Tag Archives: StormForce

“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.

EasySaysYouMrMags

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!

ShootTheMoon

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!

DamoclesWins

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.

“Fire from Heaven” Chapters 9 – 11

This entry covers “Fire from Heaven” Chapters 9 through 11, which include “Gen13” volume two issue 11, “Backlash” issue 20 and “Wetworks” volume one issue 17 by J. Scott Campbell, Brandon Choi, Jim Lee, Brett Booth, Sean Ruffner, Jonathan Peterson, Terry Shoemaker, Melvin Rubi, Cedric Nocon, Saleem Crawford, Richard Friend, Alex Garner, Tom McWeeney, Tom Raney, Luke Rizzo, John Tighe, Mark Pennington, Art Thibert and Chuck Gibson.

gen13_v2_011Well, here we are again, covering the massive “Fire from Heaven” crossover! Here’s some good news, these three issues are pretty much told in real time, chapter by chapter. No more rewinding to find out how who got where just straightforward storytelling. But I have some bad news… it lasts for a few more issues after this. Then it gets back to the whole “all these issues are happening at once” tactic. Enjoy this streamlined ride while you can!

When we last left Team 7 and Gen13 they were in a big fight against Damocles and his pals, being backed up by Kaizen with the Minotaur and his cronies, and we just saw Ethan, Dr. Tsung, and Michael Cray teleport away with Qeelocke.  It’s a bit too much for our heroes and they all get captured by Kaizen and detained. Before Kaizen can take them for himself, StormForce shows up to help and monitor the prisoners. Jackson King gets into an argument with Kaisen stating that because they were called to help, StormWatch is gonna help, and that means they take the prisoners.

In the detention center, things get a little more… well personal. Jodi is excited to see Amanda again, and Team 7 is happy to see Dane holding up. Alex Fairchild puts two and two together and realizes that Caitlyn is his daughter. They have a nice little moment until Grunge asks about his dad and Alex starts to tell him about how they smuggled the kids out of the country. This is when Lynch gets crazy mad because he just realized that it was Alex who kidnapped his son and sent him off, lost forever. Well, not entirely forever, as Alex tells Lynch that Bobby is his son. Whoa! Too much information and Lynch passes out.

ImNotCryingYoureCrying

Meanwhile, Damocles starts to put a few things together about this universe. While his motivations remain a mystery to the reader and those around him, Damocles kidnaps Victoria and Celia Tsung. Once the Tsung women are on the moon with him he calls for his doomsday device to be activated, just for a test run. It’s basically a huge rocket engine on the moon, and his plan is to smash the moon into the Earth and use the released energy to teleport him to another universe. Again. He seems to do something like this a lot from what we can gather. Anyway, like I said it was a test, so you know, the stars of these books still have plenty of time to get to the moon and stop him before he is for realzies about this moon missile plan.

Oh, and these three things happen. All of the WildCATs except for Spartan are immediately caught and thrown in the same prison as the rest. DV8 are wandering the woods of Gamorra and manage to secretly escape the island. Jackson King is starting to think that something is up, and is not comfortable holding so many good men and women hostage.

backlash_020Back in the main narrative, we see Slayton and the Cybernary starting to check out the prison compound where the rest of our story antagonists are located. They are quickly joined by Spartan. Suddenly they are under attack by Aries and a bunch of Hunter-Killers, and they unleash their most terrifying weapon of all: Evil Mind-Controlled Pimped Out CyberJack. Slayton can’t believe his eyes, or his ears as Jack isn’t talking with anything but his fists. Luckily Union shows up to even the odds out a bit.

The fight between Slayton and CyberJack is massive and eventually leads us right into the prison. All this destruction and distraction turns out to be a good thing as is leaves massive holes in the walls and dead HK guards making for an easier exit for all the captives. At one point Flashpoint tries to stop them all, but he’s met with a knock-out mind ray from Jackson King. Seriously, Jackson is really getting sick of his shit. Slayton manages a few good blows to CyberJack that momentarily give old Rhodes back his mind. Jack tells them all to clear out, he knows what Kaizen is going to do and wants them all safe. What is Kaizen going to do? Well, detonate a bomb in CyberJack’s cortex. Yeah… devastating. All our heroes manage to get free as they take a quick minute to mourn the loss of a friend and ally.

