Tag Archives: Doors

“Dark Knights Rising – The Wild Hunt” issue 1

Written by Scott Snyder, Grant Morrison, James Tynion IV and Joshua Williamson.
Wildstorm concepts: Authority - Doors StormWatch - The Carrier

Dark Knights Rising - The Wild Hunt (2018-) 001-000This one was a surprising connection to Wildstorm, but unfortunately it took place in the middle of the bloated, convoluted and messy Metal crossover. To make a long story short, heroes Flash, Cyborg and Raven are aboard the monitor shiftship Ultima Thule as they travel through bleed space on their way to the House of Heroes, an old Monitor satellite being used to house heroes from all over the Multiverse. The main DC Earth is being attacked by evil versions of Batman from the Dark Multiverse, all serving their dark lord Barbatos – so the heroes are looking for help.

The Ultima Thule is chased by the evil Batmen, who are riding… the Carrier! Only they call it The Wild Hunt. There’s no comment on how they obtained it or where their previous owners, Stormwatch, might be. They mention Ultima Thule is dodging their blasts, but as a songship, its tune is weak; the Carrier’s drumbeat carries a darker “Authority” (wink, wink). Meanwhile, the heroes find out the Carrier is powered by a caged baby universe with which they can track them anywhere. They call this “monitor-scale nanotech.” Final Crisis back in 2008 established the connection between shiftships and Monitors, but this is the first time it’s been explored in regards to the Carrier. Since the baby universe is rich with cosmic potential, pulled straight from the World Forge, they heroes decide to free it to stop the Carrier in its tracks.

As the shiftships arrive in Earth-31, the heroes engage with the evil Batmen, and Raven gets the upper hand by summoning Doors. Flash boards the Carrier and reaches the baby universe. It’s guarded by The Merciless, a Batman inspired by Wonder Woman, but Flash frees the universe in-between blinks. Red Death, a Batman inspired by Flash, arrives to late to stop it, and the baby universe unleashes a wave of positive energy of creation. The energy reverses Red Death, turning him good. The Carrier is slowed down, but Red Death knows they’ll just capture the baby universe again; he must stay behind to keep it expanding until it’s too big to capture. Even if being so near to that kind of energy kills him, he must stop the evil Batmen; they’ve charged the Carrier with energy of the Dark Multiverse, so every world they touch turns into horror. If the infection spreads the very concept of “hero” will disappear. Things seem to be going well, but defeat is more bitter when there’s a taste of hope; the positive energy rips Red Death apart, and the Ultima Thule is crippled as each of the missiles sent by the Carrier carried a Dark baby universe handpicked by Barbatos. Too late, the heroes realize the Batmen weren’t hunting them; they were aiming them at the heart of the Multiverse so it would be poisoned. The Multiverse begins to fall into the darkness. Don’t worry, all of this gets solved in “Dark Nights: Metal” issue 6.

Next: ???

So this is it, we’ve finally reached the end of the published Wildstorm appearances in the merged DC Universe. However, I will keep on the lookout for any new ones, and feature them in this blog.

“Midnighter” issues 8 – 12

Written by Steve Orlando
Wildstorm concepts: Authority - Midnighter Authority - Doors Authority - Apollo StormWatch - Bendix Team 7 stormwatch

Midnighter-008-(2016)-(Digital-Empire)-001After his last heart-break, Midnighter meets Robert and agrees to do a documentary about his experience to help others. But his job is never done: he fights a Chimera let loose in the city by a group called Sportman’s Ambition, who arrange hunts for rich people. Midnighter receives help from Freedom Beast, who guides him to Sportman’s Ambition. The group unleashes another chimera at Midnighter, but this time he knows the beast’s just angry that someone made it a monster; he can relate. He finds a new way to work with his hands, knocking the beast unconscious instead of killing. The duo dispose of the villains.

Later, Midnighter’s friend Marina is released from prison, like Midnighter had promised. He wants to give her a ride, but he’s interrupted by a call from his emergency network. When he checks it out, it turns out to be a trap from Spyral. As payback from the time Midnighter kidnapped Grayson, they want him to help them recover the Perdition Pistol. Obtaining it was one of Midnighter’s first cases after walking out on the gardener, but someone’s taken it. The prime suspects: The Suicide Squad.

Marina is chosen as Midnighter’s Spyral handler. Intel names the Crow’s Nest as the most likely holding site: an orbiting vault. Since it’s shielded from teleport, Midnighter reaches it by shooting himself from a giant railgun. The place is protected by guards and a speeder, but Midnighter kills them all. He reaches the gun and “accidentally” destroys it. As he’s leaving, he checks out a computer and finds a file on… Henry Bendix! If the Gardener is Midnighter’s mother, Bendix is his father. He was partners with the Gardener until he crossed a line she wouldn’t. Now he’s working with Amanda Waller of the Suicide Squad to complete The Unified: a military killer fueled by Kryptonian DNA and a fight computer like Midnighter’s. Spyral commands him to kill Bendix.

Later, Midnighter is hanging out with Robert about his documentary when they receive a surprise attack by the Suicide Squad: It’s Harley Queen, Deadshot and Afterthought, the only man who can dodge Midnighter. His brain is always seeing five seconds into the future. Unable to hit him, Midnighter is beaten to a pulp.

Middy is captured and taken to Amanda Waller, who wants to torture him for information about Spyral’s counter-intelligence. However, Middy counts with tiny bursts of super speed, so he vibrates the chair he’s been chained to every time Amanda blinks. Midnighter escapes from the facility and steals a ship. All the Suicide Squad tech can be tracked, so he can now head towards Bendix and the Squad protecting him.

