By Molly Jane Kremer. There are a thousand comic books out there vying for your attention as a reader, and it can be extremely difficult to decide which you should spend your hard-earned cash on. Image Comics tends to have the best bang for your buck anyway, in this humble reviewer’s opinion, but their newest debut comic Cry Havoc has the further advantage of boasting an incredibly intriguing elevator pitch: Lou, the protagonist, is a lesbian werewolf soldier of fortune. (Plus the title is from a Shakespeare quote, so I’m already predisposed to liking it.) Written by Simon Spurrier with art by Ryan Kelly, and with three of the industry’s best colorists working in tandem: Nick Filardi, Lee Loughridge and Matt Wilson; Cry Havoc is a far more thoughtful and refined book than that aforementioned pitch might let on.
Simon Spurrier has had a great track record with creator owned comics in the past couple years. His notable decade-plus of work at 2000AD and Marvel aside, recent co-creations Six-Gun Gorilla and The Spire—with the talented Jeff Stokely—have been stand-outs in an already impressive career. Ryan Kelly has been a Vertigo mainstay for over fifteen years now (with temporary sojourns to Oni, Dark Horse, Marvel, and self-publishing at different points), and the consistently great quality of his art, coupled with his talent for drawing expressive people and realistic action alongside a spate of supernatural craziness, is exactly what this comic demands.
Cry Havoc features the work of three different colorists for each of the three different story points the comic jumps between: Nick Filardi, Lee Loughridge, and (the ever-amazing) Matthew Wilson take turns using a different color-palette to theme their pages, delicately differentiating the separate plots. Each colorist communicates their own distinctive style without deviating too far from the others. Despite these numerous colorist-shifts, the comic somehow remains a very cohesive and utterly immersive reading experience. It activates more parts of your brain than you may have initially expected. (In a good way, of course.)
Lou’s suppressed animal nature and her obvious fear of unleashing it—of letting slip the dogs of war, to reference the title—promises to have interesting consequences, especially for the slightly abusive relationship she finds herself in. This first issue perfectly establishes her character, but it leaves more than enough questions lingering around her—specific how she’s progressed between the segments of the story—to make reading the next issue an absolute necessity.
Everything about this makes for a fantastic read, from the book’s gorgeous logo (assumedly made by Emma Price, credited with the book’s design), it’s apt Heart of Darkness intro quote, and all the way to the annotations within the book’s final pages. The notes have the same chatty, conversational quality as Kieron Gillen’s Phonogram glossaries (which is high praise—I love those damn things), and are just as informative. This is a great start for a promising new series. Cry Havoc is one Image debut that should definitely not be missed.
Written by Simon Spurrier.
Art by Ryan Kelly.
Colors by Nick Filardi, Lee Loughridge, and Matt Wilson.
Letters by Simon Bowland.
9 out of 10