WSU vs “Michael Cray” 4, 5 & 6

I know, the main point of this blog is to talk about the continuity of WildStorm Universe as it was from ’92 – ’11… but I really like doing this compare and contrast thing, and frankly, looking at the view numbers, you readers do too! Admittedly, I have no idea where Hill, Harris, and Ellis are going with this new series, and honestly, I couldn’t be more on board with what this team is bringing. I just thought I’d have some fun, point out some of the references/differences from the old WSU to the last few issues of “Michael Cray” as we get ready for a new issue to drop soon.

New vs. Old

Atlantis
Michael asks Christine if there if Atlantis is real, she says that they (read: Skywatch) has never found it. In the old WSU Atlantis was real, and Backlash’s poppa was the king of it.

Dr. John Constantine Ph.D. / Jack Carter
JohnConstantineJackCarterIn issue 6, we find out about Dr. John Constantine Ph.D., who seems to be a bald version of John Constantine. We’ve kind of seen this before in the old WSU, wherein Planetary we are introduced to Jack Carter. He starts out as a regular Constantine analog, but after revealing that he faked his own death comes back and is, well, bald. Versions of John Constantine in the old WildStorm Universe and in the new The Wild Storm books are bald, it’s a constant between the two. Good to know.

New and What We Don’t Know

What Christine is Up To
Christine is unhappy with both the Barry Allen mission and the Arthur Curry mission, as neither of them provided any information on how they gained their powers. Also, Christine is very unhappy that Michael refuses to use his team all that much and that he hung up on her in issue 6. She is frustrated to hell and back at his antics, but still is sending him to London for his next target.

Leon Loses an Arm
In issue 6 Leon loses one of his arms to sharks. Michael is pretty sure that there is something that Christine has access to that can help him out. When we first met Henry Bendix in “the Wild Storm” it was said that there wasn’t much of him human that was left. This speaks to some kind of technology that can replace limbs and organs. So yeah, Michael is probably right, not that it makes Leon feel any better in the moment.

Answers

Michael’s Doc re: His “Tumor”
whatdoesitwant

Dr. Homa starts to surmise that the tumor is not quite what it seems, but not only that, she’s narrowing in on how it works. She thinks that it gives Cray exactly what he wants when he wants it. That’s why it saved him from Oliver Queen the way it did. Also, possibly why it killed that little mouse, as at that time Michael said he wanted to be alone.

the Tumor Starts to Talk to Michael
In issue 5, but much more in issue 6 the tumor, or whatever is growing in Michael’s head is starting to talk to him. It keeps calling Michael “the Host” and refers to Michael dying. It’s also saying that change equals death, so it might just be telling Michael that “hey, you’re going to change, you and I are about to become one and the same, and that’s a death for each of us, but our new whole will be awesome!” or something to that effect.

DCU Connections

Arthur Curry / Aquaman
Aquaman
The original DCU version of Aquaman was… Ok, it’s complicated. He was originally the son of a mermaid and a lighthouse keeper, then he was the king of the ocean and always had been. Either way, he still talked to the fishies in the deep blue sea and was really good around water. This new version is just plain evil and he and his family fancy themselves the lost royal family of Atlantis. Either he has spliced himself with aquatic DNA, or his family before him messed with him in utero to be born with the powers of aquatic beings. Either way, he’s got crazy strength powers and can still talk to fish. Not true royalty, but revered and feared by the locals because he is too powerful and nuts to cross. And by nuts, I mean that he claims to be beyond science.

Dr. John Constantine Ph.D. / John Constantine
To put a finer point on the differences between the two Constantines, this new one seems, I dunno, more of a psycho? I’m not going to sit here and tell you how well adjusted the original DCU/Vertigo version of the character is, but the one we see in “Michael Cray” seems particularly more unhinged. Oh yeah, and he’s bald.

One Last Thing

So when we see Dr. John Constantine Ph.D. at the end of issue 6 the first thing I’m struck by is the fact that this page is a call back to the cover of “Hellblazer” volume one issue 61.

 

The second thing that hits me is that this version of Constantine looks a lot like Grant Morrison! Of course, I think this is intentional. As noted above, the old WSU had Jack Carter, while a minor character, was still pretty well known as the WSU version of John Constantine. Also, I had noted that when he reappeared he was bald. This was a two fold reference in the end. The original script (according to Ellis) he just had Carter coming back bald. When John Cassady drew it, he decided to add the tattoos of Spider Jerusalem from “Transmetropolitan.” I always saw that version of Carter as a version of King Mob from “the Invisibles” with Spider’s tattoos. The King Mob character was loosely based on Grant Morrison.  With all this in my head, re: Grant Morrison/John Constantine/Jack Carter, I was primed for a Morrison reference and was surprised to see this response from N. Steven Harris, penciler of “Michael Cray,” when I asked him about it.

Morrisnt

When provided with some evidence Harris admits to the uncanny likeness.

HarrisRE-Evidence

Evidently, I guess I’m not the only one that was surprised by the revelation that this new Constantine wasn’t based on Morrison. Check “Michael Cray” writer Bryan Edward Hill’s response to Harris.

HillWeighsIn

Also, because “Michael Cray” has been written in 2 issue arcs, that’s how I’m going to cover it going forward. So next time I type about it, it will be after issue 8 covering both issues 7 and 8.

Other comparisons of the old WildStorm Universe to the new one found in “The Wild Storm” & “Michael Cray.”

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