Jim Starlin (a) Yvel Guichet
Reading Stormwatch #19 made me realize just how invested I was with the ‘New 52’ incarnation of Jim Lee’s classic team. Unfortunately, Stormwatch has been a low performer since it’s first issue, most likely surviving the various title cullings due to Lee’s history with the franchise. Enter Jim Starlin, who has — instead of using what he was given to tell good stories — decided to say “f*ck all”, throw away 18 issues of character development and narrative, and start from ‘scratch’ with the classic iteration of the team more akin to the design in Lee’s original concept.
There’s no better way to say it. In a single issue, Starlin not only attempts to explain away the ‘old’ Stormwatch, but also introduce all the members of the ‘new’ Stormwatch and get them going on their first mission.
It’s asinine and, frankly, insulting.
If this were Stormwatch #1, I wouldn’t have as big a problem with the issue’s events — it reads like a debut issue, and it could have made sense at the beginning of the ‘New 52’. Now, it just feels like a shameless attempt to cash in on older readers who want to see their favorite team back together. There’s no question that some regular readers of the ‘New 52’ Stormwatch are going to drop the book now that all the characters they follow are literally nonexistent. And what’s the payoff? Some new readers who are familiar with the old Stormwatch? That’s laughable, seeing as that audience would have no idea how or where this new, classic Stormwatch fits into the DC universe, et al. I can’t figure out why DC would do this; why they would allow Starlin to do whatever he damn well pleases.
I won’t be reading Stormwatch any more. It’s not for lack of interest. It’s because at this point, continuing to read this series would be like getting abused and not getting out. Because in the end, it’s disrespectful to readers who have spent their time and money investing in this series only to have it ripped out from under them. For shame, DC. For shame.