PourOneOutForJack

wetworks_v1_017Alright, everyone, it’s time for the team up of the WildStorm decade! Pretty much all their characters are together (save StormWatch) on the way to punish Kaizen Gamorra as a group! Seeing them in such a big mass together, sneaking around Gamorra, interacting with each other is a trip! This is the kinda thing that makes comics so fun. Well fun for me, the reader, not so much the characters. This trek isn’t so easy. In fact, at one point they all get surrounded by some new high-tech attack drones. While the fight seems all but lost, there’s a sudden save from a massive (and I do mean massive) Dozer from Wetworks being dropped like a machine gun blazin’ bomb. He saves the day and everyone soldiers on.

HeyaDozer

Back on the moon, Damocles readies his weapon for reals. That’s right, it’s time to shoot the moon right into the Earth. It’s go time! And of course, that means things going haywire on Earth again. We have more earthquakes! We have volcanos erupting! And we have an even bigger big ass wave headed towards the island of Gamorra! Could all our heroes be wiped out by the wave before they get to Kaizen? If the wave takes them out but also Kaizen is that a good thing? Wait, why am I worried about this huge wave THE FRIKKIN’ MOON IS ON A COLLISION COURSE WITH EARTH!

Continuity Corner:

  • The first few pages of “Gen13” volume two issue 11 here is the only real retread we get of what we’ve seen before. It gives us a nice J. Scott Campbell 2 page spread of the end of the fight, this time branching off to see what is going on in Gamorra instead of following Ethan, Dr. Tsung and Cray to California.
  • We currently don’t know much about the Gen-Active child smuggling that Alex was involved in just yet, but we’ll find out all about it in the “Gen12” series.
  • Too bad The Bleed had yet to be officially “found” in the WildStorm Universe, could’ve saved Damocles a lot of time and effort.
  • While we don’t see an official meet up the Wetworks team being imprisoned with the rest. Those characters are suddenly there, in jail. I think a page or two could’ve been spared to address this… maybe even a single panel.

NEXT: “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 Arnem, Ryan Benjamin, Travis Charest, Kevin Lau, Jose Pimentel, Richard Friend, Sandra Hope, Mark Irwin, Sal Regla, Luke Rizzo, and John Tighe.

“Fire from Heaven” Chapters 1 – 3

This entry covers “Fire from Heaven” chapters 1 through 3 which include “Fire from Heaven” issue 1, “Backlash” issue 19 and “Gen13” volume two issue 10 by Alan Moore, Sean Ruffner, Brett Booth, Brandon Choi, J. Scott Campbell, Jim Lee, Ryan Benjamin, Ryan Odagawa, Chuck Gibson, Richard Friend, Mark Irwin, Mark Pennington, Alex Garner, JD, Tom McWeeney and Scott Williams

firefromheaven_001Ok, now it is time for us to properly get this crossover started! We see StormWatch making their presence known on the island nation of Gamorra. The leader of this island is Kaizen Gamorra, and he’s mixed up in researching the Gen-Factor. While this is usually enough to get Team 7 involved, they have more reason after finding out he’s been working with their former boss Miles Craven, the man who recently had the Gen-Factor extracted from many former Team 7 members. Kaizen knows that Team 7 will be coming for him, so he’s requested StormWatch to come and protect him from the rebels that threaten him. Little does StormWatch know that the rebels aren’t actually all that bad once you consider Kaizen, and that Team 7 and the Gen13 kids aren’t really part of the Gamorra rebel group, they’re just concerned citizens trying to find their friends and family that have been captured by Kaizen and the Bountyhunters. Yeah, the Bountyhunters and Kaizen have struck up a shaky alliance. Hey, it’s a cross-over, pretty much every major player in the WildStorm Universe is tied-in somehow, that’s the whole point!

