Spartan vs. Tao!
Wow! All I’ve got to say is Gage has been holding out on us a long time. I did enjoy the first two arcs but this last one is so much more fast-paced and exciting. I remember when Tao was first introduced (way back in WildC.A.T.s: Covert Action Teams #21), I have to admit he seemed pretty useless. A guy who is really smart on a covert ‘action’ team. Mind you, I do believe he knew some martial arts but still. It’s like Batman on the Justice League. I know he’s good but he’s a non-powered human trying to keep up with all these super-powered heroes. But the one thing I failed to realize was he was an Alan Moore creation, and I should’ve known had bigger plans for Tao. He went on to betray the Wildcats and became ‘a’ nemesis for them. I say ‘a’ nemesis because in those days it was Helspont that was ‘the’ nemesis for the Wildcats. Then in Sleeper, Ed Brubaker took Tao and turned him into a truly evil force whose powers of manipulation helped him create a Crime Syndicate that flourished for a long time. Now Tao’s threat has been amped up the next level again (if you haven’t been following I won’t say how). We’ve still got 4 issues left in Gage’s final arc but so far I think it’s safe to say this story is paving the way for Tao to not only be ‘the’ villain for the Wildcats, but also the Wildstorm Universe in general. I liked (and was surprised) at how quickly Gage moved things along in the last issue but I’m glad he did because it made for some great moments in this one. I loved the opening battle even though it had a very sad conclusion. But it was great drama. Plus by the end, Gage begins the redemption of one of my favorite Wildstorm characters (again, can’t say who since solicit doesn’t say) who early in the World’s End story had me very worried as to their attitude towards helping the world vs. not helping the world. Speaking of which, I love how Gage explains why all this can’t simply be “fixed” by certain characters in the WSU. Another plus for me personally is seeing Team7 together again in a Wildstorm book. Last issue it was great to see how they were able to help with the situation. This issue, however, the stakes are raised and many of the characters are just not powerful enough to deal with what’s happening. I think Gage does a good job of showing that desperation here. I am really enjoying this final arc by Gage and by the looks of the end of this issue, he’s still got some surprises up his sleeve.
P.S.-I also like that the “Previously on…” at the beginning of the issue seems to be a mainstay now with the Wildstorm titles. Such a simple yet effective tried and true idea for people to be able to pick up the titles and quickly catch up on what’s been going on.