To reach Bendix, he must get past Harley Queen, Deadshot and Parasite. At first it seems easy, but Parasite starts pirating Middy’s enhancements; taking away his powers. Unable to move, they put him in a plane and then make it explode. However, he was able to call Apollo, who rescued him at super-speed. Meanwhile, Bendix obtains the Kryptonite DNA he needed. Amanda explains he’s only helping him because they came up in the same house: Team One, Team Seven. Wow! First mention of Team One in this universe. Back with Apollo, Midnighter offers an explanation and an apology for their break-up; he needed to be better, more than a killing machine, and he’s been working at meeting new people. Those people saved him after the Prometheus incident; people he trusted like he should have trusted Apollo. But when the plane was about to explode, at the end of the world, there wasn’t anyone else he wanted to see. Apollo, being the nice guy he is, forgives Midnighter and agrees to help with Bendix.

They go with Spyral, because the Suicide Squad bombed Midnighter’s apartment and shut down his doors. Suddenly, Spyral begins to receive attacks from the Squad, using doors, technology which Bendix invented. Midnighter gets a rematch against Parasite: the monster might have stolen Middy’s healing abilities, but he knows how to slow himself down. He pierces Parasite’s heart. Then he gets his rematch with Afterthought. He knows he can’t hit him, so he just defends himself with doubled armor until Afterthought is too tired to move. Then, in a Team One Safehouse, The Unified is activated and sent to attack Modora. Modoran terrorists invaded American soil back in issue 1, so now they pay the price. Problem is, Bendix makes it a public operation where civilians are in danger too; he wants to spread fear. Luckily, Midnighter, Apollo and Spyral arrive.

Midnighter (2015-) 012-002 In a nice touch, they recreate the opening panel from “The Authority” Vol 1 issue 2. As the heroes fight the Squad, Amanda orders Bendix to stop. He refuses, explaining he plans to kill the entire population of Modora, so Amanda knocks him out. Amanda orders his troops to stop, but they’re made by Multiplex clones, and they hate Midnighter too much to stop. As Bendix escapes through a door, Apollo fights with the Unified and burns his tactical nervous system from his gray matter. Without his enhancements, it’s Midnighter’s turn, who fights the Unified with a sonic revolver to vibrate his blood until it pops. The Unified lashes out — he was created to eliminate enemies, is he supposed to ignore his purpose? Well, Midnighter did. The Unified is killed.

After the crisis, Midnighter visits the Gardener to warn her Bendix could go after her. When she suggests he should stop pretending to have a life and go back to work with her, Midnighter tells her his people see him as a person, not a means to an end. If she ever questions them again, he’ll kill her himself. Later, all of Midnighter’s friends throw a party for him. Apollo kisses him, seeing they can see where it goes. It’s a happy ending.

Next: “New Suicide Squad” issues 17 – 21, written by Tim Seeley.

“Grayson” issues 9 – 20

Written by Tim Seeley, Tom King, Jacksong Lanzing and Collin Kelly.
Wildstorm Concepts: Authority - Midnighter Authority - Doors wildcats-grifter WildCATS - Ladytron II WildCATS - Tao

All-Star WesternThe previous boss of Spyral, Mr. Minos, has been overthrown and now Helena Bertinelli runs things. After several spies are killed on Spyral missions, Helena is called to a gathering of clandestine organisations; among the people assembled are Grifter and Tao, making his first appearance in the DCU. Spyral quickly clears its name and finds the killings were done by a infiltrator from the organisation Checkmate. The council is assembled again, and Helena warns them there will be consequences if the cabal breaks its neutrality and helps against Sypral.

Right after the meeting is over, Spyral finds out the God Garden has been using its Door technology again to travel to Berlin, Germany. They send an agent over to check it out, not knowing the God Garden has deployed… Ladytron! This Ladytron is different to the one we saw on the pages of “Team 7” and the one from “Teen Titans”; this third version seems taken straight from the old Wildstorm universe, acting as her old outrageous, insulting self and looking like her old design. She was sent to Germany to check if an address is doing human genetic experiments “like the lab in Gamorra that inserted a reactor into her baby-cage.” In truth, they got the tip from Midnighter, who was doing a favor to Grayson; Grayson needed to visit Berlin so he needed Spyral to send him there. Grayson and his teammate Tiger are sent against Ladytron, and a fight ensues.

The three are surprised by robot spider security drones. Ladytron can’t believe it; as she’s back to being her old self, she believes the spiders should only attack “the fleshies” and have some cyber-darity towards other robots. Tiger convinces Maxine to use her reactor’s energy to create a nuclear electromagnetic pulse. But Grayson can’t have that, because it would wipe the computers of the information he came to steal. So he knocks Tiger out and hypnotizes Maxine, using her to talk to the computer and get him the information. Then, right before being swarmed by the spiders, he makes Maxine create the EMP.

With the information he’s gained, Grayson is ready to make his move and destroy Spyral. As he goes rogue and starts attacking, Helena calls for a meeting with the Cabal and asks for their help. Both Grifter and Tao, among others, say yes. Grifter and Tao work together: Grifter is a telepath, so he can counter Tao’s manipulations, making him the only one fit to speak to him. Grifter gives Tao everything they have on Spyral, so that Tao can solve the puzzle and figure out what will be the next move. Tao recommends killing Helena, recognising Grayson has gone rogue because Spyral could destroy the world. Spyral deserves to be destroyed. The Syndicate supports Grayson’s cause, but they still go after him to keep up appearances.

