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Comic Book / The Wild Storm

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Lucy Blaze, Michael Cray and Priscilla Kitaen

"[Jack Hawksmoor]'s real. They're all real. It's happening. I saw it. Just like in my dreams and daydreams. If he's real, then it's all real. If it's all real—oh, god. If it's all real, then there's a war coming."
Priscilla Kitaen, aka Voodoo

The Wild Storm is a 2017 comic book published by DC Comics, written by Warren Ellis and drawn by Jon-Davis Hunt.

It's an average day in New York City for scientist Angela Spica until she sees a man falling from the top of a skyscraper. Rather than let him die, she utilizes her transhuman implants to transform into The Engineer, catching him in midair and saving his life.

Little does she know, Angela's little act of heroism will have unforeseen (possibly cosmic) consequences, and inadvertently reveal a vast network of conspiracy that she won't be able to hide from.

As suggested by its title, The Wild Storm leads a continuity reboot of the WildStorm universe, which was discontinued by DC in 2010. While many of its characters were thusly imported into the DCU during the New 52, new versions of them are all free to show up in this new continuity as well, according to Ellis, as the universe introduced with this series is separate from the main DCU.

Inspired by the success of Gerard Way's Young Animal imprint, DC approached Ellis to oversee a new line of WildStorm comics; The Wild Storm is this imprint's inaugural title, which ran for a total of twenty-four issues; what happens to it next remains to be seen. The first spinoff of the new WildStorm universe, Michael Cray, was also released in 2017. A second spin-off, a rebooted version of WildC.A.Ts featuring Grifter, Savant, John Colt and Void, was announced for 2019 but was later canceled.

The Wild Storm contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Miles Craven is drawn to look quite handsome, in contrast to his counterpart in the original continuity.
  • Adaptational Dye-Job: The version of Apollo introduced here is a brunet, unlike the blond he's traditionally been depicted as in other continuities. Also Grifter, who's a redhead instead of a blond.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: The Doctor is Shen Li-Min, the last Doctor in the original universe.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Angela's Engineer form here isn't as sexy as it was in the original Wildstorm universe; it's more in-line with the likes of Iron Man and War Machine, or even a Transformer. Issue 11 sees her taking on a form similar to her original counterpart.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: This iteration of Miles is gay and has a husband.
  • Adapted Out: Averted with Midnighter and Apollo (both of whom Ellis created in Stormwatch), as they show up in this title (and the greater WildStorm universe) despite their collective presence in the DCU. Ellis says DC hasn't made them off limits for him to use.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Spoofed in issue 18, where the Daemons' odd speech patterns turn out to be because their native language doesn't translate well into English. And they hate it.
    Grumpy Daemon: English makes no damn sense. Now French. There's a language.
  • Alternate Universe: Officially one of the Earths of the DC multiverse, taking place in a different universe to the original Wildstorm, with Shout Outs to DC mythology.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Slayton spends several issues murdering his way across America, until the end of issue 17, when he comes to an out-of-the-way cottage, whose occupants drive him off without ever leaving their front doorstep.
  • Ancient Astronauts: Just like in the original series, the Khera/Kherubim and Daemon/Daemonites arrived on Earth thousands of years ago and have been fiddling with human civilization ever since. Emp/Marlowe claims that he's trying to uplift humanity so they can survive, as in the Khera's experience, most species die out before achieving spaceflight let alone interstellar travel. The Daemon tells Angie that what he's doing is not helping, but in private they admit that Emp was the one who trashed their ship and cut communications with the homeworld because he did not agree with the Kheran plan to turn the planet into a slave camp — and it was the apparently benevolent IO operative Zannah/Zealot who said, "Die in a fire, Emp" and took off. The Daemon are a lot more moral than in the original material; they're constantly playing everyone against everyone else to keep a n-way war from wiping out all life on Earth.
    • Jacob Marlowe(Emp) scuttled the Kheran expedition, because the Kherans originally wanted to make humans into a slave species. Jacob had a change of heart and wanted to make them into a companion species, to share the Universe with humans. The original Kheran plan was to make humans into a slave species, along with other species, and move them into another universe that isn't subject to the Gaian Bottleneck, so they could occupy it with other species and make things interesting. We are lead to believe, from what the previous Doctors tell us, that Marlowe is unable to see the consequences of his actions, and doesn't understand that elevating humans to be a companion species of the Kherans could have terrible, terrible consequences.
