Tag Archives: Richard Friend

“Grifter” Vol. 2 issue 1

This entry covers “Grifter” volume two issue 1 by Steven Grant, Mel Rubi, and Richard Friend.

grifter_v2_001Somewhere in Colorado, a crazy man is kidnapping some kids from a school bus. Lucky for those kids, Cole Cash is nearby and is contracted in to save the kids. You see, Cash is hanging out with an old Team 6 buddy when the local sheriff comes by with news of the kidnapping. Cash decides to do what he can to help the situation and save these kids.

Cash gets some info on the kidnapper, a former Army Psych Corp. Lt. Col. named Bo Thane, now going by the name Odyssey. Odyssey’s plan is to use his military knowledge to brainwash these kids and build his own militia that only knows him as their leader. We all know Cash won’t stand for that and moves in to bust up that tea party.

Cash first has to break through Odyssey’s original militia which is made up of grown ass men. Lucky for Cash, only one of them can put up a real fight, but this is the Grifter we’re talking about, that dude still went down easy. On to the kids. Yeah, Cash saves them, but he doesn’t get to take down Odyssey. See, Cash knows, if these kids see wanton violence at the age they are, and the mental state Odyssey has them in, it’ll wreck them for life and cause them to believe in an unjust, ultra-violent and messed up world. Cash just can’t let that happen to good kids, so Odyssey gets to walk.

The kids are all safe thanks to Cash, but the sheriff has some questions. Mainly, why would Cash help when he wasn’t tied to anything or anyone involved in this situation? Cash can’t answer that and walks away a bit grumpy. The readers and the sheriff know why, Cash, for all his faults is a hero, and will always look out for the disadvantaged. Despite whether he realizes this or not, Cash’s will to always “do better” is as much of defining trait of his as grim outlook, red mask, and VADs.

Continuity Corner:

  • When we last saw Cash he was near the Rocky Mountains helping out Slayton fight with Beck. I realize that this issue was published WAAAAAY after that, but volume two of “Grifter” seems pretty evergreen as far as continuity, and heck, if Cash is already in the area, this seems like the perfect place for this issue!
  • Cash gets his info about Odyssey from a friend at I/O. I figure that it’s Alicia, but I could be wrong.
  • What the hell are Sam & Twitch doing in a Colorado police station? I thought they stuck to New York?

NEXT: “StormWatch” volume one issue 34 by H.K. Proger, Renato Arlem and Joe Pimental

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Cybernary Vol. 1 issues 2 – 5

This entry covers “Cybernary” volume one issues 2 through 5 by Steve Gerber, Jeff Rebner and Richard Friend as well as the short story “Cybernary : the Price” by Jeff Mariotte, Jeff Rebner and John Tighe which originally appeared in “Overstreet’s Fan issue 6.” Due to what Cybernary is wearing, and where we are at in the story “Cybernary : the Price” should be read before moving on to issues 2 through 5.

cybernary_v1_003For the purposes of clarity, I’ll be referring the star of this book as Cybernary, and no longer Katrina or Yumiko. I’ll also be using the pronouns “her/she” instead of “they/them” like I did in the coverage of the previous Cybernary stories. At this point in the book, Cybernary is starting to act as more of a conduit between the two personalities instead of switching back and forth between them, so it feels more apt. Not that the independent sides of Cybernary still don’t crop up, and it seems in the stories she’s mostly called Katrina, but in reading, it seems more unified. I mean we’re opening on the story of a want for Katrina, that is, to find Cisco. There is seemingly no difference in this desire where Yumiko is against that idea, and Cybernary seems more like a whole being.

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In the search for Cisco Miranda leads Cybernary to where they might be able to find some information. This is unfortunately in the Gamorran slums. Sketchy areas that have high technology by low income. Cybernary is left to wait as Miranda goes to gather information. Cybernary then stops a poor woman from selling her baby for cash to some tech experimenters. Due to the large fight that ensued, at the next stop, Miranda brings Cybernary in to meet with her friend Hiroshi to try and avoid the craziness. Too bad, a big fight breaks out here too, while Cybernary wasn’t initially involved she does some damage to many of the involved parties.

