Category Archives: Wildcats

Grifter Vol.3 issues 9 – 12

Plot by Rob Liefeld, dialogue by Frank Tieri

Wildstorm Concepts:       Deathblow WildCATS - Grifter WildCATS - Helspont WildCATS - Daemonites

All-star Western.png         Liefeld takes over the writing duties, and the book becomes much more insane. We start off in the middle of an intense chase as Cole escapes from huge red daemonites. He’s showing superhuman shooting abilities, as his Chosen One powers keep on developing. He gets in a rough spot against an alien when he’s saved by Niko (Chesire), who is included into the cast for no clear reason. She explains to him that the daemonites aren’t just against him; they are doing a full-fledged alien invasion, and there exists a resistance who works against them. This is actually a branch of Warick’s resistance, but this won’t be revealed until later.

After Cole agrees to join their efforts he’s told that the daemonites are unleashing their “warrior class daemonites,” the red guys, because they’re preparing a big final invasion… and because they want to eliminate the Chosen One. This is the first Grifter hears about the Chosen One, and he thinks it’s the stupidest thing he’s ever heard. He’s even more amused to hear that the Chosen One is supposed to be him, a guy who’s spent his whole life cheating, lying and stealing from people. How does Niko know that Cole is the Chosen One, or that he’s a grifter? Something is up. Still, Grifter and Niko go to a rendezvous point, where they meet some allies, including Deathblow! In this timeline he doesn’t have any of his old background, yet he keeps his old look for some reason, like his Team 7 red marks.

As Cole and his new team of ragtag soldiers attempts to move to a new safe house, they’re intercepted by daemonites and their transport is destroyed. They get surrounded, so Cole is forced to awaken his Chosen One abilities: He can now read anyone’s mind and control objects through telekinesis. He’s even able to lift a dozen warrior daemonites and his truck into the air at the same time, throwing them off a cliff and saving the day.

The group reaches their safehouse, even though only Grifter, Niko, Deathblow and a guy named Buck survived. Cole is starting to suspect there’s a traitor among them: how could the daemonites know how to find them? Before they can discuss it, though, the safehouse is destroyed by a huge daemonite with human shape who calls himself Synge.

Although Synge never explains his origins; we learn later that daemonites originally looked human, so we can guess he’s ancient and a tough sucker. The good guys can barely scratch him, and Buck gets killed. In the end Cole manages to lead him to a nearby forest, where he puts the limit of his telekinesis to test and throws the entire forest on top of Synge. There’s no time to celebrate, though, as Niko reveals she was the traitor and shoots Cole and Deathblow down. She’s not being controlled by a daemonite; she simply sold herself out because she wants to be in the winning side. She takes them to her master, Helspont, and even Synge turns out to have survived.

Helspont is cheerful that the one threat he was constantly warned about, the Chosen One, is now captured by him. We find out that he started a secret faction, secretly helping the other daemonites with their invasion so that he’ll take the planet from them once they invade it. He’s also gotten a new stylish armour, apparently. Wishing to test Cole, he sets up a fake ship through psychic illusions and deals with him in this fake environment. He asks Cole to join him in taking the other daemonites down, but Cole just laughs. He had figured out Niko early on, so he let himself be captured to get close enough to the big bad to kick his ass. He claims he had even held back against Synge (even though his thoughts clearly showed he hadn’t). Anyhow, Deathblow fights against Niko while Cole goes against Helspont. He’s able to get Synge out of the way with a mere movement of his hand, and he overpowers Helspont psychically without much of an effort.

In the end, Cole kicks Helspont’s butt. At one point Helspont is so hurt that he starts looking like a regular daemonite, without his flame; but we’ll learn later that Helspont’s true face looks human, so this must have been a show put on by Helspont, considering this is all an illusion, to give Grifter hopes. Deathblow sets the ship to self-destruct and the good guys get on an escape pod. Of course, the entire time they had been inside a fake ship constructed by Helspont, so I guess only the escape pod was real? Helspont is satisfied; now he knows what he’s dealing with. The way he tested Cole is very similar to the way he tested Superman in “Superman”. He lets Grifter go; he’s not scared of his “Chosen One” abilities anymore, so he’s better off on Earth exterminating the daemonites who don’t work for Helspont. His true plan begins now.

Next: “I, Vampire” issues 12 – 13, written by Joshua Hale Fialkov.

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.

Grifter Vol.3 issues 0 – 8 and Superman Vol.3 issue 6

Grifter issue 0 written by Rob Liefeld with dialogue by Frank Tieri, issues 1 – 8 written by Nathan Edmonson and Superman written by George Perez.

