“Voodoo” vol.2 issue 0 and “Grifter” vol.3 issues 13 – 16

Voodoo written by Joshua Williamson, Grifter issues #13-14 written by Rob Liefeld with dialogue by Frank Tieri; issues #15-16 written by Frank Tieri

Wildstorm Concepts: WildCATS - Grifter WildCATS - Max Cash WildCATS - Helspont WildCATS - Daemonites WildCATS - Voodoo authority-apollo stormwatch authority-engineer authority-midnighter authority-doors

All-star WesternThese issues serve as more of an epilogue than anything, as the writers needed to close their plot threads. The bigger story all the Wildstorm books had been building to was cancelled by the editorial, putting a hold to it with Superman Annual #1. So there wasn’t much the writers could do in these pages.

Voodoo #0 was the last issue of the book to be published. So while issues #0 were meant to explain the past of each character, the writer is forced to put some scenes in the present to be able to finish his book. Most of the pages are dedicated to showing us Priscilla’s experience when she was kidnapped by the daemonites, when she was turned into a daemonite hybrid before she escaped and got caught by the Black Razors. It’s nothing that we hadn’t been told through dialogue in previous issues. The final pages are what adds new material: Picking up from Priscilla’s psychic vision in which she was told to help Grifter, Priscilla leaves the Black Razors and finds Cole.

Grifter’s book picks up after Cole escaped from Helspont and made it back to Earth. He and Deathblow go separate ways and Cole is contacted by Warick; the person who rescued him from the daemonites when he was kidnapped and given his powers at the beginning of this mess. He explains everything to Cole about his experiments and all the times the daemonites erased his memory. Now that Cole managed to walk away from meeting Helspont, Warick feels he’s ready to join his rebellion. Helspont might have killed all the daemonites that were planning to invade Earth, but there’s still a secret group: Tsavo’s faction, the ones who’ve been screwing with Cole from the start. Warick proposes bringing their actions to the light of day so that they daemonites are exposed, rendering them unable to start all over again. But to find the necessary proof they’re going to need to steal it from the organizations that have them.

Grifter remembers the information that Eos downloaded into his brain; Eos was Helspont’s ship that he found during his visit to the Himalayas, but it is only named now. Cole now knows StormWatch is the most likely to have useful data. But their base is hidden in hyperspace; he needs to figure out a way to get in. This is when Voodoo finds him, offering to join the team.

Guided by Warick, she and Cole infiltrate S.T.A.R. Labs, where they find a prototype teleportation platform that will help Cole reach Eye of the Storm. He says goodbye to Voodoo by stealing a kiss from her; wow! To think they had only known each other for two pages. By the way, this finishes Voodoo’s role in the story. Wow.

Sneaking into StormWatch’s base is no easy task; he’s detected by the ship’s avatar, Charlie. It alerts Apollo and Midnighter, but Cole is able to defeat both of them because his telekinetic abilities have improved just that much. It’s a pretty unbelievable situation. Cole reaches the ship’s main computer, where he learns how to find the info he’s after – through Amanda Waller, her partner during their Team 7 days! She has files on everyone on the planet. He hacks into her computer and downloads all of her data. Cole says goodbye to the computer by installing a virus on it, which angers Charlie enough to hijack Cole’s teleporting coordinates. Instead of going back to Warick, Cole ends up in the middle of the Belle Reve High Security Prison; headquarters of the Suicide Squad, Amanda Waller’s team. And they aren’t happy about having been hacked.

This is here main writer Rob Liefeld leaves the book. By this point the cancellation had already been announced, so writer Frank Tieri didn’t have a lot of time to fix things. In fact, he was only meant to have one issue, but some merciful editor extended it to two.

Cole attempts to escape from the Suicide Squad; it helps that his abilities have improved to the point where he can stop a bullet mid-air. They are too many for him, though, so he’s captured and taken to Waller. He tries to explain to her that he’s in a rebellion movement against the daemonites, but she’s not convinced. She’s met the rebellion’s leader, Warick, before. In one of her missions with the government she had to snuck into the rebellion and studied Warick’s past, learning that he’s been in and out of several mental asylums. This is why Waller dismisses the daemonites as a lie. Cole is astounded to hear about Warick’s past. Now he doesn’t know what to believe.

This is where the last issue begins. There is a scene in which Cole remembers everything he’s gone through; one of the memories shows his girlfriend Gretchen dying in his hands. However, this never happened, she was abducted by the Black Curate. Or maybe it happened in scenes we didn’t get to see. Oh well.

Waller lets Cole go, knowing he will lead her straight to Warick. Cole arranges a meeting with his boss in a zoo, where he demands answers. Warick explains he’s only been in asylums because no one believed his stories about the daemonites, but Cole isn’t convinced… There are too many lies, too many secrets around him. He tries to walk away from the resistance, but Warick can’t let his only weapon go. The two of them start brawling and hitting the crap of each other, but they are interrupted by Waller and several government soldiers. Cole has to decide if he’ll side with Warick of if he’ll hand him in; but before he can make a choice Warick decides to jump into a cage with polar bears and kill himself. Somehow, Cole is moved by this act. If Warick is willing to go that far to protect the rebellion, then it might just be real.

Cole visits his brother’s grave and thinks about his next step. He decides he needs some time as a regular person; time to find himself with no resistances or aliens. Grifter’s tale comes to an end… for now. Helspont is glad Warick and his resistance are out of the way; and now now Grifter is out of his affairs. For now… let it so remain.

Next: Red Hood and the Outlaws issues 12 – 14, written by Scott Lobdell.

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