Mark Allen reviews Cry Havoc #6…
Cry Havoc is a book of willful contradictions. The final page of issue #6 – the last in its first arc – uses a caption to tell us that this is “the beginning”. Add to that Lou Canton’s troubled violinist/werewolf and her tendency to do the opposite of things people tell her, not to mention the book’s frequent appearances of mythic creatures that by all rights shouldn’t exist, and it becomes clear that the book’s creators like defying expectations.
The latest issue doesn’t disappoint on this front, upending many of the relationships and notions readers were introduced to over the past five issues as the story reaches its first climax. Villains are defeated; revelations are made; limbs are torn off of living beings by grotesque monsters. Business as usual for Si Spurrier, then.
That said, the book still manages to fit in a staggering amount of exposition. Cry Havoc has a dense mythology, and Spurrier has never been one to hold back on packing his word balloons and captions with idiosyncratic dialogue (and creative swearing), so it’s occasionally a little tough to make out Ryan Kelly’s gruesome, career-best art while we’re being educated on the practical uses of industrially-produced lithium and opium.
Once the conceptual dust has settled, Lou is still in a sticky situation: trapped between an army of legendary shapeshifters recruited by the revolutionary werewolf she was sent to hunt and a black-ops PMC who want to quell their nascent uprising; one intended to change the world by using the blood of a personified Zeitgeist-child. And this all happens in a cave in Afghanistan when events aren’t flashing back to Lou’s former life as a street musician in London.
Needless to say, this might not be the issue to jump on board, but if any of the above sounds like exciting, substantial reading, then you’ll want to pick up the trade when it hits shelves in August. The marriage of Kelly’s gnarly, seductive art and Spurrier’s irrepressible writing is more than enough to keep the pages turning, and the key gimmick of having three colourists each cover a different time period pays off beautifully in keeping each era distinct, even if things do get a little jumbled this issue.
As if that weren’t enough, the backmatter is filled with early sketches and Spurrier’s mandatory notes and research on the creatures featured within Cry Havoc’s pages. If you’re into mythology, this book will be like catnip for you. As the last pages make clear, the rest of Lou Canton’s story looks to be as unpredictable as the start. Or end. Middle? Who cares; it’s fun just to be in such a messy, weird and exciting world.