-ups arranged as a story. But trashier than that sounds. For all the cheesecake glory that is “Gen13” when compared to this book “Gen13” ends up looking rather tame. And, if I was a better reviewer, and thought this was the place to get into it, I’d comment on how WildStorm went from putting out a book like this, where the women are all posed as sexual objects first and to serve the story second, to eventually putting out books that dealt with a more mature take on sex and sexuality in such a small span of time. Not to mention how much ahead of the curve on that kind of thing they were in regards to DC and Marvel. But this isn’t the blog for that and I’d never do that argument justice anyway!

We catch up with Zealot training Priss in the ways of the Coda. Along for the “It’s Not the Danger Room!” session is Cole and Jeremy who both admonish Zealot for being too harsh with Priss. Little Big Jake tells Zealot that she needs to lay off of Priss a bit and she needs a break. Zealot storms off and is then confronted by Providence. Providence tells Zealot she has information about her Zealot’s previously unknown child and proceeds to give some long convoluted story of how it’s been cryogenically frozen and will still be a young kid. Also, it’s in Yurgovia and she should go save it. Most of this is a lie, but Providence needs to get Zealot to Yurgovia and Zealot will meet her kid, so she embellished a lot.

So why does Providence need to get Zealot to Yurgovia? Well, ok, remember Yurgovia from the “WildC.A.T.s Special”? Remember how there was this Coda gal named Destine that was running it? Remember how she died getting shot in the back by Cole? Welp, I guess it didn’t take because she’s back and she’s pissed. She’s out to take Yurgovia back from the people that’d been running it since she’d been assumed dead, and also to grow her own little branch of the Coda as well. She has a few recruits already and she’s looking for more to train, which means kidnapping the children of Yurgovia. In the end, it seems that Providence didn’t like all this, because who would, and vowed to put and end to Destine’s schemes. Oh, and Destine has a bit of “the Orb” that created her and Void and she means to have it back. Not that Providence went about it attaining her goals in any logical manner, she handed out half truths to Zealot and double crossed Destine.

Long convoluted plot short, a woman named Cathy is trying to save a bunch of Yurgovian kids from the horror on the civil war by secretly getting the kids to Greece. Providence says she’ll help her. Destine’s forces are after Cathy and the kids because one of the kids was supposed to be in Destine’s Coda Scouts troop. This girl has white hair. Destine encounters Providence, says she wants revenge on Zealot in exchange for her orblet. Providence provokes Zealot to show up, Zealot brings Priss under Jake’s orders. Everyone assumes the little white haired girl is Zealot’s kid. Priss and Zealot kick Destine’s ass, and eventually Zealot tosses the orb in the sky and Destine grabs it and blows up. This pisses off Providence, who basically tells Zealot to suck it. Zealot is all “No, you suck it, bitch, my kid ain’t even here! Also, why do you get hair and Void has to be bald?” To which Providence is all “Your kid is in the room, look around” and Zealot sees StormWatch, who’ve come to rescue the kids by order of the UN and sees Winter with his white hair.

I mean, ok it’s not just the white hair, it’s that Zealot left her baby with a Russian couple. Get this, unless you haven’t been paying attention, but Winter is Russian. I know, mind blown. Not sure why the white hair was such a big thing considering that [seriously, the WildStorm revelation that I’m not going to spoil yet] doesn’t have white hair. Now, I thought all the members of StormWatch were supposed’ve been superpowered by a magical comet, how come Winter gets to be half Kherubim?

That about wraps that one up. Except for the ladies go on vacation to Greece before they get back to New York. I mean it was the cover story that Zealot gave to Priss in the first place, and they did live it up for a few days before going to Yurgovia. So you know, why not, more excuses to draw the girls in bathing suits.

Let’s finish this off with another short story featuring Priss and Zealot written by Steven T. Seagle as well. Priss is out for a night on the town, she gets a letter and rose delivered to her from an anonymous admirer. The note says to meet her out back in the rose garden because most bars have those. Once she’s back there she’s attacked. Don’t worry, it’s only Zealot surprise testing her, seeing if she’d fall back on her Coda training or on her instincts. Priss fails and Zealot lets her know there’s going to be more homework because of this.

