Review: STORMWATCH #4


  Stormwatch has been an interesting book compared to the other wildstorm titles brought into the DCU.  It's given us the huge extinction level events combined with the high concept ideas readers have come to expect from titles like The Authority or Stormwatch.  Out of all the wildstorm titles, this one has come the closest to delivering the whole package and where it falls short, it seems to lay the groundwork to build as the series progresses.

  spoilers after the break...







  So far in the story, Stormwatch has been fighting an entity that was at first inside the moon and later launched a beast onto the planet.  Throughout this they have introduced Apollo and Midnighter, still not official team members as they've both shown a reluctance to join.  We've had a sampling of most of the team members powers for anyone not already familiar with some of them.  More specifically in the last issue the monster they were fighting absorbed nearly all of Stormwatch and left Midnighter facing off against it alone.

  Midnighter doesn't really do much but dodge and worry, which makes sense for the options his powers offer him against a creature like this and fortunately Apollo crashes back down to earth drained of his powers.  Midnighter is talking to the projectionist in the space station and tells her he's good at figuring things out and wants a view of the controls, he tells her how to aim the solar arrays down to recharge Apollo.  This was interesting and it was hard to be sure if it was truly a demonstration of his abilities or a hint of him knowing something more.  Sure, maybe he can figure stuff out quickly, but how did he know what the station was capable of to begin with?  Does Midnighter have any memory of the previous universe?

  Once Apollo gets recharged the monster fight seems to lose any sort of tension built up over it in the story.  In classic Apollo fashion, he flies through it, ripping it open and spilling the rest of the team out.  Harry, who has become a bit more interesting throughout this entire saga reveals the name of the hidden city under them that Jack had been trying to awaken.  With the name Jack is able to wake the city and get it to defend itself, but with the gorgeous domed city rising from the ground their leader Adam gets even more befuddled than usual.  The Engineer has seemed to be flirting with this idea from the beginning and she takes control of the team as Adam mumbles to himself about remembering the city.  Using a device in the city they are able to convert the monster to glass and essentially leave a huge abandoned city and a glass sculpture of a monster in the middle of it for the world to discover.

  Before they get a chance to enjoy their victory they are teleported back to the station.  Some sort of space being is there waiting for them, a representative of The Stormwatch shadow cabinet.  He is here to collect Adam due to his failure as leader and he is sentenced to death.

  It's nice to see the story moving from big event to a more personal one for the team and not stacking one event atop another.  Especially as the event itself often felt like more of a backdrop to introducing the team and giving readers plot pieces about the members to snag their interest.  They've done a decent job of this with Adam, Harry and a couple others so moving in the direction of one of those plot points takes readers in a fresh direction that has already created interest.

  Stormwatch and Authority fans of old would enjoy this series, but may, like me; find it falls a bit short.  Give the series time to build the characters and reintroduce them into this world and it may get there though.  The mashup of these characters into the DCU creates some odd overlaps.  The obvious is Apollo and Superman, once a character meant to be a play on Superman he is now just another clone and it's up to the writer (not Paul Cornell any longer) to make him into something that will stand out (especially with superman's less-boyscouty attitude).  The team itself being an overlap of the Justice League, though so far they have tried to set Stormwatch above what the League does, in reality they both deal with those huge mega events and will often end up saving the world.  And now with the Stormwatch shadow cabinet they've created the feeling of a universe spanning organization to protect planets, one that Stormwatch answers to, and not just a group of  heroes doing this on their own.  Kind of seems to overlap into Green Lantern territory, especially with there being several Lantern series out there.  Only four issue into the series, there is still plenty of time to work some of these issues out, but it does create additional hurdles that may keep this book in a niche.  Since that's what the Wildstorm Universe was, fans may be just fine with that.

  With the news out today that Paul Cornell is leaving the series it creates another hurdle to a book like this where fans often expect the epic stories behind the scenes to often stretch from event to event.  Cornell's last issue will be issue six, then Paul Jenkins will fill in for two issues and no announcement has been made who will take over as of issue nine.  Not the stability a book that is laying groundwork for issues to come needs and not the stability we were told would exist in books for the first year after the DC relaunch.  Change can be both bad or good however and where the book falls short in some areas now, could deliver more with a new writer.  We will all find out soon enough.

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