|Group publication information|
|First appearance||Stormwatch #1 (March, 1993)|
|Created by||Jim Lee
H. K. Proger
Weatherman (Henry Bendix)
Weatherman (William Bendix)
H. K. Proger
Stormwatch is a fictional superhero team originally published by WildStorm. The original version of the team was a United Nations-sponsored superhero group appearing in the WildStorm Universe of superheroes, originating at a time when WildStorm was an imprint of Image Comics. In later comics set in the DC Universe and published by DC Comics, the group is a highly-secretive group of superheroes who tackle dangerous missions while remaining completely unknown to the larger superhero community. The original version of Stormwatch first appeared in Stormwatch (vol. 1) #1, created by Jim Lee.
Stormwatch began in the comic book Stormwatch, published by Image Comics but owned by Jim Lee. Among the main early writers of Stormwatch vol. 1 were Jim Lee, Brandon Choi, H. K. Proger and Ron Marz; among the main early artists were Scott Clark, Brett Booth, Matt Broome and Renato Arlem. Stormwatch was run by a fictional United Nations, and overseen from a satellite by their director, "the Weatherman". The Weatherman was Henry Bendix, who had cybernetic implants connected to his brain to better monitor various world situations and his Stormwatch teams in action. His field commander was Jackson King, aka Battalion, an African-American telekinetic. The other founding members included Hellstrike (an Irish police officer, an energy being), Winter (an ex-Russian Spetznaz officer, an energy absorber), Fuji (a young Japanese man, another energy being trapped in a large, super-strong containment suit), and Diva (a young Italian woman with sonic powers).
Later, Ron Marz, who had worked previously on Marvel Comics' Silver Surfer title and had developed Hal Jordan's Green Lantern replacement Kyle Rayner at DC Comics, took on the writing chores. Concurrently, James Robinson of DC's Starman fame was writing WildC.A.T.s. Robinson and Marz, under the editorial direction of Jim Lee, intertwined the storylines of the two books over the course of several months.
Also around this time, two two-issue miniseries were released, Stormwatch Team One (written by James Robinson) and WildC.A.T.s Team One (written by Steven Seagle). These two mini-series were intertwined, and revealed that the groundwork for both teams had been laid by a core group in the mid-1960s, consisting of Saul Baxter (Lord Emp), Zealot, Majestic, John Colt (the template for Spartan), Backlash, a young Henry Bendix and Jackson King's father Isaiah, all of whom would be members of, or would figure prominently in the later Stormwatch and WildC.A.T.s teams. In this series, the term "WildStorm", the publishing imprint's name, was defined as a code term used by the United States Government, "Wild" referring to extraterrestrial life-forms and "Storm" referring to invading forces.
Robinson's WildC.A.T.s run and Marz's Stormwatch run culminated in the "Wildstorm Rising" crossover event, during which, the memberships of both teams were disrupted, with Stormwatch having sustained casualties and the WildC.A.T.s mistakenly believed dead. After WildStorm Rising, Alan Moore took over writing on WildC.A.T.s. Later, after a second imprint-wide crossover, Warren Ellis took over writing Stormwatch with #37 (July 1996).
Warren Ellis' version of Stormwatch was heavily influenced by DC's Vertigo line and its notable authors, such as Grant Morrison and Garth Ennis. Ellis injected more sexual and horror elements, thinly disguised political commentary, and criticisms of the United States government into the stories. The art was toned down from the more exaggerated 1990s style which had dominated all of the early Image Comics, allowing readers to take the book more seriously. It was during this period that Ellis used Stormwatch to introduce the concept of the Bleed, a space between parallel universes which later featured heavily in Planetary and other comics set in the Wildstorm Universe.
Ellis continued to write the book as it transitioned into Stormwatch volume 2, until the WildC.A.T.s/Aliens crossover of August 1998 — also written by Ellis — saw the Stormwatch team all but massacred by xenomorphs, the creatures from the Alien series of films. Conveniently, most of the Stormwatch characters Ellis had not created were killed off in this story. A group of Stormwatch survivors became the main cast of Ellis' new series The Authority, including Ellis-created characters Jenny Sparks, Jack Hawksmoor, Apollo, and the Midnighter, as well as Swift (who debuted in Stormwatch vol. 1 #28, written by Jeff Mariotte), and two new characters who were the successors of the Engineer and the Doctor from Ellis' Change or Die storyline. Stormwatch volume 2 ended with one final story taking place after WildC.A.T.s/Aliens, in which the United Nations disbanded Stormwatch alongside its fallen members. The very last scene, a conversation between the former members of Stormwatch Black, served to introduce the concept of The Authority and promote its upcoming first issue. Other survivors from the original team (including Battalion, Christine Trelane, and Flint) appeared in The Authority, and King and Trelane later became central characters in The Monarchy.
