REVIEW: Stormwatch #4

Stormwatch #4Written by PAUL CORNELL
 Colors by ALEX SINCLAIR / Letters by ROB LEIGH

Paul Cornell and Miguel Sepulveda deliver a solid slice of superhero action as Stormwatch finish off the remaining threat to the Earth. It also could be the best looking issue of the series so far as it seems to channel the spirit of The Authority.

Cornell knows where he’s heading with this title. It may have over the top threats and bizarre talking cities, but Stormwatch feels focused. Cornell deals with one threat whilst hinting at others and moving the plot along. If nothing else the pacing of this issue is just right, fast action interspersed with moments for our characters to breath and crucially interact. By the end of the book, you have the sense that Cornell has a plan. And due to the quality of his opening four issue gambit, you’re willing to follow the journey.

It is a testament to Cornell’s skill that even Projectionist is an interesting character. The busty blonde info hub is only one of many interesting personalities that litter the book. But the main focus this time around is Midnighter. Midnighter has a sort of devil may care attitude which makes him all the more charming. Also the seeds have been planted for the inevitable romance between him and Apollo. In fact the whole “do you trust me” moment is handled well as it is subtle whilst also showing a softer side to the violent vigilante.

Even though Midnighter is the focus he doesn’t steal the show. Cornell balances the team well, making sure everyone has at least one moment. It’s fair to say some are more prominent than others, but they all work. Engineer steps up in a big way and the potential of having her as the leader would make for a more interesting team dynamic. Apollo is a force of nature, as he should be but that is better depicted by Sepulveda’s art than Cornell’s script. Also it must be said that Adam’s reaction to the chaos is actually interesting. As he seems to fall apart it actually is a step up from his previously annoying demeanour.

Sepulveda is no slouch delivering a great looking book. The action is bombastic and presented in widescreen. It’s exactly how this book should be, almost an echo of Bryan Hitch’s Authority. The art keeps up with Cornell’s pace and doesn’t falter. Unlike last issue, Sepulveda manages to sort out his problems to deliver solid character work. Everyone’s reactions and emotions are detailed as the destruction swells around them. The weakened Apollo accepting Midnighter’s hand is perfectly staged.

The book also produces some big iconic superhero images. Mainly it’s Apollo’s antics as he gets fully charged and flies through the big bad. But there are the smaller panels that have grand visuals. Midnighter silhouetted by the sun, the image of Hawksmoor touching the ground and the monster in it’s new glass form; each is as eye catching as the last.

With Cornell and Sepulveda firing on all cylinders this issue, the bar has been raised. The series has been consistently strong and this issue reaffirms its place as one of the better titles in DC’s canon. Great character work balanced with grandiose action married with splendid visuals. It’s filled with bonkers concepts, but they are measured and calculated, as they never become absurd. It maybe an oddball title, but that’s the reason its so enjoyable.

WRITING: 4.5 / ART: 4.5 / OVERALL: 4.5

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