Print this page

‘Cry Havoc Volume 1:’ Trade Paperback Review

To describe the plot of Cry Havoc makes it sound like the kind of story you’ve heard a hundred times before. Lou is an ordinary English woman who’s bitten by a werewolf, causing her to gain extraordinary abilities and a terrifying dark side to her personality. She’s then recruited by the U.S. Army into an elite group of others with strange and extraordinary abilities who are tasked with Lynn Odell, formerly one of their ranks who has now gone rogue—and who is also a werewolf. The plot, laid out in that way, seems fairly standard, the sort of thing you’ve read in a dozen other comics just like this. Only the story of Cry Havoc is anything but standard, and you definitely haven’t read anything like this.

First of all, “werewolf” isn’t quite the right word. Everyone has different ideas about just what the creature is and what it’s actually like. It has many names, and “werewolf” is one of the cruder ones. The powers of the others on the team are similarly ambiguous. They each have rather odd personality quirks related to who they are, and it’s only very slowly revealed what each of them can actually do. They’re likewise not the standard superhuman creatures with standard powers that you’re used to reading about. They’re much more interesting.

Another thing that makes this comic stand out is the way it’s told. There are three separate story threads, labeled, “The Beginning,” “The Middle,” and “The End,” and we skip back and forth between them. So, one moment we get to see Lou as a struggling violinist trying to make a life with her girlfriend and coming to grips with what’s happened to her after her werewolf encounter. The next moment, we see her with the elite team of other extraordinary people on their mission to stop Lynn Odell. Then, a couple of pages after that, we see Lou having been captured by Lynn and explore her underlying plan.

The jumping around in time is a great way of throwing us directly into the heart of the story, telling us what we need to know without bogging us down in exposition. The three different threads are color coded to keep better track of what’s happening when, but it’s not at all difficult.

This could have been just a standard tale of werewolves and superpowers. Instead, it’s a much deeper, more intricate exploration of humanity, society, and the stories and perceptions that define us. This extends to far more than just “powereds” vs. “unpowereds” as well, looking at these concepts in the context of gay vs. straight, different nationalities and backgrounds, and much more. It’s a well-written, well-drawn, and completely gripping adventure all the way through. I definitely recommend it.

Related items