Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Stormwatch, Volume Two

 Jesus, what a mess DC makes out of their collected editions.....I read the trade paperback of STORMWATCH, VOLUME ONE a couple of days ago (I couldn't be bothered to write a review...sorry.), and while I enjoyed it, it was nowhere near as good as I remembered from my original reading of the initial collections. You could feel Writer Warren Ellis' boredom with the generic Wildstorm characters, and the book only began to shine when Ellis started to clear the decks and introduce his own characters.

 STORMWATCH, VOLUME TWO is more of the same, as Ellis really starts to cement the team that will eventually become The Authority.  The art also sees a significant upgrade, as the all-over-the-place art of Tom Raney gives way to the more polished pencils of Byran Hitch midway through the collection. No offense to Raney, but his artwork, especially in STORMWATCH, VOLUME ONE, is mainly mediocre, and often hideously representative of the worst of the Jim Lee clones of the 1990's. Hitch is a huge departure, and a massive improvement.

 This second volume certainly delivers a bang for the buck, giving readers 14 issues worth of STORMWATCH, but therein lies my main problem with this collection. DC's initial solicitation of this collection read as follows:
 Warren Ellis concludes his run on Stormwatch, redefining the team and introducing new members including the powerhouse Apollo and brutal Midnighter. But when disaster strikes in the form of alien creatures, can the team survive? 

 This is VERY telling, because it implies that DC is going to be including the WILDCATS/ALIENS crossover, which is insanely important to STORMWATCH continuity. DC did NOT include that crossover here, and it leaves a HUGE hole in the book that is sure to confuse and upset readers who are unfamiliar with the series. There's no text page recap, nothing....just a hole in the story, made worse by the fact that the omitted crossover happens between issues 10 and 11 of STORMWATCH, so a new reader could just make the assumption that Warren Ellis decided to have all of this massive death and destruction happen off-camera. (To play devil's advocate for a moment, Ellis must have known that including a crossover with a licensed property was bound to be trouble down the road, so issues 10 and 11 do read as a complete story, of a sort. It seems like a TV show that didn't have the budget to show the big battle and just skipped to the tragic aftermath. You get the jist of what happened, but not the real impact of seeing it happen, and you never learn just who or what was responsible for the chaos, or how they were stopped, which is made more odd by the fact the issue 10 clearly tips off readers that they are about to encounter 20th Century Fox's ALIENS.) The decision not to include this pivotal issue undercuts the entire volume, and honestly, fuck DC for cheaping out. It was included in the trade paperback, so obviously including it here would be doable. But much like DC's MARSHAL LAW OMNIBUS, which was solicited as a be-all,end-all collection, but left out the HELLRAISER and SAVAGE DRAGON crossovers, DC decided to give the high hard one to fans, rather than the complete collection they coyly hinted at. So fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me......DC has burned me a few too many times lately with their collected editions, so now I have to be hyper-vigilant and wait for the product to be released and I've read a LOT of reviews before I give them my money.
The book also has a glued binding, which makes for uncomfortable reading and sometimes significant gutter loss.