A Look Back at Backlash #1 (1994)

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 fans, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we continue revisiting the Wildstorm universe as it was under the Image Comics banner back in the 1990s. Recently, I reviewed back-to-back issues of Jim Lee’s WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams that involved Chris Claremont and his creation Huntsman (click here, here, here and here) which ultimately expanded the lore of the team within the Wildstorm universe of the time while developing Zealot tremendously.

Still within the Wildstorm universe of the 1990s, it’s time to shift to another key figure – Backlash (civilian identity: Marc Slayton) co-created by Jim Lee and Brett Booth (follow him at Twitter and visit his blog). To put things in perspective, Backlash and WildC.A.T.S’ popular Grifter (Cole Cash) have something in common other than being highly capable fighters – they were teammates within Team 7 long before StormWatch (note: Backlash first appeared in StormWatch #3 in 1993) and WildC.A.T.S were formed. In fact, Team 7 also had Michael Cray (Deathblow), Jackson Dane (Wetworks) and John Lynch (who appeared in early WildC.A.T.S issues and went on to be the mentor in Gen13) who went on to become important Wildstorm figures in the present day.

In 1994, a 4-issue mini-series titled The Kindred was published featuring Backlash and Grifter with a story written by Jim Lee, Brandon Choi, Brett Booth (who illustrated) and Sean Ruffner. Months after that mini-series ended, a regular series focused on Backlash was launched.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Backlash #1, published by Image Comics in 1994 with a story written by Ruffner, Jeff Mariotte and Booth. Booth was the artist.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Backlash quietly infiltrating the Edward H. Levi Federal Penitentiary, a facility designed to control the growing population of criminal super-powered beings (SPBs). Eventually two armored guards pass by and as soon as one of them notices signs of the break-in, Backlash takes them down using his psionic whip and hard action.

After subduing two more pairs of guards, Backlash enters a large place that has prisoners contained in what he refers to as “aquariums”. Two of the prisoners recognize him. He finally reaches the cell of a red-headed lady named Amanda Reed – also known as Taboo – who has been imprisoned for murder. Backlash makes an offer – if she helps him, he will get her out of the prison…

Quality

Backlash struggling on the way of getting out with Taboo.

Let me start with the story. This comic book has an unusual approach on its plot in which the flashbacks are more prominent than the present-day tale of Backlash freeing Taboo and getting out of the prison. The good news here is that the flashbacks are pretty engaging to read and they solidly fulfilled the writers’ goals of immersing the readers with useful story details and building up the tension while also emphasizing Backlash’s personality and what motivates him deep from within. To put it short, the flashbacks are the most important features of the storytelling and they also have the most interesting scenes (including an encounter with Pike who previously appeared in the early issues of WildC.A.T.S). The present-day view of the plot lack engagement compared to the flashbacks but the creative team succeeded in emphasizing Taboo, what she is capable off and why she is feared.

The characterization of Marc Slayton is pretty good in my view. By the time I reached the end of this comic book, I found him to be a really intriguing protagonist. Backlash is definitely not inspiring but the irony is that his personality and purpose within the Wildstorm universe of the time were compelling enough to follow.

When it comes to the art, Brett Booth’s work here is still good to look at as I follow the story. Be mindful that this was his work when he was very young and as seen in this comic book, he definitely proved his talent, his art style was clearly distinct and he was capable of coming up with really good action scenes that really made Backlash a notable Wildstorm action hero. It should be noted that Booth illustrated this comic book with dynamism in mind.

Conclusion

A key scene from the past of Marc Slayton/Backlash nicely drawn by Brett Booth.

Backlash #1 (1994) is fun and compelling to read. The flashbacks are strangely the most engaging parts of the plot and they succeeded in getting me oriented with the protagonist, what has been going on and what the stakes are right at the start of this particular series. Combined with the still-good-to-view art by a very young Brett Booth, this comic book has a lot of fun stuff to enjoy especially for those who are obsessed or simply wanting to discover more about the Wildstorm universe of the 1990s.

Backlash #1 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

A Look Back at WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #13 (1994)

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 fans, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we continue revisiting Jim Lee’s flagship title under the Image Comics label – WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams!

For the newcomers reading this, I’ve been doing retro reviews of WildC.A.T.S that had Chris Claremont and Jim Lee collaborating together during the early Image Comics years following their previous works together on X-Men comic books while they were at Marvel. Issue #10 of WildC.A.T.S saw the debut of Claremont’s very own Huntsman while Zealot became the major character among her teammates (note: Voodoo had the 2nd most amount of page presence while the rest made very short appearances). In issue #11, the stakes were raised as most of the WildC.A.T.S got captured by the new super villainess Tapestry and Voodoo remained possessed, leaving Zealot as the only free team member who – out of fear – had to reach out for reinforcements (note: brand new characters who happened to have history with Zealot). In issue #12, Zealot and Huntsman really struggled clashing with the Troika while the reinforcements were on their way. What happened saw new revelations about Zealot and the plot expectedly built up the anticipation of the next big conflict.

The issue I am about to review is the conclusion of the current storyline Claremont wrote and  Lee illustrated which, so far, expanded the lore of the WildC.A.T.S within the WildStorm universe of the time. So far, I’ve been enjoying re-reading WildC.A.T.S issues #10 to #12, seeing what kind of creative stuff Claremont and Lee could make while being free from the restrictions and limitations of Marvel Comics.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #13, published by Image Comics in 1994 with a story written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Jim Lee.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the possessed Voodoo – now looking frail and ugly as a result of Raksha’s hunger for flesh – attacking Jacob Marlowe’s two trusted assistants who arrived to help her. Deep inside her body struggling with Raksha’s possession, Pris manages to stop her attack – Voodoo’s face restored to normal – and warns Jules and Stansfield that Jacob and her teammates have been turned into evil by Tapestry and that Zealot may still be free.

