Tag Archives: Richard Bennett

“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.

DanceTime

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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“Brass” Vol. 1

This entry covers “Brass” volume one issues 1 through 3 by Richard Bennett and Aron Wiesenfeld.

Brass_v1_001Hershel Goldstein has a lot of problems. First, he’s working a job he hates scrubbing toilets in a dance club. The upside is that this job, and a good friend, is what helped him out of homelessness. Second, he had a cat that I’m not sure if he likes or not. Such is the way with kitties. Finally, Hershel Goldstein is dying of cancer. A soon to be hero unsure of life because he is dying of cancer? That sounds a little familiar…

After getting the bad news Hershel is riding the city bus back home. Coincidentally there’s another guy on the bus with similar build, longish hair and a trench coat similar to Hershel’s. This doppelganger first exposes himself to a child and then shoots and kills the bus driver. The bad guy gets away and Hershel ambles on home, once again bemoaning his fate as a reason why he shouldn’t care about what just went down. The world sucks, so why should I try, an edgy teenager who just read Nietzsche kinda thing.

Due to a murder in a public place, there are police questioning witnesses to the crime. Not sure how they got ole Hersh’s info, but they show up at his doorstep. As mentioned, Hershel has long hair as well as a trench coat. The cops see this, as well as some blood on Hershel’s shirt, and they like him for the murderer. Hershel smartly notices this, and then not-so-wisely runs. Hershel tries to lose the police by running down a subway tunnel. As he’s booking through the subway he falls down into a strange room full of highly advanced tech. He touches some and becomes a kick-ass robot bastard!

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How did this hidden room full of tech come to be? Well, if it walks like crazy fringe science and talks like questionable super-powered human upgrades, it’s gotta be Miles Craven. It seems as if I/O found the Brass Virus, of course, and that means Miles wants them to use it to see if they can create some superhumans to do his bidding for the government. So the I/O scientists injected it into a fly as well as 4 humans. They all got teched out, but then went on a rampage. It took I/O and some pre-superpowered Team 7 members to calm this new species down. In the end, I/O decided to hide all the Brass experiments as well as the virus in the sewers and tunnels under the NYC subway. Not a bad place I guess, it’s been the hideout of everything from ninja turtles to a beastly Ron Pearlman.

Team7confused
Deathblow and Arclight are just as curious as we are about their Team 7 cameo.

Back to the Present: Just as Hershel is getting used to his big brassy body, the Brass virus also infects the cops that were after Hershel. These others start to cause destruction in New York City. Hershel tries his best to stop them and is helped out by not only I/O’s jet fighters but also an electromagnetic pulse from the goddamned MIR space station. That last one takes out the final member of the Police Brass, but it takes down Hershel along with it.

While Hershel is down for the count he enters a dreamlike state while his body is hauled away by I/O. In this dream, he meets a representation of the Brass Virus. The virus tells Hershel that I/O has implanted a retrovirus into him to control the Brass Virus, and thus control each of them. The virus suggests that they merge together which will destroy I/O’s retrovirus and also keep I/O from being able to control either of them. Hershel pulls an “Invisibles” move and becomes friends with the virus and manages to survive it, beating I/O at their own game.

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I/O and Craven send him home figuring their retrovirus beat out the Brass Virus. I guess they figure they can activate Hershel at will and he’d do their bidding to have them shut down his Brass body. This could’ve been a cool idea, but hey, it’s also cool that Hershel is in control and I/O doesn’t even know it. This may’ve come to a head if Craven was around longer to do anything about it. By the way, seems Hershel’s cat got loose, but I/O finds him and Craven personally returns the cat. It seems lil Micho has managed to become to be Brassed up as well!

brasskittenthatfunkykitten

Continuity Corner:

