Tag Archives: Sandra Hope

“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.

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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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“Fire from Heaven” Finale

This post covers “Fire from Heaven” Finale chapters 1 through 3, which includes “The Sword of Damocles” issue 2, “Fire from Heaven” issue 2 and “Deathblow” volume one issue 28 by Warren Ellis, Alan Moore, Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Randy Green, Jim Lee, Trevor Scott, John Tighe, Richard Friend, Luke Rizzo, JD, Sandra Hope, Troy Hubbs, Danny Miki, Sal Regla, Edwin Rosell, Art Thibert and Tim Townsend.

Alright, time to start wrapping this crossover coverage of “Fire from Heaven” up. By the looks of it, I took longer to write about it than the books took to come out. That’s… damn… didn’t expect to fall that far behind! Oh well, here we go, here we all go all the way to the moon!

swordofdamocles_002Yup, that’s right, everybody gets to the moon via Void and some SkyWatch teleporters! I mean except for Cray, Dr. Tsung, and Ethan, they were already on the moon fighting Damocles, while The Sword, the Bounty Hunters, and some random Hunter-Killers watched. But like I said, everyone is on the moon now, so now it is time to kick some bad guy booty!

First to get done in is The Sword. Turns out that The Sword is an alternate version of Union. The Sword and Union are pretty evenly matched so… blah blah blah, fishcakes. You know what, Union wins, we all saw that coming, but how? Looks like Winter is back! Yup, remember way way back at the start of this crossover when The Sword tried to take out Winter? Looks like he should’ve done a better job because Winter proves his undoing. Union ultimately shoves the American flag left on the moon from the Apollo 11 mission, through The Sword’s Justice Stone and then takes The Sword’s… well, sword.

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firefromheaven_002While this is starting to wind down, the StormWatch moon base is secured from the Bounty Hunters. Zannah and Jeremy seem to do most of the work on that one despite other heroes being there. Most of the Bounty Hunters get away fine with Jade being the only one who gets nearly deaded.

Meanwhile, Spartan, Hellstrike, Union and Mr. Majestic are fighting off waves and waves of various henchmen of Damocles. While putting up a good fight, especially since 3/4th of them are supposed to be the WildStorm heavy hitters, they’re starting to get overwhelmed. Well, looks like blind luck and clumsiness to the rescue as Dozer shows up in even more gigantic-er armor than we’ve seen before and literally trips over and flattens pretty much the rest of the enemies. Oh Dozer, you lovable goof!

OopsieDoobleDozer

deathblow_v1_028Now back to our for real main event, and that’s Damocles versus Team 7 and Ethan. It is not going well for Team 7. Lynch and Cole are phasing in and out of reality and Dane’s symbiote is hardly keeping him together. Other heroes show up to join, but it doesn’t go too well for them. Cannon gets straight up knocked out and Void gets sent on a trip into broken space-time. So yeah, it doesn’t look good, but after seeing Cray take a savage attack from Damocles the rest of Team 7 get an idea.

It seems as if Cray’s Gen-Factor has made is obviousness known, Cray, well, is pretty indestructible. Now that it’s obvious, he starts feeling the rush of his Gen-Factor and Team 7 pull an old trick to help him amplify it. Cole, Lynch, Dane, Alex, Slayton and even Ethan gather in a circle, hold hands and concentrate together. It’s something they came across in their old Team 7 days. This not only helps amplify the Gen-Factor to help Cray get some extra strength but also helps give some of the Gen-Factor back to Cole, Lynch, and Dane.

Ethan leaves the power circle to help the charged up Cray fight Damocles because Damocles is one tough bastard. Suddenly the Qeelocke opens a portal that will vaporize anyone who goes through it. Cray is trying to push Damocles into it, but he still doesn’t quite have the power for it. Ethan wants to blast Damocles back into it, but can’t get a clear shot around Cray. Cray, knowing what is best for the world yells at Ethan to take the shot. Cray doesn’t see his life as more important than the rest of the Earth’s and demands Ethan to take the shot.

Ethan takes the shot.

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Suddenly the book goes black and white and Cray is face to face with Gaby. He’s worried that he’s failed and Gaby lets him know that he did his best. Cray can’t understand what is happening. Then he sees the four men that lost their lives on one of his last few I/O missions and starts to get an idea of what exactly happened and where he is now.

