Tag Archives: Grifter

“Future’s End” issues 31 – 48

Written by Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen.

Wildstorm Concepts: WildCATS - Grifter WildCATS - Voodoo stormwatch StormWatch - The Carrier authority-engineer

All-star Western 3After the Cadmus island crisis is over, Cole needs to readjust to society. He’s a wanted man, so his new friend Lana Lang offers him to make him a new identity as “Mr. Lang” He is now married! Cole contacts his IT guy, Justin, but just as soon Fifty Sue finds him.

Meanwhile, Voodoo’s team of baddass chicks has gone from “kill Fifty Sue” to “work with Fifty Sue” to “reclaim the DNA vault that sank in the ocean.” As it turns out, when Cadmus Island blew up its DNA bank sank, and all of Cadmus’ men perished with Brother Eye. That means it’s up to Voodoo’s team, along with Cole and Fifty Sue, who know calls herself Sequel in honour of Deathstroke. Cole, Justin and Voodoo reunite after long weeks, and Voodoo is stoked to see Cole alive, what with being his on and off lover and all.

Unexpectedly, Lana lives up to being Fifty Sue’s mother figure and convinces her to stop misusing her powers and calling herself Sequel. Sue agrees to help the mission and simply teleports the vault into the building. Thinking she’s too dangerous, one of Voodoo’s girls, Mercy, goes ahead and kills Sue; Mercy’s touch is mortal. Cole can’t believe Voodoo would accept a hit on a girl just for money, and things get cold between them. However, Sue was simply pretending. She was alive, and teleports Lana, Cole and the vault to the Sahara desert. Cole realizes if Lana’s Sue’s mum, he’s expected to be the dad. He’s not happy about this. While she’s at it, Sue also collects Justin, to act as he loving “older brother”. A happy ending.

As for Voodoo, she gets to live on the countryside acting as Faraday’s bodyguard. He’s scared Brother Eye will take over everything, so he hides in a bunker underground. Voodoo gets to have the house on the surface.

Meanwhile, StormWatch’s leap of faith pays off as they arrive on Earth. Engineer is so happy to see her teammate Hawkman alive that she can’t stop making out with him. Suddenly, the rests of the Carrier are latched on by a tractor beam from the Ant Farm, S.H.A.D.E.’s headquarters. Father Time, S.H.A.D.E.’s leader, says Brainiac is coming, and he’s the worst threat either organization has faced. So they need to borrow Engineer – whether she wants it or not. The two groups begin fighting, but Atom shrinks inside Father Time’s body, and starts fighting with his brain. Father Time reveals he only wants to murder Engineer – Brainiac took his entire race, and he’ll do anything to stop him from doing the same to the human race. He believes Engineer is compromised, that she’s his agent now. Ultimately, Atom stops Father Time and takes control of S.H.A.D.E. Frankenstein says whatever’s coming will be stopped by him and his new teammates – as the new StormWatch.

Soon after, Brainiac arrives on Earth’s proximity. StormWatch warns the Justice League, but right at the same Engineer is taken over by Brainiac again – as Father Time had feared. She takes down her teammates, breaks the Carrier’s hull and heads towards her master. She starts building a giant Brainiac head, while Brainiac heads to Earth and begins trapping New York City in a giant dome. StormWatch and some Justice League members approach the giant head, but when Hawkman touches it he disappears in a flash. Turns out this Brainiac is a god who lives outside of time and space, and all the different versions of Brainiac we have seen through the decades were mere avatars of this big one. He’s been trapping cities from all over the multiverse and storing them in his Blood Moon, including the original Wildstorm reality. And now he wants to do the same to New York.

Atom shrinks down to get inside the machine, where she finds Engineer in the center of all the different realities stored in there. She was the nexus, so Atom cuts down the cables around her and shuts down the machine. No longer able to send a signal to his Moon, Brainiac switches to manual mode, and starts elevating the city towards space. Right at the same time, Brother Eye spreads through the city, promising to protect it. Earth’s heroes make use of this, using Brother Eye’s technology along with The Atom’s powers to shrink down Brainiac until he’s no longer a threat. Afterwards, Superman uses all his strength to catch the falling city.

