Just a warning; it kind of turns in to this toward the end, but less funny and profane. Less offensive, depending on how seriously you like WildCats 3.0, too. Just mentioning that for full disclosure.
First of all, Joe Casey is always a very hit or miss writer for me, but even when I dislike or am cold to his work, I can appreciate his ideas, and I really like some of his stuff. Godland’s really cool, his Cable was solid, and the Intimates at least had a lot of brio in all the little bits he threw out there that it was an entertaining read based on structure, even if I didn’t really actually like the stories or characters a lot. It’s like how some people feel about Our Benevolent Scottish Overlord. Some really great ideas, not always so good on the execution.
Such as it was with this incarnation of WildCats. A former superhero trying to change the world via corporations? Interesting! How would batteries that never die change the world? Intriguing! The actual stories? Bemusing!
I dunno, maybe this me and not Casey, but his characters have this tendency to comment on being in genre stories too much for my taste. Pretty much every time Spartan, superhero android turned CEO shows up, he’s doing that kind of thing. I mean, that’s a function of his character. He’s very detached, on an Dr. Manhattan “I am above all this” sort of way. But that bugged me.
And another thing! There was way too much hot accounting action for my tastes. I’m not saying Casey should have had more of the Grifter action stuff. I would have liked that, maybe, although even that felt damn near perfunctory most of the time. I just can’t particularly say that the adventures of Joe C.P.A. will ever interest me on the best of days. It also should be said that there is no anchor/P.O.V. character here; the characters range from cold and detatched (Spartan and Agent Wax) to generic action jerk (Grifter) to not defined enough within the space I read to make me care (C.C. Redozzo) to a damn accountant (that damn accountant). I mean, I’m not that guy who has to like the characters in order to enjoy a story, but it certainly helps.
So, I did not enjoy this comic very well. It was totally not for me. I can live with that. But I remember this became a critical, cult darling, and with that status, there was a lot of bleating on about why the stupid, stupid comics market could not embrace it at the time. And I have to say, I think it was the comic here, not the market. This was more commercial than Casey’s Automatic Kafka, which was published under the same imprint, but then so would 23 pages of Andre the Giant presenting a treastise on the ability of the free market economy to make real change. Which is kind of what Casey was going for in WildCats, I think, and actually does sound like an awesome comic in its own right.
And hey, good on Casey for being all trailblazey and what not. Thinking outside the box? He was doing that and then some. But really, who in their right mind expected that using friggin’ WildCats as a vehicle for a story about corporate intrigue was gonna fly? WildCats, the book most closely asscoicated with ’90s Jim Lee excess and maybe, thirty seven miles below, Alan Moore’s run that was okay for him but great for anyone else? And your big money shot on the last page of the first issue is a battery commercial?There’s a line between being subversive by violating audience expectations and just being obnoxious about it, and I think Casey’s whole run merrily dangled on it before plummeting to commercial doom here. Mixed metaphors rule!
So, when people proclaim this a lost classic, I kinda roll my eyes now instead of pretending to care. Sure, it’s not fair to judge the series on such a small sample size, but look; I have a little more patience than your average comic fan, I like to think, and even I do not care to read anymore of whatever Casey had planned after five issues. Which kinda sucks, since I bought a big chunk of the run at a Free Comics Day Sale. Actually, I feel more justified raking this comic that never did anything particularly wrong to me over the coles with that in mind. In internetland, spending money on comics justifies blind rage toward them, not matter how stupid it is. Although there are people who download scans of comics just to bitch about them muddying up the waters; I call that the K-Box Corrollary of Internet Dipshittedness.
So, in the spirt of all that, and to give this a big finish: Screw you, long cancelled superhero comic! May you rot in cancelled relaunch comic hell! BURN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YARRGH!!!! URRGHHH!!! CHILDHOODS AND RAPING AND KOSOVO AND POL POT AND ANY OTHER INNAPROPRIATE ANALOGIES I CAN USE TO VOICE MY DISPLEASURE!!!!!
Ahem. Dustin Nguyen’s art was nice, though. Other than everything else in the comic, it was great.
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