Tag Archives: Sunburst

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 34

This entry covers “StormWatch” volume one issue 34 by H.K. Proger, Renato Arlem, and Joe Pimentel. Best reading order is to read the first 18 pages of this issue, then read “Backlash” issues 17 & 18 and then coming back to finish off this issue. Then again, that’s pretty wonky and it works just as well to read this then the “Backlash” issues.

stormwatch_v1_034This book is basically several short stories, chopped up only giving us a few pages of each, before flipping to the next. They all converge on the last page with StormWatch heading back up to the newly completed SkyWatch 2. This issue is also getting a few more things in place for “Fire from Heaven” besides the team being back home. I’ll basically be breaking down these stories individually instead of flipping back and forth between them.

We open with Christine and Fahrenheit training. Then showering together. There’s some girl talk followed by a lot of work talk, but it is all pretty normal stuff that you’d expect. Just a nice way to open the issue, I guess.

When checking in with Jackson we find him hanging out with his mother. She forgives him for killing Despot, as that was no longer the man she married. Jackson also finds out that his mother didn’t authorize the release of his brother Malcolm as he was previously told. On top of all this Jackson has been going through the late Diane LaSalle’s StormWatch diary/reports and had found that she suspected Slayton of sharing secrets with I/O. When Jackson questions Bendix about it, Bendix basically says “yeah, I knew, so what?” which only serves to further piss off Jackson. Now Jackson is super angry and wants to hunt down Slayton, I mean he’s an enemy of the U.S. Government, so why not?

Fuji is worried about how Cannon is doing. He’s taking the death of Diva pretty hard. It’s not like he didn’t have Uzi from Team Aleph throwing herself at him in Tel Aviv, but he’s not ready to move on, no matter how forward other women are. Cannon is sharpening his skills by fighting combat droids that look like himself. This is a red flag, and Fuji sees it as such, but Cannon isn’t ready to talk about it. Instead, they meet up and head to find Jackson to go beat on Slayton.

(Here’s where you could jump to “Backlash” issues 17 – 18 by Sean Ruffner, Brett Booth, Mel Rubi, John Tighe, Mark Irwin and Mark Pennington.)

While Flashpoint is busy getting chewed out by Bendix for killing too much, Winter comes back the U.N. StormWatch base with Scythe. In “StormWatch” volume one issue 33’s epilogue there was the murder of a StormWatch council member. Bendix tells Flashpoint to take care of it, as he’ll have to go to Russia to find out this info. Bendix informs him that Winter is Suspect Number One! Uh-oh!

Off to Russia Flashpoint heads, and who does he run into? Right where it looks the most incriminating? Yup, it’s Winter. Turns out there’s no way Winter killed that council member because that was the guy that was supplying Winter with all the info about what’s going on in Russia. The info that leads him, Cannon and Bendix into that fight against M.A.D. 1. Flashpoint isn’t sure about this until they’re attacked by “the Death Patrol” because really, what this run of “StormWatch” from issue 28 through 34 does best is introducing us to scads and scads of new and disposable characters. Flashpoint and Winter barely escape with their lives.

Nautika and Sunburst are having a tough time. Neither wants to leave the team, but both have kinda been ruined by it. Sunburst can’t walk, and Nautika feels guilty about their part causing his disability. At the same time, they’re both watching over the body of Undertow in his incubation tube. They both agree to stay with StormWatch, even though Sunburst feels like a burden.

Bendix finally gathers the whole team at the U.N. building and they all take a mini-spaceship up to SkyWatch 2. I mean, why didn’t they beam up? They just used their beaming tech in the last story arc, so… never mind, it’s a cool page, I’ll let it stand.

