this entry covers the first issue of “WildCats Trilogy” then the back-up story from “WildC.A.T.s” Vol. 1 issue 8 entitled “Voodoo : Passed Lives” before wrapping up with “WildCats Trilogy” issues 2 and 3.
Right away looking at this book, we’re seeing the fantastic artwork of Jae Lee. Jae is one of my absolute favorite artists working in comics, and seeing him work on any WildStorm title is just magic for the eyes. Also, if you’ve ever seen the cover in person, man, it is a foil-y ‘90s comic masterpiece. Sorry kids, scans don’t do this thing justice! Shiny badass Jae Lee art to catch your eye and make you buy. I know that the ‘90s has a bad reputation for all the cover gimmicks that went on during the decade, but when a little bit of artistry is added, it really makes a decent case for them having been produced.
We kick off the story in this first issue of “WildCats Trilogy” by seeing Grifter hunting down his old friend Lonely. Lonely is an information broker, and Lonely has heard some info on “the Cabal.” Yes, this is early WildStorm, and they’re still trying to make “the Cabal” a thing. Listen up WildStorm, “the Cabal” is never going to happen! At the time the references to the Cabal rebuilding and making some kind of comeback, with or without Helspont seemed like a real and fearful possibility, but knowing that literally nothing comes of it, it just reads as clunky. Lonely, unfortunately, wasn’t really out to help his old friend Cash, but to help himself to his better friend, cash, and is selling out Grifter to a Coda and the Daemonite Hightower. And yes, Hightower is supposed to be representing the Cabal, even though we never saw him working with Helspont’s group in the original “WildC.A.T.s” book, and he is a new character here.
Hightower is an odd character. He never comes across as evil or as Machiavellian as Helspont, any other run-of-the-mill Daemonite, or even random WildC.A.T.s villain that we’ll see later on. Hightower is also the kind of Daemonite that spends his time shapeshifted into a human form on a regular basis, rather than his more alien form. The dude seems downright bored to have to get mixed up with the WildC.A.T.s at all. Not to say he doesn’t take delight in trying to finish off the team, he gives it his all, but Hightower just never seems into it. He just wants to kill them because he knows they’ll stop him if they find out whatever he’s trying to accomplish. Luckily for him, he finds a Coda named Artemis who’s got a beef with Zealot
Artemis has a long standing grudge against Zealot for betraying her at the fall of Troy during the Trojan War. You think there was a major war in the world where the Coda weren’t somehow involved? While we don’t see any hint of activity from other Kheribum or Daemonite, we’ve been told over and over again that they were near the center of almost every major war on Earth. I guess most of them just skipped this one, leaving Zealot and 2 of her Coda, Artemis and Andromache to lead the charge for this one. The whole reason Artemis captured Grifter, and chained him up, was to draw Zealot out to fight her, again, to the death. Hell, she has even less of an interest of the other WildC.A.T.s meeting their end than Hightower does. The plan of course works like a charm, Zealot comes running, and Artemis is ready to throw down. All the while Hightower and Grifter trade lame comic book tough-guy barbs with each other. Hightower even calls Grifter a half-breed, he must’ve not gotten the memo on Grifter being just a human with a Gen-Factor. That, or due to the blood-bond that he shares with Zealot, Hightop smells Kheribum on him.
We then are directed to, well by way of a months later retcon, to a short story of Voodoo changing her outfit. Voodoo gets a call from her old buddy Tina, who she used to work with at the Hot Spot. That strip joint that blew up in DC where the WildC.A.T.s first met Voodoo. While dancing there she gets in an altercation with the scarred Coda warrior she thought died in the explosion. The Coda is there to get revenge on Voodoo for ruining her life and standing in the Coda. During the fight the Coda uses the long streamers on the back of Voodoo’s outfit to catch and almost choke her. After Voodoo manages to beat the Coda she meets back up with the WildC.A.T.s in a new outfit, that looks more like a streamlined wetsuit. That’s a pretty nice little fill in the gaps kind of story. I always liked this as a kid when I read it, but I wasn’t being all that critical, now when I go back and read “WildCats Trilogy” I have a lot of questions. All during “WildCats Trilogy” Voodoo still has the streamers coming off the back of her outfit! Even after what was flesh colored in the first issue is now colored yellow in issues 2 and 3, and yet the streamers still remain. Was the suit change a way to explain a coloring mistake? Was it a mistake that WildStorm liked better, so when “WildC.A.T.s” issue 5 came out they made Voodoo a new suit that conformed with this color scheme? Was Jae Lee not fully updated that the new outfit wouldn’t have the streamers on it? Bah, on with the rest of “WildCats Trilogy.”
