Secretly brilliant and with a mature serving of metaphors, Cry Havoc has enough within its pages to warrant a second look.
I patted myself on the back today, just because I convinced myself to take a chance on Cry Havoc. As a result, its safe to say that i’m now leaning more towards checking out comics that I know nothing about. The cover, with its depiction of a snarling werewolf gives little of the story away. All we have is the unsettling declaration that a monster lurks within. More in keeping with the theme of monsters and fear, is the revealing quote from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Writer Simon Spurrier kicks off the story with an end scene, our protagonist Louise Canton is caged, and, as her arm shifts from superhuman to human, she is questioned about whether she’s inside or out of the cage.
Before long, we’re taken to a London zoo, where we learn about Louise’s fun job as a zookeeper, and also, thanks to her lesbian lover, about the nuances of matriarchal hyena society. But before allowing us to get too comfortable in London, Spurrier speeds the story along to its middle, where Lou is surrounded by soldiers out in Afghanistan. We eventually get to meet some of the grunts, each of whom have a speciality – a talent for which they were hand-picked for their mission. Lou herself hasn’t managed to conceal the fact that she’s got a few abilities of her own, after being attacked by a mysterious wolf in an alley outside a central London courthouse. This is where things start to get all weapon-Xish, and if you read through this scene without reminding yourself of the similar proceedings from the Wolverine film, then I doff my hat to you!
Cry Havoc has the kind of pacing that other comics should strive to replicate. Without giving away the ending, the story comes full circle after the origin of Lou’s powers are revealed, and while the mission to apprehend rogue specialist soldier Lynn Odell seems cut and dried, readers might find themselves curious enough to wonder and crave the origins of Odell’s powers, and maybe to a lesser extent, the other soldiers in the squad, who haven’t quite shown us what they can do, apart from the inane pulverising of a goat in the Kandahar wilderness.
Spurrier knows what he’s doing with this story, and its hard to fault what’s on his pages, but maybe the presence of the cliched blonde gay Swede could’ve been a little unnecessary? Yes, gayness, and social structures are some of the questions raised here, so maybe it’s a factor that comes into play later on in the story. Cry Havoc features a roster of artists that have done well to work with colour themes, keeping parts of the story – the beginning, middle and end, with their respective hues. The textured scenes in Afghanistan are a grainy pleasure to the eye, and they can applaud their work on this gripping debut issue from Image Comics.
Writer – Simon Spurrier
Artists – Ryan Kelly, Nick Filardi, Lee Loughridge, Matt Wilson