The Wild Storm Volume 4 (2019)
Reprints The Wild Storm #19-24
Written by Warren Ellis
Art by Jon Davis-Hunt
Several major plot threads are wrapping after a year and a half of build-up. The feud between International Operations and SkyWatch has escalated to the point that the unware citizens of Earth are in peril. John Lynch is hunting down the people he experimented on while Mark Slayton is hunting down Lynch. Jacob Marlowe and the Halo Corporation are trying to throw a wrench into everything while pushing the agenda of the Khera. Unnoticed by almost everyone is Angelica Spica and her growing group of compatriots see a different path forward for humanity. What surprised me most about this final volume is how for all Ellis’ build-up the story falls apart and becomes a pretty standard superhero battle.
As expected, this chapter is all about revealing the truth behind the Khera and Daemonite presence on Earth, and it is not clear-cut good versus evil paradigm. LIke I.O. and SkyWatch, neither side really has the best interests of humanity in mind. People like the Doctor and Jenny Quantum were created as a defense mechanism for the planet, and along the way, the tossed-off experiments of the clandestine became allies. Jack Hawksmoor and Angela Spica as examples of a few. The superpowered couple Apollo and Midnighter are finally revealed in this reboot, pretty much resembling their previous incarnation without extremely minor changes.
By the end of this final act, we have significant leaders killed and a complete upset of the status quo. Who once was in charge is no longer, but it doesn’t mean all the conflicts have been resolved. The core event of these six issues is the emergence of The Authority, refashioned as a wild card force in pure defense of humanity and the planet. Interestingly, Marlowe and the WildCATs are not the stars of this title as I thought they would initially be. Instead, that team, once the premier group of Wildstorm, is framed as a failed alternative to I.O. and SkyWatch. They end up being another faction with an agenda counter to the greater good.
The Authority is a team composed of the results of I.O. and SkyWatch’s sins, a unification of the harmed and damaged, who see hope as something still possible. Most importantly, this chapter reaffirms that Angela Spica is the soul of the book. It’s a shame that got lost so often in this epic narrative, and it was only in this wrap up that we refocused on her arc. That doesn’t mean what remains isn’t fascinating, but that we wander and drift in the story often. While the narrative meanders, I feel the themes of these 24 issues are pitch-perfect. It’s obvious what Ellis wants to say, and he’s able to convey that through a myriad of voices and moments.
The Wild Storm presents one of D.C. more interesting parallel realities, and that’s all thanks to having a singular creator with a defined vision. A WildCATs mini-series is coming soon, and I am interested to see where Ellis goes next with this world. I would have expected him to follow up with The Authority because they are clearly the stars of this title in the end. Instead, he’s going to explore this profoundly flawed team who are acting with an unclear directive, misled by the man leading them. Hopefully, Ellis delivers on the promise of The Wild Storm and gives us something to remember.