It’s probably not too harsh to call Wildstorm’s revamp of a couple years ago a failure that should best be forgotten. It’s not that the books were bad or didn’t sell, but that the really important ones didn’t show up at all. The two flagships of the line, Wildcats by Grant Morrison and Jim Lee, and The Authority by Morrison and Gene Ha, managed a combined 3 issues before disappearing into the publishing ether. First they were just late, then they were really late, then people stopped asking about them. It took even longer for Wildstorm to get around to telling anyone they probably weren’t going to come out at all.
It was either atrocious planning, or another sign that Wildstorm is right near the bottom of DC’s priority list, since both Lee and Morrison abandoned their books to work on other, DCU-oriented projects. Morrison has since announced he has no interest in continuing Authority – something that strikes me as grossly unprofessional – Gene Ha has moved on to other work, and apparently Lee will come back to finish Wildcats, now planned as a graphic novel, whenever All-Star Batman takes a break.
But now, two years after the second and apparently final issue of Authority, Wildstorm has decided to finish the story. But instead of Morrison, Keith Giffen will now be writing it. And while an artist has not been announced, I’ll be surprised if it’s Gene Ha.
I don’t have any real problem with Giffen – he’s a solid writer, and will always have my affection for JLI and the various Superbuddies stories. But you just can’t go from Morrison to Giffen. Regardless of your personal evaluation of their talent – and I’ve been losing interest in Morrison’s work over the last year or so – they’re not at all the same sort of writer.
And if there’s one lesson Wildstorm should have learned by now, it’s that very few people really care about their characters. Authority didn’t set the sales charts ablaze two years ago, so will anyone be lining up for the new book now, without the two marquee creators attached?
Wildstorm seems to have achieved some level of stability now, or at least figured out a system whereby they manage to publish the books they say they’re going to publish. The Authority/Wildcats relaunch was an embarrassing mess, and I can’t imagine reminding people about it is going to do anyone any good.