Issue #16 of THE WILD STORM just came out about a week or two ago, but you still have time to catch up on the series. The last installment will be issue #24; since one issue comes out per month, there are only about eight months left. With that in mind, you’ve still got plenty of time to read it before it ends!

Where To Begin

Yet, maybe there’s something else getting in the way. If you clicked on this article, I’m guessing that you already know two things by now. The first thing is that THE WILD STORM is the latest ongoing comic by acclaimed comic writer Warren Ellis. The second thing is that THE WILD STORM is a reboot. Specifically, it’s a reboot of Jim Lee’s WildStorm Universe, a comic series that came out in the 90’s.

THE WILD STORM
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Like Marvel and DC, WildStorm has a wide variety of convoluted characters and plotlines. So, THE WILD STORM is a reboot of said characters and plotlines. It’s understandable why the series might seem daunting at first.

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Entering THE WILD STORM

To be clear, you don’t have to know everything about the original WildStorm-verse to understand THE WILD STORM. However, it does help to know what the series is rebooting. So, hopefully, this article will serve as a quick guide for how the original WildStorm-verse compares to THE WILD STORM. I’ll try to avoid as many spoilers as I can; however, I’ll be linking everything back to their original comic counterparts. So, I may inadvertently reveal certain plot twists here.

Still, even if I didn’t account for spoilers, I’m sure that I would miss something. THE WILD STORM is rewriting the origins for an entire comic universe in a limited 24-issue series. Obviously, it isn’t going to cover the entirety of the original WildStorm-verse. Yet the series’ references still run deep.

For example, consider THE WILD STORM character Jacklyn King. In THE WILD STORM, Jacklyn is the chief of analytics for International Operations. IO is a wide-reaching government agency that secretly runs the world. Jacklyn doesn’t have any special powers or physical abilities. However, International Operations is using advanced technology to keep the world in a state of constant surveillance. Thus, Jacklyn’s skills as a data manager are pretty useful to the organization.

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The Past Life of Jaclyn King

Jacklyn’s counterpart in the original WildStorm-verse is Jackson King. He’s a male telepathic superhero who formerly went by the codename Battalion.

THE WILD STORM
Modern versus original. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

International Operations still existed in the original WildStorm comics as a secretive, far-reaching evil government agency. However, Jackson never associated with them. Instead, his first comics appearance was as the heavily armed field leader of the UN-sanctioned superhuman crisis intervention team Stormwatch. Stormwatch doesn’t exist in THE WILD STORM; however, in the current series, International Operations is struggling for control of the world against its main rival Skywatch. Like IO, Skywatch is a government agency which has way too much influence due to super-science shenanigans. The main thing that sets Skywatch apart from IO is that Skywatch has a space station as its headquarters. Which is fitting, since, in the original comics, Skywatch was the name of Stormwatch’s space station home base.

Another thing to note is that Xenomorphs killed off most of the original Stormwatch heroes during a crossover between the WildStorm-verse and the ALIEN franchise. Which, believe it or not, is actually canon in-universe.

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WILDC.A.T.S/ALIENS. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Some of the surviving members went on to form a new superhero team called the Authority. For lack of a better term, they were an ultra-violent version of the Justice League. Jackson wasn’t a member of the Authority, but he was the team’s liaison to the United Nations. That in itself might be a sign that Jaclyn will end up in a similar role in the series. Most of the Authority members’ counterparts have already appeared in THE WILD STORM. Warren Ellis himself even hinted that the Authority would be coming together as a team in an upcoming issue.

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In Search of Brevity

Jaclyn is somewhat of a secondary character in THE WILD STORM. Yet even then, it took some digging to research who her original WildStorm-verse counterpart was. There are quite a few major and secondary characters in THE WILD STORM. Like Jaclyn, all of them are based on original early 90s WildStorm-verse heroes. Characters who haven’t even appeared in the series yet already have complex backstories. Almost everyone’s involved with several different super-teams and various organizations.

