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“New Suicide Squad” issues 17 – 21

Written by Tim Seeley
Wildstorm Concepts: Mercs - Brutus Mercs - Deathtrap Mercs - Kilgore Mercs - Razer Mercs - Slayer Rose Tatoo

All-Star WesternThe Suicide Squad is sent to Honk Kong to act as bodyguards for a politician. They were expecting the mission, as the Squad’s members are working with the Horus organization to escape from the goverment’s clutch. Horus works to defend human rights and they find a Squad using inmates as assassins is wrong. Once the Squad is in Honk Kong, Horus hires a group of faceless superhumans who look tough enough to take the Squad on — the Mercs from Wildstorm. The Mercs inject the Squad with life-sign hacking-nano-projectiles, so the Squad seems dead to the computers and they’re able to escape.

At first it looks like the Squad and the Mercs are going to clash due to their strong personalities, but it turns out the Mercs are the Squad’s biggest fans. While they’re waiting for the heat to blow over, Deathtrap sings a Rose Tattoo poem; the patron saint of killers. He tells her story to Deadshot; Rose is a spirit born the moment one person took another’s life. Suddenly, their boss from Horus kills his girlfriend; it turns out he was an agent from The Fist of Cain, and he begins a tournament where assassins from The Fist are going to compete to kill the Mercs and the Squad. Brutus dies on the opening shot. Razer goes next, and then Kilgore. D-List characters don’t have the best odds compared to the main characters.
Meanwhile, Deathtrap teams up with Deadshot and they protect each other as Deathtrap uses his power to create guns from the walls around them. The two reunite with the rest of the Squad.

Things go bad when the girlfriend of the boss of Horus who was killed turns into Rose Tattoo. The spirit smelled blood, so many killers in one place. She meets Slayer, who does not survive the encounter. As the surviving characters freak out about Rose, things look grim, but a backup team arrives with three Suicide Squad members. Rose catches up to them and kills Hunky Punk, but Cheetah engages her to let the others escape

Meanwhile, Deathtrap and Deadshot get cornered by the big boss. Deathtrap could kill the boss, but he would be killing him before he becomes shepherd of the Fist of Cain. Deathtrap is obsessed with cementing his legacy, so he shoots Deadshot instead. But he used a fake rose bullet, so Deadshot survives and turns things around. The boss is killed.
Back with Rose, Cheetah is losing the fight. El Diablo knows Rose will kill everyone if she’s allowed to walk the earth again, so he decides to use his underworld fire powers to open a door there and take Rose back. He succeeds, but he’s sadly absorbed as well.

Everyone reunites, but even without their boss the Fist of Cain thinks the game is on. Deathtrap decides to stay behind and buy the others a escape – he uses his powers to turn the entire place into a gun, bringing it down. The Mercs got to star in a story that was beautifully illustrated, but none of them got to survive.

Next: “Midnighter and Apollo” issues 1 – 6, written by Steve Orlando.

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“Midnighter” issues 8 – 12

Written by Steve Orlando
Wildstorm concepts: Authority - Midnighter Authority - Doors Authority - Apollo StormWatch - Bendix Team 7 stormwatch

Midnighter-008-(2016)-(Digital-Empire)-001After his last heart-break, Midnighter meets Robert and agrees to do a documentary about his experience to help others. But his job is never done: he fights a Chimera let loose in the city by a group called Sportman’s Ambition, who arrange hunts for rich people. Midnighter receives help from Freedom Beast, who guides him to Sportman’s Ambition. The group unleashes another chimera at Midnighter, but this time he knows the beast’s just angry that someone made it a monster; he can relate. He finds a new way to work with his hands, knocking the beast unconscious instead of killing. The duo dispose of the villains.

Later, Midnighter’s friend Marina is released from prison, like Midnighter had promised. He wants to give her a ride, but he’s interrupted by a call from his emergency network. When he checks it out, it turns out to be a trap from Spyral. As payback from the time Midnighter kidnapped Grayson, they want him to help them recover the Perdition Pistol. Obtaining it was one of Midnighter’s first cases after walking out on the gardener, but someone’s taken it. The prime suspects: The Suicide Squad.

Marina is chosen as Midnighter’s Spyral handler. Intel names the Crow’s Nest as the most likely holding site: an orbiting vault. Since it’s shielded from teleport, Midnighter reaches it by shooting himself from a giant railgun. The place is protected by guards and a speeder, but Midnighter kills them all. He reaches the gun and “accidentally” destroys it. As he’s leaving, he checks out a computer and finds a file on… Henry Bendix! If the Gardener is Midnighter’s mother, Bendix is his father. He was partners with the Gardener until he crossed a line she wouldn’t. Now he’s working with Amanda Waller of the Suicide Squad to complete The Unified: a military killer fueled by Kryptonian DNA and a fight computer like Midnighter’s. Spyral commands him to kill Bendix.

