Tag Archives: Troy Hubbs

“Fire from Heaven” Prelude

This entry covers “Fire from Heaven” issue 1/2 and the “Fire from Heaven” Prelude parts 1 through 3, which include “Sword of Damocles” issue 1, “Sigma” issue 1 and “Deathblow” volume one issue 26 by Johnathan Peterson, Warren Ellis, Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Randy Green, Tomm Coker, J.J. Kirby, Ryan Odagawa, Mel Rubi, Danny Bulanadi, Bob Wiacek, John Tighe, Mark Irwin, Richard Friend, Troy Hubbs and Trevor Scott.

firefromheaven_halfTime for the great big never-ending WildStorm crossover known as Fire from Heaven! This crossover is long… very long! Fourteen official chapters, a three issue prelude, a three issue finale, an almost unconnected preview type issue and an unofficial coda in “Deathblow” volume one issue 29. For those keeping count, reading the full story is 21 and a half issues of comics. That’s a LOT of story, so let’s get into the “Prelude” to it all, starting with that weird half issue I mentioned above.

We open on our first of four short stories in this half issue with Kaizen Gamorra admiring the major city of Gamorra, known as Zodome. Turns out Kaizen has no time to lollygag, as there’s science trouble down in the Gen-Lab. Kaizen has his scientists working on Gen-Active individuals, trying to figure out what makes them tick. But, for the final test, of the undefined goal, the latest Gen-Active guinea pig explodes. Leaving Kaizen upset and down a few scientists.

Meanwhile, across the Pacific Ocean in Berkley, CA, we encounter a pickup game of basketball. We have four kids playing with only one of them named. I’m pretty sure one of them is supposed Ethan McCain, who we saw in a page of “Gen13”. The guy who I think is Ethan sinks a three pointer by unknowingly using his powers and we move on to our next short story.

StormWatch is getting set up with all the military hardware they can think of! Every nation on the globe is willing to sink more personnel and weaponry into the StormWatch program. Good for Bendix, but will it be good for everyone else? We also check in on the moon based StormWatch members! Yay, looks like the StormWatch moon base got rebuilt after Argos wrecked it!

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The final story before we get to the “Prelude” proper is introducing our big-bads for the crossover. They are Damocles and The Sword. A bunch of mercenary bounty hunters (unrelated to The Mercs, but kinda related to The Bountyhunters) has found an Earth in an alternate dimension. The kind that both The Sword and his master Damocles have been asking about. This pleases Damocles, for now, he has found his next target! Oh yeah, this Earth is the WildStorm Earth, if you didn’t see where this was going, I really can’t help you.

thesword_001It’s time for us to better get to know these villains! First, we see The Sword and he’s got company. These four are a bit familiar to us, they’re The Bountyhunters that faced off with Gen13 a few issues ago. They’re there letting him know they failed to get the Qeelocke. It’s a big deal. The Sword’s boss Damocles needs easier ways to hop from dimension to dimension, and a Qeelocke would be much more effective. Currently, only The Sword can easily skip around from universe to universe, the other means of transfer gates personally offend Damocles and thus are only to be used sparingly.

Damocles lets The Sword and the Bountyhunters know that on the latest new Earth that they’ve found, there are creatures with Gen-Factor. That mean only one thing, there’s a representation of Damocles’ greatest enemy there; Sigma. Sigma apparently destroyed the world, as well as Damocles’ family. Damocles isn’t sure if they’ve found a different version of Sigma, or if it is the same Sigma that ruined everything for him. He tells The Sword to forget the Qeelocke, go to this new world and find Sigma.

The Sword and The Bountyhunters wind up in Gamorra following on a Gen-Factor hunt. You see, after another failed Gen-Factor science mishap, this time a clone of Sigma, Kaizen has unwittingly sent up a telltale sign to The Sword that Gen-Factor shenanigans are going on over here. The crew Sword-ports to Gamorra and confronts him. Kaizen, ever the smoothy, tells The Sword to learn more about the Gen-Factor that he needs to hunt down our old pal Dr. Tsung in San Francisco and bring him back to Gamorra. Oh, also, before that, Kaizen recommends that The Sword take out Winter in NYC. Kaizen lets The Sword know that Winter is the only real threat he’d have on this planet, so it’s best to get him out of the way first.

