WildCATs 4 Featured Reviews 

“WildC.A.T.s” #4

By | February 16th, 2023
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

The DC universe intersects in small ways with one of the seminal works of the former WildStorm universe as the trials and tribulations of the Wild Covert Action Teams continue!

Cover by Stephen Segovia
Written by Matthew Rosenberg
Illustrated by Stephen Segovia
Colored by Elmer Santos
Lettered by Ferran Delgado

While the Seven Soldiers are taking all the credit, the WildC.A.T.s are taking a beating. With one team capturing the hearts and minds of the public, the other is at risk of being captured and killed.

Will Grifter’s hunt for the Court of Owls cost him everything? And if he falls, who will fall with him?

Not everyone is walking away from this one.

As a story, “WildC.A.T.s” #4 may be difficult for some to get into. It feels both part of the overall DC Universe and distinctly separate from the same. However, with careful writing, Matthew Rosenberg, already no stranger to having largely separate characters fit more into a wider world with his run on “The Punisher” for Marvel Comics, may be just the writer for the job of bringing them together.

To clarify, “WildC.A.T.s” is most famous as a story outside of the main DC universe, most commonly connected to the former WildStorm comics. However, since 2011 and the New 52 initiative, there have been attempts to merge that imprint together with the primary comics at DC Comics into a single overall story. The solution seems to be that Rosenberg makes the connections more subtle, less overt. The idea of the “WildC.A.T.s” themselves (sometimes known as the “Wildcats”) is, after all, meant to stand for “Wild Covert Action Teams,” so subtlety seems necessary. As such, despite having some hefty connections to the DC Universe in background, the majority of Rosenberg’s writing uses the wider story as largely separate, such as mentioning Kryptonians or certain Batman villains, with only a rare few actually appearing.

In the story itself, we have dual plot lines that connect, with elements definitely taken from espionage stories from both the calmer and more violent elements. Under Rosenberg, Grifter is the most obvious source of violent warfare, from comedy with a language barrier to trying to survive against blades, bullets, and explosions, albeit mostly taken very seriously in the violence aspect. On the other hand, we have more direct comedy and a more conversation-heavy approach with the story of Zannah, Caitlin Fairchild, Ladytron, and Voodoo, among others. This latter approach varies from simple conversations (and very nearly violent conflicts) with “robot men” to very humorous, more mature content with Ladytron regarding the innocent eyes of Fairchild. As noted, there is a focus on covert action, so while the operations are technically above board as part of the Halo Corporation, some heroes, such as Majestic, are shown being much more direct. As a result, the two apparently roughly concurrent storylines come together into a whole that balances drama and laughs rather well, while also giving hints to other entities beyond.

Stephen Segovia proves to be a perfect choice to helm “WildC.A.T.s” #4 from the perspective of its illustrations. His dynamic art style works wonders, making the variety of different encounters feel very lively, but never to the point of losing the apparent seriousness of the scenes themselves in terms of realistic proportions. The linework is thin and precise, allowing for increased realism to come through on one hand, and very emotive facial expressions on another. Even in the case of Cole Cash, a.k.a. Grifter, the artwork focuses on his head to such a degree that even with his cloth “mask,” it is possible to almost see his pain.

Segovia does especially good work in utilizing perspective to inform the tone of a story. Close-ups help to make the story more intense and in a sense intimate, be it through shouting characters or brutal injury and more. On the other hand, wide shots enforce levity, making even action-packed scenarios into ones that are more comedic or allow for more levity. As a result, even without a word necessary, readers can relax or be energized depending upon the physical orientation of each panel.

Even outside of the perspectives and speed, Segovia also does an excellent job with body language and even physical form, especially in the case of Caitlin Fairchild (hereafter just called “Fairchild”). As she is relatively young even by the standards of most superhero comics, her youth is captured very well in how she both interacts with others and is drawn, with even her transformed body of an adult, as a way of emphasizing her apparent relative innocence.

When it comes to the colors, Elmer Santos brings the fullest reality of what is going on. From a nighttime war zone to daylight in an apparent corporate office, each scene definitely leans on the tone of the scene as much as the natural light. A certain apparent cameo villain has red light seemingly shine off of her visor, and bright explosions rock the setting of the night on the one hand. The darkness further enhances the menace of the villains as well, making them a bit harder to see and thus harder to fully notice the damage they deal to the protagonists. On the other, the cooler lights of certain indoor scenes with Zannah either have a calming effect or one that is otherwise very somber, while moments of more overhead lighting give more life to the scenes as a whole, especially if she or Fairchild are in physical danger. Much like the artwork by Segovia, the colors provided by Santos inform the tone of the story itself, though perhaps to a lesser degree than the aforementioned illustrations.

Final Verdict: 7.5– A story in the shadows of the DC Universe continues unabated in a shocking new installment to the saga of the WildC.A.T.s.

Gregory Ellner

Greg Ellner hails from New York City. He can be found on Twitter as @GregoryEllner or over on his Tumblr.