Category Archives: WSU

Wildcats #30

“Bad Medicine 4 of 4: In Practice” (No Spoilers)

Writer: Adam Beechen
Pencils: Mike S. Miller
Colors: Carlos Badilla
Letters: Wes Abbott
Assistant Editor: Kristy Quinn
Editor: Jim Chadwick
Cover: Jheremy Raapack & Richard Friend

“It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.”

– R.E.M.

I am completely serious when I say this song came on the radio when I was driving home from the comic shop after picking up this issue. You may not believe it but it is absolutely true. I couldn’t help but smile when it did. But that phrase perfectly describes how I felt about this issue. I think it was a great wrap-up issue not only to Wildcats as a series, but the Wildstorm Universe in general.

It’s hard to imagine it’s been 18 years since the first issue of Wildcats. There have been many restarts and false starts for this book over the years but despite it all, I’ve always enjoyed the book. So I’m happy to say I think they pulled off a great final issue. Adam Beechen has helped tell a truly epic story to end the Wildstorm Universe. Even though the world has already been through Armageddon, that didn’t stop Beechen and company from coming up with more ways to torture the poor Earth. Beechen did an incredible job of bringing characters old and new together for the WSU’s swan song. Knowing that the books were ending made the story that much more dire because you knew anything could happen since future stories didn’t have to be taken into account.

There’s also the fact that it seems Beechen worked closely with The Authority writer Tom Taylor to come up with the ending. The Authority’s final issue flows perfectly into this one as we learn who the Earth’s new Doctor is and we witness their role in the story. There were also several reunions for most of the characters and that was a lot of fun to see. Ultimately, I think the resolution to the story was very unique. The resolution also brought together several stories that have been building up since World’s End so I applaud Beechen for doing his homework and digging up some of those plotlines.

Speaking of plotlines, Beechen did warn that some plotlines would not be resolved because he did not find out about Wildstorm’s closure in time. However, I think he did a great job of addressing these plotlines and the fact they were left unresolved to me is more realistic. It drives home the point that these stories never truly end but there is still a feeling of closure despite the unresolved plotlines. There is also a great series of panels that show us what our favorite characters are doing and Beechen made sure to insert lots of little nods to long-time Wildstorm fans; something he’s done during his entire run.

I cannot end my final Wildcats review without talking about Mike Miller’s art. We got to see his work over in The Authority first and now he gets the honor of illustrating the final issue of Wildcats. He was able to draw some incredible scenes, including several full pages of some very memorable moments. He also did a great job of illustrating what I call the “wrap-up” panels which show our heroes around the world. It’s a shame we won’t get to see more of his art in the WSU but I’m glad we got what we did.

Well, turn out the lights, the party’s over. You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here. The Wildstorm Universe as we know it is no more. As bittersweet as it is I’m just thankful the creators found out in time to give us some closure here with the story. I grew up following this universe so it’ll always carry a special place in my heart. So, raise your glasses and drink one for the good old Wildstorm U! I know this fan with surely miss it.

Gen 13 #39

“Pocatello: Part 5-Heroes” (No Spoilers)

Writer: Phil Hester
Pencils: Cruddie Torian
Inks: Andy Smith
Colors: Wildstorm FX
Letters: Wes Abbott
Assistant Editor: Chynna Clugston Flores
Editor: Scott Peterson
Cover: Dustin Nguyen

Next up out the door, everyone’s favorite teen team: Gen 13. I have to say I was hoping for a fonder farewell to my favorite teens but I think the circumstances didn’t allow it as much.

When Phil Hester came onboard, I’m sure he had this specific story in mind to tell and it was in no way supposed to be a story that ended the Gen 13 title. It seems that they may have told him in time about Wildstorm’s closing and he tried to adjust what he could but so much change had occurred in the title, most of the original characters were not around for the finale.

Now I’m only a little torn with that because when you have a finale for a book, you’d like to have the main players involved. But like I said, Hester had already been moving the title in a totally different direction. However, in the end it may have worked out in favor of a more realistic ending. With the world in the chaos it’s been in during World’s End, it’s a wonder most of the Wildstorm teams were able to stay together as much as they did. The Gen 13 kids lucked out the most because they actually missed the event that ended the world and came into it after the fact. Since then, they’ve been through enormous changes as a team and that included some of them moving to other books.

As much as I would’ve loved to have seen the originals in the finale, it made more sense for it to happen this way. I guess it’s easier to believe that the kids wouldn’t all be together after everything that’s happened. Plus it was obvious Hester was setting up this new team for more adventures beyond this story. I am glad that we at least had Fairchild and Burnout here at the end. Fairchild was always my favorite Gen 13 member so I was glad to see her in action one last time in the pages of her own team title. The story did have an epic conclusion but it was all a little predictable and it seemed a little rushed. I wish they had not made this title bi-monthly like they did. It would’ve allowed Hester more time to flesh out what happened.

