Thursday, August 07, 2008

Joe Casey Comics: Wildcats Version 3.20

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

Okay, not a lot of action--in fact, there's lots of talking, but not much is said. Cole Cash wants to head to Europe to rescue Zealot, Jack Marlowe says he can't afford the exposure, Dolby volunteers to go but won't carry a weapon and is really there to act as Marlowe's eyes and ears. He's going for reasons he doesn't quite understand, but it relates to shooting Special Agent Tyro in the face while acting as the new Grifter and the nightmares he's had ever since. Cash assembles his team: Dolby, the Beef Boys, and CC Rendozzo who is still having problems with her son being a little shit. In Europe, the Coda torture and interrogate the FBI agents and Zealot. The issue ends with Grifter Version 3.0 showing up and surprising everyone that Cash is using Ladytron as his remote-control-cyborg body.

The bad third act continues. We get a hint of the good stuff when Marlowe begins discussing open source software for Halonet, but that's interrupted by Cash.

The use of Maxine "Ladytron" Manchester's rebuilt body as the new Grifter, controlled by Cash is an interesting choice. I'm trying to view the choice in terms of the three volumes of the series and the three Grifters. Obviously, Cole Cash as the first Grifter corresponds to WildC.A.T.S. in that both were old school superhero type books with lots of violence and style and flash. The second volume of Wildcats was a different type of book--it began gung-ho in its attempts to be like the first volume under Scott Lobdell, but then Joe Casey took it in a different direction, suggesting a different way--something more toned down, more thoughtful. Dolby doesn't quite correspond 100%, but his trajectory was similar: gung-ho (kind of) at first, but then an event of explicit violence (like the deaths of Emp and Kenyan in Casey's first story) changes that, causes him to quit (the break-up of Spartan and Grifter--of the Wildcats) before coming back together for a greater good. Now, we have Wildcats Version 3.0 and Grifter Version 3.0, both different beasts, but similar, too. Both transcend what came before, but are also limited by it. The book attempts to explore the limits of post-superhero concepts, but the new Grifter is not even human, really. It can take more damage than Cash or Dolby could, is able to do more--but it is also basically Cole Cash in control doing what he already did, which is what the book has become by this point, too. Both have the promise of being more, but are, ultimately, wrapped up in violence. Instead of continuing the story of Marlowe and Halo, Casey focuses on KICKSPLODE! with "Coda War One." Or, at Grifter Version 3.0's shirt says at the end: "FUCK SHIT UP!" That's what the book has become with Grifter leading the way.

Next time: down and out in another typical violent superhero comic book.