Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Whilce Portacio
Publisher: DC Comics/Wildstorm
You know, when I picked this issue up and saw the cover, my first instinct was to explain to the clerk that I wanted this week's Wetworks #1, not the one from Image's early years. Then I saw the Worldstorm logo.
As first impressions go, that wasn't a good one.
It's hardly a secret that I rarely address artwork in comics, but this one is just screaming for attention. Maybe I'm just out of touch with the current trends; I could have sworn we'd left the Solitary Shoulderpad of Doom behind, and yet here we find Whilce Portacio singlehandedly resurrecting some of the most stereotypical '90s styles. Dane is the big-chested militaristic alpha male, Red is the bigger-chested sword-wielding femme fatale, and there's a hulking monosyllabic brute in the background. I don't know whether to cower in fear or start stockpiling radioactive-hologram-foil variant covers.
Quite frankly, I'm shocked Mike Carey had anything to do with this; he's always proven himself to be a very competent storyteller, but I emerged from this issue without the faintest idea as to what's going on. Who are these people? What's this vampire truce everyone's so worried about? Are we to assume that vampires are the only creatures invisible to cameras? What's Mother Box, and why is she so important? It's one thing to withhold information for the sake of teasing your readers - it's quite another to offer a debut issue that lacks the most basic introduction to the characters and premise. I can't even be bothered to research the series on Wikipedia; this kind of sloppy storytelling shouldn't be rewarded.
I suppose there's a case to be made that readers more familiar with Wetworks from its previous incarnation will have much less difficulty with this one. Of course, the series has been out of circulation for over a decade; apparently, Carey and Portacio are assuming that their entire readership has eidetic memory. I strongly warn readers not to purchase this issue if they're not already acquainted with Wetworks; accessibility is minimal.
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