Continuity Corner:

  • Looks like Union and The Sword is another case of someone fighting an alternate version of themselves in this series. We had Ethan fighting the Miles Craven Gen-Omega, we had Spartan fighting Yon Kohl and Dr. Tsung doing what he can against Damocles. It’s almost like it’s a theme…
  • This is also where Union gets a back a justice staff, as his got lost in “Union: Final Vengence.” Good thing too, as he’ll need one again when he shows up in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 35.
  • In “Fire from Heaven” issue 2, we see Fuji on a few panels. My best guess is that he got restationed from the New York Crime War to the moon based on priority. Hell, for all we know, that’s what Ladytron is yelling at TAO and Savant about on the first page of the issue.
  • I keep looking back and forth over these pages and I looks like Amanda and Jodi didn’t go to the moon. That’s acceptable, I can see Slayton telling Jodi to stay on Earth and Amanda helping him out by agreeing to stay behind with Jodi. But I also don’t see Claymore… WTF Claymore! Where are you!?
  • When teleporting to the moon Slayton says “Holy $#%@! we’re on the #$%@ing moon!” which feels out of character for him a bit. Actually, any of Team 7 to be honest. Should’ve saved that line for Roxy or Grunge.
  • It seems like Cray’s Gen-Factor only kicks in when he’s dead. This is how he came back after being killed by those Russians in the “Team 7: Dead Reckoning.” This is also how he survived his cancer earlier in his own book. It’s been his power the whole time but he didn’t know it.
  • While Damocles’ takedown of Void is savage, it doesn’t last long and she finds her way back to the team in no time.
  • For me, Damocles always seemed like a weak villain to be the main Big-Bad of this story. The revived Miles Craven Gen-Omega, Kaizen Gamorra in general before the reveal of him being Yon Kohl and hell, even The Sword all seem like better villains. It’s like a video game where all the mini-bosses are better than the final one.
  • If this last issue feels a little anti-climactic… well it kind of is. Not sure if it was by design or what. The real final issue of this massive crossover is actually the next issue of “Deathblow.” Without it, this crossover feels very incomplete.

NEXT: “Deathblow” volume on issue 29 by Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner and Trevor Scott.

“Fire from Heaven” Chapters 12 – 14

This entry covers “Fire from Heaven” chapters 12 through 14, which include “StormWatch” volume one issue 36, “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 30 and “Sigma” issue 3 by Drew Bittner, Alan Moore, Brandon Choi, Renato Arlem, Ryan Benjamin, Travis Charest, Kevin Lau, Jose Pimentel, Richard Friend, Sandra Hope, Mark Irwin, Sal Regla, Luke Rizzo, and John Tighe.

Up front, sorry for being MIA for a bit. I’ve moved (not too terribly far from my last place) and a celebrated a birthday, Vegas style. It doesn’t seem like much but it’s been pretty busy for me and I didn’t have time to give this blog my full attention. But now, well now is a different story! Now we’re diving back into the gigantic “Fire from Heaven” crossover!

stormwatch_v1_036We join back up with Kaizen Gamorra reminding StormWatch that they need to do their damn jobs and take out the metahuman menace on his island. He even threatens to call in the UN to rat them all out personally. Even as StormWatch and StormForce are uneasily agreeing to get with the Kaizen program do the Mercs show up wanting to join forces with them. While the team doesn’t quite trust them, Deathtrap reminds the heroes that the Mercs live on Gamorra, why wouldn’t they want to defend it? The uneasy pairing takes off to track down the combined forces of  the WildC.A.T.s, Gen13, Team 7 and WetWorks (along with Union.)

So everyone is all caught up with each other and as the fight goes on the StormWatch and StormForce members want less and less to do with fighting. In fact, the only “good guy” interested in the fight at all is Flashpoint. Here, in the heat of the battle Flashpoint finally lets it slip that he has been working with Deathtrap all along! He lured StormWatch Prime to Kuwait to be captured. It’s pretty evil, then again it’s Flashpoint’s always been a bit of a jerk, so yeah, he’s an evil jerk. Might as well add stupid to that list too, because he takes on Jackson and gets his head exploded. What an evil stupid jerk.