While Team 7 and Gen13, along with Ethan and Secret Agent Maggie, are on their way to Gamorra, their jet gets shot. While the jet is going down Slayton, Bobby and Dane get into an escape pod and safely land far from the rest of the team. Yeah, even though their flight plan was changed due to a frickin’ laser from space, Cole, Caitlin, Grunge, Sarah, Lynch, Cray, Ethan and Secret Agent Maggie manage to survive the landing. While getting their bearings on the beach they are attacked by Flashpoint, Cannon, and Fahrenheit of StormWatch. Depending on which book you read (“Fire from Heaven” issue 1 or “Gen13” volume two issue 10) shows you a different outcome to the fight. Either way, the fight is resolved and StormWatch moves on.

BeachFight

Before we check in with the trio in the escape pod, we first need to catch up with a few other characters. To this end we see Jodi and Amanda looking for leads on where CyberJack might be. While lurking they see and are squicked out by, Ivana and the DV8 kids, who are on Gamorra because Ivana found out about the clone of Ethan, and she wants it. Eventually, Jodi and Amanda end up in a bar where they overhear from Kaizen’s right-hand man Aries, that Team 7 is on the island. They take off, hoping to find Slayton, before Aries, the Minotaur or his goons see them.

backlash_019Now back to Marc, Bobby, and Dane, who get separated from the rest of their crew when their plane was shot down by a frikkin’ space laser! The boys argue a bit while the girls are catching up to them. Just as suddenly as Jodi and Amanda get to Bobby, Dane, and Marc they are joined by Aries, the Minotaur, Borgia and a number of hunter-killers.

Our heroes seem to make short work of the bad guys before an earthquake occurs. Turns out this earthquake is over a volcano and magma starts pushing itself up to the surface. At this point, Bobby grabs Jodi and Aries and flies off, Marc tosses Amanda to Dane and a font of magma flies up between Marc and the rest knocking him over. Fearing him for dead Amanda and Dane mournfully move on. But come on, nothing like that could kill ole Backlash! Truth be told, he his holding on for dear life on the edge of a cliff hoping not to drop when Cybernary comes to save the day! She’d been watching the brawl, and anyone who’s against Kaizen and his crew are friends to her.

SlaytonGetsAllTheLadies

Back in New York, we are seeing the WildC.A.T.s team start to splinter. Zannah leaving the team to follow Cole to Gamorra and we have Pris and Jacob straight up leaving everything. The new team wants the old team to stay behind and help out with the crime war, but Zannah isn’t hearing it.

We get one quick page of seeing what Kaizen has done to CyberJack after all his time on this island. He’s more Cyber than Jack now and has seemed to have lost his personality. Kaizen’s plan is to turn Jack on his old friends… uh oh!

Up on SkyWatch II, Henry Bendix is sensing some crazy shit going on behind the moon. It looks like the Bountyhunters are using some crazy tech to open a portal for Damocles to come through. All this power so close to the moon is also starting to affect the tides on Earth.

gen13_v2_010Back down on Gamorra Alex Fairchild and Lucius Morgan are combing this island for info about what’s going on. They eventually find out pretty much everything on their first try! That Team 7 killed Craven, that Team 7 is on the island, and that Kaizen is keeping a hostage, that of a Team 7 child. The duo surmises that Team 7 is on Gamorra to kill Kaizen and they head off to join their old friends.

Ivana wants that Gen-Omega so her and the DV8 kids are breaking into Kaizen’s compound through the front gates. While a slight annoyance to Kaizen, he isn’t too worried. He just decides it is time to awaken the Gen-Omega a little ahead of schedule. What could it hurt, it’s probably what they’re after anyway. As Dr. Tsung and Roxy talk about how they each ended up on Kaizen’s floor in chains, their friends in Team 7 and Gen13 are sneaking in the back door.

Meanwhile, Jodi and Bobby get to know Aries. Well not really. All they know is that he’s their key to getting to Kaizen and that his and Jodi’s powers go all wonky when they get too close to each other. Aries reluctantly agrees to take them to Kaizen.

BadAssBobby

Back to Berkley for a quick page to see Colby and Alicia leave the Tsung ladies to go back to work at I/O. Mrs. Tsung and Celia are devastated by what they’re seeing on the news about Gamorra but know that Colby and Alicia could do more good back at the newly Craven-free I/O.

