Review by: grifter78

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Written by Christos N. Gage and Russell Uttley
Art by Trevor Hairsine, Ivan Reis, Mike McKone, Pete Woods, Phil Noto, Chris Sprouse, John Paul Leon and others
Cover by Simon Coleby

Size: 160 pages
Price: 19.99

(No Spoilers)


The World’s End back-up stories are finally collected here for those who did not follow all of the World’s End books during the storyline’s first year.  There are 11 stories total with stories 1-8 being 4-part stories and stories 9-11 being 2-part stories.  The theme of the backup stories I think can best be summed up in one word: ‘return’.  Several long dormant Wildstorm characters/teams were featured in these stories, the most prevalent being the return of Team 7 to the Wildstorm Universe.  Some stories were really good, some were ok, and some weren’t very good.  So to better serve each story, I’ll review them individually. 


“Lynch: One Last Thing” by Christos Gage & Trevor Hairsine


This was a great kick-off to the back-up stories.  First off, it featured the return of the real John Lynch (not that clone featured in Gail Simone’s Gen 13 run).  Gage personified Lynch perfectly and Hairsine’s gritty art was great.  This sets up the return of Team 7 and also introduces one of Wildstorm’s greatest villains, Tao, into the World’s End landscape.  The story Gage starts here runs through the majority of the back-up stories and sets up his final arc in Wildcats (#13-18).


“Dane: Loyalties” by Christos Gage & Brandon Baddeaux


Another strong entry and probably my favorite story artistically, it features Dane from Wetworks.  Baddeaux’s art is incredible in this story.  The massive two-page spread battle featured in part one is beautiful to behold.  Wetworks is currently without their own title so it was cool to see them featured briefly in this story.  It’s too bad Wildstorm didn’t give Wetworks a new #1 when World’s End began.  There was definitely a cool story to be told which we get glimpses of here.


“Slayton: Gauntlet” by Christos Gage & Mike McCone


Here we get a story featuring Marc Slayton, the original Backlash.  Slayton had been relegated to a background character since his Wildcore team met their end in the pages of Gen-Active almost 10 years ago.  Gage presents an “action-movie” style re-introduction to him.  McCone’s art is good, but after Hairsine and Baddeaux, it just doesn’t measure up.  The story is a little straight-forward and doesn’t reveal as much to the reader as the previous two stories did.  All in all, it’s good to see Slayton in action again.


“Cybernary: Father Knows Best” by Christos Gage & Pete Woods


Cybernary is a Wildstorm character that hasn’t been seen since her Cybernary 2.0 mini-series in 2001.  She’s a character I never really followed and usually only saw in crossovers.  I like her new design here better than her old and this story catches up the reader on her story very nicely.  This story also features the return of another of Wildstorm’s top villains, Kaizen Gamorra, last seen taking The Carrier to the face in Warren Ellis’ run on The Authority.  This back-up actually sets up Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning’s final arc on their Authority run (#10-17).


“Missile Man: Stalking Horse” by Christos Gage & Wes Craig


This story was a pleasant surprise because it introduces a cool new character to the Wildstorm Universe-Missile Man!  He’s obviously inspired by The Rocketeer but I think Wes Craig did a great job with his design.  And his story ties in with the Number of the Beast mini-series which led the Wildstorm U into World’s End.  I hope Wildstorm finds a way to use this character.  He’s got so much potential!


“Get Christie Blaze” by Christos Gage & Phil Noto


Noto was a perfect choice for this because his art style has a sort of retro feel which is appropriate for this flashback tale to the 60’s.  Here we’re reintroduced to Christie Blaze, a character from Jim Lee’s series-Divine Right: The Adventures of Max Faraday.  This story acts an addendum to Divine Right as well as brings Blaze into the World’s End landscape. Another plus is that Backlash (Marc Slayton) is featured in the flashback in his original costume.  This one’s a fun little story that pads one of Wildstorm’s better stories from the past.


“The Tao of Tao” by Christos Gage & John Paul Leon


Now this is the story that carried the most weight of all the back-ups.  Here we get to follow Tao as we learn his plans and his involvement in World’s End.  And it is truly one of the most, if not THE jaw-dropping moment of World’s End so far.  I won’t give it away but I can say this story adds validity to Wildstorm: Armageddon which was the first in the trilogy of mini-series (Wildstorm: Revelations & Number of the Beast).  Also noteworthy is the return of the character Providence during this story.


“Defile: A Narrow Pass” by Russell Uttley & Ben Oliver


This, to me, was the weirdest of all the back-ups.  It’s the only story not written by Gage and it features painted art by Ben Oliver.  A personal preference I have is I don’t really like comics with painted art.  There are a few exceptions for me (like the great Alex Ross) but for the most part, I’ll take traditional comic art any day.  On top of that, the story is told in a very surreal way.  Oliver’s art adds to the surrealism but also adds to the confusion too.  It’s a strange tale about the Daemonite High Lord-Defile meeting a powerful Daemonite sorcerer named Rapier.  Sounds cool, right?  Well, did I mention that Rapier shows up in the body of a young skate-boarding punk?  Definetly my least favorite of all the back-ups.


“Team Achilles: Into the Fire” by Christos Gage & Ivan Reis


Here’s where the back-up stories switch to 2-parts a piece instead of 4.  It’s unclear if Gage always intended them to be this way or if they were forced to do this when two of the World’s End titles (Gen 13 & Stormwatch PHD) went bi-monthly- a schedule that would have made 3 or 4 part back-ups more complicated.  Unfortunately, I think this hurt the quality.  For example, here we get the long-awaited return of Stormwatch’s second incarnation-Team Achilles.  This series was prematurely ended and this back-up is meant to re-introduce the team into the Wildstorm U.  With only 2-parts, that’s basically all they had time to do.  So in the end, this was more of a tease.  But it’s good to know we can finally see this team in action again.


“Team 7: Reunion” by Christos Gage & Shawn Moll


Much like the Team Achilles story, this reunion for Team 7 is short.  There’s enough time for Lynch to fill them in on everything and that’s about it.  It was kind of a disappointment but again, I attribute it to the length.  This acts as a prelude to Wildcats #13. 


“Life and Deathblow” by Christos Gage & Chris Spouse


Thankfully, the back-ups do end on a decent note.  In Brian Azzarello’s Deathblow series which came out in 2006, Deathblow died at the end.  But when Stormwatch PHD #13 came out (the first featuring a World’s End story), Deathblow was suddenly part of the team with no explanation as to why he was alive.  Gage takes care of that here with a short but sweet explanation.  It was one of those “Of course that’s why he’s alive!” moments.


Overall, the back-up stories served their purpose which was to introduce concepts into World’s End that couldn’t fit into the regular titles.  I’m glad we got this collection of those stories and I hope people who missed out on them will pick up this trade.


Story: 4 - Very Good
Art: 4 - Very Good

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