[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Bryan Hill
Artists: Larry Hama, N. Steven Harris, Dearbhla Kelly
The gothic horror concludes as Michael Cray goes one on one with the savage monster, Arthur Curry. A fun issue with plenty of action, a couple laughs and even a couple surprises. Continuing the tone of the series, readers can know what to expect by this point while new readers may be baffled at what they’re reading and convinced to check out the other issues.
Michael Cray is slowly becoming one of my favourite books. A nice way to describe it would be to say that it ‘knows what it is.’ It’s an action series spinning off from The Wild Storm to give readers more backstory on the new, rebooted Michael Cray. At least, that’s all it has to be but Bryan Hill is now consistently making the series stand out each month in subtle ways. Last month it was the gothic tone. This month that tone recedes into the darkness a bit while a more camp tone takes its place. It sounds bizarre but it works.
Camp is the best way I can describe Michael Cray being dragged into the sea by a giant octopus. It’s silly but it’s never so silly that the reader is lost. Bryan Hill knows how to write an issue. The series is a bit like combat sports at this stage. Each arc comes in two issues. One to hype the fight between Cray and his foe, and one to showcase the fight. You would think the hype issue would be dull but it never is. Last month’s issue was fantastic and I would say outshines this ‘fight’ issue slightly. To combat this Hill has started hyping the next arc within this issue.
Without spoilers, the next arc features another DC character but it’s not one we would expect, especially at this point in the series. The way in which the character is introduced works well to build suspense and break up the somewhat hilarious action taking place between Cray and Evil Aquaman.
One thing to note is that the colouring particularly stood out this month. Dearbhla Kelly is beginning to make the art in this series her own.
Two problems stood out to me. As always I feel the art lets the issue down in some places. Character’s faces just look so comical at times that it detracts from Hill’s writing. You can’t have a serious tense build to a fight scene if Michael Cray pulls a ridiculous face whenever he’s in trouble.
Another issue I had was Michael Cray’s powers. They develop the most in this issue and yet nothing is really explained. The art doesn’t help, especially in comparison to the depiction of his powers in The Wild Storm, but it’s generally hard to tell what he’s doing. It looks like he’s shooting lasers out his hands in a few pages. Hopefully this will be expanded upon in the coming months.
All in all, Hill and his team deliver another fun issue that reminds readers why they like comics. There’s a bit of everything here with action, comedy, suspense and intrigue. It’s not going for a super serious, dark and gritty tone and yet it works some serious moments into an action fueled issue about Michael Cray fighting an evil fish version of Aquaman.