Tag Archives: Union

“WildStorm Rising” Chapters 8 – 10

this entry covers “WildStorm Rising” Chapters 8 through 10, which includes “Backlash” issue 8, “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 22 and “WildStorm Rising” issue 2

Alright, let’s wrap this crossover up! Slayton gets a call from Diva at StormWatch. He gets into his Backlash gear and meets up with her at Jackson King’s grave. She catches him up on the plot of “WildStorm Rising” and states that someone needs to take down Helspont. So off Slayton goes, solo even, without even thinking much about it. Turns out, it’s trick! A tricky trick! That was actually Mr. White posing as Diva and it’s all part of a plan from Defile to keep Helspont too busy to be nosing around for that Daemonite ship in Nicaragua.

So Slayton is fighting Helspont. Turns out, he’s not as easy to beat the hell out of, like every other weak ass Daemonite that Slayton’s fought. Slayton’s no slouch either, but despite surprising Helspont a few times, Slayton basically gets his ass kicked on Helspont’s submarine and gets left in the drink. Lucky for Slayton he gets saved by StormWatch, who is consisting of StormWatch teams 1 and 2 as well as members of StormWatch Prime. StormWatch just got permission from the U.N. council to try and stop Helspont so they’re going after that jerk as well. Even though Diva is confused at first when Slayton tells her that she asked him to fight Helspont the first time, she takes him along to go and kick Helspont’s booty as part of a team. StormWatch loses that fight. Helspont’s tough, yo!

In the midst of the ill-fated fight against Helspont, Christine is trying to justify going after him to the StormWatch UN Council. None of Council think that the team can take down a mean bastard like Helspont. I mean, they’re not wrong… The Council, in their infinite wisdom, decide to release WarGuard and Despot to deal with Helspont. Because having the WarGuard run free has always worked so well in the past. Despot and the WarGuard immediately fuck right off of SkyWatch saying “Ain’t my fight, bro, laters. Hey, formally frosted fiendish friends, let’s go hang out on the dark side of the moon for a bit. From there we will plot the future demise of StormWatch!”

The StormWatch team isn’t done licking their wounds before they decide they still need to pursue Helspont. Helspont’s in his submarine headed toward Nicaragua, as soon as he gets out to get the lay of the land StormWatch is getting ready to pounce. But what’s that? On the horizon? Is it? Could it be? Yes, it is! The WildC.A.T.s and WetWorks teams along with Cole and Cray! And in the middle of them all, is Savant, Majestic, and Union unearthing the spacecraft. Only, uh-oh, it’s not the Daemonite ship, it’s the Kherubim ship! Whomp whomp.

So now, everybody fights. Well, to be fair, the good guys aren’t fighting each other this time. They’re just taking on the Daemonites. Hightower’s goal is just to get on board the ship and peace out, but he’ll kill anyone to get on it. Defile and Helspont still want the ship to use it to dominate Earth. Spartan is having those same thoughts and boards ship to use its weaponry to help in the fight. Defile shows up to stop Spartan and orders the brainwashed StormWatch Prime members to kill Spartan, then each other. They’re successful in taking down Spartan, but Sunburst starts to kick Defile’s control and Nautika breaks his spine before she comes out of the fog. Meanwhile, Cole kills Hightower, rushes to the ship and lands a hit on Defile. Defile has had enough of this noise and messes with ship’s core and takes off. Whatever he did to that ship has made it so that it’s gonna blow-up. Big time. Right in the middle of our heroes.

Jacob is not having this blood on his hands. He’s going to board that ship to get far enough off planet to save everyone on the ground. Jacob is no dummy, he knows it’ll take a Kherubim Lord’s authority to launch the ship, but he needs some help because he’s lost the rest of his Kherubim technical know how to street livin’ and booze. Zealot is the first to volunteer as she remembers a lot and is the only one who knows how to pilot the ship. After that, all the rest of the WildC.A.T.s opt to get on the ship. The ship takes off, Void promises to teleport everyone off if something goes wrong and they can’t keep the ship from exploding. Then the ship explodes. No WildC.A.T.s members are found teleporting out. Everyone leaves upset except Cole, he’s just upset.

