Sunday, February 5, 2023

AEW Dark Episode 181- 1/31/2023 Women's Matches

 By Mark Rodriguez

January wraps up as we see some more matches from Red Velvet, Skye Blue and Yuka Sakazaki.

Match 1- Sofia Castillo vs Red Velvet 

Both women start to grapple and Red Velvet armdrags Sofia to the mat. Red Velvet gets her in a headlock takedown and Sofia counters by putting her head in a leglock. Red Velvet kicks out of this and gets her in an armdrag. Sofia manages to pick her up and slam her to the mat. Sofia starts taunting Red's 'stir it up' gesture. Red Velvet grabs her waist but Sofia hits her with a back elbow to get loose. Red Velvet manages to knock her down with a dropkick. She goes for the cover but Sofia kicks out.

Sofia crawls up towards the ropes and Velvet starts throwing shots at her. Velvet gets her in a snapmare and then knocks her down with a single leg dropkick. She goes for another cover but Sofia shoves her off. Velvet runs at Sofia who keeps her back with a big boot. Sofia goes for the apron and uses the ropes to flip herself upside down and hit Velvet with her boots. Sofia ducks a punch from Velvet which leaves her hanging off the ropes. Sofia knees Velvet in the face and then grabs her for a guillotine off the ropes. Sofia gets back into the ring and goes for the cover but Velvet kicks out.

Sofia grabs Velvet and whips her towards the ropes, following her with a running elbow. With Velvet dazed, Sofia grabs her and knees her in the face. She then slams her face-first into the mat and goes for a cover. Red manages to kick out yet again.

Red Velvet starts throwing some strikes, but Sofia kicks out her knee. With Velvet down on her knees, Sofia knees her in the face. Velvet is still dazed and Sofia hits her with a running kick to the side of the head. Sofia tries to pin her twice and Velvet manages to kick out both times. Sofia grabs her in a full nelson and Velvet tries to fight her way out of it. 

Velvet breaks free and runs for the ropes but Sofia knocks her down with a Leg Lariat. Velvet is up against the ropes but she dodges before Sofia can kick her. With Sofia's leg caught on the ropes, Velvet grabs her with the lawnblower slam. With Sofia hanging off the middle ropes, Velvet runs at her with double knees between the shoulders. Velvet snaps the ropes back, knocking Sofia backwards towards the mat. Velvet then grabs her arm and gets her in a painful submission hold. Sofia screams and taps and Red Velvet wins the match. 

Match 2- Skye Blue vs Renee Michell√© 

Both women grapple and Renee hits Skye with her knee and then slams her onto the mat. Renee runs towards Skye and eats a back elbow. She tries again and gets a boot to the face. As she tries to attack a third time, Skye hangs off the ropes and grabs her in a roll up pin. Renee kicks out. Skye waits until she gets up and kicks her in the midsection. Skye tried to grab her but Renee reverses their position and hits her in the face. She then slams Skye face-first into the top turnbuckle and starts throwing shots at her. Renee goes for the ropes and hits Skye with a Moonsault. She goes for the cover but Skye kicks out. 

Skye starts throwing some strikes to escape Renee's grasp. Skye hits her with a running knee strike, and then rolls her to the mat with a snapmare. As Renee tries to get back up, Skye kicks her knee out and then tries to kick her face. Renee catches her boot, but Skye spins and clocks her with her other leg. Renee manages to get Skye in a German Suplex pin but Skye kicks out at two.

Renee grabs Skye but she slips from her grasp and kicks her in the face. Skye grabs her in the SkyeFall and goes for the pin. Skye Blue wins the match.

Match 3- Yuka Sakazaki vs Avery Breaux

Yuka starts copying Avery's arm gestures, which Avery tells her to stop since that's her thing. Both women grapple and try to get control of each other. Avery manages to get Yuka in a snapmare but Yuka doesn't let go and gets her in a snapmare too. Yuka goes for three pin attempts in a row, with Avery barely being able to kick out each time. Avery rolls out of the ring for a quick time out. 

Yuka gets out of the ring and comes after her and Avery gets her with a knee to the midsection. Avery grabs her and slams her face into the ring apron. Yuka drops to the floor and Avery taunts her. Avery grabs her and shoves her back into the ring, but Yuka spins around and kicks her in the face. Yuka gets Avery back into the ring and hangs her over the ropes so she can elbow her across the back. Yuka walks around to greet the crowd and then runs back in to hit Avery with a dropkick on the ring apron.

Yuka goes for the pin but Avery kicks out. Yuka grabs her but Avery slams her in a suplex. With Yuka down and up against the ropes, Avery runs at her with a cannonball senton. She gees for the pin but Yuka kicks out. 

Avery goes for a flying kick and misses. Yuka goes for a spinning lariat and also misses, but she keeps spinning and hits her with the other arm. Yuka picks her up and starts spinning her around until she lets her drop. Yuka goes to the ropes and hits Avery with the Magical Girl Splash. She pins her and gets the win.