Once the Brainiac crisis is over, Eye reveals his hand, reveling itself against the heroes and killing Batman Beyond. The rest of the heroes prepare a desperate plan: Tim Drake puts on the Batman Beyond cowl and travels to the past once more. There, he stops Brother Eye from letting passage to the Earth-2 citizens, thereby stopping the Earth-2 War. When he goes back to the future, however, the doomed reality still exists. He failed. Brother Eye still has the control. It’s a very disappointing ending to all these chapters, but I guess they wanted to keep selling Batman Beyond’s adventures. The story will go on in the pages of “Batman Beyond” but it won’t have anything to do with Wildstorm.

Next: “Convergence” issues 1 – 2, written by Jeff King & Scott Lobdell.

 

Advertisements

“Future’s End” issues 0 – 30

Written by Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen.

Wildstorm Concepts: WildCATS - Grifter WildCATS - Voodoo stormwatch StormWatch - The Carrier authority-engineer authority-jack-hawksmoor authority-apollo authority-midnighter

All-star WesternThis is a long, complex story, so I’ll focus on the Wildstorm segments exclusively.

Thirty five years from the present, the artificial intelligence Brother Eye took over the world and assimilated nearly all human life, turning people into mindless killer androids. The remaining superheroes have a desperate plan – to turn off something called the Firestorm Battery, so that Brother Eye won’t be able to continue powering his satellite and controlling Earth’s heroes. Grifter and Amethyst are tasked with it, but their planned distraction goes awry and they’re found. Soon after, an assimilated Green Lantern vaporizes the two of them. With no other options, Batman Beyond (Terry McGinnis) travels to the past to stop that reality from taking place, to murder the man responsible. However, he and his helper A.I. A.L.F.R.E.D. miss the target date and instead of arriving in the present they arrive five years from now, where Brother Eye’s plans are already in play. That’s the premise of the story. Every issue takes place in an alternate timeline, five years in the future and disconnected from the other DC Comics.

Brother Eye is an artificial intelligence built by heroes Batman and Mr. Terrific in 2011. It was first created within the satellite known as Brother I, using Mother Box technology from the alien world of Apokolips. It was originally created to monitor the activities of Metahumans, vigilantes and other superpowered individuals to protect humanity. However, Brother Eye quickly gained sentience and went rogue, prompting the Justice League to shut it down. However, it managed to rise again, only to be shut down, several other times. It was defeated by the organization Checkmate and the Justice League International before jumping to a new satellite. By this point, its Apokoliptan origins drove Eye mad. Its quest to stop humanity’s differences compelled it to attempt to impose a complete, draconian order and uniformity to all humans, an action which led it to believe itself to be a God as well as the Anti-Life Equation.

In this bigger body he learned about alternate Earths, especifically Earth-2, which he kept a lookout for. He witnessed its population losing a war against Apokolips, so he sent a beacon to try and rescue the survivors. The peple from Earth-2 were able to follow the signal and jump to Earth-0, but they were followed by Apokolips’ forces. Some heroes from Earth-2 attempted to self-destruct their ships to let the others escape, so Eye teleported them inside its satellite. Soon after he was boarded by agents of Project Cadmus, led by Slade Wilson. They kidnapped the heroes from Earth-2 and tried to shut down Brother Eye, who transferred its intelligence to the Cadmus shuttle. Going back to Earth with them, Eye landed on Cadmus Island, where Cadmus hid all of the Earth-2 superheroes to experiment on them. Brother Eye hid on the island’s systems, awaiting to act while playing along as Mister Terrific’s AI. Ironically, Batman Beyond is followed when he travels through time by a killer android, and Terrific stumbles upon this robotic corpse, giving him the means to develop the technology which will create the doomed future.

Meanwhile, all the other Earth-2 survivors landed in Earth, followed by the endless Apokolips troops. As Earth started defending itself, what followed was called the Earth-2 war. After the war, the governments of the world responded with hostility to the new interdimensional refugees, and scientists such as Mister Terrific developed new ways to detect who is from Earth or who is, in fact, an Earth 2 alien.

StormWatch in this timeline has a different lineup; they have lost Jenny and the Projectionist and gained Hawkman (Katar Hol) and Mermaid (Nina Mazursky). They were travelling the Bleed in the Carrier when an unknown force pulls them out into the Huron System, in the farthest reaches of known space. They lose control of the Carrier, which starts attacking them, and Engineer is taken over by Brainiac, who speaks through her and says everything StormWatch has done was in preparation for the ultimate threat; he is the storm they were created for. Apollo flies outside to try to find what’s causing all this, but he’s immediately vaporized! The mysterious enemy infiltrates the Carrier and causes it to self-destruct.

