Tag Archives: Serge

“Backlash” issues 12 – 14

This entry covers “Backlash” issues 12 – 14 by Sean Ruffner, Brett Booth, Chuck Gibson, Al Vey and Mark Pennington.

backlash_012Get this everybody, Amanda Reed is pissed off! Say what? Is she acting sassy, too? See, she is on the hunt for Gilbert Branum. Gilbert is the guy that can set her clear her name so she can officially be a free woman again. Of course, Slayton is going to show up and help her, it’s what friends do. Especially friends who are newly single and happened to have hooked up with other said friend in the past.

Slayton already has the inside scoop on Branum’s whereabouts, because Slayton called his old friend Giavonni at the government agency Paranormal Search & Investigations (P.S.I.) and got the skinny. After getting reacquainted, Reed and Slayton make a stop at CyberJack’s latest safehouse to get ready to capture Branum. Amanda also gets to meet Slayton’s daughter, Jodi, which was new to her (and still pretty new to us all.) The duo then jet off to the Florida Keys on their self-serving mission.

backlash_013So, how can Branum help Slayton and Reed? Well, it turns out that he was a mole for the government in the Cabal. In fact, he helped stage the murder of Professor Hoagland, which Reed was wrongly accused of just so he could rise up the Cabal’s ranks and get further embedded for his spy work. He is the only guy that can say on the record that Reed is innocent, not only that but if Reed is innocent then Slayton breaking her out of Purgatory Max can’t be illegal because she was never supposed to be imprisoned in the first place. Getting close to Branum is the hard part, this is due to the government getting him round the clock protection, you know, due to him being a spy while being in the Cabal. Sure, the Cabal really isn’t a thing anymore (I mean the WildStorm Universe seems to still think it is, but it doesn’t really write to it being truly active anymore) but there’s Pike and the Cabal’s pet Coda still running around, so an order of protection is sensical. Heck, those two fantastical futuristic mercenaries Serge and Mahkinot are helping protect Barnam.

You know what happens. Reed and Slayton come up against Serge and Mahkinot and they all start to fight. It takes some crazy event for them to all see that they are on the same side. In this case, it is space monsters. Specifically a space vampire and a space mummy. I kind of wish this was a joke because of how silly it sounds, but with the drawing talents of Brett Booth, it works. In an instant Mahkinot takes Barnum away to safety, Reed and Serge get stunned by the space vampire Lilitu and Slayton… well… he dead.

backlash_014The action relocates to Arizona where Lilitu has a pyramid built. Slayton’s “dead” body is be monitored by Lilitu’s people, Serge is in her thrall and Reed is some sort of transfixed. This is all due to Reed’s body armor. There was some deal between Lilitu’s space vampire big daddy Calobis and Helspont. Helspont was supposed to cure the space vampires of their space vampirism. Helspont failed, but they apparently built Reed’s suit with DNA that the Cabal had taken from Calobis. Complicated, sure, but this is comics, and this is why we LOVE comics. Well, at least it is why I love comics. Oh, ready to get more complicated? Turns out Calobis is still kinda sorta alive in this suit, but he’s too bonded with Amanda for anyone to remove it and not kill him. Turns out there’s another suit like this out there, and if Lilitu can find it, she can smoosh them together and Calobis will be free of Reed. Neat.

Through Calobis puppeting Reed, a small beat down is happening against Lilitu and her space mummy sidekick. Even Serge is coming in and out of his thrall to through a few punches in the correct direction. CyberJack and Jodi are on their way to save Marc and Amanda when they encounter Mahkinot and decide to team up. Meanwhile, newly re-alive Slayton is playing out an old memory of him being in ancient Japan. It works wonders and he ends up where all the action is going down until he snaps back into the real world. Before he can do anything heroic to save the day, Mahkinot Kool-Aide Man’s it and bursts through the wall. This throws sunlight everywhere and even though she’s a space vampire, Lilitu can’t be in sunlight. Thusly, our heroes manage an escape on Mahkinot’s jet.

Arriving back at CyberJack’s safehouse Jodi notes that a proximity alarm has been tripped. Slayton commands everyone to stay back as he goes to investigate. Who’s waiting for him? Turns out it’s his old pal Cray, fixing himself a bowl full of Cheerios. Hell of a time for a drop in Cray.

Continuity Corner:

  • The end of this story picks right up in “Deathblow” volume one issue 23. We’re presented with only Cray in the kitchen in “Backlash” 14, but both he and Dane will be present in the “Deathblow” issue. It doesn’t seem like more than a few seconds have even passed, that’s why I’m not a fan of the reading order in the back of an issue of “Deathblow” that has Dane return to Wetworks to do a training exercise between the two issues. It just doesn’t work as well as my somewhat wonky way to read issues 14 and 15 of “Wetworks” volume one.
  • Next time we’ll meet Lilitu is in “WildCore” issues 5 and 6, so keep her in the back of your mind.
  • While it is never specified in the comic which government agency Branum was working for, he eventually goes on to work for P.S.I. as does the entire cast of “Backlash” after “Fire from Heaven.”
  • We’re getting our first vision of Slayton’s long life with his memories of old Japan. It is 1642 and he’s in the Edo area of Japan as a ninja, fighting other ninja and samurai because he was betrayed by the current warlord in charge, Lord Tokugawa. Edo is now known as Tokyo, and the year lines up with when Japanese society was under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate. Score one for historical accuracy (for once).
  • Serge and Mahkinot have that cool jet, I figure that’s how they got from one paying job in LA in “Grifter” volume one issues 7 through 10, to the Florida Keys in “Backlash” issue 12 so quickly.
  • Something’s been bugging me… how did Serge & Mahkinot get to the mid ’90s? I’ll admit, I may’ve missed it, but they’re from Mars and from the year 2017, right? So how did they get to Earth and in their past? Is it ever explained?

NEXT: “Deathblow” volume one issue 23 by Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Jeff Johnson, Scott Kolins and Trevor Scott

“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