Tag Archives: Randy Elliott

“StormWatch” vol. 1 issues 37 & 38

This entry covers “StormWatch” volume one issues 37 & 38 by Warren Ellis, Tom Raney, and Randy Elliott.

StormWatch_v1_037Ok, here’s where one of two things happens, you either think “Thank goodness, WildStorm is bringing in some more great creators to make all their books awesome and somewhat challenging” or “Goddamn it WildStorm, what were you thinking? Why did you ruin StormWatch? This is the beginning of the end for the entire line!” I admittedly fall into the first camp, but I also must add, after feeling burn out from “Fire from Heaven” I never picked up this book as a kid. I had been a “StormWatch” loyalist, but after “Fire from Heaven” and the uneven issues prior to that I did not go on. In fact, I pretty much only continued to pick up “WildC.A.T.s” and “Gen13” after this, because of a shrinking budget due to going to local concerts, trying to date girls, and I dunno… late ’90s teen-ager-y stuff, I don’t have to explain myself you… On to the book!

So we have a new sheriff in town, and his name is… wait, no, it’s still just Henry Bendix, but now his dial has been turned up from hard-assed “Stick-the-Mud” leader to hardcore “I’ll Do the Tough Things that Need Doing” leader than will define the Ellis era of “StormWatch.” The team is on their way back from Flashpoint’s funeral, traitorous bastard he may’ve been, he was still one of their own. Bendix, however, is nowhere to be found. You see, ole Henry is on a recruitment drive, gathering up new team members for StormWatch, like Jenny Sparks, Jack Hawksmoor and Rose Tattoo. No sooner than he introduces these three new members to the squad, he pretty much fires everyone else. The StormWatch memebers that get to stick around are Winter, Fuji, Fahrenheit, Hellstrike, Flint, and Swift. Battalion and Synergy get moved off active duty to the training and seedling activation for StormWatch, and Sunburst and Maya are kinda forced into retirement with the idea that they’ll still help with logistics and research when needed. Oh, and when I say everyone else was fired, I mean everyone, including Union.

YrFired

SwiftComesAliveAnother change is that all remaining StormWatch personal are given teleport fetishes for direct teleportation… neat! Speaking changes we have Synergy… sorry, I’m just going to call her Christine from now on… we have Christine letting Swift know that back when Swift was activated, she wasn’t fully activated, just enough to get her seedling powers jump-started. Now it’s time for her full activation which now includes full on extra wings, just not wings under her arms. But let’s get to some action, ok?

In the German countryside there is a naked skull faced man killing people in the snow, this is the kind of job for StormWatch. Nakey-Skull-Face calls himself Father and the StormWatch operatives on site are having no luck defeating him. On the ground we have StormWatch Prime (Winter, Hellstrike & Fuji) and StormWatch Red (Fahrenheit, Flint and Rose Tattoo) and all that strength is nothing against Father. But something about Father seems familiar to Bendix. Bendix goes to cold storage and thaws out a Dr. Martin Krug, who not only tried to engineer a virus that would kill anyone except white Europeans, but was also known to try and create super powered beings. Yup, Father is one of his, while Father was at one time contained, that container has now failed, thus Father is loose and Krug has a certain sense of satisfaction about the whole thing. After Krug lets Bendix know that killing Father will be hard, Bendix murders Krug and then freezes him again, after all he still has a 100 year sentence to go! So how does the StormWatch team eventually take out Father? They pin him with two different transport fetishes, and tear him in half by teleporting his legs away from the rest of his body.

StormWatch_v1_038Meanwhile, back in America, newly jobless Undertow is bummed. First off, his mom got him that job and he just lost it, and secondly, where is he going to live? While he’s able to stay at his UN accommodations indefinably, I can’t imagine that would feel comfortable for long. Well, he doesn’t have to worry much about that, because as soon as he opens the door the whole apartment explodes! Poor Undertow never had a chance, but his death will not remain a mystery, Bendix puts Hellstrike, Fahrenheit and Hawksmoor on the case to find out who killed him. Turns out, it was domestic terrorist who hate the United Nations! Fahrenheit manages to grab the security guard who was a part of letting the bombers in, and he get handled over to Bendix. Bendix extracts the information from the guard leading them to the bombers, which Fahrenheit, Hellstrike and Hawksmoor capture. Bendix takes the bomber’s bodies and literally throws them on the desk of the President of the United States! Bendix sees it as an act of aggression against the UN and StormWatch and takes it as a message saying StormWatch is no longer safe or wanted in America, and they will officially steer clear. But of course Bendix says it all menacingly in his menacing way. Like I said, he’s a total super tough guy now!

