Stormwatch

Stormwatch #8

by Alan Rapp on April 11, 2012

in Comics

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.

[DC, $2.99]

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Stormwatch #7

by Alan Rapp on March 14, 2012

in Comics


stormwatch-7-new-52-coverThe 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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Stormwatch #6

by Alan Rapp on February 8, 2012

in Comics

stormwatch-6-coverPicking 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.

[DC, $2.99]

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Stormwatch #5

by Alan Rapp on January 7, 2012

in Comics

stormwatch-5-coverThe 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.

[DC, $2.99]

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Stormwatch #4

by Alan Rapp on December 14, 2011

in Comics

stormwatch-4-coverThe 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.

[DC, $2.99]

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Stormwatch #3

by Alan Rapp on November 6, 2011

in Comics

stormwatch-3-coverAs Apollo heads into space to try and destroy the meteors hurtling towards Earth the rest of the team jumps to Colorado where the first meteor has landed and a giant space monster is now on the loose.

The third issue of the series isn’t awful, but it is disappointing in several ways. With the exception of the Eminence of Blades on the moon and Apollo in deep space the team looks rather pathetic against the first big threat we see them come across. I’m thinking that’s maybe not how you want to showcase a team just taking its first steps into the proper DCU.

I’v also less than happy with the literal translation of Jack Hawksmoor‘s ability to talk to cities. A better writer would understand that this refers to the character’s innate understanding of what is going on in cities with a connection that can’t actually be expressed. Writer Paul Cornell’s much more literally version is Jack actually talking to female avatars of cities in an awkward attempt to explain his powers. Ugh.

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Stormwatch #2

by Alan Rapp on October 9, 2011

in Comics

stormwatch-2-coverMy biggest complaint with the first issue of the series was the terribly rushed art by Miguel Angel Sepulveda. The art of the second issue is a definite improvement and the series introduces more members of the team (including their leader Adam One) and further explains the role of Stormwatch in the DC Universe.

Once the Martian Manhunter has calmed down Apollo and Midnigther the team starts to look into the problem of the moon where The Eminence of Blades has come across a hostile alien lifeform.

To keep the Justice League from getting in their way of actually solving the problem, Stormwatch uses the powers of the Projectionist and the Martian Manhunter to suggest a random supervillain is responsible for the moon’s attack of the Earth leaving the team to settle matters quietly on their own. It’s actually a hilarious idea, even if it is a low-blow to the JLA.

The second issue works well (even with the unsubtle entendres between Apollo and Midnighter). Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

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Stormwatch #1

by Alan Rapp on September 13, 2011

in Comics

stormwatch-1-coverStormwatch is an attempt to bring the Wildstorm super-team (that was the precusor to The Authority) into the DCU. The first issue is a mixed success, but still enough of one that I’m willing to give it a couple of issues to see where it goes.

On the plus side, the inclusion of Martian Manhunter works much better than I anticipated, and I also like that the team created to be a secret black ops squad working jobs the Justice League is too visible to handle. In a universe with the JLA, and several other super-hero teams, this gives a reason for Stormwatch to exist. And J’onn J’onzz (being a shapeshifter, and one who can read minds) would seem to be exactly the type of individual the team would recruit.

The main story involves the team of the Martian Manhunter, Jack Hawksmoor, and the Projectionist attemting to recruit Apollo. Writer Paul Cornell gets into a little trouble by trying to introduce a large number of characters at once (Jenny Quantum‘s tale and the adventure on the moon could both have waited another month or so), but I am glad to know the Engineer is still around.

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