Grayson 17

Grifter never had the heart to kill, so he meets Grayson himself, hoping to convince him to turn himself in. The two men fight, but Grayson resists Grifter’s telepathy and hypnotizes him. Now Grayson knows the Syndicate is going after Spyral, but he wants to stop them; they want to kill Helena, and she’s an innocent victim.

Indeed, Grifter and the others attack the Spyral school. Grayson and his friend Tiger arrive and start battling the entire Syndicate at once. Being overwhemled, Grayson brings Midnighter in, who beats the Syndicate. Afterwards, Midnighter leaves, leaving Grayson to deal with Spyral once and for all.

Next: “Midnighter” issues 8 – 12, written by Steve Orlando.

“Batman & Robin Eternal” issues 23 – 26

Written by James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder, Genevieve Valentine and Steve Orlando.
Wildstorm Concepts: Authority - Midnighter Authority - Doors

All-Star WesternIt’s a typical crisis for the Bat-Family: because of a radio signal, every child in the world has been ordered to kill their parents. To help coordinate things, they asked for Midnighter’s help, who lent them his Door technology. As every member in the batfamily gathers at Midnighter’s home, he’s forced to kick out the guy he had just slept with. He knows he’s acting crass in front of the heroes; they wouldn’t know what to do if he was helpful right out of the gate. To help find a batfamily member, Harper, Midnighter gets to work on his computers with Harper’s brother, Cullen. It seems all the signal transmitters block doors around them, so they’ll have to get to them the hard way. They’ll have to battle the children softly, so Midnighter stays put as ops. To stop the one responsible for everything, Mother, Midnighter sends Grayson to the artic circle. Meanwhile, Midnighter stays with Cullen, who is a tech wiz and helps him hack cameras. Cullen makes them some sandwiches — all Middy has is cupboards full of peanut butter. The nuances of civilian life continue to elude him.

However, they’re losing. Tokyo needs relief, so Midnighter sends Spoiler in – she was busy watching over Scarecrow, who was cooking a toxin to disrupt Mother’s signal. Midnighter replaces her; if the villain acts up, he’ll get someone new to be afraid of. Midnighter leaves Cullen in his place with the computers; the computer in his head showed him how it ends, that Cullen will do great. Soon, the toxin is finished, but they’ve got twelve “Orphan” assassins to deal with in each of the transmitter locations. Feeling overjoyed, Midnighter has the twelve warriors teleported to him, where he deals with the twelve at once. The anti-toxin is delivered, and the children are free from control. To wrap things up, every hero is delivered to the Artic Circle, to deal with Mother. The villain is defeated.

Next: “Grayson” issues 9 – 20, written by Tim Seeley, Tom King, Jacksong Lanzing and Collin Kelly.

“Midnighter” Vol 2 issues 1 – 7

Written by Steve Orlando
Wildstorm Concepts: Authority - Midnighter Authority - Apollo Authority - Doors

All-Star WesternThis Spin-off off Grayson begins with a Bang, as someone intrudes in the God Garden and shoots the Gardener into space. Meanwhile, Midnighter is trying out online dating in a restaurant when he and his date, Jason, are interrupted by Modoran assassins looking for traitors to their country. They use Butcher Blasters to trigger anger in people and kill them with sheer blood pressure, but Midnighter is so fast he puts on his costume without anyone seeing him and takes care of the psychos.

Later, he heads to the pool hall Al’s Masse in Boston. He talks with the owner, Tony, about having broken up with Apollo — Midnighter thinks Apollo is better off without him. Then he takes Jason to their second date, on Moscow. He shows him they can be anywhere using Doors, and Jason invites him to his place. After they have sex, Jason wakes up to find Midnighter on the floor – after spending a few years on the streets, he never got used to beds. Jason is starting to get weirded out, and it gets worse when Middy injects him with a Smartmark on his neck – an implant so that Jason can contact Midnighter anywhere. Right as the date is going wrong, Midnighter receives an emergency call and has to go; it’s the Gardener, who survived. She tells Middy about the mysteriour attacker, but also reveals she had kept an origin file with Midnighter’s past, and the attacker had just walked out of the God Garden with it.

The attacker begins sharing the weapons he stole from the Garden immediately. He shares them with Marina, a widow whose husband was killed by a corporation that poisoned him carelessly. She seeks vengeance with the Liu Sha Jue, the six killing sounds. Midnighter arrives, and to survive he’s forced to break his own ears. He’s able to take her out, but he sympathizes with her story. He begins to break corporate bones, telling them they’ll have to seek minimum sentence against Marina or he’ll be back.

It’s time for another date. Jason didn’t work out, even though they remained as friends, so now it’s Matt’s turn; one of the hostages he rescued from the Modoran assassins in that restaurant. Their date is interrupted by homophobes, but Midnighter is great at taking out the trash. Even when Middy can’t stop talking about Apollo, Matt is impressed; it’s almost too good to be true. In fact, Matt is actually the supervillain Prometheus, but Midnighter doesn’t know this yet.

Middy reflects on the time he broke up with Apollo – it almost had to happen. They were never with anyone else, they were defined with each other. Midnighter needed time, needed to learn how to be himself without Apollo.