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

All-star Western.png“Grifter” is a confusing book; the story is constantly told backwards. It focuses on the main group of daemonites which wants to exterminate the humans. They’re led by a council of their wisest , all of which serve their lord Black Curate, a religious figure which lies in another dimension. These daemonites are spread out into different regions; the story focuses on the Gotham branch and the Seattle branch.

The Gotham branch is the biggest one of the invasion and they’re tasked with summoning the Black Curate. The Seattle branch is supposed to infiltrate a corporation in hope of integrating daemonite technology in Earth. This branch has plans of their own, however, to overtake the rest of the daemonites. Many years ago, the daemonites rebelled against their most powerful, Helspont, and defeated him using humans. The leader of the Seattle branch, Tsavo, uses the threat of the return of Helspont to convince his men to keep experimenting on humans to create a human weapon like they did during the first rebellion against Helspont. Tsavo is attempting to find a Chosen One from a prophecy and use him to defeat the other daemonites.

There’s a third party at play: The human resistance built by Warick, who wants to defeat the daemonite invasion. He was one of the people kidnapped during the daemonites’ rebellion against Helspont. He manages to find out humans are still being experimented on like it happened to him. Instead of being angered, this gives him hope; if the Chosen One is found it might prove the salvation of Earth. All he has to do is take him from the daemonites’ grip.

The book is lettered by Wes Abbot, of Wildstorm fame; it’s good to have some of the old team back. Another Wildstorm veteran is Scott Clark, who joins the party in issue 4. The rest of the creative team isn’t so great. The first writer, Nathan Edmondson, was never a comics fan, his influences are classic literature. He didn’t even know what Marvel and DC were putting out. He accepted doing Grifter because it was the only WS character that he knew by name; he ditched the trench coat from Cole’s design because it wasn’t realistic enough for his tastes. In short, he was an awful choice for the book. At least he was cool enough to take a picture with Grifter’s mask on (thanks to Joe Soliz from Wildstorm Addiction). On a more positive side, the first artist, CAFU, was a big Grifter fan and this was his dream job.

cats.jpgOK, backstory over, let’s get to the main character. The story takes centres around Grifter; he’s one of the kidnapped humans by Tsavo, and he turns out to be the Chosen One. Cole Cash keeps his military background from the WSU, having worked with the army in Special Ops before joining this timeline’s Team 7. He gained the codename Grifter for his ability to smooth talk his way to anything he’s after. From all the humans kidnapped, Cole seems to respond best to the transmission of daemonite abilities. The daemonites hope to turn Cole into their cause by programming him through virtual scenarios. However, Warick manages to sneak in and help Cole escape; the programming wipes his mind out so Warick gives him a new identity, and Cole is none too wise of what he’s just gone through. The daemonites can’t let Cole escape; he’s too good of a weapon. When they manage to grab him they have to wipe out the interrupted programming first, a process that takes seventeen days. However, every time he’s caught Warick manages to free him again. The third time they go through this dance, after Cole is saved by Warick, he is given the identity of a grifter who scams people for money.

Cole gets used to this lifestyle quickly, taking the fake name of Christopher Argent to con people. After his last scam he’s planning to meet his girlfriend Gretchen Reese in San Juan, but the daemonites take him yet again. They start erasing his programming, taking 17 days. Warick shows up after this process is finished, waking Cole up before he can be programmed again and then disappearing before Cole can see him. Waking up in a strange laboratory freaks Cole out, who runs away by beating the daemonites who try to stop him. He seems to have improved skills! Running through the street, he obtains his trademark red mask by stealing it from a costume shop. He finds it in the section of “Voodoo / Magic.” This may be a little wink, maybe not. Cole’s new abilities include being able to hear the daemonite’s hivemind and telekinesis. Tsavo’s plan of creating a powerful human to destroy the other daemonites is well on its way. Continue reading Grifter Vol.3 issues 0 – 8 and Superman Vol.3 issue 6

“Blackhawks” issue 6, “Legion Lost” Vol.2 issues 4 – 5 and “Voodoo” Vol.2 issues 1 – 4

Legion Lost written by Fabian Niscieza, Voodoo written by Ron Marz.

Wildstorm concepts:     Black Razors WildCATS - Daemonites WildCATS - Voodoo

 

All-star WesternBlackhawks and Legion Lost should be read as a little prologue introducing the Black Razors in the new DCU. They are wearing all-black here, as they should according to their names, but they wear white armours in “Voodoo”.