In the 11th issue of Planetary, another Warren Ellis series in the same fictional universe, a secret agent named John Stone (modelled after James Bond films and Jim Steranko's Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. comics) is shown working for a 1960s precursor to Stormwatch: S.T.O.R.M., with a command center known as S.T.O.R.M. Watch.
Stormwatch: Team Achilles
In September 2002, the Stormwatch brand was revived as Stormwatch: Team Achilles, written by Micah Ian Wright. The series followed a mostly non-superpowered UN troubleshooting team dealing with superhuman-related problems.
A major theme of the series was the non-superpowered team leader's distrust of superpowered beings, and the necessity of the team's existence. The series took a detailed and pragmatic approach to superpowers, showing how it was possible to use intelligence and tactics to overcome physically superior foes such as The Authority. The series later became a satire of politics and comic books, with segments where the team replaces a Strom Thurmond/Jesse Helms-like Senator with a shape-shifter, and a storyline where a Captain America-analog (revealed to be the reincarnation of George Washington) tries to overthrow the American government.
Wright was fired from the book after it was revealed that he had lied about being a US Army Ranger, with the result that the book abruptly cancelled with issue #23 (August 2004), one issue away from its planned conclusion. The planned final issue, #24, was never published, though the finished script is available online.
Stormwatch: Post Human Division
Stormwatch was one of several comic books to have been restarted following Wildstorm Comics' WorldStorm event. The title was launched in November 2006 with writer Christos Gage and penciller Doug Mahnke. The series ended after issue #12, but was restarted in August 2008 as a part of the World’s End event with issue #13.
In this new series, several dead characters (Hellstrike, Fuji, Winter and Fahrenheit) were resurrected and reformed as the new version of Stormwatch Prime, now sponsored solely by the United States, while a separate branch office was set up in New York called Stormwatch: P.H.D. (Post-Human Division). P.H.D was run by former Stormwatch Weatherman Jackson King, who tried to defeat superhuman menaces while balancing the budget. The team consisted of King, NYPD officer John Doran, a depowered Fahrenheit, a former Stormforce soldier codenamed Paris, a master manipulator and former moll to supervillains called Gorgeous, a sorcerer's apprentice named Black Betty, a shape-shifting ex-supervillain and forensics expert named Dr. Mordecai Shaw, a.k.a. the Monstrosity, and an ex-supervillain and technology expert called the Machinist.
The New 52
|Stormwatch (vol. 3)|
|Number of issues||30|
DC Comics announced in June 2011 that the team would be incorporated into the DC Universe in a new ongoing series written by Paul Cornell and drawn by Miguel Sepulveda as part of its September 2011 relaunch of its comics properties. Peter Milligan took over the book from issue 9 onwards after leaving Justice League Dark with issue 8.
This version of Stormwatch is an organization that has protected Earth from major alien threats since the Dark Ages and is under the command of a group called the Shadow Cabinet - a four-member group of Shadow Lords referred to as "the dead", and represented by an inhuman entity that can negate the groups powers and is aware of their secrets (except for Harry's) - instead of the United Nations. Rejecting the title of "superheroes", Stormwatch, consisting of Jack Hawksmoor, Apollo, Midnighter, Jenny Quantum, the Engineer, the Martian Manhunter (who left the team after wiping everyone's memory of him), and three new characters named Adam One (an immortal born during the Big Bang who is later revealed to be Merlin), Emma Rice the Projectionist (control over the mass media), and Harry Tanner, the Eminence of Blades (the power to lie to anyone and be believed), exist completely in secret and consider themselves professional soldiers. Their base is a hijacked Daemonite spaceship located in Hyperspace known as the Eye of the Storm which was later upgraded into a new form known as the Carrier.
