Category Archives: StormWatch

The Culling

This entry covers the entire “The Culling” crossover, in this order:

  • Superboy Vol.6 issue 7
  • Teen Titans Vol.4 issues 7 – 8
  • Superboy Vol.6 issue 8
  • Legion Lost Vol.2 issue 8
  • Teen Titans Vol.4 Annual 1
  • Superboy Vol.6 issue 9
  • Legion Lost Vol.2 issue 9 and
  • Teen Titans Vol.4 issue 9

written by Scott Lobdell and Tom Defalco.

Wildstorm concepts: WildCATS - Warblade StormWatch - Fuji Gen13 - Grunge Gen13 - Caitlin Fairchild

All-star WesternThe Culling is a long crossover between the series of Superboy, Teen Titans and Legion Lost, bringing together the storylines these books had been developing since the beginning.

Picking up where we left off, Superboy gets tired of all the mysteries and secrecy around him and starts trashing N.O.W.H.E.R.E. again. He’s stopped by Rose Wilson, a mercenary tasked with taking Superboy down if he ever lost control. What these two don’t know is they’re are also prime Ravagers candidates. Rose is also the daughter of Deathstroke, the Team 7 member, and although it isn’t revealed yet, she’s a metahuman. She has the ability to dampen other people’s powers, making her the perfect candidate for stopping Superboy, should the need ever come.

After Superboy’s outburst the organization deems him a failed project and decides to dispose of him, but the Teen Titans break into the place to rescue him. This was exactly what Harvest needed; to have all these youngling together for their capture. The big boss appears and stops the Titans, dealing with all of them at once. He sends the Titans to The Colony to be tested against all the other captured teenagers, but he leaves Superboy in the laboratories. He decides to give him another chance at becoming an effective weapon under the tutelage of one of his Ravagers: Grunge!

The Grunge of this timeline is like a dark, twisted version of our old Percival. This Grunge hates to be treated like a joke, reacting violently to it, as if he hated to be reminded of what he used to be in the old universe. Like the original, he used to need to touch things to gain their properties, but after he won a Culling and became a Ravager, N.O.W.H.E.R.E. filled his body with technological implants to amplify his abilities. By the time he meets Superboy he’s a full-fledged metamorph, capable of turning into anything just by thinking about it.

Superboy isn’t too thrilled about learning how to be a stone cold killer, so he fights against Grudge and the brawl turns so violent that he’s forced to kill Grunge to survive. Harvest is impressed; it seems Superboy wasn’t such a failed project after all. He decides to send Superboy to The Colony with the Titans, and to let Rose occupy the new vacancy in the Ravagers. At the same time, Caitlin wakes up in the hospital after N.O.W.H.E.R.E. captured her and fired her. Still worried about all the kids in danger, he rushes to The Colony, hoping to make it in time.

The Legion of Superheroes is captured shortly after, when Harvest sends seven members of the Ravagers to retrieve them. Now that all the teenagers are in The Colony, this year’s Culling is ready to begin. It is a very convoluted story with a ridiculous amount of characters, so here’s the breakdown:

Teen Titans

The Legion

Kids from the Colony

The Ravagers
(also called The Thirteen)

Red Robin (leader)
Skitter
Wonder Girl
Kid Flash
Solstice
Superboy
Bunker
Tyroc (leader)
Gates
Dawnstar
Timber Wolf
Tellus
Wildfire
Chameleon Girl
First Point
Thunder
Lightning
Beast Boy
Terra
Artemis
Warblade (leader)
Fuji
Crush
Misbelief
Hammersmith
Rose Wilson
Windstrom
Psykill
Omen
Leash
Templar
Ridge
Centerhall

 

Map of the ColonyYeah, it’s a cast of 33 characters, and that’s not even counting Harvest and Caitlin. It seems very random that they would include two Wildstorm characters among the Ravagers, especially considering they don’t retain anything about their old personalities or backgrounds. Fuji doesn’t even get any dialogue and Warblade doesn’t look at all like his WSU version, and that’s strange when you consider he was specially designed by Jim Lee.