In Gamorra there’s less good news. Team 7 and Gen13 reach Dr. Tsung and Roxy and before anyone can celebrate too much Ivana and the DV8 kids burst into the same room. Predictably a fight is on! It doesn’t go too well for the DV8 kids, and it seems that Ethan is the secret weapon, as he even took down Threshold! During the fight, Ethan starts to feel woozy, and Dr. Tsung thinks it might have something to do with the Gen-Omega coming online. Ethan, Dr. Tsung and Secret Agent Maggie head down the same corridor that Kaizen disappeared into earlier. They arrive at the Gen-Omega pod just in time to meet it… the reborn Miles Craven! In a fresh new body, complete with the Gen-Factor stolen from Team 7. This… this is gonna be trouble!

RebornCraven

Continuity Corner:

  • Jesus, is Hellstrike miscolored here! I mean they even allude to his “jade glow” later and still managed to miscolor him for pages! Which colorist and editor were asleep at the wheel for this one?
  • Speaking of, seeing Frostbite and Evo in DV8 colored as pale white guys gives me the heeby-jeebies! It just looks so very very wrong!
  • We’ll see an expanded version of the WildCATs scene from “Fire from Heaven” issue 1 in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 29.
  • At the end of “Fire from Heaven” issue 1 we see Hunter-Killers move in on the Team 7/Gen13 crew after StormWatch has subdued them and leaves. When we get to “Gen13” volume two issue 10 we never see that scene. We have Team 7 and Gen13 kicking the StormWatch boy’s asses and then moving to Kaizen’s place after Fahrenheit takes Flashpoint and Cannon away.
  • One of the reasons I always forget that Minotaur has a horse-body is because sometimes he doesn’t! Like in the bar in “Backlash” issue 19. I figure that Minotaur must be mostly cybernetic and any of his organic parts left are must be in his upper body so that he can just mount himself on either robot-horse legs or robot-human legs, his choice on how centaur-like he feels in the morning. This would also explain how easily he can replace his left arm after Slayton lops it off.
  • Cray mentions the sneaky way into Kaizen’s place cost a friend of his their life, I assume he means Mai-Li T’Sung from “Deathblow” volume one issue 19.
  • An odd bit of continuity here with the Bountyhunters in chapters 2 and 3. In “Backlash” issue 19 (Chapter 2) we see them already on the moon getting the portal ready for Damocles. In “Gen13” volume two issue 10 (Chapter 3) we see the Bountyhunters with Kaizen, then they leave to go to the moon. I have to figure these events are happening at the same time, because later on in the “Gen13” issue we see Bobby with Jodi and Aries. If we wanted to get super picky I’d say that “Backlash” issue 19 should be read after the first 10 pages of “Gen13” volume two issue 10, right after the Bountyhunters attack the StormWatch members on the moon. But man… that’d be super convoluted, even for me!

NEXT: “Fire from Heaven” chapters 3 through 5, which include “Wetworks” volume one issue 16, “StormWatch” volume one issue 35 and “Sigma” issue 2 by Jonathan Peterson, Drew Bitner, Brandon Choi, Cedric Nocon, Renato Arlem, Randy Green, Chuck Gibson, Danny Bulanadi, Jose Pimentel and Sal Regla

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 30 – 33

This entry covers “StormWatch” volume one issues 30 through 33 by H.K. Proger, Renato Arlem, Brad Vancata and Robert Jones as well as the “Synergy” back up story by Barbara Kesel and Mike Miller in issue 30. Best reading order would put the “Synergy” back up story from issue 30 as the first thing you read, followed by the rest of issue 30, then issues 31 through 33.

stormwatch_v1_030I’m going to start off by saying this. I don’t like these issues. I don’t like them at all. I find them a chore to get through. In fact, I think issue 31 was the issue that made me drop this title when I was a kid. I remember reading issues 28 and 29 and being “Uh… this isn’t exactly the book I’ve been digging… but, it’s still good.” Even then I could tell quality, and those issues were ok, but then this run followed. Ugh. It just seems so all over the place, and oddly paced. Also, there’s a bunch of art mistakes as well (See most of the Continuity Corner below). That and we’re just bombarded by new character after new character, it gets to be a bit much. There is one thing I did like, and that’s the “Synergy” back up story in issue 30, but, sigh, even that has a bit of a problem.