Later, Midnighter is hanging out with Robert about his documentary when they receive a surprise attack by the Suicide Squad: It’s Harley Queen, Deadshot and Afterthought, the only man who can dodge Midnighter. His brain is always seeing five seconds into the future. Unable to hit him, Midnighter is beaten to a pulp.

Middy is captured and taken to Amanda Waller, who wants to torture him for information about Spyral’s counter-intelligence. However, Middy counts with tiny bursts of super speed, so he vibrates the chair he’s been chained to every time Amanda blinks. Midnighter escapes from the facility and steals a ship. All the Suicide Squad tech can be tracked, so he can now head towards Bendix and the Squad protecting him.

To reach Bendix, he must get past Harley Queen, Deadshot and Parasite. At first it seems easy, but Parasite starts pirating Middy’s enhancements; taking away his powers. Unable to move, they put him in a plane and then make it explode. However, he was able to call Apollo, who rescued him at super-speed. Meanwhile, Bendix obtains the Kryptonite DNA he needed. Amanda explains he’s only helping him because they came up in the same house: Team One, Team Seven. Wow! First mention of Team One in this universe. Back with Apollo, Midnighter offers an explanation and an apology for their break-up; he needed to be better, more than a killing machine, and he’s been working at meeting new people. Those people saved him after the Prometheus incident; people he trusted like he should have trusted Apollo. But when the plane was about to explode, at the end of the world, there wasn’t anyone else he wanted to see. Apollo, being the nice guy he is, forgives Midnighter and agrees to help with Bendix.

They go with Spyral, because the Suicide Squad bombed Midnighter’s apartment and shut down his doors. Suddenly, Spyral begins to receive attacks from the Squad, using doors, technology which Bendix invented. Midnighter gets a rematch against Parasite: the monster might have stolen Middy’s healing abilities, but he knows how to slow himself down. He pierces Parasite’s heart. Then he gets his rematch with Afterthought. He knows he can’t hit him, so he just defends himself with doubled armor until Afterthought is too tired to move. Then, in a Team One Safehouse, The Unified is activated and sent to attack Modora. Modoran terrorists invaded American soil back in issue 1, so now they pay the price. Problem is, Bendix makes it a public operation where civilians are in danger too; he wants to spread fear. Luckily, Midnighter, Apollo and Spyral arrive.

Midnighter (2015-) 012-002 In a nice touch, they recreate the opening panel from “The Authority” Vol 1 issue 2. As the heroes fight the Squad, Amanda orders Bendix to stop. He refuses, explaining he plans to kill the entire population of Modora, so Amanda knocks him out. Amanda orders his troops to stop, but they’re made by Multiplex clones, and they hate Midnighter too much to stop. As Bendix escapes through a door, Apollo fights with the Unified and burns his tactical nervous system from his gray matter. Without his enhancements, it’s Midnighter’s turn, who fights the Unified with a sonic revolver to vibrate his blood until it pops. The Unified lashes out — he was created to eliminate enemies, is he supposed to ignore his purpose? Well, Midnighter did. The Unified is killed.

After the crisis, Midnighter visits the Gardener to warn her Bendix could go after her. When she suggests he should stop pretending to have a life and go back to work with her, Midnighter tells her his people see him as a person, not a means to an end. If she ever questions them again, he’ll kill her himself. Later, all of Midnighter’s friends throw a party for him. Apollo kisses him, seeing they can see where it goes. It’s a happy ending.

Next: “New Suicide Squad” issues 17 – 21, written by Tim Seeley.

“Grayson” issues 9 – 20

Written by Tim Seeley, Tom King, Jacksong Lanzing and Collin Kelly.
Wildstorm Concepts: Authority - Midnighter Authority - Doors wildcats-grifter WildCATS - Ladytron II WildCATS - Tao

All-Star WesternThe previous boss of Spyral, Mr. Minos, has been overthrown and now Helena Bertinelli runs things. After several spies are killed on Spyral missions, Helena is called to a gathering of clandestine organisations; among the people assembled are Grifter and Tao, making his first appearance in the DCU. Spyral quickly clears its name and finds the killings were done by a infiltrator from the organisation Checkmate. The council is assembled again, and Helena warns them there will be consequences if the cabal breaks its neutrality and helps against Sypral.