SkyWatch2-FirstLook

Continuity Corner:

  • We’ll find out in “Gen12” issue 3 about how Slayton got hooked up with joining StormWatch. It was a favor to both Slayton and Craven by Bendix on account of them all being old Team One buddies.
  • We get our first ideas that Flashpoint isn’t anywhere near a kind of good guy when he starts thinking out the “real reason” he killed Kilgore. This will all come to a head when he sees the Mercs again in Gamorra.
  • When Jackson’s raid on Slayton ends, the characters come back in different uniforms than we saw them in earlier. This is to match the special stealth suits that they wore in “Backlash” 17 – 18.
  • When boarding the mini space shuttle there’s a dude that looks like Link, but can’t be, because that means he beat Jackson’s raid team back to base, and they were raiding his house and late returning. I mean Bendix was getting mad because they were running behind. The timing, it doesn’t add up!
  • On SkyWatch 2 we first see the “eye in the lightning bolt triangle” that will become StormWatch’s logo for much of Ellis’s run.
  • On the last page we see that Bendix has an incoming message from Kaizen Gamorra, explaining StormWatch’s presence on the island at the start of “Fire From Heaven” issue 1.

NEXT (if you didn’t dip out to read it yet): “Backlash” issues 17 – 18 by Sean Ruffner, Brett Booth, Mel Rubi, John Tighe, Mark Irwin and Mark Pennington.

NEXT (if you already read “Backlash” 17 – 18): “WildStorm!” issue 4 by Michael Jan Friedman, Merv, Sarah Becker, Ryan Odagawa, Tom Raney, Randy Green, Mark McKenna, Randy Elliot, John Tighe and Rich Ketchum.

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“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

“WildStorm Rising” Chapters 8 – 10

this entry covers “WildStorm Rising” Chapters 8 through 10, which includes “Backlash” issue 8, “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 22 and “WildStorm Rising” issue 2

Alright, let’s wrap this crossover up! Slayton gets a call from Diva at StormWatch. He gets into his Backlash gear and meets up with her at Jackson King’s grave. She catches him up on the plot of “WildStorm Rising” and states that someone needs to take down Helspont. So off Slayton goes, solo even, without even thinking much about it. Turns out, it’s trick! A tricky trick! That was actually Mr. White posing as Diva and it’s all part of a plan from Defile to keep Helspont too busy to be nosing around for that Daemonite ship in Nicaragua.

So Slayton is fighting Helspont. Turns out, he’s not as easy to beat the hell out of, like every other weak ass Daemonite that Slayton’s fought. Slayton’s no slouch either, but despite surprising Helspont a few times, Slayton basically gets his ass kicked on Helspont’s submarine and gets left in the drink. Lucky for Slayton he gets saved by StormWatch, who is consisting of StormWatch teams 1 and 2 as well as members of StormWatch Prime. StormWatch just got permission from the U.N. council to try and stop Helspont so they’re going after that jerk as well. Even though Diva is confused at first when Slayton tells her that she asked him to fight Helspont the first time, she takes him along to go and kick Helspont’s booty as part of a team. StormWatch loses that fight. Helspont’s tough, yo!

In the midst of the ill-fated fight against Helspont, Christine is trying to justify going after him to the StormWatch UN Council. None of Council think that the team can take down a mean bastard like Helspont. I mean, they’re not wrong… The Council, in their infinite wisdom, decide to release WarGuard and Despot to deal with Helspont. Because having the WarGuard run free has always worked so well in the past. Despot and the WarGuard immediately fuck right off of SkyWatch saying “Ain’t my fight, bro, laters. Hey, formally frosted fiendish friends, let’s go hang out on the dark side of the moon for a bit. From there we will plot the future demise of StormWatch!”

The StormWatch team isn’t done licking their wounds before they decide they still need to pursue Helspont. Helspont’s in his submarine headed toward Nicaragua, as soon as he gets out to get the lay of the land StormWatch is getting ready to pounce. But what’s that? On the horizon? Is it? Could it be? Yes, it is! The WildC.A.T.s and WetWorks teams along with Cole and Cray! And in the middle of them all, is Savant, Majestic, and Union unearthing the spacecraft. Only, uh-oh, it’s not the Daemonite ship, it’s the Kherubim ship! Whomp whomp.

So now, everybody fights. Well, to be fair, the good guys aren’t fighting each other this time. They’re just taking on the Daemonites. Hightower’s goal is just to get on board the ship and peace out, but he’ll kill anyone to get on it. Defile and Helspont still want the ship to use it to dominate Earth. Spartan is having those same thoughts and boards ship to use its weaponry to help in the fight. Defile shows up to stop Spartan and orders the brainwashed StormWatch Prime members to kill Spartan, then each other. They’re successful in taking down Spartan, but Sunburst starts to kick Defile’s control and Nautika breaks his spine before she comes out of the fog. Meanwhile, Cole kills Hightower, rushes to the ship and lands a hit on Defile. Defile has had enough of this noise and messes with ship’s core and takes off. Whatever he did to that ship has made it so that it’s gonna blow-up. Big time. Right in the middle of our heroes.

