Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Stormwatch #5 (March, 2012)

A member of the collective of Stormwatch's mysterious bosses, the Shadow Cabinet, showed up to pin Adam One to a wall and declare that he had to die. Apparently, one has to pass through a "death pit" to enter the realm where the Shadow Cabinet exists, and so Adam was rendered clinically dead to pay them a visit. The visitor next asked who should now lead Stormwatch. The Engineer protested, asked questions, and tried in vain to probe the uninvited guest with her sensors. "I'm the one who writes your enormous checks. I'm the one who wiped your identities from the public record. I know you all very well" He then began airing dirty laundry about the individual members as a means of explaining how knowledgeable he was and why they should be disqualified from leadership. Jenny Quantum was too young, Jack Hawksmoor too unpredictable, the Engineer too individualistic, and Harry Tanner too lacking in power.

"J'Onn J'Onzz, the 'Martian Manhunter.' Telepathy, strength, shapeshifting, energy manipulation. He wants humans to think he's the last Martian: a tragic, noble orphan. But--" J'Onzz ordered him to be silent twice. "I know what you are, remember? I do not doubt you. And before you say it, I do not wish to lead Stormwatch." That left the Shadow Cabinet's choice for new leader, the Projectionist.

Meanwhile, Apollo and Midnighter were scurrying through the Eye of the Storm headquarters, looking for a discrete escape route. Midnighter revealed his face, that his name was Lucas, and that the pair were truly "two of a kind." Which is code for homosexual analogues of two-thirds of the DC Trinity, to be clear, who are fated to someday soon form the beast with one back and a reacharound. Midnighter was already finishing Apollo's sentences as part of his power, which wasn't at all like being stabbed in the neck with a chin spike.

The Shadow Cabinet...er... went back to his island home, unaffected by Jack's attempt to contain him. Meanwhile, Harry Tanner had himself snuck off to steal a bunch of Stormwatch's records, attracting Midnighter's attention. The Eminence of Blades claimed that without his leadership, the threat warned of by the Scourge of Worlds would destroy their world. Midnighter determined that Harry had an actual lying power, and after Tanner had tried to kill him and expressed a willingness to rule the world if need be to save it, took offense. Their battle was relatively brief, stopped short by Harry taking the Projectionist hostage. The pair went out an airlock just as a bomb Harry had set to "blow the alien horn" shattered the Eye, with the intention of killing everyone aboard instantaneously.

"The Dark Side: Part Five" was by Paul Cornell and Miguel Sepulveda. In a book now defined by the deus ex machina, it should come as no surprise when random cosmic guy shows up to tell bits of everyone's heretofore unrevealed DCnÜ history and crown a leader. I'm also done defending Cornell's underuse of the Martian Manhunter, especially in an issue where he and Apollo are conveniently distracted to facilitate a brawl between two lesser combatants. Tanner turned heel as expected, and stands revealed as a prefabricated nemesis for the rogues gallery-challenged Midnighter. Adam One and Projectionist are off the board, either because Cornell wrapped up his personal toys for later use elsewhere or because their whole purpose was to fall by numbers here. I'm really glad J'Onn J'Onzz is guest starring in a bunch of other books of late, because everyone else writes and draws him better than the "home team." Sepulveda can't even keep straight whether J'Onn's chest symbol is eight symmetrically crossed bars (a.k.a. the classic "pie") or the Atom's atom (three elliptical circles with six curves.) He also draws the back of J'Onn's head like its sloughing flesh off a ridge, or perhaps like he has a second brow, or maybe he's got a highrise Moe Howard. It's not as silly as the Coneheadhunter, but it's still pretty darn silly.

New 52's Day


will_in_chicago said...

My hope is that the new team will do a better job with J'Onn and the members of Stormwatch. I gave Cornell the benefit of the doubt but we got glimpses of characterization that perhaps only made sense to those with some knowledge of the characters. I don't think that any lasting harm was done to J'Onn but I plan to pick up some of the other books that he has appeared in of late.

Stormwatch has potential and I feel that it has not been met yet. I also hope that we will see better writing, better characterization, and clearly defined symbols. (Can we have Midnighter lose the spikes while we are at it? I just get this awful image of him running into someone with that chin spike.)

Tom Hartley said...

When I was a kid, people like Roy Thomas were getting paid to write Stan Lee fan fiction. Now we have Grant Morrison fan fiction. I'm not sure this is progress.

Diabolu Frank said...

Does that mean Gerry Conway was Stan Lee snuff fiction? And it's not progress when it takes six issues to accomplish what Stan would have done better in two. Every other popular art form in modern times has focused on density of information, not a poverty. Of course, now I'm picturing Stan romantic dialogue between Apollo and Midnighter with John Romita art, or intra-team squabbling with Jack Kirby art. Those are nice thoughts.