Despite the amount of characters and dialogue throughout the story, things develop in a fairly traditional way. Harvest sends the Teen Titans against the Legion of Superheroes, but after an initial conflict both teams decide to work together against their shared enemy. The Ravagers are sent after them, but the heroes manage to triumph. As it turns out, Harvest didn’t send all of his men – we’ll see in following books that he kept several powerful agents under his sleeve. He actually planned for The Culling to fail! Indeed, the Legion sabotages the facility’s power core, so the place starts crumbling down. While Caitlin helps all the kidnapped kids escape, the main cast faces Harvest, but he’s so powerful that they end up having to flee away.

Caitlin knows all of the freed metahumans won’t have an easy time learning how to survive in the real world after so many years in the Colony, so she decides to help them. This leads to a new series, “Ravagers”.

Next: Ravagers issues 1 – 4 and Superboy Vol.6 issue 13, written by Howard Mackie and Tom DeFalco.

 

Superman Vol.3 Annual 1

Plot by Scott Lobdell, dialogue by Fabian Nicieza

Wildstorm Concepts: Deathblow WildCATS - Helspont stormwatch WildCATS - Daemonites WildCATS - Grifter WildCATS - Lord Defile

 

All-star WesternThis is it, the big issue that brings all the storylines together. After recovering the Blue Flame from “Voodoo”, Helspont makes his ship visible over Metropolis, defying Superman to come face him. He shows him his true abilities now, including a new and sleeker suit created with the remains from several alien species. Helspont throws Superman against the moon with a single punch; no big deal for him, he has killed Kryptonians before. His old crew starts spreading out around the globe, searching for alien races to recruit. They are his most faithful men, those with whom Helspont shared his Blue Flame powers so many years ago: Salu, Biomass (a titanothrope; NOT the same Biomass from the “Majestic” series), Quom (not to be confused with Quon?), an unnamed old lady and Lord Defile, with his Worldstorm look. Helspont plans to build the “Union of the Thirteen Scions of Salvation”, a council of species which used to be a fairy tale in which the universe was led properly and fairly.

Salu finds the Martian Manhunter, Quom finds Starfire and Defile meets Hawkman; they tell them about the idea before Helspont summons his men to regroup.

When Superman wakes up from his beating, he finds himself inside Grifter’s escape pod, right after Cole and Deathblow escaped from Helspont. I suppose this means Helspont changed costumes in less than five minutes. The three heroes are intercepted by Biomass, so Superman fights him and throws him into Helspont’s ship. Helspont is amused to see the kryptonian, and he orders his troops to kill as many daemonites from Earth as they can. This is the great “alien extinction” heralded in the issue’s cover. Most daemonites on Earth die, and their invasion plans are destroyed. It’s also safe to assume Myev died too. Helspont sends their pain straight to Superman’s mind, subjugating him; Superman is merely an amusement to him. He explains that Superman is actually helping his plans through his constant protection of Earth, since Helspont wouldn’t want his future kingdom to be destroyed.

He leaves him after these words, leaving Superman confused and helpless; even when he’s just doing the right thing he’s still helping Helspont. And he doesn’t know when Helspont will decide to begin his harvest. With all the invading daemonites killed off by Helspont, things come to a pause; this feels like the ending to the first chapter of Wildstorm’s narrative in the new DC Universe.

Next: Voodoo Vol.2 issue 0 and Grifter Vol.2 issues 13 – 16, written by Joshua Williamson, Rob Liefeld and Frank Tieri.

StormWatch Vol.3 issues 10 – 12

Written by Peter Milligan

Wildstorm concepts: stormwatch authority-apollo authority-midnighter authority-jenny-quantum authority-engineer authority-jack-hawksmoor authority-doors WildCATS - Daemonites

 

All-star WesternThe team keeps watch on the different superheroes around Earth, putting on an effort to remain hidden to keep StormWatch a secret. This pisses Apollo off, who hates secrets after a whole life of being in the closet, so he spends the day in a bad mood. Their watch gets interrupted when Angie notices a “phreno-module” has been activated in France. These were advanced cerebral weaponry created by the Shadow Lords for the previous StormWatch in case of crisis, but they were all in danger caches and none of them had been activated since 248 years ago. One of them was unaccounted for, though, and after being found by an archaeologist, it activated and turned the old man into a monster. The menace is quickly resolved when Jenny destroys the module, and the professor returns to normal.

