Tag Archives: Tom Raney

“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.

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“WildStorm!” issue 4

This entry covers “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.

WildStorm_004This issue of “WildStorm!” is all about StormWatch. It features three pretty inconsequential stories regarding different StormWatch personnel. One for Sunburst and Nautika, one for Malcolm King and one detailing the time Fahrenheit discovered her powers. These stories get better as the issue progresses.

Sunburst is feeling all down. Poor dude feels useless now that he’s confined to a wheelchair. His wife, Nautika, is trying to cheer him up and let him know that he can still be a useful member of StormWatch. As he is doubting her two fully suited jackasses board his boat and start to attack him and Nautika. After Sunburst gives these two rapscallions what for, he goes to save Nautika and she reveals that she’s fine and points out to him how much fight he is displaying. Turns out the terrorist bros are only Pagan and Undertow, who were asked by Nautika to help her with her little ruse to prove to Sunburst that he still has what it takes.

Malcolm King is being an asshole at a bar. The boy is trying to figure out if he should be more like his brother or more like his father. This is a mental crossroads that Malcolm has and will go back and forth on for his entire history. Today the coin comes up Despot side, so it’s time to be a jerk. In fact, it’s time to mac on a lady at the bar. A lady who is uninterested. In fact, her boyfriends seems more interested in Malcolm than she is, so he starts a brawl with Malcolm. This just leads Malcolm to torch the whole place using his Strafe powers, then steal the guys motorbike. Yup, Malcolm King is certainly being an asshole right now.

In our final story we find Fahrenheit and Cannon sparring in the “totally-not-the-Danger-Room-from-X-Men” as Flashpoint and Christine observe. Flashpoint makes some comment about how Fahrenheit must be a real pyromaniac. Christine let’s Flashpoint know that that’s rather unlikely. Turns out Fahrenheit’s father and sister both died in a fire. It all started when Pops Pennigton fell asleep in his recliner, dropped his lit cigar on a stack of newspapers and then spilled his 151 run across the floor. Suddenly he was on fire freaking on Fahrenheit, then due to the fire raging around them, the floor gave way and her sister fell down. Then Fahrenheit laid down, not thinking she’d make it out, and besides, her only family are now both dead and gone. This is when her powers started to kick in and flames didn’t harm her. She’s lucky nothing else fell on her. Young Fahrenheit made the news and Christine went to go meet her, in the hopes that she’d found another seedling. They met at the hospital and then Christine brought Fahrenheit to StormWatch and she started her illustrious career.

Continuity Corner:

  • This book mainly gets the placement it does because of the first story starring SunBurst and Nautika. After the “Fire from Heaven” crossover both Undertow and Pagan are fired from StormWatch. So, you know, they can’t come to the emotional rescue of SunBurst as members of said team. It is rather odd to see Undertow suddenly up and about, but let’s just say that aboard SkyWatch II they had the tech to make the boy great again!
  • Malcolm’s story could happen any time after he was released in “StormWatch” volume one issue 32 and when The Changers capture him in issue 48.
  • Fahrenheit’s story could have happened sooner than this placement, and might even be better read prior to “StormWatch” volume one issue 20, but only to keep Flashpoint and Cannon’s hairstyles consistent. Also, it can’t have happened any later due to Flashpoint’s status as a team member of “StormWatch” after “Fire from Heaven.” Ultimately, other than art, it has a fine placement here.

NEXT: “Black Ops” issues 1 & 2 by Shon Bury, Dan Norton and Sandra Hope.

“Wetworks” Vol. 1 issues 12 – 15

This entry covers “Wetworks” volume 1 issues 12 – 15 by Francis Takenaga, Whilce Portacio, Jonathan Peterson, John Ruzum, Tom Raney, Terry Shoemaker, Ryan Odagawa, Roy Martinez, Rick Bryant, Sal Regla, JD, Brad Vancata, John Nyberg, Gerry Alanguilan, Danny Bulanadi, Randy Elliott and Jeff Whiting. The best reading order would be issues 12 and 13 in full, followed by the main story in issue 14, then skipping to issue 15 and reading both the main and backup story “Fly on the Wall” before getting back to issue 14’s backup story “Fieldtest” AKA “Fire from Heaven Prelude.”