Later, Midnighter goes after a human trafficking ring kidnapping kids and using technology from the God Garden to steal their life force. Midnighter gets to them and destroys their machine, but the trafficker and his bodyguard Multiplex escape. He can multiply, so Middy feels like it’s his birthday — endless bodies to kill. When he reaches the trafficker, he reveals he got the technology from a Noi Akakyevich, the Moscow Mongrel. When Middy comes home covered in blood, Matt isn’t even phased, which is a suspicious sign. His excuse is his mother was a doctor, so he doesn’t run at the sight of blood.

Afterwards, Midnighter visits his friend Grayson. He tracked Akakyevich to a Russian club where people pay to kill vampires, only they aren’t vampires, they’re humans treated with reprogrammed martian cells mimicking vampirism. After defeating the club boss, the fake vampire Upir, Middy hoped Grayson could use his spy science to reverse the gene therapy, but it turns out to be bobby trapped and the vampires turn to dust. However, Grayson managed to ping his nano-signature before the Martians cells degraded, so they know where they were made. This leads them to Kazan, where Middy realizes a device that blocks teleport Doors was activated. They just have to look into the only place they can’t Door — an unmapped Metro station, where Akakyevich is using his martian cells to create a Beast Battalion based on Russian Folklore. To raise the stakes, Midnighter handcuffs himself to Grayson, and they begin battling their way through the monsters. They reach Akakyevich, but he’s been upgraded by the God Garden with Telekinesis and he shows it off by sending them through the roof. This was planned by Midnighter, however — he wanted to be thrown against Akakyevich’s teleport jam satellite so that he’d be able to use Doors. They’re able to sneak up on Akakyevich and beat him, even though Grayson won’t accept killing him. Still, Akakyevich reveals he was just another middle man.

Midnighter returns home to celebrate Thanksgiving with Matt; but suddenly they’re targeted by Multiplex on a helicopter. Middy manages to get Matt down and survive the shooting, and takes Multiplex out, but the apartment is trashed. Middy and Matt go on a remodeling tour, as Midnighter takes out bad guys using God Garden tech. After the house is rebuilt, Matt receives bad news — his dad was beaten up because somebody saw Matt dating Midnighter. They visit Matt’s hometown and start looking for the culprit, but something’s wrong; the town is eerily perfect, Midnighter can’t see the future. When he’s attacked by gang members, he realizes they’re homunculi; fake people built with artificial skin from the God Garden. The whole town was a trap. He rushes home to Matt’s dad and kills the impostor. When he hugs Matt, trying to comfort him, Matt reveals his true alliegance and stabs Midnighter. The town was a trap laid by him — Prometheus.

Just as some might say Midnighter is an edgier Batman, Prometheus is an evil Batman: son of criminals, his parents were murdered by the law and he swore to fight against it. Using his inheritance, he travelled the world learning violence in a dozen languages. He’s the one who stole from the God Garden, and his enhacements blind Midnighter’s fight computer, leaving him with five senses. As they fight, Prometheus reveals he built the house they’re fighting on from Midnighter’s origin file, from his childhood memories. Prometheus can’t stop talking and gloating, so Midnighter overpowers him — but according to Prometheus, he can’t kill him, not without losing his origin file. Prometheus downloaded it into his brain and deleted the original. But doing the right thing isn’t a dilemma for Midnighter, who delivers a fatal blow to Prometheus. Right as he’s dying, though, the villain teleports away to another dimension. From the remains of the house, Midnighter finds a photograph of himself as a kid. He sends it to Apollo, and begins a slow process of healing and learning to trust someone else again.

Meanwhile, a new adventure starts as Deadshot of the Suicide Squad breaks into a Sypral black site in Boston and steals something called the Perdition Pistol…

Next: “Teen Titans” Vol.5 issues 1 – 4, written by Will Pfeifer.

“Grayson” issues 1 – 8

Written by Tim Seeley and Tom King.
Wildstorm Concepts: Authority - Apollo Authority - Doors Authority - Midnighter WildCATS - Nemesis

All-Star WesternMidnighter is on leave from Stormwatch after breaking up with Apollo. As it turned out, Lucas wasn’t Midnighter’s real name; he just made it up to feel closer to Apollo, who had an alter ego. Andrew felt lied to, and so the relationship ended.
Now Midnighter is working for the person who took away his name, his past, his everything: The Gardener, an old lady in charge of the God Garden, a refugee for freaks, for monsters made by men. The Gardener hires Midnighter to collect the superpower enhancing organs of Paragon, a metahuman that exploded during mysterious circumstances. It’s not clear, but it’s implied Paragon was destroyed in a fight against Midnighter where he lost. He can see everything before it happens and all he’s gotta do is pick the right option — so when he doesn’t, it plays over and over in his head, haunting his dreams. He needs to fix the Paragon situation, and that’s why he’s working with the Gardener to retrieve his organs. But another organisation is after them: Spyral, because Paragon absorbed the powers of the Justice League and contains their DNA; obtaining them could be the key to revealing the Justice League’s secret identities.

Acting under the codename Black Oak, Midnighter heads to Russia to collect one of Paragon’s organs; this time an implant belonging to Justice League member Cyborg. It has been implanted in a man named Ninel Budov, but The Gardener is not the only group after it — there’s also Russian intelligence and Spyral, employing agent Dick Grayson, ex-Robin. Midnighter and Grayson fight, but before either one can get serious Ninel blasts Midnighter away using Paragon’s powers. At the end of the day, Spyral gets the prize. Midnighter is frustated that he can’t recognise his enemy agent — Spyral employs tech that makes it so that nobody can look at their agent’s faces and focus; their faces always look scrambled.

