All-new, cast-of-thousands WildCATS. Fun, old-fashioned mayhem!
This month sees new creative teams and story arcs for both WildCATs and Authority. Far from rebooting its World's End concept, Wildstorm has grittily chosen to stick to its guns; although both titles show a change of pace and direction, they remain in direct continuity. They're now very closely aligned; WildCATs #19 picks up where Authority #18 left off, in the wake of the Carrier's abrupt unplanned departure. This dovetailing extends from the books' rosters (Apollo and Midnighter staying on Earth, while a few stray 'CATS have jumped aboard the Carrier) to the cover art (each month will see the two books' covers sharing a double-page image by a guest artist – here, it's George Perez).
The issue kicks off with an old-school face-off between the Kherans and the Wildstorm ground crew, and quickly escalates to a melee of hack/slash, street demolition and aerial bombing as Sliding Albion's shiftships join in the UnLondon land grab. This isn't as random as it sounds, Sliding Albion having played a bit part (pun intended, if you saw the fate of the ringleader, Lorenzo) in Abnett and Lanning's Authority run. The sequences here reference the pyrotechnics and property damage of Brian Hitch's early Authority panels, especially Apollo's human-meteor battle tactic and the splash page of Albion's shiftships breaking out of the Bleed. It's fun, showy stuff that hits the ground running in the same way as Authority #18; new readers who prefer a gentler introduction may be frustrated, but personally I think that's an issue for them.
Writer Adam Beechen and artist Tim Seeley have made no secret of the fact that they plan to draw in as many characters from around the Wildstorm Universe as possible. A splash page early on sets out the stall: a technicolour double-page dust-up crammed with 30-odd heroes and villains knocking the tar out of each other. But this image comes with name-tags, a nice way to tell us that this isn't crowding for its own sake. It'll be interesting to see how Beechen and Seeley juggle their story among so many viewpoints, and whether they can do it without reducing too many of their adopted heroes to filler; but I'm not too worried, seeing the way the cast is played in this issue. The action is dotted with nice character touches – Midnighter's 'fashionably late' quip to Apollo, Spartan calling Zealot by her Kheran name, Winter tearing a well-deserved strip off Jackson King.
Tim Seeley's artwork is energetic and expressive, with an old-school 90s vibe. He's clearly put a ton of work into devising distinctive new character designs for his huge cast; personally, the nostalgic Silver Age tone doesn't appeal to me as much as, say, the modern downbeat feel of Simon Coleby's Authority designs, but I can see the reasoning behind it; when you have this many characters, it makes sense to draw them boldly. It's probably also a response to the negative reactions that World's End faced originally; who says the apocalypse can't be colourful?