Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Stormwatch #8 (June, 2012)

The Engineer was wrestling with a minor mutiny from "Charlie," the Daemonite A.I. that ran the Eye of the Storm, and was in a foul mood. "Since I'm not in the habit of continually repeating myself, J'Onn, let's get to the subject of answers."

"My people had assumed the Gravity Miners were a simple legend-- propaganda created by the Daemonites to justify their position in the galactic hierarchy. I now believe we were mistaken. So the legend goes, thousands of years ago the Daemonite elite caste sent their drones to proliferate throughout the galaxy some ten million light years from ours. Needing to move quickly between worlds, the Daemonites theorized that the exotic sub-atomic particle we call the Pradesh Graviton would aid them in instantaneous matter transmission. Instead, the formation of these gravitons opened a doorway into 5-space, through which came the 'Chrszy-rr.' In the Daemonite native tongue, it means 'Gravity Miners.' The Chrszy-rr came directly to the Daemonite home world and began to siphon away their gravity. Within nine Earth days they had virtually destroyed that planet. Within ninety... they had obliterated almost one-third of the Daemonite Galaxy. Being of extra-dimensional origin, the Chrszy-rr do not function as we do. They have no language, no organized society. No ethics or morality. No motives. They just are. The Chrszy-rr will not bargain with us. They will simply take what they need.

The Engineer wasn't interested in pessimism, and didn't intend to see the universe end on the first day of her watch as team leader. Manhunter thought the Daemonites might have information on how they repelled the Chrszy-rr, so Engineer put the squeeze on Charlie. It didn't want to surrender the information, and Angela didn't have time to force it out. Instead, she located the coordinates of Daemonite home worlds, and threatened to send the Chrszy-rr after them if Charlie didn't offer a solution.

Midnighter and Jenny Quantum were observing the Gravity Miners' invasion point in Pripyat, Ukraine. Jenny saw a last resort possibility of closing it, because if she screwed up the attempt, it could destroy the universe. She also noted that Midnighter "liked" Apollo, and thought that was nice, even though she suspected that she would never have a boy of her own because of her powers. Midnighter did not like where this was going. "The galaxy's about to disentangle and you want to talk about boys. I'm just wondering if you understand the gravity of the current situation."

The Engineer had learned that the Chrszy-rr needed a physical connection to our dimension to maintain their access point, which was why they had kidnapped Apollo. J'Onn J'Onzz believed that if Stormwatch could enter the invaders' dimension to retrieve their teammate, they could then close the doorway to Earth. Using a device from the ship's armory, J'Onn explained that he could travel with Jenny, who would "introduce a randomization matrix" through the sort of quantum math he'd been teaching her. Midnighter volunteered to replace Manhunter, since he had the best knowledge of the Gravity Miners, and would be needed if the mission with Jenny failed. J'Onn objected, but the Engineer overruled.

Jack Hawksmoor asked Pripyat to create a new graviton, which confused the miners. Midnighter used the distraction to locate and rescue Apollo. Jenny left to plant the "bomb" that would seal the exit, and needed Midnighter to pull her back into the force bubble the trio were traveling in, but was refused. Midnighter felt that Jenny was too powerful to be allowed to continue existing in three dimensional space. "The power to determine the fate of a trillion suns in the hands of a twelve-year-old who may pull the trigger the first time a boy is cruel to her... that's too much of a risk for me to allow." Midnighter and Apollo returned to the Eye of the Storm, the gateway vanished, and a story was already being unfurled to explain the loss of Jenny Quantum, despite a valiant effort to save her. The Engineer explained, "Uh... that's all well and good-- but she made it back five minutes ago."

Later, the Engineer had a sit down with J'Onn J'Onzz over warm beverages to ask if Earth was truly in the clear. "For the moment. Or perhaps we never were... Time exists at all points in 5-space." The Chrszy-rr knew Earth was out there, and could simply start again at the dawn of time, which would only be a temporal paradox in linear 3D time. If that were to happen, J'Onzz felt there was nothing that could be done to stop it.

Elsewhere, Jenny confronted Midnighter. The only reason that she didn't turn him into a cockroach was because of Apollo. Jenny didn't agree with Midnighter's logic, and was free to make her own decisions. "For example, I made a decision about you. You're not going to like it." Midnighter wanted to know what that was exactly, but Jenny just grinned and left him hanging...

"Supercritical: Part 2" was by Paul Jenkins, Ignacio Calero, and Daniel Hor with Sean Parsons. While I disagree with the adversarial turn in Jenny's relationship with a Midnighter, who in the past continuity was her adoptive father, it makes sense in a New 52 where they barely know one another. This was a fun "big ideas" tale that suited the team and proved quite satisfying as a two-parter. I enjoyed the art and the characterization, although Engineer could dial down the verbal aggression a tad. I wish Jenkins was staying on, since he provided the first workable dynamic for this group, but he's gone and Martian Manhunter is soon to follow. It figures that this would happen just as I was finally digging the title, but that's another three buck I can put toward non-DC purchases.

New 52's Day


will_in_chicago said...

I liked the issue as well, and the team seem viable. With J'Onn leaving, I suspect that either the Engineer or Jack Hawksmoor or a new character will serve as a mentor for Jenny Quantum. My hope is that there is a logical reason inside of Stormwatch for J'Onn leaving the group. Let's say that I can see the flaws within the group possibly rising to the front. Mind you, I saw nothing in the new issue that really gave me a clue about issue 12.

will_in_chicago said...

On a note of some interest to readers here, Peter Milligan is interviewed about Stormwatch at CBR: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=39263 Milligan confirms that J'Onn leaving the team is an editorial decision.

Also, in a much sadder note, there is the lat interview with Robert Washington, a comic book industry professional who benefited from Hero Initiative. This is a sad story, but it shows how the Hero Initiative has helped people in the industry: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=39242

Diabolu Frank said...

Thanks for the links, Will. That Washington news hurts my heart.

will_in_chicago said...

Frank, I feel so bad for Robert Washington. It seemed that maybe there would be some better things ahead for him. Heck, if I was at DC and knew about what he was going through, I would have brought him aboard. (I also wish that DC would do some more with the Milestone properties. A political debate between J'Onn and Icon might be interesting.)