SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for The Wild Storm: Michael Cray #1 by Brian Hill, N. Steven Harris, Dexter Vines, Steve Buccellato and Simon Boland, out now.
Nearly two decades ago, Warren Ellis helped redefine the Wildstorm Universe when he took over Stormwatch and introduced characters like Jenny Sparks, Apollo and Midnighter. Alongside Bryan Hitch, Ellis took the superheroes of the Wildstorm Universe deeper down into the dark world of black-ops superheroics and brought them back out the other side and into the public eye with The Authority, while exploring the even weirder sides of the world with John Cassaday in Planetary.
Now, Ellis is redefining the Wildstorm Universe in a whole new way for a whole new era. This time, instead of building on what came before, he gets to build it from the ground-up, reintroducing concepts such as The Engineer, WildC.A.T.S and Skywatch for a decade that is more obsessed with technology than ever before. As part of building that world out, Ellis has recruited other creative teams for stories set within his world such as this week's The Wild Storm: Michael Cray which sees the world's greatest assassin on the run from his old job, facing a possibly terminal illness and tasked with killing a mad billionaire recently returned from being lost at sea named Oliver Queen.
Meet The New Boss
Prior to his own solo series, Michael Cray was working for International Operations, who sent him to kill Jacob Marlowe of the HALO Corporation but in doing so Cray discovered two things. One: Jacob Marlowe isn't quite human and two: neither is he. Cray has a lethal touch — a Deathblow, if you will — which is tied to a potentially cancerous tumor located in his brain. IO decided Cray was a better asset to them dead than alive and sent a team to kill him, but Cray took them all out and managed to get away, alongside Christine Trelane who offered him safety, his own team and medical support to diagnose and hopefully cure him.
Cray isn't too keen on working with a full team but he isn't fully against it either, as he settles into his new home in Oakland, not too far from his father whom he hasn't seen in seven years. Trelane tells him that his first target is a spoiled billionaire named Oliver Queen and tells him to go see his father to find out more information. Cray's father George isn't part of the global intelligence network but is a man with his ear to the ground in the community and he fills Michael in as to who Oliver Queen is, or at least what he knows.
Oliver Queen survived a shipwreck which killed his parents and after a significant time stranded on an island he made his way home to America where he took control of his parents assets and is rebuilding their company in his own image. Curiously, George Cray points out how the situation isn't too different to another kid out there, one whose parents were shot in an alley and who inherited their billions as an adult -- an obvious allusion to the existence of if not a Wild Storm incarnation of Batman, then at least a Wild Storm incarnation of Bruce Wayne. As far as George Cray knows, Oliver Queen runs drugs into inner cities so that they become hotbeds of crime, then funds politicians who promise to bring the hammer down on those communities, allowing Queen to come in and gentrify the whole area.