Apr 18, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 783: WildC.A.T.S. Annual #1, February 1998

https://www.comics.org/issue/740719/

Upon beginning to read this comic, I was very confused, and figured that I'd missed a previous issue or something. Not so. It's one of those times that James Robinson reminds us that he's actually a pretty good writer, Captain America v.2 notwithstanding, and that we've been dumped unceremoniously in media res into this little tale of mad aliens. And not the aliens you'd think. A virus is infecting all of the Kherubim and Kherubim hybrids on Earth, and right now Mr. Majestic (basically the Wildstorm Superman) is headed toward Earth, ostensibly to destroy it. Stormwatch holds him off on the Moon while the rest of the WildC.A.T.S. team searched for a cure. Oh, and various members start to lose it during the mission. Though it's maybe a bit of an old set-up, the way in which the story is pulled off lends it a sense of urgency that's fun to read.

Today's featured creator is Larry Stroman, penciller of today's comic. I will tell you the thing that leapt out at me immediately about Mr. Stroman's work: the women in the comic have...wait for it....*gasp*....varying body sizes! Rather than a Wildstorm Universe populated by supermodels, we actually have characters who look like they might need to wear size 8, or even 10, jeans. What gets me about this realization is how strange it looks, how much it actually stands out, when one is reading a superhero comic. We become, as readers, so trained as to what to expect from our comics that when we see something even slightly different, it's quite a marked difference. And for it to be something like this lets one recognize the "normalization" process that's been working on readers for decades within the hobby.

That aside, Mr. Stroman has a strange idea of what Voodoo's hair does. But, as his style is very stylized, one can look past such things as unrealistic depictions of hair.

To be continued.

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