Tag Archives: Winter

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 18 & 19

this entry covers issues 18 and 19 of “StormWatch” volume 1, as well as the backup stories “Loose Cannon” parts 2 and 3

StormWatchVol1_18-21Right off the bat, we see the StormWatch side of Void rescuing Maul from SkyWatch. I mean, one would think that by looking at the cover. Then again, this is ’90s Image, so maybe I should stress that the cover takes place in the actual comic. This drives the members of StormWatch crazy. The monster that lead to their beloved leader’s (supposed) death has been kidnapped. Fuji is the first one that comes across the data that will lead StormWatch towards the WildC.A.T.s. Oddly, while presenting the information to the rest of the StormWatch teams, SunBurst knows they’re called “the WildC.A.T.s” before Diva tells him. This freaks him out, because he’s not sure how he knows this. Oh, and speaking of going crazy, Maul getting sprung from SkyWatch, drive Malcolm to get mad and go visit his crazy ass pops in the prison/freezer.

You may ask why Diva was giving the team debriefing, and the answer to that question is Christine/Synergy/WeatherMan-One has gone missing. Turns out Argos has kidnapped her yet again and plans to use her to open a dimensional portal again. Once again, he fails. This time Christine gets the best of him on her own and kicks his now very preppy ass. Hey, alternate dimension villains, get with the program like Argos, dude was looking pretty damn sharp! Alright, to be fair, he goes back to his lame robes when he’s getting his ass kicked, but when he’s doing his evil monologuing, he’s got a nice tie and suspenders game going.

On top of all this Winter has found out that M.A.D. 1 is back on the loose! He decides it is time for him to take a leave of absence because he means to take down M.A.D. 1 once and for all. To do this, he goes to the one man who’ll have the info he needs, that man is Henry Bendix. Bendix is well aware of why Winter came to him, not only that, but he suggests that they contact Cannon to join them on this personal mission.

Where’s Cannon? Well, since he quit the team he’s just been kicking bad guy ass. He longs to see the world in black and white. Bad folks need a beating, good folks need protecting. So, while taking down a research facility on one of Gamorra’s islands, he comes to a real crossroads. Sure, it was easy to take out the guards at this place, also to take out the gross as hell Gammorian scientist doing experiments on live people. But when one of the experimented on girls begs Cannon to put her out of her misery, he can’t. He just can’t. He’s not about to pull a gun on someone who isn’t a “bad guy” even if they are begging for it. He just walks away, and I get the feeling whether he pulled the trigger on that girl or not, he was going to walk away with the same sense of guilt. For Cannon, there was not “right thing to do” in this situation. The boy needs direction, lucky for him, Winter and Bendix will be there soon.

Continuity Corner :

  • SunBurst knows about the WildC.A.T.s because he’s practically the only one that’s been susceptible to Defile’s brainwashing. He probably has a vague memory of the files he sent to Defile back in “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 13.
  • When Winter goes to visit Bendix, we see him going over a bunch of information he has at his disposal. This includes pretty much everything that’s been going on in “StormWatch” and “WildC.A.T.s” these past few issues. Heck, it might’ve been him that gave Void the info on Maul’s location in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 17.
  • Also, on Bendix’s visual display we see he has not only current SkyWatch info but also files from I/O. He’s trying to put things together and knows a shapeshifting Daemonite was involved in this whole mess. He wonders if there’s a correlation with known Daemonite shapeshifter Hightower. He’s even found out that Hightower is in the Washington D.C. area under an assumed name. Bendix, you sneaky bastard! We’ll see more of Hightower in D.C. in issue 19 of “WildC.A.Ts” Vol. 1 getting even more set up for “WildStorm Rising!”

NEXT : “Warblade : Endangered Species” issues 1 – 4 by Steven Seagal, Scott Clark, Sal Rega and half the WildStorm inking department.

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 15 – 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continuity Corner:

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

Where to find this story:

  • Excerpts from “StormWatch” volume one issue 16 are in the “WildStorm Rising” trade paper back.

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

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 11 – 14

this entry covers “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 11 through 14.

StormWatchVol1_10-14Alright, right back into “StormWatch!” We have a couple arcs going on. We have Henry Bendix in trouble with his bosses, Winter facing an old foe, Cannon and Flashpoint becoming bigger and bigger assholes, Hellstrike starting to feel better and Defile laying more groundwork for his master plan. There’s kind of a lot going on, and it is all pushing towards issue 25 and the upcoming “WildStorm Rising” cross over.

