[Acquired Taste Book Club] Wonderful WildStorm! StormWatch (1993-) #0-6 and The Wild Storm (2017) #1

Acquired Taste Book Club Week 4!

2019-11-22T20:00:00Z2019-11-29T19:59:00Z

Welcome to the Acquired Taste Book Club! This time, we’ll be looking at WildStorm Productions!

Alright, as I’ve noted previously, I’m going into this completely blind. WildStorm grew out of several of current DC Co-Publisher Jim Lee’s titles produced for Image Comics in the early ‘90s. They were successful relative to most of Image’s line, and eventually spun off into an independent group, only to be met with declining sales in the mid-‘90s. This led up to DC’s acquisition of WildStorm’s characters and titles in 1999, and their popular reinvention with titles like Warren Ellis’s The Authority and Planetary.

WildStorm is a little different from Quality, Fawcett, or Charlton, for a few reasons. First, even after the DC acquisition in 1999, the WildStorm universe and editorial structure were kept separate from DC until 2011, and were spun off again in 2017. Second, since DC has the rights to all of WildStorm’s titles, we actually have a substantial chunk of their pre-acquisition output on DCU. By contrast, we have a few scattered issues of Quality Plastic Man and Charlton Captain Atom, but we have substantial portions of several original WildStorm titles.

When I was planning this club, I was interested in a more chronological approach, starting with early core titles like StormWatch, WildC.A.T.s, and Gen13, but others encouraged me to look into Warren Ellis’s (get used to the names Jim Lee and Warren Ellis) 2017 reboot title The Wild Storm. So, I’m splitting the difference. I try to never assign more than eight issues, so for WildStorm weeks, whenever I have fewer than eight issues, I’ll fill in the gaps with issues of The Wild Storm until we’re caught up.

Unfortunately, while we have some of those early titles I was interested in, we don’t have much, so these seven issues of StormWatch are about half of what we have.

Reading Assignment: StormWatch (1993-) #0-6 and The Wild Storm (2017-) #1

StormWatch:
StormWatch (1993-) #0
StormWatch (1993-) #1
StormWatch (1993-) #2
StormWatch (1993-) #3
StormWatch (1993-) #4
StormWatch (1993-) #5
StormWatch (1993-) #6
The Wild Storm
The Wild Storm (2017-) #1

STORMWATCH DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What are your general thoughts? (AKA: The “I haven’t read this and can’t find a helpful plot summary” cop-out question.)
  2. Who’s your favorite character? (There’s another one!)
  3. Were there any moments you liked? (I’m on a roll!)
  4. How about that early ‘90s art, huh?

THE WILD STORM DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Uh… What are your general thoughts?
  2. What are you interested to know more about?
  3. Alright, alright, here’s a good non-cop-out: Do you think it was a good idea to split the WildStorm characters back off from the DC Universe, or were there more stories to be told with them together?
  4. Who’s the wildest? Who’s the stormiest?

For questions or concerns, contact me @BatJamags.

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Sorry to have missed out on the last discussion. :neutral_face: I was busy getting things ready for my club’s next meeting and that means I’ve been reading a lot of material for that.

This looks like it will be interesting though so I’ll try to be here for this one.

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Nice! I’ve read a little bit of early Wildstorm – mostly WildCATS and Gen13 – but haven’t read any of this era of Stormwatch. Looking forward to getting into it. :slight_smile:

I’m half way through the Wildstorm series. The only Wildstorm, including the latest Stormwatch, I’ve read is here on DCU so it’s all new to me. While Midnighter in the Grayson series was fun, they really deserve their own universe. Let ‘me rip it up, destroy it, rebuild whatever. The characters are interesting enough to hold it on their own.

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reserves a front row table for whenever the discussion should shift to The Authority v1 and/or Planetary

I’m glad to see the Wildstorm Universe get some love in the Book Club community, as it’s a fun universe to hang one’s hat upon.

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I’ve always liked Stormwatch a bit more than Wildcats because of the international flavor to the team although I have no idea who can out serious the other between Battalion and Spartan.

I’m partial to Fuji, on account that he is usually on the positive trip given his condition.
The as*hole quotient is way higher on Stormwatch and knowing that Mr. Bendix can’t follow the law all the time looms over the title constantly.

I’ll be back after I read The Wildstorm #1 again.

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Well, this was certainly Image flavored, wasn’t it? Not bad overall, but like an older recipe at a rundown restaurant that people use to rave about back in its prime.

Backlash, I suppose. But I wonder why he wasn’t in charge since he trained Battalion to begin with.

There wasn’t any moments that I flat didn’t like, I enjoy a good high budget popcorn flick that requires no thought whatsoever, except I didn’t care for that part near the beginning where they were all, “See? Women can do stuff, too!” That was very…quaint.

Boy howdy! Women didn’t wear much back in the 90’s, did they?

Regarding The Wildstorm: I’ve read this multiple times, and really enjoy it. There’s some great world building on this series and all the characters are pretty intriguing. I can’t answer what I want to know more about because I already do.I

This story is great so I’m glad we have it. And, really, the elements are so different from what I know of the regular version of the characters, I think they could still have the originals running around in DC proper without an issue.

That’s one of the things I like about the series, that all of the characters are unique and really stand out from each other.

Ugh. I tried. I really did. But…

Exactly. I hated these comics back in the day, and I still have trouble digesting the art now. It’s as if they found a way to replace ink with testosterone.

Plus, the Aussie’s name is Foster. Make it stop. Please make it stop.

For some reason this reminds of the time a roommate told me I should just melt my comics down so I could shoot them directly into my veins.

That happened in the 90’s, so I figure it’s on topic.

