|First appearance||WildC.A.T.s #1 (August, 1992)|
|Created by||Jim Lee, Brandon Choi|
|Type of organization||Intelligence agency|
|Base(s)||Black Towers, (McLean, Virginia).|
|Agent(s)||John Lynch, Mark Slayton
Cole Cash, Holden Carver, Miles Craven, Ivana Baiul, Ben Santini, Frank Colby, Alicia Turner, Dominique Faust
International Operations (aka I.O., IO or I/O) is a fictional American Intelligence Agency in Wildstorm comics. I.O. first appeared in WildC.A.T.S. volume 1 #1 (August, 1992) and was created by Brandon Choi and Jim Lee.
International Operations was founded in 1964 as a branch of the Central Intelligence Agency with the mission to safeguard the United States' interests and safety abroad. It quickly became an independent agency under the leadership of Director Miles Craven. The appearance of Youngblood was the original reason for the restart of Project Genesis, though with both Rob Liefeld's and Wildstorm's departure from Image Comics, it is unlikely that this will ever be mentioned again in Wildstorm comics.
Under Miles Craven, I.O. became a vehicle for Craven's obsession with superhumans. Craven wanted to control a group of superhumans himself and had the luck to come into contact with Dr. Simon Tsung. Tsung had found a baby with superhuman powers. This baby, Ethan McCain, was the reincarnation of Sigma, a superhero from an alternate universe. Tsung studied the baby and managed to isolate the source of its superhuman powers: the Gen-factor. Craven exposed many test-subjects to the Gen-factor, but most of them died or went insane. Others were physically mutated into monsters and Craven locked them away on Level Nine. During these tests Craven was assisted by Gabriel Newman, a telepath. When Tsung found out about Craven's experiments, he went into hiding with the help of Admiral Philip Cray, father of Michael Cray.
After many failed experiments, Craven decided to expose his best men to the Gen-factor. He sent Team 7 on a fake mission and exposed them to the Gen-factor, claiming later that it was a chemical weapon used by their enemy. Most of Team 7 started to develop superpowers, except for Michael Cray, whose powers wouldn't manifest till 20 years later. Other members went insane or committed suicide, but in the end seven members of Team 7 had developed superpowers while retaining their humanity. Craven sent them out on another bogus mission to test them, leaving Cray behind on the base. He then fired a nuclear weapon at Team 7, but Cray managed to warn them in time. Team 7 combined their powers and formed a shield, allowing them to survive the nuclear weapon. They then went into hiding except for team leader John Lynch.
Team 7's successors, Team 8 were killed on a mission. Lynch managed to get Michael Cray out of prison and together they tracked down Team 7 to fulfill Team 8's mission. Team 7 returned to work for Craven to ensure Cray's freedom, but Craven's goals hadn't changed. A couple of years later Craven tried to capture the children of Team 7, believing that they had inherited their fathers' powers. Most members of Team 7 went into hiding again, though I.O. did manage to capture the children of Team 7 member Stephen Callahan. Matthew and Nicole Callahan were raised by I.O. to be obedient soldiers. Team 7 members John Lynch, Michael Cray and Mark Slayton made a deal with Craven: they would work for I.O. and Craven would leave the rest of Team 7 and their children alone.
Over the next few years, John Lynch worked his way up and became Director of Operations, charged with safeguarding the American people. A former KGB and CIA operative named Ivana Baiul became Director of Sci-Tech, I.O.'s Research and Development division. Alejandro Rios was Director for the department of intelligence. Dominique Faust became Director of Black Arts, I.O.'s division to research occult activity and brainwashing, but this division was kept secret and any ties to I.O. were denied, even to the other three Directors, who came to be known as the Triumvirate. All Directors reported back to Miles Craven, Director of I.O, now known as the National Security Czar. I.O. operated from its headquarters the Black Towers in McLean, Virginia.
With the rise of superhero team Youngblood, Craven decided to restart Project Genesis. He authorized Ivana Baiul, who had been training Matthew and Nicole Callahan as Threshold and Bliss, to fulfill this mission. Lynch, once the loyal, unquestioning soldier, had grown to distrust Craven and questioned the sanity of restarting Project Genesis. Baiul ignored his advice and nationwide tests were done on children and teenagers. If they tested positive on the Gen-factor or other genetic anomalies were found, they were taken to Project Genesis. Lynch saw an opportunity to find his own long lost son among the Project Genesis subjects and decided to interfere. He left I.O. and freed a group of children from Project Genesis. This group came to be known as Gen¹³. Ivana Baiul herself went rogue as well, taking another group of superpowered children with her. They came to be known as DV8 or The Deviants.
