Tag Archives: Randy Elliot

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 28 & 29

This entry covers “StormWatch” volume one issues 28 and 29 by Jeff Mariotte, Ron Lim, and Robert Jones, and of course the “Fuji” backup story from issue 29 by Barbara Kesel, Mike S. Miller, and Randy Elliot.

StormWatch_v1_028What we have here is two really interesting issues of “StormWatch.” To be honest, it really feels like they’re trying to reboot the series with both a new StormWatch team and a militaristic team of non-superpowered people known as StormForce. It’s an odd road to go down, throwing a lot of new characters at the readers once the last big story arc ended and we finally got Jackson King back.

This story revolves around the Dr. Martin Krug. He’s not only cooking up horrible viruses, but he’s also creating superpowered beings, as well as hiring them to cause international incidents that may tip the whole world towards war. Henry Bendix sends StormForce to find Krug’s lab to find his latest virus so that StormWatch and nutralize it as well as create vaccines for it. Bendix sends the new StormWatch team to find a man who set off a bomb in Berlin, who somehow survived that blast. That man is called LittleJohn, and he works for Krug. LittleJohn also has superpowered evil asshole friends named Tripwire, Vise and Jackrabbit who are ready to defend both him and Krug from nosy U.N. strikeforce types.

The new StormWatch team consisting of Swift (fast flying bird-gal), Flint (skin hard as a rock and muscles to match), Comanche (shapeshifter) and Blademaster (uh… a master of blades) go to confront LittleJohn and pals, while a photo-journalist named Nick Chaplin is hired to follow and snap pics of their first adventures. Seems that StormWatch and the U.N. are out for a little good PR after Despot, Spartan and Jackson did a number on NYC a few weeks back.

During the fight in an isolated forest in Germany, Chaplin gets bored and starts to wander. I can see why, seeing a bunch of characters fight that I have zero investment in is kinda boring. In his wandering, he comes across a building. He first thought is to find a way on top of it to get some good distance shots of the super-fight, but once he steps inside he sees that this old farmhouse isn’t exactly what it seems to be. You guessed it, it is the lab of Dr. Krug and he has a lot of failed experiments lying around. Not just that, but he’s got a couple frat guys from I/O telling Chaplin all about how Krug has been helping I/O work on creating superpowered beings for them. Craven, will you stop at nothing to get your own supergroup?

StormWatch_v1_029Eventually, a fight breaks out with Krug and the I/O goons versus Chaplin. For some dumbass reason, Chaplin picks up a beaker full of fluid and threatens to toss it in Krug’s eyes. Krug basically shrugs his shoulders and says “No, you.” and shoots the beaker causing all the liquid to fly into Chaplin’s eyes. The now “blind” Chaplin now has light bending powers and can still kinda see, just not like normal. He’s basically a mash-up of Daredevil and Dazler. He takes out the I/O goons, Dr. Krug and the four jerks that were kicking the ass of the new StormWatch team. He’s given the name Prism and joins StormWatch.

Meanwhile, StormForce does their job, gets the virus sample, captures all the mad scientists for interrogation and destroys the compound killing off all the remaining virus samples. Done so easily. That’s what you get when you send in professionals, no one needs to be bailed out by an accidentally superpowered photo-journalist.

In the backup story, we see Fuji up on the SkyWatch II as it is being built. He encounters a man going by the name or title Black Knight who is either trying to break into SkyWatch II or attach some fancy machinery to the hull. Fuji or course stops him and turns him over to the StormForce personnel on the satellite. Then he looks towards the Earth, recalling why it is all worth fighting for and stating that Fuji’s strength will always be a part of StormWatch.

