Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Stormwatch #2 (December, 2011)

Adam One was born old at the Big Bang, and has aged backward ever since. A disembodied voice observed, "One day you're going to try to kill me."
"Oh. Yeah. Hi. Any chance of a pint? Whatever one of those is."

The Engineer roused Adam One from his flashback. She muttered to Jenny Quantum "He's no good under pressure. His brain is messed up. I should be leading this team." Adam heard her, and started screaming at her to follow orders.

In Moscow, Midnighter insisted to Apollo that he wasn't wearing a super-hero costume, but carbon armor. "For over a year I've been trailing you... We seem to share a point of view. I want us to work together... I know you pretty well, I think. I watched you slaughter that child porn ring, for instance. I really enjoyed it." Midnighter wouldn't allow Stormwatch to strongarm Apollo onto the team, since he felt they both were best staying apart from that whole scene.

From behind the pair, the Manhunter said "Hmm... It seems my decision to allow you to believe you had rendered me unconscious-- has been effective. From what I overheard-- I believe that Stormwatch might have a place for both of you-- and that your own causes are not so different from ours. We should talk about this-- unless you desire further futile combat. And gentlemen-- that would be acting like those you affect not to be, would it not?" Midnighter replied, "You're badass, Manhunter. I'll give you that." Except for his weird tendency to assume a human form resembling George Reeves era Clark Kent, except for brown hair. "If I am, it is because my leader is more so. Ah. He heard my telepathic report-- and arrives to share his wisdom." Manhunter seemed to also revive Midnighter's actual victims, Jack Hawksmoor and the Projectionist.

On the moon, Harry Tanner managed to resist the influence of the scourge of worlds, while still claiming to be a simple human swordsman. Tanner suggested that he could willing allow the scourge to enter his mind and infiltrate Stormwatch, so he could see that the humanity he sought to "toughen up" for a forthcoming threat were plenty tough already.

Through a teleportational "door," Adam One emerged in Moscow. Apollo said, "Listen, the Manhunter may think a lot of you, but don't--" He was interrupted by Adam making a sneering comment about the Projectionist's drug abuse, before ordering her to make the activity on the moon appear in the media to be the work of a random super-villain. This would keep the super-heroes like the Justice League out of Stormwatch's way, chasing strawmen like the Fox. Adam then admitted to Apollo that "The Manhunter's inducing a slight telepathic calming effect," which Apollo said he already knew and allowed, "But if you hadn't told me--"
"That's why I did. You see? Now we're negotiating!"
Midnighter protested that Apollo was the only partner he was interested in, but Adam noted their work was small potatoes compared to Stormwatch, which had been "defending Earth for centuries, sir."

On the moon, the Engineer and Jenny's arrival prompted a hostile response from the animated lunar surface. Jenny's "dark matter DNA" allowed her to do just about anything, as she learned that she could generate force fields. Engineer meanwhile planted a data miner to attack the scourge's information center. She also noted of Tanner "Harry's the greatest swordsman in history. And so he's the greatest at misdirection. That's his main power-- he's the prince of lies." Harry tried to coax consensual information out of the scourge, but failing that, he mind-raped it. He'd been in the scourge's mind when it entered his, and the data miner only made it vulnerable to the Eminence of Blades. "I'm taking your knowledge! Not Stormwatch! Not Adam! ME! I'm taking it ALL!"

The scourge had managed a major offensive before Tanner could act, sending a barrage of meteors toward Earth. Jack Hawksmoor could hear all of the planet's cities screaming in terror at once. The first missile struck what should have been the middle of nowhere, but Jack still sensed a city there. From out of that strike emerged a massive, multi-tentacled monstrosity.

"The Dark Side: Part Two" was by Paul Cornell, Miguel Sepulveda & Al Barrionuevo. The book is discussed at great length here. I'll add that I don't believe the name "J'Onn J'Onzz" has been used yet in the New 52, and while "Martian Manhunter" came up once in #1, he's only "Manhunter" in #2. That's how it was in 1960s solo stories, and calling him "The Manhunter" really emphasizes his singularity in a universe often plagued with manhunters. I like that a lot. Also, to my eye, Barrionuevo drew about nine pages, including all of the Moscow sequence. After eight issues of the 2006 Martian Manhunter mini-series, this marked his first take on a John Jones type, and a blessedly more palatable take on the Manhunter himself. Good stuff.

New 52's Day

1 comment:

will_in_chicago said...

I enjoyed the issue, particularly as it showed J'Onn in a favorable light -- using his cunning to determine what sort of people he was dealing with in Midnighter and Apollo. Mind you, he was still in a less prominent role than I liked. He does seem to be the most professional of the group so far.

Perhaps J'Onn's human appearance changes to fit in with the country that he is in. He may have tried on a certain appearance for being in Russia, but may look differently elsewhere.