Continuity Corner :

  • Spoilers, but the Kherubim ship didn’t explode, it made the jump to hyperspace or whatever. As far as anyone on Earth knows, they’re dead, luckily for us readers, they’re about to go on a pretty rad adventure.
  • Helspont has a damn submarine? What is he? Some kind of G.I.Joe villain?
  • There’s this moment when Helspont is fighting over the Kherubim ship and he’s all like “Oh, great, here come the half-breeds!” and he’s shown facing Maul, Warblade and Winter. We’ve seen that Helspont can recognize Kherubim ancestry on sight from his battle with Slayton in “Backlash” issue 8. Him recognizing Winter as part Kherubim is a fun easter egg, and one I’m glad didn’t get fully retconned with his intended lineage in the planned and canceled “WildC.A.T.s : Ground Zero” book.
  • This is the last we’ll see of Defile, Helspont and Hightower for quite some time. Most immediately some of the WildC.A.T.s will go time traveling and run into the three of them, but seeing as how Hightower’s dead, that’s it for him. Defile pops up here and there not doing too much, but comes back in a big way years down the road in “StormWatch PHD” and then keeps up appearances from then on out in the WSU. I’m pretty sure the next time we see Helspont is when he’s acting like a goofy perv towards Caitlin Fairchild and getting his ass beat by Tao in “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue 50. Then he goes back underground until the ill-fated Lee/Morrison team up in “WildCats” Vol. 4 issue 1.
  • StormWatch took the remains of Spartan, which explains why he’s on that team during “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 25.
  • Majestic wonders if StormWatch got anything of value from Spartan’s remains, as usually by now Spartan would’ve downloaded into a new body. The only reason I can think he doesn’t is that Jacob has the Spartan backup copy on his person, so it’s out in space with the rest of the original team. Sure, this means there’s two Spartans in the universe now, and it won’t be the last time either.
  • StormWatch also took Helspont saying they had the means to imprison him. Majestic doubts this, but we’ll never know because it isn’t long before SkyWatch comes crashing down and I have to assume Helspont escapes.
  • Cole stays stuck in Nicaragua, which kicks off his solo title that’ll have him ending up in all sorts of places before getting back to New York pretty much in time for “Fire from Heaven” to start.
  • We do get a two-page epilogue to the whole thing, with Savant and Majestic at the Halo Building talking about the end of an era. I have to admit, it is a pretty nice ending, and it doesn’t lead you to think what must come next. I had no idea at the time that “WildC.A.T.s” would even keep going, or that there would be a new team on Earth, or that the original team was alive at all! I appreciate that. It was a pat ending. A rarity! It seems like these big events just chain themselves together and go on and on with fuzzy endings at best these days. I know this makes financial sense, but a true ending like this feels pretty damn great as well as earned!

NEXT : “Grifter” Vol. 1 issues 2 through 6 by Steven T. Seagle, Ryan Benjamin, Randy Green, Cedric Nocon, Tom McWeeney, Sal Regla, John Lowe and Norm Rapmund

“WildStorm Rising” Chapters 5 – 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continuity Corner :

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

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

“WildStorm 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.

“Union” Vol. 2 issue 3

this entry covers “Union” volume 2, issue number 3

union_v2_003Looks like Union, having scored that sweet sweet StormWatch gig, is now flush with cash! Seems that even being on retainer pays pretty damn well! Jill decides this can only mean one thing: Vacation time! And where are Jill and Union going to go on vacation? Why Chicago of course! We all see where this is headed right? Yup, team-up with the Savage Dragon!

But before the greatest cop in Chicago gets involved we have Union and Jill flying by airplane to Chicago, much to Union’s dismay. Union has also started going by the name Homer for his civilian identity. And is it me, or Union with that oversized button up, and big hair remind anyone else of Tommy Wiseau in “the Room?”  Oh, it is just me, ok. Anyway, they’re meeting up with Jill’s friend Kathy from college.

