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“Future’s End” issues 31 – 48

Written by Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen.

Wildstorm Concepts: WildCATS - Grifter WildCATS - Voodoo stormwatch StormWatch - The Carrier authority-engineer

All-star Western 3After the Cadmus island crisis is over, Cole needs to readjust to society. He’s a wanted man, so his new friend Lana Lang offers him to make him a new identity as “Mr. Lang” He is now married! Cole contacts his IT guy, Justin, but just as soon Fifty Sue finds him.

Meanwhile, Voodoo’s team of baddass chicks has gone from “kill Fifty Sue” to “work with Fifty Sue” to “reclaim the DNA vault that sank in the ocean.” As it turns out, when Cadmus Island blew up its DNA bank sank, and all of Cadmus’ men perished with Brother Eye. That means it’s up to Voodoo’s team, along with Cole and Fifty Sue, who know calls herself Sequel in honour of Deathstroke. Cole, Justin and Voodoo reunite after long weeks, and Voodoo is stoked to see Cole alive, what with being his on and off lover and all.

Unexpectedly, Lana lives up to being Fifty Sue’s mother figure and convinces her to stop misusing her powers and calling herself Sequel. Sue agrees to help the mission and simply teleports the vault into the building. Thinking she’s too dangerous, one of Voodoo’s girls, Mercy, goes ahead and kills Sue; Mercy’s touch is mortal. Cole can’t believe Voodoo would accept a hit on a girl just for money, and things get cold between them. However, Sue was simply pretending. She was alive, and teleports Lana, Cole and the vault to the Sahara desert. Cole realizes if Lana’s Sue’s mum, he’s expected to be the dad. He’s not happy about this. While she’s at it, Sue also collects Justin, to act as he loving “older brother”. A happy ending.

As for Voodoo, she gets to live on the countryside acting as Faraday’s bodyguard. He’s scared Brother Eye will take over everything, so he hides in a bunker underground. Voodoo gets to have the house on the surface.

Meanwhile, StormWatch’s leap of faith pays off as they arrive on Earth. Engineer is so happy to see her teammate Hawkman alive that she can’t stop making out with him. Suddenly, the rests of the Carrier are latched on by a tractor beam from the Ant Farm, S.H.A.D.E.’s headquarters. Father Time, S.H.A.D.E.’s leader, says Brainiac is coming, and he’s the worst threat either organization has faced. So they need to borrow Engineer – whether she wants it or not. The two groups begin fighting, but Atom shrinks inside Father Time’s body, and starts fighting with his brain. Father Time reveals he only wants to murder Engineer – Brainiac took his entire race, and he’ll do anything to stop him from doing the same to the human race. He believes Engineer is compromised, that she’s his agent now. Ultimately, Atom stops Father Time and takes control of S.H.A.D.E. Frankenstein says whatever’s coming will be stopped by him and his new teammates – as the new StormWatch.

Soon after, Brainiac arrives on Earth’s proximity. StormWatch warns the Justice League, but right at the same Engineer is taken over by Brainiac again – as Father Time had feared. She takes down her teammates, breaks the Carrier’s hull and heads towards her master. She starts building a giant Brainiac head, while Brainiac heads to Earth and begins trapping New York City in a giant dome. StormWatch and some Justice League members approach the giant head, but when Hawkman touches it he disappears in a flash. Turns out this Brainiac is a god who lives outside of time and space, and all the different versions of Brainiac we have seen through the decades were mere avatars of this big one. He’s been trapping cities from all over the multiverse and storing them in his Blood Moon, including the original Wildstorm reality. And now he wants to do the same to New York.

Atom shrinks down to get inside the machine, where she finds Engineer in the center of all the different realities stored in there. She was the nexus, so Atom cuts down the cables around her and shuts down the machine. No longer able to send a signal to his Moon, Brainiac switches to manual mode, and starts elevating the city towards space. Right at the same time, Brother Eye spreads through the city, promising to protect it. Earth’s heroes make use of this, using Brother Eye’s technology along with The Atom’s powers to shrink down Brainiac until he’s no longer a threat. Afterwards, Superman uses all his strength to catch the falling city.

Once the Brainiac crisis is over, Eye reveals his hand, reveling itself against the heroes and killing Batman Beyond. The rest of the heroes prepare a desperate plan: Tim Drake puts on the Batman Beyond cowl and travels to the past once more. There, he stops Brother Eye from letting passage to the Earth-2 citizens, thereby stopping the Earth-2 War. When he goes back to the future, however, the doomed reality still exists. He failed. Brother Eye still has the control. It’s a very disappointing ending to all these chapters, but I guess they wanted to keep selling Batman Beyond’s adventures. The story will go on in the pages of “Batman Beyond” but it won’t have anything to do with Wildstorm.

Next: “Convergence” issues 1 – 2, written by Jeff King & Scott Lobdell.

