This cover has similar energy to the previous one, but handles it MUCH better. Scott Clark draws the glass debris similarly awesome to the way Sepulveda draws debris, and the focused character this time is SUPPOSED to have distorted anatomy. Engineer has some glare, and Midnighter is shadowed. I think it would've been neat to have the whole team subdued my J'onn, but for the size the character is, the whole thing works well enough. And DAMMIT DOES THAT OUTER SPACE BACKGROUND LOOK AWESOME.
Stormwatch really needs to get its artist schedule together. Considering that the issues have been chugging along with one-shot stories, I guess changing artists works since it's not an arc. But it would be more tolerable if the issues could at least stick with a single artist in each issue! Milligan really skates by, just barely justifying it with the one-shot tales, and keeping the alternation consistent. Last issue it was flashback vs. present, this time not quite as justified, where it's just the section involving Apollo and Midnighter that has a different artist. I like Will Conrad a bit more than Julio Ferrira, but it might be due to Conrad feeling more in line with the previous artists. And Ferrira's style is a little angular, has some awkward faces and bodies at times.
The story is a little disorganized. I feel like Martian Manhunter hunting down the members of Stormwatch and erasing him from their memory was supposed to be the main story, but the the 'main' story with the Nefertiti statues keeps fluctuating in importance. In a way, it works well because MM IS using the Nefeltiti plot as cover for his own side story, but it makes the whole issue feel a little hard to pin down.
There's a lot of nice character moments for everyone, Jonn's betrayal brings out some very serious emotions in young Jenny Quantum..... but then actually she's the only one who's emotions we really get to explore in the context of J'onn leaving, and I guess she's the most emotionally connected to him, but still. It really feels like Jack Hawksmoor is blending into the background, his character has so rarely been explored, and yet Milligan will find any excuse to shove in more Apollo/Midnighter relationship development. Don't get me wrong, they're GREAT characters with an interesting relationship, but they have development EVERY issue, and often for very loosely connected to the plot reasons. I liked the justification of Midnighter's often hated chin spike and Apollo's reaction too it though.
Then we get an interesting look into New 52 Martian Manhunter's MO, and it might explain, and add more depth too, his violent parting with the Justice League. J'onn's really building up to be a major player in the DCU, and I really like that.
And finally we get another little look at Harry Tanner and his own big game. We do get some big revelations about his big plan, but it still feels kind of disconnected. Every time he shows up in an issue it feels almost like a co-feature. He's connected to the long term story, sure, but he's rarely a big part of the story. Even in this issue, when he DID have a legitimate huge tie to the plot, it didn't feel like it mattered as much because it was hard to pin down which plot was the most important.
In Conclusion: 3.5/5
I'm getting tired of Milligan's one-shot issues that keep creating new threads and continuing tiny fragments of existing ones. Each issue feels crammed into itself, and the lack of even a single solid artist each issue breaks up the consistency into a stew. There's always tons of great ideas and good character moments, but these strong bits don't mean as much when they're not strung together very well. It's not a bad issue like the previous one, but it's continuing this recent trend of generally disappointing issues that combine one-shot plots, foreshadowing, and character development into too small a space. And relegating Jack to the background.