WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS up to Wildstorm: Michael Cray #4
The Flash isn't always a hero, but in Wildstorm: Michael Cray he's a flat-out murderer. The DC fans can rest easy without fear of yet another evil Barry Allen in their comic universe, since this version is at home purely in the Wildstorm universe - for now. The new creative imprint led by writer Warren Ellis promised to give Michael Cray - the assassin formerly known as Deathblow - a story of his own, and just a few issues in, it's exceeding plenty of expectations. But then, pitting a comic universe's most infamous killer against evil, twisted versions of DC's Justice League heroes will do that.
With Michael Cray #4 it's a brilliant forensic scientist that the mysterious Executive Protection Services has in their sights. The key difference is that this Barry Allen has used his cutting-edge speedster armor and superhuman abilities to kill. Michael Cray is in the business of killing killers, but our exclusive preview of Issue #4 shows his team taking a more... subtle approach to retiring this dark Flash's brand of science.
The premise will be a shock to new readers, or those only casually aware of Michael Cray, or DC's larger Wildstorm relaunch and plans. The solo Cray series was one spiraled out of Ellis's The Wild Storm series, which saw the assassin's employment with International Operations terminated. The aforementioned EPC stepped in to snatch him up, since they're another equally mysterious, equally murderous shadowy group in need of killers. With the job has come a new life, new home, and new freedom to approve and execute his targets as he sees fit - with a handpicked team, no less.
The first issues established the apparent premise of Michael Cray, when his first target was revealed to be Oliver Queen. Same backstory as DC's Universe, but in the Wildstorm world, a twisted billionaire who hunted human beings for sport (until he met Michael, of course). Now Barry Allen is next, re-imagined as a man convinced A.I. and technological innovations are going to destroy humanity.
His solution? Murder scientists who ignored his warnings. Or scientists in the field... any scientists, really. Despite that misguided mental prowess, Michael's team hatched a plan that begins with calling Barry Allen out directly. Take a look at the preview pages below:
These preview pages do a good job of communicating, so far, the two best features of Michael Cray. First is the obvious fan service and fun of seeing such twisted (psychologically, not cartoonishly) variations of DC's heroes. But Bryan Hill and the art team's slow pace, keeping the mood constant and, more important, anchored squarely on its hero and not the celebrity cameos.
Now the only question is what Cray's team will do next, and how they plan to kill a man who can travel faster than the naked eye. For that, fans will need to read Issue #4 for themselves.
Check out a full synopsis for the issue below:
WILDSTORM: MICHAEL CRAY (2017) #4
Published: January 10, 2018
Writer: Bryan Hill
Art: Dexter Vines, N Steven Harris
Cover Artist: Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz
With a plan in place, Michael Cray and his team have made an attempt to befriend the psychotic Barry Allen in order to bring him down and bring his murders to an end. But with a paranoid conspiracy theorist like Barry Allen, does Cray have the upper hand, or is he walking into a trap?
Wildstorm: Michael Cray #4 hits local comic shops and digital services on January 10, 2018.