FlashpointExpoldy

Alright, now we have StormWatch back on the side of the angels, ready to take the fight to Kaizen. But he keeps throwing things at them. First, it was Hunter-Killers, then some high-tech drones, now it is a bunch of these Omnibots. Mother-One figures out a way to hack into their shared signal of the Omnibots and force them to self-destruct. It doesn’t work on all of them, but it thins the heard enough to give the heroes an upper hand in taking out the rest. With that crisis over another one is on its way, that huge wave that we saw getting going at the end of our last chapter of “Fire from Heaven” is now right off the coast of Gamorra!

wildcats_v1_030Meanwhile, back in New York City, the Crime War is heating up between the New WildC.A.T.s and NYC’s organized crime families. The StormWatch rookies are not the help Savant was counting on. In the middle of the fight, Mr. Majestic just up and leaves, further pissing Savant off. Why did Mr. Majestic leave? Well, he saw something on television he didn’t like and had to get away to take care of it.

Back on Gamorra while a huge tsunami looms over Gamorra City, the Cybernary and her crew are breaking into Kaizen’s main base of operations. They manage to knock out his power and the combat drones protecting him. At this moment the wave crashes into the city, but Cybernary is lucky because Slayton is there to save her like she did him earlier in the crossover.

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The wave hits, but not as hard as everyone assumes that it should have. It turns out that Mr. Majestic saved the day. He’s a smart one for sure, but now it is time to get down to business, time to confront Kaizen Gamorra… or is it? That’s right readers, the Kaizen Gamorra that we’ve known so far in WildStorm comics is not the real Kaizen Gamorra at all! In fact, it is an impostor that imprisoned the true Kaizen and took his place. This impostor is none other than (insert drumroll) Yon Kohl AKA John Colt from Team One… the one that Majestic killed by request back in the ’60s.

You know, the John Colt that had his memories uploaded into Spartan? So yeah, basically there’s two of this guy running around. The way fakey Kaizen sees it is that Spartan is no more than a cheap Yon Kohl knockoff. At first, Spartan wasn’t sure to believe all this, but he had been getting flashes of memories that he didn’t quite remember so it started to add up. Spartan sees himself as what Yon Kohl stood for, and takes Kaizen to task for being a fallen version of Kohl. Not so surprisingly, they are pretty evenly matched and Mr. Majestic steps in again to finish the job he’d started 30+ years ago, and kill his former friend and fellow Kherubim Lord.

OGKohlDed

With Kaizen killed and there being only one Yon Kohl left standing, the heroes start to speak of what Damocles could be doing on the moon. There’s a problem, morale is extremely low. Lucky for everyone, Spartan has just the speech to get everyone back into the ass-kicking spirit! That’s right, it’s time to head to the moon, bitches!

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sigma_003And that’s it for straightforward storytelling! This issue of “Sigma” and all the Finale issues are all jumbled in time/happening at the same time. More on the Finale issues when we get there, but this issue picks up shortly after Ethan, Dr. Tsung and Cray teleport away from Gamorra and back to California all the way back in chapter 8. We see a replay of Damocles’ abduction the Victoria and Celia Tsung. Other than showing us what we already know, we also find out about Dr. Tsung’s past including his previous wife and daughter, as well as his how he found the wee baby Ethan and how he started working for I/O.

Ethan, Cray and Dr. Tsung get their asses to the moon by way of Qeelocke to take on Damocles. The fight is just getting started when Damocles gets his helmet knocked off revealing to everyone that he’s an alternate universe version of Dr. Tsung. While this is shocking and surprising to everyone, even The Sword, it doesn’t stop the battle. What does put a big ole cooler on the fight is that Ethan uses too much power and accidentally engages a safety mode on his suit that basically turns him into a protected lump, unable to hurt anyone or be hurt himself. With Ethan out of the way, Damocles is pretty sure he’s got this fight won with no one else to stop him. Oh yeah, things are looking bad for Earth right about now!

