Comics Creators

The Wild Storm by Warren Ellis (Spoilers)


The anatomy can be a bit wonky, and once you notice it you can’t ever stop noticing it - but the dynamic depiction of everything really is stellar.


Got the first collection of Michael Cray comics and it does keep the tone of the Wild Storm pretty well. In some ways, it reminds me of when Keith Giffen took over Squadron Supreme after JMS left it.

Obviously, the conceit of the book is that Cray is being assigned to eliminate almost exclusively psychopathic alternate versions of the Justice League. It fits in with the way he used the JLA in the Planetary/JLA crossover.

An odd point that is never really addressed in the story is that Cray as a boy wears a Superman T-shirt. However, they also make an indirect reference to Bruce Wayne as a real person in this world. So, the question that hangs in the air is that if DC comics exist in this world, BUT characters like Bruce Wayne, Oliver Queen, Barry Allen and Arthur Curry also are real people in the world with superpowers no one knows about, then what does DC comics publish? Just Superman?

Also, we saw the Wonder Woman logo on bedsheets in the Doctor’s bedroom in the second volume of Wild Storm, so if a real Diana Prince shows up in Michael Cray, then what is going on?


She does, and I don’t know…


The only criticism I can give it is that compared to Ennis’ THE BOYS and Bendis’ POWERS, it doesn’t really hold a candle. It more in the vein of STORMWATCH ACHILLES which is appropriate but it is set up to deliver better.


Even though Ellis isn’t writing this series, I think he is overseeing it. I notice that he likes to introduce conspiracy theory ideas in his comics. Like how he’s calling Skywatch a “Breakaway” civilization which is a term that’s shown up a lot recently in regard to the idea of secret space programs in real life that are supposedly using alien technology and espionage spy craft to colonize the solar system with money stolen during various economic crises.

I actually encountered the concept first in Scalzi’s OLD MAN’S WAR where the space traveling portion of humanity was far more advanced than the Earth itself. Also, the Space Corps tended to accept applicants from the poorer nations, leaving the privileged out of the wider interstellar civilization basically in line with the Alex Jones fringe theory of a War on White People.

In Planetary, Ellis presented the idea that popular fiction - like the monster movies of the 60’s - were actually designed to obfuscate real events that were too unbelievable. Godzilla movies hid the existence of real radioactive giant lizards and moths. Matinee movies muddied stories of real colossal people and giant ants in the desert.

Now though there is a new idea called the Mandela Effect and part of that is the idea that reality changes for some people. Some people remember a movie that actually was never made or have the idea that some famous person died a long time ago but who is still alive.

Another element though is that a fictional event will suddenly become a real event. Someone writes a novel about an unsinkable ship called The Titan that hits an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sinks. Ten years later, the Titanic wreck happens in the same way. EA Poe wrote Arthur Pym about a crew of sailors who are stranded at sea and resort to cannibalism and eat their cabin boy named Richard Parker. 50 years later, an actual crew is lost at sea and resort to cannibalism in real life. They eat their cabin boy who is also named Richard Parker.

The idea being that the DC comics do exist in the new WSU, and they are also becoming real because of some reality warping effect where future events are predicted in fiction.

Another possibility is that these events are not happening at all. We already saw that IO has perfected virtual reality. Cray’s missions could be simulated by IO because they don’t really want to use him as an assassin but are actually studying his strange power. This is unlikely since we see events concerning these targets that would not be part of a simulated scenario.


I actually kind of like Ellis’s “ideas taken from New Scientist articles” mode. It’s one of the things I find fascinating about his writing.


Yeah, it’s similar to what a lot of hard SF authors do, base stories on stuff they read in scientific journals.


Me too. In fact it’s the best thing by far he does.

Ellis is not a great character writer, he does okay here and there but he uses a lot of stock and derivative archetypes. There’s a ‘John Constantine’ in most of his books.

His concepts set him apart and also as Kieron Gillen pointed out recently his action scenes. Gillen found he struggled with that aspect and used him as a mentor. When you see some of the stuff in Moon Knight that is largely silent you can see what he means (without reducing the role of Declan Shalvey who does the heavy lifting but it starts with a script).


Yeah, it’s like we’ve mentioned before a few times, when you see that same strength of clear action choreography across multiple books with different artists, it’s clear that it must be rooted in the script to a certain extent.


Constantine is more like Grant Morrison in The Wld Storm. I actually think that’s an interesting idea. What role would comic book writers and artists have in a world where Superheroes are real? Like the question regarding DC comics merchandise in previous issues. If Wildstorm is an alternate reality set somewhere between the real world and the DC universe, then who is Warren Ellis in that reality? What does Mark Miller or Jim Lee do for a living there?





The violin player with the Bad Seeds


Surely they would write pirate comics?


Millar would definitely be one of these guys:


I thought in a world where costumed heroes were real the comics were about pirates.




Seems like the final spin-off is what everyone thought it was gonna be.


Personally, I’d like to see a rein visioning of The Monarchy and The Establishment done this way as well, but, yeah, it would be crazy if they didn’t go for the obvious.

I kinda hope they thrown in “The Americans” team in there too just so they can all get wiped out.


Well I’m happy Ellis is doing Authority again.

The Monarchy, I am not sure they need to bring that back. I thought that was a failure in every respect. It seemed the author was trying to be really cutting edge without having an actual story to tell.