BadassBendix

Continuity Corner:

  • Bendix’s caption boxes at the start of issue 37 say that Flashpoint’s funeral takes place about a week after the events of “Fire from Heaven.” This would mean that so far our timeline is holding intact, if we consider “Gen12” 1 & 2, “Black Ops” 3 – 5, “Hazard” 1 – 4,”Grifter” volume two issues 2 – 4, and “JLA/WildC.A.T.s : Crime Machine” all happening over the same week… Which mostly plausible. Sure it’s a busy week, but hey, comics!
  • There’s also a mention of the StormWatch moon-base which was destroyed during “Fire from Heaven”
  • We see a dejected and confused Cannon walking away after being told he’s been fired. We’ll catch back up with him in “Grifter” volume two, issue #11.
  • Pulling in Dr. Krug from “StormWatch” volume one issues 28 & 29 wasn’t what I expected and I didn’t put it together at first either!
  • While at Clark’s, Clark gives Hellstrike shit for busting part of the place up back in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one, issue #25.
  • We also see TAO at the bar in Clark’s… which, yeah, he’s assumed dead as of “WildC.A.T.s” volume one, issue #34, but as we’ll find out later… that was Mr. White who disguised as TAO that Majestic killed, the real TAO escaped! Maybe the word hadn’t spread yet that he was dead and a villain. So yeah, looks odd now, but in the long view it’s possible and not really an error. Then again, there’s a guy looking at TAO who seems to be awful confused by that fact…
  • Most of the “StormWatch” issues for this run will be kinda one-shot-ish, but I don’t think I’ll be sprinkling them like that through the reading order, I’ll keep a few issues together for readability’s sake. They eventually fall into three issue arcs, but these 2 issues happen one right after another, so that’s not a consideration of my own, it’s flat out in the text of the story.

NEXT: “DV8” issues 1 and 2 by Warren Ellis, Humberto Ramos, Sal Regla, Troy Hubbs, and Peter Gazman

“Wetworks” Vol. 1 issues 12 – 15

This entry covers “Wetworks” volume 1 issues 12 – 15 by Francis Takenaga, Whilce Portacio, Jonathan Peterson, John Ruzum, Tom Raney, Terry Shoemaker, Ryan Odagawa, Roy Martinez, Rick Bryant, Sal Regla, JD, Brad Vancata, John Nyberg, Gerry Alanguilan, Danny Bulanadi, Randy Elliott and Jeff Whiting. The best reading order would be issues 12 and 13 in full, followed by the main story in issue 14, then skipping to issue 15 and reading both the main and backup story “Fly on the Wall” before getting back to issue 14’s backup story “Fieldtest” AKA “Fire from Heaven Prelude.”

Wetworks_v1_012The team wants to save Claymore, but no one has any ideas on how to do that. Whatever Drakken tossed at him during their last big battle, really seemed to do a number on the poor guy. The team is running out of steam, not knowing what to do. Hell, even Mother-One is only sleeping a single hour a day and is trying to use all her computery bits to figure out the mystery of Claymore’s disease. Then, suddenly the whole team has a dream. A crazy dream. A dream about a pyramid. A pyramid with werewolf statues standing outside of it on each corner. Because they all had this dream, they figure it must mean something. For now, that’s on hold as they head out on their next mission.

What’s the mission? Seems like the dwarves and the little hippo dude Night Tribes are out in the Marshall, Minnesota aiming to cause some trouble. This gets shut down pretty quickly, and we even get to see Dozer in a lot of action. Of course, he damages his new robotic outfit so much as he and the team take out the threat, that he has to have Waering’s people get him back to base separately from the rest of the team. Which means Dozer misses out on the next big batch of fun. That fun is trying to find out where the dream pyramid is!

So yeah, the team flies from Minnesota all the way to Egypt! As Grail says to the team “Egypt is a large place” how the hell are they going to find a single pyramid amongst all that sand? Lucky for everyone, Mother-One has a feeling, a feeling that will tell her where the pyramid is! And low do they find it! Not as easily as you’d think, apparently it was hidden by a cloaking device from the naked eye, but that won’t stop our Wetworks team, boy howdy!

Pyramid Time

Wetworks_v1_013The team get in the pyramid and find a sarcophagus with a mummy Egyptian prince in it. How do we know all this? Well, we find it out later when it’s dying golden symbiote starts to communicate with Dane’s. Pretty intense story, the prince was a werewolf. Not sure where he got a symbiote, but he did, so good for him! Turns out he died of the same thing that is affecting Claymore back home! We find most of this out while the team is battling some rock monsters in the pyramid. It takes some paying attention, but the team figures out how to defeat them. They then head home, now with the knowledge they need to defeat Claymore’s infection.