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Continuity Corner:

  • When Maul approaches Jackson King they make mention of the bad blood between them. This being Maul “killing” King which in a roundabout way kicked off the last big WildStorm crossover “WildStorm Rising.”
  • After Flashpoint is killed, the Mercs are taken down easily, Razor even officially surrenders. I’m sure they were supposed to be taken into custody by StormWatch, but they must’ve escaped quickly because after this they’ll join the Crime War in the pages of “WildC.A.T.s” and that’s only a matter of days after the conclusion of “Fire from Heaven.”
  • We have a few pages in “StormWatch” volume one, issue 36 where a doctor lands on Gamorra with a plan to work for Kaizen. He has a new kind of Hunter-Killer with him! This experiment turns out to be bounty hunter named Alexander Hutton and he will be the star of  the forthcoming book “Hazard.”
  • Finding out the depth of Flashpoint’s traitorous ways never quite fit well to me. Mainly because if he was working with Deathtrap, then all their dialogue near the end of “StormWatch” volume one, special issue 2 seems like it doesn’t fit. Unless he thought somehow that StormWatch was listening in on that conversation. Sorry, that’s the best I can come up with!
  • While there are a bunch of small continuity errors here and there throughout “Fire from Heaven” there’s a moment in “StormWatch” volume one, issue 36 where Mother-One loses her arm. In the next chapter in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one, issue 30 we see Caitlin Fairchild retrieving and giving Mother-One her arm back. A nice small moment in this massive and messy crossover.
  • Okay, I gotta mention this, somehow, somewhere Maggie Monroe and Capt. Lucius Morgan get off of Gamorra. Around this time some odd lights from the sky start to shine down onto the Earth and disintegrate anyone who it touches. Maggie, Lucius and some other bit players from “Sigma” get caught up in this. I could be wrong, but these characters are all dead now, right? What a lame way to go out for Maggie and Lucius!
  • Speaking of lame ways to go out… this is a pretty big revelation with Kaizen Gamorra actually being Yon Kohl and then being savagely beaten so quick! It just feel like a real loss of story opportunities.
  • Even though Pris is on the cover of “StormWatch” volume one, issue 36, she doesn’t appear anywhere inside this book. It was nice to see her though.

NEXT: “Fire from Heaven” Finale chapters 1 through 3, which includes “The Sword of Damocles” issue 2, “Fire from Heaven” issue 2 and “Deathblow” volume one issue 28 by Warren Ellis, Alan Moore, Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Randy Green, Jim Lee, Trevor Scott, John Tighe, Richard Friend, Luke Rizzo, JD, Sandra Hope, Troy Hubbs, Danny Miki, Sal Regla, Edwin Rosell, Art Thibert and Tim Townsend.

“Black Ops” issues 1 & 2

This entry covers “Black Ops” issues 1 & 2 by Shon Bury, Dan Norton, and Sandra Hope.

blackops_001I’m just going to get this out of the way, the premise of this book is that there’s an undercover I/O Black Razor team out there doing missions. The only person at I/O that knows about them is John Lynch. Lynch is no longer with I/O so there’s no one to either call them back home or vouch for them as I/O employees. Also, Miles Craven is doing business with the main dude they are going after, so this book is pretty much I/O vs. I/O. Why do I want to get that out of the way? Because, maybe it’s just me, but I kept getting this confused the first few times I read it.

The I/O Black Ops team is who we are concerned with. The team consists of Shire, GQ, Redbird and Jason Takomi with Geek back at the safehouse. Don’t get attached to Takomi, he bites it right away on the big I/O mission against a company called Spectrum. Spectrum is a company that manufactures machines of war and is selling them to the highest bidder. The man that runs Spectrum is Gennady Markov and he’s pissed that all the CEOs of Spectrum have been murdered by this black ops team. He goes running to Miles Craven because Spectrum is I/O. Of course, it is! It is an evil corporation profiting off war, damn straight Craven is involved. Craven makes it a point to let Markov know that whoever did this will be dealt with.

An aside: I’m wondering if Lynch knew that Spectrum was involved with Craven and I/O? Is this one of his last few acts as an I/O employee trying to take down the bad elements of the company he works for? We all knew he was paying a visit to the Gen13 compound because he was wanting to see what they were up to, and that’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. If the Black Ops team found out that they were fighting I/O and reported that to Lynch would he have taken flight from I/O with them instead?

