David Smyth reviews Cry Havoc #1…
BEHOLD THE MODERN MONSTROSITY. X-Men Legacy writer SIMON SPURRIER and superstar artist RYAN KELLY present fiends, fragility, and firepower in an all-new series, mixing the hard-boiled militaria of Jarhead with the dark folklore of Pan’s Labyrinth. Includes an unprecedented use of multiple colorists (MATT WILSON, LEE LOUGHRIDGE, & NICK FILARDI) to define the story’s threads, and an incredible variant cover by Eisner Award winner CAMERON STEWART. This is not the tale of a lesbian werewolf who goes to war. Except it kind of is.
Image Comics continues its recent tradition of perfectly executed number ones with Cry Havoc, a tale of an unwilling superhuman drafted into military service in the hopes of saving her soul.
With the sheer volume of brand new titles that the publisher puts out on a weekly basis, you would be forgiven for expecting a few missteps along the way. But in Spurrier and Kelly’s werewolf themed book they have found yet another winner.
In true Tarantino style they begin at the end, with an as yet unnamed main character in a cage with a decision to make. That person is Louise, or Lou, a struggling musician who is the unwelcome recipient of werewolf powers. Lou is a directionless young woman with an exasperated girlfriend, but her encounter with a savage lycan forces her on a journey she wants no part of.
Spurrier is on scintillating form here, delivering a masterclass in building a first issue that immediately hooks you and leaves you wanting more. His Lou is instantly likable; an aimless but affable young lady who is trying her best to stay afloat after being mercilessly thrown in at the deep end. Spurrier’s time shifts, from future to present to past, would be a clumsy tool in the hands of a less capable writer, but he wields it with devastating effect. Lou’s change, both on a personal and situational level is stark and severe, and is heightened by shuffled time-lines.
Kellys’s art compliments the writing perfectly. It shifts seamlessly between bright and defined to moody and scarred as the script dictates. His character design is faultless, each cast member exhibiting a unique body language. His sneering, focused black ops team is particularly impressive. The decision to give the colouring duties to three people, Nick Filardi, Lee Loughridge and Matt Wilson, who lend their talents to distinct moments in the shifting timeframe, is a master stroke. It lends even more emotional weight to the three timelines and is stunningly executed.
As first issues go, Cry Havoc is almost seemless. It combines pitch perfect pacing with a unique take on a classic monster, and lets its art team’s undeniable talent shine. It is a superb example of how to piece together the opening issue of a title while putting your own spin on a tested formula. Image comics is blessed to be able to add this to it’s already impressive list of creator driven titles.