StormWatch - Headquarters

Back on Earth, paranormal organization S.H.A.D.E. sends agent Frankenstein, the Atom and Amethyst into the rests of the Carrier to seek out survivors. They find the corpses of everybody but Engineer and Apollo, and it turns out Hawkman isn’t really dead – the Nth metal in his body always brings him back. Suddenly, his StormWatch emergency communicator starts going off – Engineer is alive, and calling for help. All the heroes but Atom track the signal to a nearby planet, but the ship shuts down as they hit the atmosphere. They crash into a technological world and are swarmed by Brainiac’s robots – among them, an assimilated Engineer. She takes the heroes out, and they spend the next few weeks locked in a prison. They are visited by the controlled Engineer, who wishes to take them to her master. She reveals they aren’t in a planet, but rather in Brainiac’s spaceship, the size of a planet: The Blood Moon. Back on the rests of the Carrier, Atom is visited by the Shadow Lords, who name him the new leader of StormWatch; of a new team for a new era.

Back in the Blood Moon, StormWatch is taken in front of Brainiac, who is a giant now, but suddenly Atom shows up, and he brings Black Adam with him. The heroes start fighting Brainiac and his minions. They know they can’t win, so they take Angie by force and escape in the Atom’s ship. They’re chased by many robots, but once they’re far away from the Blood Moon Angie returns to normal. They arrive on the rests of the Carrier with the evil robots behind them. Atom begins giving out orders like a good leader, telling Engineer to reboot what’s left of the Carrier. However, they lost their navigation system, so they can make a jump, but they could end up anywhere. Needing to get rid of all those robots, they make a jump for it…

Meanwhile, Grifter is back in the game of seeking out daemonites and slaughtering them. What’s more, his powers have been developing so now he can spot not only daemonites, but also Martians, Earth-2 doppelgangers, all kinds of undercover life forms. He now works with a guy named Justin; he’s Cole’s tech guy, cataloguing alien types, adapting their technology so that he can use it against them, keeping tabs on those they know about. Cole found him after he was tracking daemonites to Justin’s home; his parents had given up their bodies to daemonites and they were about to do the same thing to Justin. After Cole saved him, they started working together. Presently, Cole brought a living daemonite to Justin, who is experimenting with it and trying to create a dispersible agent to kill them in clusters.

Justin informs Cole he’s being tracked; an agent called King Faraday disguised himself as an FBI Agent and is hoping Grifter gets one tiny scratch in one of his missions so that he can be identified on one of his crime scenes. Unable to get to him through conventional means, King teleports right next to Cole and shoots him in the back. If he wants to heal his spine, he’ll have to agree to King’s request to go work for him. He takes Cole to Cadmus Island, where he’s healed through their superior technology and forced to work alongside Slade Wilson, Deathstroke. They are followed around by Fifty Sue – a nearly omnipotent girl who gets pissed off easily, Cadmus’ first attempt at creating a superhuman. Cole’s job is to use his detecting powers to seek out any hidden superhumans – Cadmus wants to collect them and experiment on them.

After Cole has been gone for a few weeks, Justin does what they had previously agreed in case anything happened to Grifter – to go with Voodoo. She agrees to take him in. In this timeline, Voodoo works for black ops – she did dirty missions for the government that were needed during the Earth 2 war. But now they are sending goons against her, trying to take her out. Voodoo and her girls decide to go straight to the source and confront their old boss: Sargent Rock. He explains he only ever sent “loose end operatives” against them – people he needed to get rid of. He knew the girls were never in any real danger. In fact, he wanted to attract their attention. He reveals he worked for Cadmus all along, and now he needs the girls’ help: He wants to take out Fifty Sue, who is too powerful to be controlled.

