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February 28, 2012

Touring the Cosmos: Stormwatch

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Written by: mike
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With the launch of the New 52 at DC Comics, some of the Wildstorm universe characters were absorbed into the main DCU. One of those titles features the mysterious team called Stormwatch. Led by Adam One, Stormwatch is a secret organization that deals with any large-scale menace to Earth. Working under the guidance of the Shadow Cabinet, Stormwatch’s existence is only known to its members.



Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Miguel Sepulveda
Colorists: Alex Sinclair and Pete Pantazis
Letterer: Rob Leigh


When DC announced that they were going to incorporate a few of their Wildstorm characters into the mainstream DCU, there were a few collective groans from the audience. How were these strange characters going to fit into the world of tights and heroics? The thought was that the only reason they were coming was because Jim Lee was going to be largely involved in the relaunch, so why not use some of the characters he has been watching over. Well, rest assured, many of those groans have turned into elated sighs. Not only do Wildstorm’s characters fit into a grittier new DCU, but some are even carving out their own niche in the mainstream fanbase.

Stormwatch, at first, may seem like a typical “black cabinet” superhero team. Not known to the universe, but still fighting the good fight. Well, escape those confines in your brain and give Stormwatch a read. What really differentiates Stormwatch is also what really drives the book. The team. Paul Cornell has taken some old fan favorites and added a few new ones to create one of the most intriguing sets of powers, along with very strange personalities. Take Jack Hawksmoor to start. He can communicate with cities, which sounds silly at first. But combined with Sepulveda’s incredible visuals, this power allows for some very impressive moments. There is also Jenny Quantum, who is a Century Baby. Century Babies have access to powers that reflect 21st century physics. Whatever humanity has discovered or believes, Jenny Quantum can tap into. That is only scratching the surface of this unique group of individuals.

The man behind this overlooked success is none other than Paul Cornell. Having worked on a few other cosmic type titles ( Doctor Who, Soldier Zero), Cornell has been able to carefully craft an intriguing yet action packed title. Only six issues deep, there are a ton of story lines to follow, such as the betrayal of one of their own members, the history behind Stormwatch, learning about these unique characters, recruiting two more members, and the invasion of Earth by the Daemonites. Even with all of these ideas and stories in action at the same time, Cornell manages to keep readers engaged and not too overwhelmed. He uses the members of Stormwatch to really drive forward the story, be it through their powers or motives. Stormwatch is revealed to be a very important part of superheroics within the new DCU, thanks to Cornell’s integration with the history in Demon Knights, Martian Manhunter’s random appearances in a couple other titles, and the future crossover involving the Daemonite invasion.

As strong a writer as Cornell is, a huge kudos has to be given to the rest of the team. Rob Leigh’s lettering work feels very personal for Stormwatch, with unique fonts for nearly everyone. Alex Sinclair and Pete Pantazis color the hell out of this title, to match the fantastic detail of Miguel Sepulveda. Sepulveda is no rookie to the “cosmic,” having worked on The Thanos Imperative. As good as Sepulveda was on that title, his art has matured greatly, with less grainy visuals and a ton more detail. Stormwatch, for many, is full of brand new characters and locales, and Sepulveda makes it very easy to differentiate characters. Huge space stations exploding, heroes blasting through a ship’s hull, unique city avatars, and very fluid action scenes just touch some of the eye candy available in Stormwatch.

Grifter #6, hey is that a Daemonite?

The idea behind Stormwatch would make it seem like you won’t be seeing much of these characters in other titles, but this isn’t necessarily true. The invasion of the Daemonite force is spilling over into a couple other titles. Grifter has been battling the Daemonite’s since the start of his new series. He has the ability to see them even when they are residing within a human body, which just begs for trouble. Voodoo, a title by Ron Marz, sees the Daemonites closely related to the title’s main character. Even Superman is getting involved, with the Daemonites attempting to use him as an agent. The first line of defense against this invasion is Stormwatch, in turn tying all these titles together.

Stormwatch #9

If you have overlooked Stormwatch up until now, I suggest you check it out. Unfortunately, issue #6 is the last issue for writer Paul Cornell. Paul Jenkins will be taking over for a few issues with Peter Milligan ultimately taking over writing duties as of issue #9. Milligan is no stranger to the cosmic, writing Red Lanterns, and with all the groundwork that Cornell has created it will be difficult to really ruin this title. Hopefully the fact that Miguel Sepulveda is staying on the title will keep some semblance of what has already been done. A colorful cast, numerous mysteries, and some of the best interiors on the market, Stormwatch is a must read.




Mike Parente



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