Wetworks_v1_012The team wants to save Claymore, but no one has any ideas on how to do that. Whatever Drakken tossed at him during their last big battle, really seemed to do a number on the poor guy. The team is running out of steam, not knowing what to do. Hell, even Mother-One is only sleeping a single hour a day and is trying to use all her computery bits to figure out the mystery of Claymore’s disease. Then, suddenly the whole team has a dream. A crazy dream. A dream about a pyramid. A pyramid with werewolf statues standing outside of it on each corner. Because they all had this dream, they figure it must mean something. For now, that’s on hold as they head out on their next mission.

What’s the mission? Seems like the dwarves and the little hippo dude Night Tribes are out in the Marshall, Minnesota aiming to cause some trouble. This gets shut down pretty quickly, and we even get to see Dozer in a lot of action. Of course, he damages his new robotic outfit so much as he and the team take out the threat, that he has to have Waering’s people get him back to base separately from the rest of the team. Which means Dozer misses out on the next big batch of fun. That fun is trying to find out where the dream pyramid is!

So yeah, the team flies from Minnesota all the way to Egypt! As Grail says to the team “Egypt is a large place” how the hell are they going to find a single pyramid amongst all that sand? Lucky for everyone, Mother-One has a feeling, a feeling that will tell her where the pyramid is! And low do they find it! Not as easily as you’d think, apparently it was hidden by a cloaking device from the naked eye, but that won’t stop our Wetworks team, boy howdy!

Pyramid Time

Wetworks_v1_013The team get in the pyramid and find a sarcophagus with a mummy Egyptian prince in it. How do we know all this? Well, we find it out later when it’s dying golden symbiote starts to communicate with Dane’s. Pretty intense story, the prince was a werewolf. Not sure where he got a symbiote, but he did, so good for him! Turns out he died of the same thing that is affecting Claymore back home! We find most of this out while the team is battling some rock monsters in the pyramid. It takes some paying attention, but the team figures out how to defeat them. They then head home, now with the knowledge they need to defeat Claymore’s infection.

It is a tough job, but the team ends up creating what is needed to cure Claymore. When I say tough job, I mean that there is there is considerable damage to Waering’s facility, the team, and Dane in particular. There’s also some business with his arm splitting open, and the infection being alive and then quarantined, but I really didn’t follow it exactly. I mean, hell, it is drawn way awesome, but I don’t get EXACTLY what went on.

Wetworks_v1_014The Blood Queen is out whooping it up in NYC, killing folks left and right. She keeps carving a serpent in the chests of her victims. Long-suffering Persephone has already had an ass full of the Blood Queen’s nonsense but has to take it in stride, as it is her royal duty to stick with the notorious T.B.Q. Queeny is just reveling in the murder and mayhem she’s causing only pausing for a bit to talk about her love for Dane. I’m pretty sure this is the first indication that the Blood Queen personally knows anyone on the Wetworks team other than their benefactor Mr. Waering.

Time for a training session with Dane! And Dane tells them they all suck. He’s schooling the whole team left and right. He’s worried that they’ve started to rely too much on the power they’ve gotten from the symbiotes and are getting lazy. He orders more and more training sessions to get the team back up to snuff. We get a touching (get it) moment between Mother-One and Grail, we see Jester once again unwittingly use his power, and we Dane confused, hearing a voice in his head. The voice is the Blood Queens, and we all know, that lady ain’t right in the head! Look out, Dane!

Worried Dane

Wetworks_v1_015Well, Dane isn’t feeling well, so he goes on a break. Of course, this isn’t going to be a joyous vacation for him to think and collect himself. Nope, poor Dane stops at a diner and is accosted by a creature trying to steal his golden symbiote! The creature was once a man named Paul, whose soul was bound to his body even after he was killed. He must have some kind of low-level psi-powers as he can command flys to cover his body and keep he decaying body mobile. He made a mistake that afternoon going after Dane, and may’ve paid the price. At the end of their battle all that is left if Paul’s skull, still containing Paul’s eternal soul.