    • We find out as well that the Kherans were responsible for the myths about Angels, "cherubim", because humans in the past saw them revert back into their true forms, and then reassume their human forms. We also find out that the Kherans are responsible for the shaping of human religions and philosophies, all of which are based on Kheran modalities of thought & perception.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: This version of Jenny Sparks is techne, the current spirit of technology. There're clues that her position as Spirit of the Century may be different this time — for one thing, she's 120 or thereabouts.
  • Anyone Can Die: Santini gets vaporized by Jacklyn. She later does the same to Miles Craven. Mark Slayton gets half his head vaporized by Michael Cray, only for Miles to shoot Cray in the back of the head. This might not have killed him, since it takes a lot to kill someone with a Thunderbook Implant.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Apollo says sorry to some Skywatch goons before unleashing hell on them. Santini does the same with Jacklyn.
  • Appropriated Appellation: "Daemon" isn't really the Daemon's name for themselves, but two thousand years ago someone called them that, and they liked the sound of it. This is a reference to Socrates.
  • Assassin Outclassin': IO sends a CAT after Lucy Blaze. She effortlessly slaughters them all.
  • Author Appeal:
    • Ellis looked into what fascinated Jim Lee and the Wildstorm crew back in 1991 in order to do a Revisiting the Roots tone properly. Thus, the plot revolving heavily around black ops, government conspiracies, and aliens.
    • Meanwhile, Angie's trans-skeletal suit and the concept of living planetary defense systems created by Benevolent Precursors are ideas Ellis has used in his own works (Iron Man and newuniversal, to be precise).
    • Jenny Sparks' description of how Mars would be terraformed is based on information that Warren Ellis had described in one of his newsletters.
  • Awakening the Sleeping Giant: As is pointed out in the second issue, attacking Marlowe just means HALO, who have "the biggest toy-chest in the world", are angry with IO.
  • Bad Boss: Henry Bendix. It's one of the few things in life he actually enjoys.
    Bendix: I know, I know. I'm not allowed to have fun. At all. Apart from shouting at people. That is actually fun.
  • Badass Abnormal: As far as we can tell, John Lynch is a regular human, except Slayton can smell that there is something different about him. Regardless of whether or not we can trust Marc's claims, John is pretty damn tough for a regular human, having resisted to a great degree Andrew Kwok/Phillip Chang's psychokinetic power, which was causing him to bleed from the eyes and shutting off his heart; and was able to, without even looking and breaking concentration, pull out his semi-automatic pistol and shoot the nearby bartender in the head, right after shooting several bullets through the table that he and Chang were at, in order to kill him.
    • Appearances can be deceiving with Doctor Ragnar Helspont. Even though he is, in appearance, a feeble old man, he subtly crushed part of a display monitor/tablet that he was holding in his hands.
  • Bald of Evil: Henry Bendix is completely bald and appears to have the same level of charm and compassion as usual (read: none whatsoever).
  • Battle Couple: Apollo and the Midnighter are.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Angela's transformation into The Engineer isn't a very pleasant one.
  • Body Horror:
    • Slayton is able to manifest his tendrils through openings in his wrists that look like open wounds.
    • The first attempts at creating control circuits to keep the posthumans created by Project Thunderbook in line were bad, to say the least. The only subject we are aware of is a mentally handicapped young man living near where Slayton has his farm. The original control circuits in his brain misfired and burned out, causing severe neural damage.
  • Brain in a Jar: Hightower's Event Shielding is generated by many, many brains in jars. The Wild C.A.T. are unnerved by the sight.
  • Brick Joke: In issue 1, Marlowe drinks a bottle of booze with polonium in it. When he introduces Angie to the bunker several issues later, he absently mentions there should be some still around, until Adrianna informs him he drank it.
  • Buffy Speak:
    • Bendix, when told about some of the things he needs to handle.
    Bendix: All the things. Important things.
    Ms. Pennington: Scientific.
    Bendix: Excellent. It is vital that we science the things in private.
    • Kenesha has an alarming love for the word "explody". Usually accompanied by a Slasher Smile.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Bendix assumes killing one of Craven's underlings would get him to back down. It doesn't.
  • Bystander Syndrome: In issue 23, when Skywatch is sending all their experimental subjects to burn down New York, Angie tries asking Marlowe for help. He declines because he doesn't think it's a big risk to him.