Baiul was replaced by Alicia Turner, while Lynch's tasks were taken over by Ben Santini, aided by Frank Colby. Despite Lynch going rogue, many agents within I.O., including Colby, retained some loyalty towards Lynch. Faust seemed to remain loyal to Craven, but had in fact closed a pact with Cardinal Lazarus and the Coda for her own profit.
Miles Craven, dying of old age, finally killed himself in order to be resurrected as a cloned body of Sigma. While uploading his memories into the clone, a member of Team 7 killed him. It turned out that Craven's obsession with the Gen-factor was just a way to immortality and power for him. Sigma, now a young adult, killed Craven's clone, Gen-Omega. Ben Santini became the interim Director of I.O.
Ivana Baiul returned to I.O. shortly after Craven's death. She blackmailed a senator and became chief of I.O. Santini was demoted to Director of Operations again. Her tenure as Director of I.O. turned out to be a disaster: the insane scientist Tindalos experimented on Keepers and took control over many of her resources before his death, Max Faraday dismantled 93% of I.O.'s bases worldwide and she was extremely unpopular within I.O. She was forced to leave I.O. when Ben Santini, Frank Colby and Stephen Callahan (who had faked his own death years before) blackmailed her with recordings of DV8's illegal actions. Baiul had ordered the death of DV8, now a liability, but the team managed to escape. Baiul herself left I.O. first working purely for her private interests and she later became the head of the Civil Defense Administration. I.O. itself kept operating at reduced capacity for several months, but was shut finally shut down by the U.S. government. Many I.O. agents now formed their own rogue operations. Ben Santini applied with the United Nations to reform Stormwatch as Stormwatch: Team Achilles, taking various resources from I.O. with him.
John Lynch had temporary returned as Director of Operations to I.O. just before it ended to stop the dangerous criminal Tao. When I.O. was disbanded he joined the Department of Paranormal Science Investigations (Department PSI) to continue his plans against Tao. Tao's machinations got Lynch shot and put him in a coma. The government, convinced that Tao was a major threat, recreated I.O., now known as Internal Operations. The goal of the new I.O. was to stop superhuman crime in general and specifically Tao's Syndicate. One of its high-ranking members was Team 7 veteran Marc Slayton. After spending a year in a coma, Lynch woke up and joined the head of the new I.O.
Divisions and Projects
- Sci-Tech: I.O.'s Research and Development department. Sci-Tech has developed weapons and various cybernetics to be used by its agents.
- Black Arts: A smaller division within I.O., tasked with overseeing the Project: Divine Right. They also were responsible for brainwashing dangerous individuals. After their connections to Cardinal Lazarus and the Coda were revealed, they went underground. Over the next few years, they staged a series of attacks against Department PSI and other government agencies.
- Black Razors: I.O.'s fighting force, working for the Director of Operations. Usually they wear light-weight protective armor. They are among the best trained human fighters on the planet and are often sent in to deal with parahuman threats.
- The Black Hammers are a group of Black Razors wearing large powered armors. Formerly led by Ben Santini. With the collapse of I.O., most of them found work in other government agencies. A group of disgruntled Black Razors teamed up with Black Arts to stage a series of attacks against Department PSI and other government agencies.
- Keepers: Former Black Razors assigned to Sci-Tech. Wear red armor to distinguish themselves from the Black Razors. The Warhawks are Keepers in special armor capable of flight.
- Black Ops: A team of special operatives, formerly working for I.O., but joined up with Department PSI later.
- The Numbskulls: A small group of dead soldiers, reanimated by I.O. technology. Unlike Zombots, the Numbskulls retained their memories and personality. The Numbskulls hated their undead existence, but were unable to end it.
- DV8: Formerly rogue, Gen-Active superhumans, working for Ivana Baiul.
- Team 7: Team of specialists from different branches of military and intelligence agencies. Disbanded. A second incarnation of the team later became known as Wetworks
- Wetworks: Former agents, rejoined later as freelance operatives, liaisoned to Ben Santini.
- The Brethren: Gen-Active (Gen 12) agents, answering only to Miles Craven.
- Project Genesis: The I.O. project tasked with the creation of superhumans under government control. Responsible for Gen 12, Gen¹³ and DV8 among others.
- Project ENTRY: I.O.'s experimental teleportation project. The plans were taken by Ben Santini and put to use for Stormwatch: Team Achilles.
