Stormwatch Post Human Division: Volume One – Christos Gage

Christos Gage is the man who ruined Union Jack. I’m just laying out my prejudices before reading this book as I dread to think what he will do to Stormwatch.

Actually he does a really good job. There are some strong ideas, great characters, funny dialogue, thought provoking issues, and enjoyable action. It is also told at a wonderfully controlled pace allowing plenty of time to get to know the characters and setting and allowing things to build strong foundations.

This is a reboot set after the events of Stormwatch: Final Orbit. Some characters that died in the WildC.A.T.S/ Aliens crossover are back or referenced without any explanation of how. The premise is simple. The US government needs a team to help deal with post human mischief. But there is no money so you get no weapons, no orbital space station and no teleport. And no powers either. The goal is if this team works and normal humans can deal with supers all by themselves the idea can be replicated across America.

Jackson King, former leader of the last big budget Stormwatch, is chosen to head up this taskforce. Without his amplification suit and with literally no money he must set up shop in a New York police station. He recruits humans, has-beens and ex-cons including a depowered Fahrenheit from his original team.

The mix of characters is great. Everyone makes sense and is given equal time in the spotlight. Proper relationships form and you see genuine human emotion at work. Some very effective stories are told and you feel real empathy toward these people who don’t really count as superheroes. They behave plausibly and not like stereotypes with the female characters coming across particularly well.

The art is good stuff, all the panels have straight edges but there are some strong colour choices. Gimmicks have been dropped in favour of good storytelling. Something more writers should do.

Stormwatch has always had a political message and that seems to have been dropped in favour of human drama: although it does have a lot to say about the strength of ordinary men and women. All of the characters are faced with a crisis of confidence and it is interesting to see how they deal with it in different ways. The new or established reader should have fun with this and I am looking forward to seeing the next volume. Thumbs Up!

117/248.

Tomorrow: Stormwatch Post Human Division: Volume Two – Christos Gage

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