Milligan Takes Charge of "Stormwatch"

Peter Milligan, the writer behind DC Comics' "Red Lanterns" and Vertigo's "Hellblazer," is adding a new monthly comic book series to his plate: the ongoing cosmic adventures of "Stormwatch."

In Jim Lee's Wildstorm Universe, the original "Stormwatch" was created in 1993 as a super-powered team run by the United Nations. By contrast, the New 52 Stormwatch merges the Wildstorm characters with new takes on traditional DC heroes, brought together to deal with alien threats by a secretive organization known as the Shadow Cabinet.

Featuring the art of Miguel Sepulveda, "Stormwatch" was previously written by Paul Cornell, the man also behind DC's "Demon Knights," with the two-issue before Milligan comes on being tackled by Paul Jenkins. Taking over the series as regular writer with issue #9, Milligan leaves behind another New 52 series, "Justice League Dark," in the capable hands of "Animal Man" writer Jeff Lemire.

With the New 52 undergoing a creator game of musical chairs, CBR News reached out across the pond to speak with Milligan about his plans for "Stormwatch," the future direction of the title and his reasons for leaving "Justice League Dark."

CBR News: Peter, you're writing "Stormwatch" starting in May. What was it about the team that appealed to you and made you want to come onboard?

Peter Milligan: I really liked the quirkiness. I liked the characters and the fact that there was so much we still didn't really know about them or this organization they work for. The whole thing seemed to suggest a lot of possible stories and outcomes. And it didn't all have to be tied up with superheroes or with what's gone on before in DC. In other words, there was a sense of freedom with a healthy chance of the surreal.

Did you know the characters well before coming onto the book? Were you a Wildstorm reader before the DC integration?

I was aware of them but didn't really know them too well. I read a bit of Wildstorm but not avidly. Again, I was aware of a lot of what was happening -- sometimes through talking to the people there -- but not in any great detail.

Up to this point "Stormwatch" has been tied to "Superman" and "Grifter," dealing with the Daemonites and elements of the Wildstorm universe. Will this continue in your issues, or are you taking the Stormwatch team in a completely different direction?

I don't want to rule anything out but this won't be at the forefront of my thinking.

In your very first issue, you have Stormwatch dealing with the Red Lantern Skallox. What can you tell us about this first arc? Why pit Skallox against Stormwatch?

That just fell into place in a very organic way. As with a lot of my early Stormwatch stories, this will to dig a little deeper into the history and meaning of the team, and into the lives of the characters, wrapped up in a high-action violent and dangerous tale.

To your mind, what sets the Stormwatch team apart from the other teams you've written, like "Red Lanterns" or "Justice League Dark?"

Well, like "Justice League Dark," this is about characters and it's a book that can and will have a bit of weirdness in it. Unlike "Justice League Dark," of course, it is less concerned with the superhero side of things. That said, Stormwatch exists in a world were there are superheroes and I want to address that head on. I think Stormwatch is different from "Red Lanterns" in tone and in objectives. Though the similarity is that in both books one of the things I wanted to do was find out more about the characters.

Both books are pretty different but as we've seen in the Skallox-Stormwatch issue and as we will see when Atrocitus comes onto the scene these two teams, these two realities, co-exist in the same universe.

I know many fans were surprised when it was announced that you would be leaving "Justice League Dark." While you enjoyed working on the book, did you feel that "Stormwatch" lined up with your sensibilities better and was a leap you wanted to make as a writer?

I think you've pretty much answered the question. Yes, I really enjoyed working on "JL Dark." But yes, in many ways, I think that maybe "Stormwatch" suits my sensibilities a little better, is a "fit."

You've got Miguel Sepulveda providing the interiors for "Stormwatch." When you came on, did the two of you have a lot of conversations about matching your styles together and the direction of the book?

No, not really. There have been a number of emails both ways and that will, I'm sure, continue.

Paul Jenkins, who is filling in before you, indicated that while his story was short he wanted to set up pieces and characters that could continue on in "Stormwatch." Is this something you are going to pick up on over the course of your first arcs?

That's very good of Paul! There are elements here we might return to but I have my own plans for the first bunch of episodes. It's all part of the mix, though.

Along those lines, what do you see as your overall goals for the series?

I think the first storyline, though it had a lot of things I really enjoyed, was really hectic and threw up a lot of ideas and characters (and that's one of the things I enjoyed). Now I want to dig deeper into those characters, get to know them more. I want to do the same with Stormwatch itself. I'm really interested in its history. Though we'll probably never know everything about this team I want to explore its past, its myths, even its mistakes. No organization that been around this long has not had its fair share of cock-ups, as we say over here.

Peter Milligan's run begins with "Stormwatch" #9, hitting shelves May 2.

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