Publisher: DC Comics
Technically, the relaunch of the Wildstorm imprint has been underway for a while now, with considerably less-than-impressive results. The flagship titles Wildcats and The Authority were delayed (despite a bi-monthly schedule and a sizeable head-start), forcing the Worldstorm initiative to kick off with Wetworks - not exactly a book that inspires confidence in future efforts. Were I to summarize Worldstorm thus far, I'd say that Jim Lee tries very hard but is giving off more wrong impressions than Amateur Night at Comedy Central. Just look at the cover of this issue: are we to think the Wildstorm Universe hinges on the size of Caitlin Fairchild's breasts?
In any event, this primer contains brief summaries and promo artwork for all the Worldstorm titles, and two previews (the Gail Simone/Neil Googe Tranquility and the Christos Gage/Doug Mankhe StormWatch: PHD). Generally speaking, the summaries aren't particularly informative; then again, given that most (if not all) of the books are implementing a "soft reboot" policy, I suppose there's not much to say just yet anyway.
The previews are another matter entirely, and I'm glad to announce that both Gage and Simone do a great job. Obviously, Gage has a bit more baggage to deal with, what with this being the fourth incarnation of StormWatch; fortunately, he manages to navigate the series' history very well while providing a glimpse of what's to come. The recap is focalized through Jackson King, former commander of StormWatch Prime, who reflects on the organization's history even as he plans to form a new group to suit the new times. The cast seems pretty interesting, which means Gage did his job right because I want to know more. There's a lot of potential in a police procedural/superhero hybrid (Powers used to be a good example before it got lost contemplating its own navel), and I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that Gage is capable of pulling it off.
Simone's contribution is quite different; I love the high concept of a superhuman retirement community, especially since it allows Simone to toss in some faux-Golden Age hilarity (evil robots take over the world!!!), but the art undermines the narrative by constantly switching styles: the present-day is illustrated normally, flashbacks to the superhero adventure get the Ben Day Dot treatment, but then the art reverts to normal while the story's still in the past. Glitches aside, though, it does look quite promising.
You know, if Lee had launched Worldstorm with these books, rather than Wetworks and a vacuum where Wildcats should have been, the project would probably be seen in a much more positive light by now. And I don't have to be a geriatric ex-superdetective to figure that out.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!