Final Orbit (1998) Reading Order
When writer Warren Ellis took over WildStorm’s StormWatch series after the FIRE FROM HEAVEN crossover event, he reduced the team’s roster and added a few new characters (including the obligatory hard-drinking, constantly smoking English character with an attitude towards authority) and new concepts. Then, out of the blue… it all ends. And I’m not sure anyone saw it coming!
StormWatch are the UN sanctioned crisis intervention unit. They can beam down a crew from the SkyWatch satellite to deal with superhuman threats on Earth or act as the planet’s first line against alien attacks. Or so they thought.
Jackson King only recently took over the role of StormWatch’s Weatherman, making the tough calls to keep the world safe. But, King now faces dissension in his ranks over his decision not to intervene in a crisis on an alternate Earth. And, worst of all, he now fears making that one mistake that’ll costs the lives of his teammates.
WildStorm’s inter-company crossover with Dark Horse Comics features very familiar and deadly Xenomorphs in a story that directly impacts the WildStorm Universe and makes way for the Authority…
Crossover: Final Orbit is a standard three-part crossover that needs to be read in chronological order.
Must Reads: Story arcs marked with a ✔are must-read stories from this time period, along with any key related stories and often-forgotten
Anthology Issues: When an issue contains multiple stories, the relevant story is denoted with square brackets. For example [2/5] refers to the second story of the five stories in that issue, so you don’t need to read the other four.
WILDSTORM: NEW HORIZONS (1997) – Jackson King becomes Weatheman
Want to keep it simple? Here’s the chronological reading order without story descriptions, or spoilers:
- ✔ StormWatch #10
- ✔ WildCATs/Aliens #1
- ✔ StormWatch #11
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|Must Reads||Title, Issue Number & Synopsis|
Jackson King is still too busy dealing with the fallout of StormWatch’s interaction with an alternate universe to give a new situation his full attention. An asteroid is about to pass close to Earth, so he approves its destruction. Dr Molly Perkins realises the asteroid has been transformed into a vessel. But for what? Only one analysis craft returns after detonating the explosives to send the asteroid into the Sun. But the craft is radio silent…
An escape pod crashes into Manhattan. Flint emerges and reports to American officials that Daemonites have infested StormWatch’s orbital headquarters, SkyWatch. Witnessing this from afar, Grifter encourages Emp to reform the WildCATs and investigate. Void teleports the team past the Storm Door force field, but they soon realise they’re not dealing with Daemonites. In search of survivors, the WildCATs run into alien Xenomorphs who seriously injure Void and Maul. Fuji, Hellstrike and Fahrenheit of StormWatch have been killed by the aliens. Only Jackson King, Christine Trelane, Winter and a handful of staff have survived. Grifter and Zealot kill the alien Queen and rejoin the WildCATs and survivors. Everyone is teleported back to Earth, except Winter who sacrifices himself to crash SkyWatch into the Sun and end the Xenomorph threat…
|Must Reads||Title, Issue Number & Synopsis|
A funeral is held for those who fell on SkyWatch, including StormWatch members Fahrenheit, Fuji, Hellstrike & Winter. The organisation is in ruins, and the whereabouts of covert team StormWatch Black – Jenny Sparks, Jack Hawksmoor & Swift – are still unknown. Corrupted former Weatherman Henry Bendix makes one last bid for revenge against StormWatch, but Jenny Sparks find him and fries his brain. Jack Hawksmoor & Swift end an attempt on the life of Malcolm King, Jackson’s brother, by American International Operations. The United Nations disband StormWatch. Sparks, Hawksmoor & Swift decide to take it upon themselves to save the world…
|Issue & Fallout||Event / Crossover|
|The Authority #1-4 (1999)|
Jenny Sparks recruits Apollo, Midnighter and a new Doctor and Engineer; along with Jack Hawksmoor and Swift, the team make up the Authority; the team utilise more extreme methods to defeat threats to the planet, operating outside of all international laws.
|Wildcats #1-7 (1999-2000)|
The Wildcats officially reform.
|The Authority #21 (2001)|
Jackson King and Christine Trelane disapprove of the Authority’s methods; they’re recruited by the Weavers to deal with the threat of Chimaera, later forming the Monarchy.
|BULLETS OVER BABYLON|
|The Monarchy #6-12 (2001-2002)|
Henry Bendix is revealed to be alive and able to assist with the Monarchy’s fight with the Weavers, though the real identity of this Bendix is later called into question; Malcolm King comes out of his coma and becomes a part of the war between the Monarchy and the Weavers.
|StormWatch: Team Achilles #1-6 (2002-2003)|
The United Nations sanction the formation of a new StormWatch vision called Team Achilles with an entirely new line-up who take down superhuman threats with extreme prejudice.
|The Authority: Scorched Earth (2003)|
It’s revealed that Winter’s energy powers allowed him to become one with Earth’s Sun, though the process left him in constant intense pain; driven mad, Winter tries to use the Sun as a weapon against the Earth; the situation is contained by the Authority.
|The Authority: Revolution #1-12 (2004-2005)|
Henry Bendix reveals that the version of him who went mad and attacked StormWatch before being murdered by Jenny Sparks was actually an alternate universe counterpart; the real Henry Bendix returns to his reality to find the Authority running America and tries to kill them.
|StormWatch: Post Human Division #1-7 (2007)|
Jackson King heads up a new version of StormWatch who train the New York Police Department to handle superhuman crime; Fahrenheit, Fuji, Hellstrike & Winter are resurrected by the Doctor (Habib Bin Hassan) or possibly the Monitors; Fahrenheit rejoins StormWatch; Fuji and Hellstrike & Winter rejoin StormWatch as members of StormWatch Prime.
|StormWatch: Post Human Division #8-9 (2007)|
It’s revealed that Henry Bendix had a son, William Bendix; William is recruited into StormWatch by Jackson King; Malcolm King is recruited back into StormWatch as Strafe.
|The Authority: Prime #1-6 (2007-2008)|
A clone of Henry Bendix is activated after further probing by William Bendix into his Memory Tower; a devastating battle between the Authority and StormWatch results in the merging of William Bendix and the Henry Bendix clone.
|StormWatch: Post Human Division #13-14 (2008)|
Jackson King is reinstated as Weatherman on a new SkyWatch satellite with a new StormWatch team
See how this story fits into the wider comics continuity:
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