 

“Future’s End: Superboy” issue 1

Written by Frank J. Barbiere.

Wildstorm Concepts:  Gen13 - Freefall

All-star Western 2In the Future’s End timeline, Kon (Superboy) works with Rose Wilson, The Guardian and most surprisingly of all… Roxy Spaulding of Gen13 fame! But now she rocks a modern sidecut. This is writer Frank Barbiere’s second attempt at making a pilot for a Gen13 book. I’m guessing it didn’t work, because that book ended up not happening. Anyway, the team of kids fight against robot clones of Superboy – leftovers from Superboy’s Cyborg brother. Roxy keeps saving Kon using her gravity powers, flying around upside down and being carefree like ol’ Roxy always is.

She also happens to be Kon’s confidant and lover. She consoles Kon when he feels he hasn’t lived up to his potential of becoming Superman, feeling he’s failed “Caitlin and the rest”. You think he means the other Gen13 kids? Roxy says Kon taught her how to be a hero, and that’s pretty super, if you ask her.

Problems arise when three Superboys from different realities show up causing trouble. They’re hunting Superboys from other realities. Kon wants to take on everything by himself, but he’s obviously overpowered, so soon his team shows up and saves his butt.

To increase his powers, one of the evil Superboys absorbs his teammates and becomes a giant hulking monster. Once again, Kon says it’s his fight and he should deal with it alone, but Roxy reminds him they’re a family and they should fight together. Using all of their powers together, the bad guy finally blows up. And that’s a wrap for this brilliantly drawn story.

Next: “Future’s End” issues 31 – 48, written by Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen.

 

“Future’s End: Teen Titans” issue 1

Written by Will Pfeifer.

Wildstorm Concepts:  WildCATS - Ladytron as Algorithm

All-star WesternIn the Future’s End timeline, Ladytron calls herself Algorithm, for some reason. She hides as a human calling herself Hannah Otto, security chief and girlfriend of Archimedes Grant, mischievous millionaire. The Teen Titans of this timeline go against him because he’s an asshole, so they inevitably clash with Ladytr– I mean “Algorithm.” She remembers the Teen Titans from having clashed with them in the past, as we’ll see in “Teen Titans”. She’s been equipped with ever-evolving security features, including a lethal-force ultrasonic wave generator.

However, she’s not much of a threat. The Teen Titans count with a new member Algorithm hadn’t accounted for: Heretic. He cuts Algorith in half. She keeps rebuilding herself, and Heretic keeps cutting. This is stopped when Teen Titans member Klarion, the witch boy turns Algorithm into butterflies, ultimately proving that magic trumps science. Not a lot more happens in this issue other than the Teen Titans kicking the crap out of a rich guy with no powers.

Honestly, this is so far removed from Wildstorm that I had to ask the writer on Twitter if she really was supposed to be Ladytron. Surprisingly, he confirmed this.

Next: “Future’s End: Superboy” issue 1, written by Frank J. Barbiere.

 

“Future’s End” issues 0 – 30

Written by Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen.

Wildstorm Concepts: WildCATS - Grifter WildCATS - Voodoo stormwatch StormWatch - The Carrier authority-engineer authority-jack-hawksmoor authority-apollo authority-midnighter

All-star WesternThis is a long, complex story, so I’ll focus on the Wildstorm segments exclusively.

Thirty five years from the present, the artificial intelligence Brother Eye took over the world and assimilated nearly all human life, turning people into mindless killer androids. The remaining superheroes have a desperate plan – to turn off something called the Firestorm Battery, so that Brother Eye won’t be able to continue powering his satellite and controlling Earth’s heroes. Grifter and Amethyst are tasked with it, but their planned distraction goes awry and they’re found. Soon after, an assimilated Green Lantern vaporizes the two of them. With no other options, Batman Beyond (Terry McGinnis) travels to the past to stop that reality from taking place, to murder the man responsible. However, he and his helper A.I. A.L.F.R.E.D. miss the target date and instead of arriving in the present they arrive five years from now, where Brother Eye’s plans are already in play. That’s the premise of the story. Every issue takes place in an alternate timeline, five years in the future and disconnected from the other DC Comics.

Brother Eye is an artificial intelligence built by heroes Batman and Mr. Terrific in 2011. It was first created within the satellite known as Brother I, using Mother Box technology from the alien world of Apokolips. It was originally created to monitor the activities of Metahumans, vigilantes and other superpowered individuals to protect humanity. However, Brother Eye quickly gained sentience and went rogue, prompting the Justice League to shut it down. However, it managed to rise again, only to be shut down, several other times. It was defeated by the organization Checkmate and the Justice League International before jumping to a new satellite. By this point, its Apokoliptan origins drove Eye mad. Its quest to stop humanity’s differences compelled it to attempt to impose a complete, draconian order and uniformity to all humans, an action which led it to believe itself to be a God as well as the Anti-Life Equation.