Kathy is really trying to show Union a good time. She takes him to the Sears Tower. She takes him to a video game arcade. She takes him to the Art Institute of Chicago. Hell, this guy is just a Cubs game and a rousing rendition of “Danke Schoen” during German-American Appreciation Society Parade away from the full on “Ferris Bueller” experience and he can’t even manage a smile! What a Cameron he is. It isn’t until Union has his first beer that he even acts like anything more than Mr. Dour Pants. Figures, if a guy calls himself Homer, that guy is going to be in love with beer.

A couple blocks away our plot is building. The Dragon is as undercover as he can be. I just typed out all what was going down in that exchange, but I read it back, twice, and it didn’t make sense. I put this down more to my lack of being able to type well, and less due to the fact that it is super convoluted. I mean, it is convoluted, but a skilled comics blogger could’ve sorted it out for you. I’ve failed you again dear readers! Now you know why I don’t have a Patreon for this site. Ain’t nobody gonna pay for this!

Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo… it ends up that the bad guys cause the Dragon to fly through the big glass window of the bar. Union, noticing that the Dragon doesn’t look like normal humans, decides the Dragon must be a monster and decks him. Union is a bit of a racist. One of the barflies points out that the Dragon is a cop. That’s a word Union understands, and he knows he has messed up. He goes to help the Dragon up, and the Dragon decks him. I still think this is funny. I swear I’m not twelve!

A lot more superhero shenanigans later and the boys decide to team up and take down the bad guys. Once the bust is over what are two super dudes to do? Why go to a strip joint and down a lot more brews. Of course, Lightweight McGee Union can’t hold his booze and throws up in front of the Dragon in a public restroom. When he winds up back at Kathy’s place, he’s still so wasted that he passes out on the floor. This causes Jill to seriously rethink their relationship. Dude’s a mess, time to move on girl!

Continuity Corner :

  • Nothing. Sorry, there’s not always going to be stuff to put here on such short entries.
  • Really, this was a simple one and done with the only consequeses being Jill getting her life together without having Union in it.

NEXT : “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 18 by James Robinson, Travis Charest and Troy Hubbs

“WildStorm!” issues 1 – 3

this entry covers issues 1 through 3 of “WildStorm!” an anthology of short stories, some which were longer stories divided up between issues 

I’m just gonna start off this entry by letting you all know that I’m just going to break it up into the individual stories. I’m not sure if there is very much to tell as some of these stories are rather short. When it comes to short story collections, they sometimes work better if you divide all the stories up so that they can occur better with their respective titles, but in this case, the first three issues work pretty great all together like this for their respective titles.

In the Gen13 story, “Now Departing from Gate 37” we have Roxy and Grunge shipping a package for Lynch at the San Diego airport. While on this chore they witness two shady individuals try to kidnap a child. Of course, they save the kid, by crashing a helicopter, and also find out that the would-be kidnappers are from I/O! They figure the boy must be gen-active and that’s why I/O was after him. Roxy and Grunge tell the family, due to no one seeing them cause the helicopter crash, a freaking helicopter crash, it would seem that anyone from I/O would assume that the boy died in the crash along with the agents. Since the family is going to Chile, Grunge just tells them to stay there and hide, no one knows the boy survived, so if you keep a low profile you shouldn’t be bothered again by any secret government kidnappers.

The “Deathblow” story isn’t so much a story of Michael Cray, so much as it is something that happens while Cray is around. This seriously could’ve happened to any of the WildStorm heroes, but it happens to befall Cray. So there Cray is, stuck in traffic and there’s a crazy guy yelling in a Celtic language who rode a stolen horse over Cray’s car and busted the windshield. I’m not being rude, the dude is legitimately crazy. Of course, Cray has no idea of this until after he’s done kicking this dude’s ass and the guy’s doctor fills him in. Not that Cray seems to care, he just wants to know who to bill for his car repair. To be honest, this doesn’t really feel much like Cray at all. It feels a lot more like Brock Sampson, to tell the truth.

