Alan Moore’s Complete WILDC.A.T.S
Writer: Alan Moore
Artists: Travis Charest, Kevin Maguire, et al.
This is not Alan Moore’s finest work. The grizzled veteran probably knew this when he penned these stories, the revamping of a bunch of one-note Image comic characters. The early comics, created by Jim Lee and Brandon Choi were terrible, the characters made of soggy cardboard and the stories were”¦let’s just say that you wouldn’t miss much if you didn’t read WILDC.A.T.S. In 1995, with issue 21, Lee gave Alan Moore carte blanche on his characters, to boost their sales and their mythology, something that the writer had a track record of accomplishing over the last decade.
In the initial issues, Moore juggles two stories ”“ that of a new team with his own characters, and the old team, on its way to the home planet. The new team has a troupe of quirky characters ”“ the cyborg Ladytron, the enigmatic Tao and old-timers Mr Majestic and Savant; Moore plays with the team dynamics superbly, contrasting the moral stuffiness of Majestic against the short-fused new guard. The older team members arrive on planet Khera to find the floor pulled away from them with a life-altering revelation, allowing Moore to craft a social fable rife with political double-dealings, religion and class divisions. Things suffer towards the middle, when there is a gap between issues that Moore did not work on, but it all comes together in the climax that unites both the teams against a common enemy.
The fourteen-issue run is fairly accessible even if you are not too familiar with the characters from before, and the stories are fun to read, playfully self-aware of their shortcomings. Notable is the introduction and development of Tao, the character who goes on to play an important part in later series like Sleeper. And pay attention to the evolution of Travis Charest’s craft; a Rob Liefeld knock-off in the initial pages of the book, Charest morphs into a sleek design god by the final chapter.