Tag Archives: Trevor Scott

“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.

“Deathblow” Vol. 1 issues 13 & 14

this entry covers “Deathblow” volume 1 issues 13 and 14.

Armand Waering has a problem. He wants to be featured in a comic book, but Whilce Portacio can’t draw “WetWorks” fast enough. He must take drastic measures and get into the pages of “Deathblow!” Also, something about a killer on the loose in Hollywood and the fact that he knows it’s a werewolf. Waering has to take care of this problem but he can’t be seen taking down a fellow werewolf and everyone knows he’s buddy buddy with WetWorks, so he calls Rayna Masters and she gets her best man on it.

Said man is Michael Cray, who is trying to spend some time at the grave of his former wife. This doesn’t last long before Miles Craven sends some goons to try to bring Cray back to I/O once again. He takes out a few, but the final goon is taken out by Rayna because nothing can ever be boring around Cray. She gets him on the next flight to LAX telling him that he’s got a bodyguard gig in the City of Angels.

He’s there to guard a frightened washed up starlet named Caroline Conroy. She’s afraid she’ll be the next victim of the Hollywood Hills Killer, and she thinks having just one bodyguard isn’t enough, so that’s where Cray fits in. He doesn’t really get along with the main guard Tony, but hey, a job is a job. Speaking of a job, as soon as Cray meets Caroline, it’s off to a party, not downtime in this line of work.

Big time Hollywood schmooze fest kinda party. The kind of party where you just might run into the head of a secret society that employs one of your old war buddies. Yup, here’s where Cray runs into Waering for the first time and gets handed the silver bullet. After he downs his Coors Light, Cray also sees that he’s been handed a silver .45 bullet by Waering. As Waering slips back into the shadows we find Caroline arguing with a man. This man turns out to be John Barry, deputy director of the CIA and former boyfriend of Caroline. As Cray talks down Barry, we see another man make some moves on Caroline, a guy who’s just too damn smooth to live.

Who is this smooth ass ladies man? Why it’s Johnny Savoy, the world’s most beloved vampire rockstar! Seriously, if you hadn’t been reading “WetWorks” and paying attention, Savoy being a vampire is a big “what the hell?” when Cray plugs him through the chest a few times later in the night, after the party, outside Caroline’s estate. So yeah, he’s a vampire and that was a hell of a run-on sentence.

Where was I, oh yeah, later that night Cray shoots Savoy a bunch, but it doesn’t kill him. Then they hear gunfire and Caroline screaming. They both rush to the scene to see a man cloaked all in black with night vision goggles and a syringe, along with 2 other similarly clad buddies. Cray takes down the guy with the syringe, and Savoy makes the other two redundant. Caroline lets on that these men are from the CIA, and were sent by Barry to kill her. Why? Because when she was dating Barry she found out he’s a werewolf, and he’ll kill her to keep his secret! Cray isn’t buying this werewolf stuff and Savoy counters with “Hey, come on dude, it’s possible! Check me out, Imma vampire!”

In order to better protect Caroline from Barry and his CIA lackeys, they move the party over to Savoy’s mansion. It’s a sound plan, as the man has two tigers. Again, John Barry’s CIA lackeys show up, this time in white cover-alls, and even Tony the missing bodyguard is there! Feels like we’re headed to the climax. Savoy and Cray still think Barry and the CIA are the bad guys, with Tony working for them. Unfortunately for them, this isn’t the case and a lot of CIA dudes get killed before we find out that Caroline is the werewolf killer. Yup, the werewolf was inside the house the whole time. Cray makes the killing shot and the job, due to the passing of the lady paying the bills, is over.

Barry, Savoy and Cray promise to never tell the world what really happened that night, figuring it’s better to let Hollywood have one more mysterious killer, for tourists to take bus tours about. At Caroline’s funeral Waering shows up to talk to Cray. They exchange a few words and Cray gives Waering back the bullet. It’s a bittersweet ending for this short chapter in Cray’s life, having to shoot someone he really liked due to their inner, unwanted, evil.

