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Comic Book / Stormwatch

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My name is Henry Bendix. I am The Weatherman.
I am the controller of Stormwatch, the United Nations special crisis intervention team. I am the world's policeman.
I am the Weatherman — and I've got your New World Order right here.

Stormwatch is a series originally created by Jim Lee and Brandon Choi under Lee's studio Wildstorm Productions in association with Image Comics in 1993. In 1996, Warren Ellis took over writing duties, making it a critical darling and fan favorite.

The comics follow the eponymous Stormwatch, a fictional United Nations-sponsored superhero team in the Wildstorm Universe (originally the Image Universe). Unlike traditional superteams, they receive assignments from the United Nations; the leadership of a UN member nation has to issue a formal request for Stormwatch to act. Once called, they partake in various endeavors, such as foiling terrorist plots, preventing national disturbances or thwarting aspiring super-villains.

Ellis' run on the title introduced several memorable characters, such as the retired and cynical Jenny Sparks and urban empath Jack Hawksmoor. Ellis also didn't shy away from both political commentary (Stormwatch having to fight a corrupt and hostile U.S. government on multiple occasions) and commentary on the genre of comics as a whole (the history of Jenny Sparks). It also had the main leader of Stormwatch, Henry Bendix, reveal himself as a manipulative sociopath before he's forced to leave the organization. In 1997, most of Stormwatch was killed offscreen or Put on a Bus in the Intercontinuity Crossover Wild C.A.T.s (WildStorm)/Aliens when the title was cancelled, and Ellis turned the surviving black ops unit 'Stormwatch Black' into the nucleus of The Authority.

The Stormwatch brand has been revived three times since then: first, Stormwatch: Team Achilles (2002-2005), a paramilitary team of Badass Normal Cape Busters. The title was cancelled unexpectedly when its writer was revealed to be faking the military background he was using to sell the book. The second incarnation, Stormwatch: Post Human Division, drops the paramilitary and advanced tech aspects of Team Achilles, and has a even mix of supers and non-supers trying to do the job with a drastically reduced budget.

The third, going back to simply Stormwatch again, is by Paul Cornell and incorporates the team into The DCU as part of DC's line-wide relaunch in 2011 (the "New 52" or the "DCnU"). Stormwatch is a covert organization of superhumans that has been protecting the Earth from within the shadows for centuries, and they regard themselves as the "professionals" compared to Superman and the new wave of "superheroes" he inspired. The Martian Manhunter was a member of Stormwatch this time around, after an offscreen period serving with the Justice League that ended badly. He summed up the difference between the groups by saying that when he's with the League he's a hero, and when he's with Stormwatch he's a soldier.

As of issue 19, after the first try proved to not be as successful as DC had hoped, it got re-rebooted, with writer Jim Starlin taking things back to something more similar to how they were in Wildstorm, complete with original logo. Previous stories were largely erased, Apollo and Midnighter went back to their old costumes, the Bleed was re-introduced, Skywatch was once again made their base of operations, and more classic Stormwatch characters like Hellstrike and Fuji were brought in. Though some elements of Cornell's set up remained, such as the Shadow Lords, it was pretty much a complete fresh start. The change resulted in a Broken Base. Fans of the first 18 issues were NOT pleased with the change, due to it erasing events from continuity and heading in a whole new direction, while fans of the Wildstorm incarnation mostly rejoiced. Since the first storyline was "Something's happened to Stormwatch history; we need to Set Right What Once Went Wrong", it's unclear how permanent Starlin intended the changes to be (especially given that the new set up contradicted Demon Knights and All-Star Western's "19th Century Stormwatch"). Unfortunately, the re-reboot didn't succeed in winning new readers, and DC cancelled the Stormwatch series, but not before the very last issue re-re-rebooted Stormwatch back to the #1-18 continuity.


