Flying Saucers! Rooftop Spy Meetings! Wonder Woman Bed Sheets!
If there’s one complaint that longtime fans of the former WildStorm universe may have with Ellis’ reimagining over at DC it would be the creative liberties taken with some fan favorite characters. Sure Grifter is essentially the same, and I’m actually a big fan of Spartan’s redesign in both concept and character, but 11 issues in, it’s hard not to think that some of our favorites have been short shrifted in the ongoing series. Voodoo has yet to do much of anything, John Lynch is little more than an unseen boogeyman, and favorites like Gen 13, Maul and Hellspont are nowhere to be found. Fortunately, as we enter what I assume is the halfway point for the book (the cover art suggests there will be 24 issues) one of the imprint’s most beloved characters is about to finally get the shine she so richly deserves. I’m talking about Zealot.
For the uninitiated, Zealot was an ageless Kherubim warrior that founded an ancient order of alien assassins known as the Coda warriors. She trained several of the most badass characters in the WildStorm universe (including Grifter) before going rogue to work with the WildCATS. She was also immensely popular for more than just being another cheesecake hottie with a sword – she was a smart and competent leader, a fearless warrior and a total badass who could go toe-to-toe with literally anyone in the universe. In The Wild Storm she has been reimagined as Lucy Blaze, a taciturn assassin working for Skywatch who has served as more of a spectator than a participant in the series – until now. This week’s issue sees the Coda warrior finally join the central narrative by warning Cole of the current situation between IO and Skywatch. Furthermore, we learn that not only does she “own” Cole, but she’s got a long standing connection to the Lord Emp, Kenesha and – presumably – the entire Khera race. It’s a bit of backstory that breathes a bit of energy into what has been a relatively flat character to this point. Given Cole’s plans to launch an assault on IO in the coming weeks, something tells me Lucy Blaze may be stepping out and Zealot may be stepping in.
Elsewhere, we get some development in the IO’s investigation, see the engineer finally master her powers, and learn a bit more about the long term goals of Shen and Jenny Sparks. It turns out the Doctor who is not Doctor Who (it’s a name that’s gonna catch on, I promise) and the earth’s living defense force are hoping to combat the pending war between the IO and Skywatch by gathering a collection of special super beings to protect the regular human populace. We also learn she’s a huge Wonder Woman fan, which – given the way Wild Storm’s sister series Michael Cray has been shaping up – is a potentially perverse topic.
The most interesting development for people that don’t have the long simmering Zealot crush that I do has to be Henry Bendix’s flashback to the massacre of Science City Zero. It’s a black and white sequence chronicling the last major battle between the IO and Skywatch. With just a handful of ships, Bendix and his crew were able to exterminate an estimated 20,000 people working to replicate Skywatch’s technical achievements, and blind the mysterious John Lynch in the process. Bendix and his two man crew were all that survived of Skywatch’s fleet of flying saucers, but it was clear who won the skirmish – just as its clear that Bendix thinks the next battle will be similarly devastating for his terrestrial enemies.
That’s about it for this week from a story perspective. As for the art, this issue remains pretty consistent, with the battle of Science City Zero being a particularly great sequence that really speaks to Davis-Hunt’s versatility as a storyboard artist. It’s one thing to make a gripping action sequence between a few different characters, it’s another to make a great battle scene involving space ships destroying a city. Davis-Hunt really pulls it off too, it’s a stellar (pun intended) sequence that helps to expand the lore of the series.
Overall, this is another good outing for The Wild Storm team. There’s new lore, more fleshed out characters and an awesome battle sequence featuring flying saucers. What more do you need from your high concept sci-fi series?