I really, REALLY should stop reading Stormwatch… but they were some of my FAVORITE characters, it’s hard. This is very long, fair warning.
Saw a preview for the next issue and it just highlighted my problems with the book. There have been some good bits here and there over the course of the series, but this preview just sent me over a tipping point, and highlighted the flaws with the very concept of the book. It just can’t work, I realize now. The concept, the Shadow Lords in particular, guts the characters, as I will outline below. It’s kinda sad it’s taken me FIFTEEN issues to finally realize it, but in my defense, there have been THREE writers in that time, and I kept thinking one of them could turn it around, and wanted to give them all a fair chance. Sadly, the one who came closest, Midnighter trying to kill Jenny aside, was Paul Jenkins, who was only there for 2 issues. The solution is to kill it, and let someone else try again later. I think Apollo and Midnighter can be saved because so little of substance has been done with them. No origin, the barest hints of history (tiny bits and pieces about Apollo’s family, and we know that at some point Midnighter acted as the dark guardian of London. That’s it.), no explanation whatsoever about how their powers work aside from that Midnighter’s still good at punching things, fast strong all that, he's still got some sort of healing factor, thought he battle computer, which was his MAIN THING, is still up in the air, and there was a revelation last issue that Midnighter can’t ‘read’ magical opponents, which is new (though this lack of info on their powers does not stop them from expositing endlessly in completely useless ways) We are pretty much left to assume they’re still cyborgs of some variety like in Wildstorm, but can’t really be sure. After 15 issues they are still mostly blank slates, which is insane. (but good in that they can be done right by someone else. I have hopes for Justin Jordan, I think he could do amazing things with Midnighter in particular) Jack Hawksmoor is borderline, but I think he can be turned around, his powers are messed up but he too is a blank slate, I am actually pretty fine with new-Jenny, but The Engineer… I think she may be damaged beyond repair.
Anyway, this is a post I made on a message board, which I am copying and pasting because I am lazy.
I can’t believe the coloring errors on Apollo got past the editor. He’s got sleeves, then he doesn’t then he has them again, then he doesn’t… I actually hope they’re NOT giving him long sleeves, though. The short sleeves look, though I would prefer it with his old simpler emblem and without the silly glove things, is a change I am ok with, it makes complete sense for his powers. How can he absorb solar energy if he covers every inch of skin aside from his face?
Dialogue is clunky again, contrived ‘spirit of the ship’ talking to Jack to make sure he had anything at all to do, and return of “teleport door” >.<
also, why was it Hal Jordan on the screen? he’s ‘dead’ (though I’m sure he’ll get better), the Green Lantern on Earth right now is Baz.
Atleast Apollo realizes fighting the superheroes is batshit crazy, though Harry seemed to think Apollo meant that the heroes were too powerful, but I hold out hope that he actually meant that it was just insane to attack them with no provocation or evidence that they’ve done anything at all wrong. And while Midnighter doesn’t seem to question the need to attack them, it’s because he’s busy thinking as realizes something is wrong with the ‘Shadow Lord’, though the mumbling (out loud! honestly. If you think someone is trying to trick you, you don’t say it out loud right infront of them unless you’re actually coming out and confronting them) leading up to it is clunky as hell. But if Midnighter is turned on for being the only sane person in the room, that at least saves him from carrying the idiot ball. But it saddens me that the others are being portrayed as so gullible. What we have on our hands here is a full blown Idiot Plot. It’s not as if Harry said anything to convince them this had to be done, just that they were ‘a threat’, but WHY are they a threat? No one is asking this? NO ONE but Apollo is questioning the need to attack Superman, Batman and Green Lantern? not even a little bit? Disagreeing with their methods is one thing, attacking them is another, and for them to just shrug and go along with it just highlights why I dislike the Shadow Lord concept. These characters in Wildstorm answered to no one but themselves for most of their existence, (their entire existence for all but Jack, who was the only one with Stormwatch under Bendix, unless you count Apollo and Midnighter’s very brief stint, which they promptly ran away from) If they followed orders, it was from someone they trusted completely, and got involved with what they were doing, not just vaguely overseeing and commanding. To see them reduced to the puppets of a group of Shadow Lords that we know nothing at all about aside from that they live on Avalon, they’re powerful, and there are 3 of them, we don’t even have names for them, is extremely sad. It has never been explained why they just follow their orders without question, the members don’t even seem to know much at all about the Shadow Lords beyond the fact that they’re in charge for… reasons… they just follow orders, even after the Shadow Lords, even without Harry, have acted in brutal and irrational ways, like killing Adam, and it bugs me.
Angie… gah, poor Angie…. I know it’s been a plot point, but damn… first she’s all like ‘whatever you say!’ to going out and killing Superman, which I have to stress again is insane and should absolutely be questioned, then she attacks The Projectionist as her first method of getting information from her? geez. (I could accept that from Midnighter, but not Angie) I am not sure if she can be saved at this point.
Can’t wait till the Eye blows up. Maybe we’ll finally get away from this stupid Shadow Lord stuff.
(then someone said they were pretty sure they were following the Shadow Lords out of fear)
I could almost go along with that, except none of the characters have expressed reservations to each other about the Shadow Lords or the orders they give. Not once. No, they just give the whole ‘we’re professionals’ speech like they actually buy it. Apollo seemed confident enough that he could hide from Stormwatch and by extension the Shadow Lords (though it was due to Angie, not them), and suggested he and Midnighter run away, again proving he’s one of the only ones there that’s thinking at least a little bit right, but Midnighter CHOSE TO STAY, and even said that he liked it there. And it’s not like Apollo had no reason to think he could hide successfully. Harry and Emma have hid from them for over a year. Another member successfully hid from them for HUNDREDS of years, and when he was finally found out and killed, he wasn’t killed by the Shadow Lords, it was Midnighter, so… I don’t think the Shadow Lords are actually paying that much attention. They may have to go into hiding, but that’s better than being ordered to do things that are insane and wrong.
And even if they are there out of fear, it doesn’t damage their characters any less. In Wildstorm they were complete badasses completely unafraid to kill GOD, they wouldn’t take this shit. What does it say about them that they are willing to kill ALL the superheroes to save their own hides? I know people here most likely prefer the WS characters to the DC ones, and I know the Authority characters have always operated in a gray area morally, but come on. You don’t put a hit on Superman and expect to be seen as anything but a villain.
But if the Shadow Lords are SO powerful, why do they need Stormwatch at all? why don’t they open up a ‘death pit’ underneath Batman and company themselves? Why do they need the Eye’s sensors to track Earth activity? Or their OWN MEMBERS. Engineer said she would report them to the Shadow Lords when Apollo and Midnighter went AWOL, which means the Shadow Lords themselves aren’t monitoring them. The prisoners are guarding the prison. (which means they could just go ‘you know what? this sucks, let’s all just all leave at once’ and the Shadow Lords would be powerless to stop them) Why were they unable to see through Harry’s ruse? If the editors/writers thought this through it means the Shadow Lords are bluffing, and it should be obvious to everyone there. If they didn’t think this through, it’s just plain badly written, full of contradictions and contrivances, and shouldn’t be defended.