  • Alternate Universe Jack Hawksmoor Is Awesome: In "The Bleed", we see a universe where most of the membership of Wildstorm's other superteams like the Wild C.A.T.s (WildStorm), Gen¹³, and DV8 are part of Stormwatch, under the leadership of Jack Hawksmoor.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Flint and Amaze, though this varies from artist to artist.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification:
    • Rose Tattoo (of Murder no less).
    • The Jennys are basically the Anthropomorphic Personification of both the century and the concept they've taken as their surname. Jenny Quantum's power is unlimited, because she's the Anthropomorphic Personification of science we don't fully understand yet (with the implication that, the more we understand of what quantum physics means - and doesn't mean - the more powerful she'll become).
  • Art Shift: There is an issue where Jenny Sparks relates her historical adventures in the style of the cartoons from those periods. This includes duplicating the look of The Spirit, Dan Dare and Watchmen, amongst others.
  • Bald of Authority: Field Commander Jackson King (Battalion), who is eventually promoted to Weatherman after Henry Bendix goes rogue.
    • Amusingly enough, Bendix was a Bald White Leader Guy before he Face Heel Turned.
  • Bald of Evil: Henry Bendix.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: In issue 42, Stormwatch face off against a Japanese cult with genetically engineered people of mass destruction. The head of this cult is named Raifu Waaku, which Fuji says translates to "life's work." Except it isn't a translation; it's just a phonetic transcription of the words "life's work" into Japanese pronuncation.
  • Canon Welding: The incorporation into The DCU.
  • Cape Busters: The Team Achilles and PHD incarnations of Stormwatch.
  • Captain Fishman: In the 90's, Nautika served as the token water-based hero. After a mission went bad and she and her husband ended up as hostages on Gamorra Island, she retired.
  • Catch and Return: Winter did this with a lot of bullets from a gatling cannon (or two), thanks to his ability to absorb energy (kinetic in this case), then re-apply it in his chosen direction.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The Midnighter
  • Darker and Edgier: Warren Ellis's run, which was almost completely considered a positive change for the series.
  • Departure Means Death: Jack Hawksmoor's Weaksauce Weakness is that he can't spend more than a few hours outside a city. Makes all-hands meetings on the team's space station base awkward. The New 52 version has found a way round that; the Eye of the Storm has a cathedral on board, to make it technically a city.
  • Diplomatic Impunity: During the original run, members of the team had diplomatic immunity, which was also conferred on family members. In issue #1, Jackson King reluctantly invokes this to keep his little brother Malcolm out of jail after the latter gets involved in an armed robbery.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Almost everyone who didn't join The Authority in the Wild C.A.T.s (WildStorm)/Aliens crossover.
  • Eagleland: Very, very Type 2 (evil!imperialist!America). Superpowered police brutality, supplying mutagen to terrorist groups, trying to hide chemical warfare exercises in U.S. cities — the U.S. is practically the Big Bad of Ellis' run.
    • Defector from Decadence: The American members of Stormwatch like Fahrenheit and Jackson King tend to be portrayed this way.
  • Electric Instant Gratification: Fuji is an Energy Being who's kept in a containment suit so that he doesn't dissipate into nothingness. Due to the conditions of his suit and the constant buffeting of his nervous system by his own energy, he has an orgasm every five minutes. No wonder he's so happy.
  • Energy Absorption: Winter can absorb all forms of energy including kinetic and use it for everything from energy blasts and super-strength to flight. He discovered he had upper limits to this ability when he fought The High.
  • Energy Beings:
    • Fuji, who wears a suit that looks like a giant robot and provides some... interesting side effects. Due to his form being extremely sensitive to vibrations, he has an orgasm every five minutes.
    • Hellstrike is another energy/gaseous being, but he has a much more humanoid containment suit.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: The end of the series has almost the entire team of superheroes killed by xenomorphs
  • Evil Stole My Faith: One of the story beats in Warren Ellis's run, which carried over into The Authority a few years later, was that God does not exist. The Doctor mentions it offhandedly in Ellis's final arc, and earlier, a "villain" called the Eidolon had come back from beyond the grave to try to convince people to make the most of their lives.
  • Expendable Alternate Universe: "The Bleed". Weatherman Jackson King refuses to help the parallel Stormwatch when they're facing overwhelming danger, because he views his jurisdiction as just his Earth. Not everyone in Stormwatch is happy about this, and even King yields enough to send his counterpart Weatherman a key piece of information that helps save the day.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Stormwatch has experienced a few over the years.
