Out with the old, in with the new!
Welcome to the new Stormwatch! This is not issue #19, it reads more like a first issue. But that's exactly what they're doing with this title so it was very appropriate. This is definitely very new reader friendly. Starlin does what he does best as he infuses the title with his classic sci-fi feel. And Guichet's art fits perfectly with what has proven to be a nice new beginning for the team.
So here we are, almost 20 issues in and it's like starting a whole new series. But this series did desperately need it and I'm glad they're giving it a shot in the arm instead of cancelling it. Right off the bat, Starlin brings a very classic feel to the book. I couldn't help but sense echoes of Infinity Gauntlet here. But I enjoyed it and I was very impressed at how he crafted the story to introduce (or re-introduce) the Stormwatch characters.
Let's start with the re-introductions. The big one is Apollo and Midnighter returning in their classic looks. Finally gone is that annoying Midnighter chin-spike in favor of his old trench coat look. Alongside him is the true long-haired Apollo who is hopefully less whiny than his short-haired version. We also get the New 52 introduction of Hellstrike who was a member of the Wildstorm version of Stormwatch. He brings with him an old Stormwatch member as well (won't spoil who but I will say they've already been introduced elsewhere in the New 52, but they seem to have received a name change here). We also get a new Engineer with the same name as the previous but her ethnicity has been changed to African-American which I thought was an interesting choice. Even the Shadow Lords survived the change-over and are actually aware that the change happened which I thought was cool.
There's also a plethora of new characters as we get Storm Control (whose true identity is a mystery), Jenny Soul (presumably Earth's newest century baby), The Forecaster (a giant alien who reminds me of the Face of Boe from Doctor Who), and new version of Starlin's creator-owned character, The Weird. All in all, a very interesting bunch and a group that's ripe with possibilities.
I'm also very curious to see who these new villains are who caused all these changes. It's a massive ordeal on par with what Pandora did to create the New 52 and begs the question if she's aware of it. I hope it gets addressed eventually. One thing I really appreciated about the change is that while it does change what's come before, but it does in a way that shows it still happened (if that makes sense). Starlin even goes as far as to reference a scene from Paul Cornell's run which affects the character of Adam One. Which again, is so massive is begs the question of what changed as far as his role over in Demon Knights. These are all great new developments so I hope they're addressed.
Guichet's art was really good too. It seemed to match Starlin's classic style from the cover so it was a nice transition into the issue. I also enjoyed the coloring from the tag team of Richard & Tanya Horie. Overall it is a very well put-together book.
I'm so happy this new run is off to a great start. I cannot emphasize enough if you were frustrated where Stormwatch was going before, jump on this issue and give it a try. I feel this is Stormwatch's Hail Mary play. If this book is going to survive it's needs support. Thankfully, in this case I can say that the support is well deserved.