Can I ask you two movie related questions please: Firstly, did you like the film ‘Aliens 4’? And secondly, did you like the film ‘Donnie Darko’? Now if you answered ‘yes’ to both of these questions, would you like them mixed together within this comic book? One Written by Paul Cornell; Drawn by Miguel Sepulveda; and Published by DC Comics in November 2011?

Now I want you to guess what these four strange scenarios have in common: (1) A pair of large hands suddenly appearing from the surface of the moon. (2) The vigilante, Midnighter, propositioning the powerhouse, Apollo, after he subdues the Martian Manhunter. (3) The Engineer questioning Stormwatch’s immortal leader, Adam, managerial skills.  And (4) The ‘scourge of the world’ – or the big eye to you and me – trying to possess the Swordsman’s mind for his knowledge of Stormwatch.

Go on, guess? What do they have in common?

No – I am afraid you are wrong my friend – it has nothing to do with their naff costume designs. Instead, it is all to do with smoke and mirrors, dowsed with a heavy dose of subterfuge.

For the Moon, its state of play is camouflaged by the Projectionists mind. For Martian Manhunter, his feint is to give Adam the opportunity to proposition Apollo and Midnighter to join Stormwatch. For the Engineer, she is the Engineer, and she does what Adam tells her too, namely fight space aliens on the Moon with Jenny Quantum. And for the Swordsman, he wasn’t being possessed by the ‘scourge of the world’ at all, oh no, rather, this was an opening so he could glean information in turn. 

Oh! But wait! The moon abruptly fights back, and sends to the Earth a large collection of asteroids and space aliens to boot!

To be continued...  

Now I am very confused with Stormwatch. I want to like it – I really do – yet at the same time, I want to hate it as well. I say this because I genuinely feel as if I have read a comic book that I thought was very good, yet did not know why this was so.

The art by Miguel Sepulveda is just out of this world – because this chap can pencil a mean comic book full of bold, dynamic, and realty quite pleasant line work, which is just spectacular to see.  However, where the story by Paul Cornell is concerned... errr... how can I put it?

Oh yes – oops!

In essence, this issue feels like a train wreck in a circus full of Nuns. The storyline meanders up and down like an uppy-downy thing - the characters are not yet fully defined - and at times, the through line is confusing to follow. Moreover, in many ways this issue reminds me of films like ‘Donnie Darko’ or ‘Alien 4’ – because it has that ‘I should pay attention to this’ quality to its individual scenes, yet simultaneously it can make my head spin to what the overall story is all about. 

To juxtapose this point of view though, I did find Stomwatch quite captivating all in all. Heck, I did read it twice, just to make sure that I read it properly the first time round – so that must say something in itself (like I need a straight jacket?).

Come on Cornell, I know that you have it in you after reading your Knight and Squire mini-series (click here)! Bring back some of your Anglo-Saxon charm to this book (which you seem to be doing with Adam already), because all you have to do, is define the teams dynamics, give them a original stance within the DCnU, and then you are on your way to infinity and beyond.

A nice issue – a confusing issue – and an issue with ‘issues’.