Comic Review: The Wild Storm #19 (DC Comics)

I have a confession to make folks! When It was announced that Warren Ellis was gonna write a book that reinvented the Wildstorm characters I was vastly interested but never […]

I have a confession to make folks! When It was announced that Warren Ellis was gonna write a book that reinvented the Wildstorm characters I was vastly interested but never got around to reading his new take with consistency. But when it was announced that there was gonna be a two month break of sorts to give Ellis and company some time to work on some material I thought “Hmm, maybe now I can finally read all 18 issues consistently since I have no classes for the winter break..” and boy, was it an experience!

If there is anything that can be said about Ellis, he is a fantastic writer who always reflects on the woes of today through various themes through the lens of cyberpunk, science fiction, conspiracy, and Aliens. We live in a day and age where tech companies use social media to buy and sell data, collecting information based on what we put on our social media profiles and profit off of selling that content. Whether its authoritative corruption, technological genius or nightmare, or potential salvation of the human spirit, Ellis has tackled it all and with this series he continues to do so. If you haven’t read Transmetropolitan, his original run on The Authority and Planetary then you should! Because they are all uniquely written pieces of work that reflect on such themes that reflect the world we live in and the potential direction that society could head based on the technologies we use at our disposal.

With that said, Why did I have to mention all of that backstory to talk about issue 19 of The Wildstorm? Simple. After taking the time to look at review copies, I became fascinated with Ellis’s approach to characters that he helped to create some decades ago. While Jim Lee created the W.I.L.D.Cats, it was a product of its time, a 90s comic book series created right after the departure of the top tier artists of Marvel at the time who went on to launch their own company Image Comics. Jim Lee created his Wildstorm imprint and it allowed for guys like Warren Ellis to create a book with Brian Hitch called The Authority. When DC Rebirth was announced, I was surprised that DC got a hold of Ellis and convinced him to create a unique take on some of the Wildstorm characters, and contemporize them. To my surprise, it was interesting not only to see Ellis give a lot of these characters such as the W.I.L.D.Cats Storm Watch (known as Sky Watch) received a facelift, but to see how Ellis would tackle his own characters that he created two decades ago impressed me a lot.

This brings me to issue 19 which surprised me in a variety of ways due to how Ellis takes key plot points that were introduced throughout the series, streamlines it smoothly to a point that when things connect and fall into place, it suddenly leaves you in shock in awe that this entire time, what you thought was right, was entirely the opposite. There are some interesting revels that had me going back and forth in my daily activities and classes wondering “Man, what’s gonna happen now? Who’s really on whose side?” because as the story unfolds, Ellis takes the time to give proper exposition and context after sprinkling bits and pieces of information in between all of the action that by the time you’ve gotten through the prior issues, you’re required to take a moment to pause and reflect on the chain of events that are boiling up. Readers are guided through the lenses of The Doctor and Sparks as they trace back Spark’s history in connection to IO, Sky Watch, the Khera and the Daemon’s and how their history connects to the chain of events that they will have to face. There a slew of great moments, personally, my favorite moments are with The Doctor and her predecessors, which makes way for some solid moments that occur within those segments. Sometimes I’m surprised that Ellis can still manage to pull this off without losing his touch especially when he is writing his latest iterations of Jenny Sparks and the Doctor which feels familiar to the original iterations but fresh that it doesn’t necessarily feel like its retreading old ground neither, in an odd way, this universe of The Wildstorm feels much more hostile than the ol super heroics of the older versions. It’s fitting given that in some ways, I’d like to imagine that maybe Warren Ellis wanted to see how much he would have done differently had he had a second chance at these characters, so when the opportunity came, he went all the way with it and it works so well especially in this issue. The story, the plot, the dialogue it all feels carefully placed, tight and compact, giving the issue a natural narrative flow making it engaging to read amongst all of the easter eggs and nods of their multiversal counterparts (which is very fun for anyone who is a DC Comics reader).

As for the art, I feel that Jon Davis-Hunt and Steve Buccellato do an amazing job as a pencil and colorist duo. Each page and panel layout feels well thought out and spacious at times, giving the readers time to scan the panels to see what pops out, such as how much stuff is lying around in The Doctor’s room. I really enjoy the somewhat distinct and realistic body and facial features that each character has that makes each character stand out on their own. There is a beautiful page where its a transition scene between panels that appealed to my eyes every time I’d revisit it. I’ll admit that there is something about Simon Bowland’s lettering that always struck me odd given that it’s not the typical type of lettering that fits nicely with this book since it’s not conformed to the usual institution of superhero comics which is unique in its own right.

I may have been a little late on the book, but I’m glad I was able to catch up so I can finally say, If you want a worthwhile book or series that is miles away from the usual cliches of superhero comics then this may be right for you. I personally have been enjoying this series and I look forward to seeing how Ellis intends to wrap things up now that 5 issues remain. Support this book and pick it up for new comic book day!

Anthony Andujar Jr.

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