With each issue of Cry Havoc, writer Simon Spurrier has the task of balancing three narratives that, while separate, are directly related. So far readers have met Louise Canton at three points in her life, denoted by location: London, Afghanistan, and the Red Place, with each place falling in this order, chronologically. The story isn’t as confusing as it’s made out to be, kept distinct by Ryan Kelly’s illustration and a legion of colorists.
By now, it’s clear that London was the first part of Louise’s journey, as she grappled with control over her inner monster. Afghanistan has been framed in the context of getting rid of the monster, and the Red Place would appear to be a mission gone FUBAR. The events leading up to the Red Place are still an unknown, but the first three issues ended with images of Lou, pregnant and locked in a cage. This is largely playing catch-up on the series, but it all bears relevance to #4.
With Cry Havoc #4, Spurrier finally discusses the elephant in the womb. (I’d say I’m sorry about the pun, but I’m not.) Lou was decidedly pregnant in issue #2 (and in #1, upon closer examination of the last page) something on which that the villainous Lynn Odell clearly means to capitalize.
Given that the only relationship Louise has been in was with a woman, it certainly seemed possible that the pregnancy was the result of unspeakably awful circumstances. However, Spurrier deserves the faith readers have invested in the story so far. While the events surrounding the pregnancy aren’t ideal, the way in which it’s handled brings the narrative into a clearer time frame.
The story also continues to make some interesting points about how, culturally, stories are valued and told. Other characters continue to develop while the world of inner demons, for lack of a better term, develops.
As usual, one of the highlights of the story is the art. Kelly’s illustration is highlighted in different ways by each of the three colorists, and the palettes begin to blend a little more as each place comes closer to the next in terms of the timeline. Lee Loughridge emphasizes the characters in red hues more than any other aspect of the Red Place, giving the sense that Lynn and Lou are the most important players in the game. Nick Filardi’s London colors but equal focus on the characters and their surroundings, which are most often portrayed in colors that have an underlying blue tone. Matt Wilson’s Afghanistan is a blend of the two–most often neutral, but with some spectacular pops of color that highlight each mythical being in a unique way.
Cry Havoc is still a fun and engaging read four issues in, with solid pacing that reveals enough to both move the story forward and to keep readers feeling like they’re not waiting forever. That said, the endgame largely remains a mystery, as does the fates of many of the characters.
Story: Simon Spurrier Art: Ryan Kelly Colorists: Lee Loughridge, Nick Filardi, Matt Wilson
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.