The Wild Storm
DC revival project does not fail to deliver
The Wild Storm, Vol. 1
The '90s were a bizarre and formative decade for comic books. Extreme was the name of the game, with radical character deaths and bloated musculatures pushing the medium into a faux-maturation. Where the '80s served as a sort of comic book renaissance, the '90s were easily a dark age, gratuitously violent and infrequently mindful.
During this time, Image Comics was born. While today Image publishes some of the most exhilarating creator-owned content available, during the '90s, their brand could have easily been mistaken for derivative knock-offs of more popular superhero characters present in Marvel or DC continuity. Still, within the WildStorm leg of the company, Warren Ellis and Alan Moore were keeping the superhero genre fresh with paranoid conspiracies in The Authority and WildC.A.T.s.
Fast forward to 2017, and DC now not only owns all the rights to the WildStorm properties, but has relaunched the line under the new flagship title, The Wild Storm penned by none other than superstar author Warren Ellis. The result is yet another fantastic DC revival project, following the red hot success of their Hanna-Barbera and Young Animal lines.
The X-Files paranoia of WildStorm books set the imprint apart. Frequently, their books deal in conspiracy and madness, rather than typical cape-based heroics. In The Wild Storm, one such act of heroic selflessness opens engineer Angela Spica’s eyes to the strange reality around her. What follows is a masterfully directed cinema of violence and alien fear that remains carefully character driven, even in its most bizarre moments.
For those who were knee-deep in all the bloody goodness of '90s Image titles, The Wild Storm is sure to trigger your nostalgia buttons. Modern versions of Voodoo, Grifter and Jenny Sparks litter the pages of this new thriller, though you will need a keen eye to spot many other reincarnations. Those with no attachments to the Image titles of yesteryear will find themselves in a new space of comic book wonder, as these classic concepts are elevated by the context of modern paranoia, and the reality of our capitalistic power structures.
While Ellis pumps new blood into a property long thought to be dead, Jon Davis-Hunt provides some of the best art of his career. Each panel is carefully structured, with a minimalist approach that maintains the book’s clear and deliberate design. The art facilitates each moment with a killer precision for clean storytelling. The brutality of the book’s violent moments carry a human weight, only possible with this sort of reverence to the graphic literature medium.
DC has found success in their recent revival projects, by letting revered creators handle their creations with little editorial input. This hands-off approach has resulted in some of the best comics of the year, while the mainline Rebirth initiative has remained largely disappointing. Perhaps this is indicative of the company’s future, or at least a spark of hope. For those of you exhausted by the constant Justice League reboots and abysmal cinematic outings, (not unlike the Image founders themselves) buy a copy of The Wild Storm, and take a look at what could be.
Find The Wild Storm at your favorite local comic book dealer—and there are so many of them here in Albuquerque. Of course, here we should take a moment to point out the obvious—if you love comics and comic book culture, Albuquerque Comic Con is happening this weekend, that is Friday, Jan. 12 to Sunday, Jan. 14—and you wouldn't want to miss that. Tickets, a list of events and other details are available at albuquerquecomiccon.com.