Jim Starlin started writing Stormwatch with #19 and the previous version of Stormwatch was removed from existence, along with its history as a 1000-year-old organization. Apollo and Midnighter were returned to their original costumes and formed the core of a new Stormwatch team which also included the Engineer, Hellstrike, the Weird, and new characters Jenny Soul, the Forecaster, and Force.
After Starlin's run concluded with #29, Sterling Gates wrote the series' 30th and final issue, which restored the previous version of the team. The team then appeared in The New 52: Futures End weekly limited series.
Warren Ellis's run on Stormwatch was collected into five trade paperbacks:
- Force of Nature (collects Stormwatch Volume 1 #37-42, 160 pages, January 2000, Titan Books, ISBN 1-84023-611-6, Wildstorm, ISBN 1-56389-646-X)
- Lightning Strikes (collects Stormwatch Volume 1 #43-47, 144 pages, April 2000, Titan Books, ISBN 1-84023-617-5, Wildstorm, ISBN 1-56389-650-8)
- Change or Die (collects Stormwatch Volume 1 #48-50, preview and Volume 2 #1-3, 176 pages, July 1999, Titan Books, ISBN 1-84023-631-0, Wildstorm, ISBN 1-56389-534-X)
- A Finer World (collects Stormwatch Volume 2 #4-9, 144 pages, July 1999, Titan Books, ISBN 1-84023-291-9, Wildstorm, ISBN 1-56389-535-8)
- Final Orbit (collects Stormwatch Volume 2 #10-11 and "WildC.A.T.S/Aliens", 96 pages, Titan Books, ISBN 1-84023-381-8, Wildstorm, September 2001, ISBN 1-56389-788-1)
The "New 52" version has been collected into the following trade paperbacks:
- Stormwatch Vol. 1: The Dark Side (collects Stormwatch Volume 3 #1-6, 144 pages, DC Comics, May 2012, ISBN 1-40123-483-6)
- Stormwatch Vol. 2: Enemies of Earth (collects Stormwatch Volume 3 #7-12 and Red Lanterns #10, 160 pages, DC Comics, February 2013)
- Red Lanterns Vol. 2: Death of the Red Lanterns (collects Stormwatch Volume 3 #9 and Red Lanterns #8-13, 224 pages, DC Comics, March 2013)
- List of Stormwatch members
- List of government agencies in DC Comics
- United Nations in popular culture
- "Wildstorm". Dccomics.com. 2010-04-21. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
- [dead link]
- [dead link]
- Stormwatch: Post Human Division at the Comic Book DB
- Thu, 06/09/2011 - 8:15am. "Welcome To The Edge | DC Comics". Dcu.blog.dccomics.com. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
- "MILLIGAN: DCnU JUSTICE LEAGUE Spin-off 'Emotionally Dark'". Newsarama.com. 2011-06-09. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
- Stormwatch (vol. 3) #1 (Sept. 2011)
- Stormwatch (vol. 3) #5 (Jan. 2012)
- Stormwatch (vol. 3) #12 (Aug. 2012)
- Stormwatch (vol. 3) #2 (Oct. 2011)
- Stormwatch (vol. 3) #0 (Sept. 2012)
- Stormwatch (vol. 3) #15 (Dec. 2012)
- [dead link]
- Stormwatch (vol. 3) #6 (Feb. 2012)
- Stormwatch (vol. 3) #30 (April 2014)
- "Starlin Makes "Stormwatch" A Mystery in Space". Comic Book Resources. 2013-04-16. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
- "Review: Stormwatch #30". Comic Book Resources. 2014-04-02. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
- "FUTURES END #1 Cover, Solicitations Reveal Major Secrets for DC's New Weekly". Newsarama.com. 2014-02-18. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
- "''Force of Nature'' trade profile at DC". Dccomics.com. 2010-04-21. Retrieved 2010-12-31.[dead link]
- "''Lightning Strikes'' trade profile at DC". Dccomics.com. 2010-04-21. Retrieved 2010-12-31.[dead link]
- "''Change or Die'' trade profile at DC". Dccomics.com. 2010-04-21. Retrieved 2010-12-31.[dead link]
- "''A Finer World'' trade profile at DC". Dccomics.com. 2010-04-21. Retrieved 2010-12-31.[dead link]
- "''Final Orbit'' trade profile at DC". Dccomics.com. 2010-04-21. Retrieved 2010-12-31.[dead link]