A refreshing and accessible reboot
It's been a while since we've seen the characters from the Image Wildstorm imprint in publication. There was the attempt to integrate the characters into the DC Universe at large with The New 52 reboot with some varying success. But for the most part, these characters have been let alone even when the The New 52 evolved into Rebirth. Having Warren Ellis involved to reboot the property as a separate universe is a good decision since it allows readers to get on board without having to worry about everything else within the DC Universe.
Personally, it's been such a long time that I have read Wildstorm characters that it is hard to remember all the main characters and how their respective personalities should play out. That said, just having a passing familiarity with them was sufficient to jog some of the memory. Grifter still looks like Grifter for the most part, Michael Cray, aka Deathblow, has some sort of illness as before, and Jacob Marlow is still a very short guy. Things like this, along with the repurposing of old Wildstorm names or terminology, make for fun easter eggs as you read along.
What we get out of this Volume 1 is good world building from Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt. We are introduced to the notion that the world is run by clandestine organizations: International Operations and Skywatch. I/O has full domain over the earth, and Skywatch is in charge of all that is orbit and beyond into space. We learn that these two organizations have been at a tentative stalemate for the longest time and that there is an alien species is on Earth. The tension between these organizations is upended when Angela Spica reveals that she has been experimenting with technology that she shouldn't have has access to.
Pacing of the first volume is on point for what I would expect from what is essentially a sci-fiSpy vs. Spybook. Jon Davis-Hunt does a superb job in his action layouts, with scenes playing out with the timing and intensity of great spy movie fight scenes. His pencil work is super clean, very detailed, but not overly busy. With so many characters in the book, it could be easy to reuse a facial feature here or there, but I see none of that. Everyone looks very distinct. The color palette the team is working with strikes a good balance of bringing a sense of realism with a punch of the fantastic. Definitely worth checking out.
The Wild Storm, Vol. 1
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