That is a new cover. It’s gorgeous.
I’m pretty open about the fact that most of the comics collected in this run are pretty shit. They’re literally written by Jim Lee’s mate from school, for god’s sake!
To be fair, there is a story arc by Chris Claremont that I have fond memories of, and Morrison’s #1 from a few years ago.
However, Jim Lee’s artwork is prime Jim Lee here. He’s just coming off the X-Men, and has perfected his team book art. It’s certainly more accomplished later on in his career, but the energy that these pages demonstrate is hard to deny.
That being said, if that’s all there was to the Wildcats, I think they’d have quickly been forgotten (Divine Right, anyone?). But, it wasn’t. Immediately after this run, James Robinson came onboard and made you care about these characters. Alan Moore built on that with an epic superhero tale. And, a few years later, Joe Casey deconstructed the team, only to reinvent them in a pretty revolutionary way (for the time).
It’s those subsequent runs that made the team a fan favourite. This initial run is pure eye candy.