I place all remixed songs into one of two categories: enhancing or reimagining.
Some remixes enhance the original. Add more rhythms, speed things up, restructure the song. Other remixes reimagine the original, taking just one or two elements like a vocal or a prominent riff and build a whole new song from scratch – often sans the identifying bass line or chord changes of the original.
I’ve liked both kinds of remixes over the years, but sometimes when I hear a reimagination I think, “Why didn’t they just write their own song?” Aside from a copped vocal hook, sometimes they can be an entirely other creature than the original. Why call it “Song X (remix)” rather than “Song Y (featuring samples from Song X)”?
It’s all a study in taxonomy, I suppose – calling things by a name that will generate the most interest and success for them.
Which brings me to The Wild Storm.
WildStorm was one of the original Image Comics studios and the one with the richest expanded universe of characters. That’s what made it attractive for DC Comics to purchase from original studio head Jim Lee when he wanted to ditch administration to return to illustration, and why the WildStorm characters have continued to appear in DC-published comics for over a decade.
DC has done a lot of different remixes on the WildStorm characters and concepts since they first acquired the publisher in 1999. They’ve published straight-up continuances of the original continuity. They’ve done a trademark soft reset of continuity. They’ve mashed WildStorm into DC’s own history, putting characters like Grifter and Deathblow in league with DC stalwarts like Deathstroke and Amanda Waller.
The Wild Storm is something different entirely – a reimagination rather than an enhancement. Warren Ellis, one of the most famous and famously-reliable writers in comics today, has been handed the WildStorm intellectual property as a whole by DC Comics and instructed to create his own reimagination of the original with no strings attached.
Is it recognizable as WildStorm? Is it another great Warren Ellis book? Is it any good.
The Wild Storm #1 (digital)
The Wild Storm (2017) #1, written by Warren Ellis with artist Jon Davis-Hunt, colorist Ivan Plascenia, and lettered Simon Bowland. This issue will be collected in The Wild Storm, Vol. 1.
Warren Ellis has the entire palette of classic WildStorm players to work with to launch his reimagined WildStorm Universe. He selected some of the best characters of the bunch for this first issue, but the story relies on a lot of nostalgic expectations of what WildStorm consists of in order to click.
This is not the unrelenting debut issue you’ve come to expect from Ellis after reading books like Injection, Trees, Karnak, Moon Knight, and even as far back as Planetary. Even on the Astonishing X-Men, a run that left fans lukewarm, Ellis’s first issue was a bomb disguised as a puzzle box.
Compared to all of those, The Wild Storm #1 comes off a bit flat. Maybe it’s because we get to see every side of the main mystery, meaning we know more than the characters (not generally an Ellis hallmark). Or, perhaps it’s that half the issue is spent telling and even repeating rather than showing. [Read more…] about Comic Book Review: The Wild Storm #1 by Ellis, Davis-Hunt, Plascencia, & Bowland