Tagged: Warren Ellis

The Wild Storm #13 – Review

The Wild Storm 13(This review first appeared on the Weird Science DC Comics website.)

The last month has been a Wild Storm free time, but, with last week’s issue of Michael Cray and now a new issue of the parent title on our hands, all that is over and it’s time to dive back into the rich, complex and slow-burning narrative that we’ve come to know and love. I hope that, like me, you’ve fruitfully used the month’s hiatus to meditate on the realities of life and death and the endless struggle that stretches out all too briefly before us as we shuffle through this veil of tears. Or perhaps you’ve instead been wondering just what the implications of the events of issue 12 of this wonderfully involving series will be: whether Mitch’s death will go unnoticed and/or unavenged, whether IO will be able to make use of the data they’ve just filched from Skywatch, whether Skywatch will do anything else to punish IO for its indiscretions. Or perhaps you’ve been wondering just what John Lynch has to do with any of this. If so, then welcome to issue 13. Answers await…

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Over In A Flash – The Wild Storm: Michael Cray #4 Review

Michael Cray 4 coverThe Michael Cray series is proving to be an interesting experiment, but perhaps not quite the one its creators had in mind when they first conceived it. As the first spin-off series from Warren Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt’s The Wild Storm, it represented an opportunity to expand the Wild Storm universe significantly, perhaps tying into the larger ongoing narrative of the main series in interesting ways. This isn’t quite how things have turned out. Instead, the focus has been on Michael Cray assassinating damaged alternate versions of DC characters and, only a few issues in, the formula already has a distinct whiff of staleness about it. The series does rather pose the question of precisely how long a very good idea can be mined before it’s outlived its usefulness. The answer appears to be… not very long at all. But, I may be wrong. Perhaps things will start looking up with this issue. Let’s find out, eh?

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A Moment of Reflection – The Wild Storm #11 Review

The Wild Storm 10 - coverWarren Ellis might just be the biggest tease in comics right now. With the delicacy and lightness of touch of the most exotic of dancers, he has unpeeled the various layers of the Wild Storm universe, each revelation accompanied by narrative moves of pulse-quickening, breath-taking skill, enabled by the extraordinary art of Jon Davis-Hunt. There is, of course, a fine line between teasing and frustrating. It’s a subjective judgment and individuals’ mileage varies considerably with this sort of thing. Some readers are undoubtedly frustrated with this series’ apparent reluctance to bring the building tension between IO and Skywatch to a climax and, if they were expecting things to start here, they’ll be disappointed. For, yes, this is another issue that, despite its somewhat misleading cover, is concerned principally with set-up and background.

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Back In A Flash – The Wild Storm: Michael Cray #3 Review

Michael Cray 3 coverThe Michael Cray series has been an interesting one so far, but one for which my initial enthusiasm has waned. After a very promising first issue, the second disappointed on a number of levels, not least in its double deus (‘dei’) ex machina resolution to Cray’s confrontation with the Wild Storm universe’s Oliver Queen. The announcement of Barry Allen as the focus for this month’s issue raises the possibility that this 12 issue series will simply become a magical mystery tour of a dark ‘gritty’ version of the DC Universe, in which our favourite heroes are presented as twisted alternative characters that are simply grist for Michael Cray’s increasingly super-powered mill. I hope there’s something more going on myself, but we’ll have to see. In the meantime, here’s issue 3…
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Waiting Room – The Wild Storm #10 (Review)

The Wild Storm 10 coverWhy do we love comics so much? (I know I’m assuming here, but you’ve just started reading a comic book review so I’m reasonably sure there’s some comic love going on in that heart of yours.) I would imagine that there as many answers as there are comic book fans, but for me, it’s the coming together of a number of different factors. First, there’s the whole extended universe thing – the excitement you get from being plunged into a world that is rich and varied and capable of expanding in often surprisingly new directions. Then, there’s the fact that it’s a hybrid medium, a unique combination of image and text. Much has been made of comics’ increasingly filmic qualities and I get excited about that too, but a page of comic art can be studied in ways that a film scene can’t. That each figure is drawn, is deliberately posed, gives the artist greater control and, potentially, subtlety when it comes to conveying meaning (and, yes, we’ll be getting to some specific examples in a moment). Although, like film and television, the comic is a collaborative medium, the creative aspects of that collaboration are smaller-scale, meaning that the story can be created more precisely. Plus, comics are fun. Their potential to surprise, to play with narrative form and structure, is exciting. Anything can happen in comics. Anything at all.

