[Patreon-Nov16-Post-Bug][/Patreon-Nov16-Post-Bug]Today we’re tackling the first WildStorm book to deliberately connect their various franchises – The Kindred mini-series.
We’ve seen many hints dropped throughout WildStorm’s books about International Operations and Team 7. It’s obvious that it has some resemblance to the retconned Weapon X program, which turned out many more characters than just Wolverine.
The Kindred capitalizes on these dropped hints to tell a new story that isn’t just expositional history, but that ties several pieces of information together along the way.
The book is more memorable for those revelations than for its plot. For a title starring the electric Grifter, the badass Backlash, and the mysterious Lynch, it seems like it could have escalated to a considerably higher-intensity.
Maybe the simmering intensity level is a good thing – it corrects the pacing issues that hurt the opening arcs of both WildCATs and Deathblow, presenting easy-to-follow rising action with a definitive end-point.
There’s no single credit for scripting on this book. At points it shows in the torrent of gently conflicting information. Also, while Grifter and Backlash bumping heads ought to be a teeth-gritting delight, somehow their combined prickliness slightly waters them both down.
Backlash is a character whose coolness isn’t fully justified by what we’ve seen from him so far on the page. He’s lithe, gray-haired, wields a whip, wears a slick black suit, and can dematerialize into fog. It’s all dangerous, but altogether it doesn’t suggest a terrifyingly deadly character we ought to be scared of. He definitely qualifies as “the most arrogant man alive” for all his bragging and complaining, but not the deadliest. Kindred doesn’t really do him any favors – he gets beat up more often than not, here, and he’s a lot of bark with relatively little bite.
(Grifter, on the other hand, just keeps getting cooler now that we know he went AWOL from Team 7 thanks to his unrequited love, is hated equally by Backlash and Lynch, and was the softy who tried to save his teammates who got left behind. Also? Still no hint of his powers.)
The villainous elements of the mini-series are needlessly complex. The Kindred’s leader Bloodmoon isn’t even a Kindred and the result of a totally separate Team 7 caper, which leaves a lot of questions and ultimately makes The Kindred sort of window dressing in their own story. It also leaves a lot of open questions about Bloodmoon that a little dose of simplicity could have solved better than more explanations.
Art from Brett Booth is solid and enjoyable. All of the characters are recognizable and Booth draws clear action that’s easy to track. His characters can have a slight Spider-Man rubbery-ness to them that calls back to earlier Eric Larsen or even Todd McFarlane. That this would become somewhat of a trademark of Backlash rather than a more muscular stance is definitely down to Booth’s early influence on the character.
The biggest reason to include this in your WildStorm read? Context, glorious context. We finally understand Director Lynch’s place in the WildStorm Universe, and how Team 7 and IO are linked with the history of Stormwatch.
Want the full details? Read on to learn more about the connective tissue of the WildStorm Universe. Here’s the schedule for the rest of this month’s WildStorm re-read. Tomorrow we head back to WildCATs to see Jim Lee reunited with his X-Men co-conspirator Chris Claremont on WildCATs #10-13!
Need the issues? This is a rare early WildStorm title with a TPB collection! Look for it on Amazon and eBay. Also, the single issues to this series tend to be pretty cheap – try eBay (#1-4) or Amazon (#1, 2, 3, 4). Since a second Kindred mini-series hit these same issue numbers, be sure to match your purchase to the cover images in this post. [Read more…] about From The Beginning: WildStorm Universe – The Kindred #1-4