The Comic-Con announcement of new creative teams for most of the Wildstorm Universe titles brought a rather unedifying reaction from those snobbish about the need for a third mainstream superhero universe in addition to the Marvel and DC playgrounds. Such dismissiveness is one of the reasons why the World’s End scenario has failed to achieve the sales success it deserves, despite the superb quality of the books on offer. The names announced as taken over the line come December are mostly interesting, but I’m somewhat surprised to find that incoming Wildcats scripter Adam Beechen didn’t have his writers licence revoked after Killapalooza.
As a result, the urge to enjoy the present incarnation of the Covert Action Team while it lasts has never been stronger. With Christos Gage choosing to take the payoff from the long-running Lynch/Tao strand of Wildstorm backup strips, however, enjoyment is something that comes naturally. After triumphing over their main ‘Ver 4.0’ adversary Majestic, the team are in no position to refuse the deal that Lynch offers them- sanctuary for their human allies, in return for their aiding Team 7 in trying to bring down the nihilistic Tao. And the chance to welcome Void back to the white-hat side is the icing on the cake…
After recent events, Gage sensibly takes a few pages to reflect on the book’s fluctuating status quo and allow his new artists to find their feet, before ploughing into the action. Shawn Moll and Drew Geraci don’t immediately impress in the same way as their predecessor, with the book’s colouring being relied upon to give impact to the final pages. Truth be told, this isn’t the finest issue of Gage’s work on the series with the downtime after the recent blockbuster story coming across as a little too uneventful, although there’s a well-judged cliff-hanger. As one of those readers who feels that Joe Casey and Dustin Nguyen’s Wildcats Ver 3.0 is one of this decade’s masterpieces, worth to stand alongside WE3 and Phonogram, the return of this particular figure is enough to keep the series required reading for the foreseeable future.
Although this isn’t the strongest issue of its present incarnation, Wildcats continues to offer solid entertainment.