Tag Archives: Travis Charest

“WildStorm Rising” Chapters 1 – 4

this entry covers “WildStorm Rising” Chapters 1 through 4, which consists of “WildStorm Rising” issue 1, “WildC.A.T.s : Covert Action Teams” volume 1 issue 20, “Union” volume 2 issue 4 and “Gen13” volume 2 issue 2 as well as the “Grifter : Sneak Peak” story from “Overstreet’s Fan” issue 1, which is best read after “WildC.A.T.s” issue 20

Okay, here we go, let’s get started, here’s what many of the WildStorm titles have been leading to for so long! WildC.A.T.s meet StormWatch. StormWatch meet WildC.A.T.s. Now by the law of comics you must fight! Even if said fight is in a parking lot in downtown Washington D.C. I have to say it’s an interesting choice. It feels more real that an abandoned warehouse. More immediate than an empty section of the city. There are even cops telling the rubberneckers to get back. Maybe it’s me, but stuff like this really brings a lot of reality into the comics.

During the brawl, we have Hightower watching and smiling. He’s glad to see the WildC.A.T.s so preoccupied with fighting StormWatch that they’ve forgotten about him. Now it’s time to for him to slip off to the Smithsonian to take the part of the key/badge that Charles Russell will have on display at his new exhibit. Hightower gets into the museum to talk to Dr. Russell disguised as a guard. After pumping the good doctor about where the key/badge was found he cold-cocks the doc and absconds with the key/badge.

Void shows up all big and badass and basically rescues all of the WildC.A.T.s and gets the hell out of that trashed D.C. parking lot. Before she ports everyone to safety, she creates an image in the sky of the Daemonite key/badge. This gets the attention of one Daemonite High Lord named Defile. He decides that his scheme of pitting the WildC.A.T.s against StormWatch must be suspended, he needs that key/badge! Meanwhile, the WildC.A.Ts arrive back at the Halo building to find Hightower just chillin’ with the key/badge wanting to talk to the team.

It is too bad for Hightower that no one wants to hear him out. The WildC.A.T.s just start wailing on the guy. After he finally gets the team to calm down, by holding Jacob at claw-point, he tells them all about Defile and how he’s the guy they’re after. He also tells the team all about the key/badges and how it is his goal to complete the part of the one he has, snag the other two, find the Daemonite warship and go back to Daemon. He’s got no love for Earth or continuing the war here. He reminds them all of the awesome firepower on the Daemonite ship and persuades them that his are the best hands it could be in, and he’ll just leave, while Defile would just use that kind of power enslave Earth.

Jacob gives Hightower’s words some thought and decides that Hightower is right, it is best that they team up with him. Cole isn’t cool with this. Mostly on account of what Hightower did to him and his pal Lonely back in “WildC.A.T.s Trilogy.” Jacob threatens Cole with being fired and Cole over reacts, backhands Jacob and walks away. Wait, did I say he just walks away? Nah, he was also purposely hateful and a little bit racist towards the rest of the team on his way out. While it’s tough to read, this is completely in character when what we know of Cole. Try to make them hate you on your way out, so they never ask you to come back. Classic tough-guy bravado.

Meanwhile, Savant and Charles have been trying to call the WildC.A.T.s but the team can’t hear the damn phone ring due to all the fighting and yelling. She’s already called in Majestic to help (he’s on his way), but the WildC.A.T.s would provide more of the back-up they may need. Because she can’t get a hold of her sister and pals, she does the next best thing, calling her old pal Christine at StormWatch for help. Christine decides that the best operative to answer Savant’s call for help is Union. Before either of Majestic or Union can get Savant’s location at Charles’s house, Mr. White and a handful of the Mercs bust in a wall and start to interrogate Charles. Before the Mercs and Mr. White can do too much damage on behalf of Defile, Majestic swoops in to save the day. He’s doing a bang-up job of it too before Union shows up and thinks that Majestic is the bad guy and start beating on him.

Fresh from a nap and some booze, Cole gets to thinking about quitin’ the ‘C.A.T.s. He’s still sure he made the right choice, but something is bugging him. He knows he’s seen that missing bit of the key/badge before. It dawns on him that it is back in his Team 7 days, and he remembers Cray taking it when they found it in the jungles of Nicaragua. Cole knows he needs to find Cray, but needs some coffee first. Presumably, after that coffee, Cole takes a short job to make some cash protecting some diamonds. While in a warehouse he’s attacked by a woman named Prayer who’s “holier-than-thou” act isn’t so much of an act, but a way of life. Cole’s employers are less than clean, and Prayer means to steal the diamonds and get them to their rightful owner. Cole’s no slouch. He sees when he can play a grift, you might say. In the end, Cole still has the diamonds and all Prayer got away with was half a sandwich in a fancy case.

Back to the action. The action being Union and Majestic beating on each other. These two just won’t listen, and in their brawl, Mr. White and the Mercs manage to escape. They also cause more property destruction on Charles’ house before knocking out the power to a quarter of D.C. Once they stop to think for a few seconds Savant calls them out on their douchebaggery and lets each of them know they’re all on the same side. Seem he’s got a plan. While everyone is scrambling back and forth looking for the rest of the key/badges they’re going to Nicaragua to find the lost Daemonite ship. Savant has sketchy ideas about the location from Charles, but Savant can find anything, especially with the help of Majestic and sure, I guess Union can tag along too.

