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Wildcats
Wildcats promo.jpg
WildC.A.T.s original team, art by Jim Lee
Publication information
PublisherWildStorm (DC Comics)
First appearanceWildC.A.T.s #1 (August 1992)
Created byJim Lee
Brandon Choi
In-story information
Base(s)Halo Building, Los Angeles
Member(s)Lord Emp
Spartan
Grifter
Voodoo
Zealot
Maul
Warblade
Void
Mr. Majestic
Savant
Ladytron
Condition Red
Mythos
Olympia
Sister Eve
Agent Wax
Edwin Dolby
C.C. Rendozzo
The Beef Boys
Nemesis
Backlash (Jodi Slayton)

Wildcats, sometimes rendered WildCats or WildC.A.T.s, is a superhero team created by the American comic book artist Jim Lee and writer Brandon Choi.

Publication history

The team first appeared in August 1992 in the first issue of their eponymous comic book WildC.A.T.s: Covert Action Teams, published by Image Comics. It was Image founding partner Jim Lee's first work published by the newly launched company, and his first creator-owned project. The Wildcats were the starting point for Lee's menagerie of interconnected superhero creations which became the foundation of the Wildstorm Universe. The Wildcats launched at the apex of a speculator-fueled comics sales boom and was wildly popular at its inception, with wholesale sales to comic book stores above one million copies for early issues. This first series ran for 50 issues, and in addition to Lee, featured work by comics creators such as Travis Charest, Chris Claremont, James Robinson and Alan Moore. This popularity saw the property expand into other media, with an animated adaptation of the comic debuting on CBS in 1994 and a toyline from Playmates Toys.

In 1998, ownership of the Wildcats concepts and characters were sold to DC Comics, a subsidiary of Time Warner, as part of DC's acquisition of Lee's company Wildstorm Productions. A new incarnation of the team was soon launched under the simplified title Wildcats, focusing on the former members of the now-disbanded team and emphasizing a grittier tone during its 28-issue run. The third series, Wildcats Version 3.0, revolved around the HALO Corporation, its CEO Jack Marlowe (an amalgamation of original team members Spartan and Void), Grifter, and a gallery of new characters subverting corporate politics to their cause of creating a better world. This incarnation lasted 24 issues and was followed by a nine-issue limited series titled Wildcats: Nemesis, which returned to a more superheroic style reminiscent of the first series. In late 2006, a fourth ongoing series was launched as a part of the Worldstorm publishing initiative. The series saw the return of Jim Lee as regular penciller for the first time since its first volume while Grant Morrison took over writing duties. Only one issue was ever published, with future issues placed on hold. In mid-2008, the fifth volume of Wildcats was launched, tying into the World's End crossover event.

WildC.A.T.s volume 1

Launched as an original Image comic book title by popular X-Men penciler Jim Lee and his friend writer Brandon Choi, the comic book's premise revolved around the centuries-long war between aliens called Kherubim and Daemonites. Kherubim, a nearly immortal, human-looking alien race with exceptional powers and skills, traveled to Earth and, by breeding with humans, populated the planet with "Half-Breeds". Daemonites, besides having a fearsome appearance, also possessed various superhuman abilities, including body possession and mental control over human beings. The initial arc brought Voodoo over to the team as the readers' point-of-view character as Helspont, a Daemonite warlord, had taken control over Vice President of the United States Dan Quayle. Rob Liefeld's Youngblood co-starred in the closing chapters of the arc.

WildC.A.T.s' story continued in a three-part mini-series, penciled by Jae Lee, that introduced the Daemonite Lord Hightower. Jim Lee and Marc Silvestri proceeded to publish a 'Killer Instinct' crossover detailing Warblade's connection to Marc Silvestri's Cyber Force.

Jim Lee devoted his time to coming up with the new concepts of Gen13, Deathblow, and Stormwatch. Before he left the book, he did the four-issue Gathering of Eagles storyline written by his Uncanny X-Men writer, Chris Claremont. It featured a new villain in Tapestry and added the characters of Mister Majestic, Savant, and Soldier, and featured Claremont's creator-owned character, Huntsman.

