Monday, September 12, 2011

Stormwatch #38 (August, 1996)

Both Hellstrike and Jack Hawksmoor had experience as detectives, one with Scotland Yard, the other... not. Jack's rough edges had already peeved Nigel, but Keane would have to work with the New Yorker and Fahrenheit to investigate the murder of Undertow under Weatherman's orders. Unbeknownst to Nigel, Jack could not survive long away from a city, and had gone into convulsions aboard SkyWatch, which might have made him testy with Keane.

Leaping across buildings thanks to the city easing her gravitational pull on his body, and biologically nourished by New York's air pollution, Jack was doing much better. The trio met at the scene of the crime, using their individual powers and collective knowledge to deduce that an explosive murder in a U.N. secured building was the work of professionals. The group compared notes at Clark's Bar, a superhero hangout run by an aged Superman analog and featuring a clientele of cameos. Nautika and Sunburst called the trio with word that the explosive used was C-4, exclusive to U.S. Special Forces. Recognizing that it must have been an inside job, the trio physically forced building security to play video recordings that they found to be poorly doctored.

Extraordinary rendition of the tainted security chief led to a murderous pair of U.S. agents out to send the message that the U.N. couldn't "steal" America from its citizens. Fahrenheit offered one a third degree burn to his gun hand, then beat him heartily for making her ashamed to be an American. The pair were left squarely on the president's desk. Weatherman One (Henry Bendix) confronted (Bill Clinton?) with the fact that he either had no knowledge of the assassination or would play dumb, but either way, Stormwatch intended a reprisal for "an act of war against Stormwatch, and therefore the United Nations... We have received your message that we are not wanted or safe in your country. Stand ready for ours."

Meanwhile, Battalion (Jackson King) was assigned to train Jenny Sparks, who suggested he and Bendix shove it up their "combined arse" while she continued to get her drink on. King shot the bottle out of her hand with "psychokinetic" bullets, and made her dance for a moment. The 96 year old Sparks decided King needed a lesson in respecting his elders, and electrocuted him. "In 1955, I was sleeping with a poet from America. He used to call me 'the Spirit of the 20th Century.' He was a pratt, too, sunbeam. Just like you. I'm electric, sunbeam. I own electricity... everywhere... It runs your suit. It runs this station. Therefore, I have a foothold in everything... Because I'm a nice old lady, I won't subtract the electricity from your brain. But I could. Don't ever touch my beer again." With a smack to King's bald head, she was off.

"Reprisal" was by Warren Ellis, Tom Raney & Randy Elliott. It was a fairly bland, half-hearted police procedural with convenient deux ex machina tarted up in ultraviolence and anti-American banner waving. That last part doesn't bother me a bit, but isn't any more sophisticated than Red State nationalism.


mathematicscore said...

I haven't read the Stormwatch Ellis stuff yet, but I am very familiar with his Authority run, and it always kind of bothered me that he went nigh full on villain as an undercurrent. I think a subtler approach would have brought out the sophistication you referred to me. Still better than 90% of comics out there.

Diabolu Frank said...

I honestly have trouble differentiating which Ellis stuff I've read with these characters. It all sort of runs together. I know I read a few random Raney issues, and at least one arc drawn by Bryan Hitch. I want to say I read a bit of Oscar Jimenez, too. Which one had a British character in a coat smoking and talking shade about tearing someone a new butthole and generally stooping to a lateral level near villainy in their altruistic actions? What does it say about me that I found WildC.A.T.s/Aliens the most memorable because a) WildC.A.T.s, b)Aliens, c) endeadened Stormwatch members in a licensing tie-in? At least Millar had a uniquely different atrocity in each story arc to help me keep them straight. "Oh yeah, this is the one where the villain traveled back in time to molest the Engineer as an adolescent! That was the one where Apollo got sodomized by the Captain America analog!"

mathematicscore said...

Yeah, Millar is often too in love with his own cheekiness. And it's just gotten worse since. I'm kinda glad he's at Marvel now so I can ignore him even harder.