During agent Grayson’s second mission he pursues Paragon’s stomach, which provides the Flash’s super-speed. It has been implanted in an ex-agent of T.H.E.Y., the British secret intelligence. Grayson follows her to a bomb shelter full of old espionage uniforms; among them we can see Nemesis’ costume. Grayson retrieves the organ. In his third mission he retrieves Paragon’s eyes, derived from Aquaman.

Afterwards, Midnighter is interrogating someone to find out the location of the next organ: Paragon’s Heart, derived from Superman. Apollo shows up, saying the man doesn’t know – and Midnighter lets the man fall to his death. He knows Apollo will catch him, and Apollo knows Midnighter will be gone by the time he gets back. Midnighter later finds the Heart implanted within a woman giving birth. He’s in a chopper with agents Grayson and Bertinelli from Spyral — but an A.R.G.U.S. aircraft hits them with an E.M.P. and the chopper goes down in the desert. The woman with the heart dies giving birth, and the heart ends up with her baby. The three agents and the baby begin to walk in the desert with barely any supplies or hopes of surviving. On the second day of walking Midnighter proposes the unthinkable — killing the baby and using his heart to power themselves. The EMP took down Spyral’s technologies, so he can see Grayson’s face now and he recognises him. However, Grayson won’t listen to him. On the third day Bertinelli falls — and Midnighter promises Grayson he’ll oulast them with his enhancements and then take the baby. Even when Midnighter tries arguing that Spyral will kill the baby anyway, all he gets is a beating from Grayson. Midnighter keeps saying they should just fight for the baby, and he keeps saying it until he finally falls on the seventh day. But Grayson keeps walking. On the tenth day he finally falls, but he’s found by a family who had been praying for a baby. Everyone is rescued, but they report they found the heart dead — and they give the baby to the family; it is very much like Superman’s origin.

Later, Grayson attempts to capture Paragon’s brain, derived from Martain Manhunter, on the island of Gageo-Do. He’s intercepted by Midnighter, who can’t see Grayson’s face, but he can recognise that ass anywhere. Using a Door, Midnighter takes Grayson to the God Garden. He holds a grudge against Grayson because he keeps getting the organs first; Midnighter wants them off the hands of Spyral, which he considers the bad guys. He reveals he researched Grayson; he memorized all his moves and figured out he was the superhero Nightwing. Also, he used the Garden’s medical facilities to remove Grayson’s hypnotizing technology and install it in himself. Meanwhile, Agent Bertinelli finds out the brain is in possession of the First of Cain, and they want to use it to turn a crowd murderous at a rally for peace. Midnighter continues his beating of Grayson, saying he’ll reverse-engineer his technology, find his base and shut down Spyral. But Grayson activates a subliminal post-hypnotic suggestion on Midnighter’s Spyral tech, knocking him out. Grayson is found by the Gardener, who reveals Midnighter was her “first child” and that Paragon was created to destroy her. She informs Grayson of the First of Cain’s plans, but she leaves him trapped behind glass like an animal. She wants the incident to happen, to serve as a lesson to humanity. It will help end the artificial superhuman arms race she has fought to contain all these years. Spyral uploads the information into Midnighter’s implant, and he tries to summon a door and stop the Fist of Cain. Using a moving speech, Grayson manages to change the Gardener’s mind, and she teleports the boys to the peace rally. They arrive too late to stop the brain from being used, but they work together to stop the killing, with Grayson stopping Midnighter from being lethal.

After saving the day, Midnighter decides he can’t be like Grayson – he can’t work for a morally compromised boss. He can see the future, and he sees a better world isn’t coming with the Gardener. They part ways.

Next: “Midnighter” Vol 2 issues 1 – 7, written by Steve Orlando.

“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.

“StormWatch” Vol.3 issues 23 – 29

Written by Jim Starlin

Wildstorm Concepts: StormWatch - SkyWatch authority-midnighter authority-apollo authority-doors authority-engineer stormwatch StormWatch - Fuji as Force StormWatch - Hellstrike Authority - Jenny Soul

All-star WesternStormWatch faces a twofold threat: The alien conqueror Extremax The Omega is coming to the Milky Way, and they learn the true nature of the Kollective’s, and the danger they pose to Earth. Extremax The Omega, named that way because things end around him, is most powerful warlord in space, more than 50,000 years old, having killed more than 60 billion souls. He’s coming to Earth to collect an ancient artefact that was so powerful that it was divided into three parts to ensure it would never be used. One part was hidden on Earth, during prehistoric times; Extremax owns another piece, and the Kollective another. The central tenet of the Kollective’s plan is to destroy anything technologically advanced, so they naturally clashed with Extremax 300 years ago. To escape them, he managed to get his ship out of sync with the timeline on a varying frequency, but in three centuries of trying he hasn’t managed to slay one member of the Kollective. It turns out the Kollective holds dominance over countless planets, like Extremax. They instil a rabid distrust of technology and scientific advancement on their planets, in hopes they’ll herd societies towards an evolutionary path that will stimulate them to develop psychically, like the Kollective. Essentially, they’re looking for company. The results are tragic, though; the renounce of science also leads to no vaccines or medical treatment, and plagues that could have been cured with simple antibiotics now devastate entire species. Overpopulation woes and famine are also common among the Kollective-controlled civilizations. Inevitably, they all perish; whatever created the Kollective was a unique and unreproducible event, but they refuse to see these facts. Billions have died already, and this is what they have planned for Earth.