In this bigger body he learned about alternate Earths, especifically Earth-2, which he kept a lookout for. He witnessed its population losing a war against Apokolips, so he sent a beacon to try and rescue the survivors. The peple from Earth-2 were able to follow the signal and jump to Earth-0, but they were followed by Apokolips’ forces. Some heroes from Earth-2 attempted to self-destruct their ships to let the others escape, so Eye teleported them inside its satellite. Soon after he was boarded by agents of Project Cadmus, led by Slade Wilson. They kidnapped the heroes from Earth-2 and tried to shut down Brother Eye, who transferred its intelligence to the Cadmus shuttle. Going back to Earth with them, Eye landed on Cadmus Island, where Cadmus hid all of the Earth-2 superheroes to experiment on them. Brother Eye hid on the island’s systems, awaiting to act while playing along as Mister Terrific’s AI. Ironically, Batman Beyond is followed when he travels through time by a killer android, and Terrific stumbles upon this robotic corpse, giving him the means to develop the technology which will create the doomed future.

Meanwhile, all the other Earth-2 survivors landed in Earth, followed by the endless Apokolips troops. As Earth started defending itself, what followed was called the Earth-2 war. After the war, the governments of the world responded with hostility to the new interdimensional refugees, and scientists such as Mister Terrific developed new ways to detect who is from Earth or who is, in fact, an Earth 2 alien.

StormWatch in this timeline has a different lineup; they have lost Jenny and the Projectionist and gained Hawkman (Katar Hol) and Mermaid (Nina Mazursky). They were travelling the Bleed in the Carrier when an unknown force pulls them out into the Huron System, in the farthest reaches of known space. They lose control of the Carrier, which starts attacking them, and Engineer is taken over by Brainiac, who speaks through her and says everything StormWatch has done was in preparation for the ultimate threat; he is the storm they were created for. Apollo flies outside to try to find what’s causing all this, but he’s immediately vaporized! The mysterious enemy infiltrates the Carrier and causes it to self-destruct.

StormWatch - Headquarters

Back on Earth, paranormal organization S.H.A.D.E. sends agent Frankenstein, the Atom and Amethyst into the rests of the Carrier to seek out survivors. They find the corpses of everybody but Engineer and Apollo, and it turns out Hawkman isn’t really dead – the Nth metal in his body always brings him back. Suddenly, his StormWatch emergency communicator starts going off – Engineer is alive, and calling for help. All the heroes but Atom track the signal to a nearby planet, but the ship shuts down as they hit the atmosphere. They crash into a technological world and are swarmed by Brainiac’s robots – among them, an assimilated Engineer. She takes the heroes out, and they spend the next few weeks locked in a prison. They are visited by the controlled Engineer, who wishes to take them to her master. She reveals they aren’t in a planet, but rather in Brainiac’s spaceship, the size of a planet: The Blood Moon. Back on the rests of the Carrier, Atom is visited by the Shadow Lords, who name him the new leader of StormWatch; of a new team for a new era.

Back in the Blood Moon, StormWatch is taken in front of Brainiac, who is a giant now, but suddenly Atom shows up, and he brings Black Adam with him. The heroes start fighting Brainiac and his minions. They know they can’t win, so they take Angie by force and escape in the Atom’s ship. They’re chased by many robots, but once they’re far away from the Blood Moon Angie returns to normal. They arrive on the rests of the Carrier with the evil robots behind them. Atom begins giving out orders like a good leader, telling Engineer to reboot what’s left of the Carrier. However, they lost their navigation system, so they can make a jump, but they could end up anywhere. Needing to get rid of all those robots, they make a jump for it…

Meanwhile, Grifter is back in the game of seeking out daemonites and slaughtering them. What’s more, his powers have been developing so now he can spot not only daemonites, but also Martians, Earth-2 doppelgangers, all kinds of undercover life forms. He now works with a guy named Justin; he’s Cole’s tech guy, cataloguing alien types, adapting their technology so that he can use it against them, keeping tabs on those they know about. Cole found him after he was tracking daemonites to Justin’s home; his parents had given up their bodies to daemonites and they were about to do the same thing to Justin. After Cole saved him, they started working together. Presently, Cole brought a living daemonite to Justin, who is experimenting with it and trying to create a dispersible agent to kill them in clusters.

Justin informs Cole he’s being tracked; an agent called King Faraday disguised himself as an FBI Agent and is hoping Grifter gets one tiny scratch in one of his missions so that he can be identified on one of his crime scenes. Unable to get to him through conventional means, King teleports right next to Cole and shoots him in the back. If he wants to heal his spine, he’ll have to agree to King’s request to go work for him. He takes Cole to Cadmus Island, where he’s healed through their superior technology and forced to work alongside Slade Wilson, Deathstroke. They are followed around by Fifty Sue – a nearly omnipotent girl who gets pissed off easily, Cadmus’ first attempt at creating a superhuman. Cole’s job is to use his detecting powers to seek out any hidden superhumans – Cadmus wants to collect them and experiment on them.

