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StormWatch satellite (Image comics)

Stormwatch

(Organisation profile)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Stormwatch, a vaguely S.H.I.E.L.D.-like organisation, was part of the early waves during the creation of Image Comics. Originally the Image universe was unified, and so Stormwatch popped up everywhere. Then it splintered due to office politics, and Stormwatch was part of the Wildstorm Universe.

For the majority of its existence, the book wasn’t particularly remarkable. It was average first-half-of-the-1990s Image superhero fodder. But it provided a handy platform for super-hero role-playing games, with an authority to hand out missions, easy-to-grok  characters, international scope, some basic intrigues, ready-made foes, etc.

Later on the book experienced a fantastic overhaul under Warren Ellis, then became The Authority.


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ORGANIZATION

Full Name :
StormWatch.

Purpose :
StormWatch was first created to be the UN’s arm to deal with super powered threats menacing any country’s sovereignty. As a side assignment, they also deal with situations the locals cannot handle by themselves (like a nuclear reactor close to critical mass). They can also be called in to enforce UN’s decrees.

It was later discovered that the UN’s security council follows a hidden agenda. It’s not oriented toward the welfare of the world but more toward maintaining the global geopolitical status quo (namely, the third world depending on the richer states, and particularly the USA). This secret agenda has on occasion coloured StormWatch missions.

Modus operandi :
They are expected to interfere only upon the target country’s government’s request. But they have been known to operate from their own decision, usually undercover. The ’Code Perfect‘ invocation, the call that asks StormWatch’s intervention, is sent to the Weatherman who is the only authorized to judge the extent of the response to give.

The Weatherman only reports to the UN’s security council. Whenever they capture an international criminal, they have a variety of detention facilities thorough the world, in remote places such as Terra del Fuego or the Arctic. For the worst cases, they put them in cryogenic detention aboard Skywatch.

The crisis response team is usually teleported from Skywatch to the Hot Landing Zone. The Weatherman monitors everything unusual that can occur on Earth surface. Helped by a full contingent of spy satellites, relaying information to monitoring personnel in Skyhall (the place where everything converge), in turn relaying to the Weatherman through tailor made implants.

Extent of operations :
All around the world where super powered beings threatens the security of a country. Finally, it revolves around the major conflict areas where one or all the parties are using supra normal forces (Gulf war, Yugoslavia, ex-USSR, Gamorra…).

Relationship to conventional authorities :
They respond strictly to the UN. They have often troubles with countries maintaining their own SPB response organisations (like the USA with IO)

Bases of operations :
Skywatch II, a UN sponsored orbital station in Earth’s low orbit. New York’s UN building for liaison personnel.

Former bases of operations :
Skywatch I, before they crashed it on Earth to destroy the WarGuard and Despot.

Major funding :
United Nations.

Known enemies :
I.O., the MERCs, the WarGuard, Al Fathal, the High. There has been many occasions where they clashed with other super heroes teams trespassing on sovereign land (like the WildCATs).

Known allies :
UN, Unit Aleph (Israeli SPBs), and any country in trouble calling for their help.


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MEMBERSHIP

Number of active members :
Hundreds of normal support personnel, about 20 super powered beings.

Number of reserve members :
None at first, a dozen after Bendix reorganized the teams circa StormWatch #37.

Organizational structure :
The Weatherman is the uncontested leader of the organization. He responds only to the UN’s security council and all his officers are expected to respond only to him. The super powered beings are ranked as Officers, distributed in a number of different teams (they had various names like StormWatch Prime, StormWatch 1, StormWatch 2, later StormWatch Red, StormWatch Black…).

Each team has an appointed field leader, who answers to the Weatherman for his subordinates’ actions. Then there is a classic military organization for the support personnel : medical, technical, logistic, intelligence, surveillance. There is also a non-superpowered crisis response corps called StormForce, who could be sent when SPB are not necessarily required (or out of commission).

An important wing of StormWatch is dedicated to locating and recruiting any potentially strongly gifted superhuman.

Known officers :
Henry Bendix (Weatherman), Synergy (Activator, in charge of recruiting SPBs ; later became Weatherman upon Bendix dismissal), Battalion (first field leader of StormWatch Prime, then StormWatch 1, then relegated as combat trainer, later became Weatherman), Molly Perkins (Scientific councilor).

Known current members :
Fahrenheit, Flint, Fuji, Hellstrike, Hawksmoor, Jenny Sparks, Rose Tattoo, Swift, Winter.

