Quarterbin Follies #17: Wildstorm-Tossed (Part 2)

Quarterbin Follies #17: Wildstorm-Tossed (Part 2)

February 23, 2015 0 By Mathew D. Rhys

So, when I left you all last, it was in 1997, and Wildstorm was but one part of the multifaceted Image Comics cannon. We discussed the hit-and-miss crossover with Marvel‘s Generation X, and we discussed “next time.” Well, it is next time, and I am here to continue. But, not just yet.

As anyone who has read more than a few of my columns will know, I am passionate about comics and collecting. But, it is not just about the comics or the stories; it is also about OUR stories – our experiences. Granted, not every one of our lives is a story that deserves the telling, but this is my column.

I bought the last installment’s comic when it was new-on-the-shelf from a local collectibles shop called Homestake Coins, Cards, and Comics. This was riding in the wake of the dying comic-boom, and Homestake, well, was almost like having a real comic shop

Anyway, today I will be looking at 1999’s DV8 #27 and 2009’s Gen13 #29. The former I acquired in a grab bag from a fly-by-night Halloween shop here in my very own and sleepy hamlet; while the latter i snagged in near by Cheyenne, Wyoming, at a little Comic shop called The Loft. There at The Loft, where they are anxious to sell you pretty near anything, there is a Quarterbin where everything’s a buck, but that’s inflation.

When Image began in 1992, as previously discussed, the creators strove to be one big happy herd with six different shepherds. And I hear it worked pretty well for a while, with crossovers linking this pocket to that pocket—an intra-company wonderland. Well, at some point, I guess, some of the parties started making noise, and in 1996 the “Shattered Image” miniseries, firmed up the dividing lines of the universe, which in turned paved the way for Jim Lee‘s departure; for it was in 1998 that Lee took his WildStorm ball and went home, or rather to loving arms of DC Comics.

I asked Barry whether the change in publishers had affected the over-all leanings of the WildStorm Universe. He told he did really know as it was about that time he stopped having so much extra cash—when the need to pay rent outweighed the desire to read every book out there. The Struggle is real, friends. Regardless, DC began publishing WildStorm material, and that, if not much else allowed for a different level of exposure, and for new crossovers. I, the die-hard DC Junkie, remember only to well when Mr Majestic swapped places with ole Superman himself!

DV8 was a Spin-off of Gen13, another team of youngsters; but where Lynch tried to keep the Gen13 kids off the radar and away from International Operations, the DV8 kids were on the government payroll. Rather than heroes, the Deviants were up for anything–drugs, sex, whatever–that they could find to get themselves into. In issue #27 (by Mike Heisler, Al Rio, and friends), the team has been rocked the betrayal of Team leader Threshold and the death of member PowerHaus (although I have no idea whether those things are related). Nevertheless, there seems to be a spike in hostilities among the ‘kids’. I mean, they seem like they would always be hostile, but in this comic, seems seem even more on edge. Anyway, after a news report of a murdering teenager vanishing into thin air, a group of operatives is sent to poke around: Emotion-manipulator Bliss, were-wolf/bat/frog Evo, and Security agent-come-driver Sideways Bob.

So across the continent they wing, only to discover the disappearing boy, who calls himself ‘Empty’, perhaps a bit too easily. It seems that Empty has allied himself with a group of super-powered youngsters who feel doing what they want is just the most important think. Sound familiar? And I guess that is my real take away—I see no reason to care about these characters. Everyone is just as dirty as the next, and murder is barely a matter of perspective. Now, I am not trying to say that every story should be about a noble Captain Marvel or an altrustic Billy Batson. I think comics have lots of room for the Dick Graysons to look for their places in the grand scheme; or for the Logans or the Frank Castles to seek whatever redepmtion, justice or vengeance they can find. That being said, DV8 has a pretty big cast, and everyone of them seems to just be a morally ambiguous jerk. The comic does have a back-up story that delves into the politics of I.O., but that does little to sway my distaste.

My final book this trip is Gen13 Vol 4 #29, and it is after the “End of The World as You Know It.” In a massive crossover event, the WildStorm universe was beset their version of the Apocalypse. And in a comic universe were angels and demons are actually warring aliens rather than warriors of the transcendent realms invisible; well, as you might imagine, life continued after the end. But not for everyone. If I understand this right, the Gen13 kids ended up being knocked off at some point, only to become the gene-seeds for a new, younger batch of super-clones! But as luck would have it, the minds of the originals somehow lived on in the bodies. Really, I suppose it was an almost clever way to avoiding letting your teen-aged ‘Gen-X’ characters become middle-aged, doughy has-beens like the rest of us Gen-X-ers. But I digress.

It seems that in light of the ‘End of All Things’, those ‘left behind’, those survivors—well, they had a shortage of food; and rather than plant some seeds, some turned to soup. People soup. That is the situation that Eddie ‘Grunge’ Chang finds himself in page one, plunging headlong into a massive stew pot the size of a small gymnasium. Meanwhile, the other Gen13 kids are trapped in some sort of bubbles ;and as they fight their various ways out and get their bearings, they realize they need to come to the rescue of a certain tattooed, skate-boarding slacker. They do, but not before Fairchild is stabbed clean through the back! Gah, It is a cliffhanger!

I cannot image a worse comic to try and review—although I’m sure one exists. It is fine for what it is, and kudos to Scott Beatty and Mike Huddleston for that. However, this was a true middle chapter; and the writers and editors did nothing to meet new readers on the ground floor. Nevertheless, It did find it pleasant enough, but not quite so much to seek out those issues before or after. But I did spend some minutes on Wikipedia, for whatever that is worth.

This story was from 2009, as mentioned elsewhere; but was less than a year until DC shut the doors on WildStorm in preparation for the New 52, and I am not sure I even have anything to say about that! At least, not today!