We check up on ex-team members Harry and Projectionist, who are now hiding in Antarctica. Wait, what was that whand toite place they were in before? Anyhow, using the information Harry downloaded from Scourge in the moon, he decides he wants a “subject” to experiment with  create a portal through his body. So he teleports inside a prison and abducts the Fox. Projectionist had altered the media to blame the Fox for the alterations on the moon during the first issues, because they needed to steer attention away from StormWatch; so the villain had been in prison ever since. Harry knows Projectionist won’t use her powers to call for help- he’s used his lying powers to make her fall in love with him.

Back on Eye of the Storm, Angie explains the phreno-modules are a relic from the time in which StormWatch made itself public. After listening to this story Apollo explains to Midnighter his problem with secrets; he struggled with being on the closet for a long time because his dad had been a tough cop and his mom was a big church goer. So Apollo had parents in this timeline, huh? One can’t help but to wonder how he got his powers.

StormWatch #11: StormWatch faces the Hidden People, descendants from the Neanderthals who want to devolve the Homo sapiens so that they become the ruling species. They always try to build a “devolver” and they’ve constantly faced StormWatch through the generations. They did manage to use a devolver in the past, killing an entire incarnation of StormWatch. This included Archie Trundle, the previous Engineer. Angie reflects on this and feels like she’s the inferior Engineer; she hasn’t even been able to turn human since Harry left. In truth, she misses him.

We get a short scene in which Harry keeps experimenting on the Fox, and Projectioner complains that she’s only in love because of Harry’s powers manipulating her. She hints that he must have done the same when he dated Engineer, but Harry loses his cool at this, hinting that perhaps their relationship had been genuine.

Eventually the team tackles on the Hidden People, but they don’t manage to stop a devolver from being activated. To stop it from affecting her team, Engineer swallows it into her own body, fusing it to her technology. As the Neanderthals run away, they’re happy; this had been their plan all along. Now that Engineer swallowed the devolver, she will turn into something catastrophic for StormWatch.

StormWatch #12: Martian Manhunter decides he has other projects to turn to so he’ll leave the team. He starts wiping out the memories of him from everyone, and this causes him to be noticed by the Shadow Cabinet. They teleport him to their base on the Island of Avalon, where they question him: members of StormWatch are prohibited from leaving to keep the group’s secrecy. J’onn is surprised to see there aren’t four four Shadow Lords but three; he picks up from their thoughts that the fourth Lord went missing around the time of the Aztecs. Anyhow, to be permited to leave J’onn is forced to strike a deal: when the time comes he’ll have to do a favour for the Shadow Lords: it will be thing he fears the most. (By the way, we never find out what this means.)

All the while, the team has been dealing with the sudden materialization of 200 Nefertitis busts at random locations, a change so sudden that it shook cities’ minds to the point of causing earthquakes. This was all caused by Harry, who needed a distraction to set his plan in motion and found the busts in one of the danger caches he was looking for. He’s finished turning the Fox into a dimensional gateway, which he will use to reach the Shadow Lords. He’ll pose as the fourth Lord, returned from the dead, and he’ll control the Cabinet!

Next: Superman Vol.3 Annual 1, by Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicieza.

I, Vampire issues 12 – 13

Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov

Wildstorm concepts: stormwatch authority-jack-hawksmoor authority-apollo authority-midnighter authority-engineer

All-star WesternSorry about the long wait between posts, my computer was broken.

Well, this is a couple of confusing issues, in which StormWatch are little more than a cameo. Jack Hawksmoor realizes that an entire city has disappeared, so they go check it out; it turns out everybody on it has been turned into zombies by the Van Hellsing family, a group of insane vampire hunters. They’re tangled in an all-out fight with a group of vampires, led by the “Vampire Messiah” Andrew Benneth.