After Cole has been gone for a few weeks, Justin does what they had previously agreed in case anything happened to Grifter – to go with Voodoo. She agrees to take him in. In this timeline, Voodoo works for black ops – she did dirty missions for the government that were needed during the Earth 2 war. But now they are sending goons against her, trying to take her out. Voodoo and her girls decide to go straight to the source and confront their old boss: Sargent Rock. He explains he only ever sent “loose end operatives” against them – people he needed to get rid of. He knew the girls were never in any real danger. In fact, he wanted to attract their attention. He reveals he worked for Cadmus all along, and now he needs the girls’ help: He wants to take out Fifty Sue, who is too powerful to be controlled.

Back in the island, Cole is attacked by a mysterious invisible robot – an OMAC, as they call the guards in the island. Investigating, they come across a researcher from Earth 2, Lana Lang, who joins Fifty Sue’s happy family. It seems the island has been experiencing several glitches, like the stealth OMACs or the fact that the chips installed in the Earth-2 captives have been growing in size somehow. Suddenly, all of the captives start being controlled through their chips, and they escape from their cells and take over the island. Having been chipped, Cole is controlled too. Brother Eye has made his move; it knows a group of superheroes are coming to rescue the trapped Earth-2 heroes. Cole is put to sleep and along with Fifty Sue, Lana and Deathstroke they manage to escape. Sue teleports and faces Brother Eye, where they strike a mysterious deal. Stripping Cole from his chip, the team regroups with Faraday and they head to a bunker.

Grifter reveal his power has evolved to the point he can spot superhumans from normal people, and Faraday is one of them. Deathstroke is mad that Cole didn’t tell them, but Cole never agreed to go to the island to start with. Tired of all the danger, Faraday simply uses his powers and teleports away. Fifty Sue doesn’t care – she has an evil computer overlord to beat. However, Brother Eye plays mind games when it shows Sue a recording of Deathstroke agreeing to protect Eye until it can be plugged outside the island, onto the world’s systems. Grifter doesn’t know about this, though. He wants to get out of the island, but all of the boats are fitted with retinal scan security, and Deathstroke’s the only one with access. And he says they’ve stil gotten work to do: the island has a vault filled with DNA samples, and he wants to secure it.

Faraday teleports to Las Vegas, to Sargeant Rock, and Fifty Sue goes after him with a mere thought. She throws him a tantrum because of being betrayed by Deathstroke, saying she wants a new team to take him down. Right at that moment, Voodoo walks in, having the ideal team with her. At the same time, a group of heroes lead by Green Arrow storms the island, and begins battling Brother Eye’s OMACs. Seeing them, Deathstroke shows his true allegiance and attempts to shoot Cole, but he’s killed by Fury, a heroine. Green Arrow hits the failsafe Cadmus has installed. As everybody leaves by boat, including Grifter, the island blows up. What they don’t know is Brother Eye is catching a ride with them, hidden in one of their cell phones.

To be continued…

Next: “Future’s End: Teen Titans” issue 1, written by Will Pfeifer.

“Red Hood and the Outlaws Vol.1 Annual 2” and “Red Hood and the Outlaws Vol.1” issues 39 – 40

Written by Scott Lobdell

Wildstorm Concepts:  WildCATS - Helspont

All-star WesternHelspont’s final tale begins with a little Annual in which the Outlaws are trapped inside a mental vision where they’re children in Christmas. The Outlaws are formed by Red Hood (Jason Todd), Arsenal (Roy Harper) and Starfire (Koriand’r). In reality, all of the vision was caused by a Psion alien who failed his master Helspont, so he was exiled to Earth’s North Pole. He used his vision powers to attract Red Hood and the Outlaws because he knew they were bad boys who would kill him swiftly. Poor Psion had been tortured enough already, he just wanted the sweet release of death. Red Hood agrees and shoots the poor devil, and after that he sends a warning to Helspont – “if you ever come to Earth, I’m going to be waiting here with a bullet with your name on it.” After that, Helspont decides the Outlaws are his business now…

Shortly afterwards, Helspont sets his plan in motion. He uses his agent Blackfire, Starfire’s sister, to kidnap Starfire. After a few weeks of searching, the rest of the Outlaws and their friend Crux track her to a forest, but their ship is promptly destroyed. They meet Rose Wilson, professional assassin, who was also tracking Starfire because she has a price on her head. Their motives may vary, but they all want Starfire, so they start searching together.

As it turns out, Blackfire is not pure evil; she still loves her sister so she sets her free. Problem is, she can’t let Helspont’s know, nor the Citadel alien armies he’s amassing there on Earth.

