Page 45 Review by Stephen
And the award for very best titular pun goes to...
"So why is she on her own?"
"Huh. She ate her sister. Ah, it was ill. Probably would've been put down anyway. But Princess Giggles, there? Whoof."
In which you will learn more about hyenas' genitalia than you expected to. Certainly more than I'm comfortable talking about here. If you care to read Si's extensive annotations in the back you will learn even more about lithium, opium, exocannanibalism, theophagy, Blackwater (a right old, well deserved rant), assorted American military hardware and oh so many myths from throughout history and across the globe including a rich vein of vampires which make Bela Lugosi look bland. About werewolves you will learn that we shouldn't be calling them werewolves. For now, I will be calling them werewolves.
I like a comic whose arcane aspects have been thoroughly researched but which isn't insistent on ramming that research down your throat in order to get a First Class degree in Esoterics and require readers do same to decode it. By all means give us a gander in the back, but not in the story itself, please. Hurrah for Si Spurrier, then! I thought this was enormous fun.
Drawn throughout by LOCAL and THE COMPLETE NEW YORK FOUR artist Ryan Kelly, CRY HAVOC flips between three time periods colour-coded by Nick Filardi for the sequences set in London (the past), Matt Wilson in Afghanistan (the present) and Lee Loughbridge in... well, not in a good place. In a cage.
That's where we know blue-haired violinist Louise Canton ends up, some undisclosed time in the future on the very first page. Back in London she's looking inside that other cage - the hyena's - in the zoo where her girlfriend works. And in the middle sequences Louise is in Afghanistan, dressed in military combat gear, and looking outside a CH47-F Chinook Helicopter which is hovering above the exploding guts of a goat it's just fired upon.
It's not an obvious career move, I grant you.
But back in the beginning while busking by the Old Bailey, she was bitten down an alley by what looked like a werewolf and it unleashed in her a sensory overload, a craving - an intoxication - followed by a transmogrification.
Each of the crew Louise has now found herself with, working for Inhand Org, appear to have had similar transformative experiences with differing results and know more about their condition and its history than she does. One by one you will meet their... inner demons? Too judgemental - let's say what's been unlocked in each individual.
For now Louise is being transported to a deserted U.S.-run rendition centre which was mothballed when "a civilian employee lost her shit, killed five C.I.A., released ten insurgents". By "lost her shit" he means she went feral.
They're here to track her down.
It's not just the colour-coding and panel grids which differ between time periods, but Kelly's art too. London's the style you'll be accustomed to. I've never seen him draw anything like the Afghanistan sequences before: much sharper, more detailed lines in both the interior and exterior shots of the rendition centre, while the faces in places are closer to Mark Laming's and, in one notable instance, almost as if inked by Tom Palmer. That Chinook's pretty mighty when seen from below with a tremendous sense of weight which is being so improbably held aloft by the whirling blades above it. Below and behind, the dusty mountains fade into an almost infinite distance. It's quite a big country.
There's plenty of politics to sink your teeth into, playful dialogue, behavioural and cultural analysis, and blood-baths galore once the timelines join up and each player's hand / paw / claw is revealed.
Wherever you think this is going is far from where you'll wind up. I haven't the first clue what to expect next.