Defile is starting to get pissed. There are two halves of one key/badge out there, and another whole key as well. He’s gotten enough information to know that one of the members of Team 7 has the half that Hightower doesn’t have. The problem is, he’s not sure which on holds that key/badge part and sends his minions off to snag it for him. One of his minions is Helmut, an old enemy of John Lynch, who’s ready for revenge, but where is Lynch?

After Defile has discharged all his minions, except his zombie rude boy, a young man comes to him with exactly what he wants, the location of Lynch. It’s Trance, the creepy guy from the nightclub that tried to charm Roxy. He obviously knows the location of Lynch and will trade it to Defile for the secrets of Miles Craven. That’s the deal of the century! Go Trance you skinny slick bastard! That’s kind of badass, especially for you.

Defile contacts Helmut and he’s on his way to ruin the Gen13 girls’ day by the pool. Well, Grunge wasn’t helping make it much better, but Helmut made it so much worse. Everyone is doing their best to hold their own against Helmut, but he’s a tough S.O.B. in his armor. Suddenly Lynch yells to Bobby to set up his guitar and amps. See, Lynch remembers from the first time he encountered Helmut that Helmut is susceptible to sonic vibrations. Bobby gets his gear all set up and starts striking a chord in his Soundgarden t-shirt (R.I.P. Chris Cornell.) This act stuns Helmut enough for Grunge to pop in and hit the release button on Helmut’s armor. Once again Lynch strings Helmut up in a net and takes a photo, this time with his young wards.

That’s where I leave you for now. Cole is on the hunt for Cray. Defile’s thugs are on the hunt for Cole, Cray, Jackson and Slayton. Savant, Majestic and Union are on the hunt for the lost Daemonite ship. And the WildC.A.T.s are on the hunt for… well… we don’t really know right now, but we have a double page spread of them kicking some ass, so we know they’re on the hunt for something!

Continuity Corner :

  • When the WildC.A.T.s and StormWatch are fighting each other, Zealot and Winter keep getting matched up against each other. When this was happening did anyone know they were supposed to be mother and son? We know that Winter is Zealot’s son because of “Voodoo / Zealot : Skin Trade” but that was published after “WildStorm Rising”, but there’s no place chronologically for it to take place after “WildStorm Rising.” (Pris is on the team, still training to be a Coda, she gets along with Zealot.) Also, according to an interview in “Wild Times : An Oral History of WildStorm Studios” (go get your copy today!) it’s revealed that Winter was also supposed to not just be the son of Zealot but also of Yon Kohl! Winter was intended to be a full-fledged Kheribum! This was to be revealed in the never released “WildC.A.T.s : Ground Zero.” In the end, going by the comics, we never find out who is Winter’s actual father, and as far as we know, it could’ve ended up being rewritten to have been just a random human. Either way, unknowingly fighting your own Mom, pretty messed up.
  • So, Hightower can shape-shift. Is this just a rarity for Daemonites? We have Mr. White, Hightower and Olympia with this talent. One of the things that I always assumed was that Daemonites cannot live on Earth without a host. Maybe the shape-shifty ones can. Or maybe I was wrong about Daemonites needing hosts to live, maybe it’s just been that we’ve seen Daemonites in very bad situations where they need a new host because they’re so hurt like in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 Special issue 1 and “Backlash” issue 6. Oh, also Pris has a bit of shape-shifting going on with her “were-form” ability.
  • Hey, why is Void huge and golden when she comes back to D.C. to stop the big battle? Well, according to the writer James Robinson in “Wild Times : An Oral History of WildStorm Studios” (have you seriously not gotten a copy yet?) it is because when the pages got back from Barry Windsor-Smith, Void was just drawn huge. It wasn’t something Robinson asked Barry to draw, Barry just did. Not sure who decided she should be golden, but hey, if she’s going to be so much bigger, why not literally go for the gold as well.
  • We get a lot of background on Hightower in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 20. We find out that he was both Genghis Khan and John, King of England. This conflicts as their lifespans overlap each other by quite a bit. Khan is only four years older than John but ended up outliving him by a shade over a decade. Since Hightower can shape-shift, and reading the text literally, we only need Hightower to be acting as John, King of England long enough to get the Magna Carta created, and then have him only pose as Khan to lead Khan’s horde for a time. He needn’t have been either for their full lives. It’s possible he worked with Khan to lead the horde on two fronts, and usurped John late in life for his own ends. Yes, this blog has gotten me to do far more historical research than I ever thought was possible.
  • Had Hightower’s goal of getting the ship and getting back Daemon worked, man, he would’ve been in for a rude awakening finding the war over and Daemon lost. Whoops, spoilers…
  • We never get the back story on how Christine Trelane and Savant are friends, but they’re apparently old friends. We’ll see Savant encounter StormWatch again in “Savant Garde” issue 6.
  • Why put this 2 page “Grifter : Sneak Peak” story in after issue 20 of “WildC.A.T.s?” Well, first off Cole is still on his way to get some coffee and I’d assume he needs some cash as well to track down Cray, so why not just take a small easy job to do just that. Also, the name of this story is “Sneak Peak” and that implies it comes before “Grifter” Vol. 1 issue 1. Also, after “Wild.C.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 20, we see Cole in a bar drinking in “Union” Vol. 2 issue 4. Drinking booze, just after he was just looking coffee. Maybe he had something to soak up all that booze, say, that half a sandwich he ate during “Sneak Peak?”
  • The next time we’ll see Prayer is in “Grifter” Vol. 1 issue 7. There’s she’s on the West Coast and seems to have been there for a time. To be fair, there’s plenty of time for her to have crossed the continent and ended up in Los Angeles before Cole runs into her again.
  • Eventually we’ll see Lynch face off with Helmut for the first time in “Lynch” issue 1. Also Helmut will be back to terrorize the team in “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue issue 16.
  • And that’s the first four chapters of “WildStorm Rising!” I decided to group them by writer, with the first three being by James Robinson. The “Gen13” issue is the oddball that is written by it’s normal team. perhaps leading to it being the least connected to the over all story. Well, neither was “Team 7 : Operation : Hell” issue 1, but that book is even more disconnected. Oh, and that “Grifter : Sneak Peak” that was probably by Steven T. Seagle. But look, there isn’t a single cut away in “Gen13” to any of the other WSU characters like there is in “Union” and “WildC.A.T.s”. Every page of “Gen13” is serving that book and only that book. Even the Defile pages feature Trance!
  • For now I’m back to a weekly (Tuesday) schedule due to how much there is to cover each entry, hopefully I can get back to twice a week after the crossover!