Starfire meets with the rest, but they stumble upon Helspont. The five antiheroes start attacking all together, but they don’t even hurt him. They’re quickly captured, and Starfire is heart-broken to see her sister work for Helspont, or at least pretend to. Blackfire argues that Helspont is about to conquer everything, so as ruler of her people she’s obliged to side with the ultimate victor. It’s a desperate deal so that her people will remain a relative freedom. Helspont hates Earth, so he’s not about to offer the same deal to them. His daemonite agents failed to take it, so now he’s going to destroy it.

Things look bleak, but fortunately Crux is an expert on alien civilizations. He knows the Citadel’s armors are all wired to each other, so they could take down the entire army just by flipping a switch. The plan is set in motion when Blackfire asks for mercy for her sister, but Helspont disagrees. This pushes Blackfire over the edge, and she reveals her betrayal by attacking Helspont. Angry, Helspont responds by knocking her unconscious! At the same time, the Outlaws fight with the Citadel soldiers until Crux manages to get his hand onto one of their amours. After some work, he’s able to disable the entire army. Helspont is even angrier now – as he prepares to kill Red Hood, he warns them their victory is a hollow one – there’s more armies where that one came from.

And that’s when it happens. By operating one of the giant guns set by the Citadel, Arsenal shoots Helspont on the back and turns him to dust. Helspont is dead, in what is probably THE lowest moment for all of Wildstorm in DC’s New 52.

Soon afterwards, the Outlaws disband, as life sets them in different paths. But this isn’t the final time Red Hood will create a team. Anyhow, that’s a story for a different time.

Next: Suicide Squad Vol.4 issues 21 – 23

 

 

“Superman Vol.3” issues 27-29

  Written by Scott Lobdell

Wildstorm Concepts:  WildCATS - Helspont WildCATS - Daemonites

All-star WesternWhile Superman battles the Parasyte on Earth, Helspont hears reports about Earth in the former crown seat of the Dremo empire homeworld. Sitting on a throne of skulls, last time we saw Helspont he was decided to building an empire big enough to unify the galaxy, and it seems he’s still bent on that. He heads for Earth, but this triggers the proximity alarms of The Outlaws, so team member Starfire heads to meet with Superman. Supes has caught a daemonite hiding inside a gang member, but he doesn’t know it’s an alien. Starfire wants to kill it, but explaining everything to Superman is too much of a hassle and so the two inevitably start fighting. After the alien reveals its true form, Starfire kills it, and she reveals the daemonite’s plan to take over Earth has changed – now they get human volunteers for them to take their bodies. The daemonites have been spreading alien weapons, secretly designed to inject daemonite DNA into anyone who wields them.

Superman is able to track a signal in the guns to a warehouse, where they find even more weapons and a daemonite. He says all the planets they have conquered has been with permission of the original inhabitants; that they all agree to become part of the daemonites to become stronger. After this, he self-destructs; it turns out it wasn’t a full planet invasion, just a few select daemonites specifically wanting to attract Superman’s attention. In fact, it was all planned by Helspont using one of his conquered agents – Starfire’s sister, Blackfire! The two sisters will clash in the pages of “Outlaws”, where we’ll meet Helspont’s final fate.

Next: “Red Hood and the Outlaws Vol.1 Annual 2” and “Red Hood and the Outlaws Vol.1” issues 39 – 40, written by Scott Lobdell.

“Justice League of America’s Vibe” issues 6 – 7

Written by Sterling Gates

Wildstorm Concepts: Cybernary

All-star Western.pngThis was a surprise one, a much hidden cameo. Long story short, young superhero Vibe has been locked up by A.R.G.U.S., and his family and friends sneak in to rescue him. Vibe isn’t too happy to have been locked like a lab rat, so he uses his vibrational powers to free all the other special subjects who had been imprisoned – and among all the neat little DC cameos, we see none other than Cybernary! While all the freed subjects start breaking havoc, Vibe’s powers go out of control, given that they are multidimensional in nature, and tap into an alternate dimension, summoning suppervilain Rupture. However, it turns out Rupture is Armando, Vibe’s long lost brother! While those two squabble, we get Cybernary’s few lines of dialogue: “No – you will not put us back in those cages!” when she’s battling some guards, and then “feel… so strange…” when Rupture hits Vibe, launching everybody in the room across dimensions and frying plenty more, too. Alas, this is the last we see of our Wildstorm heroine. Whatever was of her?

Next: “Superman” Vol.3 issues 27 – 29, written by Scott Lobdell.