    • Razer, one of the Mercs, was originally in Storrmwatch before she defected.
    • Flashpoint became a spy for the Mercs after an ill-fated mission in Kuwait.
    • Henry Bendix famously became a villain.
  • Fantastic Arousal: Fuji's infamous revelation that he has the equivalent of an orgasm every few minutes, thanks to the oddities of the suit he inhabits.
  • Far East Asian Terrorists: The country of Gamorra ruled by Kaizen Gamorra. This island country is located "somewhere in the Western Pacific". Main exports include terrorism and... more terrorism?
  • From the Ashes: Warren Ellis ends the series with a prologue to his Wild C.A.T.s (WildStorm) Wild C.A.T.s]]/Aliens. In it, the entire Stormwatch team is killed off except for characters Ellis would later put on The Authority.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Father, a Straw Nihilist cyborg, and the first villain of Warren Ellis's run. As if being a mass-murdering Implacable Man with no flesh on his face who quotes Nietzsche while killing people isn't unsettling enough, he is also naked, probably as a result of being an Artificial Human recently escaped from the base of his creator.
  • Girl's Night Out Episode: Averted in one issue, where female members realize they have nothing in common beyond their jobs.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: One character works as an assassin while having the power to make plants grow. He utilizes it by having seeds inside the digestive tracts of his targets grow and burst through them from the inside. Seeds specifically from the cereal they ate that morning.
  • The Hero Dies: A lot of the team under Warren Ellis die during the WildCATs/Aliens crossover due to the Xenomorphs.
  • Hero Killer: The creatures from the Alien franchise were used as this for Stormwatch to clear the deck for The Authority.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Winter dies piloting the team's xenomorph-infested station into the sun.
  • Human Popsicles: This is how Stormwatch stores its prisoners; unfortunately, most of them are killed when Bendix powers down the satellite to escape Jenny Sparks.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: During Ellis's run, Stormwatch clashed frequently with the US, and was eventually banned from acting on American soil unless explicitly asked to do so by a Code Perfect. In the first story arc of volume 2, illegal superhumans were going to attack an American town and Stormwatch was unable to legally stop them, until Battalion found a loophole: he found a visiting French national in the town, and called the French Premier and asked him to invoke Code Perfect, on behalf of his citizen.
  • Knight Templar: Henry Bendix.
  • Made of Iron: Flint is literally Made of Diamond, actually.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Henry Bendix.
  • Meat Moss: A village is accidentally hit with a biochemical that can activate superpowers (or it's intended to, and at least radically alters the human body). When a team is sent to investigate, they find the church overgrown with this, with a fleshy beacon outlined with fingers. One of the team figures out that those affected by the biochemical evacuated the other villagers there and then covered them over as they mutated into Meat Moss, and pulls it away to reveal the survivors.
  • More than Just a Teacher: Black Betty is an incredibly powerful magic user, yet spends much of her time as a Professor of Metaphysics.
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong: Winter, ex-Spetsnaz, field leader of Stormwatch's "Prime" team, and total badass.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: Citizen Soldier.
  • Nigh-Invulnerable: Flint. So far, she's only been injured by Xenomorph blood in a crossover. The High, being a Superman Expy, is of course also.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The United Nations "Special Security Council" that Stormwatch's Weatherman reports to. In Ellis' run, it only exists to threaten Bendix about playing too rough with America.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: When Kaizen Gamorra causes 233 deaths with a mutagenic bomb attack and blackmails Bendix to prevent any overt retaliation, he launches a black op on Kaizen's homeland and orders Rose Tattoo to kill exactly 233 people in retaliation.
  • Psychic Static
  • Put on a Bus: Several characters at the beginning of Ellis' run; one character gets dishonorably discharged in the space of one panel, apparently just for the Take That! value. It's a bit of Reality Subtext as well: Bendix's "housecleaning" of Stormwatch is Ellis' "housecleaning."
  • The Real Remington Steele: Kaizen Gamorra first appeared in Wild C.A.T.s (WildStorm), where he was revealed to be the original "John Colt" that team leader Spartan was based on. The real Kaizen was brought back in Stormwatch.
  • Redshirt Army: The swarms of support staff on the Skywatch satellite base, as well as the security teams and fighter squadrons.
    • Overshadowed by Awesome: Stormwatch PHD makes it clear that the security teams and Stormforce consist of some of the world's best special forces agents and soldiers. They just tend to be horrendously outgunned by the rogue metahumans Stormwatch was created to deal with.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: The transfer between issues 17 to 19 were... a bit sudden, to say the least.