Continuity Corner:

  • Winter is Zealot’s kid, we all got that right? I mean he’s supposed to be, later we’ll get some background on Kheran mating practices and the rarity of births in “WildStorm Winter Special” no less more than one (that’s another spoiler kids, sorry). Maybe it works differently with Human and Kherans though…
  • This book makes mention of a book called “WildC.A.T.s : Ground Zero” that never came to be. It seems like it would’ve outlined the adventures Zealot was having, who Winter’s father was and how she dealt with her pregnancy.
  • When we last saw Destine in the “WildC.A.T.s Special” she looked much different. Long hair, red outfit. She still has black hair (which was sometimes drawn long in this issue) and some tech over her right eye, but other than that she looks like a new character. When first reading this a few years ago (yeah, this wasn’t a story I grew up with, I found it while doing research for this blog) I knew that I knew her, but I couldn’t recall from where due to the complete redesign.
  • We do get a few callbacks to the storyline in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 10 – 13 with mentions of Tapestry and how Providence snuck into the HALO building.
  • The art on this book is something else. Starts off pretty solid and then gets worse and worse as it goes one. Also, there was like 15 different inkers on this book. There’s a handful of miscolorings as well as a handful of speech bubbles going to the wrong characters. Not to mention that the “white haired girl” is always seen with black hair. This book was kind of a mess in the final act of the story.
  • Speaking of the art seriously, am I the only person who thinks all the visual references for Priss and Zealot were from the pages of nudie magazines? Was that the point considering the name of the book?
  • Was this book popular? I mean, it came out pre-internet so it should’ve been a hit based on the “artwork” alone, but I had never heard of it before doing research into WildStorm books, and I was a teenage boy and a WS fan when this came out.
  • Regarding the placement of the “Skin Game” short. I feel it is odd to see Priss using her “were-form” here, as we don’t see that until a bit later. But we really aren’t going to see it until they get into space, and once they’re back from space Priss quits the team. So when’s this training taking place? Ultimately, Priss’s were-form isn’t really too crazy of a deal, so it is fine that it makes it’s appearance here, but I’m torn if the story should come before or after the “Skin Trade” book or not. They seem to be on better terms with each other in “Skin Game” as a result of “Skin Trade” but, Zealot getting on Priss’s case for being out of practice in “Skin Trade” could be a reference to the events in “Skin Game.” Like I said, it could go either way.

NEXT: “WildStorm : Chamber of Horrors” by Ron Marz, Steven Grant, Merv, Jeff Mariotte, Bernie Wrightson, Alex Baily, Trevor Scott, Jason Johnson, Tom Raney, Aron Wiesenfeld, Chris Carlson, Al Vey, John Beatty and Alex Garner. As well as the short story “Portrait” by Ron Marz, Ryan Odagawa and Jon Holdredge.

“WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 10 – 13

this entry covers “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 10 through 13 and two of the back-up stories, issue 11’s “Interlude: Mr. Majestic” and 13’s “the Price”. (Issue 10’s back-up story “Soldier’s Story” was covered earlier.)

WildCATsVol1_10-14I’m not going to mince words when these issues came out, I was really torn. I didn’t like them that much, but I really loved the new heroes it introduced. Well, not Huntsman so much, but Savant, Mr. Majestic, and Soldier! But that was back in the day when I didn’t have that much comic reading under my belt, and scarcely knew the name Chris Claremont. Now that I’ve grown up, and read all those classic X-Men back issues and I’m more on board with this run than I was as a kid. Hell, thanks to “Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men” I can’t help but hear some of Wu’s narration in their “Angry Claremontian Narrator” voice. I’m a more nuanced comic reader now that I’ve learned some more history… some 20 odd years later, and I actually kind of enjoy it. Mind you, not as much as I did later issues of “WildC.A.T.s” but I didn’t dislike this as much as I did in my youth.

The first issue in the arc kicks off with Zealot trying to combat train Priss down by the waterfront near New York. Now, I have no idea if this kind of area even exists in New York City, but it does in the WSU, so we’re going have to accept it. Priss isn’t high on becoming a Coda warrior and Zealot seems chill not to take it that far (well, chill as a clef blade to the neck) when suddenly a ship explodes into the sky featuring a wounded man named Alabaster Wu. Mr. Wu’s being pursued by a beast known as a Raksha. Zealot makes short work of the Raksha, decapitating it in front of Priss, as she goes to investigate the ship while Wu takes the hell off. Turns out, Wu knows Jacob, and he needs his help! But getting to Marlowe is easier than it sounds, as he’s being chased by Priss. Oh yeah, that cut up Raksha, it totally infected Priss, taking over her mind and body, giving her a mad on to hunt down Wu.

