Sure, some of our childhood favorites have fallen into obscurity over the years, but some licenses have been reborn, bigger – and better – than ever. Let’s take a look at who’s on top of the Property Ladder.
Stormwatch started out as a pretty standard Image team book around it’s launch. It was very flashy and alive with the early Wildstorm house style. The story revolved around a UN sponsored super team. You had Fuji for your powerhouse, Jackson King as your field leader, Hellstrike, Winter, and Diva. A cool twist to the early book was the concept of a Weatherman, with the role filled by Henry Bendix. The Weatherman was a monitor, and off the field team leader who operated out of the team’s orbiting Skywatch satellite.. With an early writing team that included Jim Lee, Brandon Choi, H. K. Proger and Ron Marz, Stormwatch told some interesting stories.
When Marz took over the title James Robinson was writing WildC.A.T.s, Wildstorm’s other team book. The two writers collabrated on storylines, culminating in the Wildstorm Rising crossover. Both teams were changed drastically in the crossover with the Robinson’s WildC.A.T.s believed to be dead and Marz’s Stormwatch taking casualties.
There was another crossover, and then Warren Ellis took over the book. During his run Ellis changed the book from a straight superhero book, and added Horror and Sci Fi elements to the stories. He also added conspiracy elements and some social commentary about varied issues.
Ellis created Stormwatch Team Black, a black ops team that Bendix recruited to do the jobs that the regular team was incapable of doing, or were to dirty for the public team. Ellis spun this team out into The Authority after a mission where the public team was killed.
After The Authority:
The new Stormwatch: Team Achilles book was mired in controversy from the very beginning. The book came out September 13th 2002, and featured a superhuman attack on the UN. The book now featured a mostly human team that fought the likes of The Authority, and took on superhuman threats with realistic weapons and tactics. The book garnered mixed reviews from fans that liked the idea of a military unit tasked with taking on superbeings, and others who felt the idea was implausible. Fans were also upset with the President of the United States in this book, whom they thought was a veiled caricature of then current President George W. Bush. There were other storylines that dealt with replacing a Senator with a shape changer, and George Washington’s reincarnation trying to overthrow the US government.
Soon the book would have another controversy, this time stemming from author Micah Ian Wright’s false claims of being an Army Ranger. There was a lot of coverage of the event, and Wildstorm having no real choice, cancelled the book mid-storyline at issue #23. There is a script online for the never published #24 that you can find, if you were ever looking for some closure on this series.
Even the firestorm around Team Achilles couldn’t kill the property though. Soon Wildstorm brought Stormwatch back, this time under the guise of Stormwatch PHD. Taking place after an Authority Coup of the US government, Jackson King reformed Stormwatch to head off such issues in the future. This series came to a head in the World’s End crossover, in which the Knights of Khera, a faction Keran destroyed the world after the World Storm and Number of the Beasts stories.
After destroying your world, and having your heroes living and working in the apocalypse there wasn’t really anywhere else to go.
Wildstorm ceased publishing. It’s characters and properties were bought by DC, and now Stormwatch is alive and well in the New 52. There have been two issues of the new Stormwatch title written by Paul Cornell Miguel Sepulveda and AL Barrionueva. The new book feels somewhat like The Authority, with a lot of those characters appearng, with some trappings of the old Stormwatch book.
This truly is a book that won’t die.