Meanwhile, Grifter, Hunstman, Zealot, Savant, Soldier and Mr. Majestic fight the mind-controlled WildC.A.T.S – Spartan, Maul, Jacob Marlowe and Warblade – and Alabaster Wu who are acting under Tapestry’s evil. As Grifter shoots Maul and kicks Jacob Marlowe’s head, Huntsman reveals to him that Tapestry and Zealot have a history together while Alabaster Wu was trying to save his people…

Quality

Chris Claremont’s Huntsman contributes solidly into the story even though he is not protagonist.

As expected, this storyline-concluding issue delivers the natural progression of what started in issue #10 laced with lots of solidly fun action, key character interactions and more notably the further development of Zealot supported by Huntsman. To put it short, if you enjoyed the previous works of the Claremont-Lee creative team and you enjoy the early, bombastic ways of WildC.A.T.S, then this comic book should delight you.

Without spoiling the entire plot, this comic book concludes the storyline that started in issue #10 and it also marked the end of Claremont-Lee’s collaboration on this particular volume of the WildC.A.T.S comic book series. What is very notable in my view is the way Claremont emphasized the evolution of Zealot not only as a WildC.A.T.S member but also her very own personality as well as her very own spot within the WildStorm universe.

It is in this storyline where you will see Zealot being much more than just a fearless, hard-fighting warrior who lives by the strict standards of the Coda. In this particular comic book, her greater purpose is realized (and you will realize that in a particular scene with Savant late in the story) and the interactions she has with the Huntsman, her sister Savant and others really brought out more of her personality. This is clearly Zealot redefined just as Claremont expanded the lore of the WildC.A.T.S.

Fans of Grifter should be happy to learn that their favorite character (who returned at the end of issue #11) joined the big battle and Claremont’s prepared dialogue of him made him more livelier than his usual portrayal in this comic book series. Huntsman, meanwhile, is his usual honorable self but gets to define his place among the WildC.A.T.S through action. His companion Miranda (now wearing armor thanks to Zealot) plays a short yet notable key role in the story.

The reinforcements composed of Mr. Majestic, Savant and Soldier each have a stronger presence in this story which is expected and they don’t just talk and do some action…they also contributed to the plot and what Savant knew emphasized the essence of the conflict between Zealot and Tapestry.

As for the super villainess herself, Tapestry is very convincingly evil and this comic book shows exactly why the fearless Zealot deeply fears her and why she is a danger to everyone. While she has a very sinister agenda, Tapestry’s confirmation of her origin (in the form of dialogue) and what her place is between the Daemonites and Kherubim will intrigue readers, most especially WildC.A.T.S fans. As for her conflict with Zealot, this comic book will show you how they are connected with each other and what elements connect them together. Their spectacle-filled duel here is a must-see and you will enjoy it a lot when you pay attention to the details (read Savant’s expository dialogue) as the action happens.

When it comes to artwork, fans of Jim Lee should know that this comic book has some of very best pieces of art the famed creator ever made during his time with Image Comics. Very clearly, Lee took his time designing the shots and when to really go out with great visual detail as the story went on.

Conclusion

In the heat of a battle against the other WildC.A.T.S, Grifter and Huntsman still managed to talk.

I can say that WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #13 (1994) is still a great comic book as it solidly and satisfyingly concluded the 4-part storyline that Chris Claremont came up with in this collaboration with Jim Lee. More on the storyline itself, Claremont took a really daring approach on presenting the titular team by having Zealot in the lead (with his creation Huntsman as the 2nd major player) and then putting most of the other team members on the background which effectively emphasizes the presence of the very wicked Tapestry (truly the definitive parallel to Zealot) along with the Troika (note: this is their best and most action-packed portrayal).

While this WildStorm universe-building story concept could put off some Claremont-Lee team fans who expected to see a WildC.A.T.S story fashioned like what was seen in the creators’ past X-Men works, this particular storyline for me is still a great read and its concept is commendable.

I should also state that the themes of omnipotence, legacy and destiny are all well defined in this comic book which made the 4-part storyline make more sense to read and analyze. More on Zealot, the way Claremont developed her will make you think deeply about how you should perceive her, how you think her place within the WildC.A.T.S will affect her teammates, etc. This comic book and its three immediate predecessors all have very solid writing by Claremont!

Overall, WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #13 (1994) is highly recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

A Look Back at WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #12 (1994)

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 fans, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we continue revisiting Jim Lee’s flagship title under the Image Comics label – WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams!

Previously, I reviewed WildC.A.T.S #11 which served as a build-up issue with the titular team and their place within the WildStorm universe in mind. Considering how much the narrative in issue #10 was driven through Zealot’s struggles and her meeting the Huntsman (his debut), issue #11 was alienating as the two mentioned characters had significantly lesser exposure. Of course, it is noted that issue #11 saw the rather heavy entry of Tapestry, an eroticized and highly manipulative villainess who not only encountered the fearless Zealot ages prior but also scared her deep inside. Out of fear and desperation, Zealot summoned her long-time ally Savant who in turn reached out to Soldier (who also knew Zealot) and Mr. Majestic (only mentioned by name). Issue #11 also saw the rise of the Troika (Attica, Slag and H.A.R.M.) in terms of exposure and even character development.

At this stage, it was clear that franchise creator Jim Lee literally gave author Chris Claremont the driver’s seat to develop the WildC.A.T.S franchise significantly and lead it to a new, bold direction. It was clearly the most unconventional WildC.A.T.S story published at the time!

With those details laid down, here is a look back WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #12, published by Image Comics in 1994 with a story written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Jim Lee.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the Huntsman driving the high-tech motorcycle with Miranda and an ailing Zealot seated in the side-car. They are being chased and attacked by the Troika from above (Attica and Slag riding on H.A.R.M. in its aircraft form) firing several rockets at them. While the rockets caused huge explosions on the city street, Attica states he will consider the attack on their targets successful only he sees their dead bodies.