We start off this batch of issues with StormWatch kicking some ass in Siberia, helping the Russians against a rebel insurgent group. Jackson asks permission to evacuate the base where everything is going down and then blow it up. Bendix is all “no can do buckaroo, get your ass back to space.” What the rebels were after, and what an issue later they activate is M.A.D. 1, an old USSR super-cyborg, who has a past with Winter.

Before we get to that, we need to address why StormWatch got pulled out of the mission early. Turns out it took this long for StormWatch’s bosses at the U.N. to get pissed over what went down in Gamorra, oh so long ago. The U.N. council wants to get rid of Jackson altogether, but Bendix takes one for the team and gets fired over it.

Meanwhile, we have Mr. Coma Pants Hellstrike starting to actually do something for the first time in six issues. The problem is, said “thing” is the uncontrollable explosion of SkyWatch. In a nice use of flashback, we get to know a bit of Fuji’s backstory, and how he manages his superpower. Fuji discovers that it has a lot in common with what Hellstrike is going through, and he finds a way to save him. It’s nice to give these two characters something to bond over. We still don’t have a good personality for Hellstrike yet, he’s still a bit one-note, but his look is getting a little less generic.

Speaking of underdeveloped characters, I need to bring up Cannon and Flashpoint. These guys are just dicks, acting like dicks. With Cannon, you can kind of see why, as when things don’t go his way he acts like a dick, acting like a dick gets him in trouble, getting in trouble makes more things not go his way, when things don’t go his way he acts like a dick and the cycle continues. Flashpoint, on the other hand, is just a jackass who hates Jackson. Later on, we’ll get to know a bit more about these guys and I’ll personally soften on Cannon, but Flashpoint will forever be a jerkface to me. Oh, yeah, they both take Malcolm out to a strip joint and he figures out real quick to leave these two losers behind.

Ok, back to work! The team is back in Siberia and this time they actually encounter M.A.D. 1. Bad news for StormWatch, M.A.D. 1 is really good and beating them the hell up! He wants to go and blow up Moscow, and the U.N. just can’t allow that. Winter, for the love of his homeland, really goes to town on M.A.D. 1! Winter’s power is to absorb energy, contain it, then expel it. You know, kinda like Sunbursts… but.. uh… cold based. Anyway, I’m just letting you know all this because after Winter gets done with his initial fight with M.A.D. 1, M.A.D. 1 sets several nuclear rockets to fly off and blow stuff up and Winter absorbs them all. He’s one badass Russian!

That basically takes care of issues 11 through 13. Issue 14 is kind of a “one shot” dealing with Christine growing into her new role as Weather Man-One. We see Jackson take a day off, then sneak back onto SkyWatch and attempt to kill his father Despot in the freezer lock-up. We also see Cannon and Diva still in love, despite them getting in a huge fight on a mission in Rwanda. The biggest revelation is on the last 2 pages of this issue with the reveal of Mr. White, a shapeshifting Daemonite, under the employee of Defile. What’s he doing? Oh, just taking on the forms of various WildC.A.T.s members!

Continuity Corner:

  • Henry Bendix takes the blame for the actions of Jackson in “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 6 & 7 and their adventures on Gamorra. With him out of the way, Christine gets the promotion to Weather Man-One as we knew she would by issue 25.
  • At one point we see Sunburst accessing some files from the StormWatch database. The files are sent to Defile and are of the WildC.A.T.s whom StormWatch started watching after the events of issues 6 & 7 of Vol. 1 of “StormWatch”
  • Even though he takes a hell of a beating, M.A.D. 1 will be back in a few issues and we’ll find out his actual motivation, besides just wanting to kick the snot out of Winter and his new pals.
  • Mr. White isn’t named at all in his first appearance in issue 14. Defile mentions that he has the shapeshifting talent, but that’s about it. I’ll have to keep an eye out for when he’s finally named.
  • After stating in the write up for “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 25 that I don’t think we ever see Doreen again, I’m proven wrong when she appears and is name-checked in the cold storage prison on SkyWatch in issue 14.
  • If there was anything pertinent to place between issues 13 and 14 I would, but due to other factors, I really can’t. Maybe a couple issues of “Deathblow” could fit in but “WildC.A.T.s, ” “Backlash” and “Union” depend on how things are playing out right now in “StormWatch.”
  • Defile sure does talk about how much he wants to take down the WildC.A.T.s an awful lot for a guy who is mainly appearing in “StormWatch” and getting referenced in “Backlash” most of the time.

