Sep.06, 2004, filed under Miscellany
I’ve been going through a bit of a comic buying frenzy recently, largely to fuel my Wolverine obsession. An absolute age ago I bought what turns out to have been the very first Stormwatch, and while I was buying X-Men comics I figured I’d get the first couple of Stormwatch: Team Achilles graphic novels while I was at it.
Volume 1 is a rip-roaring read, following the initial coming-together of the United Nations Stormwatch team, an elite group of people from all over the world whose job it is to kill super powered beings engaged in international terrorism. "We’re not superfucks. We kill superfucks."
There is a lot of humour in it. For one thing, their budget has been cut because the US doesn’t want anyone competing with "their boys" and other countries consider SPBs as a military resource. This means that instead of the transporter devices that other groups have for instantaneous travel, Stormwatch have ‘Project Entry’: a sort of wormhole that requires them to cross through a world where 8 million dead bodies are slowly decomposing. Unsurprisingly, people try to avoid needing to use it. The artwork is at times homo-erotic, and occasionally it’s difficult to work out exactly what is going on, but the story is very deftly written. I’m not sure where this fits in to the The Authority and Ellis’ Stormwatch saga, but maybe it’s time I found out.
Volume 2 develops the characters further, especially that of Jukka (my current personal favourite), at which point we discover just why he looks like "he cut himself shaving in the womb" and why there are only 2000 Finns left in the world. If you are a tough-nut Finn who can empathically feel the pain of anyone in a 3km radius then yes, you probably will threaten the local pancreatic cancer support group until they move a couple of miles away, just to get a decent night’s sleep.
I can’t wait for Volume 3, as Volume 2 ended on a real cliffhanger, but unfortunately the demand for it was so low that the volume has been cancelled. Our local comic shop doesn’t have all the issues of the current volume in stock (nor Greg Rucka’s Wolverine: The Native American, dammit), so I guess I’m going to have to see if I can track them down in Bristol’s Forbidden Planet.
If you’re fed up with lack of realism in your superhero comics, and want a dark, twisted, bitter and cynical take on what would really happen if people developed superpowers, you really can’t go wrong with Stormwatch: Team Achilles.