Meanwhile inside a facility, Tapestry continues to deeply manipulate the mind of Warblade among the captured WildC.A.T.S members. Already Jacob Marlowe and even the cybernetic Spartan have been manipulated to do her bidding. As Tapestry continues working on Warblade in the presence of Soma and the others, the Raksha-possessed Voodoo hungers for new meat.

Moments later, as Voodoo goes out agonizing over the craving, a vehicle – with Jacob Marlowe’s loyal assistants Jules and Stansfield – arrive. Deep inside Voodoo, a conflict between her and the Raksha occupying her body begins… 

Quality

Mr. Majestic is the WildStorm universe’s parallel to DC Comics’ Superman!

Like issue #11, this comic book continues to build-up the WildC.A.T.S lore but with notable differences. For one thing, the story moved forward more while also having the intensity build up constantly leading to the set-up of the upcoming conflict between Tapestry’s troops (along with the manipulated WildC.A.T.S) and Zealot with Hunstman (and the incoming reinforcements). To put it short, the exposition in this story was less and the plot noticeably progressed more.

When it comes to the significance of the characters, this time the narrative’s spotlight shifted back more on Zealot and Huntsman which was the right move pulled off by the creators as Tapestry was already established as the new force of evil for the good guys to deal with. As for the new characters introduced in the previous issue, Tapestry has a smaller share of the spotlight while Savant and Soldier are present again but only after much of the action had passed. It is also in this issue that Mr. Majestic appears at last marking the start of his involvement in the conflict.

As for Zealot and the Huntsman, their alliance in this story has progressed more as well. Under Chris Claremont, the fearless Zealot was portrayed to be struggling very hard as she became more vulnerable than ever! This is Zealot that has to be seen! As for Huntsman, he truly is an effective fighter. So much so, he sure can fit into the WildC.A.T.S and keep up with their action. Still, Huntsman is indeed an honorable man as he still dedicates himself in protecting Miranda (who is a lot more than she appears) while making his moves to help Zealot at her most vulnerable time.

When it comes to the visuals, this is one Jim Lee-drawn comic book that I found unusually alienating to look at. His penciled art are still here but in certain pages, they looked odd as they were inked by other people. The ink work done on page 17 really stood out with a very high contrast look.

Conclusion

By this point of the storyline, Zealot and Huntsman are clearly the major characters.

While it is essentially a build-up issue, the entertainment value in WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #12 (1994) went up as the story progressed more, the spotlight shifted more on Zealot and Huntsman (clearly the two major characters for this storyline) and the exposition and explanations were lessened. The ironic thing is that readers will see less of the titular team (as most of them were captured and being manipulated by Tapestry) here. The presence of Savant, Soldier and Mr. Majestic here is pretty light which is understandable as the focus on Zealot and Huntsman was deeper this time. Ultimately, this comic book sets the readers up to for the inevitable big battle in the next issue.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #12 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $20 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $60.

Overall, WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #12 (1994) is highly recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

A Look Back at WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #11 (1994)

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 fans, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we continue revisiting Jim Lee’s flagship title under the Image Comics label – WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams!

Last time around, I reviewed the 10th issue of the WildC.A.T.S series which saw the reunited work of Chris Claremont and Jim Lee who previously worked together on making many memorable X-Men comic books during their time with Marvel Comics (note: check out three retro reviews of Claremont-Lee X-Men comics by clicking here, here and here).

Being free from the constraints and hurdles of Marvel, WildC.A.T.S #10 showed what Claremont added to Lee’s superhero team while also unveiling the Huntsman (Claremont’s own creation). Even as the story – which had Zealot as the lead character followed by Voodoo and Huntsman – had lots of build-up and the rest of the WildC.A.T.S only had a minor share of the spotlight, Lee still managed to make the story filled with a good amount of spectacle for readers to enjoy. I really liked WildC.A.T.S #10 a lot and in my view, it has aged well.

With those details laid down, here is a look back WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #11, published by Image Comics in 1994 with a story written by Chris Claremont and Drawn by Jim Lee. Scott Williams is in-charge with the ink work. This comic book has a variant cover edition with the cover art done by While Portacio.

The cover.
The variant cover edition with art by While Portacio.

Early story

The story begins moments after Jacob Marlowe secretly met with Alabaster Wu. The WildC.A.T.S – composed of Spartan, Warblade, Void, Maul and the possessed Voodoo – find themselves facing with the Troika – composed of Attica, Slag, H.A.R.M. and Providence – who came in by surprise with the intention to overwhelm them. Providence states that Jacob Marlowe’s destiny is sealed with doom.  

Just after Marlowe expressed defiance, the Raksha-controlled Voodoo knocks him out with a hard kick from behind. This surprises Spartan who immediately jumps into action and orders his teammates to form on void for an immediate dust-off. The battle between the Troika and the WildC.A.T.S starts, Attica hits Warblade. Void then discovers that some force is preventing her from teleporting. It turns out, Providence manipulated the quantum field. Using tremendous power, Providence overwhelms Void which puts the WildC.A.T.S into serious trouble.

Meanwhile on the streets of Brooklyn, Zealot, Huntsman and the teenager Miranda are riding fast together. Zealot says that the communication with her team has gone off-line and she only has their current position…

Quality

Even the fearless and disciplined Zealot is scared of the new super villain Tapestry.

I’ll start first with the presentation of characters and related developments. While the WildC.A.T.S themselves appeared a lot more here than in the previous issue, they did not end up as the dominating characters in the narrative. Even Zealot and Huntsman had reduced shares of the spotlight. This is because Claremont’s script introduced a few yet clearly significant characters while remaining focused on building up tension in relation to the growing presence of a new force of evil (note: the ugly and scary looking monsters called Raksha are connected with them) on Earth with two distinct figures as evil leaders – Soma and Tapestry. As the WildC.A.T.S fell short of achieving any heroics, their new statuses as targets and tools of Tapestry ultimately made sense in the plot. This is a rather daring way Claremont used to tell a WildC.A.T.S tale that has the titular team in their most vulnerable state yet.

