This book was one of my most anticipated books of DC’s relaunch. Stormwatch was originally a team book from Wildstorm, a comic imprint founded by current DC co-publisher Jim Lee. DC later acquired the rights to Wildstorm and is now using the relaunch as an opportunity to fold the characters into the DC universe. This incarnation has more in common with the Authority, the spiritual successor to Stormwatch created by Warren Ellis. This is a very good thing. At the turn of the new millennium the Authority was the hottest thing in comics, taking the super hero genre to exciting new places. The quality of the book has waned in recent years due to frustrating creative shifts and editorial mandates. I saw this relaunch as a chance for a return to form for the characters. The book is under the pen of Paul Cornell, a rising talent at DC known for his Lex Luthor centric run on Action Comics and the refreshing Knight and Squire. Martian Manhunter, a desperately underused character, was even being folded into the team. It all has the makings for a great comic. Unfortunately, something here isn’t quite working the way it should.
The most glaring problem here is the art. I’ve enjoyed Miguel Supulveda’s art elsewhere, but here it just seems stiff, dull, and lifeless. One of the cool aspects of comic books is the sense of movement you get when moving from panel to panel. It’s always a shame when artists fail to incorporate this feeling of kinetic motion because you’re left just looking at pictures. Even cool moments like Martian Manhunter shape shifting and the moon coming to life seem dull. On the writing side, a lot of the character dialogue falls flat. Instead of organically showing us what these characters can do, we’re given awkward expository dialogue to explain their abilities and backgrounds (the bit with the Projectionist was especially painful). There are some cool moments for those who are fans of the Authority, which for me is the book’s saving grace.
This issue feels like a diluted down issue of Warren Ellis’ Authority. The characters are there, as are the crazy high concepts (the moon is attacking the Earth!). Nevertheless, this issue falls flat. I have enough faith in Cornell’s writing and interest in characters to stick around for another issue or two, but this is definitely my biggest disappointment of the week.