Wild Dog (comics)
|First appearance||Wild Dog #1 (September 1987)|
|Created by||Max Allan Collins (writer)|
Terry Beatty (artist)
|Alter ego||Jack Wheeler|
|Team affiliations||United States Marine Corps|
|Abilities||Expert marksman and hand-to-hand combatant|
Wild Dog is a fictional character, a vigilante appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Wild Dog is the superhero identity of Jack Wheeler. He first appeared in Wild Dog #1 (September 1987), and was created by Max Allan Collins and Terry Beatty.
Wild Dog first appeared in a four issue mini-series (issue #1, cover date September 1987). The series is credited to Max Allan Collins, Terry Beatty and Dick Giordano. Shortly thereafter, the character appeared in Action Comics Weekly. Normally a Superman title, at the time Action Comics was going through an incarnation as a high-page-count weekly anthology title with serialized episodes of various characters' ongoing stories appearing in each issue. There were three major Wild Dog story arcs in Action Comics Weekly; after the third, the character appeared in a one-shot Wild Dog Special. Wild Dog's final appearance in Action Comics Weekly was issue #641 (cover date March 7, 1989). The last issue of Action Comics Weekly was #642, after which the book went back to its standard format of monthly Superman stories.
Fictional character biography
Jack Wheeler went to college on a football scholarship. He dropped out due to an injury and enlisted in the Marines to complete his education. He quit that after most of his squad was killed by a terrorist bomb. He returned to the Quad Cities and began taking night classes. He started dating a fellow student named Claire and fell in love with her. His new girlfriend soon began experiencing "accidents" and was ultimately shot dead in front of Jack while the pair were on a date. Afterwards, it was revealed she was secretly the daughter of a Chicago crime boss who left her family to start a new life for herself.
Claire's will named Jack as her sole beneficiary and made him a considerably wealthy man. Furious over all the deaths he'd witnessed, but unsure of how to proceed, Jack took the somewhat-facetious advice of a friend to "use the money to fight the mob". He opened up his own car mechanic/body shop as a public identity, then secretly tracked down the rival gang members who ordered the hit. He created a costume of camouflage pants, combat boots, a local college football jersey emblazoned with a snarling red dog (hiding his protective body armor), and a hockey goaltender mask to conceal his identity. Armed with a Jatimatic GG-95 PDW and a pair of electrified "shock gloves", he killed the gang leaders and the hitman who had killed Claire.
In the first issue of his limited series, he barges in on a hostage situation and kills all the criminals. He successfully rescues an endangered TV news reporter and is named "Wild Dog" after the SWAT captain orders his men to shoot the vigilante "like a wild dog in the street". His actions in the beginning are mainly directed against domestic American terrorists led by the "Committee for Social Change". He faces other threats, like a social group, the National Legion for Morality, willing to use arson to destroy pornographic material.
Wild Dog changes opponents when he becomes a small part of the effort to resist an earth-wide alien invasion. Later, the alien Lobo is sent to New York to kill the comic book editor Mike Carlin. Wild Dog is one of many recruited to stop Lobo. This group includes Black Condor, El Diablo, Garryn Bek, Human Flea, Strata, Velvet Tiger, and Wotan.
Wild Dog was recently seen, alongside the current Vigilante and the current Crimson Avenger on a Metropolis rooftop. This group, joining in on a hundreds-strong effort to protect the city from the Secret Society of Supervillains, is seen raining bullets down on the Trigger Twins, Madmen, and other villains.
In an alternative timeline accidentally created by Booster Gold in Booster Gold #8 Wild Dog is part of a resistance cell against Maxwell Lord, being one of the only heroes still alive or uncaptured. Lord forces Wild Dog to shoot himself.
A gang named the Wild Dogs, patterned on Wild Dog, appears in Green Arrow #18 (2017), following DC's The New 52 and DC Rebirth continuity-changing events. They are described as a libertarian militia "inspired by some nut in the Quad Cities" and attack the Native American settlement where Arsenal's old foster family lived. They are swiftly shut down by Green Arrow.
Jack Wheeler as Wild Dog has appeared as a regular in the ongoing series Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye. His costume and character are very much in line with his pre-Infinite Crisis appearances. He is shown to be a mechanic/vigilante and a friend to Cave Carson.
In other media
Wild Dog makes his live-action debut in the fifth season of the television series Arrow, portrayed by Rick Gonzalez. This version is a former Navy SEAL who saw his drug-addicted wife Laura shot dead in their home by her dealer and, in turn, lost his daughter Zoe to child protective services due to his depression over Laura's death. Inspired to become a vigilante after witnessing the previous season's climactic battle between Green Arrow and Damien Darhk, Wild Dog's reckless actions initially caused Green Arrow to demand that he stay off the streets, but a subsequent encounter ends with Green Arrow offering to train Rene, and he is brought into Team Arrow. During a mission to protect the police from crime boss Tobias Church, Rene gets captured by Church and tortured into revealing Green Arrow's true identity as Oliver Queen, before being rescued. In the sixth season, FBI Agent Samanda Watson confronts Rene and reveals her knowledge of his vigilante persona, threatening to take away his family if he doesn't testify against the Green Arrow. Upon informing Team Arrow of this, Rene is cast out by Oliver and winds up joining Dinah Drake and Curtis Holt in acting as their own team. By the end of the season, Rene works with Agent Watson to take down the criminal mastermind Ricardo Diaz. In the seventh season, Rene retires the Wild Dog identity after being granted immunity, and is reintroduced running a boxing club in The Glades. Flash-forwards to the year 2040 shown during that same season reveal that Rene becomes Mayor of The Glades at some point, while Zoe grows up to become a vigilante herself, working alongside Dinah as well Earth-2's Laurel Lance as part of the Canary Network. In season eight, Rene assists Oliver for the upcoming Crisis. Following the Crisis and the formation of Earth-Prime, Rene is allowed by a revived Quentin Lance to succeed him as Mayor of Star City. He also assists in finding a younger William and attends Oliver's funeral.
- In the second season of DC's Legends of Tomorrow, the episode "Doomworld" sees the Legion of Doom use the Spear Of Destiny to alter reality. In this new reality, Damien Darhk is the Mayor of Star City and has successfully killed several heroes with the help of his underlings. Wild Dog's mask, alongside those of The Flash, Green Arrow, Vigilante and Spartan, can be seen sitting in a display case within Damien's office.
- In the premiere episode of Arrow's eighth season, "Starling City," Earth-2's Rene is Malcolm Merlyn's head of security. However, he is secretly allied with Dark Archer alongside Earth-2's Dinah Drake. Both Rene and Dinah are defeated by Oliver Queen and arrested by the police, only to be killed when Earth-2 is erased by a wave of anti-matter.[a]
- This was part of a lead-up to the upcoming Arrowverse crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths.
- Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye #1 (October, 2016). DC Comics.
- Wild Dog #4 (1987). DC Comics.
- "Wild Dog" #1 (1987)
- "Action Comics Weekly" #603 (1988)
- "Invasion!" #2 (1988)
- "Lobo" Vol 2 #62 (May, 1999)
- Infinite Crisis #7. DC Comics.
- "Arrow taps Rick Gonzalez as DC Comics vigilante Wild Dog". EntertainmentWeekly. June 15, 2016. Retrieved October 2, 2019.