  • The Can Kicked Him: Zealot's first target winds up with his head down a toilet.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Issue 9 has Jacklyn telling Mitch not to use his phone so much, because it leaves a massive data trail. In issue 12, this leads to Skywatch finding out what Jacklyn's been up to, and Mitch's death.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: When explaining (sort of) who and what he is to Angie, Marlowe mentions his ship had representatives of five of his homeworld's clades on it. Marlowe is one, and Kenesha, John Colt and Lucy Blaze are revealed to be more. Exactly who number five might be, as of issue 16, is unknown.
  • Composite Character: Jenny Mei Sparks has Jenny Sparks' name, powers, nationality, and personality while having Jenny Quantum's Asian ethnicity.
  • Continuity Reboot: Of the WildStorm universe. Rather than picking up where it left off in 2011, The Wild Storm wipes the slate clean.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot:
    • In John Colt's flashback, he massacres his way through several people to get to a device. The last man standing, who didn't attack him, mutters that he'd have given John the thing if he'd asked.
    • In issue 18, John Lynch tells Slayton that he never wanted to kill the guy (and that if he did, Mark would just be dead). In fact, he's rooting for him, and points the man in IO's direction.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Marlowe has technology that detects xenobiology on his office door. It's how he saw Michael Cray coming.
    • John Lynch takes on Slayton a second time, using a grenade launcher with a flashbang loaded into it, an explosive grenade, and a magazine loaded with rubber bullets to deter him. He also has spare mags loaded with RIP (Radically Invasive Projectile) rounds, just to prove how serious he is with dealing with someone of Slayton's caliber.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Apollo and Midnighter versus a Skywatch Capture Flight that happened to stumble across them leaves none of the Capture Flight standing.
  • Deadly Euphemism:
    • Zealot and her "interviews".
    • "Pension plans", Craven's own euphemism for sending hitmen after his own people.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Michael Cray's assassination attempt on Marlowe would've gone differently if not for his superpowers, which he didn't even know he had, and Angela witnessing it. They set off Marlowe's xenobiology sensors, but Michael's powers defended him, flinging Marlowe out the window.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Jacklyn King gives Miles Craven a grouchy speech about how he's a wuss, so he tries to have her murdered.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Priscilla Kitaen has had dreams of various Wildstorm characters, undergoing an Oh, Crap! once she sees that Jack Hawksmoor is real. The Daemon are giving her the visions, for their own reasons.
  • Epic Fail: John Lynch left an incendiary device behind on a file, as Jacklyn King finds out. However, after thirty years sitting around, it's decayed a little, so rather than being killed, she just gets a sad puff of smoke.
  • Event Title: "The Wild Storm" (specifically) refers to the momentous phenomena that will unravel in the new WildStorm universe, opening it up for further stories and development. Hopefully.
  • Evil Twin: As we see in Michael Cray's spinoff book, this version of the Wildstorm Universe has a number of characters in common with the main DC universe, most of whom are firmly in the "dark mirror" category. Oliver Queen is a rich serial killer who hunts humans for sport, Barry Allen is an insane mad scientist, and Diana Prince has gotten together with an evil, bald John Constantine to unleash something Lovecraftian upon the world. (On the other hand, Quinn Harleen is a TV producer, Ted Kord's company makes phones, and the Martian Manhunter may only be a TV show.)
  • Exposition of Immortality: Talking about his encounter with Michael Cray, Marlowe casually states he's over a hundred years old at least.
  • Eye Beams: Apollo has heat vision. Unlike most portrayals, we see that his Heat Vision is cybernetic in nature, and extremely powerful, able to vapourize Breslau flying saucers.
  • Face Framed in Shadow:
    • Marc Slayton's introductory scene has his face above the mouth hidden in shadow, and his eyes glowing a creepy pink-red. Surprise, he turns out to be a murderous nutcase.
    • Gloria Spaulding does the same. She turns out to be a slightly more benevolent kind of nutcase (but still definitely insane).
    • Apollo and Midnighter's first appearance has most of them obscured, save for their distinctive silhouettes. According to Jenny, they both have all their marbles.
  • Fantastic Caste System: Marlowe's species, the Khera, had one, with rank determining the length of their name. One syllable is the ruling class, eight the valueless servant class.
  • Foreshadowing: Jenny Sparks' wall contains a lot of hints about stuff that comes later.