Almost all of the characters were spun off into their own mini-series, with Zealot featured in a series by Ron Marz and Terry Shoemaker,[1] Spartan in one by Kurt Busiek and Mike McKone,[2] Warblade sharing another with Cyberforce's Ripclaw, Grifter co-starred in The Kindred's limited series with Stormwatch's Backlash by Brett Booth[3] that led to the latter's ongoing title, as well as another with Youngblood's Badrock, Billy Tucci's Shi, and even Dark Horse's the Mask.

James Robinson wrote a handful of issues as well as a Team One Stormwatch/WildC.A.T.s mini-series detailing the past of the Wildstorm universe and would go on to write the Wildcats' first annual. The title also participated in the WildC.A.T.s-oriented "Wildstorm Rising" crossover that saw the heroes try to gain control of the Daemonite battleship, which turned out to be the Kheran ship instead, with WildC.A.T.s eventually leaving for Khera. Following a Grifter one-shot, the crossover gave birth to a short-lived Steven Seagle-written Grifter series that centered on his super-spy/superhero adventures while linking to an obscure Team One character Regiment at one point.

Alan Moore then took over writing duties, and proceeded to tell a tale split between Savant and Majestic's replacement team on Earth and the original team journeying to Khera. The Kherubim had won the Daemonite-Kherubim war and were living in prosperity. Appearances were deceiving, however, and it was apparent the planet was run by power-hungry politicians who had ruthlessly subjugated the Daemonites as second-class citizens. Voodoo, with her Daemonite blood, experienced this firsthand. Maul's race was also treated unjustly and though Emp and Zealot were seduced by promises of power and recognition, Spartan discovered the truth about Khera's corrupt leaders. It took the death of one of Maul's race for the WildC.A.T.s to leave and head back for Earth. Voodoo and Emp both left the team, while the remainder joined with Savant and Majestic's new team. Moore also participated in Fire From Heaven, a fairly continuity-heavy crossover that resolved plotlines regarding Team One, Team 7, and Kaizen Gamorra.

Alan Moore, Mike Lopez and Al Rio spun Voodoo off in a four-issue mini-series that dealt with voodoo magic,[4] while Moore also wrote a time-traveling WildC.A.T.s/Spawn crossover mini-series drawn by Scott Clark and inked by Sal Regla.

At the time, Grifter had another turn at an ongoing series, this time written by Steven Grant and drawn by Mel Rubi and Michael Ryan, while Zealot was featured in a Backlash spinoff, Wildcore.

Barbara Randall Kesel, Pasqual Ferry, Rich Johnson and Carlos D'Anda crafted a two-part storyline that, in effect, wrote Majestic, Savant and Ladytron out of the team,[5][6] and set up the spin-off Savant Garde, written by Randall Kesel. Original scripter Brandon Choi returned alongside Johnathan Peterson and artists Mat Broome and Ed Benes for a storyline with an organization called Puritans as the main villains. The Puritans' goal was to eradicate the Kherubim and Daemonites on Earth by traveling back in time and erasing killing them before the aliens could influence global events.[7] A new line-up of WildC.A.T.s traveled in time to stop the Puritans, and had various adventures throughout different time periods.

Wildcats volume 2

After the first series' cancellation, WildStorm, now an imprint of DC Comics, resurrected the Wildcats under a whole different premise—Wildcats dealt with the lives of the original members after the team's breakup following a botched mission during which team member Zealot apparently died. Scott Lobdell provided the writing for the initial seven issues as well as a Mosaic one-shot detailing the change in Lord Emp, with Travis Charest penciling most of them. New villains like Kenyan and CC Rendozzo were featured as antagonists, but it was all dropped very quickly, with Charest leaving the monthly comic format to work on a French Metabarons graphic novel called Dreamshifters and Lobdell exiting a couple of issues later.