Time for a training session without Dane! And Waering tells them they all suck. He has a point, without Dane around the team is coming across as next to useless. OK, it isn’t that bad, but it really seems that Mother-One is the only team member to get how serious the team needs to get if they are to function without Dane leading them. Without Dane you say? Yup! Mother-One is worried about his health and wants to be prepared if worse comes to worse and Dane isn’t around. Well, where’s Dane this now? Turns out he’s made it to Battery Park in NYC at the Korean War memorial, where he runs into his old friend Michael Cray.

Dane Remeets Cray

Continuity Corner:

  • One of the reasons for the unorthodox reading order is this: issues 12, 13 and the main story from 14 all concern the teams desire to cure Claymore. The backup story in 14 ends with Dane meeting up with Michael Cray, whom he pretty much stays with up through the events of “Fire from Heaven.” In my head, it makes no sense for him leave Cray to go back across the country to do a training exercise with the team in the “Fieldtest” story and then leave them to meet right back up with Cray again. If we read the book in the order I’ve laid out we get the entire arc of the team saving Claymore, then Dane leads a training session, followed by seeing Dane on the road in “Fly on the Wall.” After that, we see the team do a training session without Dane while he meets up with Cray for “Deathblow” volume one, issue 22 and next big “WildStorm” cross-over. It has a better narrative flow, but I’ll admit, it’s a bit of a tortured order to have things in.
  • Also, at the end of the training session in issue 15 we see Dane drop his gold. After the events of “Deathblow” volume one issue 22 he can’t really do that due to the lack of Gen-Factor in his system. The symbiote is the only thing holding him together at that point, sooooooo… my crazy order stands! Suck it, doubters!
  • Alright, I’ll admit it, maybe “Fly on the Wall” doesn’t go here. I just thought that it would be pointless to pull it out, as we know that Dane is on the move, so why not. But frankly, I just can’t think of anywhere that is a desert between where Waering’s place is and New York City. Then again, it seems like he’s kind of wandering in this story, so maybe it wasn’t exactly a straight line from point A to point B in this case.
  • It’s a bit of a retcon, but we’ll find that the Blood Queen has been messing with Dane for years in the pages of “Gen12.” Issue 15 of “Wetworks” volume one was our first hint of something going on between the two of them.
  • You’d think the Blood Queen killing folks in NYC would gain the attention of some of the other New York City-based WildStorm characters. I guess StormWatch is busy rebuilding and the New WildCats are trying to get themselves established keeping them away from the action. I guess the real question is, where the hell is Union?

NEXT: “Deathblow” volume one issue 22 by Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner and Trevor Scott

“Wetworks” Vol. 1 issues 9 – 11

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

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

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

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

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

Continuity Corner:

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

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

“WildStorm Rising” Chapters 5 – 7

this entry covers “WildStorm Rising” Chapters 5 – 7, which consists of “Grifter” Vol. 1 issue 1, “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 16 and “WetWorks” Vol. 1 issue 8

Good old Cole Cash is on a personal mission to find his old buddy Micheal Cray, who he is pretty sure has half of the MacGuffin Daemonite spaceship key/leadership badge, that all the bad guys are looking for. In fact, Defile and his minions are spying on Cole seeing what information he has. Hell, for all they know Cole has the key/badge piece as they only know a Team 7 member has it, but they’re also following Cole to see if he has any idea where Cray is, as they can’t seem to locate Cray at all. Not that Cole was having much luck either until he suddenly remembered Cray’s old shack of a house out in the wilds of Virginia.

After talking to Cray at a payphone (hey kids, remember payphones?) Cole decides it is best to start heading for Virginia. He hardly gets out of the phone booth when he starts getting pelted with lasers by some of the goofiest looking villains that WildStorm has ever coughed up. Seriously, two-tone (red and blue) tights under super boxy gold armor, with a small helmet that has tiny horns. It’s not a good look. But they, they have laser guns and flying sled thingies, so who am I to judge.