So the undercover Black Razor team (our heroes) get a visit from an I/O Black Hammer team. While this is going on, Geek is getting an encrypted file from a mysterious someone inside I/O. The Black Ops team now knows they are on their own as they just fended themselves off from other I/O agents. While jetting away on their plane, the Talon, Geek cracks the code and it is leading them to a former I/O Black Razor leader named Donovan J. Crane, currently residing in Montana.

blackops_002Meanwhile, Miles Crane is telling the new I/O director, Alejandro Rios, that he wants the terrorists who shot up the Spectrum CEOs found and eliminated. Director Rios puts together a small group of I/O talent to talk it over, in attendance is Ben Santini as well as two women, one named Cathrine Kwan and one named Rose. Rios assures the room that he’s dealing with the situation, but if anyone in the room could be of help he’s ready to hear it. Not much happens here other than some I/O director drama.

The Black Ops team are getting a boatload of drama of their own. Namely, one Col.Crane who doesn’t want to be bothered. Things cool down so that they can eventually tell Crane their hard luck story. He kindly decides to train them, because the only reason he took them out so easily is that they’d become too reliant on their I/O gadgets and technology. Speaking of technology, while the rest of the team is training, Geek is building and upgrading a robot that he found in Crane’s backyard.

Just about the time that Geek is showing off his invention, named HERB, he also lets it slip that I/O has located the team and another Black Razor team is coming after them. Brace for a new fight Black Ops! Meanwhile, we see that Gen. Markov’s plan all along was to get enough I/O tech to build his own Black Hammer suit in order to make Russia great again.

Continuity Corner:

  • This book has a tough placement. The first two issues happen before “Deathblow” volume one issue 25 (the death of Miles Craven), and issues 3 through 5 happen after “Fire from Heaven” is over (Jack Lynch is back in La Jolla). When you get down to it though, the time in the WildStorm Universe from “Deathblow” volume one issue 24 through “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 34 is only really a matter of a handful of days, like a week, tops. The problem is, is that there is a whole mess of books between issue 2 and issue 3, and it’s very easy to forget about these characters when you get to see them again.
  • It doesn’t help when there’s a reference on the first page of this book referring to Laslo making a heroin drop off the day before, a nod to “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue #21. Not sure if we are to suppose that Laslo got away as well after the events of that book, or that Laslo is already out on bail after the events of that book and back to his old drug slinging ways. Or if we are to suppose that this book takes place the day after “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue #21. If so, then damn… I think this may be a time where my head canon/no prize explanation of the story makes it fit a little bit in the wider scheme of things.
  • We do have a reference that the last time the Black Ops team got a money drop was four months prior, so it’s been at least that long since Lynch left I/O.
  • Still not sure who that Rose woman was that we see at the I/O meeting. It wasn’t Rose Grady from the Black Razors. This book sure throws a lot of new characters at you, and pretty quickly, too!
  • In “Deathblow” volume one issue #24 we’ll find out why Alicia Turner isn’t at this I/O director’s meeting. Turns out she’s being held by the Brethren because she was caught trying to help former Team 7 members from getting their Gen-Factor sucked out.
  • I’m willing to buy that the time it took Col. Crane to train up the Black Ops team and the time it took I/O to find them that a week or two could’ve passed fitting this all into the timeline pretty well.
  • Lynch has twice left people out in the field. First with the Black Ops team then later with Holden Carver. Get your head together Lynch!

NEXT: “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issues 23 & 24 by Alan Moore, Ryan Benjamin, Jason Johnson, Art Thibert, Terry Austin, Tom McWeeney, Hakjoon Kang, Andy Owens and Harry Thuran

“Grifter” Vol. 1 issues 7 – 10

This entry covers “Grifter” volume one, issues 7 through 10 by Steven T. Seagle, Ryan Benjamin, Cedric Nocon, Roy Martinez, Chuck Gibson, Sandra Hope, Danny Bulanadi and Gerry Alanguilan.

Grifter_v1_007Our old buddy Cole Cash finds himself in Los Angeles. In fact, he’s dropping into the ocean just off of Venice Beach. What’s with this dude and falling into the ocean? Cole comes to and makes friends with a bum named Eddie. While Cole’s getting to know his new buddy a strange handoff is going on in the background, and it isn’t going well.

