Mike learns more about the people he works for, Angela and Void share a cup of coffee (and a mind meld) and Zealot discovers there’s more to this three-way conflict than the reader may have previously suspected.
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Jon Davis-Hunt
Publisher: DC Comics
We’re now five issues into (what the cover graphics suggest may be) a 24-issue series, and it’s clear that The Wild Storm is going to be a dense read. I don’t say that as a negative, mind you–this is a book that builds characters and develops stories at its own pace, which is a virtual necessity when dealing with a cast this large. Yes there are POV characters (Angela and Mike seem to get the most attention), but even tertiary characters like Zealot and Grifter have shown solid depth and complexity in their limited screen time. It’s reassuring to read something that takes time to develop its cast without ignoring action sequences or any of the more engaging elements that help define these books.
Most interesting to me is the development of Mike Cray, formerly known as Deathblow in the Image days, who is emerging as the most relatable and empathetic ‘protagonist’ in this series–and that says something, considering his history as a rather bland Punisher pastiche. In this issue we get a deeper look into the kind of work Mike’s been doing, and moreover, how little he knew of the implications of his time as a political assassin. Like a lot of people in his position, his impending death from brain tumor has made him somewhat reticent to keep doing the kind of morally dubious work that has made him a point of interest in the larger narrative. As such, his research into his past missions seems to have put him at odds with IO brass, and hints that he could be working for the competition in the future. This is only further emphasized in the pseudo cliffhanger that, though somewhat clumsily delivered, suggests that Mike may be on the outs with his former employer.
Elsewhere we get a great conversation between Angela and Void, which sheds light on the latter’s mysterious backstory, and seemingly brings the former into the fold. It is here we learn Void’s new (and better, if I’m honest) origin story, and begin to get our first real feel for the character beyond “wears silver/teleports.” I’m glad they kept space exploration a part of her backstory, as it goes further to explain her issues with Skywatch (and the IO I suppose) than her previous status as some sort of merged metal goddess ever did.
The part of the story that will likely have most people talking is the first emergence of The Wild Storm version of the Daemonites. This mysterious beast (referred only to as Daemon in the book) approaches Zealot as she investigates the fire fight from last issue to see what she knows and to insist that the Daemonites didn’t start the war with the Kherubim, the latter’s misconceptions and undue aggression did. Visually, I think the Deamonites look pretty cool, and seeing seeing Voodoo (who historically has been 1/3 Daemonite) seemingly transform a part of her body to match the aesthetic only serves to further the mystery behind her. They really need to do an issue on her already, because her segments tend to be the most confusing.
If you’ve been following the series, you know what to expect from the art. Another solid outing from Davis-Hunt, whose pacing and character design (like the previously mentioned Daemonite) remain on point even as the series becomes more ambitious.
A good look at some previously underdeveloped characters, The Wild Storm keeps growing with issue #5. Michael Cray’s development into a sympathetic protagonist is a testament to the combination of Ellis’ words and Davis Hunt’s ability to render understated emotions in a simple and effective manner.