  • Gender Lift: Jackson King becomes Jacklyn King.
  • Gorn: When there's violence (and there is), expect lots of blood and exploding body parts.
  • Grand Theft Prototype: Angie Spica’s implanted suit is heavily modified tech stolen from IO, some of which was stolen by IO from Skywatch. Later Angie modifies her implants with tech and software stolen from Marlowe.
  • Hand Cannon: John's gun, the Little Bastard.
  • Healing Factor:
    • All of the Kherans themselves have this, including those with the Thunderbook Implants. It makes them apparently immortal, slows down their aging and lets them survive horrible injuries and regenerate from them. Even then, it has its limits, as Lynch was able to kill Chang with several bullets fired at his head.
    • Even with his healing factor, Slayton wouldn't be able to survive if John dumped an entire magazine of RIP ammo into his body.
  • Historical In-Joke: One of John Colt's identities in the past was more than likely Yasuke, the first African Samurai. Or close to it with a bit of the Orochi myth mixed in; one of the previous Doctors managed to get a fairly complete history of the Khera's activities on Earth by getting Colt very drunk.
    "Eight barrels of sake."
  • Hitman with a Heart:
    • Michael Cray is I.O.'s main hitman, but is not a malicious person, and is horrified when he starts to wonder if I.O. have been manipulating and lying to him his whole career.
    • Issue 21 shows Ben Santini, IO's other hitman, on an average day with his kid, kissing his partner goodbye, having a beer with a friend, and then preparing to kill Jacklyn King on his boss's orders.
  • Human Aliens: On the outside, Marlowe looks human. That's where the similarities come to a screeching halt, though. The same with Kenesha, which terrifies Angela.
    • Although, internally, Marlowe's structured different from Kenesha, even though they're from the same place.
    • Marlowe remarks that his people and Kenesha's are a cooperative clade species. That means that they are all from a singular ancestor species, with linear subspecies that live alongside one another, surviving on the same planet and sharing the same space. It would be like if all hominids, like Homo Sapiens Sapiens, Neanderthals, and Florensis, evolved at similar rates, or close to it, and were living alongside each other.
    • We find out that John is not a biosynthetic android. In fact, people of his caste were used as slave labour and warriors for the other castes. Judging by the physiological characteristics of his true form, and what we see of Marlowe's skeletal structure, we can presume that this is how they really look like, when they're not disguised as Humans. This is alluded to by John Lynch, when he speculates that the aliens that they got the gen/active DNA samples from took on human forms in order to live among humans. John later confirms they took on a human disguise, but can shed it at will.
    • We later find out that it's not Human Aliens or Ultra Terrestrials that are responsible for Jack Hawksmoor's augmentations but Skywatch.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Ms. Pennington, Henry Bendix's assistant, who is a lot more in control than he is. This is the only thing keeping him from turning her into food.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: Skywatch tried making a spaceship to get into the Bleed. Almost immediately after it tried, the ship was bent like a plastic cup, killing everyone onboard save Adrianna, who was found by something in there and rebuilt.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: The "wanted to hear that" version; in #10, Bendix starts raving about whatever's growing in Cray's brain, and his assistant deliberately needles him because:
    I just wanted to make you say, "It's not a toomah."
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Cole Cash manages to shoot a pair of grenades while they're in mid-air, enough to send them flying back to their point of origin.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink:
    • Bendix, in issue 4. His immediate response on returning to base is to find the nearest bourbon and try to drink the whole thing.
    • Jenny in issue 10, after Shen fills her in on her true origins.
    • Jenny and Shen try to offer this to Jack Hawksmoor after he reacquires his memories, and comes to the realization of what it is that Skywatch did to him after they abducted him.
    • A pair of Daemons in issue 18 are found having several drinks, while bemoaning pretty much everything.
  • LEGO Genetics: Way back in the day, Skywatch and IO found some Khera DNA that was still active, inside of ancient burial sites around the world, and decided it would be a great idea to see what happened when they put it into humans; John Lynch participated because he wanted to uplift the human race, but was aware it could have gone wrong. They got people with superpowers. And it did indeed go very wrong with Thunderbook's first test subject.
    Slayton: You put an apparently immortal, highly adaptive alien genetic engine into my body. It built new things inside me. It needs to be fed.
  • Madness Mantra: "Dem bones, dem bones. Dem dry bones."