We see Christine Trelane being asked to activate a former StormForce member. Apparently, she’s a seedling. Providence came to the girl that if she isn’t activated, her and her family won’t be around in a year. Christine doesn’t trust Providence at first, but Providence comes to tell her that what she told the girl was true, but also because of the forking nature of the future there are two possibilities. The first, the girl is unactivated, something happens and the girl’s family will be killed, but if the girl is activated it sends her on a road that ends up in super-villainy. Providence leaves this choice to Christine, and Christine comes up with a solution. The solution is… to be continued. We never get any resolution to this short story. It’s a shame too, as it could’ve been interesting. With Barbara Kesel on the writing duties, it could’ve gone far. Dare I say, between this backup and the “Fuji” backup in “StormWatch” volume one issue 29, she has a much better handle on the characters than H.K. Proger (whoever that may be) and might’ve been a better choice to take on the rest of these issues.

stormwatch_v1_031Ok, on to the rest of these 4 issues… A lot happens, a lot. All of our rookies from last issue, along with less recent rookie Pagan, are with Christine Trelane helping the U.N. move some nuclear weaponry that Saddam Kussein has willingly surrendered to the U.N. The StormWatch team is mostly there because the U.N. requested them to, and these losers could use a simple mission after the last on in Germany. Oh, and there are two new rookies as well, Blitz and Damascus. Don’t get too attached to them, they’re going to be dead soon by the hands of Heaven’s Fist, a group of terrorist super-powered beings. Heaven’s Fist works for a terrorist known as Abu Fawaz, whom few people have laid actual eyes on. Heaven’s Fist is stealing these nukes to be used later to blow up various places in the name of, well, terrorism. Heaven’s Fist also kidnaps all the StormWatch members that survive their attack.

Henry Bendix gets the old crew back together, including a recently found and new bodied Hellstrike and a recently released from prison Flashpoint. Henry hooks them up with Unit Aleph, an anti-terrorism group of super-powered beings that work for the Isreali government. Unit Aleph has captured a man they believe to be Abu Fawaz but cannot prove it is him. He has a lot of documents that state he is Jawad Anani, and because he’s only been very rarely seen as Fawaz, they’re having trouble proving him wrong. After StormWatch and Unit Aleph gets some training in, they get the word as to the locations of the nukes that Heaven’s Fist stole. Turns out they’re proto-type neutron bombs that will destroy humans but leave buildings and landscapes intact.

stormwatch_v1_032The teams are split to do some good in the world. StormWatch headed towards Yugoslavia to stop a bomb, Cannon and Unit Aleph towards Tel Aviv to stop a bomb and Flashpoint to the kidnapped StormWatch members. Cannon and Unit Aleph make quick work of the Heaven’s Fist members they find in Tel Aviv. Likewise, Flashpoint has zero trouble saving Christine and the rookies from the scrubs that Heaven’s Fist leaves behind. Our regular StormWatch team isn’t so lucky while flying into Yugoslavia.

Yugoslavia does not want StormWatch there. At all. Even though they are trying to help. They keep trying to chase off StormWatch’s jet. Eventually, StormWatch just leaves, but they play it sneaky and manage to leave Winter behind to stop the bomb. Not so sneaky it turns out because former StormWatch member Scythe is aware of Winter right away. She’s quit StormWatch to help her country, but unlike the rest of the military, she’s not dumb enough to let a bomb go off, killing people, over politics, so she agrees to help Winter. Winter of course succeeds but the Yugoslavian authorities are still pissed, so Scythe helps Winter get outta there.