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You little stinker Kaizen! You’ve got quite the double cross going on here.

In a crazy turn of events, The Sword was able to take down Winter. That’s not good! Now he’s on his way to meet up with the rest of The Bountyhunters and their raid on Dr. Tsung’s house. Oh man, is this fake plan actually working for them?

sigma_001Okay, rewind back to before The Sword and pals are busting through the side of Dr. Tsung’s house. We meet Ethan McCain and he is having a hell of a day at college. Spilling acid on himself, contemplating joining a frat and watching the gal he has a crush on hanging out with a bigger oafish guy. All that and he’s being followed by some secret agent chick.

Once he gets back at home Ethan is involved in some kind of VR experiment with his adoptive dad. That dad just happens to be Dr. Tsung! Whaaaaa? I guess these are some kind of tests to open up Ethan’s Gen-Factor potential, but I’m really not sure. Dr. Tsung has also been pulling visuals from his nightmares to plug into the VR environment to test Ethan. One of these enemy combatants looks an awful lot like Damocles! Just as the test ends Dr. Tsung’s house is invaded by a bunch of Hunter-Killers sent by Kaizen. Ethan reacts on instinct and manages to fire some kind of multi-phasic energy blast! It works! Ethan has real powers! And it might be enough to take out some HKs, but suddenly he’s staring down The Sword and he knows things are only going to get harder!

deathblow_v1_026There’s really no time to worry for Ethan and Dr. Tsung as Team 7 arrives with Gen13 to try and even the odds/save the day. Oh, don’t forget that secret agent chick, too! Her name is Maggie Monroe and she’s there to protect Ethan and the doc. In a case of too little, too late The Sword manages to capture Dr. Tsung and the Bountyhunters nab Qeelocke and then ‘port back to Gamorra. Roxy jumps into the portal to save Qeelocke and ends up in Gamorra with Dr. Tsung and most of the bad guys for this arc. We also find out that Maggie was hired by Cray’s father to always watch out for and protect Dr. Tsung and Ethan as long as Miles Craven lives. With Craven dead, she thinks she’s out of a job, but after what she’s seen, she knows she needs to team up with this group of near strangers to save Dr. Tsung from Kaizen.

Back in Gamorra, Kaizen lets it slip to LeGauche that he’s planning to bring Craven back to life. Also, he contracts LeGauche to do a job for him while he’s in between masters. LeGauche teams up with Minotaur and his goons to murder a handful of United Nations members while they’re touring Zodome. The idea is to frame the rebels, such as Cybernary and her group, and have StormWatch come to Gamorra to protect Kaizen from anyone that could stop him from his ultimate goal of creating a Gen-Omega!

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Continuity Corner:

  • “Fire from Heaven” issue 1/2 might be able to have been read between issues 24 and 25 of “Deathblow” volume one. The science “accident” Kaizen had could account for the break in the connection that Craven experienced.
  • Man, that basketball scene in “Fire from Heaven” 1/2… Like I said, I’m pretty sure the blond kid is Ethan but you wouldn’t know it from the art or the fact and no one calls him by his name. Seriously, the only person named is the redhead girl, Laurie. Also, I think the woman that gets hit by the basketball is the secret agent Maggie Monroe who was hired to follow and protect Ethan, despite her looking nothing like what we see in “Sigma” issue 1.
  • We see Team 7 and Gen13 in “Sigma” issue 1, they’re on a plane that is called “a commandeered I/O stealth transport.” Later we’ll come to find that the jet wasn’t procured from I/O, it was taken from the WildC.A.T.s by Cole. That doesn’t keep it from being a plane that was built by I/O as we all know that Jacob had access to that kind of stuff. At least I think that’s what’s happening in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 29. Either that or no one told Alan at the time where Cole was supposed to be and he wrote that before he was informed and then wrote “Fire from Heaven” issue 1.