This is really hard to tell, though, since the awful traced art makes no distinctions between vampires and zombies and there’s just too many characters in each panel. Anyhow, Hawksmoor, Apollo and Midnighter go help, though it’s hard to tell just who are the good guys. As it turns out, the Van Hellsing have infected most of Andrew’s vampire followers, turning them into zombie vampire vampire hunters! Man, what a stupid sentence. But the point is that there’s almost no good guys at all, just Andrew and three of his associates.

Apollo and Midnighter, the rookie members of the team, can’t quite believe that vampires are real, but they’re stoked. Middy gets to kill Dracula! Although the writer is a mess who can’t quit referencing Anner Rice and teenage vampire romances, he does get Stormwatch’s nonchalant attitude, as Hawksmoor seems more concerned about missing his baseball game than about the situation in hand. In fact, he sums it down as “let’s just kill everyone.”

Apollo throws sunlight at the vampires – since when is he able to do that? – but it doesn’t quite work. It’s all right, though, because he discovers he’s vampire-proof; the ones that bit him turn to ashes!

Apollo goes against Andrew, figuring he’s the leader so killing him will destroy all the others. But not only is he wrong, he’s unable to harm Andrew. It’s interesting that the characters keep mocking Apollo for his assumption of destroying the leader, even though it DID work like that when StormWatch faced vampires on “All-Star Western”.

Andrew and Apollo make amends quickly enough, skip the pointless fight and direct their attention to the zombies. When one of Andrew’s friends gets infected, though, the good guys decide to retreat and find higher ground. Andrew’s vampire girlfriend, Mary, recognizes StormWatch; apparently they clashed a century ago.

Checking in with Engineer, StormWatch finds files on Andrew Benneth that refer to him as “the demon’s lock.” Turns out, Andrew was once used as a magical seal for a psychopath. So if he’s been a trap for dark magic before, maybe he can do it again. Andrew sucks all of the dark magic in the desert up inside of himself, returning all of those within to their human selves. However, this turns him evil, making him the last, most powerful vampire. StormWatch tries to stop him, but they can’t hope to contain him, and Andrew leaves. That’s the last we see of Wildstorm characters in this lame little tale.

 

Superman Vol.3 issues 7 – 8

Plot by Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen; dialogue by Keith Giffen

Wildstorm concepts:   WildCATS - Helspont WildCATS - Daemonites

All-star WesternThe story begins after Helspont arrived on Earth on the last issue. He built a series of Seekers, automatons servants; they aren’t held together by any power source but by a series of etched runes. They build a giant fortress for him in the Himalayas.

Helspont felt Superman’s presence as soon as he crashed there, so he dispatches a seeker into metropolis; a robot that starts shooting things up to evaluate Earth’s superhuman population and check if there’s anyone stronger than the Kryptonian. Superman defeats it, so Helspont feels this confirms what he thought and decides he’ll have Superman join his cause to defeat those who imprisoned him. Helspont sends the seeker against Superman once again, and then teleports them to his base in the Himalayas. Superman listens to Helspont as he monologues and reveals some differences between him and his Wildstorm version.

Helspont was in prison for a long time, so he’s outraged to find the world is not yet of daemonite dominion. He’s the one who put agents on Earth, so he feels he must reclaim control over his investment.

Helspont demands Superman to help him get revenge, and in return he’ll cede Earth to him to do with as he pleases. Of course, this leads to a fight scene, and Superman eventually causes Helspont to retreat and hide away. What he doesn’t know is that Helspont was merely containing himself, testing Superman.

Next: Voodoo Vol.2 issues 5 – 12, by Joshua Williamson.