Jacob is not having this blood on his hands. He’s going to board that ship to get far enough off planet to save everyone on the ground. Jacob is no dummy, he knows it’ll take a Kherubim Lord’s authority to launch the ship, but he needs some help because he’s lost the rest of his Kherubim technical know how to street livin’ and booze. Zealot is the first to volunteer as she remembers a lot and is the only one who knows how to pilot the ship. After that, all the rest of the WildC.A.T.s opt to get on the ship. The ship takes off, Void promises to teleport everyone off if something goes wrong and they can’t keep the ship from exploding. Then the ship explodes. No WildC.A.T.s members are found teleporting out. Everyone leaves upset except Cole, he’s just upset.

Continuity Corner :

  • Spoilers, but the Kherubim ship didn’t explode, it made the jump to hyperspace or whatever. As far as anyone on Earth knows, they’re dead, luckily for us readers, they’re about to go on a pretty rad adventure.
  • Helspont has a damn submarine? What is he? Some kind of G.I.Joe villain?
  • There’s this moment when Helspont is fighting over the Kherubim ship and he’s all like “Oh, great, here come the half-breeds!” and he’s shown facing Maul, Warblade and Winter. We’ve seen that Helspont can recognize Kherubim ancestry on sight from his battle with Slayton in “Backlash” issue 8. Him recognizing Winter as part Kherubim is a fun easter egg, and one I’m glad didn’t get fully retconned with his intended lineage in the planned and canceled “WildC.A.T.s : Ground Zero” book.
  • This is the last we’ll see of Defile, Helspont and Hightower for quite some time. Most immediately some of the WildC.A.T.s will go time traveling and run into the three of them, but seeing as how Hightower’s dead, that’s it for him. Defile pops up here and there not doing too much, but comes back in a big way years down the road in “StormWatch PHD” and then keeps up appearances from then on out in the WSU. I’m pretty sure the next time we see Helspont is when he’s acting like a goofy perv towards Caitlin Fairchild and getting his ass beat by Tao in “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue 50. Then he goes back underground until the ill-fated Lee/Morrison team up in “WildCats” Vol. 4 issue 1.
  • StormWatch took the remains of Spartan, which explains why he’s on that team during “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 25.
  • Majestic wonders if StormWatch got anything of value from Spartan’s remains, as usually by now Spartan would’ve downloaded into a new body. The only reason I can think he doesn’t is that Jacob has the Spartan backup copy on his person, so it’s out in space with the rest of the original team. Sure, this means there’s two Spartans in the universe now, and it won’t be the last time either.
  • StormWatch also took Helspont saying they had the means to imprison him. Majestic doubts this, but we’ll never know because it isn’t long before SkyWatch comes crashing down and I have to assume Helspont escapes.
  • Cole stays stuck in Nicaragua, which kicks off his solo title that’ll have him ending up in all sorts of places before getting back to New York pretty much in time for “Fire from Heaven” to start.
  • We do get a two-page epilogue to the whole thing, with Savant and Majestic at the Halo Building talking about the end of an era. I have to admit, it is a pretty nice ending, and it doesn’t lead you to think what must come next. I had no idea at the time that “WildC.A.T.s” would even keep going, or that there would be a new team on Earth, or that the original team was alive at all! I appreciate that. It was a pat ending. A rarity! It seems like these big events just chain themselves together and go on and on with fuzzy endings at best these days. I know this makes financial sense, but a true ending like this feels pretty damn great as well as earned!