While Soma does have an intimidating presence, it is obvious that Tapestry (who has an eroticized design and is the self-declared weaver of souls and shaper of fate) is the most visceral supervillain here and I had the impression that she was planned to be a major enemy towards the WildC.A.T.S comparable with Helspont. Even the fearless warrior Zealot fears Tapestry.

In a clear move to expand the lore of the WildC.A.T.S series within the WildStorm universe, this comic book saw the entry of Savant (an important associate of Zealot’s) and Soldier (the WildStorm’s own parallel to DC Comics’ Sgt. Rock) plus the mention of Mr. Majestic. Savant and Soldier are not just mere additional characters thrown into the mix but they each have established places within the WildStorm universe that just have not been seen by readers at the time of publishing. Claremont wrote Savant and Soldier as individuals who both knew Zealot from some time before and, more importantly, he made them believable to read even though this comic book only showed little of them.

When it comes to character portrayals, Claremont’s creativity showed Attica clearly having much more personality just as the Troika returned (late in issue #10). The head of the Troika in this comic book was presented as a business-dealing killer who does not hesitate to tell his client to beware of Zealot and Grifter (note: he was last seen in issue #8) as those two are the most dangerous WildC.A.T.S members. Attica’s companion Slag is more expressive here and while H.A.R.M.’s mechanical perspective is emphasized more which reminds me somewhat of the cinematic Terminator reading commands internally. Indeed, there was inspiration behind Claremont’s writing.

With regards to the plot, this comic book has a simple story structure that just so happens to have lots of exposition, explanations and the introduction of new characters destined to become more important later. Combined with the art of Jim Lee, the story still works on engaging and entertaining me. Re-reading this story is still a lot fun after all these decades.

Conclusion

WildC.A.T.S in bombastic action with the Troika.

Given the way it was crafted and structured by Claremont, WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #11 (1994) is easily the most unconventional tale of the series at the time of its publication. Unsurprisingly, Jim Lee’s art here is of top-notch quality and he continued to excel in providing readers the adulterated superhero spectacle while also making the more character-focused scenes look interesting (note: there are flashbacks to WildC.A.T.S #1 during Tapestry’s examination of Jacob Marlowe’s memories). As the WildC.A.T.S – without Grifter and Zealot specifically – were at their most vulnerable, this could alienate the die-hard fans who are expecting the usual stuff they love (note: bombastic action against bad guys with character moments in between) to pour in. What I want readers and the die-hard fans to understand is that they should pay close attention to the growing force of evil under Tapestry (who even scares the very brave Zealot) and think about it as a suitable addition into the WildC.A.T.S lore within the WildStorm universe of the time. This comic book also shows that there is more to be explored beyond the conflict of the Kherubim and the Daemonites. That being said, Chris Claremont and Jim Lee’s combined works here are still very solid, a lot of fun and even intriguing to read.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #11 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $30 while the near-mint copies of newsstand edition and the signed edition cost $90 and $60 respectively. The near mint-copies of variant cover edition (Whilce Portacio art) and the signed variant covered edition cost $30 and $90 respectively.

Overall, WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #11 (1994) is highly recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

A Look Back at WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #9 (1994)

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 fans, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we continue revisiting Jim Lee’s flagship title under the Image Comics label – WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams!

Last time around, members of the WildC.A.T.S were split apart in terms of locations as they had their rest-and-relaxation period. While Grifter went away to do something urgent (read: the Kindred comic books), Zealot, Void and Jacob Marlowe’s executive assistant Jules picked up Warblade and Maul using their high-tech aircraft to head on to the Bahamas where an entire cruise ship disappeared with Marlowe, Voodoo and Spartan on it.

Unbeknownst to the WildC.A.T.S flying in their jet, Voodoo, Spartan and Marlowe found themselves as captives of an armored man (wearing a half-helmet) called Entropy inside his domain in an undetermined location. Entropy refers to Marlowe as lord Emp and states that he will suffer from his wrath. Marlowe does not recognize him.

With those details laid down, here is a look back WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #9, published by Image Comics in 1994 with a story written by Brandon Choi and Jim Lee. Lee did the art with Scott Williams in-charge with the ink work.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the partial WildC.A.T.S team arriving in the area of the Bermuda triangle with their aircraft. From their view, there was nothing to spot but Zealot insists that they keep on searching as they must be overlooking something.

Meanwhile, Spartan and Voodoo find themselves in deep trouble as a horde of Daemonites persistently attack them. Already heavily damaged, Spartan keeps on using his energy blasts to hold the monsters off. Voodoo on the other hand is too weak and could not concentrate to help her teammate.

Suddenly one of the Daemonites slashes Spartan’s left arm which neutralizes his energy blast. His body got pierced by one of the monsters which pinned him down, leaving Voodoo completely helpless…

Quality

The WildC.A.T.S on search-and-rescue.

On face value, this comic book looks like another generic or even disposable good-versus-evil story drawn by Jim Lee. In reality, its story has more significance to it and the creators themselves came up with something fresh for WildC.A.T.S fans. Firstly, this is a story about one group of WildC.A.T.S trying to rescue their boss and their two other teammates from Entropy in a location that could not be easily found. Secondly, this comic book puts strong focus back on the Kherubim-Daemonite war which creatively looks back at one of the many events that took place in Jacob Marlowe’s past (which he could not remember at first) complete with implementing a strong fantasy (read: swords and armors) element which gives the story a mixed-genre aesthetic.