Cole manages to take a hit during this battle and keeps passing out. Each time he’s down he has a hallucination about his past. We learn all kinds of things about Cole’s life. Such as him running away from home, getting the nickname “Grifter” from Slayton, and leaving Zealot for the first time. Ultimately he gets it together enough to fight off the goons and steal a rocket sled/chariot dealy to get on his way to Cray.

What’s up with Cray? Well, he’s getting his Virginian shack all set up to be Daemonite proof. More booby traps set up around the property and more firepower contained inside the domicile itself. Of course, the Daemonite goons show up to hunt down Cray, but he’s pretty much got them licked. All except for Mr. White who is predicatively too cool for school about this kind of thing. All the other goons are using brute force and losing terribly to Cray. Eventually with most of the goons wiped out Cole shows up, talks to Cray and gets the bit of the key/badge Cray took so many years ago. Cray was using it as a door handle, ha ha! Cole takes it and takes off. Minutes later Cole is back… wait a minute, Cole is back? Oh no! That first Cole was actually Mr. White! Dammit! Now they gotta find their pal Jackson to bail them out of trouble, you guys!

Why Jackson and not any of the other living Team 7 members? Well, Cray and Cole beat some information out of one of Defile’s men named Harka that was still alive after trying to break into Cray’s place. Harka let him know about the plan and that Defile is sending a man named Bastion after Jackson.

Bastion finds Jackson at the grave of Crossbones. While pouring his heart and regrets out Mother-One butts in and warns him of Bastion’s approach. Jackson makes pretty short work of Bastion, but Bastion ends up teleporting out of there, by means unknown. Jackson then notices two other figures on his tail and scrambles the rest of the WetWorks team to his location. It ends up just being Cole and Cray, so it’s time for a team-up!

Because they now know that Defile has 1 1/2 key/badges Cole leads the WetWorks crew (plus he and Cray) to where Helspont was last seen. You know, the astrological research facility from the first major “WildC.A.T.s” story arc? Yep, that place! There they hope to find Helspont’s dead body and key/badge to make sure there’s no way Defile or Hightower can get to it. Well, they’re not the only team to have this idea and see that the WildC.A.T.s are already there. And since there hasn’t been a team vs. team fight in a while, it’s time for the WetWorks crew to get into it with the WildC.A.T.s. Yawn.

Once again we have superteam fighting superteam, that can only mean that Hightower is sneaking off again to grab a key/badge, just like he did in D.C. when the ‘C.A.T.s fought StormWatch. Hightower comes across what appears to be Helsponts nearly dead body, half buried in rubble, with his key/badge in his hand held aloft. Hightower says “Don’t mind if I do” and reaches in to snag it. Not so fast, Helspont was merely resting, you fool! Yeah, so with Helspont awake he taunts the fighting superheroes and this teleports away, with two henchmen that appeared out of nowhere.

Helspont being back is pissing everyone off. First, Hightower, who got a good neck ringing for trying to get Helspont’s key/badge. Second, the WildC.A.T.s who really don’t want to have to deal with that asshole again, especially now that knows the Daemonite ship has been found. And third, Defile, who doesn’t seem to even want to tolerate Helspont’s foolishness and wants to know if the Daemonite ship has been found yet. Much to his dismay, it hasn’t. Not just for Defile either, Savant hasn’t had any luck either, but she’s going to press on.