  • Mad Scientist: Ragnar Helspont, the psycho who was responsible for the introduction of Khera DNA into Human subjects, via Project Thunderbook.
  • Magnetic Weapons: IO's Science City Zero has anti-aircraft perimeter defense towers, using nuclear-powered, electromagnetically-accelerated anti-aircraft cannons capable of cutting spaceships in half. Skywatch's Breslau Spaceships are also outfitted with these, although they're more elegant and not as bulky and jury-rigged.
  • Mondegreen Gag: Probably because of his insanity, Slayton hears the word "Khera" as "carer".
  • Must Have Caffeine: Jacklyn King requires her morning coffee immediately upon arriving at work. She does not accept reasons otherwise.
    Mitch: Someone was ahead of me at the coffee station.
    Jacklyn: You're assistant to the Chief at the secret intelligence services that run the world. You're allowed to shoot people who get between me and my coffee.
  • Light Is Not Good/Dark Is Not Evil: Zig-Zagged. The Khera are responsible for humanity's legends of angels, and the Daemon for its legends of demons. However, the zig is that the Khera came to Earth to turn humanity into a slave race, while the Daemon are a relatively benevolent species that refuses to take sides in regional conflicts and quietly encourages technological and social development via the "Shaper Engine" that birthed Jenny Sparks. The zag is that Emp — along with many powerful Khera — decided that humanity would make better companions than clients and are actively improving human society and fighting to liberate humanity from IO and Skywatch, while the Daemon have become somewhat contemptuous of humans and haven't really done anything for humanity in living memory.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • During her "interview", in the first issue, Zealot gets blood splashed on her face matching her trademark makeup.
    • In the second issue, a bunker is labeled "Majestic-level", after Mr. Majestic of the old continuity. Likely also counts as Foreshadowing.
    • Henry Bendix is still identified as the "Weatherman".
    • Jenny Sparks' conspiracy wall has a sticky note declaring "Kenesha", followed by "Savant", Kenesha's codename in the old continuity.
    • The current Doctor, Shen Li-Min, is in the Netherlands (where Jeroen Thorndike, the second Doctor from the original Wildstorm, came from). When she takes several people on a guided drug trip, she manifests an aura that looks like a pair of wings, which was her primary power set as Swift.
    • Jack Hawksmoor is still mistaken for a well-dressed transient. He still wears black, tailored suits and still goes along bare-footed. Even the soles of his feet are still visibly modified, although the design is much more subtle than it was before. He still even has the same abilities, although now he's a brunette with longer hair.
      • We find out that Skywatch are the ones who modified him. They were creating a slave race of augmented Humans to survive the Earth after environmental destruction.
    • The fallout from the destruction of a "Science City" informed a lot of what happened in Ellis's Planetary.
    • It's hinted that John Lynch is no longer entirely human anymore. The original version actually did have superpowers.
    • In issue 16, the full name of Project Thunderbook is revealed; "the Thunderbook 12th Genetic Stage." Every single one of the recipients of Kheran DNA was compelled to have at least one child (save Slayton, who is so batshit insane he can't even comprehend his implant's commands, but Chang had two, apparently to make up the difference), who would thus be Genął. The people Lynch goes after are all the parents (save one) of the usual Gen13 lineup.
    • In issue 17, the Daemon tells Angie that Jenny has "The Authority" to act on their behalf.
    • In issue 17, the name of the lead scientist for Project Thunderbook is "Ragnar Helspont". In the original series, Helspont was a Daemon Hybrid, who was the leader of the Daemon contigent on Earth.
    • In issue 17, we get to see the silhouettes of Midnighter and Apollo, and they're both so terrifyingly powerful that even Slayton has second thoughts about fighting them and flees.
    • When Slayton gets half of his head vaporized, it's a clean symmetrical vaporization. The destroyed part turns black. In the original Wildstorm, Slayton's costume had black and white symmetry to his mask.
  • New Technology Is Evil: Michael Cray believed this until he realized the actions he's taken to control it are even worse.
    You can't just move fast and break things because it's fun. Broken things stay broken. It's like, if you put together super solar panels and home batteries to store the solar power — then rich folks go off the grid and utility companies stop serving towns where the majority of people aren't buying power — and poor people don't get to have electricity anymore.
  • Noodle Incident: Kenesha apparently had a run-in with Hitler at some point.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: A flashback of John Colt (an African man here) fighting samurai in Medieval Japan is a big reference to Yasuke, one of the first Western Samurai in history.
