Bubonic Comics: Nikki Doyle: Wild Thing

Guest Post

This debut issue of Wild Thing is bad, seriously bad. I’m not sure how many issues it lasted; but since the Marvel UK imprint folded in America about a year later, I can imagine it didn’t run too long. The cover promises the appearance of Venom and Carnage so, of course, it’s a must-buy.

But before you track it down, let me explain this is the furthest thing from a must-buy. Venom and Carnage (who only appears in three panels) are only virtual-reality bad guys. Yes, Ms. Doyle fights virtual-reality bad guys. Actually, she fights illegal virtual-reality programs that are more addictive than heroin. It seems that in an effort to capitalize off the somewhat success of virtual-reality programs, Marvel created a virtual-reality warrior.

Being a former VR junkie, Doyle has cleaned up her act and is working with the NYPD to bust these underground video game dens. The concept is laughable (especially looking back from over a decade later) and the execution is rather terrible. Doyle has acute knowledge of the VR world, and as Wild Thing she is able to navigate this world and save those addicts.

Why can’t they just unplug the game machines? Because in a move much like The Matrix, anyone jacked into the other world can also die because of the virtual world. If the junkie is unplugged, he’s a goner. Thankfully, Wild Thing is their savior. The whole issue follows this set-up; it includes her busting a den and then plugging in to a particularly devious program to save one of the addicts.

That’s when things all go screwy. While doing a weapons’ check of her “cool” virtual powers, Wild Thing is warped away to this virtual plane. The only other figure? Venom. Why? No eff-ing clue. None at all. In the few pages that remain, they start to fight and Carnage appears. Then it is “to be continued.”

There’s no explanation, no reason to read the next issue except to find out why these then-hot Marvel villains have shown up and are attacking our virtual heroine.

Usually I don’t comment much on the art because in no way am I a skilled artist. But the art here isn’t pretty. Faces and proportions are kind of creepy, though at least the panel transitions aren’t too jarring.

The only reason to peruse this comic would be to laugh back at the idea of a virtual-reality superhero. Aside from Silver Surfer, Marvel has a pretty bad track record when cashing in on trends. I feel obliged to mention her “sidekick,” this tech whiz kid who looks like Gary Coleman. Of course, the only reason he’s worth mentioning is because he looks like Gary Coleman!

Nikki Doyle: Wild Thing is one Marvel character that (hopefully) will never see print again.