Where to read these stories:

NEXT: “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 15 – 16 by James Robinson, Travis Charest and Troy Hubbs.

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 10

this entry covers “StormWatch” volume one, issue ten.

Before we get started I’d like to bring all of your attention to three things WildStorm related. First, the KickStarter for a book all about WildStorm Studios called “Wild Times“. If you’re into WildStorm at all, back this! Second, we now have a “sister site”! Reader Martin has started his look at how the WildStorm characters were retrofitted into the DCU with New 52. It’s obviously named New 52’s WildStorm and well worth a look. And lastly, the blog Crushing Krisis did a month long feature on early WildStorm books and while it covers the same issues I’m covering now, he takes a different angle. Also, take a quick look at that WildStorm Chronology: WildStorm Rising section, there’s been a wee bit of restructuring to match up with some hard dates in the texts of “Gen13” Vol. 1, this issue of “StormWatch” and an issue of “WetWorks.” I assure you, it all still works! But it is one of the reasons I’m only covering this single issue rather than the five I had planned.

stormwatchvol1_10Ok, so this issue is just a pretty simple one-shot type issue. It is mostly dealing with Jackson coming to terms with his future, or rather, lack there of.  Jackson has to lead the StormWatch team on a mission to Japan to capture Talos before he can get his hands on some serious hardware. Nothing is easy for the StormWatch crew because as it turns out, Japan doesn’t want StormWatch there, they never requested the U.N.’s support.

Jackson and company reject the notion that the Japanese can handle it, because, well, it’s goddamn Talos and buncha robot samurai and they’ll royally eff the place up while the Japanese keep throwing normal soldier after normal soldier after them. The whole StormWatch crew pretty much says “Screwa youse, buddy, we’ll save your asses whether you want us to or not,” as they each use their unique abilities to take down Talos and Co. Jackson gets downright suicidal as he knows he’s not much longer for this world, and as he says “We all have to die someday.”

Like I said, it’s a simply structured story, but it really gets into Jackson’s head. How he thinks about his impending death. How he views his life. What he thinks of his co-workers. Not to mention that this book is frickin’ gorgeous! I know that Mat Broome takes over soon, and he draws really pretty too, but damn does Dwayne Turner’s art look fabulous here!

Continuity Corner:

  • Without being too obvious a lot of this book is setting in motion the events of issue 25 of “StormWatch” Vol. 1. The biggest being getting Talos back aboard Sky-Watch One so that he can escape during the crash.
  • The StormWatch team defies what the local authorities want in regards to help with Talos, and this too will have implications very soon, that also lead to some of the changes we see in issue 25.
  • Jackson is writing his report or journal, or what have you, and it is dated 6/15/1994, which puts it shortly after the events of “Gen13” Vol. 1 which started in May of 1994. I’m pretty confident that that story played itself out over a matter of a few weeks at most.

Where to find this story:

NEXT : “Savage Dragon” Vol. 2 issue 13 by Jim Lee, Brandon Choi and Scott Williams

“Voodoo / Zealot : Skin Trade”

this entry covers the one shot “Voodoo / Zealot : Skin Trade” as well as the short story “Voodoo : Skin Game” from “Overstreet’s Fan” magazine issue 3.

VoodooZealotSkinTradeVol1_01This book… this effing book. Ok, let’s be serious for a minute, this book is basically a bunch of pin-ups arranged as a story. But trashier than that sounds. For all the cheesecake glory that is “Gen13” when compared to this book “Gen13” ends up looking rather tame. And, if I was a better reviewer, and thought this was the place to get into it, I’d comment on how WildStorm went from putting out a book like this, where the women are all posed as sexual objects first and to serve the story second, to eventually putting out books that dealt with a more mature take on sex and sexuality in such a small span of time. Not to mention how much ahead of the curve on that kind of thing they were in regards to DC and Marvel. But this isn’t the blog for that and I’d never do that argument justice anyway!

We catch up with Zealot training Priss in the ways of the Coda. Along for the “It’s Not the Danger Room!” session is Cole and Jeremy who both admonish Zealot for being too harsh with Priss. Little Big Jake tells Zealot that she needs to lay off of Priss a bit and she needs a break. Zealot storms off and is then confronted by Providence. Providence tells Zealot she has information about her Zealot’s previously unknown child and proceeds to give some long convoluted story of how it’s been cryogenically frozen and will still be a young kid. Also, it’s in Yurgovia and she should go save it. Most of this is a lie, but Providence needs to get Zealot to Yurgovia and Zealot will meet her kid, so she embellished a lot.

