I bought this book in error. I legitimately thought I had picked up X-Men #17, and didn’t realize my mistake until I had driven back across town. I was mildly annoyed but I got over it. Still, Stormwatch was the last of the eight new #1’s that I read, because I had no intention of buying or reading it when I had gone to the shop Wednesday morning. This leads to my first recommendation: If you buy Stormwatch #1, read it LAST. Especially if you bought Action Comics #1.
With only one issue published, and only about a quarter of the new #1’s released I can only speculate as to the overall importance of this book, but from what I’ve read and what I suspect, Stormwatch may very well be one of those books that you’ll want to refrain from reading once and filing away in your long box. In fact, if I’m correct, you may not even want to bag and board Stormwatch, you may just want to keep it on your coffee table as a reference guide while pouring though other New 52.
Case in Point: There’s an obvious cross-reference to the forthcoming Superman #1 (it’s on the first page, you can’t miss it if you tried), and if you’re paying attention, you find out exactly what was happening behind the scenes to cause a throwaway line from Action Comics #1 that seemed out of place and went unexplained in that book. Last but not least, there’s a little montage of mental images about halfway through this book that may make you want to pick up Demon Knights #1 if you weren’t already planning on it.
Oh…and Stormwatch #1 also introduces another member of the Justice League that wasn’t even pictured in that SDCC picture that had the expanded roster.
And that’s not even mentioning the speculation that this comic may actually be the only book so far to mention/deal with/address the forthcoming threat that the Time-Trapper/Harbinger/Post-Op Waldo-Watcher from Flashpoint #5 was cryptically teasing us with.
Now maybe I’m wrong about it being a book I’ll want to reference all month long. Maybe those items right there are the only bits of explanation or hints of things to come that are present in Stormwatch #1, but let’s face it; all of that combined was exponentially more story than we got in Justice League #1, and Stormwatch cost $1 less.
Of course, none of that means anything if you’re not interested in the bigger picture of the DCnU and you’re reading this wondering if Stormwatch is worth reading on its own merits.
On its own, the plot to Stormwatch #1 stands alone nicely. Aside from the explicit cross reference to Superman #1 on the first page, none of what I’ve talked about thus far is noticeable unless you’re paying really close attention, have read some of the other books, or care enough to about them to notice what’s happening beneath the surface. If you did read Action Comics then Stormwatch makes that book a little bit more interesting. If you didn’t read Action, you can still read Stormwatch and enjoy it just fine.
The plot (or plots) are full of big grotesque monsters…or maybe the genitals of big grotesque monsters…I’m a little unclear on the specifics of that page, floating eyes, and big rock creatures appearing out of terraforming celestial bodies. All sorts of huge galaxy threatening badness that’s unbelievably goofy and at the same time serious.
As far as I know, all the members of the team are introduced in this issue, and unlike some of the other books (Swamp Thing, Batgirl, Batwing), Stormwatch is not dependent in any way, shape, or form, on events that happened prior to the end of Flashpoint. In fact, this is such a new beginning for the team that Stormwatch #1 features Midnighter and Apollo meeting each other again, for the first time. The dialogue is amusing as #$&@ in certain spots, as it’s fairly evident that while the characters take their mission and the mission of their team seriously, they don’t necessarily treat themselves or their teammates with the same relevance. The only other Paul Cornell comic I’ve read is the first issue of Captain Britain and MI13, and I can guarantee you that he wasn’t this fun on that book, otherwise I would have stuck around for CB’s second issue.
Anyway, without sounding too much like an infomercial non-paid spokesperson: I bought Stormwatch #1 by mistake, but the real mistake would have been NOT picking this up. It’s definitely a keeper.