After J Scott Campbell introduced the world to Danger Girl, he decided to do some back-peddling and created a story of high-school teenagers with animal-like abilities. To go from a teenage Gen-13 team to an adult Danger Girl team, and then back again to teenagers known as Wildsiderz must have been an awkward move. But the comic with high hopes was released in 2005 anyway. Was it worth it?
Absolutely not. J Scott Campbell’s Wildsiderz lasted until issue 2, bombing hard. Ouch.
When I heard the premise of kids with animal-like abilities, I immediately thought of that children’s book series Animorphs. To my surprise, the actual plot was that teenagers came across holographic technology that would allow them to create an instant virtual exoskeleton, allowing them to have the advantage of animal limbs. What was even cooler was that each set of powers were stored on a CD-ROM that could be placed into a portable CD player. This is a really fun concept to let your imagination run wild with.
I wish I could have said the same thing about the Wildsiderz characters. All of them fit into perfect high school stereotypes. This does not make their personalities seem flat, but it seems like every teenage story has this set-up. For example, take a look at Homecoming. The characters in Wildsiderz include a hot cheerleader, a fat idiot, a hunky jock and a cute nerdy girl. There is also a punk skater-boy and a goth chick. And naturally, there is a love triangle going on between many of them.
Stereotypes aside, the layout does create a fun and quirky scenario. It is actually pretty entertaining, but seems dumb from as an overall impression. The covers seem childish, with kids dressed up as animals and with florescent colors. Kids can tell when they are being baited from a mile away. The final nail in the coffin was naming it Wildsiderz, replacing the S with a Z. This comic is totally rad! You dig, kids? No? Ah, whatever.