Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The WSU.

Do you remember the rebirth of the Wildstorm Universe?

Although nearly everyone missed it when it started, people soon began to take notice of The Authority and Planetary by the (then) still fairly obscure, yet industry-wide respected Warren Ellis (because as a Time survey revealed this week, who you drink with is more likely to advance your career than anything else).
Although neither book hit the crazed inflated sales heights of title's like WildCATs and Gen 13 from the original Wildstorm / Image launch, both books grabbed a load of attention, kicking Ellis' career off to even greater heights, re-establishing Bryan Hitch as an A-list creator and putting John Cassady, Mark Millar and Frank Quietly on the map. So much so that I really don't need to tell you what they've work on since you probably know.
Both book's have re-established the super-hero industry. Some people will disagree with this; but they did. Authority caught everyone's attention, and as Millar says during his bow-out: "even the people who didn't like what we were doing followed suit".
All good things must come to an end. Due to some poor executive decisions, Authority eventually faded away into poor sales and obscurity, although along the way it spawned the succesfull albeit hollow "Kev" spin-off series (how this one-joke, piss-take turned out to be the best thing about the Authority over the last years is anyone's guess).
Planetary of course is still going on, produced by on semi-irregular schedule by it's original creator's, and as we speak is rapidly heading towards it's conclusion. In many ways the title is a victim of it's own success, as both creators became such important players in the industry that they weren't able to produce the book on a regular basis, which in turns has affected sales. Thankfully the integrity of the book has never suffered, and I am sure will be considered one of the classic Tpb collections in the years to come, alongside Preacher and Transmet.

Over the years I have been a massive fan of Wildstorm. Gen 13 was the first non-Star Wars comic I put on my pull list, and both Authority and Planetary pulled my attention back away from the big two, during a period where I was pretty much only reading Marvel and DC it was a breath of fresh air. So it's nice to see the big Worldstorm launch treating the properties the way they should be respected, with some heavy A-list creators coming on board.

The initial line up consists of several titles, these are the ones I've found most interesting.

Jim Lee makes his triumphant return to Wildcats, and he's bringing along an impressive new collaborator: superstar writer Grant Morrison! The man who redefined the JLA and Superman — and created groundbreaking works The Invisibles and WE3 — now brings his considerable talents to the Wildcats.


The WorldStorm rollout continues with the return of the most dangerous super-group on the planet! Grant Morrison, the universally acclaimed writer of All Star Superman, Seven Soldiers and Wildcats brings his talents to the new bimonthly series THE AUTHORITY, featuring art by Eisner Award-winner Gene Ha (TOP 10)!


Garth Ennis presents The Midnighter, returning from a mission in war-torn Afghanistan, is accosted as he enters the Carrier. Something is terribly wrong; these unseen assailants take him down too easily and then drag him though the teleportation door to an unknown location. After regaining consciousness he is given a cryptic choice: either kill a mass murderer or die! Art by Chris Sprouse.

Not to mention Gen 13, Stormwatch and Deathblow, which all hold varying degree's of interest and at least one selling point each.

So all in all, excellent talent and three books to definitely check out. It looks like someone has really taken the time to make sure this Worldstorm relaunch event is going to be big business, and something that will catch the attention of the entire industry.

With the financial backing and support of DC and Warner Bros, what could go wrong? All they need is a killer title to launch the series, something to hit the ground running and build momentum for the entire line, show people that thing's are going to be done properly this time around, and look at the killer titles above, any of the top 3 could launch this universe and show people what to expect.

Instead, the line was launched this week, with the following:

Fan-favorite artist Whilce Portacio's legendary special forces team returns in classic fashion, aided and abetted by acclaimed writer Mike Carey (HELLBLAZER, LUCIFER)!