  • I always liked “Brass” volume one placed here because we see Roxy and Grunge in issue 3 trying to sneak into a bar in NYC. I figure it’s after they got to NYC, but before they meet up with Team 7. Grunge’s short hair point to this being a solid placement. The only problem with that is the “Weeks later” caption we see when Craven comes to return Hershel’s cat. I doubt the Gen13 kids spent a week in NYC waiting to raid the I/O Towers, and due to the events of their raid (Craven’s death) we can’t assume this “Weeks later” event took place weeks after the next batch of books we’re about to read. So we have to ignore the “Weeks later” caption because even if we ignore Grunge’s short hair, I can’t place the Gen13 team in NYC at all. Their trip to Coda Island didn’t have a layover there (it flew from San Diego to Puerto Rico) and their flight back from Rome was direct to San Diego (Roxy mentions it was 16hrs straight, and that flight would indeed be 16 without layovers.)
  • Pretty sure the reason we see Craven with this woman Sharon by his side is that all his other lackeys are busy. It’s telling that we never see her again, once Craven was gone she high-tailed it out of I/O. She was probably as dirty as he was. Also, it is nice that by using Sharon we can’t come across any other continuity errors like we could’ve if had been one of the Brethren, Alicia Turner or Frank Colby in that role.
  • All the Brass Virus experiments are going on in an I/O underground bunker in Arizona. We know that I/O has Sector 52, which is a vast underground bunker in the Mojave Desert, and part of the Mojave Desert is in Arizona, so I’m going to figure this is the same place we see later on as Sector 52 starting in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 37.
  • The initial 4 Brass Virus victims must move fastly, as they’ve gone from Arizona all the way to a tropical island in the Gulf of Mexico. Also, Craven and Lynch seem to get to the Gulf of Mexico pretty quickly from wherever they’re at… it looks like somewhere in the Rockies.
  • Craven is drawn in 1967 as looking pretty much the same as modern-day Craven, we’ll see later in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 39 that young Craven had blond curly hair. I’ll admit, it helps us here track who he is and how it relates to this story, even if we’ll encounter a slight continuity wrinkle later.
  • The Team 7 scenes take place back in 1967 and we already see John Lynch working with Miles. We know that Lynch had his little adventure in the “Lynch” one-shot in 1968. In that story, the narrator states that after the ’68 adventure Lynch went on to great things in the military. For me that doesn’t mean he wasn’t already in the military and wasn’t in Team 7 yet, he had just yet to attain the greatness that the narrator spoke of.
  • In “Brass” volume two we find out that the Brass Virus is from another dimension that unloaded it to our dimension because it was too dangerous to be near and they couldn’t destroy it. So that’s some crazy alien robo-tech that Hershel has going on up in his bloodstream.

NEXT: the rest of “Deathblow” volume one issue 24 and then all of issue 25 by Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Jeff Mariotte, Scott Kolins, Geof Isherwood, Trevor Scott and Rick Bryant

“WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 19

this entry covers “WildC.A.T.s : Covert Action Teams” volume 1 issue 19 and the backup story “Savant: Wings and a Prayer”

wildcats_v2_19To tell the truth, I thought there would be a lot more going on in this issue. I realize that I always get parts of issue 19 and issue 20 merged together in my mind. So, when I open the book, ready to be reminded of everything that’s going on in it to relay it to you, the fine reader of this blog and comic, I come up with… not much. That my friends makes me sad.

So, alright, we pick up from where Grifter mistakenly thinks that Hightower is the guy behind everything. Why? Bad intel from stupid informants. Or maybe, because Hightower is such a small fry all the remnants of the Cabal are willing to sell Hightower out to the WildC.A.T.s and keep their affiliations with Defile secret. Why not sell out S’yrn? Well, he might end up being Hellspont’s successor in the Cabal, so best not piss him off either. No, send the Kheribum do-gooders after that jackass Hightower. A jackass so jackass-like in his jackassery that even Defile is all “I need a shape-shifting Daemonite to do my bidding, and I’ll find and even resurrect that milquetoast hipster, Mr. White than even try to work with that jackass Hightower. What a jackass he is!”

Where is Hightower? Well, he seems to be the only Daemonite that remembers that keys to the Daemonite ship are also badges of rank, and he means to take part of one that’s recently been found and will be on display at a nearby museum. To do this he figures he should have some protection, so he goes to the best mercenaries in the WildStrom Universe, the Coda. Lucky for him, the Coda run a restaurant in Washington D.C., right where his key/badge bit is! He thinks he needs protection from Defile or other Daemonites, but he’d be wrong.

