Thursday, April 10, 2008

Joe Casey Comics: Ladytron

[Continuing my look at Joe Casey's run on Wildcats with the special dedicated to Ladytron. Do you need to read it to understand Casey's run? Hells no, but that doesn't mean it's not important. New posts Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.]

Actually, this special isn't that important and it doesn't reveal anything that noteworthy--but considering Maxine's fate in the upcoming Serial Boxes, it's worth looking at. There are some interesting bits of foreshadowing.

This story tells of Maxine's past up to her introduction in Alan Moore's first issue of WildC.A.T.S. as the special ends with her learning of the drug deal she decides to rip-off in that issue. Maxine has, apparently, always been a bitch as she's kicked out of school for apparently beating up the headmaster. Instead of trying to present Maxine in a sympathetic light through various cliche beginnings (the dad who molested or beat her; the mom who didn't pay attention, whatever, etc.), he just presents this horrible person and let's the reader make its own judgement.

After "leaving" school, she spends a few years hooking up with men and slaughtering them until it all goes wrong and the police nearly kill her after a robbery. Then, Dr. Khaz turns her into the cyborg we all know and love. She escaped and is eventually captured. She's then released to hunt down a robot, Stanley Khaz built--but the two fall in love and go on a Natural Born Killers type killing spree/lovey dovey honeymoon. Then, they get the bright idea to kill Khaz, but he hits a button and Stanley is reprogrammed, causing Maxine to kill him and the doc.

Faimly is big here as Maxine marries her half-brother, in a sense, kills her "father" with an electric kiss--and, at one point, Khaz uses Maxine's disconnect arm to... well, give himself a handjob. This is clearly a world where family is fucked up. The issue begins with Maxine living in a place with these robot stuffed animals, allowing her to regress to an innocent child, in a sense, but they betray her to Khaz. We never learn about the home life of the Manchesters, though, so we don't know what happened there.

The reprogramming of Stanley foreshadows Maxine's eventual destruction and reprogramming at the hands of Noir... and then Jack Marlowe.

Eric Canete provides some fantastic art that is energetic, sexy and very disturbing. He shines when he's drawing mechanical stuff and this issue is no exception.

This issue ties into the main run thematically and through a little foreshadowing, but doesn't do much else. Really only for the hardcore completists.