NEXT : “Grifter” Vol. 1 issues 2 through 6 by Steven T. Seagle, Ryan Benjamin, Randy Green, Cedric Nocon, Tom McWeeney, Sal Regla, John Lowe and Norm Rapmund

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 20 & 21 as well as Special issue 2

this entry covers “StormWatch” volume 1 issues 20 and 21 as well as the backup stories within each book and the “StormWatch” volume 1 Special issue 2. The best reading order would the backup of from issue 20 “Cross Currents” followed by the backup from issue 21 “Tagged” followed by issue 20, then the Special issue 2 and then issue 21. It still works fine if you don’t pull is the backups out though, as long as you keep the Special in between issues 20 and 21. Note: due to a misprint issue 21 read as if it was issue 1 on the cover.

So, let’s start with those two backup stories! Both of which feature parents who abandoned their super powered children. We’re not sure exactly why Undertow’s mom left, but we are left with the mystery of who his mom is, who apparently works on SkyWatch. Both of these stories just cover who Undertow and Pagan are when they show up as new recruits in issue 20.

We then move on to see Nautika and Sunburst talking about taking some time off. This is interrupted by Trelene with a special mission. In fact, this same exact scene will play out in the Special issue as well, proving this poor couple can’t catch a break. In this issue, it leads to the three members of StormWatch Prime picking up Undertow and Pagan, not much else.

The second mission for StormWatch Prime is a bit different. Sunburst and Nautika are interrupted by Trelene to go after Flashpoint because this time he’s killing folks. By folks I mean the Mercs, the ones that imprisoned him and the rest of that team for years. Flashpoint is wise to the fuckery that was done to their minds and wants answers and revenge! He actually does manage to take down Kilgore before being cornered trying to kill Hellslayer.

Flashpoint’s murder spree is stopped by the rest of the Mercs, who are in turn stopped by Sunburst and Nautika. Deathtrap is starting to have misgivings about this whole thing. Yeah, he’s a mercenary, and Defile has paid him well, but seeing what Flashpoint has become, due to some of his actions, isn’t sitting well with him. Before Deathtrap gets out a full confession to Flashpoint, Nautika stops Flashpoint and lets Deathtrap walk. Flashpoint is tossed in StormWatch prison and lectured by Trelene while Defile revels in the fact that two of his pawns, Sunburst and Nautika are still in play.

Might as well mention it here, Malcolm starts talking to his frozen Pop.

Meanwhile, we have Winter, Cannon and Bendix fighting Winter’s personal battle against MAD-1 and his cronies. Three cronies, in fact, that are armed in MAD suits all of their own. Bendix brought his latest iteration of the Think Tank armor and due to some harsh battle, it is starting to fail, meaning this side mission is going sideways.

Eventually, after Bendix’s armor has been roasted he manages to hotwire one of the MAD suits that Cannon and Winter managed to fell. They use this to take down the other MAD units and stage a ruse to get into see the men in charge. Bendix posing as MAD-1 presents his bosses with the “defeated” Winter and Cannon to gain an audience with them. Once inside the Russian compound, filled with hundreds of more MAD suits, the unofficial StormWatch crew take out the evil Russians and then blow up the hell out of the compound.

How the heck could an explosion like that go unnoticed by StormWatch? It doesn’t! Winter is called in by Trelene for a right ass chewing! She’s probably still keyed up from the one she gave Flashpoint. Before she suspends or punishes Winter, Diva bursts in the room saying they’ve found Battalion’s killers, they’ve found the WildC.A.T.s, no time for administrivia, get to D.C. and kick their asses already!

Continuity Corner :

  • We have Flashpoint running around trying to kill the Mercs in Special issue 2, but we find out later in issue 35 that he was in on everything with them. I know it resulted from a change in writer and direction for the character, but that’s a pretty big retcon. If he was working for Deathtrap the whole time, then what was up with their final moments alone together before Nautika shows up? It just doesn’t track!
  • Special issue 2 starts the long road to Deathtrap tiring of his life of crime. We see a bit of it in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 32 and it will culminate in “WildStorm Spotlight” issue 4.
  • We’ll see the results of Defile’s brainwashing of Sunburst and Nautika in “WildStorm Rising.”
  • Speaking of, we’re right on the cusp of the first big crossover for the WildStorm books. We just need to get the WildC.A.T.s into place! We just need to find out how they ended up in that rubble in Washington D.C.

NEXT : “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 19 by James Robinson, Jim Lee, Richard Bennett, Terry Dodson and Gary Martin.

