Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Wild Storm #19 Review and Spoilers

Welcome To The War

Written by: Warren Ellis
Art by: Jon Davis-Hunt
Colours by: Steve Buccellato
Letters by: Simon Bowland
Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 23, 2019

It feels like it's been way more than two months since we last had an issue of The Wild Storm. After a somewhat repetitive – though still enjoyable – third arc of this sci-fi reimagining of the Wild Storm universe, it's time for the final act and, hopefully, a bit more forward momentum. Let's dive in, eh?

The first thing to say is that this issue is very much a recap – and fuller explanation – of what's gone before. Normally, this would irk me a little, but it's done so well and the additional information we receive is so interesting, I really don't mind. The issue starts with us joining Jenny Mei Sparks halfway through recounting her (very long!) personal history to Shen, Jack Hawksmoor and Angie. Ellis' characterization is, as usual, faultless. All four characters are engaging, likeable and interesting and the subtleties of Davis-Hunt's art portray, for example, Angie's skepticism and Hawksmoor's polite boredom perfectly. Speaking of Mr Davis-Hunt, the issue's first double-page spread is simply magnificent and, yes I'm going to say it, worth the cover price alone. (Clichés are clichés because, sometimes, they're just true.)

Much of the first section is taken up with a rundown of Skywatch's history of interplanetary travel and Ellis' storytelling is typically rich in cynical and faintly alarming detail. Most of Skywatch's first batch of Martian colonists had died of radiation poisoning in the first eighteen months of their arrival, for example, and it's hard to argue with the assessment of the 1950s Jenny Mei Sparks that Skywatch's Martian adventure "all looks crap". 

The rest of the comic is mostly taken up with a visit by Shen to the otherworldly 'hospital' where she can commune with the other Doctors who have come before her. In this instance, she demands – and gets – a proper explanation of the influence of the Khera and Daemonites on Earth's development over the past few thousand years and a greater understanding of what their respective goals are. It's a much-needed clarification of the state of play and this reader, for one, is delighted to see it here.  Much of the mystery of the last 18 issues is cleared up and the stage is set for what I hope will be a conclusion worthy of the meticulously detailed build up we've had so far.

In the meantime, this issue is actually a good jumping on point for anyone who, for some unaccountable reason, has failed to pick up this series so far. If a full-on explanation of much of this iteration of the Wild Storm universe's back story doesn't whet your appetite, perhaps the prospect of some Midnighter/Apollo pillow talk might do the trick? In any case, there's a lot to get your teeth into in this issue and an awful lot to like.

Bits and Pieces:

The Wild Storm returns with… wit! Charm! Gorgeous artwork! And (finally) answers! After having been a bit underwhelmed by the last few issues, this one sets the stage very effectively for the series' conclusion. Beautifully crafted by both writer and art team, this is exactly what I wanted from the series' return.


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