My thoughts- 

Pretty good matches tonight. Sofia was a tough opponent and was in control for most of the match. It's also cool to see that Red Velvet now has a new submission move added to her arsenal.

The Skye Blue match was also a lot of fun. The main confusing thing was that the announcement team said this was her AEW Dark debut. That's kind of weird seeing that she's been on Dark several times, even challenging Jade for the title once. Maybe they meant first time this year, but debut is a weird word to use.

Yuka Sakazaki is also fun to watch with all of her antics and overly cheerful and energetic personality. Avery Breaux is a cool competitor though and I do hope she gets more of a chance to sign. Hopefully we'll see her hit AEW Dynamite eventually. As for Yuka, she's amazingly quick and it's always surprising to her bodyslam women considering her small size. We'll see how her eventual match with Athena will go. 

AEW Dark Elevation Episode 100- 1/30/2023 Women's Matches

 By Mark Rodriguez

AEW Dark Elevation reaches episode 100! Athena teams up with Diamante to take on Yuka Sakazaki and Skye Blue. Will Yuka be inducted into the Dark Order???

Match 1- Red Velvet vs Billie Starks

The match starts with both competitors grappling and Velvet gets Billie in a headlock takedown. Billie gets her into a leglock and Velvet kicks out of it. Billie gets Velvet in her own headlock takedown, to which she counters with a leglock too. Billie kicks out of it too and both women size each other up.

Billie goes for a handshake and Red Velvet goes for it and pulls her towards the ropes. Velvet goes for a dropkick but Billie stops before she could get hit. She then grabs her for a German Suplex. With Velvet down, Billie goes for the ropes. Velvet gets up quick enough to smack her in the face. She grabs her and slams her off the ropes and goes for the pin. Billie kicks out. 

Billie swings at her and Velvet ducks them and kicks her knee out. With Billie down to one knee, Velvet goes for a spinning kick but misses. Billie grabs her for a roll up pin, but can't keep her down. Both women run towards each other and Velvet knocks her down with a flying dropkick. 

Billie is up against the ropes and Velvet runs at her, getting hit by a back elbow. Velvet charges a second time and gets a boot to the face. Billie gets onto the ropes and Velvet shoves her leg aside. Billie swings her other leg around and kicks her in the face. Billie grabs her for another German Suplex, but Velvet shoves her off and then trips her so she's hanging off the middle rope. 

Red Velvet runs towards Billie and hits her in the back of her neck with a flying knee strike. Velvet bounces Billie off the ropes. Billie is able to grab her but Velvet hangs onto the ropes to avoid getting slammed. Billie is able to get her hands off the ropes and slams her with a suplex bridge pin but Velvet kicks out. Billie drags Velvet closer to the ropes and she goes up top. She leaps off with a swanton and lands on Velvet. Billie goes for the pin and Velvet is able to shift over so she's the one pinning her instead. Billie is able to get out of it. 

Velvet runs at Billie, and Billie is able to dodge her and elbow her on the back of the head. Billie gets her onto her shoulders but Velvet goes for the Poisonrana. With Billie dazed, Velvet lands a kick to the side of the head and lays her out. Red Velvet pins her and gets the win.

Red Velvet is set to challenge Jade for the TBS Championship on Dynamite.

Athena looks for a Tag Partner

Athena is being interviewed about her upcoming tag match against Yuka and Skye. Athena grabs the mic and shoos the interview away and decides to look for a partner. She goes up to Diamante and asks her to team up. Diamante refuses since the last time they fought, Athena kicked her head in. Athena offers her a future shot at the RoH Women's Title if they win, and Diamante agrees.

Match 2- Diamante & Athena vs Yuka Sakazaki & Skye Blue

Athena and Diamante show up, with Diamante being forced to bring along glowsticks. Diamante wasn't having it with the glowsticks and that already got her on the wrong foot with Athena. The match opens with Yuka and Diamante grappling. Diamante shoves Yuka towards the ropes and knocks her down as she bounces back. Yuka grabs her for a snapmare and kicks her in the face. She hits her with a sliding elbow strike and goes for the pin. Diamante kicks out.

Yuka tags Skye in and they both grab Diamante and knock her down with a double clothesline. Yuka hits Diamante with a body splash and Skye runs in to kick her in the face. Skye pins Diamante while Yuka keeps Athena back, but Diamante was able to kick out. Diamante manages to sock Skye in the face and bring her over to her corner, tagging Athena in.

Athena grabs Skye in a headlock and then punches her across the back to knock her down. Skye manages to send Athena flying with the tijeras. She goes for a kick but Athena blocks it, but she swings around and kicks her with the other foot. Skye runs towards Athena but crashes into the top turnbuckle. Athena runs in to attack her but also misses as Skye takes to the apron. Skye hits Athena in the face and climbs the ropes. Diamante starts talking trash to Skye, distracting her long enough for Athena to hit her with a flying dropkick. Skye stumbles out of the ring and Athena tags Diamante in.

