I was thinking a bit, and there doesn’t seem to be too many dog-based heroes or villains that don’t just release some hounds. There are plenty of cat-themed characters, and a number based on wolves, but not so many dogs.
Regardless, Watson asked why I hadn’t done the DC hero Wild Dog yet, so here we are. This one’s for Watson.
Wild Dog was originally one Jack Wheeler. His first appearance came from a 1987 self-titled mini-series. One of his creators was Max Allen Collins, the creator of, among other things, Road to Perdition, so now I am picturing Tom Hanks playing Wild Dog. Jack was a star football player who had to quit due to an injury, so he joined the Marines. Then he was the sole survivor of his squad following a terrorist bomb, so he went back to Quad Cities and took some night classes, eventually meeting and falling for a woman named Claire, and she seemed a bit accident prone.
OK, not really. Claire was actually the daughter of a crime lord, and she didn’t want to be involved in that sort of thing and abandoned her family. And then, when she was finally killed, Jack did the only sensible thing and became a rogue vigilante. Claire had left him a lot of money, so he had funds to set up his new job as a mob killer. Decked out in combat pants, a college football jersey, and a hockey mask–with body armor underneath–Jack became Wild Dog, so called because during his first mission, the head of the SWAT team ordered him to be killed like a wild dog. Wild Dog used a gun and some “shock gloves” to dispense his own brand of justice, often against domestic terrorists and the various mobsters that got Claire killed. Heck, one group he took on was a “morality” type of bunch that was using arson to burn down pornographers.
Wild Dog defended pornographers? The Watson jokes write themselves.
And, well, beyond his own mini-series and some time in Action Comics Weekly, Wild Dog has more or less not done much. He’s often there for group shots, but he’s a relatively minor character. Heck, when the New 52 started, Green Arrow took on a gang that modeled themselves after some off-panel vigilante in another city.
But he seems to have come back a bit in two places. In some recent comics, he’s got a supporting role in the Young Animal series Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye. Yes, that is the title of the series. And over on TV, with the character renamed Rene Ramirez, he’s been a regular on the CW’s Arrow.
You know, Wild Dog is kind of a weird character. He looks like the rare hero who fights crime using stuff he had lying around the house, including his costume. And sure, it would be nice if he had a canine companion with a name like that, but now that we have Wild Dog as a Misplaced Hero, so that may count for something even if it is just a happy Watson.