Tag Archives: Midnighter

“Grayson” issues 1 – 8

Written by Tim Seeley and Tom King.
Wildstorm Concepts: Authority - Apollo Authority - Doors Authority - Midnighter WildCATS - Nemesis

All-Star WesternMidnighter is on leave from Stormwatch after breaking up with Apollo. As it turned out, Lucas wasn’t Midnighter’s real name; he just made it up to feel closer to Apollo, who had an alter ego. Andrew felt lied to, and so the relationship ended.
Now Midnighter is working for the person who took away his name, his past, his everything: The Gardener, an old lady in charge of the God Garden, a refugee for freaks, for monsters made by men. The Gardener hires Midnighter to collect the superpower enhancing organs of Paragon, a metahuman that exploded during mysterious circumstances. It’s not clear, but it’s implied Paragon was destroyed in a fight against Midnighter where he lost. He can see everything before it happens and all he’s gotta do is pick the right option — so when he doesn’t, it plays over and over in his head, haunting his dreams. He needs to fix the Paragon situation, and that’s why he’s working with the Gardener to retrieve his organs. But another organisation is after them: Spyral, because Paragon absorbed the powers of the Justice League and contains their DNA; obtaining them could be the key to revealing the Justice League’s secret identities.

Acting under the codename Black Oak, Midnighter heads to Russia to collect one of Paragon’s organs; this time an implant belonging to Justice League member Cyborg. It has been implanted in a man named Ninel Budov, but The Gardener is not the only group after it — there’s also Russian intelligence and Spyral, employing agent Dick Grayson, ex-Robin. Midnighter and Grayson fight, but before either one can get serious Ninel blasts Midnighter away using Paragon’s powers. At the end of the day, Spyral gets the prize. Midnighter is frustated that he can’t recognise his enemy agent — Spyral employs tech that makes it so that nobody can look at their agent’s faces and focus; their faces always look scrambled.

During agent Grayson’s second mission he pursues Paragon’s stomach, which provides the Flash’s super-speed. It has been implanted in an ex-agent of T.H.E.Y., the British secret intelligence. Grayson follows her to a bomb shelter full of old espionage uniforms; among them we can see Nemesis’ costume. Grayson retrieves the organ. In his third mission he retrieves Paragon’s eyes, derived from Aquaman.

Afterwards, Midnighter is interrogating someone to find out the location of the next organ: Paragon’s Heart, derived from Superman. Apollo shows up, saying the man doesn’t know – and Midnighter lets the man fall to his death. He knows Apollo will catch him, and Apollo knows Midnighter will be gone by the time he gets back. Midnighter later finds the Heart implanted within a woman giving birth. He’s in a chopper with agents Grayson and Bertinelli from Spyral — but an A.R.G.U.S. aircraft hits them with an E.M.P. and the chopper goes down in the desert. The woman with the heart dies giving birth, and the heart ends up with her baby. The three agents and the baby begin to walk in the desert with barely any supplies or hopes of surviving. On the second day of walking Midnighter proposes the unthinkable — killing the baby and using his heart to power themselves. The EMP took down Spyral’s technologies, so he can see Grayson’s face now and he recognises him. However, Grayson won’t listen to him. On the third day Bertinelli falls — and Midnighter promises Grayson he’ll oulast them with his enhancements and then take the baby. Even when Midnighter tries arguing that Spyral will kill the baby anyway, all he gets is a beating from Grayson. Midnighter keeps saying they should just fight for the baby, and he keeps saying it until he finally falls on the seventh day. But Grayson keeps walking. On the tenth day he finally falls, but he’s found by a family who had been praying for a baby. Everyone is rescued, but they report they found the heart dead — and they give the baby to the family; it is very much like Superman’s origin.

