Stormwatch is a Comic Book
published by Wildstorm
that came into being in 1993
. At This point Image Comics
was still in it's infancy and Image books such as Spawn
were among the top selling comics of the time. Stormwatch began in issue one with a UN
sponsored superteam that basically fought bad guys in the same manner that Marvel
heroes had been doing for decades. Suffice to say, Stormwatch was not an instant classic because while it looked pretty enough (like the first year of X-Force
) the writing was at best uninspiring and at worst semiliterate.
Things did improve with Ron Marz picking up typing chores. New characters (most notably Swift) were introduced that were an improvement on before and the writing also got better. Readers found themselves with a book that now featured good artwork and a decent storyline. As welcome as these changes were the real watershed came in issue 37 where Warren Ellis and Ron Garney respectively took on the writing and pencilling job.
Ellis' first order of business was to create Stormwatch into a brand new team. Several unpopular characters were axed and characters including the now legendary Jenny Sparks and Jack Hawksmoor debuted. While things did improve Ellis finished the first series of Stormwatch at issue 50, part 3 in the 'Change or Die' storyline.
The sophomore volume of Stormwatch showed how Image had began to mature with solid writing alongside great art. It was a Warren Ellis tour de force of shaking things up for good. Jenny Sparks killed Henry Bendix, the Weatherman and operations manager of Stormwatch, a position filled by Jackson King aka Batallion. Apollo and The Midnighter(who will be well known to readers of The Authority) debuted in this series as did art team Bryan Hitch and Paul Neary. While this was strongest Stormwatch ever was in a creative sense sales were sluggish and the book had to be brought to an end. This end was brought about in Aliens vs WildCATs where the skywatch space station (Stormwatch HQ) was invaded by the Sigourney Weaver Aliens and the team was decimated. This extremely violent and messy affair signalled the end of Stormwatch for the meantime. This also happened shortly before Wildstorm was sold to DC Comics in 1998.
All was not lost for Stormwatch fans as Ellis, Hitch and Neary did take some surviving team members and created The Authority which redefined mainstream Comics. The Ellis/Hitch run on The Authority is perhaps the single most important superhero book since The Watchmen as it raised the bar with over the top uber-violence, intelligent storylines and stunning panoramic art which has since been christened widescreen.
Stormwatch has seen the light of day after the cancellation and pussyfooting of the Authority by DC editors in the form of Stormwatch: Team Achilles. Written by Micah Ian Wright, this new team is independent of all previous Stormwatch incarnations and is about a group of human soldiers who specialise in posthuman threats. Suffice to say while it reads and looks good it reeks of the editorialisation of a DC/Wildstorm top brass who royally botched the Authority and are now (it would seem) endeavouring to convince readers that the Authority was never that good anyway.