NEXT : “WildStorm Rising” Chapters 5 – 7 (Which consists of “Grifter” Vol. 1 issue 1, “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 16 and “WetWorks” Vol. 1 issue 8) by Steven T. Seagle, Ryan Benjamin, Trevor Scott, Mel Rubi, Tom Raney, Whilce Portacio, Tom McWeeny, Rick Mayar and Scott Williams.

“WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 18

this entry covers “WildC.A.T.s : Covert Action Teams” volume 1 issue number 18, as well as the backup story “Savant : Wedding Day Jitters”

This issue is all about Pris and Cole! Yay! Just like the Special! Well, not exactly. First off, they’re not teaming up on a mission. Secondly, while Cole’s part of the story is totally “A Day in the Life of Grifter,” the Pris story is a story of the girl’s history, hopes, and dreams. It’s two stories happening at the same time, and either one would’ve been an awesome full issue, but it was fun to see them unfold side by side.

In our first story, Void takes on a mission to help our gal Pris. So Pris is still knocked out from that Daemonite attack several issues ago. She’s not coming out of her coma, so the best thing to do is put her in some crazy sci-fi contraption to link her brain to Void’s, you know, for easier brain access. Comic books everybody! As Void tours Pris’s mind she finds it divided up into various rooms. In the first, she sees Pris’s background as a dancer of various types, only thing is, Pris isn’t hiding in this room. Void moves to the next to see Pris and Spartan fighting twisted versions of the rest of the team. Void joins in the fight and even takes down her own evil doppelganger. On to the next room and the trio is fighting straight up Daemonites! Finally, there’s one room left, Pris must go there alone and confront her darkness. After all this, both women wake up. End Pris’s story.

Cole is on a mission. He’s been sent by Marlowe to figure out the Daemonites that are after the WildC.A.T.s and sicced Mr. White on them recently. The good news for Cole is that he gets information on a Daemonite that is plotting against the team and follows it up to find where that Daemonite currently is. The bad news for Cole is all roads have led him to Hightower when it was actually Defile that he’s after. I mean, Hightower is usually up to something, but for getting revenge for Pris, he isn’t your guy. I have a feeling that Defile got everything set up to go that way, but we never see it on the page. Cole tracks down Hightower hanging out with a bunch of Coda in Washington DC and calls the team to let them know what is up. This isn’t going to end well…

And, in our final story, Savant’s personal mission is to find King Solomon’s skull. It’s taken her and her pal Mabel all around the world and back to hunt down, and it turns out it’s on an island in the South Pacific. She finds out that she can have the skull if she marries the king of the island. She’s cool with that, as she’s just planning on grabbing the skull, knocking the king out and then flying away with Mabel. Well, not so easy it turns out! See, the king is a gigantic four-armed ape named Loooooth, uh oh! But come on, it’s Savant! She manages to get the skull, bop Magilla on the nose and catch her flight. But before she and Mabel can start high-fiving they find that there’s a gremlin on the plane’s wing! Womp-womp!

Continuity Corner :

  • During Pris’s story, Void finds an encoded memory (or meme, before that word became hijacked and lost all meaning) that fills in how Pris is part Kheribum and part Daemonite. It was a Daemonite experiment to create life, so their evil scientists mixed the blood of each race, twenty thousand souls and then let it bake for 15 days. Out popped the man who would one day lead us to Pris, and as it turns out, he turned on his creators. He’s no friend of Daemonites either.
  • We’ll see Pris’s ancestor again, but not until the “WildC.A.T.s Annual” issue 1, which doesn’t even occur until after “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 50! That’s a long wait for a return Mr. Voodoo’s Grandpappy!
  • For all seriousness, after looking at the cover and reading the book, how badass would it’ve been for Pris to always have a lightsaber? So awesome, right?
  • I’m not going to lie, I usually forget when the hell Pris got hurt. Even reading “WildC.A.T.s” on its own I usually have to pull up issues going backwards until I re-encounter those first few pages of issue 15.
  • I know there’s no possible way for it to be true, but I’d like to think that Looooth arrived on the South Pacific island to rule after he escaped the island of gigantic monsters from “Planetary” issue 2. There’s nothing that contradicts that, and Looooth does have 4 arms, he could probably swim pretty well. Hey, it’s still in the Pacific, just a little further South and warmer, I’m not ruling it out!