Later, Grayson attempts to capture Paragon’s brain, derived from Martain Manhunter, on the island of Gageo-Do. He’s intercepted by Midnighter, who can’t see Grayson’s face, but he can recognise that ass anywhere. Using a Door, Midnighter takes Grayson to the God Garden. He holds a grudge against Grayson because he keeps getting the organs first; Midnighter wants them off the hands of Spyral, which he considers the bad guys. He reveals he researched Grayson; he memorized all his moves and figured out he was the superhero Nightwing. Also, he used the Garden’s medical facilities to remove Grayson’s hypnotizing technology and install it in himself. Meanwhile, Agent Bertinelli finds out the brain is in possession of the First of Cain, and they want to use it to turn a crowd murderous at a rally for peace. Midnighter continues his beating of Grayson, saying he’ll reverse-engineer his technology, find his base and shut down Spyral. But Grayson activates a subliminal post-hypnotic suggestion on Midnighter’s Spyral tech, knocking him out. Grayson is found by the Gardener, who reveals Midnighter was her “first child” and that Paragon was created to destroy her. She informs Grayson of the First of Cain’s plans, but she leaves him trapped behind glass like an animal. She wants the incident to happen, to serve as a lesson to humanity. It will help end the artificial superhuman arms race she has fought to contain all these years. Spyral uploads the information into Midnighter’s implant, and he tries to summon a door and stop the Fist of Cain. Using a moving speech, Grayson manages to change the Gardener’s mind, and she teleports the boys to the peace rally. They arrive too late to stop the brain from being used, but they work together to stop the killing, with Grayson stopping Midnighter from being lethal.

After saving the day, Midnighter decides he can’t be like Grayson – he can’t work for a morally compromised boss. He can see the future, and he sees a better world isn’t coming with the Gardener. They part ways.

Next: “Midnighter” Vol 2 issues 1 – 7, written by Steve Orlando.

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.

“StormWatch” Vol.3 issue 30

Written by Sterling Gates

Wildstorm Concepts: stormwatch authority-midnighter authority-apollo authority-doors authority-engineer authority-jack-hawksmoor authority-jenny-quantum StormWatch - The Carrier

All-star WesternAlthough a whole year had happened in the parallel timeline, when StormWatch gets back to the normal universe only a few weeks have happened. We’re given no explanations as to how they’re back, but now their ship Eye of the Storm has converted into The Carrier, the one they used back in the Authority days. This one is not powered by a tiny universe, but by Magnitude Engines, which consume and convert multiversal energy from the bleed into fuel. Also, now Doors are opened by saying “door” instead of “gate” unlike in the alternate timeline. While they were gone, Fenacki aliens started building an invasion-hive underneath Salt Lake City, so Apollo and Middy make quick work of them.

StormWatch - Headquarters

Engineer is the new driver of the ship, patching its functions directly into his posterior perietal cortex. Hawksmoor doesn’t show up, but he’s confirmed as a team member who is taking and indefinite sabbatical after “the Kollective disturbance.” Jenny finishes rounding out the team; Adam One is not a member, even though the cover says so.

Stormwatch 30 Jenny's parents

14-year old Jenny didn’t help with the aliens because she was busy on a night date with her childhood crush Toby Thomas. It seems Jenny is still an orphan like in the parallel timeline, even though she wasn’t before, but it’s better not to think about it too hard. The date is going terribly, and the guy seems unresponsive. Jenny is acting like a real teenager for the first time in this run, screaming internally and hoping she could figure out boys. Randomly, Toby pulls her in for a kiss, but right then she’s called for duty.

A threat has arisen: the Shadow Lords recruited Adam-One as their new member, after he claimed he would be a good addition. In truth, he still roots for StormWatch and hopes to spoil the Shadow Lords’ plans from within. He gives them a faulty idea: to place a stasis-trap beneath Los Angeles, making the city scream until it attracts Jack Hawksmoor. The trap started feeding off his powers, making random buildings come alive and start destroying the city. All this is to attract StormWatch, hoping to keep them in once place long enough for the Lords to track their Carrier ship. But Adam provided with a weak machine.

Jenny uses a door to teleport to Los Angeles, where it’s suddenly daytime. A city hall and other 26 buildings have come alive, gaining faces like persons, and attacking the city. While they fight the city hall, Jenny goes over StormWatch’s history: apparently, Apollo and Midnighter claim they beat the Kollective and that’s how they got back to the original timeline. Perhaps they just lied about Jenny Soul doing all the hard work. According to our Jenny, Adam One founded the team and “later” the creeps in the Shadow Cabinet took over, even though they were behind Adam in the first place. Apparently StormWatch didn’t take well to being ordered around, so they stole the Shadow Cabinet’s ship and now they’re on the run. Perhaps the Cabinet is mad because they think StormWatch murdered one of their members back in issue 18.

