Tag Archives: Team 7

“Birds of Prey” Vol.3 issues 16 – 17 and 22 – 27

Issues #16 and 17 written by Duane Swierczynksi; issues #22-27 written by Christy Marx

Wildstorm Concepts: Kaizen Gamorra as Regulus gamorra-island team-7

All-star Western.pngThese issues continue the plot of issue #0 and wrap up the arcs of Basilisk and Kaizen Gamorra. The Basilisk weapons dealer stopped by the Birds of Prey years ago is out of the Federal pen, and he’s back to making dirty deals. This time he’s selling a device capable of stealing power straight from a city’s grid, capable of holding a city hostage. The Birds hope to defuse the situation quickly and stealthy, but suddenly Black Canary loses control of her powers and generates a sonic cry powerful enough to destroy the power station they were at.

The dealer recognizes that ability from the time he was arrested so many years ago, so he releases some robot drones he had prepared especially in case of a metahuman like that. At the same time, the Birds start being attacked by a private team contracted by the government to respond to any attack on American infrastructure.

As it had been revealed in issue #0, Amanda Waller had tasked one of Black Canary’s teammates, Starling, with keeping tabs on Dinah and reporting any unusual activity. Starling calls to report on Canary’s sudden power spike, and she takes the chance to ask Waller for help. Waller calls the private strike team off, and the Birds get the bad guys in jail.

After his dealings with the Suicide Squad, Regulus is hiding in the Andes, where he says “the final pieces are falling into place. My control is absolute.” Bold talk for someone who screwed up all of his operations. Regardless, he’s ready to begin with the final phase of “Operation Kaizen”. When a servant asks him why it’s named that way, Regulus lies and says it is because it means “good change;” “improvement”. It is the good change they’re going to bring to the human race. He assembles a strike team: Tsiklon, Hammerdown, Whipcrack and Uplink. They’re old teammates of Condor, who redeemed himself and is now a member of the Birds of Prey. It seems Regulus is dispatching several teams across the world to collect the next wave of potential superhumans, and he wants this team to collect Condor and Black Canary. He wants her because he remembers her from his Team 7 days.

The strike team attack the Birds of Prey and subdue them, and Uplink paralyses them with mental images that make them see their deepest desires. Dinah’s vision makes her remembers her last mission with Team 7, when everyone was amplifying her powers to attack Majestic. Only she imagines his lost husband never disappeared; that Kurt remained right there next to her. The Kurt from her vision tells her it’s time to move on, in a very corny manner.

Anyway, Uplink is too weak, so Batgirl and Strix manage to snap out of their visions and escape, but Canary and Condor are taken to Regulus. When Canary awakes in Basilisk’s base, she’s surprised to see Regulus has taken her to her lost husband! Kurt lies in a sleep chamber in front of her.

Batgirl and Strix have no means of following the aircraft the strike team is escaping in, but they’re confronted by an ex-detective who claims to work for mysterious “benefactors” who want to take out Basilisk. He gives them an airplane and directions where to go.

Back in Andes, Dinah faces Regulus and realizes he’s her old Team 7 teammate, Dean Higgins. However, he seems to have split personalities and speaks of Higgins as if he was another person. Regulus explains what happened during Team 7’s final mission: While Team 7 faced Majestic, Higgins got lost and ended up in front of Kaizen Gamorra. He was with his psychic children, recharging himself physically for another attack. Right then, Team 7’s fight with Majestic destroyed the whole building. Black Canary’s sonic cry was mixed with the All-Seeing Children’s powers, and it caused Kaizen and Higgins to fuse into one new entity: Regulus was born. After experiencing what superhumans can do firsthand, he decided he was going to stop all superhumans, and that’s the new direction he set for Basilisk. To justify his actions to his followers, he claimed the appearance of Superman was his motivator.

Back in the present, he gives Dinah a choice: He can join him and serve him with her husband, or they can die apart.

Meanwhile, Condor awakes next to his old teammates; the strike team of Basilisk. He’s not happy about that, and he doesn’t plan in re-joining them. At the same time, Batgirl and Strix reach the base and start infiltrating it, making their way through the Basilisk soldiers. The place is full of prisoners, of civilians captured by Regulus in hopes he can awake some metahuman power in them. In a way, he acts very much like Harvest in The Colony. Batgirl and Strix find Condor and help him fight his old teammates.