  • Took a Level in Badass: By the time of Wildstorm's cancellation, everyone who was alive by that point was tougher/stronger/faster than when they were first written.
    • To give some context: Battalion goes from carrying guns and having some telepathy to taking out thousands of marauding mutants with little assistance. Fuji goes from being The Big Guy to someone who could use his powers to save the entirety of Stormwatch even as their disintegrating space station fell from orbit. And finally Winter went from badass to, well, a badass who drove the vampire race to extinction within an hour of encountering them.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Notably averted; the "Changers" arc examines the trope in detail.
  • Retcon: While still he's an evil arsehole, it's later revealed the Bendix killed by Sparks was actually a counterpart from an alternate universe. The original would later return to haunt the second incarnation of Stormwatch Black a.k.a. The Authority
  • Retraux Flashback: Jenny Sparks' flashbacks to earlier in her life are drawn in period-appropriate styles (homages to influential series like Dan Dare or Watchmen).
  • Roboteching: In the earlier issues of Stormwatch, Flashpoint (one of the members of Stormwatch Prime) also had the ability to control the direction and intensity of his eye blasts. It was very cool. Too bad the character was a prime Jerkass and The Mole (actually, all three members of Stormwatch Prime were moles, but he was the only one who enjoyed it and stayed evil. He got his in the end, too.)
  • Rotating Arcs: Noticeably averted in Stormwatch and The Authority, where the teams are really too small to divide everyone up.
    • Stormwatch does a Lampshade Hanging on this in "Bleed", where, after viewing a parallel world where there are several Stormwatch teams, Winter remarks "You can't put twenty superhumans in the same town without them picking fights with each another."
      • It can be argued, though, that these comics do a mini rotating arc within the issue by pairing up some of the characters: for example, in The Authority, Midnighter and Apollo, and Jack and The Engineer usually work together as well as being romantically linked while Shen and The Doctor alternate between teams/partners or work alone. Oh, and Jenny (both versions) does whatever the hell she likes.
  • Russian Guy Suffers Most: Unlike most of his comrades, Nikolas Andreyvitch Kamarov aka Winter, did survive the Xenomorph-invasion of Skywatch but shortly afterwards suffered a horrible Fate Worse than Death after piloting the Xenomorph-infested Skywatch-station into the sun.
  • Sealed Badass in a Can: Warren Ellis' Stormwatch had Rose Tattoo, the "Spirit of Murder", who, in between missions, was kept in a maximum security cell under armed guard on Stormwatch's satellite base.
  • Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can: Both Fuji and Hellstrike due to their transformations into energy beings.
  • Sorry, I'm Gay: In Stormwatch 46, a rare Breather Episode, Fahrenheit, Jenny Sparks, and Flint are at a restaurant in Paris, and Fahrenheit has already picked up a hot guy, but when she calls Flint over to translate what he's saying, it turns out what he was trying to tell her was he's gay. Fahrenheit jokingly suggests that the three women kidnap him and "keep at him until he starts liking girls..."
  • Spiritual Successor: Most famously, The Authority, made up mostly of characters Ellis created during his run on Stormwatch. The Monarchy tried to follow in its footsteps with other Stormwatch members.
    • Also, Justice League Unlimited's portrayal of the League as a larger organization with support crew and political conflicts with the United States was also influenced by Stormwatch.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Unless they appeared in The Authority, don't count on many characters sticking around too long.
  • Stock Superhero Day Jobs: All are full-time superheroes, with their private lives and out-of-costume identities rarely examined too deeply.
  • Super-Empowering: Christine Trelane from the WildStorm Universe possesses the superpower to activate latent powers in humans and transform them into post-humans.
  • Superhero Packing Heat: Jackson King in his pre-Weatherman identity as Battalion used to focus his telekinesis through dual wielded guns.
  • Superhuman Trafficking: International Operations begins finding superhumans and cutting out their organs to transplant into their own soldiers late in Ellis' run of the comic.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Uses a communicator/beacon to find its target, which gets used and abused as much as would be expected.
  • The Noseless: Nautika has no nose. Might have something to do with her living underwater and more or less being a humanoid electric eel.
  • United Nations Is a Superpower: The Stormwatch was a UN-founded superhero team and with people like Bendix in charge it became much more dangerous because he was using them as pawns to try to take over the world.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Fuji has a Japanese flag pattern painted on his face. Icons: The DC & Wildstorm art of Jim Lee shows that in the original concept for Stormwatch, the entire Multinational Team wore their flags on their faces.