Known former members :
Diane La Salle (former detention director, deceased), Scythe, Cannon, Sunburst, Nautika, Flashpoint, Backlash, Strife, Ion, Lancer and some minor characters that never made a big impression.

Known special agents :
None.

Membership requirements :
Regarding the superpowered officers, the recruitment is made by Synergy who is in charge of monitoring any emerging potentially gifted person all around the world. Based on a voluntary decision, she can then fully activate (or deactivate if the need be) the chosen one.

For the support personnel, we can assume they come from the various armies of the world, like the average UN blue-helmeted soldier.


HISTORY

Founder :
Henry Bendix.

Other leaders :
Synergy, Battalion.

Major campaigns or accomplishments :
One must dissociate the official missions completed by the organization (the ones based on the strict respect of the UN’s law), from the private, personal missions mainly launched by its officers.

Official : Gamorra’s blockade, nuclear power plant meltdown defused in Russia, preventing the bombing of five major worldwide monuments (Louvre, Parthenon, Taj Mahal, Sphinx, Vatican) by Daemonite commandos sent by Defile, preventing a major communist faction of the ex-USSR from making a coup with the activation of an old cold war machine, defeating Despot and his Warguard, preventing al Fathal from nuking Paris, Tel Aviv and Sarajevo (though the latest city’s protection was made against the will of its government), retaliation on Gamorra for bombing a plane and contaminating a small English town, avoiding the complete destruction of Tōkyō by a religious madman, and saving civilians from certain death during various military conflicts.

Private : freeing StormWatch Prime from Gamorra after the were captured by the MERCs in Kuwait (Battalion), destroying Gamorran Hunter Killers factories (Cannon), killing a member of the MERCs (Flashpoint), arresting two US agents responsible for the murder of a former StormWatch officer (Fahrenheit)…

Major setbacks :
Capture of StormWatch Prime in Kuwait, being used in a plan by Lord Defile to pit them against the WildCATs… But most of all, it appeared that Bendix, the very founder, was manipulating the whole organization to follow the secret agenda of the UN security council from the very start.


PERSONNEL AND EQUIPMENT

Standard operative :
These people are the support personnel of StormWatch. They live and work on Skywatch for the most part. They are medics, technicians, communication specialists, regular troopers, shuttle pilots, administration, lawyers…

StormWatch Support Personnel

Dex: 03 Str: 02 Bod: 03 Motivation: Responsibility of Power
Int: 05 Wil: 03 Min: 03 Occupation : StormWatch personnel
Inf: 02 Aur: 02 Spi: 02 Wealth : 06
Init: 010 HP : 005

Skills:
Any specialty skills: 05

Advantages:
Low UN Security Clearance, Scholar (UN).

Elite operative

These are the StormForce, the elite military unit sent if SPB are not required. They are equipped with the SOTA in armors, weaponry and support equipment. They are the UN’s equivalent of IO’s Team 7. They pack much more impact than the size the unit would cause one to expect.

Their names are : Cpt Ken Tucker, Wilson, Yee, Daniels, Ansari, Perkins, Bowden, Bertrand. They come from various nationalities.

Dex: 05 Str: 03 Bod: 05[06] Motivation: Responsibility of Power
Int: 05 Wil: 04 Min: 05 Occupation : StormWatch Trooper
Inf: 05 Aur: 03 Spi: 05 Wealth : 07
Init: 017 HP : 015

Skills:
Acrobatics*: 05, Detective (Law, Police Procedure)*: 05, Martial Artist*: 05, Medicine (First Aid)*: 05, Military Science*: 05, Vehicles*: 05, Weaponry*: 05, Thief (Stealth)*: 05

Advantages:
Intensive Training, Low UN Security Clearance, Scholar (UN).

Equipment:
ARMOR [/BODY/ 07], SOTA in military gear.

Notable operatives :
See separate writeups for all the StormWatch Officers (SPB).

Resources :
28

Equipment:
Their operative can rely on the latest technology regarding everything. They are far more advanced than what we know in all manners of communications, encryption/decryption, medical facilities, surveillance, counter-surveillance, transports.