The good news here is that the storytelling and visual presentation by the creators are really well done! While the dual approach of storytelling involving both the present and the far past was used in Jim Lee’s past X-Men works with Marvel, the said approach was well executed with WildC.A.T.S which not only expanded its lore further but also developed Jacob Marlowe’s personality even further.

To have Entropy (note: he eerily resembles’ Mantra arch-villain Boneyard in the Ultraverse) as an enraged opposition figure living with a lust for revenge against Marlowe is a smart move and at the same time this adds variety to the kind of opposition WildC.A.T.S have. More on what happened in the past involving both Marlowe and Entropy, the flashback raises new questions about the value and true nature of the WildC.A.T.S’ leader who at this point was a brash manager who wields lots of resources to operate with. The flashback also challenges readers on how to evaluate Jacob Marlowe when it comes to being accountable about his past actions, including the many things he did but could not remember. All of these lead to a really impactful ending that you readers must see.

Conclusion

Meet Entropy, a man with a shared past with Jacob Marlowe.

WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #9 (1994) is a Jim Lee-drawn tale that has solid depth and a very creative approach to its presentation, specifically its daring and well-executed method of mixing the superhero and fantasy elements. When it comes to the narrative, the creative team succeeded in telling both the present and the past tales followed by connecting them with each other while ultimately telling an overall cohesive tale. This is a Wild.C.A.T.S story that must be read from start to finish, and it is a powerful follow-up to issue #8.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #9 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $30.

Overall, WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #9 (1994) is highly recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

A Look Back at WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #6 (1993)

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 culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we continue revisiting Jim Lee’s flagship title under Image Comics – WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams!

For the newcomers reading this, I recently completed reviewing the 4-issue mini-series (read my retro reviews here, here, here and here), the first issue of which was one of the launch titles published under Image Comics’ banner through Malibu Comics. Back in 2020, I reviewed issue #5 which itself was highly unusual as it marked the beginning of what was back then the regular series of WildC.A.T.S (note: starting a brand new comic book series is often done with a new issue #1). WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #5 was conveniently part of the build-up for the Killer Instinct storyline that had featured Jim Lee’s creations crossing over with Marc Silvestri’s Cyber Force.

With those details laid down, here is a look back WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #6, published by Image Comics in 1993 with a story written by Brandon Choi and Jim Lee. Lee did the art.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the WildC.A.T.S flying in their high-tech aircraft and observing the large explosion which marked the destruction of a top-secret research facility. Their teammate Warblade was left behind which concerns Grifter and Voodoo. Spartan says it is too risky for them to move close to the site of destruction for Warblade as their electronic counter measure and identification systems have been lost due to the explosion. Spartan also told them team that they need to fly away before the Gamorran security forces arrive.

They are too late, however, as three high-tech aircrafts of Gamorra have arrived to take them down. One of them launched several missiles at the WildC.A.T.S aircraft causing Spartan to tell Grifter to redirect all power to their shields.

As hard as he tried, Spartan could only fly their shielded jet to dodge the first four missiles and absorbing the impact of two missiles before getting hit by the other missiles launched by the other two enemy aircrafts.

While their jet got destroyed into pieces, the WildC.A.T.S managed to survive the explosion only to see themselves falling helplessly in the air. As Spartan catches Voodoo, Grifter warns him abou the incoming Gamorran aircraft…

Quality

The team but without Jacob Marlowe, Warblade, Voodoo and Void at this point of the story.

To begin with, this comic book is very much like its predecessors – a very action-packed tale laced with the occasional character moments for fun while having little room left for character development. If there is any notable change in the way this comic book’s story was told, it is the detective work done collectively by key members of WildC.A.T.S followed by exposition dumps here and there. The detective work and exposition were done primarily to add to the build-up of the crossover with Cyber Force with the revelation of a love triangle from the past involving Misery (who gave Grifter a lot of trouble in issue #5), Warblade and Ripclaw (from the other team).

As with Jim Lee’s past works, the action here is highly charged and there is a lot of spectacle to enjoy most of the way. By the time this comic book got published, the respective capabilities of the WildC.A.T.S team members have already been established and the creators pushed the creative limits further on showing what else could the main characters do as envisioned by Jim Lee. There is even this 4-page sequence showing Grifter and Zealot infiltrating one of the Gamorran aircrafts and having lots of banter along the way which was fun to read. Considering the lack of space for character development, the creators made up for it somewhat with the dialogue.

As this is the first chapter of the Killer Instinct crossover storyline, the build-up for it is not really that engaging to me personally. While Ripclaw was already established as a major Cyber Force character and Warblade was a visible yet not so dominating as a member of WildC.A.T.S, the establishment of the personal connection between them through Misery (the woman right in the middle) is just not so strong. Not even a huge exposition dump about the past could have strengthened the background. It would have been more helpful had Jim Lee and Marc Silvestri agreed to publish a prequel comic book (or pages inserted into a few comic books of WildC.A.T.S and Cyber Force) about Warblade-Misery-Ripclaw in the past as a prelude to Killer Instinct. More on Misery herself, I could not help but think of her as a distorted and more wicked version of the X-Men’s Jean Grey complete with long red hair.

Conclusion

Grifter and Zealot infiltrate a Gamorran aircraft.

WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #6 (1993) is another fun comic book to read filled with a lot of stuff that Jim Lee fans love to see again and again. As the opening chapter of Killer Instinct, the creators did the best they could to establish Misery as an important antagonist who happens to have been personally involved with Warblade and Ripclaw some years back. Sadly, the Warblade-Misery-Ripclaw triangle establishment is not so engaging and looked more like an afterthought. Still, this comic book’s story is not brainless and expanded the lore of the WildStorm universe a bit more. There is more good stuff than bad ones which make this worth reading.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #6 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $20 while the near-mint copies of gold cover edition and newsstand edition cost $300 and $60 respectively.

