Armagideon Time

The only character-slash-series from Dark Horse’s “Comics’ Greatest World” imprint I actively followed was Ghost, bronchi and even that flicker of interest couldn’t survive the departure of Adam Hughes from the property. My interest in superhero stuff was already at a low-ebb when the line’s initial wave of interconnected one-shots dropped, pill and I was content to sit out that attempt (and other similar ones) to float a pre-fab shared superhero universe.

That changed in the mid-1990s, approved when the quarter bins of my local shop were full-to-bursting with the unsaleable refuse of the pre-crash boom times. Formerly “hot” books — such as Jim Lee’s X-Men #1 — which had been bagged and slabbed by the palette-load shared that unenviable real estate with aborted Image offerings and, yes, a fuckload of Comics Greatest World’ material. My rekindled interest in comics, combined with morbid curiosity and a love of popcult detritus, got the better of me and I spent upwards of tens of dollars assembling a near-complete collection of these refugees from the recycling bin.

It wasn’t strictly a blind buy when it came to the Comics Greatest World’ stuff, though my awareness of the them was largely limited to the ubiquitous house ads in DHP and the publisher’s floppy-format manga offerings at the time. I was thrown for a loop by the sheer number of the properties launched, however — a saturation bombardment of characters and concepts dopped on an already crowded marketplace.

It didn’t help that for every semi-memorable offering, there were half-a-dozen examples of half-baked/high concept wankery that could have been lifted from the notes of a junior high kid’s Champions campaign. How else could one explain the woefulness of the Wolf Gang?

The name itself speaks of the thought process involved, a meaningless pun on a Germanic native name which has no greater significance to the concept. At least “Bloodstryfe” or “Razorfyst” evokes the adolescent will toward vicarious badassitude, “Wolf Gang” lacks even the umlauts to pass the suburban basement metal band muster.

That failure of imagination extended beyond the collective level, as the Gang was composed of one-dimensional ciphers whose abilities were as on-the-nose as their code names — Burner, Bomber, Breaker, Cutter, and Doc Hunter. Throw in a patina of made-for-90s-comics spray-on street cred, and what you’re left with is essentially Mutant Force 2: Chromium Boogaloo.

After an extended sequence of expository introductions, the members of Steel Harbor’s “good” (within standard antiheroic deviation) street gang teamed up with Barb Wire and the Machine to fight the evil Mace Blitzkrieg (don’t look at me, I didn’t write this crap) and his Prime Movers.

There’s really nothing more to say, except it’s beyond bizarre to be reminded that Barb Wire was a character with actual (if squandered) potential before this crime against celluloid poisoned the well…

Oh, and one of Blitzkrieg’s minions was a “new country” Texas Twister knock-off who uses “Achy Breaky Heart” lyrics as pre-fight zingers. Y’know, in case you were thinking there still existed some light in this fallen world.

6 Responses to “Nobody’s Favorite: Gang deflated”

  1. Thom Heil

    Two questions:

    1. Why does Mace Blitzkrieg shave his abs but not his shoulders? Not a good look.

    2. Udo Kier is in Barb Wire??!?!?!?!?!?!?! Now I have to watch it.

  2. Potomac Ripper

    Awww..hating on Barb Wire the Movie?

    The greatest gender-switching Casablanca remake ever put on the screen?

  3. Suzanne de Nimes

    My memory is that CGW came out about the same time as Malibu’s Ultraverse… and I chose to delve into the “new comics universe” that had creators I liked and some interesting concepts, as opposed to the one with neither.

  4. maxbenign

    You mean there isn’t even one werewolf in the whole Wolf Gang? Pssh, smh.

  5. Aberration, The

    @Thom Hail: You don’t have to watch everything Udo Kier has been in. You don’t. Trust me, “Final Run” will give you a BIG sad.


    I had the same reaction as Suzanne up thread and even then I only stuck with the Ultraverse for less than a year. I picked up all the initial CGW one-shots and thought they were pretty bland. The best part was the one page prelude story in each issue, but you can’t go wrong with Lee Weeks on art. Years later I picked up the Will to Power crossover mini and found it to be relatively entertaining, at least worth the 2 dollars it cost to dig them out of the quarter bins.

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