This article examines issues #8-10 of Stormwatch as well issue #25. Confused yet? Well, in 1994, Image decided to make a statement that they were going to be in the market for the long run. As such, they released issues numbered #25 through a number of their lines, with the understanding that, as the series approached that number, the plot would tie in seamlessly with the already released issue #25. Now, I’m not entirely sure exactly which lines this applied to, but Stormwatch is an example of where it was done well. With that explanation out of the way let’s carry on with the article.
Written by: Jim Lee, Brandon Choi, H. K. Proger
Drawn by: Scott Clark, Jim Lee
Written by: H. K. Proger
Drawn by: Ryan Benjamin
Written by: Steve Seagle
Drawn by: Scott Clark
Written by: Ron Marz
Drawn by: Dwayne Turner
- Ripclaw of Cyberforce is tracking a runaway seedling through San Carlos Apache reservation at the request of the tribe’s elders
- When he catches up to her, they are accosted by agents of the American government calling themselves ‘Keepers’, who want to claim her as part of an experiment. Her name is Sarah Rainmaker
- Battalion is waiting for his hearing regarding his actions in Gamorra in front of the UN Security Council. The hearing is postponed when the Apache request their assistance against the Americans
- Backlash informs King that he is leaving Stormwatch to hunt down the Daemonite that left Major LaSalle in a coma
- Ripclaw is having a rough time dealing with the Keepers when Rainmaker reveals her weather control powers. Between them and Stormwatch, they defeat the Keepers easily
- The US government blackmail the UN Security Council by talking about the damage done to Gamorra. Stormwatch is ordered to give up Rainmaker
- (issue #9) A prologue shows a strange figure, obviously wounded, staggering down an alley. He talks about time travel and checks a newspaper to make sure he’s where (or more correctly, when) he wants to be
- Stormwatch Prime are attempting to get to the site of a bomb to disarm it (narrated by Sunburst) when they are ambushed by the other members of Stormwatch. Much fighting occurs, including the deaths of Nautika and Flashpoint by Battalion and Fuji, Cannon (yay!), Diva, Hellstrike and Fahrenheit by Sunburst
- It’s just a nightmare. Sunburst is worried his control of his powers may be affected by his recently ended imprisonment
- In Skywatch control centre, five attacks against important monuments are being monitored. Though Stormwatch Prime have not finished their psych evaluations to clear them for active duty, Weatherman has no-one else left to send to the fifth site (the Vatican)
- Stormwatch Prime arrive, with Sunburst still narrating, and make fairly short work of the attackers, who are fused with Daemonites
- Sunburst sees the bomb from his nightmare being placed by two of the terrorists, and rushes to disarm it. Battalion appears and tells him to leave it, as in his dream. Instead Karl flies into the sky and uses his powers to destroy the bomb
- When Sunburst flies back down, King reveals that he has the deactivation code from disarming an identical bomb
- After the clean up, an imposing figure is seen watching the team whilst they’re aboard Skywatch. He reveals his name as Defile, and that he hired Deathtrap to capture Prime, as well as influencing Battalion to go save them. He also hints that Stormwatch Prime have been “broken” and are his. Oo er!
- In the epilogue, King returns to his quarters to find the character from the prologue waiting for him. He introduces himself as Timespan and whisks him off to save the future
- (issue #25) Timespan and Battalion arrive in the future, where Battalion gives us the whole “what’s going on?” shtick before Skywatch explodes
- A Stormwatch team crash land near them, consisting of Winter, Synergy (as Weatherman), Fuji and new faces Undertow and Pagan. They tell Battalion he’s been dead for a year and try to find their team leader, Spartan of the WildC.A.T.s
- The Warguard attack, consisting of Talos, Nychus and Hexon, along with new members Judgement, Stricture and an unnamed girl. Undertow and Nychus both die before everyone drops to the ground and Malcolm (Jackson’s brother) appears
- Malcolm tries to warn Battalion, but his consciousness is quickly taken over and they fight. Jackson kills Malcolm, and is then confronted by his controller: their father, Despot, along with a dead but reanimated Diva
- The Kings talk and Despot explains his plan: to relieve mankind of its free will by killing them and bringing them back – controlled by him. They each try to convince the other to join them, and fail
- Timespan removes Battalion back to his own time just before Despot kills his remaining son. As Despot starts to expand his mind to cover the world in his influence, an energy blast hits him from behind. A silhouette walks out of the mists…
- (issue #10) this issue is narrated all the way through by Battalion, who is recording his thoughts on Stormwatch following his experience travelling through time and knowing that he will die
- Battalion, Diva, Fuji, Winter and Strafe are sent on a mission to Japan to stop Talos (of the Warguard – were you paying attention?) from stealing some wetware. The company housing the tech aren’t happy to see a team from the UN interfere in what they consider an internal matter
- We have a bit of a spotlight of each character kicking ass as Battalion’s narration talks about them. Loads of new character information happens here, which will be detailed below
- Battalion goes solo after Talos and ends up blowing up the facilities, but takes him out
- As he finishes writing his piece, Synergy turns up at his door to take him out for dinner. She says they should see if they can find what they once had, because you never know what tomorrow might bring. King agrees with her
This article deals with a number of separate stories, each with differing themes. Issue #8 is about dealing with the consequences of your actions, #9 with understanding the full extent of capture and torture, and #25 and #10 with destiny and the struggle between accepting your fate and trying to change it.
