Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Miguel Sepulveda
I am going to attempt to explain my feelings about Stormwatch, but understand this is going to be a struggle. It is not that I do not like Stormwatch, because I do, in fact I love parts of it. The problem with Stormwatch is I have no clue what is going on. Let me qualify this by saying I never read Stormwatch prior to the reboot, but that said, even if you had read Stormwatch since Jim Lee first put the thought to paper, you would still be confused.
So why is it so confusing? Well to start, it is not really a reboot of Stormwatch in as much as it is a reboot of Warren Ellis’ Authority team. Initially the team consists of Jack Hawksmoor, the Engineer, Jenny Quantum, Martian Manhunter (in secret and separate from his mainstream duties), and three new characters: Adam One, the Projectionist, and the Eminence of Blades. In these beginning issues they are in the process of recruiting Apollo and fighting off a set of space monsters whose story is rather convoluted. Meanwhile the Midnighter shows up to try and recruit Apollo himself, and they both end up hanging out with the team. This is all a little backwards because outside of Jack Hawksmoor, they are the only two characters that originated in the old Stormwatch. Right from the beginning Paul Cornell establishes that this is a long standing team, in fact the new Stormwatch is actually an organization of planetary protectors dating back to the middle-ages. They are no longer governed by the United Nations, but by a new secret group called the Shadow Cabinet. Cornell also throws in a whole bunch of group dynamics that can be overwhelming in light of trying to pick up everything else, and the action is so non stop through the first four issues, that after each one your kind of left with your head spinning.
All that being said there is a ton of good in this book.Cornell’s first arc may have been a little overwhelming, but the reason I keep coming back is because you just know he has a plan for where he wants to go. He has just decided to set it off with a bang, as opposed to a slow build. In addition he is writing some of the coolest characters in the DCnU.
While I never read the old Stormwatch or Authority books, Jack Hawksmoor is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters, and the scenes where he talks to the cities are over the top awesome. That image of a dark dingy little demon being Gotham city is perfect. Harry Tanner, aka The Eminence of Blades, is interesting, as his motivations appear to be rather dark and you get the feeling he might be the odd man out here. And the concept of a person who can control all forms of media, like the Projectionist, is the most fitting power for our digital/social media time that has come along in quite a while. I also like the concept they are completely secretive and unknown. Being as omnipresent as the Justice League, but completely hidden, should make for some very cool and dark missions. And though Apollo and Midnighter are new to the team and to each other, Cornell and artist Miguel Sepulveda do well to convey their immediate bond.
On top of that I just really like the art work in general. There is a ton, I MEAN A TON, of action in these first four books, and to be honest I just do not know how Sepulveda is keeping up with all of it. As a reader it contributes to the confusion of the book, but at the same time you are just in constant awe of how he gets it all in. Also I love the use of ethereal images that are used in the transports and some of the other events. The colors are just beautiful and it really makes for a visually appealing experience.
Overall, it is definitely something I will be picking up again, I just hope that Cornell will let us stop and catch our breath. The first arc appears to be over and the second seems primed to give us some insight into the team, so hopefully we can ease up on the gas. Either way I will continue to follow probably the most interesting group of characters to come out of the reboot.