stormwatch_v1_033With two of the bombs stopped and the rookies saved, what’s left? Just a single mystery bomb out there, and trying to get to the bottom of if the guy they have in holding is Abu Fawaz. Heaven’s Fist makes their play with the final bomb, and the action is all going down in Paris. So the OG StormWatch save Paris. It’s kinda boring and kinda silly at the same time. Meanwhile, Heaven’s Fist’s sneaky Assassin, Hassasin, is trying to free Kinda-Maybe-Probably-Fawaz from lockup, but he’s stopped Unit Aleph returning from Tel Aviv. Here’s the problem, Bendix has put together that four men have seen the man they have in holding plan the terrorist attacks as Fawas, but all four of these men have ended up dead. One by Flashpoint while searching for the rookies and finding info about the Paris attack. One by Swift while the rookies were breaking out of their kidnapping. One by Jackson while saving Paris. Finally, the last one was by Unit Aleph, in shooting Hassasin. Ergo, Fawaz walks free. So, while StormWatch has won the battle, the war still rages on.

The biggest part of these issues, besides pacing, is the pure glut of new characters introduced. Especially because most of them end up dead as soon as they are introduced. We get Unit Aleph, which could be cool to see again, as well as Scythe, who brings in a new dynamic with the whole “I quit StormWatch, but I’m kinda back now” thing. I think that Abu Fawaz was set up to be a new StormWatch archvillain, which would work well against a U.N. superhero group, so in the end, it is fine when we see him walk. We expect to see him back, but next time with all new terrorist super-baddies because of his huge crew, only three managed to survive. I really think that if Ellis hadn’t’ve come on and taken the book in a wildly different direction we would’ve seen a lot more of Fawaz and Friendz.

Continuity Corner:

  • I had always had these issues running between “Backlash” 16 and 17, but upon rereading I realized that there are a few panels of Diane LeSalle still alive… Dammit… looks like I’ll have to rearrange these to have happened after she left Backlash, but before we hit that arc that she ends up dead.
  • I like to place the “Synergy” story before the main action for two reasons. First of, if we don’t, then this story can’t have happened until after issue 33, and that seems like a long time to wait for so little. Secondly, it gives us an idea of what Christine does between big StormWatch missions. Even “off-the-clock” she’s a company gal, which sits perfectly with her character as it gets more defined by Ellis.
  • I still wonder what happened with that girl the Christine was sent to help in her backup story. I can’t even “no-prize” it out like I enjoy doing because we just have so little to go on!
  • When Fahrenheit is hanging out in Brazil she gets called back to StormWatch, she’s with a woman named Mayinga. Mayinga also seems to be an employee of StormWatch. Were we supposed to know who the hell she is?
  • For some reason, except for the ponytail, Cannon and Flashpoint switch hairstyles in issue 30 for Cannon and 31 for Flashpoint.
  • Trelane, while kidnapped has a costume change from her purple leotard to her red and black thong with shoulder pads between issues 31 and 32.
  • In issue 31 Undertow is suddenly a kidnap victim even though we see him laid up in issue 30 while the other rookies are getting kidnapped. We’ll see him still his recovery chamber again when we get to issue 34. Don’t worry, after issue 34 he gets better pretty quickly, just in time to meet his demise in issue 37.
  • Malcolm King is released from StormWatch lockup in issue 32 and Bendix seems pretty angry about it. Oddly, it seems that Jackson thinks Bendix is the one that had Malcolm released in issue 34. Someone got Malcolm out and now he’s on the loose, that’s about all we know.

NEXT IN THE READING ORDER: “Backlash” issues 12 – 14 by Sean Rufner, Brett Booth, Chuck Gibson, Al Vey and Mark Pennington

NEXT ON THE BLOG: “StormWatch” issue 24 by H.K. Proger, Renato Arlem, and Joe Pimentel

“Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 23

This entry covers “Deathblow” volume one issue 23 by Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Jeff Johnson, Scott Kolins and Trevor Scott.

deathblow_v1_023Don’t you hate it when uninvited guests show up? Especially the kind that help themselves to your food? Well, that’s the pickle that Marc Slayton finds himself in when he encounters Michael Cray and Jackson Dane helping themselves to the contents of his fridge. Ok, to be fair it’s CyberJack’s fridge, but Slayton totally lives there too. And goddammit, Slayton bought those Cheerios for the house, not for people who just pop by!