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

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“WildC.A.T.s” Vol 1 Issues 25 – 28

This entry cover “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issues 25 through 28 by Alan Moore, Travis Charest, Scott Clark, Aron Wiesenfeld, Kevin Nowlan, John Nyberg, Dave Johnson, Troy Hubbs, JD, Scott Williams, Dexter Vines and Bob Wiacek

wildcasts_v1_025When we last left “WildC.A.T.s” we had our original team on the planet Khera, home to team members Lord Emp and Lady Zannah, and the rest of the team just found out that the Kherubim/Daemonite War is over. Not only that but it’s been over for quite some time. The rest of the team are going to ask Emp and Zannah what is up with that, and what they, as a group, are going to do? Turns out neither Emp nor Zannah have any plans to leave. In fact, they are running against each other for a Kheran senate seat! After Emp blows them off and Zannah gets into a mini-smackdown with Pris, Pris pretty much calls the whole “WildC.A.T.s” thing bullshit and is already aiming to leave the team, and Khera, as soon as she can.

wildcasts_v1_026Since the team has been on Khera, the latest bootup of Spartan has been, well, little more than Emp’s lap dog. Turns out Spartan has just been biding his time and set a late-night alarm to wake himself up to be, well, himself! He immediately goes forth to find his teammates and find out why everything is spiraling out of control. While he’s no closer to any real answers while visiting any of them, when he goes to visit Zannah he finds her asleep and some of her Coda sisters scheming against her as well as Emp. They have a plan to disrupt the entire Kherubim Senate! Before Spartan can get a good idea of what they’re going on about, a few other Coda sisters find and trash him, eventually leaving him for dead in the Daemonite ghetto where Pris has been confined.

wildcasts_v1_027Once the team has Spartan up and running he lets them know the Coda is involved in the sabotage that not even Zannah knows about. All they know is that the Titanothropes will be blamed for whatever is going to happen. Once on site Void puts it together that the fancy sword that the Coda gave Zannah, that she has at her side, was made by the Titanothropes. Also, that sword has a bomb inside it. Uh-oh! Before any of our regular heroes can react, Jeremy’s alien gal-pal Glingo grows big, snatches the sword and keep growing to get the sword as far away from everyone as she can. The sword explodes and Glingo gives her life for the planet she loved so dearly.

 

Zannah is shocked that she was chosen for martyrdom rather than a true shot at the Senate seat. Emp, meanwhile, is becoming disgusted with how his fellow Parthenon members are ready to seize upon the horrors of the day to further their goals. The whole team is now in agreeance, it’s time to go home, time to get back to Earth.

Speaking of Earth, we see the All-New, Not Entirely Different WildC.A.Ts dealing with the aftermath of H.A.R.M.’s funeral. They’ve taken Attica, Slag, and Deathtrap into custody and have them hooked into the same virtual reality prison that they’d previously used to tame Maxine. While imprisoning them Savant starts mad crushing on Tao. They eventually start making out, only being interrupted by a drunken Irish superhero getting into a fight with Majestic.

takethatyalousydrunk

“Wait? How’d that happen?” you ask. Well, I’m here to tell you. It’s kinda the point of this whole blog. Cole Cash is meeting up with his buddy Michael Cray, and Cray is already drinking with Hellstrike from StormWatch. They get to talking and Cole mentions that the new WildC.A.T.s have managed to capture Deathtrap. Due to the personal history between them, Deathtrap being a StormWatch target, and the fact that ole Hellstrike’s had a few too many pints, he decides to go after the new WildC.A.T.s and show them a thing or two about respect!

