Peter Milligan uses the open-ended format of “Stormwatch” #0 to investigate the past and present of the Stormwatch team, review the history of Century Babies, and seed connections between this formerly Paul Cornell-written title and Cornell’s current ongoing “Demon Knights” series. All of that is accomplished through a casual academic discussion between Jenny Quantum and Adam One. Milligan definitely has the voices for these characters defined, but their conversation relies so much on peeking into the past that I found myself hankering for some adventure.
Will Conrad’s art is reminiscent of that of Phil Winslade, which works quite nicely for this story that transcends history, bouncing from 1013 A.D. to present day to the 1300s and back again in a voyeuristic manner. This issue is largely fueled by talking heads, with vignettes of past, present and future. The similarities between the two artists had me thinking quite a bit about Winslade’s work with Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray on “Monolith,” which seems like a spiritual connector between the history investigated here and the present day of Stormwatch’s current adventures. The limited freeze-frame action Conrad renders in this story is good and certainly strong enough for me to think I would like to see more from him, preferably something with more action. Conrad’s artwork is brushed with mystical hues of purple (after all, that is the color of magic, right?) to provide an uncommon but not distracting border that cleanly distinguishes the present from other-when.
As history lessons go, this issue is snappier and more adventurous than most, but when it all comes down to it, it’s still history, which has never been my favorite subject. In addition to the history lesson, Milligan peeks into the future — or as much of the future as any comic ever does — and plants uncertainty in young Jenny Quantum’s mind. My understanding of “Stormwatch” only encompasses this post-relaunch title. Given what Milligan and Conrad provide here, that’s more than enough depth of knowledge to appreciate the series to this point, jump in here and move forward along with the team. After all, there are dark things ahead for the DC Universe and this team has been…watching.