by Drew Baumgartner
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
I’ve spent plenty of write-ups of The Wild Storm praising Jon Davis-Hunt’s diagrammatic approach to action AND connecting that aesthetic to the interconnected world Warren Ellis is crafting. It’s a remarkably unified vision that has the power to keep even the wordiest talking-head pages engaging (though admittedly, I tend to use big action sequences to illustrate its efficacy). And to be sure, there are definitely some talking-head sequences in this issue, but as the central conflict between Skywatch and IO heats up, the slow simmer that defined the first year of this series is quickly becoming a rolling boil, meaning pretty much every scene is going to feature some action, too.
The issue opens with one of those blow-by-blow action sequences that I tend to fixate on. This time, it’s Lucy Blaze taking down two of the CAT teams Miles Craven had sent to retaliate over Bendix’s killing of Mitch.
We’ve seen this kind of thing in this series so often, it’s almost familiar, but I think that actually makes things more interesting. We’re used to seeing John Colt and the rest of his Wild CAT team pull off this kind of stuff (though we shouldn’t forget Michael Cray’s awesome fight scene, too), so seeing someone that might kind of sort of be an adversary to them handling themselves with the same skills lays the groundwork for an exciting fight down the line.
But “adversary” might be too simple. Marlowe’s Wild CAT already falls outside of the strict black and white of the IO/Skywatch dichotomy, and John Lynch’s Thunderbook team seems to only complicate that further. This issue ends with Slayton killing a Skywatch agent, but his earlier conversation with Alexandra Fairchild makes it clear that, for better or for worse, his people are out and interacting with the world. Alexandra seems to be fighting for justice, but she’s also scared of her alien implant that wants her to kill. These are rogue agents with their own agendas and frightening power-sets — who knows what kind of wrench they’ll throw in the gears of IO and Skywatch’s impending war.
Which leaves us with Jenny Mei Sparks and the Doctor, who have tracked down Jack Hawksmoor but are struggling to get him to cooperate. I can’t say I know much more than that, but that again reveals how much more complicated the conflicts here are than “IO vs Skywatch.” Sparks has had her own agenda from the start of this series, and the Doctor’s interests seem even larger than whatever IO has its sights on. So who knows what role they’ll play going forward? All that really matters now is that their machinations are developing just as the rest seem to be ripening into open warfare.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?