Tag Archives: Tony Bedard

“Convergence: Aquaman” issues 1 – 2

Written by Tony Bedard.

Wildstorm Concepts: Deathblow

All-Star WesternThis comic is really fun. The writing is constantly witty, keeping things moving and not drowning in the 90’s feel as this could have been, considering it’s about harpoon-hand Aquaman. Anyhow, Talos is making different universes battle each other, and now it’s turn for 90’s Aquaman VS Classic Wildstorm Deathblow.  That’s the weak point… Deathblow. It’s written as appallingly one-dimensional, little more than a psycho that kills without remorse and is willing to do anything. A crazy military man that gives the old WSU a bad image. “I once hid in a latrine for FIVE HOURS to take out some chieftain in Wazirstan,” he says. This sounds like Cray… “Made sure he suffered for keeping me waiting.” And THAT’s where it ruins it.

Still, he’s smart. Cray’s first move is to break into D.E.O.’s installations – watchdogs of superheroes with a database – and look into Aquaman’s weaknesses. Then he must get into S.T.A.R. Labs, where Aquaman is staying. He immediately starts shooting all the civilians, hoping to shock Aquaman and desestaibilize him. However, Aquaman has super strength – all it takes is a strong punch for Aquaman to break Cray’s neck. And guess what? Cray comes back to life. I mean yeah, that IS his super power, but it doesn’t work as quickly as that. He’s not Wolverine. So Aquaman is faced with an enemy he can’t put down. How will he get out of this?

And thereby lies the problem to this story. Did you read that? Aquaman is the hero in trouble, Deathblow is some villain. Convergence was announced as a tribute to all the characters who haven’t been around us – but this isn’t respect. The DC character gets a much nicer spotlight than the Wildstorm one.

One way or another, the fight goes on. Aquaman gets some water on him, which boosts his strength. Cray needs some help, and he remembers the files he’s read – he knows about S.T.A.R. Labs insurance policy on Aquaman. Using his I.O. training, he gets inside a computer and hacks the “Drydock” program active. As it turns out, Aquaman’s friends had installed a dehydrator system in case Aquaman went rogue – Aquaman loses what little trust he had. Still, his friends come around when he needs them the most. Aquaman is about to get beaten by Deathblow when his friends whisper him an idea through the coms – he can get still water in the form of the blood inside Deathblow! It’s nasty, but it works, since Deathblow can’t die. Aquaman uses his harpoon hand, stabs Cray’s neck and bathes on his blood. This gives him the edge he needed, and he wins the fight. They tie Deathblow up, and Aquaman wins the fight. The Wildstorm city vanishes… to be continued in Convergence.

Next: “Convergence: Batman: Shadow of the Bat” issues 1 – 2, written by Larry Hama.

“Flash” Vol.4 issue 4, “Teen Titans” Vol.4 issue 16 and “Sword of Sorcery” issues 0-3

Flash written by Brian Buccellato; Teen Titans written by Scott Lobdell; Sword of Sorcery written by Tony Bedard

Wildstorm Concepts: Kaizen Gamorra as Regulus.jpg

All-star WesternThese issues feature early appearances of Basilisk throughout the DC universe and set up Regulus’ bigger plan. To catch up: Regulus is secretly Kaizen Gamorra, who was fused with Dean Higgins in Team 7’s final mission. After experiencing what superhumans can do when Team 7 employed Majestic to stop him, Regulus decided he was going to stop all of the superhumans, and that’s the new direction he set for Basilisk, his organization. Regulus predicts there’s a war coming between normal people and “supers”, and he doesn’t plan on letting supers win.

The first arc in “Flash” is centred on Manuel Lago, a childhood friend of our hero Flash. He disappeared from the Flash’s life when his father was killed by terrorists, so Manuel joined the CIA in hopes of finding the killers. He put himself through top-secret projects who gave him regenerative powers, and this helped him become the very best agent. Eventually he uncovered the names of his father’s killers: The Basilisk organization. Manuel went rogue and started killing them off one by one, but eventually they proved too much for just one man. He was captured and tortured. When Basilisk discovered that he could regenerate, they took advantage of this, torturing him by cutting off his body parts, and then cutting them off again when they grew back. It went on like that for quite some time until suddenly, the severed parts began to grow into full, separate bodies; doubles of Manuel with their own personalities. Together, they helped Manuel escape. The rest of this story involves Flash dealing with his friend, but the only part concerning Wildstorm Fans is this Basilisk bit. Chronologically, this is actually the first mention of Basilisk, before we knew its backstory.

Meanwhile, in “Teen Titans”: After being brought back to life, Kurt Lance from the Team 7 was assigned to watch over the Teen Titans by Amanda Waller. He had to track them down and bring them into custody before they hurt themselves or someone else. However, Basilisk also has an interest in the kids. Kurt gets ambushed and high-ranking Basilisk operative Grey Lora knocks him out. Regulus will retrieve Kurt in the pages of “Suicide Squad”.

“Sword of Sorcery” is relevant due to its back-up stories, featuring Beowulf. They take place in possible future in which the war between men and supermen predicted by Basilisk ended up happening, and normal people struck with nukes that ended up destroying the world. Basilisk’s efforts to empower ordinary men created a super-soldier program that spawned the hero Beowulf, who now lives in this post-apocalyptic earth. Essentially, this character is the living proof that Regulus’ fears are very real.

Next: Suicide Squad Vol.4 issues 4, 8, 10 to 13, and 16 to 19, written by Adam Glass.

“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.

“Team 7” Vol.2 issues 0 – 7, “Justice League Dark” issue 23.2, “Deathstroke” Vol.2 issue 0 and “Secret Origins” Vol.3 issue 11

“Team 7” written by Justin Jordan with dialogue by Tony Bedard; “Justice League Dark” written by Dan Didio; “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, “Justice League Dark” issue 23.2, “Deathstroke” Vol.2 issue 0 and “Secret Origins” Vol.3 issue 11