It’s been a long time since I’ve read a comic based within the WildStorm universe. In fact, I think the last one I read was WildC.A.T.S. #1 released back in 2006. Back then, Jim Lee was in the midst of relaunching the WildStorm universe as a separate imprint of DC Comics, which DC Comics acquired back in 1999. Unfortunately, the properties associated with WildStorm such as Stormwatch, Gen13, Wetworks, The Authority, and others didn’t perform as expected, and in 2010 DC Comics shut down the imprint.
When The New52 was launched in 2011, the characters associated with the WildStorm universe were incorporated within the reboot. I don’t remember the characters being that heavily involved though, more like outliers, and so the WildStorm universe wasn’t focused on much. After it was announced in late 2016 that Warren Ellis, one of the original writers of Stormwatch and The Authority, was coming back to helm the relaunch of the Wildstorm universe (with the full support of DC Comics), my interest peaked.
I’ll be honest, I was excited to get my hands on The WildStorm #1 because I wanted to see what vision Warren had for the universe he once dabbled in during the early 1990s. I was surprised by how stripped down the main characters were of their original looks. Many of the characters I recognized like Zealot and Voodoo were in street clothes instead of their classic costumes. The look of the characters made sense since they were on a covert mission and it set the tone for the series which before use to have a very superhero-y look.
The art by Jon Davis-Hunt (Vertigo’s Clean Room) is clean (no pun intended) and just right for the genre. Additionally, the colors laid down by Ivan Plascencia match perfectly with Jon’ art. Both bring a style to the book that makes it have a believability factor.
I got the sense that Warren wanted to stay true to all the conspiracy theories and dark government operations that Jim and the rest of the original WildStorm crew liked to have in their earlier works, while providing his own spin on things. Although the book has a grounded look, the story took off when it started showcasing some of the advancements of the characters such as robotics emerging from underneath their skin. Due to the story dealing with the assassination of a top-level tech guru, aliens, and robotics emerging from underneath human flesh, the story had a very anime feel to it, even though the art wasn’t done in an anime style. If you’re worried about not having knowledge of the previous WildStorm works, don’t, Warren is writing this series for those that are new to the imprint.
I’m interested to see where things will go from here and it’s encouraging to know that DC Comics is given this series a chance by announcing it will be 24 issues. Based on what DC Comics has recently done with their Hanna-Barbera license and the success of those books tied to that license, I’m confident that WildStorm won’t be pushed to the back like so many times before. So if you’re looking for a comic that has a grounded superhero feel, but mixes in sci-fi elements, check out The WildStorm.