Over the past couple of months, “The Wild Storm” has accelerated in the pacing of the plot. With so many characters in the narrative with brand new ties to each other, writer Warren Ellis has had his work cut out for him in establishing the new imprint. Thankfully, the creator hasn’t toned down some of the stranger pieces of narrative either as readers continue getting to know the odd, wonderful world of “The Wild Storm”.
It has also been refreshing to get one of the few series that has a strongly defined visual language with only Jon Davis-Hunt contributing to the art this far. Readers have been lucky to earn the distinct pleasure of having a team truly stick together with no replacements while the full team hits creative deadlines. WildStorm was always something special, it just took creators like Ellis and Davis-Hunt bringing the book from the ground up to really prove why.
Written by Warren Ellis
Illustrated by Jon Davis-Hunt
Colored by Steve Buccellato
Lettered by Simon Bowland
Angie Spica is given access to Jacob Marlowe’s secret lab, and discovers a treasure trove of technologies and sciences strange, ancient and alien. In this underground hold, she begins the process of fixing herself—and, perhaps, even evolving herself. In another hidden room, Jackie King and her team at IO begin planning a covert cyberwar attack against Skywatch—something even her own boss doesn’t know she’s doing.
“The Wild Storm” #9 is a dense, whirlwind of a single issue which merits further analysis. The book breaks from a linear structure of storytelling early on, giving only a few pages for characters to keep up with the main groups of cast members in the book. The first few installments give both sides new angles and perspectives advancing the main stories just enough before the completely swaps focus and switches to the biggest action sequence “The Wild Storm” has ever cared to embark on. These narrative oddities and tricks happen at the right time, as the series has started to take on a more linear form over the past couple of installments with the two warring companies making the slightest of moves on each other overtime in a dark, supernatural chess game.
When Ellis decides to really go all out and explore this wild flashback scene, the way in which the author and Davis-Hunt transition the book into this second segment is a stroke of comics genius. The subtle movement slows the installment down and leads readers to believe the comic is going to turn into a slow-moving and boring sequence. Since the first entry into the title, Davis-Hunt has used the form and shape of comics to explore innovative page layouts and panel structures. Davis-Hunt pulls out every trick in his arsenal here from seeding tension with with a flurry of panels to altering the color scheme to violent red hues. Given the the nature of the title has had nothing to do with Samurai or Feudal Japan, this is another captivating change for the comic the full creative team excels at yet again. I’m starting to believe there is no genre Ellis, Davis-Hunt or “The Wild Storm” won’t explore as the series continues.
This bombastic sequence is great, but it is at least slightly confusing with Ellis not giving readers any additional information regarding the flashback aside from a few pages of exposition a little later in the issue. Aside from those scenes, the book still has a bit more to offer with a bleak commentary about the current state of affairs and what I can only assume is a peak into the way Ellis perceives some of the changes in technology through the years. This issue balances walking atop a tight rope of having something to say but not seeming preachy fairly well while throwing out some characterization for supporting players in the book quite nicely.
Even though this particular issue is part of a serial narrative, the book comes full circle beautifully, using some of the same symbols and motifs from the beginning of the chapter to close the installment. Characters who were wounded a couple of chapters ago still have injuries they need to to heal which is another refreshing way to ground this narrative that feels at times only slightly removed from the current state of affairs or only a few years away from what’s going on right now.
Instead of just throwing some additional context to the ongoing war of two factions, “The Wild Storm” #9 takes some time to flesh out a supporting character and lob some additional background players more context as well. There’s a lot to love about this particular issue which arguably carries the best action sequence the series has ever implemented.
Final Verdict: 8.0 – “The Wild Storm” #9 switches up the series’ familiar formula for a thrilling and violent diversion.