After Hiroshi tells the ladies they better run to avoid the Kaizens police squad, they end up at the home of Trantor “the Jumper” MacGregor. Trantor is a techie of some stripe and is in need of some specialty electronics to upgrade his work. He knows a man by the name of Lance Wernick that has some, and if they can get these chipsets, Trantor is happy to give them what little information he has on the whereabouts of Cisco. Yeah, Cybernary and Miranda are being sent on a fetch quest.

Wernick

Miranda and Cybernary track Wernick to some crazy kind of fetish club and use Wernick’s base instincts against him. Yeah, Wernick, stop thinking with your pants! Cybernary takes him back to his hotel and as Cybernary is casing the joint for chipsets that Trantor wants, Kaizen’s police blast a hole in the wall and are ready to arrest both Wernick and Cybernary. While they manage to get away all they’re really accomplishing is raising Kaizen’s interest into what is going on. He sets Minotaur and his best men to investigate.

You see, Kaizen has had some a particular interest in this crazy Nympho-Droid running around since he’s started talking to Dr. Vandalia. That’s right, Dr. Vandalia managed to survive his fight with Cybernary and even though he’s just a head in a jar, he persists. He spills the beans on Yumiko being a part of the Cybernary, so Kaizen means to get his little girl back. Dr. Vandalia would like to go get her himself, but Kaizen doesn’t yet trust him, that’s why Minotaur and crew are on the job.

cybernary_v1_004After Cybernary gives Trantor Wernick’s chips, Trantor turns over the information he has on Cisco. Turns out he’s part of a cyborg pig man… yeah… oh, and he’s being held on Minotaur’s crazy ass island. Before the crew can head out, Minotaur’s best gal Borgia attacks the team. She literally flies down on her Scooty Puff Jr. and starts messing Cybernary’s friends up. Cybernary isn’t having it and knocks Borgia’s jaw loose and steals her hoover scooter to go save Cisco.

Cybernary puts up a good fight, but she’s soon bested by Minotaur’s lesser goons. To be fair, there were a lot of them, firing from all directions, poor thing was just overwhelmed. She wakes up in the Minotaur’s labyrinth which leads her to find Cisco-cyborg-pig-man in an arena vs. her! When she eventually defeats this abombination of an ex-boyfriend she sets her eyes on Minotaur. Minotaur isn’t dumb, so he traps Cybernary and orders Gila to kill her. Before Gila can get a shot off Borgia shows up and tells them that Cybernary is the Nympho-Droid that Kaizen sent them after in the first place, and it’d be a stupid call to kill her at this moment.

cybernary_v1_005Kaizen has spies everywhere and doesn’t like what he sees on all his little spy cams. To get Cybernary back he puts Dr. Vandalia’s head on a new body that looks like a god damn Millenium Falcon and sets him to the task of retrieving Cybernary. Vandalia fails, and Cybernary rips him to shreds this time. Maybe he’ll really be dead this time! Cybernary makes it out onto the beach of the island and is greeted by several of her friends, and bunny with a huge brain named Bunny. They all watch Minotaur Island burn as they sail away.

Continuity Corner:

  • We won’t see the Cybernary again until she pull’s Slayton’s bacon out of the flames during the “Fire from Heaven” crossover.
  • Then again, that’s much earlier than when we’ll see Miranda and Cisco again, that won’t happen until the “Savant Garde” book starts up, and we won’t even know Cisco is there hiding in plain sight for a few issues either.
  • Speaking of Cisco, we don’t see Cybernary leave Minotaur’s island with any pieces of Cisco, how does she get him into that big green robot body later?
  • Don’t weep for Minotaur’s island, it’ll be rebuilt and DV8 will visit it in “DV8” issue XX
  • Also… Fart Man? Really? I get being a Howard Stern fan, but really, Fart Man as part of Minotaur’s entourage? Maybe have him walking the streets of Gamorra or something instead,  you know like Rebner had already done with Jay and Silent Bob in “the Price.”
  • Ok, time to talk about something confusing… the Gamorra Family, specifically Kaizen and his relationship to Yumiko. So we all know that John Colt impersonated Kaizen Gamorra for years. I mean, we don’t know when he started, but we know he started sometime after the ’60s and well before the early ’90s. When we see the real Kaizen Gamorra we find that he doesn’t look much like the fake Kaizen Gamorra, unalike enough so that no one would confuse the two. My question is, when was Yumiko Gamorra born? Is she the real Kaizen Gamorra’s daughter, or is she John Colt’s kid? Did John replace Kaizen early enough in Yumiko’s life that she’s only ever known John as her father and doesn’t notice the difference? At the very least, after the 2006 reboot, she saw the real Kaizen as her true father, but that doesn’t mean it was always supposed to be the case in the earlier version. Truth be told, there’s so much left open-ended here for us to have some wild ideas! Seriously, she looks young enough that she could’ve been John Colt’s kid and been half Kherubim.

