A comic book by Wildstorm, later adapted to a Saturday Morning Cartoon for CBS. The characters debuted in "WildC.A.T.s" #1 (August, 1992). Their original title lasted for 50 issues (August, 1992-June, 1998). Plus a couple of special issues. Vol. 2 lasted another 28 issues (March, 1999 - December, 2001). "Wildcats Version 3.0" lasted 24 issues (October, 2002 - October, 2004). Vol. 4 was an abortive effort, including a single issue (December, 2006). There was some fanfare because said issue was written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Jim Lee, but the hectic work schedule of the famous creators led to an early demise for the project.Vol. 5 lasted 30 issues (September, 2008-February, 2011). While the series has produced a number of popular characters over the years, its various spin-offs tend to be short-lived. In the 2011 Continuity Reboot of the various titles owned by DC, some of the featured characters of Wildcats were granted solo titles again.Several millennia ago, two ships crashed on Earth. The crew of one ship were Kherubims, the inhabitants of planet Khera, while the other belonged to the Daemonites from planet Daemon. During all this time, the Daemonites have been possessing human hosts and created the organisation known as the Cabal. Oppossed to them, some Kherubims and halfreed Kherubim descendants form the Wild C.A.T.s (Covert Action Team).
Adaptational Badass: In the comic, Voodoo's only abilities are telepathy and separating Daemonites from their hosts, making her an important member, but useless in a fight until Zealot gave her some Coda training. In the cartoon, she is given telekinesis as well, making her a much more dangerous foe right from the beginning.
After the End: When earth was annihilated in the Wildstorm universe, one of the few titles featured the team picking up after the mess.
Almost Kiss: In the cartoon, Zealot and Grifter spend most of the thirteen episodes doing the UST dance; when they finally admit their feelings, they lean in... and then an emergency warning starts blaring.
Grifter: Couldn't have waited thirty seconds?
Ancient Astronauts: It's implied that the Kherubim and Daemonites (note the names) are the inspirations for many Earth legends.
Artifact of Doom: The animated version of the Orb, is an artifact left behind by the Precursors on Earth that can give anyone power on a cosmic scale. It's also evil to the core, possibly more evil than Helspont himself. Guess the Precursors hid the thing on Earth for good reason.
Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: In volume 3 Travis Charest drew Lord Emp was becoming a High Kherubian Lord and wanted his arch-nemesis to kill him as part of the ascension process. His body had become child-sized and shriveled but he didn't care because he was about to transcend mortal concerns.
Bad Future: Alan Moore's Spawn/WildCATs miniseries is entirely based on this trope. Spawn and the WildCATs get thrown into the future where the world is ruled by a tyrannical super-sorcerer and most of our heroes are secretly fighting against him. The twist is that Spawn himself turns out to be the tyrant, having been given the idea by visiting this future in the first place. Our heroes manage to undo the bad future when Spawn finds out one of the resistance members is actually his ex-wife's daughter, and then she dies a moment later. Spawn promises to never let that happen, which undoes the timeline.
Spartan's general design and "stoic leader" attitude are similar to Cyclops.
Voodoo had a costume and powers similar to Jean Grey, plus an interest in the stoic leader, but a different personality.
Warblade not only has claws like Wolverine, but he also had a mysterious past as part of Cyberdata, which creates a parallel with Logan's Weapon-X days.
Zealot was the "ninja" aspect of Psylocke, which turns her more into an ersatz of Elektra. Since her "Hand" equivalent, the Coda, were like Amazons, DC created Artemis, a Zealot ersatz, in Wonder Woman.
A non-X-Men example, Majestic is a pretty blatant copy of Superman's abilities, if not his personality.
Crimefighting with Cash: In the animated series, when the team itself was temporarily unavailable and with no evidence strong enough to bring the government in to stop the Daemonites, Marlowe crippled the villain's plan by figuring out what highway the enemies were going to have to travel down, buying it, and turning it into a toll road (somehow managing to do this in one night). When the Daemonite transport runs the tollbooth without paying, this provides him with the evidence he needs to bring the government down on them.
Wild Covert Action Teams isn't too far from a dark supername either. Interestingly, the team name changes slightly throughout the first three volumes, which reflects how dated the name had become. Volume one had Wild Covert Action Teams, volume two had WildC.A.T.s, and volume three had Wild Cats.
Decoy Getaway: To recover the character of TAO, there was a retcon saying that the one who died really was shapeshifter Mr White.
Duck Season, Rabbit Season: Used in a rather darker fashion in Alan Moore's run as Tao repeatedly switches positions in a debate with Fuji leading to Fuji's being psychologically crippled.
Dumb Muscle: Maul actually gets dumber as he gets bigger. He once got so big he forgot how to return to normal size. He is a bizarre case: while his power is that he can swap brains for brawn, in his "normal" form he's a nobel laureate so, when he doesn't grow too much, he retains enough smarts to be more like a Genius Bruiser.