“Justice League of America” Vol.3 issue 7.3

Written by Tom DeFalco

Wildstorm Concepts: WildCATS - Daemonites

All-star Western.pngThis issue was part of a special month were every title would focus on a villain and expand on them. “Justice League of America” focused on Shadow Thief, and revealed she was closely linked to daemonites. Originally she was a soldier in the Mossad, the Israeli Intelligence Agency. When she learned their enemies were training suicide bombers, she wanted to launch missiles at them, but her superior officer “lacked the stomach.” So Aviva Metula killed him and launched the missile strike, turning her into a traitor, killing a hundred innocent civilians and sparking an international incident. But there’s no honour among governments when it comes to spies, so even though they were supposed to be allies with Israel, America soon recruited her for A.R.G.U.S. In exchange for moving her mother and younger brother to America, she started working for a man she only knew as “Mr. Q.”, not knowing he was secretly a daemonite.

Everything changed when she was tasked with retrieving a biological weapon. She felt something was wrong, so she sent it to her family for analysis, since they were scientists. The case contained a pathogen and what she presumed to be a protective suit. As soon as her family opened the virus, though, it burned through their safety measures and killed them. Panicking, Aviva put on the suit on the case, which was actually the Shadow suit that brings her her powers. She was now able to teleport through the world by phasing through the “shadow dimension”, though she didn’t know this yet. She just tried fleeing, and subconsciously activated her powers and teleported right next to Mr. Q., her superior. He was angry that Shadow Thief had stolen the technology which was meant to act as an extinction agenda, thinning the human herd before they could spread beyond the planet like a plague of locusts. Terrified, Shadow Thief used her suit’s abilities, shapeshifting her body and turning her arm into a blade like Warblade, slitting the alien’s throat. Since then, she bowed to killing all aliens she could find, which often puts her at odds with alien superheroes like Hawkman. But every time she wears her suit it becomes harder to take it off—she loses more of her humanity, becomes more like the aliens she swore to destroy. But it’s her cross to bear.

Next: “Justice League of America’s Vibe” issues 6 – 7, written by Sterling Gates.

First Contact

This entry covers the entire “First Contact” crossover, including the issues:

Worlds’ Finest Annual 1
Batman/Superman issue 8
Worlds’ Finest issue 20
Batman/Superman issue 9 and
Worlds’ Finest issues 21 – 22, in that order.

Worlds’ Finest written by Paul Levitz, Batman/Superman written by Greg Pak

Wildstorm Concepts:   gamorra-island kaizen-gamorra

All-star Western.pngFirst Contact is the story of the first meeting between Huntress and Power Girl, natives from Earth-2, with Superman and Batman from Earth-1. In their Earth, the girls were the daughters of their Superman and Batman, so this meeting is especially significant for them. Most importantly, perhaps, the whole story involves Gamorra!

It starts off with a prelude showing the past of Earth-2. It is dedicated with the youth of Huntress and Power Girl, who called themselves Robin and Supergirl when they lived in their Earth.

One night the World Government was holding a big summit of nations, so Supergirl thought it was a great opportunity to go out and party. She meets a really cute guy in a bar: Ken Gammora. Yes, Gammora with two M’s. It seems it is spelled like that on this Earth. They hit it up, get some chemistry going on between them and end up kissing. Ken admits he has to leave the following day, though. He’s the son of the leader of Gammora, and they’re going home after the Worldgov conference is over. Supergirl is so touched by the confession that she actually considers revealing her secret identity, but suddenly there’s an explosion in the Worldgov tower. A terrorist attack! While Ken runs to check if his dad is okay, Supergirl suits up and starts playing hero. Clearing off rubble, putting the damage back together, moving fast enough not to be seen clearly. But she isn’t fast enough for Ken.

When he went back to see if Supergirl was where he left her, the room crumbles over him, and Ken is killed. Supergirl is heartbroken. The rest of the issue is dedicated to the search of the person responsible for the explosion; a warrior from Apokolips. But that isn’t relevant for us.

The story continues years later, in Earth-1. The Apokolips warriors from before ended up destroying Earth-2, so Robin and Supergirl had to run to Earth-1. Now they call themselves Huntress and Power Girl. Lately Power Girl has been losing control of her powers, so they go to Superman and Batman to ask for help. Batman calculates Power Girl’s powers are fluctuating towards a city called… New Gammora! (Actually, sometimes it’s written like Gamorra, but I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be Gammora with two M’s.)

Originally the place was Rheelasia, a crime infested dump run by drug dealers and gun smugglers… until a couple of years ago when someone named Kaizen Gammora took over, turning the place into one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. But wasn’t Kaizen turned into Regulus in the pages of “Team 7”?! I can think of two explanations for this. 1) After being beaten by the Birds of Prey, Kaizen and Higgins split apart and Kaizen regained his youth. 2) This isn’t Gamorra, but Gammora. Two different people; no relation. None of these explanations is very satisfactory. If Gammora is some new player, why did he name his city “New” Gammora?