The threat is pretty big, so Angie tries recruiting the Projectionist, but she doesn’t want to risk the Shadow Cabinet’s wrath. Angie says Emma owes her a favour, so Projectionist agrees to rewriting the internet so that no superhero finds out about the crisis. Jenny and Middy track a signal to Los Angeles’ subway, where they search in the dark. All that darkness and danger make Jenny realize her life has no place for boyfriends, sadly. Then they find Jack and the stasis-trap. The alien device reacts to the presence of a threat and quickly takes Middy down, but Jenny’s quantum powers keep the danger at bay. She has no choice but to attack using her emotions, focusing on the fact that she can’t lose Jack; she needs all of StormWatch to help train her to fulfill her potential. This is enough to free Jack, and that disrupt the machine’s defenses enough for Jenny to destroy it. Adam One is happy his plan worked out.

As a final stop, Jenny stops by her crush and steals a kiss from him; her first kiss! It’s suddenly night-time again. It turns out the guy is British, but I’m pretty sure that’s not enough to justify the time difference with Los Angeles. Anyhow, it’s a good bye kiss, really, because she says she can’t see Toby again. The issue ends with the Korr’nelian aliens invading Earth, but being interrupted with a transmission from StormWatch, warning them to turn back or face the consequences. Thanks to her good work with the Los Angeles crisis, Jenny earned the responsibility to say the threat herself. In the final page, we see Projectionist has joined the team as well. Goodbye, StormWatch. The team will be back for Future’s End, where they fulfill the purpose for which they were created.

Next: “The Movement” issues 1-12 and “Batgirl” Vol.4 issue 34, written by Gail Simone.

“StormWatch” Vol.3 issues 23 – 29

Written by Jim Starlin

Wildstorm Concepts: StormWatch - SkyWatch authority-midnighter authority-apollo authority-doors authority-engineer stormwatch StormWatch - Fuji as Force StormWatch - Hellstrike Authority - Jenny Soul

All-star WesternStormWatch faces a twofold threat: The alien conqueror Extremax The Omega is coming to the Milky Way, and they learn the true nature of the Kollective’s, and the danger they pose to Earth. Extremax The Omega, named that way because things end around him, is most powerful warlord in space, more than 50,000 years old, having killed more than 60 billion souls. He’s coming to Earth to collect an ancient artefact that was so powerful that it was divided into three parts to ensure it would never be used. One part was hidden on Earth, during prehistoric times; Extremax owns another piece, and the Kollective another. The central tenet of the Kollective’s plan is to destroy anything technologically advanced, so they naturally clashed with Extremax 300 years ago. To escape them, he managed to get his ship out of sync with the timeline on a varying frequency, but in three centuries of trying he hasn’t managed to slay one member of the Kollective. It turns out the Kollective holds dominance over countless planets, like Extremax. They instil a rabid distrust of technology and scientific advancement on their planets, in hopes they’ll herd societies towards an evolutionary path that will stimulate them to develop psychically, like the Kollective. Essentially, they’re looking for company. The results are tragic, though; the renounce of science also leads to no vaccines or medical treatment, and plagues that could have been cured with simple antibiotics now devastate entire species. Overpopulation woes and famine are also common among the Kollective-controlled civilizations. Inevitably, they all perish; whatever created the Kollective was a unique and unreproducible event, but they refuse to see these facts. Billions have died already, and this is what they have planned for Earth.

