Stormwatch 19 coverSTORMWATCH 19
Writer: Jim Starlin
Artist: Yvel Guichet
Publisher: DC
Reviewer: Rob Patey (Optimous douche – Ain’t It Cool news)

A few weeks ago I threw some pretty strong blows at STORMWATCH, but it wasn’t just me being salty, my words came from a true love of the stories and characters that had once made up THE AUTHORITY.

However, I wasn’t just filled with vitriol; I also offered what I felt were some pretty simple course corrections considering a reboot was already underway under the authority of Mr. Starlin. My advice wasn’t genius in design, merely a reminder of what made this team once work. Sadly, none of my advice was truly imbibed in this aptly titled “Reset” issue (not that I truly expected it to be), and I fear we traded one grab-bag of convoluted story telling for another.  Time may ultimately prove me wrong since this issue really is just a kick-off roll call, but I’m already afraid this roster is too large and the characters that take over the chairs too vanilla to be the baddest mother-fuckers to strap on spandex.

OK, try to stay with me. The Shadow Lords, a trio of metal suited…well Lords…decide to reset time at the Big Bang. Adam One, the old STORMWATCH leader, and DC’s Benjamin Button, is wiped from existence (no one tell DEMON KNIGHTS this please). Thank God he wasn’t a butterfly because stepping on him only changed the fate of STROMWATCH (no one tell DEMON KNIGHTS please – do you get that I’m a little miffed about this kontinuity kerfuffle).

What we get from this new beginning is a rebirth of the infamous Bleed, the space between space; a resurgence of the greatest vessel to ever traverse the Bleed, except this time it has no sentience; and the appearance of some new members with a minor fresh start for others.

Storm King is still the mouthpiece for the Shadow Lords as he has been for the past 18 issues, while the tactical charge of the team now falls to…uhmmm…some dude with a helmet on. Apparently it’s vital to the Shadow Lords mission that this man only known as Storm Control remains a mystery for now, so he’s helmet dude as far as I’m concerned.

Other returns include Angie Spica, The Engineer, who has been unhooked from HQ to now be a chaser. What’s she chasing, an African San man who’s a drug addict and will have some value to STORMWATCH. History tells us that drug addicts are usually Doctors when it comes to STORMWATCH, but I’m not counting on anything yet.

Apollo & Midnighter are back, and here’s a change I can totally get behind. We meet them as Apollo is charging up with a nap on the sun deck of the new ship. Midnighter wakes Apollo with a kiss on the forehead. That’s it. With this one brief moment you know they are a couple and this universal reset has done away with the Ross & Rachel will they/won’t they element that was failing before.

Now  for the new additions. Welcome The Weird, an alien that inhabited a corpse and can change density from translucent as a jellyfish to as dense as diamond. Next up, the energy blaster Hellstrike, from STORMWATCH of yore. I’m simply meh on this one as well as his STORMWATCH in training buddy The Force. There’s also an endomorphic  thing that lives in a puddle of goo that scans transmissions and acts as intelligence HQ. And last, but certainly not least, we meet Jenny Soul, a maudlin little sad sack who has telepathy and burgeoning telekinesis. No idea what to make of her yet, but replacing a telepath with someone who was the embodiment of the age they live in like Ms. Sparks and Ms. Quantum feels a little milquetoast by comparison.

The issue ends with this rag tag bunch getting their first assignment on a faraway planet. Someone or some group is using temporal and psychic forces that may or may not be a threat to earth. Who that individual or group is or is not is not clear, although we do meet a certain white skinned bastich who chomps cigars and rides a cosmic motorcycle.

STORMWATCH couldn’t have been in more of a mess than it was before. It just couldn’t. However, I’m not seeing this reset as a fix either. I’ve read a ton of Starlin books in my life and there’s just something missing here. It feels like there is an editorial stubbornness to keep shoe-horning in the Wildstorm STORMWATCH mythos and characters in this book, which only serves ego in my opinion. At this point everyone remembers and wants what THE AUTHORITY delivered. Also, no one is letting this book have time to grow organically. Roll call, roll call, we all fall down has been the cadence until now and this reset is starting off with the same pattern. I like the idea of the team going intergalactic, but that opens up a whole slew of new questions about the DC Universe like who’s really in charge of the galaxy, the Shadow Lords or The Guardians (or New Guardians)?

Would it be the worst thing in the world to have STORMWATCH be the police of the multiverse? Am I too simple in my thinking? You could make them an all knowing entity without them ever messing up any continuity in the New 52. Again, what am I missing with this book. The answers seem so simple there must be some invisible thread the public is not privy to.

Not a bad start, but if things don’t improve this gets one arc and one arc only to win my affection, not 18 issues like last time.