Friday, May 12, 2017

Some People Have More Immediate Concerns Than World Saving

I was rereading Joe Casey and Dustin Nguyen's WildCats version 3.0 over the weekend. I don't think I'd reread them since I originally purchased them, but there's been a lot of other things to read.

Most of it revolves around the former warrior cyborg Spartan, having been put in charge of the Halo Corporation by its late founder (and leader of the WildCats back in their more extreme, Jim Lee drawn days), to improve the world. There's another thread in there about Grifter still being used to doing things how they used to do them, with bullets and cool one-liners, and struggling to adapt (or to avoid adapting).

Beyond the fact the thing ends before the Halo Corp. gets much beyond making themselves a big deal in the news and generically spooking the Powers That Be with their batteries that never run out, the biggest issue is it's a limited scope. It's admittedly difficult to buy into a story that argues some enlightened plutocrat is going to use his corporate resources to save the world where the governments have failed. OK, so the governments failing because they have too much invested in the status quo isn't hard to believe.

But the whole thing is very top-down, and ignores certain issues at the same time that it seems to be trying real hard to convince us how different it's being. Yes, batteries which last forever, and more critically, car batteries that function as fuel cells, eliminating the need for petroleum in vehicles, is a pretty big deal. We're told this is putting all other battery manufacturers out of business, and will presumably eventually do the same to a lot of automotive manufacturers. Halo Corp's factories are shown to be entirely automated. Left unmentioned, that a lot of people will be losing their jobs. No pages spent on anything Halo Corporation might be doing to help those people.

One might presume the well-meaning cyborg businessman has some ideas he will try to implement down the line, when he's finished buying product placement in big-budget action movies. I'm sure he's envisioning a world where people have their needs met, and don't have to worry about rent, or medical bills. But while he's busy with such important matters as placing an accountant in charge of a CIA front operation as a mole, all those unemployed folks still have bills to pay right now. And we clearly can't trust the incompetent, self-interested government to do anything for them.

A little surprised Casey didn't do anything with the government trying to fight a p.r. war. Condemn Halo's actions on news programs or through negative press from friendly outlets. Run lots of false information about negative effects. Instead they opted to try and assassinate the guy. Because I guess they were still operating in the old ways, like Grifter.


Kelvin Green said...

The idea of technology replacing people isn't new, but the follow-on question about what people do in a post-work society is one that's only come to the fore in the past few years, so I can see why WildCATS 3.0 didn't explore it. it was ahead of the game in some ways -- it was an attempt to answer the "why doesn't Reed Richards change the world" question other superhero comics have always ignored -- but in this aspect at least, it did not anticipate where futurist thought would go.

CalvinPitt said...

That's a good point, and there are definitely parts of it that I enjoy it. It's an interesting companion to the previous volume, that Casey mostly did with Sean Phillips, that dealt a little more with tying up loose ends from the old war, but also was Spartan's initial steps on this path. Him trying to figure out how to actually carry out his old boss' wishes in an area he didn't have much experience with.