Thursday, April 07, 2016

Dream Waves: Brigade and Bloodstrike


So I was thinking about what would make a good topic for this week's edition of Dream Waves, and damn if I didn't find one that really spoke to me and I'm sure to early Image-era fans as well...

I'm talking about two early Image teams to launch from Rob Liefield's Extreme Studios, Brigade and Bloodstrike.

Now Brigade and Bloodstrike were two separate, but similar teams led by two brothers; Brigade was a team of heroic(mostly) super-powered(mostly) mercenaries led by John Battlestone, a former member and team leader in Youngblood and the golden age superhero team for the Image universe, The Allied. He was basically a hard-ass, and very hard to get along with type of guy. He was like Cable personally-wise, but much more of a dick and undead.

Then you had his younger brother(as we'd find out later in the Blood Brothers Story line) Cabbot Stone, who was the leader of a top-secret government-sponsored super-powered hit squad, who handled problems the government needed them to "take care of."

What was such a unique twist to them, was that all the members were basically zombies, as they each member had been killed previously in a separate incident, but brought back to life through a secret program the government ran called Project: Born Again. So anytime any member of Bloodstrike got killed (and that tended to happen pretty regularly) they'd just be brought back to life again. It's like the reverse of the Suicide Squad, in that even death isn't an escape from the team since you'll just be brought back to life again to serve in more missions.

But as exciting and intriguing as the premise was for both teams and the personalities that were fleshed out, both books just didn't receive the love and care they deserved as most books put out during that time period unfortunately suffered from, only lasting about two years a piece.

Brigade's team was constantly experiencing turnovers in membership, constantly going through a serious identity crisis, while Bloodstrike was reborn into a story about a single operative using the Bloodstrike code name as his own(It was later revealed to be John Cabbot the whole time) but that reboot didn't last long either.

I know Liefield back in 2010 was supposed relaunch Brigade, but seeing as he suffers aggressively from creative ADD, nothing ever came of it, which is a damn shame, even with the whole concept being re-imagined anyways.

The same fate be-fell Bloodstrike, when it too was rebooted, updated, and relaunched, only to not make it past the first issue.

So all of that is just a long, and drawn out way of me saying I really loved both teams, and today I'm presenting to you all my dream wave(s) of Brigade and Bloodstrike figures.

In doing so, I'm laying them out just like how they might've looked if Toy Biz/Hasbro (The former and current makers of the Marvel Legends line) had the rights to both teams and distributed them much like they did with the X-Force spin-off line from their very popular X-Men line of figures at the time.

Here we go.....

Wave 1:

1). Battlestone

The man who started it all, Battlestone was a former high ranking commander in Youngblood who was kicked out after he beat a soldier in his squadron to death for disagreeing with him. After he was court-marshaled, he did a bunch of mercenary work before eventually deciding to start his own super team just to spite Youngblood. And that's when he started Brigade. He eventually went mad due to the process that was responsible for bringing him back to live was also driving him more and more mad.After Boone's betrayal where they both were presumably killed in the explosion Boone set off, Battlestone returned to Youngblood, working for the same organization he used to hate with a passion.

Any of his looks would do.

2). Cabbot Stone

He was the guy that was put in charge of the government-sponsored hit squad named Bloodstrike. His brother was Battlestone, which led to plenty of family drama as you might imagine. Eventually after a massive battle with an alien invasion, in which the team was killed, the whole Bloodstrike operation was scrapped, and Cabbot taking on the name as a government sponsored mercenary.

Eventually he would regain his memories and reunite Bloodstrike again.

3). Deadlock

Deadlock was a known terrorist, who after being killed while in the process of being apprehended, was returned to live via Project: Born Again. After being slightly re-programmed, but still feral, Deadlock became a member of the government hit squad, Bloodstrike. He's basically like the guy who he's modeled after, but more like Sabertooth and minus the metal skeleton and healing factor.

Here's his updated look, so as to cut back more on the Wolverine comparisons.