Characters – Issue #8 introduces (or should that be “guest stars”), Ripclaw and Rainmaker, from Cyberforce and Gen13 respectively. Neither of them are strictly Stormwatch (or even Wildstorm in Ripclaw’s case), so I shall leave full descriptions to when we look at their own comics. Suffice to say, Ripclaw has metal claws that he can make grow in length and Rainmaker has control over the weather. Issue #9 introduces Defile briefly. Defile is a Daemonite lord, one of three that will play important roles in the Wildstorm Rising crossover.
#25 has a slew of new characters, but no real introduction to them. Timespan is the time traveller and, well, doesn’t do much really. He’s there to take Battalion to see the future and that’s it. I don’t think he ever appears again. Stormwatch sees the addition of Undertow and Pagan; Undertow being a bald guy in fairly nondescript combat gear and Pagan being a skinny, long-limbed rat-like creature. Neither demonstrates any powers, but Pagan is obviously a close combat guy. The Warguard’s ranks are increased by Judgement, Stricture and an unnamed young girl, all under control of the frankly quite scary Despot. Judgement is big and grey, with a variation on the silly-big mask that our first three Warguard wear. Stricture is a giant snake-guy who crushes people to death in his coils and the girl looks pretty ordinary but can stop people’s body parts working just by touching them.
Character Changes/New Information:
- Issue #8 contains no new information on characters, but does give us a better look at how the UN Security Council works. This is also the point where Backlash quits.
- Issue #9 reveals Sunburst’s name and nationality; he’s called Karl and he’s Swedish.
- Issue #25 is best left for the Plot Hooks section (the entire issue is one big hook).
- Issue #10′s voice over by Battalion gives us a lot of information that was missing from the characters’ backgrounds. The villain first: Talos is Richard Talsorian, captain of the space station caught in the comet effect along with the other people who became the Warguard (#0).
- Fuji’s body emits radiation, hence his containment suit. His family is also mega-rich.
- Winter’s name is Nikolas Kamarov. He doesn’t talk about himself much, but was an Olympic gymnast.
- Diva’s name is Alessandra Fermi, she used to want to be an opera singer before her powers developed, but now she can’t risk singing.
Images of Tomorrow- Battalion’s been dead for a year, Diva’s dead and doing the zombie thing, Christine Trelane is Weatherman and Spartan of the WildC.A.T.s is team leader. That’s a whole lot of hook just there. Plus, who are the new guys? Thankfully it will all be explained over the next fifteen issues and in this series. It should also be noted that not only are our first three Warguard still alive (they’d been assumed to have burnt up entering the Earth’s atmosphere, issue #5), but Hexon is missing one of his six arms. Last of all though, who’s the guy emerging from the mists?
Battalion Dead? – News of Battalion’s death will surely come as a surprise to anyone who’s been following the series (that’s right, all one of you), as the focus has been on him most of the way through. So what happens? We’ll find out sometime in the next few issues (issue #25 occurs fifteen months in the future, and King was dead for a year).
Defile and Stormwatch Prime – Defile says that Stormwatch Prime are his, indicating he has some measure of control over them. How much, and how that will come to affect the team we will find out in none too long.
- Issue #8 specifically occurs before Gen13 issue #2, as noted at the end of the issue. The woman who picks up Rainmaker is Ivana Baiul, a division head at International Operations, a US government department. The Keepers are her private force, and feature heavily in early Gen13 material.
- Cannon objects to fighting his own countrymen in issue #8, giving an indication that he hasn’t fully bought into Stormwatch’s role as a United Nations peacekeeping force. Weatherman anticipated this, and did not send him on the mission
- Hellstrike spends this entire sequence in the infirmary after being taken out by Deathtrap in issue #7. This heralds a character change for him in the next few issues
- Backlash’s story is continued in The Kindred, a miniseries that also stars Grifter of WildC.A.T.s fame. We’ll be examining that once we’ve looked at WildC.A.T.s
- Considering the hopping about between writers and artists, this story comes together pretty well. I’m not too fond of Dwayne Turner’s work in issue #10 as it has too little detail in the characters. The backgrounds are really nice though and help set the mood. Also, Diva’s skin has gone from pure white to just a pale Caucasian colouring. This looks to be a mistake on the colourist’s part, but its still a little jarring
“Images of Tomorrow” was designed to show that Image as a company had staying power, and that the titles they were releasing would still be around in years to come. While other series put out an issue that was unrelated to the current story and then tailored the later issues to reflect what would happen, in Stormwatch Battalion sees the same glimpse of the future that the readers do. The effect this has on him is both immediate and obvious, as he tries to prevent the terrible things he has seen from happening as well as taking chances at happiness that he may have put off in the past – he knows his time is short, so he cannot put them off any longer. The apparent certainty of his death gives him a freedom that he has never truly allowed himself before. The next few months will show how he deals with this as well as what plans he sets in motion.
Join us in another three weeks when we have a look at a ghost from Winter’s past and learn how to mix up a White Russian. As always please feel free to leave comments.
Apart from Turturro. He just writes confusing stuff.