NEXT : “Backlash” issues 6 and 7 by Brett Booth, Jeff Mariotte, Sean Ruffner, Dan Norton, Melvin Rubi, Chuck Gibson, Sandra Hope, Edwin Rosell, and Tim Townsend.

“WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 17

this entry covers issue 17 of “WildC.A.T.s Covert Action Teams” volume 1

wildcats_vol1_17The WildC.A.T.s are all looking for Maul. They cannot find him in Morroco, New York City or the Florida Keys. Jacob is sending them out against the remaining members of the Cabal, to pump them for leads or full of holes, whichever gets the job done. Void finally gets a bit of information, collects the other members of the team, then she goes solo to SkyWatch and nabs Maul. Story over for the heroes of this book.

When we take a look at the villains of this issue we get some cool bits of story and characterization. We see a Cabal member almost spill his guts about Defile to Zealot, right before Void teleports her back to NYC. We also find out that Pike once had a drug-fueled vision that he’d kill a WildC.A.T. member. While he isn’t sure which one, he is always seeming to fight Warblade whenever possible, so he’s at least picked a favorite. Finally, we have Defile, breaking into the morgue where I/O had the shapeshifter’s body stashed, and reanimating, and naming, Mr. White.

Continuity Corner:

  • Uh yeah, this is like the fifth time I’ve put this note in the continuity corner, but in case you missed it, Defile turned Maul into a monster, who in turn lead to Battalion “dying” and that’s why he’s all passed out on SkyWatch.
  • The lead that Void gets on Maul’s location is unknown. I would think that it would be Defile, to make sure the two teams totally hate each other, but we see him clearly telling his henchman that StormWatch can do with “the creature” as they wish in “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 17.
  • We have a page of Savant where it says she’s been to Atlantis. Of course, she has, it was ruled by a Kherabim Lord, as we’ll find out in “Backlash” issue 28.

NEXT: “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 18 & 19 by Ron Mars, Mat Broome, Jeff Rebner, Salvador Larroca, Pop Mhan and pretty much every damn inker on the WildStorm Studios payroll at the time.

“WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 15 – 16

this entry covers “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 15 through 16

WildCATsVol1_15-16There’s not too terribly much I can say about these two issues. We have Travis Charest on art and James Robinson on script. It’s like a perfect comic book! Even better it is starring some of my favorite comic characters, the WildC.A.T.s! So yeah, I love it, but it isn’t an overly complex story.

One of the biggest differences of this comic, is that it doesn’t really seem to star the WildC.A.T.s at all! In fact, if this was an episode of a television show, it’d come off more like a backdoor pilot for a spin-off series. It stars I/O’s Black Razor team as lead by Ben Santini. The Black Razor’s are dispatched help keep certain government officials from getting assassinated. Jacob Marlowe has been appointed to an energy commission by the government, who will be meeting up with all kinds of very important, and high ranking people. While on a mission saving one official they start to find out information on the next hit, and that’s where the WildC.A.T.s come in.

As it turns out, I/O have done their homework and figured out that it is a Daemonite plot to take out these government officials. They also find out that one of the ways these hits have been being carried out is with a Daemonite shapeshifter. On the one assassination attempt they manage to foil, they find out that the shapeshifter they were after was already placed for the next assassination. Next on the hit list is an oil baron, who’s meeting with Jacob Marlowe, and just who is this shapeshifter posing as? Oh, a WildC.A.T…. duh! See how it all comes together?

It doesn’t go smoothly and the Black Razors are basically fighting the WildC.A.T.s as they try to establish which one of them is fighting in an unusual style. Listen, I know the WildC.A.T.s haven’t been around long, but I can’t figure out how I/O already has a handbook of their fighting styles created. I mean, geez so much for being a covert action team, everybody knows a little too much about these guys! Anyway, Santini figures it out, turns out it was Maul, and takes him out in the middle of the battle. He smarts off to Jacob and takes off. Now the only mystery left is, where the hell is Maul?

Like I said, not too much to it really. A simple story told and drawn incredibly well!

Continuity Corner:

  • Santini has hated Jacob ever since he shot out his left knee in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 2, just to get attention, that little creep.
  • While he’ll pop in here and there over the years, Santini will get a starring role in the WSU as the leader of “StormWatch : Team Achilles”
  • Though by reading through the letters pages, it seems that there was supposed to be a series starring Santini and this group of Black Razors that never materialized.
  • Speaking of this group of Black Razors, I’m not sure we see them again, except for the Spartan short stories in the first 3 issues of “WildStorm!”
  • Speaking of a particular Black Razor seems as if Adam Fleming changed his name to Cyril between issues. Either that or I didn’t notice if there were twins on the team.
  • On the first few pages of issue 15 we see Jacob noticing that Warblade wants to go on a Daemonite hunt, which means “Warblade : Endangered Species” can’t be too far behind.
  • If you hadn’t already figured it out, the Daemonite that was posing as Maul was the shapeshifting one we saw on the last few pages of “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 14. We saw him showing off his skill to Defile, who is all mixed up in this.
  • One of Jacob’s main jobs on the energy commission he’s been assigned to is undo all the messed up stuff that B’Lail put in place while he was possessing Dan Quayle.

