This entry covers “StormWatch” volume one issues 37 & 38 by Warren Ellis, Tom Raney, and Randy Elliott.
Ok, here’s where one of two things happens, you either think “Thank goodness, WildStorm is bringing in some more great creators to make all their books awesome and somewhat challenging” or “Goddamn it WildStorm, what were you thinking? Why did you ruin StormWatch? This is the beginning of the end for the entire line!” I admittedly fall into the first camp, but I also must add, after feeling burn out from “Fire from Heaven” I never picked up this book as a kid. I had been a “StormWatch” loyalist, but after “Fire from Heaven” and the uneven issues prior to that I did not go on. In fact, I pretty much only continued to pick up “WildC.A.T.s” and “Gen13” after this, because of a shrinking budget due to going to local concerts, trying to date girls, and I dunno… late ’90s teen-ager-y stuff, I don’t have to explain myself you… On to the book!
So we have a new sheriff in town, and his name is… wait, no, it’s still just Henry Bendix, but now his dial has been turned up from hard-assed “Stick-the-Mud” leader to hardcore “I’ll Do the Tough Things that Need Doing” leader than will define the Ellis era of “StormWatch.” The team is on their way back from Flashpoint’s funeral, traitorous bastard he may’ve been, he was still one of their own. Bendix, however, is nowhere to be found. You see, ole Henry is on a recruitment drive, gathering up new team members for StormWatch, like Jenny Sparks, Jack Hawksmoor and Rose Tattoo. No sooner than he introduces these three new members to the squad, he pretty much fires everyone else. The StormWatch memebers that get to stick around are Winter, Fuji, Fahrenheit, Hellstrike, Flint, and Swift. Battalion and Synergy get moved off active duty to the training and seedling activation for StormWatch, and Sunburst and Maya are kinda forced into retirement with the idea that they’ll still help with logistics and research when needed. Oh, and when I say everyone else was fired, I mean everyone, including Union.
Another change is that all remaining StormWatch personal are given teleport fetishes for direct teleportation… neat! Speaking changes we have Synergy… sorry, I’m just going to call her Christine from now on… we have Christine letting Swift know that back when Swift was activated, she wasn’t fully activated, just enough to get her seedling powers jump-started. Now it’s time for her full activation which now includes full on extra wings, just not wings under her arms. But let’s get to some action, ok?
In the German countryside there is a naked skull faced man killing people in the snow, this is the kind of job for StormWatch. Nakey-Skull-Face calls himself Father and the StormWatch operatives on site are having no luck defeating him. On the ground we have StormWatch Prime (Winter, Hellstrike & Fuji) and StormWatch Red (Fahrenheit, Flint and Rose Tattoo) and all that strength is nothing against Father. But something about Father seems familiar to Bendix. Bendix goes to cold storage and thaws out a Dr. Martin Krug, who not only tried to engineer a virus that would kill anyone except white Europeans, but was also known to try and create super powered beings. Yup, Father is one of his, while Father was at one time contained, that container has now failed, thus Father is loose and Krug has a certain sense of satisfaction about the whole thing. After Krug lets Bendix know that killing Father will be hard, Bendix murders Krug and then freezes him again, after all he still has a 100 year sentence to go! So how does the StormWatch team eventually take out Father? They pin him with two different transport fetishes, and tear him in half by teleporting his legs away from the rest of his body.
Meanwhile, back in America, newly jobless Undertow is bummed. First off, his mom got him that job and he just lost it, and secondly, where is he going to live? While he’s able to stay at his UN accommodations indefinably, I can’t imagine that would feel comfortable for long. Well, he doesn’t have to worry much about that, because as soon as he opens the door the whole apartment explodes! Poor Undertow never had a chance, but his death will not remain a mystery, Bendix puts Hellstrike, Fahrenheit and Hawksmoor on the case to find out who killed him. Turns out, it was domestic terrorist who hate the United Nations! Fahrenheit manages to grab the security guard who was a part of letting the bombers in, and he get handled over to Bendix. Bendix extracts the information from the guard leading them to the bombers, which Fahrenheit, Hellstrike and Hawksmoor capture. Bendix takes the bomber’s bodies and literally throws them on the desk of the President of the United States! Bendix sees it as an act of aggression against the UN and StormWatch and takes it as a message saying StormWatch is no longer safe or wanted in America, and they will officially steer clear. But of course Bendix says it all menacingly in his menacing way. Like I said, he’s a total super tough guy now!
- Bendix’s caption boxes at the start of issue 37 say that Flashpoint’s funeral takes place about a week after the events of “Fire from Heaven.” This would mean that so far our timeline is holding intact, if we consider “Gen12” 1 & 2, “Black Ops” 3 – 5, “Hazard” 1 – 4,”Grifter” volume two issues 2 – 4, and “JLA/WildC.A.T.s : Crime Machine” all happening over the same week… Which mostly plausible. Sure it’s a busy week, but hey, comics!
- There’s also a mention of the StormWatch moon-base which was destroyed during “Fire from Heaven”
- We see a dejected and confused Cannon walking away after being told he’s been fired. We’ll catch back up with him in “Grifter” volume two, issue #11.
- Pulling in Dr. Krug from “StormWatch” volume one issues 28 & 29 wasn’t what I expected and I didn’t put it together at first either!
- While at Clark’s, Clark gives Hellstrike shit for busting part of the place up back in “WildC.A.T.s” volume one, issue #25.
- We also see TAO at the bar in Clark’s… which, yeah, he’s assumed dead as of “WildC.A.T.s” volume one, issue #34, but as we’ll find out later… that was Mr. White who disguised as TAO that Majestic killed, the real TAO escaped! Maybe the word hadn’t spread yet that he was dead and a villain. So yeah, looks odd now, but in the long view it’s possible and not really an error. Then again, there’s a guy looking at TAO who seems to be awful confused by that fact…
- Most of the “StormWatch” issues for this run will be kinda one-shot-ish, but I don’t think I’ll be sprinkling them like that through the reading order, I’ll keep a few issues together for readability’s sake. They eventually fall into three issue arcs, but these 2 issues happen one right after another, so that’s not a consideration of my own, it’s flat out in the text of the story.