Anyone interested in catching up on some of the previous Ellis Wildstorm stuff might want to check out the sale that’s currently running at Comixology:
All 12 issues of The Authority for £2.99 is a steal. You can also get the recent bumper Stormwatch collections for £3.99 apiece, and all of Planetary for under £20 (£3.99 per TPB and £2.99 for the three specials).
I remember finding that Ellis’ Stormwatch really improved as it went along. The early issues were a bit generic 90s superhero for me, but some of the later stuff was great and very inventive (the one that really stands out in my mind is the one that explores Jenny Sparks’ history through the filter of comics history).
In between the last two issues of Stormwatch Volume 2. It explains what happens on Skywatch that kills most of the Stormwatch field agents and leads to Stormwatch being shut down, paving the way for Jenny, Swift and Jack to form The Authority.
I was lucky enough to pick up the Final Orbit TPB when it came out.
Ellis definitely knew what he wanted to do from the first page - dumping half the cast, rearranging everything, and all the while swinging around to the idea that Stormwatch should go after the causes of superhuman terrorism, which is the real instigator of the conflict in Change or Die. And he’s building towards that in smaller ways across those first few issues as well. The one where Stormwatch Black infiltrate the town, and the Synergy solo story are the first mention and appearance of BlissWish, respectively, for example. And they’re slap bang in the middle of Ellis figuring out his own voice. He had the message he wanted to send, he just hadn’t quite figured out how to phrase it for that first six months.
I think I need to go back and reread it with this in mind. Partly I think I lack context for what Ellis was doing as I never read Stormwatch before he took over, so the gravity of some of his changes might have been lost on me a little bit.
To me, I am always torn on the art during that era. It was great and all, but felt a little too colorful and super-heroey than what the story called for, maybe? I felt it was the one thing that kind of kept me out of the story completely when it first came out. Maybe the juxtaposition is what they were going for.
[quote=“JLJL, post:154, topic:8296, full:true”]
To me, I am always torn on the art during that era. It was great and all, but felt a little too colorful and super-heroey than what the story called for, maybe? I felt it was the one thing that kind of kept me out of the story completely when it first came out.[/quote]
That was definitely part of it too for me I think.
I think it was around issue 10 when I was giving up on superhero comics and dropped it. One of the things which I liked about the Wildstorm books at the time is that they were really SF action stories with a superhero skin, and Ellis started peeling that skin even further back. Stormwatch was kinda X-men, but the baseline for their missions would be inspecting arms shipments or rescuing civilians in warzones. They’d just wind up fighting superhuman mercenaries or terrorists. I remember randomly reading issues arounf the time he took over,and Ellis turning the series into a police procedural/technothriller felt like an evolution rather than an all out rejection of what came before. Sorta like how Alan Moore’s run on WildCATs took the concept of aliens fighting a covert war on Earth, but gave it the backdrop that the war had been over for centuries and Earth was such a backwater nobody bothered to tell them. It changed the book, but didn’t discard the old material.
Thanks for the heads-up on the sale @DaveWallace
I’ve just gone and snagged it all.
It’s a pretty good selection of stuff on sale. Transmetropolitan, Global Frequency, etc.
I bought Red (having never read it).