Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Joe Casey Comics: Wildcats #24

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

After the last two issues focusing on the dual interests/problems of Grifter and Jack Marlowe, this one takes a broader view and also brings the two together.

The issue begins with Captain Pacheco as we learn two important pieces of information: he's a drug addict of some sort and under lots of pressure at work to crack a case/make an arrest.

Then, it's off to Miami with Jeremy and Pris as he takes her home from the hospital. Again two pieces of info worth mentioning: the new house on the beach is being paid for by Halo, and Pris sees another Daemonite in the hospital, this time posing as a nurse.

The rest of the issue is mostly taken up with Marlowe and Grifter. First, Marlowe discusses business and Void's condition with Noir. Marlowe blames himself and Noir for what happened. He isn't aware of Noir's sabotage, but since Noir helped build the Otherspace exploration device, Marlowe "ASSUME[S] IT WAS SLOPPY WORKMANSHIP THAT RESULTED IN THE LAB ACCIDENT." As a result, he suspends all Otherspace exploration. Noir is not pleased.

Grifter arrives with news of Zealot being alive, while Marlowe shares the news of Void's injury. The dynamic between the two is interesting as they don't really like one another, like two brothers who took different paths--but the connection is still there. Grifter needs help with tracking down Zealot and Marlowe needs help with Void. Seems he wants to join with the Void entity, to provide a host body and needs Grifter to abort the procedure (and kill both Void and Marlowe) should something go wrong.

Before Marlowe steps into the energy container with Void, Grifter yells, "ADRIANNA'S GONE! SO WHO ARE YOU SAVING?!" To which, Marlowe responds, "THIS IS VOID. / HER LACK OF HUMANITY DOES NOT EXCLUDE HER FROM OUR COMPASSION. / SHE IS, AFTER ALL, ONE OF US." Again, this idea of helping one another because of a shared past--but they're part of the same "family"--arises. And that's all that needs said. Even though Marlowe and Grifter make a deal, it's implied that they would help one another no matter what, because that's how things are done. They are two brothers who don't get along, who don't see eye to eye--but, if the other needs something, they'll go to the ends of the earth (and probably further).

We get a page that includes a montage panel of Marlowe and Void joining with panels from old comics and a back-and-forth of captions by the two that contain Marlowe's android perspective on joining and quotes from Void's past. The page ends with Marlowe's shadowed face emerging from the energy and saying, "IT WORKED."

Immediately, we have him teleport into Pacheco's apartment, still in his suit, but now it is silver like Void was. His eyes glow pink. He has gone from simply an android to a superpowered android. While his abilities have always been above that of a human, he is now more powerful than his fellow androids. He has transcended them and finally become a post-android, a super-android, whatever term you want to use. In his efforts to move into the future, he becomes something from his past, basically.

We learn that Pacheco's case is to take down the Smack Fairy, a drug dealer from Alan Moore's first issue on WildC.A.T.S. and the current supplier of hype, a drug that gives the user advanced refexes--makes them superhuman. Marlowe is interested in helping.

The issue ends with Noir continuing his powerplay as he meets the Meurtre Brothers as LAX--three French mercenaries Noir has brought to LA to kill Marlowe and help him take over Halo. The issue ends with one of the most important panels in Casey's run on volume two: Noir holding up a battery and saying, "IT'S AN OLD AXIOM... BUT SO VERY TRUE... / HE WHO HAS THE POWER... HAS EVERYTHING." The battery is important as it will become the crux of Halo's operations--and the phrase is important as it will come back to haunt Noir since he does not have the power. Marlowe was already more advanced than him and, in this issue, becomes even more powerful. We're looking at a dead man who doesn't know it yet.

Until next issue.