The actual reason the Cray and Dane are crashing in on Slayton is that they’re sure he is next on the I/O hit list. While Slayton knows that Craven and his goons won’t be able to get at his Kheribum altered Gen-Factor, Cray and Dane know that that isn’t going to matter. The Brethren will come for them on Craven’s orders no matter what. Slayton and CyberJack are worried that Cray and Dane are being less than truthful and have either been sent after them either by Craven or StormWatch. And wouldn’t you know it, right when the boys are all starting to get along again Slayton gets a phone call. It’s a call from his ex-boo Diane LeSalle.

zimas
Cray, such a kind guest, leaving you your own Zimas for later.

LeSalle has been at a StormWatch base working while the new SkyWatch is being built. Somethings went wrong, hence the call to Slayton. Slayton sees it as a way to have Cray and Dane prove that they are on his side, and they agree “Let’s go save Diane!” This isn’t easy, and little did any of them know, but there’s a new member of the Brethren, a shapeshifter type known as Double Take. Yeah, she’s posing as Diane to lure in Slayton. LeGauche and JackHammer don’t do much but stand around and taunt Slayton and Diane for each being captured so easily, while StormForce finally shows up to the StormWatch base to defend it, and mistakenly takes Cray and Dane for the jerks that wrecked the place.

Eventually, the real Diane gets free from her restraints to try and stop the Brethren from getting away with what little of the Gen-Factor they got off Slayton. LeGauche, being the psycho that he is, unloads his gun on Diane killing the poor woman. The Brethren bug out just as Cray and Dane are getting to Slayton to save the day. They saved diddly. Way to go boys!

deathoflasalle

As Slayton, Cray and Dane exit the StormWatch station they surmise that Cash will be the next one. Is this because they all kind of know where Cash is generally at? Hanging with a bunch of aliens in New York? Or is it because he maintains a relationship with Alicia Masters? They figure if they can track Cash down I/O certainly can. They don’t seem to be concerned with Fairchild or Chang, and maybe because those guys went underground a lot better than them. Speaking of Alicia, Craven has finally cottoned on to her workings with the Team 7 members that he’s been after. He’s none too pleased with it, but he’s ready to use this information as he sees fit. Probably for evil stuff, this is Craven we’re talking about!

Continuity Corner:

  • Halfway through this issue, Cray gets a call from that lady doctor who had the hots for him. She tells him once again that he should be looking up her pal Dr. Tsung. The threads for “Fire from Heaven” are starting to pull together tighter!
  • At the end of this issue, we have Slayton telling Cray and Dane that there’s some stuff he has to take care of before he can meet back up with them to stop Craven in “Deathblow” volume one issue #24. This mostly involves ignoring his feelings for Amanda and drinking in “Backlash” issues 15 and 16. But hey, he gets a run in with Cash before the rest of the boys! Bonus!

NEXT: “Backlash” issues 15 & 16 by Sean Ruffner, Brett Booth, Mel Rubi, John Tighe and Mark Irwin

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 28 & 29

This entry covers “StormWatch” volume one issues 28 and 29 by Jeff Mariotte, Ron Lim, and Robert Jones, and of course the “Fuji” backup story from issue 29 by Barbara Kesel, Mike S. Miller, and Randy Elliot.

StormWatch_v1_028What we have here is two really interesting issues of “StormWatch.” To be honest, it really feels like they’re trying to reboot the series with both a new StormWatch team and a militaristic team of non-superpowered people known as StormForce. It’s an odd road to go down, throwing a lot of new characters at the readers once the last big story arc ended and we finally got Jackson King back.

This story revolves around the Dr. Martin Krug. He’s not only cooking up horrible viruses, but he’s also creating superpowered beings, as well as hiring them to cause international incidents that may tip the whole world towards war. Henry Bendix sends StormForce to find Krug’s lab to find his latest virus so that StormWatch and nutralize it as well as create vaccines for it. Bendix sends the new StormWatch team to find a man who set off a bomb in Berlin, who somehow survived that blast. That man is called LittleJohn, and he works for Krug. LittleJohn also has superpowered evil asshole friends named Tripwire, Vise and Jackrabbit who are ready to defend both him and Krug from nosy U.N. strikeforce types.