This is not a bash on Mike Carey (although I have never been the biggest fan of his work, I know a lot of people are). Just because I don't like a guy, doesn't mean no-one else should.
I've never been a big fan of Whilce Portacio, I remember him doing weird thing's with peoples necks (in his art, not like, in the street), and something about him going mental. He also did fill in's on some of the Heroes Reborn stuff which left me less than enamored. Still, he was one of the early Wildstorm guys, so it's only right that he should be here.
I've never read Wetworks before. Until now:

Reading this was the comic book equivalent of a shrug.
I'm not going to just do a review because there are a million sites and blogs out there who do reviews and I like to think this site is a little more than that. The writing and art were solid enough and the story made sense to a complete novice like me - without having a forced patronising run down of all the characters and their powers - yet was still not enough to warrant be caring enough to pick up issue 2.
To summarise, the comic is alright. You know what though? Marvel Team-Up was alright. Robin is alright. Birds of Prey is alright. The first issue of an entire Universe reboot needs to be a little more than alright.

And thus my point still stands: Why this book? Out of the titles available they decide to start with this? Personally, I would have started the launch with a bang with WildCATs - you can't really get a bigger selling point than those two creators, and from that people might have decided to check out the rest of the line, which is exactly what books like this and Stormwatch need if they are going to break the 30k mark.
I can't see anyone picking this up and thinking "I must get the entire line", I guess most will flick through it at the comic shop and just decide to wait 'till WildCATs.

Anyone have any ideas why this came first?


Anonymous said...

It was probably the first one produced.

Sid said...

Yeah, but even so wouldn't you have waited for a Triple-A title launch? After all Civil War Frontline 6 and Amazing Spidey have been ready to go but they've waited for Civil War #4 as it makes more sense that way.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but I won't be buying them anyway, so it doesn't matter to me.

I certainly wouldn't want to wait until Jim Lee has finished an issue to kick off the relaunch...

And I thought you were against the CW delays?

Sid said...

Actually, I backed down on the Civil War thing eventually, i must be getting soft in my old age, my last thoughts on teh subject where:

"Okay, okay. I have lots of stuff on the subject now, and reticent as I am to admit when I am in wrong, I have to say delaying the book to wait for McNiven does make sense.
But it's by no means perfect, it seems there are two points of view to looking at this and both of them are equally valid in terms of short term and long-term benefit.

Shame that Marvel hasn't portrayed Civil War as being so equally balanced and unbiased."

Is it Jim Lee holding up ASBARTBW? I kind of assumed it was Miller after the amount of time he spent turning out DK2, Jim Lee was fairly solid on Hush, and the last WS work he did shipped on time.
Not that anyone bought it though.

I have to ask though: What on earth could make someone not want to pick up a Midnighter series by Ennis?

Anonymous said...

Nothing in particular. I wouldn't pass up borrowing it from the library, but I don't have enough interest to buy it.

Anonymous said...

Or money, for that matter.

Ryan said...

Evening you lot, and my net connection is back online. Took nigh on a week of sorting.

I follow Sid on the lines of this. And what's going on with the WildCATs delay, whats keeping this book behind, art or writing? They better not launch the line with delays on the second issues.

I felt that Wetworks read like an early Image comic, and the art was very reminiscent. Saying that though I felt the same with the last Detective Comics issue, but the writing in that was really well done.

Noting really wrong with Wetworks, but nothing screams BUY ME! about it, great way to start a line that.

I think I have me next post sorted out in my brain, but I don't know whether I should use shop names or not, you tell me Sid, it was going to be about that state of comic shops, from being at connections I grew accustomed to a certain decent setting, the one that's here is awful, but there's a comparison for it against a shop up the road. Both independent shops, should go with it or not? And should I stay away from naming the shops?
You tell me

Sid said...

Fuck it Ryan, name and shame. The best thing that can ever happen to a shop is for them to listen to their negative feedback and respond accordingly.

Ryan said...

Will do, it'll be up in the week. Hopefully I'll have some time to borrow a digital camera from a flatmate and take some pictures of the places.