Back in the island, Cole is attacked by a mysterious invisible robot – an OMAC, as they call the guards in the island. Investigating, they come across a researcher from Earth 2, Lana Lang, who joins Fifty Sue’s happy family. It seems the island has been experiencing several glitches, like the stealth OMACs or the fact that the chips installed in the Earth-2 captives have been growing in size somehow. Suddenly, all of the captives start being controlled through their chips, and they escape from their cells and take over the island. Having been chipped, Cole is controlled too. Brother Eye has made his move; it knows a group of superheroes are coming to rescue the trapped Earth-2 heroes. Cole is put to sleep and along with Fifty Sue, Lana and Deathstroke they manage to escape. Sue teleports and faces Brother Eye, where they strike a mysterious deal. Stripping Cole from his chip, the team regroups with Faraday and they head to a bunker.

Grifter reveal his power has evolved to the point he can spot superhumans from normal people, and Faraday is one of them. Deathstroke is mad that Cole didn’t tell them, but Cole never agreed to go to the island to start with. Tired of all the danger, Faraday simply uses his powers and teleports away. Fifty Sue doesn’t care – she has an evil computer overlord to beat. However, Brother Eye plays mind games when it shows Sue a recording of Deathstroke agreeing to protect Eye until it can be plugged outside the island, onto the world’s systems. Grifter doesn’t know about this, though. He wants to get out of the island, but all of the boats are fitted with retinal scan security, and Deathstroke’s the only one with access. And he says they’ve stil gotten work to do: the island has a vault filled with DNA samples, and he wants to secure it.

Faraday teleports to Las Vegas, to Sargeant Rock, and Fifty Sue goes after him with a mere thought. She throws him a tantrum because of being betrayed by Deathstroke, saying she wants a new team to take him down. Right at that moment, Voodoo walks in, having the ideal team with her. At the same time, a group of heroes lead by Green Arrow storms the island, and begins battling Brother Eye’s OMACs. Seeing them, Deathstroke shows his true allegiance and attempts to shoot Cole, but he’s killed by Fury, a heroine. Green Arrow hits the failsafe Cadmus has installed. As everybody leaves by boat, including Grifter, the island blows up. What they don’t know is Brother Eye is catching a ride with them, hidden in one of their cell phones.

To be continued…

Next: “Future’s End: Teen Titans” issue 1, written by Will Pfeifer.

“Voodoo” vol.2 issue 0 and “Grifter” vol.3 issues 13 – 16

Voodoo written by Joshua Williamson, Grifter issues #13-14 written by Rob Liefeld with dialogue by Frank Tieri; issues #15-16 written by Frank Tieri

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

All-star WesternThese issues serve as more of an epilogue than anything, as the writers needed to close their plot threads. The bigger story all the Wildstorm books had been building to was cancelled by the editorial, putting a hold to it with Superman Annual #1. So there wasn’t much the writers could do in these pages.

Voodoo #0 was the last issue of the book to be published. So while issues #0 were meant to explain the past of each character, the writer is forced to put some scenes in the present to be able to finish his book. Most of the pages are dedicated to showing us Priscilla’s experience when she was kidnapped by the daemonites, when she was turned into a daemonite hybrid before she escaped and got caught by the Black Razors. It’s nothing that we hadn’t been told through dialogue in previous issues. The final pages are what adds new material: Picking up from Priscilla’s psychic vision in which she was told to help Grifter, Priscilla leaves the Black Razors and finds Cole.

Grifter’s book picks up after Cole escaped from Helspont and made it back to Earth. He and Deathblow go separate ways and Cole is contacted by Warick; the person who rescued him from the daemonites when he was kidnapped and given his powers at the beginning of this mess. He explains everything to Cole about his experiments and all the times the daemonites erased his memory. Now that Cole managed to walk away from meeting Helspont, Warick feels he’s ready to join his rebellion. Helspont might have killed all the daemonites that were planning to invade Earth, but there’s still a secret group: Tsavo’s faction, the ones who’ve been screwing with Cole from the start. Warick proposes bringing their actions to the light of day so that they daemonites are exposed, rendering them unable to start all over again. But to find the necessary proof they’re going to need to steal it from the organizations that have them.

Grifter remembers the information that Eos downloaded into his brain; Eos was Helspont’s ship that he found during his visit to the Himalayas, but it is only named now. Cole now knows StormWatch is the most likely to have useful data. But their base is hidden in hyperspace; he needs to figure out a way to get in. This is when Voodoo finds him, offering to join the team.