NEXT:  “StormWatch” volume one issues 30 through 33 by H.K. Proger, Barbara Kesel, Renato Arlem, Mike Miller, Brad Vancata and Robert Jones

“Cybernary” Back Ups & Vol. 1 issue 1

This entry covers the “Cybernary” stories from “Deathblow/Cybernary” volume one issues 1 through 3, the “Cybernary” story from “Deathblow” volume one issue 4 and “Cybernary” volume one issue 1 by Brandon Choi, Jim Lee, Steve Gerber, Nick Manabat, Jeff Rebner and Richard Friend.

Cybernary_vol_0_001Alright, Cybernary is one of those books that reveals itself over the course of reading it. I’m going to present the story pretty much chronologically, not the order the story is told in. Why? Because I’m as boring as dry toast. Also, I’m imploring you to read these books as presented as Nick Manabat’s art on the first 4 short installments is fantastic and you should really get a look at them. My words will never do justice to that art, so I’m not even going to compete, hence my uninspired coverage!

“Cybernary” is all about how a girl named Kat, in a land of extreme have and have-nots, and how she tried to lead a revolution to save the less fortunate. Katrina, along with her “boyfriend” Cisco intercepts a dairy truck that is carrying weaponry. The idea is for that weaponry to be used to arm her and her fellow revolutionary types. Nothing, of course, can go this easy on Gamorra, and it isn’t long before Katrina and her rebel group are attacked by Gamorran madman Gila and an army of Hunter-Killers to get the weapons that were stolen from them.

While all their partners in crime were getting mowed down, Cisco and Kat are very close to getting free. While Kat makes it out, Cisco is snagged at the last second. Kat manages to track Cisco to the labs of one Dr. Vandalia in a Gamorra Industries building. Like most evil scientists in Gamorra, he’s totally given himself some kind of crazy-ass techno body. He’s doing his evil mad professor thing of replacing Cisco’s body with mechanical parts when Kat tries to stop him. For reasons known only to him, Vandalia takes a shine to Kat and offers her Cisco’s life for hers. He even goes so far as to offer return Cisco to his organic state before letting him go. Kat sheds a tear and takes him up on the horrible deal.

Cybernary_vol_0_002What Dr. Vandalia has in mind is to turn her into a gift for Kaizen Gamorra. He’s reshaped her ears, as well as some other questionable “upgrades” to make her more resemble a high-end Gammoran Nympho-Droid. While working on this “gift” Vandalia has fallen behind on the latest upgrades to the ever-present Hunter-Killers. A man by the name of Mr. Chang goes to confront Vandalia on his slacking off, and takes Yumiko, the bosses daughter, as a power play move. It doesn’t quite go the way Chang would like and he leaves in a huff, Yumiko, however, stays behind.

Yumiko is trying to smooth things over with Dr. Vandalia as best she can, but she makes a simple, costly mistake. She reminds Vandalia and Kaizen Gamorra can have any woman he wants, so what would make even the greatest Nympho-Droid useful to him? Valdalia, always the messed up dick, decides to incapacitate Yumiko, hook her up to a bunch of machinery, remove her consciousness from her body, download it into a computer chip, and then install that computer chip in Kat’s brain. So yeah, now this crazily advanced cyborg now has two distinct personalities in a single body, and one is Kaizen Gamorra’s only child. Oh, and they both HATE Dr. Vandalia now.