This is a really long arc, so sorry, but I have no easy way of making this review short. The second and final arc of Starlin’s run in StormWatch begins in the middle of their second adventure, with the team (now with Lobo in their ranks) fighting some aliens to save the waters of Earth from being teleported out. Continue reading “StormWatch” Vol.3 issues 23 – 29

“StormWatch” Vol.3 issues 19 – 22

Written by Jim Starlin

Wildstorm Concepts:  stormwatch authority-apollo authority-midnighter authority-engineer authority-doors StormWatch - Hellstrike StormWatch - Fuji as Force Authority - Jenny Soul StormWatch - SkyWatch

All-star WesternJim Starlin becomes the new writer, and he starts from scratch, making the book more standard sci-fy, and even though it loses the Authority influences, it becomes more solidly written. After the explosion from last issue, our cast has arrived on a different reality, but this universe is being watched by alien beings known as The Kollective. They decide Stormwatch wasn’t working, so they restart the timeline and start changing things to their liking. Their first order of business is killing Adam One, aka Merlin, who is born at the same time as the universe, and used to be the leader of Stormwatch. Everything else changes in result, and this results in a completely different team in the present.

StormWatch - Headquarters

Showing up for the first time coming out from black hole V4641 SGR, the New StormWatch appears! Their ship isn’t called Eye of The Storm anymore, but New Skywatch, and it’s powered by a pocket universe like the Carrier used to be. Starlin puts on SOME effort in getting things back to their roots, including going back to the original StormWatch logo. The new ship is populated by a human crew of technicians, even. This time Doors are opened by shouting “Gate!” instead of “Door!” like it used to be. The Shadow Lords, StormWatch’s bosses, notice the team has been purged from reality by the aliens; they can watch this from afar due to living within the Bleed. In this new timeline StormWatch has never existed, so they have to do a rush job and hurriedly assemble a new team. The Shadow Lords had kept a DNA sample of J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter, from the time he briefly led the team, so they use that to create a clone. But they strip him of his superpowers and give him fake memories, keeping his true identity from everyone, even him. Calling him Storm Control (essentially “Weatherman”), this new leader is tasked with choosing a new team roster. The new team includes:

Force, who is actually Fuji, only with a new name for some reason; he’s called a “trainee” but he barely has any dialogue or panels; Jenny Soul, the latest Jenny, who suffers from agoraphobia due to not knowing how to control her telepathic powers, so public places turn into a cacophony of thoughts all coming to her at once; Engineer, back to being healthy and turning herself human more often; Xiomar, a South African teleporter who is addicted to drugs; Hellstrike, yes, the old Hellstrike Nigel Smut, who is now an ex soldier from South Africa who was complicit in killing Xiomar’s family, a fact that haunts him; The Weird, an old Starlin character, he’s a being from another dimension made of energy who lives within the dead body of one Walter Langley and acts as bodyguard for Jenny; Apollo, who in this alternate universe is called Andrew Pulaski and Midnighter, who in this universe is actually called Lucas Trent, instead of it being a fake name he chose for himself. These Apollo and Midnighter regain their old Wildstorm uniforms, and they both gained their powers after being abducted by aliens who experimented on them, like Hawksmoor’s origin. Lucas was able to escape after ten years, and Andrew five years later. The last member is “The Forecaster“, but he’s a bit particular… He’s this blobby alien who acts as the team’s early-warning system. He’s a Volgarian, the perfect species to link with any complex operational system; he pilots Skywatch and data mines all incoming readings, transmissions and intel, searching for any possible threats.

Angie’s first assignment after being recruited is to recruit Xiomar in South Africa, for which he has to fight Tweedledee and Tweedledum, low-tier Batman villains. After that, the Forecaster tracks the Kollective’s PSI and temporal emanations from restarting the timeline and notices the same emissions are coming from the planet Douli-7 in the Orion System. Jenny, the Weird, Hellstrike, Apollo and Midnighter are tasked with visiting the planet. Unfortunately for them, the Kollective are only in the planet because of supervillain Lobo. They revisit Lobo’s past; his people, the Czarnians, were obsessed with being perfect; they experimented on themselves until something went wrong and everybody’s testosterone levels went through the roof, turning them into mindless killing machines who slaughtered each other. Lobo was only 14 back then, so to survive he was forced to develop a venom to release on the atmosphere, committing genocide and becoming the last of his race. with no one else around, the med centre started channelling all the physical and psychic augmentations it’d been pumping everyone into just him, and that’s how he became a psychotic powerhouse impossible to kill. He’s a monster, really; exactly what the Kollective is looking for. In exchange for having all his past record erased, Lobo agrees to help them. Starlin explains Lobo’s inconsistent power displays in other books (like that time he fought Zealot) by saying he resides on multidimensional realities without totally existing on any one of them.

