Monday, April 11, 2005



I have a soft spot for the Wildstorm universe. Probably because I used to read Gen13 and DV8. Hehe. Anyway, in recent years the Wildstorm universe became incredibly popular because of the Authority, lost all of that popularity, attempted to publish some mature superhero comics that were critically acclaimed and sold terribly, then DC went and got rid of two of their imprints (Homage and Cliffhanger) and replaced them with Wildstorm Signature. Now Wildstorm publishes lots of random comics, some in the universe and some not. I believe they also oversee the Humanoids and 2000AD reprints for DC.

Anyway, on to the reviews.

The Resistance #1-4 (November 2002-Febuary 2003)
Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Pencils: Juan Satancruz

This was one of the new titles that Wildstorm launched a few years ago. It was also one of the titles that failed, only eight issues were actually made. Anyway, I liked the other Wildstorm series by Palimiotti and Gray that I’d read (21 Down), so picked these issues up from a dollar bin when I saw them. I was pleasantly surprised. The story is set in the 23rd century, the Earth had been post apocalyptic for a while, but someone had managed to organize it back to a dystopia. The comic clearly takes something from the Matrix of hip, sexy rebellion against the horrible orders that be.
There’s nothing special about this, it’s basically “kid gets caught in wrong place at wrong time and ends up joining the resistance and fighting the good fight,” but it’s told well, the world seems fully realized, and the art is really nice. The “kid” mentioned above has a Tintin haircut, which I find really amusing, and some of the designs are really nice. There are these pretty wikkid looking cyborgs with weird light bulb-like heads.

Masks: Too Hot for TV! #1 (February 2004)

This is an anthology title by a bunch of different writers and artists. It’s basically Cops, except with superheroes. It’s okay I guess, nothing in it is really excellent. I’m really just left wondering why it even exists. What is the point of this comic?

Point Blank #1-2, 4-5 (October 2002-Febuary 2003)
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Colin Wilson

This is the prequel to Brubaker’s acclaimed comic Sleeper. I’ve read the first trade of Sleeper and think it’s really good. It’s hideously overpriced though, and as much as I want volume two I can’t afford it. I hate you DC. Sleeper tells the story of Holden Carver, a deep cover agent who has been climbing the ranks of a super villain organization. He wants out but he can’t, because the only person who knows he’s really a good guy is in a coma. Point Blank is how that guy, John Lynch, got put into a coma.
As I read more of Brubaker’s Wildstorm comics I’m discovering that he’s an incredibly good writer of super powered crime/spy/espionage fiction. These comics have people in costumes sometimes, but not that often. This one features Cash Cole, or Grifter, trying to find out what happened to Lynch. I haven’t really read any Wildcats comics so I don’t really know who Grifter or Tao or anyone in this comic is. And while I think knowing who these characters are and what their powers are might help my understanding of the series, I still enjoyed them.
Cash Cole is a “shoot first, ask questions later” type of guy. But he knows that won’t work in this situation, he has to think, who shot Lynch? For what reason? And as he struggles to figure out what happened he’s also struggling to figure out what’s wrong with himself. His brain seems to be skipping and he doesn’t know why.
Overall I liked this comic, it’s cool seeing Holden Carver before he appeared in Sleeper, and I generally like Brubaker’s take on the Wildstorm universe. It’s filled with spies and criminals, and not just the type that are in the news, but the ones who operate things behind the scenes. I think it might be a more realistic take on superpowers.
I want issue three.

Coup D’etat #1-4 (April, 2004)

This was Wildstorm’s attempt to relaunch their titles. Get lots of people reading them (Jim Lee draws one!), but it failed (I don’t care that Jim Lee draws one). The miniseries is kind of weird, it’s a cross over between the four Wildstorm: Eye of the Storm comics coming out at the time (Sleeper, Stormwatch: Team Achilles, Wildcats 3.0 and the Authority), and is about the Authority taking over the US government. It creates new status quos for these comics but... it’s not that good. The issue of Sleeper featuring characters from Sleeper is good, but I don’t really care about the Authority parts. The issue of Stormwatch: Team Achilles makes me wonder why I liked that comic in the first place. The issue of Wildats 3.0 is okay, but I really don’t know anything about the characters. And the issue of The Authority just isn’t very good.
In fact this miniseries made me wonder why I liked the Authority in the first place. I’ve got the first trade and I think it’s really good and fun, but this is just blah. The Authority were practically parodies of other superheroes, and having them continue forever just makes me not care at all. I guess I’ll pick up issues of the current Brubaker written series if I can get them cheap though.

Wildstorm: Summer Special (2001)

In relation to “I don’t care about the Authority anymore” is this hideous overpriced comic. Three short stories and a few pinups and it’s all pretty blah. I grabbed this for the story by Warren Ellis but found I just didn’t care. Similarly the other Authority story was something I didn’t care about either. The final story had nice art, but didn’t make any sense and I don’t even know who the character is. There are a couple of decent pinups, but whatever. Reading these comics just made me want to go back and ready Ellis’s run on Stormwatch, I liked it the first time I read it.


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