Continuity Corner :

  • Remember, Cray found that hand sticking out of the ground on that Nicaragua mission holding the key/badge that he broke off part of for himself back in “Team 7 : Objective : Hell” issue 1. I guess all this time that Cray was held the half rank of Daemonite Lord, who knew!
  • After “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 15 I figure Cray makes his way back to New York to check back in with Rayna about the Los Angeles job. After that we see him in traffic in “WildStorm!” issues 1 and 2, which seems to be like NYC, putting him pretty close to Virginia when Cole calls.
  • Jackson knows Defile becasue Defile is trying to sell the symbiotes of Crossbones and Flattop? What? Is this a plot point I forgot about?
  • Void drops the first hint that Jester has bonded with his symbiote in a way that isn’t immediately obvious and has yet to be made clear to the reader.
  • Look… Helspont is still alive… Yay… Really, Helspont… he’s just such a crap villain. He’s supposed to be the “Big Bad” of the WSU and he just never ever is. Does he even make top five? Let’s see, starting at the top, the five biggest bastards in the WildStorm Universe are 1) Miles Craven 2) TAO 3) Defile 4) Henry Bendix 5) Kaizen Gamorra (both of them). I mean Helspont looked cool, but he was such a crap villain. I’ll give him this though, he was better than the Drahn.

NEXT : “WildStorm Rising” Chapters 8 through 10 (which includes “Backlash” issue 8, “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 22 and “WildStorm Rising” issue 2) by Ron Marz, Brett Booth, Renato Arlem, Kevin Maguire, Sandra Hope, Alex Garner, Chuck Gibson, Sal Regla, Robert Jones, Terry Austin and Al Vey.

“WildStorm : Chamber of Horrors”

this entry covers the short story “Portrait” from “Overstreet Fan Magazine” issue 4 and the “WildStorm : Chamber of Horrors” one shot.

“Portrait” is a two-page story that opens with Zealot stealing something from the Coda. While Zealot is fighting we get a narration from Savant about how different they each are and why. The story ends with Zealot delivering what she took from the Coda to Savant. It’s the head of an ancient Greek statue, a statue of Zealot herself. The story ends in Savant’s office in the Smithsonian, coincidently, that’s exactly where our next story takes place!

wildstormchamberofhorrosOk, so what we have here is WildStorm’s attempt at their very own “Treehouse of Horror.” Remember when those started, there was a framing story of the Simpson kids telling scary stories to each other, and we have that here. The team, sitting around in the Smithsonian telling spooky stories. Some are stories from their past, a history of Tapestry that Zealot knows, or in Reno’s case, a horrible dream!

There’s not too much here. Reno keeps having a nightmare of visiting his parents’ graves, them rising as zombies, turning into Daemonites, trying to kill him and succeeding. We’ll find out more about Reno’s background later, but it’s that as a kid some Daemonites burned down his folks’ house and he carries the guilt of not being there to save them. Him telling this story to Savant gets the whole ball of wax going.

Jacob chimes in with his story from back in his Saul Baxter days. Seems he got set up with a woman whose whole body had been taken over by spiders who were then controlling her, much like 3 kids in a coat and fedora pretending to be a grown man. Also, there was a crazed axe murderer, who flummoxed the cops who shot him due to his not having a hook for a hand. Basically, a bunch of old urban legends tossed together. I don’t know if we can trust Jacob on this one.

Zealot tells a story of Tapestry being the witch that set off the Salem Witch Trials. And Savant gives a story of being careful what you wish for, but back in pirate times! While all of the stories are kinda meh, these last two don’t do much storywise other than showing us a bit of WSU history. I mean, that’s what I assume because Savant saw a pirate getting hanged by the name of Henry Fletcher/the Bloody Hawk, and I can’t find any reference to him being a real person or pirate. We shoulda got some sweet WildStorm pirate stories outta that guy!

Continuity Corner:

  • In this issue, Zealot has short hair. The editor must’ve been asleep at the wheel because there’s just no way for this to’ve happened. Unless Zealot grows her hair very quickly. Is that a known Kherubim trait? Rapid hair growth? I know this kind of puts it at odds with having “Portrait” right before it, but this is something that’s best overlooked.
  • Maybe rapid hair growth is a Kherubim trait, Savant grew quite a coiffe in a few pages!
  • I did the research, the beehive hairdo was created in 1960, so Jacob’s story (if he’s not pulling our leg, as it’s the only story that seems like it could be false) would have to be happening shortly before the “Team One” books.
  • So, Tapestry was active in 1692. And this was still years before Zealot had her 100 years of indentured servitude with her? I always thought “the Price” from “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 13 had taken place centuries earlier!
  • Savant still seems fine just 12 years later in 1704, so I guess she hadn’t been poisoned quite yet. Man, when does Zealot submit to Tapestry for all that time? I guess there’s still time, I mean, as long as it happens before 1860, I guess we’re still looking at a workable timeline.
  • Also, yes, I do find it odd that Deathblow is on the cover of this issue and it only concerns the members of the “WildC.A.T.s” book.