Continuity Corner:

  • I have to say, not a lot of this new StormWatch team had sticking power outside of Swift and Flint. And even with Flint, she kind of disappeared after “StormWatch” volume two ended until “StormWatch : Team Achilles” started several years later.
  • We do see Blademaster, Comanche, and Prism all get fired in “StormWatch” volume one issue 28, and that’s the last we see of Comanche but the other two do pop up again.
  • Blademaster went deep into comic book limbo before coming back only to die in the first issue of “StormWatch : PHD.” Eventually, his title and blades were taken up by a young woman who would work along with the old StormWatch team in “StormWatch : PHD” and “The Authority : Prime.”
  • The next time we see Prism he’s become a drunk hobo on the streets of Los Angeles in “Hazard” issue 7.
  • StormForce also seemed to have continued on in some fashion but unseen to us comic readers, as they also figure into Blademasters death in “StormWatch : PHD” issue 1. Although this could be a consequence of the slightly altered WildStorm Universe after the end of “Caption Atom : Armageddon.”
  • Seeing as how the name of the operative that Fuji stops is “Black Knight” I think that he might have been an I/O employee. What with their Black Razors, Black Hammers and such. I/O spying on StormWatch, I mean, it’s a thing, it’s why Craven wanted Backlash as a part of StormWatch, makes sense that now that he’s gone and a new satellite is being built that Craven would want to know what’s going on up there still.

NEXT: “Union” volume two issues 7 – 9 and “Union : Final Vengeance” issue 1 by Mike Heisler, Pop Mahn, Allen Im, Carlos Mota, Jim Lee, Travis Charest, Whilce Portacio, Scott Clark, Chuck Gibson, John Lowe, Gary Martin, Mark Pennington, John Tighe, Mark Irwin, Rene Micheletti and Sal Regla.

 

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“WildC.A.T.s” vol. 1 issues 21 & 22

This entry covers “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issues 21 & 22 by Alan Moore, Travis Charest and Kevin Maguire.

Wildcats_vol_1_21First, I want to point this out, there’ve been a lot of story arcs in the WildStorm Universe up to now that have been pretty damn good. And when they’re not good, they’re fun. And when they’re not fun, they’re interesting. And if they’re not any of those, at least they add to the tapestry that is the WSU. What we have here, with Alan Moore taking on the writing duties of “WildC.A.T.s” is what I see as the first truly GREAT story arc in WildStorm history! I, personally, am very hot and cold on the work of Mr. Moore, but these comics knock it out of the park for me, so let’s get started.

Savant and Mr. Majestic set out to pick up where the original WildC.A.T.s left off, because there’s Daemonites still about, and someone has to stop them, right? Savant manages to get Max Cash to defect from I/O and the mob that he’s working undercover in. If you can’t get Grifter, get Grifter Jr. I guess. Savant also has the smart idea to get a super-powered being from the Optigen lab. Optigen has several options, but only one is catching Savant’s attention, and that is TAO, the tactically augmented organism. Optigen refuses to let him go, but TAO himself uses some trickery to get himself released in order to join the new team. TAO is a sneaky one for sure!

Speaking of TAO being sneaky, he tricks Majestic into helping get a known mass murder onto the team. We’re talking about Maxine Manchester, the one, and only Ladytron. Majestic was aware of the pattern she’s been taking since breaking out of prison, and it is leading to Chicago. He also knows of a major drug deal going down at an American presidential theme restaurant there too. Diamonds to donuts, Maxine will be there for the new WildC.A.T.s to nab. And nab her they do, with the help of several pounds of cocaine, enough to incapacitate a three-ton cyborg.

OMG, final page reveal of issue 21 is that the OG WildC.A.T.s are still alive! Their spaceship didn’t blow up after all! It just made the jump to hyperspace and left what seemed like an explosion in its wake. It’s quickly on its way back home, Khera, A.K.A. Lord Emp and Lady Zannah’s home as well. Neat! After spending time with all these alien’s it is going to be fun seeing their home planet… right?

wildcats_space
Hurrah they live! And they have snazzy jumpsuits for this panel… and ONLY this panel.

Wildcats_vol_1_22When the team lands on Khera, things do seem kinda of awesome. I mean Marlowe and Zannah get separated from the rest by their old homies, so that kind of sucks. Jeremy finds out that there are other big purple folks like him, and Pris also gets separated due to being part Daemonite. The worst part is, nobody notices that Pris is gone! No, wait, the real worst part is, she’s stuck in an area that is crawling with Daemonites? This can’t be a good start to their space vacation.