As Joe Casey and Sean Phillips took over Wildcats, they quickly dealt away with Kenyan, while Void and Emp ended up having Spartan absorb their assets and powers; thus the book began a long spell featuring him aided by Ladytron and Grifter with Maul and Voodoo guest-starring, as well as new characters Noir, Agents Wax, and Mohr of the National Park Service. Warblade was featured very briefly, last seen in the Wildcats 2000 annual that brought back the dead version Condition Red killing Olympia. Casey and Phillips signaled the new Wildstorm, critically acclaimed but low on readers' radar. The heroes fought Samuel Smith (a superhuman serial killer whose grandfather had appeared in Team One: WildC.A.T.s) after which eventually Zealot returned. Casey also wrote the Ladytron one shot, a farsic rendition of her past, as well as a Mister Majestic ongoing series which ran for nine issues.

Wild Times: Wildcats and Wild Times: Grifter were published as one-shots as a part of the crossover series Wild Times that spotlighted the characters in Elseworlds-like alternate reality scenarios that blended genres. Wildcats also participated in the WildC.A.T.s/Aliens crossover written by Stormwatch's Warren Ellis that served as a coda to that series and a prequel to his Authority run, having very little to do with the Wildcats themselves.

Wildcats 3.0

The third series, Wildcats Version 3.0, was a part of the mature readers' Eye of the Storm imprint, dealing with Spartan's (now Jack Marlowe) agenda to better the world by proliferating advanced technology and power sources throughout the world via the HALO Corporation. Grifter was his troubleshooter and Agent Wax was one of his first associates. The stories added a motley group to this proactive organization including the power broker C.C. Rendozzo and her organization, Agent Orange, and Grifter's unlikely pupil Edwin Dolby, one of HALO's accountants. The series ended with a thunderous finale where Zealot, Marlowe, and a team assembled by Grifter destroyed the Coda chapter that Zealot had created on Earth. The series was written by Joe Casey and drawn by Dustin Nguyen, Duncan Rouleau, Francisco Ruiz Velasco, Pascual Ferry and Sean Phillips.

Concurrent with Wildcats Version 3.0, Wildstorm also published a critically acclaimed noir-superhero series Sleeper starring Alan Moore's Wildcats villain Tao, which also featured Grifter. As part of the crossover Coup D'État, centering on the Wildstorm Universe's United States, a Wildcats 3.0: Coup D'État one-shot was released.[8]

After guest-starring in Superman books, in 2004 DC published a Mr. Majestic mini-series to test waters for an ongoing series that ran for 17 issues.

Wildcats starred in a limited series by Robbie Morrison and Talent Caldwell entitled Wildcats: Nemesis, focusing on Zealot, Majestic, and the Coda continuity, while heavily spotlighting the new Wildstorm universe anti-hero character of Nemesis.

At the same time, Wildstorm published the Captain Atom: Armageddon maxi-series, heavily featuring the Wildcats as they tried to help DC character Captain Atom return to his universe and stop him from accidentally destroying their reality. Nikola, a female medic, became the new Void with Captain Atom sharing a part of the power that eventually remade the Wildstorm universe altogether.

Wildcats volume 4

In 2006, as part of the "Worldstorm" line-wide event, the title was restarted, written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Jim Lee. The team consisted of Spartan, Mr. Majestic, Zealot, Grifter, Voodoo, Savant, and Ladytron. Warblade is on a secret mission, and Maul has retired to his civilian identity. Kaizen Gamorra returned as the villain, aided by the WildCats' first enemy, Helspont. However, the title was permanently put on hold after only one issue.

Wildcats volume 5

In July 2008 Wildstorm debuted a new ongoing WildCats series[9] written by Christos Gage[10] and pencilled by Neil Googe[11] following on from the imprint's Number of the Beast mini-series.[12] Adam Beechen took over writing duties from Gage in late 2009,[13] with he and artist Tim Seeley starting with issue #19[14] until the book's cancellation in December 2010 with #30.

