Wildstorm: Michael Cray #3 – Bryan Hill, Writer; N. Steven Harris, Penciller; Dexter Vines, Inker; Dearbhla Kelly, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: Get This Creative Team More Work. Stat.
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!
Ray: I don’t know what I was expecting out of the first spin-off of The Wild Storm, but it sure wasn’t Michael Cray hunting his way across a new take on Earth 3. But that’s what it seems to be – our hero taking on twisted, murderous versions of DC’s most iconic hero. And as the opening segment makes clear (as he takes a trophy of the Kraven-the-Hunter inspired Oliver Queen to his trophy wall), this is far from the first time he’s done this. I’m a huge DC fan, and even I couldn’t quite identify all the trophies on the wall, but there’s some of DC’s most iconic heroes and villains. And next up on the list, as hinted the last issue, is Barry Allen. He’s still a crime scene investigator turned speedster, this Barry Allen is much more twisted, essentially a dark take on exactly how much damage a speedster could create if they didn’t care about human life.
The segment where the Flash – clad in a sinister-looking black suit with red eyes – tears through an army of guards to get to a scientist he’s aiming to assassinate is one of the best of the series so far. This Barry seems to be a paranoid maniac, complete with a split personality and an obsession with the idea that scientists are going to destroy the world. There are some interesting moments involving exactly what it takes to activate Cray’s powers and some moments that earn the title’s mature readers label, but it’s a quiet segment involving Cray paying a visit to his estranged father that really sells the issue. Unlike the main Wild Storm title, this book is really focused on its lead character and gives him a clear, compelling mission statement. And so far, it’s a hit that takes a formerly one-note character and makes him a star.
Corrina: I had little familiarity with the Wild Storm universe save for an occasional miniseries and zero knowledge of Michael Cray before this series. I also tend to hate books with warped versions of regular DC heroes.
And, despite all this, I enjoy this book a ton. It’s exactly what Ray said: Hill, Harris, and Vines have taken an obscure character, given him a clear personality and focus, a long-term problem to solve in the person of his energy abilities and his distrust of the government, and short-term problems in the person of the warped versions of heroes. I love Cray’s reserve in the segment where he’s attempting to call his new powers to the surface and how he hides his attraction. (Though no fair on the scientist being able to eavesdrop on his thoughts. It’s this kind of thing that makes people hate the government.)
Even this world’s Barry Allen manages to be interesting in his own way. He commits murder without remorse but the scenes with him talking to himself in the mirror are compelling, as well as making the interesting suggestion that this Barry is his own reverse Flash.
I’ve no idea how long this book will last but I’m hooked on it. (Also, why do Hill and the rest of this creative not have a regular DC book? Given how he handles the supporting cast and the villain, Hill would be a natural for any one of DC’s other titles and Harris and Vines’ art–well, see the evidence above.)
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.