Back with Regulus, Canary predictably starts fighting him. She can’t use her powers because of the proximity to Kurt; he neutralizes her powers. Regulus reveals his plans to experiment on him until he figures out how to weaponize his abilities, and amplify them until they turn off super powers permanently. That way no one will look down on him again for being merely human. Trying to convert Dinah to her side, Regulus reveals it was Waller who pulled Kurt’s body out of the rubble in Gamorra, and it was her who kept his survival a secret. It was Waller who let Dinah doubt her sanity as her powers erupted out of control every time Kurt’s powers spiked!

Regulus’ plan doesn’t work, though, because Dinah uses that anger to give him a good beating. She reaches Kurt and starts unplugging all the machines connected to him, but Regulus warns her that they are the only thing keeping Kurt’s brain functioning. Dinah has to decide whether to believe him – and she decides to unplug everything anyway. In a way, it works out: Kurt doesn’t die, but the backlash activates his other power: to amplify. The abilities around the facility start being set out of control. Dinah desperately needs to release all the charge in her, so she releases her sonic scream on Regulus. However, his powers have been amplified as well, so he survives. When he is sent flying out of the room, he lands next to Condor and Strix. The two of them fight Regulus and manage to make him fall down the mountain. Kaizen Gamorra is finally gone.

Batgirl finds Dinah, who can’t stop using her sonic scream. She has no choice but to hurt her throat to make her stop. After plugging everything back on Kurt, he goes comatose. In a way, that’s worse on Dinah than believing her husband was dead. For now, at least, Basilisk is over.

After returning to Gotham, the Birds of Prey find out their mysterious benefactor was an old lady called Mother Eve; she’s an old immortal who had a lot of kids over the centuries. She believes she’s the origin of the metagene spread throughout the population. Her group takes Kurt and analyse him: They determine there are very little chances of him waking up of his coma. Overcome by grief, Black Canary decides to quit the team, and that’s where these issues end.

Eventually, in following issues Kurt wakes up, though he has lost his memories. This isn’t related to Wildstorm, though, so I won’t cover it. For now, Team 7’s loose ends are tied up.

Next: The entire “First Contact” crossover, including “Worlds’ Finest” Annual 1 and issues 20 – 22, and “Batman/Superman” issues 8 – 9, written by Paul Levitz and Greg Pak.

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“Deathstroke” Vol.2 issues 19 – 20

Written by Justin Jordan

Wildstorm Concepts: gamorra-island gen13-lynch wildcats-majestic team-7

 

All-star WesternSo this is it, the big season finale to this chapter of the Wildstorm Universe in DC. “Team 7”, “The Ravagers”, it’s all led here, in the same way “Superman Annual” worked for Part 1.

We learn about Lynch’s plan to stop Majestic: They will need Terra’s powers of controlling earth and Rose. That’s why Deathstroke accepted working for Harvest, to retrieve them.

Lynch sets up a base in a dormant volcano just overseeing the destroyed Gamorra. As soon as Majestic comes out of the ocean, Lynch throws missiles at him, not even letting him prove himself a threat. One way or another, Majestic turns pissed after surviving the missiles, so he is a threat now.

Lynch reveals Terra is his plan B; his plan A is to use Deathstroke’s family. He struck a deal with Deathstroke’s son Jericho: If Lynch brought the whole family together, Jericho would use his mind control powers to make Majestic obey Lynch’s orders. But Lynch’s mistake was trusting Jericho, as Deathstroke’s family has a history of being crazy and trying to kill each other. Jericho immediately takes over the operation, controlling the soldiers around the base and making them shoot themselves. He starts controlling his own family too; except for Rose and Deathstroke, whose minds are so strong that he would need to train for weeks to take over them. He also can’t control Lynch, whose mind is impenetrable. The three of them start attacking Jericho, trying to knock him out before Majestic reaches the base – when he does, Jericho will have the powers of a god.

Deathstroke proves himself a good enough distraction that Rose manages to sneak behind Jericho and hold her blade to his neck, but she cares too much about her family, so she isn’t capable of going for the kill. Having had enough, Lynch uses his telekinesis to make a gun come to his hand – and then he shoots Jericho. But it’s too late. Majestic reaches the place, stopping the bullet with his hand. He’s now under control of Jericho.

As he dispatches Majestic to destroy all the troops around the facility, rubble falls from the ceiling and falls over Deathstroke’s ex-wife. She passes away, muttering with her final words that she never hated Slade; her hate was induced by Jericho. Now it’s personal! Deathstroke regroups with Rose, his other son Grant and Terra. They can’t find Lynch so he can’t explain why Terra was his plan B, but Terra figures it out; she can awaken the dormant volcano they’re in.

