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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Wildstorm Random Thoughts:

I've always had a mixed sort of reaction to Wildstorm products (for that matter Image as well, I'm never sure when some series switched over).

Take the Authority for instance. It's very clever, I like the characters, and the concept is very original. But I'm never really sure if I like the series.

I think this may be rather similar actually to my reaction to the Ultimate Marvel Universe. Interesting ideas, but seems to try way too hard to be edgy sometimes.

That said Jack's got the coolest power ever and Apollo and Midnighter are very cute. I'm not sure if I'll pick up Midnighter's solo series coming up. I'm happy that it doesn't seem like they'll be breaking up the couple, just focusing on what he does on his own. But honestly, I much prefer Apollo as a character than Midnighter. Midnighter's a bit too over the top without Apollo humanizing him.

I will though likely pick up the first Authority and WildCATS. I've heard Morrison might be using some of the version 3 story with "Jack Marlowe" and the company. I'm really hoping that's the case. I'd thought that was a really interesting idea. Though I was sad that "Jack" had changed so far from Hadrian 7 (my favorite WildCAT) to be almost completely unrecognizable. Still I'll probably like it.

As long as Voodoo's not there anyway. Man do I hate that character. I hate her more than I hate Dick Grayson. And that's saying someting. :-)

I've never gotten around to reading Ex Machina, though I've heard it's really good.

Can someone fill me in on this "Worldstorm" thing? It's been a while since I've read Wildstorm. Is it like Crisis was? Or is it something else entirely?

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  • At September 23, 2006 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Its kind of like Crisis. At the end of the Captain Atom Armageddon mini the Wildstorm Universe was blown up and reset by 'the Worldstorm'. It seems like things will be very similar, but not identical, to how they were before.

  • At September 23, 2006 10:59 AM, Anonymous Mark Engblom said…

    Is it just me, or is Wildstorm constantly relaunching their line? Yeah, every publisher tries to goose sales with events, but with Wildstorm there's always such a whiff of desperation. I think Wildstorm fit better into the publishing model of the early 90's, when the big rage was churning out fully-formed alternte continuities (which Valiant had kicked off in the late 80's), but I just don't see the market for alternate super-hero pantheons. Wildstorm has a real uphill battle ahead of them.

  • At September 23, 2006 12:03 PM, Anonymous david brothers said…

    This is Wildstorm's first relaunch. They've done drastically different takes on various series, but never a full blown reboot.

    What's kind of funny is that Jim Lee said they set up Worldstorm to give the writers a clean slate, and most off the writers decided to take 99% of the ideas that'd come previously and leave them in continuity.

    Basically, though, Worldstorm came from the new Void creating another Big Bang and remaking the WSU. Humans in that universe couldn't survive with how things were going, so pop, start over again. it's a Crisis Writ Small.

    The Authority became "edgy" once Ellis left and Millar came on, mainly because, well, it's Millar. Before that, it was very much a precursor to Nextwave (though less sarcastic). Heroes kicked faces in, beat the crap out of the bad guy, and left without cleaning up the mess.

    I don't really see the edgy complaint in the rest of their big series, though. Gen13 (at least when it was great under Adam Warren) was X-Men + Fantastic Four + Cool (the issue of Caitlin vs the Bubble Gum Pop Meme was great, "What Savage Breast" was the title I believe), Wildcats and Wildcats 3.0 (two of the finest runs in comics, ever) were takes on soldiers without a war and Business as War respectively, and Brubaker's Authority was a "Planet X"-style commentary on the cyclical nature of comics... so I guess what I'm saying is that when it was good, it wasn't faux edgy. Casey's Wildcats, Brubaker's Point Blank, Sleeper, and Authority, Ellis's Stormwatch and Authority, and Warren's Gen13 were all excellent, excellent titles. Ellis and Warren kind of led the first Wildstorm revolution, where two of their three flagship books ("Wildstorm" comes from Stormwatch + Wildcats) ended up drastically changing direction and ending up the better for it. A few years later, Casey took over Wildcats from Lobdell, Brubaker started writing, and things kept improving. Add in DnA's wonderful Majestic series (third and final trade hits in December!), and you've got an interesting little universe.

    I'm all over Worldstorm, myself, since I love the WSU. The only book I'm really iffy on is Portacio's Wetworks, since it didn't really grab me as a kid. Whilce's work has been kind of muddy lately, too. Otherwise, I can't resist Grant Morrison, Jim Lee, Doug Mahnke (his Team Zero mini was Chuck Dixon was nigh-perfect), Gene Ha, or Brian Azzarello. Even Ennis's Midnighter is going to play directly to his strengths, which is "bastards beating the crap out of other bastards."

    I realized sometime ago that I'd unintentionally become a pretty big WSU nut, so I can probably answer/summarize anything you want to ask/know. There are times when I feel like I like the WSU more than the DCU, though they're about even right now :)

  • At September 23, 2006 12:04 PM, Anonymous david brothers said…

    also: Ex Machina is the proverbial bee's knees. It's excellent, though not even remotely WSU. Same thing with The Wintermen, a series about washed up Russian heroes drawn by John Paul Leon. Both are great, great series, though Wintermen is horrendously late.

  • At September 24, 2006 8:01 PM, Anonymous Jer said…

    Take the Authority for instance. It's very clever, I like the characters, and the concept is very original. But I'm never really sure if I like the series. I think this may be rather similar actually to my reaction to the Ultimate Marvel Universe. Interesting ideas, but seems to try way too hard to be edgy sometimes.

    Are you basing this on the Ellis series, the Millar series, or just the overall book? I enjoyed Ellis's run on the book - for all of the hype about it being a "new way of looking at superheroes" it was mostly bog-standard superhero stories with the violence, profanity and action cranked up to 11. That, coupled with Bryan Hitch's beautiful widescreen pencils, made the series a fun read, if not a classic.

    Millar's Authority is all about button-pushing - its the "OH NO HE DIDN'T" book. It's what a high school kid might think is really bleeding edge comics, but really its just standard comics with more profanity, more gore, and more rape. Even Quitely's beautiful work on the book really can't salvage it for me: I didn't finish the run after the big hiatus and I don't reread the ones that I have very often (unlike the Ellis run, which I break out from time to time).

    I see the Ultimate Universe in much the same way - probably because Millar is one of the chief architects. Its not that its trying too hard to be edgy in my mind, its that it has a very immature view of what being on the cutting edge MEANS. That's fine - the market for it seems to be quite large, so clearly people like it - but it's not for me.

    If anything, Ellis's Stormwatch was probably and edgier superhero book than any Authority book that has come after it. The way he wrote the politics of superheroes and the consequences of their actions in his tenure were quite different from a lot of other stuff that was on the market at the time. I was kind of sad that he took Authority in a completely different direction - moving it from something with trappings of a political drama into a more standard superhero book.


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