After 24 issues, it can now be said that The Wild Storm – Warren Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt’s love letter to the bygone Image-cum-DC imprint that birthed characters like the WildCATS, Gen13 and the Authority – was great from beginning to end. A complex, weaving narrative featuring an expansive and multifaceted cast of characters, several unique and interweaving storylines and series long mysteries that rose and fell as the show went along. Sure not all of those were met, but with an already announced sister series (a WildCATS series that will be debuting in August), it’s safe to call The Wild Storm one of the most satisfying reads of the past several years. As a finale, issue 24 strikes a good balance between character moments and high action, never pausing to let up a breath and moving through some crazy plot twists to produce an ending that doesn’t necessarily wrap everything up neatly, but gives you a satisfying conclusion to the A-story all the same.
Though a healthy portion of the series’ ensemble cast features in this issue, there are essentially two storylines to follow in issue 24 – the Authority’s attempts to stem the tide of the super-powered riot tearing through New York City and the IO leadership dealing with the ramifications. Without going too far into spoilers here, the more shocking (and simultaneously satisfying) of the two is the IO fracas, which features at least one character death that I don’t think anyone saw coming. The denouement itself may be a bit less surprising, but it is certainly an interesting one and I really look forward to seeing how it plays out should IO continue to be a presence in the future Wild Storm series. For the Authority, things play out about as one might expect, and while it’s almost a little too happy, I don’t have any complaints about how it all wraps up. There is a smaller surprise in this part of the story, with Angie getting help from one of the series’ less developed characters, but given that character’s particular history, I’m sure we’ll get more to that mystery in August.
Really the saddest part of this being the final issue of the Wild Storm mother series is that it is (for now at least) Jon Davis-Hunt’s last issue in this universe. While Ellis has been the lifeblood of all things Wildstorm for decades, so much of this series’ magid came from the pencils of Davis-Hunt. The man’s action sequences should be taught in art schools, as there’s a unique kinetic nature to his pages that you just don’t often see in comics. This issue is no different, as we get a lot of cool action sequences (including a fun interpretation of Jack Hawksmoor’s powers in action), but the more compelling artwork for me is the emotion displayed on the unraveling Miles Craven. You can feel the man’s stress just coming off the page. This is potentially also the best evil smirk we’ve gotten out of Henry Bendix. There are a few panels here and there where it feels like there are some missed opportunities (the flying metahuman that faces off with Shen comes to mind), but the strengths far outweigh the weaknesses.
It’s hard to deny just how good the Wild Storm has been for the past 24 issues, but now that it’s over we will have to deal. Don’t get me wrong, I’m crazy excited for WildCATS (it was the series that got me into something besides Marvel comics), but knowing that the creative team will be split makes this an end of an era that I don’t know if I’m ready for. If the Wild Storm ran for 24 more issues I’d read every one of them. I’ll almost assuredly follow Davis-Hunt to whatever his next book is, and I’m definitely following Ellis and Ramon Villalobos (also a talented artist, but one I’m not as familiar with) on WildCATS. Still, this series (at it’s best) was lightning in a bottle, and everyone involved should be applauded for contributing. It was my best series of 2018, and halfway through, it’s going to take quite a lot for something to top it in 2019.