Stormwatch is a book with its beginning at Image Comics under Jim Lee’s WildStorm imprint before WildStorm became part of DC. Now with WildStorm characters becoming a part of the DCnU proper, Stormwatch incorporates characters and concepts old and new to deliver an exciting and satisfying read. Whether you’re a fan who has followed the team for years or someone who has no idea who these characters are, Stormwatch #1 provides a solid introduction to the team, which has been re-imagined in its new incarnation.
The premise is that Stormwatch is a group that has been around for centuries, protecting the world from alien threats wherever they appear. The existence of the group is secret, and no one knows about them (not even super heroes) despite the fact they have been active since the Middle Ages. Some of its members seem to have been around for centuries as well, such as Harry Tanner, the Eminence of Blades who in a sort of flashback is seen fighting alongside Etrigan the Demon, presumably during the time of Demon Knights, another New 52 title penned by Stormwatch writer Paul Cornell. Adam One, another new character, has also been a part of Stormwatch for centuries training each new “century baby,” the current of which is Stormwatch member Jenny Quantum, an eleven year old with powers of unknown potential.
While a threat looms large, half of the team is out in Moscow trying to recruit a mysterious super human known only as Apollo who has power levels similar to Superman. However, Apollo is just starting out and not wearing a costume yet and he is not interested in becoming a super hero. The recruitment team consists of Jack Hawksmoor, who can manipulate and communicate with cities; Projectionist, who can tap into the world’s media at a whim; and Martian Manhunter, who all see what they can do to persuade Apollo to join their ranks. Apollo isn’t buying what Stormwatch is selling though, and his first confrontation with the team takes up a good chunk of the book while other parts of the team explore strangeness on the Moon and in the Himalayas.
Everything in Stormwatch happens quickly, and the book is certainly a page turner. It’s a very fluid reading experience as one scene flows to the next and there is a good shifting back and forth between scenes. The characters are each introduced briefly throughout the book, with little exposition in naming the characters or their powers. The characters evoke distinct personalities and while powers are on display to be sure, it just doesn’t have the same level of “first issue-itis” that some of the other New 52 books have. When you pick up Stormwatch you are dropped right in the middle of team operations; it’s a perfect starting point.
Paul Cornell weaves a great script together that keeps you hooked till the end and eager for the next issue. I like the new characters and am interested in seeing this team in action and seeing how they stay below the radar. Miguel Sepulveda’s art (he does both pencils and inks) is really nice and does a good job of rendering everything from the team’s bizarre powers to intricately detailed alien creatures and artifacts. Overall, I’m very pleased with this issue and plan to add Stormwatch to my pull list. If you like team books or books that are a bit unusual but very intriguing, I’d advise you to give Stormwatch a try too.