However, I think I can keep this article from becoming an incomprehensible info dump. Obviously, I can’t summarize the entirety of the original WildStorm comics continuity in one article. Yet, from here on out, I’ll try to keep things concise and pick up the pace a bit.

The Good, The Bad, and The Also Bad

THE WILD STORM mainly revolves around three factions competing for power. Said factions are: International Operations (IO), SkyWatch, and the HALO Corporation. As mentioned earlier, IO and Skywatch are secret government organizations that have become way too powerful for their own good.

THE WILD STORM
Images courtesy of DC Entertainment.

This isn’t that far of a departure from their original WildStorm-verse counterparts. As stated earlier, IO was a malevolent S.H.I.E.L.D.-type agency right from the get-go. Stormwatch may not have been as evil as Skywatch, but it did consist of heavily militarized supersoldiers. The HALO Corporation is also pretty similar to how it was in the original WildStorm-verse. In both versions, HALO is a front for the WildC.A.T.s (Wild Covert Action Team). Super-powered aliens called Kherubim are generally the main members of the team. They’re a war-like species hailing from the planet Khera, who became stranded on Earth.

However, while the HALO corporation serves the same purpose in both iterations, the WildC.A.T.s have changed quite a bit. In the original comics, the WildC.A.T.s were spandex-clad warriors fighting against their sworn enemies, a rival species called the Daemonites. In THE WILD STORM, the WildC.A.T.s are still mostly ultra-violent aliens. Yet there are no fancy costumes, and their roster is relatively smaller than it was in the original verse. Instead of the Daemonites, their primary enemies are IO and Skywatch. This is because both are using Kherubim tech for nefarious purposes. Another change worth noting is that in THE WILD STORM, the Kheribum now refer to themselves as “Khera.”

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Wild Covert Action Teams

In the original WildStorm-verse, the Wild.C.A.T.s’ starting roster had John Colt (AKA Spartan), a Kherubim android, and the team’s field leader; Zealot (AKA Lucy Blaze), a female elite Kherubim assassin and her human protégé (as well as lover) Cole Cash (AKA Grifter); and Voodoo, a human stripper who’s half-Kherubim and can tell when Daemonites have possessed humans. Rounding out the team are Kherubim warriors Warblade and Maul. Warblade has stretchy blade claws, and Maul is the purple skinned-halfway point between the Hulk and Giant-Man. Neither of them have appeared in THE WILD STORM yet.

THE WILD STORM
Bottom row, from left to right: Void, Warblade, Voodoo, Jacob Marlowe. Top row, from left to right: Zealot, Grifter, Maul, and Spartan. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Jacob Marlowe manages the team. Marlowe is a former homeless bum who discovers that he’s actually Lord Emp, an immortal Kherubim high lord. He learns this through Void, a former Russian astronaut named Adrianna. She got her powers after the rocket ship she was on was destroyed by a mysterious orb of power. Said orb contained the essence of the god-like being Omnia, the mistress of light.

As the series went on, the WildC.A.T.s would gain a couple more members. One of them was Zealot’s secret daughter Kenesha (AKA Savant), a mystic archaeologist. Also, a Kherubim Superman-knockoff named Mr. Majestic is Kenesha’s father. I’m not sure if that’s going to factor into THE WILD STORM or not. Yet, in case it does, there’s a heads up.

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All-New WildC.A.T.s

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From left to right: Marlowe, John Colt, Kenesha, Grifter, Void, and Angie. Images courtesy of DC Comics

As alluded to earlier, the WildC.A.T.s in THE WILD STORM isn’t as flashy as the original version. Jacob Marlowe is still the leader, and he’s presumably still a Kheran high lord. However, he no longer seems to have the homelessness-related backstory. The rest of team now consists of Cole Cash, a former International Operations soldier; John Colt, a former Kherubim slave; Kenesha, a gun-slinging Kherubim weapons-designer; and their newest recruit Angie Spica.

