Started by Jim Lee and Brandon Choi, WildStorm Productions was one of the founding studios of Image Comics. The WildStorm Universe was the fictional shared universe of comic books published by WildStorm and debuted in WildC.A.T.s #1 (cover dated: August 1992).
Jim Lee sold WildStorm Productions and his intellectual properties to DC Comics in 1999, and eventually the WildStorm Universe was folded into the DC Universe (DCU) proper. It can be argued that the most interesting and perhaps, most influential comic books to come out of the WildStorm Universe came after that sale. Those books were written by Warren Ellis (StormWatch, The Authority and Planetary). Ellis is currently relaunching the characters, concepts, story lines, etc. of the Wildstorm Universe in his comic book, The Wild Storm, with artist Jon Davis-Hunt.
The first solo spin off series in the relaunch of “The Wild Storm” is The Wild Storm: Michael Cray. It is written by Bryan Hill with Warren Ellis contributing story. The series is drawn by N. Steven Harris (pencils) and Dexter Vines (inks); colored by Steve Buccellato; and lettered by Simon Bowland. Michael Cray also known as the professional assassin, Deathblow, first appeared in the comic book, Darker Image #1 (cover dated: March 1993).
Michael Cray seeks revenge against International Operations (I.O.) for the death sentence with which its has basically trapped him. The Wild Storm: Michael Cray #1 finds Cray with an offer of help. Christine Trelane will give him support, resources, medical aid, and a home, but she has targets that she want Cray to take out. It starts with that sociopath Silicon Valley billionaire, Oliver Queen.
THE LOWDOWN: I thoroughly enjoyed the first issue of The Wild Storm: Michael Cray. One reason is that in terms of story pacing and in graphical style, Michael Cray is like The Wild Storm comic book. Writer Bryan Hill writes a script that allows the story to breathe, which in turns allows the reader to enjoy the surprises and shocks and the edginess the script delivers. Just the Oliver Queen segments are quite enjoyable and enjoyably tart.
N. Steven Harris' compositions and the sharp inking Dexter Vines lays on them are similar to Jon Davis-Hunt's clean drawing style in The Wild Storm. Harris and Vines deliver good storytelling while graphically tying their work to Ellis and Davis-Hunt's flagship title. I like The Wild Storm: Michael Cray #1 and will be back for more.
I READS YOU RECOMMENDS: Fans of The Wild Storm will want to read The Wild Storm: Michael Cray.