In the “Spartan” story we find the titular Spartan scoping out a factory that’s producing Hunter-Killers. In fact, they’re new improved Hunter-Killers! Also, Spartan’s not the only one, Ben Santini and the Black Razors are there too. No one is really happy about this “team-up” to stop a bigger bad and spend more time bickering amongst themselves rather than investigate the factory. Worse comes to worse and Santini is knocked out and the Razors aren’t sure who to follow. First, they follow Fleming, until they all decide he’s a dink and they start taking orders from Spartan. During all of this Spartan is having a crisis of conscious as to why anyone would follow him, a robo-man. In the end, the Hunter-Killers are stopped, the factory is in ruins, Santini is fine and Spartan learns a valuable lesson about himself and teamwork. Gag.

In “Taboo” we finally learn how Amanda Reed ran afoul of the Cabal and ended up in Purgatory Max. I’ll admit I had my doubts about this tale, but the creative team pulled it off fine. See, the Cabal was trying to trick Amanda into killing the doctor that first bonded her symbiote suit to her. Amanda, didn’t want to, she fled, and Pike finished the job. Once the doctor was found dead, the authorities reviewed the security footage from the doctor’s office and found Amanda all over them. They hunted her down, captured her, had her stand trial. She was found guilty and then sentenced to Purgatory Max for life. Well at least up until Slayton came to break her out.

Finally, we get Union starring in “My Enemy, My Monkey” a short little yarn that is… well, it’s about the dumbest story in these books. Union sees a giant cyborg gorilla being ridden by some kind of samurai lizard man in the middle of New York City. Union dives in to stop this crazy occurrence, only to find out he’s on the set of a movie. How hilarious. For me, it doesn’t track, simply for how damn long the fight goes on before the director yells “Cut!” Also, throughout the whole story Union is still treating the man in the gorilla suit as if he is an actual gorilla, and Union has never seemed that dense or ignorant before. Hell, he just saw the lizard samurai take off his mask, he should’ve put two and two together like we’ve seen him do before! Also, there’s a crazy fan that wants revenge on the actor playing the lizard samurai, revenge by shooting, and Union stops him because, hell, he’s there. Man, this is dumb. I’d almost rather see this lizard samurai/cyborg gorilla movie!

Continuity Corner :

  • I’m basing the Gen13 story placement off of that fact that it was reprinted in the “Backlist” trade along with other early adventures of the team. In that book, it occurs between issue 0 and issue 1 of volume 2. From a storytelling perspective, you need something in between those issues to justify the time jump that occurs between issues, most noticeably seen with Rainmakers hair length. “Now Departing from Gate 37” is just another one of the things they did in the period. With us reading this as part of the WildStorm Universe, on the whole, we have other titles showing us time progression to account for that.  So, yeah, we’re keeping it in the early days where it is needed, but we are having a different placement than if we were reading it as just a perfect progression for “Gen13”
  • For the placement of “Deathblow,” I think this is the time that Cray spent in New York telling Rayna about the Los Angeles job, in “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issues 13 and 14. It also explains why he’s so close to Virgina before we see him in “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 16.
  • From the way that Spartan talking about Marlowe, it’s pretty clear that the little guy is still around, so it has to take place before “WildStorm Rising.” Also, Spartan isn’t wearing his StormWatch gear so it can’t have happened after “WildStorm Rising” at all. And because Marlowe basically disappears after he gets back to Earth during “Fire from Heaven” there’s no place for this story to take place at any other time.
  • I also like to think that this is what Spartan was up to when Warblade was off in “Warblade : Endangered Species”.
  • It is nice to see the Black Razors as depicted in WildC.A.T.s Vol. 1 issues 15 & 16… well pretty much. Coleman isn’t really the right skin color, but everything else is close enough.
  • There’s a member of the Black Razors being referred to as simply “Fleming.” No word on the first name being either Alex or Cyril.
  • While everyone wants to seem to place this Taboo story much earlier in the timeline, because it is her origin, both parts are clearly labeled “Five years earlier,” so it’s a flashback. Also, having this story take place right before she’s on the lam again in “Backlash” issue 7 adds a certain sense of tragedy to that storyline. She’s not good at running on her own. Also, “Backlash” issues 1 through 5 are so tightly strung together there wasn’t room to put it closer to her introduction.
  • When Slayton was breaking into Purgatory Max to get Taboo in the first place there was such a big deal made about him both breaking in and out, as if no one had ever done that before. Obviously, Pike had, or else how could he have been there to taunt Amanda? I just don’t see the authorities letting Pike just come and go as he pleases.
  • I think this is a good place for “My Enemy, My Monkey” as well, because Union is still in New York at the end of “Union” Vol. 2 issue 2. He goes to Chicago in “Union” Vol. 2 issue 3 and we don’t see him leave that city at the end of the issue. Also, there’s no real explanation as to how he got onsite to start fighting with Majestic by the time issue 4 rolls around, he’s just there. There’s not a lot of decent windows for this story to take place, honestly. I was surprised I found this one!