NEXT: “WetWorks” Vol. 1 issues 4 – 7 by Whilce Portacio, Francis Takenaga & Scott Williams

“Voodoo / Zealot : Skin Trade”

this entry covers the one shot “Voodoo / Zealot : Skin Trade” as well as the short story “Voodoo : Skin Game” from “Overstreet’s Fan” magazine issue 3.

VoodooZealotSkinTradeVol1_01This book… this effing book. Ok, let’s be serious for a minute, this book is basically a bunch of pin-ups arranged as a story. But trashier than that sounds. For all the cheesecake glory that is “Gen13” when compared to this book “Gen13” ends up looking rather tame. And, if I was a better reviewer, and thought this was the place to get into it, I’d comment on how WildStorm went from putting out a book like this, where the women are all posed as sexual objects first and to serve the story second, to eventually putting out books that dealt with a more mature take on sex and sexuality in such a small span of time. Not to mention how much ahead of the curve on that kind of thing they were in regards to DC and Marvel. But this isn’t the blog for that and I’d never do that argument justice anyway!

We catch up with Zealot training Priss in the ways of the Coda. Along for the “It’s Not the Danger Room!” session is Cole and Jeremy who both admonish Zealot for being too harsh with Priss. Little Big Jake tells Zealot that she needs to lay off of Priss a bit and she needs a break. Zealot storms off and is then confronted by Providence. Providence tells Zealot she has information about her Zealot’s previously unknown child and proceeds to give some long convoluted story of how it’s been cryogenically frozen and will still be a young kid. Also, it’s in Yurgovia and she should go save it. Most of this is a lie, but Providence needs to get Zealot to Yurgovia and Zealot will meet her kid, so she embellished a lot.

So why does Providence need to get Zealot to Yurgovia? Well, ok, remember Yurgovia from the “WildC.A.T.s Special”? Remember how there was this Coda gal named Destine that was running it? Remember how she died getting shot in the back by Cole? Welp, I guess it didn’t take because she’s back and she’s pissed. She’s out to take Yurgovia back from the people that’d been running it since she’d been assumed dead, and also to grow her own little branch of the Coda as well. She has a few recruits already and she’s looking for more to train, which means kidnapping the children of Yurgovia. In the end, it seems that Providence didn’t like all this, because who would, and vowed to put and end to Destine’s schemes. Oh, and Destine has a bit of “the Orb” that created her and Void and she means to have it back. Not that Providence went about it attaining her goals in any logical manner, she handed out half truths to Zealot and double crossed Destine.

Long convoluted plot short, a woman named Cathy is trying to save a bunch of Yurgovian kids from the horror on the civil war by secretly getting the kids to Greece. Providence says she’ll help her. Destine’s forces are after Cathy and the kids because one of the kids was supposed to be in Destine’s Coda Scouts troop. This girl has white hair. Destine encounters Providence, says she wants revenge on Zealot in exchange for her orblet. Providence provokes Zealot to show up, Zealot brings Priss under Jake’s orders. Everyone assumes the little white haired girl is Zealot’s kid. Priss and Zealot kick Destine’s ass, and eventually Zealot tosses the orb in the sky and Destine grabs it and blows up. This pisses off Providence, who basically tells Zealot to suck it. Zealot is all “No, you suck it, bitch, my kid ain’t even here! Also, why do you get hair and Void has to be bald?” To which Providence is all “Your kid is in the room, look around” and Zealot sees StormWatch, who’ve come to rescue the kids by order of the UN and sees Winter with his white hair.

