Big thanks to commentator Ryan for pointing me to an interview with Paul Cornell at Newsarama that goes a long way toward assuaging any fears among fans in the DC and WS camps that their characters wouldn't remain true to form. Of Stormwatch the book, Cornell said:
"It's at the crux of a lot of things for where DC is going to be in September. It's a bit of a kingpin book. It united a lot of things."
That tells me this isn't just some lark, but essentially ground zero of the integration of the Wildtorm properties into the DCU.
Newsarama: Paul, I think one of the most exciting things about the announcement is that people finally know where Martian Manhunter ended up. Can you tell us anything about what his function is on this team?
Paul Cornell: Well, he's a superhero, and Stormwatch are not. And there's a certain contradiction there. And he's a major player in the book.
Newsarama: It's true that they really don't seem to go together, because Martian Manhunter is like the odd man out.
Paul Cornell: Yeah. He's in there to kind of put a certain gravity to it, to mess things around. He does make sense in the book, though. Very much so. And you'll see why he makes sense when the idea behind the book gets talked about. But I think it's obvious that there's going to be some friction there. There are going to be some issues.
Newsarama: The information DC released said he'll try to "change their mind." That doesn't imply mind control or anything, does it?
Paul Cornell: Ah, no. He's trying to change their minds about being recruits. He's not controlling their minds. That would be bad!
Newsarama: OK, OK... just checking. But so many people know Martian Manhunter, even in the mainstream world, since he was such a huge part of cartoons like Justice League. Is the same character we know? Or has he changed?
Paul Cornell: Those things that you liked are still there.
Cornell was apparently a big fan of Warren Ellis' Planetary, but only recently read Stormwatch and The Authority in trades. That explains why the character selection is so heavily skewed toward the later material. Cornell confirmed Apollo and Midnighter would be out and proud, that the team's edgy swagger would remain, and that it's actually Jack Hawksmoor at the center of that first cover. I'm rather curious where the women are at, and how big this group will be at the end, but I'm mostly just relieved to hear Cornell will be writing a recognizable J'Onn J'Onzz in a dynamic new setting.