I used to love WildCats; the Wild Storm universe too. I remember my childhood loving how weird they were: a quirky bunch of aliens that are not as strong as the X-Men but are gritty cool. They’re ready to kill, they are ready to do their job and they’re not the misers that the X-Men were. I gave up on the Wild Storm universe when it got too complicated to even enjoy. Now that Wild Storm’s rebooted, I find out that it’s still the conspiracy-filled universe I left, but it’s now easier to follow through.
The new Wild Storm reintroduces known characters like Zealot performing a botched investigation of people who are doing homebrew gene editing and Miles Craven doing virtually nothing; Jacob Marlowe is the beloved futurist of HALO and some former WildCats members are doing paranormal investigation. All of these converge when Miles’ researcher Angela Spica, originally known as the Engineer, tries to push him for further funding – all the while having a grave injury. Rejected, Angela wanders off only to witness a man being thrown out of the window with nobody able to help. She releases her armor and flies off to save the man, only for the person to be the man she hates – Jacob Marlowe. This begins an entanglement of epic proportions between Miles Craven’s IO and Jacob’s HALO in a mysterious perspective into the events.
I’ve read this Wild Storm reboot multiple times, and got confused every time until the last. You see, I went in having enough knowledge about Team One, Team 7, Wildcats, the Authority and most of the Wild Storm universe that I fumbled in the lack of references. There are enough callbacks to fill me in as an old fan but too little for me to piece out its connection from the older properties. This is where I made a mistake.
The new Wild Storm is for fans who know nothing about the property. Since it is a reboot, it shows familiar people in their old familiar roles, personalities and quirks, but Warren Ellis caught me off guard about the plot. Grim, cynical characters, a deep, dark conspiracy that leaves nothing leaking out and the dry witty humor that leaves me uncomfortable with what I know… or don’t know.
I go into reading comics being confident on what I know that the new Wild Storm was akin to a dark forest – I cannot see ahead and what I know doesn’t matter. It unsettled me, but on the last try, I liked it. I flushed my mind from all the concepts I’ve learned about Wild Storm from all the years I’ve read and this new story became a positive move forward.
Wild Storm’s grim atmosphere is lacking in color but not emotion. It is familiar enough for older fans but new enough that anybody who is getting into the universe for the first time will enjoy the story. I’m looking forward for this story to move on and unveil more of itself. I highly doubt that it will be a big commercial success like many of its predecessors, but it’s not trying to. Wild Storm is trying to introduce me into a new mystery; it’s better if I let it.