Zealot is working her way through the ship, and she comes upon a small and passed out girl. She vows to protect this child from the beasts and starts kicking some Raksha booty. Eventually, the girl’s protector, the Huntsman, shows up and they declare a truce after a bit of back and forth between them. During the battle, Zealot took some damage from a Raksha, and a Raksha has blood that’ll eff you up, it’s a “turn you into a literal Raksha” eff you up kind of problem, so Huntsman wants to help get Zealot someplace where they can get her some help. I mean, a good idea would be to go meet back up with the rest of the WildC.A.T.s, right?

Well, the rest of the team is busy. See, Wu got a hold of Jacob and Jacob goes to meet Wu alone. While this is happening, Raksha possessed Priss convinces the team that Wu is trouble and that they need to go save Jacob from him. So Void teleports the team to where Wu and Jacob are and they’re suddenly under attack from the Troika (Attica, H.A.R.M., and Slag) who are joined by Void Jr. AKA Providence. It’s all a set up by the true villains of the story, Tapestry and Lord Soma. They hired the Troika, who I guess brought Providence along for the hell of it, and are quite pleased to see a Raksha take over one of their enemies already, Priss.

Who is Tapestry? She’s some kind of witch that can undo your life’s events and rewrite them. Not sure if she’s overwriting these events in reality, or just in one’s brain. Either way, in the end, it’ll bend your personality to whatever Tapestry wants. Lord Soma? Oh, he hangs out with Tapestry. That’s about it. We’re not even sure if he’s a Kherubim or Daemonite high lord, like everyone else who has the title “Lord” in WildStorm books. Maybe Lord is just his first name, and his parents didn’t spell it “Lorde” because he’s a precious little snowflake with his gray skin, facial tattoos and on point mustache and soul patch game.

While all that is going down we cut away from the action to meet a young woman with a short haircut, who’s at an art gallery, getting hit on. She introduces herself as Cordelia Matheson, but we’ll quickly come to know her as Savant (AKA Kenesha AKA Zealot’s little sister AKA I ain’t spoiling the dumbest reveal in WSU history if you don’t know it already.) Zealot sent a message to her, because when there’s big trouble, like turning into a beastly alien trouble, you call family. Savant get’s a hold of our old friend Soldier, as it is up to her to round up the cavalry, mainly because I don’t think she knows about the rest of the WildC.A.T.s, not that it would do her much good right now anyway. Hell, the only other person she knows to call on is Mr. Majestic.

Who’s Mr. Majestic you ask? Mr. Majestic lives above the arctic circle and is basically Superman. I mean, so is Union, but Mr. Majestic more so. Also, he’s Kherubim, so he fits in the WildC.A.T.s side of the WildStorm Universe a bit better. He was also on Team One, so he knows Zealot and Marlowe at least. Savant, using her skills and artifacts, finds him, and talks him out of his self-imposed exile to help Zealot. And boom, he changes from a flannel and jeans to a full on superhero outfit, complete with cape, and he’s off to save the day.

Ok, back to the main action, Tapestry has royally messed with all of the WildC.A.T.s she can get her hands on, in one way or another, and they’re all beholden to her. To stave off become a Raksha, Zealot unleashes the powers that she learned from Tapestry in their shared history (more on that later.) So now Zealot has frizzed out hair and wields the same ability to rewrite souls/back stories (or what have you) that also Tapestry wields. Savant and Mr. Majestic show up and they are not having it! Hell, even Zealot knows it and is pissed that Savant took too long to get there to help her, and she had to manifest this unknown power. Hell, Zealot used it to take down Slag! While Savant, Mr. Majestic, Zealot and Huntsman are sitting around arguing, Zealot realizes that H.A.R.M. had been taken out, too! Turns out, that was thanks to our old buddy Cole, back from Chicago! Yay, Cole!

So, game plan time. Mr. Majestic, Savant, Cole, Soldier and Huntsman take on the Tapestry altered WildC.A.T.s, Zealot goes after Tapestry and Lord Soma, while everyone forgets about Priss. Don’t worry, Priss gets totally saved by the power of friendship from the two HALO employees that don’t have superpowers, go Stansfield and Jules! The fight mostly works and all the pieces fall into place, and in the end it is Huntsman who saves that day. He does it with a piece of the orb that gave Void and Providence their powers. Tapestry and Soma make their escape and the heroes are all kind of left standing around trying to figure out what to do with crazy god-mode Zealot.

