In 2017, DC Comics relaunched the Wildstorm Universe with The Wild Storm, by Warren Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt. This book, and it’s companion series Wildstorm: Michael Cray (by Bryan Hill, N. Steven Harris and Dexter Vines), have remained true to the para-military superheroics the universe was founded on in the 1990s, while modernizing the core concepts and trading out the original’s “Extreme” factor for a more nuanced approach. The results have been fascinating and familiar, and yet very new.
Set in a world very much like our own, Hill and Harris have used their series to do more than reintroduce a popular character in a new light. The series has also given us an evil Justice League unlike anything we have seen before. As an expert assassin, Cray is given priority targets to take out before they can hurt innocent people. The catch is that all his assignments have involved targeting evil versions of superheroes from the DC Universe.
It’s difficult to get people interested in a new universe, one separate from the most iconic heroes and villains fans want to see. by giving us a taste of something familiar, yet severely twisted, the creative team behind Michael Cray have locked in their audience, making sure we’re tuning in issue after issue in order to see what DC hero will be twisted next.
So far, Cray has fought a deranged Oliver Queen, who didn’t really come back from that island as a sane man. Then he took on Barry Allen, a conspiracy theorist and schizophrenic who used a speed suit to kill tech people. In issue #5, Cray is due to go up against Dr. Arthur Curry, a geneticist who has spliced his DNA to turn himself into a monstrous “Aquaman.”
Who’s next? A Batman who is a brutal vigilante murderer? A military super soldier Wonder Woman who thinks she’s a god? How about a Superman clone out to destabilize civilization? There is so much potential here, and new readers a certain to be intrigued by what is familiar.
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