In the original WildStorm-verse, Angie first showed up as a member of the Authority named the Engineer. She was a scientist who got her nano-technology based powers from the previous “Engineer”, a member of the “Changers.” These Changers were a group of superhumans who wanted to use their powers to bring about world peace. Stormwatch ended up killing them for threatening the world order.

THE WILD STORM
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

In THE WILD STORM, Angie starts out as an International Operations researcher. She gets her powers after she accidentally fuses with some Kherubim tech. Using these newfound abilities, she manages to foil an IO-orchestrated assassination attempt on John Marlowe’s life. After that, she becomes a member of the WildC.A.T.s.

Serving as the team’s transport is the teleporter Void. Void more or less has the same backstory as before. However, instead of getting her power from a space orb, they now originate from an interdimensional realm called the Bleed.

THE WILD STORM
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Bleed was also present in the original WildStorm-verse as an interdimensional portal discovered by Stormwatch scientists.

Stormwatch vs. SkyWatch

Voodoo and Zealot also appear in THE WILD STORM as well, but not as members of the team. Voodoo is now a pop star who has visions of an oncoming apocalyptic war. Zealot is still a Kherubim assassin who mentored Grifter, but she now works for SkyWatch.

THE WILD STORM
Images courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Out of the three main factions, Skywatch’s roster has changed the most from its original version. As stated earlier, Stormwatch was UN-sanctioned superhero team based in a giant space satellite station called Skywatch. Some of their members were Kherubim related, but most of them got their powers when radiation from a passing comet activated a mutant gene in the human population sometime in the past.

In THE WILD STORM, however, Skywatch is the name of a super-science-based secret government agency. Still, the organization’s headquarters is a space station. Only three of the Skywatch-affiliated characters in THE WILD STORM are based on original Stormwatch members: Christine Trelane, Laurie Pennington, and Henry Bendix.

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Trelane, Pennington, Bendix, and their original WildStorm versions. Images courtesy of DC Entertainment.

In the original comics, Pennington was a fire-based superheroine named Fahrenheit. Trelane was Synergy, a woman whose main superpower was helping other people develop their own powers. Bendix was the Weatherman, a genius-intellect telepath and inventor who initially lead Stormwatch. However, he eventually turned out to be a megalomaniac who wanted to control the Earth for himself.

In THE WILD STORM, Bendix is now secretly a Kherubim who hates Earth. Pennington is his non-powered normal human assistant. Trelane, also without any powers, manages things on Earth on behalf of Skywatch along with Zealot.

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Rise of the Authority

However, outside of Skywatch, there are still a few Stormwatch characters running around in THE WILD STORM. Hopefully, you still remember Jacklyn King, who’s now an IO analytics head. The other key Stormwatch-related characters that we haven’t mentioned yet are Jenny Sparks, Jack Hawksmoor, and Shen Li-Min, who were three of the main founding members of the Authority in the original comics.

THE WILD STORM
Images courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Frankly, even as far as superheroes go, Jenny Sparks and Jack Hawksmoor are, well, weird. That’s saying a lot in a genre where guys like Batman and Spider-Man are the mainstream standard.

Jenny Mei Sparks, The Spirit of the 20th & 21st Century

In the original comics, Jenny Sparks was the leader of Stormwatch’s Black Ops division, before founding and leading the Authority. Her abilities come from her being “The Spirit of the 20th Century.” That means that she was born on the first day of the 20th century, she hasn’t aged ever since she hit adulthood, she’s destined to die once the 20th century ends, and she has electrical powers.

THE WILD STORM
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Since the 20th century did end quite a while ago, Sparks was killed off at the end of the Authority’s first story arc, which took place sometime in 1999. She was later succeeded by Jenny Quantum, “The Spirit of the 21st Century,” a Singaporean orphan with reality-bending powers.

