It’s back, girls and boys!
I had so much fun reading and writing about the WildStorm Universe in November that I’m not quite ready to go back to just reading it, so I’m going to file the occasional continuing readalong post on a much lesser intensity and frequency because I so do not have the time or stamina to write about 126 WildStorm comics every month.
While I’m very eager to pick up all of the books exiting WildStorm Rising to check out their new status quo, I’m going to use the next few installments to review later WildCATs solo outings that fit into pre-crossover continuity – Voodoo/Zealot: Skin Trade One-Shot, the Spartan: Warrior Spirit mini-series by Kurt Busiek, Zealot’s three-issue mini-series, and some WildCATs anthology stories.
This makes for a fantastic moment to pause and call out a really phenomenal blog: Weathering WildStorm. The author is undertaking this endeavor slightly more slowly than I have been, but he is doing it with the benefit of having read almost all of these books before. As a result, he’s got a fairly well-reasoned reading order that explains how these various side-stories fit. It’s by far the best one I’ve seen on the web in the four years I’ve been getting books together for this read!
Voodoo/Zealot: Skin Trade was published in August 1995, a hair later than WildStorm Rising, but per Weathering WildStorm’s guidance it directly follows either issue #13 or 14 (and maybe explains why the team was so ready for a break in #14-15). It follows up on Steve Gerber’s strong story in WildCATs Special #1.
The issue begins with an intriguing (and beautiful!) opening scene of all women, including Providence and Destine from Special #1 facing each other down in the remains of Yurgovia.
The next page is an ass-shot of Zealot followed by she and Voodoo fighting while dressed in their best Vampirella outfits. Those art choices are not just for the benefit of one splash page – this issue takes its “Skin Trade” name literally and gives a heavy dose of T&A whenever possible courtesy of artist Michael Lopez.
I’m tempted to write this one off as pure wish fulfillment, but there is considerable plot content tangled up with all the skin. Skin Trade turns Voodoo into a bit of a Mary Sue murder doll at points, but it gives context to her more active role in her own psyche in #18 and then on the battlefield in #19 and WildStorm Rising. It also greatly deepens Zealot’s history, if not her character, and creates a (largely unfulfilled) plot hook.
And, if you can tolerate a heaping of cheesecake, Lopez’s art is truly remarkable throughout the book save for a few pages with one bad inker on a solid team effort.
Final verdict? If you’re going all in on a sequential WildCATs read you ought to include this, but if you’re simply revisiting the high points of WildStorm you can skip it.