Stormwatch...

Posted by Buckshot (18915 posts) - - Show Bio

I had been planning to write some meaningful stuff about comics I've been enjoying, but I've been busy. But now, something has moved me to write. Stormwatch. Yes, Stormwatch. That last bastion (if only) of truly awful abuses of Wildstorm characters. That unrelenting (except for the two issues it relented) tsunami of suck. The crime against superhumanity and the afterglow of a necrophiliac's energetic tussle with the metaphorical corpse of a team I once loved. Stormwatch. Yes, Stormwatch. I don't know when I gave up hope for this title, but it seems I did and now I'm just reading it because... I don't know why actually. When I got to it in my stack this week I had just finished Thor: God of Thunder. (The book was already excellent but the last page reveal knocked me to the floor. Literally. I jumped up in excitement and fell over. Also figuratively.) As I realized that Stormwatch was my next book, something along the lines of "well this is going to suck" came to mind. My reasons for disliking the book have been stated numerous times, but to be more brief than I ever have in my life and to hit just my biggest problem with it: the dialogue is consistently terrible. There are other problems (and I pride myself in being able to take issue with the issues on their own merit, and not in comparison to the previous incarnations of the characters, and really, the title doesn't need an excuse to find MORE problems with it), but I'll leave those for other people to bring up. And usually I feel bad about criticizing the hard work of other people, especially knowing that I couldn't do better, but I'm allowed to have an opinion. Anyway, I haven't actually said anything about issue 16 yet, so let's begin.

I wanted to post every page that had something on it I didn't like, but we get in trouble here for posting entire comics online, so I'll stick to the most egregious problems.

The first 3 pages (and I'm counting the cover) are fine. I'd even go as far as to say they were good. The art has never been a real problem for me so the cover was solid. The first page was probably the best of the issue (actually, the pages where Midnighter gets off one-liners were probably better), with a nice summary not only of the story so far, but also of what was probably supposed to be the coolest fight so far, Midnighter's abilities, and in a way, Harry Tanner. I actually liked that page and thought it meant the rest of the issue was going to be excellent. Look how desparate I am to be impressed by this book... Next page is Apollo being cool and blowing up some ice. Not the most efficient use of energy, but whatever, he's mad and it looks cool.

The next page banished my foolish thoughts that the comic would be good.

"Good job Jack Hawksmoor. Still doing absolutely nothing I see." Maybe I'm just mad because Jack Hawksmoor is my favorite character and he's done very little for 16 issues. Maybe I should just be glad that he didn't talk about the part of his brain that's connected to cities for the umpteenth time. Maybe. Or maybe Jack should be an interesting character at some point. Beyond that though you have Jack and Jenny calling each other by their full names. That's not a huge problem really, but it's annoying and just shows how unconnected these characters are. Maybe it's supposed to, but it's still annoying. The one thing good about this page was that I didn't hate how Jenny talked about what she was doing with her powers. If only that was the way the entire comic went...

The next page has The Projectionist talking about how she's such a terrible character but otherwise isn't so bad and is actually better than most of her scenes because she's not rattling off her power profile either. I bet she and Jack took a seminar on subtlety. The following page is actually really excellent, but that's because Midnighter is in it and I think effort was made to give him all the best moments. He and Harry Tanner are the best portrayed characters in this issue and even entertained me at times. On this page his "I never laugh" actually made me chuckle. Apollo, unfortunately, gets some of the worst lines and the bridge between that page and the next one is pretty funny (but not in the good way). "You shook Harry Tanner's hand...you're a bastard!" Oh Apollo. The next page is unremarkable but leads us to Engineer recalling a night with Harry Tanner and it's just, ugh.