The new StormWatch team consisting of Swift (fast flying bird-gal), Flint (skin hard as a rock and muscles to match), Comanche (shapeshifter) and Blademaster (uh… a master of blades) go to confront LittleJohn and pals, while a photo-journalist named Nick Chaplin is hired to follow and snap pics of their first adventures. Seems that StormWatch and the U.N. are out for a little good PR after Despot, Spartan and Jackson did a number on NYC a few weeks back.

During the fight in an isolated forest in Germany, Chaplin gets bored and starts to wander. I can see why, seeing a bunch of characters fight that I have zero investment in is kinda boring. In his wandering, he comes across a building. He first thought is to find a way on top of it to get some good distance shots of the super-fight, but once he steps inside he sees that this old farmhouse isn’t exactly what it seems to be. You guessed it, it is the lab of Dr. Krug and he has a lot of failed experiments lying around. Not just that, but he’s got a couple frat guys from I/O telling Chaplin all about how Krug has been helping I/O work on creating superpowered beings for them. Craven, will you stop at nothing to get your own supergroup?

StormWatch_v1_029Eventually, a fight breaks out with Krug and the I/O goons versus Chaplin. For some dumbass reason, Chaplin picks up a beaker full of fluid and threatens to toss it in Krug’s eyes. Krug basically shrugs his shoulders and says “No, you.” and shoots the beaker causing all the liquid to fly into Chaplin’s eyes. The now “blind” Chaplin now has light bending powers and can still kinda see, just not like normal. He’s basically a mash-up of Daredevil and Dazler. He takes out the I/O goons, Dr. Krug and the four jerks that were kicking the ass of the new StormWatch team. He’s given the name Prism and joins StormWatch.

Meanwhile, StormForce does their job, gets the virus sample, captures all the mad scientists for interrogation and destroys the compound killing off all the remaining virus samples. Done so easily. That’s what you get when you send in professionals, no one needs to be bailed out by an accidentally superpowered photo-journalist.

In the backup story, we see Fuji up on the SkyWatch II as it is being built. He encounters a man going by the name or title Black Knight who is either trying to break into SkyWatch II or attach some fancy machinery to the hull. Fuji or course stops him and turns him over to the StormForce personnel on the satellite. Then he looks towards the Earth, recalling why it is all worth fighting for and stating that Fuji’s strength will always be a part of StormWatch.

Continuity Corner:

  • I have to say, not a lot of this new StormWatch team had sticking power outside of Swift and Flint. And even with Flint, she kind of disappeared after “StormWatch” volume two ended until “StormWatch : Team Achilles” started several years later.
  • We do see Blademaster, Comanche, and Prism all get fired in “StormWatch” volume one issue 28, and that’s the last we see of Comanche but the other two do pop up again.
  • Blademaster went deep into comic book limbo before coming back only to die in the first issue of “StormWatch : PHD.” Eventually, his title and blades were taken up by a young woman who would work along with the old StormWatch team in “StormWatch : PHD” and “The Authority : Prime.”
  • The next time we see Prism he’s become a drunk hobo on the streets of Los Angeles in “Hazard” issue 7.
  • StormForce also seemed to have continued on in some fashion but unseen to us comic readers, as they also figure into Blademasters death in “StormWatch : PHD” issue 1. Although this could be a consequence of the slightly altered WildStorm Universe after the end of “Caption Atom : Armageddon.”
  • Seeing as how the name of the operative that Fuji stops is “Black Knight” I think that he might have been an I/O employee. What with their Black Razors, Black Hammers and such. I/O spying on StormWatch, I mean, it’s a thing, it’s why Craven wanted Backlash as a part of StormWatch, makes sense that now that he’s gone and a new satellite is being built that Craven would want to know what’s going on up there still.

NEXT: “Union” volume two issues 7 – 9 and “Union : Final Vengeance” issue 1 by Mike Heisler, Pop Mahn, Allen Im, Carlos Mota, Jim Lee, Travis Charest, Whilce Portacio, Scott Clark, Chuck Gibson, John Lowe, Gary Martin, Mark Pennington, John Tighe, Mark Irwin, Rene Micheletti and Sal Regla.