Stormwatch

I have to be honest. I freaking loved Stormwatch #1.

Stormwatch, by writer Paul Cornell and artist Miguel Sepulveda, relaunches this week as part of DC’s “New 52” initiative. Stormwatch has its roots as a series from Wildstorm comics, created by Jim Lee and having a host of writers, most famously Warren Ellis, who revamped it and spun it off into The Authority. With the DC relaunch, the company is integrating the Wildstorm properties into the main DC continuity, and Cornell takes the reigns for the newest reincarnation of the team.

Stormwatch is a series about a UN-sanctioned team of super beings. Instead of spending several issues on the team’s origins and building up the roster, Cornell wisely opens with the core team already established. The beauty of that approach is that allows him to get to the Good Stuff (TM). And Stormwatch #1 is in no short supply.

We open aboard the Eye of the Storm, the Stormwatch headquarters that exists in Hyperspace. From here, a few plot threads spin out. A few members are attempting to recruit a Superman-level being with the name of Apollo. Another member (the Eminence of Blades, winning Coolest New Hero Name) is on the moon, investigating why quakes are attempting to form the shape of a massive claw reaching out from the surface.  And finally another two members are investigating a massive horned structure in the Himalayas.

This issue features more “Big Ideas” in a single issue than a lot of other comics throw out in a the course of a year or more. From striking imagery such as the claw emerging from the moon, to the scene between the Cosmic Eye that confronts the Eminence of Blades, to the nature of the Eye of the Storm and more, the first issue of Stormwatch really puts the premiere of Justice League to shame, if only in sheer scope. There is a definite feel that this story is building up to something big, that Stormwatch just doesn’t deal with Joe Villain terrorizing the city. This is a big-time science fiction story in the making, and with Cornell’s background as one of the most popular Doctor Who writers (having written numerous novels and 3 episodes of the new series), he carries the street cred to do it.

There are also a lot of small touches that I loved. The entire “Jenny Quantum” / “Spirit of the 21st Century” – a great nod /continuation of the original Stormwatch team and Jenny Sparks- will appeal to old school fans of the series. A “slash fiction” reference? Made me chuckle.  And look for a reference to Cornell’s other series, Demon Knights.

Miguel Sepulveda’s artwork sells it. Sepulveda brings to life Cornell’s rich ideas with ease, and makes for such a cinematic breath of fresh into this title. It wasn’t like reading a comic, it was like watching a high-budget sci-fi series. I hope he sticks around on this title for a long time.

Stormwatch has me hooked for the ongoing monthly, something I don’t often say for mainstream comics anymore. If this issue is any indication (and I really hope it is), Stormwatch has a bright future. After the disappointment that was Justice League‘s first issue, it’s great to see a team comic done right. More like this, please.

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