How do you calm a crazy all powerful being? Well, Savant and Mr. Majestic want to kill her, and Zealot isn’t as opposed to it as much as everyone else is. It takes the combined powers of Priss, Mr. Majestic, and Zealot herself to get her back to the normal benevolent bitch that we all know and lover her as. Before Huntsman leaves, he kisses Zealot good-bye earning the ire of Cole and Priss. It’s fun to see those two together like that, as it doesn’t happen often, and was a highlight of the “WildC.A.T.s Special.” Then Priss lets Zealot know she’s ready for Coda training and Zealot basically says “you’ve earned it, kiddo!”

Ok, now time for the secret origin of Tapestry and her ties to Zealot in a story coda named “the Price.” Alright, Tapestry was once an old crone, who apparently always had her powers, not much is know beyond that. Savant had become poisoned somehow, so Zealot sought Tapestry out to fix her. Tapestry tells Zealot that the price of helping her sister will be 100 years of servitude, and because she can, she’ll remake Zealot into a subservient personality type for the next 100 years as well. Zealot submits, and it’s the end of the whole story. It even says “Fin” at the end, which is infuriating when you know how often Claremont likes to end stories with the text “the beginning” and how that would’ve been 100% relevant this time!

These issues really take me back. I had kinda stopped picking up mainstream comics on a regular basis around this time, focusing more on black & white independents, and  yeah,  it was a money issue. The only WSU title I’d keep up on was “Gen13.” Whenever I could scrape enough cash together, I would pick up issues like these at a drug store. I pretty much picked up 10 through 12 at the same time from a Walgreens (or Walgreens equivalent, coulda been a Rite Aid I guess) where their comics newsstand employee got too lazy to return unsold out of date comics. Their slacking off equaled my gain! I also read them in the back of a car that night. Why was I reading comics in the back of a car as a teenager? Well, my best friend was bringing me along on would-be-dates with a girl he wasn’t into, I was supposed to be running interference, but I was too dense to get that at the time and ended up mostly staying out of the way. Too into comics, not enough into the real world, yup, I was that kid! (A revelation shocking no one.)

Continuity Corner:

  • I know I’m reading too much into things, but we have a ship, bursting into the air out of nowhere, and a bad guy yelling about chasing Alabaster Wu across one or a thousand worlds, and I’m starting to think “Is this the first time we have a reference to “the Bleed” and a type of Carrier? Nah, you’re right I’m just reading into things too much again.
  • Is it a shame that we don’t see Tapestry again until “Savant Garde” issue 3? Nah, she was only an OK villain in the end, wasn’t she?
  • I always assumed that Majestic went into his self-imposed hiding because of “killing” John Cole back during the Team One days, but how is that represented by a dolly? Is there something that we’re not knowing? Something that seemed like a good idea at the time, but after Alan Moore took a crack at Majestic it no longer made a lot of sense? I can’t remember, is the dolly or an incident regarding a child ever made clear or referenced again?
  • I really have to hand it to the WildC.A.T.s creative crew. Just because Cole was gone for a handful of issues, they didn’t have to try and release “the Kindred” in real time alongside them. Just because Cole is gone for 4 issues in “the Kindred” Vol. 1 doesn’t mean he has to be missing from halfway through issue 8 of “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 until the last few pages of issue 12. I mean, ok, yeah, it is that sort of thing that kept me thinking about WildStorm all these years and eventually lead me to want to create this blog in the first place but…

NEXT: “Voodoo / Zealot : Skin Trade” by Steven T. Seagle, Michael Lopez and Gary Martin (with Jeff Albrecht, Rick Bryant, John Lowe, Tom Raney, Edwin Rosell, Josef Rubenstein and John Tighe.)

“WildC.A.T.s : Covert Action Teams” Special issue 1

this entry covers “WildC.A.T.s Special” issue 1

WildCATsVol1_Special_01This is the first WildStorm book I ever picked up. I’m not sure why. I’ve never been an action movie guy, so Grifter on the cover holding guns wouldn’t have piqued my interest. I was a haughty young man who often rejected anything that I found that was pandering to the general interests of a teenage boy, so I wouldn’t’ve picked up on the grounds of “hot scantily clad lady” on the cover either. I dunno, I guess the cover just looked cool to me. How it was all put together looked a lot more like a work of art. It’s commercial art sure, but a damn site better than what I had been used to seeing as cover art on comics up to that point. This cover had no speech bubbles, no crowding of text, just a well-done image, colored beautifully with the title at the top and the artists names at the bottom (why the writer didn’t get a credit on the cover bothered me though). Either way, it doesn’t really matter why I picked it up, just the point that I did pick it up, and as I read it I found a comic universe that I found entertaining engaging and interesting enough to keep exploring.

