There two schools of thought with fighting games. Firstly that you dutifully learn the combos, practice the moves and judiciously use your techniques. The other is that you mash all the buttons at once as fast as you can. That’s what happens here. And it appear to work.
A new Stormwatch is being put together with none of the original team (they are all off in the Authority and the Monarchy) and not using any super powered members either. It’s the A-Team or the Dirty Dozen taking down super-powered terrorists across the globe. There is no Skywatch HQ anymore and no Secret Security Council. This is down and dirty ass-kicking.
Stormwatch were due to move into the New York UN HQ but the building has been taken over by terrorists before becoming operational. The new team have to take back their building Die Hard style, literally bare handed. This is a great introduction scenario as all the new members are called in early to lend a hand and we get a chance to meet them as they arrive to the chaos. At the end of each issue there is an in-character dossier on each of the new members written by a vile US government spook so we get to know that person and are reassured that the familiar bad guys are still as rotten as ever.
The new Weatherman is completely badass and Ellis would be proud his legacy is in safe hands. There is a lot of political back-story and contemporary explanation about what is happening in the world today. There is an Authority crossover and whilst it doesn’t feel gratuitous you do get the feeling that if Stormwatch were crossing into an Authority book the results would be different.
There are some very likable characters. You wouldn’t want to meet any of them but you certainly can’t help smiling at their actions. There is a lot of dialogue but where possible it is used for character building rather than exposition. There is also some quirky narration that pops up to explain various items of military hardware and techniques that this non-super team uses.
The art just goes berserk. Every technique from unusual angles, striking colour palettes, unconventional panels, computer screens, mocked up dossiers, actual satellite photos, white backgrounds, crazy layouts, is here. There is a low light scene that instead of the usual murkiness changes the colour scheme to purple and green like some weird video effect. Once you get used to it, it’s very effective.
This is a long read both in the amount of pages and the amount of dialogue but it just feels like you are getting a lot of value for your money. This is good stuff. It is the Boys before the Boys was ever thought of. The new Weatherman is very Butcher. It is friendly to the new reader but you will definitely get more out of it if you have been following Stormwatch or the Authority. For throwing everything but the kitchen sink this gets a Double Thumbs Up!
Tomorrow: Stormwatch Team Achilles: Book Two – Micah Ian Wright