The Wild Storm: Michael Cray #8 – Bryan Hill, Writer; N. Steven Harris, Penciller; Dexter Vines, Inker; Ross Campbell, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: All Roads Lead To Doom?
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Bryan Hill’s dark magnum opus, Michael Cray, may be set in the Wild Storm universe, but I continue to not see any real signs of it tying into that universe. That’s not an insult by any means – I’m not a fan of the main series and find it way too slow, while this series packs more tension and suspense into each issue than some titles do into an arc. It actually feels more like the best Earth-3 series ever, with a vigilante sent up against twisted versions of DC heroes-turned-villains. Each of these dark mirrors to DC heroes isn’t just a generic evil villain, either – they each have their own motivations and twisted backstories. That’s definitely the case for the evil duumvirate of John Constantine and Diana Prince, who have lured Cray into their trap. Michael Cray #8 is the first time where it really feels like Michael Cray is off his game, as the alien intelligence in his head is gaining strength, and making him more susceptible to Constantine’s manipulation.
It’s no surprise that John Constantine is a master of psychological warfare, and he quickly sets up a good-cop-bad-cop routine where he promises to get that alien intelligence out of Cray’s head through the same process that he used to cure himself of a fatal disease long ago. Constantine’s morally ambiguous in the best of times, so it makes sense that this version is the least changed from his DCU version. A Machiavellian master of the supernatural who has deals with countless dark forces and always has another trick up his sleeve? That’s Constantine, and this take might be one of the best we’ve seen since he left the confines of Vertigo. I’m a bit less sure about Diana so far – she obviously has ties to the Greek Gods, but she’s sort of brutish and senselessly violent so far. We don’t know what’s driving her like we do the others, but she’s only appeared a bit. This is now slated as a twelve-issue maxiseries and it’s been really strong so far. I’m hoping that as it enters its final arc, it’s got a lot more surprises up its sleeve. I would not have expected a Deathblow miniseries to be one of my favorite DC books this year.
Corrina: Cray is off his game because he’s backed into a corner. He can’t trust the alien intelligence in his head. He can’t trust Constantine and Diana Prince, and he certainly can’t trust his black ops handlers.
This issue seems to be leading to the conclusion of this series or, at least, this story arc of Cray tackling the evil versions of the JLA. Just when it had started to be “villain of the month,” the title morphed into higher stakes, where Constantine prowls around Cray (literally) promising everything if only Cray would give up something little, like his soul. Then there’s this Diana Prince, who has specific motivations for her evil deeds, rather than someone who simply enjoys being evil, which is the traditional Earth-3 Crime Syndicate take.
Meanwhile, back at headquarters, it looks like Cray’s time has run out as well.
What will Cray do to survive? Will he compromise his own moral code? Is there even such a thing as morals in his world?
Stay tuned next month!
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.