  • Their most formidable feature is the Skywatch orbital station. It can house hundreds of people. It is autonomous for power, has many cargo bays with daily shuttles launch and docks for EVA operations, it has 2 transport bays able to teleport people to Earth surface and back, communication gear, relayed by satellites around the globe to contact/spy on anybody on the Earth surface. It packs the StormDoor™ a very powerful shield system. It has cryogenic facilities for keeping powerful prisoners… Of course it has the best computers available.
  • SKYWATCH [STR 30, Hardened BODY: 13, Damage Capacity: 15, Detect (Super powered manifestations): 09, Force Field: 30, Radar Sense: 18, Radio Communication: 17, Sealed System: 25, Suspension: 20, Teleportation: 15, Limit: Teleportation only works on Fetish wearers (-1), Telescopic Vision: 17, Misc. Draw. : Must stay in orbit].
  • Hammerstrike Squadrons : these are special atmospheric fighter-bomber called in to sanitize an out of control situation. HAMMERSTRIKE [STR 08, Hardened BODY: 10, AV 06, EV 08, Flight: 13, Radar Sense: 20, Sealed System: 11, Misc Advantage: fully functional in space, carries 4 Deep Sanction Missiles] ; Hammerstrike Deep Sanction Missile [BODY 03, Acid: 15, Note: Acid has Controllable Explosive Radius (like the Bomb power and the effective spreading radius is determined upon launching].

BIBLIOGRAPHY

First appearance :
StormWatch #1.

Origin issue :
The oldest mention of StormWatch appears in Gen 12 #3 where Backlash is recruited as a double-agent for IO.

Significant issues :

