Friday, September 21, 2018

The Wild Storm #17 Review and Spoilers


Here Comes The Rain Again

Written by: Warren Ellis
Art by: Jon Davis-Hunt
Colors by: Brian Buccellato
Letters by: Simon Bowland
Cover price: $3.99

Another month, another stop on the John Lynch/Gen-12 reunion tour. While the general level of quality in terms of writing and art continues to remain extraordinarily high in this series, there's little doubt that Ellis' decision to shift focus from both the brewing IO/Skywatch war and Jacob Marlowe's WildCAT to Jenny Mae Sparks' Authority-building and Lynch's trek down memory lane has resulted in a slowing down of pace and a certain structural repetition that, personally, I could do without. This issue sees Lynch visit yet another Project Thunderbook subject. Let's see how he gets on…


The quality of art will never be a concern in this title. This issue opens with a stunning couple of pages of gathering thunderclouds hanging over a native American reservation before the focus shifts to the man hanging in the sky in the middle of them gathering and then dissipating them before landing assuredly a few feet away from a stunned John Lynch. There then follows a much more relaxed and less fraught conversation than we've had the last couple of issues and although that's nice, it does mean this issue is remarkably free of any tension whatsoever. Well, until the end.




Before we get to Marc Slayton's rather anti-climactic meeting with a familiar couple of blokes hanging about together in an otherwise empty shack, though, we get a long conversation between Stephen Rainmaker and John Lynch and an interesting (although not especially exciting) scene in which Jacob Marlowe and Kenesha find out that Daemon(ite)s are still a thing and, indeed, doing their thing by inspiring Priscilla (Voodoo) Kitaen to write songs and, in this very issue, making contact with an increasingly nosy Angie Spica. Not for the first time in this series, there is the distinct sensation of wheels turning by slow but definite increments in the background of the story. What's missing at the moment is an involving story in the foreground to occupy our attention so we can go "Ooh!" when the background stuff becomes more prominent.




I mentioned last time that I (think I) understand what Ellis is doing here and I largely approve. He's fleshing out a rich and thoroughly absorbing world and it's a world I can absolutely buy into. The problem is that the balance of the present arc is off. There's not enough action – or rather not enough meaningful action – and there's too much of characters meeting, building alliances etc. It's not that that stuff isn't interesting and absorbing, but the last couple of issues have felt like placeholders rather than installments of an ongoing narrative.




If all of that sounds a little negative, I must stress that this remains one of the best series out there at the moment. But, it's been better than it is right now, and the nagging feeling that Ellis is spending a full six-issue arc setting up books and teams (The Authority, WildCATs, Gen 13) that are never going to see the light of day remains.

Bits and Pieces:

I feel a little churlish criticising this book – a little like someone in a restaurant ordering a steak cooked to perfection and then complaining that the chips aren't fluffy enough. But, this issue's continued focus on Lynch slows the narrative down and, although the revelations about the Daemonites and the hints given by Marlowe are great, they are not, on their own, enough to generate tension or excitement. Davis-Hunt's art continues to be magnificent and Ellis' skills as a writer of naturalistic believable dialogue continue to shine. I just want, Philistine that I undoubtedly am, a bit more action.


7.8/10


3 comments:

Harold Johnson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I know how you feel, the art of Jon Davis-Hunt is so good overall and especially in the action sequences that I'm waiting for more pieces like the ones already shown. But the anti-climactic resolutions are not all bad, just feel a little lack of seeing how the Thunderbook agents were in action while they were still from IO, maybe the use of flashbacks like those used to tell passages from Michael Cray's life in could have solved this. Even though slowly, we now have more light on the conflict between Daemon and Khera (putting Khera as invaders as Ellis imagined in Stormwatch's 'The Bleed' story arc), and at the same time a very good placement of how Angela was the the fuse of all the events seen in the plot so far, and how she should face it from now on. In this particular scene is a very clever use of subversion of the grid, where the panels plummet page down translating a sense of confusion in a way that only comics could do. And what a wonderful ending, bringing back two of the most iconic characters in the original universe, I really want to see more of them and more stories with the teams already shown on the same artistic, narrative and formal level of the main book .('Michael Cray' fell far short of what we are seeing so far in 'The Wild Storm').

Harold Johnson said...

My chief complaint about the series was that it IS setting up other books to come out much later. It doesn’t matter how soon the other books come out (warren ellis said recently said they are STILL scheduled to come out), I jumped into this series with the impressions that this is a 24 issue limited series, with a definite conclusion for its story and characters. But any real pay off may come out beyond the 24 issue number, which is irking for somebody who wanted an Elseworlds take on the Wildstorm universe. Now, I know it was warren’s intention from the beginning to set up a broader universe with several books being curated, but I feel it would be also interesting to have a more definite end in sight by issue 24.