Stormwatch #1 (DC Relaunch)

Stormwatch #1
Fist a brief comics history lesson, in 1993 Jim Lee created a comic named Stormwatch, about a group of superhero backed by the UN. With another series called WildC.A.T.S. they would form the foundation of the Wildstorm universe. Stormwatch's most popular run would come when Warren Ellis took over the title, writing some of its best stories before ingloriously killing most of them off (they'd get better) in a brief crossover with Aliens (like the acid-blooded movie ones). Their spiritual successor would be the Authority, a series based around the concept of a Justice League-esque team that killed their enemies and were more pro-active in targeting the causes of injustice, like governments. Many different writers from Mark Millar, Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis and Ed Brubaker would leave their mark on the series. Since 1998 Wildstorm has been part of DC comics and now 18 years later with their line completely wrapped up the "World's end" event and Jim Lee co-publisher of DC comics, Stormwatch has been integrated with the general DC universe.

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Firstly I'll say this, Stormwatch is in fine hands being written by Paul Cornell whose prose is always good from his brief run of "Captain Britain and MI13" to his early work on Doctor Who novels. Secondly this is pretty much the Authority renamed, not Stormwatch, so if you came expecting to see Winter, Battalion and Fuji...then you're as nerdy as me I guess. But the majority of the Authority cast return in this title with the interesting addition of the Martian Manhunter. You see thanks to the DC reboot/relaunch, Stormwatch apparently has always existed in the DC universe and in a ballsy move they've completely replaced the Justice Society of America not just as the first real superteam, but also as a secret society that has protected the earth for hundreds of years. Yes Stormwatch is older and more important than the Justice League now.

The cast
The following classic authority members return.


The Engineer is also pretty much unchanged, with all the powers nine pints of nanite blood entails. They are joined by the Martian Manhunter and the two three new characters Adam-One who appears to be some sort of immortal, The Eminence of Blades a swordsman capable of splitting atoms with his slashes and also a girl named the Projectionist, but she was so bland I actually forgot she was in the issue, with some sort of media manipulating power.

Noticeably absent is a Doctor or Shen. This I can understand. The Doctor (aside from having an unoriginal name) was always too much of Deus Ex Macchina in the Authority. His power, as the Earth's Shaman, to manipulate reality basically had to be gimped constantly by stuff such as his addiction to heroin or his young Palestinian replacement's ridiculous curiosity. The winged Tibetan flyer Shen was really the weakest member of the authority and the DC universe is perhaps top heavy with winged characters for the moment(what's up with Zauriel now?). Still the loss of these two does remove some of the diversity of the group.

The Plot
I'll keep this brief, but basically Stormwatch tries to recruit Apollo as a big hitter for their team to be interrupted by Midnighter and his vigilante agenda. Meanwhile a sinister alien force has possessed the moon.

The Good
-By keeping Apollo and Midnighter at least initially separate from the rest of Stormwatch, Paul Cornell seems like he can reconcile their bloodthirsty nature with the more restrained team we see here.
-Apollo gaining his name from slash-fiction is hilarious.
-The idea of "Century babies" or superheroes born on the first day of every century as part of the earth's immune system seems like an interesting concept to integrate with the DC universe, especially as in a few years all of those "babies" will be teenagers and could make for a good team book. I'd love it if a famous character got retconned as a century baby from the 20th century.
-The moon getting possessed by aliens is a great Authority level threat.

The Bad
-Not much actually happens in this issue.
-The art isn't great, it's functional but I absolutely hated how some of the characters' appearances were, where as in the concept art I showed above I think they look great. The Engineer in particular looks like more tin-man from Oz than the most technologically advanced naked person on earth.

Conclusion
If you're a fan of the Authority, then don't worry as despite all the changes the same arrogant vibe is still present to this team and it's looks like all will be good, as long as they can avoid the Justice League turning up to prove how much more moral they are. If you're a new reader, then this is actually a great place to jump in where DC is actually creating new-ish stuff instead of just resetting the numbers.

 

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