NEXT: “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 15 – 17 by Ron Marz, Mat Broome and Trevor Scott with Ryan Benjamin, Dan Norton, Alex Garner, Sandra Hope, Tom McWeeney, Chuck Gibson and Jim Lee.

“Gen13” issue 1/2 and 0

this entry covers “Gen13” 1/2 and issue 0. “Gen13” 1/2, which was reprinted at one time as “Gen13” issue -1, was also in the “WildStorm Rarities” book, and had a complete overhaul in art and dialogue in the “Gen13 : Backlist” trade.

gen13vol2_0An alternate name for this entry could be “Five Short Stories Featuring Gen13.” As both issues are shorts that are chronicling what the Gen13 members were up to between the first volume and the second. They’re mostly small and fun stories, and they’re done by a variety of artists. I imagine one of the many reasons they were done was to give more lead time for J. Scott Campbell for the series proper and keep the “Gen13” name alive and out in front of the comic buying and reading audience.

The first story, as detailed in “Gen13” 1/2 has the kids pretty fresh out of the mini-series going on a bit of a road trip. Rainmaker has already left to be with her family in Arizona and the kids are now just driving around, supposedly they’re just killing some time before meeting up with Lynch down in San Diego, but they could just be being silly ass teens with no real direction. They have been told by Lynch to stick to the backroads to avoid altercations with local authorities or Ivana’s Keepers. They’re having some real problems with reading the map to said backroads, but that’s only the start of their troubles. When they pull over to ask directions and get some gas they also encounter Loran, a Traveler, or rather The Traveler, who shifted through time. She’s on the hunt for Langston, better known as Timespan who we’ve seen in a few issues of “StormWatch.” Loran has no time to deal with the primitives of this time, and in her little freak out bully time against some innocent bystanders, she catches the attention of Bobby, which in turn gets the rest of the kids to go after her. It’s a tough battle, but in the end, Loran gets tied up with a stop sign and left of the cops, as the kids continue their road trip to San Diego.

The next story is the first of four from issue 0, it stars Caitlin as she’s meeting up with her cousin and her family in Portland. Caitlin isn’t quite sure at this point if she really wants to go down to San Diego, and she might just stay in Portland with family. No sooner than she starts talking to her cousin (and her jerk husband) do some suited men start walking their way. Caitlin fears the worst, that they were sent by Ivana or by I/O and she does what she can to get away. This involves being hit by a train, then picking up said train and tossing it. That puts some distance between her and the rude boys, but she knows it’ll only slow them down for so long. Lucky for her a friend of Lynch’s pulls up and whisks her to the airport to catch a flight to San Diego. Did I say one of Lynch’s friends? Oh, turns out all these guys were pals of Lynch and it was all a set up to make sure Caitlin didn’t find a reason to stay in Portland and to make sure she joined the team. Oh, Lynch, it’s stuff like this that made so many Team 7 members dislike you.

We move on to Bobby picking up Sarah at the reservation she grew up at. Bobby act like a jerk, Sarah schools him and he gets all boo hoo emo boy. It’s all pretty uneventful, but a decent character moment for both. It’s nice seeing Rainmaker so excitable and enthused showing her world off to Bobby, as she pretty much becomes the cool level headed character of the book. I’m not saying it comes across as out of character either, it perfectly fits, but it’s a side we rarely see.

On to Las Vegas, where we find Roxy and Grunge trying to track down Roxy’s stepmom. Vegas was her stepmom’s last known whereabouts, but after hitting up all the major casinos they find out she’s already left and headed to New York City. Regardless of this Grunge and Roxy manage to stir up some trouble. We have some business with a hitman who looks a lot like Grunge, so much so that he gives him his jacket, in order to… I dunno, sneak out of the casino easier? Not sure what all that was about, but we do see Roxy using her power to win big at roulette. The casino notices this and sends goons out to stop the pair. Maybe Grunge had to be mistaken for the hitman so that we’ll see why the goons are using such extreme force, but come one, this is a fictional universe, where casinos always employ over the top goons as security. We’ve seen it a million times. What we see for the first time is Grunge using his power on Roxy as well as himself to evade said goons. Just as the pair is running out of the casino Bobby and Sarah pull up to help them get out of town in a hurry.

The final story concerns Lynch, breaking back into I/O to wipe records of Project Genesis and steal some files as well as some funds. Lynch knows all the secret ways in because he went over the plans when the I/O towers were build and made a few alterations. He gets all high-tech and uses a refraction suit, which basically makes him invisible. He almost gets away without being caught, but he just couldn’t shield his thoughts from Alicia Turner. We get reintroduced to Frank Colby and find that he took Lynch’s former position at I/O. Due to their past Colby and Alicia let Lynch go, but neither seem happy about it, and you can tell a bridge has been fully burned between them and John.