NEXT : “Union” Vol. 2 issue 3 by Mike Heisler, Ryan Benjamin, and Tom McWeeney

“Union” Vol. 2 issues 1 & 2 and “Crusade : Release”

this entry covers the short story “Crusade : Release” that was originally published in the “Killer Instinct Tour Book” and reprinted in “WildStorm Rarities”, also being covered is “Union” Vol. 2 issues 1 and 2

We open with a short history of Voyager 1, leaving Earth in 1977. Suddenly, now in the ’90s, Voyager 1 has struck and object. In doing so, Voyager has found intelligent life. Life is a large naked bald man… baldish… he’s got a rat-tail… made out of dreadlocks… not the best look. The object struck was also some kind of rock/bunker that kept Baldy McGee in stasis but also had several sets of full armor, which Baldy dons. He seems pretty happy to see the Sun again, as well as to “clean the stain from the universe!” So he heads off towards Earth, on his, ahem, crusade!

Alright, now let’s see if we can boil these two issues of “Union” down. Mnemo sees that Baldy is coming, so he needs something to defend himself against that. He pulls out the body of another Protectorate he just had laying around, that he can also kinda/sorta remote control, and sends it after Baldy. Now I’m not sure where Big Blady was headed, but Mnemo is in China, not sure if that’s where the fight started, but it ended up in New York City, right outside Jill Monroe and Union’s apartment.

While all that is going on Union foils a terrorist plot at the U.N. Good for Union! Well, lucky timing at best, as he’s really there to try to score a job from StormWatch. Due to Jackson King being, well, “dead” his meeting is with Christine, in all her Weather Man glory. Why she’s planetside on not on SkyWatch is not brought up. Even though he’s hat in hand Christine has just too much going on with StormWatch to do much, but she tells him to keep his nose clean, and she’ll see what she can do.

Also at the same time, Jill, Union’s nominal girlfriend, is having a shit day. Jill is probably the most put-upon woman in all of WildStorm comics. I really feel sorry for her. By the end of the series, she’ll go through a lot, but she’ll stay alive. No worries about her being refrigerated, but life certainly does seem to suck more for her once Union becomes a part of it. So, at the end of her suck day, she sees a dude that looks like her boyfriend outside her window fighting a huge bald man in the air. In fact, she’s shocked once she sees Union walking in the door being all low key.

Naturally, Union has to join this fight, because hey, that’s his buddy Serren getting the snot beat out of him! Several dumb ass fight pages later, and the three calm down enough to talk things out. In fact, during the fight, only two things of note even happen. 1) Mnemo’s hold over Serren is lost and 2) Baldy says “You will fall before the might of Crusade” which clues us in, in story, to his name. So yeah, Crusade, who’s on a crusade against evil. That’s easy enough to remember. Anyway, as they all discuss how they’re going to go get Mnemo they’re all sitting in Jill and Unions apartment. There’s a nice visual bit with Crusade sitting on a chair flipped around backward. I know this is due to his bulk, and it’s the best way for him to fit and rest on a chair, but I’d like to think it’s because Crusade is fresh as hell.