Continuity Corner:

  • What a “WetWorks” ancillary character heavy issue. The plot was set in motion by Armand Waering and featured Johnny Savoy!
  • Another moment of the WildStorm/Top Cow universe connection with Cray running into Stryker from “Cyber Force” in a club.
  • When talking to Cray at the club, Waering mentions not getting a chance to thank Cray back in Gamorra. Later on, there are a lot of mentions about some event in Gamorra that members of Team 7 were a part of, currently I’m either forgetting what that is, or they never revealed it. Because right now, I can’t remember a single book that has Cray, Fairchild and Waering all on Gamorra in a flashback.
  • The last page mentions Cray going back to New York and Rayna being pissed at Cray for letting Caroline die. More so, as she figures that Caroline was just some kind of pawn for John Barry. Eventually, Savoy sends Rayna some security camera footage of that night, and she never brings the subject up again. I like this ending, but it implies that Cray will be back in New York next issue and this all happened before the next issue begins. However, the next issue is just down the coast in San Diego, which kinda makes this ending feel a little hollow after you hit page one of issue 15.

NEXT : “Gen13 : Unreal World” issue 1 by Mike Heisler, Humberto Ramos and Troy Hubbs.

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 15 – 17

this entry covers the main stories in “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 15 through 17, including the backup story “Loose Cannon : Part 1″ in issue 17

StormWatchVol1_15-17Alright, here’s how it all comes down, Battalion’s death, step one in StormWatch and the WildC.A.T.s turned against each other and Defile getting pretty proud of himself. Seriously, I wish there was a lot more to say about these three issues, but that’s basically it. Either that or I’m off my game after missing last week’s entry due to severe drunkenness (I’m of Irish, Scottish and German descent, we’re also Roman Catholic, and it was a family wedding, held in Denver, Colorado, with the reception at a brewery, you try to tell me how I was supposed to escape that weekend sober!)

Ok, we have Defile siccing a huge purple monster, with a time bomb strapped to him on Hawai’i. The intent is to reactivate the Mauna Loa volcano, which not only will wipe out the Big Island but will also mess up the other Hawai’ian islands, as well as the honeymoon plans of several young couples. This cannot stand! And because it is a big purple monster, the only team to call is StormWatch.

What I like about the away team here, is it is pretty much “StormWatch Classic” plus a few. We have Battalion, Diva, Fuji, Winter and Hellstrike all together on a mission again, the first since issue 6 I believe. We also have Fahrenheit, Cannon and Strafe along for the ride. So yeah, they’re fighting this big purple monster, with horns on his back… wait, these character traits seem awfully familiar… Battalion eventually rips the bomb off the monster, and the monster passes out. He then protects himself in one of his psychically projected bubbles, says the bad ass line of “Tell Malcolm I love him” and the bomb explodes in the bubble only killing him and sparing the volcano.

Oh yeah, and Timespan shows up to watch this apparent suicide. He also ends up pissing off Diva, because he’s only really there to stall her and prevent her from doing anything to alter Battalion from blowing himself the damn up. Timespan then teleports back to shortly after the 3rd Crusade and the Traveler shows up and they fight. He manages to escape in time again. It says he’s in “New York City, four months ago” but I’m not sure if that’s a reference to his first appearance or just to another time that he hung out to heal before he first confronted Battalion.

During the fall out of Battalion’s death, we see the team in disarray. Strafe is acting out until his mama sets him straight. Cannon is getting to be a big baby again because his girlfriend got the job he wanted, which leads him to quit StormWatch altogether. And Diva and Christine are having a hard time dealing with it all together. Eventually, there’s a funeral and even Henry Bendix shows up. But the big reveal is after the funeral when we see Argos show up to the grave and act all super villain like.