We get a single page wrap up, showing all the teens meeting up in La Jolla (which is a seaside community in San Diego) arriving at their new home. The kids meet Anna for the first time and Lynch lets them all know, it’s time to learn something, and he’s ready to teach! It’ll be at least a few months, comic time, before we catch back up with the Gen13 crew, heck, Rainmaker has to grow out her hair! But this was a pretty fun way to show us what the kids and Lynch get up to in their off time. Not to mention that it was a bonus for all of us to see Jim Lee and Travis Charest do some art for these stories!

Continuity Corner:

  • I mentioned this up top, but when the “Gen13” 1/2 story was reprinted in the “Gen13 : Backlist” trade the art and dialogue are completely different. The penciling is still done by Ryan Benjamin, but it’s been a few years and he’s got a better sense of the characters. It’s paced a lot better too, but the original wasn’t bad to begin with. Choi took over the dialogue on this version from H. K. Proger and makes a few small changes. In his version Caitlin wasn’t lost, Bobby isn’t so angry, Caitlin is sending a letter to her family instead of sending a payment for the stolen VW bus, and Loran is calling everyone “devols” instead of “primitives.” Oh, and Loran is named, she wasn’t in the original version. It is interesting to see the pages side by side and note the differences! Also, big shout out to John Pannozzi for bringing the two different versions to my attention in the first place!
  • The “StormWatch” and “Gen13” books have so little in common tone-wise, that it’s kind of jarring to see these books interact in any way outside of a line-wide crossover. This book is the only WildStorm book that even references The Traveler and Timespan outside of StormWatch, it wasn’t like we saw these two fighting their way through the background of “WildC.A.T.s” or “Union.”
  • Roxy does eventually find her stepmom in “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue 27 when the team is in New York.
  • Grunge says he was born in Hong Kong, but grew up in Seattle. Did he forget about all that time he spent on that Coda island?

NEXT : “Spartan : Warrior Spirit” issues 1 through 4 by Kurt Busiek, Mike McKone and Mark McKenna with Mick Gray

“WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 8 & 9

wildcatsvol009

this entry covers the main story from “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 8 and 9 as well as the back-up story “Warblade : the Bonds of Blood and Steel” from “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 9.

The idea of these issues are to show how the team spends their time off from being a member of a covert action team. Grifter and Zealot hit up a dive bar, Warblade and Maul go out to look at art and mac on ladies, Jacob checks up on an investment, Spartan follows Jacob, Voodoo follows Spartan and Void stays at home all alone… so very alone. Of course something goes wrong eventually and they have to suit up and take down some jackass, but seeing the team with some downtime is fun.

Grifter and Zealot are at one of Grifter’s old haunts, the diveiest of dives. A place so divey that southern redneck types hang out there, despite the bar being in New York City. There’s a bar brawl, Zealot wins and Grifter gets a message on his pager from Cyberjack with the code “T7.” Grifter lets Zealot know that he’s gotta bolt, personal guy stuff. She gives him a rather forward kiss for luck, and he’s off to the pages of “the Kindred” a little dismayed that his ex, that he’s having trouble getting over, just frenched in an NYC alleyway. So if you want to follow the thread of Grifter’s story bale out now and wait a month and I’ll get to it (kidding, I hope it isn’t another month between blogs!)

Warblade and Maul. I’ve already told you. Maccin’ on babes, visiting art shows.

Jacob, Voodoo and Spartan are sailing the high seas on one of Jacob’s cruise liners. Jeeze, Jacob sure got a lot done in the two years after Void found him in the streets! That’s besides the point, Jacob and crew are out on this cruise because he just had another one of his cruise ships go missing in this location. What kind of heroes are these? So one ship goes missing, why not get aboard another ship, strike out towards the same location with a whole bunch more innocent people and see what happens. Nope, let’s not go this alone, let’s endanger folks. Good call. Also, known mutie scum may be aboard this vessel as well.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, just before Voodoo got Spartan all talked into a smooch does Jacob stop by. Even worse is that after Jacob delivers a few lines that the whole ship is sucked up into the air. Voodoo, you’re never going to get to bang that robot at this rate. This brings up an interesting point. Voodoo has never been presented as an innocent, hell she used to be an exotic dancer, but in these scenes with Spartan she’s coming on much more forward than we’ve ever seen and pretty much more than we’ll see going forward. It always stands out to me when I re-read this issue. It’s not totally off base, but just enough to notice.

Back to the main dilemma, a boat being sucked into the sky. Turns out this is the work of Lord Entropy, another one of the Kherubim high lords that came to Earth. And he’s seeking vengeance on our lil buddy Jacob a.k.a. Lord Emp. Why the vengeance? Turns out that back in the middle ages when Jacob and Entropy were fighting as English knights Jacob killed Entropy’s wife. Why? Because she had just become a host to a Daemonite. That’s what Kherubim do, they hunt Daemonites (and if they’re English knights at the time, they also probably give the Scots a hard time as well.) Either Entropy forgets that a Daemonite took over his wife, or he missed that happening, because it doesn’t matter to him a bit. Dude’s out for Emp blood.

Back in New York, Void gets a vision of what’s going on. It helps that Entropy is using an orb/part of an orb to torture Jacob and co. because that helps her clue right in on the problem and where to go. She gets Jules to find Zealot and Zealot tracks down Warblade and Maul and they all rocket out to sea to find their fellow teammates. In a floating castle. With innocent cruiseliner folks lining the walls, while crystals grow around them, embedding them. For some reason.