The plan is this. Fly to Mnemo, kick his ass. Well, amend that, fly over water as much as they can, to remain incognito and if Mnemo throws anything at them as they’re flying, it’ll minimize human casualties. Once in China, and nearing Mneno’s base, the trio encounter some Chinese military jets. After smashing the first to bits, Union lets on to Crusade that those are the good guys, and to stop busting up their toys. They make it into Mnemo’s lair and the bastard sets off a chain reaction in Serren’s justice stone. It’s gonna go kablooie, and we saw what happened in Chichester, NY when a justice stone went supernova bang bang! Union flies Serren’s body up to the edge of space and says good-bye to his friend as he explodes. Meanwhile, Crusade is trying to make good with the Chinese military and Mnemo is getting away.

Back at home Union is kinda bummed. His old friend, Serren, that he just met back up with is dead. This new friend, Crusade, is just too crazy to hang out with. That douchebag Mnemo got away… again! On top of all that, he’s still jobless, and his lady hates her job. That’s when he gets a call from Christine Trelane! She heard about the help he gave to China, and she wants him to be a StormWatch member on retainer, available whenever needed. Good work Union! You got the job buddy, you got the job!

Continuity Corner :

  • Because this is post-1990, we know that Crusade’s space rock was past Neptune. That’s a pretty long haul for the big guy!
  • We find out a lot about Crusade later in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 35 and 36. Turns out he’s human but obviously augmented. Also, he’s calling the Kherubim the stain of the universe. He never explains why he hates them so much, but he just does. It really comes off as brainwashing and was probably part of the package when he got his powers. While hating the Kherubim first makes me think that maybe the Daemonites did this to him, I start thinking of another alien race. One that had contact on Earth long ago and also hated the Kherubim. Yup, I think this might be the first hint toward the Drahn storyline.
  • We last saw Mnemo with Serren’s broken body in “Union” Vol. 1 issue 3.
  • Also, there was mention of Serron, Union’s friend that went missing in “Union” Vol. 1 issue 0.
  • The terrorists outside the U.N. were there in support of Yurgovia, none too happy about the U.N. support of Kasmia, which we saw a bit of in”WildC.A.T.s” Special issue 1 and  “Voodoo / Zealot : Skin Trade”
  • We only ever see Union officially working for StormWatch once, when he’s called into action in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 20 to deal with what is happening during “WildStorm Rising.” I guess one could argue that in “Fire from Heaven” that Union was also called in by StormWatch, but we don’t see that event on the page. In the long run, Union does kind of end up working with Jackson and Christine in “the Monarchy” further down the line.

BONUS :
After seeing this entry online, writer Mike Heisler responded to with this on Twitter:
Michael Heisler Mnemo

NEXT : “WildStorm!” issues 1 through 3 by a whole host of various writers and artists!

“Union” Vol. 1 issues 0 – 4

this entry covers “Union” issues 0 through 4

UnionVol1_00-04Where to start with a book like “Union.” Well, I guess issue 0 falls in continuity first, even though it is just a fast paced explanation of the world that Union and Regent (last seen in “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 3) come from, and their particular histories examined. It can kind of be a dry read when you place it in continuity, as you only really know Regent and here’s this book about his past, and for some reason another character named Ohmen. Perhaps reading it after immediately after “Union” Vol. 1 issues 1 through 4 might work better, as you’d have more of a vested interest in both characters. Either way, the book moves fairly swift and straightforward, all the while cramming in a lot of information. This is at a contrast with the rest of the series, which is never as straight forward as this, but to it’s credit, the rest of Vol. 1 certainly has much cooler artwork.

