Written by Matthew Rosenberg
Okay, so these issues set up a whole new reality for the Wildstorm characters in the DCU; a new past and new looks that don’t mesh at all with what came before, but maybe we can chalk it up to the universe reset that happened after the events of “Death Metal.”
In this new timeline, Cole Cash was in Team 6 instead of Team 7, or perhaps before that. Team 6 was comprised of Cole, going by Deadeye, his brother Max, going by Grifter, Deathblow, Lynch, and appearing for the first time ever, Holden Carver, Marc Slayton and Christie Blaze!
Years ago, Team 6 was ambushed by Mr. Freeze and the terrorist organization known as the Kobra cult in Midway City. It went badly and Cole and his brother were shot before the Superman and Wonder Woman appeared and saved the day. Around that time, Bruce Wayne partnered with the up-and-coming company Halo, who was doing groundbreaking work in the field of biotech. They saved Cole’s life, but the materials used in the procedure were still being developed and there wasn’t enough for both brothers. Cole was deemed the better candidate, so Max died. Afterwards, Cole inherited his Grifter mask and codename from him. While recovering, he met Lucius Fox, the man for whom he’d work in the future.
After that, Cole started working for Halo, led by Jacob Marlowe, and joined his WildC.A.Ts (!). Six months ago, Halo had set up Cole with a fake job as a thug who made sure lowlives paid their debts, and a fake identity by passing as his own brother, Max. This attracts the spy organization Leviathan, as Halo planned. Leviathan wants Cole to prove itself by killing Lucius Fox, but he turns things around by saving Lucius to score himself a job with him – a long con to get into Wayne Enterprises’ main computer and steal all their info on Batman. During this event, we briefly get a glimpse of someone who looks like Voodoo.
One evening, Cole, who dislikes being called Grifter now, asks The Penguin for help to meet Nora Fries, the supervillain wife of Mr. Freeze. During the gathering, Penguin asks why the name “Marlowe” keeps coming up around Cole, but he refuses to answer and things seem to turn violent. The details afterwards are sketchy, but Nora seems to have been drafted into the Wildcats, and the whole thing is made to look like Nora was killed by Zealot. After the meeting, Grifter is harrassed by Batman, but he refuses to tell him anything and hilariously kicks him in the nuts, to no result.
Later, Grifter saves Lucius from an assassination attempt from Leviathan. He gets wounded in the neck, but the wound closes quickly with what seems to be rapid healing. He meets Chance Adibi, global security head for Wayne Enterprises, and his boss. That night, Grifter gets caught in the middle of a skirmish between Red Hood, one of Batman’s groupies, and supervillain Toyman. This time Cole manages to knock out Red Hood and again he drafts the villain into his Wildcats, replacing Toyman with a fake corpse.
Cole’s main plan is still to access Wayne Enterprises’ main computer, and for that he steals a security card. However, that only allows him access to the computer room, not the network. For that, Cole sleeps with Chance. In the afterglow, she asks him why she can’t find anything about his past, and Cole amusingly answers it’s something “that’s a lifetime ago and a universe away from here.” After Chance leaves, Cole clones her computer’s hard drive with Ladytron’s help to be able to access the Wayne Enterprises network. This, of course, was bait laid out by Chance, who doesn’t trust Cole.
The next day, Grifter meets Bruce Wayne, who says John Lynch recommended Cole to him and wants Cole to work for him. However, Cole pretends he’s never heard that name. After that, Bruce changes to his Batman persona and helps Cole escape from an ambush from the Black Mask Gang, who are seeking payback because it looks like Grifter is killing Gotham criminals. When they’re done beating up the bad guys, Batman wants to interrogate Cole about the corpses, too, but Cole is teleported away by Void.
Later, Cole finally accesses the Wayne Enterprises network, but it turns out the Batman files are even above the head of security’s clearance. Cole will need to get into Lucius own computer; for that purpose, he hires contract killer Deathstroke to pretend to fight him. They make sure to attract as much attention as possible to set up a trap to catch Batman, but instead Superman arrives and botches the plan. At the same time, Leviathan assaults Wayne Enterprises. Cole escapes by teleport, but since he can’t save Lucius in time, he sends Zealot instead. This is the last straw for Lucius, who fires Cole.
Out of options to get into the Wayne Building, Cole crawls back to Leviathan and convinces them he was working to bring all the data to them. They agree to help him get into the building, but instead of being a small-scale operation like Cole planned, they bring in an army and Cole needs to fight back. He gets help from Batman and his sidekick Nightwing, with whom Cole exchanges some witty dialogue. Ultimately, Cole manages to get Lucius into the main server room which hosts the Batman computer, the only computer in the world that has access to all of Batman’s files. He steals all the data, and teleports in his WildC.A.Ts team: Zealot, Deathblow, Caitlin Fairchild, Void, some kind of android built by Toyman who might be Spartan, and Nora Fries. This Caitlin seems to have the ability to increase her mass and go from looking like a little girl to a hulking giant, kind of like Maul. After defeating the bad guys, the Wildcats leave, promising this will all make sense later.
- Max Cash is dead?! But he appeared in the pages of “Grifter” back in 2011!
- In the pages of “Team 7”, Cole gave a different reason for wearing his mask, but in this comic/universe reshuffle, it’s passed down from his brother.
- In this comic onwards, Zannah hates being called Zealot. However, that wasn’t the case according to her appearances in “Deathstroke” and “Stormwatch.”
- Deathblow is black in this appearance, but he was white in his appearances in “Superman“, “Grifter” and “Teen Titans“.
- Why does Caitlin look so much different and younger than her appearances in “Team 7”, “Ravagers“, “Supergirl” “Batgirl“, “Legion Lost“, “Superboy” and “Teen Titans“?
- Which of the tree Ladytrons shown in DC is the Wildcats member? The one from “Grayson“, the one from “Teen Titans” or the one from “Team 7“?
- And finally, why doesn’t Nightwing remember Grifter from the time they tangled during his days as Agent 37 in “Grayson“?
Next: “Batman: Urban Legends” issue 6, written by Matthew Rosenberg
Wildstorm appearances in the DC Universe: #384