First of all, I don't know what either of them are wearing. Did Harry just finish polishing The Engineer's chrome and that's why they're both wearing towels? If so, why is Harry wearing swords? Does he have sex with his swords on? Are they performance enhancers? Do more phallic symbols in the bed equal more good times? Is this his home treatment for erectile dysfunction? We may never know. (It's also possible that Harry was armed because he was headed out for the night, but that doesn't explain why he's wearing nothing but a towel.) Maybe they're just there to distract me from the fact that The Engineer is wearing a towel. Normally that's not a big deal, but the woman typically wears nothing but her metal blood (which she also has on in this instance), meaning she usually wears far less than what she's shown in. It makes no sense. What makes less sense, to me anyway, is Harry's insult to Angie. "Christ, Angie. For someone with nine pints of nanites for blood (in case anyone forgot what your powers were), you've gotten to be real clingy." What does that mean Harry Tanner? What does that meeeeeean? And he follows this up with a recap of his own abilities just for good measure. It's not as hamfisted as we've seen before so maybe there was an editorial mandate to cut down on these things. And back to Angie, what is she? She'd been portrayed as basically a robot, but here it says she has nanite blood, but despite that she's all robot-y even though she presumably just finished sexing up Mr. 3 Swords. Eh, it doesn't matter. Harry channels the goddamn batman to close out the scene and we're back to the sucky present where Harry calls to stop Apollo from killing Midnighter so he can be there to make sure it really happens. I actually think this is pretty good. Deaths are avoided all the time and he wants to make sure it goes right. Makes sense. What doesn't make sense is going back to the ship to do it and putting it off any longer. They were all there in Antarctica, he could have finished him off. Speaking of them leaving, did they just leave The Projectionist to die in the cold? Eh, good riddance.

Next up, Harry tries to kill Midnighter, Apollo interrupts, then Jenny interrupts with "Uh-oh!" evidence that Harry is in fact pulling one over on all of them! Good thing she found that wormhole. Funny dialogue about Jenny not needing to explain a wormhole (though in this instance why she just happened across one would actually be useful). I imagine this is to make up for more than a dozen issues of excessive explanation, but it's too late, the damage has been done. The fight that breaks out gives us THE WORST SCENE of the comic in my opinion. Apollo apparently realizes that he's not an American superhero but actually a misplaced Z Fighter and SHOUTS OUT HIS POWER AS AN ATTACK!

Laughing at that almost made me miss Jack Hawksmoor delivering a "Good God!" cry of surprise that really only served to bring attention to the fact that he was still around, because obviously, him actually doing something would be too much for the plot to manage. More foolishness happens and The Engineer switched sides because she "evolved" into being a bad guy (and a walking plot device so Apollo and Jenny could be beaten) and then we're treated with the scene that comes in a close second to Apollo screaming out his attack.

No, it's not that image of child abuse...

There. That's better. We really needed that one. But Midnigher is our friend and manages to get out one great line before the cliffhanger ending. Don't worry, I won't spoil it for you.

That's Stormwatch 16 for you. I didn't even really get into how this issue presents some of these characters in a larger sense because the issue is already bad enough and I'm sure someone else is already on it, but here's a quick summary of what I think of the characters: Midnighter's looking good, best of the group in fact. Apollo is stupid (for multiple reasons) and that's a shame but he's otherwise alright. Angie is ruined and for no good reason either. Jack Hawksmoor is a wasted character and nothing suggests that's going to change, especially since Angie didn't even bother subduing him. Is he good? Is he bad? Does it matter? No. Jenny was interesting but her and Jack are now under the bad guys' control (though I doubt Jack will do anything about it), probably my second favorite of the team. The Projectionist is (hopefully) lost in Antarctica. And Harry Tanner is about equal with Midnighter for me but I don't really consider him as part of the team at this point.

Moderator
#1 Posted by Xanni15 (6758 posts) - - Show Bio

I wish I read this series so I could comment but sadly I don't. Seems like all of the characters are not being written properly, and that has to suck for those who do read it. Hopefully things get turned around, maybe a new writer or creative staff take over. It does seem like an interesting series, though.

#2 Posted by colonyofcells (2038 posts) - - Show Bio

My suggestion is to just turn Stormwatch into a group trying to take over the planet with Harry Tanner as leader and the members can include Engineer, Apollo, Midnighter and Jenny, and Stormwatch can fight super heroes instead.