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 18 & 19

this entry covers issues 18 and 19 of “StormWatch” volume 1, as well as the backup stories “Loose Cannon” parts 2 and 3

StormWatchVol1_18-21Right off the bat, we see the StormWatch side of Void rescuing Maul from SkyWatch. I mean, one would think that by looking at the cover. Then again, this is ’90s Image, so maybe I should stress that the cover takes place in the actual comic. This drives the members of StormWatch crazy. The monster that lead to their beloved leader’s (supposed) death has been kidnapped. Fuji is the first one that comes across the data that will lead StormWatch towards the WildC.A.T.s. Oddly, while presenting the information to the rest of the StormWatch teams, SunBurst knows they’re called “the WildC.A.T.s” before Diva tells him. This freaks him out, because he’s not sure how he knows this. Oh, and speaking of going crazy, Maul getting sprung from SkyWatch, drive Malcolm to get mad and go visit his crazy ass pops in the prison/freezer.

You may ask why Diva was giving the team debriefing, and the answer to that question is Christine/Synergy/WeatherMan-One has gone missing. Turns out Argos has kidnapped her yet again and plans to use her to open a dimensional portal again. Once again, he fails. This time Christine gets the best of him on her own and kicks his now very preppy ass. Hey, alternate dimension villains, get with the program like Argos, dude was looking pretty damn sharp! Alright, to be fair, he goes back to his lame robes when he’s getting his ass kicked, but when he’s doing his evil monologuing, he’s got a nice tie and suspenders game going.

On top of all this Winter has found out that M.A.D. 1 is back on the loose! He decides it is time for him to take a leave of absence because he means to take down M.A.D. 1 once and for all. To do this, he goes to the one man who’ll have the info he needs, that man is Henry Bendix. Bendix is well aware of why Winter came to him, not only that, but he suggests that they contact Cannon to join them on this personal mission.

Where’s Cannon? Well, since he quit the team he’s just been kicking bad guy ass. He longs to see the world in black and white. Bad folks need a beating, good folks need protecting. So, while taking down a research facility on one of Gamorra’s islands, he comes to a real crossroads. Sure, it was easy to take out the guards at this place, also to take out the gross as hell Gammorian scientist doing experiments on live people. But when one of the experimented on girls begs Cannon to put her out of her misery, he can’t. He just can’t. He’s not about to pull a gun on someone who isn’t a “bad guy” even if they are begging for it. He just walks away, and I get the feeling whether he pulled the trigger on that girl or not, he was going to walk away with the same sense of guilt. For Cannon, there was not “right thing to do” in this situation. The boy needs direction, lucky for him, Winter and Bendix will be there soon.

Continuity Corner :

  • SunBurst knows about the WildC.A.T.s because he’s practically the only one that’s been susceptible to Defile’s brainwashing. He probably has a vague memory of the files he sent to Defile back in “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 13.
  • When Winter goes to visit Bendix, we see him going over a bunch of information he has at his disposal. This includes pretty much everything that’s been going on in “StormWatch” and “WildC.A.T.s” these past few issues. Heck, it might’ve been him that gave Void the info on Maul’s location in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 17.
  • Also, on Bendix’s visual display we see he has not only current SkyWatch info but also files from I/O. He’s trying to put things together and knows a shapeshifting Daemonite was involved in this whole mess. He wonders if there’s a correlation with known Daemonite shapeshifter Hightower. He’s even found out that Hightower is in the Washington D.C. area under an assumed name. Bendix, you sneaky bastard! We’ll see more of Hightower in D.C. in issue 19 of “WildC.A.Ts” Vol. 1 getting even more set up for “WildStorm Rising!”

NEXT : “Warblade : Endangered Species” issues 1 – 4 by Steven Seagal, Scott Clark, Sal Rega and half the WildStorm inking department.

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 11 – 14

this entry covers “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 11 through 14.

StormWatchVol1_10-14Alright, right back into “StormWatch!” We have a couple arcs going on. We have Henry Bendix in trouble with his bosses, Winter facing an old foe, Cannon and Flashpoint becoming bigger and bigger assholes, Hellstrike starting to feel better and Defile laying more groundwork for his master plan. There’s kind of a lot going on, and it is all pushing towards issue 25 and the upcoming “WildStorm Rising” cross over.