Diamante and Athena grab Skye and run her into the barricade. Diamante grabs Skye and rolls her back into the ring. She gets Skye up against the ropes and starts kicking her. Diamante distracts the ref as Athena lands a cheap shot on Skye. Diamante grabs Skye and slams her face into the top turnbuckle. She climbs on the ropes and hits Skye ten times as the crowd counts along. Diamante gets her in a snapmare and goes for a cover. Skye kicks out.

Diamante brings Skye back to her corner and tags Athena in. Athena kicks Skye across the back as Diamante lets her go and gets onto the ring. Skye hits Athena and gets loose. She tries to leap to tag Yuka in but Athena catches her and keeps her away. Athena sets her down near her corner and socks her in the face. She starts kicking and stomping on her and then tags Diamante in. Diamante grabs Skye and hits her with a suplex. Diamante tags Athena back in who starts slapping Skye and taunting her. Skye angrily punches her back. Skye back elbows Diamante and keeps hitting Athena. Skye crawls over to tag in her partner but Athena grabs her legs. Skye kicks her off and finally tags Yuka in. With Diamante down on the ring apron, Athena has no one to tag so she charges towards Yuka. 

Yuka and Athena start trading shots until Yuka knocks Athena down. With Athena up against the ropes, Yuka runs at her and kicks her in the face. She gets Athena in a snapmare and then goes for the ropes. As Athena gets up, Yuka leaps off the ropes and knocks her down with a dropkick. Yuka gets her in a scoop slam and goes for the cover. Diamante runs in to break up the pin and then gets her in a suplex. Skye comes in and knocks Diamante down with a thrust kick. She tries to kick Athena, but Athena catches her leg, picks her and slams her. All four women are down.

Yuka and Athena get back to their feet and each one tries to pick up and slam the other. Yuka runs in and kicks Athena in the face. Athena takes this chance to quickly tag Diamante in. Yuka grabs Athena with a Tijeras that sends her rolling out of the ring. Diamante runs in behind Yuka and tries to catch her off guard with a roll up pin. Yuka manages to escape. Diamante tries to grab her for a suplex but Yuka beats her back. Yuka grabs Diamante, spins her around and plants her into the mat. She pins her and scores the win. Skye and Madison Rayne come to celebrate with her.

Athena has injured her ankle when she fell out of the ring, but she still climbs into the ring to threaten Yuka. There isn't much Athena can do her in her condition as all three women stare her down so she leaves for now. 

Yuka/Dark Order segment

Lexi is interviewing Yuka about her recent win when the Dark Order show up. They say there's an opening since Anna Jay left them and wonder if she wants to join. Yuka happily says 'hai', which the Dark Order members take it as her saying 'hi'. This happens a few times and Lexi tries to explain but the Dark Order guys don't listen and take it as Yuka not being interested and they leave.

My Thoughts- 

Good matches for this 100th episode of Dark Elevation. The match between Billie and Red Velvet was pretty good. I thought Billie her when she managed to land the swanton and I wouldn't have minded if she won. It's too bad her opponent has this 'building up her momentum' story, or Billie could have had a bigger shot at winning. After all, we can't have Red Velvet building herself up to challenge Jade for the title if she's losing matches on Dark Elevation. Still, it was a very good match.

Red Velvet did challenge Jade that week on Dynamite and the champ retained. The question by now is, just WHO will be the person to take down Jade?

Athena continues to be a comedic and aggressive heel as she recruits Diamante as a tag partner. I like her personality so far, it's a mixture between being overly cocky and not taking her opponents seriously, while also being violent and vicious. The match was fun and I like that this feud puts Yuka more in the spotlight. She has been in AEW before but she always felt like a special guest star. Now that she has some beef with Athena, she feels more like a regular. Can't wait to see this go down.

As for the Yuka/Dark Order segment... oh man, that was a cheesy joke. I just had to roll my eyes. I know what they were going for but this might have been funnier a few decades ago when Japanese stuff felt more 'foreign', but with all the anime and manga rolling around, the average joe should already know 'hai' means 'yes'. But then again, the Dark Order were pretty much portrayed as idiots during this segment. 

Not sure how things would have gone if Yuka did join the Dark Order. Not really sure if they would have elevated her, especially since currently the fanbase is divided between wanting the Dark Order to do more or just go away. But hey, if they can ask her again with a translator book on hand, Yuka does seem interested.

Good fun episode. I also like that they're making the Athena/Yuka feud take its time. Athena sitting out a week or two due to her injured ankle is a good way to make this last long enough for the next Ring of Honor Pay Per View. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

AEW Dark Episode 180- 1/24/2023 Women's Matches

 By Mark Rodriguez

This episode has Madison Rayne getting some in-ring action, and surprisingly, even Britt Baker DMD gets a match. This match in particular ended up affecting an upcoming match on AEW Dynamite.

Match 1- Britt Baker vs Billie Starkz

Both women grapple and Britt gets Billie in a headlock takedown and attempts a pin. Billie is able to escape. Britt goes for a second pin attempt that Billie kicks out of. The DMD then goes for a lateral press and another pin, but she still can't keep her down. 