#3 Edited by RayeGunn (96 posts) - - Show Bio

I hadn't seen you in a while! was wondering where you'd gotten to. But yeah, i pretty much agree with everything in here, right down to the love of Thor. Man, that's a great book.

but yeah, Stormwatch... i keep reading it, and every once in a while there's a glimmer of hope that it may be improving, only to have those hopes crushed yet again. My one hope that remains is that aside from Angie, they can all still be saved, because while they've had some shitty dialogue come out of their mouths, and have been involved with wall banger idiot plots, when you really think about what's actually been DONE with them... it's not much. It's a crying shame, because they're awesome, and is one of the book's faults, but it also means they haven't been DAMAGED, at least not severely, and someone else can still do right by them. Especially Jack Hawksmoor who is still a COMPLETE blank slate. I will give Milligan credit in that he's done better with Apollo, Midnighter and Jenny than Cornell did. Man, did I hate Cornell's Midnighter in particular. Absolutely HATED. but 'better' doesn't necessarily mean 'good'

Angie though... I fear she's been ruined for good. Which i a shame, because she was an AWESOME character.

This issue in particular... the things that bugged me the most was that once back on the Eye, the Projectionist just VANISHED completely. Did they bring her back? did they leave her in Antarcitca? we don't know! It's not that I particularly like her, but it seems a rather large thing to just leave out. Shouldn't she have been the on with the biggest reaction to seeing Harry was still alive? I mean it was HER memories Harry tampered with, so...

And speaking of Harry... while I think he's a good villain, for a man who is supposedly a master of deception, none of his lies have seemed particularly convincing. I could accept it if it was revealed he has some form of telepathy that aids in people accepting his lies, and the fact that he was able to erase Emma's memories seems to suggest he might, but until that's confirmed it just makes all of them look VERY gullible to believe these half baked lies.

And Jack just kinda hanging out in the background popping in with a word from time to time to remind us he's still present... only for Angie to deem him so unimportant that she just ignored him when she did her heel turn.

but she ignored Midnighter too, despite Harry considering him the biggest threat. I think that's just to make sure the plot could advance.

'Halo effect' has been a pet peeve of mine since the first time it appeared. The way the characters, but Apollo is the worst about it, call out their powers is... just bad. It's like they don't trust the readers to be able to figure out what's going on without telling us. And it's not like Apollo's powers are all that complicated, or this gives us any valuable insight into what he's doing.

#4 Posted by Saren (25618 posts) - - Show Bio

You have to admit, Apollo shouting out "HALO EFFECT!" is a minor improvement from the time he yelled "YES! SUNLIGHT.....ENERGY.....POWER!!1!!" while fighting Skallox. Emphasis on minor.

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#5 Posted by Buckshot (18915 posts) - - Show Bio

@RayeGunn: I guess you're right that not so much has been done that (most of) the characters are unusable. Maybe we can hope that in the aftermath of this cluster f_ck is a team of Midnighter, Apollo, Hawksmoor, Jenny and maybe a couple fitting DC characters (I really liked MM being there but that green ship has sailed) no longer connected to these stupid Shadow Lords. I still think the guest appearance in I, Vampire was a glimpse of how excellent the team could be and I'd like more of that kind of stuff.

@CitizenBane: It's a close competition for worst line and no matter which wins, the readers lost a long time ago.

Moderator
#6 Posted by colonyofcells (2038 posts) - - Show Bio

I have to agree the shadow lords look real awful in Avalon and better to just forget the shadow lords nonsense being used to tie Demon Knights to Stormwatch. I prefer to remove the link between Demon Knights and Stormwatch. Adam One being Merlin was also weird and best forgotten.

#7 Posted by RayeGunn (96 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't even get why the Shadow Lords are there at all. In Demon Knights recently, Arthur knighted them, and that was the beginning of Stormwatch. There were no Shadow Lords there then, just Arthur, so why now? I think the Shadow Lords as a concept do a lot of damage to these characters, because here we have the Authority characters who shouldn't be taking shit from anyone, who in Wildstorm had always been in charge of their own actions for better or worse, and they're blindly following orders from these mysterious Shadow Lord people, and we're given no good reason as to why.

And Apollo's dialogue, oh god, it's so bad, I cringe every time I see him talk, especially if he's using his powers. It's hard to pick which line is worse, but I lean towards 'Halo effect' because he keeps repeating it. I don't understand why Milligan, or maybe it's the editor, thinks he has to break into this incredibly cheesy dialogue all the time... But even with that, I think he and most of the others can be salvaged in the hands of someone who knows the characters and respects them...

