Review: The Wild Storm #8

[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writer: Warren Ellis

Artists: Jon Davis-Hunt, Steve Buccellato

 

Summary

Another issue, another few characters added to the story. Ellis develops the world of the Wild Storm just a little bit more to keep readers guessing as to what could happen next. A lengthy exposition sequence opens the issue only for the reader to be told that some or all of what they just read might not be true. The sense of confusion is continued as the Analysis Team at IO still look lost trying to figure out what is going on.

Positives

The opening sequence of the issue is quite symbolic of the entire series. For a number of pages Ellis takes the reader through an exposition dump, recounting every detail that has been omitted until this point. It’s almost too much at once but the beautiful artwork that accompanies the dialogue make each page a joy. So after the reader thinks they finally know something – not everything, just something – they are told that there is in fact much more that they don’t know. This sums up The Wild Storm.

It is this use of mystery that keeps pages of lengthy dialogue exciting. Warren Ellis knows how to balance the questions and answers to keep the readers on the edge of their seat rather than bored or confused.

In what is becoming my favourite section of each issue, the comedy of the Analysis Team shines here. Ellis makes it clear that these are just regular people working what is, to them, a regular office job. The office’s ‘affirmative phrase of the week’ only adds to the humour that the Analysis Team created last month. It’s this humour that highlights Ellis’s strength in pacing. He knows the right time to joke and the right time to be serious. The key to the Analysis Team is their ability to be funny on the same page as a major plot development.

The lack of action doesn’t stop Jon Davis-Hunt from making this one of the most beautiful issues yet. Each page of the opening could be framed and put on a wall. Likewise, a drug trip towards the end of the issue features some of the best artwork of the entire series. Pages without any dialogue can take minutes to read as the reader just stares in awe.

Negatives

Despite the positives, it must be said that this is a slow issue. While previous issues have had some tension or action to smooth over the lengthy dialogue exchanges, there’s practically none here. This is an issue of conversations. Some people will like this but others could be bored. The artwork certainly makes it more interesting to look at but it doesn’t change the fact that not much actually happens. It’s not quite a ‘filler’ issue but I got a sense while reading that something was going to happen next month rather than next page.

While the balances of questions and answers is a positive of the issue, I can’t help but feel a little disheartened that I can’t explain the story of the series, and we’re at issue eight. The strengths of each issue always outweigh this negative and keep me excited for the next issue, but some readers will definitely be put off by the Wild Storm’s somewhat hard to follow plot.

Verdict

A slower issue than usual that gives readers the amount of understanding that Ellis wants them to have. If dialogue heavy issues are not your thing then luckily some of the best art of the series is here courtesy of Jon Davis-Hunt to keep you invested.