Michael Cray 2, or as I’m calling it Michael Cray Kills the DC Universe was a fun enough, fast-paced read. It was far more about setting up the series’ core concepts than the conflict between Cray and Oliver Queen. I like the idea of the nuWSU having ersatz versions of DC characters, but they’ve gone wrong in the same way the world has been corrupted and made lesser by the cold war between IO and Skywatch. It would have been nice to see a bit more of Queen as a bloviating megalomaniac before he was dispatched.
My main niggle right now is that the book needs a bit more muscle to it than just Cray and his team killing DCU characters. Presumably there’ll be a bit more to the emergence of his powers and his interactions with Skywatch, but right now that feels like window dressing. (also, anyone else notice that Cray is apparently a muslim?)
The Wild Storm 9. I think it was Ronnie who said this was a catch-up issue, and that feels about right here - but that doesn’t mean nothing happens. While Angie’s plot doesn’t do much (Marlowe’s description of his secret location made me think TARDIS, which amused me), there’s a lot of background unearthed and machinations afoot at IO and Division, as well as some background for John Colt as well.
It’s these parts are the real driving force in the issue - the biggest moment inside IO is the dicsussion between Craven and King about John Lynch. Tying Cole Cash to Lynch is a bit of a reference to the original WSU - Lynch and Grifter were both members of Team Seven, an IO special forces team which also included Michael Cray/Deathblow, Marc Slayton/Backlash and Jackson Dane from Wetworks - the latter two have yet to appear in The Wild Storm though. The idea of Lynch instigating a trail of destruction as he leaves feels very much like early Gen13 as well.
Colt’s flashback and dialogue helps us fill in some blanks on Kheran culture in the new universe, and there’s a strict hierarchy on display, enforced with the naming conventions used. The idea that the Kherans have a caste based system dates back to Alan Moore’s run on WildCATs, but it’s interesting to see the glimpse of Ellis’ reimagining. It’s a very nice touch that Colt uses the relative freedom of their effective exile to Earth to enjoy material excess that he would be denied at home. Also, the samurai battle looked cool, and the subtitled were a very nice touch.
There’s a lot in the transitions in this issue - that full-page cityscape that splits King and Craven’s scene from Colt and Kenesha’s is gorgeous, and the jump from their scene to Lucy Blaze is presaged with a mention og her Kheran name, just like her scene jumps to King and Sanders outside IO with a foreshadowing moment that suggests he’ll be Skywatch’s route into IO.
Oh, and in DCU references, Paul Kirk, Sanders’ favourite action character, is the name of the first incarnation of the Manhunter to be published by DC, back in the 40s.