Jim Lee’s WildC.A.T.S (or just Wildcats) has always been in my peripheral comic vision, thanks to my odd love of the cartoon adaptation of the 90’s superhero series and Lee’s general status as a fantastic artist in comics. As I’ve immerse myself more and more these days in comics and reading interesting stuff, I’ve been inching more and more into the Wildstorm world and Wildcats thanks to a few factors. One is that I’ve decided I want to have a diverse range of comics, and actually liking some “hero” stuff, I dig this sort of stuff. Another is that great names have been attached to Wildcats over the years, even (believe it or not), Alan Moore.
The final, and arguably biggest draws though, was that this run of the title had a fantastic concept of the former Wildcats’ corporate sponsor the Halo Corporation being used as a vehicle by Spartan (the now near-omnipotent android CEO and former Wildcat field leader) to effect massive social change for the better, and my being a big fan of Dustin Nguyen, who was the artist on this series. And since it’s only 2 volumes, I figured I’d give it a try.
Lemme say, I’m kind of sad that it’s so short, because this had the potential to be freaking awesome. The concept of heroes actually using capitalism and corporate avenues to distribute advanced alien technology for the betterment of humanity is interesting. Spartan is the new CEO of the Halo Corporation, and is determined to bring about major change to the world using the otherworldly Kherubim and Daemonite technologies at his disposal, and he’s using corporate expansion to do so.
Version 3.0 was sort of subtitled Corporate Culture For A Better World, which gives you a bit of a clue to the direction they take. This isn’t a straightforward superhero story, trust me. Ever wonder what would happen to the world if Mr. Fantastic or Superman or Iron Man released some of the genius they keep in reserve to create teleportation technology and infinite energy, or the alien technologies they’ve picked up along the way into the open market for the general public to use? Ever wonder why they don’t? Well that’s the overall theme here, as Halo Batteries, which will apparently run forever, hit the market.
Oh, and of course, how can I forget one of my favorite characters ever, Grifter…
Hi-larious. Dude, seriously, Cole Cash is like Wildstorm’s version of Deadpool and Gambit and Wolverine all rolled into one (but better!), with one of the most badass masks ever. Eventually crippled (temporarily) in the line of duty as an agent of Halo and Spartan/Jack Marlowe now, it’s interesting to see him try to adapt to this “new world” that he’s working towards and try to train a replacement Grifter while he gets frustrated and smokes and just exists in a state of hairiness in a wheelchair.
I’m sort of frustrated that they didn’t continue on this path, because I could definitely see some upcoming threads of future storylines (I know some things got resolved and mentioned later on, like Grifter’s legs healing and the reliability of Halo batteries in the current Wildstorm “World’s End” storyline), but still, I’d have loved to see this played out more. The book’s smart, funny, had some awesome action…but at the same time I could see how, in the post-90’s boom, if it didn’t keep up in sales it’d get cancelled. It’s no X-Men: Inferno or Infinite Crisis, it’s got economics in it (like actual economic stuff)…it’s basically a post-superhero book. And while that sort of title can get a lot of critical acclaim, it’s not always a guaranteed sell.
Still, if you can get your hands on “Brand Building” and “Full Disclosure”, the two trades, get them. I got ’em off the internet, they’re still readily available. It’s the only place you can find out the truth about what Parks Services employees are REALLY up to, and what annoyingly chirpy suburban families are really like when you try to cross them with nerve gas bombs. I’ve read it through like 5 times already, hurry the fuck up and catch up, punks.