Anyway, this is what happened: After Huntress and Power Girl escaped from Earth-2, Apokolips and its legions defeated the rest of the heroes quickly enough. Their brainwashed all of the heroes, turning them evil. But even if that Earth’s Superman had become a soldier for Apokolips, he still missed his daughter. He managed to create a portal to Earth-1, where he made contact with Kaizen and convinced him to help him capture Power Girl. He gifted Kaizen his advanced technology, nanite constructs, which allowed Gammora to grow incredibly fast as a country. Kaizen just had to release his nanites into the air; if they touched a kryptonian he would be able to steal information and energy from them. Soon enough, Power Girl was touched and this is what caused her to lose control of her powers. Using her DNA, Kaizen started creating an army of clones for his army. This is when Batman and Superman step in.

After being told they must go to New Gammora, the girls recognize Kaizen as “Ken”, the guy Power Girl dated back in Earth-2. The group decides to pay the city a visit to investigate. They go under disguises, but their covers get blown fast. At first Kaizen welcomed Power Girl, acting like her powers went out of control inadvertently because of a test his people were running, like it was all a misunderstanding. Kaizen says he just wants to help Power Girl return to her home Earth. At the same time, though, Batman discovers Kaizen has been grafting the kryptonian DNA codes his nanites have been stealing onto humans; building an inhuman army. And it seems the nanites affect any kryptonian, not just Power Girl, so Superman is affected too. And Superman losing control of his powers equals massive destruction. To contain him, they’re left with no choice but to put a kryptonite collar around him.

While Batman and Power Girl battle the army of Gammora, Superman and Huntress have to deal with just having destroyed an entire street. Superman is either powerless with the kryptonite or uncontrollable; he calls his ally Toyman, asking for an emergency delivery of a containment suit. Luckily, Toyman had a prototype ready from an off-planet theme park he was developing a few years back. Superman puts it on so he’s able to repel the nanites. Meanwhile, Kaizen begins using his nanites in the opposite way; draining Power Girl of power. He uses the energy to fuel a portal to Earth-2, opening a gateway for his masters from Apokolips.

At first, opening the gateway lets a huge amount of energy into the room, so powerful it burns out all the nanites. Problem is, not even Superman was powerful enough to do that. As it turns out, the energy comes from Apokolips, and the girls are shocked to see their home planet has been overrun by forces of evil. In fact, they refuse to accept the portal is working right; that can’t be their Earth.

Kaizen is covered by Apokolips’ energy, which gives him powers and strength. He uses all his might to try to throw Power Girl into the portal, but in the end she manages to throw him in instead. While the quartet of heroes takes a breath and discusses if the girls should go through the portal or not, Kaizen comes back. He’s been turned into a giant, made even more powerful by the Superman of Earth-2. Kaizen brings a couple of Parademons, Apokolips’ soldiers, with him. The heroes manage to defeat the bad guys, but Earth-2 Superman speaks to them from the portal, seducing Power Girl to go to him. When she recognizes he’s actually her dad, she agrees to go – but right when she’s about to, Huntress destroys the portal. She just wasn’t convinced that it was their Earth.

While the girls argue, Kaizen ends up in Earth-2. Due to having failed him, Superman condemns him to a lifetime of torture. Anyhow, with its government destroyed, New Gammora is sure to fall into chaos. Superman and Batman decide the most heroic course of action is to get the hell out of there.

The last issue is little more than an epilogue. While the girls lie in the ruins of New Gammora, arguing with each other, they get interrupted by forces of A.R.G.U.S. Apparently the organisation wants to take New Gammora’s technology. That’s not wrong on its own, but they confuse the girls with Gammorans and start attacking them – even bringing in a tank. Power Girl is super powerful, so the girls are just happy to receive these goons to release their tension on. After that, they fly back to the United States. How very bland.

Next: StormWatch Vol.3 issue 0, written by Peter Milligan.

Hawkman: Wanted

This entry covers the entire “Hawkman: Wanted” crossover, in this order:

  • Savage Hawkman issues 13 and 14
  • Deathstroke Vol.2 issue 14
  • Savage Hawkman issues 15 – 16

Plot by Rob Liefeld; Script by Frank Tieri in Hawkman and by Josh Williamson in Deathstroke

Wildstorm concepts:   Pike WildCATS - Daemonites

All-star WesternThis little crossover picks up where we left off in Hawkman, with Hawkman’s ex, Shayera having captured Carter and being about to bring him into her ship. She also holds Carter’s current girlfriend, Emma captive, simply because Carter cares for her. When they’re about to enter the ship, they’re surprised by the sudden appearance of supervillain Xerxes, who wants the NTH metal. Both Shayera’s and his army start fighting for the captive, but Xerxes is a bit more powerful and knocks Shayera out. In the middle of all the chaos, Pike feels things have gotten too messy for him and starts escaping, but Emma sneaks into his ship and holds him at gunpoint. Seems there was more to her than being a damsel in distress! Meanwhile, Carter starts fighting Xerxes and proves the superiority of the NTH metal by beating him once again. In the end, Emma and Carter tie up all of their enemies (Shayera, Pike and Xerxes) and line them up to decide what to do with them. Carter displays his usual intelligence and decides to leave them there, throwing their ships into a lake to keep them stranded. As they fly away, their enemies predictably decide to team up and resume hunting Hawkman. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, et cetera. The adventure continues in “Green Arrow”, but no Wildstorm characters appear in that one, so we can skip it.