StormWatch is teleported onto the planet and they start heading for the source of the emanations, but the Kollective detects Jenny immediately and they acknowledge her power is massive enough to disrupt their plans. They manipulate the Bruticus, one of the most aggressive races on that space sector, and they start trying to kill Jenny, so a battle breaks out. The enemy is winning just because of their sheer numbers, but luckily StormWatch is rescued by the Caimonites, the Bruticus’ sworn enemies. Sadly, both sides of the conflict are vicious enslaving conquerors, so StormWatch just thanks them for their help and move on. They head to a bar to wind down, but it so happens that the emanations they’re searching for come from the same place; from Lobo, to be more specific. They find him after he’s passed out from drinking too much, but right at the same moment they’re attacked by Bruticus and Caimonites at the same time; both sides are brainwashed now.

Noticing Lobo is going away on his own, Jenny and the Weird go after him and Jenny attempts to read his mind. This puts her in direct contact with the Kollective, who try to state their case: They’re beings who reached enlightenment long ago and abandoned their physical flesh, but they chose to stay in the corporal realm to protect the universe and guide it to a better tomorrow, kind of like StormWatch. They don’t see time as a linear thing, they contemplate all possible directions for the timeline and reset it when it looks like there are no good possible outcomes. They noticed Lobo’s arrival on Douli-7 will lead to him taking control of the war between the Bruticus and the Caimonites, leading the victorious force to conquer the universe and bring forth a pan-galactic dark age. They can’t kill him, because he always comes back stronger, but there might be a solution. They convince Jenny to help them; they’re psychical beings, so they need Jenny’s support in transporting Lobo to some specific coordinates. She’s not sure if she can trust them, but all the same she pushes Lobo telekinetically to the correct spot, and Lobo starts glowing… All too late, Jenny realizes she was manipulated.

Lobo keeps being charged with energy, but the team isn’t strong enough to move him from that position, not even Apollo. Storm Control orders them to retire, but in the end Lobo’s charged energy is simply unleashed on a nearby building: the planet’s chief media transmission centre, which causes it to broadcast a killing signal for all Bruticus and Caimonites from all over the space sector; both species become victims of genocide. StormWatch’s first field mission was a disaster, and they can’t even begin to understand the Kollective’s motivation for killing the species. When returning to Skywatch, they pick up Lobo, because he’s too good of an asset. Storm Control fills him with about a million nano-processors set to punish him with electrical discharge if he ever attempts to escape or disobey orders.

Meanwhile, Midnighter is unsettled by all that’s happened and contemplates leaving the team, but Apollo reminds him that the aliens that kidnapped them as kids are still out there, hunting for them, and StormWatch is their surest protection. Engineer checks in on Xiomar, who can’t function without drugs, so Storm Control allows him limited cannabis consumption. His powers aren’t clear yet.

Jenny is visited by the Kollective; they reveal both Bruticus and Caimonites would become ruthless conquerors, so even though it was a lie that Lobo would lead them, they needed to die to ensure the survival of billions. Now they want to eliminate Jenny, so that nobody knows of their existence. But she’s stronger than all of them, and she reduces them to dust. Now she’s just gotta figure out how to keep on living knowing she caused the genocide of two species…

Next: “Stormwatch” Vol.3 #23-30, written by Jim Starlin.

 

“Stormwatch” Vol.3 issues 15 – 18

Written by Peter Milligan

Wildstorm Concepts: authority-engineer authority-doors authority-apollo authority-midnighter authority-jenny-quantum authority-jack-hawksmoor stormwatch

All-star WesternThis is it! The fall of StormWatch. Everybody reports on board, ready to listen to the Shadow Lord which has appeared, who’s secretly Henry Tanner. He lets them know that he’s spoken with the other shadow lords and convinced them that StormWatch must change his ways; Henry is convinced that they must become more proactive, eliminating threats before they rise to power. He orders the team to declare war on Earth’s super beings, taking down Batman, Superman and Green Lantern first. The team isn’t quite convinced, and while they argue with the Shadow Lord, Midnighter begins reading his body language and realizing who he really is. But before he can say something, Jack has some news: The ship has found Projectionist! She’s run off from her base in Antarctica.