Billie grabs Britt and flips her upside down, but before she can do anything, Britt takes her down for another pin. This time Billie reverses for a pin of her own and Britt barely kicks out in time. Billie reaches out for a handshake and Britt agrees to it. As Britt pulls away, Billie doesn't let go and pulls her back in. Britt socks her with a forearm strike.

Britt grabs her and hits her several times and then knocks her down with a running slingblade. She goes for the pin but Billie kicks out. Britt starts choking Billie up against the ropes and then plants her boot against her throat. Rebel chokes Billie while Britt keeps the ref distracted. Britt hits Billie with a couple of forearm shots and then whips her across the ring. As Billie comes back, Britt knocks her down and goes for another pin. Billie is able to kick out.

Britt takes a swing at Billie, but she ducks it. Britt is still able to grab her and hairwhip her to the mat. Britt gets her in a painful hold as she wrenches Billie's jaw open. Billie gets to her feet and starts hitting Britt with forearm shots and chops until the DMD pushes her back.

Both women run towards each other and Britt slams Billie with the neckbreaker. Britt runs towards Billie, who keeps the DMD at back with a back elbow to the face. Britt runs at her again and Billie kicks her in the face. Billie hits Britt with an enzuigiri off the ropes and then gets her in a suplex bridging into a pin. The DMD kicks out.

Billie drags Britt closer to the ropes and goes up top. As Billie leaps off with a flying swanton, Rebel pushes Britt out of the way and takes the hit for her. While Billie is distracted, Britt hits her with a thrust kick and takes her down for a cover. Billie still kicks out. Britt grabs Billie, but her opponent grabs her instead for another bridge suplex. Britt still escapes the pinfall.

As Britt gets up, she is now bleeding from her nose. Billie grabs her and slams her face into the top turnbuckle. Billie gets Britt up on her shoulders and Britt wipes her blood off on her forehead. This distracted Billie long enough for Britt to get off of her and hit her in the face. Britt grabs Billie with the Butterfly Edge and goes for the pin, but she can't keep her down.

Britt runs in for the Curb Stomp but Billie moves out of the way. She then grabs the DMD and spikes her with a Tombstone Piledriver. She goes for the pin for Britt surprisingly kicks out. Rebel tries to distract Billie as she grabs onto Britt and starts kicking her in the chest. Britt grabs Billie's leg, spins her around and clocks her in the face. Britt grabs Billie in a Canadian Destroyer and then mashes her into the mat with the Curb Stomp. Britt goes for the pin and wins the match. Rebel runs in to celebrate her win with her.

Britt is set to be in a three-way match against Toni Storm and Ruby Soho on Dynamite.

Match 2- Brittany J vs Harley Cameron

Brittany runs in and Harley slams her with a headlock takedown. Harley starts boasting as the crowd boos her and Brittany grabs her in a roll up pin. Harley escapes this as well as a second pin attempt. Britanny throws back Harley's own insults and gets the crowd to chant 'she's a loser' while she gets her in a headlock. Harley shoves her opponent up against the ropes and starts attacking her. She then runs across the ring with her and hits her face into the top turnbuckle. With Brittany up against the ropes, Harley starts throwing kicks at her.

Harley bounces Brittany against the ropes, then picks her up and slams her. She goes for a cover but her opponent kicks out. Harley keeps taunting Brittany and whips her up against the ring post. Harley runs towards her but Brittany kicks her in the face, knocking her down to the mat. Harley runs towards Brittany, who knocks her down with a dropkick.

Brittany goes for the ropes but Harley gets out of the way as she leaps off. Brittany misses the mark but rolls safely back to her feet. Harley knocks her down with a lariat. She then grabs her and slams her with a Backstabber and goes for the pin. Harley Cameron wins the match.

Match 3- Kaci Lennox vs Madison Rayne

Both women come in for a grapple as Kaci pushes Madison up against the ropes. Kaci goes in with a swing but Madison gets out of the way. Madison hits her with a few forearm shots. She whips Kaci across the ring but ends being whipped towards the ropes herself. Kaci runs towards her and stops before Madison can hit her with her boot. Kaci catches her boot but Madison kicks her with her other leg. Madison runs at her but Kaci grabs her and picks her up in a fireman's carry. She slams her down and goes for the pin but Madison is able to kick out.

Kaci picks up Madison again, but the Queen Bee is able to escape her grasp. Madison dodges Kaci's kick and lands a kick of her own to the midsection. Madison runs in with a kick to the side of the head. With Kaci rocked, Madison grabs her and slams her face-first into the mat. She goes for the pin and wins the match.

My Opinions- 

It was surprising to see Britt on Dark, but she put out a decent match against Billie Starks. Poor Rebel having to run in and take the hit for Britt though. There were some cool moves here and there and Billie pulled off a perfect Tombstone Piledriver. I also liked the drawn out handshake between the two and how Billie kept smiling in Britt's face even while she was trying to intimidate her.