The art for “Union” Vol. 1 (issues 1 through 4) was done by Mark Texeira and it is fantastic! I’m not saying that anyone else that ever drew Union didn’t do a good job, they mostly did, but Texeira killed it so hard, that every other artist was just playing catch up. When I was younger I wondered how WildStorm convinced Texeira to do this comic, because all I knew of his work was the cover of “the Outsiders” by S. E. Hinton that the upperclassmen were carrying around (which, sad to say, I can find no image of now, but I know that it existed, it was ubiquitous!) I always figured him for a big time commercial artist, so to see him on a comic blew my mind. I learned later that he was mostly known for comics, but that still doesn’t stop me from being in awe of the art on this book to this day.

Back to issue 0 we see two young men growing up on opposite sides of a war. One is Rigian, price of the ruling class known as the Directorate, who is practically disowned by his father when his little brother Darnel is born. The other is a baby born the same day, known as Ohmen of the underclass known as the Protectorate. We see both boys grow up and find their places in their home planet of Aegena, though Rigian finds most of his place in his culture while spending time on Earth away from his family. Earth you say? Oh yeah, the Directorate have a way to get back and forth from Aegena to Earth, and the Protectorate has no knowledge of this, and it allows the Directorate to plan their battles in secret, as well as have a hidden place to retreat to. The two boy’s stories start to come together when some Directorate soldiers attack the school where Ohmen’s father teaches, and Ohmen’s father dies. Schools were supposed to be in a safe zone and not to be attacked, so the Directorate kind of feel bad about war going too far, so Rigain, his mother and brother are sent to address the Protectorate and apologize for the actions of the Directorate. Before he can say too much, a few Protectorate at the gathering go crazy and attack the Directorate. Rigain’s mother and brother parish in this attack and Rigain swears off his stance of peace and takes the name Regent and vows revenge against the Protectorate. Ohmen on the other hand is upset by what the Protectorate did at that rally, and is talked back into doing his duty by his kinda girlfriend Eliya. This leads Ohmen into a battle where two Directorate soldiers trick him into flying through the portal to Earth, where he crash lands in Maine and issue 1 begins.

That’s the basics of the plot, but there’s one more thing you should know about, and that’s the justice stones. The justice stones are Aegenan technology that gets implanted on Aegenans when they reach a certain age, and it becomes one with their physiology. It ends up looking like a small done on their chest, and from it they can pull an electric rod to beat people with. It also gives them the power of flight while holding it. The color of the rod, at least for the Protectorate, reflects their rank in their military hierarchy. Pretty fancy ass tech! While we only see the weapon in rod form here, we later see a justice stone user shape his into a sword. The justice stones are also tied into the electromagnetic field of the planet they are on, so it must be recalibrated before moving to a different planet, lest it malfunction and either kill or inhibit the user. So that’s most of the backstory, all that you need really. There’s a bit more of the relationship between Ohmen and Eliya, as well as Rigain and his father, but, meh, whatever, on with the actual content!

We meet Ohmen as he is being rescued from atop a frozen lake after he crash lands on Earth in a remote area of Maine. That rescuer is Jill Monroe, an artist who moved up north from New York to escape the big city and give herself more time to create and take in nature. She doesn’t know she’s rescuing an alien, just a guy she saw try to fly away after crashing. After being saved Ohmen takes up residence on Jill’s couch and proceeds to sleep for a few days to literally recharge his batteries. Ohmen and Jill spend 6 months in seclusion while Ohmen learns everything he can about Earth as well as start to utilize his justice stone. It is during this time that Ohmen takes up the name Union, as the word “union” is basically a simple way to express “cold fusion” which is what is going on in his justice stone. Uh… yeah, sure Ohmen, you’re Union now, whether or not that makes a lick of sence. While at a bar Jill and Union see a report about a few aliens flying around upstate New York and Union immediately recognizes them as Directorate soldiers. Before Jill can ask Union anything about it he’s off and flying to the town of Chichester, NY, secret headquarters of the Directorate on Earth.

