Tag Archives: Matthew Rosenberg

“Batman: Urban Legends” issues 1 – 5

Written by Matthew Rosenberg

Wildstorm concepts: Christie Blaze Holden Carver Team 6 Wildstorm Khera Backlash Halo WildCATS - Ladytron II Gen13 - Caitlin Fairchild WildCATS - Zealot Deathblow WildCATS - Max Cash WildCATS - Grifter WildCATS - Voodoo gen13-lynch Void Emp Wildcats

ul1Okay, 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.

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.

WildcatsOut 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.

Continity Corner:

  • 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.Team 7
  • In this comic onwards, Zannah hates being called Zealot. However, that wasn’t the case according to her appearances in “Deathstroke” and “Stormwatch.”Zealot
  • 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“?Ladytron
  • And finally, why doesn’t Nightwing remember Grifter from the time they tangled during his days as Agent 37 in “Grayson“?Grayson 17
    Next:
    “Batman: Urban Legends” issue 6, written by Matthew Rosenberg

    Wildstorm appearances in the DC Universe: #384

“Future State: Dark Detective” issues 1 and 3

Written by Matthew Rosenberg

Wildstorm concepts: WildCATS - Grifter

dd1

The “Future State” event, showcasing an alternate possible future, serves as a sampler for a new era of Wildstorm stories throughout the year. In Midnighter’s case, his Future State story is a direct prelude to what will happen in the present through time travel, but Grifter’s story is more of a tone setter and won’t be referenced when we get back to present day. What matters is we get a feel for Matthew Rosenberg’s style on Cole, which is a bit too irreverent and playing the character for a loser for my taste, but I recognise and admire his Wildstorm passion as he imaginatively self promotes his Grifter stories on social media week after week. He had already written about Wildstorm in an issue of Black Canary, so we’ve known he’s a fan for a while.

This story begins with Grifter playing cards in a sleazy Gotham bar in the year 2025, a future where the city is under control of the para-militeary force known as the Magistrate, who have outlawed all masks, and claim to have killed the Batman. Although Cole is using a fake name, he’s still Cole, so gets caught cheating; but he promptly resolves the situation via a knife hidden in his sleeve. What bugs me about this opening is Cole reflects on how nobody would have called him a hero, he just got shit done. I’m not sure I agree with this – Cole was a baddass, but he still was altruistic since the first issue of Wildcats. But regardless. Cole is visited by Police, who expose his real identity and cause everyone in the bar to attack him. Cole flees, which turns the simple police bussiness into Magistrate bussiness, who arrest Cole for being an ex-mask, just to finish their round-up. Cole ends up in the back of a car with Luke Fox, ex-Batwing. Luke pleads Cole to use his contacts and find him a way out of the city, saying he owes the Fox family for what he did to his father. What happened between Cole and Lucius Fox? We’ll learn that in a couple of issues in the present day, in “Batman: Urban Legends.” Cole wants to refuse, but can’t say no to an access card to an untraceable account with fifty thousand dollars. So they escape, but they stumble upon a gang, the Black Mask Syndicate, to whom Cole owes money. Escaping again, Cole reaches his contact who can help Luke escape: Huntress of the Bat-Family! Problem is, Cole was followed by the magistrate, so, again– escape time! This would get repetitive if the dialogue wasn’t so comedic. Huntress’ secret escape route out of Gotham is through the docks, using the Black Mask Syndicate as transportation there. However, they’re so pissed off with Cole that the only way of convincing them is for Cole to hand in his money. This convinces Luke that he’s a good man, and Cole admits he did it for whatever happened with Luke’s father–Lucius–but it’s not nearly enough to pay the debt. When they finally reach the dock, they find an undetectable submarine. However, that’s when they’re raided by the magistrate: turns out it was all an act from Luke to get Huntress arrested! Luke can’t help himself and lets Cole escape to the submarine, but Cole prefers to stay and help Huntress escape, instead. He’s doomed to a life of imprisonment in Blackgate, now, but his conscience is clean. And hey, it’s better than his fate in the Flashpoint alternate future…

Next: “DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration” issue 1 and “DC Pride” issue 1

“Black Canary” Vol 4 issue 9

Written by Matthew Rosenberg

Wildstorm Concepts: gen13-alex-fairchild wildcats-grifter team-7

 

All-Star WesternThis issue shows us what Dinah has been up to after the Birds of Prey: she occupied herself with a rock band.

During one of their gigs she meets Valentine Chan, whom she recognizes. Apparently, he was in Team 7 with her. It seems likely he was thrown out for being too violent, because his job nowadays is to be an assassin. We don’t find out a lot more, because they only share old memories for one panel before getting on with the story – It’s just a little retcon which adds another Team 7 member.

Next: “Batman & Robin Eternal” issues 23 – 26, written by James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder, Genevieve Valentine and Steve Orlando.