Hellstrike holds his own against Majestic and Maxine and isn’t really taken down until Max fires a concussive shell near his head, giving Hellstrike an instant headache. This gives Majestic the edge to thump him one and start getting an explanation. While explaining that StormWatch was going to after Deathtrap and the Mercs in a few weeks, Tao walks up and lets Hellstrike know that Deathtrap has escaped. Not only that, but Tao left a tracker on Deathtrap and gives Hellstrike the device to track the tracker. Cole and Cray take Hellstrike with them and wish the new team luck. This is when Tao reveals that the tracking device he gave Hellstrike can also be used by the team to spy on Hellstrike and StormWatch. While Majestic is pretty miffed about all this, the rest of the team thinks it’s pretty funny.

hahahasulkproud

 

Well since it hasn’t been two weeks yet, this leaves Deathtrap plenty of time to be checking up on this new WildC.A.T.s team that trapped him and busted up a funeral. He happens upon a reality show called “Fuzz” and it features the team in action against the shapeshifting Mr. White. He takes a recording of this to New York City crime boss Tony Twist and shows him that this new WildC.A.T.s team is a proactive one, and if he means to continue to run the NYC underworld, he best take out this team before they come gunning for him.

wildcasts_v1_028Twist first sets his boys on taking out Max. Max manages to keep outsmarting and gunning down Twist’s men while wearing only his undies. Maxine shows up just in time to help, even though she thinks this is a date with her and Max. Max admits that he does like her and takes her to Clark’s later that night. While at Clark’s Max spots a familiar face, turns out it is Vic Lazaar, the goon from the presidential theme restaurant. Max thinks “Why the hell is a villain at Clark’s?” Turns out that Vic was dropping off a bomb, and Max runs to where Vic just came from to check it out/stop it, but that doesn’t matter, it blows up injuring Max pretty terribly.

While Cole, Cray, and Maxine rush Max to the hospital Majestic is wondering why the villains of today would bomb such an establishment as Clark’s. While this makes Majestic angry, Tao suggests that it could help them grow their ranks in the crime war, now that StormWatch and other super folks had been in the line of fire. Tao sets up a meeting with StormWatch and while said meeting is going on, the intruder alarms in the Halo building are going off. What or who could it be? Why it is the original WildC.A.T.s team back home and wondering what the hell is going on!

whatthehell

Continuity Corner:

  • When we catch up with Cray and Cash at Clark’s, Cray remarks about Cash just getting back in town. I guess after the raid on the towers the Team 7 boys split up for just a bit to deal with what just happened in their own ways.
  • We also see Grunge and Lynch hanging out at Clark’s. Grunge is once again having no luck with getting underage drinks, and Lynch, who knows who he’s hanging out with? Maybe it’s Dane, they always kinda got along, or maybe it’s Slayton showing why Cash didn’t go sit with them instead.
  • Never been sure if the Deathtrap that talks Tony Twist into the crime war was actually Deathtrap or if it was Mr. White. We know that Tao wanted the crime war to start and know later that Tao hypnotized Mr. White. Plus when we next see Deathtrap shooting at Cole during the crime war he only mentions H.A.R.M.’s funeral and not the takedown of Mr. White as his motivating factor joining the war in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 32.
  • When Max and Maxine are headed to Clark’s he talks about how he and Cole used to hang out around Clark’s and check out the superheroes that patronized the place. Cute story, but the Cash boys grew up in Chicago, not NYC. Maybe their gangster step-dad had business out East and took the boys with him… that’s my best guess to make this work.
  • Savant tells Majestic not to act like her father! Ha!
  • While everyone else in the Halo building looks shocked to see Reno asking “What the hell is going on here?” Tao looks upset like his favorite video game just got taken away from him. If it wasn’t for the whole “Fire from Heaven” craziness I’m sure the old team would’ve cottoned on to Tao’s plan earlier and stopped it and he knew it. He looks like a kid who is fearing his looming bedtime.