Union arrives in Chichester and instantly gets his booty kicked by the Directorate. Union mistakenly believes that the Directorate has sent a few soldiers after him and had no idea of this town belonging to them. The Directorate have no idea the Union accidently found his way to Earth so they are thinking he is some kind of spy for the Protectorate. Oh these Aegenan scamps and their comical misunderstandings! Eventually King Darian (Regents father) shows up during Union’s torture and as he’s smacking the hell out of Union with his justice stone rod, Union goes full nuclear and somehow destroys all of Chicester, NY. Union, feeling mighty horrible about this, you know, accidently taking out an entire city, Directorate soldiers and families or not, decides to commit suicide by jamming Darian’s justice stone rod into his justice stone. Union passes out and somehow survives and as far as justice stones go, he levels up.

When Union awakes he is finds that StormWatch has surrounded Chichester and is trying to save any survivors and find the cause of the disaster. They also notice traces of a familiar energy that they’d like to find out more about. The energy is that of Regent, who just kicked their asses earlier, and this town was full of Directorate tech, so that makes a certain amount of logic. Too bad they’ll never discover anything about the Directorate or Regent here, as Union is going to cover everything up out of further guilt. At the same time he is doing everything he can to buy the trust of Jackson King, even giving his fingerprints so he’s in the police system and has a record on file as a super powered being. In any other story, blowing up a town and tricking the authorities wouldn’t be seen as a positive one, but Union pulls it off due to his down right Duddly Do-Right sense of honor. In fact, “Union” the book pulls it off by dividing the story up so we see Union helping out StormWatch as much as possible before finding out 3 issues later that he was the cause of the destruction in the first place. Very clever writing Mr. Heisler.

Before we are bookended with the full story of what happening Chichester we do get a few issues of Union going to New York City for a little vacation with Jill. He takes down a super powered villain known as the Quickness. In the course of this action he pisses off Jill by stranding her, but also finds the being behind the Quicknesses super-speed, a being known as Mnemo. Mnemo is a crazy looking, highly intelligent, alien or mutant something-or-other. He captures Union and means to figure out what makes him tick. Why is he so interested? Because he’s found a Protectorate soldier before, but this one didn’t survives his trip through the gate, and Mnemo wants to find a way to revive this man, or at least his justice stone. What does Mnemo get out of this? Turns out Mnemo is a weapons contractor for the feared Kaizen Gamorra. What? That name doesn’t strike any fear into your heart yet? Well, it will soon enough! In fact, you’ll get down right sick of that name after a while, but it all evens out in 10 years once “the Authority” starts being published.

Due to Union running off to go fight the Quickness, Jill gets stranded in NYC by herself. When he catches back up to her they get into a fight and she storms off back home to Maine. What a great guy that Union is, save the world, lose the girl! Of course this is when Union is captured by Mnemo. After Union gets free he goes back to Jill’s place to find she isn’t alone. In fact, she’s chilling with Union’s sorta ex-girlfriend Elyia! Elyia means to bring Union back to Aegena, but Union makes a compelling case to stay on Earth. First, he feels guilty about what he did to Chichester. Second, his justice stone is not only calibrated to Earth, but due to its upgrade who knows what’ll happen with it back home. Third, he doesn’t say this, but he digs on Jill and besides it looks like Elyia has herself a new man anyway. Before Elyia leaves, she lets Union know that Regent could not be found back home or in the rubble of Chichester, so odds are he is on Earth someplace and to look out for him. I still call this a bold move for “Union,” to have a big bad set up, and our hero is not even confronting him in its own limited series!

These books are still very entrenched in the then Image Universe. There are several references to Supreme and Youngblood throughout the book. We even get a cameo from Velocity from “Cyber Force.” The StormWatch appearance was great, but this was a WildStorm book, so that carries pretty well. Also, to have had Regent make his debut in “StormWatch” was a pretty bold move. If you only ever read “StormWatch” you see them almost get wiped out by a guy you never see again in that series. Then to find out he’s related to the goings-on in “Union” and to hardly see him in that book kind of infuriated me as a kid! I really wanted to see Regent and Union through down in “Union,” but the powers that be had other plans.

Next : “WildCats Trilogy” issues 1 through 3 by Brandon Choi, Dafydd Wyn and Jae Lee (with a short story from Steve Seagle and Travis Charest)