Continuity Corner:

  • The big purple monster? Yeah, that’s Maul from WildC.A.T.s. Defile made him look a bit different, but not too much. He’s still big, purple and has horns on his back. This is why Mr. White was posing as Maul in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 15 and 16. Defile is just sowing the seeds to make sure the two teams hate each other. Having a member of one team inadvertently kill the beloved leader of the other team would do it!
  • The Traveler’s name is Nadia? In “Gen13” issue 1/2 (“Backlist” trade version) she says her name was Loran. Wait, are there two “The Travelers?” To be fair, when Loran shows up she does say she’s only a traveler, so maybe there are several Travelers out to stop Timespan.
  • Why call StormWatch about this huge purple monster? Well, I’ll admit, this is something that works better once the WildStorm Universe is taken out of the greater Image Universe because the WSU does not have a lot of traditional superheroes. The WildC.A.T.s by their very definition are covert, as are WetWorks, the Gen13 kids are on the lam, Union works for StormWatch on an as needed basis, Mr. Magestic hasn’t officially come out of retirement yet, and Deathblow is a freelancer who doesn’t have any powers that would be of any use anyway. If we want to look ahead in the WSU timeline we’ll know that the $trangers were broken up by this time, and Planetary, while existing, are super underground, and don’t often take active missions anyway.
  • If we look at this situation as part of the larger Image Universe at the time it really gets you scratching your head, because where was Youngblood? They work for the U.S. Government, Hawai’i is U.S. soil. Or even Supreme, he’s a Superman type, and unlike Majestic, he’s active. This is why I really don’t get into the cross-overs w/ the Extreme books, they bring up a lot more questions than they can answer. At least with Cyber Force they are also an underground/off the radar kind of team and Freak Force seems to stick around in Chicago for the most part.
  • After the 2006 reboot there’s a ton of superheroes retconned into the WSU that’ve been active since the ’50s, but as of right now, StormWatch are the only real public “super heroes” in the WSU.
  • Also, spoiler, Battalion will be back…

NEXT: “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 17 by James Robinson, Travis Charest and Troy Hubbs

“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.

“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: “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 14 by Erik Larsen

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 8 and “the Kindred : Prologue”

this entry covers issue 8 of “StormWatch” Vol.1 and the 2 part prologue for “the Kindred,” originally printed in two issues of “Previews” and later reprinted in “WildStorm Rarities.”
StormWatchVol1-008
OK, here we go, diving deeper into the interconnectivity of the WildStorm Universe. Also, bonus Ripclaw! Shorty after Ripclaw got back from Gamorra he got a call from the Apache Nation that one of their own had gone missing. Ripclaw takes on the mission to hunt down this child, a girl by the name of Sarah Rainmaker, a character we haven’t seen since she was a baby in “Team 7 : Dead Reckoning.” As Sarah is telling Ripclaw why she left (government goons) they are set upon by the Keepers (more government goons.)

Meanwhile back on SkyWatch we see Jackson and Slayton talking about the mission in Gamorra and how WeatherMan One pulled Jackson’s fat out of the fryer. They both know that repercussions are on their way for that. Also Slayton let’s Jackson know that he’s quitting StormWatch. He needs to learn more about the Daemonites and the UN will only hold him back.

Then comes the call, StormWatch is called by the Apache Nation to come help with all the craziness going on there. WeatherMan One sends in the team, minus Hellstrike due to being messed up, and with Malcolm instead. Jackson is told to suck it up, this could help them out due to Sarah and Malcolm being similar in age.

The mission mostly works! The StormWatch team fends off I/O’s Keepers with the help of Ripclaw and Sarah is staying on the reservation with her family. Here’s the catch, those repercussions that were due from WeatherMan One’s actions on Gamorra strike. One of the conditions turns out to be that Sarah be turned over to I/O’s Project Genesis. So in tears Sarah enters a limo with Ivana Baiul.

OK, some questions are raised. At this time StormWatch the team and “StormWatch” the book are made up of seedlings, meaning they got their powers from that magic comet. (Except Backlash, but he’s supposed to be a mole for Craven, so he most likely lied to the UN about where his powers came from.) So if StormWatch is headed to the Apache Nation under the idea that there is a seedling, and it turns out the seedling is not a seedling but a human with the Gen-Factor what do they do? Take her in anyway? Tell her to wait for enough other Gen-Factored types to show up and start a team book with them? While seedlings still play a part as “StormWatch” continues, it stops being the common factor for why and how the team members received their respective powers.