So why does Providence need to get Zealot to Yurgovia? Well, ok, remember Yurgovia from the “WildC.A.T.s Special”? Remember how there was this Coda gal named Destine that was running it? Remember how she died getting shot in the back by Cole? Welp, I guess it didn’t take because she’s back and she’s pissed. She’s out to take Yurgovia back from the people that’d been running it since she’d been assumed dead, and also to grow her own little branch of the Coda as well. She has a few recruits already and she’s looking for more to train, which means kidnapping the children of Yurgovia. In the end, it seems that Providence didn’t like all this, because who would, and vowed to put and end to Destine’s schemes. Oh, and Destine has a bit of “the Orb” that created her and Void and she means to have it back. Not that Providence went about it attaining her goals in any logical manner, she handed out half truths to Zealot and double crossed Destine.

Long convoluted plot short, a woman named Cathy is trying to save a bunch of Yurgovian kids from the horror on the civil war by secretly getting the kids to Greece. Providence says she’ll help her. Destine’s forces are after Cathy and the kids because one of the kids was supposed to be in Destine’s Coda Scouts troop. This girl has white hair. Destine encounters Providence, says she wants revenge on Zealot in exchange for her orblet. Providence provokes Zealot to show up, Zealot brings Priss under Jake’s orders. Everyone assumes the little white haired girl is Zealot’s kid. Priss and Zealot kick Destine’s ass, and eventually Zealot tosses the orb in the sky and Destine grabs it and blows up. This pisses off Providence, who basically tells Zealot to suck it. Zealot is all “No, you suck it, bitch, my kid ain’t even here! Also, why do you get hair and Void has to be bald?” To which Providence is all “Your kid is in the room, look around” and Zealot sees StormWatch, who’ve come to rescue the kids by order of the UN and sees Winter with his white hair.

I mean, ok it’s not just the white hair, it’s that Zealot left her baby with a Russian couple. Get this, unless you haven’t been paying attention, but Winter is Russian. I know, mind blown. Not sure why the white hair was such a big thing considering that [seriously, the WildStorm revelation that I’m not going to spoil yet] doesn’t have white hair. Now, I thought all the members of StormWatch were supposed’ve been superpowered by a magical comet, how come Winter gets to be half Kherubim?

That about wraps that one up. Except for the ladies go on vacation to Greece before they get back to New York. I mean it was the cover story that Zealot gave to Priss in the first place, and they did live it up for a few days before going to Yurgovia. So you know, why not, more excuses to draw the girls in bathing suits.

Let’s finish this off with another short story featuring Priss and Zealot written by Steven T. Seagle as well. Priss is out for a night on the town, she gets a letter and rose delivered to her from an anonymous admirer. The note says to meet her out back in the rose garden because most bars have those. Once she’s back there she’s attacked. Don’t worry, it’s only Zealot surprise testing her, seeing if she’d fall back on her Coda training or on her instincts. Priss fails and Zealot lets her know there’s going to be more homework because of this.

Continuity Corner:

  • Winter is Zealot’s kid, we all got that right? I mean he’s supposed to be, later we’ll get some background on Kheran mating practices and the rarity of births in “WildStorm Winter Special” no less more than one (that’s another spoiler kids, sorry). Maybe it works differently with Human and Kherans though…
  • This book makes mention of a book called “WildC.A.T.s : Ground Zero” that never came to be. It seems like it would’ve outlined the adventures Zealot was having, who Winter’s father was and how she dealt with her pregnancy.
  • When we last saw Destine in the “WildC.A.T.s Special” she looked much different. Long hair, red outfit. She still has black hair (which was sometimes drawn long in this issue) and some tech over her right eye, but other than that she looks like a new character. When first reading this a few years ago (yeah, this wasn’t a story I grew up with, I found it while doing research for this blog) I knew that I knew her, but I couldn’t recall from where due to the complete redesign.
  • We do get a few callbacks to the storyline in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 10 – 13 with mentions of Tapestry and how Providence snuck into the HALO building.
  • The art on this book is something else. Starts off pretty solid and then gets worse and worse as it goes one. Also, there was like 15 different inkers on this book. There’s a handful of miscolorings as well as a handful of speech bubbles going to the wrong characters. Not to mention that the “white haired girl” is always seen with black hair. This book was kind of a mess in the final act of the story.
  • Speaking of the art seriously, am I the only person who thinks all the visual references for Priss and Zealot were from the pages of nudie magazines? Was that the point considering the name of the book?
  • Was this book popular? I mean, it came out pre-internet so it should’ve been a hit based on the “artwork” alone, but I had never heard of it before doing research into WildStorm books, and I was a teenage boy and a WS fan when this came out.
  • Regarding the placement of the “Skin Game” short. I feel it is odd to see Priss using her “were-form” here, as we don’t see that until a bit later. But we really aren’t going to see it until they get into space, and once they’re back from space Priss quits the team. So when’s this training taking place? Ultimately, Priss’s were-form isn’t really too crazy of a deal, so it is fine that it makes it’s appearance here, but I’m torn if the story should come before or after the “Skin Trade” book or not. They seem to be on better terms with each other in “Skin Game” as a result of “Skin Trade” but, Zealot getting on Priss’s case for being out of practice in “Skin Trade” could be a reference to the events in “Skin Game.” Like I said, it could go either way.

