01/03/2010. Contributed by Neale Monks
pub: Titan/Wildstorm. 144 page graphic novel. Price: £12.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84576-933-8).
check out website: www.titanbooks.com and www.dccomics.com
'Wildstorm: Revelations' picks up where 'Wildstorm: Armageddon' left off. Having been shown by Void the aftermath of the approaching apocalypse, Nemesis was returned to her own time and ropes in two other super-heroines, Backlash and Savant, to help her out. They then set about trying to find a way to prevent the terrible events that Nemesis has seen. In 'Wildstorm: Armageddon' it was revealed that the cause of humanity's destruction was a war between two different factions of super-heroes. If the three heroines can find out why they turned on each other, perhaps they can stop it from happening.
For those unfamiliar with the Wildstorm Universe, it's similar to our own, but distinct in various ways. It has its own population of super-heroes and these are more integrated into society and more overtly involved with things like war and politics. Super-heroes played their roles in the Second World War for example, the US government both employs them for its own security and attempts to control or even kill those that won't keep in line.
While 'Wildstorm: Armageddon' was essentially a series of six distinct narratives interlinked by Void, 'Wildstorm: Revelations' is a single sustained narrative. In theory this should make 'Wildstorm: Revelations' rather easier to read. As exciting as 'Wildstorm: Armageddon' was, it was difficult to pull anything from the book beyond a taste of things to come. 'Wildstorm: Revelations' does a better job in this regard and by the end of the book we do at least understand what's going on and why the apocalypse seen in 'Wildstorm: Armageddon' happened.
But there's a lot going on. The three lead characters are fast-talking and fast-acting and the endless whirlwind of teleportation jumps and frenetic fight scenes propels the story forwards at a tremendous pace. At times, things happen just a little too fast and the reader has to flip back a few pages before the plot's completely lost. One problem with having two female leads who talk, act and fight in the same sort of way is that they're not always easy to tell apart in small, dark panels.
The three lead characters are women, something that's relatively uncommon in super-hero comicbooks. But while there's some attempt at exploring this aspect of the narrative, in particular the relationship between Savant and another heroine called Zealot, it's pretty crudely drawn stuff. We learn things about the characters as they don't change and their gender hardly effects the way they react to one another at all. Indeed, it's very much a story involving women who behave the way (teen-age) men think they do, including a distinctly laddish moment in New Orleans.
Still, thanks to its complexity and pacing, 'Wildstorm: Revelations' is exciting stuff. It also helps that Wes Craig's artwork is first rate as well. In short, 'Wildstorm: Revelations' does a good job of linking the first and last volumes of the trilogy and this reader at least is looking forward to reading the final volume, 'Number Of The Beast'.
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Stephen Hunt's novels - USA