Saturday, October 21, 2006

WildCats #1 - Sturm und Drang


For many fans, the first run of the “WildC.A.T.s” is their favorite. For others, the second “Wildcats” volume captured a certain characterization that they loved. And more recently, the “Wildcats 3.0” direction of the team struck such a chord that a virtual outcry left them wanting more. Well, Grant Morrison and Jim Lee are hoping their first work together will satisfy them all and then some.

Turning the clock back to the nineties with it’s larger than life storytelling was a sure expectation for Jim’s fans, but inviting Grant to the party was a real wild card. Sure, he can do larger than life, but he can also do laughing at life too, so it’s not easy to predict what he had in mind. This first issue isn't “Doom Patrol” revisionism or even a “New X-Men” recreation, so much as it is a JLA-sized return to greatness for the team. Grant took the best of what's come before and Jim polished it for a fanboy's dream come true.

Now, just imagine Grant pushing the reset button and playing a new game of all his favorite “WildCats” moments. It's the same cast of personalities and motivations, only streamlined and expanded at the same time to fit in Halo's 3-D phones, Gamorran suicide bombers, Daemonites and the all-mighty Omnia Codex all together in one issue.

Cole Cash, aka Grifter, may be down on his luck, but he's also back on his feet again and doing what he does best. Spartan's in charge of Halo Solutions and he's not only rekindling his past romance with Voodoo, but actually doing something about it too. And is that a carrier he's got in his pocket? Zealot's back on Khera fighting to save her Coda Sisterhood and a weary Majestic returns just in time to save the day. But is his new helmet hiding something more dangerous than those glowing red eyes?

And what's better than facing off against their most memorable villain? Facing off against two of them with the supervillain team-up of Kaizen Gamorra and Helspont!

After a double-page history of heroes in this new WorldStorm order, Cole’s found lying somewhere in the Tropic of Capricorn waiting to fade from obscurity with booze and smokes his only concern. And no matter how much he wants to be left alone, a little boy ends up dragging him into a local conflict with some thugs.

The double-page spread is one of my favorites in the whole issue because it not only shows off the previous WildStorm heroes, but also the oversized talents of Scott Williams and Alex Sinclair as they both make each panel distinct while carrying on a new era of the ‘Cats.

The next page leaves Cole Cash lying back on the ground again and eventually pulls way back to the orbiting space station of Halo Solutions where Voodoo's come to meet Spartan one more time. By now, Halo's changed the world with it's 3-D phones and affordable superheroes, but it's still not enough for Spartan who wants to explore the question of "How would truly adult superheroes behave?"

This is where boy robot finally gets his girl and psychedelic colors define the world or for at least a page. Then we find out that Spartan has already brought in Warblade or "Cutlery Kid" and Grifter back on his team to keep an eye on the bad guys. Speaking of which, Zealot and Majestic find their hands full of Daemonites and Grifter finally confirms Spartan's suspicion of their presence on Earth with a few swift moves and one shot to the head. To emphasize the violence, Grant even switches to the German language to best describe Grifter's true nature:

"Grifter! Grifter ist verwirrung! Grifter ist tod! Grifter ist verwirrung! Grifter ist chaos! Unt tod! Unt tod! Unt tod! Das ist Grifter!"

"Grifter! Grifter is confusion! Grifter is death! Grifter is confusion! Grifter is chaos! And death! And death! And death! That is Grifter!"

Here, Grant just nails Grifter's character and rightfully gives him center stage for this first issue. If there's any one character that's defined the "WildCats" for me, it's always been Grifter. He doesn't even bother taking names when he kicks ass, because he doesn't care what it is, so as long as they know what his is right before he finishes them off!

And Majestic was always another Superman knock-off, but here, Jim gives him the scary edge of Batman to strike fear into the hearts of Daemonites with just a look. Visually, he’s also the character Jim changed the most this issue.

Beyond letting Jim loose on the team again, Grant's loaded this first issue with enough teases and ideas to make any hardcore "WildCats" fan smile. The one dangling point he doesn't reveal though, is what exactly WorldStorm means. It’s only hinted at as being one month away, but whatever it is, it's obvious the "WildCats" are back in fighting form and at the “top of the food chain” again.


Gabe_Eltaeb said...

congrats Jim! This first issue really rocked.

Your first issue of Xmen with Beast on the cover inspired me to become a professional illustrator when I was 13.

I have been illustration professionally since 2001. Thanks for the inspiration!

This first issue was well written and of course, fabulously illustrated. It really brought back those awesome memories of the original Wildcats.

and other drawn stuff said...

i really like the new ideas and directions.
really cool. the characters seem so grown up.

but not only the characters.
the art as well.

i think and hope there is so much cool stuff to come within these new storys.

but about the german.
i wrote jim an e-mail about this.
"UNT TOD!" is not correct.
it's "UND TOD!"

for me as someone whose mother tongue is german the language doesn't sound violent or rough (unless you are not the singer of rammstein).

i don't like german. grammar's confusing, many words are way too long, some structures in how stuff is written are missing. the new german spelling is still confusing.

keep it up.
love the book

syrtheone said...

Amazing pencils as always!!!

mic? said...

Gorgeous first ish!

Noticed quite a change w/ Scott's inks. Favorite parts were the psychedelic sex scene and Majestic's dope redesign.

Lookin' forward to more! Congrats!!


trygogoborteponte said...

so many words. It amkes my brain hurt. Who, are yoyu?

go go.

Anonymous said...

As I was saying a few weeks ago in another comment: I'm just happy to see a Jim-rendered Priss again (brings back memories of that first time we saw her dancing at the club... bring back the furry boots! :)

I admit I lost track of WildCATs after a while but I'm all-in this time around!

crazyfeetmcgee said...

As a fan of wildcats through all the previous renditions i am excited most about this run and that is quite a leap for me because alan moore's run was just so damn good. I'm glad to see majestros, grifter and hadrian taking key roles in this book.

Look foreward to future issues.

Fabrizio said...

Ehy, come on! Grifter is back and the splash page with the bottle and the cild is REEEEEAAAALLY good.

Damn' Eddy! You have the luck to see Jim workin'everyday! I only had the chance to take pictures and interviewing
him once, this spring, in Mantova.

What about this deal? I send you the best italian chocolate from Torino and you convince Jim to come back
in the Olympic city...

Is it ok?

Thanks for posting all this new stuff.

Fabrizio "I've got a new blog" from Italy...

Anju said...

Ok...i love wildcats, but issue 2 just got pushed back until March 2007!

Honestly...isn't that a little ridiculous?

Anonymous said...

Love it!...can´t wait to have Wildcats in my hands!!!!..........

Guys, (I know that is a shameless plug) but here I let you my blog.

Thanks and keep posting amazing art!!


Grifter66 said...

Jim, loved the first issue ... honestly! But what's up w/ the second issue not coming until March '07?!?

This is the Flagship product of YOUR comic universe! Those of us who've stuck around for years would certainly appreciate an explanation.

What will this mean to the other "Worldstorm" issues? How will the stories tie together when Wildcats 1 is set "1 month before the Worldstorm" and the next issue won't get published until March? What happens w/ the other series' involved in Worldstorm? will they pass by WildCats and then just retcon the story?