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|Print List Price:||£17.99|
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Stormwatch Vol. 4: Reset (The New 52) (Stormwatch Vol. III series) Kindle & comiXology
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|Length: 224 pages|
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- Book 4 of 2 in Stormwatch (2011-2014) (Collections) (2 Book Series)
- Due to its large file size, this book may take longer to download
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Fast-forward about fifteen years or so... DC relaunches its entire universe with The New 52. In this revamped universe, a new Stormwatch #1 appears, written by Paul Cornell. Cornell tried to touch on the flavor established by the Ellis run, but alas, his bread & butter—and therefore his loyalty—was to his publisher, so the Stormwatch characters had to exist and operate within the context of the rebooted DC Universe, but in a way where their paths would never cross that of DC's mainstream superheroes.
Now fast-foward to the trade paperback in question. Stormwatch: Reset is literally that: kind of a 'soft' reboot within a rebooted universe. Jim Starlin, who—as Marvel readers know—is practically the Duke of the cosmic opera (when he hasn't self-immolated from Thanos burnout), is the writer for this collected edition (Stormwatch #19-30). In the first half of this book, a redesigned Stormwatch team takes on a trio of cosmic buttinskis called The Kollective. They've made it their business to rewrite timelines until reality adheres to their vision.
The second half of the book introduces Extramax, a super-buffed-up blue & purple cosmic bruiser who's not just brawny but cunning and brainy. In fact, his personality (as well as his appearance) is quite derivative of another big, blue & purple cosmic Starlin creation wreaking havoc over at DC's Timely competition... But I digress. Extramax is apparently over a century old, and may have a vested interest in helping Stormwatch defeat The Kollective.
I've never seen Starlin's writing so lifeless. Many of this story's elements regurgitate plot points you've seen play out in a hundred other adventures, and featuring key characters that happen to be ultimate cosmic-level badasses is Starlin's stock & trade. Having said all this—I STILL could have enjoyed this story more if not for the following: This latest version of the Stormwatch characters (Midnighter, Apollo, The Engineer, Jenny, Hellstrike, Force—fka Fuji, plus The Weird—a late 80s Starlin creation for DC) are a flat, uninteresting bunch. Even the back-and-forth between Apollo and Midnighter was nothing memorable. Where was the sharp wit and the dimension of soul we usually get from these characters? For the most part, I found myself not really caring what happened to any of them. The art by Yvel Guichet is dry and bland, reminiscent of something you'd find in the Sunday funnies. At least if Starlin had drawn the issues, you'd have his beautiful art to look at. But this volume doesn't even have that to offer.
The last story in this collection is actually done by a different creative team: Sterling Gates and Jeremy Roberts. I wish Roberts could have done the art for the entire collection. Although it's only one issue, It read slightly better than the Starlin issues, in my opinion. However, we're still not seeing these characters in their full glory, as they were under Ellis' watch.
I saw that there are vendors on here selling this book for $76 to $100 dollars, and I said to myself these must all be ginormous Type-Os! Were only a limited number of these printed? For anyone interested in reading this, there are also vendors on here selling it for $4.00 or so plus shipping. Hell, I will probably end up selling MY copy on here.
In any case, I found this collection average at best, mediocre and forgettable at worst. Most of the high points for me were in the second half of the book with the introduction of Extramax and his armored troops. I would recommend this ONLY if you are a Stormwatch completist, or a Jim Starlin completist. And by no means should you pay what these vendors on here are asking for it. If no one on Amazon is offering it for cover price ($19.99) or less, I'm sure you can hunt it down at a discount book outlet or a comic convention. Since I can't give it two and a half stars, I'm gonna go with just two. I thought about giving it three, but I've rated other collections on here with three stars that were far more engaging than this was. Sorry, Jim.
Ugh... What a mess.
The only thing worth reading was the last scene, and a couple good exchanges between some of my favorites. Primarily Apollo/Midnighter/Jenny
I'm still not sure now what the timeline is, or whose origin is what. I'm totally confused now.
Jim Starlin is The Man. His writing is tight and his art is tighter.
Now: I hate the new reset. One of the things that made Stormwatch so damn good was its edginess. It's ability to push the envelope where so many other comics couldn't.
Now that DC owns the characters the edginess is gone. And so many good characters gone or reset. Winter, gone. Fuji? Gone. Battalion? Gone. Midnight wearing colors other than black? Why? This watering down is happening with all of the image created characters that DC now owns. What's worse when DC tries to retcon origins to include other DC characters the regions don't fit. I think that unless these characters are really pushed out there towards the edge again Stormwatch and the other image characters will suffer.