“Voodoo” focuses on a daemonite faction that thinks the future of their species lies in creating daemonite-human hybrids. The daemonite council is inclined to the idea of wiping out humans, but they give the hybrids a chance of proving themselves by infiltrating Earth to learn about its superhumans.

Creating the hybrids took a lot of trial and error; none of the humans they kidnapped developed a metagen. This went on until they captured Earth child Priscilla Kitaen when she was four years old. After experimenting on her for years, she embraced the daemonite genes and obtained the ability to shapeshift. In a way, her origin story is similar to Jack Hawksmoor’s in the old WSU. When her powers developed she managed to escape back to Earth, but the daemonites had seen enough. Regular daemonites had never been able to produce wings; the hybrids must definitely be the way to evolution. They have enough information to produce a clone for themselves.

Although only the first clone proved successful, they know it’ll need to be tested to activate her meta-gene, so they send her and other lesser hybrids to Earth. They are equipped with particle generators to adopt any clothing necessary; they can absorb someone’s characteristics after only a few seconds of contact.

The Black Razors are a government organization that hunts aliens. They’ve held the true Priscilla Kitaen prisoner since she returned to Earth a few months ago. They are trying to help her, reverse what the daemonites did to her, but they’re also getting information from her. Two Black Razor agents, Tyler Evans and FBI liaison Jess Fallon are sent after one particular pole dancer: She goes by Voodoo, and they have reasons to believe she’s an alien. In fact, she’s the clone of Priscilla.

The writer, Ron Marz, is the legendary writer of Twilight Emerald, the story that introduced Green Lantern Kyle Rayner. He also worked for Wildstorm on the Cross-Gen imprint. However, he was a last-minute choice for writing Voodoo, one of the later writers brought into the relaunch, which might explain the low quality of the story.

The Black Razors agents try to question Voodoo, but she doesn’t waste much time before killing Tyler and shape shifting to look like him, which will prove her useful in getting closer to Jess. She has feelings for her fellow agent, even though that goes against the rules of the Black Razors.

The book hints at having some kind of message about the sexualization of women and rape culture by showing strong female characters and having Voodoo use her sexuality against men (“They look at me. But they never SEE me”). However, it never manages to say anything concrete and the book wasn’t able to avoid controversy because of all its naked ladies.

Voodoo, using Tyler’s body, sleeps which Jess, and doesn’t seem to mind. I guess this universe’s Voodoo is less rigid about her orientation. She’s trying to find out just how much Earth knows about the daemonites; she’s outraged at the thought that the humans would dissect her as soon as they caught her. She doesn’t know she’s a clone, she thinks she was born a hybrid. Humans seem hateful and weak to her; they deserve to be conquered. Shape shifting might hurt her but she deserves it for being part-human. In her mind she’s just a soldier, following orders because she must. However, as she telepathically catches Jess’s feelings for her partner, she needs to remind herself “she doesn’t care about humans.” Voodoo is conflicted, torn about her morality.

Voodoo’s cover is blown quickly enough as Tyler’s body is found and the Black Razors drop on her. The book tries to have distinct characters among the Black Razors team but again, it fails, because it’s impossible to remember who’s who. One of them is named Choi after Wildstorm writer Brandon Choi. The good guys count with a superhero on their side, Bolton, AKA Black Jack. But it’s never explained who he is, his powers or his origin other than that his powers were given to him by the Black Razors. In the end, Voodoo faces Jess. Voodoo feels Tyler’s love too strongly and can’t bring herself to kill Jess, so she takes Jess’s shape and escapes. This allows her to get into Jess’s head, which gives her precious information about the Black Razors, as we’ll find out later on.

Voodoo visits her hybrid allies and asks them for help now that her cover has been blown. The daemonite’s base was sending coded transmissions into deep space, which catches Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner)’s attention, so he storms the place. Even though the other daemonites drop their human covers to fight him, Voodoo retains her human form. Her bodacious body is enough to turn Green Lantern into a slobbering fool, so she manages to escape. The final scene of the issue shows us a mysterious daemonite is tracking after Voodoo.

Using the information she got from taking Jess’s shape, Voodoo makes it to a Black Razor’s base, where she’s able to steal information about Earth’s superheroes. Is her mission finally over? Unbeknownst to her, her attack motivates the Black Razors to schedule an execution for the real Priscilla Kitaen!

Next: Grifter Vol.3 issues 0 – 8 and Superman Vol.3 issue 6, written by Rob Liefeld, Frank Tieri, Nathan Edmonson and George Perez.