Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Jon Davis-Hunt
Colorist: Ivan Plascencia
Letterer: Simon Bowland
In comics its not often you can go home again. Over the years I’ve seen classic creators return to the comics that helped propel them to stardom only to have it falter. Chris Claremont’s return to the Uncanny X-Men was less then stellar and never recaptured the magic he had in the ‘80s. I was very excited when the Dark Knight Strikes Again was announced and then upon reading being horrified that DC had allowed it to happen. So when it was announced that Warren Ellis was returning to the Wildstorm Universe with his new book the Wild Storm I was excited but had trepidations since I didn’t not want a comic today to scar my memories of the Authority or Planetary, two of the greatest comics ever produced and in my mind Warren Ellis at his best. After reading the Wild Storm #1 my fears are unfounded and in this case you can go home again.
The Wild Storm #1 was an incredible first issue and proves why, when he wants to be, Warren Ellis is one of the best writers in comic books today. The issue works for longtime Wildstorm readers like myself but is easily accessible to new readers, as you need to know nothing about the previous incarnation of the Wildstorm universe to enjoy yourself. Ellis is simply reimagining the classic characters with a modern take with some interesting twists yet he is also delving into some of his classic concepts of the experimenting and selling of super beings and the subtle takeover of society by devious clandestine government agencies. Some of the classic characters appear here, such as Zealot, Lord Emp, Deathblow, Voodoo, Void, Miles Craven, and the Engineer. They are mostly recognizable by appearance but with new backstories and interpretations. It felt like meeting old friends for the first time.
The Wild Storm, as described by Ellis, is simply part of the DC multiverse and to think of it as Earth Wildstorm. There are no DC heroes here and although the mythos of the Wildstorm universe is a guide this is a completely new take, which it was from page one. It is clear this is going to be a title of political and corporate intrigue, very fitting for the current climate of our country. Our book opens with an assassination by Lucy Blaze aka Zealot. The nature of the killing is unclear as and whom Zealot works for is not revealed. We also are reintroduced to Voodoo, who is a pop star rather than a stripper. Where she fits into the story isn’t explained but will no doubt play out over the first arc. We see a very different Void later and Grifter is mentioned but this book is going to be a slow build and we don’t need to see every character in issue #1.
It appears the core of the Wild Storm is going to be the conflict between two organizations. First is the Halo Corporation that is building cutting edge technology and offering to the people at cheap prices. Led by Jacob Marlowe aka the Lord Emp. His long life and powers are intact but his historical backstory is unclear. Our second organization is IO, led by a much younger Miles Craven. We learn IO is secretly trying to control the world. How they are doing this isn’t clear, but they aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty as they deploy Michael Cray aka Deathblow as their top assassin. I have no doubt this conflict is going to drive the story and I am excited to see how all of this comes together over the next few issues.
As great of a job Ellis did in writing this story it was the artwork of Jon Davis-Hunt that made it shine. Davis-Hunt was the perfect choice for this title. Wildstorm comics were always known for their larger then life style and the over exaggeration of physiques. The Authority was known for its widescreen world shattering art, yet this is a new interpretation and Jon Davis-Hunt is not bombastic or over the top. His art is realistically detailed and his page layouts are classic, some of them are even retro 9 panel grids and it looked like it was a page layout straight from Watchmen rather then an issue of Jim Lee’s WildC.A.T.’s. I loved his take on the Engineer that looks more mechanical rather then bleeding edge liquid metal. Yes she is still fantastical in origin yet in today’s tech society far more realistic. I hope DC locks Davis-Hunt down and he stays on this book for years to come.
Verdict: BUY! The Wild Storm #1 was an incredible first issue with a fresh update of a classic comic line. Fans of the classic comics will have a wonderful nostalgic reaction while new readers have no need for what has come before to love this book. Warren Ellis is at his best and Jon Davis-Hunt turned in incredible artwork to bring this story to life. I am excited to see what comes next and how this Earth Wildstorm line expands over the next year.