Suddenly, a door in Vandalia’s lab is blown clean open as a charred body flies through it. Sensing an opportunity, Kat/Yumiko kick the stuffing out of Dr. Vandalia and make their escape. They find their savior is one Mr. Michael Cray. While they didn’t know him at first, the Yumiko side searched her data banks and noticed that he was a sworn enemy of the Gamorra Clan, and thusly our 2-in-1 heroine, slunk back into the shadows to avoid him.

Cybernary_vol_1_001Once free of the Gamorra Industry building they were trapped in, our gals are suddenly being pursued by a bunch of HKs. The ladies make short work of the green guys, and their little dogs too. But after mistiming a single grenade explosion, the body that the women inhabit crashes to the ground a goes limp. She’s picked up by the underground inhabitants known as the Techno-Dwarves who mean to scavenger the body for spare parts. While investigating their new prize they start to learn it’s history and that it is no ordinary Nympho-Droid. Because of this, one of the Techno-Dwarves accidentally fries his mind trying to interface with it. After this, the Techno-Dwarves send in a small cyborg named Miranda to talk to the Nympho-Droid and get information the old-fashioned way. Come on boys, don’t be scared to talk to pretty girls.

Meanwhile, all manner of creature are out looking for Kat/Yumiko. Minotaur is on the hunt at the behest of Kaizen. Mr. Chang is on the case because he knows that something crazy is up with all the destruction of Gamorra Industries property brought on by both Cray and Kat/Yumiko, and he means to find the party still on the island. For all his troubles Chang finds a scavenger named Guggen who lets him know that there’s no body here for him to retrieve, even if he wanted to get mixed up in all this mess. At this point, Chang gives up, but Minotaur and his crew won’t be stopped and will continue to pursue our girls for as long as it takes to capture them.

Continuity Corner:

  • Vandalia’s lab and even the “man” himself is very reminiscent of the HK lab that Cannon found in “StormWatch” volume one issue 18’s backup story.
  • While it was originally intended that when the “Deathblow/Cybernary” flip-book was coming out, they were occurring at the same time (this was in the letter pages) we now see that that cannot be the case. Those issues open with a Cybernary free of her creators running around before being captured by the Techno-Dwarves and having her origin recounted. It’s not until her proper series begins that we even see the conclusion of her story concerning her escape from her creators. She recounts the escape story as happening in the not too recent past, but based on Chang’s yelling, at the start of “Cybernary” volume one issue 1, her escape happened the night before, so these stories happen sooner than I’d previously thought! Like, right after Cray’s adventures in Gamorra in “Deathblow” volume one issues 17 through 19.

NEXT: “Gen13” volume two issues 6 and 7 by Brandon Choi, J. Scott Campbell, Jim Lee and Scott Williams.

“Union” Vol. 2 issues 5 & 6

this entry covers issues 5 and 6 of “Union” volume two

union_v2_005Union, this dude can’t catch a break. He gets home from his big adventure, helping to save the world with his part-time job at StormWatch, and he gets into a fight with his kinda-sorta-girlfriend. He’s also still paying for his drunken escapades in Chicago with the Savage Dragon. Not that I blame Jill at all, Union is just up and leaving without any kind of explanations. He’s playing an “asking forgiveness is easier than asking permission” kind of game, and fellas, that never ends well. But, by the end of the argument, he lets Jill know that she quit her crummy waitressing job, which does make her feel a little bit better.

When Union goes to think over the happenings of “WildStorm Rising” and about finding his place with StormWatch as well as with Jill, he’s interrupted. No mind that he’s sitting atop the Statue of Liberty, when someone wants to find you, they’ll find you. The “they” in this case is the witch Rhiannon. She pretty much just straight out casts a spell that sends Union into a parallel universe.

Luckily, Union is dropped off in this new universe pretty much where he was in his universe. Also, this universe’s Rhiannon was there to greet him. I call this the Sideways Universe after the title of issue 5 because, why the hell not, you know. It’s better than nothing. So, Sideways Rhiannon catches Union (and the reader) up to speed on an evil bastard named Lord Necros who has pretty much taken over either much of the world or just New York and the rest of the world lives in fear of him. He’s done this through magic, which is a bit more powerful here in the Sideways Universe.

