this entry covers “Cyberforce” Vol. 2 issues 1 – 3 and “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issues 5 – 7 in this order:
“WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 5, “Cyberforce” Vol. 2 issue 1, “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 6, “Cyberforce” Vol. 2 issue 2, “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 7 and “Cyberforce” Vol. 2 issue 3.
I’m not a huge fan of this crossover. Not at all. It’s too long by half. I’ll admit the art is fantastic; Silvestri and Lee are at the top of their game with these issues! But, the story is only “meh”. We find that WildC.A.T. member, Warblade has a shared history with Cyberforce member, Ripclaw. They have a “Three’s Company” like misunderstanding over a girl, and that girl is alternating good and evil. It comes off as more than a little sexist. Also we get a bonus Warblade origin that is almost immediately retconned out of existence.
There is some good here! First, goddamn, I can’t believe this is the first time I’ve realized it, but Richtoffen is the eye-patched be-monocled man from the Cabal! The bald dude that I thought we’d never see again! I had always had them filed separately in my head, but I was wrong, they are one in the same, awesome! Also awesome is the fact that this is the second story in a row that takes place on Gamorra! It, in fact, is taking place at the same time as “StormWatch” issue 6, that’s just rad comics synergy. Who thought a single exploding research center atop a mountain would be so exhilarating?
Speaking of “StormWatch” we see WeatherMan-One taking notice of the fight that erupts between the WildC.A.T.s and Cyberforce and recommends that StormWatch make scans of these combatants so that facsimiles can be made for StormWatch’s Danger Room, you know, in case they ever need to fight each other. This is the first instance of StormWatch becoming aware of the WildC.A.T.s team. StormWatch has only recently become aware of Daemonites, so it is only fitting that StormWatch at least sees the WildC.A.T.s in action so quickly, y’know, to get all the super humans in the WSU on more or less the same page. StormWatch learning about the WildC.A.T.s has much bigger ramifications in the WSU than WildC.A.T.s and Cyberforce getting in a little spat against each other.
All that seems kinda great, so where do all the problems set in? Firstly with Warblade himself. So, Cyberforce are escapees from a company called Cyberdata. Cyberdata collected mutants and gave them cybernetic enhancements to boost their mutant powers, keep them as slaves, and command them to run jobs to help them take over the world. Warblade was a Cyberdata slave before Cyberforce escaped. Is Warblade a mutant or has he been cybernetically enhanced? I thought he was half (or full blooded) Kherubim alien whose family line is part of the Shapers Guild. How does any of this fit together? Can it even fit together at all? I mean, he have thought he was a mutant, due to his shape shifting arm powers, right? But then what are his cybernetic enhancements? I’m not saying that this isn’t a cool or interesting backstory for Warblade. Being found by Jacob on the shores of Gamorra all beat up from a throwdown with Ripclaw is not too bad. Him being a cyborg-mutant with the power to make his arms and fingers into sharp blades is rad as hell. But Warblade not being Kherubim is odd once they go to Khera (16 issues later) and we are introduced to the Shaper’s Guild. I guess his mutant powers might be that he is rarely consistent. I mean his race is half Kherubim, or full Kherubim, depends on who’s writing, same as his hair color. It is either brown and he dyes it green, or it grows in green. Warblade is a mess, and I guess that’s why he’s my least favorite WildC.A.T.s character, especially at this time. I always liked that in his real life he was an artist, and I liked his friendship with Jeremy too, but Reno Bryce sometimes seems like a totally different character than Warblade. He’s badass for being a badass’ sake, and ‘90s comic’s teams always needed a badass!
There’s another inconsistency, but it is pretty minor. At one point, during the break in of afore mentioned mountaintop scientific research center, Grifter mentions how Zealot got him to quit Team 7. We know for a fact that Team 7 was over before Grifter laid eyes on Zealot. Not to say she didn’t convince him to quit working for the American government, but that it is impossible for her to get him to stop working for Team 7. That’s all, minor, but me being picky on continuity is kinda the point of this blog.
The main story, as it is, is back when Warblade was with Cyberdata he used to date this one woman, who was another Cyberdata “employee.” Her code name is Misery. They’d broken up, and she’s constantly coming onto new recruit Ripclaw. The story builds us up to think that Warblade’s warnings to Ripclaw about Misery are just jealousy, but that’s not it, this chick is bad news. This mission takes place at the mountaintop scientific research center in Gamorra that we’ve all come to know and love. She uses her telepathic powers to get Ripclaw and Warblade to fight while she is doing some shady shenanigans. There is where Ripclaw thrashes him and tosses him off a cliff. There is where Jacob Marlowe finds him.
Back in the present, the WildC.A.T.s are investigating strange goings on at this same research center, and who pops up alongside Dr. Richtoffen? None other than Misery herself! Richtoffen is taken down by Warblade, and then Misery starts messing with him as the rest of the WildC.A.T.s skedaddle due to a self-destruct sequence starting. Warblade stays behind, vowing to take out Misery once and for all, and then suddenly: Ripclaw. Wait… how did Ripclaw get there? Misery lured him there with her mutant dream suggestions. So now Ripclaw and Warblade are at it again, and once again Ripclaw won’t listen when Warblade tries to tell him how even Misery is being, again. The research center explodes and again Warblade gets stabbed by Ripclaw and tossed off a cliff.
Eventually Warblade gets to the WildC.A.T.s and Cyberforce tracks down Ripclaw and they all start fighting each other on the mountain top in the wreckage of the research center. They’re all in under the mind control of Misery, so that’s keeping the fight going longer than needed. Misery keeps going between normal girl and evil girl and this is represented by her eyes going all white and a blood tear drop coming down from one of her eyes. I thought this was cool as hell as a teenager, but as an adult, it’s kinda dumb to me. Bloody tear drop, wooooo LAME! Anyhoo, Warblade puts it together that this is a full on robot programed to be like Misery, so to spare us all further pages, he takes her out. With the two teams no longer at each other’s throats, they start to bond.
So what was at this scientific research center that Richtoffen wanted so badly? Spartan’s arm from his old body that got blown up in “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 4. I guess Marlowe has a lockdown on the tech that Spartan is made from, good for him! We don’t want that kind of knowledge in the hands of the Gamorrans or any other evil people. While I never read “Cyberforce” so I don’t know if are any more call backs to Misery in that book, but she is never mentioned again in “WildC.A.T.s” On the other hand now that seal has been broken, we’ll see Ripclaw in an upcoming issue of “StormWatch” and he’ll team back up with Warblade in “Warblade: Endangered Species” before disappearing forever after the events of “Shattered Image.”
There’s not much here to like, or really to hate story wise. It is just kind of a lame “superpowered beings meet up and fight” kind of story. It’d been done to death at that point, but we were still a ways away from making meta comments about these tropes in text itself. Seeing Silvesti and Lee draw each other’s characters is the real highlight here, more so than the characters even meeting each other. And Jim, really? Four page fold out splash? That was genius! Who came up with that? I wish the story could’ve been a bit better, but this was the Image Age and the art was king, all else was secondary.
Where to find these stories:
- the “WildC.A.T.s / Cyberforce : Killer Instinct” trade paperback
- the “Absolute WildC.A.T.s by Jim Lee” hard cover
- Comixology: “WildC.A.T.s vol. 1” issues 5, 6 & 7