Someone is hunting the Green Arrow - but it's no DC villain... It's a WildStorm hero.
The hero once known as Deathblow returns this week in a new series spinning out of Warren Ellis's The Wild Storm title Michael Cray. Going by his real name, Cray is a man who is "more power than purpose" according to series writer Bryan Edward Hill. With a fatal disease acting like a countdown clock on his body, the ex-military operative finds a meaning for life in killing others - for a good cause (or so he tells himself).
With the first issue out on stands for just over a day, Newsarama spoke with Hill with a spoiler-free chat about that issue and the entire miniseries going forward.
Newsarama: Bryan, thanks for doing this. What's your vision for Michael Cray?
Bryan Edward Hill: Well, The Wild Storm and all of its components are really Warren's vision, but I have goals. The main goal I have is to paint a portrait of a man who has learned to justify violence, and show the consequences of that justification on his physical, personal, and philosophical life.
And have cool action sequences. That's important too.
Nrama: Good point. How would you describe Michael Cray at at the outset of this series?
Hill: He's more power than purpose. Many of my stories are about people with power seeking some kind of life-fulfilling purpose. Also, due to events I don't want to spoil here (read The Wild Storm) he's suffering from a condition that's putting his mortality front and center in his mind.
He's a killer searching for the meaning of life.
Nrama: Christine Trelane is in this – a familiar face for WildStorm fans. What's her involvement?
Hill: She's either a stabilizing force in Michael's life, a source of direction, or she's an incredibly manipulative sociopath with her own agenda. You have to read it to find out.
Nrama: Although set in the WildStorm universe, people's ears perked up with the conspicuous mention of DC characters like Oliver Queen and Barry Allen in the solicits. What's going on here?
Hill: Violent, wonderful and completely amazing things that only Warren could have set the stage to do. We're exploring these iconic characters from an.. err... different point of view. In real world terms, superheroes are creatures of obsession. Rarely does obsession lead to nobility. That's what we explore in Michael Cray.
Nrama: You're doing this while also working on the Titans tv show. What's it like writing this unique take on the DCU while also going deep into classic DC lore with Titans?
Hill: One doesn't really affect the other. It's like leading two different lives. When I write comics or screenplays, I'm usually the sole or one of the very few voices crafting the narrative. When you write television you're one of many, and your task is more to help other people realize their vision. In terms of the work, my comics tend to be more personal. With Titans, I'm essentially following the creative lead of my superiors and hopefully helping realize what they want from that project.
Nrama: For Michael Cray, you're working on this from a pitch by Warren Ellis. How'd you get involve with this, and why was this the right project for you?
Hill: Marie Javins, a really great editor, contacted me and asked me if I would be interested. As a life-long fan of Warren's work, influenced by it since I was a kid, I immediately said yes.
Nrama: What are your big goals going forward with Michael Cray?
Hill: I hope that people read the book and get new dimension on Cray, as a character. I also hope people walk away from the book considering the ramifications, positive and negative, of righteous violence.
My main goal is making sure it's worth the cover price, and I believe it is.