It’s been a while, but I remember reading WildC.A.T.s for a while in the 90s. It was full of women in painted-on micro-armor and men with shoulders that could block doorways. Everyone was always posing dramatically and scowling those beautiful, Jim Lee, dark-eyed glares (even when it wasn’t Jim Lee’s art, that’s what everybody was trying to do back then.) (Well, him or Liefeld anyway.) Long tassels of hair swung around in perfectly-timed breezes, and there were leg-pouches everywhere. I thought they were pretty silly, and I was completely obsessed with them for at least six months.
I skipped the New 52 reboot of many of the Wildstorm characters, and now I’m sort of glad I did, because The Wild Storm looks to be a selective re-reboot of everything, and if the first issue’s any indication, I’m going to like it.
(Minor spoilers follow.)
First of all, it’s Warren Ellis, and as I just finished a marathon reread of Transmetropolitan, jumping into this book was awfully fun. He does the greatest things with sarcastic, snappy dialog, with meta-references to other universes.
“There’s an alley down here where a guy turned into a bat in 1939.”
“Cool. I’m totally paid enough to go on the New York UFO Bat Hobo tour.”
He’s brought back a lot of characters that appeared in the original universe or in one of the cross-dimension/pseudo-reboots, but we don’t know yet exactly what the differences will be. It’s not his first time with these characters, obviously, but he’s not afraid to mess around with continuity, and I’m really looking forward to how he brings the pieces together.
Miles Craven shows up, looking surprisingly not creepy. Lord Emp too, Deathblow, and Voodoo (Miles’s husband Julian throws some shade at her under his breath, “A black woman using the name Voodoo weirds me out,” and I’m not sure he’s wrong.) No sign of Cole yet, but you know that’ll happen soon.
Angela Spica appears, acting like a cross between a Nobel-prize winning theoretical physicist and a tweaker, and not particularly happy with her upgrades, so our Engineer’s going to be pretty interesting. Especially considering the couple pages when we first see what she can do. Four words and a scream, and it was just like that moment in an action movie when the music kicks in. Still gave me chills on the second read.
Jon Davis-Hunt’s art with Ivan Plascencia’s colors were excellent. The faces and figures were all extremely well done, not cartoony but not so realistic that they get disturbing. Detailed, is what I mean. Lots and lots of detail. And the backgrounds were fantastic, some excellent shots of New York that didn’t distract from the characters but really drew you in once you started paying attention to them.
But it was the tongue-in-cheek first page that won me over, I admit it. (Check it out below before you read the next bit, if you want to see what I mean before I spoil it.)
We see a white-haired woman, glaring into a bathroom mirror. She’s got blood all over her face, and before she washes it off (while telling someone on a communicator that she’s made a mess of the man she was supposed to be interviewing) we can see the blood is exactly like Zealot’s face paintings from the original series. But Jon does it so well. It was exactly the right tone: “No, there will be no top-knot tassel and criss-crossing thigh holsters because it’s not the 90s anymore, but we know you loved that and we loved it too, so here, enjoy the face paint for a minute.”
Seriously, do what you want, DC, I’m in for the next few issues on that alone.
Preview images courtesy of DC Comics.