NEXT: “Fire from Heaven” issue 1/2, “Sword of Damocles” issue 1, “Sigma” issue 1 and “Deathblow” volume one issue 26 by Johnathan Peterson, Warren Ellis, Brandon Choi, Tom Joyner, Randy Green, Tomm Coker, J.J. Kirby, Ryan Odagawa, Mel Rubi, Danny Bulanadi, Bob Wiacek, John Tighe, Mark Irwin, Richard Friend, Troy Hubbs and Trevor Scott,

 

“WildC.A.T.s” vol. 1 issues 21 & 22

This entry covers “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issues 21 & 22 by Alan Moore, Travis Charest and Kevin Maguire.

Wildcats_vol_1_21First, I want to point this out, there’ve been a lot of story arcs in the WildStorm Universe up to now that have been pretty damn good. And when they’re not good, they’re fun. And when they’re not fun, they’re interesting. And if they’re not any of those, at least they add to the tapestry that is the WSU. What we have here, with Alan Moore taking on the writing duties of “WildC.A.T.s” is what I see as the first truly GREAT story arc in WildStorm history! I, personally, am very hot and cold on the work of Mr. Moore, but these comics knock it out of the park for me, so let’s get started.

Savant and Mr. Majestic set out to pick up where the original WildC.A.T.s left off, because there’s Daemonites still about, and someone has to stop them, right? Savant manages to get Max Cash to defect from I/O and the mob that he’s working undercover in. If you can’t get Grifter, get Grifter Jr. I guess. Savant also has the smart idea to get a super-powered being from the Optigen lab. Optigen has several options, but only one is catching Savant’s attention, and that is TAO, the tactically augmented organism. Optigen refuses to let him go, but TAO himself uses some trickery to get himself released in order to join the new team. TAO is a sneaky one for sure!

Speaking of TAO being sneaky, he tricks Majestic into helping get a known mass murder onto the team. We’re talking about Maxine Manchester, the one, and only Ladytron. Majestic was aware of the pattern she’s been taking since breaking out of prison, and it is leading to Chicago. He also knows of a major drug deal going down at an American presidential theme restaurant there too. Diamonds to donuts, Maxine will be there for the new WildC.A.T.s to nab. And nab her they do, with the help of several pounds of cocaine, enough to incapacitate a three-ton cyborg.

OMG, final page reveal of issue 21 is that the OG WildC.A.T.s are still alive! Their spaceship didn’t blow up after all! It just made the jump to hyperspace and left what seemed like an explosion in its wake. It’s quickly on its way back home, Khera, A.K.A. Lord Emp and Lady Zannah’s home as well. Neat! After spending time with all these alien’s it is going to be fun seeing their home planet… right?

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Hurrah they live! And they have snazzy jumpsuits for this panel… and ONLY this panel.

Wildcats_vol_1_22When the team lands on Khera, things do seem kinda of awesome. I mean Marlowe and Zannah get separated from the rest by their old homies, so that kind of sucks. Jeremy finds out that there are other big purple folks like him, and Pris also gets separated due to being part Daemonite. The worst part is, nobody notices that Pris is gone! No, wait, the real worst part is, she’s stuck in an area that is crawling with Daemonites? This can’t be a good start to their space vacation.

Back on Earth, we find the new WildC.A.T.s team trying to pacify Maxine into being a working member of the team. It doesn’t go well. She electrifies Majestic, shoots up Max and cracks Savant so hard on the head that it possibly kills her. Maxine eventually walks in on TAO watching cartoons and shoots him up as well. TAO, unphased by his body full of bullets, tells her she’ll have to start again. Maxine is confused for a second before getting a hint of deja vu. That’s right, TAO has her in a virtual reality stasis rig, trying to pacify her enough to work with the team. If you can’t beat ’em, get mentally beat into submission to join ’em.

wildcats_maxine_vr
Maxine is just starting to get it…

Continuity Corner:

