Thursday, June 28, 2012

Stormwatch #10

The weirdest thing about the creature attacking Apollo is its haircut.

Stormwatch is currently researching Super Heroes. After Red Lanterns #10, they feel like they've got a pretty good handle on ways to defeat Green Lantern. Now they're investigating the other big names. If Stormwatch is so good at watching and controlling everything, they should have already stolen all of the information Voodoo stole from the Black Razors about the super heroes. Maybe the Eye of the Storm, Stormwatch Headquarters and a Daemonite ship with a Daemonite A.I., has been protecting Voodoo from the prying eyes of Stormwatch. But since they don't have access to every form of media anymore because Harry Tanner kidnapped The Projectionist, the team needs to hit the streets to do their research.

In the middle of a spat about secrets while researching Superman's secret identity in Metropolis, Apollo and Midnighter are interrupted by The Engineer to declare there is trouble in France. Apollo's spandex is bunched up about all the secrets going on. Perhaps he has never come out to his family, so the whole secret organization and secret identity crap is weighing heavily on him since he's also living a secret sexual life. Although, it could just be that Apollo is the bright light, day, optimistic and open side of the duo, so secrets just rub him the wrong way. But that's the kind of rubbing Midnighter likes, being the dark, dirty, realistic, shadowy half of the pair.

An archaeologist in Northern France has dug up a strange, futuristic device in an 18th century battlefield.

I see he's a fan of David Graves.

As he's examining it, he presses a button and the device zaps the fuck out of him. It probably turns him into some rampaging creature (like the one with the bad hair on the cover?!) but the comic cuts away to Stormwatch coming out of a Teleport Door nearby. Although two hours after the archaeologist is zapped.

My guess is this guy unwittingly activated a phreno-module! Although that hasn't happened in 250 years!

Oops. I meant 248 years! By the way, what the fuck is a phreno-module?

As you can see, I'm pretending to know stuff I only really know by having already read it. It's a trick that a lot of people use, like those jerks who pretend to talk to the dead and psychic phone advisers. I mean psychic advisers you talk to over the phone, not psychics who advise phones of their love lives.

I also could pretend I know what a phreno-module might be but I only know the prefix phreno from phrenology which is, I think, the study of the head to predict shit or something, like palm reading. Looking up "phreno", I see it also means diaphragm! That's confusing!

Doctor: "I'm sorry but you've got a severe case of Phrenoitis."
Patient: "Oh my God, Doctor! Will I lose my uterus?"

Okay, that was a bad example since the patient in my little play didn't know any meaning of phreno. But I bet if I keep reading Stormwatch instead of rambling like an idiot, Peter Milligan will tell me exactly what the Phreno-Module does! I bet it turns people into raging black skeletons with bad hair cuts!

That guess wasn't as surefire as it may have seemed! DC rarely gets the cover art correct.

While Apollo keeps this creature busy, Midnighter searches for the phreno-module that created it. The P-Module was created for an older version of Stormwatch in a time of crisis. That's what Engineer says and it doesn't really explain anything about the stupid things. How about some useful information, Nanotits?

Midnighter finds the P-Module but he gets too close to it even though Engineer specifically told him, "Don't get too close to it!" The Phreno part of the P-Module seems to have to do more with the mind than the diaphragm because Midnighter starts flashing back to being abused as a child and then he completely freaks the fuck out. Do I use that phrase too much? I'm going to make it my catch phrase.

Meanwhile somewhere under Antarctica, Harry Tanner and The Projectionist are making their first appearances since they disappeared in Stormwatch #5 (or #6. Or somewhere around there).

You can tell it's Antarctica because penguins are watching instead of snow bunnies. Also, the tag that says, "Antarctica."

I wonder if Harry Tanner knew the Men from N.O.W.H.E.R.E.? He's lucky his base wasn't destroyed when NOWHERE's headquarters blew up and everyone escaped by tunneling through the Earth in every direction.

Harry Tanner has a pet project he's working on to destroy Stormwatch. I forget exactly why he wants to kill them. Maybe because he's just a power hungry liar who made a deal with some moon beast and then stole the creature's knowledge to help him defeat everything. The Projectionist doesn't really want to help him but she wants to die even less. So, you know, she teams up.

Meanwhile in Iron Heights Penitentiary, I'm reminded why I love writers like Peter Milligan. The Fox is busy mumbling to himself about the moon. Remember The Fox? He was the guy The Projectionist pinned all of the weird moon nonsense on. He had a single panel back in Stormwatch #2 where Booster Gold was busting his ass. I really liked the idea because Stormwatch was manipulating the heroes of Earth in ways they barely even noticed in order to keep themselves secret. But The Fox was now wrongly imprisoned by real super heroes that think they're helping keep the world safe. It's all such a clusterfuck and a conspiracy theorist's wet dream. And the fact that Peter Milligan remembered and decided to use that throwaway panel with the big idea is what great writers do.

Great writers: Turning obscure moments in comics into major plot points.

After Harry Tanner breaks The Fox out of prison, the action returns to France to find out what the P-Module did to Midnighter. I bet whatever it did, it will somehow prove that Apollo was right that secrets are bad news!

Midnighter is struggling to keep control as the P-Module accesses his inner demons when Jenny Quantum enters.

Even to Apollo? Maybe that's why Apollo's been so pissy this issue.

Jenny Quantum: Deus Ex Machina. But in a fun, light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek way.

Shutting down the machine also shuts down the Archaeological Monstrosity. They take him back up to the Eye of the Storm to examine him before setting him loose back on Earth. The only side effect from the experience is a 68% greater chance that he'll develop paranoid schizophrenia. Oh, okay. No big deal! Everything is good.

Engineer also reveals that she knows more about the history of Stormwatch than she's been letting on.

Apollo must have been studying up on his Stormwatch history as well since he joined five minutes ago.

When Stormwatch went public, it was a disaster. Nations fought over whose side Stormwatch was really on. I'll let The Engineer do all the 'splainin'.

Who is Helix Bubble Head?

Please. Remembered history is the easiest thing to change!

Looks like I was wrong about Midnighter learning a lesson about the danger of keeping secrets. It looks like Apollo is going to learn a lesson about why secrets are sometimes necessary. But I now think Apollo is angry at Midnighter for keeping a secret from him. He'll probably tell Midnighter in the last few pages and then Midnighter will do that thing he never does: apologize.

Oh, looks like my first supposition from the beginning was correct.

And Midnighter's fatal flaw is he can't be emotionally close and give Apollo the great big hug Apollo needs right now. Awww.

Stormwatch #10 Rating: +2 Ranking. I think Peter Milligan taking over Stormwatch has been a great success. He hasn't come on the book and changed everything. He's using what Paul Cornell and Paul Jenkins wrote before and weaving it into his stories. And he's doing it really well. Characters in Stormwatch (and this goes for all three writers that have worked on this title) can easily become flat and one-dimensional but this hasn't happened. Their group dynamic just continues to get better. I really like this group. Oh, and they're from the Wildstorm Universe, so, yeah, I can like Wildstorm characters too! Just write them well and I'm on board!

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