Family Relationship Switcheroo: It was revealed that Zealot, who has looked out for her 'little sister' Savant since she was born, is actually Savant's mother (and that Majestic was her father). However, the Reset Button was pushed on the entire title the issue after this was revealed, so God only knows whether it's still in-continuity.
Famous-Named Foreigner: Void's real name is Adrianna Tereshkova, just like Valentina Tereshkova, who was a cosmonaut (and the first woman to be sent to space) just like Adrianna before becoming Void.
Fantastic Ghetto: When the team visits Khera, it turns out the Kherubim-Daemonite war ended centuries ago everywhere except Earth. Khera is ruled by the wealthy and technologically advanced Kherubim while the planet's indigenous population, a race of Size Shifters from which Maul descended, has been displaced into underground cities, and Daemonite civilians living on Khera are confined to a low-tech ghetto. Having one Daemonite ancestor is enough to get Voodoo, a Kherubim-human hybrid like her teammates, forced into the ghetto.
Fights Like a Normal: Grifter has psychic powers, but never uses themnote He was a member of Team 7 before getting his powers, but then he was in a normal context, so doesn't count as Badass Normal.
Genre-Busting: The third volume. While it is technically a super-hero comic, there aren't many super-heroics, and the titular team isn't even assembled until the last story arc. It is also very philosophical, topics ranging from questioning if a corporation can be truly good, to how far people will go to maintain the status quo, or adapt to new situations.
I Know You're Watching Me: In one issue, one of the heroes freaked out when the villain of the week looked him straight in the eye while being spied upon (he was using long-range binoculars rather than the camera, but the effect is the same.)
Is It Always Like This?: After watching Maul, a civilian says, "Wow, a guy just turned into a giant blue-skinned monster. You don't see things like this every day," to which another answers, "Tell me, you're new in the city."
Look Behind You: The second ever issue ends with Maul bearing down on a Daemonite baddie. When the bad guy warns Maul that there's something behind him, Maul almost laughs. "Do I look that stupid?" Turns out that there really is something behind him — Youngblood. Badrock opines that, yeah, Maul does kind of look that stupid
Meaningful Name: Pike seems to be a good codename to a villain carrying a baton or "pike" as his Weapon of Choice, but then we find his father's name is Daniel Pike, therefore "Pike" is the character's surname.
Merchandise-Driven: The cartoon has every villain working for Helspont (even the Troika, who worked for rival villain Gnome in the first comic miniseries) to get the more toyetic setting of "a hero group against a villain group"
My Death Is Just the Beginning: Lord Emp needs to ditch his corporeal body in order to complete his ascension into an Energy Being, but the rules dictate that he can't do it himself. Because the process of ascending releases enough energy to incinerate the killer, Emp tries to trick his long-time nemesis into killing him, thereby killing two birds with one stone. However, it turns out the nemesis is apparently so obsessively attached to their ongoing rivalry that, unable to accept the situation, he kills himself instead, so Emp moves on to plan B, getting the Nigh Invulnerable Spartan to do the deed instead.
Post Cyber Punk: 3.0. A huge Mega Corp. answerable to none buying out entire conglomerates, technological advances leading to social upheaval, and ineffective governments looking out for their own economic interests. All the elements of a Cyber Punk world, but with a twist; the Mega Corp. is entirely altruistic. Interestingly, most of the characters are Genre Savvy enough to be very aware of the implications. Even the two people who know the Mega Corp. best wonder if a Mega Corp. can actually be anything but malicious.
Reed Richards Is Useless: Averted. In Wildcats 3.0, Spartan sought to use the advanced extra-terrestrial technology that belonged to his creators to change the world. The limitless batteries alone caused quite a stir.
The Remnant: Happened to both sides. The Khreubim/Daemonite war has been over for a long time, with the Daemonites falling to the Kherubim and effectively being subjugated. Unfortunately, neither side bothered to send an envoy to Earth, so the war continued to rage here for centuries.
Replacement Goldfish: When most of the first team is presumed dead, Savant and Majestic attempt to put together a new team, including Grifter's younger brother.
Rule Number One: In an issue of Alan Moore's run, one of the MERCs says: "Rule number 1: Don't @#$%& us. There's no rule number 2."
Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: Rare heroic example. When the team was fighting Lord Entropy, an impossibly powerful madman who wanted to take revenge on Lord Emp from killing his wife, Voodoo used her illusion to look like Entropy's wife. Entropy was so confused, that Emp has enough time for preparation to whooping the floor with him.
Stab the Scorpion: When the Black Razor Benito Santini has to shoot shapeshifter Mr Smith, who has disguised as one of the WildCATs, it seems he's going to shoot Grifter, but he shoots Maul, who was behind him.
Super Zeroes: Voodoo, whose ability to spot people possessed by the evil aliens was actually pretty useful, but countered by her lack of the most basic combat skills. Zealot gave her some Coda training to change this.