Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Wild Storm #18 Review and Spoilers

Still Waiting...

Written by: Warren Ellis

Art by: Jon Davis-Hunt
Colours by: Steve Buccellato
Letters by: Simon Bowland
Cover Price: $3.99

That time is on us once more. It's issue 18 of The Wild Storm. We're three-quarters of the way through the 24 issues and at the end of the series' third story arc. As I've remarked in previous reviews, this arc has been a little disappointing. The sense of threat – and consequently drama – engendered by the first twelve issues just hasn't been there this time around and, although it's been fun seeing Ellis and Davis-Hunt set up a Gen-13 series that will probably never happen, the repetitive nature of Lynch's road trip, along with the somewhat underwhelming revelations happening elsewhere, have seen my enthusiasm for this title dip a little. Don't get me wrong. It's still one of the best comics on the market at the moment. But, will this issue get me all fired up again? There's only one way to find out…

It would appear that head of IO Miles Craven is having a crisis of leadership. Jackie King's not impressed and, frankly, I can't say I blame her. Craven's 'proportionate' response to Skywatch's slaying of Mitch hasn't exactly deterred Skywatch – and it cost him two CATs – and it's taken him eighteen issues to work out that it was a rogue 'wild' CAT responsible for the theft of IO tech at High Tower. When King calls him "weak", she has a point.

Certainly, he's nowhere near as manifestly lethal as Henry Bendix who starts this issue consulting with Helspont, a psychopathic Doc Brown responsible for implanting human beings with alien biological matter and one of three different types of control mechanism. Bendix and Helspont discuss the practicalities of activating those control mechanisms and bringing the test subjects back into the Skywatch fold, including those who escaped the organization at some unspecified point in the past.

As it happens, one of those escapees is currently in the shower in Jennie Mae Sparks' apartment where she and Shen are discussing, amongst other things, the control mechanism implanted in Jack Hawksmoor's head. We've known that Jennie has been building her Authority team for the last few issues and in this one she's joined by Angie to make, with Jack and Shen, a foursome. We've already glimpsed Apollo and Midnighter so the core team is pretty much in play. It's just that we haven't actually seen them do very much yet.

And this is the problem with this issue, as it has been all series. There is a moment of high action between Lynch and Marc 'Backlash' Slayton and it's, as always, impressively rendered by Davis-Hunt and Buccellato. It ends somewhat anti-climactically though. With the separate Cray and Zealot cameos to add to the mix, it's clear that this is one of those plate-spinning issues that is chiefly designed to remind us of the various characters still in play while Ellis moves them carefully into position. In one sense, that's fine; in another, it really isn't – particularly when the end to this most underwhelming of arcs is Bendix (yet again) vowing to do something terrible to IO, the Earth or possibly both at the same time.

Consequently, the sensation of déjà vu is inescapable. That's not to say that the issue is terrible. It really really isn't. It's just that, as an ending to a six-issue arc and the last issue before a longer delay, this doesn't do enough. But, as I have said all along, this series is a long continuous story that builds an entire universe. As such it carries an unusually heavy burden and perhaps should be judged a little differently. So…

Bits and Pieces:

With customary aplomb, Ellis and Davis-Hunt continue moving their pieces judiciously around the board, while throwing us a confrontation between Marc Slayton and John Lynch that is as beautiful as it is pointless. The new Authority proto-team is exciting and seeing Marlowe's wild CAT about to leap into action is always great, but I really hope the next arc delivers on all this set-up in a suitably dramatic and exciting way. All that said, this is still one of the best comics out there right now.


1 comment:

  1. The anticlimactic resolution between Lynch and Slayton really surprised me, which further accentuated Lynch's grayscale as a character amidst the rectangular panels that lengthened the scenes giving a greater fluidity to the battle. Finally the Authority formed in a very spontaneous way, which has become one of the coolest passages of these characters so far. Nothing better than beer to make new friends.
    Looking forward to the new series of Wild CATs in which this edition plays the prologue.
    Speaking of spin offs, the return of Michael Cray also surprises, in a very good timing with his recently completed series, but brings more questions than answers, let's go to them:
    Is Helspont responsible for the Khera implant in Michael?
    Is he being induced to kill Miles Craven by orders from Bendix?
    And so far I have not been as confused reading The Wild Storm as today, why the hell are those Daemon aliens looking like aliens Khera in the bar? From his speech, it was one of them who talked to Angie in the last issue. I got the feeling that the more we think we're close to resolutions, the more the plot changes direction and this can be a bit frustrating at this point.