A door soon appears in front of her, bringing her on board. Engineer’s immediate reaction is to strangle her, demanding to know where Henry is; the poor Engineer is almost completely dehumanized due to the Devolver she ate. Projectionist has had her memories altered, so she claims Henry died when his headquarters blew up in an accident. Aggressively, Angie sticks wires inside the Emma’s head, digging into her hippocampus to see inside her memories and confirm her story. She does see images of Henry dead, like she claims, but she sees something else: Midnighter conspiring with Henry, plotting to take down StormWatch by making Apollo fall in love with him.

Seeing these planted memories make everyone turn against Midnighter, who sounds like a fool when he claims the Shadow Lord is actually Henry. Heartbroken, Apollo doesn’t even want to capture Lucas, he wants to break his neck! Friend is turning against friend, just like Adam One had prophesized years ago. Outnumbered, Midnighter is forced to call forth a door and run away to Antarctica, taking Projectionist with him while he’s at it. He grabbed her because he needs her to recover her real memories to clear his name, but she’s completely convinced of what she remembers; she thinks Midnighter is a filthy traitor. Either way, they find a local science station right before they die of hypothermia.

Meanwhile, Apollo flies off to the sun, wanting to super-charge himself to take down Midnighter more easily. Engineer thinks he’s going to kill himself, so he orders Jenny to stop him. Apollo finds the teenage girl waiting for him on the surface of the sun; it’s an awe-inspiring encounter, but a short one, and they both get on their way. By this point, Middy and Emma are already on the move, so when the Shadow Lord checks on the Science Station he doesn’t find anything. He can’t let Midnighter convince the others of his real identity, so he kills all the humans in the place. Afterwards, he calls StormWatch, claiming Midnighter did the killing. Due to his crimes, the Shadow Lord issues a death warrant on Lucas.

While they walk around the destroyed camp, Jenny finds a little wormhole. When she looks inside it, she sees the supervillain Fox! He has an interesting story to tell, having been used by Henry to become a Shadow Lord and all. All the while, Midnighter has been trying to get Projectionist to come to her senses, but she can only remember the memories implanted on her. Suddenly, they’re found by Apollo, full of rage at the sight of the murdered innocents. He begins beating Midnighter up. Back at the base, Engineer mentions how convenient the destroyed camp is; she’s begun to suspect of the Shadow Lord. She accesses her memory banks and compares Henry’s way of speaking to the Shadow Lord’s, and she seems to realize the truth.

The team captures Midnighter and takes him to Eye of the Storm for his execution. Before it gets delivered, though, Jenny irrupts into the place with the Fox, who exposes the truth: the Shadow Lord is Henry Tanner. Supporting him, Engineer mechanically expresses the odds of him not being Henry are of 350.000 to 1. Apollo can’t believe it; he begins apologizing to Midnighter like a mumbling fool, and Henry drops his disguise, revealing his true self. He refuses to keep hiding and playing the villain; to his mind, he’s in the right, doing whatever it takes to protect the world.

This seems to strike a note with Engineer; her mind is almost completely robotic by now, so she sees the validity in Henry’s point. Right before Apollo beats the crap out of Henry, Angie knocks him out with overheated gases which deplete his solar energy. Jenny is the next person to react, but Angie deals with her by exciting the “god spot” in her brain, giving her a seizure. Desperate, Midnighter grabs the unconscious Apollo and jumps to hyperspace. If Andrew doesn’t pull himself together they’re both dead men. Lucas solves this by slapping the crap out of him, working out some of his frustration on the process. Finally, Apollo manages to wake up and land them in Australia.

