Friday, September 5, 2014

Wildstorm: Armageddon Trade Paperback Review

Wildstorm: Armageddon
DC Comics - Wildstorm
Softcover Trade Paperback
144 pages
$17.99 (2008)
ISBN 9781401217037

Contributors: Christos Gage, Simon Coleby, Horace Domingues, Neil Googe, Dan Davis, Brandon Badeaux, Jonny Rench, Carrie Strachan, Jonboy Meyers, Tony Washington, Talent Caldwell, Steve Wands, Travis Lanham, Wildstorm FX and covers by Mike McKone, Randy Mayor.

Reprints: Midnighter: Armageddon #1; Welcome to Tranquility: Armageddon #1; Wetworks: Armageddon #1; Gen13: Armageddon #1; Stormwatch P.H.D.: Armageddon #1; Wildcats: Armageddon #1

Synopsis: The Wildstorm universe faces an apocalyptic event which threatens to destroy all life on Earth.  Void travels back in time to warn a handful of heroes in an effort to avoid the tragedy.  Her focus and powers are severely taxed.  Does she choose the right heroes or will they be unable to avert disaster?

  • Midnighter is brought to a London in ruins where The Authority's carrier has crash-landed.  Death is everywhere and Midnighter must find clues to what happened.  Roving groups of superhumans scour the landscape.  He assails the carrier's downed carcass to find clues to the whereabouts of his teammates and especially the fate of his lover, Apollo.  Can the world's deadliest man play detective long enough to save the future?  
  • Maximum Man has regained his powers and is reveling in the ability to transform from geriatric to invincible superman.  He's getting lucky with the ladies (what else would you do), but coming under fire from attractive sheriff of Tranquility.  Void appears and brings him to the future where Tranquility is in chaos.  The community of superheroes are trying to keep the tide of evil superhumans from breaching the city, but are bearing the toll of their efforts.  Can he figure out a way to stop the tragedy?
  • Jackson Dane and his Wetworks team are embroiled in battle with the Night Tribes.  Void transports him to the future where the Tribes have gained the upper hand in Europe.  They're using the remaining humans as cattle, but Wetworks is still fighting them from the shadows.  The team has gained a few new members and hope still remains.  Will Dane gain enough information to halt their rise to power before the Armageddon happens?
  • Caitlin Fairchild is tired of dealing with her immature teammates when Void sends her to the future.  Amid the disaster she finds Burnout and Grunge.  The pair have matured into true heroes and she helps them find Rainmaker who has been captured by a group of Coda.  The sisters have established control over a town and are building a new sisterhood in the wake of Armageddon.  Can Caitlin bring back enough experience to make a difference?
  • John Doran is a human cop enlisted by Jackson King to head up a new kind of Stormwatch to police superhuman threats.  Void brings him to the future where he tries to find the remnants of his team.  Some of them have disappeared, but a few fight for the safety of the powerless humans caught in the storm.  Jackson King has reformed Stormwatch on a rebuilt Skywatch. He's seems highly unstable and Doran is fearful King will become just like his late father, the mega-maniacal Despot.  Will John's police instincts glean enough knowledge from the future to avoid making it a reality?
  • Nemesis is a Kheran Coda warrior who trained under Zealot.  She's an outcast by nature and has history with Majestic.  When Void sends her to the future as her last ditch attempt at halting Armageddon she may have finally chosen right.  She hooks up with what's left of the Wildcats and is shocked to witness Majestic actively fighting them!  He's set up a utopian island in the midst of the carnage to try and restart society, but his ends don't justify the means.  Will Nemesis be swayed to his cause or fight for independence?
Jackson Dane surveys the ruins of a future Europe
Pros: Great sampling of the Wildstorm Universe's characters/titles, interesting premise as a terrible cataclysm looms and heroes are given a glimpse - will they stop Armageddon?, some cool art, nice crossover of characters and a few new ones, unifying factor is one single writer in Christos Gage

Cons: Many different artists with jarringly different styles - some good and some not so good, might be overwhelming for readers unfamiliar with Wildstorm, Welcome to Tranquility issue felt out of place due to the vastly different look/tone of that series
Wetworks has gained a few new members

Mike Tells It Straight: The Wildstorm Universe was restarted by DC Comics in the mid-2000s with some degree of success.  Armageddon was a sweeping crossover meant to generate buzz as sales began to wane.  In a series of one-shots we're presented with an ultimate crisis happening in the future and Void trying desperately to avoid it.  Her challenge is finding the right heroes who can bring back enough information to actually stop the atrocity.  It doesn't seem very hopeful.

What I enjoyed about this book is the ability to glimpse each of the varying Wildstorm titles' art.  I found Badeaux's art on Wetworks to be particularly detailed (followed by Talent Caldwell on Wildcats).  Some of the art was weak (sorry Welcome to Tranquility).  I think this series is a must-read if you enjoy Wildstorm and want to see where it goes (before the whole New 52 integration into the DC Universe).  The follow-ups are Wildstorm: Revelations, Number of the Beast and the assorted World's End books.  I'm planning to check those out next and stay tuned!

TO BUY and Recommendations: