Review | Stormwatch #1

Written by Paul Cornell
Art by Miguel Sepulveda

Stormwatch has been reinvented plenty of times. Starting out as the flagship of Jim Lee's original Wildstorm titles, James Robinson later came in and messed around with the lineup before it underwent a major facelift from Warren Ellis in the late '90s, eventually exploding into The Authority. What was so fascinating, in retrospect, about the switch from Stormwatch to The Authority was a mirroring (or, almost, a predicting) of political culture at the time. Stormwatch was designed as a United Nations–run outfit, set to monitor and stop threats to the world. Its replacement, The Authority, was more of a loose-cannon outfit, happy to preemptively strike. In other words, it was the Bush Doctrine in costume.

This new Stormwatch borrows characters from The Authority, and throws in a little Martian Manhunter for some DCU cred. Two main stories run parallel in the first issue: The team's attempt to recruit Apollo, and the appearance and sounding of a giant horn, which portends the arrival of a world-eating danger. Sepulveda's art was hit-or-miss. Though he draws action well and his filmic adaptation of The Authority's widescreen approach—literally, the panels look like flipping frames of film—is a nice touch, but his detailing is often clunky.

Cornell does a solid job sticking to Stormwatch's otherworldly wheelhouse and The Authority's outsize battles, and manages to introduce a few new characters along the way. Rather than cramming Stormwatch into the DCU isn't easy, and Cornell wisely hovers the team above it, signaling that Stormwatch will be working on more universe-al issues than, say, Justice League. And Midnighter's entrance was killer. Wildstorm fans will be hooked, and my suspicion is that DCU fans will cross over. Cornell deftly juggles storytelling with character-building with backstory-laying. It's definitely the best team book put out so far.

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