The handoff is a book. And the book details Los Angeles’ mayor John Thomley’s mismanagement of the subway system fund. A former assistant to the mayor is selling it to the man running against Thomley, Mario Reynaldo, so Reynaldo has blackmail on Thomley, hoping to get him to drop out of the upcoming election. Reynaldo sends a street gang, the Carnivores, who work for him to pick up the book. To stop the exchange of the book, Thomley hires mercenary Serge to snag the book back for him. With all this going on the exchange is getting pretty violent, that’s where Cole steps in.

ColesTooOldForThisShit

Not that Cole does a whole lot of good either. He pretty much gets hit with some kind of poisoned bullet that causes him to hallucinate a whole bunch. First, he starts to hallucinate his fight with Serge as a crazy wild west scene. Serge eventually sees that Eddie the bum has ended up with the book as all hell was breaking loose, and manages to get it from Eddie. At the point Eddie goes to hide, Serge takes off to return the book to Thomley and Cole starts to hallucinate seeing Zealot.

Grifter_v1_008Why Zealot? Well, Prayer is also in LA, only she’s looking for vengeance. She’s a tough no nonsense kinda chick who knows her way around a battle. You can see how he could get them confused if he was way way out of his mind. What is Prayer doing here? Turns out Prayer’s sister was an assistant to Mayor Thomley and they had a child out of wedlock together. Thomley then had his assistant killed and aimed to have his daughter in hiding. Prayer means to find this girl, her niece, and goddaughter, and give her a better life. Oh, and Reynaldo already had a reporter killed and has kidnapped this little girl too so he’ll have more leverage over Thomley. Reynaldo, it’s called overkill, but you can’t blame a man for having some backup contingencies.

With the book out of the picture, Prayer goes hunting down Serge and find out what is in the book that Thomley is trying to suppress. Maybe there’s information about her niece in it. Turns out Eddie pulled a fast one and exchanged the much-wanted book with a bible. This amuses no one and serves to piss off Thomley and Serge as they meet up and discover this. It also angers Prayer who is watching this exchange from afar.

TheRevelation

Grifter_v1_009Meanwhile, Cole stops seeing things but forgets who he is. He is dragged from where all the action went down and he wakes up in the lair of the Carnivores. He eventually makes it through their initiation and becomes a full-fledged member of the gang. The gang then starts to get ready for the next day, where they will crash the Mayoral debate in Santa Monica and the opening of the new SeaWatch base and present the public with Manda, Thomley’s daughter. While prepping for the day Cole creates a mask… his Grifter mask, and as soon as he puts it on he is in his right head again. Now he just has to find a way out of this mess.

Everything comes to a head at SeaWatch. Thomley has hired his own street gang, the Predators, and tasks them with keeping the Carnivores for trying anything during the debate. We have most of the Carnivores, with Cole and Manda, breaking into the SeaWatch base via the sewer lines. There’s also Serge, now joined by his large pal, Mahkinot who’re are pissed off at Thomley for stiffing them because, well, they didn’t bring him the book they were hired to. Honestly, I’m with Thomley on this one. Oh, and Prayer is there too, to assassinate Thomley. But before everything went down, Eddie approached SeaWatch and met one of the directors of the research project, and handed her the book everyone has been after.

SeaWatch

Grifter_v1_010It becomes just a huge mess of violence that ends in both the Mayor and his opponent dead, with only a week until elections. And almost all the gang members in the Carnivores and the Predators dead as well. Manda is saved by Cole when the two of them almost drowned because they were on a submarine as it was launching accidentally from SeaWatch. We are left to assume that Serge and Mahkinot moved on, Prayer took Manda to care for, and the SeaWatch director that was handing around Eddie the Bum presented the book of Thomley’s misdeeds to the media.

Alright, that last part is pretty much a fact. The media suddenly seems to know everything about Manda being Thomley’s illegitimate kid. The Los Angeles police have publicly stated that they’d like to talk to Cole, AKA the masked man that saved Manda, just to see how he was involved in the event. Cole decides to time to start moving towards home and gets a bus headed to Las Vegas. Hey, East is East buddy, and New York is a lot East of Los Angeles, Cole needs to get moving.

