Going into my reading of The Wild Storm #1, I was as anxious as I was hopeful. The re-imagining of universes typically goes one of two ways in the comic book industry: wonderfully right, or terribly left wrong. Thankfully, this re-imagining is heading in the right direction. But, before we jump into the comic, here’s a brief history lesson to bring newcomers up to speed.
So, what’s the big deal?Image Comics (the comic book publishing company) was founded in 1992 by comic book illustrators, Todd McFarlane (Spider–Man), Jim Lee (X-Men), Rob Liefeld (X–Force), Marc Silvestri (Wolverine), Erik Lasrsen (The Amazing Spider-Man), Jim Valentino (Guardians of the Galaxy), and Whilce Portacio (Uncanny X–Men), and although comic book legend Chris Claremont was also initially listed as one of Image’s founders, his project The Huntsman was cancelled and he ended up not being a founder after all…
Anyway, these illustrators founded the publication due to frustrations that arose from working as an artist for Marvel. Thus, it was decided that comic book creators, for Image, would retain ownership of their work, and, Image partners wouldn’t interfere with one another’s work. With Image up and running, each partner, save for Whilce Portacio who dropped out, founded their own production studio.
Why am I telling you this?
Jim Lee’s production studio was named WildStorm Productions, which got its name from combining two of Lee’s series: WildC.A.T.s and Stormwatch (Now we’re getting somewhere). I’m not going to go into too much detail here, but it is important to know that these two series eventually had a major cross-over event (Wildstorm Rising), and at the end of said event, Alan Moore began writing for WildC.A.T.s, and after a second crossover, Warren Ellis began writing for Stormwatch.
In 1998, DC acquired Lee’s Wildstorm Productions and began to re-launching and re-working titles. Fast-forward to 2010, the Wildstorm imprint was shut down, and in 2011, characters from the Wildstorm Universe began to re-emerge in the new DC Universe…
Okay, I think that’s enough information for now. Onto the comic!
The Wild Storm #1, is a unique read that, despite having a rich history, is inviting and doesn’t—as of yet at least—require much from the reader. Regardless of its accessibility, I do recommend readers familiarizing themselves with, at the very least, some of the WildC.A.T.s cast and arcs, because what makes this series so interesting is that it re-imagines and modernizes the Wildstorm Universe.
Award-winning and NYT bestselling author Warren Ellis, whom I mentioned previously, is writing The Wild Storm and is apparently set to do so for at least two years. It is important to note here that Ellis typically doesn’t re-visit any of his previous work. When he’s done with a title/series/character, he’s done. Thus his return is a pretty big deal. His writing in The Wild Storm #1 is sharp and engaging and the book is balanced very well.
Artist Jon Davis-Hunt’s clean and almost subdued style teams well with Ellis’ writing. And although The Wild Storm #1 isn’t filled with epic two-page splashes or eccentric panel layouts, Ellis’ simple, orderly layouts are quite effective. Over-the-top panel and layout designs aren’t necessary here, the writing and illustrations get the job done just fine. The Wild Storm #1 reads and looks nothing like a superhero comic.
I’d rather not dive into the plot, but I will say that after reading The Wild Storm #1, I am very much looking forward to the remaining twenty-three (and hopefully more) issues of this run. This re-imagining shows great promise, and I absolutely recommend it Wildstorm fans and newcomers alike.