Monday, March 25, 2019

Book Review - WildStorm Summer Special (2001)

I wasn't a fan of WildStorm or Jim Lee back in his heyday, but after he sold his company to DC, a few titles caught my eye and I decided to get my feet wet in the WildStorm world.

WildStorm Summer Special is an anthology of comics book stories from Gaijin Studios. It is available as a 48-page Prestige Format comic book.

The Good

Orbital. This story by Warren Ellis, Cully Hamner, Karl Story, Brian Stelfreeze, and John Costanza is basically Jack Hawksmoor going for a jog across different cities on different continents using a "magic portal" type device. The words are narration in his head. While there isn't much plot, there is a lot of story exploring Jack and his view of his life and job. The art is really nice, and the format is different for a comic book.

Apple Read. This story by Brian Azzarello, Brian Stelfreeze, Karl Story, and John Costanza is a fun experiment in storytelling. The art evokes Oriental brushwork in a black, white, and red palette. The words are written in poetry, with the plot being as simple as Zealot buying an apple but the story containing much more. This is another fun experiment in storytelling.

Behind the Scenes. This section was the most interesting for two reasons. One, I didn't even realize there was such a thing as Gaijin studios and two of my favorite artists were part of it, and two, I love behind-the-scenes material. It's the reason I used to buy so many DVDs.

The Gallery. The gallery had some nice pinups of various WildStorm characters from several different artists that were fun to look at.

The Bad

Cover. The cover by Adam Hughes has some pretty colors that make it stand out, but otherwise is kind of a mess. There's no rhyme nor reason. Other than featuring a few characters from the stories, it has nothing to do with the issue. It's not particularly well drawn, and the design is poor.

Isolation. This story by Paul Jenkins, Georges Jeanty, Karl Story, Brian Stelfreeze, and Kathleen at Fishbrain is very disappointing, and this from a big Paul Jenkins fan. The art is fine, but the story reads like a bad erotic novel with no real point.

What I Would Like to Have Seen

For an anthology, this really had everything you could want.


WildStorm Summer Special is a really fun artistic experiment. It contains three stories of three different characters from the WildStorm Universe, with each story told in a different style both in format and approach. Two of the stories are great successes with beautiful artwork by Cully Hamner and Brian Stelfreeze. The pinup gallery and behind-the-scenes materials are great additions. I give this book 4 out of 5 eReaders.


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