  • No, You: Miles Craven's last words before Jacklyn frazzles them. Having just been told to shut up, while in the midst of a Villainous Breakdown, he screams back "you shut up!"
  • Oh, Crap!: Seeing Jack Hawksmoor makes Voodoo realize that everything she dreamed of is coming true.
  • One Degree of Separation: In the first issue, Voodoo is out filming, where she's recognised by Miles Craven, who got food poisoning at one of her parties, before he's approached by Angie Spica. When she storms off afterward, she passes by Lucy Blaze, who's getting coffee.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: When Jack Hawksmoor first shows up, it's mentioned everyone calls him the Mayor. Later, it turns out that's because he forgot his name after what was done to him.
  • Orbital Bombardment: Skywatch's "little stick" is a rod of diamond which they can drop from orbit, which makes a very big mess.
  • Pants-Positive Safety: Highly trained assassin Michael Cray and former black-ops man John Lynch both show a worrying fondness for keeping loaded handguns down the back of their pants. (Possibly justified with Lynch being a noted paranoid bastard, keeping the gun out of sight in case he needs it.)
    • In Real Life, they make carry conceal holsters that can be mounted and carried on the back of your pants or on your hip, sometimes near the front, which are called appendix carry holsters. It wouldn't be out of the question for both men to have carry conceal holsters like those.
  • Parental Abandonment: The Project: Thunderbook implantees felt a compulsion to have children, but not all of them actually wanted kids in the first place. Gloria Spaulding left her kid with her mother, and Sarah Rainmaker's mother just dumped her with her father with nothing more than a written note.
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: The series was designed to set up new versions of the old Wildstorm books, including WildC.A.Ts and The Authority. Volume 3 was devoted to setting up a new version of Genął, as John Lynch discovers the Thunderbook subjects all had children. It had little connection to the rest of the story. In the event, none of the stand-alone comics made it to publication.
  • Put on a Bus: Michael Cray disappears from the title once his own series starts up, taking Christine Trelane with him. He returns when it's over.
  • Race Lift:
    • Michael Cray is now African-American.
    • Jenny Sparks is now Asian, her full name now Jenny Mei Sparks. (This could be considered a sort of fusion character between the original Jenny and her successor, Jenny Quantum.)
    • John Colt is now African. Well, taking on the appearance of an African man. His caste were subservient to the other castes, as slave labour and warriors. On Khera, he wasn't allowed to indulge in the most basic things in life, like food and drink, but on Earth, since he's no longer held to the rules of Kheran society, he enjoys and indulges in these things.
    • The Midnighter is now African-American.
  • A Rare Sentence: Miles Craven's husband takes most of what he's told pretty calmly. Mostly.
    So how did crazy girl get robot skin inside her? Oh my god, that is actually something I just said. God.
  • The Reveal:
    • John Lynch isn't actually dead.
    • Marlowe, Kenesha and John are all from Khera. And Marlowe stranded them on Earth.
    • Zannah and Marlowe aren't on the best of terms. He calls her Zannah the Betrayer, because she doesn't agree with his methods and left the team because of it.
    • Jacob Marlowe(Emp) scuttled the Kheran expedition, because the Kherans originally wanted to make Humans into a slave species. Jacob had a change of heart and wanted to make them into a companion species, to share the Universe with Humans. The original Kheran plan was to make Humans into a slave species, along with other species and move them into another universe, that isn't subject to the Gaian Bottleneck, so they could occupy it with other species and make things interesting.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Shen-Li and Jack Hawksmoor's opinion of Jenny's wall is that it's a "serial killer wall".
  • Running Gag:
    • Every new member of The Authority gets in on sleeping with the other members. Except Midnight and Apollo.
    • Everyone who sees Jenny's wall instantly assuming she is a serial killer.
  • Shout-Out: Many of which are to DC mythology.
    • Voodoo says there's an alley where a guy turned into a bat back in 1939.
    • One of the news programs is the Daily Planet.
    • The Breslau spaceship is based on the UFO supposedly seen by George Adamski.
    • Jenny Sparks uses a tablet displaying a Commander Steel comic, a "Crime Doctor" TV show, an ad for a Kord smartphone and a show called "Martian Manhunter" as part of her hopping around. In addition, there's also a show called "Doom Patrol" and a brand of cigarettes called Dr. Mid-Nite.
