Waller vs. Wildstorm #1 – Spencer Ackerman/Evan Narcisse, Writers; Jesus Merino/Vicente Cifuentes, Artists; Mike Atiyeh, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: When people think of Wildstorm, they usually think of over-the-top 1990s comic book action—which makes what they’re doing with the line now all the more interesting. We’ve seen the characters used to great effect in the recent Bryan Edward Hill Michael Cray series, and recently in Superman: Son of Kal-El. None of those have been as experimental or bold as this Black Label black ops thriller, which takes the bones of the universe and recasts them as pawns in a DCU battle of wills between its deadliest spies. While the title sets up a battle between Amanda Waller of the Suicide Squad and the Wildstorm characters, its key player is actually someone very different—a young rookie reporter by the name of Lois Lane.
As bold and risk-taking as ever, Lois has found herself in the country of Gamorra just as it’s undergoing a rare transition of power. When her interview with the rebel leader is spiked by Steve Lombard, she heads to a backup plan—an interview with shadowy Inspector General Jackson King, who has a shocking story to tell about the fall of Stormwatch and the co-opting of Checkmate by an ambitious new black-side officer named Amanda Waller. While the Wildstorm characters are around the fringes of the story, the key players include some familiar DC faces—particularly Adeline Kane and her brutish unnamed enforcer who looks awfully familiar to long-time DC fans.
This issue has a lot more dialogue and a lot less action than I would have expected for a Wildstorm book, but when these characters actually do show up, it makes it count. Jesus Merino’s art shifts neatly between the grittier segments and a series of 90s-style double page spreads that show just how ruthless Waller’s black-ops teams can be when they’re unleashed. Overall, this first issue shows a lot of promise, sending Lois into a web of secrets that hints at a dark underbelly to the DCU. I’m not familiar with Spencer Ackerman, but this issue shows the same deft hand with complicated issues that he displayed in the Gilded City tie-in concept in recent months. Another win for Black Label.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.