As Hightower is trying to convince the Coda to work for him, the WildC.A.T.s bust in and start wrecking the place. There goes the Zagats rating. Because the Coda are so bug-fuck crazy, they decide the best course of action is just to blow the whole building to hell. I mean, our heroes have already gotten all the actual patrons out of the place via Void, so there’s nothing to lose. Void has a crazy vision of the upcoming crossover and the bistro goes boom, with only the WildC.A.T.s left to survive. As the team is emerging from the rubble they are confronted with a StormWatch team, ready to kick them while they’re down.

In the backup story, we catch back up with Savant and her friend Mabel, while a gremlin sits on the wing of their plane. This gremlin means to tear up the wing and ruin Savant’s day. It’s just what gremlins do! After the ladies manage to shake the little bugger they land at, I’m figuring near where at least Mabel lives, and they pick up their piling mail. Savant has a letter from her dear friend Charles Russell and his new exhibit. It just so happens that it features the Daemonite key/badge and Savant knows she needs to get back to D.C. as soon as she possibly can!

Continuity Corner :

  • It’s nice to get reintroduced to Hightower as a player in the “WildC.A.T.s” books. We haven’t really seen him since “WildC.A.T.s Trilogy” but I had my suspicions he was behind the opening fight of “Spartan : Warrior Spirit” for what it’s worth.
  • Having both the Savant backups read after their issues proper may not be the more narrative and linear way to go about things. They may be better served to both be read right after “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 18. Either way works though, so I’m going to leave it as is.
  • Last we saw Mr. Russell he was hitting on Savant back in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 11. She should’ve taken him up on that offer, then she’d be too busy with her new man than to start getting cozy with TAO.

Where to find these stories:

  • the “James Robinson’s Complete WildC.A.T.s” trade paperback
  • Excepts of “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 19 are in the “WildStorm Rising” trade paper back.

NEXT : “WildStorm Rising” Chapters 1 through 4 (Which consists of “WildStorm Rising” issue 1, “WildC.A.T.s” volume 1 issue 20, “Union” volume 2 issue 4 and “Gen13” volume 2 issue 2) by James Robinson, Brandon Choi, Barry Windsor-Smith, Travis Charest, Ryan Benjamin, J. Scott Campbell, Alex Bialy, John Floyd, Troy Hubbs, Chuck Gibson, Tom McWeeney and Alex Garner.

“Savage Dragon” Vol. 2 issue 13

this entry covers “Savage Dragon” Vol. 2 issue 13, the Image X-Month version written by Brandon Choi and penciled by Jim Lee.

savagedragonvol2_13Alright, right at the top, why am I doing an issue of “the Savage Dragon?” Well, listen up kids, here’s a story about the craziness of ’90s comics and it’s called “Image X-Month!” See, “Image X-Month” was a “clever” “marketing” “ploy” that was a lot more fun than was intended. In it, each of the 6 Image Comics founders, would take on an issue of another Image Comics founder’s main book. I mean, each book was pretty closely tied to each of the creators, so this would be a silly little shake up. I only picked up Eric Larsen doing “WildC.A.T.s” and Jim Lee doing “the Savage Dragon” as I was picking up “WildC.A.T.s” regardless, but I wanted to see the other side of the coin with Lee and Choi doing “the Savage Dragon.” Little did I know it was going to end up being a pretty important Grifter book!

Seriously though, and I’ll get into this in a few weeks, but Eric Larsen gave us a pretty fun little “WildC.A.T.s” book for Image X-Month. Sure, Savage Dragon and the Freak Force figure into the story, but it is mostly a “WildC.A.T.s” cross-over issue. In “the Savage Dragon” the Dragon is a mere bit player. If I was a “Savage Dragon” fan back then, I would’ve felt super short changed! Not sure how the other four books fared, but this always seemed a bit unbalanced to me, even though I was basically getting what I wanted, a Grifter solo book!

So we pick up with Cole and Alicia Turner living it up in Chicago. We find out that this is the old stomping grounds of Cole, he grew up in Chicago, not only that, but he used to do some work for the mob as well. The mob is alive and well in Image’s Chicago, as regular readers of “Savage Dragon” know. One booth over and there is some of that well-known mob action going down. Also, out on the street, the Savage Dragon and some of Chicago’s finest are monitoring the situation.