NEXT: “WildStorm : Chamber of Horrors” by Ron Marz, Steven Grant, Merv, Jeff Mariotte, Bernie Wrightson, Alex Baily, Trevor Scott, Jason Johnson, Tom Raney, Aron Wiesenfeld, Chris Carlson, Al Vey, John Beatty and Alex Garner. As well as the short story “Portrait” by Ron Marz, Ryan Odagawa and Jon Holdredge.

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 9 and 25

this entry cover “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 9 and issue 25
StormWatchVol1_08-09_25

I originally had these much later in the timeline… then, when reading “Deathblow” I realized my mistake, so these two move up! Originally I was trying to preserve the narrative of Timespan on the run from Nadia, but, uh, they go around in time, so that was kind of silly of me. Stories involving time traveling characters work differently. So instead of reading this after “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue ½, and meeting Nadia as she curses losing Timespan, I know, complicated, but it makes more sense this way (the correct way) for the main storyline for the WildStorm Universe that what I had previously posted/though. Thankfully not too much actual time travel goes on in the WSU, just Timespan, Nadia and the WildC.A.T.s that one time… all of which impact very little as far as contradictions go, so good going WSU! Doing time travel stories pretty much right! Alright, got that? This issue opens with us seeing Timespan just after he used a “triple shift” landing in the present day. He seems to be pretty pleased with himself for out “running” Nadia.

Suddenly we are joining a StormWatch mission already in progress and things are going wrong. StormWatch Prime is there, and it seems StormWatch One has turned traitor on them. Wait… it’s all just a dream from StormWatch Prime member Sunburst. Dream? More like crazy nightmare! StormWatch Prime hasn’t done much since being rescued from Deathtrap on Gammora. They’ve just been resting up on SkyWatch One while WeatherMan One and Synergy watch and wait to see if they’re ready to be active again. Well, wouldn’t you know it, a big enough problem comes along, with multiple terrorists hitting multiple locations, threatening to blow up places of international importance, and StormWatch doesn’t have enough members to go around and just HAS to activate StormWatch Prime to help out in Rome.

The mission goes on pretty normally, but these terrorists are really giving Rome a beating. Suddenly a bomb is brought out, and it is the same as the bomb in Sunburst’s dream! Oh no! He’s even more freaked out when Battalion shows up, having completed his mission early, and wants Sunburst to turn over that bomb. Sunburst, still spooked from his dream, doesn’t trust Battalion and flies up into the air to let the bomb explode all around him. He absorbs the energy of the explosion and then channels it straight up and away from the city. He feels better about himself that he took care of the issue on his own, and gets some self-confidence back. Not so fast Burster Brown, turns out all of this, the nightmare, the terrorist attacks, the coincidental bomb, it was all a plot by Lord Defile! Turns out when StormWatch Prime was captured, it was Defile who was paying Deathtrap to keep them hostage and break down their will. I guess so that they could serve Defile, but Sunburst was bending while in captivity, so Defile invaded his dreams… why didn’t he go with Plan B in the first place? He then set up the terrorist attacks to get StormWatch to put his puppets StormWatch Prime back in action.

After the mission Battalion is just looking for some rest by himself when Timespan pops up and kidnaps him into the future. The future is in Death Valley, California, and it is a problem. Within minutes of being there, Battalion sees SkyWatch One crashing to the ground. Battalion, ever the hero, dashes forward to see what he can do to help in this situation before he’s even done yelling at Timespan for ambushing him. What he sees he cannot believe. It’s a slightly different StormWatch team, and they’re just as confused about him being there are he is.