The following chapter begins in Seattle, where Hawkman has teamed up with Green Arrow to fight off the Thanagar warriors going after him. He wants to find Shayera to see if she’ll restore the missing gaps in his memory, and perhaps he will be able to use that to prove he didn’t kill Corsair and end this hunt. Man, didn’t Pike say this was about Helspont attacking Thanagar? Did we forget about that? Oh, well. After defeating some winged warriors in a warehouse, our heroes notice they have portals connected to Thanagar with which they bring weaponry into Earth. Clearly there are more Thanagarians on Earth than they thought, and it can’t be all about Hawkman. Interrogating a Thanagarian, he admits they’re using Earth as a neutral ground for their war against the daemonites. Our heroes steal a phone device from the Thanagarians and track its signal to New York; that’s their new objective.

Little do they know, Shayera is staying in Aeria, the royal mobile castle-city of Thanagar, which remains cloaked in Earth’s upper stratosphere. Some soldiers need to report to their emperor… Corsar! It seems he wasn’t killed by Carter after all.

As it turns out, Thanagar’s scientists managed to keep Corsar alive by replacing much of his body with machinery. He opted to remain hidden though, knowing the charges against Hawkman were his best bet at getting Carter caught so that he could extract the NTH metal from him. Even after all this time, he’s still obsessed with the metal.

Corsar is reported that Hawkman hasn’t been captured yet, so he orders to open up a bounty to Earth bounty hunters. Pike is back, baby! But he’s not the only one who wants to take that prize. Hawkman must face Deathstroke first. Slade picks the job because he feels he needs to fix his reputation after he left Deadborn escape, but he won’t kill Hawkman. He only accepted because of the NTH metal involved; Slade’s armour is built of NTH too, and he’s always wondered where it comes from.

Hawkman doesn’t want help, though. The two of them fight for a while until Deathstroke forces Hawkman to tell him everything he knows about the metal. Slade doesn’t learn much beyond learning it’s of alien origin, but that’s enough for him. When he’s about to leave, the two of them are ambushed by Pike and Xerxes’ agents. Deathstroke is mad that Pike doesn’t know who he is, feeling his reputation should have preceded him, so the two mercenaries start fighting it out. Meanwhile, Hawkman handles Xerxes and his men. At some point, Carter decides to stop holding back – if they’re going to keep treating him as a murderer, maybe that’s what he’ll be. He starts slaughtering Xerxes’ forces, together with Slade, and he actually enjoys it. Hawkman embraces that he was built for battle and that it’s only in battle that he’s truly himself.

Once the killing is over, Slade notices a trail of blood left by Pike and Xerxes when they ran off. The heroes go separate ways, as Slade decides to go after the trail and Carter flies away to meet Emma in their safehouse. However, the place has been compromised. Carter enters to find Emma taken hostage by Thanagarian warriors, and Shayera waiting to ambush him. He gets captured, but when Shayera is about to make him board her ship, they receive a surprise visit: Corsar. Shayera is outraged that his brother wouldn’t tell her that he was alive, and now that it’s been proven Carter is innocent of his murder charges he wants to let him go. Corsar won’t have that though. They fly to Aerie, the royal city, which changes locations from Earth’s stratosphere to the sun’s orbit.

None of the experiments to pluck the NTH metal from Carter’s body work; Corsar is driven so mad that he turns against his sister, and starts choking her. When Hawkman tries to help her, he’s stopped by Thraxas, one of the great wise old men of Thanagar which acts as advisor to the emperor. He’s been the mastermind behind Corsar’s descent into madness. He suggests teleporting the NTH metal from Carter’s body directly into Corsar’s, a dangerous experiment which could risk both of their lives. No one in the room dares disagree, though.

When they begin the experiment, they neglected to notice Shayera had sabotaged the machinery, so the whole thing gets interrupted. Having switched to Carter’s side, she helps him and Emma escape. Regrettably, the sabotage also caused the mobile city to lose stability, so it starts falling into the sun. As their doom gets closer, Shayera decides to sacrifice herself and throw Carter and Emma into an escape pod. Our heroes can’t do anything but to watch as Aerie gets consumed by the sun’s flames, while their pod heads to Earth.

So that’s it for this story. Sadly, we never see if Deathstroke finds Pike, but I suppose it’s safe to guess he never did.

Next: “Ravagers” issues 5 – 7, written by Howard Mackie.