She creates a giant rock hand and uses it to pull Majestic into the burning lava. But just like when Nemesis pulled this trick in the old Wildstorm, it doesn’t work. Majestic storms into the base, and discovers his mum is dead. Crazy with grief, he forgets his rage at Terra to attack Slade – but he’s stopped by Rose, who throws Majestic into the ground with one kick. How’s that possible? It turns out Rose’s metahuman power is to dampen other people’s invulnerability. That explains why she was chosen to watch over Superboy at the start of this chapter.

Using this knowledge, Terra contains Majestic while Slade and Rose attack together; not letting up until Majestic loses consciousness, a god defeated. Jericho switches to controlling Terra, but Slade quickly knocks her unconscious. Now the only person left to control is Grant, and Jericho makes him put his own sword to his throat, hiding behind him. Slade knows Jericho is only buying time until Majestic wakes up… and he can’t have that happen. Leaping forward, Deathstroke thrusts the sword forward into Grant’s neck, and further into Jericho’s skull.

Superboy 26.png         Deathstroke just killed both of his sons to buy the world a little more time. He knows that by doing this he’s killed any chance of reconciling with Rose, but that was never an option, not for people like them.

With Rose’s help, Slade doses Majestic with sedatives, and they escape, leaving A.R.G.U.S. to clean up after them. Lynch ends up missing, but he will be back in Chapter 4, in “Suicide Squad”.

But there’s still one Team 7 member unaccounted for; although nobody is aware of this yet, Dean Higgins didn’t die; he’s still at large, and his terrorist attacks using the Basilisk organisation are the focus of our next chapter.

So what’s left of the main character from this chapter, Caitlin? She gets a flashback cameo in “Superboy” Vol.6 issue 26. Even though it stops concerning Wildstorm characters, the main villain from the era, Harvest, is eventually defeated. So we can assume Caitlin, who was being kept prisoner by Harvest, gets to go free. She will get a couple more cameos in Part 4.

Next: “Flash” Vol.4 issue 4, “Teen Titans” Vol.4 issue 16 and “Sword of Sorcery” issues 0-3, written by Brian Buccellato, Scott Lobdell and Tony Bedard.

“Ravagers” issues 10 – 12

Written by Michael Alan Nelson and Tony Bedard

Wildstorm concepts: WildCATS - Warblade Gen13 - Caitlin Fairchild gen13-alex-fairchild team-7

This is the Ravager’s final story as the book got cancelled. As co-writer Tony Bedard (“Team 7”) joins the book, the links to the Wildstorm universe grow stronger.

In the colony, Deathstroke gets tasked with retrieving all of the escaped kids to Harvest. Deathstroke agrees on the condition that he gets to take his daughter, Rose, with him, plus one kid of his choice. Harvest is okay with these conditions, but he warns Deathstroke that Rose might be about to die… Harvest has sent troopers and robots out to hunt Warblade and Rose after they failed him in their last adventure. The duo manages to overcome their hunters, but they know more will come. If they want to survive, they need to regain Harvest’s favour – by bringing back his runaway kids.

Back in their safehouse, Caitlin and the kids are laughing about their shared memories of the Colony. Caitlin feels realized; she’s finally given them a place where they can feel safe, a place they can call home. She’s made this happen.

Wait, wasn’t she torn about the kids’ destructive nature just a couple of issues ago? This jump on character development is due to the book’s cancellation, things need to be hurried up. All kinds of good things suddenly start happening; Thunder gets over the loss of his sister, Ridge loses his mutant form and becomes human again, Terra and Beast Boy confess their mutual attraction. Niles realizes Thunder’s migraines are caused by his sister’s absence, so he uses him as a sort of quantum anchor and brings her back. Lightning is back! It’s almost too good to be true… Indeed, all this happiness is the calm before the storm.

That night, when everyone’s gone to bed, Deathstroke breaks into the place. Using Harvest’s special Abeo Blade, his first victim is Ridge, who turns to ashes after being stabbed with the knife. At the same moment, Warblade and Rose sneak inside. Rose visits Caitlin in her room, where’s she’s caught by Niles’ cameras, so he activates his security protocol. Just afterwards, though, Deathstroke attacks Niles from behind and turns him to ashes as well.

