Issue #4 of Cry Havoc is the type of book that exemplifies so much of what I love about comics.
Cry Havoc is a about a werewolf. That in and of itself is pretty rad and had that been the only thing this book was about with this creative team, it would have still been a cool comic. But the story of the werewolf in Cry Havoc ends up exploring themes of mythology, war, the privatization of public goods, love and more. That it does all of this so naturally while never losing sight of it’s compelling narrative, engrossing character’s or lively dialogue is further evidence of just how special this book is. There is a strange alchemy between writer Si Spurrier, illustrator Ryan Kelly and colorists Matt Wilson, Lee Loughridge and Nick Firaldi; Cry Havoc #4 is it’s own kind of magic that you only get from the comics medium.
Si Spurrier and Ryan Kelly are both great and accomplished comics professional’s who were already in the rarefied air to have an ongoing approved by Image Comics and announced at one of the publisher’s expo’s. But Cry Havoc has been another level for both creative’s in terms of sheer quality. Spurrier has been a writer whose excelled at doing fun and off beat big idea comics with deep character work while Kelly’s subtle and technically adept visual storytelling has elevated anything he’s worked on without going out of it’s way to announce itself. In Cry Havoc, all the thing’s that have made Spurrier’s past work stand out feel more well rounded, fleshed out and just a little bit more resonant overall while Kelly does some of his most imaginative and engrossing comics art ever. This week’s installment is an especially strong showing from the two in how effortlessly they unfold the book’s most complex and dense chapter to date without skimming anything. That’s partially what’s so impressive in this particular issue and the Cry Havoc series as a whole, everything they’re doing in this book is next level but they haven’t lost anything in the process; together and with their team of colorist, they make each other better.
Let’s talk about those colorist because the way that Wilson, Loughridge & Firaldi each bring their own unique style quirks to the book while maintaining a consistent aesthetic is a triumph in and of itself. When I first heard that there would be three separate colorist on the comic, part of me was suspicious that it was a gimmick but four issues deep into the series, each of their contributions feels nothing less then essential. Matt Wilson’s Afghanistan has a rough and dirty quality to match the desert setting while Nick Firaldi’s London has a bluish sheen of the modern metropolis and Lee Loughridge’s rebel base that opens and closes the issue has a straight away bold aesthetic that’s accentuated from the red bordering. Yet in spite of their differences, they each maintain consistency in the hue’s used for protaginist Louise, her transformations and the magical realism that weave’s in and out of the narrative. It’s a masterful balancing act of individual excellence and seamless collaboration that the colorist give Cry Havoc #4 to make it one of the most visually distinctive comics of the week.
Cry Havoc #4; a book about a werewolf taking place in London & Afghanistan that’s as much about modern warfare and globalization as it is ancient mythology and humanity. A comic where five accomplished comics professional’s collaborate to make something where each individual’s aesthetic is apparent but is still completely singular to the team’s work together. A great single issue of a comic. a special kind of creative magic.
What’s the difference really?