The Brittany VS Harley match was something different, and if Harley didn't come in with her theme music while Brittany was already in the ring, it would have been harder to guess who'd win. Brittany definitely had the crowd behind her, so here's hoping we see more of her and she can pull off a win.

It was cool to see Madison back in the ring, though I was surprised the match was so short. This is the type where you can miss it while going to grab a drink. 

Back to Britt, we see that she busted her nose up after one of Billie's suplex bridge attempts. This would eventually lead to the 3-way match between Britt, Ruby and Toni now becoming a regular one on one match between Ruby and Toni. 

It was a cool match between the two, as Toni Storm was now acting more like a heel. Toni pretty much had the win until Britt Baker's theme started playing. As the DMD headed down the ring, Ruby grabbed Toni with her Destination Unknown slam and won the match. This left Ruby very confused as she pretty much owes her win to Britt Baker, someone she's not exactly on good terms with. We'll see how Britt's feud with Saraya and all the parties involved continue to heat up.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

AEW Dark Elevation Episode 99- 1/23/2023 (women's matches)

 By Mark Rodriguez

We get two cool matches this time as we see Skye Blue and Emi Sakura in action. We also see more of the current beef between Athena and Yuka Sakazaki.

First Match- Skye Blue vs Zoe Dubois

Both women grapple and Skye sends Zoe rolling along the mat. Zoe goes for a swing but Skye grabs her arm and gets her in an armdrag takeover. Skye runs towards the ropes, and flips over to the apron to avoid Zoe's strike. She then elbows her in the face. Skye climbs the ropes but Zoe tugs on them, making her stumble. With Skye dazed and up against the ropes, Zoe runs over and hits her with a high boot to the face. Zoe grabs her and hits her with an uppercut. Zoe hits Skye with a second uppercut and then gets into three consecutive rolling suplexes. She goes for the cover, but Skye is able to kick out.

Zoe gets Skye up against the ropes and presses her boot up against her throat. As she does this, she leans back as if she was a swan. Zoe grabs onto Skye, but her opponent starts hitting back. Skye then sends Zoe flying with a Tijeras. Skye runs at her with a flying knee strike and then rolls her into the mat with a snapmare. Skye goes for a kick that Zoe catches, but then Skye swings her other leg around and connects. Skye goes for the cover but Zoe kicks out. 

Zoe hits Skye and then grabs her legs, making her fall on her back. She tries to go for some sort of submission move with her legs but Skye kicks her back. Zoe runs at her and Skye hits her with a thrust kick to the face. Skye then grabs her in the SkyeFall and goes for the pin. Skye Blue wins the match that opens the show. 

Backstage altercation between Athena and Yuka Sakazaki

Lexi tries to interview Athena, who is too busy smacking people around demanding to know where Yuka Sakazaki is. Yuka is right behind her, waving at her before both women break into a fight. The backstage guys pull the women apart and try to hold them back.

Match 2- Emi Sakura vs Brooke Havok 

Brooke goes for a grapple but Emi dodges her and laughs. Not taking kindly to this, Brooke hits her with several forearm shots and then knocks her down with a dropkick. Brooke poses to the crowd as she's pumped up, but Emi grabs her by the hair and tosses her across the ring. Emi kicks Brooke around and then gets her on her lap so she can spank her. She does her 'tea time' pose, before raking her claws across Brooke's back.

Emi stomps onto Brooke's back as she's still trying to get back to her feet. Emi eggs Brooke on, and the graduate from the Nightmare Academy fires back with forearm shots. Emi tanks the shots and hits her with a harsh chop across the chest. Emi dares her to hit her again, and Brooke goes for another barrage of forearm shots. Emi responds with another violent chop. Brooke tries a third time, but this time when Emi goes for a big chop, Brooke ducks and grabs her with a jawbreaker. She then grabs her for a neckbreaker. Brooke goes a fancy variation of the DDT and then pins Emi. Emi kicks out.

Brooke grabs onto Emi, but the Queen rakes her nails across her back again. Emi takes control and plants Brooke with a facebuster. With Brooke up against the ropes, Emi starts hitting her with the 'We Will Rock You' chops and finishes with a flying crossbody splash. Emi then picks up Brooke and gives her a nice look at all four corners of the ring before slamming her down with a backbreaker.

Emi goes for the ropes and lands on Brooke with a Moonsault. She goes for the pin and wins the match. Emi sits on the ref's knee and poses for her victory.

My Opinions- 

Pretty decent episode when it came to the women's matches. Skye Blue and Emi Sakura are always fun to watch. It's also good to see Brooke pop up more often, so here's hoping that we see more of her. Zoe Dubois was also cool with her graceful movements. 

We got to see a few more minutes of Athena and Yuka's feud. We'll see if this will lead to a match at the next Ring of Honor PPV or an upcoming episode of Rampage.