Now, on to the prologue for “the Kindred!” You may ask yourself, why isn’t this right before “the Kindred?” Why is there two issues of “WildC.A.T.s” between the prologue and series proper? Well, we need to get Grifter into place, and we need it to make a little sense with what’s going on in both “WildC.A.T.s” and “the Kindred.”

After the events of “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 8, Backlash is looking to find out all about aliens. First he calls I/O and gets a bunch of static from Lynch. Craven must’ve never told Lynch about Backlash being a plant in the StormWatch organization. Classic Craven. After that, for some odd reason, Backlash tracks down Grifter for help. Not sure why, they kinda sorta hate each other! In fact Backlash ruined Grifter getting ready for a night out on the town, that jerk! So they fight and it’s dumb and they part ways. Backlash off to Cyberjack’s and Grifter to meet Zealot at a bar for some pool.

Next : “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 8 & 9 by Jim Lee, Brandon Choi with Jeff Mariotte and Travis Charest

“Deathblow” Vol. 1 issues 0 – 4

this entry covers “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 0 and “Deathblow/Cybernary” issues 1 through 3 and “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 4, but only the “Deathblow” stories from 1 – 4, the Cybernary stories don’t happen until later, despite what the letters column states. Note: the first 9 pages of “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 0 originally appeared as a short story in “Darker Image” Vol. 1 issue 1.

DeathblowVol1_00-04The “Deathblow” book mainly follows the “adventures” of Michael Cray, whom we already know from the “Team 7” books as having been on, well, Team 7. We also know that he agreed to stay and work for Craven at I/O after Team 7 broke up. We’ve seen 2 of these I/O missions before. One in “Team 7 : Dead Reckoning” and one in the “WildStorm Winter Special” story “Deathblow Gets Dusted.” The mission he is taking on in the 0 issue doesn’t go much better.

Cray is found on a mission in Costa Mesa seemingly attempting to avenge a fallen comrade form a prior mission. Cray feels he is responsible for this this man’s torture and death, and Cray means to take out General Manuel Ortega by way of assassination. We learn most of this due to a mission briefing our old friends Miles Craven and John Lynch are giving to Lieutenant Conrad, as they are asking him to take out Cray before he can kill Ortega as a matter of national security. When Conrad asks why Cray has gone rouge, as well as over of the edge, the response is that Cray had been recently diagnosed with cancer, and that he’d like to right a few wrongs before his ticket gets punched. Conrad is instructed to put together a small group, get into Costa Mesa, take out Cray and hightail it back home. It’s a Craven mission, so of course it can’t be that simple!

We, the reader, find out that the mission to stop Cray is just a false flag to establish plausible deniability. The government wants Ortega dead, but politically they’re still aligned with him. Cray was actually sent on that mission to take out Ortega, but officially he’s a rogue agent. Craven does not care what happens to anyone involved, just as long as Ortega is dead by the end of it. Lynch, really isn’t on board with this plan at all, and we’re starting to see some serious doubts on his behalf. Cray takes down Ortega, most of Ortega’s men take out Conrad’s team, Cray himself has to take out Conrad so that he can take out Ortega too. Also, there’s a bit of human sacrifice and a minotaur-like demon that was summoned, because comics. We also see a man going by the name of Mr. Trickle who’s making sure everything goes according to plan down in Costa Mesa as well, not too much is known about him at the time, but he seems to be working for I/O as well.

Once Cray gets back to America he meets up with Lynch and he’s totally pissed off that 4 good men had to die on that mission. Meaningless deaths. Cray socks Lynch and reprimands him for what he’s become under Craven at I/O and states that he’s quitting. The next mission I/O has is for Mr. Trickle’s team. We find out that Mr. Trickle has a first name, it’s Travis and he is apparently Cray’s best friend and one time I/O partner. Lynch is insistent that Cray accompanies Trickle’s team on the mission. I mean, I thought we just saw Cray quit I/O, what’s he doing back? And why is he buddy buddy with Lynch again? Maybe there was an off panel conversation that took place at a bar, and over beers it comes out that Lynch is unsure of everything Craven is up to, and I/O has gone too far. Cray is all “told ya, and so did all the other guys too. Except for Slayton, that jerk” so Cray came back to I/O to be an inside man for Lynch. At least, that’s how it goes down in my mind. A little bit of head-cannon can go a long way, but if anyone else has a good idea why Cray came back, explicitly at Lynch’s direction, lay it on me!