The biggest change is that we see two new members to the team, Fiend and Undertow. We also see that Synergy has become the new WeatherMan. While it takes the team a few beats to realize that yes, somehow, this is the Battalion you know, love and miss, now is not a time for celebration. Mainly because they’re on the run from the WarGuard, Despot and they can’t find their leader. And who is this leader? None other than Spartan of the WildC.A.T.s! “What the huh? Frickin’ awesome!” Well, that’s what my reaction as a teenager, and it’s pretty much the same here. My mind filled up with so many questions, just as the book’s creative team had intended, it worked on me, big time! This was the coolest idea ever, and man, they were throwing out some big crazy changes just a few pages in! WOAH! “StormWatch” certainly is going to be a heck of a ride to get to this point!

But the big reveals just keep coming! Despot is Battalion’s father, whom we saw as a member of Team One. He went totally nuts and is bent on taking down StormWatch. Malcolm sides with his father on the issue, but during the fight, he turns to Battalion and stutters out “D-D-D-Don’t join h-h-him!” and Timespan was all “I don’t remember this happening.” Now, I’m not sure what to make of this. Has Timespan been there before observing? Is Timespan present in another way, as in, is he hiding in the shadows or a future version of one of the team? I’m not sure this is ever answered, I guess I’ll keep this on my mind as I keep reading. After the warning, Malcolm has a personality shift and starts beating on Battalion.

Turns out Malcolm was being controlled by Despot. This is a thing he likes to do. He even likes to do the puppeting with the corpse of Diva. It’s gross. Then he rips Diva apart. It’s grosser. Then Battalion goes all Care Bears and tries to defeat his crazy dad with the power of love. Before he can fail, Timespan sends Battalion back to his own time while Despot screams in his face. With the rest of StormWatch still in battle with the WarGuard, Despot pulls a Thanos and starts to kill everyone in the universe, and we see people starting to fall over dead on city sidewalks. Ok, not really pulling a Thanos, he isn’t trying to impress a chick, he just finds it easier to puppet dead folks, that’s all. Suddenly Despot is struck from behind by an unknown attacker and is told: “You may have beaten Battalion, but you don’t stand a chance against me, old man!” And we are told that the issue #26 won’t be out until over a year from now!

 

Continuity Corner:

    • The semi-destroyed Rome will be mentioned in “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issue 6 which officially puts it after “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 9.
    • Why did StormWatch Prime have to go to Rome in the first place, did someone give the Centurions, Protectors of Rome the day off? (See “Gen13” Vol. 2 issue 6 for more details)
    • Hey, this is the first time we actually see Defile and his be-suited zombie side-kick, neat!
    • When we get to “WildStorm Rising” we’ll see Defile’s plan for StormWatch Prime pay off. Hell, “WildStorm Rising” is the explanation for many of the new developments that we see in “StormWatch” Vol. 1 #25.
    • Also, the WarGuard are joined by Stricture (the snake monster) who we’ll see a few more times, but won’t learn much more about, and a girl named Doreen. I don’t think we see any more about Doreen at all outside of this issue. I mean, with a name like Doreen it’s hard to see how she fell through the cracks.
    • Never will another artist draw Fiend as we see him here, he’ll never look like that at all. In fact, it is off-putting to see this version of the character if you read issue 25 after reading the issues leading up to it. Also, other than this issue, Fiend is known as Pagan. 
    • Speaking of when to read this book, you totally need to read it after “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 9, because it is really anticlimactic to read it right before “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 26. Trust me, I did that once… not a good idea.
    • Frankly, I don’t mind leaving you hanging before we pick up with the “StormWatch” book again because the book itself just left you with a long ass cliffhanger with the “Who shot Despot?” mystery.
    • If I remember correctly, “StormWatch” was the only title, out of the 4 comics that participated in the “Images of Tomorrow” gimmick that actually reached their 25th issue when they were supposed to, or at all. In case you didn’t know, different Image titles skipped to the future to see what their 25th issue would be as part of “Images of Tomorrow.” “Bloodstrike” petered out at issue 22, although when the series got rebooted they started at issue 26, so that’s kinda funny. “Brigade” also only made it to issue 22. While “Supreme” officially made it to issue 25, to do that they started doing two issues a month, so just in case they fell behind a bit they’d still hit it on time, they over did it, and wound up having what was to be an issue for July 1995, coming out in February of that year. Not to say that “StormWatch” didn’t employ a bit of padding to make sure to hit issue 25 on time and make sure the story was in the right place, I mean, that’s where “StormWatch” Special issue 2 and “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issue 23 ½ come from! Also, the more I think about it, the more I’m curious why “StormWatch” was a part of this event, all the others are Extreme Studios books, and we didn’t see any books from McFarlane, Highbrow, ShadowLine or Top Cow join in, so why the lone WildStorm book?

