Fittingly, Cry Havoc #1 starts off with a quote from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, a different journey into dark territory in search of wayward military leader, of sorts. Of course, Cry Havoc is also about werewolves, so it is its own beast, so to speak. There’s a lot going on in the first issue, which jumps back and forth in time and around the globe. It gives you a story that you instantly want more of. It sinks it’s teeth into you on the very first page and won’t let go. This is one utterly fantastic comic book.
Writer Simon (Si) Spurrier and artist Ryan Kelly have created something truly special with Cry Havoc. It’s a comic about mythology, but also a comic about us. It’s about having a monster inside you and about the darkness in us all. It’s about nightmares, both real and imagined. There’s something unabashedly honest about it, about the characters and their world. And in case you need reminding, it’s also about werewolves. Big, ugly, monstrous werewolves that appear like smoke and lightning. Violent, dark, and human, Cry Havoc is Si Spurrier writing at this best.
Ryan Kelly was born to draw this book. He has done lots of work recently that shows his strength with characters and emotions, but Cry Havoc allows him to combine those skills with some truly terrifying monsters. He effortlessly shifts from surreal visions and demonic werewolves to private military groups and abandoned prisons. The art in this issue is fluid and engaging, you can’t help being sucked in. Kelly absolutely kills it on every page, in every damn panel.
One of this issue’s neatest tricks is the use of multiple colorists. Nick Filardi, Lee Loughridge, and Matt Wilson each color a different place and time. These artist bring an immense amount of tone and feel to their pages. Loughridge’s “red place” is nothing like Filardi’s London, despite the fact that they are written and drawn by the same writer and artist. If nothing else, the use of three different colorists shows just how much a colorist brings to a book. Cry Havoc has look and feel all its own, and that is largely because of what the colorists do with their pages.
Whereever Cry Havoc ends up going, you can’t deny this has been one hell of a beginning. As far as first issues go, this one is a home run. Graceful, elegant, visceral, and fierce, this one runs the gamut. If there is any justice in the world, this will be another huge hit for Image Comics.