Image: DC Comics

There’s a war on the horizon, but it doesn’t involve the usual suspects currently dominating the headlines. It’s a war between the secret agencies that hold real power in the world, and their uneasy armistice is about to come to an end in The Wild Storm. Written by Warren Ellis with art by Jon Davis-Hunt and colorist Steve Buccellato, The Wild Storm has been a fascinating reimagining of the Wildstorm universe, taking a much quieter and subdued approach than the original, which was born from the “x-treme” landscape of ’90s comics. This current series is very much defined by Ellis’ storytelling sensibility, and it’s a slow burn full of big ideas and punctuated by moments of spectacular action. The conflict has been building between rival organizations I.O. and Skywatch for the last year, and it bubbles over this week when I.O. takes their first shots at their old enemy with a sneak attack on Skywatch’s information network.

This exclusive preview of The Wild Storm #12 highlights the book’s grounded perspective, both in terms of the story and artwork. This war doesn’t begin with a bang, but with a covert action carried out by a teleporter and a bug from the future. “It’s information warfare. We don’t get to roll out and blow things up,” says I.O.’s chief analyst Jackie King, and while the actual action in this excerpt isn’t all that active, Buccellato’s coloring adds excitement by taking the reader on a vibrant color journey. A pop of bright pink kicks off the mission, and the coloring cycles through green, yellow, blue, and red as the bug flies through Skywatch’s facility.

Structure is very important in this series, not only in the nine-panel grid, but in the compositions. This excerpt begins with rows of red shelves holding three boxes each. The establishing shot of I.O. headquarters shows Jackie in front of a red beehive pattern, and the workers are in rows with all of their blue computer screens perfectly aligned. These visual decisions create a strong sense of order for the story, and it will be very interesting to see how the book’s aesthetic will change when the chaos of war inevitably takes over.

Cover by Jon Davis-Hunt
Image: DC Comics
Variant by Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Alex Sinclair
Image: DC Comics

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Variant by Bryan Hitch and Alex Sinclair
Image: DC Comics
Image: DC Comics
Image: DC Comics

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Image: DC Comics
Image: DC Comics
Illustration: DC Comics

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Image: DC Comics