#8 Posted by colonyofcells (2038 posts) - - Show Bio

Better to link Demon Knights with Justice League Dark instead of Stormwatch.

#9 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (33064 posts) - - Show Bio

@Buckshot: Jim Starlin is pretty cool news though, right?

#10 Posted by TDK_1997 (14704 posts) - - Show Bio

I dropped the series after I read #14 i think.

#11 Posted by Buckshot (18915 posts) - - Show Bio

@Jonny_Anonymous said:

@Buckshot: Jim Starlin is pretty cool news though, right?

I don't know Starlin's writing well enough to know if this is good or bad, but at least it's different. Hope I don't have to take this back later, but pretty much anything would be better than what we've got now. Here I go getting my hopes up. Honestly, I wish they had given the book to Fialkov. The few members of the team that appeared in I, Vampire were written excellently and his work on that title shows he can write a good story, and that's all I'm looking for.

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#12 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (33064 posts) - - Show Bio

@Buckshot: Yea with him not doing I, Vampire any more I would have been pretty happy if they had shifted him on to Stormwatch

#13 Posted by RayeGunn (96 posts) - - Show Bio

I think Starlin may be too old-school for the Authority characters... but I have a hunch that may not even be an issue. I suspect that this group of characters won't be appearing in Starlin's run beyond the first issue or two, maybe the first arc, and instead we will get a new Authority book. I explain here

#14 Posted by RayeGunn (96 posts) - - Show Bio
#15 Posted by Rumble Man (11119 posts) - - Show Bio
#16 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (33064 posts) - - Show Bio

@RayeGunn said:

Okay... I was wrong about Authority... but did you see this?

Full cover for issue 19

Cover for issue 20

;)

@Buckshot: Is it just me or does that look like the original Midnighter and Apollo as well as the New 52 version?

#17 Edited by RayeGunn (96 posts) - - Show Bio

@Jonny_Anonymous: The New 52 versions, if you put the solicit, some comments from Starlin and that cover together, are being shunted off to another dimension, and from the sounds of it, they will never be seen again. Starlin says he will never draw those characters again after that one cover, and the cover for 20 has a new/old Midnighter, Apollo and Hellstrike. At first I thought we'd be following the New 52 characters, because DC seemed so committed to sticking with the relaunch designs and all, and i was hoping for an Authority book (this may still be a back door plan if Starlin's run flops) but it's looking like nope, they're just bringing in alternate versions and actually REPLACING them. It's as if DC finally realized how broken the new versions were and decided they weren't salvageable and are starting over (sort of). So yeah, the cover for 19 has both. but, while much closer to their Wildstorm looks, I don't think it's the actual Earth 50 versions of the characters. First of all, there's blonde Jenny. And Apollo looks to have gotten a bit of a costume change from Wildstorm, he's got a belt, and he's got metallic looking arm bands. But the chest emblem is the same as Wildstorm and he's got his hair back! Midnighter though, I actually got my issues of Hitch's Stormwatch and Authority out and compared and it is an EXACT replica of Hitch's original design for him, down to the tiniest detail. The panels on his cowl, the coat, the padding on his legs, the shape of the knee-pads, the shin guards, everything is exactly how Hitch drew him.

#18 Edited by Buckshot (18915 posts) - - Show Bio

@RayeGunn said:

Okay... I was wrong about Authority... but did you see this?

Full cover for issue 19

Cover for issue 20

;)

That looks excellent. I'm not one for "calling" things, but this is more or less what I wanted. Never thought it would happen in a million years (and until it's written it hasn't cuz covers are just covers, and even after it's written, the new characters have to also not suck for it to be worth anything), but I wanted it to. This is from the Ask Buckshot thread just a few weeks ago:

@Buckshot said:

What I'd love more than anything would be if the actual Authority appeared. I'm talking about a story where Jenny comes back from wherever she vanished to when she took away the baby universe, gathers up Dr. Swift, Midnighter, Apollo, and Jack, gets on the carrier and tells the team that on her way back she found a new Earth that she wants to check out, and leads them to the DCnU. I don't know what would happen, because they couldn't exist too long in the current DC universe too long without one side or the other being drastically changed, but it would make me feel better to know that my Wildstorm Universe exists somewhere.

