WildCats (vol.4) #1 (2006)

WildCats (vol.4) #1 (December, 2006)
“A Halo ‘Round the World”
Writer – Grant Morrison
Penciller – Jim Lee
Inker – Scott Williams
Colorist – Alex Sinclair
Letters – Comicraft
Assistant Editor – Kristy Quinn
Editor – Scott Dunbier
Cover Price: $2.99

Check it out… today we’re gonna do something big.  We’re going to discuss an entire volume of WildCats!  But, don’t expect… ya know… like a 10,000 word piece here.  Ya see, this volume only ran a single issue (though it was solicited as a bi-monthly, likely due to the busy schedules of the creators involved)… and it ends on a cliffhanger, so there’s that too.

Quick note: I’m labeling this “volume 4” pretty much for my own sanity.  I consider WildC.A.T.s: Covert Action Teams to be “volume one”, Wildcats to be “volume two”, Wildcats Version 3.0 to be “volume three”, and this WildCats to be “volume four”.

Some information before we hop in… the WildStorm Universe had a bit of a reboot thanks to the events of, of all things, the Captain Atom: Armageddon miniseries… which occurred following the events of the opening story arc of Superman/Batman.  The story we’re about to discuss is part of the fallout… It’s a new WildStorm Universe, things are similar… though not entirely the same.

Being as this is our “welcome” to the new-look WildStorm, I’m expecting a new-reader friendly affair… let’s just see how friendly it could be.

We open with an introduction to this new Earth (I think it is/was Earth-50 in the Multiverse).  We are told that this is one month before something called the Worldstorm.  What’s that?  Your guess is as good as mine… because it’s certainly not made clear here.  Anyhoo… we see a shot of a store that sells Spartan superhero simulacrums.  We end our tour with a nice two page spread featuring various WildStorm superhero teams (minus a certain gang of “gen-actives”).

We shift scenes to what appears to be a sort of third-world country.  Cole Cash is passed out in an alley with an open bottle on his chest.  A young local tries to stir him back to consciousness.  Ol’ Grifter ain’t too keen on rising to his feet, and tries to dissuade the boy by claiming not to be who he truly is.

It’s not long before the gang of baddies the boy was fleeing from catches up… they proceed to beat the tar out of Grifter, and leave him laying.  While down and out he bastardizes a Wolverine catchphrase to include his love of booze.

We next head into orbit to HALO Solutions.  Voodoo is staring into space, and the Spartans-for-sale are being assembled.

The real-deal Spartan, Hadrian… who I thought was always a robot… I guess not… arrives, and has some flirtatious back and forth with Voodoo… or “Pris”.  He mentions something about wondering how “truly adult superheroes” would behave… which of course leads us into a bedroom scene (in Predator-vision).  In the afterglow, however, they do discuss potentially putting the Covert Action Teams band back together, so I guess this can go on the expense report.

We shift scenes to an asteroid… on it is a small structure.  Inside that, is a reanimated Kaizen Gamorra.  Who?  Yeah, like they’re gonna tell ya.  Long story short, he’s a bad guy… I mean, just look at him!

It is then suggested that Kaizen has friends… which leads us to an appearance from Helspont.  Hey, there’s one I’ve heard of!

We now move to a planet overrun by Daemonites, where Zealot and Majestic are holding back the hordes.  Majestic tips Zealot (and the reader) off by claiming the Daemonites next stop… is Earth!

We wrap up back in the third-world with Grifter… who’s just gotten his second wind.  Now he’s beating up the baddies, and talking trash like it’s 1992… and that’s where we jump off.

Oof.  That’s a satisfying comic book, innit?

I’m gonna level with ya, my WildCats/C.A.T.s game is kind of lacking.  I was a big fan during the early to mid-1990’s, but kind of fell off for subsequent volumes.  I only snagged this off the rack due to it’s creative team… and, hoo boy, I have very little idea what I just read.

It appears that Morrison wanted to pick and choose what he wanted to keep from the earlier incarnations of the team… that’s fine, no harm no foul… but, please… help a new/lapsed reader out with some context clues.  I know Halo Solutions or whatever had to do with the “3.0” era of the team, and the Covert Action Team is clearly a callback to the 1992 series.  Other than that… I was really flailing.  

As a story… it’s setup, which is to be expected for a premiere issue.  It’s just that the introductions to the cast (and world) aren’t all that great.  This book assumes the reader has a working knowledge of the Wild… both Cats and Storm.

I suppose I should be somewhat thankful that the issue didn’t draw me in all that well… since, ya know… this is all we got.  I’m going to include a page below that lists all of WildStorm’s offerings.  It really looks like the plan was to properly relaunch the universe, with both of the Grant Morrison books (this and The Authority) as the foundation.  Well, this series only got the one issue… while Authority got a whole… two.  You’d almost figure they’d have a better creative-infrastructure in place before launch.

Overall… yeah, as much as it pains me to say… you don’t need to read this.  Given the “one and done” aspect, I’m finding it quite difficult to give this a proper “review”… like, just the issue in a vacuum.  It’s hard to ignore the fact that this was doomed to go no further… unfortunately, that mess taints my “review”.  Stick with the early-90’s stuff… or check out Joe Casey’s 3.0 run around the turn of the century.

Oh… yeah, the art’s nice.  And, Todd McFarlane actually provided art for a variant cover… maybe if you come across this one, it’s a no brainer, I’d say snag it!

(Instead of the) Letters Page:

Looking at that line-up…
WildCats made it to issue #1
Authority made it to issue #2
Deathblow made it to issue #9
Wetworks made it to issue #15
My Gen-Active friends actually made it to #39! (in 2011!) 

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