Review: Stormwatch #4 by Paul Cornell & Miguel Sepulveda

Stormwatch #4

Written by: Paul Cornell
Art by: Miguel Sepulveda
Colored by: Alex Sinclair
Lettered by: Rob Leigh

Published by: DC
Cover Price: $2.99

Note : This review is for the digital version of the comic available from DC Comics On Comixology

Summary (contains spoilers): At the end of the last issue, the moon’s antibodies that were trying to destroy Earth had absorbed all of Stormwatch into itself, leaving Midnighter to fight alone. The Projectionist tells Midnighter to get out of there, but he quickly gains help when Apollo crashes down next to him. Apollo is weakened, but after Midnight distracts the creature, he has Projectionist use the Station to blast Apollo with solar energy, supercharging him.

Working together, Apollo and Midnighter are able to free the others from the monster’s control. Once loose, the team compares notes, and they figure out how to communicate with the lost city that the moon monster was trying to find and destroy. It’s called Alba Umbra, and Jack Hawksmoor is able to convinces the city that the attack is not just a dream, and that it’s needed to fight back against the monster. Apparently, the people of Alba Umbra were destroyed by other beasts many years ago. Alba Umbra rises from the ground. The team starts to finally work together under Engineer’s coordination, I really loved her comment that:

Martain Mahunter and Jenny are able to activate the city’s alchemy engines to change the monster into glass. Engineer is still concerned that they don’t know what caused all this in the first place, and that now they have the additional mystery of the lost city.

The team is telported back to the station by a mysterious entity who claims to represent the “Stormwatch Shadow Cabinet” who has come to kill Adam for his failure as team leader.

Review: One of my biggest concerns about Stormwatch for the first few issues was that so much was going on all the time, and it is often difficult to follow everything. In one of my capsule reviews, I said something like “I am not always sure what the hell is going on in Stormwatch, but it’s always entertaining and always makes me anxiously want the next issue.” In this issue, Cornell made the smart decision of using a lot more narration and giving us insight into what the characters were seeing and thinking. This was the first issue where I felt I really had a stable grasp on everything that was going on. It also really helped us get insight into the characters.

I especially loved Jack Hawkmoor’s indignant comment about “I’m going to die in the country!” Jack Hawksmoor has been one of my favorite characters since Warren Ellis introduced him towards the end of his Stormwatch run (before it became the Authority). This issue really seemed to capture him pretty well, and his conversation with Alba Umbra was one of the highlights of this book.

I do have to admit, I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see Midnighter take on the entire Stormwatch team as that was the direction this story seemed to be heading. We really haven’t gotten to see this version of Midnight cut loose, and this seemed like a lost opportunity. That said, seeing him really take a big role in bringing the team together worked really nicely.

I also think that the end of this book wasn’t quite as impactful as it could have been. We really haven’t gotten to know the team all that well, and we just get small hints of how the team has been falling apart. But the time the series started, all that had been going on for a while. So hearing that Adam is a failure as a leader doesn’t really make all that much sense to the reader. I am very curious who the Stormwatch Shadow Cabinet is. This definitely put an entirely new spin on what we thought we know about the series.

Miguel Sepulveda manages to keep up with Paul Cornell’s insane story at every turn. Some of the images are just mindblowing, like this one where the moon monster is trying to devour Midnighter:

And I loved how cool the representative from the Stormwatch Shadow Cabinet looked. He sort of reminded me of Genis-Vel or the future incarnation of Starman. I really like that whole starfield effect on a character. DC Relaunch has been really great about matching the right artist to the right project, and Miguel Sepulveda on Stormwatch is another great example of that.

One thing that makes this comic stand out so well is Rob Leigh’s lettering. Every character has their own unique font and dialogue bubble style, which really helps keep things clear no matter how chaotic the story might be getting around it. I love attention to detail like that, and Stormwatch really stands out because of this touch.

Stormwatch started out as one of my favorite books of Relaunch, and each issue continues to build on that. Cornell and Sepulveda are a great fit here, and this is definitely the best Stormwatch/Authority has been since Ellis left the book.

Final Score: 8.5 – Even though I am not always sure what’s going on, I have been enjoying Stormwatch. This issue really started to make things much more clear, and the end result was a very satisfying comic book!

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