Created by Max Allen Collins
First Appearance: Wild Dog #1, 19876
Wild Dog, the cameo and hockey mask wearing vigilante was created by Max Allan Collins and Terry Beatty back in 1987 for DC Comics. Wild Dog first appeared in a four issue mini-series named after the character and after that initial run, he turned up in Action Comics Weekly when that title became an anthology highlighting characters like Deadman, Phantom Girl and The Demon. He then went on to have a one-shot special titles Wild Dog: Caged in 1989 and after that the character was not see for some time. That is until this year. Now he is everywhere it seems. From the awesome CW show Arrow to a supporting role in the new Young Animals title Cave Carson has a cybernetic eye. So who is Wild Dog?
Jack Weller, a.k.a Wild Dog was a regular guy who went to college on a football scholarship and was a great athlete but suffered an injury that derailed his football career. Not really wanting to stay in college without being able to play football, Jack dropped out and enlisted in the marines. Not sure how a career in the marines would be any better on his knee than college football, but there is it. Things in the marines do not go very well for Jack he leaves the marines after most of the men in his squad are killed by a terrorist attack. After leaving the marines Jack tries to get his life back on track and enrolls in a local college in his hometown in the Quad Cities. There he meets a wonderful woman named Claire and falls in love. But soon after they start to date Clair is beset by some strange accidents like almost being hit by a car, something heavy falling on her all kinds of wacky stuff. As you may have guessed, these are not accidents, and she is eventually shot and killed in front of Jake while to two are out on a date.
Trying to make sense of what happened Jack get some answers from Claire’s lawyer when he is called in to hear a reading of her will. There he learns not only did he inherit all her money, which he finds out is enormous amount, a set for ever amount, he also learns why Claire mike have been killed. Jack learns she was using a fake last name and that her real last name was Carmoti, the last name of the head mafia family in the Quad City. Jack surmises that Claire was trying to get out of her family’s shadow and criminal ways, and was killed for it. Jack is stunned and angry at the death of the woman he loved and goes to one of his childhood friends to talk it out. His friend makes an off-hand comment that he should use his newfound inheritance to fight the mob. Well Jack takes this advice quite literally. He goes all Bruce Wayne and uses the money to buy a garage where he works as an auto mechanic, but the garage is just a front. It’s really his base of operations where he keeps all his new gear, his Wild Dog gear. And just what is that gear? It’s fairly standard vigilante stuff, but it’s got a nice bit of flair to it. Jack designed his own costume that consists of camo pants, combat boots, a local college football jersey that sports a snarling crazy looking red dog and a hockey goaltender mask to hide his identity. Now to give him a little more help his uniform is concealing some pretty thin and sophisticated body armor.
This allows Wild Dog to just charge on in and shoot away and not worry about getting shot up. It’s nothing fancy, but it really just looks neat. Kind of thrown together, kind of haphazard and to me it makes him look a little crazy, which I think was also his intention. In addition to his nearly bulletproof suit Wild Dog is equipped with electrified shock gloves and a Jatimatic CG-95 PDW machine gun.
In his mini-series we Wild Dog comes up against against a some homegrown militias calling themselves the “Committee for Social Change.” When he busts into stop the terrorists, a reporter on the scene names Jack his name, Wild Dog, due to his over the top attack and seriousness of his attack. And I’m sure the crazy looking red dog on his jersey didn’t hurt. Wild Dog fights for the little guy taking on other homegrown groups showing no mercy shooting first and, well, not really asking questions.
Wild Dog pops up here and there, showing up in Infinite Crisis alongside Vigilante and Crimson Avenger. And he even shows up in an alternate reality that Booster Gold created. We don’t see Wild Dog for quite a while.
Wild Dog doesn’t show up that much but is then mentioned in the new DC Rebirth, but not in a good way. In Green Arrow 18 a group of right wing wackos show up to attack protesters of an oil pipeline and say they are libertarian militia, “inspired by some nut in the Quad Cities.” Which is sad because Wild Dog isn’t about attacking innocent people or fighting protesters, so I can only guess these are wackos who think they are fighting for what the actual Wild Dog believes in.
That brings us up to the present and DC’s new Young Animal’s imprint. Young Animals is the new imprint which is being spearheaded by Gerard Way and features some really cool and obscure characters that include Shade: The Changing Girl, Doom Patrol and Cave Carson. And it’s in that last title, Cave Carson, where Wild Dog pops back giving Cave Carson a hand during his latest voyage to the center of the earth. And this is classic Wild Dog, fun uniform with guns a blazing. It’s really neat to see the character being used in such an innovative and well written comic. Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye is my favorite title in the Young Animals imprint. The art is amazing with Michael Oeming just killing it, and the colors by Nick Filardi just really fit the book’s style. I really dig this book, no pun intended, well ok, a little bit of a pun intended.
And if having Wild Dog in a cool new title wasn’t enough he’s actually a new member of Team Arrow on the hit CW show. They have changed up his origin quite a lot right down to the name of Wild Dogs alter ego. The Wild Dog in Arrow is named Rene Ramirez and actually grew up in Star City. This Wild Dog also joined the military and became a Navy Seal, but he was dishonorably discharged after trying to beat information out of an informent. So big difference there. Rene also suffered loss on his way to becoming Wild Dog but again it was a very different loss in that Rene loses his daughter to the foster system after she is removed from his custody by social services.
His wife Laura was into drugs and owed a dealer money, when the dealer showed up at their place Rene was able to trick the dealer. Rene reached his gun and killed the guy, but a stray bullet from his gun also struck his wife and killed her. This is why Zoe, his daughter was put in foster care. So Rene dons the camo and his jersey with crazy red dog on it and begins to fight crime and then is, at first begrudging, brought in to join team Arrow. So his origin was changed but Arrow’s version of Wild Dog is a still hard charging vigilante who comes out guns blazing.