Imagine your favorite action show or movie, with action so detailed in its choreography that you’re whooping it up on the couch like a maniac. Now imagine your favorite mind-bending show or movie with visuals you have to re-watch to comprehend. For example, combine “Into the Badlands” on AMC with “Inception.”
That’s what the Wild Storm #3 has done.
In this issue we see Jacob Marlowe’s Covert Action Team track down rogue engineer Angie Spica and attempt to rescue here, all the while IO is attempting to track her down and harvest her inventions. Thankfully, the two groups clash, and holy hell do things get amazing.
Things start off with a character who appears to be (please God please) Jenny Sparks wandering through technology to get to her destination. Now, I had to look over the visuals here a few times to make sure I registered what I was seeing: Sparks essentially meanders through security footage, a comic book, a TV show, and a Times Square ad in a series of panels that’s just so damn clever. This sequence is, of course, LITTERED with Easter Eggs that longtime DC readers will gobble up like a post-Easter candy sale.
And then the fun starts.
Cole Cash (Grifter), Kenesha (Savant), and Adrianna Tereshkova (Void) arrive in Spica’s safe room, just after she’s been working on her mech suit. IO’s Razors 3 arrive just thereafter, and the following action is as frenetic as the tiny details that artist Jon Davis-Hunt supplies are thoughtful.
Grifter’s acrobatics and sharp-shooting are on point, as he’s also in a realistic body position to fire a shot, and his shots just land so gorgeously on whatever the Razors are shooting. And this is where Davis-Hunt’s attention to detail is so powerful: he gets the action down so minutely in a couple panels that you get the full force of the beats in Warren Ellis’ script, like when he takes the time to show the bounce a canister takes, or when an exploding bullet counts down. Hell, one of my favorite tiny details was a panel showing Spica remembering to put on her shoe after working on her armor.
The colors here by Steve Buccellato are just mouth-wateringly gorgeous: from the tiny drones Spica shoots, to the strange matter-piercing light, to the initial teleportation field, Buccellato chooses a bright palate to really emphasize how out-of-place in a realistic world all these things are. Contrast the page examining Spica’s hiring at IO with the teleportation scene – absolutely stunning work.
And then there’s Ellis’ dialogue and direction. Miles Craven’s orders from the IO control room are alternatingly dumbfounded and surgical as he tries to control the infiltration from the “wild CATs.” Grifter’s impatience with a rapidly deteriorating situation is palpable. And again, that scene where (please God please) Jenny Sparks goes to her headquarters is so well crafted, and her dialogue so spot on, is just perfect.
This issue is just the sort of gear-shift this series needed to amp up the action and the intrigue. Davis-Hunt is a star in the making with his attention to detail and organic action. Buccellato shows true innovation with impossible events occurring in a bland modern world. And goddamn, does Warren Ellis have a feel for these characters that hasn’t eroded in the years that have passed. I adore this book.