Welcome to Comics Beat, in which we review comic books a few times throughout the week. Individual issues, collections, graphic novels – they’re all good enough for our comic geeks to cover.
The Wild Storm #2 (DC)
Series Description: A man has been thrown from the upper floor of a skyscraper. Angela Spica, sick from the transhuman implants she’s buried in her own body–is the only person who can save him.
What she doesn’t know is that the act of saving that one man will tip over a vast and secret house of cards that encloses the entire world, if not the inner solar system. This is how the Wild Storm begins, and it may destroy covert power structures, secret space programs and even all of human history.
Issue #2 is called THE WILD STORM: CHAPTER TWO.
Angela Spica remains in her transhuman state, armored up and flying. Saving Jacob Marlowe when he was thrown out of the Halo skyscraper (due to a botched assassination attempt by IO assassin Michael Clay) has forced her to go on the run. She lands at Camp Hero, on Montauk Island, where she has a secret bunker. The armor mostly functioned successfully, but she is left crying and alone, hidden from the world. Or so she thinks.
Miles Craven and International Operations (IO) are hunting Angela, as is Jacob Marlowe and his covert action team leader, Cole Cash. The fallout from our heroine’s actions has also exposed the fact that IO secretly stole Skywatch technology. So Henry Bendix (director of Skywatch) orders Christine Trelane and Lucy Blaze (aka Zealot) to find Angela Spica as well.
Everyone wants to know what Angela is, and how she transformed herself. Elsewhere, Voodoo appears in an alien-centric music video, and Michael Clay visits his therapist, admitting to her that he has killed lots of people and has an inoperable brain tumor. The various groups set out to obtain Angela Spica.
In this book, we see Warren Ellis reimagining familiar characters for the modern day. This issue in particular is full of classic Ellis tropes. There’s a lot of somewhat cool, super-smart people, all standing around a table and working a problem, all while bantering about technology and culture, often while threatening each other in novel ways.
That kind of stuff is great, especially if you’re an Ellis fan. But, also in classic Ellis style, certain asides and conversational nuances might have translated better to film or TV. You see a lot more classic Wildstorm characters in this issue, all with their outlandish nineties selves dialed back, redressed as tactically-minded, bleeding-edge versions.
We also get a glimpse of that staple Ellis idea of “The Bleed,” the hemoglobin-looking space between dimensions. There’s definitely some superheroic magic going on here, but it’s all presented in a very Ellis-toned, current-William-Gibson near future/global citizen type of way. That said, even in two issues, each character so far has a clear role, making them all pieces of a large puzzle. All except Voodoo, of course, but then… that’s always been true, hasn’t it?
Maybe I’ll be proven wrong this time, but I don’t think there’s ever been a more completely useless center stage main character than Priscilla “Voodoo” Kitaen. Here, instead of being a stripper, she’s a pop singer, and… meh.
Like some of the other titles I mentioned today, The Wild Storm is also a miniseries. But this one will clock in at 24 issues long, with the stories being told in groups of four. Ellis did something similar with his Galactus story in the Marvel Ultimate Universe. It’s a good model for him. Best of all, Ellis seems truly interested in this book, so we should get something special here. After the first two issues, I’m really interested in seeing what he does with full creative control.