Wildcats volume 6

In November 2022, Wildcats returned with a brand new miniseries written by Matthew Rosenberg and illustrated by Stephen Segovia and focuses on Grifter "working for the HALO Corporation to assemble a group of operatives with the goal of completing missions in the outskirts of the DC Universe. The team's first task is to round up an elite group of scientists, but their mysterious leader, Void, seems to have other plans. Meanwhile, the Court of Owls lurks in the shadows, and a showdown between both organizations is imminent."[1]

Cast

Original team

The original WildC.A.T.s (Covert Action Team) consisted of:

Savant's team

A second team was introduced later in the series. They were formed after the original team, rumored to be dead, had left for Khera, the Kherubim homeworld. This unlikely group broke from the WildC.A.T.s usual anti-Daemonite agenda and conducted a proactive war on criminals. This alienated them from many other characters in the Wildstorm universe.

Savant Garde

For a time Kenesha would drop out of the hero circuit and return to a life of Indiana Jones-lite spelunking for hidden reliquary, along the way she would assemble her own team of adventurers with Majestros at her side.

Time travel team

The team consisted of Grifter, Max Cash, Void, and an old Spartan unit activated by Grifter, possessing Hadrian's original personality,[18] as well as new members:[67]

Halo Team

After a disastrous mission wherein Zealot faked her death to hunt down the earth Coda chapter. The Cat's, whittled down to Jacob and Spartan, would go on to recruit both old faces and new blood after Lord Emp had ascended.

3.0 cast

Besides Grifter and Jack Marlowe, the main characters were:

Majestic's pact

While not specifically part of any WildC.A.T.s group, Mister Majestic would work with his own covert action team for a time when the Shapers Guild would attempt seize earth's Kherubim terraforming engine to make a new Khera. Members would include mainstays like Spartan, Zealot and Savant while also including:

Nemesis Crew

The introduction of rogue Kherubum warrior Lady Charis would be first adversarial too, then join up with a team consisting of Majestros, Zannah, Cole Cash and Kenesha. A team which would later be adjourned by former WildC.A.T.s mainstays such as Jeremy, Reno and Priscilla while battling the mutated human forces of the Brotherhood of the Sword.

"World's End"

With the "World's End" crossover, original Wildcats Spartan, Zealot, Voodoo, Grifter, Maul, Nemesis and Warblade were brought together again to help save what was left of the human race. Their membership also included Ladytron as well as a few new members:

Nemesis subsequently went missing following the teams battle with Majestic, while Savant rejoined the team.

"Infinite Frontier"

Creative teams

Volume 1

Volume 2

Volume 3.0

Volume 4

Volume 5

Collected editions

Trade paperback collections:

  • Wildcats Version 3.0: Brand Building—Collects vol. 3 #1–6
  • Wildcats Version 3.0: Full Disclosure—Collects vol. 3 #7–12

Vol. 1 #14 is collected in Savage Dragon Vol. 4: Possessed as it was done by Erik Larsen as part of Image X Month; #20 is also collected in the Wildstorm Rising trade paperback, while JLA/WildC.A.T.s is collected in the JLA: Ultramarine Corps trade.

Both WildC.A.T.S Covert Action Teams: Compendium and A Gathering of Eagles are out of print. New printings of the trade paperbacks WildC.A.T.s: Homecoming and WildC.A.T.s: Gang War were published in 1999 after the late 1998 acquisition of WildStorm Productions by DC Comics; as of 2009, both volumes have now sold out and are currently out of print. In August 2007 Alan Moore's Complete WildC.A.T.S TPB was released, containing the contents of both Gang War and Homecoming TPBs, as well as the short story from WildC.A.T.S #50.