- Project: Rebirth: I.O.'s cloning project, responsible for the creation of DV8's Powerhaus.
- Project: Renaissance: A cloning project, devoted to creating a perfect Gen-Active being: the Gen-Omega. Miles Craven's hope for eternal life, canceled after his death. The Brethren were assigned as special agents to this project.
- B.I.O. (Biological International Organisation): A genetic engineering project dedicated to yet another attempt to start Team 8, this time using the DNA of the original Team 7 members to create an army of clones. The project was terminated after one of the clones escaped captivity. Sole survivor of the project was Genevieve Cray.
If current status is unknown, no status has been given.
Directors and deputy Directors
- Miles Craven: founder and first Director of I.O., deceased.
- Gabriel Newman: telepath and former right-hand man to Miles Craven, imprisoned when Craven no longer needed him. Deceased.
- John Lynch: Former Director of Operations, current Director of I.O.
- Ivana Baiul: Former Director of Sci-Tech, former Director of I.O., currently head of the Civil Defense Administration.
- Ben Santini: Former head of the Black Razors, former Director of Operations, former interim Director of I.O., current head of Stormwatch: Team Achilles.
- Dominique Faust: Former Director of Black Arts, currently wanted for treason.
- Frank Colby: Former aide to John Lynch and Ben Santini, deputy Director of Global Operations.
- Alicia Turner: Former aide to John Lynch, former Director of Sci-Tech. Telepath.
- Alejandro Rios: Former Director of I.O.'s intelligence and data gathering department.
- Marc Slayton: Current second-in-command of Internal Operations.
- Salvador Joel Alonday aka Grail: former member of Wetworks.
- Anna: I.O. wardroid, working with Gen¹³. Destroyed in an I.O. attack.
- Gemma Antonelli aka Copycat. Former member of DV8. Resigned.
- Martiza Blackbird aka Pilgrim: former member of Wetworks. Deceased
- Christine Blaze: undercover agent with the Coda, former lover of John Lynch. Deceased.
- Matthew Callahan aka Threshold, former leader of DV8. Wanted criminal.
- Nicole Callahan aka Bliss, former member of DV8. Wanted criminal.
- Stephen Callahan: former member of Team 7. At large.
- Holden Carver: undercover agent with Tao's organization. Incapacitated.
- Leon Carver aka Frostbite: Former leader of DV8. Resigned.
- Cole Cash: Former member of Team 7, currently a freelance agent.
- Max Cash: Undercover agent with the mafia and the Puritans. Brother of Cole Cash. Deceased.
- Philip Chang: Former member of Team 7. Deceased
- Luis Cisco: Former Black Razor, joined Stormwatch: Team Achilles.
- Blake Coleman: Former Black Razor, joined Stormwatch: Team Achilles. Deceased
- Stephen Connor aka GQ: Former Black Razor, member of BlackOps.
- Michael Cray aka Deathblow: Former member of Team 7, former solo-operative. Deceased.
- Jackson Dane: Former member of Team 7. Current field leader of Wetworks.
- Jocelyn Davis aka Freestyle. Former member of DV8. Resigned.
- Alexander Fairchild: Former member of Team 7. Deceased.
- Rachel Goldman aka Sublime: Former member of DV8. Resigned.
- Michael Heller aka Evo: Former member of DV8. Incarcerated.
- Nicholas A. Jones aka Crossbones: Former member of Wetworks. Deceased.
- Raymond Le Gauche: Loyal servant to Miles Craven. A Gen 12 and leader of the Brethren. Deceased.
- Cord Dexter Lemoyne aka Jester: Former member of Wetworks. Deceased
- Clayton H. Maure aka Claymore: Former member of Wetworks. Deceased
- Joseph H. Mendoza aka Dozer: Former member of Wetworks. Deceased
- Hector Morales aka Powerhaus: Former member of DV8. Deceased.
- Jason C. Philips aka Flattop: Former member of Wetworks. Deceased
- Rachel L. Rhodes aka Mother-One: Member of Wetworks. Reactivated after prolonged deactivation.
- Veronica St. James: I.O. operative and former fiance of Holden Carver. Deceased
- Robert Thompson aka Sideways Bob: Aide to Ivana Baiul. At large.
- Professor Russell Tindalos: Scientist. Deceased
- Doctor Simon Tsung: Leading scientist behind Project: Genesis. Left when he found out about the Craven's plans for the Gen-factor. In hiding.