Wildcats: Ladytron

Posted: Monday, February 26
By: Craig Lemon
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Writer: Joe Casey
Artists: Canete/Johnson (p), six inkers

Publisher: DC Wildstorm

Plot: The Secret Origin of Maxine Manchester, aka Ladytron

So, how did Maxine Manchester get to be a psychopathic cyborg anyway? This prestige format 48-pager aims to take us behind the scenes, by regular series writer Joe Casey. Joe's star is very much on the rise, and will soar even higher after his stint on Uncanny X-Men begins in a couple of months, so if you haven't been reading up on his Wildcats work as preparation, then why not?

This book is really superfluous to the main Wildcats stories, just filling in all the background detail we've never had on Ladytron, the nutter with a nuclear device for a heart. It is a little unfortunate that this reads as a rerun of Natural Born Killers, Thelma and Louise and other films of that ilk, crossed with the Six Million Dollar Man. Maxine Manchester is a kid out of place, a rebel with a cause, she never knew her parents and fights back against authority in the Children's Home she lives in.

Pretty soon she's on the run, Amy Racecar-style, moving from town to town and boyfriend to boyfriend, making sure each time that there are no witnesses left behind, until the inevitable happens...after which "we can rebuild her" into...Ladytron. That's the first half of the book, the second concerns itself with her first "mission" if you like, to recover her cyborg "brother" who has gone rogue.

So much for the story, it's not one of Casey's best but it moves along quickly and neatly, you know you're in for mega-violence from the word go and you're not disappointed by the body count by close of play.

What brings this above the morass, though, are the stylistic tricks and flair in the art. From an acknowledged homage to Akira on the cover of this book, to the subtle credits on page one, to the rude words and phrases spelt out by the toy blocks "F U SOB" and "B J", "P O" and "T N A", through to Ladytron’s car registration plate at the close “QUEN BCH”…famous quotes all, there's something for all the family!

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