[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artists: Jon Davis-Hunt, Steve Buccellato
Opening strong with some intense action, the issue pushes the story forward at a much stronger pace than usual. John Lynch continues on his quest and this time meets with Alexandra Fairchild. The two converse for a while before Lynch must continue on his journey. All while a threat from the last issue continues to grow.
It’s always a pleasure to see some new Jon Davis-Hunt artwork. As always, his work shines throughout the issue. The ultra-precision in his small panels are mesmerizing. This is particularly highlighted in the opening action sequence of the issue.
Zealot gets into an amazing firefight with a swat team that really reminds the reader how the series started. The frenetic pace of the action serves to push the reader along. The violence really stands out. It feels like so long since The Wild Storm had action sequences like this, where bullets feel like tangible objects that can rip through people. This is made so much better by Steve Buccellato’s colours. Swapping between regular panels to pure red ones just adds so much to the scene. The red panels were a staple of the series but the lack of action recently has meant readers haven’t been able to enjoy them.
The issue both starts and ends well. The closing few pages build on the previous issue, showing the character we were introduced to last month. The colouring of the scene is subtle, the night effect contrasts nicely with the rest of the issue. There’s also a nice horror feel to the scene. Tension builds in only a few pages. It’s the short scenes like this one that remind the reader they’re holding a Warren Ellis comic book.
While the issue starts and ends well it drags a little in the middle. Like last month, the story is developing slowly but with so many characters that it’s beyond challenging to follow. This month it’s a John Lynch scene, similar to the one in the last issue, in which a conversation takes up a majority of the scene. It’s odd for the series to start so strongly in regards to welcoming new readers as well as those who were previously WildStorm fans. And yet at this stage in the series it’s as if each issue is just Ellis introducing another established character.
The scene works well enough but it feels like a big comma in what is otherwise a fun issue. Readers’ have the opening and closing scenes to enjoy but the middle section is like a mandatory ‘plot progression’ scene. It’s perplexing since Ellis was a master of pacing in the early days of this series and now everything feels so staccato.
Despite the hit and miss nature of the series lately The Wild Storm #14 offers more hits than misses. There’s plenty to enjoy here but new readers will be lost entirely, and to some extent so will existing readers who are not familiar with the original WildStorm books.