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.

Voodoo Vol.2 issues 5 – 12

Written by Joshua Williamson

Wildstorm Concepts: WildCATS - Voodoo Black Razors WildCATS - Daemonites WildCATS - Helspont     

All-star WesternAfter having gained the intel she had come to Earth for in the previous issues, Voodoo returns to the ship that brought her and the other daemonites hybrids to Earth. She’s interrupted by the blond daemonite that’s been tracking her: Ruewin. He’s one of the daemonites who don’t believe in the hybrids; he’s a pure blood supremacist who believes only true daemonites should be representing the cause.

Voodoo defeats the pure blood and she’s about to send back the info she’s gathered about Earth’s heroes. But she notices she also stole data about herself from the Black Razors. Opening them, she finds out about her origin as a clone.

Meanwhile, Jess is so enraged by her partner’s death than she’s deemed too emotional and put on temporary leave. But Black Jack convinces her to keep up the fight however she can. She remembers the real Priscilla Kitaen is about to be executed, so they leave in a rush to prevent it.

Enraged against the war council for lying to her about her origin, Voodoo sets the ship to self destruct and destroys the information she had gathered. She uses a teleporter to visit the war council’s ship, hidden behind the moon. She meets the hybrids from that time Green Lantern attacked. Apparently they’re on a hurry to go back to Earth because shit hit the fan after Grifter spoiled the Black Curate’s summoning in “Grifter” issue 8. Voodoo is so mad that she kills one of them, but spares the other because she still believes in the cause.

Jess and Black Jack storm the Black Razor’s facility where Priscilla is being held, hoping to use her help to catch Voodoo. They enter just in time, too, as a scientist approaches Priscilla’s cell. He explains he has orders to move her to a safer facility, which might be a lie to calm Priscilla down before executing her, but it isn’t clear if it’s a lie or the writer just decided to change the orders. Jess and Black Jack help Priscilla break out. She’s heard about the bitch who’s stolen her life because guards around her cell gossiped to each other like high schoolers, so she’s completely behind stopping Voodoo. Her escape is scandalous enough to get Andrew Lincoln’s attention, a guy from the pages of “Blackhawks”. He loves using Wildstorm references for his passwords, like “Spartan” or “Void”.

Voodoo makes it to the war council’s door, but the guards don’t want to let her pass. So her solution is to kill all of them. I’m not sure I buy that the hybrids are so superior that they can kill six normal daemonites all at once, but whatever. She interrupts the war council as they’re discussing their important matters. Apparently Carver (from “Grifter”) was the daemonite’s main leader, so her death has left them lost. They also weren’t expecting Helspont, who they keep calling “Fallen One”, to arrive on Earth so soon, so they’re worried Humans are going to find out about them.

One of the daemonite lords tells Voodoo about her origin and her mission being an excuse to activate her meta-gene. Then he reveals they are unable to duplicate Voodoo’s success in other clones, so she’s of no use to them and they begin to attack her. Voodoo blows a hole in the ship in an attempt to cause a distraction and starts killing all of the clones in production. However, she’s stopped when they make her an offer. After Carver and her Black Curate plan failed, they need a new direction for their invasion; they offer her to be the commander of all the daemonites on Earth. She can’t refuse; even after all the lies she was put through, Voodoo still believes in the prophecy.

Jess, Black Jack and Priscilla visit Voodoo’s ship, or what’s left of it after Voodoo set it to self-destruct. At the same time, Voodoo is teleported right into that very place. Jess tries to capture Voodoo, but she defends herself and kills Black Jack.

Jess is so mad about her new partner’s death that she threatens to kill Priscilla if Voodoo doesn’t turn herself in. Voodoo laughs and says she and Jess are no different; they will do anything to get the job done. This book certainly highlights the psychological aspects a lot more than Grifter. Jess tries to explain to Priscilla that she’s bluffing, but Priscilla is too scared and runs away. By the time she realizes Jess was actually bluffing and tries to make it back, it’s too late. Without her hostage, Jess is killed by Voodoo. It makes one wonder why they spent so many issues on Jess if she was going to be killed off in such a shallow manner. Now that they’re alone, Voodoo and Priscilla talk about their shared past and begin to share a moment, but the Black Razors show up and Voodoo is forced to run away.

Thus beings a new status quo that doesn’t feel quite right. Priscilla begins to be trained by the Black Razors, agreeing to help them track down daemonites because it might get her closer to stopping Voodoo. The whole thing is too rushed and it makes the previous issues feel like a long prologue; this situation should have been set up sooner. Anyhow, Voodoo is able to conduct herself as she sees fit thanks to her new position among the daemonites. She decides to seek out the strongest daemonite of all, Helspont, who has moved to an ancient temple after his fight with Superman in “Superman” issue 8. He has felt Voodoo’s acts of betrayal in the daemonite hivemind, so he’s not sure if he can trust Voodoo to serve him. To test her, he tasks her with retrieving a super weapon that was left by the daemonites in one of Jupiter’s moons. This is the Blue Flame, the item which gave Helspont his powers. Helspont says he can’t go himself because he’s busy building his forces; we’ll see the results of this in “Superman Annual”  issue 1.

While Voodoo boards an old ship, Priscilla finds out about this. She can read Voodoo’s thoughts because of their connection, so she and the Black Razors board a daemonite ship they had found and they go after Voodoo.

Voodoo finds the abandoned daemonite outpost in Jupiter wasn’t quite so abandoned; it’s filled with daemonites that were forced to eat one another to survive, and thus they look orange and deformed. They were the working class, and when the high class left them for dead in that moon they lost faith in the prophecy. However, they still believed in their lord Helspont, so they lead Voodoo to the superweapon, the Blue Flame. It is guarded by giant stone guards, and it is prophesied that only the destined one can pass. Meanwhile, Priscilla and the Black Razors arrive on the planet by crashing their ship.

As the book nears cancellation, the writer puts one last effort in making Voodoo seem more sympathetic instead of what she is; a lead character who is a villain; a very strange and unwise choice. Voodoo thinks maybe her obsession with the cause and all the killing were only her method to distract herself from the pain of having been born the way she had. None of this is very convincing though. Voodoo makes it past the stone guards and reaches the Blue Flame, but she’s interrupted by Priscilla.

The girls make one final attempt to understand each other, but it ultimately fails and Voodoo tries to exterminate both of them with the Blue Flame. She’s stopped by one of the moon’s daemonites, and Priscilla manages to get out of there with the weapon and fly away, leaving Voodoo stranded on the moon.

The series’ ending shows us Priscilla deciding whether to go with her family. I don’t know what her family is, since her mother died when Priscilla was first abducted at age four and she never had a father. But she decides not go, because “normal is overrated.” Brilliant. She stays working with the Black Razors, but suddenly she receives a psychic vision that tells her she’ll have to help Grifter very soon. Lincoln takes the Blue Flame, only to give it to a mysterious character, hoping they will keep it safe and from falling in the wrong hands. Who is this character? Issue 0 hints that the daemonites wanted to infiltrate someone into the Black Razors, so perhaps Lincoln is a daemonite. And following issues show Helspont has given Blue Flame abilities to his soldiers, so it’s likely that he’s obtained the flame from Lincoln.

An epilogue shows us the stranded Voodoo in Jupiter’s moon. She assumed leadership of all the cannibal daemonites in there; she’s been overcome by hate, swearing vengeance on Helspont, the daemonite lords and her sister, rendering all of her development into a sympathetic character null. What an ending, guys, what an ending.

Next: Grifter Vol.3 issues 9 – 12, written by Rob Liefeld and Rob Tieri.

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.

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.

“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