    • In issue #9, when Jackie walks in to talk to Miles, he's reading a copy of Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day. Parallels between that and The Wild Storm's structure are left as an exercise for the reader.
    • Jacklyn King has a cat named Streaky (after Supergirl's cat). Like her inter-dimensional counterpart, Jacky's Streaky is an astounding nuisance as well.
    • Paul Kirk, Manhunter, is the protagonist of a popular series of films in this universe, in which his career as a big game hunter took him into a job as a wetwork specialist instead.
    • There's a guy named DJ Beast Boy who is believed to have roofied Voodoo at a club.
    • Jenny and Shen end up sleeping together under a Wonder Woman bedspread.
    • At the beginning of #9 Marlowe brings Spica to a secret warehouse full of advanced technology; two recognizable pieces of such are a Centurion Battlemech and the Red Tail, Faye Valentine's Space Fighter.
    • There's a TV show called "Challengers of the Unknown", produced by Quinn Harleen. Alexandra Fairchild has a coffee mug with their logo on it. Meanwhile, Alexandra drinks from a cup saying "A Local Shop for Local People".
    • John Constantine is a con man who seemingly deals with the occult, Diana Prince is the heiress of a megacorp called "Hephaestios Industries", and Lex Luthor owns a megacorp that creates pharmaceuticals that create super soldiers, and is a business rival to Bruce Wayne.
    • Barry Allen is a forensic investigator for the police, who takes super soldier drugs to give him superhuman speed and force, and wears a special friction-resistant bodysuit to help him survive moving at such high speeds.
    • Doctor Fate's helmet makes an appearance in Issue #11 of the spin-off Michael Cray series.
    • There is an Infinite Crisis movie. Darkseid was the villain, and his children attacked Central City.
  • Slashed Throat: Michael is such a skilled assassin he can do this with his bare hands; he makes knuckles with his index and middle fingers, jams them into someone's neck, grips the carotid artery between them, twists ninety degrees and then yanks. The result is a foot-long spray of blood.
  • Spanner in the Works: IO planned to murder Marlowe, and would have succeeded if Angela hadn't been present.
  • Splash of Color: The first issue has an incredibly subdued palette, making Zealot's bright red coat stand out all the more.
  • String Theory: Jenny has a board linking various people, groups, and things together.
  • Super-Speed:
    • Both The Midnighter and John Colt are fast enough to engage multiple armed threats and kill them, before they have a chance to properly react, much less engage them in hand-to-hand combat.
    • Apollo is capable of supersonic flight. Combined with his Super Strength and Super Toughness, he can fly through tanks.
  • Super-Strength:
    • John Colt, as seen during his days as a wandering samurai in Feudal Japan, was able to kill skilled, strong men with ease, cutting through their swords with his own, kicking one armless guard into a tree, dozens of feet away; with enough force to impale him and skewering two convoy guards simultaneously with his katana and holding them off the ground with a single arm, before causally flinging them off.
    • Alexandria Fairchild, mother of Caitlin Fairchild, exhibits this because of the Thunderbook alien DNA implant. It grants her incredible physical strength and durability, which grows every time she hurts and kills people. Judging by the factoids given on the cover of the issue she appears in, her skeletal structure has a tensile strength(and compression strength) of 475 megapascals, which is three times in excess of what it is for baseline humans. She's strong and tough enough to drag and pick up a steel framed and bodied pickup truck loaded with several hundred pounds plus of explosives, with one arm. She later uses this as a weapon against mobsters.
    • One of the common side-effects of being infused with Khera DNA is that you're much stronger, tougher and quicker than baseline humans, along with longevity and healing to boot.
    • Diana Prince makes use of super soldier drugs to give her inhuman levels of strength. She is seen doing an incline benchpress, with 20 plates of what looks like to be 50 pounds per plate, and a specially designed barbell. That's one ton of weight that she's benchpressing. She's been shown using this strength to drive a gladius through a conference table to kill someone.
    • We finally see Apollo in action in issue #20. He's strong and tough enough to fly through the front part of an IO main battle tank, and punch through its composite armour and out the back of it, with its power core in hand. He's also tough enough to shrug off the plasma cannons of a Breslau.
    • Midnighter is capable of horrifically mutilating and dismembering IO Razors with his bare hands.