This is a really long arc, so sorry, but I have no easy way of making this review short. The second and final arc of Starlin’s run in StormWatch begins in the middle of their second adventure, with the team (now with Lobo in their ranks) fighting some aliens to save the waters of Earth from being teleported out. Continue reading “StormWatch” Vol.3 issues 23 – 29

“StormWatch” Vol.3 issues 19 – 22

Written by Jim Starlin

Wildstorm Concepts:  stormwatch authority-apollo authority-midnighter authority-engineer authority-doors StormWatch - Hellstrike StormWatch - Fuji as Force Authority - Jenny Soul StormWatch - SkyWatch

All-star WesternJim Starlin becomes the new writer, and he starts from scratch, making the book more standard sci-fy, and even though it loses the Authority influences, it becomes more solidly written. After the explosion from last issue, our cast has arrived on a different reality, but this universe is being watched by alien beings known as The Kollective. They decide Stormwatch wasn’t working, so they restart the timeline and start changing things to their liking. Their first order of business is killing Adam One, aka Merlin, who is born at the same time as the universe, and used to be the leader of Stormwatch. Everything else changes in result, and this results in a completely different team in the present.

StormWatch - Headquarters

Showing up for the first time coming out from black hole V4641 SGR, the New StormWatch appears! Their ship isn’t called Eye of The Storm anymore, but New Skywatch, and it’s powered by a pocket universe like the Carrier used to be. Starlin puts on SOME effort in getting things back to their roots, including going back to the original StormWatch logo. The new ship is populated by a human crew of technicians, even. This time Doors are opened by shouting “Gate!” instead of “Door!” like it used to be. The Shadow Lords, StormWatch’s bosses, notice the team has been purged from reality by the aliens; they can watch this from afar due to living within the Bleed. In this new timeline StormWatch has never existed, so they have to do a rush job and hurriedly assemble a new team. The Shadow Lords had kept a DNA sample of J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter, from the time he briefly led the team, so they use that to create a clone. But they strip him of his superpowers and give him fake memories, keeping his true identity from everyone, even him. Calling him Storm Control (essentially “Weatherman”), this new leader is tasked with choosing a new team roster. The new team includes:

Force, who is actually Fuji, only with a new name for some reason; he’s called a “trainee” but he barely has any dialogue or panels; Jenny Soul, the latest Jenny, who suffers from agoraphobia due to not knowing how to control her telepathic powers, so public places turn into a cacophony of thoughts all coming to her at once; Engineer, back to being healthy and turning herself human more often; Xiomar, a South African teleporter who is addicted to drugs; Hellstrike, yes, the old Hellstrike Nigel Smut, who is now an ex soldier from South Africa who was complicit in killing Xiomar’s family, a fact that haunts him; The Weird, an old Starlin character, he’s a being from another dimension made of energy who lives within the dead body of one Walter Langley and acts as bodyguard for Jenny; Apollo, who in this alternate universe is called Andrew Pulaski and Midnighter, who in this universe is actually called Lucas Trent, instead of it being a fake name he chose for himself. These Apollo and Midnighter regain their old Wildstorm uniforms, and they both gained their powers after being abducted by aliens who experimented on them, like Hawksmoor’s origin. Lucas was able to escape after ten years, and Andrew five years later. The last member is “The Forecaster“, but he’s a bit particular… He’s this blobby alien who acts as the team’s early-warning system. He’s a Volgarian, the perfect species to link with any complex operational system; he pilots Skywatch and data mines all incoming readings, transmissions and intel, searching for any possible threats.

Angie’s first assignment after being recruited is to recruit Xiomar in South Africa, for which he has to fight Tweedledee and Tweedledum, low-tier Batman villains. After that, the Forecaster tracks the Kollective’s PSI and temporal emanations from restarting the timeline and notices the same emissions are coming from the planet Douli-7 in the Orion System. Jenny, the Weird, Hellstrike, Apollo and Midnighter are tasked with visiting the planet. Unfortunately for them, the Kollective are only in the planet because of supervillain Lobo. They revisit Lobo’s past; his people, the Czarnians, were obsessed with being perfect; they experimented on themselves until something went wrong and everybody’s testosterone levels went through the roof, turning them into mindless killing machines who slaughtered each other. Lobo was only 14 back then, so to survive he was forced to develop a venom to release on the atmosphere, committing genocide and becoming the last of his race. with no one else around, the med centre started channelling all the physical and psychic augmentations it’d been pumping everyone into just him, and that’s how he became a psychotic powerhouse impossible to kill. He’s a monster, really; exactly what the Kollective is looking for. In exchange for having all his past record erased, Lobo agrees to help them. Starlin explains Lobo’s inconsistent power displays in other books (like that time he fought Zealot) by saying he resides on multidimensional realities without totally existing on any one of them.

StormWatch is teleported onto the planet and they start heading for the source of the emanations, but the Kollective detects Jenny immediately and they acknowledge her power is massive enough to disrupt their plans. They manipulate the Bruticus, one of the most aggressive races on that space sector, and they start trying to kill Jenny, so a battle breaks out. The enemy is winning just because of their sheer numbers, but luckily StormWatch is rescued by the Caimonites, the Bruticus’ sworn enemies. Sadly, both sides of the conflict are vicious enslaving conquerors, so StormWatch just thanks them for their help and move on. They head to a bar to wind down, but it so happens that the emanations they’re searching for come from the same place; from Lobo, to be more specific. They find him after he’s passed out from drinking too much, but right at the same moment they’re attacked by Bruticus and Caimonites at the same time; both sides are brainwashed now.