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Hey, so I know I owe you all another installment, but I’m just busy this week, so I’ll have to punt a little. It shouldn’t be later than Monday, but I might be able to get it up and running tomorrow.

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Thanks, @BatJamags. You owe us nothing, so take your time.

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It’s all good – in fact, still need to finish the reading anyway. :sweat_smile:

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Aaaaaand finished! :slight_smile:

What are your general thoughts? (AKA: The “I haven’t read this and can’t find a helpful plot summary” cop-out question.)

Points for honesty!

Overall I thought this was a decent bunch of issues. I like the world-building and set-up they have for it. It feels like a mix of Marvel’s X-Men and Avengers, with a sort of semi-alternate-history, semi-futuristic take on Starfleet, with this arm of a world government organization orbiting Earth.

The downside for this is that a lot of the characters here don’t really feel all that thought out or compelling. A few of them feel like just walking power-sets and don’t really do much other than fill out a page.

Who’s your favorite character? (There’s another one!)

That said, I would say my favorite character in these issues is definitely Backlash. Like a lot of created superhero characters of this time, he feels like a mash-up of X-Men/Marvel characters – this one I feel a mix of Wolverine, Captain America and Nightcrawler – but I feel like he still had his own quirks that make him interesting in terms of power-set and personality, was the most fleshed out and, unlike other similarly sketched out characters like Batallion, he was more fun to read.

Were there any moments you liked? (I’m on a roll!)

In that vein, I liked the scene of Backlash training Batallion’s brother and Cannon (which, by the way, is such an on-the-nose codename that I honestly love it). I felt like it had the most personality and interesting components to it.

How about that early ‘90s art, huh?

I mean, I don’t hate this era of art on principle. I think I would describe Scott Clark’s art here are perfectly adequate. I think the worst part of it is that it feels like he’s trying too hard to emulate Jim Lee and he doesn’t really give the book it’s own look.

I will say that looking him up and remembering seeing him in other books, Clark does develop his own style. You may have seen him on books like Batman Incorporated, Brightest Day, and Flashpoint: Wonder Woman & the Female Furies, as well as Hawkman and Grifter for the New 52. Sadly he died back in 2013 at the terribly too soon age of 46.

Uh… What are your general thoughts?

Overall a great set-up issue. I feel like it was a good way to get both new people and people familiar with these characters to go “WTF” and want to keep reading. At first I thought they were going a little too drab and trying to hard to “normalize” this world in order to update it, especially with Zealot apparently being human, but with Marlowe talking about his weapon embedded in his body and having to use it for the first time in a hundred years, I’m hoping that they’re keeping the more, well, wild aspects of the universe and just slowly easing readers into it.

What are you interested to know more about?

I want to see more of Zealot, defintiely – she was one of my favorites in WildC.A.T.s – imagine if Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl from JL:TAS had a zen, sword-wielding baby. I’m also curious to see more of Angela, aka the Engineer, as well as this version of Void.

Alright, alright, here’s a good non-cop-out: Do you think it was a good idea to split the WildStorm characters back off from the DC Universe, or were there more stories to be told with them together?

Well, I think both had their points. I liked some of the crazy combinations of the characters back in the New 52, like Grifter in Future’s End and Midnighter becoming a foil for Dick Grayson. And Martian Manhunter leading Stormwatch in a crazy machiavellian way of preparing the Earth for a future threat, and the wierd mix of Gen13, Teen Titans and Doom Patrol in The Ravengers. I wish they were able to do more with the Wildstorm part of things – I know that they were going to do some big Daemonite invasion event as hinted in the Grifter, Voodoo books, and even in Superman and Red Hood & The Outlaws, but it seems like editorial just could never get the ball rolling.

On the other hand, I really like stories like this where they have their own world, lore and are able to do stuff that isn’t typically done in the same manner in the more standard superhero books.

So…part of me wants to be greedy and say I’d like to see both, but if I have to only choose one, I guess it would have to be separate.

Who’s the wildest? Who’s the stormiest?

I mean, seeing a young woman transform into an anthropomorphized fighter jet is pretty wild. As for stormiest…I’ll go with whoever caused that flash of light that got Marlowe thrown out the window.

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I’m so, so sorry I made you read this.

I mean, Fuji was kind of cool. I guess. I don’t know, these guys are all completely interchangeable, but I feel like I learned his name the easiest.

… No.

It sure was… very… early '90s.

This is more like it. Hard to get a good sense of where it’s going from one issue, but there’s, like, plot and characterization.

So far, I’m most interested in the Engineer. She seems to be the least shady so far, so I’m inclined to like her. I guess the same can be said of Voodoo, but her role in this issue was much shorter and vaguer.

Well, as we’ve been discussing in other weeks, integrating an existing separate continuity into the DC Universe has been done. However, when Quality, Fawcett, and Charlton were dealt in, their libraries had a lot of fairly typical, status quo-heavy superhero stories. WildStorm came about in an era with a stronger sense of interconnected continuity, and so from what I know about it, it seems to work better when it has breathing room to develop independently of the main DCU’s baggage. And comparing this to StormWatch, I’d certainly say the new WildStorm universe is off to a better start than the original one.

I don’t have an answer to this, but I promise that now that I’ve got a foothold on this continuity, I’ll be able to make dumb jokes that have a little more substance.

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And, really, what else could anyone ask for?

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Yeah, I think it’s fair to say that there isn’t a lot of substance in those seven issues, but there were ideas from this and other 90s WildStorm era books that have potential, and I think The Wild Storm not only is showing that in action, but even earlier Ellis’ previous work in WildStorm, like his own StormWatch run that lead up to perhaps one of his most iconic works in The Authority.

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