Right after the meeting is over, Spyral finds out the God Garden has been using its Door technology again to travel to Berlin, Germany. They send an agent over to check it out, not knowing the God Garden has deployed… Ladytron! This Ladytron is different to the one we saw on the pages of “Team 7” and the one from “Teen Titans”; this third version seems taken straight from the old Wildstorm universe, acting as her old outrageous, insulting self and looking like her old design. She was sent to Germany to check if an address is doing human genetic experiments “like the lab in Gamorra that inserted a reactor into her baby-cage.” In truth, they got the tip from Midnighter, who was doing a favor to Grayson; Grayson needed to visit Berlin so he needed Spyral to send him there. Grayson and his teammate Tiger are sent against Ladytron, and a fight ensues.

The three are surprised by robot spider security drones. Ladytron can’t believe it; as she’s back to being her old self, she believes the spiders should only attack “the fleshies” and have some cyber-darity towards other robots. Tiger convinces Maxine to use her reactor’s energy to create a nuclear electromagnetic pulse. But Grayson can’t have that, because it would wipe the computers of the information he came to steal. So he knocks Tiger out and hypnotizes Maxine, using her to talk to the computer and get him the information. Then, right before being swarmed by the spiders, he makes Maxine create the EMP.

With the information he’s gained, Grayson is ready to make his move and destroy Spyral. As he goes rogue and starts attacking, Helena calls for a meeting with the Cabal and asks for their help. Both Grifter and Tao, among others, say yes. Grifter and Tao work together: Grifter is a telepath, so he can counter Tao’s manipulations, making him the only one fit to speak to him. Grifter gives Tao everything they have on Spyral, so that Tao can solve the puzzle and figure out what will be the next move. Tao recommends killing Helena, recognising Grayson has gone rogue because Spyral could destroy the world. Spyral deserves to be destroyed. The Syndicate supports Grayson’s cause, but they still go after him to keep up appearances.

Grayson 17

Grifter never had the heart to kill, so he meets Grayson himself, hoping to convince him to turn himself in. The two men fight, but Grayson resists Grifter’s telepathy and hypnotizes him. Now Grayson knows the Syndicate is going after Spyral, but he wants to stop them; they want to kill Helena, and she’s an innocent victim.

Indeed, Grifter and the others attack the Spyral school. Grayson and his friend Tiger arrive and start battling the entire Syndicate at once. Being overwhemled, Grayson brings Midnighter in, who beats the Syndicate. Afterwards, Midnighter leaves, leaving Grayson to deal with Spyral once and for all.

Next: “Midnighter” issues 8 – 12, written by Steve Orlando.

“Batman & Robin Eternal” issues 23 – 26

Written by James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder, Genevieve Valentine and Steve Orlando.
Wildstorm Concepts: Midnighter, Doors

All-Star WesternIt’s a typical crisis for the Bat-Family: because of a radio signal, every child in the world has been ordered to kill their parents. To help coordinate things, they asked for Midnighter’s help, who lent them his Door technology. As every member in the batfamily gathers at Midnighter’s home, he’s forced to kick out the guy he had just slept with. He knows he’s acting crass in front of the heroes; they wouldn’t know what to do if he was helpful right out of the gate. To help find a batfamily member, Harper, Midnighter gets to work on his computers with Harper’s brother, Cullen. It seems all the signal transmitters block doors around them, so they’ll have to get to them the hard way. They’ll have to battle the children softly, so Midnighter stays put as ops. To stop the one responsible for everything, Mother, Midnighter sends Grayson to the artic circle. Meanwhile, Midnighter stays with Cullen, who is a tech wiz and helps him hack cameras. Cullen makes them some sandwiches — all Middy has is cupboards full of peanut butter. The nuances of civilian life continue to elude him.

However, they’re losing. Tokyo needs relief, so Midnighter sends Spoiler in – she was busy watching over Scarecrow, who was cooking a toxin to disrupt Mother’s signal. Midnighter replaces her; if the villain acts up, he’ll get someone new to be afraid of. Midnighter leaves Cullen in his place with the computers; the computer in his head showed him how it ends, that Cullen will do great. Soon, the toxin is finished, but they’ve got twelve “Orphan” assassins to deal with in each of the transmitter locations. Feeling overjoyed, Midnighter has the twelve warriors teleported to him, where he deals with the twelve at once. The anti-toxin is delivered, and the children are free from control. To wrap things up, every hero is delivered to the Artic Circle, to deal with Mother. The villain is defeated.

Next: “Grayson” issues 9 – 20, written by Tim Seeley, Tom King, Jacksong Lanzing and Collin Kelly.