Which bring us to Sparks & Quantum’s THE WILD STORM counterpart, Jenny Mei Sparks. In the current continuity, Sparks is a conspiracy theorist who’s trying to figure out what IO and Skywatch are up to. She hasn’t shown any powers yet, but she does have the power to travel through electronic screens.

THE WILD STORM
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

It was also revealed that she was born at the beginning of the 20th century. Since it seems like THE WILD STORM is taking place in current times, what that means is anyone’s guess.

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Jack Hawksmoor, The God of Cities

Now, if you thought “The Spirit of the 20th Century” was an obtuse concept for a superhero, wait until you meet Jack. In the original comics, Hawksmoor was abducted as a child by time travelers from the 70th century, who surgically modified Hawksmoor into a super-weapon so that he could save the world from a mutated gestalt version of Kansas City that somehow ended up traveling back in time to threaten the planet.

THE WILD STORM
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

As if that wasn’t confusing enough, Jack’s powers are something to behold. Basically, whenever he’s in a city, he’s able to fuse with and control it as if it were a part of his body. However, his powers come at a price. In exchange for control of the city, Jack’s health gets linked to the well-being of the city as well.

In THE WILD STORM, Jack appears as a homeless man calling himself the Mayor, but he still demonstrates some of his powers when he walks up the side of a building. However, after encountering Sparks and Shen Li-Min, he regains his memories and realizes that he is the way he is due to being surgically modified against his will by SkyWatch.

THE WILD STORM
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The Past Lives of Shen Li-Min

Now that Sparks and Hawksmoor are out the way, let’s talk about Shen Li-Min, whose backstory is slightly less complicated. Shen Li-Min started out in the comics as a Stormwatch superhero named Swift, who had feathered wings due to that irradiated comet I mentioned earlier.

Swift then went on to become one of the founding members of the Authority, along with Sparks, Hawksmoor, and the Engineer. The other founding members were Apollo and Midnighter, former Stormwatch black ops agents who Bendix genetically modified into becoming a Superman-and-Batman-esque super-soldier duo, and the Doctor, an all-powerful reality warping shaman.

THE WILD STORM
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Apollo and Midnighter have yet to appear in THE WILD STORM. The Doctor, on the other hand, has already shown up in THE WILD STORM as… Shen Li-Men.

The Doctor Is In

You see, in the original WildStorm-verse, the Earth itself chooses who gets to wield the Doctor’s powers. Thus, multiple folks have taken up the role of the Doctor. The first Doctor to appear in the comics was a member of the aforementioned and ill-fated “Changers.” The next one was Jeroen Thorndike, a heroin-addicted Dutch millionaire who was one of the initial members of the Authority.

The mantle of the Doctor then got passed around a couple more times. Eventually, it reached Shen Li-Men, who was the last person holding the title when DC shut the original WildStorm-verse down.

THE WILD STORM
Images courtesy of DC Entertainment.

So, despite being a reboot of the WildStorm-verse, THE WILD STORM’s Doctor is based on the last iteration of the character; though, obviously, changes have been made. Instead of having wings or being associated with any superhero teams, Li-Men first appears in the Wild Storm as a renowned freelance spiritual consultant, who gets drawn into the whole IO/Skywatch/HALO conflict when she’s hired by Jenny Sparks.

THE WILD STORM
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Powerwise, Li-Men still seems to have reality-bending abilities. However, they’ve mostly been used in the series so far to dig up repressed or missing memories in people like Sparks and Jack Hawksmoor.

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Return of The Authority

Prior to THE WILD STORM’s release, Ellis confirmed in an interview that Midnighter and Apollo would be making an appearance in the series. So, it’s only a matter of time before they join Sparks, Hawksmoor, the Engineer, and the Doctor. The Authority is practically on its way already!

Yet the WildC.A.T.s and the Authority aren’t the only superhero teams THE WILD STORM has up its sleeve

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