Where to find these stories:

Next: “Deathblow” Vol. 1 issues 5 through 12 by Brandon Choi, Jim Lee and Tim Sale

“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)

“StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 1 – 3

this entry cover “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 1 through 3
Comixology Links: “StormWatch” vol. 1 issues 1, 2 & 3

StormWatchVol1_01-03I have a long and troubled history with “StormWatch.” In a lot of ways I always wanted to like it more than “WildC.A.T.s,” I’m not sure why. Point of the matter is, “WildC.A.T.s” can get fun when it the storytelling gets messy, and boy, does it gets messy, but “StormWatch” just gets boring later in its run. Until Warren Ellis start writing for it, “StormWatch” is the underdog of the WildStorm Universe, at least of the Lee/Choi books I Guess that “Wetworks” is the true underdog of the WSU. See, I usually root for the underdog, so maybe that’s why I was attracted to it, and kept reading it far longer than I should have, because after a bit, I really wasn’t enjoying it. However, the start was pretty strong and that carried me through quite a bit!

First page is a splash page and we meet Jackson King, AKA Battalion, shooting some big ass guns even though he has super crazy mind powers. Kick ass! Turn the page and we get another splash page featuring the rest of the team! The team is a product of the United Nations, so the idea is that there is several heroes, representing several different UN member countries will work together as a team to help with global issues, as they arise. We meet Fuji (the Big Guy from Japan), Winter (energy blaster from Russia), Diva (sonic screamer from Italy) and Hellstrike (another energy blaster, this time from Scotland). The team is on a mission to stop a group of mercenaries from finding a seedling to give to Helspont’s group. Oh, and just a reminder, a seedling is someone who was granted powers by a magical comet that passed close to earth, or is the child of someone who received powers from said magicomet. This is what the merc’s were after, a potential super powered being that Helspont had paid them to track down. I’m starting to get the idea that this story takes place before the events of “WildC.A.T.s” issues 0 – 4, as we all saw Helspont bite it at the end of that story arc, and the second part of this issue takes place at a funeral. No way are they gonna keep that guy on ice for more than a few days. Okay, maybe this could take dream/memory/flashback takes place before the start of “WildC.A.T.s” as that plays out over a day or two, and then since the funeral is in America it took a few days for the body to get there from Sarajevo… I’m stretching here. I guess it should be either before “WildC.A.T.s” 0 -4 or RIGHT after it but before getting to the “WildC.A.T.s” Special.

The Mercenaries are introduced to us too, but there’s only one that is really worth remembering, and that is Deathtrap. I mean, maybe Razor is worth remembering, but I don’t think they ever expound on her former connection with StormWatch, so she’s mostly just there. I think that Slayer may be a Coda or former Coda, but she doesn’t have a clef blade, just crazy face paint, and she pops up from time to time in the background of various WildStorm titles. When it comes to Kilgore and Brutus, there’s nothing much to be said. In fact when we meet the mercs, not only is Brutus not pictured as part of their group until a few pages later, he isn’t even named until the next issue. Poor Brutus. No love for the poor evil mercenary.

On the ground helping with saving the seedling is Windsor, a simple human on the ground who is an old pal of Jackson’s. I’ve already mentioned the funeral earlier, well it’s Windsor’s. He gets blown up but good by Deathtrap, but his sacrifice isn’t in vain as the seedling is saved! Before we move on to the funeral we meet a few more of the players in StormWatch, Jackson’s little Malcolm and Synergy, or more commonly known as Christine Trelane. Malcolm got mixed up with some hooligans and Synergy got the Chicago PD to bring him Jackson’s and drop the charges. Working for the United Nations comes with quite a few perks, in this case, diplomatic immunity! This does upset Jackson a bit, that Sarajevo mission was supposed to be his last one for StormWatch, and now, with the loss of his friend, he goes out with the deep sadness of another loss in his life.

