Sunday, September 18, 2011

Stormwatch #1

One of the more confusing thing that DC loves to do is buy other characters from other comic companies. They did it, pretty notably, with Shazam/Captain Marvel back in the day, they did it in the 80s with The Question/Captain Atom/Blue Beetle, they did it in 2008 with the Red Circle line of characters (FREE FINANCIAL PLANNING ADVICE: if ARCHIE COMICS tries to sell you their superhero line, always say yes, it's a great investment). They've had varied levels of success each time, sometimes publishing the characters in their own stand-alone stories, but often seeking to integrate them into the shared DC Universe, so that Shazam can meet Superman, Blue Beetle can join the Justice League, etc.

Way back in 1999, DC Comics, as part of their habitual "buy other characters rather than just make our own" initiative, bought out Wildstorm Productions. Not only did they pick up a ton of talented staffers (including current Co-Publisher and Justice League artist Jim Lee), but they got the rights to Wildstorm's entire cabal of characters. And for the last decade or so, they've published (or at least tried to), those stories, keeping them in their own little publishing kingdom, away from DC's other characters. Well, no more. As part of the reboot, those characters now have a shared history and setting with Superman, Green Lantern and the rest. The first title to reflect that is Stormwatch #1, by Paul Cornell and Miguel Sepulveda.

The result is a comic that raise a couple of questions about the wisdom of a shared universe, but also manages to entertain in the process. We're introduced (or re-introduced, I guess) to Stormwatch, a group of superhumans who look at the big threats facing the planet (an angry, sentient moon, in this case). Not every character resonates as being important or interesting, but Cornell manages to give a sense of the history of Stormwatch and the scale of the threats they face. Fingers are crossed that next issue, Cornell will be able to delve a bit more into character work. Additionally, while it doesn't have to be addressed JUST yet, I am eager to see how the more morally-minded Justice Leaguers feel about sharing a universe with the pragmatic Stormwatchers.

Artist Miguel Sepulveda turns in good work, in the vein of his recent space-stories over at Marvel. Weird satellites, crazy monsters, the aforementioned sentient moon, they're all great looking. He could use a bit of work in human faces, as everyone looks a bit pinched and squeezed into shape, but otherwise, quality work. This is also one of the few reboot books where the colors really looked great. Colorist Allen Passalaqua's super satured hues really made the book look great.

Buying again: Yep

New reader friendly: Fo' sho'.

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