Speaking of Rampage, the upcoming episode will have Emi Sakura finally be on TV as she faces Jamie Hayter for the a title elimination match. This means if Emi manages to pin the champ, she can challenge for the title directly. Either way, it's about time that Emi Sakura returns to TV.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Goshawk and Falconet # 1 (heavy spoilers so beware!)

 By Mark Rodriguez

Brought to you by the same studios that brought you Arachna # 1 and 2, we get a brand new superhero duo, Goshawk and Falconet. Let's check it out.

The story opens with Goshawk and Falconet soaring through the sky just above Santa Monica Bay. They fly towards a ship that is being robbed. Goshawk tells her to secure the cargo while he keeps the guards busy. 

The robbers are working for a villain named Black Parrot. Goshawk lands between two of them and bashes their heads together. Just then a third man pulls a gun on him from behind. Goshawk retracts his wings which knocks the gun out of the man's hand. Goshawk knocks the guy out while Falconet kicks the guy protecting the cargo. Falconet uses one of her claws to pick the padlock and finds a room full of captured women. She assures them that they're alright now.

On the lower decks, Black Parrot and a woman named Secretarybird think their mission is a success. With the harbormaster being bought and paid for they'll have no trouble delivering the cargo to their client. Just then the alarm goes off so they know they've been busted. They make their way to a life boat to escape. Up above Goshawk and Falconet are dancing and knocking out all the bad guys as they do so. Black Parrot got away but the girls are free and they thank the heroes. 

Later on, in the Bird Nest hidden under the Gunn Mansion, Baron and Sierra unwind and shower. Sierra mentions wanting to fly in their vehicle, but Baron says it is still under repairs after their last battle with Feathered Freak. They get ready for an upcoming party that Sierra arranged and asks Baron to at least try to mingle with the guests a little. 

The party starts later that night and people mention that Baron used to work with Tesla until he got lucky with Tesla stocks and cashed in. Baron thanks the Mayor and his men for coming and then hangs out with some policemen. The lieutenant enjoys the drinks as the bartender serves him more. Even though he's off duty he wants to make sure people think he's drinking non-alcoholic ones. His friend Awais asks about his wife, and he says she can watch over herself since she's more of the socialite. He says to take his advice and not take her for granted. Meanwhile Sierra tells her friends things are fine though sometimes Baron has a one-track mind towards his inventions. 

After the party is over, Sierra goes to see Baron for some fun time. Baron is busy watching videos of Arachna. This gets Sierra furious and asks why he keeps watching videos of superheroines when he has one right in front of him. She asks if he barely touches her because she's not in spandex 24/7 since he barely speaks to her when they're out of costume. Baron says his interest in Arachna is purely professional since they're all in the superhero field. Sierra storms off and says maybe she'll dress like Arachna next time so that he can pay attention to his own wife. 

The next day Baron and Sierra are at their pool with her being noticeably distant. Baron asks if she remembers when they'd dreamed about being married and fighting crime. Now that they've done that it feels like they're going through the motions. Just then an alarm goes off and they are warned that a '211' is in progress in the Bank of America. Baron activates a switch that drains the pool and opens up a slide for them to go into the Bird's Nest. Their flying vehicle is still under repairs so they head off on their motorcycles.

The suspects are getting away in two convertibles heading down West Sunset Boulevard. They shoot up a vehicle so bad it overturns. Goshawk notices that they're splitting up and tells Falconet to follow the other one but not to engage. Falconet sighs and agrees. Goshawk leaps off his bike and swoops in and takes out some of the thugs but gets punched in the face. One of the thugs grabs him from behind letting Black Parrot score a free hit on him. Goshawk throws a smoke bomb at Black Parrot and opens his wings to knock the other thugs back. He socks Black Parrot out and takes control of the convertible before they can crash. 

The police arrive and ask where Falconet is. Goshawk isn't sure since she turned off her communicator, but he's sure she's fine. Falconet is giving chase to the second car while dodging their bullets. Secretarybird is with them and shooting at Falconet with sadistic glee. The robbers are so distracted by the action that they accidentally drive off a cliff. Secretarybird leaps out of the car before it went over, managing to survive. She pulls her gun on Falconet who flies in to kick her. Falconet gets her in a headlock when suddenly someone swoops in and grabs her. 

This man turns out to be King Vulture. Falconet kicks him in his face, making him let her go. Falconet lands on the ground and figures that Secretarybird was the liaison between King Vulture and Black Parrot. Secretarybird runs at her from behind but Falconet manages to sock her out. She grabs King Vulture, ready to finish him off, and says she didn't need Goshawk's help for this one. Just then King Vulture presses something on her wings that makes them go out of control, making Falconet fly all over the place.

Falconet lands hard on her back and King Vulture chokes her out. He says he should kill her seeing that she resulted in taking away his cargo, his stolen money and he almost lost Secretarybird. He will take her back to his place to kill her properly, but first he searches her for any tracking devices and removes her utility belt. As he takes off her mask, he recognizes her. King Vulture is quick to leave with Secretarybird as he wouldn't want to risk a fight against Goshawk now. 

