By Scott Southard. “Stories’re life. Every conversation, every picture, every walk-round-the-block… everything you do or experience: It doesn’t have a meaning… unless it’s arranged so it’s got a beginning, a middle, and an end.”
Cry Havoc, the abstract story of lycanthropic terror (masking a pretty straightforward narrative about an individual’s struggles with love, lust, and finding meaning in their actions) is branching out. But now that we’ve gotten a bit of backstory, Cry Havoc is exposing its Barghestian plot crux and giving us insight towards the terrific confusion of it all, neglecting the handheld baby-steps that do not, in fact, exist in situations like this. Such baby-steps do not, in fact, exist in any real situations at all.
Digging into the second issue, the consistency of the art presents itself much more clearly. Every page is spilling over with viciously delicate inks, and the separate color palettes for timelines are each unified and realized in their own ways (and, oh my God, Lou’s hair and the color of the wolf are so perfect). Things were clearly put together with care, and nothing got thrown on the page simply because it looked neat. Everything has a purpose and everything looks absolutely stunning.
Between panels of glorious brutality are deeply spiraling meditations on what we want out of life and what makes a fulfilling existence (and how that plays out between humans existing). The dialogue is an exercise in labyrinthian academia (new vocab term of the day: Meat Computer=Human brain), and it acts as Havoc‘s own thematic prism, giving both a tone to the characters and its decidedly high-brow theme. (There are so many damn quotables in this book — I thought about just listing them out as bullet points, but then that list got too long.) One after another, Spurrier fires off sharp quips and wise epithets, covering a wide array of humanist concepts that manage to assemble themselves piecemeal into something that resembles a coherent narrative quilt.
As disordered as Cry Havoc can be, it has a sense of holistic self-understanding. Every aspect of the book fits within its thematic structure, and every flourish is thoughtfully made. There’s an active disorganization of the story’s beginning, middle, and end: it’s a conscious deconstruction and rumination of traditional storytelling. There’s something brilliant going on here. But it’s only necessary that we remember that Cry Havoc only beginning. Only when it’s done will we be able to glean any meaning.
Written by Simon Spurrier.
Art by Ryan Kelly and Barbara Guttman.
Colors by Nick Filardi, Lee Loughridge, and Matt Wilson.
Letters by Simon Bowland.
8.5 out of 10