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All About Angie – The Wild Storm #9 (DC Comics)

The Wild Storm 9 coverAfter the startling expansion of the Wild Storm universe last issue and the brutal action of the one before it, we’re probably due a bit of a rest and that’s more or less what we get with this ninth issue of the Wild Storm. That’s not to say that this issue is dull, boring or without incident, though. Far from it. It’s just that, whereas the last couple of issues have broadened the series’ focus, this one deepens it. Allow me to explain…

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Doctor, Doctor… – The Wild Storm #8 (DC Comics)

The Wild Storm 8 coverEvery so often, I forget. I forget how vast and positively bubbling with potential the Wild Storm universe is. Warren Ellis, though. Warren Ellis does not forget. As can be seen from the really quite outrageous turn this issue takes about halfway through. With the exception of one or two moments here and there, the series so far has concentrated on delineating the nature of three major players in the Wild Storm universe – IO, Skywatch and the Halo Corporation. Up to now, it has been a series steeped in early 21st century obsessions with technology, power and the clandestine activities of organizations rich in both. This issue, however, Ellis reminds us that, as intriguing and fascinating as those organizations are, they are not the sum total of the Wild Storm universe. Far from it.

The Doctor is in, ladies and gentlemen. And she will see you now…

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Tick-Tick-Boom! – Nextwave Agents of H.A.T.E. #1

NextWave 1 coverQuick question. Which Marvel comic ends with the line “Oh my God. It’s wearing underpants.”? (Hint: You’re about to read a review of it.) Like all the best comedy, NextWave: Agents of H.A.T.E. is a relatively short, but still memorable reading experience. Fawlty Towers, The Day Today, Father Ted – none of these classics of British TV comedy outstayed their welcome; all of them have attained legendary status at least in part because their legacy is unsullied by mercenary attempts to milk the golden cow long after the creamiest parts of its output have been savoured. (That metaphor got away from me a bit there.) NextWave: Agents of H.A.T.E. is a similar beast. Only 12 issues of it exist, but they are among the funniest superhero comics you will ever read. So buckle up, turn off your Etheric Loop Recall Televocometer, and get ready for a rollercoaster ride of… well, profanity-laced madness, mostly. Oh, and underpants. Really big underpants.

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The Wild Storm #7

The Wild Storm 7 coverWell, we had to wait a little longer than usual for this installment of what is shaping up to be one of the year’s best series. It should come as no surprise to anyone that this issue has been worth the wait. Issue 7 marks the start of the series’ second story arc and sees an expansion of the title’s cast of core characters. It also fails to deliver on the dramatic ending of issue 6, but you can’t have everything, can you? Although we may have to wait to see exactly how Henry Bendix’s response to the revelation that IO has been stealing Skywatch tech plays out, let’s see what we do get…

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Picking At The Threads – The Wild Storm #6

The Wild Storm 6Aaaand… I was right. It doesn’t happen very often so allow me to bask in my own self-reflected glory just for a moment. As I guessed last month, this issue does indeed open with the kind of action sequence to make Michael Bay go weak at the knees. It’s been a long wait (since issue 1 actually), but we finally get to see Deathblow in action and, bloody hell, it is brutally, gorily glorious. But, this issue isn’t just about Michael Cray putting the beatdown on two hapless IO goons. There’s a lot more going on here and I suggest you buckle up. There’s a lot to take in.

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