Tag Archives: Helspont

Grifter Vol.3 issues 9 – 12

Plot by Rob Liefeld, dialogue by Frank Tieri

Wildstorm Concepts:       Deathblow WildCATS - Grifter WildCATS - Helspont WildCATS - Daemonites

All-star Western.png         Liefeld takes over the writing duties, and the book becomes much more insane. We start off in the middle of an intense chase as Cole escapes from huge red daemonites. He’s showing superhuman shooting abilities, as his Chosen One powers keep on developing. He gets in a rough spot against an alien when he’s saved by Niko (Chesire), who is included into the cast for no clear reason. She explains to him that the daemonites aren’t just against him; they are doing a full-fledged alien invasion, and there exists a resistance who works against them. This is actually a branch of Warick’s resistance, but this won’t be revealed until later.

After Cole agrees to join their efforts he’s told that the daemonites are unleashing their “warrior class daemonites,” the red guys, because they’re preparing a big final invasion… and because they want to eliminate the Chosen One. This is the first Grifter hears about the Chosen One, and he thinks it’s the stupidest thing he’s ever heard. He’s even more amused to hear that the Chosen One is supposed to be him, a guy who’s spent his whole life cheating, lying and stealing from people. How does Niko know that Cole is the Chosen One, or that he’s a grifter? Something is up. Still, Grifter and Niko go to a rendezvous point, where they meet some allies, including Deathblow! In this timeline he doesn’t have any of his old background, yet he keeps his old look for some reason, like his Team 7 red marks.

As Cole and his new team of ragtag soldiers attempts to move to a new safe house, they’re intercepted by daemonites and their transport is destroyed. They get surrounded, so Cole is forced to awaken his Chosen One abilities: He can now read anyone’s mind and control objects through telekinesis. He’s even able to lift a dozen warrior daemonites and his truck into the air at the same time, throwing them off a cliff and saving the day.

The group reaches their safehouse, even though only Grifter, Niko, Deathblow and a guy named Buck survived. Cole is starting to suspect there’s a traitor among them: how could the daemonites know how to find them? Before they can discuss it, though, the safehouse is destroyed by a huge daemonite with human shape who calls himself Synge.

Although Synge never explains his origins; we learn later that daemonites originally looked human, so we can guess he’s ancient and a tough sucker. The good guys can barely scratch him, and Buck gets killed. In the end Cole manages to lead him to a nearby forest, where he puts the limit of his telekinesis to test and throws the entire forest on top of Synge. There’s no time to celebrate, though, as Niko reveals she was the traitor and shoots Cole and Deathblow down. She’s not being controlled by a daemonite; she simply sold herself out because she wants to be in the winning side. She takes them to her master, Helspont, and even Synge turns out to have survived.

Helspont is cheerful that the one threat he was constantly warned about, the Chosen One, is now captured by him. We find out that he started a secret faction, secretly helping the other daemonites with their invasion so that he’ll take the planet from them once they invade it. He’s also gotten a new stylish armour, apparently. Wishing to test Cole, he sets up a fake ship through psychic illusions and deals with him in this fake environment. He asks Cole to join him in taking the other daemonites down, but Cole just laughs. He had figured out Niko early on, so he let himself be captured to get close enough to the big bad to kick his ass. He claims he had even held back against Synge (even though his thoughts clearly showed he hadn’t). Anyhow, Deathblow fights against Niko while Cole goes against Helspont. He’s able to get Synge out of the way with a mere movement of his hand, and he overpowers Helspont psychically without much of an effort.

In the end, Cole kicks Helspont’s butt. At one point Helspont is so hurt that he starts looking like a regular daemonite, without his flame; but we’ll learn later that Helspont’s true face looks human, so this must have been a show put on by Helspont, considering this is all an illusion, to give Grifter hopes. Deathblow sets the ship to self-destruct and the good guys get on an escape pod. Of course, the entire time they had been inside a fake ship constructed by Helspont, so I guess only the escape pod was real? Helspont is satisfied; now he knows what he’s dealing with. The way he tested Cole is very similar to the way he tested Superman in “Superman”. He lets Grifter go; he’s not scared of his “Chosen One” abilities anymore, so he’s better off on Earth exterminating the daemonites who don’t work for Helspont. His true plan begins now.

Next: “I, Vampire” issues 12 – 13, written by Joshua Hale Fialkov.

Voodoo Vol.2 issues 5 – 12

Written by Joshua Williamson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Superman Vol.3 issues 7 – 8

Plot by Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen; dialogue by Keith Giffen

Wildstorm concepts:   WildCATS - Helspont WildCATS - Daemonites

All-star WesternThe story begins after Helspont arrived on Earth on the last issue. He built a series of Seekers, automatons servants; they aren’t held together by any power source but by a series of etched runes. They build a giant fortress for him in the Himalayas.

Helspont felt Superman’s presence as soon as he crashed there, so he dispatches a seeker into metropolis; a robot that starts shooting things up to evaluate Earth’s superhuman population and check if there’s anyone stronger than the Kryptonian. Superman defeats it, so Helspont feels this confirms what he thought and decides he’ll have Superman join his cause to defeat those who imprisoned him. Helspont sends the seeker against Superman once again, and then teleports them to his base in the Himalayas. Superman listens to Helspont as he monologues and reveals some differences between him and his Wildstorm version.

Helspont was in prison for a long time, so he’s outraged to find the world is not yet of daemonite dominion. He’s the one who put agents on Earth, so he feels he must reclaim control over his investment.

Helspont demands Superman to help him get revenge, and in return he’ll cede Earth to him to do with as he pleases. Of course, this leads to a fight scene, and Superman eventually causes Helspont to retreat and hide away. What he doesn’t know is that Helspont was merely containing himself, testing Superman.

Next: Voodoo Vol.2 issues 5 – 12, by Joshua Williamson.

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