Noticing Lobo is going away on his own, Jenny and the Weird go after him and Jenny attempts to read his mind. This puts her in direct contact with the Kollective, who try to state their case: They’re beings who reached enlightenment long ago and abandoned their physical flesh, but they chose to stay in the corporal realm to protect the universe and guide it to a better tomorrow, kind of like StormWatch. They don’t see time as a linear thing, they contemplate all possible directions for the timeline and reset it when it looks like there are no good possible outcomes. They noticed Lobo’s arrival on Douli-7 will lead to him taking control of the war between the Bruticus and the Caimonites, leading the victorious force to conquer the universe and bring forth a pan-galactic dark age. They can’t kill him, because he always comes back stronger, but there might be a solution. They convince Jenny to help them; they’re psychical beings, so they need Jenny’s support in transporting Lobo to some specific coordinates. She’s not sure if she can trust them, but all the same she pushes Lobo telekinetically to the correct spot, and Lobo starts glowing… All too late, Jenny realizes she was manipulated.

Lobo keeps being charged with energy, but the team isn’t strong enough to move him from that position, not even Apollo. Storm Control orders them to retire, but in the end Lobo’s charged energy is simply unleashed on a nearby building: the planet’s chief media transmission centre, which causes it to broadcast a killing signal for all Bruticus and Caimonites from all over the space sector; both species become victims of genocide. StormWatch’s first field mission was a disaster, and they can’t even begin to understand the Kollective’s motivation for killing the species. When returning to Skywatch, they pick up Lobo, because he’s too good of an asset. Storm Control fills him with about a million nano-processors set to punish him with electrical discharge if he ever attempts to escape or disobey orders.

Meanwhile, Midnighter is unsettled by all that’s happened and contemplates leaving the team, but Apollo reminds him that the aliens that kidnapped them as kids are still out there, hunting for them, and StormWatch is their surest protection. Engineer checks in on Xiomar, who can’t function without drugs, so Storm Control allows him limited cannabis consumption. His powers aren’t clear yet.

Jenny is visited by the Kollective; they reveal both Bruticus and Caimonites would become ruthless conquerors, so even though it was a lie that Lobo would lead them, they needed to die to ensure the survival of billions. Now they want to eliminate Jenny, so that nobody knows of their existence. But she’s stronger than all of them, and she reduces them to dust. Now she’s just gotta figure out how to keep on living knowing she caused the genocide of two species…

Next: “Stormwatch” Vol.3 #23-30, written by Jim Starlin.

 

“Stormwatch” Vol.3 issues 15 – 18

Written by Peter Milligan

Wildstorm Concepts: authority-engineer authority-doors authority-apollo authority-midnighter authority-jenny-quantum authority-jack-hawksmoor stormwatch WildCATS - Zealot

All-star WesternThis is it! The fall of StormWatch. Everybody reports on board, ready to listen to the Shadow Lord which has appeared, who’s secretly Henry Tanner. He lets them know that he’s spoken with the other shadow lords and convinced them that StormWatch must change his ways; Henry is convinced that they must become more proactive, eliminating threats before they rise to power. He orders the team to declare war on Earth’s super beings, taking down Batman, Superman and Green Lantern first. The team isn’t quite convinced, and while they argue with the Shadow Lord, Midnighter begins reading his body language and realizing who he really is. But before he can say something, Jack has some news: The ship has found Projectionist! She’s run off from her base in Antarctica.

A door soon appears in front of her, bringing her on board. Engineer’s immediate reaction is to strangle her, demanding to know where Henry is; the poor Engineer is almost completely dehumanized due to the Devolver she ate. Projectionist has had her memories altered, so she claims Henry died when his headquarters blew up in an accident. Aggressively, Angie sticks wires inside the Emma’s head, digging into her hippocampus to see inside her memories and confirm her story. She does see images of Henry dead, like she claims, but she sees something else: Midnighter conspiring with Henry, plotting to take down StormWatch by making Apollo fall in love with him.

Seeing these planted memories make everyone turn against Midnighter, who sounds like a fool when he claims the Shadow Lord is actually Henry. Heartbroken, Apollo doesn’t even want to capture Lucas, he wants to break his neck! Friend is turning against friend, just like Adam One had prophesized years ago. Outnumbered, Midnighter is forced to call forth a door and run away to Antarctica, taking Projectionist with him while he’s at it. He grabbed her because he needs her to recover her real memories to clear his name, but she’s completely convinced of what she remembers; she thinks Midnighter is a filthy traitor. Either way, they find a local science station right before they die of hypothermia.

Meanwhile, Apollo flies off to the sun, wanting to super-charge himself to take down Midnighter more easily. Engineer thinks he’s going to kill himself, so he orders Jenny to stop him. Apollo finds the teenage girl waiting for him on the surface of the sun; it’s an awe-inspiring encounter, but a short one, and they both get on their way. By this point, Middy and Emma are already on the move, so when the Shadow Lord checks on the Science Station he doesn’t find anything. He can’t let Midnighter convince the others of his real identity, so he kills all the humans in the place. Afterwards, he calls StormWatch, claiming Midnighter did the killing. Due to his crimes, the Shadow Lord issues a death warrant on Lucas.

