Or – “I Just Hope It’s Better Than The First Stormwatch #0…”

I have fallen behind in most of my comics reading over the summer, as reality has knocked a hole in what I laughing refer to as my spare time.  Worse than that, I can’t remember anything that happened in Stormwatch since about issue #4.  Hopefully that won’t damage my enjoyment of this #0 flashback issue, ’cause your Major Spoilers review awaits!

Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Will Conrad
Colorist: Guy Major
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Editor: Pat McCallum
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in Stormwatch:  Apollo, The Midnighter, The Engineer, Jack Hawksmoor and Jenny Quantum are Stormwatch, a centuries-old hidden sect whose purpose seems to be protecting the Century Babies and defending Earth against threats both magical and alien.  Their first 12 issues have cost them some other members, and put them at the forefront of the defense against the alien Daemonites.  The latest Century Baby, Jenny Quantum is currently in the a preteen girl with strange dark matter abilities, more than a little bit frustrated at being protected and treated like a little girl, but she still has a lot to learn…


This issue opens with the return of Adam-One (a Stormwatch member killed in a previous issue), come to visit Jenny Quantum while the rest of the team contains a monster that they apparently just beat up.  Adam’s dialogue in this issue is very subtle, as he seemingly has no knowledge of his demise in issue #5, making me wonder when/where this version of the character is from.  When Paul Cornell kicked this title off last September, he tied this book to his other title, Demon Knights, positing that organization as an earlier version of this one.  This issue reveals (and forgive me, I don’t even know if it’s the first time) that Adam-One may probably be the same man as Demon Knights’ Merlin, as he explains the history of notable Century Babies since that 12th century timeframe, showing her a few important object lessons of immortality and power.  Both the dialogue and the lessons are subtly introduced by writer Pete Milligan, forcing both Jenny and the reader to make their own decisions about what points to take away from the stories he tells.


From an art perspective, Will Conrad does impressive work, reminding me of a more subtle Mike Deodato in places, making Adam-One’s enigmatic expressions fascinating to look at, while successfully making Jenny Quantum look like a girl of 12-14 (a difficult prospect for many comic artists.)  The time-antics go from armored kuh-niggits with their silly knees-bent running around through the 19th Century Baby (Jenny Freedom, who uses the power of steam) all the way to the shiny technological marvels of Stormwatch’s orbital headquarters.  The upshot of all the history lesson comes in the realization that the New 52 and it’s age of heroes is actually the first sign of the end of the world (something that the less rational voices on the internet have been claiming all year long) and Jenny is the one who will have to save Stormwatch when the big battle occurs.  Glimpses of Stormwatch’s future are shown, and the issue ends with Jenny greeting her team-mates, only seconds after their appearance on page one, and coming up with a cute lie about what she has been doing.  “I’ve been watching a movie…  But it had a downer of an ending.  You really get into the characters and then…  everybody dies.”


The point of a special jumping-on point like a zero issue is to convince new readers of what the series is about, but the best one-shots also give a little new information to reward those who have been reading all along.  On that level, this issue is a success, and from a character standpoint, it’s a good read.  But it ends up being quite talky throughout, and no matter how good some of Merlin/Adam-One’s dialogue is, there’s just a little bit too much discussion and not enough actually happening for my taste.  Still and all, Stormwatch #0 has reawakened my appreciation for this book, convincing me to drag out the first twelve issues and give them a re-read as Stormwatch launches into year two, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  It’s not perfect, but it’s a pretty successful place to come into (or BACK into) the adventures of Stormwatch…

Rating: ★★★½☆


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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