It is a tough job, but the team ends up creating what is needed to cure Claymore. When I say tough job, I mean that there is there is considerable damage to Waering’s facility, the team, and Dane in particular. There’s also some business with his arm splitting open, and the infection being alive and then quarantined, but I really didn’t follow it exactly. I mean, hell, it is drawn way awesome, but I don’t get EXACTLY what went on.

Wetworks_v1_014The Blood Queen is out whooping it up in NYC, killing folks left and right. She keeps carving a serpent in the chests of her victims. Long-suffering Persephone has already had an ass full of the Blood Queen’s nonsense but has to take it in stride, as it is her royal duty to stick with the notorious T.B.Q. Queeny is just reveling in the murder and mayhem she’s causing only pausing for a bit to talk about her love for Dane. I’m pretty sure this is the first indication that the Blood Queen personally knows anyone on the Wetworks team other than their benefactor Mr. Waering.

Time for a training session with Dane! And Dane tells them they all suck. He’s schooling the whole team left and right. He’s worried that they’ve started to rely too much on the power they’ve gotten from the symbiotes and are getting lazy. He orders more and more training sessions to get the team back up to snuff. We get a touching (get it) moment between Mother-One and Grail, we see Jester once again unwittingly use his power, and we Dane confused, hearing a voice in his head. The voice is the Blood Queens, and we all know, that lady ain’t right in the head! Look out, Dane!

Worried Dane

Wetworks_v1_015Well, Dane isn’t feeling well, so he goes on a break. Of course, this isn’t going to be a joyous vacation for him to think and collect himself. Nope, poor Dane stops at a diner and is accosted by a creature trying to steal his golden symbiote! The creature was once a man named Paul, whose soul was bound to his body even after he was killed. He must have some kind of low-level psi-powers as he can command flys to cover his body and keep he decaying body mobile. He made a mistake that afternoon going after Dane, and may’ve paid the price. At the end of their battle all that is left if Paul’s skull, still containing Paul’s eternal soul.

Time for a training session without Dane! And Waering tells them they all suck. He has a point, without Dane around the team is coming across as next to useless. OK, it isn’t that bad, but it really seems that Mother-One is the only team member to get how serious the team needs to get if they are to function without Dane leading them. Without Dane you say? Yup! Mother-One is worried about his health and wants to be prepared if worse comes to worse and Dane isn’t around. Well, where’s Dane this now? Turns out he’s made it to Battery Park in NYC at the Korean War memorial, where he runs into his old friend Michael Cray.

Dane Remeets Cray

Continuity Corner:

  • One of the reasons for the unorthodox reading order is this: issues 12, 13 and the main story from 14 all concern the teams desire to cure Claymore. The backup story in 14 ends with Dane meeting up with Michael Cray, whom he pretty much stays with up through the events of “Fire from Heaven.” In my head, it makes no sense for him leave Cray to go back across the country to do a training exercise with the team in the “Fieldtest” story and then leave them to meet right back up with Cray again. If we read the book in the order I’ve laid out we get the entire arc of the team saving Claymore, then Dane leads a training session, followed by seeing Dane on the road in “Fly on the Wall.” After that, we see the team do a training session without Dane while he meets up with Cray for “Deathblow” volume one, issue 22 and next big “WildStorm” cross-over. It has a better narrative flow, but I’ll admit, it’s a bit of a tortured order to have things in.
  • Also, at the end of the training session in issue 15 we see Dane drop his gold. After the events of “Deathblow” volume one issue 22 he can’t really do that due to the lack of Gen-Factor in his system. The symbiote is the only thing holding him together at that point, sooooooo… my crazy order stands! Suck it, doubters!
  • Alright, I’ll admit it, maybe “Fly on the Wall” doesn’t go here. I just thought that it would be pointless to pull it out, as we know that Dane is on the move, so why not. But frankly, I just can’t think of anywhere that is a desert between where Waering’s place is and New York City. Then again, it seems like he’s kind of wandering in this story, so maybe it wasn’t exactly a straight line from point A to point B in this case.
  • It’s a bit of a retcon, but we’ll find that the Blood Queen has been messing with Dane for years in the pages of “Gen12.” Issue 15 of “Wetworks” volume one was our first hint of something going on between the two of them.
  • You’d think the Blood Queen killing folks in NYC would gain the attention of some of the other New York City-based WildStorm characters. I guess StormWatch is busy rebuilding and the New WildCats are trying to get themselves established keeping them away from the action. I guess the real question is, where the hell is Union?

NEXT: “Deathblow” volume one issue 22 by Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner and Trevor Scott