Reception

Andy Butcher reviewed the first graphic novel compendium of WildC.A.T.s: Covert Action Teams for Arcane magazine, rating it a 6 out of 10 overall.[89] Butcher comments that "of all the artists who've tries to write, Lee is one of the more successful. Despite some confusing flashbacks at the start, he is at least capable of stringing a story together. As long as you concentrate (a lot of characters and factions are introduced very quickly), it's an enjoyable if fairly linear tale. And of course, the art is simply stunning."[89]

In other media

TV series

Main article: Wild C.A.T.s

A WildC.A.T.s TV series was created in 1994. It had only thirteen episodes and a more family-friendly storyline. As a result, there were numerous changes from the source material, such as Voodoo being an adolescent rather than an ex-stripper and Lord Emp being an ordinary human. The group was composed of all the original 'C.A.T.s. The major villain was Helspont, but the Troika and the Coda were featured. A parody of the series, MadD.O.G.s, was seen during Alan Moore's run in the comics. The series was produced by Nelvana Limited and WildStorm Productions.

Toyline

A toyline from Playmates Toys was also released in 1994. The basic series included figures of Grifter, Helspont, Maul, Spartan, Warblade and Zealot, along with a generic Daemonite figure.[90] In 1995, new versions of Helspont, Maul, Spartan, Warblade, and Zealot were released, along with figures of Pike, Void, and Voodoo, and a WildC.A.T.S. Bullet Bike accessory. In addition, Playmates also produced "giant" versions of Grifter, Maul, and Spartan, plus figures for other characters in the Image Universe, such as Black Razor, Mr. Majestic, and Slag.[90]

Video game

In 1995, Playmates Interactive Entertainment published a WildC.A.T.s video game exclusively for the Super NES.[91] A WildC.A.T.s game for Sega Genesis was planned but never released.[92]