Of course, a fight breaks out. Mobsters never do mob stuff subtly anymore. Cole, seeing bullets flying gets in on the action too. Whether it’s to protect Alicia or just shoot some obviously bad dudes, it’s unclear, actually, it’s probably both. The main guys shooting up the joint are Spetsnaz and Max, and they are shooting on behalf of a new wanna-be boss named Demonseed. It’s at this point I wish I’d read “the Savage Dragon” because seeing Demonseed, who has a Darth Vader Mask on under the bubble dome on his bright red armor, that has bat wings, being taken as a credible mob boss type is nuts. But, as not a regular “Savage Dragon” reader, I guess I don’t know what Dragon nemesis Overlord looks like, so this could be keeping in line with the tone of the book. Cole recognizes Spetsnaz clearly, and Max a bit, before Max fires a bullet at Cole that causes him to pass out. Then the Savage Dragon and the police kick down a wall to join the fight. Some of the mob guys have goddamn “flash suits” and the Dragon’s partner gets shot up by Spetsnaz as he and Max get away. As sad as that all is, all I’m thinking is that “flash suits” are still hella-dumb.

Next thing we know Cole is waking up in a hospital and getting grilled by the Dragon. It doesn’t last long as Alicia soon turns up pulling US government rank on behalf of I/O to get Cole out of there. While Alicia wants to get Cole to safety, he knows that he has to go find this Max character.

What is so special about Max you ask? Turns out, he’s Cole’s little brother. Not only that, apparently he’s also an I/O secret agent, infiltrating the Chicago mob scene. While Cole is off talking to his bro filling the readers in on the former, Alicia is looking up I/O files figuring out the latter. Bad news for Alicia, this is when Spetsnaz breaks into her hotel and kidnaps her, leaving a note for Cole, written in lipstick on the mirror, like some horrible 1980’s urban legend. Of course during the kidnapping someone in a neighboring room called the cops, so when Cole shows up, so does the Dragon. This series of near-misses and misunderstandings is hitting a “Three’s Company” kind of level.

So Cole fills the Dragon in on what’s going down. There’s an arm’s shipment at the docks for Demonseed, so he and Spetsnaz will be there to collect. Also, they have Alicia. Also, Cole has a guy on the inside, Max. The team up happens, the Dragon and Cole burst in guns blazing, Max jumps in and as soon as Alicia is free she also picks up a gun. Demonseed and Spetsnaz are on the run, trying to get away in a small boat when Cole opens a crate to find a rocket launcher and blows the escape boat to hell.

And that’s it, team up over. The Dragon feels like he got what he wanted, the bad guys and their weapons off the streets, so he has no reason to detain or delay the Cash brothers or Alicia any longer. Max and Cole exchange hugs and catch up a bit, and now it’s time for Cole to Alicia to head back to New York.

Continuity Corner:

  • I’d always had this happening right before “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 14, the other Image X-Month book, but I realized, we have Cole here with Alicia and not in New York. It makes the most sense that this is post “the Kindred” series and before his return to New York in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 12.
  • When Cole is in the hospital we’re introduced to nurse Ann Stevens. We’ll see much more of her in “WildC.A.Ts” Vol. 1 issue 14.
  • This is the first we see of Max Cash AKA Max Proffit, who will become a big player in the book in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 21.
  • Real world moment, Cole and Max’s secret spot is up on top of this apartment building across the street from Wrigley Field where they would watch Cubs games together. I’m trying to figure out where this could be. I grew up in Illinois, I made it to a handful of Cubs games, and have hung around the general Clark & Addison area, can’t think of any logical place this could be. Then again, it’s been ten years since I’ve been around there, there could be gaps in my memory.

Where to find this story:

  • the “Savage Dragon : Team-Ups” trade paperback

NEXT: “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 10 – 13 by Chris Claremont, Jim Lee and Scott Williams (with H. K. Proger, Ryan Benjamin, Dan Norton, Richard Johnson, Al Vey, Tom McWeeny and Karl Story)