Reading the shipping listing in text format can lead to a number of amusing misunderstandings, as happened this week. I saw the listing for Voodoo #1 and all thoughts of the DCnU had escaped my mind; I wondered what it could possibly be? Maybe another independent title such as the almost retro Witch Doctor that brought such pleasure a few months ago?
Of course, upon arriving at the store, I realised my mistake. The integration of the Wildstorm characters into the mainstream DC universe had intrigued me since I first heard of it. Absorbing the characters of other companies has been a long-standing tradition at DC, from Fawcett and Quality that gave us such greats as the Marvel Family and the Freedom Fighters, to the more recently distinguished Milestone and the brief visit of the Red Circle characters. I hope the latter will come back for another stay, DC is a perfect home for them.
From Charlton’s Captain Atom and the Blue Beetle to Tower Comics T.H.U.N.D.E.R.Agents; DC has been a literary analogue to The Blob, absorbing all that it touches. Or would the Borg be a more appropriate example?
No one could deny that doubts hung in the air when fandom considered Wildstorm’s new position in the cosmic scheme of things. Vertigo aside, DC can err towards the family friendly side of the street, or at least, that’s how it has always seemed in many titles.
Our fears were allayed with the arrival of Stormwatch, granting us the edge and scope of the old Authority, while seamlessly integrating the Martian Manhunter into a whole new paradigm.
The Wild C.A.T.S. however, had yet to make an appearance. In the month of first issues, only Grifter had made an appearance so far.
Voodoo, of course, focuses on Priscilla Kitaen, the bi-racial (in so many different connotations of the phrase) dancer who unlike the arrogant and seemingly angelic Kherubim, was born on the wrong side of the tracks.
Ever since Wild C.A.T.S. volume three, I have long thought that Priscilla was a much under-used character, whom I would love to see blossom to her true potential. If you will excuse the pun, it is good to see her getting such exposure.
We can assume that she is half-Daemonite, but as for the politics behind that statement in the DCnU, that has yet to be revealed. The first issue, by Ron Marz and Sam Basri, certainly sets the scene by focusing on the visuals, harkening back to the tradition of the ‘bad girl’ character that was so popular when Image comics and these characters first appeared. We see little of the inner workings of Priscilla’s mind, and are maybe led to believe that there are not a great deal of them, but long time fans of the character know that still waters run deep.
If I were a new reader to this title, I’m not sure what I would think. It has the sense of both DC (nice, clean lines) and Wildstorm (an adult, potentially smutty backdrop), and has yet to declare any identity for itself. That being said, it is a pleasant read. Maybe not one that I would immediately share with a child of say thirteen or younger, but certainly one I would be willing to stick with for a few more issues. Mr Marz has a very talented pen and is always able to entertain me, and I would follow the title purely on that basis.
Still, I have to wonder. Have our cultural standards dropped so much that there is no need to a ‘Parental Advice’ label on the issue? This is hardly full on ‘Mature Readers’, but may of the new Fifty-Two have been near to the knuckle in terms of graphic depictions of sex, violence or just sheer nastiness. (I still have the image of Maxine Baker and the walking animal corpses in my head, which goes to show how effective the story was.)
I love the stories. But I am fast approaching my middle age. Does DC really think that my age group are the main purchasers? Or should it look to a system of labelling?
Come back Dr Wertham, it seems all is forgiven!