This entry covers “Backlash” issues 21 through 23 by Sean Ruffner, Brett Booth, JJ Kirby, John Tighe, Saleem Crawford, Mark Irwin, Martin Jimenez, Tad Ehrlich, and George Davis.
We open with Marc reflecting on his recent past, having just recently found out he has not just a daughter, but a son, and also the death of his pal CyberJack. It’s a heavy load to carry, and it does result in him being a bit snippy at Amanda when she tries to talk to him. He eventually sees what a skell he is being and gives her a smooch and tells her that he’s cool, just a bit of a prick sometimes… you know, when things get heavy and you find you’re suddenly dad. Speaking of being a dad, his daughter Jodi is not only painting and singing Brandy songs, but also spying on her old man kissing his new lady. Jodi’s support of the relationship borders on hilariously creepy, but more than her pops getting some, Jodi is more interested in the pizza she just ordered, and hot damn the door bell just rang!
Unfortunately for Jodi’s hunger, there is no pizza guy. Instead at the door is Brawl and Homicide of the Chasers, with Gaze and Recoil near by. Brawl seems pretty laid back about it all, but Homicide is ready to go nuts… I mean, what’s in a name right? So of course a fight breaks out with Marc, Amanda, and Jodi defending their house from Homicide, Gaze, and Recoil, while Brawl is rolling his eyes waiting for everyone to just calm the damn down. Why? Because there’s nothing to fight over! Brawl and the Chasers team were sent by the government to offer Amanda her official pardon! It’s a get out of jail free card and the six of them almost brought the house down.
Meanwhile that crazy Egyptian alien lady Lilitu is sending a new group of supercreeps to hunt down Amanda and kill her, after she got a tip off of Amanda heading to DC for her pardon. Also in Dayton, Ohio, a young man named Quinten has just arrived home late, getting in trouble with his mother, and then disappearing in a flash of light… ominous!
But let’s get to Amanda’s pardon! Giovanni sends a helicopter to pick up Marc, Amanda, and Jodi and bring them to the PSI building. What’s PSI? Why it’s the Paranormal Search and Investigation arm of the US government. Their purpose, as driven by Giovanni, is to monitor and find any paranormal activity, or superpowered being, and get them aligned with helping the US public’s well being, or eliminate them. Ultimately this also extends to Marc, Amanda, and Jodi with Giovanni letting them know that the only way he could get Amanda pardoned and Marc out of hot water with the US government for springing Amanda from Purgatory Max in the first place, is to be supervised by him, and come work at PSI. While a bit upset about this at first, Marc comes around, ready to train the new recruits, just like in his old StormWatch days.
Oh, you want to hear about the actual pardon, not just the events leading up to it, and around it? Well, no big shakes. A bunch of government higher-ups start to question Amanda on what she knows about the Cabal as she clears her, and Marc’s, good names. This doesn’t last too long, because those creeps that Lilitu hired break in and start killing people. Eventually Marc breaks in and he helps Amanda save the day. So you know she’s extra pardoned now or whatever.
Now it’s time for a break! Marc, Amanda, and Jodi are headed to Death Valley in Nevada to meet up with some of the workers cleaning up the debris left by the crashed SkyWatch station. He’s on a mission from Giovanni to meet, get some particle accelerator blueprints, grab some stuff from CyberJack’s place and then go back to DC. Well, there’s a couple of hiccups in that plan. The first being a trucker named Brink Gilman hitting on Amanda, the other being Talos. Yeah, THAT Talos!
So while stopping at a truckstop diner to get some gas, food, and coffee, Amanda befriends a stuntman turned trucker named Brink. He’s hitting on Amanda pretty hard, but Jodi is turning it down as quickly as it crops up. See what I said about her being creepily into Marc and Amanda’s relationship? Meanwhile Talos has come to the diner and is attacking the staff! After a punch and a whipping from Marc, a kick from Amanda, and being set on fire by Jodi, Talos is finally taken down by Brink smashing into Talos with his truck. Giovanni suddenly shows up to take everyone home, gets and earful of anger from Marc before telling him that he doesn’t ever “know what a “Talos” is.” which is hilarious. Giovanni is one cold and hilarious guy!
- Marc is mostly reflecting on the events of “Fire from Heaven” at the start of issue 21, while it’s pretty recent, it doesn’t seem like it’s immediately recent, so I gave it a little breathing room between the event and these issues.
- Not sure why Jodi was de-aged so suddenly. She goes from being around 16ish to a solid 12 years old. It was pretty jarring when I was kid reading these for the first time, as I’d just seen her flirt w/ Bobby during “Fire from Heaven” and thinking “awww,” to now seeing her so much younger and wondering if Bobby should be on a list.
- Giovani drops the name of “The Puritans” as a crazy secret government group for the first time in WildStorm comics! It’ll be a bit of time before we see them in the pages of “WildC.A.T.s” but this was a neat set up!
- We’ll catch back up with Quentin from Dayton, OH in “Backlash” issue 24 as the subject of Marc’s first assignment from PSI.
- At the end of issue 23 we see Brink spying Talos’s helmet thinking that the night was wild, but that he enjoyed it. Also with out a truck he thinks “Hmm.. maybe…” but nothing ever comes of it. Where’s my book w/ Brink running around trying to right wrongs wearing that Talos helmet and using his stuntman training? I’d check that out!
- According to the book it’s only been 3 months since SkyWatch crashed into the desert… uh… that was in issue #25 of volume on of “StormWatch”… even accounting for the time travel that still works out to be more right? “StormWatch” volume one was on issue 39 by now! I know in comics time it’s still compressed from real time, but for it to only have been 3 months? Yeah, I don’t think so. One part of me would have wanted to push this issue out a bit, but the 3 months since SkyWatch crashed thing makes it seem like it’s not soon enough!
- Also, with Jodi being placed in boarding school by issue 23’s end, and the cast being fully relocated to Washington DC, we have set up the new status quo for this book going forward, might as well keep this “re-tooling” arc together.
NEXT: “Grifter” volume two issues 5 – 7 by Steven Grant, Mel Rubi, Michael Ryan, Matt Broome, Richard Friend, Jason Gorder, Sal Regla, Randy Elliot, Norm Rapmund, Peter Guzman, Troy Hubbs, Michael Rockwitz, and Wendy Fouts
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