These may not be the actual Authority showing up, but it seems like it's as close as we'll get and if it's done well, I'll applaud the attempt. My only issue is that I don't see a "new" Jack Hawksmoor. Maybe they'll keep the New 52 one and turn him into the "real" one because he's practically a blank slate. I never needed the New 52 versions of Authority characters to be the same as the original, but they weren't even good characters in their own right. Maybe this go round things will be better.

Moderator
#19 Posted by RayeGunn (96 posts) - - Show Bio

@Buckshot: Yeah, I had little fantasies of the Carrier just coming out of the Bleed and the REAL Authority just taking their place, I was even going to draw some fan-art that showed that, but I kept putting it off, and I suppose there's no point now. But I never thought it would actually happen. It's a pretty drastic measure, it's basically DC saying "OK, we screwed up. Let's try this again..." and it kinda negates Stormwatch 1-18. I mean, it still HAPPENED, but they're basically just throwing the characters away. and this is after DC seemed bound and determined, for a year and a half, to not just stick with the characters they'd introduced, but refused to even change superficial things like their costumes even though they were widely disliked and mocked, especially Midnighter's. So to actually see that... just wow.

I have seen some people pretty upset about this, that they aren't continuing the story that's already been happening. Some just not liking the idea of it, seeing it as a cop out. And I guess I can understand that if you actually liked the books, and it just changes dramatically, but I'm being selfish here and I'm glad they're doing this, because I get an Apollo and Midnnighter I can actually recognize. Hopefully Starlin can do a decent job, but at this point i will settle for him not screwing them up.

But yeah, no Jack on the covers, and that's a bit worrisome... but on the other hand, from what I can gather, Starlin is cranking the cosmic up to 11 (as was to be expected, I suppose) and what's Jack going to realistically do on a team that's all cosmic focused? I have reservations about Midnighter being on a pure cosmic book, because I think he should be more justice/people based in the types of things he gets involved in, but his powers at least will FUNCTION in space, unlike Jack... The bright spot here is that he's not in the pile of bodies on the cover for 19, so he may be simply be moving to another book, where he'll have actual cities to interact with on a regular basis. He may fit in on JLD, or JLA, or... I dunno, there are a few options.

#20 Edited by Buckshot (18915 posts) - - Show Bio

@RayeGunn: I had written more but something happened to my post and I only feel like retyping part of it.The Hawksmoor part of course.

Hawksmoor in space could easily work. Not that I don't love Hawksmoor's powers (I love Hawksmoor's powers) but he's more than them. Think back to Worldstorm and how well the character was written then. He was crippled for the first part because he was in a world with dead cities and that only served the development of the character. When they left for space he was without a city beside the Carrier and he didn't miss a step. He wasn't defined by his surroundings, he was defined by his personality, his drive, his leadership, how he thinks, how other characters respond to his ego, and how he responds to the events and characters around him. The character was written well so his lack of a typical city was never an issue or a limitation. And that's one way he could be written. Going in the complete opposite direction and focusing on his powers in space (and seeing the rest of him through that lens) could be amazing. A story of cosmic travelers could easily regularly come across alien civilizations and the places they live, and a writer that took the opportunity to delve into the (for lack of a better term) science fiction there could explore all sorts of ideas. Some of my favorite science fiction stories take aliens and look at how they're different, not just in how they appear externally, but also how their thought processes and cultures might be different from a human's, and turn that back around to look at humanity. If Jack connected to a truly alien city and had to navigate its consciousness (especially if they take the ideas presented in his Secret History when it comes to what cities are and what they mean), any kind of story could be told and almost any idea could be explored (even just in the background of whatever the rest of his team is getting up to that week). Aside from really working with the possibilities granted by alien cultures, you could have Jack on the ship and get to see who he is through how he lives without a city. What is the god of cities without a city? Who is he? Why does he matter? You could expand the ship-as-city concept to explore the relationships between the characters because his teammates on the ship would be the inhabitants of the city that he is connected to. You could work somewhere between those last two ideas (Jack without anything and Jack connected to everything/everyone) and just have him start a real relationship with the ship and explore the implications of that. Jack's potential is limitless and he may even be more interesting when separated from typical cities. If Jack stayed on Earth I guess he could be on the JL (cuz they need another white guy) and easily play a similar role as Cyborg (another character being underused).