Void intuits through the aether that something is wrong with Grifter, or I should say the Grifter, as he’s called the Grifter all through “WildCats Trilogy.” So eventually they’ll show up, as inferred from the title of the book. We also see that Coda have been searching for a member of their ranks they call “the Heretic” and Delphae has finally found her. Now, the Majestrix of the Coda, Andromache, is ready to gather the troops and is gearing up to find and punish the heretic. Who is the heretic? Is this going to intercede with our current story? Is the set up for “WildCats Trilogy” way more exciting that the actual follow thought and action? The answers are, Artemis (but we were lead to believe it was Zealot) no duh and you bet.
The least interesting part of this book is actually seeing the WildC.A.T.s battle Hightower and his army of hybridroids. It is kind of interesting that Hightower took over Voodoo’s body for a short time to get in close to the rest of the team to attack them, but past that, the Coda vs. Artemis vs. Zealot (with her sidekick Grifter) are the main event. Getting a little bit of Coda history (the afore mentioned Trojan War) as well as learning where they live and a bit of their hierarchy adds a lot to the WildStorm universe in terms of world building. Looking at the WSU on the whole, it seems like Zealot is the only full blooded Kheribum that is Coda. We know she was Coda on Khera, so when she lands on Earth, she starts her own splinter faction of the Coda. She is the Majestrix at that time and she finds women to join her, she trains them, and they engage in the blood ritual, and that exchange helps humans gain the long life spans, and youthful looks that the Kheribum enjoy. I mean, that’s what I’ve taken from the years of reading WSU titles. It explains by Grifter looks so young as well. It seems like only a few women joined up with Zealot right away to form the Coda on Earth, two of the major ones being Artemis and Andromache. As payment for kicking ass in Troy, the Greeks have agreed to give the Coda pretty much all the baby girls they have as well as a ton of gold. In Troy things got a little heavy when Zealot wouldn’t let Artemis kills the royal family, feeling that the fall of Troy was enough to fulfill the contract with the Greeks. Artemis called Zealot out for going against the Coda rules by letting them go, as Majestrix and the only OG Coda Zealot’s all STFU and then Artemis is all “well then kill me for betraying you! Do it! I learned it by watching you!” Zealot is still all STFU and leaves Artemis to live
Back to the present for the currently occurring Coda throw down. Artemis hates Zealot, because Zealot left her alive in Troy. Andromanche hates Zealot and Artemis for leaving the Coda, but hates Zealot less for some reason. Zealot hates Andromanche for ruining the good name of the Coda, turning them in to high priced mercenaries with no principles. Artemis isn’t cool with Andromanche because Andormanche is after her. Zealot isn’t cool with Artemis because she got the WildC.A.T.s mixed up in what should be personal business, as well and involved a Daemonite. All three are pissed off at Grifter for trying to get in the middle of this fight, it’s women’s work dammit, stay the hell away! During the fight Artemis and Zealot find a little bit of resolve as they battle Andromanche and the rest of the Coda together. In fact, Artemis takes a clef blade in the chest meant for Zealot. Zealot sad for Artemis, cradles her, and while doing so almost loses her own life, but Grifter steps in with his gun and the day is saved. Kinda. Grifter has Andromanche at gunpoint and is ready to take her out. She reminds him that if anything happens to her, the whole Coda will be after him and nothing will be able to keep them all back. Just as he is saying he doesn’t care the rest of the WildC.A.T.s show up and Void teleports them all out of there. It’s all a little anti-climactic.
We have a short epilogue with Grifter attending Lonely’s funeral. There’s only one other person there besides the priest, and the grave is simply marked “John Doe.” The other dude reminds Grifter that Lonely once gave up his entire life to save Grifter’s because of their friendship. While Grifter knows that Lonely betrayed him to the Cabal, he ultimately understands that Lonely was a good guy, and he mourns the passing of his friend.