Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #197: Wetworks

In the early 1990s, a group of high profile creators quit Marvel Comics (and, symbolically since none of them actually worked there at the time, DC Comics) to form their own company.  That would be Image Comics.  Now, today, Image Comics produces a ton of high quality, creator-owned material in a wide variety of genres and styles.  In the beginning, Image Comics produced series from each of the founders, most of which looked an awful lot like what they were doing before at Marvel.  And while both Spawn and The Savage Dragon are both still being routinely published and other series come and go, the fact that each of the creators owns their own creations instead of Image itself means that even as some of the founders split off or sold their production companies to other publishers, that not every one of the publicized initial series are still in publication from Image.

Yeah, bottom line is I don’t know what happened to the characters known as Wetworks.

Wetworks, the team, and Wetworks, the series, were the brainchild of Whilce Portatio, and, well, this may be one of the most 90s superteams around.  Even if they weren’t, they were one of the most Image series of that era around.  Many of the early Image series were more or less interchangeable.  They were muscular men, literally impossibly thin women with a Double-D cup breasts, and lots of guns and unused pouches.  A number of them, if they weren’t outright cyborgs, could be seen as thinly disguised rip-offs of established Marvel and DC characters, particularly Wolverine, Cable, and various other X-Men.  Many of them had names implying violence, particularly blood.

So, who were the Wetworks people?  Well, the name supposedly means a form of assassination where the killers will get blood splashed on them, hence the name “wet works”.  That sounds suitably awful and 90s at the same time.  Originally, the group call themselves “Team 7,” probably because there were 7 of them, and they were on a mission, pinned down by heavy fire, when they got themselves attached to some golden symbiotic…things that coated their skin, making them more or less bulletproof.  It also meant they could probably walk around naked, a way of showing off their impossible physiques without showing anything like a nipple or genitals.  Then they went off, used their big guns, and maybe some other superpowers, using codenames that wouldn’t have looked too out of place in G.I. Joe, and fought the sort of thing you’d expect supersoldier assassins, namely vampires and werewolves.

Now, despite being among the announced original series, Wetworks didn’t appear on comic book store shelves for a good two years after Image launched, and somehow ran for 43 issues.  There was a relaunch attempt in 2006, but that one only ran for 15 issues.  Wetworks was more or less part of the Wildstorm imprint, so, does DC own the Wetworks characters?

I am not really sure.

But DC does apparently own the Team 7 name.

A Wildstorm Team 7.


A DC Team 7.

And while, yes, many of the various, seemingly derivative Image books from the early days still pop up from time to time, I don’t know when or if or how Wetworks will ever come back, but, truthfully, I don’t think I would mind if it never did.  It’s a bit too much a product of its time, and some products of their time are blatantly past their expiration date.

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