“Black Canary” Vol 4 issue 9

Written by Matthew Rosenberg

Wildstorm Concepts: gen13-alex-fairchild wildcats-grifter team-7

 

All-Star WesternThis issue shows us what Dinah has been up to after the Birds of Prey: she occupied herself with a rock band.

During one of their gigs she meets Valentine Chan, whom she recognizes. Apparently, he was in Team 7 with her. It seems likely he was thrown out for being too violent, because his job nowadays is to be an assassin. We don’t find out a lot more, because they only share old memories for one panel before getting on with the story – It’s just a little retcon which adds another Team 7 member.

Next: “Batman & Robin Eternal” issues 23 – 26, written by James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder, Genevieve Valentine and Steve Orlando.

“Teen Titans” Vol.5 issues 1 – 4

Written by Will Pfeifer
Wildstorm Concepts: WildCATS - Ladytron as Algorithm

All-Star WesternIn this series of issues we see the Teen Titans face supervillain Algorithm, which we’ve previously covered in Teen Titans: Future’s End. Yes, even though she doesn’t look like it, Algorithm is supposed to be another name for Ladytron, making her the second iteration (and not last) of the character in this universe.
Algorithm works for Manchester Black, a technological terrorist. Under his orders, she breaks into S.T.A.R. Labs’ under-construction state-of-the-art laboratory. She takes over the building with two scientists hostage and causes an explosion. The Teen Titans arrive on the scene, but they’ve gotta hurry – if the flames reach the project that’s being worked on, the blast could take Manhattan out. Bunker faces Algorithm, but after realising she’s a robot he simply creates boxes inside her brain and blows her head off. The Titans save the day, but Algorithm rebuilds herself elsewhere, thanks to S.T.A.R. Nanotech. Manchester Black is using her threat to convince S.T.A.R. Labs to relocate away from Manhattan, but they aren’t sure yet – Black wants to raise the stakes, make the city demand S.T.A.R. Labs move out. Algorithm thinks Black loves her; he rambles on about the rise of artificial intelligence, the coming of the singularity, and Algorithm thinks she IS the singularity, the next step in humanity.
While Teen Titan member Raven is in a night club, Algorithm strikes again. Raven calls reinforcements, and once again, after finding out she’s a robot the Titans are able to cut loose and tear her apart. Robin suspects that it was easy — too easy. He heads to S.T.A.R. Labs and begins pocking in the computers, attracting Algorithm’s attention. She beats Robin, but Manchester Black won’t let her kill the boy — she’s outlived her usefulness. She thought she was independent, but all along she just followed her code; that’s why Black named her Algorithm. She loses her mind and heads over to Black, wanting to kill him. Robin shows up in the nick of time and saves Black, just like he was counting on – he recorded the whole thing to make himself look like an innocent victim.

Next: “Black Canary” Vol.4 issue 9, written by Matthew Rosenberg.

“Midnighter” Vol 2 issues 1 – 7

Written by Steve Orlando
Wildstorm Concepts: Authority - Midnighter Authority - Apollo Authority - Doors

All-Star WesternThis Spin-off off Grayson begins with a Bang, as someone intrudes in the God Garden and shoots the Gardener into space. Meanwhile, Midnighter is trying out online dating in a restaurant when he and his date, Jason, are interrupted by Modoran assassins looking for traitors to their country. They use Butcher Blasters to trigger anger in people and kill them with sheer blood pressure, but Midnighter is so fast he puts on his costume without anyone seeing him and takes care of the psychos.

Later, he heads to the pool hall Al’s Masse in Boston. He talks with the owner, Tony, about having broken up with Apollo — Midnighter thinks Apollo is better off without him. Then he takes Jason to their second date, on Moscow. He shows him they can be anywhere using Doors, and Jason invites him to his place. After they have sex, Jason wakes up to find Midnighter on the floor – after spending a few years on the streets, he never got used to beds. Jason is starting to get weirded out, and it gets worse when Middy injects him with a Smartmark on his neck – an implant so that Jason can contact Midnighter anywhere. Right as the date is going wrong, Midnighter receives an emergency call and has to go; it’s the Gardener, who survived. She tells Middy about the mysteriour attacker, but also reveals she had kept an origin file with Midnighter’s past, and the attacker had just walked out of the God Garden with it.

The attacker begins sharing the weapons he stole from the Garden immediately. He shares them with Marina, a widow whose husband was killed by a corporation that poisoned him carelessly. She seeks vengeance with the Liu Sha Jue, the six killing sounds. Midnighter arrives, and to survive he’s forced to break his own ears. He’s able to take her out, but he sympathizes with her story. He begins to break corporate bones, telling them they’ll have to seek minimum sentence against Marina or he’ll be back.

