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WildC.A.T.s original team, art by Jim Lee
|First appearance||WildC.A.T.s #1 (August 1992)|
|Created by||Jim Lee|
|Base(s)||Halo Corporation, Los Angeles|
WildC.A.T.s original team, art by Jim Lee
|First appearance||WildC.A.T.s #1 (August 1992)|
|Created by||Jim Lee|
|Base(s)||Halo Corporation, Los Angeles|
The team first appeared in 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 comics, launched at the apex of a speculator-fuelled comics sales boom, 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 such prominent comics creators 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 & Void), Grifter and a gallery of new characters subverting corporation 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 a fifth volume of Wildcats was launched, tying into the World's End crossover event.
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. Kherubims, 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 Cyberforce.
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 3 part Ron Marz written story, Spartan having his Kurt Busiek written mini-series, Warblade sharing another with Cyberforce's Ripclaw, Grifter co-starred in a mini with Stormwatch's Backlash 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, and also participated in the Wildcats' first Annual as well as a Team One Stormwatch/WildC.A.T.s mini-series detailing the past of the Wildstorm universe. 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 oneshot, 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 attempted to give the series depth and cohesion by following up on the initial premise of the Daemonite and Kherubim war. After Grifter resigned, the C.A.T.s had the opportunity to venture to Khera where they found what appeared to be paradise. The Kherubims 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, Warblade 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. Disillusioned by the outcome of the war offworld and their selfishness, the team fell apart. Voodoo left and Emp fell into depression. The original team returned to Earth in pieces and despite having new members, they were defeated by the cunning traitor, Tao, who had manipulated them at each turn. Alan Moore also participated in Fire From Heaven, a huge continuity-heavy crossover that resolved plotlines regarding Team One, Team 7 and Kaizen Gamorra.
Alan Moore spun Voodoo off in a four-issue mini-series that had almost no connection to WildC.A.T.s mythos instead dealing with voodoo magic. Alan Moore also wrote a time-traveling WildC.A.T.s/Spawn crossover mini-series.
At the time, Grifter had another turn at an ongoing series, this time written by Steven Grant with a much more gritty take on the character while Zealot was featured in a Backlash spinoff, Wildcore.
A two part arc was set in place before the book's co-creator Brandon Choi returned, setting up the short lasting Savant Garde spin-off. Choi initiated a storyline with an organization called Puritans as the main villains. The Puritans' goal was to eradicate the Kherubim and Daemonites on Earth. The 'C.A.T.s included Grifter, Condition Red and new members Mythos (a Kherubim Lord), Olympia (a Coda-trained Daemonite) and Sister Eve (the daughter of Emp's brother, Lord Entropy). The team traveled in time, and had various adventures through different time periods.
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 oneshot detailing the change in Lord Emp, with Travis Charest penciling most of them. New villains like Kenyan and CC Rendozo 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 and as well as new characters Noir, Agents Wax and Mohr of the National Park Service. Warblade was featured very briefly, last time 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 "Slaughterhouse" 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 oneshot, 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 oneshots, 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.
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 organisation 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 destroyed the Coda chapter she created on Earth. The whole series was written by Joe Casey and most of it was illustrated by Dustin Nguyen.
Concurrent with Wildcats Version 3.0, Wildstorm also published a critically acclaimed noir-superhero series Sleeper starring Alan Moore's Wildcats villain Tao, several Wildcats and other related characters. Spartan played a role in the Coup D'État crossover centering on The Authority taking over as rulers of the Wildstorm Universe's United States.
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 seventeen 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 Charis, Lady 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.
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 villain, aided by the WildCats' first enemy, Helspont. However, the title was permanently put on hold after only one issue.
In July 2008 Wildstorm debuted a new ongoing WildCats series written by Christos Gage and pencilled by Neil Googe following on from the imprint's Number of the Beast mini-series. Adam Beechen took over writing duties from Gage in late 2009, with he, and artist Tim Seeley, starting with issue #19 until the book's cancellation in December 2010 with #30.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (October 2010)|
The original WildC.A.T.s (Covert Action Team) consisted of:
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.
The team consisted of Grifter, Max Profitt (Max Cash), Void and Spartan (an old Spartan unit, with no knowledge about Khera or the "previous life" as John Colt), as well as these new members[volume & issue needed]:
Besides Grifter and Jack Marlowe, the main characters were:
With the "World's End" crossover, original Wildcats Spartan, Zealot, Voodoo, Grifter, Maul and Warblade were brought together again to help save what was left of the human race. Their membership also included Ladytron as well as new members:
Nemesis subsequently went missing following the teams battle with Majestic, while Savant rejoined the team.
Trade paperback collections:
Vol. 1 issue #14 is collected in Savage Dragon Vol. 4: Possessed as it was done by Erik Larson as part of Image X Month, issue 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.
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 (Funimation recently released the series' entire run on DVD).
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. 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.