Tag Archives: Joshua Williamson

Hawkman: Wanted

This entry covers the entire “Hawkman: Wanted” crossover, in this order:

  • Savage Hawkman issues 13 and 14
  • Deathstroke Vol.2 issue 14
  • Savage Hawkman issues 15 – 16

Plot by Rob Liefeld; Script by Frank Tieri in Hawkman and by Josh Williamson in Deathstroke

Wildstorm concepts:   Pike WildCATS - Daemonites

All-star WesternThis little crossover picks up where we left off in Hawkman, with Hawkman’s ex, Shayera having captured Carter and being about to bring him into her ship. She also holds Carter’s current girlfriend, Emma captive, simply because Carter cares for her. When they’re about to enter the ship, they’re surprised by the sudden appearance of supervillain Xerxes, who wants the NTH metal. Both Shayera’s and his army start fighting for the captive, but Xerxes is a bit more powerful and knocks Shayera out. In the middle of all the chaos, Pike feels things have gotten too messy for him and starts escaping, but Emma sneaks into his ship and holds him at gunpoint. Seems there was more to her than being a damsel in distress! Meanwhile, Carter starts fighting Xerxes and proves the superiority of the NTH metal by beating him once again. In the end, Emma and Carter tie up all of their enemies (Shayera, Pike and Xerxes) and line them up to decide what to do with them. Carter displays his usual intelligence and decides to leave them there, throwing their ships into a lake to keep them stranded. As they fly away, their enemies predictably decide to team up and resume hunting Hawkman. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, et cetera. The adventure continues in “Green Arrow”, but no Wildstorm characters appear in that one, so we can skip it.

The following chapter begins in Seattle, where Hawkman has teamed up with Green Arrow to fight off the Thanagar warriors going after him. He wants to find Shayera to see if she’ll restore the missing gaps in his memory, and perhaps he will be able to use that to prove he didn’t kill Corsair and end this hunt. Man, didn’t Pike say this was about Helspont attacking Thanagar? Did we forget about that? Oh, well. After defeating some winged warriors in a warehouse, our heroes notice they have portals connected to Thanagar with which they bring weaponry into Earth. Clearly there are more Thanagarians on Earth than they thought, and it can’t be all about Hawkman. Interrogating a Thanagarian, he admits they’re using Earth as a neutral ground for their war against the daemonites. Our heroes steal a phone device from the Thanagarians and track its signal to New York; that’s their new objective.

Little do they know, Shayera is staying in Aeria, the royal mobile castle-city of Thanagar, which remains cloaked in Earth’s upper stratosphere. Some soldiers need to report to their emperor… Corsar! It seems he wasn’t killed by Carter after all.

As it turns out, Thanagar’s scientists managed to keep Corsar alive by replacing much of his body with machinery. He opted to remain hidden though, knowing the charges against Hawkman were his best bet at getting Carter caught so that he could extract the NTH metal from him. Even after all this time, he’s still obsessed with the metal.

Corsar is reported that Hawkman hasn’t been captured yet, so he orders to open up a bounty to Earth bounty hunters. Pike is back, baby! But he’s not the only one who wants to take that prize. Hawkman must face Deathstroke first. Slade picks the job because he feels he needs to fix his reputation after he left Deadborn escape, but he won’t kill Hawkman. He only accepted because of the NTH metal involved; Slade’s armour is built of NTH too, and he’s always wondered where it comes from.

Hawkman doesn’t want help, though. The two of them fight for a while until Deathstroke forces Hawkman to tell him everything he knows about the metal. Slade doesn’t learn much beyond learning it’s of alien origin, but that’s enough for him. When he’s about to leave, the two of them are ambushed by Pike and Xerxes’ agents. Deathstroke is mad that Pike doesn’t know who he is, feeling his reputation should have preceded him, so the two mercenaries start fighting it out. Meanwhile, Hawkman handles Xerxes and his men. At some point, Carter decides to stop holding back – if they’re going to keep treating him as a murderer, maybe that’s what he’ll be. He starts slaughtering Xerxes’ forces, together with Slade, and he actually enjoys it. Hawkman embraces that he was built for battle and that it’s only in battle that he’s truly himself.

Once the killing is over, Slade notices a trail of blood left by Pike and Xerxes when they ran off. The heroes go separate ways, as Slade decides to go after the trail and Carter flies away to meet Emma in their safehouse. However, the place has been compromised. Carter enters to find Emma taken hostage by Thanagarian warriors, and Shayera waiting to ambush him. He gets captured, but when Shayera is about to make him board her ship, they receive a surprise visit: Corsar. Shayera is outraged that his brother wouldn’t tell her that he was alive, and now that it’s been proven Carter is innocent of his murder charges he wants to let him go. Corsar won’t have that though. They fly to Aerie, the royal city, which changes locations from Earth’s stratosphere to the sun’s orbit.

None of the experiments to pluck the NTH metal from Carter’s body work; Corsar is driven so mad that he turns against his sister, and starts choking her. When Hawkman tries to help her, he’s stopped by Thraxas, one of the great wise old men of Thanagar which acts as advisor to the emperor. He’s been the mastermind behind Corsar’s descent into madness. He suggests teleporting the NTH metal from Carter’s body directly into Corsar’s, a dangerous experiment which could risk both of their lives. No one in the room dares disagree, though.

When they begin the experiment, they neglected to notice Shayera had sabotaged the machinery, so the whole thing gets interrupted. Having switched to Carter’s side, she helps him and Emma escape. Regrettably, the sabotage also caused the mobile city to lose stability, so it starts falling into the sun. As their doom gets closer, Shayera decides to sacrifice herself and throw Carter and Emma into an escape pod. Our heroes can’t do anything but to watch as Aerie gets consumed by the sun’s flames, while their pod heads to Earth.

So that’s it for this story. Sadly, we never see if Deathstroke finds Pike, but I suppose it’s safe to guess he never did.

Next: “Ravagers” issues 5 – 7, written by Howard Mackie.

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“Deathstroke” Vol.2 issue 13

Plot by Rob Liefeld; dialogue by Joshua Williamson

Wildstorm Concepts: WildCATS - Zealot

All-star Western.pngThe writer from “Voodoo” joins the book to make things even more Wildstorm-centric! This little story shows Deathstroke haunted by the mercenary Deadborn, who had been hinted at in the first page of issue #9.

Deathstroke is sometimes called a workaholic, and you can’t argue with that when he thinks a night without a job is a boring night. His night gets a lot better when he’s surprised by Zealot, who got the hint from the last issue and is down for some sleeping around. Sadly, after the fun is over Deathstroke is bored again, because he’s not the type to cuddle. He’s never been happier to see a missile coming his way; and his room gets blown to pieces by Deadborn. Of course, Deathstroke is so cool that a little missile is nothing to him. They start fighting, and Slade is pissed that his reputation keeps bringing people to try to kill him.

Deadborn is actually Deathstroke’s biggest fan, even having modelled his costume after him. When he gets into a tight spot, Deathstroke gets saved by Zealot, so he ditches her because it’s important for his reputation that he wins this fight alone. Seriously? Anyway, Deadborn reveals he’s the government’s latest attempt at creating a super soldier after they were done with Deathstroke; in a way, they’re the same. In fact, he’s not looking to kill Deathstroke at all. He had been hired to do a trial run, to test if Deathstroke was at the top of his game. He gets defeated and loses an arm, but Deadborn leaves feeling like he’s won. It had all been a plot by Deathstroke’s wife and son, who are working together against their relative! We saw details of this during issue #0, from the “Team 7” era. That’s the cliffhanger we leave off in for now.

 

“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.

“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.