A Look Back at Backlash #4 (1995)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts, Image Comics fans and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the wild 1990s and explore a part of the WildStorm universe through a tale of Backlash!  

In my previous retro review, as the mission of Backlash and Taboo intensified, Zealot and Void of the WildCATs got involved in the action. Pike, who had been serving S’ryn, proved to be a formidable foe for Zealot and Taboo. The Savage Dragon meanwhile proved to be more than capable of bringing down S’ryn which made Backlash less relevant in his own comic book. Just as things intensified, something big blew up.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Backlash #4 published in 1995 by Image Comics with a story written by Sean Ruffner, Jeff Mariotte and Booth. Booth was the artist.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins just moments after the big explosion. Savage Dragon, Backlash, Zealot, Jacob Marlowe, Taboo, Void and Jack managed to survive. In line with his duty as a police officer, Savage Dragon tells Zealot that Backlash and his friends are coming with him as they have been tagged by the government as threats to national security. Zealot then lifts her blade up to Savage Dragon’s throat and states that if Backlash had not been with them, then her lord Emp (Marlowe) may well have been assassinated.

Eventually, Void uses her power to transport Backlash, Taboo, Jack, Zealot and Marlowe away, leaving Savage Dragon behind…


A briefing about the next mission.

To put things straight, this particular comic book serves as the conclusion of the storyline (the mission specifically) that started in issue #2 while also working as a bridge going into the next storyline. The good news here is that the creative team’s work here is good enough in terms of quality.

For one thing, the team really took their time to develop Backlash and Taboo some more right after the end of the first mission. Their talk with each other as civilians inside a New York City bar was nicely written and there were a few witty moments that I found enjoyable. Along the way, there was efficient expository dialogue that explains Taboo’s past connection with Pike and the Cabal. Backlash also shared some key details of himself which ultimately made him and Taboo have something in common.

This story also shows a key flaw in Backlash’s personal integrity – his romantic involvement with Taboo made him betray his beloved Diane. For one thing, this potentially opens a series of problems that will eventually haunt him later. On another thing, it seems that the creative team have something intriguing planned for the protagonist who has clearly been sharing this comic book series’ spotlight with Taboo.

As with the previous issues, this comic book continued the build-up and emphasis of the WildStorm universe’s concepts. In terms of crossovers, Wetworks’ leader Jackson Dane makes an appearance here and his unexpected reunion with Backlash is a must-see. For the newcomers reading this, WildStorm’s Grifter (WildCATs), Backlash, Dane (Wetworks) and Deathblow are all members of Team 7 which had its series of wild stories set twenty years prior (note: think of the Vietnam War era). It was also in 1994 when the first Team 7 comic book mini-series was first published. In some ways, Backlash interacting with Grifter in the Kindred mini-series and reuniting with Dane served as creative ways to emphasize the Team 7 concept to readers.

On the visuals, Brett Booth continues to do a fine job presenting the characters (who are clearly recognizable to me) and I noticed he seems to have fun trying to test readers’ visions by carefully inserting selected X-Men characters into the background during the bar scenes as Taboo and Backlash talked. As for Dane, I like Booth’s own take on the character


Look carefully at the background and you will spot X-Men team members Cyclops, Jean Grey Gambit and Rogue in civilian forms.

Backlash #4 (1995) is more of a build-up comic book that so happens to have a decent amount of action for entertainment value. The characterization scenes of Backlash and Taboo is a must-see while the conclusion of the first mission was nicely done complete with a worthy end to the crossover with WildCATs’ Zealot, Void and Jacob Marlowe. The story itself moved at a medium pace which is not surprising as there was something being built-up with the new mission in mind.

Overall, Backlash #4 (1995) is recommended.


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