“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

 

 

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“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 on 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 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 solider 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, the 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.

“Supergirl” Vol.6 issue 33 backup

Written by Frank Barbiere

Wildstorm Concepts: Gen13 - Burnout Gen13 - Freefall Gen13 - Rainmaker Gen13 - Caitlin Fairchild Gen13 - Grunge

All-star Western Supergirl.pngThere’s not a lot I can say about this 2-pager backup. It was meant to set up a future Gen13 series, going back to their roots (if they don’t wear their original costumes inside, they do on the cover) and forgetting all the weird New52 developments. In this story we see a Caitlin, which looks like our old and REAL Caitlin, destroying all the New52 clones we had seen of her. She says hopefully the rest of her team can finish off “the kryptonians”, suggesting they’re in the middle of a fight involving the Superman family. Finally, we see a roll call with all the other Gen13 kids, back to being their old selves — Freefall, Burnout, Rainmaker wears her old costume, Grunge is not a villain anymore and he’s alive — plus there’s one more member: Superboy. This makes sense, considering Superboy and Caitlin have been entangled since the beginning of the New52. Caitlin also mentions “finishing off that clone” implying the Caitlin we have seen in previous comics was just a fake one, and not the real Caitlin. Sadly, we never got to know what this backup meant, because this hints never went anywhere, and this series didn’t come to happen. The writer gets one more shot at writing the Gen 13 in Future’s End, which will be the final “try-out” issue for this hypothetical book.

Next: “Justice League of America” Vol.3 issue 7.3

“The Movement” issues 1 – 12 and “Batgirl” Vol.4 issue 34

Written by Gail Simone

Wildstorm Concepts:    Gen13 - Caitlin Fairchild Gen13 - Rainmaker

All-star Western“The Movement” depicts another attempt to be more socially minded from DC, showing a group of homeless kids and activists banding together to fight against the corruption from their city, Coral City. Among their troubles are corrupt cops, serial killers and traitors in their midst. As with most books featuring mostly original characters, the book was a commercial failure. It did manage to introduce another Wildstorm character into DC: Rainmaker. Gail Simone wrote the Gen13 for Wildstorm before, and Sarah’s LGBT background is not forgotten; she gets to date the book’s main character, Virtue.

In this new universe, Rainmaker also works as an activist who helps homeless kids. In her turf, she’s known as the no-nonsense “witch”, and her attitude and distrust of outsiders is famous around the city, gaining loyalty through fear. Rumors ran amok, some saying she’s got two heads.

A serial killer with weather powers has been killing people, so The Movement enters the witch’s territory to ask what she knows. They come uninvited and unannounced, so a fight with Sarah’s followers breaks out. Sarah stops the fight, showing off her elemental powers like a force of nature. The misunderstanding is quickly over, and Rainmaker doesn’t mind sharing the serial killer’s identity to help clear her name. The Movement asks for Sarah and her people to join them, but she’s not ready. She’s been looking out only for herself for too long; she just wants her people to be left alone. Still, she gives Virtue her phone number.

Not long after, the two gals start dating, but Virtue’s turbulent homeless life leads to having to cancel their first date at a fancy restaurant. Their second attempt is humbler, just buying casual coffee. Rainmaker feels insecure that it might be too cheap of a date, and the poor environment not romantic enough, but that’s where Virtue feels more at home. The girls share their first kiss. This is about the last we see of her, but it’s fair to assume she got over her selfishness and distrust of outsiders and started helping out The Movement.

Batgirl 34 rainmaker

Batgirl 34Rainmaker comes back from the same writer in the pages of “Batgirl”. Batgirl is facing supervillain Knightfall, who initiates “Operation Rebirth”: a project to hire dozens of superhumans to commit murderous vigilantism and kill all of Gotham City’s criminals in one night. Batgirl is forced to call all of her female metahuman friends to stop Knightfall’s plan (because like black people, all female heroines know each other), and Rainmaker and Caitlin are among the superheroines who answer the call.

Next: “Supergirl” Vol.6 issue 33, written by Frank Barbiere.

