Saturday, March 29, 2008

Lesser Known Joe Casey Comics: Wildtimes: Gen13 #1

[Another in my periodic ongoing look at lesser known Joe Casey comics. As always, at the end of the post, I will tell you if the book should remain forgotten or not.]

This comic was Joe Casey's contribution to a Wildstorm "fifth-week" event (for a while, DC would do event books that came out during the fifth Wednesday of the month so as to not disrupt regular shipping schedules for books) called "Wildtimes." The event was basically five one-shots taking Wildstorm characters and placing them at different points in history. Deathblow was put in the old west, Grifter in the 1920s, DV8 in World War II, Wetworks in the early Cold War, and Gen13 in the late '60s/early '70s.

Casey's story has the team rarely use their powers and have more interest in getting high, listening to music and protesting the government than anything else. There's not really a story per se, although a plot involving Bobby and Vietnam runs throughout. In the first chapter, he's hiding from the draft until the Gen13 kids tell him that the army won't use him since he's a gen-active. In the second chapter, he's in Vietnam. And, in the third, he's AWOL and protesting the 1972 Republican convention.

There are a lot of refernces to the time, both real and thinly-vieled. Like, there's Billi Fender playing at the Chillmore East (aka Jimi Hendrix at the Fillmore East)--but there's also the Stones at Altamont. At the end of the issue, the group is in London and we get "Bowie" (to make the framing device work, the Hendrix stand-in is white, while the Bowie stand-in is black). One scene is particularly strange as Grunge actually takes acid, which surprised me a little. Unlike many Casey comics, there are no revelations or wisdom found during the trip.

This comic really lacks structure and sort of meanders without much point beyond giving a sense of the time--but in very obvious and superficial ways. I'm not sure what Casey was trying to accomplish here, because it's not that entertaining, nor is it enlightening. It just sort of sits there.

I did enjoy the use of the Teen Titans (each of the Wildtimes books had a DC character show up--although I could never figure out where in the Grifter book) as they hunt down Bobby since he's AWOL. Little kiss-ass brats.

Should this book remain forgotten? Yeah, sure. The art isn't that great and neither is the story. As I said, no real entertainment or enlightenment means it comes off as pointless, like no one had any idea of what to do beyond "Gen13 in the late '60s."

The usual Saturday post later today.