The Wildstorm: Michael Cray #3
Writer: Bryan Hill
Art: N. Stephen Harris
Publisher: DC Comics
What You Need to Know:
Oliver Queen’s reign of terror is done, the billionaire is dead and his murder preserve is gone. The shadowy organization Michael Cray works for (unnamed within this series but I think its IO) has given him his next target, a super-fast serial killer named Barry Allen.
What You’ll Find Out:
We open on Cray’s house in Oakland, he pulls an arrowhead out of his bag and puts it on a shelf with a bunch of other superhero and villain memorabilia (trophies?) despite being a lifelong DC fan I can’t name all the things in the trophy case (if you can let me know!)
Cut away to Salem, Massachusetts, a woman is eating a pre-prepared dinner off a TV tray surrounded by armed guards and body armor, suddenly the room is rocked by an explosion. In the blown out doorway stands a man wearing black, he fidgets with a control panel on his wrist then he runs across the room faster than any of the guards can react killing each of them almost instantly suddenly he’s in front of the woman. He says something cryptic as he kills her.
We cut to Michael Cray talking to his boss in their headquarters about the murder. She reveals the woman was a scientist working in the field of artificial intelligence. She tells Cray that Allen punched a hole in her chest and exploded her heart through a bulletproof vest. Cray asks how this is possible, she tells him that Barry Allen is a genius inventor who has invented a next-gen smart armor that increases muscle reaction speed, while simultaneously combining it with supplements that deregulate adrenaline production. Although they are likely killing him slowly they make him unbelievably fast, for now….
She continues talking to Cray and explains that Allen has been writing letters to scientists warning them that artificial intelligence will destroy mankind. Cray asks how Allen has been getting away with this, she tells him that Allen is a crime scene tech and alters the crime scenes, in this case, he made it look like a sniper killed her and her guards. Cray systems to read the letters in order to understand Allen.
We move on to Allen, he is talking to himself in the mirror about his newfound power. He is clearly very unhinged, and dangerous.
For the rest of the story pick up The Wildstorm: Michael Cray #3 at your local comic book store!
What Just Happened?
So far this Wildstorm reboot has essentially been an Elseworlds (The Wildstorm takes place on Earth-50 according to Multiversity) and an interesting one at that. We’ve seen two dramatically different takes on long-established DC heroes. The plot in this issue was a little toothless, overall not terrible, just ineffectual, not unlike the first issue, it seems like this series would be much better as self-contained double size issues. The development has been very light in terms of actual progress in Cray’s character, his team and his goals.
The villains have been interesting solely because they’re different than we’re used to, but Queen’s motivation was paper thin and so is Allen’s. Both villains are clearly insane, but in both cases, the reason they’re over the edge is poorly justified and just kind of weak. This series had a semi-strong start but if that’s where it stops I don’t see myself buying the whole run. I have considered cutting it from the pull list more than once already and depending on the next issue I might pull the plug.
The art in the first couple issues was pretty great, especially action scenes. This issue the action scenes look great but on multiple occasions (seriously, 5 or so) people’s mouths gain cartoonish proportions and look really off-putting and strange. I do really like the look of Barry’s super suit and like them having his powers be tech-based and the scene where he takes down the security detail was pretty awesome.
Rating: 6/ 10
Although not bad, this series could be so much better at times, and this issue has been the weakest so far. The next issue could be the deciding factor on whether this series succeeds or fails in terms of storytelling. The issues seem weak on their own but work well when reading in succession, a common issue with comics these days. If you’re going to lay a story out in a way that only really works in trade form then don’t release single issues.