In the last two issues the new team of writer Paul Jenkins and artist Ignacio Calero have breathed some new life into one of DC’s most inconsistent titles. Next month writer Peter Milligan takes over the writing duties and it seems the art will alternate bewteen Calero and original (and unimpressive) title artist Miguel A Sepulveda. For now, however, we get one pretty good story that pits the Stormwatch team against the Gravity Miners and two of the team’s most dangerous members against each other.
I actually liked the scenes between Jenny Quatum and Midnighter, you know, before he tried to kill her and all. Although the logic of the Midnighter’s turn works okay, it’s not sold as well as I’d like and something this big (we’ve already had one traitor on the team) should have been foreshadowed. That said, I’m curious to see what the New 52’s view of a pissed off pre-teen Spirit of the 21st Century might look like.
The comic’s still rough in a several areas, but I like how Jenkins used the characters over the past two issues (with exception of another decidedly insipid Jack Hawksmoor subplot). Worth a look.
The world is attacked by alien race from another dimension known as the Daemonites who travel through dimensions in search of gravity which they mine and sell as a commodity. If they are aware of damage done to the lifeforms in the dimensions where the gravity miners strike they are unconcerned about it.
The title gets a new artist and writer but it may be too late to save the title, at least for me. Paul Jenkins makes a couple of nice changes. First, we don’t get any awkward juvenile allusions to Midnighter and Apollo‘s relationship. Second, Jenny Quantum finally gets in on the action.
New artist Ignacio Calero also makes a tremedous difference. Although he’s still stuck with the New 52 design of the characters they look much cleaner and better defined than in all previous six issues of the title.
However, there are some issues. The narrative forces the Martian Manhunter to be vague about his knowledge of the aliens for no other reason that to give us a final page reveal of the threat – even though this puts his teammates in danger.
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Picking up where last month’s issue left off the Stormwatch team finds themselves leaderless, betrayed by the Eminence of Blades, with their ship tearing itself apart above Earth. How these individual obstacles are overcome isn’t nearly as exciting, or fun, as it should be.
Six issues in the team, and the book, still feels directionless. When they’ve got a big nasty to fight the problems in the writing can be hidden, but in a story centered around character and plot the cracks are starting to show.
There are some good moments. I like that the Engineer takes command of the team, but I still want more Jenny Quantum (who has hardly been used at all), and the military discovering the existence of a covert force such as Stormwatch opens several possibilities .
However, we also get Jack Hawksmoor talking to the city soul of the ship which is as awkward as it is stupid, I don’t need yet another speech by the Martian Manhunter as to why the Justice League is stupid, and Midnighter and Apollo‘s relationship is being handled with all the care of Twilight fan fiction. Hit-and-Miss.
The Earth may be safe but things aren’t looking any better for Stormwatch. The team’s leader, Adam One, is killed and abducted (in that order) by an Agent of the Shadow Cabinet and one of the team’s own will turn traitor and put all of their lives at risk.
The comic works best when it keeps the dialogue, especially the awkward conversations between Apollo and Midnighter, to a minimum. Thankfully the episode begins with tumult involving the newly chosen leader of the team and ends with a pretty good fight over multiple pages between the Midnighter and the Eminence of Blades.
Stormwatch isn’t a great comic but, at least for one more month, it’s done just enough to get me coming back to see where it’s headed. I want to see more of the Engineer, see Jenny Quantum grow into her role, and find out how the comic plans to use the Martian Manhunter. Despite some dreadful writing in spots (and some spotty art here and there) the final page cliffhanger will bring me back for issue #6. Worth a look.
The first story arc for the New 52 version of Stormwatch comes to an end as the Midnighter and Apollo are all that stand in the the way of the giant alien creature who has absorbed their other teammates.
Although there’s plenty of action here, the writing by Paul Cornell struggles at times. We get more of Jack Hawksmoor literally talking to cities, the complete uselessness of Adam One, the lack of appearances of any other DC character with a threat this huge and public, and some very unsubtle stirrings between Midnighter and Apollo.
One of these issues might be taken care of in next month’s issue as the Shadow Cabinet puts the team leader on trial for his failures, but the rest really need to be addressed if the comic is going to ever grow into anything more than a curiosity.
When introduced this Stormwatch appeared to be a group that would take on shadowy threats far more covertly than we’ve seen so far. That might work. Fighting giant aliens very, very publicly (while keeping it hidden from the rest of the DCU) is far more problematic. Hit-and-Miss.