GoodbyeCalifornia

Continuity Corner:

  • We last saw Prayer when Grifter was fresh off the WildC.A.T.s team in “Grifter: Sneak Peak” from Overwatch’s Fan issue 1.
  • The lines that Prayer says as Zealot mostly work for both characters, neat.
  • And even though we know better, Cole still thinks that Zealot is dead and gone since “WildStorm Rising” issue 2.
  • Serge and Mahkinot will next pop up in “Backlash” 12 – 14, even though I think those books may’ve been published earlier. For either appearance it doesn’t really matter which you read first, I just wanted to get caught up with Cole because we haven’t seen him in so long.
  • At the SeaWatch opening, the local press talks about the trouble that StormWatch is going through. That being the whole SkyWatch crashing and the U.N. being partially destroyed.
  • Seeing SeaWatch made me realize that there is no real Aquaman/Namor analogue in the WildStorm Universe. Sure, we have characters with water-based powers, and there’s even Atlantis where Slayton’s pop was king. But no real “Lord of the Seas” kinda guy.

NEXT: “StormWatch” volume one issues 28 and 29 by Jeff Mariotte, Barbara Kesel, Ron Lim, Mike S. Miller, Robert Jones and Randy Elliot

“Wetworks” Vol. 1 issues 9 – 11

This entry covers “Wetworks” volume one, issues 9 through 11 by Whilce Portacio, Francis Takenaga, Steven Grant, Dan Norton, Mark Pacella, Tom Raney, Mike S. Miller, Dan Panosian, Sal Regla, Scott Williams and Sandra Hope.

wetworks_v1_009Ugh. Just… I mean… sigh… these three issues… these three damn issues… Ok to be fair issues 9 and 11 are pretty good! I guess it’s just issue 10 that sticks in my craw a bit. To be fair, I’m not against fill-in issues at all… it’s just that this one seemed pointless. Also, it’s not even written by Portacio and/or Takenaga. I understand when Whilce can’t draw fast enough to keep up, that’s fair, but at least keep one of the writers on the book so that it all makes relative sense. As it is, we have such a large story with a lot of moving pieces, then to have issue 10 tossed in the middle of the mix makes everything even more disjointed than it needed to be.

Mr. Waering is having the Wetworks crew sneak into the big coronation of Drakken as the new head of the Vampires. It is such a big deal the other Night Tribes are in attendance. Even Waering himself! Basically, it’s a big ole party to show that the Blood Queen is out of power. Bonus for us, we get to meet some of the other Night Tribes, like those little hippopotamus looking fellows and some freakin’ dwarves! So what exactly are Dane and crew there to accomplish? You’d think it is to kill Drakken, but it seems in the end, unbeknownst to the Wetworks team, they were just there to run interference while other werewolves capture Drakken to take him to Waering, the Jaquar, for him to kill Drakken.

wetworks_v1_010Once the fighting starts Dane and Claymore manage to get pretty close to Drakken, then Drakken pulls out some kind of device and tosses it at Claymore. It flies right into his forehead, sticks there and then makes his symbiote go nuts and is also trying to kill Claymore. This effects Dane’s symbiote and his mind via some crazy psychic feedback. He’s starting to remember back to when Void was telling him that Jester was something other than he seemed. This then turns into a hallucination with Dane and Void merging and having an existential crisis. After freaking out for about a century about how big and empty the universe is, and how we’re all so small, Dane snaps out of it and gets back to the real world. Looks like it’s time to call in Mother-One to save their asses from Drakken and other vampires and have Dozer save the whole team from this entire debacle.

wetworks_v1_011So… um… OK. In the end I guess Wetworks did their job, they killed a lot of vampires, but they didn’t kill Drakken. Drakken killed a lot of everyone, included vampires from his faction, the ones that had saved him from getting killed by werewolves. Drakken’s thingy has left Claymore is hella wounded. A version of Pilgrim pops in and saves Dane’s bacon. The underground city of Dras’adin is starting to crumble. And finally, the Blood Queen is ready to party now that she has no more royal responsibilities and Persephone is all “Oh boy, here we go again” and rolls her deep red eyes.

Continuity Corner:

  • The events that Dane are remembering with Void are from “Wetworks” volume one issue 8. But the landscape looks a lot more lush this time around.
  • Issue 10 seems to happen between the last few pages of issue 9. I mean Dozer is called in to crash the party at the end of each issue.
  • Pilgrim is back for a hot second before she officially comes back in “Wetworks” volume one issue 19.

