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Brass Taki & Wingo

The setting in Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy’s 1987 “Slash Maruad” mini series is a future Earth post contact by an alien race that has invaded and occupied the planet for the sole purpose of transforming it into a suitable environment and replacement for their home world. The aliens are referred to as both “fuzz” and “shapers” for their presented, somewhat humanoid appearance and their natural ability to mimic other forms, including humans.

The mastermind responsible for the global change is an alien scientist known as and reviled by humans as Dr. X. Since his arrival, captured humans have provided the raw genetic material for the various changes: their bodies are literally reduced to DNA which are then manipulated. Few humans remain free, and far fewer have killed shapers and survived. One of those is a man named Slash Maraud.  A former lover, Wild Blue, involved in the underground network informs Slash that Dr. X wants to repent for his past efforts and stop the terraforming before it proceeds to the final phase’s initiation. Wild Blue persuades Slash to help rescue Dr. X who is being held captive by some of his fellow shapers near Provo, Utah. Thus begins the journey to save Earth and humanity.

Slash and Wild Blue encounter a band of rebel women collectively known as the Damazons. Dr. X had escaped on his own and was posing as a human but his luck must run bad because he was captured by band of crazed humans patterning themselves after slash movie villains and real world serial killers. Thanks to Slash and crew, the alien is rescued.

Maraud now plans to journey to San Francisco to enlist the help of more underground members and to build a small army. It’s in Candlestick Park where bizarre gladiatorial fights a la Mad Max are staged that Brass Taki and Wingo are first seen, albeit briefly and separately.

Brass Taki is a member of a vermin pack, future lingo for a cross between gangs, blah, whatever. He may be a Zen Hog, riding a motorcycle. Wingo’s affiliation, if any, isn’t clear. In the confusion of the battle, two alien shapers sneak up behind Dr. X. One abducts him while the other mimics his shape, and escapes to the ruins of Oakland with Maraud’s small guerilla army. The alien impersonator is discovered when his ignorance of a slang word (it was a small but important scene in #3) becomes evident. Wild Blue uses her feminine charm and knowledge of alien biology to extract info about Dr. X’s whereabouts. It seems Dr. X is held prisoner aboard the Nulloid Express train that transports humans to a DNA processing plant to provide genetic material for the world’s transformation.

For a reason that isn’t explained, Angela, the Damazon leader, approaches a lone Brass Taki who is sitting next to a campfire and polishing his sword. She awkwardly tries to strike up a conversation, but Taki says, “Forget it. I don’t go for fems.” A couple of pages later, a strapping red-haired man in Viking drag (we learn later his nickname is Wingo) walks up to the fire, simply saying “Hi” to Taki who nods his approval for the man’s company. It’s presumed the two men spend the night together while everyone else in the camp settles down for a night’s sleep. The next day Maraud and his band pull off a successful rescue of Dr. X.

Their adventures continue cross-country. During a skirmish in the ruins of New York, a strange appearing plane is secured to cross the Atlantic in the hope of reaching Paris (chosen by the aliens as “ground zero”) and striking a fatal blow to the final phase of the alien re-formation. Brass Taki and Wingo appear separately in a few panels (issue #5).

Flying over Paris, Maraud and his crew parachute into the streets of a now chaotic Paris. The ground men break up into teams, each with specific targets. Brass Taki falls in with one squad but is not seen again till the end of the story. Wingo buys his compatriots time by crashing the plane. Each squad takes advantage of the distraction and jump into action. They’re successful against all the great odds stacked against them. A small group, including Taki, gathers to assess their losses and victory. Nearby, Wingo is seen digging himself out of a pile of rubble, asking aloud if the plane made a direct hit on his intended target. The others pair off before literally walking off into the sunset. What happens with Brass Taki and Wingo is unclear.

These characters first appeared in Slash Maraud #3. BrassTaki and Wingo created by Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy. Art by Paul Gulacy and Adrienne Roy from Slash Maraud #4.

All rights reserved DC Comics.

July 2, 2021
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