  • Return of the Max! That’s right, Max Proffit AKA Max Cash, Cole’s little brother is back for the first time since his introduction in “Savage Dragon” volume two issue 13.
  • mytwodadsLater in the pages of “Sleeper: Season Two” issue 5 we find out that Optigen was partially funded by I/O. TAO considers John Lynch his father of sorts because he signed the authorization papers for his creation. But because Halo is a major investor in Optigen, doesn’t this also make Jacob Marlowe his other father? Can someone commission a piece of TAO, Lynch, and Marlowe posing like the first season DVD cover of “My Two Dads?” I see Lynch as the B.J. McKay dad and Marlowe as the Paul Buchman dad. This is either the best or worst idea I’ve ever had.
  • Majestic mentions that he’s followed Maxine’s trek across the country since she’s broken out of prison. While we never see the jail break, I guess what we’re seeing in “Wildcats : Ladytron” is just after her latest prison escape. It must be her recent crime wave with Stanley that made Majestic aware of her.
  • We see Marlowe relive the events, from his perspective, of “WildStorm Rising” issue 2, only in nightmare form! Harsh!
  • wildcats_hardrian_whaMarlowe has a back-up of Spartan on his person. Fair enough, seems like the kind of forward planning Marlowe would be up to. They get to Khera… and there are Hadrian bodies? And they spoke of them as the upgraded model? Huh? I thought the Hadrian 7 body was bought from Gammora and had the memories of Yohn Kohl uploaded to it and had its body design reminiscent of Kohl. I’m trying to straighten this out in my head, sure Khera had robots, did they always kind of dress like Yohn Kohl? They may have. That could’ve been some kind of standard Kheran uniform. But if Marlowe got the Hadrian 7 body on Earth in the ’90s, why does Kheran have a similar technology? Is it something they always had on Khera and Marlowe had the techies in Gamorra build something similar to what he remembered from when he was there? I dunno, it doesn’t take anything away from the books, but it’s always kind of bugged me.
  • For all intents and purposes, the events on Khera take place over a much shorter time that what is happening on Earth. When you account for all the unseen space travel time it probably works out to about the same, and it would be pretty pedantic of me to chop all the Moore “WildC.A.T.s” books in half for timeline reasons when, in the end, it doesn’t matter, and to tell the truth, narrative cohesion actually does matter to me a bit more than strict adherence to the timeline.
  • Honestly, I don’t like having the final page reveal for issue 21 before issue 23 of “StormWatch” volume one. I like the readers to be along for the ride with Spartan not knowing that his former teammates are still alive. But “StormWatch” volume one issues 23 – 27 starts during the evening of one day and ending during the morning of the next. When Spartan, Despot, and Jackson are battling it out around the UN building in New York in issue 27 of “StormWatch” we see a panel of the New WildC.A.T.s watching the action. In this panel we see Maxine just chilling with the rest, meaning that her VR experience is over, and she’s fully part of the team, meaning it has to happen after “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 22.
  • At one point I was all “Hey, could these issues slot in between issues 24 and 26 of “StormWatch?”” and no, no they can’t. Mainly because “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 21 takes place over the course of several days in September, so that really breaks the narrative in ways that are more confusing than anything.

NEXT: “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 23, 23.5, 24 and the short “Despot and Strafe : Homecoming” by Ron Marz, H.K. Proger, Renato Arlem, Darryl Banks, Robert Jones, John Lowe, Art Thibert and Dan Panosian

“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.

“Grifter : One Shot”

this entry covers “Grifter : One Shot” issue 1

Woo hoo! A Grifter solo book! Officially! Not just “the Savage Dragon” Vol. 2 issue 13 this time! So yeah, that’s good! The not so good news is that it isn’t by Choi and Lee. Awwwwwww… But, it still is a pretty damn fun book regardless!

So Cole is tooling around DC and he sees a couple at a bar. He knows the loudmouth the next booth over is a spy named Polchow and he is with a date. He also knows that spies like he and Polchow have been winding up dead as of late. Cole’s even betting that Polchow ends up on the chopping block before he does, so Cole hatches a plan to find out how, why and hopefully prevent it! Well, turns out that Polchow’s date was the killer, and Cole fails in trying to save Polchow and even manages to get stabbed with a poisoned blade, which causes him to pass out, at the scene of a crime. This is why you can’t let dames get in the way!