Overall, WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #6 (1993) is recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

A Look Back at WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #4 (1993)

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 culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the early days of Image Comics through Jim Lee’s WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams comic book franchise which was one of the launch titles of the said company.

Last time around, I reviewed the third issue of the WildC.A.T.S mini-series and its quality was good enough for me. Other than the visual candies delivered by Jim Lee, WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #3 featured a crossover with Rob Liefeld’s very own Youngblood which was really surprising and intriguing back in those times.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at the final issue of the mini-series…WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #4, published by Image Comics through Malibu Comics in 1993 with a story written by Brandon Choi and Jim Lee. Lee did the art.

Jim Lee drew this cover very similarly to his cover art work on X-Men #4 (1992).

Early story

The story begins with Helspont already declaring victory as well as the beginning of his operation called Reunification which involves the use of the orb to activate a stargate which would allow his brethren of Daemonites to come to Earth to not only overwhelm the Kherubim but also to conquer the whole world. In his presence are two of his deadly companies standing with him and certain members of WildC.A.T.S – including their leader Jacob Marlowe – who are down on the rough surface having been hit hard moments earlier.

Suddenly a group composed of the six Youngblood members, Vice President Dan Quayle and WildC.A.T.S’ members Voodoo and Maul approach Helspont and his companions in an attempt to make them surrender.

As Voodoo realizes her power does not affect Helspont, the vicious Daemonite strikes the group with an energy blast aided by the orb and the high technology of the place. As this happens, Grift, Void and Jacob slowly make their moves. Jacob uses his communicator to send a signal to the heavily damaged Spartan…

Quality

WildC.A.T.S face strong opposition from the Gnome and his dangerous companions.

As the final tale of the mini-series, I can say that the script made for this comic book is a pretty satisfying read from start to finish. Like in issue #3, the pace here moves fast and there is a lot of spectacle that got executed while never overwhelming its narrative. More on the narrative, the conflict between the Kherubim and Daemonites is strongly symbolized by the WildC.A.T.S and Helspont’s forces going head to head. There are some pretty notable character moments that added to the fun factor such as Jacob sarcastically telling Helspont he could not access the back-up systems for his dreaded operation to bring the Daemonites to Earth.

Of course, this is not simply a WildC.A.T.S versus Helspont story in the good-versus-evil type of way. Apart from the inclusion of Rob Liefeld’s Youngblood, there is also the other dangerous party led by the Gnome who also have a strong interest in the orb. While their participation in the story happens pretty late, they do provide serious opposition against Jacob Marlowe and his team.

As mentioned earlier, there is a lot of action that expresses the intensity of the conflicts. While there is almost no room left for any real character development, the creators managed to craft a story that never felt brainless or unintelligent. As such, there is a lot of entertaining stuff to enjoy here and I personally find the establishment of WildC.A.T.S’ core concept to be solid and worth following.

Conclusion

As Helspont emphasizes his evil plan, Jacob Marlowe makes his move.

WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #4 (1993) is a not just a fun comic book to read. It is also a worthy conclusion to its mini-series and also it succeeded in establishing the WildC.A.T.S as both Jim Lee’s passion project and as one of the most worthy early titles of Image Comics. By the time I reached the end of this comic book, it became clear to me back in 1993 that Jim Lee was moving forward to a new territory on superhero comic book creations leaving behind his legacy with Marvel and their X-Men franchise. While this comic book ended the 4-issue mini-series, the funny thing was that Jim Lee and his team went on to start a regular comic book series of WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams by actually publishing issue #5 (in late 1993) instead of starting with a brand new issue #1.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #4 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $20 while the near-mint copies of newsstand edition (without card) and the numbered-and-signed edition cost $48 and $160 respectively.

Overall, WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #4 (1993) is recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

A Look Back at WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #2 (1992)

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 culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the early days of Image Comics through Jim Lee’s WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams comic book franchise which was one of the launch titles of the said company.

For the newcomers reading this, Jim Lee is one of the co-founders of Image Comics and during his previous stint with Marvel Comics, he was instrumental in modernizing the X-Men both visually and creatively (note: look at all the paramilitary elements implemented during his X-Men days). WildC.A.T.S was his independent superhero team project which went on to not only grow as a comic book franchise in the 1990s, but also became an animated TV series. WildC.A.T.S dealt with conspiracy as well as aliens from outer space.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #2, published by Image Comics in 1992 with a story written by Brandon Choi and Jim Lee. Lee did the art.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the headquarters of International Operations (I/O) whose officials have been monitoring a situation far away. Suddenly a portal appeared inside I/O which surprised director Lynch and his fellow officials. Seen through the portal – which appeared for only seconds in front I/O’s people – were Jacob Marlowe, Spartan, Grifter, Maul, Zealot, Voodoo, Void and Warblade who just escaped from certain death which is connected to the explosion monitored by I/O.

The WildC.A.T.S instantly arrived inside their highly advanced aircraft safe and sound. After some talk, they begin to move to a safehouse of Grifter’s near Quantico…

Quality

An efficient exposition about the science fiction concept of WildC.A.T.S.

As far as storytelling goes, this comic book has more depth to its plot. While the first issue was filled with introductions of characters and story concepts as well starting its narrative in cryptic fashion, there was more freedom in this issue for the writers to properly structure their story, gradually build-up tension, execute payoffs satisfactorily while still managing to insert spectacle to complete the work. The story moved with a moderate pace and things moved fast when it was needed. I find re-reading this WildC.A.T.S tale a more satisfying experience than before and it is also an improvement over the first issue.

More on the core concept about Daemonites infiltrating human societies on Earth with the involvement of the Cabal to enhance their efforts, there literally more meat to chew here as Jim Lee and Brandon Choi came up with clever and efficient ways on executing exposition. The I/O meanwhile literally jumped from being background decoration into the main story as a connection was made between one of the top officials of the organization and WildC.A.T.S leader Marlowe.