Goshawk soon arrives on the scene and finds the utility belt and other tracking devices. He swears to find Falconet.

As the bad guys drive off, King Vulture ponders that Falconet is Sierra, so therefore her husband Baron must be Goshawk. He has some sort of connection to Sierra but feels she can't be spared or it will ruin his operation. 

Later on at the villain hideout, Falconet is hanging upside down over a giant vat of acid. King Vulture jokes that she's about to have a real acid trip and Falconet sighs over the dad jokes. Left alone, Falconet decides it's time to stop playing possum and get out of the chains before she's 'a bleached blonde'. She manages to break the chains and land safely away from the vat of acid.

Secretarybird asks if King Vulture wants to know how Black Parrot messed up another mission. He asks why he shouldn't just dump her in the acid alongside Falconet. He explains he's trying to remain composed for now. Secretarybird says she was only the liaison. If anyone messed up, it would have been Black Parrot, not her. King Vulture grabs her by the throat and says he doesn't care, he wants his money back.

Some of King Vulture's thugs come in to make sure Falconet is actually dead, and she knocks them out. She has one of their guns now and heads out to face King Vulture.

Goshawk is smacking Black Parrot around in the interrogation room demanding answers. Black Parrot says King Vulture has her but he doesn't know where he is. Even if he did he wouldn't tell him or he'd be dead. Goshawk drops him and the Lieutenant tells him he's being rougher than usual. Goshawk says they'll never find Falconet unless he's permitted to see the evidence locker. 

Back at the villain's lair a bullet shoots through a light bulb as we see reflections of Falconet getting smacked around through the shattered fragments. King Vulture then sticks her finger into the light socket and zaps her until she's knocked out. Secretarybird tells him it's best she stays sedated. She heard that Black Parrot managed to recover half of the money, so she goes to see him.

Secretarybird goes to see Black Parrot and gets a briefcase full of money. As she checks it out she mentions she heard he was caught. Black Parrot says she heard wrong. She advises him to lay low until the heat dies down. She asks him if he ever treats women the way King Vulture treats her. Black Parrot asks if he also roughs up Falconet. She says Falconet is tough and keeps trying to escape, something she wishes she could do. She drives off and it's revealed that Goshawk was posing as Black Parrot. He's glad to find out that Sierra is still alive.

Baron remembers meeting Sierra on the beach. She was a lifeguard but had a side job as a swimsuit model, even though she never made it to the cover of any magazines. They met and got along and eventually fell in love.

Later on Goshawk arrives in his HAVC (Hovering Arial Vtol Craft), following the tracker he planted on Secretarybird back to their base. The thugs try to shoot it out of the sky, but it evades the gunfire and drops tear gas. With the bad guys distracted and the aircraft on autopilot, Goshawk swoops down and starts beating up the thugs and asking where Falconet is. Secretarybird steps in and says 'that would be telling' and starts to open fire on him. She tries to make a break for it but is caught by Goshawk. It seems Falconet and King Vulture weren't at this location. Shortly after he leaves, Lieutenant Falk arrives to clean up the mess.

Secretarybird is tied up now as Goshawk plans his next move. He mentioned this whole thing started with them kidnapping women and now she's the one that's tied up. She has a cellphone on her that keeps going off. Goshawk sees that the phone is livestreaming and he tries to pinpoint the IP address. King Vulture is the one streaming and he comments that they just gained a new viewer. He has Falconet tied up and gagged to prevent her from giving any clues to their current location. He calls both of them by their real names and says he wants his money back. He'll send instructions and if Baron tries to go off script, Sierra will die.

After the stream is cut, Falconet insults him. King Vulture says after Baron brings them the money she'll have even less of a reason to stay with being his bored trophy wife. Falconet teases that maybe after that she can coax him into giving her the money. King Vulture says he beat her twice and doesn't want to hurt her anymore, but he will if he has to. Falconet says she sees regret in his eyes. King Vulture says he does know her, and if she does swear loyalty to him as his new Secretarybird, he'll let her go. 

Later that night at the Griffith Observatory, Goshawk arrives with the money. He says for King Vulture to have chosen this place he must really know him, but wonders who he is. He starts to think back on several people he knew from the party, including the mayor, Lt. Falk, his friends Mathias and Awais. Awais would know he took Sierra to a date once at the Observatory. It was later that night where Baron would propose to Sierra. Goshawk and Falconet would make their debut months later.

Some of King Vulture's men would arrive to attack Goshawk. King Vulture flies in to grab him, demanding to know where his money is. As they fly past one of the building's towers, a structure falls off it and crushes one of the thugs to death. Falconet is sliding off the dome-like roof of the observatory 

Goshawk pulls out separate wings from the briefcase he had with him and let it go. King Vulture flies off with the briefcase and Goshawk uses the wings to fly down and grab onto Falconet with his legs. He knew he couldn't trust King Vulture with a fair ransom exchange. He gives Falconet a set of portable wings for her to use as well. They both beat up on King Vulture and kiss.

