If there’s one thing you could get on The Wild Storm about, it’s that there is so much build that it can feel like nothing happens for long stretches of time. Though the past 12 issues have certainly had their fair share of action and intrigue, the looming conflict between the Kherabim, the Daemonites, the IO and Skywatch has functioned as more of a cold war than an all out super battle. After issue #12, I think it’s fair to say that the skirmishes are over and we’re heading directly into the eye of the (Wild) storm.
This week we start with the IO Analysis team, who have finally launched their informational attack on Skywatch. Now knowing, as we do, how volatile the situation is between the two organizations, it’s no surprise that the team lead Jackie King would ban cellphones from the room…unfortunately she did it AFTER lovable scamp Mitch had already brought his phone into the room. See over the course of this series, we’ve seen that Mitch is pretty much addicted to his mobile device – a device that just so happens to be bugged by Skywatch’s top assassin, Lucy Blaze. While the data attack does go off without a hitch (mostly, but we’ll get to that), the IO is forced to delete a good deal of their own information in order to stick the landing. Unfortunately, Mitch has been made, Bendix is pissed, and as soon as the chief pirate of the IO analysis team orders up his Uber, he’s doing his best impression of Marvin from Pulp Fiction courtesy of Lucy Blaze’s Walther PPK. So here we have a secret attack being met with an open and obvious retort, any way you shake it, there’s a war a coming.
Not helping things is the Halo corporation, who finally sets into motion their long gestating attack on IO’s orbiting space station Hightower. Utilizing the insect-like drones given to them by Angela, the Wild Cat of Grifter, Spartan, Void and Kenesha is out to steal all of IO’s files and stay ahead of the curve on their life-and-death conflict. While the point of the drone was to simulate a natural disaster that would both drop the event shielding from some of the areas the team needs to reach and force a hasty retreat of the station’s staff, nothing ever goes to plan in this book. Instead, our squad faces off with 7 of IO’s best in a violent shootout that once again proves that no one draws an action sequence quite like Jon Davis-Hunt. The scene is straight out of a John Woo film, with graceful dives, fluid motions and hyper violence that skillfully dances the line between the crass and the sublime. Seriously, you could place this alongside the samurai fight from issue #9 as a series highlight. It’s friggin awesome. Naturally, our crew emerges unscathed, but also unaware of the hell they just brought down upon the earth.
We get to see bits of Skywatch’s reaction to their data breach and that’s great too, especially Bendix’s command that Zealot give him a body, but the best part of the issue (for old school Wildstorm fans at least) is the final sequence of the book. In the cold open, an infrequent but welcome trope for the book, Jackie King finds the paper file for the mysterious Project Thunderbook in the archives only to discover that the file was booby trapped. Now, the project was so long ago that the incendiary device failed to go off and just sort of fizzled out – or so someone would have you think. Late in the book we cut to a remote woodside cabin where someone has clearly been hunting wolves. From out of the cold comes a scar-faced Sam Elliott looking motherfucker. This, ladies and gentlemen, is John Lynch – the badass spy boogeyman of the Wild Storm Universe. Dude functioned as Image’s answer to the original Nick Fury, a hard drinking, hard-living superspy who seemingly knew everything before it was going to happen – and considering how well written DC’s modern take on the imprint is, I am super excited for what his inclusion in this book will mean moving forward.
After a well told and engaging build we finally got to the fireworks factory. Ellis and Davis-Hunt continue to impress week after week, and now that we’re finally heading into the central conflict of the series, I’m juiced to see where things go from here. I’m sure we’ll learn that this is all some sort of ploy from the Daemonites to draw attention away from their own plans for world domination, but until we get that wrinkle, I’m all in on this series.