It’s probably just a coincidence that the last Absolute edition of The Authority came out two weeks ago, and The Wild Storm, Warren Ellis and Jon Davis Hunt’s ground-up reimagining of the Wildstorm universe that we have consistently loved, is just starting to assemble that iconic team. Probably.
That book is arguably where Ellis made the leap from popular comic writer to sells-any-book-he’s-on icon. It signaled a foundational shift in comics storytelling, both from Ellis’ writing and Bryan Hitch’s art. But in retrospect, the changes in Ellis have been significant.
The turn of the millenium wasn’t really a time for subtlety, and The Authority was the right book for the time. Everything was huge, over the top, and on the nose. The critiques of superhero comics were a little blunt, but they also made good points, and holy cats was it great to look at. But as it was emulated by others, as it started to permeate the entire industry, that cynicism got stale. It’s part of what made “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice and the American Way?” such a classic Superman story: it wasn’t Superman fighting hyperviolence, it was Superman fighting ennui. And I think Ellis grew out of that as a writer. The comparison between the old Authority and the new one he’s assembling in the pages of this book are striking: he’s much more deliberate in his pacing and reserved with his dialogue. Characters still have that distinctly Ellisian voice, but it breaks the immersion of the story less frequently.
He’s also much less critical of mainstream comics. The book’s DC-adjacentness has always been plainly evident. Hell, over in Michael Cray, he’s been murdering the hell out of the Justice League. But it’s a good Elseworlds story – it’s justified in-book, and it’s used for character development for Deathblow. And in this exclusive preview of The Wild Storm #16, we see even more: the map of the internet that The Engineer sees when she goes online to talk to Jenny Sparks looks an awful lot like the map of the multiverse from Multiversity.
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Here’s what DC has to say about the book:
THE WILD STORM #16 written by WARREN ELLISart and cover by JON DAVIS-HUNTvariant cover by SANA TAKEDAWhat was Project Thunderbook? What did John Lynch do to the Thunderbook experimental subjects? Why did he shut it down and scatter them across America? Why isn’t Thunderbook subject Gloria Spaulding aging? Why do people act like she’s an alien? Well…alien is exactly what they made her at Thunderbook.
Take a look.