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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!
Backlash #1 was indeed a fun and engaging read with the creative direction spearheaded by Brett Booth who was a co-writer and the illustrator. It built-up Backlash as a major WildStorm figure while also emphasized the concepts from his previous appearances in the Kindred limited series which paired him with Grifter. As seen in issue #1, he freed Taboo and it was clear that she was designed to be a key part of the Backlash series.
With those details laid down, here is a look back at Backlash #2, published in 1994 by Image Comics with a story written by Sean Ruffner, Jeff Mariotte and Booth. Booth was the artist.
The story begins with a meeting inside the high-tech headquarters of the W.O.R. (Wildlife Organized Research), a front covering the outpost for the criminal organization called the Cabal. During the meeting, the fall of Helspont was discussed and talk about running the Cabal intensified. Just as it was made clear that a new beginning and new leadership were needed to manage the Cabal, a warlord called S’ryn arrives with the deadly Pike behind him. After briefly overwhelming opposition from a Coda warrior and H’tarh, S’ryn performs a ritual and gets the pledge of loyalty from those who recognized him as the new leader of the Cabal. The stage is set for further escalation between the Daemonites and the Kherubim.
In the city of Chicago, Backlash and Taboo spend time together in an apartment that looks worn down and not so clean. It turns out, both of them are fugitives and they are waiting for Cyberjack to complete his surveillance of the security of a hotel where a celebrity ball is set to happen…
Compared to what happened in issue #1, this story moved at a moderate pace in relation to the new mission which involved espionage and suspense. It’s not the action showcase the previous issue was but rather more moderated as the creators took a new approach to not only tell a new story but also do its own build-up of the Kherubim-Daemonite war and other WildStorm universe concepts. The story is well-written and while there is a lot of expository dialogue and creative explanations implemented, it never felt forced. Along the way, the creative team started implementing crossover elements by having Jacob Marlowe of WildC.A.T.S.: Covert Action Teams as well as established Image Comics figure Savage Dragon (from Erik Larsen) included in the story and even getting involved with the operations that took place.
As for Backlash himself, you will see a little less of him in this tale (compared to issue #1) which is not surprising as the creative team focused more on the plot and had to handle the crossover elements. Backlash did not become a supporting character here and you will see some superhero spectacle from him, particularly in his rematch with a certain villain.
Backlash #2 (1994) is a fun ride that cleverly combined crossover elements with its own approach on building up the WildStorm concepts, notably the war between the Kherubim and Daemonites. It also shows the consequences of what happened in the 4th issue of the WildC.A.T.S. mini-series particularly within the side of the opposition. As such, this comic book is pretty much a sequel to the said mini-series. At this stage, there was clearly something prepared to entertain readers while maintaining focus on establishing Backlash (note: Marc Slayton was one of the Team 7 members) as a major WildStorm character.
Overall, Backlash #2 (1994) is recommended.
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