Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Will Conrad
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche of Ain’t It Cool News)
GOD DAMN IT, WILL SOMEONE PLEASE SAVE STORMWATCH?????
I hold an unabashed love and adoration for the STORMWATCH and AUTHORITY of yore – even the “bad” times. They were more than a JUSTICE LEAGUE pastiche; they made sense with their totalitarian control of the world and eventually the omniverse. In an age where our systems and infrastructure continue to fail and disappoint us, the thought of the world’s most powerful beings helping us fix the problems – just makes sense.
It was with this history in mind, I gleefully started buying STORMWATCH’S first integration into DC continuity at the launch of the New 52. Well first I did get sucked in by the PR. STORMWATCH promised to be the shadow organization that would answer the question, “Who watches the WATCHMEN” or JUSTICE LEAGUE in this case. Old favorites like Jenny Quantumn, the dynamically gay duo, icity talking Jack Hawksmoor and Martian Fucking Manhunter would serve to clandestinely protect…everything.
And then the book came out. Instead of an exercise of who watches the JUSTICE LEAGUE, we got a book filled with more immature prats than the JUSTICE LEAGUE themselves – which is really really hard to pull off since the JUSTICE LEAGUE was suffering from some serious dame bramage in the first two arcs. We got some swordsman mother fucker, who wields…goddamn swords. This is like recruiting a special Olympiad for the real Olympic team. Jenny Quantum is virtually non-existent. We’ve learned more about the Engineer’s crotch than her prowess with machinery, and we have been subjugated to the Rachel/Ross “will they, won’t they” antics of Apollo & Midnighter. Their final coming together this issue was about as surprising as Brooke Shields getting knocked-up in Blue Lagoon since THEY’RE THE ONLY TWO GAY HEROES IN THE WORLD!
Jack Hawksmoor had a promising start; I liked the approach of each city having a tangible form and his interactions with these old souls. Sadly we haven’t seen that for about 12 issues. I don’t even know where he’s at now to be honest. Martian Manhunter completely said, “Fuck this noise” and we never saw him again until the recent JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA. Finally, the Carrier (whom I consider to be a character), is now less mobile than Mama Boo Boo.
Two other areas where the book showed promise was tracing back the team’s origin to the DEMON KNIGHTS and this whole concept of a Shadowlords being STORMWATCH’S ultimate keepers. Two very cool concepts, which seemed to vanish moments after they were mentioned.
Want to know the plot right now? I read it and I still can’t answer the question. All I can say with certainty is it’s almost over.
So why do I keep riding this hot mess month after month? Because like an abused housewife I believe it can get better. Also, if we walk away, books will only get cancelled — not fixed.
Since any moron with fingers can complain about a title, I like to be a special brand of moron that proactively tries to fix the situation, even if it falls on deaf ears.
FIX 1: Remember from whence you came – The great thing about these old AUTHORITY characters is that they weren’t tied to one boring old universe. They rode “the bleed” with reckless abandon, and as a a result fought God and Cthulhu incarnate. Remember that little thing called the multiverse that was reborn at the end of FINAL CRISIS? No, it’s OK I don’t blame you. After all, we’ve only seen three of the worlds since that event took place. Wouldn’t it be cool if STORMWATCH not only watched the prime JUSTICE LEAGUE, but every damn JUSTICE LEAGUE ever imaginable?
FIX 2: Arrogance is OK when warranted – Another thing that made the old AUTHORITY great was their uncompromising assuredness in…well…everything they did. MIDNIGHTER knows every move, Jenny can manipulate the very fabric of the universe, Jack controls every city, Engineer every machine, and Apollo is a freaking God. START ACTING THE PART GUYS! We have enough fallible heroes; let’s see some folks unwavering in their decisions and beliefs for a change.
FIX 3: When in Rome, stop watching it burn: Let’s assume my first fix becomes a reality (it won’t but let’s assume). I would never say STORMWATCH should stay away from Earth Prime, but when here, it’s time to be large and in charge. Use your clandestine super base in the sky to smack around the whelps of the New 52. Sit high atop your self-righteousness and give a good God damn when the heroes of Earth Prime act like fucktards. You know like they’ve been doing for the past 18 months.
Petty squabbles, convoluted origins and a complete lack of story cohesion are not STORMWATCH. My forgiveness will only last one more arc guys; Mr. Starlin needs to make it a good one. For the record I don’t fault Milligan, this blame goes right on the shoulders of editorial for choosing to mire this tale in a lackluster introduction-laden affair.