It seems they celebrated too soon and King Vulture slashes Goshawk across the back. Falconet stands between them and he seems to back down. He says he'll just take the million and go. Goshawk tries to distract him so he can gain his second wind, and asks who is he and how he knows them. King Vulture says he should tip more. Goshawk recognizes him as Reddy the bartender from the party earlier.

Falconet yells she's worth a hundred million and kicks King Vulture back. Both heroes beat the hell out of him until they figured he'd had enough. At this point Goshawk says their Wingines are also out of power and they wouldn't be able to chase him if he flew away. Despite everything, Falconet wonders if there was still some good left in King Vulture.

King Vulture does fly away with the money saying he'll come back for Sierra someday. Falconet asks Goshawk if he rigged the suitcase with a virus or fake money or something. He says just hiding the wing-discs was risky enough. There's always more money to be made, but there is only one Sierra Gunn. Goshawk says this person lied, they always tip their staff royally. He says whoever he is, they'll face him as husband and wife. Sierra says they'll face him as Goshawk and Falconet. 

Two weeks later, King Vulture is in his lair singing a tune and taking off his wig. Just then the doorbell rings and he goes to see who it is. Baron and Sierra decided to stop by to visit their old friend. The man greets them and welcomes them inside, telling Sierra to make herself at home. It turns out that King Vulture was their friend Awais.

My thoughts- 

Pretty cool book, though I do have to ask, does every superhero and villain in X-53's version of LA have bird themed names and gimmicks? Other than Goshawk and Falconet, we have Black Parrot, Secretarybird, King Vulture and some off-panel previous encounter with another villain named Feathered Freak? They really love their birds. 

So Goshawk and Falconet are a married crimefighting couple, and even though they act lovey-dovey in costume, their marriage is on the rocks outside of costume. Goshawk is absorbed in his work and Falconet feels neglected. This gets more complicated when you factor in King Vulture has some sort of interest in her and for better or for worst, Falconet is curious about him.

The book focuses mostly on the main characters and the story at hand so we don't to see much of the supporting cast. We do see that Goshawk and Falconet work with the police either allowing them to or covering for them. The page where Goshawk thought up his list of suspects helped keep track of the side characters. Awais was the obvious choice when Goshawk mentioned he would know about the observatory and earlier at the party he did tell him not to take Sierra for granted. 

King Vulture is an odd character. While the question is raised if he has some good in him, and he does seem to care about Sierra.... he's also someone that was involved in kidnapping women and it seems he smacks Secretarybird around to the point that the thugs already see it as a habit. So he doesn't want to hurt Sierra, but he has no problem abusing Secretarybird? Does he just hate her? 

As for Secretarybird, she's no angel either. She seems to take a little too much pleasure in shooting people up. She gets abused by King Vulture and wishes she was strong enough to stand up for herself. She also gets felt up by Black Parrot, so she gets treated horribly all around. But then at the same time she wants to see things be done to the women they kidnapped, so it's difficult to be completely sympathetic towards her. 

The story has a lot of action and in X-53 fashion, a lot of cheesecake. Get ready to see Falconet get in and out of costume, or even when fully clothed, a lot of panels zooming in on her big behind. Similarly, while Secretarybird keeps her clothes on, she sure doesn't know how to zip up her blouse properly. Probably the most intense scene we have seen so far is a panel actually showing Baron and Sierra going at it. You can find more extreme images online for the cultured gentlemen out there, but still this panel might shock those that aren't ready to see that much cheesecake. Then again, I guess we can ague that none of the X-53 books are for younger readers anyway.

Arachna makes a cameo, so yes, she does exist in the same universe as these heroes and villains. Sierra did mention that Baron is always looking at 'superheroines' so we might get even more heroes down the line. 

There are a few nitpicks here and there, but possibly the biggest one was Falconet randomly sliding off the dome, presumably to her death had Goshawk not rescued her. Where did she come from? How did she get there? Was she tied to something rigged to let her drop at a certain time? That part wasn't clear and I re-read the previous page. 

Anyway we'll see how things go. This story has compelling characters with an intriguing situation. The villain knows who they are, but they have no idea who he is. Right now Baron and Sierra are in as much danger going to visit Awais just as they are anytime they'd invite him to hang with them. Actually with the villain knowing who they are, I'm surprised they weren't tearing the city apart trying to find him, similar to how Arachna was obsessed with finding Doctor Diabolique in the last issue. 

A minor detail was in the middle page of the book, there was also an extra 60's Batman show type cliffhanger page with questions, like will Goshawk find Falconet, will Falconet survive and whatnot. It was a funny touch. 

Lastly I went with the basic tier for this book, so I got some cards and stickers relating to Goshawk, Falconet and King Vulture, including an extra card too hot to post here. It also came with sketch prints of Goshawk and King Vulure. The back cover also advertises Arachna # 3. 

I can't wait for more of these books. Let's see where this story goes.