The history of the Wildstorm Universe is shrouded in layers of secrecy. Writer Chuck Dixon and artists Dough Mahnke and Sandra Hope pull back one of those layers when they tell the origin story of Wildstorm’s most elite fighting unit, Team Seven, in “Team Zero,” a six issue mini-series debuting in December. Dixon took CBR News behind enemy lines for the inside intel on “Team Zero.”
“The general plot of this story, the germ of the idea, is one that’s been in my head for a very long time,” Dixon told CBR News. “Then [Wildstorm editor] Ben Abernathy contacted me with the idea of a ‘Team Zero’ book with a concept very close to the one I came up with several years ago.”
“Team Zero” takes place during the final days of fighting in the European theater of World War II. “It’s the winter of ’45 and the Russians are closing in from the East and the Americans, Brits and Canadians from the West. Germany is caught in a vice,” Dixon said. “Germany is close to collapsing, but our side needs to be the ones to get their hands on all those juicy scientific projects the Nazis have been cooking up. There’s a secret installation just days, hours even, in front of the Soviets’ rapidly advancing army that the USA doesn’t want falling into communist hands. So Team Zero is sent in to make sure that doesn’t happen. Let’s just say the mission does not go as planned.”
The man leading Team Zero into battle has a code name familiar to Wildstorm readers, Deathblow. “This is a new Deathblow who only shares the code name of the later version,” Dixon explained. “This guy is the hard-hearted lifetaker whose job is
Soldiering. It’s been his whole life. We don’t get a lot of background here. I tend to define characters by what they do, rather than where they’ve been. It’s safe to assume, like so many of the guys who fought in WWII, that this guy’s a hard luck survivor of the Great Depression. That’s where our best and toughest were forged.
Besides code names, there is another connection between Team Zero and Team Seven. “The only true connection is Backlash who, due to the nature of his powers, is the same Marc Slayton as his current incarnation,” Dixon stated. “The others are the best of the best of the American armed services hand-picked by Deathblow for their specialties and levels of toughness for a vital mission that could be the final mission for all of them. The Grifter character’s personality is closer to his code name definition than the current version. We have Deadeye, Cowboy, and Bullet. Each of these guys has a specialty and a past. The second issue is very much a ‘meet the team’ deal set up like ‘The Magnificent Seven’ to bring out their coolness factor.”
There are two opposing forces dead set on making sure Team Zero doesn’t complete their mission. “Nazis and commies,” Dixon said. “What more is there to say? The two most evil forces of the 20th Century. Any century, really. The only thing missing are zombies.”
“Team Zero” will take readers to many World War II hot spots. “The first two issues span from the Aleutian Islands to occupied France,” Dixon stated.
Dixon described the tone of “Team Zero” as, “Tough, take-no-prisoners, war action. This ain’t your father’s war comic. It’s your Grandfather’s war comic. No weeping and gnashing of teeth or guilt. It’s kill or be killed and screw the other guy.”
“Team Zero” might not be the last tale of Wildstorm’s clandestine soldiers that readers see. Dixon would love to chronicle the further adventures of Team Zero or any of the subsequent units, teams 1-7. “All they gotta do is ask,” said Dixon.