Stormwatch #5

A comic review article by: Shawn Hill

The feeling here is still that of being in the midst of an ongoing party where you don't know all the guests. Maybe the cast is just too large, which bodes well for the winnowing down promised by the last page. Fitting this team into the DC universe -- and with J'onn J'onzz as a member -- is not going smoothly. We need to know more about the characters before we get invested in their dilemmas. So despite a truly kick-ass fight as promised on the cover, we aren't yet that concerned by the stakes as they are.

The Shadow Cabinet member makes quick work of Adam One, in a particularly gruesome way. Good riddance, really. He was one of the biggest non-entities thus far, but the familiar cast seems muted, too. While Hawksmoor and the Engineer are recognizably themselves, neither seems very effective outside of their comfort zone. Jenny Quantum was a teenager already in the last reality, but she's much younger in the New 52. And who's really looking after her now, by the way? Apollo and Midnighter were her ersatz parents before (which made sense because they were trusted allies of her progenitor, Jenny Sparks), but they've only just met in this reality. So who's looking after the omnipotent baby?

Come to think of it, shouldn't Jenny Sparks have really been Jenny Atom? As far as being a spirit of the 20th century? Jenny Sparks is more a 19th century concept (or would that have been Jenny Steam?), right? Well, I digress. 

The mysterious intruder decides Adam's replacement should be the Projectionist, and as she's the new member who's had the most screentime, he has a point. She's got a global view that the others lack, and her information manipulation powers can be pretty impressive. The team needs to focus on its new blood if it's to keep evolving. She's also got about as much personality as your average TV presenter, but it's a start.

Sepulveda has a somewhat Gene Ha quality in some of his crowd scenes, but lacking Ha's complexity. Clarity is not really helped by the excessive application of Photoshop effects in the coloring: some of the shading looks muddy rather than dramatic, and the last thing Sepulveda needs is more atmosphere.

That battle between Midnighter and Harry Tanner (master of energy swords, apparently) is well-choreographed, and would be sort of epic if we knew anything about who Harry was or whether to believe or doubt him. Then a lot of things happen very quickly, just a few touching on the widescreen scale that should be a signature of this title. Cornell has one more issue to wrap up his vision, and then the creative direction changes. He's leaving everything in ruins, apparently, which could be either a gift or a curse. This issue remains frustratingly obtuse, because the potential for epic scale is there, but so far unrealized. 

 


 

Shawn Hill knows two things: comics and art history. Find his art at Cornekopia.net.

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