StormWatch Vol.3 issues 7 – 9 and Red Lanterns issue 10

StormWatch issues #7-8 written by Paul Jenkins, issue #9 by Peter Milligan. Red Lanterns written by Peter Milligan

Wildstorm concepts: stormwatch authority-jenny-quantum authority-jack-hawksmoor authority-engineer authority-apollo authority-midnighter WildCATS - Daemonites

All-star Western After coming back from fighting Grifter in his book, Midnighter and Apollo notice there’s some weird energy fluctuation in Chernobyl. Apollo goes to check, thinking it can’t be more than some glitch on their computer, but it’s actually the menace Projectionist had detected on the last issue. Apollo gets attacked and Eye of the Storm sounds its alarms. Engineer is interrupted from communicating with Charlie, as she’s named their daemonite avatar, and everyone runs to the computers.

Martian Manhunter is horrified to see the outwordly tentacles that are appearing around Apollo, kidnapping him. J’onn explains the invaders are Gravity Miners, monsters from a parallel dimension who threat gravity as a commodity, and who have destroyed countless galaxies. They are an ancient enemy to the Martians and the daemonites alike; J’onn believes they were attracted by the Chernobyl reactor.

J’onn explains the Gravity Miners are intrinsically connected to the Daemonite’s history. As the Miners set up an invasion point in Chernobyl, gravity all around Earth starts going crazy.

Jenny theorizes she might be able to close their entry point using her dark matter, but if she does something wrong she could destroy the entire galaxy in a fifty light years radio. Midnighter feels distraught at a child having all this power. The two of them share a moment as Jenny guesses that Middy has a crush on Apollo, with more awful and out-dated comments like “boys can like other boys.”

Meanwhile, Angie forces Charlie, their ship, to reveal whatever information the daemonites have on the Miners. It seems they must have a physical connection to our dimension in order to connect to theirs; that is why they took Apollo, which means he can be rescued. Midnighter and Jenny make a suicide plan involving lots of scientific buzzwords and they manage to rescue Apollo, leaving the Miners on the other side. At the last moment Midnighter tries to leave Jenny there, feeling she has too much power for a girl of her age; she’s a risk. Honestly, I preferred the old Midnighter who loved children.

However, she makes it back on her own, and she’s pissed off at Middy. While J’onn feels grim at the thought that the Miners could strike back in any point of time, given that they aren’t obliged to follow our dimension, Jenny meets Middy. She’s not mad that he left her to die; she lets him live because she wants Apollo to be loved, but she does make a decision about him. What decision? Did she change something about reality? She decides to leave Midnighter guessing.

While training in a Danger Room rip-off, Midnighter has doubts that maybe he enjoys killing too much, that perhaps something will push him over the edge. He’s interrupted because Angie detected a Red Lantern crashing on Earth, so she sends Midnighter and Apollo to intercept him. They act like a couple by now, even though they aren’t together officially as to not to be “out”. The rest of the members are in Italy, dealing with a superhuman who lost his mind and who took the shape of the Vitruvian Man, the Da Vinci painting. The things he blabbers about seem to indicate he was actually a StormWatch member, so they teleport him up to Eye of the Storm.

Apollo and Midnighter meet the Red Lantern and fight against him, barely being able to contain him between the two of them. Midnighter employs weapons like knives, unlike his WSU counterpart. StormWatch brings them up to the ship, where they start studying their red lantern ring. The Vitruvian Man wakes up, so he explains was an old StormWatch officer. He’s been mourning the death of his partner across the years, but now the grief has made him lose his mind.

Getting more upset as his tale continues, Vitruvian Man warns StormWatch that the Shadow Council will kill them too as soon as they outlive their usefulness. His rage reaches such a high point that it awakens the Red Lantern ring, which attempts to bring him into the Red Lantern Corps. Right before he can put on the ring, though, Midnighter manages to break Vitruvian’s neck.

The Red Lanterns issue does some pretty weird things as far as science goes, so let’s break it down. As writer Gary Westfahl explains, Hyperspace is typically described in science-fiction as a separate dimension in which the laws of relativity don’t apply and thus travel faster than the speed of light is enabled. The New 52 hasn’t bothered giving any definition of its own, so we only have the default one to work with. The issue does mention Eye of the Storm is travelling at 1.5 lightyears per second. Many years ago professor Minkowski built on Einstein’s relativity theory to establish time and space aren’t separate properties; they are linked to one another. Lightspeed is the same for all the observers who are moving at a constant velocity. OK, science lesson over.

