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 #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

DC Comics: The Art of Jim Lee coming soon

If you love DC Comics as well as Jim Lee’s art, then you should watch out for the upcoming release of DC Comics: The Art of Jim Lee Vol. 1 (hardcover).

Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman as drawn by the great Jim Lee with ink by the great Scott Williams.

The publisher described the product as an over-sized art book showcasing Lee’s artwork from his decades-long career. Apart from DC Comics-related works, the new book will come with his early work with WildStorm Productions (WildCATs, Gen13, Deathblow, etc.)

The book will also feature HUNDREDS of covers plus behind-the-scenes art from the artist’s career.

According to DC Comics, the collection will be released on November 27, 2019 for $39.99 containing over 400 pages of content.

Imagine the collection with Lee’s drawings of Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, WildCATS, Justice League, Gen13, etc. So much fun stuff to look forward to.

I remember way back in 1991 when I was still in high school reading a copy of X-Men #1 (Volume 2) published by Marvel Comics.

I marveled at how great Jim Lee’s art was back then and I even wished to see DC Comics superheroes like Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman get drawn by him.

Guess what? Jim Lee sold his production company to join DC Comics in the late 1990s and had been with them ever since.

I was fortunate enough to see Lee from a distance during the final day of the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con. Nothing like seeing the great legend in person.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article to be engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. 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.