Entropy is kicking everyone’s ass. The WildC.A.T.s he captured and the WildC.A.T.s that just showed up. As I said earlier, he has the power of the orb/an orb and it is amping his natural Kherubim powers. This give Void the bright idea to bond with Jacob and shut this joker down. Team up and blast ‘em. It works! The ‘C.A.T.s book it back to their plain/spaceship M.I.R.V. and are on they’re way back to NYC. Jules managed to save about 20 civilians while the rest of the team was taking care of business.

While captured Entropy does something to Jacob’s brain that gets him to remember the long life he has had. Dude has virtually no memory of what came before that day in August of 1990 when Void found him drunk in an alley. After Entropy does his thing Jacob’s brain is fixed and he starts to come to terms with who he is as well as what he’s done over his long life on Earth. Technically for this reason the “Team One” stories should probably be placed here, as they “WildC.A.T.s” issues are flashbacks of Jacob thinking over his life, thoughts he couldn’t’ve had prior the the events of “WildC.A.T.s” issue 9, but everyone is always on my case of not putting “Team One” in the “Pre-History” section. But look, the books are from Jacob’s memories, which he just got back from that mess with Lord Entropy! Also, all this thinking makes Jacob want to quit the team. Hell, if he saw what was coming in the next few issues, I wouldn’t blame him.

Back-up story time! Warblade takes down a Daemonite in an apartment. The Daemonite had taken over the life of single father. The son of said father sees Warblade take down his pops, but the kid is none the wiser of the alien possession. Warblade does the right thing and gets kid to the Halo Legal Department and tells them to help the kid find a new and decent home. Kid does an adorable little kid punch at Warblade’s face. Eh, not the worst short story, but not much there except for Travis Charest’s artwork.

Next: “Team 1: WildC.A.T.s” issues 1 & 2 by James Robinson & Rich Johnson and “Team 1: StormWatch” issues 1 & 2 by Steven T. Seagle and Tom Raney

“WildCats Trilogy” issues 1 – 3 & “Voodoo : Passed Lives”

this entry covers the first issue of “WildCats Trilogy” then the back-up story from “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 8 entitled “Voodoo : Passed Lives” before wrapping up with “WildCats Trilogy” issues 2 and 3.

wildcatstrilogyRight away looking at this book, we’re seeing the fantastic artwork of Jae Lee. Jae is one of my absolute favorite artists working in comics, and seeing him work on any WildStorm title is just magic for the eyes. Also, if you’ve ever seen the cover in person, man, it is a foil-y ‘90s comic masterpiece. Sorry kids, scans don’t do this thing justice! Shiny badass Jae Lee art to catch your eye and make you buy. I know that the ‘90s has a bad reputation for all the cover gimmicks that went on during the decade, but when a little bit of artistry is added, it really makes a decent case for them having been produced.

We kick off the story in this first issue of “WildCats Trilogy” by seeing Grifter hunting down his old friend Lonely. Lonely is an information broker, and Lonely has heard some info on “the Cabal.” Yes, this is early WildStorm, and they’re still trying to make “the Cabal” a thing. Listen up WildStorm, “the Cabal” is never going to happen! At the time the references to the Cabal rebuilding and making some kind of comeback, with or without Helspont seemed like a real and fearful possibility, but knowing that literally nothing comes of it, it just reads as clunky. Lonely, unfortunately, wasn’t really out to help his old friend Cash, but to help himself to his better friend, cash, and is selling out Grifter to a Coda and the Daemonite Hightower. And yes, Hightower is supposed to be representing the Cabal, even though we never saw him working with Helspont’s group in the original “WildC.A.T.s” book, and he is a new character here.

Hightower is an odd character. He never comes across as evil or as Machiavellian as Helspont, any other run-of-the-mill Daemonite, or even random WildC.A.T.s villain that we’ll see later on. Hightower is also the kind of Daemonite that spends his time shapeshifted into a human form on a regular basis, rather than his more alien form. The dude seems downright bored to have to get mixed up with the WildC.A.T.s at all. Not to say he doesn’t take delight in trying to finish off the team, he gives it his all, but Hightower just never seems into it. He just wants to kill them because he knows they’ll stop him if they find out whatever he’s trying to accomplish. Luckily for him, he finds a Coda named Artemis who’s got a beef with Zealot

Artemis has a long standing grudge against Zealot for betraying her at the fall of Troy during the Trojan War. You think there was a major war in the world where the Coda weren’t somehow involved? While we don’t see any hint of activity from other Kheribum or Daemonite, we’ve been told over and over again that they were near the center of almost every major war on Earth. I guess most of them just skipped this one, leaving Zealot and 2 of her Coda, Artemis and Andromache to lead the charge for this one. The whole reason Artemis captured Grifter, and chained him up, was to draw Zealot out to fight her, again, to the death. Hell, she has even less of an interest of the other WildC.A.T.s meeting their end than Hightower does. The plan of course works like a charm, Zealot comes running, and Artemis is ready to throw down. All the while Hightower and Grifter trade lame comic book tough-guy barbs with each other. Hightower even calls Grifter a half-breed, he must’ve not gotten the memo on Grifter being just a human with a Gen-Factor. That, or due to the blood-bond that he shares with Zealot, Hightop smells Kheribum on him.

