Written by Jim Starlin
Jim Starlin becomes the new writer, and he starts from scratch, making the book more standard sci-fy, and even though it loses the Authority influences, it becomes more solidly written. After the explosion from last issue, our cast has arrived on a different reality, but this universe is being watched by alien beings known as The Kollective. They decide Stormwatch wasn’t working, so they restart the timeline and start changing things to their liking. Their first order of business is killing Adam One, aka Merlin, who is born at the same time as the universe, and used to be the leader of Stormwatch. Everything else changes in result, and this results in a completely different team in the present.
Showing up for the first time coming out from black hole V4641 SGR, the New StormWatch appears! Their ship isn’t called Eye of The Storm anymore, but New Skywatch, and it’s powered by a pocket universe like the Carrier used to be. Starlin puts on SOME effort in getting things back to their roots, including going back to the original StormWatch logo. The new ship is populated by a human crew of technicians, even. This time Doors are opened by shouting “Gate!” instead of “Door!” like it used to be. The Shadow Lords, StormWatch’s bosses, notice the team has been purged from reality by the aliens; they can watch this from afar due to living within the Bleed. In this new timeline StormWatch has never existed, so they have to do a rush job and hurriedly assemble a new team. The Shadow Lords had kept a DNA sample of J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter, from the time he briefly led the team, so they use that to create a clone. But they strip him of his superpowers and give him fake memories, keeping his true identity from everyone, even him. Calling him Storm Control (essentially “Weatherman”), this new leader is tasked with choosing a new team roster. The new team includes:
Force, who is actually Fuji, only with a new name for some reason; he’s called a “trainee” but he barely has any dialogue or panels; Jenny Soul, the latest Jenny, who suffers from agoraphobia due to not knowing how to control her telepathic powers, so public places turn into a cacophony of thoughts all coming to her at once; Engineer, back to being healthy and turning herself human more often; Xiomar, a South African teleporter who is addicted to drugs; Hellstrike, yes, the old Hellstrike Nigel Smut, who is now an ex soldier from South Africa who was complicit in killing Xiomar’s family, a fact that haunts him; The Weird, an old Starlin character, he’s a being from another dimension made of energy who lives within the dead body of one Walter Langley and acts as bodyguard for Jenny; Apollo, who in this alternate universe is called Andrew Pulaski and Midnighter, who in this universe is actually called Lucas Trent, instead of it being a fake name he chose for himself. These Apollo and Midnighter regain their old Wildstorm uniforms, and they both gained their powers after being abducted by aliens who experimented on them, like Hawksmoor’s origin. Lucas was able to escape after ten years, and Andrew five years later. The last member is “The Forecaster“, but he’s a bit particular… He’s this blobby alien who acts as the team’s early-warning system. He’s a Volgarian, the perfect species to link with any complex operational system; he pilots Skywatch and data mines all incoming readings, transmissions and intel, searching for any possible threats.
Angie’s first assignment after being recruited is to recruit Xiomar in South Africa, for which he has to fight Tweedledee and Tweedledum, low-tier Batman villains. After that, the Forecaster tracks the Kollective’s PSI and temporal emanations from restarting the timeline and notices the same emissions are coming from the planet Douli-7 in the Orion System. Jenny, the Weird, Hellstrike, Apollo and Midnighter are tasked with visiting the planet. Unfortunately for them, the Kollective are only in the planet because of supervillain Lobo. They revisit Lobo’s past; his people, the Czarnians, were obsessed with being perfect; they experimented on themselves until something went wrong and everybody’s testosterone levels went through the roof, turning them into mindless killing machines who slaughtered each other. Lobo was only 14 back then, so to survive he was forced to develop a venom to release on the atmosphere, committing genocide and becoming the last of his race. with no one else around, the med centre started channelling all the physical and psychic augmentations it’d been pumping everyone into just him, and that’s how he became a psychotic powerhouse impossible to kill. He’s a monster, really; exactly what the Kollective is looking for. In exchange for having all his past record erased, Lobo agrees to help them. Starlin explains Lobo’s inconsistent power displays in other books (like that time he fought Zealot) by saying he resides on multidimensional realities without totally existing on any one of them.
StormWatch is teleported onto the planet and they start heading for the source of the emanations, but the Kollective detects Jenny immediately and they acknowledge her power is massive enough to disrupt their plans. They manipulate the Bruticus, one of the most aggressive races on that space sector, and they start trying to kill Jenny, so a battle breaks out. The enemy is winning just because of their sheer numbers, but luckily StormWatch is rescued by the Caimonites, the Bruticus’ sworn enemies. Sadly, both sides of the conflict are vicious enslaving conquerors, so StormWatch just thanks them for their help and move on. They head to a bar to wind down, but it so happens that the emanations they’re searching for come from the same place; from Lobo, to be more specific. They find him after he’s passed out from drinking too much, but right at the same moment they’re attacked by Bruticus and Caimonites at the same time; both sides are brainwashed now.
Noticing Lobo is going away on his own, Jenny and the Weird go after him and Jenny attempts to read his mind. This puts her in direct contact with the Kollective, who try to state their case: They’re beings who reached enlightenment long ago and abandoned their physical flesh, but they chose to stay in the corporal realm to protect the universe and guide it to a better tomorrow, kind of like StormWatch. They don’t see time as a linear thing, they contemplate all possible directions for the timeline and reset it when it looks like there are no good possible outcomes. They noticed Lobo’s arrival on Douli-7 will lead to him taking control of the war between the Bruticus and the Caimonites, leading the victorious force to conquer the universe and bring forth a pan-galactic dark age. They can’t kill him, because he always comes back stronger, but there might be a solution. They convince Jenny to help them; they’re psychical beings, so they need Jenny’s support in transporting Lobo to some specific coordinates. She’s not sure if she can trust them, but all the same she pushes Lobo telekinetically to the correct spot, and Lobo starts glowing… All too late, Jenny realizes she was manipulated.
Lobo keeps being charged with energy, but the team isn’t strong enough to move him from that position, not even Apollo. Storm Control orders them to retire, but in the end Lobo’s charged energy is simply unleashed on a nearby building: the planet’s chief media transmission centre, which causes it to broadcast a killing signal for all Bruticus and Caimonites from all over the space sector; both species become victims of genocide. StormWatch’s first field mission was a disaster, and they can’t even begin to understand the Kollective’s motivation for killing the species. When returning to Skywatch, they pick up Lobo, because he’s too good of an asset. Storm Control fills him with about a million nano-processors set to punish him with electrical discharge if he ever attempts to escape or disobey orders.
Meanwhile, Midnighter is unsettled by all that’s happened and contemplates leaving the team, but Apollo reminds him that the aliens that kidnapped them as kids are still out there, hunting for them, and StormWatch is their surest protection. Engineer checks in on Xiomar, who can’t function without drugs, so Storm Control allows him limited cannabis consumption. His powers aren’t clear yet.
Jenny is visited by the Kollective; they reveal both Bruticus and Caimonites would become ruthless conquerors, so even though it was a lie that Lobo would lead them, they needed to die to ensure the survival of billions. Now they want to eliminate Jenny, so that nobody knows of their existence. But she’s stronger than all of them, and she reduces them to dust. Now she’s just gotta figure out how to keep on living knowing she caused the genocide of two species…
Next: “Stormwatch” Vol.3 #23-30, written by Jim Starlin.