Hunting the Supernatural in “Cry Havoc” #1 (Review)

Jan 29, 2016

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Cry Havoc #1CryHavoc01-CvrA-6c7b8
Image Comics

Story by: Simon Spurrier
Illustrated by: Ryan Kelly
Colored by: Nick Filardi, Lee Loughridghe, and Matt Wilson
Lettered by: Simon Bowland
Designed by: Emma Price

When reading the description for “Cry Havoc” it seemed as though a lot was coming together. The protagonist, Louise, is a CryHavoc01-ReviewPage2-145e3lesbian gone werewolf who joins a specialty branch of the armed forces. Admittedly, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect since each of these topics could easily remain the focal point of the series. Each allows them to explore Lousie from multiple angles as the issue story progresses. However, what sets this title apart is that it employs multiple narratives that rely on different artistic styles to tell the story.

One element that really appealed to me about “Cry Havoc” was the large creative team behind the publication. Spurrier’s writing works to juggle three narratives throughout the issue and each one has a corresponding color and colorist. In chronological CryHavoc01-ReviewPage5-a55c3order, there is the blue story (by Nick Filardi) that deals with Louise’s time in London and relationship with her girlfriend, Sam. Then, the yellow story (by Matt Wilson) illustrates Louise’s time amongst supernatural mercenaries in the Middle East. Finally, the red story (by Lee Loughridge), from what we can guess, is about her time as a prisoner. Each of these stories tells a different piece of Louise’s life yet they bounce back and forth as the issue progresses. However, not only is each story signified by an altered color palette but, as noted in the Annotations section, each one is structured with different panel choices to further differentiate narratives. Thus, this issue is able to showcase a larger variety of artistic talents and styles while keeping every page feeling fresh, unique, and, most importantly, clearly defined from the remainder.

One of the key advantages of this narrative choice is that multiple stories can be easily managed simultaneously. However, the downside to this is that it detracts from a sense of unity early on. At the moment, we understand that Louise is having financial trouble in London, hunting a former agent in the Middle East, and is currently a prisoner. How these narratives come together is still pretty unclear but I’m certain that as the series progresses the gaps between these stories will steadily become seamless. I’m interested in seeing how Louise got involved with supernatural mercenaries and how she came to be captured, but I feel as though there may be some time before we gain a clearer picture of this team’s vision.