When a job needs to be done, one must assemble the proper team. In the case of bringing back one of WildStorm's oldest titles, that team consists of writers Kevin Grevioux and Christopher Long with newcomer artist Julius Gopez, who join together this September for the one-shot, "Wetworks: Mutations."
"Wetworks" originally began as one of the core Image Comics titles launched upon the formation of the company in 1992. Image co-founder Whilce Portacio and writer Brandon Choi created the series, which focused on a covert operations team led by Colonel Jackson Dane. During their earliest mission, the members of the Wetworks team each obtained a gold symbiote that granted them extreme durability and other super-powers. The title initially ran for 43 issues between 1994 and 1998 and focused mainly on the team seeking revenge for an apparent betrayal as well as battling supernatural forces. Writer Mike Carey and co-creator Portacio re-launched the series in 2006 under the WildStorm banner at DC Comics. That new series ran for 15 issues until 2008. Although WildStorm has since released a Wetworks one-shot that tied into the “World's End” crossover event in 2008, the upcoming "Mutations" marks the first title featuring the team on their own adventure since the end of the previous ongoing series. "Mutations" is also distinctive from other Wetworks titles in that takes place in the post-apocalyptic American setting of the WildStorm Universe and features the Wetworks in a state very different from that of earlier incarnations.
CBR News spoke with both Grevioux and Long about the new one-shot, their mutual love of the horror genre and the possibility of more Wetworks missions to come.
CBR: “Wetworks: Mutations” brings the Wetworks team back to the WildStorm Universe. What do you find interesting and like most about this particular team and this particular universe?
CHRISTOPHER LONG: Because of Armageddon in the WildStorm Universe, the world has been laid to waste. Characters are trying to scrape by in a desolate landscape. The rules have been turned topsy-turvy. This is the perfect environment for the members of Wetworks. They are uniquely qualified to adapt to this type of situation.
KEVIN GREVIOUX: It's the environment that I find fascinating. This is a black ops team that has to find its way in an environment that is vastly different than what they’re used to. That kind of situation comes with a lot of tasty things you can have your characters react to. It’s very challenging and exciting.
What can you say about what readers will be seeing in this story?
CL: I’ve been informed that the inker and colorist on this project are definitely earning their paychecks, because Julius’ artwork is incredibly detailed. So, this tells me that the art on this book is going to be fantastic.
KG: A lot of action and intrigue. It’s going to rock!
The story seems to follow in the footsteps of the action-horror genre. Kevin, you've obviously had experience in this genre with the “Underworld” films. And What about this genre interests the two of you?
CL: The thing about horror is that it’s wonderful to use as metaphor. Horror exploits our deepest concerns and fears. Through it, we confront something that can’t be conquered or reasoned with. Vampires, zombies, ghost and ghouls and myriad of other ghastly creatures, have been used as metaphor for imperialism, sexism, mental illness, chemical dependency and the list goes on and on. As a writer, that’s a useful tool to have in one’s toolbox.
KG: I think the genre represents the darker side of humanity. Not only our fears, but who we are as individuals. As Chris says, it’s a great metaphor for so many things. Look at Godzilla for example. On the surface, it’s a monster movie with good clean fun. But delving deeper, it’s about our fears of the atomic bomb and how that monstrous weapon not only changed the Japanese culture but our outlook on war itself.
The “Wetworks” cast have gone through a few changes throughout the different incarnations of the title. Who are the team members we'll be seeing this time around?
CL: Oh, boy, do they go through changes in this one-shot. You’ll be seeing the usual suspects: Dane, Claymore, Dozer, Grail, Pilgrim and Jester. And there are a couple of surprise cameos that pop up along the way.
KG: Without divulging too much, I think it’s safe to say that that their personalities will be manifesting in a rather uncomfortable way.
Do you have personal favorites when it comes to the team members?
CL: I particularly like the leader of the Wetworks, Jackson Dane, and his inner turmoil between duty and sacrificing what he wants in life. For better or worse, he and his teammates have been given a gift, and he doesn’t shirk the responsibilities that come with it. But uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. From my perspective, depending on what day you asked him, I think Jackson would be hard pressed to decide whether the golden symbiote is a gift or a curse. I think he’d gladly exchange his lot in life for someone else’s. This kind of internal conflict in a character resonates with me.
KG: I’m a fan of Dane as well. He’s the soul of the team and gives them their direction and since of purpose.
Looking at the WildStorm Universe as a whole, where would you say a team like Wetworks fits in? How does their place and purpose differ from a group like, say, the Authority or the WildCATS?
CL: In my opinion, Wetworks is the working-class team in the WildStorm Universe. They take the gruesome jobs that nobody else wants to touch. The Authority and the WildCATS are the polished, highbrow teams that mingle with celebrities and pose for photo-ops with dignitaries and heads of state. Wetworks members would rather swig beer and watch football. It’s the kind of team that laughs at fart jokes and listens to Black Sabbath. They’re my kind of team. There’s no pomp and circumstance with the members of Wetworks. They take on a job with the realization that they might die and nobody will know of their sacrifice, but they do it anyway.
KG: I think being a black ops kind of group they are more regimented in some ways. To them it’s about the mission and the goal. They’re soldiers, so they’re very single-minded in that respect. This works well in a universe that has been decimated.
Chris, you mentioned artist Julius Gopez. What does his style and approach bring to the table?
CL: Gopez is a meticulous artist and his work on this project has really brought it to life. All the grisly action scenes that Kevin and I wrote are depicted in an uber-realistic fashion. It’s disgusting, but in a good way. Julius makes this project sing. I know fans won’t be disappointed.
KG: I think Gopez is fantastic. We didn’t get much art during the process after we finished the script. But once we saw the first image, I was blown away. I think he’s the next super-star artist.
What does the future hold for both of you and the Wetworks team? Will we be seeing more Grevioux and Long's Wetworks?
CL: I would love to be able to keep writing Wetworks projects. Hopefully, the book will do well and Kevin and I will be given the opportunity to continue playing with these great characters.
KG: Doing more Wetworks books is the goal. Being able to work with the characters again would be a great opportunity.