Here I am diving into the world of DC Comics, and you would think I’d at least know a bit from TV shows and movies, but this comic is tied with Arrow’s Oliver Queen and, hate me if you will, I do not watch Arrow on the CW. Still, I review this Wildstorm: Michael Cray #1 on character development and the strong storylines I live for.
Editor’s note: There are some spoilers in this review, so we recommend reading the issue before you dive in.
Wildstorm gets off to a great start, as this issue has the best character intro for readers like me. We see a side by side of our main character, Michael Cray – and can we talk about his last name being Cray? Cray Cra (sorry I couldn’t resist). We see Cray as a young child learning the harshness of the world, paired with the visual evolution of his adulthood adjacent to it, with Cray living in the harshness of it all. A quick and dirty way to introduce the experience that has made this character who he is today. We also see Michael talking to himself in a specific way, like someone else is there with him. Oh… he is living with a sentient alien being inside him.
We can expect an interesting adventure on how this alien force and Michael came to be together, but for now we have scenes like Michael innocently killing a mouse, suggesting he may not have complete control of his abilities.
So Michael is an assassin of some sort, or special agent, who from what it seems is generally asked to kill people most the time. There is a weird dynamic between the employer, Ms. Trelane, and the main character that I didn’t like much — the classic ’employer hitting on the agent.’ Not so thrilled about the historical optics of the agent being a black man and the employer a white woman, but I can deal with the weird employer-agent dynamic. The biggest thing though is the name — Oliver Queen — as the target. Right out the gate we are targeting the big wigs; not some random international Russian diplomat to be taken out, but the Bruce Wayne of Star City. Oliver is in the early stages of his return to life in Star City, and we learn some crazy shit about Oliver.
There are some clever ways the main character’s family’s backstory is brought into the plot line. You see Michael’s father in the intro, giving young Michael the advice he needs growing up as a black man in this world. We find out at this current time, Michael hasn’t seen his father in seven years. We meet Michael’s dad and what may be his father’s girlfriend (unclear her relation to Michael) as a health conscious, socially conscious individual against injustice. And it’s pretty dope to see a black man talking about kombucha in a comic, I must say.
The comic does a good job of pulling you in with the cinematic styled visuals and form of storytelling, with a solid foundation. Having a black character with their own spin off series is always exciting. Michael Cray gifts us with the careful art of the introduction, we see the perfect beginning to a beautiful character build.