Cole wakes up tied to a chair. Who is holding him captive? An old frenemy named Gallows. He was on the Russian side during the Cold War, that’s the major difference between the two. Other than the fact that Gallows is mostly robotics now. What they have in common, is that they were both trained to be spies by the same man, Hans Arp. Cole is putting it together that the chickie he fought was trained by Arp as well, and Gallows lets him know that Arp has a crew of spy/assassin gals, and he’s using them to take out the competition AKA former Arp trained spy/assassins. It’s kinda like Molotov Cocktease’s plan during the season three finale of “the Venture Brothers” complete with a gaggle of female ass-kickers.

After figuring they can trust each other Gallows and Cole are getting reacquainted, during which we get a flashback to the last time they were together, and what they had thought were the final days of their former trainer. Arp was a real James Bond type back in the ’60s, but after the loss of his wife and kids he couldn’t go on. The US government decided to keep him on as a trainer for future spies, but eventually, Arp went into business for himself and started training spies for any and every country with the cash to pay. All the secret agencies in the world got together and sent their best to take out Arp, which, of course, were all trained by him. This all happened in the mountains of Switzerland, with snow, heights, the works. Gallows got shot down early but managed to survive enough to have a cyborg body built for him later, and Cole was the official last man standing against Arp. Cole had his gun to Arp’s head, and before he could pull it Arp shot his own climbing rope and fell. Everyone just shrugged their shoulders and assumed “Homey’s dead.”

As you can guess, Arp didn’t die at all. Now he’s back and he only has Gallows and Cole to stop him. There’s a bit of business with Cole and Gallows going undercover to find out more information, and dealings with a mad scientist type, but in the end, all leads us to Arp’s home of operation. So, Cole and Gallows burst in and start taking on all these assassin ladies. They manage to take out all the women, save one named Andromeda, and in the process Gallows sacrifices himself to save Cole. The lone woman standing almost gets Cole because he’s distracted by Arp running away, like a little baby. Cole makes short work of her and takes off to the roof after Arp.

On the roof, Cole and Arp are shouting at each other as they fire back and forth. Each of them are going a bit wild with the bullets, but it’s easy to understand because as spies they’re both good shots, but better dodgers. Arp’s main downfall is that he misjudges a gap in the roof as he jumps for Cole and falls to his death. This time, for real. Homey’s dead. Cole is a bit upset about all he’s gained and lost over the last few days. And as he leaves the premises of Arp’s would be spy headquarters he notices that Andromeda’s body is nowhere to be found. He wonders if he’ll see her again, and if they’ll be friends or enemies then, because if there’s anything this caper has shown him, it’s that you never know who’s with or against you.

Continuity Corner :

  • On the scale of WildStorm cybernetics from Ivana Baiul to Ladytron, Gallows rates at somewhere between Henry Bendix and CyberJack.
  • One of the reasons this book is placed here in continuity is due to the fact that Cole is already in Washington DC at the end “WildC.A.T.s” volume 1 issue 18. I figure he needs something to do while the team is busy helping Backlash out with all his lady troubles.
  • For a bit, I thought that this might come before Cole joins the WildC.A.T.s, but he mentions Zealot isn’t the only trainer he’s ever had. This leads me to believe that he may have already with the team. Also, he has his bullet bike and VADs, which I’m pretty sure are Halo issue.

NEXT : “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 20 & 21 and “StormWatch” Vol. 1 Special issue 2 by by Ron Marz, Steven T. Seagle, Mat Broome, Melvin Rubi, Michael Lopez, Cully Hammer, Allen Im, Terry Shoemaker, Pop Mhan, Chuck Gibson, Robert Jones, Gary Martin, Jon Holdredge, Randy Elliot, Jason Martin, Jeff Albrecht, Mike Christian, Saleem Crawford, Richard Friend, John Lowe, Mike Miller and Jason Rodriguez

“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.