Guided by Warick, she and Cole infiltrate S.T.A.R. Labs, where they find a prototype teleportation platform that will help Cole reach Eye of the Storm. He says goodbye to Voodoo by stealing a kiss from her; wow! To think they had only known each other for two pages. By the way, this finishes Voodoo’s role in the story. Wow.

Sneaking into StormWatch’s base is no easy task; he’s detected by the ship’s avatar, Charlie. It alerts Apollo and Midnighter, but Cole is able to defeat both of them because his telekinetic abilities have improved just that much. It’s a pretty unbelievable situation. Cole reaches the ship’s main computer, where he learns how to find the info he’s after – through Amanda Waller, her partner during their Team 7 days! She has files on everyone on the planet. He hacks into her computer and downloads all of her data. Cole says goodbye to the computer by installing a virus on it, which angers Charlie enough to hijack Cole’s teleporting coordinates. Instead of going back to Warick, Cole ends up in the middle of the Belle Reve High Security Prison; headquarters of the Suicide Squad, Amanda Waller’s team. And they aren’t happy about having been hacked.

This is here main writer Rob Liefeld leaves the book. By this point the cancellation had already been announced, so writer Frank Tieri didn’t have a lot of time to fix things. In fact, he was only meant to have one issue, but some merciful editor extended it to two.

Cole attempts to escape from the Suicide Squad; it helps that his abilities have improved to the point where he can stop a bullet mid-air. They are too many for him, though, so he’s captured and taken to Waller. He tries to explain to her that he’s in a rebellion movement against the daemonites, but she’s not convinced. She’s met the rebellion’s leader, Warick, before. In one of her missions with the government she had to snuck into the rebellion and studied Warick’s past, learning that he’s been in and out of several mental asylums. This is why Waller dismisses the daemonites as a lie. Cole is astounded to hear about Warick’s past. Now he doesn’t know what to believe.

This is where the last issue begins. There is a scene in which Cole remembers everything he’s gone through; one of the memories shows his girlfriend Gretchen dying in his hands. However, this never happened, she was abducted by the Black Curate. Or maybe it happened in scenes we didn’t get to see. Oh well.

Waller lets Cole go, knowing he will lead her straight to Warick. Cole arranges a meeting with his boss in a zoo, where he demands answers. Warick explains he’s only been in asylums because no one believed his stories about the daemonites, but Cole isn’t convinced… There are too many lies, too many secrets around him. He tries to walk away from the resistance, but Warick can’t let his only weapon go. The two of them start brawling and hitting the crap of each other, but they are interrupted by Waller and several government soldiers. Cole has to decide if he’ll side with Warick of if he’ll hand him in; but before he can make a choice Warick decides to jump into a cage with polar bears and kill himself. Somehow, Cole is moved by this act. If Warick is willing to go that far to protect the rebellion, then it might just be real.

Cole visits his brother’s grave and thinks about his next step. He decides he needs some time as a regular person; time to find himself with no resistances or aliens. Grifter’s tale comes to an end… for now. Helspont is glad Warick and his resistance are out of the way; and now now Grifter is out of his affairs. For now… let it so remain.

Next: Red Hood and the Outlaws issues 12 – 14, written by Scott Lobdell.

“Superman” Vol.3 Annual 1

Plot by Scott Lobdell, dialogue by Fabian Nicieza

Wildstorm Concepts: Deathblow WildCATS - Helspont stormwatch WildCATS - Daemonites WildCATS - Grifter WildCATS - Lord Defile

 

All-star WesternThis is it, the big issue that brings all the storylines together. After recovering the Blue Flame from “Voodoo”, Helspont makes his ship visible over Metropolis, defying Superman to come face him. He shows him his true abilities now, including a new and sleeker suit created with the remains from several alien species. Helspont throws Superman against the moon with a single punch; no big deal for him, he has killed Kryptonians before. His old crew starts spreading out around the globe, searching for alien races to recruit. They are his most faithful men, those with whom Helspont shared his Blue Flame powers so many years ago: Salu, Biomass (a titanothrope; NOT the same Biomass from the “Majestic” series), Quom (not to be confused with Quon?), an unnamed old lady and Lord Defile, with his Worldstorm look. Helspont plans to build the “Union of the Thirteen Scions of Salvation”, a council of species which used to be a fairy tale in which the universe was led properly and fairly.

