When Adam Beechen took over the WildCATS title earlier this year, the WildStorm universe was dealing with the post-apocalyptic world caused by the "World's End" story.
The new creative team, including Beechen as writer and Tim Seely on pencils, has since filled the WildCATS title with a multitude of characters and action. The WildCATS cast has expanded beyond a small team to follow various groups of characters to interact and explore this newly damaged world.
As the title heads into a new storyline called "Bad Medicine," Newsarama talked with Beechen about what he's accomplished with the title and what's coming up next.
Newsarama: Adam, as you took over the series, what were some of your goals, and what do you feel you've accomplished?
Adam Beechen: We wanted to do a real ensemble book, with different groups of characters loosely united under the same banner, working in different places on different crises... with the occasional massive emergency bringing them all together. We wanted to highlight the interactions of some characters who wouldn't normally spend a lot of time together (Battalion and Ladytron?
Midnighter and Zealot?). And we wanted to explore in different ways how the world has really been changed by the Number of the Beast Incident, and how it's changed since. That's an ambitious agenda, and we've only scratched the tip of it, but I feel like we've at least started down the path on all of it.
Nrama: You've been juggling a lot of characters. Has it proven to be a challenge, or do you feel like this is one of your strengths as a writer?
Beechen: I feel like it's actually proven to be a strength. I honestly wish we had more space to do more stories about more characters, but juggling the plotlines has been a ton of fun, figuring out what's going to happen when and to whom. I feel like we've balanced it out pretty well, giving lots of focus to our core characters while showing enough other, less-spotlighted characters to give longtime fans some fun.
Nrama: Moving forward, as the "Protectorate" storyline ends, what's the next for the title?
Beechen: The next storyline is called "Bad Medicine," and it resolves the major storyline of the year we've been on the book -- the quest for Earth's new Doctor. To say a whole lot more would be spoiling things, but there are lots of characters, a worldwide battle, and Aeon figures very prominently.
Nrama: A lot of people have been guessing about Aeon. What clues do you think are important to remember as we read these issues?
Beechen: I don't think I've seen a correct guess yet as to what Aeon's all about, and I hope we'll surprise some people. Mago has pointed out that Aeon is protected against their probes...Is that intentional, or standard practice for him? He's a very mysterious guy.
Nrama: How important is Aeon to what's coming next with WildCATS?
Beechen: Very. He's at the heart of it, in many ways.
Nrama: The last issue had the battle of Zealot and Midnighter, and it appeared Zealot won the combat. Did you see it that way?
Beechen: Well, Midnighter did shut down her operation in Zanzibar, so that's a small victory, although she probably will go on her merry way and start all over again, somehow. But without Maul to help out, her next effort might look a lot different from this one. In terms of the physical battle, it seemed pretty even to me. Both were hurt, and neither was about to surrender. They
did each other quite a bit of damage.
Nrama: Why was Midnighter so shaken by Zealot's words, and how is he feeling now? What does this say about his character?
Beechen: Since World's End, Jenny Quantum hasn't been mentioned a whole lot. Zealot knew the only way to get at Midnighter was to strike a sore spot and take him out of his combat routines...and figured bringing up Jenny might be the way to do it. Boy, was she right. It was a dirty thing to do, but conventional battle wasn't getting anywhere, nor was physically cheating. She had to get an edge somehow. Just because Jenny hasn't been talked about doesn't mean she hasn't been on Midnighter's (or Apollo's) mind.
In fact, that's another of the themes we've wanted to get at -- all our heroes likely lost friends and family in Armageddon...How have they dealt with that? In Midnighter's case, he tamped it down pretty far and went about his job -- the only way he knows how to function. When Zealot brought it to the surface, it rattled him and made him vulnerable. For all his bad-assed-ness, Midnighter is still very human. But he's too well-trained and well-disciplined to stay off-track for very long.
Nrama: Is there any chance these two will battle again?
Beechen: Not in the near future, no, but I'd certainly like to see it, the next time they wind up in the same room!Nrama: Can you tell us what's next for Maul now?
Beechen: Well, the Wildcats presume he's dead. You know the rule of comics, though -- always see the body. If Maul is out there somewhere, because of the drastic action he had to take to avoid Zealot's blade, he most likely has a
very long road home.
Nrama: What role does Grunge's deception of Lynch play in the coming issues?
Beechen: Mostly to show how capable Grunge really is. But it does lead into a larger plan of Lynch's that I think will shock some people.
Nrama: What's the status of the other WildCATS characters now as the Protectorate story ends?
Beechen: Since only a few characters were really involved in the heart of "The Protectorate," we can assume the rest have been hard at work with their duties of trying to fix the planet. Of course, we know there's nefariousness happening in Africa as the Wildcats try to restore power there. Maxine and Jackson are still on the trail of the new Doctor. And Warblade has taken his efforts to help humanity to a very personal level, starting with his nurse from Skywatch. But all the larger goals remain the same -- Midnighter's mission was very private...only Apollo even knew where he had gone.
Nrama: You've been showing a lot of different teams and characters from the WildStorm universe that people have been wondering about. Will you
continue to pepper in these appearances as the title goes forward?
Beechen: Absolutely, as much as is possible and organic to the story. We won't have cameos for cameos' sake, but if all the Wildcats are involved in a crisis
all over the world, it'll make sense to show at least snippets of them in action.
Nrama: You took over this title just as a new artist came on board as well. What has Tim Seely been bringing to the title?
Beechen: Incredible talent and incredible patience. The bulk of any success Wildcats has had in the last year is due to Tim and what he's brought to the characters and the action. He's made every character distinctive, down to their postures, and he's made the action clear and easy to follow, which can't be a cakewalk given how many characters we have running around! My scripts have asked a lot of him...and he's delivered above and beyond every time.
The contributions of inkers Ryan Winn and Andy Smith, as well as those of colorist Carlos Badilla, can't be underestimated, either. They've all been integral not only in telling our stories, but showing details of this destroyed world and the conditions around it. They've met every challenge, and I'm beyond grateful.
Nrama: What else are you working on that you'd like to let your fans know
Beechen: Well, I'm finishing the Batman Beyond miniseries over at DC, and having a blast doing it. Ryan Benjamin, John Stanisci and David Baron are making the story look outstanding, and Dustin Nguyen's covers have been extraordinary. I've also just finished the script for a Commissioner Gordon one-shot that's part of a big Batman event for October. Szymon Kudranski's drawing it -- he's not a name a lot of people are familiar with, but his work is
brilliant, and I think a lot of people are going to be talking about him!
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell fans about WildCATS?
Beechen: I'm excited to hear fans' reactions to the resolution of the "new Doctor" subplot!Throughout our run, we've called back to lots of elements of the WildStorm Universe from Warren Ellis' hugely influential run, and even to some before that. If you're an old-school Wildstorm fan who's been away, it's a good time to come back, to get a little of that "classic" feel with some exciting new stories. If you're new to the WildStorm Universe, it's our hope that WildCATS (and our sister books -- The Authority, written and drawn by geniuses Tom Taylor and Al Barrionuevo, and Gen 13, written and drawn by the amazing Phil Hester and Cruddie Torian) piques your interest to go back and learn more about the characters. It's a great big slam-bang slugfest among costumes to begin with, so lovers of superhero action will dig it regardless
if they know the entire back-story, but WildStorm has a rich history that fans new and old will love exploring.