We start off this batch of issues with StormWatch kicking some ass in Siberia, helping the Russians against a rebel insurgent group. Jackson asks permission to evacuate the base where everything is going down and then blow it up. Bendix is all “no can do buckaroo, get your ass back to space.” What the rebels were after, and what an issue later they activate is M.A.D. 1, an old USSR super-cyborg, who has a past with Winter.

Before we get to that, we need to address why StormWatch got pulled out of the mission early. Turns out it took this long for StormWatch’s bosses at the U.N. to get pissed over what went down in Gamorra, oh so long ago. The U.N. council wants to get rid of Jackson altogether, but Bendix takes one for the team and gets fired over it.

Meanwhile, we have Mr. Coma Pants Hellstrike starting to actually do something for the first time in six issues. The problem is, said “thing” is the uncontrollable explosion of SkyWatch. In a nice use of flashback, we get to know a bit of Fuji’s backstory, and how he manages his superpower. Fuji discovers that it has a lot in common with what Hellstrike is going through, and he finds a way to save him. It’s nice to give these two characters something to bond over. We still don’t have a good personality for Hellstrike yet, he’s still a bit one-note, but his look is getting a little less generic.

Speaking of underdeveloped characters, I need to bring up Cannon and Flashpoint. These guys are just dicks, acting like dicks. With Cannon, you can kind of see why, as when things don’t go his way he acts like a dick, acting like a dick gets him in trouble, getting in trouble makes more things not go his way, when things don’t go his way he acts like a dick and the cycle continues. Flashpoint, on the other hand, is just a jackass who hates Jackson. Later on, we’ll get to know a bit more about these guys and I’ll personally soften on Cannon, but Flashpoint will forever be a jerkface to me. Oh, yeah, they both take Malcolm out to a strip joint and he figures out real quick to leave these two losers behind.

Ok, back to work! The team is back in Siberia and this time they actually encounter M.A.D. 1. Bad news for StormWatch, M.A.D. 1 is really good and beating them the hell up! He wants to go and blow up Moscow, and the U.N. just can’t allow that. Winter, for the love of his homeland, really goes to town on M.A.D. 1! Winter’s power is to absorb energy, contain it, then expel it. You know, kinda like Sunbursts… but.. uh… cold based. Anyway, I’m just letting you know all this because after Winter gets done with his initial fight with M.A.D. 1, M.A.D. 1 sets several nuclear rockets to fly off and blow stuff up and Winter absorbs them all. He’s one badass Russian!

That basically takes care of issues 11 through 13. Issue 14 is kind of a “one shot” dealing with Christine growing into her new role as Weather Man-One. We see Jackson take a day off, then sneak back onto SkyWatch and attempt to kill his father Despot in the freezer lock-up. We also see Cannon and Diva still in love, despite them getting in a huge fight on a mission in Rwanda. The biggest revelation is on the last 2 pages of this issue with the reveal of Mr. White, a shapeshifting Daemonite, under the employee of Defile. What’s he doing? Oh, just taking on the forms of various WildC.A.T.s members!

Continuity Corner:

  • Henry Bendix takes the blame for the actions of Jackson in “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 6 & 7 and their adventures on Gamorra. With him out of the way, Christine gets the promotion to Weather Man-One as we knew she would by issue 25.
  • At one point we see Sunburst accessing some files from the StormWatch database. The files are sent to Defile and are of the WildC.A.T.s whom StormWatch started watching after the events of issues 6 & 7 of Vol. 1 of “StormWatch”
  • Even though he takes a hell of a beating, M.A.D. 1 will be back in a few issues and we’ll find out his actual motivation, besides just wanting to kick the snot out of Winter and his new pals.
  • Mr. White isn’t named at all in his first appearance in issue 14. Defile mentions that he has the shapeshifting talent, but that’s about it. I’ll have to keep an eye out for when he’s finally named.
  • After stating in the write up for “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 25 that I don’t think we ever see Doreen again, I’m proven wrong when she appears and is name-checked in the cold storage prison on SkyWatch in issue 14.
  • If there was anything pertinent to place between issues 13 and 14 I would, but due to other factors, I really can’t. Maybe a couple issues of “Deathblow” could fit in but “WildC.A.T.s, ” “Backlash” and “Union” depend on how things are playing out right now in “StormWatch.”
  • Defile sure does talk about how much he wants to take down the WildC.A.T.s an awful lot for a guy who is mainly appearing in “StormWatch” and getting referenced in “Backlash” most of the time.

