Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Joe Casey Comics: Wildcats #21

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

You know what's really weird about last issue and this one? Steve Dillon not only does the interior art, but also draws the covers. That seems to never happen, so it's nice to see. The inked-but-not-coloured versions of the covers can be seen here (scroll down and they'll be there somewhere). Just an interesting little tidbit of information.

We conclude the two-part "Sodom and Modem" with an action-packed issue as the CIA closes in on Jeremy while Cole is hooking up with a platinum blonde in eremy's hotel room. The issue is divided between Grifter fighting Agent Orange, and Jeremy dealing with CIA Agent Cave while chatting with MADGE, the government computer system that's in love with him.

The use of Agent Cave is a little off as he spends most of the issue toying with Jeremy rather than arresting him. He has Jeremy explain the situation to MADGE for his own amusement, counting on Agent Orange to take down Grifter. Not only that, his arrogance leads him to have Jeremy tell MADGE about Agent Orange--a mistake.

Agent Orange has had his blood replaced with dioxin, which makes him damn near impossible to stop. Grifter does everything he can think to take him down, but it isn't until MADGE uses a neural shock that's basically an off-switch for Agent Orange that he finally goes down.

We again "see" Jeremy use his superpowers, but it happens off-panel. We cut from Grifter and Agent Orange to Agent Cave unconcious and stuck in a wall with Jeremy telling MADGE that he took care of Cave. This is the third time Casey has had Jeremy use his "Maul" powers and, aside from his confrontation with Sam Smith (a "supervillain"), they have all taken place off-panel, with a shot of a giant purple fist at most. This is contrasted with Grifter whose acts of violence happen on-panel--as he is still living within that superhero/action mentality while Jeremy has moved past it. I've mentioned that before, but it's the continuing points of Casey's run: what happens after the war is over? What is the state of post-superhumanity?

As well, the issue ends with Cole telling Jeremy something that has been obvious, but still needs stating as it relates to the manner in which Casey approaches these characters:


The former WildC.A.T.S. are a family, which is the core premise of the book, really.

Agent Orange is worth remembering as he plays a part in Wildcats Version 3.0. The scenes between him and Grifter are not worth mentioning beyond highlighting Agent Orange's utter dominance over Grifter--and how unnerving this is for Grifter. As well, to once again highlight that Grifter gets numerous action scenes in this issue, and will continue to be one of the few characters who has extended acts of violence on-panel.

Next issue: the return of Zealot.