“The Dark Side, Part One”
This is the first truly new title of the DCnU that I'm giving a shot. I never read the old DC-Wildstorm imprint title of the same name. What little I knew about it, that it was a “rawer,” “edgier” version of the Justice League just didn't (and in itself doesn't) really appeal to me. However, from what I can gather this is meant to be a central title of the New 52, relating stories of superhumans who are not superheroes, in a team that has been around for centuries in one form or another. It's definitely being integrated into the new main DC universe – with a central character being Martian Manhunter, who I generally like in a team setting (though never so much on his own). And it's written by Paul Cornell, who has now written a couple of things I've enjoyed – the Lex Luthor story arc through the 890s of Action Comics, followed by the return of Superman to that title in the “Reign of Doomsday” story arc that finished out that venerable pre-Flashpoint run, plus the brilliant Knight and Squire miniseries. So I'm in. Frankly, at this point, I'm not quite sure what to make of it – it's too soon to tell. I like what I see so far, however.
Briefly, several plot lines are started right off the bat – actually, we're kind of dropped right into the middle. There's some kind of mystical horn been blown, with ominous portents – that seems to be a giant artifact in the Himalayas; one of their number investigates what appears to be the moon itself preparing to attack the Earth in what seems some bizarre plan to prepare the Earth for some coming threat; and a team including Martian Manhunter tries unsuccessfully to recruit a “Superman-level” being called Apollo into their number only to be taken out by a dark-clad figure calling himself Midnighter who proposes a different type alliance to the powerhouse. Along the way we're introduced to a bunch of (to me, at least) new characters very quickly, but fairly effectively, and we get a quick sense of their attitude toward the new upstarts: “Do we look like 'super-heroes?,” asks Jack Hawksmoor of Apollo – “They're amateurs. We're the professionals. … Stormwatch has been protecting the world from alien threats for centuries.” We actually see glimpses of that history (and hints of why I'm glad I'm also picking up Cornell's other DCnU book, Demon Knights) in a character's mental flashbacks. And Justice Leaguer Martian Manhunter helps clarify the difference between this team and others such as the League in the two hats he's wearing: “I am known in some quarters as a hero. I can wear that shape. But when I need to be a warrior – I do it with Stormwatch.” I'm feeling good about this title.
Cheers, and thanks for reading.