This is one of those times where I just want to say "Oh my God" like 50 times and have that be it. Of course, no one would understand what I mean by that so it would be pointless for me to actually post a blog with that as my content. Have no fear, I've already said it 50 times so now I can write. I hope.
I think I'll start with: THIS IS WHAT I WANTED! What that means is this: I'm so freaking happy that I got this issue, but every positive thing I say about it comes with "The first 6 issues should have been like this and I'm mad that 6 months were wasted and that for some people who aren't going to give Stormwatch another chance, the disappointment of the first 6 issues will be all they'll know and that is a crime."
I don't even know where to start with talking about how good this was. The scanner/Stalin joke at the beginning made me laugh aloud and I think that was the beginning of good things. I didn't even notice the art change until the next page (after another bit of humor that made me smile) when I saw Jack Hawksmoor in that inset panel. When I saw that the art was better...I don't even know. It was a relief, let's just say that. It did fall apart a little bit (when Midnighter and Apollo were alone for about a page was the worst I thought) but for most of the comic it was good, and much better than what had come before. How about I just say everything I liked? I like that Martian Manhunter is
smart a freakin genius and they actually show it. I like that Jenny Q is also brilliant and that the technobabble (and her understanding of it) is the thing that keeps her powers in check. She can't just point her hands and do whatever she wants, the pseudoscience explanations that she needs to actually understand makes her seem like she has real limits and that she couldn't just hand-wave any obstacle. And speaking of Jenny Q, I like that she's actually portrayed as a child, through the art and her behavior. What I got from this issue is that Martian Manhunter and Jenny Q are the best tag team ever. I could read their pseudoscience adventures all day. Speaking of partners, Midnighter and Apollo were perfect in this. Midnighter wasn't fawning over Apollo like a weirdo but they're clearly closer to each other than anyone else and that's great. Their attitudes are great as well, and I don't mean "they act like they did in the WSU" because that is not how I measure the quality of these characters. I just mean they seem more like characters and less like caricatures. On individual notes, Apollo's halo was sexy and I was glad Midnighter didn't just know stuff in this issue. I'm hoping for his powers to get fleshed out later though. It's just BETTER than before. I feel like this is what is was supposed to be initially but this time it's actually working. There's still a lot going on and it felt fast-paced, but it's not needlessly chaotic, and the explanations have been toned down...except where they've been bumped up (I'm thinking of the Martian/Jenny technobabble), but its not in a stupid annoying way like the barrage of overly simplified expository dialog that we had been getting. UGH, it just works!
I had a few issues with this issue, but they weren't significant and they were all forgiven because the comic was excellent overall. The first was that Angie looks like a metal Nicki Minaj in a few panels, the second was the art being weak in a couple places, and the third was referencing stuff that hasn't been published yet. Another issue, though not limited to this issue, is Jack Hawksmoor talking to cities. I love the idea and how it's being portrayed (and this issue took it up a notch and I liked it), but I worry that that's all Jack's doing. I like to see Jack being a suited Spider-Man fighting out in the field, not just sitting cross-legged talking to avatars in his mind. As long as he's out there kicking ass sometimes, I'll be happy. And that's my BIGGEST complaint.
Honestly, I don't know if I'd be this excited about Stormwatch if it hadn't been so bad for me for the last 6 issues, but I feel like I would have been. I was really excited for this comic when it came out, and I feel like my expectations were met with this issue, so I think I would have been happy. I'm so happy. This team should write this book forever. Can I just have more of this forever?