Review: Cry Havoc #2

cryhavoc_02-1Cry Havoc #2 is out (coincidentally, one of two werewolf-related comics published by Image this week) and it’s just as good as the first issue. However, as much of a presence as werewolves have in popular culture, Cry Havoc has twice proved itself to be something more than its monsters, so to speak.

Writer Simon Spurrier pushes the boundaries of traditional werewolf stories by incorporating shapeshifters from all backgrounds and cultures. In Cry Havoc #2, readers are introduced to more Hydes than Jekylls, as the plot of each place in the story progresses. More of Lou’s dramatic life as a shapeshifter is revealed, giving some potential hints about where her story is going and how she landed in The Red Place. Readers also get to meet other shapeshifters of different nationalities.

Spurrier has clearly done his homework, and while not all of his research makes it into the story, the backmatter for issues #1 and #2 consists of writer’s notes on each page of the story. He also includes information regarding the geographical background of each shapeshifter, something that doesn’t necessarily belong in the story itself, but makes for incredibly interesting supplemental reading.

The story itself is also notable for its threefold plot, with the reader seeing the main character, Lou Canton, at three different points in her life. Each “place” in the story (London, Afghanistan, and The Red Place) would seem to be relatively close in terms of the character’s life, though it hasn’t been formally stated. Despite having three narratives running parallel, the story is fairly straightforward. The time jumps are easily navigated by paying attention to the distinctive color scheme and panel structure of each place.

As with Cry Havoc #1, each place was colored by a different artist (Nick Filardi on London, Lee Loughridge on The Red Place, and Matt Wilson on Afghanistan). Though each place is denoted by a different color panel border, each artist’s style is distinctive enough that it’s not totally necessary. It is a unique concept though, and each color scheme highlights a different aspect of Ryan Kelly’s art. Kelly is a versatile artist, and the emphasis on varied color schemes is an innovative concept that really shows how the art can evoke a specific mood in relation to the writing.

All in all, the team on this book works extremely well in terms of art and writing. The idea of a threefold narrative colored by different people is a concept that could come off as gimmicky if done poorly, but this comic is not done poorly. It’s engaging and fresh in both its writing and structure, and it’s definitely worth a read.

Story: Simon Spurrier Art: Ryan Kelly, Nick Filardi, Lee Loughridge, and Matt Wilson
Story: 8.5 Art: 9 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.