This entry covers “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issues 21 & 22 by Alan Moore, Travis Charest and Kevin Maguire.
First, I want to point this out, there’ve been a lot of story arcs in the WildStorm Universe up to now that have been pretty damn good. And when they’re not good, they’re fun. And when they’re not fun, they’re interesting. And if they’re not any of those, at least they add to the tapestry that is the WSU. What we have here, with Alan Moore taking on the writing duties of “WildC.A.T.s” is what I see as the first truly GREAT story arc in WildStorm history! I, personally, am very hot and cold on the work of Mr. Moore, but these comics knock it out of the park for me, so let’s get started.
Savant and Mr. Majestic set out to pick up where the original WildC.A.T.s left off, because there’s Daemonites still about, and someone has to stop them, right? Savant manages to get Max Cash to defect from I/O and the mob that he’s working undercover in. If you can’t get Grifter, get Grifter Jr. I guess. Savant also has the smart idea to get a super-powered being from the Optigen lab. Optigen has several options, but only one is catching Savant’s attention, and that is TAO, the tactically augmented organism. Optigen refuses to let him go, but TAO himself uses some trickery to get himself released in order to join the new team. TAO is a sneaky one for sure!
Speaking of TAO being sneaky, he tricks Majestic into helping get a known mass murder onto the team. We’re talking about Maxine Manchester, the one, and only Ladytron. Majestic was aware of the pattern she’s been taking since breaking out of prison, and it is leading to Chicago. He also knows of a major drug deal going down at an American presidential theme restaurant there too. Diamonds to donuts, Maxine will be there for the new WildC.A.T.s to nab. And nab her they do, with the help of several pounds of cocaine, enough to incapacitate a three-ton cyborg.
OMG, final page reveal of issue 21 is that the OG WildC.A.T.s are still alive! Their spaceship didn’t blow up after all! It just made the jump to hyperspace and left what seemed like an explosion in its wake. It’s quickly on its way back home, Khera, A.K.A. Lord Emp and Lady Zannah’s home as well. Neat! After spending time with all these alien’s it is going to be fun seeing their home planet… right?
When the team lands on Khera, things do seem kinda of awesome. I mean Marlowe and Zannah get separated from the rest by their old homies, so that kind of sucks. Jeremy finds out that there are other big purple folks like him, and Pris also gets separated due to being part Daemonite. The worst part is, nobody notices that Pris is gone! No, wait, the real worst part is, she’s stuck in an area that is crawling with Daemonites? This can’t be a good start to their space vacation.
Back on Earth, we find the new WildC.A.T.s team trying to pacify Maxine into being a working member of the team. It doesn’t go well. She electrifies Majestic, shoots up Max and cracks Savant so hard on the head that it possibly kills her. Maxine eventually walks in on TAO watching cartoons and shoots him up as well. TAO, unphased by his body full of bullets, tells her she’ll have to start again. Maxine is confused for a second before getting a hint of deja vu. That’s right, TAO has her in a virtual reality stasis rig, trying to pacify her enough to work with the team. If you can’t beat ’em, get mentally beat into submission to join ’em.
- Return of the Max! That’s right, Max Proffit AKA Max Cash, Cole’s little brother is back for the first time since his introduction in “Savage Dragon” volume two issue 13.
- Later in the pages of “Sleeper: Season Two” issue 5 we find out that Optigen was partially funded by I/O. TAO considers John Lynch his father of sorts because he signed the authorization papers for his creation. But because Halo is a major investor in Optigen, doesn’t this also make Jacob Marlowe his other father? Can someone commission a piece of TAO, Lynch, and Marlowe posing like the first season DVD cover of “My Two Dads?” I see Lynch as the B.J. McKay dad and Marlowe as the Paul Buchman dad. This is either the best or worst idea I’ve ever had.
- Majestic mentions that he’s followed Maxine’s trek across the country since she’s broken out of prison. While we never see the jail break, I guess what we’re seeing in “Wildcats : Ladytron” is just after her latest prison escape. It must be her recent crime wave with Stanley that made Majestic aware of her.
- We see Marlowe relive the events, from his perspective, of “WildStorm Rising” issue 2, only in nightmare form! Harsh!
- Marlowe has a back-up of Spartan on his person. Fair enough, seems like the kind of forward planning Marlowe would be up to. They get to Khera… and there are Hadrian bodies? And they spoke of them as the upgraded model? Huh? I thought the Hadrian 7 body was bought from Gammora and had the memories of Yohn Kohl uploaded to it and had its body design reminiscent of Kohl. I’m trying to straighten this out in my head, sure Khera had robots, did they always kind of dress like Yohn Kohl? They may have. That could’ve been some kind of standard Kheran uniform. But if Marlowe got the Hadrian 7 body on Earth in the ’90s, why does Kheran have a similar technology? Is it something they always had on Khera and Marlowe had the techies in Gamorra build something similar to what he remembered from when he was there? I dunno, it doesn’t take anything away from the books, but it’s always kind of bugged me.
- For all intents and purposes, the events on Khera take place over a much shorter time that what is happening on Earth. When you account for all the unseen space travel time it probably works out to about the same, and it would be pretty pedantic of me to chop all the Moore “WildC.A.T.s” books in half for timeline reasons when, in the end, it doesn’t matter, and to tell the truth, narrative cohesion actually does matter to me a bit more than strict adherence to the timeline.
- Honestly, I don’t like having the final page reveal for issue 21 before issue 23 of “StormWatch” volume one. I like the readers to be along for the ride with Spartan not knowing that his former teammates are still alive. But “StormWatch” volume one issues 23 – 27 starts during the evening of one day and ending during the morning of the next. When Spartan, Despot, and Jackson are battling it out around the UN building in New York in issue 27 of “StormWatch” we see a panel of the New WildC.A.T.s watching the action. In this panel we see Maxine just chilling with the rest, meaning that her VR experience is over, and she’s fully part of the team, meaning it has to happen after “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 22.
- At one point I was all “Hey, could these issues slot in between issues 24 and 26 of “StormWatch?”” and no, no they can’t. Mainly because “WildC.A.T.s” volume one issue 21 takes place over the course of several days in September, so that really breaks the narrative in ways that are more confusing than anything.
NEXT: “StormWatch” Vol. 1 issues 23, 23.5, 24 and the short “Despot and Strafe : Homecoming” by Ron Marz, H.K. Proger, Renato Arlem, Darryl Banks, Robert Jones, John Lowe, Art Thibert and Dan Panosian