I mean, ok it’s not just the white hair, it’s that Zealot left her baby with a Russian couple. Get this, unless you haven’t been paying attention, but Winter is Russian. I know, mind blown. Not sure why the white hair was such a big thing considering that [seriously, the WildStorm revelation that I’m not going to spoil yet] doesn’t have white hair. Now, I thought all the members of StormWatch were supposed’ve been superpowered by a magical comet, how come Winter gets to be half Kherubim?

That about wraps that one up. Except for the ladies go on vacation to Greece before they get back to New York. I mean it was the cover story that Zealot gave to Priss in the first place, and they did live it up for a few days before going to Yurgovia. So you know, why not, more excuses to draw the girls in bathing suits.

Let’s finish this off with another short story featuring Priss and Zealot written by Steven T. Seagle as well. Priss is out for a night on the town, she gets a letter and rose delivered to her from an anonymous admirer. The note says to meet her out back in the rose garden because most bars have those. Once she’s back there she’s attacked. Don’t worry, it’s only Zealot surprise testing her, seeing if she’d fall back on her Coda training or on her instincts. Priss fails and Zealot lets her know there’s going to be more homework because of this.

Continuity Corner:

  • Winter is Zealot’s kid, we all got that right? I mean he’s supposed to be, later we’ll get some background on Kheran mating practices and the rarity of births in “WildStorm Winter Special” no less more than one (that’s another spoiler kids, sorry). Maybe it works differently with Human and Kherans though…
  • This book makes mention of a book called “WildC.A.T.s : Ground Zero” that never came to be. It seems like it would’ve outlined the adventures Zealot was having, who Winter’s father was and how she dealt with her pregnancy.
  • When we last saw Destine in the “WildC.A.T.s Special” she looked much different. Long hair, red outfit. She still has black hair (which was sometimes drawn long in this issue) and some tech over her right eye, but other than that she looks like a new character. When first reading this a few years ago (yeah, this wasn’t a story I grew up with, I found it while doing research for this blog) I knew that I knew her, but I couldn’t recall from where due to the complete redesign.
  • We do get a few callbacks to the storyline in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 10 – 13 with mentions of Tapestry and how Providence snuck into the HALO building.
  • The art on this book is something else. Starts off pretty solid and then gets worse and worse as it goes one. Also, there was like 15 different inkers on this book. There’s a handful of miscolorings as well as a handful of speech bubbles going to the wrong characters. Not to mention that the “white haired girl” is always seen with black hair. This book was kind of a mess in the final act of the story.
  • Speaking of the art seriously, am I the only person who thinks all the visual references for Priss and Zealot were from the pages of nudie magazines? Was that the point considering the name of the book?
  • Was this book popular? I mean, it came out pre-internet so it should’ve been a hit based on the “artwork” alone, but I had never heard of it before doing research into WildStorm books, and I was a teenage boy and a WS fan when this came out.
  • Regarding the placement of the “Skin Game” short. I feel it is odd to see Priss using her “were-form” here, as we don’t see that until a bit later. But we really aren’t going to see it until they get into space, and once they’re back from space Priss quits the team. So when’s this training taking place? Ultimately, Priss’s were-form isn’t really too crazy of a deal, so it is fine that it makes it’s appearance here, but I’m torn if the story should come before or after the “Skin Trade” book or not. They seem to be on better terms with each other in “Skin Game” as a result of “Skin Trade” but, Zealot getting on Priss’s case for being out of practice in “Skin Trade” could be a reference to the events in “Skin Game.” Like I said, it could go either way.

NEXT: “WildStorm : Chamber of Horrors” by Ron Marz, Steven Grant, Merv, Jeff Mariotte, Bernie Wrightson, Alex Baily, Trevor Scott, Jason Johnson, Tom Raney, Aron Wiesenfeld, Chris Carlson, Al Vey, John Beatty and Alex Garner. As well as the short story “Portrait” by Ron Marz, Ryan Odagawa and Jon Holdredge.