“StormWatch” Vol.3 issue 30

Written by Sterling Gates

Wildstorm Concepts: stormwatch authority-midnighter authority-apollo authority-doors authority-engineer authority-jack-hawksmoor authority-jenny-quantum StormWatch - The Carrier

All-star WesternAlthough a whole year had happened in the parallel timeline, when StormWatch gets back to the normal universe only a few weeks have happened. We’re given no explanations as to how they’re back, but now their ship Eye of the Storm has converted into The Carrier, the one they used back in the Authority days. This one is not powered by a tiny universe, but by Magnitude Engines, which consume and convert multiversal energy from the bleed into fuel. Also, now Doors are opened by saying “door” instead of “gate” unlike in the alternate timeline. While they were gone, Fenacki aliens started building an invasion-hive underneath Salt Lake City, so Apollo and Middy make quick work of them.

StormWatch - Headquarters

Engineer is the new driver of the ship, patching its functions directly into his posterior perietal cortex. Hawksmoor doesn’t show up, but he’s confirmed as a team member who is taking and indefinite sabbatical after “the Kollective disturbance.” Jenny finishes rounding out the team; Adam One is not a member, even though the cover says so.

Stormwatch 30 Jenny's parents

14-year old Jenny didn’t help with the aliens because she was busy on a night date with her childhood crush Toby Thomas. It seems Jenny is still an orphan like in the parallel timeline, even though she wasn’t before, but it’s better not to think about it too hard. The date is going terribly, and the guy seems unresponsive. Jenny is acting like a real teenager for the first time in this run, screaming internally and hoping she could figure out boys. Randomly, Toby pulls her in for a kiss, but right then she’s called for duty.

A threat has arisen: the Shadow Lords recruited Adam-One as their new member, after he claimed he would be a good addition. In truth, he still roots for StormWatch and hopes to spoil the Shadow Lords’ plans from within. He gives them a faulty idea: to place a stasis-trap beneath Los Angeles, making the city scream until it attracts Jack Hawksmoor. The trap started feeding off his powers, making random buildings come alive and start destroying the city. All this is to attract StormWatch, hoping to keep them in once place long enough for the Lords to track their Carrier ship. But Adam provided with a weak machine.

Jenny uses a door to teleport to Los Angeles, where it’s suddenly daytime. A city hall and other 26 buildings have come alive, gaining faces like persons, and attacking the city. While they fight the city hall, Jenny goes over StormWatch’s history: apparently, Apollo and Midnighter claim they beat the Kollective and that’s how they got back to the original timeline. Perhaps they just lied about Jenny Soul doing all the hard work. According to our Jenny, Adam One founded the team and “later” the creeps in the Shadow Cabinet took over, even though they were behind Adam in the first place. Apparently StormWatch didn’t take well to being ordered around, so they stole the Shadow Cabinet’s ship and now they’re on the run. Perhaps the Cabinet is mad because they think StormWatch murdered one of their members back in issue 18.

The threat is pretty big, so Angie tries recruiting the Projectionist, but she doesn’t want to risk the Shadow Cabinet’s wrath. Angie says Emma owes her a favour, so Projectionist agrees to rewriting the internet so that no superhero finds out about the crisis. Jenny and Middy track a signal to Los Angeles’ subway, where they search in the dark. All that darkness and danger make Jenny realize her life has no place for boyfriends, sadly. Then they find Jack and the stasis-trap. The alien device reacts to the presence of a threat and quickly takes Middy down, but Jenny’s quantum powers keep the danger at bay. She has no choice but to attack using her emotions, focusing on the fact that she can’t lose Jack; she needs all of StormWatch to help train her to fulfill her potential. This is enough to free Jack, and that disrupt the machine’s defenses enough for Jenny to destroy it. Adam One is happy his plan worked out.

As a final stop, Jenny stops by her crush and steals a kiss from him; her first kiss! It’s suddenly night-time again. It turns out the guy is British, but I’m pretty sure that’s not enough to justify the time difference with Los Angeles. Anyhow, it’s a good bye kiss, really, because she says she can’t see Toby again. The issue ends with the Korr’nelian aliens invading Earth, but being interrupted with a transmission from StormWatch, warning them to turn back or face the consequences. Thanks to her good work with the Los Angeles crisis, Jenny earned the responsibility to say the threat herself. In the final page, we see Projectionist has joined the team as well. Goodbye, StormWatch. The team will be back for Future’s End, where they fulfill the purpose for which they were created.

Next: “The Movement” issues 1-12 and “Batgirl” Vol.4 issue 34, written by Gail Simone.

A guide of the second generation of Wildstorm through the DC merging