Ultimately, it was just an ok ending for the team. It was a hopeful ending and I do like that the last page contains two of the originals characters in the final panels. The final shot of Fairchild looking into the sky was a little sad because I know it’s the last I’ll see of her for a while. Because of all the characters that’ll make the transition to the DCU, I know she’ll be one of the first. Until then, take it easy kids!

Welcome to Tranquility: One Foot in the Grave #6

“Homecoming-Part 6: Ending Note” (No Spoilers)

Writer: Gail Simone
Pencils: Horacio Domingues
Colors: Carrie Strachan
Letters: Travis Lanham
Assistant Editor: Kristy Quinn
Editor: Ben Abernathy
Cover: Neil Googe

We’re finally at the end of this surprisingly dark and disturbing Welcome to Tranquility story. Gail Simone truly reached into some dark places to come up with the villain of this series.

I think ultimately Simone was having a lot of fun with this series despite how dark it got. This issue sees some ideas from the original series come into play and it also takes an opportunity to add some surprising twists to the Tranquility lore. There are some characters that hook-up in here that were real shockers. The hook-up was introduced (and I guess technically simultaneously re-introduced) all in this one issue. But the denizens of this town are not exactly normal so it fits with feel of the town.

I’ve been reading this without going back and re-reading the original mini-series. I found that overall I was still able to enjoy it but even having read the original series, there were still some things that I found myself a little lost about. There is a mission that Sheriff Lindo sends Salabal on and at first I had no idea where it came from. When I saw the plan carried out I was able to piece together what happened but that’s only because I knew details about the character of Maximum Man from the original series. I think it’s something that new readers might get a little lost with. In the end, I think it’s better to read the original series first before reading this one. It’ll just make for a more complete reading experience.

This inadvertently became the swan song for the citizens of Tranquility. Their fate has already been revealed in the pages of World’s End so this was a nice little story that fits right before that. I really enjoyed this series and would’ve loved to have seen more done with these characters. Whatever is done in the future with the Wildstorm characters, I hope Simone is always at the forefront when it comes to the town of Tranquility.

The Authority #29

“Change, Not Die” (No Spoilers)

Writer: Tom Taylor
Plot Assist: Adam Warren
Pencils: Al Barrionuevo & Kevin West
Colors: Eltaeb with Royer & Mayor
Letters: Wes Abbott
Assistant Editor: Kristy Quinn
Editor: Jim Chadwick
Cover: Jheremy Raapack, Richard Friend, & Wes Hartman

The end of the Wildstorm Universe is here and the first title to bow out in the imprint’s final month is one of its most popular and controversial titles: The Authority. My personal history with The Authority is bittersweet. I thought they were great when Warren Ellis first brought them on the scene but then I quickly lost my taste for them as they seemed to fall into a cycle of shock-value stories instead of stories that simply had some value. Then Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (affectionately known to fans as DnA) came along with the World’s End storyline and made me like The Authority again. In the end it was a short reunion but I’m glad I could enjoy this team once again before the end.

Writer Tom Taylor took the reins of this title earlier this year when the previous creative team left prematurely. Taylor quickly showed that he was going to have a lot of fun with this title. And have fun he did! Where DnA’s run was very somber and humbling for these heroes, Taylor took the lessons from DnA’s run and made sure The Authority did not forget them. I was worried that Taylor might not have gotten the news about Wildstorm’s closing until it was too late to change the end of his Authority run. But based on the way this issue was presented, it seems that he did. Taylor has the characters offer some great reflections on what it means to be a hero. This could have easily been something that could’ve turned out corny and preachy. But I think Taylor picked the perfect character to convey the message. It was a thoughtful commentary on the superhero genre in general and made excellent allusions to the end of Wildstorm itself. Even the title of the issue was highly appropriate and a brilliant callback to Ellis’ run where it all started.

The run has also had two amazing artists in Al Barrionuevo, who took the majority of the issues, and Mike Miller who took two of the issues. On top of that, we get a third artist helping finish off this final issue with Kevin West. I don’t know where he came from but I really enjoyed the few pages he got. He definitely got to illustrate one of the best moments in the issue (see Flint and Grifter). We even got an impressive spilt cover by artist Jheremy Raapack. But Barrionuevo ended this issue in style as he got to illustrate some epic pieces as well. Plus he got to provide a great cliffhanger! That’s right, it’s the final issue and it had a cliffhanger! How will this get resolved since the title was cancelled you ask? Well, it seems that Taylor coordinated with writer Adam Beechen over in Wildcats to have this Authority issue lead directly into the final issue of Wildcats (#30). This was also highly appropriate because both runs at the beginning of the year began together before they split into their different stories. So it’s nice to see them come back together for the finale.

Well, that’s one Wildstorm title buried. But I have to say as a final issue I enjoyed it very much. I felt like it wound down and resolved Taylor’s story nicely and did well to let itself be lead into the final issue of Wildcats. Although December will be a month of goodbyes to the heroes of the Wildstorm Universe, I’m glad that we’ve got a great group of creators that gave it their all in these last issues. Thanks for a great run guys!