Hidden Panels: ‘The Wild Storm’ Volume 1

What kinds of meetings are going on behind closed doors and what sort of people are conducting them? What does it take to make the world we know run as it does? This week’s book “The Wild Storm” Vol. 1 by Warren Ellis seeks to answer that question in spectacular fashion.

By Ellis’ own admission he set out to create a sort of sci-fi analogue to “Game of Thrones” (2011–), a story where numerous plot lines and characters collide in an epic tale spanning a vast, robust world. The first volume features a few distinct factions, the powerful and shadowy International Operations (IO), the Apple-esque technology company HALO as well as the mysterious, space-bound superpower Skywatch.

The event that drives all these clandestine organizations together is a seemingly simple act of kindness: saving someone who’d fallen out of a building. The rescuer is a researcher, and tech-thief Angela Spica is aided by an Iron-Man style suit that gives her the power of flight. Everything is not what it seems, though, as Angela’s rescuee is thrown from the window in a botched assassination attempt. And so begins the war of cover-ups and power plays that forms into the Wild Storm, as it were.

Perceptive readers have already figured out that I haven’t given much away as of yet, nor do I intend to. The intrigue of the unfolding narrative is what makes the book fun. Don’t take that to mean that the narrative is slow — quite the opposite, in fact. The book’s pacing is exceptional, as each issue contains at least one great action scene and a handful of jaw-dropping visuals as well, with my personal favorite being a look at the space between universes as a team of characters travels to a fight.

Be warned, though, answers may not come as quickly as you want them to. Certain characters remain silent for the entire book or only appear in still images that are seemingly incongruous to the plot. I would argue that the hidden information makes the story more engaging, forcing the reader to look with a more critical eye to determine just what is happening in this mad, mad world.

The book is fairly humorous, with Ellis bringing his satiric A-game to the book with a few well-placed jabs at social media and even at the company publishing his book, going as far as to lampoon DC’s heroic Martian Manhunter with an alien searching for boys in a night club.

You can’t make this stuff up people.

“The Wild Storm” exists in a perfect Goldilocks zone. It’s weird, but not too weird. It’s funny, but the humor never outstays its welcome. The plot moves forward on its own time, but you’ll never be bored. Each element seems to compliment the others, swirling together just right to create a mind-bending, comedic and absorbing read. In my estimation, Warren Ellis lays the groundwork for what could just be a perfect storm.


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