Salu finds the Martian Manhunter, Quom finds Starfire and Defile meets Hawkman; they tell them about the idea before Helspont summons his men to regroup.

When Superman wakes up from his beating, he finds himself inside Grifter’s escape pod, right after Cole and Deathblow escaped from Helspont. I suppose this means Helspont changed costumes in less than five minutes. The three heroes are intercepted by Biomass, so Superman fights him and throws him into Helspont’s ship. Helspont is amused to see the kryptonian, and he orders his troops to kill as many daemonites from Earth as they can. This is the great “alien extinction” heralded in the issue’s cover. Most daemonites on Earth die, and their invasion plans are destroyed. It’s also safe to assume Myev died too. Helspont sends their pain straight to Superman’s mind, subjugating him; Superman is merely an amusement to him. He explains that Superman is actually helping his plans through his constant protection of Earth, since Helspont wouldn’t want his future kingdom to be destroyed.

He leaves him after these words, leaving Superman confused and helpless; even when he’s just doing the right thing he’s still helping Helspont. And he doesn’t know when Helspont will decide to begin his harvest. With all the invading daemonites killed off by Helspont, things come to a pause; this feels like the ending to the first chapter of Wildstorm’s narrative in the new DC Universe.

Next: Voodoo Vol.2 issue 0 and Grifter Vol.2 issues 13 – 16, written by Joshua Williamson, Rob Liefeld and Frank Tieri.

“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.

“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

“Team 7” Vol.2 issues 0 – 7, “Deathstroke” Vol.2 issue 0 and “Secret Origins” Vol.3 issue 11

“Team 7” written by Justin Jordan with dialogue by Tony Bedard; “Deathstroke” written by Rob Liefeld; “Secret Origins” written by Christy Marx

Wildstorm concepts: gen13-lynch wildcats-grifter team-7 gamorra-island gen13-alex-fairchild gen13-caitlin-fairchild kaizen-gamorra wildcats-ladytron wildcats-majestic wildcats-spartan

all-star-westernI was torn about the placing of these issues, given that they include a little scene taking place in the present, but I think it is fine to read them this early on. Team 7 in this continuity takes place five years before the “present”, unlike the much older original Team 7. They are the government’s reaction to the appearance of superheroes; they want a team capable of responding to them, of taking them down if need be. So they assemble a team of the best of the best, hoping they’ll be able to develop a metagene.

It all begins after Superman defeated Brainiac and made himself known to the world in the pages of “Action Comics”. The government’s first attempt at creating a super soldier, the Steel Soldier Project, failed during that crisis, so now they’re looking for an alternative. And John Lynch is a man with ideas. After Brainiac the government isolated something in the human genome that gives people superpowers; the metagene. Just like in the Wildstorm universe, there exists a gen-factor that makes people receptive to gaining powers.

Lynch comes up with Team 7 and the Majestic Project; the Team 7 members will be administered drugs and put under genetic experiments hoping that the extreme situations they’re constantly put into will awake any latent superpower in them. A bit like Project Genesis for the Gen13, or like the original Team 7, innit?

A team is put together: Dinah Lance, an infiltrator (who will become the superheroine Black Canary in the present), her husband Kurt Lance, a tracker, Slade Wilson, tactical genius (who will become Deathstroke), Alex Fairchild, weapons expert, James Bronson, a driven utility player, Summer Ramos, pilot, Cole Cash, Special Forces veteran (Grifter), Amanda Waller, NSA analyst and loan to the army, and Dean Higgins, strategy. If they seem like way too many, it’s because they are. There are way too many nobodies on the team and all of them wear generic military costumes. On the cover to the first issue they wear some funny looking armours and masks to help differentiate one another, but it’s worth nothing they never wear them inside. At least we got two recognizable Wildstorm characters in the mix.

There is a tenth team member mentioned in “Black Canary” Vol.4 issue 9: Some guy called Valentine Chan, who apparently was thrown out early on for being too violent. “Deathstroke” Vol.2 issue 0 also includes a consultant called Adeline Kane to the team. This is the woman who will become Deathstroke’s wife in the future. None of these two characters are actually seen during this series. Continue reading “Team 7” Vol.2 issues 0 – 7, “Deathstroke” Vol.2 issue 0 and “Secret Origins” Vol.3 issue 11