It’s time for another date. Jason didn’t work out, even though they remained as friends, so now it’s Matt’s turn; one of the hostages he rescued from the Modoran assassins in that restaurant. Their date is interrupted by homophobes, but Midnighter is great at taking out the trash. Even when Middy can’t stop talking about Apollo, Matt is impressed; it’s almost too good to be true. In fact, Matt is actually the supervillain Prometheus, but Midnighter doesn’t know this yet.

Middy reflects on the time he broke up with Apollo – it almost had to happen. They were never with anyone else, they were defined with each other. Midnighter needed time, needed to learn how to be himself without Apollo.

Later, Midnighter goes after a human trafficking ring kidnapping kids and using technology from the God Garden to steal their life force. Midnighter gets to them and destroys their machine, but the trafficker and his bodyguard Multiplex escape. He can multiply, so Middy feels like it’s his birthday — endless bodies to kill. When he reaches the trafficker, he reveals he got the technology from a Noi Akakyevich, the Moscow Mongrel. When Middy comes home covered in blood, Matt isn’t even phased, which is a suspicious sign. His excuse is his mother was a doctor, so he doesn’t run at the sight of blood.

Afterwards, Midnighter visits his friend Grayson. He tracked Akakyevich to a Russian club where people pay to kill vampires, only they aren’t vampires, they’re humans treated with reprogrammed martian cells mimicking vampirism. After defeating the club boss, the fake vampire Upir, Middy hoped Grayson could use his spy science to reverse the gene therapy, but it turns out to be bobby trapped and the vampires turn to dust. However, Grayson managed to ping his nano-signature before the Martians cells degraded, so they know where they were made. This leads them to Kazan, where Middy realizes a device that blocks teleport Doors was activated. They just have to look into the only place they can’t Door — an unmapped Metro station, where Akakyevich is using his martian cells to create a Beast Battalion based on Russian Folklore. To raise the stakes, Midnighter handcuffs himself to Grayson, and they begin battling their way through the monsters. They reach Akakyevich, but he’s been upgraded by the God Garden with Telekinesis and he shows it off by sending them through the roof. This was planned by Midnighter, however — he wanted to be thrown against Akakyevich’s teleport jam satellite so that he’d be able to use Doors. They’re able to sneak up on Akakyevich and beat him, even though Grayson won’t accept killing him. Still, Akakyevich reveals he was just another middle man.

Midnighter returns home to celebrate Thanksgiving with Matt; but suddenly they’re targeted by Multiplex on a helicopter. Middy manages to get Matt down and survive the shooting, and takes Multiplex out, but the apartment is trashed. Middy and Matt go on a remodeling tour, as Midnighter takes out bad guys using God Garden tech. After the house is rebuilt, Matt receives bad news — his dad was beaten up because somebody saw Matt dating Midnighter. They visit Matt’s hometown and start looking for the culprit, but something’s wrong; the town is eerily perfect, Midnighter can’t see the future. When he’s attacked by gang members, he realizes they’re homunculi; fake people built with artificial skin from the God Garden. The whole town was a trap. He rushes home to Matt’s dad and kills the impostor. When he hugs Matt, trying to comfort him, Matt reveals his true alliegance and stabs Midnighter. The town was a trap laid by him — Prometheus.

Just as some might say Midnighter is an edgier Batman, Prometheus is an evil Batman: son of criminals, his parents were murdered by the law and he swore to fight against it. Using his inheritance, he travelled the world learning violence in a dozen languages. He’s the one who stole from the God Garden, and his enhacements blind Midnighter’s fight computer, leaving him with five senses. As they fight, Prometheus reveals he built the house they’re fighting on from Midnighter’s origin file, from his childhood memories. Prometheus can’t stop talking and gloating, so Midnighter overpowers him — but according to Prometheus, he can’t kill him, not without losing his origin file. Prometheus downloaded it into his brain and deleted the original. But doing the right thing isn’t a dilemma for Midnighter, who delivers a fatal blow to Prometheus. Right as he’s dying, though, the villain teleports away to another dimension. From the remains of the house, Midnighter finds a photograph of himself as a kid. He sends it to Apollo, and begins a slow process of healing and learning to trust someone else again.

Meanwhile, a new adventure starts as Deadshot of the Suicide Squad breaks into a Sypral black site in Boston and steals something called the Perdition Pistol…

Next: “Teen Titans” Vol.5 issues 1 – 4, written by Will Pfeifer.