Almost as soon as they land, they receive a laser blast from Eye of The Storm; Angie is aiming at them coldly. Before she can correct her aim, though, she’s intercepted by Jack and Emma, the only sane members left. The ship functions as a city, so Jack has a means of attacking, but Engineer has impregnated every cell of Eye of the Storm with her nanite blood. Having control, Angie summons a door underneath Jack and sends him falling to Brazil. Taking a leap of faith, Emma jumps after him. As he lands, Jack mentions he had the hots for Angie once; this is a nice Wildstorm continuity nod.

By this point, Engineer has lost sight of Apollo and Midnighter, who ran off to get help. She’s technically not Angie anymore; her brain has become completely robotic. She shares her new plans; using Eye of the Storm’s guns to wipe out humanity, who carries the curse of Cain. She believes something went wrong with evolution, so they should design a new species that would live by their rules. This creeps out even Henry, but he has no hopes of beating Engineer; she has the ship propel a small parcel of compressed air at him, knocking him down. A little more pressure and it would have ripped his skull off. She leaves him alive because he broke her heart, he had power over her; he shall act as a symbol of her former human frailty. A memento of where she was, of where she came from – a museum piece, if you will. A great villainous moment.

Meanwhile, Apollo and Midnighter fly all the way to Moscow, where they meet an unlikely ally: Zealot! She’s still chasing outlaw aliens as a living, even though she believes it’s beneath her to work in such a filthy planet. Apparently she and Midnighter go way back, so she agrees to help them. This is being monitored by Engineer, who takes a decision: if they’re recruiting troops, so will she. She takes control of OMAC, an android created by the evil satellite Brother Eye in the pages of “OMAC.” Brother Eye will become important later on, during “Future’s End”.

OMAC is thrown upon our heroes, who begin defending themselves with help of Zealot’s ship; an alien vehicle she confiscated from a mass-murdered near the Orion cluster. All the while, Apollo is fighting with his jealousy as he mistakes Midnighter’s respect of Zealot with sexual attraction. It’s quite a silly love triangle to include in the writer’s last issue in the book, but I don’t know, I’m not the professional writer here.

OMAC throws everyone into a door, dropping them off in hyperspace, in front of Eye of the Storm. Engineer casts herself as a giant hologram and tries to reason with them; if they allow her to change them, they won’t die in hyperspace where nobody will find their corpses. She just wants a few adjustments so she’ll have control of some of their higher decision-making processes; as long as they don’t try to disobey her they won’t even notice she’s there. Damn it, her evil speeches are too damn fun. She reveals she’s already “adjusted” Henry: he is now a bald, mumbling fool.

Apollo tries to exchange a few words before charging in, but Zealot will only take freedom or death; everybody begins shooting at Eye of the Storm. OMAC attempts to get in the way, but the damages loosen Engineer’s control in him, so he turns against her and begins helping. Even Henry acts against her; his programming won’t let him cut her, but he can still cut through the atoms around Jenny. This causes quarks to enter her skull, setting off tiny synaptic fissions in her brain. Jenny wakes up with a bang, causing Eye of the Storm to crash into Moscow. While Midnighter and Apollo climb out of the rubble, they wonder if they’re the only survivors; all they know is it’s the end of StormWatch. Zealot proposes Midnighter to come with her to visit the stars, but he chooses to stay. After all, he’s not straight, and he proves this by kissing Apollo. This might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. The End!

Question is… where does the team go from there? What happened to the remaining members of StormWatch? Although we won’t find out until later, everybody has arrived in an alternate reality, one where powerful aliens known as the Kollective want to replace StormWatch with a new team. What’s more, back in their native Earth, the shadow lords still think they have lost a member, and they aren’t happy about it… This is not an end, but the beginning!

Next: “Stormwatch” Vol.3 issues 19 – 22, written by Jim Starlin.