“Gen13 : the Unreal World”

this entry covers the one-shot book “Gen13 : the Unreal World”

We join the story already in progress… and we see Fairchild as a waitress? Say what? And she’s having a terrible, no good, very bad day. Turns out she’s not alone, in another part of La Jolla a young orphan named Roxy is getting into a food fight at a Catholic school. So yeah, it’s pretty clear to see, something is amiss.

That something turns out to be a man named Cull. He’s tall, wears a face paint, as well as boots that make it look like he has two gigantic toes, and he’s the guy who is in control. By control I mean, he’s basically erased everyone in La Jolla’s memory and substituted them with whatever he wanted. He then commands them all to watch him on television every night. Watch him sit there and stare at the camera. It’s all rather dumb, Cull comes off as the kind of guy with a godlike power, but he’s too damn dull of a person to do anything interesting with it. It’s not like he even realized that he’d ensnared the members of Gen13 in his trance, or else one would hope he’d have a plan to prevent his demise from them, or at least use their powers for evil, something like that at least!

Anyway, Caitlin and Roxy eventually bump into each other at Caitlin’s job and remember who they really are. They then go hunting for the other members of the team. Lynch is a soccer coach, Bobby’s a hobo and Grunge is a preppy little son of a bitch. Once they break them all out of their fake lives, they all get to Sarah and find out she’s pretty cognizant of what is going on. Before she gets a chance to fully explain what’s going on, a pissed off Cull pops in to kick everyone’s ass.

The team ends up… well… working like a team and takes out Cull. While Cull is laying on the floor, not getting taken into custody, or restrained in any way, we see a ghostly figure fly out of Sarah. This is Rhiannon, the witch. Seems as if she can leave her body and take over others. She’s a witch, that’s totally a witch thing! Anyway, she did this so that she could hide from Cull and get together a group to help her stop him. Hurrah, it worked and Rhiannon takes off leaving Sarah wondering what the heck had just gone on, and why is there a creepy fetish freak laying on the floor? Is anyone going to do anything about that guy? Just leave him there never to be seen again? Oh, OK.

Continuity Corner:

  • Why place this book here of all places? One of the reasons was that there’s a note in this issue that it takes place before “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue 8. The other is a bit more obscure. I’ve mentioned before the “Gen13 : Backlist” collection. It collects the 1/2 and 0 issues of the series. It also has the first issue of Vol. 2 in it. After that issue, we’re presented with “the Unreal World” to close out the book. It looks like to me that it had been established that “the Unreal World” takes place after Vol. 2 issue 1 and before Vol. 2 issue 8. When we look at Vol. 2 issues 3 – 7 are an arc we see that the kids far from La Jolla, on Coda Island and in Rome, not to mention that Lynch isn’t with the kids at all during this time. Lynch doesn’t rejoin the kids until “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 21, which if you don’t read makes Lynch’s return in “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue 8 seemingly come out of nowhere, so for me, it would be just too jarring to see a story like this after what they just went through, not that picking up at 8 is much better. There are only a few places for this book fit into continuity. Right after Vol. 2 issue 1 or Vol. 2 issue 2. I like it better just after issue 1 because we get one more story with the team before being tossed into the “WildStorm Rising” cross-over. Also, it has a lighter tone, much like these early few issues.
  • Cull did seem to know the identity of Lynch, and of Team 7. How he knew that is anyone’s guess. I thought that was all classified. Maybe he read Lynch’s mind, that’s my best answer.
  • We won’t see Rhiannon the witch until later in Union Vol. 2 issue #5 where we will learn… well, not too much more about her.
  • Rhiannon drops a hint to the relationship between Caitlin and Roxy… I swear, there’s like a million not-so-subtle hints to this, that us fans were yelling at our comics “Just tell us they’re sisters already!” making the actual reveal a bit anti-climatic.

NEXT : “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 15 by Brandon Choi, Mel Rubi and Rick Magyar