Wildstorm: Michael Cray #7 – Bryan Hill, Writer; N. Steven Harris, Penciller; Dexter Vines, Inker; Ross Campbell, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Freaky and Fascinating
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Michael Cray #7 is one of the slower-paced issues of the series but nonetheless pits the title character against a compelling pair of villains from this twisted version of the DC Universe. We’ve already been introduced to John Constantine, a twisted bald occultist with a serial killer’s grin, but this issue reveals that he’s in league with someone else, too – a mysterious woman with a violent nature and an interest in his dark ritual and tales of the Gods. Michael Cray, meanwhile, is on the trail of his next target but is finding more and more problems keeping his focus due to the voice in his head – whatever his “brain tumor” actually is has gained intelligence, and it’s battling him for control. The first part of the issue cuts back and forth between Cray’s hotel room, as he battles this intelligence and attempts suicide, and Constantine’s twisted rituals. Then, Cray gets a visit from an agent of Constantine, and the issue takes a very different turn.
Most of this series has been Cray hunting down twisted, dangerous versions of DCU heroes and killing them, but Constantine is the first who seems to see him coming. Rather than attacking him, he sends an emissary in the form of Dion Fortune, who makes the case that Constantine is looking to parlay. Cray agrees to visit the mad doctor in his headquarters, where Constantine has set a trap. After a brief conversation, Cray comes under attack by Constantine’s second-in-command – Diana Prince. What an evil version of Wonder Woman looks like is going to be interesting – there’s only been a few in Elseworlds comics, and most of them weren’t very compelling. However, this comic hasn’t let us down yet, and all its twisted mirrorverse heroes have been terrifying. As this issue ramps up the next big fight between Michael Cray and these dark magical killers, I have no doubt that it’ll stick the landing again.
Corrina: It seems almost too simple to say that this series is Michael Cray hunting down twisted and evil versions of the Justice League. I mean, it’s about that, but it’s also about Michael’s struggles to retain some form of morality in a world where these kinds of killers can’t be stopped except by people like him.
His “brain tumor” aka the entity possessing him, it a manifestation of this struggle. The tumor kills indiscriminately. Michael does not. The tumor wants to let loose all its powers. Michael wants to maintain control. In this issue, Constantine attacks Michael’s vulnerable spot–the entity–but I’m not truly convinced that Constantine is looking to do evil. All the DC characters we’ve seen in this mirrorverse seem to be flipped on their side but Constantine has never been truly good, nor truly evil. If he’s an anti-hero in the regular DC universe, does that make him a proto-hero here, albeit a terrifying one? Of course, he’s working with evil Diana Prince and her lasso of truth so that’s a mark against him.
This continues to be one of the most intriguing series DC is publishing.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.