Stormwatch #27 Review

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It’s been a while since we’ve checked in the with the team known as Stormwatch, and apparently they’ve done more than just change up the lineup.  The previous iteration of Stormwatch has been wiped from the pages of history, and their adventures started over with a new lineup, combating an evil force known as The Kollective.  Will they prevail before cancellation?  Your Major Spoilers review of Stormwatch #27 awaits!

Stormwatch27CoverSTORMWATCH #27
Writer: Jim Starlin
Artist: Yvel Guichet & Raymund Bermudez
Inker: L. Beau Underwood & Wayne Faucher
Colorist: Richard & Tanya Horie
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Editor: Harvey Richards
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in Stormwatch: After the previous team’s history was rewritten, and their existence as a centuries-old organization erased, a “new” Stormwatch has risen.  Featuring Apollo and Midnighter, as well as Jim Starlin’s own character The Weird, as well as The Engineer, Hellstrike, another iteration of the creatures known as “Jenny” and a couple of other guys.  What’s going on in their world?

SOME BRUTALLY AWKWARD DIALOGUE

I’m going to be honest, I’m not quite sure.  In order to review this ish, I picked up the previous two as well, and I’m still a little bit in the dark.  As the issue opens up, the team has gathered to deal with a traitor in their midst, one of their employees (their new/old satellite headquarters doesn’t run itself, after all.)  Finding out that one of their people has been running secrets to the Martian Manhunter, team member Forecast (who reminds me a lot of Henry Bendix, the Weatherman of old-school Stormwatch) brutally wipes the guy’s memory and quips, “YOU’RE FIRED.”  It’s the first of many awkward moments throughout the issue for me, as we get little to no character from anyone in the issue, which makes for a sense of grand homogeny.  Every word balloon, from heroes to villains to guest-star Hawkman, reads in the same melodramatic and overwrought tone, alternating back and forth between “wedges of exposition” and “shouting.”  As the story continues, most of the team sets off to find a character named Extremax, who comes across as little more than an armored Thanos/Mongul type, whose lackey has an anticlimactic battle with Apollo that lasts literally three panels…

THE ART TEAM NEVER QUITE MESHES

Jim Starlin has a very recognizable art style, and it’s clear that Yvel Guichet and company are working to try to mimic that style throughout the issue, but are never quite successful.  The characters come across as bland, with no real defining characteristics other than relative sizes and costume coloration, and an armored member of Stormwatch (whose name is never stated in the issue, but whom I think is called Force) looks very familiar both to 90s SW member Fuji, and to the armored villain seen this issue.  The issue ends with two cliffhangers, one involving Forecaster disguised as Martian Manhunter (which seems nonsensical, to be honest) and another involving Extremax running off with Jenny Soul (a name that seems to evoke either a Tarentino character or a feature dancer at Scores.)  There are moments in this issue that seem to have potential (more in art than story, with certain panels evoking Scott McDaniel’s style), but there’s not really much in the way of substance or interesting conflict to be had here.  With a villain torn from the pages of an Image Comic circa 1995, the issue harkens back to the earliest days of Stormwatch, and while this might be the intention, it’s bringing back all the things about that era that I *don’t* miss.  Indeed, while doing my prep work for this issue, I discovered that Stormwatch has already been cancelled with April’s #30, which is not particularly surprising given the “meh” I felt after reading this one.

THE BOTTOM LINE: DULL AND FORMULAIC

The things that work here aren’t 100% successful, and the things that don’t far outnumber them, leaving us with a story that doesn’t really go anywhere, and doesn’t make a lot of sense anyway, with an art team not playing to their strengths.  Perhaps there’s hidden beauty here for the Stormwatch fan, but a casual reader will find themselves thrown into the middle of a story that is both dull and bombastic at once, leaving Stormwatch #27 with an underwhelming 1.5 out of 5 stars overall.  Here’s hoping that Jim Starlin has something awesome up his sleeve in the future, as this book’s flaws leave no question as to why it is being cancelled…