Just in time for their 30th anniversary, Jim Lee and Brandon Choi's WildC.A.T.s are back in action, hitting the ground running with a fresh set of adventures helmed by Matthew Rosenberg and Stephen Segovia. With different elements of the team’s revised history quietly woven into the narrative, the new series is both a celebration of the WildStorm Universe’s legacy and a thrilling continuation as a prominent part of the DCU. WildC.A.T.s have been reinvigorated through their DC integration, and, with Cole Cash leading his team on a grand tour of the DCU, this reinvention proves this old cat can definitely learn some new tricks.
Let's take a look at this new version of the WildC.A.T.s and how this iteration grows out of the team's merging into the DCU.
A Fresh Start for the WildC.A.T.s
The new WildC.A.T.s series has Cole Cash, better known as the hard-luck superhero Grifter, hired by the shadowy HALO Corporation to lead a proactive team of covert heroes with the goal of neutralizing threats around the world at whatever cost.
Cole is tasked by HALO to bring in a group of scientists, and in this opening issue, Grifter works most closely with the lethal swordswoman Zealot and the powerful Caitlin Fairchild, who can alter her strength and durability to immensely formidable levels. Within the HALO Corporation is Michael Cray, a psychic assassin who commands the WildC.A.T.s from their base of operations; the sarcastic cyborg Ladytron; and the Void herself, with the entity’s raw energies possessing the body of Adrianna Tereshkova to serve as the latest vessel for the Orb of Power.
With the team assembling to take on an insidious threat and facing the fury of familiar DC superheroes and supervillains, the WildC.A.T.s will have to learn to work together and stay one step ahead of the opposition if they hope to survive.
But before we look to the future of the WildC.A.T.s, let's take a look at their history.
The WildStorm Universe
Jim Lee and Brandon Choi’s original WildC.A.T.s series was initially published by Image Comics before WildStorm Productions, Lee’s publishing imprint, was acquired by DC Comics in 1998. The series saw the Kherubim and Daemonites bringing their cosmic war to Earth, with many of the WildStorm Universe’s heroes descended from Kherubim and Daemonites who had procreated with humanity. While the hositilities primarily took place on their home planets and outer space, portions of both races ended up on Earth in search of refuge... and in other cases, revenge.
Following DC’s acquisition of WildStorm, WildStorm received a soft reboot, with the WildC.A.T.s disbanding after a botched mission that resulted in the apparent death of Zealot. HALO Corporation CEO Jack Marlowe attempted to better humanity through advanced technology, with Grifter serving as his right hand man from the shadows and battling the extraterrestrial presence on Earth. This reality was reshaped by the sudden appearance of the omnipotent DC Comics character Captain Atom, who briefly arrived in the WildStorm Universe after absorbing an immense amount of radiation from a gigantic Kryptonite asteroid before eventually returning to the DCU.
The Wildstorm and DC Universes become one
Beyond the revamp provided by Captain Atom, the WildStorm Universe’s ties to the DCU became more pronounced during the 2011 crossover event Flashpoint. When Barry Allen accidentally created a divergent timeline in an effort to change history and save his mother from the Reverse-Flash, the timeline included prominent appearances of WildStorm characters, including Grifter. When the Flash later restored reality, resulting in DC’s 'New 52' reboot of the DCU, the WildStorm characters were integrated as part of the DCU’s history all along, with Grifter, the superhero team Stormwatch, Voodoo, and the Daemonites appearing throughout the publishing line.
As the DCU’s classic history was restored by the 2016 publishing initiative 'DC Rebirth,' the WildStorm heroes remained a part of the DCU, albeit on the fringes initially, including in the aftermath of the 2020 crossover event 'The Joker War,' when Grifter was hired by Lucius Fox to serve as his personal bodyguard. This proximity to Bruce Wayne and Wayne Enterprises led Grifter to cross paths with Batman and the greater Bat-Family on multiple occasions. In this capacity, Grifter would also confront Superman and be falsely accused of murdering Mr. Freeze’s beloved wife Nora, putting him under heightened scrutiny from both the superhero and supervillain communities.
The first issue of new WildC.A.T.s series adds to the heightened scrutiny around the WildC.A.T.s by bringing in two familiar DC heroes. Similarly, the solicits for the second issue tease a fan-favorite antagonist group that might just make things worse for the WildC.A.T.s.
What is clear though, is that, with this series, the entire WildC.A.T.s team is now fully immersed in the world of the DCU, with all of the added complications of the mechanations of what that means.
Written by Matthew Rosenberg, illustrated by Stephen Segovia, colored by Elmer Santos, and lettered by Ferran Delago, WildC.A.T.s #1 is on sale now. The story continues in WildC.A.T.s #2, on sale Dec. 13 from DC Comics.