In this issue the Red Lantern Atrocitus approaches Eye of the Storm while searching for his Red Lantern companion. To find the ship he breaches inside hyperspace while being still. By doing this, Atrocitus breaks Minkowski’s law through pure raw anger. The law is actually mentioned by the characters, and this didn’t make a lot of sense to me until I read some science articles, so I thought I’d share my findings above. Atrocitus breaches through the ship’s plasma shields and enters Eye of The Storm.

While he searches for his partner his ring calls the Doors “doorways”, funnily enough. He manages to recover his partner, but he had been mutilated in StormWatch #9, so Atrocitus promises StormWatch that the Red Lanterns will have their vengeance.

Minor note: Apollo’s blond hair is coloured white.

Next: Superman Vol.3 issues 7 – 8, by Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen.

“Superman” Vol.3 issue 1 and “StormWatch” Vol.3 issues 1 – 6

Superman written by George Perez, StormWatch written by Paul Cornell

Wildstorm concepts: authority-midnighter authority-apollo authority-engineer authority-jack-hawksmoor authority-jenny-quantum  stormwatch

all-star-westernThis story begins when a mysterious alien blows a horn in the Himalayas. This sends a signal towards outer space telling Earth to activate its defenses. A powerful threat has just arrived. In fact, this threat was going to be daemonites when it was originally planned, but plans changed along the way and the threat turned into H’el, a Superman enemy. All the Wildstorm-related titles from the “first chapter” of this universe were leading towards a crossover event in which the daemonites would reveal themselves on Earth, but this plans fell through so many plot threads were forgotten.

“Superman” issue 1 should be read because of a single page, unrelated to the rest of the issue, in which an alien blows a giant horn in the Himalayas. We don’t find out until “Superboy” issue 17 that this alien is called Herald, a cosmic being who seeks worlds without hope. It serves the Oracle, an even more mysterious cosmic being. Herald blew the Horn-That-Summons because the villain H’el had arrived on Earth and this signified it would be destroyed soon. As we learn in “StormWatch”, the horn activates some defense mechanisms to help the planet. These explanations are given during the long “H’el on Earth” crossover, which doesn’t involve any Wildstorm characters, so it’s best to get it out of the way here. “Superman” issue 7 also explains Herald had prepared a Horn-That-Summons on earth because it is the planet with the highest concentration of meta-gen, except for New Genesis and Apokolips.

StormWatch is a book which constantly changes artists and writers, but at least we get to see Al Barrionuevo, returning from the last volume of Authority. Paul Cornell, the writer, also handled Demon Knights, its companion book. Cornell was excited to be proposed for StormWatch because Planetary was one of his top three favourite comics.

Issue #1 begins with two situations going on: The horn caused the moon to start having strange quakes which seem to be changing its shape. Harry Tanner, the “Eminence of Blades,” is sent to deal with it. His origin is a mystery, but he’s the best swordsman in history, who uses some mysterious “blue blades” that he can summon from tin air. Up on Eye of the Storm, their ship headquarters, three members are trying to study the horn: Good old Angela Spica, Engineer; Jenny Emily Quantum and StormWatch’s current leader: Adam One. He was born at the Big Bang, appearing as an old man and aging backwards along with the universe. He’s the son of Lucifer, and it is prophesized Adam will be his killer. He was there when the team first formed during the Dark Ages, but in that time he used the name Merlin.

Engineer has some differences from her WSU counterpart; instead of replacing her blood with nanobots by her own will, she lost most of her body in an accident and then was helped by mysterious “pale men with no expressions”, who replaced her body with machinery. She thought of herself as mainly machine until she met Harry and they started dating. He gave her the strength to turn her body into flesh sometimes. Jenny seems to retain her old origin of a baby born with the century.

Continue reading “Superman” Vol.3 issue 1 and “StormWatch” Vol.3 issues 1 – 6