The Wild Storm Volume 2 (2018)
Reprints The Wild Storm #7-12
Written by Warren Ellis
Art by Jon Davis-Hunt
One of the many plot threads running through Warren Ellis’ epic and intricate reboot of the Wildstorm universe is the internal politics of world-spanning conspiracies. Instead of presenting these as tense battles of control, Ellis chooses to frame them as the same sort of mundane office politics you might find in any cubicle farm. Jacklyn King is working her own angles at International Operations, putting together teams and performing investigations without her boss Miles Craven being aware, at least not at the beginning. The Halo Corporation has their own man on the inside, John Colt, who the readers meet just as he realizes he’s been compromised and has to shoot his way out before Adrianna can teleport him away. Yet, when Colt arrives at the Halo safe house, it’s played very nonchalantly, not the first time he’s gone through this. There is a mix of humor and horror in how people living these conspiratorial existences can come to find them so unimpressive.
It’s this second volume where we finally learn who Jacob Marlowe is and what is driving all of this intrigue behind the scenes. Marlowe is part of alien culture composed of multiple clade species, sharing an ancestry but divergent from each other. They made their way across the galaxy, and Marlowe says they came to Earth because they were curious about the rapid development of intelligent life here but became stuck on the planet without a way to contact their home. As with every explanation a character gives in this series; some of this is true, and other parts are lies. Angela Spica agrees to work for Marlowe with the promise she’ll keep him in the loop on any breakthroughs she makes with the stolen Skywatch technology.
Ellis continues his dramatic reimagining by reintroducing another character associated with The Authority. This time it’s The Doctor who is now a woman living in Amsterdam and working as a psychedelic shaman for people seeking a spiritual experience. She’s fully aware of her place in a lineage of healer of the Earth, even communicating with the souls of her predecessors. The Doctor crosses paths with Jenny Quantum, the Spirit of the 21st Century, and this relationship is going to be one of the most important ones in the whole book. It’s implied when The Doctor enters Jenny’s consciousness that she is a product of alien engineering on humanity for centuries which. This, along with Jenny’s place as our era’s avatar, gives her the unique ability to use print and digital media as a means of transporting herself through space. She can pop up on your phone or walk through a billboard in Times Square, directly connected to the communications space of the masses.
We also get further explanation of the animosity between SkyWatch and I.O. Henry Bendix narrates a flashback to the 1970s where he ordered an invasion of an I.O./USSR facility after learning about plans to pull off a space launch. The treaty between the orgs specified that SkyWatch had exclusive control of everything off-planet. This leads to a leak made intentionally by Halo that I.O. is currently mulling over an attack on SkyWatch and then causes Bendix to blow his top. A side effect of this global data leak is that retired I.O. director John Lynch, who is living isolated in snowy mountains at the ends of the Earth gets access to a list of the current whereabouts of the subjects in his Gen12 project. This will lead to the next big story arc that gets addressed in volume 3.