More on the WildC.A.T.S themselves, you will get to know more about each member and how their respective personalities differ from each other as they all struggle to keep up with the changes around them. Voodoo here is still the witness of a conflict she never anticipated would involve her and many times she is clueless and really struggling to figure out what has been happening. While Marlowe has the strong tycoon mentality all throughout, Spartan is the dedicated and focused operator while Grifter is the cocky gunslinger and Zealot is the battle-hardened warrior whose perception about life and survival could make readers wonder if she is truly brave or truly reckless. With the introductions of each character already done, in issue #1 it was no surprise that there was a bit more space for the creators to define each team member with limited space (pages) they had during comic book production.

Conclusion

In the heat of the action, something visceral happened with Voodoo who is not even a fighter.

The best way to describe WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #2 (1992) is that its core concept as well as its mini-series plot really started to take shape as Brandon Choi and Jim Lee got over all the creative hurdles in issue #1. The result was not only more focus on plotting but executing payoff for story build-up, characterization and putting enough action in a rather disciplined way. There was no sign of creative rush by Choi and Lee here. I should also state that it is in this same comic book where you will see more interesting traits of the WildC.A.T.S members which, in my experience, made me anticipate the next issue.

As one of the very early comic books of Image Comics, this one had one of the first, if not the first, gimmick covers of the said publisher and I can say that its content was good enough to justify the flashy cover and its rather high cover price of $2.50 (note: back in 1992 many of Marvel’s and DC’s comic books had cover prices of $1.25 while WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #1 had a $1.95 cover price). I could not forget the day in 1992 when I visited a local comic book specialty store in Makati that had WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #2 (1992) displayed with its cover really shining under a strong light source. I also remember there were others in the store staring at it.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #2 (1992), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the gimmick cover edition costs $20 while the near-mint copies of the signed gimmick cover edition and the newsstand edition cost $60 each.

Overall, WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #2 (1992) is recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

A Look Back at WildC.A.T.s: Covert Action Teams #1 (1992)

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.

Before he became the co-publisher of DC Comics, the great Jim Lee made his debut in the comic book industry as an illustrator for Marvel Comics. Just a few short years after that, he became a fan-favorite of X-Men fans and was a major factor in the massive sales success of 1991’s X-Men #1 (Volume 2). Not only did that particular comic book established a long-lasting sales record for all comic books, Lee’s designs and visual concepts for the X-Men were adapted by the producers and creators of the fan-favorite X-Men: The Animated Series (1992-1997).

For the newcomers reading this, Jim Lee’s tenure with Marvel Comics ended in December 1991 when he, Rob Liefeld and Todd McFarlane met with the publisher and expressed that Marvel’s policies toward them were unfair and they were not rewarded well for their work. To put things in perspective, Jim Lee’s X-Men #1, Rob Liefeld’s X-Force #1 and Todd McFarlane’s Spider-Man #1 were respectively million-sellers. As such, Lee, Liefeld, McFarlane plus some more creators left Marvel and went on to establish Image Comics (which involved a production and distribution deal with Malibu Comics).

In 1992, Jim Lee’s dream project – with concepts first created in 1986 – came through free from the constraints he endured from Marvel’s editorial team and strict policies. That’s dream project was WildC.A.T.s: Covert Action Teams #1, which is the feature of this retro comic book review.

But before we start the review, here’s a quick look back at the conceptual history of WildC.A.T.s as written by Jim Lee himself.

“I created my first ‘professional’ comic book submission in the summer of 1986 entitled The Wild Boys involving an espionage agency called International Operations. The co-writer of that sublime piece of work was coincidentally enough – Brandon Choi – who at the time was still in college getting a double major in history and politics,” Lee wrote in the comic book’s intro.

Now that we’re done with the history, here is a look back at WildC.A.T.s: Covert Action Teams #1, published in 1992 through Image Comics with a story co-written by Jim Lee and Brandon Choi. Lee illustrated the comic book with ink work done by Scott Williams.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in Antarctica in 1986. There, two men braved the cold weather searching for something with information they learned from IO (International Operations). Suddenly an orb rises from the snow and then an image of a lady wearing silver tights and wielding energy appears in front of them. After demanding them to let her have the orb, she and the energy field fade away.

In 1992, at the crisis control facility of IO in Virginia, IO’s executives carefully view video footage of Georgetown which was hit by an explosion. They suspect rogue C.A.T.s (covert action teams) could have been involved. Suddenly, the same energy field from six years earlier forms in their presence with the same lady appearing for a few moments. The energy field fades away.

In the present day, a dwarf named Jacob Marlowe wakes up in the middle of garbage in an alley. After getting hurt by two troublemakers, the same silver lady from the past appears and uses her energetic power to save Jacob. She introduces her to him as Void, claiming he came for him and she knows he was once a lord named Emp. She tells him the Cabal is a threat to humans on Earth…

Quality

Clearly Jim Lee took inspiration from John Woo’s action movies.

When it comes to the presentation of the story, the comic book starts in a deliberately cryptic way. It’s like having very short prologues back to back and, fortunately, it works well to capture attention while building up slowly its concept. The story really begins when Jacob Marlowe arrives at his headquarters with Void as his enduring advisor and executor. The introductions of each of the team’s members – Spartan, Warblade, Maul, Grifter, Zealot and Voodoo – were decently done and never felt rushed as Jim Lee and Brandon Choi carefully paced the storytelling and really tried to balance exposition and spectacle. That being said, similar results happened with regards to the comic book’s spotlight on the Cabal and its evil leader.

With regards to the presentation of the classic conflict between good and evil, Lee and Choi came up with the concept of planet Earth being slowly infiltrated by Daemonites (who originated in outer space) with the Cabal serving like an anchor with an organized set-up for domination. Over at the WildC.A.T.s, Marlowe formed a team to fight and stop the Cabal since the lives of the people of Earth are at stake. This is a really nice concept serving as the foundation, and the irony is that, in this comic book specifically, IO was on the sideline.