And here's how he'd look in action figure form possibly:

4). Thermal

Thermal was a news reporter with super powers who joined Brigade but was going undercover as she was building an expose story on Brigade that would present them to the world as unhinged and wild killers. As she bonded with the team, and even had a thing going on with fellow Brigade member Coldsnap, until a fatal attack on him by Bloodstrike left his body forced to morph into a giant ice monster to survive, thus dooming anything from going forward. She tried to shut the expose down, but the team was attacked before this could happen and she was and most of the team were slaughtered.
 She had your typical fire powers, including flight and producing blasts of thermal heat and energy.
Going with the classic look here.

5). Kayo

Kayo was Battlestone's faithful #2 guy and right hand man in running Brigade up until he was killed along with the rest of the pre-Seahawk recruited incarnation of the team. He didn't have any super powers, but was a pretty damn good fighter, skilled in various martial art disciplines, as would probably anybody who used to be a mercenary.

Any of his looks would do, especially his first appearance.

6). Supreme

Why the fuck not Supreme!? Plus he did show up in the issue of Bloodstrike which was the follow up to the Blood Brothers arc, where he fucking totally annihilated the fuck out of the team. I mean straight up butchered them!!!! I loved it. So there you go, a damn good reason to include him in this line.
Classic look here.

7). Lethal

Lethal was a member of Brigade, both in its early days before the official mini-series, and through its run up until the team ran into Crypt who then killed what remained of the team at that point. Lethal was transported to a different time zone, spared for future plans that never got a chance to realized.
She has no powers other than being top-notch, highly-skilled assassin.

BAF: Coldsnap

Rounding off this wave is a Brigade member Coldsnap. He's the guy who along with his brother Seahawk, gained special powers after exposure to mystical waters near the underwater city of Neuport, when the experimental sub they were in with their rich was attacked and destroyed. Their father died but Alex gained the ability to control ice. He basically became Iceman, but had to wear a a special suit to keep his powers in check. After a savage attack by Bloodstrike destroyed his regulator suit, Alex found himself changed into his later giant, frozen form. Despite developing a thicker hide and augmented strength, Coldsnap still got killed off like an amateur. Shame really.
This big guy just screams BAF, and that's exactly how I see him getting his own figure, as a BAF.

Wave 2:

1). Seahawk

Seahawk and his brother Coldsnap both gained their powers after exposure to mystical waters. Afterwards they were found by Battlestone and recruited for his team Brigade. After a brutal attack by a time-travelling assassin named Crypt killed off much of Brigade, Seahawk was the last member left alive, and quickly took up the task of assembling a new team. That incarnation didn't last long though, and since he had retired from the superhero business at the time, not much is known about him afterwards.
He had super-strength, super sonic flight, agility, the ability to breathe underwater, and a healing factor.

2). Tag

Tag was a member of Bloodstrike due to being chosen be brought back to life through Project: Born Again. She has the ability to freeze anyone she touches as well as super-strength.

Updated look:

3). Fourplay

Fourplay was the chick with four arms in Bloodstrike who could hurt you really bad, and was most definitely a direct reuse of the same character concept that Liefield had already shown us in the New Mutants with the bad guy Forearm.

And here's her updated look:

Don't know if she still has four arms or if they just stay hidden....

4). Roman

Roman was basically the Namor stand-in for Liefields's universe, and even served with fellow Brigade members Glory and Battlestone in the golden age super team, The Allies. he alone with Seahawk and Lethal survived the entire run of the original Brigade team.

5). Chapel

Yup, the guy responsible for creating Spawn and being infamous for being the only HIV-infected super-soldier on comics at the time, Chapel was briefly (I mean BRIEFLY) a member of Bloodstrike, staying on long enough to find he created Spawn. He then killed himself in attempt to gain power like Spawn, but decided to take over Hell instead, 'cause reasons.
 Any of his classic looks would work, as would an alt head, be it bald or with hair.

6). Boone

Boone was a freelance mercenary who used to run with Battlestone before he formed Brigade. Eventually he recruited Boone to join him, which he did off and on. After some time Boone's friend Hacker was captured forced to betray Brigade, which in turn caused Boone to do the same in an effort to free Hacker. Upon his being found outed as a traitor to the team, he subsequently blew him and Battlestone up in a massive explosion. Only Battlestone seemed to survive.

