Written by James Tynion IV and John Ridley
I’d already made this post, but now I’m including the Infinite Frontier and Next Batman issues to it, because they didn’t merit their own posts and they read as a single whole.
These issues marked the beginning of a new era of Wildstorm characters appearing more regularly across the DCU. It begins coming off the Joker War, in which Batman’s fortune was redirected to his tech guy, Lucius Fox. Since the city is in such disarray and he’s become an important person, Lucius hires a bodyguard – our boy Cole Cash, Grifter.
His first job is to go to Ninh Thuan, Vietnam, to tell Lucius’ son, Jace, to come home. He used to be called Tim, but he changed his name to Jace for reasons as of yet unknown. He left the country following some very wild youth years in which he ran over a kid with his car and his parents covered it up. He was sent to Sanford Academy, a private school for problem children, where he learned self-defense and how to kick ass along with classmates Vol and Hadiyah. As an adult, he was trained by Katana, the superhero, and became a vigilante with the aid of his friends. Jace was in Vietnam going after Tyler Arkadine, an alleged human trafficker. Except nothing was what it seemed in the mission, because Arkadine knew Jace was coming and apparently he wasn’t even a trafficker – he held files which exposed Batman’s involvement with Wayne Industries. Now, why am I stopping for so long on Jace, who’s not even a Wildstorm character? Because he’s written by the Oscar-winner John Ridley, who’s a bloody genius.
Either way, Grifter brings Jace home; now that the Fox family is in the public scene, they’re under heavier scrutiny, and Jace has to give testimony over the kid he killed. Cole then gives a report to Lucius. As he puts it, “Does Jace have his shit together? Can’t say. Bringing him home was my job. Fixing the kid is yours.”
Afterward, Lucius lets Cole know Batman will be showing up to discuss the future of his company, but Grifter picks a fight with the Bat anyway, just to be able to say he did it once in his life. He obviously loses, but it ends with him pulling a gun by surprise, so it could’ve ended either way. It goes to show how different these two character’s modus operandis are.
After meeting Lucius, Batman discusses finances. While leaving, Batman turns to Grifter and gives him a message to his boss – not Lucius, but his true boss, Halo. He tells him he knows of them, and that the city might be changing, but he’ll still be watching.
Shortly after, we see Grifter pull his weight as bodyguard when he moves Lucius and his son, Jace, to a panic room when there’s a massive-scale attack on Arkham. The news say it’s a Joker attack, but the person responsible is actually someone else whose identity is still a mystery!
Next: “Supergirl” Vol 7 issue 18, written by Steve Orlando.