References

  1. ^ a b Zealot #1 (August 1995)
  2. ^ a b Spartan: Warrior Spirit #1 (July 1995)
  3. ^ Kindred #1 (February 1994)
  4. ^ a b Voodoo #4 (March 1998)
  5. ^ WildC.A.T.s #35 (March 1997)
  6. ^ WildC.A.T.s #36 (March 1997)
  7. ^ a b WildC.A.T.s #47 (March 1998)
  8. ^ "DC/WildStorm Stages Coup D'État". Diamond. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  9. ^ "Comics". DC Comics. Retrieved 2015-10-01.
  10. ^ [1] Archived August 18, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ [2][dead link]
  12. ^ [3] Archived December 7, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Adler, Matt (October 27, 2009). "WildStorm-Berries: Adam Beechen Talks WildCats". Broken Frontier. Archived from the original on October 31, 2009. Retrieved October 28, 2009.
  14. ^ Arrant, Chris (November 25, 2009). "New WILDCATS Team Keeps Fighting at World's End". Newsarama. Retrieved November 29, 2009.
  15. ^ WildC.A.T.s #4 (March 1993)
  16. ^ a b c d e f g Wildcats (vol. 3) #5 (January 2009)
  17. ^ WildC.A.T.s #30 (June 1996)
  18. ^ a b c d WildC.A.T.s #37 (April 1997)
  19. ^ Wildcats #10 (June 2000)
  20. ^ Wildcats #12 (August 2000)
  21. ^ a b Wildcats #24 (August 2001)
  22. ^ Majestic (vol. 2) #13 (March 2006)
  23. ^ a b Wildcats (vol. 3) #30 (February 2011)
  24. ^ a b c d WildC.A.T.s/Aliens (August 1998)
  25. ^ Wildcats #15 (November 2000)
  26. ^ Grifter (vol. 2) #3 (September 1996)
  27. ^ WildC.A.T.s #20 (May 1995)
  28. ^ WildC.A.T.s Trilogy #1 (June 1993)
  29. ^ WildC.A.T.s #31 (September 1996)
  30. ^ Wildcats 3.0 #4 (January 2003)
  31. ^ a b Wildcats 3.0 #7 (April 2003)
  32. ^ Wildcats 3.0 #15 (December 2003)
  33. ^ Wildcats 3.0 #16 (January 2004)
  34. ^ Sleeper Season Two #9 (April 2005)
  35. ^ a b c Wildstorm Winter Special #1 (January 2005)
  36. ^ Team One: WildC.A.T.s #1 (July 1995)
  37. ^ a b c Wildcats 3.0 #24 (October 2004)
  38. ^ WildC.A.T.s #1 (August 1992)
  39. ^ WildC.A.T.s #13 (September 1994)
  40. ^ a b WildC.A.T.s #17 (January 1995)
  41. ^ WildC.A.T.s #23 (September 1995)
  42. ^ a b WildC.A.T.s #29 (April 1996)
  43. ^ a b c d WildC.A.T.s #49 (May 1998)
  44. ^ a b c d e f WildC.A.T.s #50 (June 1998)
  45. ^ Wildcats #1 (March 1999)
  46. ^ Wildcats #4 (September 1999)
  47. ^ Wildcats #16 (December 2000)
  48. ^ Wildcats #28 (December 2001)
  49. ^ Wildcats (vol. 3) #3 (November 2008)
  50. ^ a b Wildcats (vol. 3) #7 (March 2009)
  51. ^ a b WildC.A.T.s #40 (July 1997)
  52. ^ Wildcats #2 (May 1999)
  53. ^ Wildcats #7 (March 2000)
  54. ^ a b Wildcats #13 (September 2000)
  55. ^ Wildcats #23 (July 2001)
  56. ^ Captain Atom: Armageddon #1 (December 2005)
  57. ^ Wildstorm: A Celebration of 25 Years (August 2017)
  58. ^ Union (vol. 2) #4 (May 1995)
  59. ^ Majestic (vol. 2) #9 (November 2005)
  60. ^ a b WildC.A.T.s #11 (June 1994)
  61. ^ WildC.A.T.s: Savant Garde F.A.N Edition #2 (March 1997)
  62. ^ a b WildC.A.T.s #21 (July 1995)
  63. ^ WildC.A.T.s #28 (April 1996)
  64. ^ WildC.A.T.s #34 (February 1997)
  65. ^ Sleeper Season Two #11 (June, 2005)
  66. ^ Sleeper Season Two #12 (July 2005)
  67. ^ WildC.A.T.s #41 (August 1997)
  68. ^ a b c WildC.A.T.s #43 (November 1997)
  69. ^ a b c d WildC.A.T.s #38 (May 1997)
  70. ^ a b c WildC.A.T.s #44 (November 1997)
  71. ^ WildC.A.T.s #39 (June 1997)
  72. ^ Wilfcats (vol. 2) #22 (June 2001)
  73. ^ Wilfcats (vol. 2) #25 (September 2001)
  74. ^ Wildcats 3.0 #18 (March 2004)
  75. ^ Wildcats 3.0 #9 (June 2003)
  76. ^ a b Wildcats 3.0 #20 (June 2004)
  77. ^ Wilfcats (vol. 2) #21 (May 2001)
  78. ^ Wildcats 3.0 #3 (November 2002)
  79. ^ Wildcats 3.0 #15-16 (2003-04)
  80. ^ Wildcats 3.0 #1 (October 2002)
  81. ^ Wildcats 3.0 #8 (May 2003)
  82. ^ Wildcats 3.0 #11 (August 2003)
  83. ^ Wilfcats (vol. 2) #15 (November 2000)
  84. ^ Wildcats 3.0 #17 (February 2004)
  85. ^ Wildcats 3.0 #14-15 (2003)
  86. ^ Wildcats 3.0 #8 (March 2003)
  87. ^ Wilfcats (vol. 2) #2 (May 1999)
  88. ^ "Comics". DC Comics. Retrieved 2015-10-01.
  89. ^ a b Butcher, Andy (January 1996). "The Great Library". Arcane. Future Publishing (2): 89.
  90. ^ a b "Wildcats (Playmates) Action Figure Checklist". Figurerealm.com. Retrieved 2015-10-01.
  91. ^ "Review Crew: WildC.A.T.s". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 76. Ziff Davis. November 1995. p. 41.
  92. ^ "Next Wave: Genesis (Action) - WildC.A.T.S (Playmaters)". EGM2. No. 13. Sendai Publishing. July 1995. p. 56.