NEXT: “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 15 – 16 by James Robinson, Travis Charest and Troy Hubbs.

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 9 and 25

this entry cover “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 9 and issue 25

StormWatchVol1_08-09_25

I originally had these much later in the timeline… then, when reading “Deathblow” I realized my mistake, so these two move up! Originally I was trying to preserve the narrative of Timespan on the run from Nadia, but, uh, they go around in time, so that was kind of silly of me. Stories involving time traveling characters work differently. So instead of reading this after “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue ½, and meeting Nadia as she curses losing Timespan, I know, complicated, but it makes more sense this way (the correct way) for the main storyline for the WildStorm Universe that what I had previously posted/though. Thankfully not too much actual time travel goes on in the WSU, just Timespan, Nadia and the WildC.A.T.s that one time… all of which impact very little as far as contradictions go, so good going WSU! Doing time travel stories pretty much right! Alright, got that? This issue opens with us seeing Timespan just after he used a “triple shift” landing in the present day. He seems to be pretty pleased with himself for out “running” Nadia.

Suddenly we are joining a StormWatch mission already in progress and things are going wrong. StormWatch Prime is there, and it seems StormWatch One has turned traitor on them. Wait… it’s all just a dream from StormWatch Prime member Sunburst. Dream? More like crazy nightmare! StormWatch Prime hasn’t done much since being rescued from Deathtrap on Gammora. They’ve just been resting up on SkyWatch One while WeatherMan One and Synergy watch and wait to see if they’re ready to be active again. Well, wouldn’t you know it, a big enough problem comes along, with multiple terrorists hitting multiple locations, threatening to blow up places of international importance, and StormWatch doesn’t have enough members to go around and just HAS to activate StormWatch Prime to help out in Rome.

The mission goes on pretty normally, but these terrorists are really giving Rome a beating. Suddenly a bomb is brought out, and it is the same as the bomb in Sunburst’s dream! Oh no! He’s even more freaked out when Battalion shows up, having completed his mission early, and wants Sunburst to turn over that bomb. Sunburst, still spooked from his dream, doesn’t trust Battalion and flies up into the air to let the bomb explode all around him. He absorbs the energy of the explosion and then channels it straight up and away from the city. He feels better about himself that he took care of the issue on his own, and gets some self-confidence back. Not so fast Burster Brown, turns out all of this, the nightmare, the terrorist attacks, the coincidental bomb, it was all a plot by Lord Defile! Turns out when StormWatch Prime was captured, it was Defile who was paying Deathtrap to keep them hostage and break down their will. I guess so that they could serve Defile, but Sunburst was bending while in captivity, so Defile invaded his dreams… why didn’t he go with Plan B in the first place? He then set up the terrorist attacks to get StormWatch to put his puppets StormWatch Prime back in action.

After the mission Battalion is just looking for some rest by himself when Timespan pops up and kidnaps him into the future. The future is in Death Valley, California, and it is a problem. Within minutes of being there, Battalion sees SkyWatch One crashing to the ground. Battalion, ever the hero, dashes forward to see what he can do to help in this situation before he’s even done yelling at Timespan for ambushing him. What he sees he cannot believe. It’s a slightly different StormWatch team, and they’re just as confused about him being there are he is.

The biggest change is that we see two new members to the team, Fiend and Undertow. We also see that Synergy has become the new WeatherMan. While it takes the team a few beats to realize that yes, somehow, this is the Battalion you know, love and miss, now is not a time for celebration. Mainly because they’re on the run from the WarGuard, Despot and they can’t find their leader. And who is this leader? None other than Spartan of the WildC.A.T.s! “What the huh? Frickin’ awesome!” Well, that’s what my reaction as a teenager, and it’s pretty much the same here. My mind filled up with so many questions, just as the book’s creative team had intended, it worked on me, big time! This was the coolest idea ever, and man, they were throwing out some big crazy changes just a few pages in! WOAH! “StormWatch” certainly is going to be a heck of a ride to get to this point!

