Review: Stormwatch #1 By Paul Cornell And Miguel Sepulveda

Stormwatch #1

Written by Paul Cornell

Art by Miguel Sepulveda and Allen Passalaqua

 

I love Wildstorm, and I love the Authority, and I’m a decent sized fan of Paul Cornell. Hell, it’s not a secret that this has been one of my most anticipated books of the relaunch, so I’m stoked just holding it in my hands. Reading it I can’t help but notice that it really doesn’t feel like the Authority…it feels like Stormwatch. They aren’t trying to control the world, let alone rule it; they’re just trying to keep it in one piece in their own special way. These guys aren’t super heroes, they just save the world. In the words of Jack Hawksmoore “They’re amateurs. We’re the professionals.” And that right there is a selling point of this book.

 

One of the main plot lines of this issue is Stormwatch attempting to recruit Apollo, who has no real interest in dealing with them. Immediately they get across the fact that Apollo is Superman class, as well as the fact that unlike the Man of Steel, he’s also a killer. This creates a giant loose cannon, but also grants Cornell a lot of potential stories using him. The over-violent nature of the Wildstorm characters raised questions from me prior to their debut, as there aren’t too many mainstream DC characters that will pulp someone’s skull with their fist. The idea that these characters are being used as behind the scenes world protectors, and even that the organization is centuries old, it works. It inserts them nicely into the DCU and leads to interesting variations of old events with their presence.

 

There’s an interesting line up for the team as well; while you have old favorites like Jack Hawksmoore and The Engineer, we have Jenny Quantum reimagined back to to a much younger age than she was last seen at (and a new origin since Apollo and Midnighter have obviously not raised her), and then we have J’onn J’onzz…who is formerly of the Justice League. There’s a few members who are new characters, or at the very least new to me, which include a woman named Projectionist who has the power to sense and manipulate the media, master swordsman Harry Tanner, and the seemingly immortal Adam who has advised world leaders for centuries, and raised hundred of Century Babies. Apollo and Midnighter aren’t members, but both have presences in this built and, well, let’s be honest, it’s just a matter of time before they both join.

 

The other plot being developed in this issue is something that stays in the vein of what Warren Ellis did during his time with these characters years ago, and Cornell takes it completely off the wall. The moon is threatening the Earth, and if it could, it would grow claws. The moon is evil. And then there’s the giant horny…horned thing in the Himalayas, and Cornell really doesn’t waste any time in trying to make this book feel a bit larger and crazier than some may be used to. These aren’t typical DC Comics threats, this is the kind of thing you expect from Wildstorm, and the fact that the tone is maintained makes it that much better. If they were fighting Brainiac this just wouldn’t have the same level of oomph.

 

Miguel Sepulveda doesn’t have an explosive big blockbuster style that you’d expect on a book like Superman or JLA, but what he does have is a gritty and detailed style that makes these plain clothes characters look just as intimidating as the capes. He draws an excellent J’onn, and I like the changes they’ve made to his head. They don’t feel like too far of a step away from the classic look, while still maintaining the “he’s an alien” feeling to an even greater degree. Harry Tanner versus the Moon is pretty cool looking, and the giant horned…I don’t know what it is just looks intimidating. There’s a lot of detail, and the issue looks great. In fact, the only complaint I have at all is a costume design on the last page, as I feel it’s a bit too flashy for Sepulveda’s style. It just looks weird.

 

Cornell crafts a top notch first issue here, creating a team that can exist within the DC Universe without really being bound by it. They handle the threats that are too big, and they save the world without claiming the glory. They’re a group of ridiculously powerful beings who aren’t bound by the same morals as the Justice League, and that creates a question in your mind about who would win. There’s some strong development with the characters Cornell has chosen to put added feature on, which for the most part are the new ones, and the cliffhanger makes me want the next issue even more. My gut tells me that this is going to be one of the biggest hits of the relaunch, and given the strength of the first issue, I’d be hard pressed to argue.

 

Overall?

 9/10

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