While they walk around the destroyed camp, Jenny finds a little wormhole. When she looks inside it, she sees the supervillain Fox! He has an interesting story to tell, having been used by Henry to become a Shadow Lord and all. All the while, Midnighter has been trying to get Projectionist to come to her senses, but she can only remember the memories implanted on her. Suddenly, they’re found by Apollo, full of rage at the sight of the murdered innocents. He begins beating Midnighter up. Back at the base, Engineer mentions how convenient the destroyed camp is; she’s begun to suspect of the Shadow Lord. She accesses her memory banks and compares Henry’s way of speaking to the Shadow Lord’s, and she seems to realize the truth.

The team captures Midnighter and takes him to Eye of the Storm for his execution. Before it gets delivered, though, Jenny irrupts into the place with the Fox, who exposes the truth: the Shadow Lord is Henry Tanner. Supporting him, Engineer mechanically expresses the odds of him not being Henry are of 350.000 to 1. Apollo can’t believe it; he begins apologizing to Midnighter like a mumbling fool, and Henry drops his disguise, revealing his true self. He refuses to keep hiding and playing the villain; to his mind, he’s in the right, doing whatever it takes to protect the world.

This seems to strike a note with Engineer; her mind is almost completely robotic by now, so she sees the validity in Henry’s point. Right before Apollo beats the crap out of Henry, Angie knocks him out with overheated gases which deplete his solar energy. Jenny is the next person to react, but Angie deals with her by exciting the “god spot” in her brain, giving her a seizure. Desperate, Midnighter grabs the unconscious Apollo and jumps to hyperspace. If Andrew doesn’t pull himself together they’re both dead men. Lucas solves this by slapping the crap out of him, working out some of his frustration on the process. Finally, Apollo manages to wake up and land them in Australia.

Almost as soon as they land, they receive a laser blast from Eye of The Storm; Angie is aiming at them coldly. Before she can correct her aim, though, she’s intercepted by Jack and Emma, the only sane members left. The ship functions as a city, so Jack has a means of attacking, but Engineer has impregnated every cell of Eye of the Storm with her nanite blood. Having control, Angie summons a door underneath Jack and sends him falling to Brazil. Taking a leap of faith, Emma jumps after him. As he lands, Jack mentions he had the hots for Angie once; this is a nice Wildstorm continuity nod.

By this point, Engineer has lost sight of Apollo and Midnighter, who ran off to get help. She’s technically not Angie anymore; her brain has become completely robotic. She shares her new plans; using Eye of the Storm’s guns to wipe out humanity, who carries the curse of Cain. She believes something went wrong with evolution, so they should design a new species that would live by their rules. This creeps out even Henry, but he has no hopes of beating Engineer; she has the ship propel a small parcel of compressed air at him, knocking him down. A little more pressure and it would have ripped his skull off. She leaves him alive because he broke her heart, he had power over her; he shall act as a symbol of her former human frailty. A memento of where she was, of where she came from – a museum piece, if you will. A great villainous moment.

Meanwhile, Apollo and Midnighter fly all the way to Moscow, where they meet an unlikely ally: Zealot! She’s still chasing outlaw aliens as a living, even though she believes it’s beneath her to work in such a filthy planet. Apparently she and Midnighter go way back, so she agrees to help them. This is being monitored by Engineer, who takes a decision: if they’re recruiting troops, so will she. She takes control of OMAC, an android created by the evil satellite Brother Eye in the pages of “OMAC.” Brother Eye will become important later on, during “Future’s End”.

OMAC is thrown upon our heroes, who begin defending themselves with help of Zealot’s ship; an alien vehicle she confiscated from a mass-murdered near the Orion cluster. All the while, Apollo is fighting with his jealousy as he mistakes Midnighter’s respect of Zealot with sexual attraction. It’s quite a silly love triangle to include in the writer’s last issue in the book, but I don’t know, I’m not the professional writer here.

OMAC throws everyone into a door, dropping them off in hyperspace, in front of Eye of the Storm. Engineer casts herself as a giant hologram and tries to reason with them; if they allow her to change them, they won’t die in hyperspace where nobody will find their corpses. She just wants a few adjustments so she’ll have control of some of their higher decision-making processes; as long as they don’t try to disobey her they won’t even notice she’s there. Damn it, her evil speeches are too damn fun. She reveals she’s already “adjusted” Henry: he is now a bald, mumbling fool.

Apollo tries to exchange a few words before charging in, but Zealot will only take freedom or death; everybody begins shooting at Eye of the Storm. OMAC attempts to get in the way, but the damages loosen Engineer’s control in him, so he turns against her and begins helping. Even Henry acts against her; his programming won’t let him cut her, but he can still cut through the atoms around Jenny. This causes quarks to enter her skull, setting off tiny synaptic fissions in her brain. Jenny wakes up with a bang, causing Eye of the Storm to crash into Moscow. While Midnighter and Apollo climb out of the rubble, they wonder if they’re the only survivors; all they know is it’s the end of StormWatch. Zealot proposes Midnighter to come with her to visit the stars, but he chooses to stay. After all, he’s not straight, and he proves this by kissing Apollo. This might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. The End!

Question is… where does the team go from there? What happened to the remaining members of StormWatch? Although we won’t find out until later, everybody has arrived in an alternate reality, one where powerful aliens known as the Kollective want to replace StormWatch with a new team. What’s more, back in their native Earth, the shadow lords still think they have lost a member, and they aren’t happy about it… This is not an end, but the beginning!

Next: “Stormwatch” Vol.3 issues 19 – 22, written by Jim Starlin.