Meanwhile, Caitlin starts fighting Rose and the fight takes them to the hallway, where they meet the rest of the kids, who were fighting Warblade. The whole cast is surprised by Deathstroke, whose reputation precedes him. Both the kids and the Ravagers understand that they must work together if they want any chance of surviving Deathstroke. Right when the brawl is about to start, though, Niles’ security protocol comes crashing from the ground: The animal-vegetable-mineral man.

This science experiment starts crashing the place, destroying everything in his path. Caitlin attempts to escape, to reach the control room to open an exit for everyone. Rose goes after her, but she’s chased by her father. Getting in the middle, Warblade attempts to buy Rose some time – but he’s no match for Deathstroke. He switches from the Abeo blade to his usual sword, and promptly beheads Warblade. Rest in peace, Reno. You were but a victim of Harvest’s machinations.

Meanwhile, Rose and Caitlin agree that they must join their efforts against the animal-vegetable-mineral man if they want to survive the day. The two of them and the kids join efforts, and everyone throws a combined blow that causes the monster to crumble to dust. When the kids are ready to turn against Rose, everyone is surprised by Warbade’s severed head. Panicked, Rose grabs Caitlin and guides her inside the installations; she knows Niles held something in there that could stop her father.

She’s referring to the cloning room, where Niles grew several bodies for Caitlin. Cait is horrified and confused; why would anyone clone her? Little does she know, she’s not even the original Cait; the original one died in 2006 after Spartan took control of her body, in the “Team 7” book. Rose laughs at Cait’s confusion, taking pleasure in torturing her. The two of them begin to fight, but they fall into the cloning chambers and cause the clone Caitlins to wake up. Soon, all the Cait’s begin fighting each other. But the clones are unfinished, unstable; they keep melting into green goo. The girls get overwhelmed by the number of clones and thrown back into the hallway, where Deathstroke is waiting for them. He’s already stabbed everyone else with the Abeon blade, turning them to ashes. Everyone except for Beast Boy, who was knocked over by a pile of rubble and is presumed dead.

Not wasting any time, Deathstroke stabs his own daughter and then Caitlin, but not without letting her know she isn’t the original Cait. He would know- he killed the original.

After all’s said and done, it is revealed the Abeo blade was nothing but a advanced teleportation device that Harvest had brought from the future; Deathstroke was sending all of the kids back to Harvest’s grasp. In return he gets his daughter, and Terra, and the three of them leave the Colony. Without Beast Boy, there’s nothing to keep Terra in there, anyway. Except Deathstroke’s wrong; Beast Boy didn’t die, he simply passed out. His future will be seen in “Teen Titans”.

So this is where all of the kid’s efforts and struggles led them. To be caught again by Harvest. What happens to Harvest and the kids? The end of their adventure and saga can be seen in “Teen Titans Annual” issue #3, but it doesn’t concern any Wildstorm characters. Bottom line is, Harvest is defeated and every kid is set free, including Caitlin, even if we don’t see her.

Next: Deathstroke Vol.2 issues 19 – 20, written by Justin Jordan.

“Deathstroke” Vol.2 issue 18 and “Team 7” Vol.2 issue 5

Written by Justin Jordan

Wildstorm Concepts:       gen13-lynch gamorra-island wildcats-majestic team-7

The finale to this chapter is coming, so all the pieces start falling together, thanks to the Team 7 writers coming back to close loose ends from the past.

All-star Western.pngWe start off in the middle of a previous “Deathstroke” arc, with Deathstroke battling a generic ninja villain. Except after beating him, he reveals he learnt about Deathstroke’s name and he got his tech from one man: John Lynch. The same John Lynch that should be dead after Waller shot him in “Team 7”.  Deathstroke has a new objective.

This is where the “present” part of Team 7, issue #5 takes place. Deathstroke tracks Lynch to a boat, where they discuss Caitlin and the fact that she was brought back from the dead. Lynch reveals he wanted Slade to find him – he wanted to call him because Majestic is coming back. It seems the huge explosion from many years ago, from the Genosha mission, wasn’t enough to kill that god. They must work together if they want to stop someone that powerful from coming back… Luckily, Lynch has a plan. The first step is for Deathstroke to accept a job from Harvest…

Next: Ravagers issues 10 – 12, written by Michael Alan Nelson and Tony Bedard.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wildstorm in Flashpoint (or How the New Wildstorm Universe was Born)

Flashpoint written by Geoff Johns; Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager written by Jimmy Palmiotti; Lois Lane and The Resistance written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning; The World of Flashpoint written by Rex Ogle