  • Super-Toughness: Midnighter is rated for an hour in hard vacuum. Apollo can last much longer.
  • Tamer and Chaster: All of the character designs are more grounded and less fanservicey. This includes Voodoo, who is not longer a stripper in a stripperific outfit, Zealot who is most commonly seen in a heavy trench coat and Void, the Engineer who goes from a form-fitting silver skin to Iron Man-esque suit, and Void who is no longer essentially a naked silver woman and instead wears a practical astronaut outfit (and doesn't even have a proper face or sexual characteristics underneath that).
  • There's No Kill like Overkill: Pennington comes up with two plans for Bendix. One is a list of key IO facilities and people they could kill and destroy. The other is a list of actions they could take that would radically destabilize life on Earth and make it impossible for any global order to replace it. Go big or go home, right?
    • To show how serious they are, Bendix has Ms. Pennington drop a Rod from God called "Little Stick", which is a foot long, inch wide column of diamond. It impacts at an IO training facility out in the middle of God's blindspot, and proceeds to vaporize the site and leave a fucking mile-wide crater in its wake.
    • Lynch killed Chang by emptying seven rounds into his head: one at point blank range, and six more that he fired through the table that Chang used his psychokinetic powers to stop.
  • Toilet Humor: Bendix's main problem with Earth is that everything there is farting. And he is hyper-sensitive to it because on Skywatch, he has as much control over the atmosphere as everything else on the station.
    How have you not noticed how every actual goddamn thing on the planet is farting? Because seriously. It's all I can smell down there. Farting. Rotting food. Turds. Babies. The list is endless. Why would you want to live in a world where you can't control what the air smells like?
  • Troll: Ms. Pennington changes the access codes to Bendix's stuff every time he's away.
  • Underestimating Badassery: The reason for the disastrous attack on the IO Science City. Skywatch had gotten contemptuous of humanity, and didn't think IO would be a threat. IO's Science City Zero has perimeter defense in the form of anti-aircraft bunker towers outfitted with anti-aircraft cannons, that have been jury-rigged and upgraded to fire bullets via electromagnetic acceleration. They're powered by nuclear reactors. IO's first shot sliced one of the ships in half, and by the time everything was over, only one Skywatch ship was still flying.
    • Slayton is so far gone that he's willing to attack anyone and everyone that he suspects is augmented, much like the random stranger that he steals a car from. It turns out that yes, the man in the car was an augmented person from Skywatch. And while he's been successful so far, the moment he comes across Midnighter and Apollo, he decides to stop and leave, considering that Apollo could've easily vaporized him with his heat vision.
  • Unreliable Expositor: Marlowe explains some of the hows and whys of himself to Angie, with both sides acknowledging he's clearly giving her the "easy reader" version. He soon after admits that part of this is sheer fear of Angie. It's later revealed that he left out the part where the Khera were on Earth to turn it into a slave camp, but he changed his mind and destroyed the ship to prevent this from happening.
  • The Unreveal: Over the course of the series, it turns out there were at least five people in the Khera expedition (Marlowe, Colt, Kenesha and Zannah). Exactly who number five was, and where they've gotten to, goes conspicuously unmentioned.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Jackyln King and her people outline their plan to hack Skywatch without getting caught. Naturally, it all goes horribly wrong when the Wild C.A.T. get involved at the exact same time.
  • Western Samurai: A flashback shows John Colt being a Rōnin and fighting other samurai during Medieval Japan, showing he's Really 700 Years Old.
  • Wham Line: An odd one, which is instantly recognisable to anyone familiar with Wildstorm lore, but is dropped casually mid-sentence, when John mentions he and the Expedition are from Khera.
  • While Rome Burns: John Lynch spends issue 24 watching the carnage of the superhumans attacking New York from his cabin, having a beer and laughing at everything.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?:
    • Kenesha rags Cole Cash for being called "Cole Cash".
    Kenesha: Your father named you Cole Cash. We're all trying to meet that bar for sheer wit.
    • John Lynch is horrified by Andrew Kwok naming one of his kids "Percival" (his wife had a thing for King Arthur, see...)
    "Percival". What the hell's wrong with you?
  • You Are Not Alone: A storekeeper tells Kenesha that the Mayor (Jack Hawksmoor) always conveniently shows up just when you'd think nothing matters anymore and asks if you're okay.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The minute Michael quits I.O., they deny him medical aid, then send a hit squad to his apartment.