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God of Comics – the Wild Storm #6

God Of Comics, Reviews

July 21, 2017

The Wild Storm #6 (DC Comics)

We like to say that Warren Ellis is the best writer in comic today.

Yes, he has his tropes and fallback techniques, the most egregious of which is writing interesting characters and complex stories. This is the guy what wrote Transmetropolitan, Next Wave, and Injection. Supreme: Blue Rose. Moon Knight. Everything he touches is impossible to put down or set aside.

Hell, that Castlevania series Netflix is touting? That four episode parade of pure horrific bliss? That’s him. He did that. Wrote and produced it. The man knows what he’s doing. In Ellis we trust.

And we’re not the only ones: Jim Lee and DC Comics have entrusted the whole of the Wildstorm universe to Ellis. They’ve given him the keys to the kingdom and let him go with one of the more expansive universes that nineties Image Comics produced – Deathblow, Wild C.A.T.s, Stormwatch, DV8, Gen13, the whole thing is currently in the hands of this one man. They’ve given him leave to remake that whole universe in what looks like a maxi-series, following a format that feels like more like Watchman than you’d expect. It’s got that scope, that depth, that sense of finality.

A friend of mine once told me that large comic stories happen in either four issues, twelve issues, or twenty-four issues (52 notwithstanding). Ellis is doing that last one, and traditionally this sort of story will be broken down into acts – and this issue is the end of the first act. Whatever spills out of this issue is going to leave us breathless and in need of an extra month just to take it all in, so this is it: the last fix we get until September.

In it, the world’s deadliest assassin is having some problems. Professionally, people call him Deathblow, but his friends call him Michael Cray, and he just turned down a target on an innocent person and aspiring dictator-behind-the-scenes Miles Craven can’t let that sort of thing go. Their conflict comes to a head here.

Meanwhile, Angela Spica saved tech genius and CEO James Marlowe from getting killed by Cray a few issues back, and in the process, we learned that there’s some technology lurking in her that various powers in the world would like to take from her. James is interested in protecting her and has sent out Cole Cash – the Grifter – to rescue her, but she’s more likely to befriend the woman some call Void.

Conspiracies abound, secret powers and players moving throughout the world, and none of them like being exposed in the way Angela has made people realize that there is more going on all around them. Treaties have been breached, secrets are being revealed, and a war spilling from shadows to light looks inevitable.

Warren Ellis is joined by artist Jon-Davis Hunt, working a style of clean lines and gravity, while colorist Steve Buccellato works a surprising sense of light into a story about shadows. This comic is one of the best things you can have your mind devour, so what are you waiting for?

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God of Comics: Wild Storm #4

God Of Comics, Reviews

May 16, 2017

Wild Storm #4 (DC Comics)

Wild Storm? Again? Really?

There’s other comics I cold mention, surely. Marvel’s got some interesting titles I’d love to discuss, but they’re in the process of killing them off while putting actual Nazis in charge, both in their comics and in their offices while blaming their fans for the flagging sales when it’s actually a problem of their own making, so I’m not going to talk about them. Seems fair: if they’re going to push a philosophy that encourages people to kill me, I’m going to do my level best to do the same to them.

Kids, the Holocaust wasn’t bad because Nazis did it. Nazis are bad because they did the Holocaust.

Thankfully, there’s plenty of other good comics being published right now: the four I’ve already talked about today, sure, and a host of others. Valiant, Boom, Dark Horse, Action Lab, Image, Dynamite, and others are all pushing some truly epic comics right now and mingling them with more down to earth ideas, peddling hope and stories of interest.

DC Comics has very much gotten on that bandwagon and is doing their best to make up for lost (nu52) time with Rebirth, and this comic spills out of that drive. Merging the characters from the DC Universe with those from Wild Storm doesn’t work, because the heroes from the DCU would, be definition, stop the Wildstorm problems from existing before they happened (see Grant Morrison’s JLA/WildCATs crossover to see exactly how that would have played out).

Thing is, the Wildstorm characters and stories are still good ones, even if they don’t fit in the proper DCU. DC Comics is combating this by setting a retelling of the Wild Storm in its own universe, a twenty-four issue series penned and plotted by Warren Ellis.

Ellis is pretty much the best person for this job, a talented writer who sifts through complex and layered mythologies the way that most people breathe air. He gets to pick and choose the best parts of Wildstorm and rework them into a modern setting, building up the conspiracies and aliens and other assorted madnesses of that world and reframe them, building them into a tale that grabs, haunts, and traps the reader while offering new takes on familiar characters.

It’s awesome.

We’re four issues in and Miles Craven is just setting up International Operations in his image, hunting down the Engineer as she seeks help from Halo Enterprises. This has resulted in a wild covert action team being spotted by Miles, a small team of killers led by Cole Cash – Grifter. Stormwatch is watching, Grifter is running, and Miles is trying to get a handle on everything before the storm gets too wild to control.

Jon-Davis Hunt excels at bringing small details to a world that needs them, and Ellis is doing that thing where he reminds the rest of us that he is probably the best at writing whatever genre of comics catches his interest (see also: Nextwave, Transmetropolitan, Injection, Supreme: Blue Rose).

Do yourself the favor: hunt this comic down and devour it. You will like it.

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