Issue(s): Warheads #6, Warheads #7, Warheads #8, Warheads #9
The story in the first two issues is definitely entirely by Nick Vince and Simon Coleby. Mr. Grant, the Mys-Tech manager that has become possessed by the shadow creature early in the series, is forced by his possessor to disobey the orders of Rathcoole, one of the Mys-Tech execs. For one thing, a Warhead named Che, part of a different platoon than Kether Troop (the Warheads that we follow for this series), was supposed to be executed after his Troop failed their mission and all were killed except him. Instead, Grant has transferred him to Kether Troop. Rathcoole chews him out for that, and then tells him to send Che to his office for a solo mission. But Grant instead sends Gregory, another member of Kether Troop,. And then he sends some members of Kether Troop, including Che, on a mission before Rathcoole can retrieve them. At least Grant's demon is smart enough to know that that's about as much as Grant can screw up, and he has Grant leave the Mys-Tech building after that.
Rathcoole does use Gregory for the solo mission instead. The mission is actually the main thing that the Mys-Tech board has been after all along, namely killing Mephisto, although we'll learn that Rathcoole is acting without the knowledge of the rest of the board. Rathcoole has forged a sword from the crystal wand that the Warheads took from the cat lady last issue; the crystals are said to be able to kill Mephisto. Rathcoole summons Mephisto...
...and Gregory throws the sword.
Unfortunately, the wand that the sword was forged from turns out to have been the wrong one, so it doesn't work. Mephisto brings them both to Hell. The next day, Mephisto appears at a Mys-Tech board meeting. Gregory has been merged with a demon, and Rathcool has lost a hand.
The rest of the board swear they had nothing to do with Rathcoole's plan, and to prove it they torture Rathcoole some more. They wind up blinding him.
Meanwhile, the Warheads' mission involves them acquiring something called the Sapphire Lotus.
On the mission, Colonel Liger's gun develops sentience and names itself Clementine.
It turns out the gun has been stolen (we'll learn its origins in one of the back-ups in this entry, but there's not much to it), and Death's Head II and Tusk have been hired to either get Liger to pay for it or to take it back.
But first they have to join forces to fight off a horde of locals. Clementine is a bit put out that Liger would give it away.
Death's Head decides that the Sapphire Lotus would be a better prize than Clementine.
I may be misremembering, but i'm pretty sure that the original Death's Head was pretty obsessive about staying on contract, so this seems like a deviation. Of course, this Death's Head has 105 other personalities in his head, so we shouldn't expect him to be exactly like the original.
He definitely has a weird sense of humor.
Back on Earth, Mr. Grant's demon - or, as it's called, golem - leads him to a Mys-Tech subsidiary's building where it uses power from a supercomputer to merge the two of them. I've been tracking the golem as "Audit" and Mr. Grant separately, which may not be strictly accurate, but in any event the combined entity is called Audit.
Audit flies into space, attracting the attention of the Silver Surfer.
Gregory goes to the Mys-Tech board and offers to take the rest of the Kether Troop Warheads to rescue the ones that are after the Sapphire Lotus. Well, "offer" is the wrong word. Gregory is insubordinate now that he's merged with a demon.
Audit also winds up on the Sapphire Lotus planet. It's a popular place to be.
And indeed it is like someone has arranged everyone for a chess game. The players are Master Order and Lord Chaos.
Exactly what's going on is beyond my mortal ken.
Audit assumes that he's a creation of Master Order, but that's not the case.
He is, in fact, a creation of Lord Chaos, who was hoping to create a combination of order and chaos in an effort to reconcile with his brother, but Order was uninterested. So the game ends, whatever it was.
Death's Head and Tusk manage to teleport away with the Sapphire Lotus.
Silver Surfer manages to catch up with Audit and they battle for a bit.
But the short fight ends with the Surfer suggesting that Audit audit himself.
Meanwhile, Gregory tries to teleport the Warheads home, but they wind up in what turns out to be Wolverine's dream.
It's said that if Wolverine wakes up before the Warheads get out, they'll die. But it turns out that Wolverine and Psylocke are engaged in some kind of dream sharing exercise as part of a program instigated by Professor X, so when Wolverine wakes up they are transferred to her mind.
They eventually get out of the dreams and back into the weird world, although Liger says that the next time the X-Men and the Warheads meet, it won't be as friends. Why not, jerk?
I thought the Silver Surfer guest appearance was gratuitous, but little did i know it would be topped in the same story.
When the Warheads get back to Mys-Tech, they're introduced to a Mr. Lee that replaces Mr. Grant. And they're immediately put in a training exercise allowing for some more Marvel character "appearances".
Actually, that includes Wolverine again. Can't get enough of him, i guess.
Meanwhile, we learn that Misha's Voice is who was behind the Warheads getting caught in the X-Men's dreams.
And we learn that the Voice is Blackheart. He's also been working with Rathcoole, which is why Rathcoole attacked Mephisto earlier.
The first back-up story in issue #8 tells the origin of Colonel Liger's gun. Basically, while on a random Warheads assignment, he stole the gun.
Then the people who owned the gun hired Death's Head II to get it back.
As far as origins of things go, it's refreshingly uneventful. If you've bothered to keep track of the Warhead's team composition, you can tell that this story takes place before Warheads #1, when Cale was killed. But the back-up can technically be considered part of current continuity, since it's presented as a belated report from Liger to Mys-Tech.
The second back-up shows the origin of a creature called Bysshe. Bysshe is actually a Mys-Tech employee. But she touches an artifact that the Warheads brought back from a mission and gets possessed by an alien thing.
The Warheads manage to contain it for now. Cable will accidentally unleash it and have a brief fight with it in Motormouth and Killpower #7, but it's really not that important.
A back-up in issue #9 shows Colonel Liger being interviewed after another Warheads mission. It seems that they had the opportunity to steal some technology that would have wiped out a race. Liger claims that he did try to take the technology, but it self destructed. Liger's story is corroborated by Leona McBride, but we get the sense that it wasn't true.
The Warheads as a concept is pretty fun, and it seems like it should be easy to do fun stories with them. I think things get tripped up by the obligatory guest appearances. It also wouldn't be terrible to slow down and develop the personalities of the characters a little more. The latter issues in this entry are also hurt by the random back-up stories. On the plus side, the developments with Mephisto and Blackheart give us a sense that the story is actually going somewhere.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: The ongoing Death's Head II series begins after these issues; the Sapphire Lotus is featured in the first four issues.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showAlgernon Crowe, Audit, Blackheart, Brendan Rathcoole, Bronwen Gryfnn, Bysshe, Che, Clementine, Cyclops, Death's Head II (Minion), Eadmund Porlock, Gregory (Warheads), Gudrun Tyburn, Jubilee, Leona McBride, Lord Chaos, Master Order, Mephisto, Misha (Warheads), Mr. Grant, Ormond Wychwood, Perez (Warheads), Psylocke, Silver Surfer, Stacy Arnheim, Storm, Tigon Liger, Tuck, Wolverine
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