But the big reveals just keep coming! Despot is Battalion’s father, whom we saw as a member of Team One. He went totally nuts and is bent on taking down StormWatch. Malcolm sides with his father on the issue, but during the fight, he turns to Battalion and stutters out “D-D-D-Don’t join h-h-him!” and Timespan was all “I don’t remember this happening.” Now, I’m not sure what to make of this. Has Timespan been there before observing? Is Timespan present in another way, as in, is he hiding in the shadows or a future version of one of the team? I’m not sure this is ever answered, I guess I’ll keep this on my mind as I keep reading. After the warning, Malcolm has a personality shift and starts beating on Battalion.

Turns out Malcolm was being controlled by Despot. This is a thing he likes to do. He even likes to do the puppeting with the corpse of Diva. It’s gross. Then he rips Diva apart. It’s grosser. Then Battalion goes all Care Bears and tries to defeat his crazy dad with the power of love. Before he can fail, Timespan sends Battalion back to his own time while Despot screams in his face. With the rest of StormWatch still in battle with the WarGuard, Despot pulls a Thanos and starts to kill everyone in the universe, and we see people starting to fall over dead on city sidewalks. Ok, not really pulling a Thanos, he isn’t trying to impress a chick, he just finds it easier to puppet dead folks, that’s all. Suddenly Despot is struck from behind by an unknown attacker and is told: “You may have beaten Battalion, but you don’t stand a chance against me, old man!” And we are told that the issue #26 won’t be out until over a year from now!

 

Continuity Corner:

    • The semi-destroyed Rome will be mentioned in “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 6 which officially puts it after “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 9.
    • Why did StormWatch Prime have to go to Rome in the first place, did someone give the Centurions, Protectors of Rome the day off? (See “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue 6 for more details)
    • Hey, this is the first time we actually see Defile and his be-suited zombie side-kick, neat!
    • When we get to “WildStorm Rising” we’ll see Defile’s plan for StormWatch Prime pay off. Hell, “WildStorm Rising” is the explanation for many of the new developments that we see in “StormWatch” Vol. 1 #25.
    • Also, the WarGuard are joined by Stricture (the snake monster) who we’ll see a few more times, but won’t learn much more about, and a girl named Doreen. I don’t think we see any more about Doreen at all outside of this issue. I mean, with a name like Doreen it’s hard to see how she fell through the cracks.
    • Never will another artist draw Fiend as we see him here, he’ll never look like that at all. In fact, it is off-putting to see this version of the character if you read issue 25 after reading the issues leading up to it. Also, other than this issue, Fiend is known as Pagan. 
    • Speaking of when to read this book, you totally need to read it after “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 9, because it is really anticlimactic to read it right before “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 26. Trust me, I did that once… not a good idea.
    • Frankly, I don’t mind leaving you hanging before we pick up with the “StormWatch” book again because the book itself just left you with a long ass cliffhanger with the “Who shot Despot?” mystery.
    • If I remember correctly, “StormWatch” was the only title, out of the 4 comics that participated in the “Images of Tomorrow” gimmick that actually reached their 25th issue when they were supposed to, or at all. In case you didn’t know, different Image titles skipped to the future to see what their 25th issue would be as part of “Images of Tomorrow.” “Bloodstrike” petered out at issue 22, although when the series got rebooted they started at issue 26, so that’s kinda funny. “Brigade” also only made it to issue 22. While “Supreme” officially made it to issue 25, to do that they started doing two issues a month, so just in case they fell behind a bit they’d still hit it on time, they over did it, and wound up having what was to be an issue for July 1995, coming out in February of that year. Not to say that “StormWatch” didn’t employ a bit of padding to make sure to hit issue 25 on time and make sure the story was in the right place, I mean, that’s where “StormWatch” Special issue 2 and “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 23 ½ come from! Also, the more I think about it, the more I’m curious why “StormWatch” was a part of this event, all the others are Extreme Studios books, and we didn’t see any books from McFarlane, Highbrow, ShadowLine or Top Cow join in, so why the lone WildStorm book?

Next: “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issues 5 through 12 by Brandon Choi, Jim Lee and Tim Sale