The story opens up with a Daemonite losing its host body, a Hollywood actor who is dying of a drug overdose. The Daemonite quickly moves to the body of a doctor who was trying to save the actor and from there he calls Gnome asking where he can get a better human host to take on. Ok, so I was wrong last week when I listed future appearances of Gnome, because he’s represented here pretty well. He still has information on “gifted ones” to sell to anyone who wants it. At the same time Providence, formally of Helspont’s Cabal, is visiting her former home and trying to find comfort in her new life as a mostly seeing, mostly knowing being of great power. Meanwhile Void is having a dream about a very special baby in a war torn land. Obviously, this is all going to come together somehow.

The war torn country is Yurgovia. Yurgovia is currently at war with Kasmia and is being run by a former Coda warrior known as Destine. Destine is in contact with Gnone, because that little goof wants to get back at Jacob for what went on in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. #4. So he sends the Daemonite to Providence and then has Providence teleport them both to Yurgovia to meet up with Destine. At this same time the WildC.A.T.s have interpreted Void’s dream and are on their way to Yurgovia to find the “gifted one” as well as take down the Daemonite. The best way to do this is to send in Grifter, because he’s been in Yurgovia before, and Voodoo, because she’ll be able to spot the Daemonite easily, and if they need help, they can always call in the rest of the team.

Things can never go as planned, and because both Void and Providence teleported at the same time, Void’s coordinates are slightly off, so Grifter and Voodoo landing outside of town. After a short fight with a couple crazy tanks in a cemetery, they’re both off to investigate the town for a new born baby of a very pregnant woman. They end up at a place called the “Laughing Wolf” where the bartender is an old buddy of Grifters. The bartender has the information they want and gives them the address of a girl that’s being called “Eliska the Witch” who just recently gave birth. So the duo set out in the direction of where Eliska’s family calls home and find a sight that leaves Grifter awe struck.

No one ever expects to find a Coda warrior standing over the body of a dead woman, holding back a girl from her baby, which a Daemonite is standing over, while a creepy girl in a robe is floating over them all. It is a shocking scene to be sure, but it is time to go and as Grifter and Destine begin to fight as the Daemonite takes over the “gifted one” baby. So things are looking down, obviously, that’s when the rest of the C.A.T.s ‘port in and help save the day. I know I don’t get down into details about the fights, I’m not a huge fan of that kind of stuff in comics, and it is never the parts of the story that stick with me. When there are pages of fight scenes I kind of check out. I love so many characters in the WSU, but without a doubt, nothing could ever be done to make Warblade more interesting to me, because his main shtick was fighting in a cool and badass way, and that does nothing for me. Also, for my money, Maul isn’t all the interesting as the big brute, when he’s smaller and smarter he’s awesome, as soon as he gets big, eh, what’s the rest of the team up to?

With Destine and the Daemonite dead, the WildC.A.T.s take in Eliska and her baby and resolve to teach them a thing or two about their heritage. This leaves a couple of plot holes I’d love to have seen followed up on. We learn from the bartender that Eliska has some sort of psychic powers, so that must mean that is another Kheribum out there that is loving and leaving ladies with super powered kids. Who is this Kheribum? Also, with Destine out of power, does that mean Yurgovia is going to fall to Kasmia any day now? We know that the war was near its end, but what happens now when Kasmia takes over completely? Whatever becomes of Eliska and her kid? Seems like the type of characters that could make a pretty rad come back in a future story to me.

Despite the story’s many loose ends, there’s so much that I loved about this story, as much now as when I read it in my high school pal’s living room after I first picked it up. First off, Travis Charest’s art, damn, that is good art! To know how much better he’s going to get and see what he’s going to do for future “Wildcats” books is awesome. I’m not going to lie, I had the Charest pin-up from this issue taped up on my bedroom wall, right next to a “Back to the Future” poster. The characters over time had slight personality shifts and after reading the opening “WildC.A.T.s” series I was stuck with how much I liked Grifter right away. His hitting on Voodoo to no avail, as well as goofing on Jacob by calling him “Little Buddy” made me laugh. Yeah, Grifter was an early favorite of mine, what kind of odd ball, comic reading 13-year-old wouldn’t find that character at least a little bit cool and fun? If you don’t get it, you’re not the first, I tried telling my pal Mike as I read it how great Grifter was, but he was way more interested in watching a “Gummi Bears” rerun at the time. Ok, neither of us was cooler than the other, but I still think I was getting the better entertainment.

Next Week“Wetworks” Vol. 1 issues 1 through 3 by Brandon Choi, While Portacio and Scott Williams