NEXT: “the Lone One : a Tale Every Vampire Knows” back-up stories from “Wetworks” volume one, issue 7, 9 – 11 by Tom Harrington, Jeff Rebner, Mark Pennington and John Lowe.

“Backlash” issues 9 – 11

this entry covers “Backlash” issues 9 through 11

Backlash_Vol_1_9So Slayton, nice chap that he is, is going to spring Amana Reed from her incarceration now that he’s back from Nicaragua. Through CyberJack he’s found where she’s being held in preparation for her transfer back to Purgatory Max prison, a place called Stonewall Prison. He knows it’s dangerous, as he’s still on the Most Wanted list and he’s breaking into a government facility. What he doesn’t know,  is that he’s going to be running into Dingo again during this rescue.

Well, to be fair, Dingo will be running into Reed first, as she’s being chased by the aptly named Chasers. It doesn’t take long before the trio all meet up and take the hell off. Even though they just escaped the Chasers they all split up. Dingo’s done due to his stealth mission for info busted up, but as we’ll find out later, his real job was to free Reed, attach a tracker to her, follow her to Slayton. He did one better and got it on the target directly. Amanda leaves because she got all “I don’t need you to fight my battles, Marc” leaving Slayton to go hang with CyberJack. This could be a relaxing time, save for Slayton’s apparent long lost daughter, Jodi, showing up!

Backlash_Vol_1_10Turns out Slayton did the nasty in the pasty with Jodi’s mom. 1980 to be exact. So he thinks it’s plausible. He even thinks to himself that even if Jodi isn’t his, he still owes it to her dead mom, his past love, to take care of Jodi. Awwwww, so sweet. The biggest thing we miss when we’re not seeing Slayton in “Backlash” or “WildCore” is seeing his sweet side. He can be such a lovable guy, but he usually chooses to ignore those impulses.

The next day CyberJack goes to pick up more supplies for the new safe house.  Also, Slayton decides to take Jodi to Coney Island for a day of fun. This is when the Kindred start to track the homing beacon Dingo placed on Slayton during the Amanda rescue. They arrive at an empty house. The Kindred, in this case, are Fennix, Kamin, Slider, the aforementioned Dingo and of course their leader, Bloodmoon. As Jack gets home he sees it being ransacked, before he can roll into action the creatures all leave. During this their tearing of the place down,  they find Slayton’s note about being at Coney Island and they head off to confront him there.

Backlash_Vol_1_11Well, it’s not hard to catch a man when it’s five against one, so the Kindred just the best of old man Slayton. Bloodmoon’s plan is to get some of Slayton’s blood, look more into the Gen-Factor contained in his blood to refine the Kindred process. Unfortunately for them, the Gen-Factor has been mutated by Slayton’s Kheribum genetics. But hey, the got Jodi and low and behold, her blood just might work. This upset Dingo, it’s not what he signed on for, hurting innocent girls. In fact, if it wasn’t for his change of heart, Slayton and Jodi wouldn’t have gotten out of that mess at all. I mean Slayton did do some damage after escaping from his shackles, and Jodi did manifest her Gen-Active powers during the fight, but Dingo saved the day in the end.

Continuity Corner :

  • During a battle with the Chaser Gaze Slayton start seeing more of his past. There’s a shot of him as a samurai in Japan which we’ll see more of in “Backlash” issue 14, as well as Gaze and Slayton stating there’s block in his memories, and they aren’t sure why. I mean, we know why, but not how or by whom.
  • At the end of the big fight with the Kindred, we only see Bloodmoon and Slider get away. I assume Fennix is dead from her gunshot wounds and Kamin just kind of disappears. Never sure what the final fate of those two was. EDIT: reader DAMartin points out that Kamin was electrocuted. And I’m ashamed as to where my head was at while writing this, because, yeah, it’s right there, blatantly on the page! Thanks DAMartin!
  • Throughout these issues both Slayton and CyberJack keep making mention of how Giavonni can help them out. We’ll meet Giavonni soon.

NEXT : “Wildcats : Ladytron” by Joe Casey, Eric Canete, Jason Johnson, Mark Irwin, Mark McKenna, Arthur Nichols, Luke Rizzo, Joe Rubinstein and Juan Vlasco