Some of the biggest storms start quietly.
I say this, having just finished reading the first issue of THE WILD STORM, the debut title in DC’s newest pop-up imprint, WildStorm. (Which actually isn’t new per se, but this version certainly is.) The Wild Storm, written by Warren Ellis and drawn by Jon Davis-Hunt, is the flagship and premiere title from the imprint and our first taste of what we can expect from the return of these classic characters.
We’ll get into the comic in a moment, but first I should mention that probably unlike many of you, I’ve never read a comic from the old WildStorm line. I’m familiar with characters like Midnighter, Grifter and Voodoo from The New 52, but as far as the comics that put them on the map, I’m a complete novice. I’m going into The Wild Storm completely new to this world.
And so far, man, is that world is complex! The Wild Storm #1 serves to introduce us to many of the book’s key characters as well as two of the mysterious organizations at its heart—International Operations, or IO for short, and HALO. About halfway through this first chapter, an IO engineer named Angela Spica saves HALO’s director, Jacob Marlowe, from an assassination attempt that unbeknownst to her was orchestrated by IO. How she accomplishes this is through the use of a mechanical biosuit that she created under the noses of her superiors and that exists within her body until she has need of it. From this one act, and all the people who witness it, our story begins.
What I loved about this first issue—and I should mention, it’s a comic that for me took some time to absorb and process—is how despite being full of characters with remarkable abilities and super powers, it feels nothing like a super hero book. This is pure conspiracy theory and techno thriller, with pieces that clearly interlock even if we’re not quite sure how yet. Ellis has compared the comic to Game of Thrones, and it’s easy to see why. There’s alternating POVs, and Ellis demonstrates an uncanny ability to allow us to get into these characters’ heads without the use of text boxes or internal monolog. There’s also some genuine weirdness (what’s with that dude with eight fingers?) and a sense of discomfort (what would drive Angela to embed that suit in her body?). We learn that there are different factions at play within this world, and one suspects that those in power may not have quite as firm a hold on it as they believe.
Of course, much of that is speculation on my part. I have no idea what’s going to happen. We’re introduced to many characters in issue #1, but we only learn just enough about them to get intrigued. I’m curious why Angela seems so mentally unstable, who Voodoo is working for, why IO sees HALO as a threat, how aliens fit into the story and what’s going on with Michael Cray. I’m particularly interested in Lucy Blaze—Zealot—who is the first character we meet and so far one of the most mysterious. Most of all, I’m interested in seeing how all of these elements are going to come together and what the truth is at its core.
The Wild Storm is a rich, intelligent series that demands a reader’s attention and patience, but there’s so much intrigue here that it feels pretty clear that we’re going to get well rewarded in exchange. Even more, the world is only going to expand. This series is slated to run 24 issues, and over that time, three additional comics will join the WildStorm imprint, all curated by Ellis. These will be rolled out slowly, at a much more relaxed pace than DC’s other pop-up imprint, Young Animal.
As a new reader, I’m unsure how The Wild Storm compares to previous takes on this world, and how a fan of them would react to this new one. If that’s you, feel free to share your thoughts down in the comments. I’d also love to hear from you if you’re a new WildStorm reader like me. However, whether you comment or not, I hope you join me here on DCComics.com as I unpack and share a few thoughts on each new chapter of The Wild Storm. And brace yourself…this storm may start quietly, but I have a feeling it’s going to blow us all away.