“Stormwatch” Vol.3 issues 13 – 14

Written by Peter Milligan

Wildstorm Concepts: authority-apollo authority-doors authority-engineer authority-jack-hawksmoor authority-jenny-quantum stormwatch authority-midnighter

All-star Western.pngTwo generations of StormWatch officers clash! Shortly after the Demon Knights disbanded, the demon Etrigan and his human host, Jason Blood, managed to break the spell binding them together and become two separate people again. Afterwards, Etrigan was sealed underground by Madame Xanadu, Jason’s lover. Centuries passed…

Etrigan’s grave became a place of dark influence; the demonic presence attracted all kinds of psychopaths to the place. First it was the hunting grounds of a Georgian-era killer named Bloody Ben; afterwards it was an infamous Victorian madhouse. Nowadays it became Malory House, an apartment building which drew several designers and builders insane creating it. All of its inhabitants are insane in one way or another, and its corruption spread to the entire neighbourhood. In the last year, four arsonists and two serial killers came from the House’s block.

That night, Apollo and Midnighter felt like disappearing from StormWatch, going AWOL to have some time for them, to take the edge off. In truth, Midnighter wants to visit the area around Malory House because he worked around it before joining StormWatch, and he could never get to the bottom of why it drove people so crazy. Apollo is a bit upset that Lucas wasn’t honest with his motives, but he joins him anyway; they both happened to bring their costumes. Etrigan’s presence is growing stronger.

The demon had waited for a child to enter his building, a sensitive soul that he would be able to control. Tapping into his mind, he’s slowly driving him insane, trying to force him to say the spell that would free Etrigan.

Up in Eye of the Storm, Jenny is passing time with Hawksmoor, who was tasked with babysitting her.  She’s trying to analyse the big horn they picked from the Himalayas back in issue #1. They’re interrupted by Angie, who seems in a bad mood. She tells Jenny to leave that damned horn alone and she’s pissed at Apollo and Midnighter for going off the grid; she’s “this close” to reporting them to the Shadow Lords. In reality, she’s being affected by the Devolver she swallowed from the Hidden People; it is slowly turning her evil.

Back in the streets, Etrigan’s influence is drawing all the people from the neighbourhood towards Malory House. He manages to make the kid he’s seducing say the terrible spell: “Concealed within the world of man, release the Demon… Etrigan!” And the demon is back on Earth. Fortunately, all the centuries sleeping have him weakened, but he’s still powerful enough to give Midnighter and Apollo a hard time. Apparently, Midnighter learns his powers of prediction don’t work against magic creatures. All the other StormWatch members teleport into the action…

Right around that time, Henry Tanner conceals himself as one of the Shadow Lords and teleports to the Island of Avalon. He pretends he’s the fourth Lord who disappeared so many years ago, claiming he was captured by Mayan priests. Still affected by the information he received from the moon and wanting to save Earth through extreme means, Henry attempts to convince the Shadow Lords to change StormWatch’s way of operating.

As the team fights Etrigan, they discuss among themselves and deduce that he’s from the Demon Knights. Etrigan hears them, concluding that the Demon Knights and StormWatch are two different incarnations of the same thing and deciding that makes StormWatch his enemies. After all, the Demon Knights imprisoned him.

Without Projectionist in their team, they have no means of concealing their presence to the media. Jenny comes up with the idea of creating a bubble of dark radiation around them, but it could cause everyone around the perimeter of the bubble to catch some kind of cancer. But Engineer is turning evil, so she forces Jenny to do it.

As Midnighter strikes a lucky blow on Etrigan, the demon decides to step back and run while he can. After all, he has all the time in the world to release his centuries of frustration on StormWatch. He hides within the body of the kid who summoned him. It is right then that Jenny disintegrates her radiation bubble; orders or not, she won’t give people cancer. While Midnighter and Apollo congratulate each other for being in one piece, Engineer gives them crap for having gone AWOL: she prohibits any close personal relationship between agents. Engineer’s dark transformation gets stronger by the moment.

Back in Eye of The Storm, Midnighter and Apollo discuss their relationship. Apollo isn’t willing to date in secret; he’s spent too much of life in the closet. But Midnighter can’t quit StormWatch; he needs to be part of it to keep his psychopathic tendencies at bay. Apollo begins doubting their relationship. Meanwhile, Jenny confronts Engineer on becoming less and less human, but they’re interrupted by Henry, pretending to be a Shadow Lord. He demands to bring everyone together… and that’s the beginning of the end.

Next: Stormwatch Vol.3 issues 15 – 18, written by Peter Milligan.