Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Joe Casey Comics: Wildcats Version 3.02

[Continuing my look at Joe Casey's Wildcats Version 3.0. New posts Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.]

The second issue kicks off with an important scene between Agent Wax and Grifter as Wax explains the importance of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad. This speech/dialogue (mostly one-sided, but still) outlines one of the major concepts of the book. Wax discusses the role of the corporation in American history, how the Boston Tea Party was not just an act taken against the British government but British corporations as well, and how the rights of corporations were severely limited until the Civil War where corporations were able to take advantage of the political chaos to buy judges, expand, etc. Casey includes a quote from Lincoln that warns of allowing corporations to gain too much power. All which leads up to the 1886 ruling where corporations were granted the same rights as persons under the constitution, except since corporations have resources far beyond any person, they were really granted rights far above and beyond the average person.

This establishes a key concept: the corporation as superhero. If corporations are, in essence, persons in the eyes of the law, then what happens when a corporation tries to save the world? To use its advanced power to do good? Jack Marlowe's superhero guise is Jack Marlowe, his costume a business suit, and he uses Halo to advance his goals, to make the world a better place.

In this issue, he makes a few key moves: he dissolves Garfield and Dolby's accounting agency, moving the staff to Halo's building--and also gives both a chance to get ahead when he solicits their opinion--a chance Dolby jumps at, while Garfield refuses, preferring to be pissed off at Malowe.

Marlowe also learns that his attempts to "grow the brand" are failing because Halo doesn't have the relationship with ad buyers at television networks necessary to reach the masses effectively. This sets up the upcoming plot surrounding Marlowe's acquisition of Beljar Media.

There's also a meeting of characters as Grifter and Wax run into CC Rendozzo as all want to find the rogue FBI agent mentioned in issue one. The issue ends with guns drawn and everyone looking very serious.

A little bit lighter than the first issue, but the first three pages alone make this issue worth it as it has Casey explicitly stating what he's going for, what he's discussing and what the point of the book is, in a way. He also introduces a plot point (the media) that won't come into play until toward the end of the first year, and begins Dolby's ascent within the Halo ranks.