Image: DC Comics

Wildstorm created a new modern superhero universe when it debuted in the ’90s, embracing the storytelling conventions of the time to give readers high-energy superheroics with an x-treme edge. The genre has changed considerably in two decades, so when writer Warren Ellis and artist Jon Davis-Hunt reimagined the Wildstorm universe for The Wild Storm, they took a fresh approach built on decompression and understatement. This book is a slow burn, but by taking their time, Ellis and Davis-Hunt put readers deep into this environment while building tension for the big moments of spectacle when they arrive.

While rival organizations IO and Sky Watch are at war, new groups are being introduced on the sidelines that can dramatically change how this conflict unfolds. This exclusive preview of this week’s The Wild Storm #17 features the latest meeting between John Lynch and a member of Project Thunderbook, a group of people who were granted extraordinary powers after being experimented on. Ellis is setting up the debut of Gen13 with this subplot, and he’s doing it with minimal exposition, exploring the past through small scenes where Lynch confronts his history, often in violent ways.

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Davis-Hunt and colorist Brian Buccellato do exceptional work imbuing this conversation with drama, creating an ominous atmosphere as Lynch drives toward the massive storm cloud above Stephen Rainmaker’s home. This is also Lynch seeing his work in action, and the power on display is magnificent. Both this excerpt and this issue’s cover emphasize the contrast between Stephen’s small human body and the enormous scope of his weather-changing superpower, zooming out to show readers the full magnitude of his ability. The widescreen layout changes to a nine-panel grid as Rainmaker comes back down to Earth to chat with Lynch, and the intensity of those opening panels adds an extra dimension to their conversation by showing the destruction Rainmaker is capable of if he’s provoked.