7). Quantum

Other than I guess Chapel, Quantum's the only truly official bad guy in this wave, and he also happens to be the father of both Bloodstone and Cabbot. As for his powers, think Magneto basically.

BAF: Shogun

The final original member of Bloodstrike, Shogun would have to be a BAF due to the sheer size and look of the character. The BAF concept would be the perfect opportunity to bring this concept of a guy in a giant suit to life in figure form.

This would be the last wave to wrap it all up and tie up any loose ends, picking up the last recognized members of both teams before they were cancelled in '95.

Wave 3:

1). Bloodstrike (Cabbot)

Once the Bloodstrike-as-a-team concept was changed into a one-man team assassin, we got John Cabbot renamed Bloodstrike, and this is his look. Why not have this version of him in action figure form right?

Updated look:

2). Stasis

Stasis was one of the original members of Brigade, going all the way back to their first incarnation. While she survived the team's first major enemy Genocide, she didn't plan on sticking around for anymore, as she quit the team as soon as they got back from Genocide's home world, only to be shot dead by Cabbot, launching the whole Blood Brothers arc.
she's got a very simple, non-descript look that definitely could stand to be updated, but works out great for figure since her outfits pretty straight forward-looking.

3). Crucible

Battlestone and Cabbot's half-sister, Crucible's stint as a Brigade member lasted shorter than it takes to drink a fancy Starbucks coffee drink, not long. She was killed off-panel, and seemed like a really poor copy of the Scarlet Witch, complete with hex/probability powers. Still, she was a Brigade member and deserves a spot on this line of figures.

4). Troll

Troll was a former member of Youngblood who became one of Seahawk's new recruits when he was rebuilding Brigade right before the title got cancelled. 2,000 years old Troll looks like a the love child of Puck and Wolverine if there ever existed such a thing. But he was a pretty cool character, and I'm not ashamed to say I once owned an official Troll action figure back in the day.

5). Glory

Acting as Liefield's Wonder Woman pastiche, but born of an amazonian goddess and demon, Glory was recruited by Seahawk when he was rebuilding Brigade to help rebuild the team. Didn't last long, but it was definitely an interesting choice to throw her on the team even though she was barely connected to the original incarnations, as she served with Battlestone in that GA super group they were both in, the Allies.

Updated look:

6). Vanguard

Another big surprise addition to Seahawk's Brigade team was this guy, Gary Carlson's Vanguard.
An alien hero who reminds me a lot of Booster Gold, but slightly more serious and very powerful.
Hell they even share the whole robot as a sidekick thing as well. He sports a pretty simple look, but I'm sure the sculptors could work with it.

7). Genocide

 This wave's only true villain, and Brigade's first major villain, Genocide is your basic intergalactic conqueror menace with the stereotypical powers you'd imagine a guy like this would have. Once he was defeated by Brigade, he never showed up again for a rematch, but I figured why not include him the line anyways right?

BAF: Atlas

The last of the original Brigade members, poor Atlas didn't survive long after showing up, as he died in the final issue of the Brigade mini (He was killed by the mini's main villain Genocide) before it returned as an ongoing.
Due to the nature of his powers of being able to grow like Giant Man, it only seemed appropriate that Atlas gets released as a BAF.

Now that's pretty much everyone except one character, Shadowhawk.

He was a part of Seahawk's incarnation of the team, but didn't last long, as he was killed off right before the series was cancelled, when he died of HIV-related complications. Yep, this particular Shadowhawk was John Paulstone, the hero who famously contracted HIV, but still fought crime regardless.
Since I don't plan on going with wave #4, I'd make him the lone exclusive figure, like a Target/Toys R Us/Walgreen's/Walmart exclusive figure, and that's how you 'd squeeze one more figure into the entire line.

And that's what a dream wave line of Brigade and Bloodstrike figures. What's yours and did I leave anyone out?

I'll leave you guys with this moment of zen.....

Don't you just hate when that happens?

Have a good weekend guys n' gals.....


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