The Wild Storm: Michael Cray #9 – Bryan Hill, Writer; N. Steven Harris, Penciller; Dexter Vines, Andy Owens, Inkers; Ross Campbell, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: The Wild Storm: Michael Cray #9 continues the horror-influenced story that pits the title hitman against a pair of the deadliest DC doppelgangers yet – Dr. John Constantine and his partner, Diana Prince. Unlike the doppelgangers of Green Arrow, Aquaman, and Flash, Cray hasn’t committed to killing them yet – instead, he’s actually been pulled into their plot, as they’ve hinted they can cure him of the mysterious alien intelligence that’s pushing back in his mind. Much like those previous villains, these aren’t simply stock villain versions of heroes like the Earth-3 characters. They each have their own unique motivations that you can tie back to their heroic versions but twisted beyond recognition. Constantine is a student of the occult, trading his soul for life and doing whatever he can to keep it, while Diana is a worshipper of the old gods, seeing only corruption in the modern world and plotting to bring them back through an ancient ritual that she needs the bad doctor’s help for.
In some ways, the only issue with this series has been that Michael Cray often feels like a bystander in his own title. He’s a fine character, but he’s surrounded by a constant array of dynamic villains who take over the title. As the series heads towards its final arc, I think that might be changing. This issue features some fascinating segments taking place in Cray’s mind, as he finds it harder and harder to fight back against the alien’s influence. As the ruthless Trelane continues to hunt him to bring him back to her employers, his former team tracks him down as they renew their alliance, and his closest ally gets a creepy visit from Constantine in the cliffhanger. He even manages to pick up the markings of the classic Deathblow, a nice tribute to the character’s Wildstorm heritage. Bryan Hill is obviously on to bigger things now, writing one of DC’s flagship titles this week, but I’m hoping all Detective Comics fans are picking this up as well. It’s one of DC’s best sleeper hits at the moment, and I can’t wait to see how Cray is going to take down these villains.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.