Jack Wheeler (Wild Dog)

wilddogfilmA trailer for Arrow Season 5 has been released, and besides seeing a number of recurring characters and some new ones we still have to give a name to, we get a glimpse of Green Arrow‘s new team, that the hero forms after the original one has disbanded at the end of Season 4. Among the rookies there’s a pretty lively and angry young man, Rene Ramirez aka Wild Dog, who’ll be portrayed by Rick Gonzalez. As far as we know, Green Arrow takes him under his protective wing because of his violent methods, hoping to help him mature from the brutal vigilante he is to a proper hero. In the comics, Wild Dog is Caucasian and is named Jack Wheeler, he has nothing to do with Green Arrow (apart from an alternate timeline created by Booster Gold)… and he’s basically a DC pastiche of Marvel’s Punisher. Let’s see together.

Jack Wheeler’s life had never been easy, and every time he obtained something, he ended up losing it due to external forces. He was born in Quad Cities, Iowa, from a poor family. As a student, he turned out to be an excellent football player, and he entered college thanks to a sport scholarship. During a game, however, he suffered a severe injure to a knee, that forced him to leave the team and to lose the scholarship as a result; unable to pay for his education, he dropped out. Not wanting to weigh on his family, he joined the U.S. Marines, finding a new family in his squad. Even his friends were taken away from him: while his company was on tour for duty in the Middle East, a terrorist group attacked the unit, and he was the sole survivor of a bomb explosion. Dangerously pushed on the edge, Jack came back home, wanting to build a new life for himself and to leave behind his back the horrors he had lived in war. With the money he had earned with the Marines he could finally afford to resume his studies, and he started attending night classes at State University. During his studies he also met a girl, Claire Smith, a ray of light in his far too dark life: Claire managed to make him forget everything he had lost and he had faced, and she was the source of his long-desired happiness. The two fell in love, and Jack was more than wilddogcomics1determined to marry her. There was, however, something that Claire hadn’t told him: her true name wasn’t “Smith”, it was “Carmonti“, and she was the daughter of a renowned crime boss from Chicago who had been recently murdered by some rival family. She had changed name and city to escape from her father’s legacy, but the Mafia didn’t want to let her go. One night, Jack Wheeler saw his beloved Claire gunned down by a hitman: the following investigation from the police found out about the girl’s connections with the Carmonti family, and something inside Jack’s mind just snapped. He had had enough, and it was time he reacted. With a hockey mask, khakis and a t-shirt from State University, he became a masked vigilante.

Jack’s plan was simple: he would have given back to bad people some of the violence they were spreading in the streets… and he would have done with tons and tons of bullets. By day, Jack Wheeler was a simple mechanic, doing the best he could to survive month after month; by night, he was a brutal vigilante who practiced skeet shooting on every single mobster, drug dealer, rapist, thief and murderer in town, a madman just as brutal and violent as the people he went after. If he soon became a hero for the common people in the neighborhood, a beloved protector of the innocents, his methods put him on the wanted list, and he had to defend himself from policemen as well as from local criminals (usually escaping from the first ones, and sending to the morgue the latter). He became famous the moment he intervened in a delicate hostage situation, the same in which he earned his street name: the vigilante broke into the area, killed all the criminals present and saved the hostage, a tv reporter; witnessing the carnage, the local SWAT officer ordered his men “to shoot him down like the wild dog he was”, and the reporter used the declaration to christen the vigilante “Wild Dog”. At first, Wild Dog’s main enemies were the members of the Committee for Social Change, an all-American terrorist organization aiming to reinvent US society. He also came in conflict with a number of local gangs, and even with a Christian fundamentalist group, the wilddogcomics2National Legion for Morality, that caused a number of arson (and killed quite a lot of people) in order to stop pornography. Wild Dog made a step out of the street war the moment he joined a small group of vigilantes like him to repel an alien invasion, and later he was even recruited in a larger team of B-class heroes and villains sent to stop the alien bounty hunter Lobo from killing editor Mike Carlin. Apparently, he had finally made a step out of his league… hoping that his sanity followed him long enough to prevent an indiscriminate carnage.

Jack Wheeler is a broken man, who has taken from life more hits than his psyche could stand: he is now bent on a bloody revenge against any form of criminality, and he fights fire with fire, spreading leaded justice on the streets. As Wild Dog, he’s a superb athlete and warrior, a highly-trained soldier versatile with any kind of weaponry; he wears a body armor and dons a pair of “shock gloves” (stun gloves able to knock anyone out with a simple touch); although he usually fights with a Jatimatic GG-95 PDW machine gun, he possesses a wide arsenal of weapons (as well as a utility belt), and he can kill his enemies with literally anything. Deranged, brutal and motivated, Wild Dog is back to war, a kill-or-be-killed game with no prisoners and no survivors, a neverending battle he wants to be a part of.