Saturday, May 24, 2008

Joe Casey Comics: Wildcats #17

[Continuing my look at Joe Casey's Wildcats. New posts Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.]

A quiet, emotional issue after last issue's brutal injuries to Pris and Jeremy.

We begin with Jack Marlowe meeting with Captain Anthony Pacheco, a member of the LAPD who wants Marlowe to help out with his crash squad. This meeting is interrupted with news about Pris and Jeremy.

Nearly all of the rest of the issue takes place in a Miami hospital and we get a sense that Marlowe is not as heartless or cold as he's seemed these past few issues. Casey has been very good at giving us little moments that suggest that there's more to Jack Marlowe than just another android. At the same time, one convention of science fiction (which this is, by the way) is the seemingly unfeeling android that is really just as "human" as the rest of us. Except, is Jack Marlowe human or is Casey perhaps writing him in a similar manner but with a Kherubim basis? I honestly don't know as the thought just occurred to me, but it would make more sense.

This android character is also different from Casey's other android, Automatic Kafka. Marlowe does not wallow in what he is or long to be something else: he knows who and what he is and acts with confidence. He is rarely unsure or self-doubting. He is decisive and very much the opposite of Kafka. But, that's a discussion for another time.

Marlowe shows concern here for Jeremy but is more interested in Pris and in who did this. He clearly has his goal in mind and uses Agents Wax and Mohr to further that goal when they arrive on the scene. It's interesting to see how Casey has Marlowe be so decisive and active that he operates on another level here: everything he says and does is both out of concern for his "family" and in furtherance of finding the person(s) responsible. He gains information from the agents that this is a serial killer, which makes the prospect of revenge even more appealing since he probably deserves to die. Not only that, but Marlowe learns from Pris everything Smith told her--including his motives. Pris and Jeremy were hurt in an effort to get at Marlowe, making it his responsibility--not that he didn't already think it was, but this adds a level of blame, too. After several issues of control since he had to kill Emp, Marlowe now faces a situation that he is not in control of. How he reacts says a lot about him.

At the end of the issue, he leaves Noir in Miami and has Void bring him home... with a stop in between to pick up Grifter. The issue ends with a splash of the two arriving in Marlowe's office in their respective costumes (Marlowe in his suit, eyes glowing; Grifter in his mask, guns drawn). These two define Casey's run, particularly when they're together.

But, that's next issue.