Surviving the Game (Michael Cray #2)



Michael Cray has been on the losing side his whole life, now he’s looking for a fight he can win, working for a shadowy organization to take down monsters. His first target? Billionaire Oliver queen. The world can be fun, but it isn’t fair.


Wildstorm Michael Cray #2
Writer: Bryan Hill
Artist: N. Stephen Harris
Cover Artist: Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz and Steve Buccellato
Colorist: Dearbhla Kelly
Publisher: DC Comics


What You Need to Know:

Michael Cray has begun working for a shadowy organization, tasked with training a team and leading missions to take out the bad guys, starting with Oliver Queen, better known as Green Arrow. Green Arrow is apparently off the deep end, hunting homeless people in a most dangerous game scenario in a game preserve. Meanwhile Michael is developing a power that he can’t control, disintegrating things he touches without warning.

What You’ll Find Out:

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The issue begins with in a narrow Victorian alley, there are airships above the buildings and Micheal Cray dressed in raiments of the era is walking. A pair playing chess are discussing him as the play, while a third person, a woman with a golden steampunk style sniper rifle appears to be tracking Cray.

Suddenly Cray dips before she can fire, using a grappling hook to get behind her, he fires hitting her in the back, grabbing her weapon, he takes out the two playing chess.

The simulation ends with Cray congratulating his team and critiquing their technique on the attack. He turns around to reveal Ms Trelane, his contact from the organization (the agency? They haven’t named it yet, I don’t know what to call it)

The team consists of Hector Morales, Leon Carver, and a woman just called Victoria at this point. Hector tells Cray they need to start planning if they’re going to make it into Queen’s compound, Cray replies he already has one, he started this job alone and he’ll end it alone. He instructs Trelane to give his team whatever they want, and if they get matching jumpsuits he quits.


Next page we find Cray visiting a doctor to try and get to the bottom of his powers (he disintegrated a mouse on accident last issue by touching it) the doctor says his neurological scans don’t reveal anything life threatening, but his brain is rewiring itself on a cellular level. She suggests his condition might be a result of stress and says he should try to relax, maybe try meditation.

Later we find Michael posing as a homeless man at the Queen second chance center, interviewing for a job. The interview process seems more focused on military career than job qualifications, after the interviewer (might be Thea? She calls Oliver her brother at one point) is satisfied she pulls a stun gun out of nowhere and knocks Michael out.

Michael wakes up on the ground surrounded by trees, he’s in a wilderness preserve dome, he looks around a bit and sees a house. As he walks in the house we cutaway to a computer room, Oliver is watching.

Oliver says he’s aware that Cray is not a homeless vet, but is in fact an assassin, but that doesn’t matter, and he looks forward to besting him. He gives Michael a pistol and tells him the rules are simple, he must survive.

The house explodes in a beautiful ¾ page spread as Cray dives away. While Cray gathers his wits in the burning wreckage Queen comes on the loudspeaker and does a bit of a villian monologue “purity in primality” so on and so forth, “how does it feel to be hunted by a monster?” Cray is unfazed and loads the pistol as an arrow streaks toward him.

Cray is hit in the thigh as Queen appears in person, Cray fires, forcing Queen to dive for cover. Cray takes the opportunity to find cover himself as the pistol spontaneously disintegrates in his hand.

Cray groans in frustration and Queen hits him again, in the shoulder this time. Laughing Queen asks if Cray is still alive. Hit twice and on fire Cray dives on Queen out of the bushes.

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The two begin to fight in a well done 2 page action spread, Cray takes the bow first, Queen gets a kick in but Cray does as well, Queen pulls a knife and stabs Cray in The chest. Queen grins and stands over Cray, his victory assured.

Suddenly Queen’s arm disintegrates, screaming he crawls over to his knife and begins to advance on the injured Cray again. Suddenly a gunshot rings out, hitting Queen in the head, Cray’s team member Victoria is revealed with a sniper rifle.

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Victoria walks over and offers her hand to help him up, given the circumstances Cray declines. Victoria says Trelane sent them, if Cray dies they’re out of a job. Victoria asks about Cray’s power, Cray doesn’t answer and says he’s leaving.

Cut to a holding cell, inside is maybe Thea speaking to Trelane, Trelane is telling the a if she isn’t useful she dies. “Be a flower. Not a weed. Weeds get cut.”

Cray is at the doctor again recounting his fight and the disintegration, the doctor says if Cray is worried she can have him benched. Cray says he isn’t worried, he just wants to figure out how to control it so he can use it on people that deserve it, she tells him to get back to work then.

Cray calls Trelane for his next target, this one is a police officer, who needs to be taken out “FAST!”

You guessed it, next issue, Barry Allen!

What Just Happened?


This was a satisfying conclusion after watching Oliver Queen brutally murder a homeless man in cold blood first issue. Its important to note Wildstorm comics take place on earth 50 outside of standard DC continuity. The build-up was great, the opening did a good job of showing the team working together, and why Cray is the boss. I liked the sequence with the doctor giving us some insight into Michael’s powers, which are otherwise completely unexplained up until this point. Its hard to believe Queen is a maniac forcing people to share his experience on murderconspiracy island but he plays the part well, the art does stellar work making him believable, he enjoys what he’s doing, frequently grinning and even giving a small laugh as he attempts murder. I am very curious what the company Cray is working for is, seems like it must be government but it doesnt look like it is.


The art is very well done, with slight changes to Green Arrows classic look and well done action scenes, the plot is definitely aided by the visuals, taking Queen from righteous left wing do gooder on earth prime to grinning maniac on earth 50 wouldn’t be easy to swallow otherwise, the steampunk setting in the opening deserves honorable mention, it was wonderfully presented.


This series is well done, and fits in the Wildstorm universe well (which is a compliment just read anything with Midnighter in it) I look forward to the next issue. Barry Allen look out!


Rating: 8/10

Final Thought:


Michael Cray #2 is a solid conclusion of the story setup in issue #1, I’m curious if this’ll be a villian of the month type scenario (2 months actually) or if we’ll be building up to a conspiracy of some kind. Time will tell.

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