All I'm thinking now is that I'd give all my money for Hickman to write The Authority.

Moderator
#21 Edited by RayeGunn (96 posts) - - Show Bio

Heh! yeah, Hickman's Avengers is very Authority-ish. He's never done anything for DC though, that I'm aware of, so i doubt he'd start now, but it would be cool.

And yeah, i guess you're right that Jack worked allright in Word's End. But he had been solidly established as a character in Wildstorm, he's still a blank slate here. I think he needs surroundings that are better suited to his powers until he's better established. We haven't seen him use a fraction of the abilities he displayed in Wildstorm that are city specific yet, like travelling between cities, seeing past events in windows, or even just crazy parkour skills. And his personality is pretty much nonexistent. I mean, we can kinda assume certain things about him have carried over, but we can't be sure, and people new to the character know next to nothing about him, still.

That's been one of the biggest flaws of Stormwatch with all the characters, but I think Jack got hit hardest. It was like, they just assumed everyone knew about them because they were existing characters from Wildstorm, only elaborating on things that had changed whenever it came up. Except they'd been rebooted into the DCU, we know damn well their old origins had to have changed, but we have still yet to learn how in most cases. New readers were left baffled as to who these characters were and what they were all about, and old readers weren't much better off. And it's really strange since at their core many of them aren't all that complex, they could be summed up fairly quickly by having each character have the spotlight for an issue or two, while still advancing the larger plot. They summed up Jenny in the 0 issue, and Midnighter and Apollo have gotten bits and pieces revealed about them, (but still not anything about the origins of their powers or anything) and we saw Angie's origin, so why not for Jack?

#22 Posted by RayeGunn (96 posts) - - Show Bio

Here we go, the PERFECT book for Jack:

THE MOVEMENT #1

Written by GAIL SIMONE

Art by FREDDIE WILLIAMS II

Cover by AMANDA CONNER

1:25 Variant cover by CLIFF CHIANG

On sale MAY 1 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+

Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.

We are faceless. We are limitless. We see all. And we do not forgive.

Who defends the powerless against the GREEDY and the CORRUPT? Who protects the homeless and poverty-stricken from those who would PREY upon them in the DARK OF NIGHT?

When those who are sworn to protect us abuse their power, when toxic government calls down super-human lackeys to force order upon the populace…finally, there is a force, a citizen’s army, to push order BACK. Let those who abuse the system know this as well: We have our OWN super humans now. They are not afraid of your badges or Leagues. And they will not be SILENCED.

We are your neighbors. We are your co-workers. And we are your children.

#23 Posted by colonyofcells (2038 posts) - - Show Bio

I prefer Stormwatch deal with human problems rather than cosmic aliens. Hopefully, there will be another Stormwatch reboot after the cosmic approach.

#24 Posted by Buckshot (18915 posts) - - Show Bio

@RayeGunn: Continuing my theme of disagreeing with you on Jack Hawksmoor, I don't think he needs to be established to be put in situations that wouldn't be normal for him. That's not to say I'm ok with him being basically a blank slate. He's been in more than a year's worth of comics, that he's as nebulous and unexplained as he is, is a crime. That being said, I don't think you necessarily need to know whether or not he's like the original Jack Hawksmoor or if he's something else. What he IS needs to be established, but how similar he is to the original is irrelevant. And the establishing of his character could conceivably be done by showing how he is without what he or a reader would expect him to need most. It might even be better given his vague state at this point. About the only thing we know about this Jack Hawksmoor is that he's connected to cities, so finding out what it means when the only solid thing we know about him isn't the situation he finds himself in, could be really interesting. I wish I hadn't thought about Hickman's Authority. Now it's all I can imagine.

The Movement actually does look like it would fit Hawksmoor. Well, it looks like it would fit Wildstorm Hawksmoor. DC Hawksmoor hasn't really displayed the qualities that would make this his sort of thing. The creative team looks great though.

Moderator
#25 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (33064 posts) - - Show Bio

@buckshot: Interested in seeing what you thing of the #19 reboot?

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