God of Comics – the Wild Storm #10
The Wild Storm #10 (DC Comics)
Wildstorm was everything great about nineties comics.
Jim Lee art, wild conspiracies, super-beings who were all about the shades of grey, warring and secretive aliens, angels and demons, the occasional apocalypse, cool tech, vampires, werewolves, covert action, high concept science fantasy – if you liked anything than Wildstorm had something for you and it would be seriously cool.
That sheen began to wear off, though, as the original Image Comics broke open like a cocoon and modern Image emerged. Wildstorm shuffled off and allied with DC Comics and that wasn’t the best fit: Wildstorm is about grit and conspiracy and hubris and DC Comics is about truth and justice and hope.
When DC Comics decided to reboot their brand into the nu52, they got rid of a lot of what made them special and replaced it with the tenants what made Wildstorm; this did not work. So, when DC Comics launched Rebirth, the got rid of pretty much everything Wildstorm and shot for the truth and justice and hope that made them great and even the worst of their comics are merely good.
The thing is that Wildstorm isn’t bad – Wildstorm is fucking great. And those characters and concepts sat around waiting for the right writer, the right artist. Jim Lee is pretty aware of trends and talent and he found both his writer and his artist in Warren Ellis and Jon-Davis Hunt (and Steve Buccelleto).
Can we just agree that Warren Ellis is the best comic book writer of his generation? He can do pretty much anything and make it amazing: superheroes, horror, science fiction, fantasy. He has a distinct voice that lends itself to a sort of hyper-quality; you know when you’ve read a Warren Ellis comic because it stays with you when you put it down. You stare at the comic after reading, looking for other people to share theory and concept with because Warren Ellis inspires, terrifies, builds and grows and plants. He’s amazing.
You give a writer like that the keys to Wildstorm and you end up with the Wild Storm – the sort of tale the nineties wanted to tell but lacked the maturity to build properly. He’s crafting the sort of slow-burn tale that is all about unearthing ancient secrets and working within the shadows, keeping people and characters in the dark, forcing everyone to fight for every scrap of information on an exhilarating journey.
And if you think you know where this is going?
So much the better. Your expectations will be used against you.
Jon Davis-Hunt does incredibly neat line work and expression that lends itself perfectly to this sort of story. You know who everyone is and have some idea what they’re talking about just from facial tics and body language. Everyone has their style, their look, but it all weaves itself into a greater whole that tells you a lot about the world that these characters live in.
Better still, the brightness of it works as a beautiful contrast to the shadowy morals and aims of everyone in play. You can see the weight of every decision and every corner these people live in, the detail of art and light complimented by Steve Buccelleto’s excellent and subtle color work.
Simply, the Wild Storm is everything nineties comics wanted to be grown up and made better, the best possible version of the Wildstorm imprint. It’s fucking beautiful and one of the best comics on the shelves right now and missing it would be a mistake.