The Kollective has taken Lobo under their command, and it’s up to the new Stormwatch to stop him. Will they succeed, or does the new team need a bit more practice?
Because the New 52 has been around for almost two years, we often forget that it’s advertised purpose was to get new readers on board with the DC universe and allow them to immerse themselves in it easily.
As I had only read Stormwatch #1 prior to reading issue #22, I decided to just jump right into issue #22 to see if it was in fact easy for a new reader to understand what was going on. In this sense, Stormwatch #22 actually succeeds; within the first couple of pages I knew the basic gist of the events that have already unfolded.
By page 5 I knew the new team’s names and some of their powers, and I knew the threat they faced. In this sense, Stormwatch is actually trying to get back to the roots of what the New 52 is all about and I would have to admit they’ve succeeded.
There are also a few moments in the book (that I won’t mention to avoid spoiling it) that show veteran Jim Starlin still has what it takes to spin a surprising story, and a few moments that really force you to take this team a lot more seriously. Having read issue #1 and considering it a train wreck, I have to say this new direction seems to be a step forward.
For all the positive things about this issue, there are some problems. The overall story just seems like your standard comic book fare: there’s a bad group of aliens with an edgy name like The Kollective that are super-mysterious and want to use a powerful being to destroy the world. It’s the type of story told quite a bit, which makes it hard to get excited about it. Starlin also succumbs to the old trope of “oh that’s right, I have the powers of x and y and can use them to do z” to have characters verbally explain their powers to a team that should know already.
Starlin is clearly trying to get Stormwatch back to the cult status it had long ago, and judging from the direction he’s taken after being put on the book it looks like it could definitely get that way. The book may need some polish, but this new run is a lot more interesting and readable than the debut issue was.