Sunday, September 18, 2011

Stormwatch #40 (October, 1996)

A plane crashed over Middle England which was downed by a dirty bomb that released an adulterated version of Gen-Factor, the same mutagen responsible for Team 7, Gen13 and "God knows who else." The difference being that this muck killed while it mutated, and was airborne headed for the small town of Little Brook. Stormwatch Prime was sent to investigate, Fuji and Hellstrike being energy beings, and Winter vaccinated against all known mutagens. On reaching the town, they were treated to a variety of body horrors to make David Cronenberg proud. An unholy roar drew them to a church, the insides of which were coated in fleshy mass and animated hands.

Only two places on Earth had access to Gen-Factor, the United States and the outlaw island of Gamorra. The latter had been run by Kaizen Gamorra, a latter day Yellow Peril creation who in an amusing twist had been revealed to be the occidental John Colt (Team One founder and the basis for the robotic hero Spartan.) Colt/Gamorra had been killed off in the Fire from Heaven crossover, so it was unfortunate that it was here revealed that there was an actual Kaizen Gamorra held captive throughout Colt's thirty years of using the identity now liberated and out to strut his terroristic stuff. Gamorra had purchased the Gen-Factor from the U.S., and his connection to the States afforded him immunity from prosecution by Stormwatch.

Stormwatch Prime learned the roar was a beacon, and Fuji ripped away a mound of church flesh that had formed an airtight seal around a few unaffected survivors. Before being mutated, some victims had managed a final act of heroism. "We seek to pull hope from terror-- life from death. If we arrive too late, we assume that the horror has won. We forget that we do not hold the monopoly on hope."

Weatherman-One initiated the "Quiet Storm Protocol," sending Stormwatch Red to Gamorra Island under utmost secrecy. Rose Tattoo was to murder exactly 233 people, while the hesitant but eventually compliant Fahrenheit and Flint would cause widespread property damage. As a product of the one party political system in Kenya, Flint's mother had lost an eye in student protests, so she liked teaching another callous country that some rules apply to everyone. She was no killer, but she could bring herself to smash up government works to send a message.

"Mutagen" was by Warren Ellis, Tom Raney & Randy Elliott. Stormwatch Red didn't appear until page 18, so if Flint's launching into a flashback and the story's hard brake of a conclusion seemed to come out of nowhere, yup. Nice grisly art, though.

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