We finally get a look at SkyWatch, the base of operations for StormWatch. It’s a goddamn USS Enterprise crossed with a satellite that orbits the Earth ready to find trouble and send help. The Star Trek comparison is more than apt, as the crew wear Trek-like unitards, the beam up and down from orbit to the Earth and they’re even lead by a bald guy. This particular baldy is Henry Bendix who is on the role of Weather Man One, the general manager of StormWatch, if you will. The UN are the bosses, but Bendix calls the shots on a daily basis. He’s also hard wired in to Skywatch to better monitor the whole shebang.

Ok, Windsor’s funeral. Jackson, Malcolm and Synergy attend, but they’re not alone, the mercs are there too! Oh, sheesh y’all, no way! Also, we find out Synergy’s comet power, she can activate seedlings (this is before her power of… I dunno, world’s greatest project manager?) She activates Malcolm to keep the mercs from taking him. Suddenly Fuji is there to help punch the bad dudes, so that’s cool. Synergy calls Bendix and he agrees to send Diva and Hellstrike ASAP, but that’ll take 5 minutes. He has another StormWatch group he can send, but he elects send them to Chernobyl, where something odd is happening. This grouping consists of Winter, Fahrenheit (fire based energy blaster), Cannon (energy blaster with a ponytail) and our cannon fodder characters: Ion & Lancer. They beam down into the craziness, to see what’s going on down there. Cut back to the funeral and we see Hellstrike and Diva help drive off the mercs and then everyone goes back to SkyWatch to help out Malcolm and take stock of what just happened. While there, a very beaten up Cannon beams aboard with out the rest of his team, uh oh, this doesn’t look good!

Cannon tells everyone that his team encountered a real bad ass named Regent, who wormed his way into their demention via the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. He also says that Winter activated Cannon’s teleport to beam back to SkyWatch to grab others to help in the battle against Regent. We find that Regent has kept both Winter and Fahrenheit alive, but has inhibited them from using their powers. He is impressed with their strength; however, they won’t stop his conquest of Earth. StormWatch catches up with Regent and tries to defeat him, but the task is proving a bit too difficult. In fact this fight is going so poorly that the UN council wants to send in the Wargaurd, even though SkyWatch crew member Major Dianne LaSalle strongly disagrees with that idea. Bendix knows she’s right, but says the Wargaurd will be sent in, if needed. Luckily StormWatch beats up enough on Regent that he runs away. Don’t worry, we’ll find out more about him in the pages of “Union.” But what of Malcolm? While in hospital he has the pleasure of meeting StormWatch’s favorite grandpop, Backlash! Ok, sure we all know him as Marc Slayton of Team 7, he seems like a big deal here, and not quite the asshole we knew back in the ’70s.

I remember reading these books in my parent’s basement and my cousin Matt looking at it and saying “that book looks awesome!” He was mainly remarking on the look of Jackson King, but it was pretty true none the less. I immediately liked Winter and Fuji the best. I dunno, Winter seemed like the underdog on the underdog team and Fuji, he just seemed like a really down to Earth cool guy with a gigantic body! I’m not going to lie and say that “eventually I learned to really enjoy all of these characters” because that didn’t happen. Seriously, I never became a fan of Cannon or Diva. Hellstrike grew on me a few redesigns and a personality upgrade later (I may be a loner in digging his ’70s cop look). You can’t tell me that Hellstrike’s initial look was anything special. Hell, even Ion was only just a recolor of his very generic uniform. Admittedly, it takes years for Fahrenheit to become worthwhile in the pages of “StormWatch : PHD” but when she does, wow, and it is crazy thinking about her evolution based on this first appearance. It is also nice to see how Jackson went from a pretty bland character to a fully fleshed out one over the course of the WildStorm tenure. Hell, the evolution of Synergy is a crazy one, resulting in an entirely different look for the character, going from ’80s pin up girl to a ’00s Annie Hall.

The WildStorm Universe is really starting to gel with “StormWatch.” In it we have references to Helspont, as well as setting up the backstory for the forthcoming “Union” book. Really the only thing missing is a more overt mention of I/O, besides having Slayton appear. Still, I wanted to know more about how the UN created StormWatch, how Bendix became Weather Man One, and if Malcolm King would ever get his shit together. Also, who in the hell is the Warguard and why people pissing themselves over it, but their bosses still think using them is a sensible last ditch effort?

NEXT : “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 0 through 4 by Jim Lee, Brandon Choi, Alex Garner and Brett Booth.