The mission, Kussein (get it) has been causing trouble in Iraq again, so I/O is tasked with getting in there, gathering info on their weapons supply and blowing stuff up if they have to. Exactly how much Lynch knows about what is going to go on here is debatable. He’s been seeming wary of Craven early in this book, as well as with what went down in “Wetworks,” but we have Craven commending him on “quite the little show” he set up for this mission. Then again, Lynch seems to be just talking about the straightforward aspects of the mission, it’s Craven who gets all Mr. Burns about what is being said.

The mission is more than just kicking some Iraqi butts, well it isn’t for the I/O team at least. Someone working with the Iraqis is having them dig up what they were told is a stash of Scud missiles. It infact is a seal of the long buried temple of the Black Angel. The Iraqi troops in charge are then shot so that their blood will open the seal and then reawaken the Black Angel and its minions. Oddly, there is a monk that was working with the Iraqis too, who is trying to make sure this all this doesn’t happen. About the time the monk is realizing that it is all too late he happens to be the bunker that the I/O team is breaking into. All the Iraqis end up dead, they think they got Kussien, but it turns out to be a body double, and Cray is a bit spooked about how that monk was fighting. Cray ends up taking out the monk and gets really upset once he finds out it wasn’t just a disguise and he really is a man of God, to be clear he’s a member of the Order of the Cross. As the monk is dieing he’s begging Cray to go after the Black Angel and stop him at all costs. Then, while the I/O team is leaving the scene (and bombing it to hell) we see the Black Angel calling out to Cray stating that Cray’s nightmare is just beginning. Cray can’t catch a break, first cancer, now evil angels are after him.

And that’s where we drop off for a bit. I know, it’s a bit cliff-hangery, but issues 5 – 12 of “Deathblow” offer no break in the story, and there is a passage of time between issues 4 and 5 that becomes clear when you start in on issue 5. I have to commend the art of this book, I know it is basically the “Image style” as heavily influenced by Frank Miller’s “Sin City” but that’s what sets it apart from all the other WildStorm books at the time. Some WSU books take on a true style at this time, but none more so than “Deathblow” being so moody and “Gen 13” being so bubblegum. Not only is it fantastic that both these books are coming out from the same company at this time, but also that they books that are quite closely related! I must commend Tim Sale for picking up where Jim Lee left off so flawlessly. Sale really make this book his own.

Now it’s time for me to admit that I never read “Deathblow” growing up. I was never interested in military themed comics, nor violent ones. This is also why I never got too into “Wetworks.” “Gen13” was goofy comics fun, “WildC.A.T.s” was a sci-fi comics saga, “Union” was a post modern take on “Superman,” “StormWatch” was, well, it was something different, but “Deathblow” was dark and violent, and I just couldn’t hang with that as a teenager. Now? Now I dig it. Sure, I blow past the military stuff, and the violence doesn’t bother me so much, but a lot of this rests on the character of Michael Cray. This guy just gets more lovable as his series goes on. Maybe “lovable” is the wrong word, but “relatable” doesn’t work either, who can relate to the life that he’s been through? He’s a tough bastard that develops a real sense of humor. Well, he had one in the “Team 7” book, but lost it by the time we met him in “Darker Image” and “Deathblow/Cybernary,” I guess that cancer will do that to a guy. Michael Cray just might be one of my favorite characters of this time in the WildStorm Universe when I look back on it, he’s the WSU’s drunken cranky uncle who cracks you up at Christmas. He’s awesome and salty, and you can’t believe he’s at the party, but you never want him to leave.

Next : “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 0, 4 – 5 by Brandon Choi, Jim Lee, Brett Booth, Sean Ruffner, J. Scott Campbell and Scott Clark