We then are directed to, well by way of a months later retcon, to a short story of Voodoo changing her outfit. Voodoo gets a call from her old buddy Tina, who she used to work with at the Hot Spot. That strip joint that blew up in DC where the WildC.A.T.s first met Voodoo. While dancing there she gets in an altercation with the scarred Coda warrior she thought died in the explosion. The Coda is there to get revenge on Voodoo for ruining her life and standing in the Coda. During the fight the Coda uses the long streamers on the back of Voodoo’s outfit to catch and almost choke her. After Voodoo manages to beat the Coda she meets back up with the WildC.A.T.s in a new outfit, that looks more like a streamlined wetsuit. That’s a pretty nice little fill in the gaps kind of story. I always liked this as a kid when I read it, but I wasn’t being all that critical, now when I go back and read “WildCats Trilogy” I have a lot of questions. All during “WildCats Trilogy” Voodoo still has the streamers coming off the back of her outfit! Even after what was flesh colored in the first issue is now colored yellow in issues 2 and 3, and yet the streamers still remain. Was the suit change a way to explain a coloring mistake? Was it a mistake that WildStorm liked better, so when “WildC.A.T.s” issue 5 came out they made Voodoo a new suit that conformed with this color scheme? Was Jae Lee not fully updated that the new outfit wouldn’t have the streamers on it? Bah, on with the rest of “WildCats Trilogy.”

Void intuits through the aether that something is wrong with Grifter, or I should say the Grifter, as he’s called the Grifter all through “WildCats Trilogy.” So eventually they’ll show up, as inferred from the title of the book. We also see that Coda have been searching for a member of their ranks they call “the Heretic” and Delphae has finally found her. Now, the Majestrix of the Coda, Andromache, is ready to gather the troops and is gearing up to find and punish the heretic. Who is the heretic? Is this going to intercede with our current story? Is the set up for “WildCats Trilogy” way more exciting that the actual follow thought and action? The answers are, Artemis (but we were lead to believe it was Zealot) no duh and you bet.

The least interesting part of this book is actually seeing the WildC.A.T.s battle Hightower and his army of hybridroids. It is kind of interesting that Hightower took over Voodoo’s body for a short time to get in close to the rest of the team to attack them, but past that, the Coda vs. Artemis vs. Zealot (with her sidekick Grifter) are the main event. Getting a little bit of Coda history (the afore mentioned Trojan War) as well as learning where they live and a bit of their hierarchy adds a lot to the WildStorm universe in terms of world building. Looking at the WSU on the whole, it seems like Zealot is the only full blooded Kheribum that is Coda. We know she was Coda on Khera, so when she lands on Earth, she starts her own splinter faction of the Coda. She is the Majestrix at that time and she finds women to join her, she trains them, and they engage in the blood ritual, and that exchange helps humans gain the long life spans, and youthful looks that the Kheribum enjoy. I mean, that’s what I’ve taken from the years of reading WSU titles. It explains by Grifter looks so young as well. It seems like only a few women joined up with Zealot right away to form the Coda on Earth, two of the major ones being Artemis and Andromache. As payment for kicking ass in Troy, the Greeks have agreed to give the Coda pretty much all the baby girls they have as well as a ton of gold. In Troy things got a little heavy when Zealot wouldn’t let Artemis kills the royal family, feeling that the fall of Troy was enough to fulfill the contract with the Greeks. Artemis called Zealot out for going against the Coda rules by letting them go, as Majestrix and the only OG Coda Zealot’s all STFU and then Artemis is all “well then kill me for betraying you! Do it! I learned it by watching you!” Zealot is still all STFU and leaves Artemis to live

Back to the present for the currently occurring Coda throw down. Artemis hates Zealot, because Zealot left her alive in Troy. Andromanche hates Zealot and Artemis for leaving the Coda, but hates Zealot less for some reason. Zealot hates Andromanche for ruining the good name of the Coda, turning them in to high priced mercenaries with no principles. Artemis isn’t cool with Andromanche because Andormanche is after her. Zealot isn’t cool with Artemis because she got the WildC.A.T.s mixed up in what should be personal business, as well and involved a Daemonite. All three are pissed off at Grifter for trying to get in the middle of this fight, it’s women’s work dammit, stay the hell away! During the fight Artemis and Zealot find a little bit of resolve as they battle Andromanche and the rest of the Coda together. In fact, Artemis takes a clef blade in the chest meant for Zealot. Zealot sad for Artemis, cradles her, and while doing so almost loses her own life, but Grifter steps in with his gun and the day is saved. Kinda. Grifter has Andromanche at gunpoint and is ready to take her out. She reminds him that if anything happens to her, the whole Coda will be after him and nothing will be able to keep them all back. Just as he is saying he doesn’t care the rest of the WildC.A.T.s show up and Void teleports them all out of there. It’s all a little anti-climactic.

We have a short epilogue with Grifter attending Lonely’s funeral. There’s only one other person there besides the priest, and the grave is simply marked “John Doe.” The other dude reminds Grifter that Lonely once gave up his entire life to save Grifter’s because of their friendship. While Grifter knows that Lonely betrayed him to the Cabal, he ultimately understands that Lonely was a good guy, and he mourns the passing of his friend.

Next : “Deathblow “ Vol. 1 issues 0 – 4 by Jim Lee, Brandon Choi and Tim Sale (with Trevor Scott)