Back on Earth, we find the new WildC.A.T.s team trying to pacify Maxine into being a working member of the team. It doesn’t go well. She electrifies Majestic, shoots up Max and cracks Savant so hard on the head that it possibly kills her. Maxine eventually walks in on TAO watching cartoons and shoots him up as well. TAO, unphased by his body full of bullets, tells her she’ll have to start again. Maxine is confused for a second before getting a hint of deja vu. That’s right, TAO has her in a virtual reality stasis rig, trying to pacify her enough to work with the team. If you can’t beat ’em, get mentally beat into submission to join ’em.

wildcats_maxine_vr
Maxine is just starting to get it…

Continuity Corner:

  • Return of the Max! That’s right, Max Proffit AKA Max Cash, Cole’s little brother is back for the first time since his introduction in “Savage Dragon” volume two issue 13.
  • mytwodadsLater in the pages of “Sleeper: Season Two” issue 5 we find out that Optigen was partially funded by I/O. TAO considers John Lynch his father of sorts because he signed the authorization papers for his creation. But because Halo is a major investor in Optigen, doesn’t this also make Jacob Marlowe his other father? Can someone commission a piece of TAO, Lynch, and Marlowe posing like the first season DVD cover of “My Two Dads?” I see Lynch as the B.J. McKay dad and Marlowe as the Paul Buchman dad. This is either the best or worst idea I’ve ever had.
  • Majestic mentions that he’s followed Maxine’s trek across the country since she’s broken out of prison. While we never see the jail break, I guess what we’re seeing in “Wildcats : Ladytron” is just after her latest prison escape. It must be her recent crime wave with Stanley that made Majestic aware of her.
  • We see Marlowe relive the events, from his perspective, of “WildStorm Rising” issue 2, only in nightmare form! Harsh!
  • wildcats_hardrian_whaMarlowe has a back-up of Spartan on his person. Fair enough, seems like the kind of forward planning Marlowe would be up to. They get to Khera… and there are Hadrian bodies? And they spoke of them as the upgraded model? Huh? I thought the Hadrian 7 body was bought from Gammora and had the memories of Yohn Kohl uploaded to it and had its body design reminiscent of Kohl. I’m trying to straighten this out in my head, sure Khera had robots, did they always kind of dress like Yohn Kohl? They may have. That could’ve been some kind of standard Kheran uniform. But if Marlowe got the Hadrian 7 body on Earth in the ’90s, why does Kheran have a similar technology? Is it something they always had on Khera and Marlowe had the techies in Gamorra build something similar to what he remembered from when he was there? I dunno, it doesn’t take anything away from the books, but it’s always kind of bugged me.
  • For all intents and purposes, the events on Khera take place over a much shorter time that what is happening on Earth. When you account for all the unseen space travel time it probably works out to about the same, and it would be pretty pedantic of me to chop all the Moore “WildC.A.T.s” books in half for timeline reasons when, in the end, it doesn’t matter, and to tell the truth, narrative cohesion actually does matter to me a bit more than strict adherence to the timeline.
  • Honestly, I don’t like having the final page reveal for issue 21 before issue 23 of “StormWatch” volume one. I like the readers to be along for the ride with Spartan not knowing that his former teammates are still alive. But “StormWatch” volume one issues 23 – 27 starts during the evening of one day and ending during the morning of the next. When Spartan, Despot, and Jackson are battling it out around the UN building in New York in issue 27 of “StormWatch” we see a panel of the New WildC.A.T.s watching the action. In this panel we see Maxine just chilling with the rest, meaning that her VR experience is over, and she’s fully part of the team, meaning it has to happen after “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 22.
  • At one point I was all “Hey, could these issues slot in between issues 24 and 26 of “StormWatch?”” and no, no they can’t. Mainly because “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 21 takes place over the course of several days in September, so that really breaks the narrative in ways that are more confusing than anything.

NEXT: “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 23, 23.5, 24 and the short “Despot and Strafe : Homecoming” by Ron Marz, H.K. Proger, Renato Arlem, Darryl Banks, Robert Jones, John Lowe, Art Thibert and Dan Panosian

“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.