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Sideways Rhiannon leads Union to her team’s hideout. Only it looks to Union as if they’re getting hit by a subway car! Not so, it’s just Sideways Alex Fairchild using his telepathy to make you think a subway car is hurtling at you! Oh, those crazy Team 7 guys! Sideways Rhiannon gives some more background on Necros’ rise to power, and we see a bit more of Necros getting mad and wanting to crush Sideways Rhiannon’s new champion, but not much happens until the end issue 5 when Sideways Caitlin Fairchild shows up! And by “not much happens” I mean that the hidden rebel base is found by some of Necros’ minions and Sideways Caitlin Fairchild shows up, took them down and being all sassy.

union_v2_006A few days prep and now it is time for the main event. It’s time to take the fight right to Necros himself. Union, Sideways Rhiannon and the Sideways Fairchilds lead the cause. But when it comes to the big battle vs. Necros, Union starts to lose his nerve. Come on Union, don’t be a big baby! Suddenly Union is down there, mixing it up with Necros, but he isn’t doing too well. In fact, it looks like Union got killed by Necros in a huge purple blast! What? Is this the end of our hero? Wait, no, of course not, it was just Sideways Alex Fairchild and his wacky powers of perception!

Sideways Alex Fairchild’s death turns out not to be in vain. It gave Union the balls to jump into the fight. And bonus, because of everyone, even Necros, thought that Union was already in the fight, Necros used a ton of power when he shot the snot out of Sideways Alex Fairchild, leaving him fairly weakened. Before Necros can draw more power Union starts to share the energy from his justice stone/staff with Necros. It is more than Necros can take and he croaks, too.

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Sideways Alex Fairchild pretending to be Union ends up for realsies dead.

Ultimately, Union has saved the day. Sideways Rhiannon helps Union heal fast so that she can get him home. Before he goes away, Sideways Caitlin Fairchild tells him to leave normal Caitlin Fairchild alone, cuz he’s nothin’ but trouble! When Union is back to his normal reality he’s told by the regular Rhiannon that she’s left him a gift back at his home. The gift turns out to be Jill Monroe with a magically changed mind about how mad Union had made her. Messing with somebody’s mind like that? Not cool Rhiannon, not cool at all!

Continuity Corner:

  • Last we saw Rhiannon she was taking over the body of Rainmaker in the “Gen13: the Unreal World” one shot.
  • Sideways Rhiannon informs Union that his justice stone is a living creature as much as he is. This is kinda seems like new information to Union, but it also seems he’s suspected this. I mean, he’d flat out know it was living if he had been paying attention as a kid in “Union” Vol. 1 issue 0 where his people explain it to him in school.
  • I always wanted to know why there wasn’t another Union for the Sideways Universe. What happened to their Union? We know alternate Unions exist, or at least we will once we meet The Sword during “Fire from Heaven.”
  • Sideways Rhiannon mentions that the version of Necros in the regular WildStorm Universe never had a chance to get as powerful as hers. I was always wondering if we’d ever meet him. I suspected Cull from “Gen13: the Unreal World” due to it also featuring Rhiannon, but so much of it doesn’t quite feel right or add up for my liking.
  • Sideways Alex Fairchild mentions that he’d lost another of his children to Necros, which is another in a long list of hints that Caitlin has a sibling. We get it already WildStorm!
  • We’ll visit the Sideways Universe again sans Lord Necros at the end of “Savant Garde” issue 2 and several issues after that.
  • Speaking of alternate universes this is only the second for sure one that we know about. The other one is where that Alternate Pilgrim from “WetWorks” is from. I still have my suspicions about where exactly the Huntsman and pals came from in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 10, but that could just be space. Next up we have the parallel universe that all the baddies from “Fire from Heaven” live and that’s about it… well until Ellis comes along and busts open the Bleed!

NEXT: “Backlash” issues 9 – 11 by Brett Booth, Jeff Mariotte, Sean Ruffner, Dan Norton, Melvin Rubi, J.J. Kirby, Sanda Hope & Edwin Rosell

“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.