Wildstorm concepts: wildcats-authority  wildcats-grifter  team-7  authority-century-babies

Flashpoint is the event which creates the new DC Universe and fuses it with the Wildstorm and Vertigo. It’s centred on the Flash, who after going back in time to prevent his mother’s death, changed the world’s timeline and altered history forever. The book reveals that originally the DCU, Vertigo and Wildstorm were all part of a single timeline, and Dr. Manhattan split them in three to weaken Earth for his invasion. Meaning that when Flash went back in time and changed history, what 1actually happened was that these timelines got back together “like they were meant to be.” It’s better not to think about it too hard. In this new timeline, Wonder Woman and her amazons declared war on Atlantis and took over the United Kingdom. Now flash and the other heroes have to work together to change this apocalyptic timeline and make things normal again.

One of the few Wildstorm characters to appear in the event is Grifter. Cole doesn’t appear all that much, but we get small glimpses into his character, his personality and the ways in which these differ from his previous incarnation.

Flashpoint Grifter appears for the first time in Flashpoint #3, during one splash page in which he welcomes Lois Lane to his Resistance. This continues in Lois Lane and the Resistance, a three-issue miniseries. It is written by Abnett and Lanning, Wildstorm veterans who handled the first year of Authority post World’s End. Grifter appears in the second issue, and he gets to be in the cover! We’re introduced to this timeline’s Team 7, the best black ops America could assemble during Afghanistan: Grifter, Sergeant Rock (from Our Army At War), Lieutenant Reid (Magog), Kate Kane (Batwoman), Zinda Blake (Lady Blackhawk), John Stewart (Green Lantern) and Gunner (from the Losers). Basically, all characters who had ties to the military in the old DCU. All of them but Grifter die on the following page, killed by crazy Muslims, and Grifter needs to be saved by a new character called Britannia (Penny Black). Grifter mentions being a telepath, which makes you wonder how on earth he got his powers. He touches Penny’s armour and apparently establishes a technopath connection which her – which causes him to get a puppy-crush. It feels a bit unbecoming.

Once this Team 7 flashback is over we return to the Resistance, and one realizes Grifter is still wearing the same clothes he wore back in his Team 7 days. Nowadays he’s become an infamous leader. He didn’t plan it, but he had no choice but to assemble a group of weirdos after the Amazons took over the United Kingdom. That does sound like our good old Grifter, who unlike most DC heroes he murders amazons without blinking. In the end the Resistance and Lois Lane reunite with their informant, none other than Penny Black, and they’re ready rush forward to the final battle in Flashpoint #5.

Before the climatic conclusion, however, Cole is seen in a couple of comics. He appears in a montage sequence in The World of Flashpoint #2, while Circe explains that the heroes in this world are no different from its villains; “they are all out trying to shape the world their way. Everything is a matter of perspective.” I suppose that’s as much insight to Grifter’s psychology as we’re going to get. In the following issue of this book, the main character jumps into the final showdown of Flashpoint #5, and Grifter can be seen in a panel killing atlanteans. He’s also seen in Flashpoint #4: he’s behind Enchantress as she speaks about her team, the Secret Seven. Kind of weird, because Cole belongs to The Resistance.

On to Flashpoint #5: Grifter joins the final battle and he gets a double page spread as his group comes to save all of the main character’s butts. Sadly, he is murdered in the following page by Enchantress, screaming “Arzzz.” Make of that what you will.

During the final pages, when Pandora is merging the timelines to form the new universe that becomes the New 52, we get a glimpse of the old Wildstorm Universe in which the artist draws Zealot’s uniform wrong. In a way, that’s classic Wildstorm shenanigans. When they show the New 52 universe Grifter gets to stand in the middle of the Justice League, front and centre; that’s pretty cool.

Another Wildstorm concept is shown in the pages of “Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravagers”, where there is a woman called Jenny Blitz with the capacity of causing things to explode with her mind. It was written by Jimmy Palmiotti, Wildstorm veteran from “21 Down”. I asked the author on Twitter if Jenny Blitz was a century baby and he said “sort of”, so I suppose it is left to our interpretation.

In the end all the timelines are united together, but Doctor Manhattan steals 10 years from history and reality gets twisted, that’s why everything is different instead of just the old WSU fused with the old DCU. The New 52 timeline is created… and many Wildstorm characters are born again.

Next: “Demon Knights” issues 0 – 23 by Paul Cornell and Robert Venditti