  • StormWatch #1 : Introduction and death of John Windsor, one of the founding members.
  • StormWatch #2-3 : StormWatch 1 fights the MERCs while StormWatch 2 is defeated by the Destroyer in Chernobyl. Then StormWatch 1 vanquish the Destroyer and prevents the nuclear plant from melting down.
  • StormWatch #4-5: Daemonites infest Skywatch and release the Warguard to possess them. Diane LaSalle, Backlash’s girlfriend is first possessed then partially exorcised, leaving her in coma. Backlash, distraught and angry, leaves the station to find her a cure at IO.
  • The Kindred #1-4: Backlash is on a personal crusade to find a way of saving Diane LaSalle. He must team with Grifter to solve an IO problem before he does as a trade for her cure.
  • StormWatch #6-7: Gamorra’s blockade. Battalion leads StormWatch 1 in an private, illegal party, down on Gamorra’s soil, to free the MIA StormWatch Prime from the MERCs. We learn what led to their capture in Kuwait. We also learn that Lord Defile has brainwashed them to act as double agents in StormWatch. WildCATs #5-7/Cyberforce #1-3 (Killer Instinct cross over) : WildCATs and Cyberforce clashes on Gamorra’s ground, while Battalion leads in the rescue party, offering a nice diversion. StormWatch doesn’t interfere, even to save their own image. StormWatch #9: StormWatch Prime discover Daemonite influence behind a series of attempted bombing on major world monuments. Sunburst starts to have hints of external influence on him since their freedom from Gamorra.
  • StormWatch #11: Bendix is dismissed from the position of Weatherman for covering Battalion’s action in #6-7. Synergy takes the position. It does not really please Battalion, as they were starting a relationship.
  • StormWatch #12: after a hard encounter with Deathtrap (MERCs leader), Hellstrike has trouble containing his body. Fuji convinces him not to let go, and Hellstrike is back on the saddle.
  • StormWatch #13: Winter confronts MAD 1, a former spetznatz friend, turned into a war machine during the cold war, and release by hardliner communists preparing a coup in ex-USSR.
  • StormWatch #14: Battalion, who had a glimpse of the future in #9, sneaks on Skywatch hoping to kill his father (Despot), before he can bring chaos to Earth. He is unable to kill him in cold blood. Meanwhile, Cannon loses his cool in a civilian protection mission in Rwanda.
  • StormWatch #15-18 (Wildstorm Rising prelude): Battalion and Flashpoint “clear the air” between them. Defile’s plan to pit WildCATs against StormWatch starts to unfold when he managed to make Maul carry a nuke in a volcano. StormWatch prevents the detonation, but Battalion is seemingly killed in the process. After the funeral, Diva is appointed field leader. Cannon, much displeased by the decision (he estimated the position was his), quits the organization to launch his personal crusade, freed of UN’s procedures.
  • StormWatch #19-21: Synergy is capture by an extra dimensional foe, and escapes on her own. Bendix and Winter contact Cannon to lead their private action against the communist faction still planning a coup in ex-USSR. They team up to defeat an army of MAD powered armors like the one in #13.
  • StormWatch special #2: on a personal crusade against the MERCs, Flashpoint kills one of them. While chasing Deathtrap, he is busted by Sunburst and Nautika. He is brought to Terra de Fuego detention center.
  • Wildstorm Rising crossover : First fighting the WildCATs according to Defile’s plan, StormWatch reaches a truce with them to prevent the Daemonite from restoring their highly powerful warship. In the final battle, Sunburst and Nautika turn traitor because of Defile’s brainwashing. Nautika cripples Sunburst. Despot and his WarGuard are released – they are StormWatch’s last hope against a worldwide threat, hoping to trade something they can’t handle for something they’ve handled before.
  • StormWatch #23-27: Despot’s crisis. After the WildCATs left for space, StormWatch salvages Spartan’s body that got left behind. Despot starts is scheme of controlling the Earth’s population. Strafe joins him, Diva is killed, Battalion comes back. Despot is killed by Spartan who sacrificed himself in the process (no mind restoration this time since StormWatch hasn’t Emp’s technology to back him up). Skywatch I is brought down to Earth in a first desperate attempt to stop Despot before he can make it to the ground. Bendix is reappointed Weatherman to the relief of Synergy.
  • StormWatch #28-34 : While Skywatch II is being built under the supervision of the surviving SPBs, new officers are recruited. These rookies, along with the StormForce commando, begin to uncover a fanatical Islamist plot to nuke 3 major cities. The face Al Fathal and are defeated. Flashpoint is released to rescue them. Cannon, now fully reintegrated after Diva’s death, teams with Unit Aleph, the Israeli SPB, to defuse the Tel Aviv’s bomb. Winter is launched on a covert mission in Yugoslavia to defuse a second bomb. In the process, he teams with Scythe, a former StormWatch Officer as well as a former lover. Although she’s Yugoslavian and works for the government, she doesn’t turn him to authorities and help him neutralize the nuke. Meanwhile, StormWatch 1 battle Al Fathal over Paris to prevent the third bomb from nuking the city. Unit Aleph manages to capture and deport Al Fathal’s shadow leader.
  • Fire From Heaven: Gamorra calls for StormWatch intervention to stop the invasion of his territory by all the Wildstorm Universe heroes. Battalion finally see through his schemes and let go. Flashpoint is KIA.
  • StormWatch #37: Bendix reorganize the teams. Many Officers are fired, including Cannon and all the rookies except Flint and Swift (who his fully activated by Synergy to her present form). Battalion, because of his relationship with Synergy, and because doesn’t want his feelings to interfere with duty, is removed from active duty to combat training. Sunburst (still crippled after Wildstorm Rising) and Nautika are sent away as Combat Intelligence Analyst. Hawksmoor, Jenny Sparks and Rose Tattoo are recruited by Bendix himself. Undertow is assassinated in StormWatch’s NYC quarters.
  • StormWatch #38: Fahrenheit, Hawksmoor and Hellstrike find Undertow’s murderers. They are American agents. Bendix express his displeasure to US authorities in his own twisted way.
  • StormWatch #39-42: The new field teams forst see action. StormWatch Black operates undercover in USA on the request of Amnesty International suspecting police abuse. They stop a bunch of hardliner superhuman cops. StormWatch Red is sent to retaliate in Gamorra in response of the bombing of a lane and the destruction of an English town. StormWatch Prime, reinforced by Red and Black, stops a Japanese religious fanatic from destroying Tōkyō.
  • StormWatch #43-47: presentations of the current Officers : their past, habits, way of operating.
  • Savant Garde #6: Savant needs to sneak in Skywatch to mess with their computer in order to clear her alter ego, Cordelia Matheson, from slander.
  • StormWatch #48-50 (Change or Die): The High arise to bring peace and a new order to the world ; he and his team, the Changers, offer unlimited ressources and the ability for the people of Earth to govern themselves as they see fit. The UN security council reveals itself at last and urge Bendix to stop that from happening – as this offer pretty much means the end for the governments of the world. Against all their convictions, the StormWatch Officers comply to his order and stop the High. Jenny Spark, sensing the Weatherman’s game and mad at seeing another shot at utopia collapse, attempted to kill him but he fled.

A new Stormwatch was founded, much less dependant on the Secret Masters, with Battalion as the new Weatherman. Jenny Spark ended the turn of that page by succesfully hunting down Bendix, who had received protection from IO, and killing him. A few weeks after that, SkyWatch II was invaded by alien xenomorphs of the Alien type and almost all hands aboard were killed – thus ending StormWatch.

By Nicolas Lemaçon.

Source: Image Comics, Wildstorm Universe.

Helper(s): Perry Holley, Philip Mason.

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