When it comes to the visuals, Jim Lee must have enjoyed the liberty he had in illustrating this comic book…free from the editorial interference from Marvel and free too from the restrictions of the Comics Code Authority (CCA). The result here is a visual presentation showing more Lee’s creativity and a style different somewhat from his final works on X-Men. He clearly took more inspiration from action movies and the violence is somewhat more mature to look at. It should be noted that Scott Williams helped Lee’s art shine.

Conclusion

These two pages remind me somewhat of the X-Men, their jet and the Danger Room.

By today’s standards, WildC.A.T.s: Covert Action Teams #1 is surprisingly still a good superhero team comic book to read. It’s not a literary classic but it proved to be compelling and fun enough to read from start to finish. It has a decent amount of action here and there which is understandable since Choi and Lee had to build up the concepts and the plot. If there were any weak spots, this comic book is almost devoid of character development and the clear lack of a lead character (which is still needed even for a superhero team comic book).

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of WildC.A.T.s: Covert Action Teams #1 (1992), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $5 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition is priced at $16. The near-mint copy of the 3D edition costs $9 while the near-mint copy of the gold cover edition is priced at $42.

Overall, WildC.A.T.s: Covert Action Teams #1 (1992) is recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #5 (1993)

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.

Hey fellow comic book geeks! Remember before that I reviewed X-Men #1 of 1991 drawn by the great Jim Lee? That was over a year ago and so far, that is my only retro review of a dominant Jim Lee-drawn comic book.

Instead of reviewing another X-Men comic book drawn by Lee or any of the illustrator’s other works, I’ve decided to focus on the 1990s particularly on Image Comics. Back in those days, Lee was one of the main figures of Image and through that company he turned his dream projects into published comic books. When Image Comics launched in 1992, Jim Lee launched his superhero team project titled WildC.A.T.S: Cover Action Teams and issue #1 of that sold a lot. Eventually WildC.A.T.S. finished as a 4-issue mini-series.

Along with WildC.A.T.S were other projects launched under Lee and his company WildStorm (previously referred to as Aegis Entertainment) such as Stormwatch and Gen13.

Then in 1993, Jim Lee, Scott Williams and Brandon Choi worked again to produce even more WildC.A.T.S comic books for fans to enjoy and keep business at WildStorm moving. The result was the release of WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #5 which symbolically marked the start of a new regular series without starting with a new issue #1. Here’s an excerpt of Jim Lee’s explanation printed inside the said comic book:

I’m baaack!!! But rather than starting over with a new first issue, I decided to just “extend” the WildCATs miniseries into a regular series. Why? Well, I did it mostly for psychological reasons as first issues are always the most difficult ones to tell and draw. You have to get the readers to accept and understand a whole legion of new concepts and characters—characters which you’re illustrating often for the very first time. And as ant professional in the business can tell you, it takes a while for an artist to get the hang of certain characters-the way they movie, the way they talk, the way they reaction to different situations. And U’ve found that I haven’t really “connected” with any new characters until I’ve had four or five issues worth under my belt. ~ Jim Lee

That being said, here is a look back at WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #5 published in 1993 by Image Comics with a story written by Jim Lee and Brandon Choi, and with art drawn by Lee and inked by Scott Williams.

Cover
The cover.

Early story

The story begins with WildC.A.T.S members Grifter and Zealot gliding quietly approaching a secret base. Following Grifter’s lead to go into action, Zealot joins him to crash through the glass window and take out the perceived enemy troops called the hunter killers shooting and assaulting them. It turns the two are in search for something and they have their other teammates ready to come in to provide back-up.

Even though they tried to sneak around the place quietly, mechanical enemy reinforcements spotted them and chased them. As a metallic door shuts and separates the two, Grifter successfully got through the armed defense system and finds himself at the vault. After informing his other teammates of his new location, Grifter opens the vault revealing something very captivating with regards to the Daemonites’ secret operations…

Quality

Action3
The team and the villain.

Visually, this is one great looking comic book filled with lots of dynamism and flare provided by Jim Lee and Scott Williams. Each and every character looks great and come with a good amount of visual details on them. Also I love the futuristic technology look that dominated most of the scenes. When it comes to spectacle, this one is loaded and Jim Lee’s presentation of adulterated action and stunts is undeniably fantastic. I should also state that the colors are very vibrant thanks to Joe Chiodo.

Action2
Great action drawn by Jim Lee.

When it comes to storytelling, however, this one lacks depth. In terms of plotting, it’s pretty basic and goes like this: two heroes infiltrate the base of an enemy, they get discovered and more enemy troops come in, the top villains come in followed by the rest of the heroes’ teammates. As the focus here was more on spectacle and suspense, there was definitely no room left for character development. There is a subplot here worth mentioning and it serves as a link leading to the eventual Killer Instinct crossover with Marc Silvestri’s Cyberforce.

Conclusion

Action1
Great visuals and action here but not much in terms of storytelling.

I should say that WildC.A.T.S: Cover Action Teams #5 is pretty tricky to recommend to all comic book geeks and superhero enthusiasts. I can easily recommend it to die-hard fans of Jim Lee, the die-hard fans of WildC.A.T.S, as well as those who love Image Comic books from the 1990s. If you are looking for a short bout of fun with action in mind, this comic book will serve you. If you are the kind of reader who wants deep storytelling and solid character development, this one will fall short.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of WildC.A.T.S: Cover Action Teams #5 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $4.

Overall, WildC.A.T.S: Cover Action Teams #5 (1993) is satisfactory. It’s a great looking comic book (with gate-fold pages) that does not have much to fulfill readers looking for the solid combination of art, storytelling, characterization and entertainment.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com