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Deathblow, art by Jim Lee
|Publisher||Wildstorm (DC Comics)|
|First appearance||Darker Image #1 (March 1993)|
|Created by||Jim Lee and Brandon Choi|
|Alter ego||Michael Cray|
Accelerated healing factor|
Fictional character biography
Michael Cray was born to US Navy Admiral Phillip James Cray and Elizabeth Cray. He has a brother named Alexander. Michael Cray's daughter is Rachel Goldman, aka Sublime, a member of DV8. After his parents were slain by terrorists, he joins the US military to avenge their deaths. He became a Navy SEAL prior to being transferred to International Operation's newly formed Team 7. Like all members of that group, he was a highly experienced Special Forces operative. The team had been sent on a mission (or so they believed) when in reality they were sent to be exposed to the Gen Factor by Miles Craven (head of I.O.). Unlike the other surviving members of Team 7 (not everyone survived the exposure to the gen factor treatment), Michael's powers did not manifest until many years later. Despite the lack of power, he would fight for his teammates, such as taking a Naval officer hostage when the other powered-members of Team 7 were literally being nuked as a test (they got through). When the majority of Team 7 went underground (with their families), Cray continues to serve I.O. (as did Lynch, Dane & Backlash). Miles Craven assigns Cray to the Special Operations Group. He did many wetwork and blackbag assignments for them.
Michael Cray left I.O. when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He wanted to atone himself for all the innocent men and women he killed during his missions. He got his chance when he became involved with the Order of the Cross. Their adversary, the Black Angel, awoke a demonic entity bent on killing a young boy with miraculous abilities. It turned out that Cray's cancer was in fact a result of the Gen Factor, giving him regenerative abilities. It would also give him the ability to manifest psionic shields to protect himself, but he could not control it and was not even aware it existed. Cray defeated the Black Angel with the help of Sister Mary, a former police officer turned nun, Gabrielle D'Angelo, his ex-wife who had become a vessel for the archangel Gabriel, and several of his Team 7 colleagues. After the death of the Black Angel, the young child restored the damage he had done by rewriting reality, but in the new reality, Gabrielle had died during their honeymoon.
Michael spends time working for Rayna Masters, who ran a bodyguard agency called 'Executive Protection Services'. Cray then is involved in the Brothers In Arm incident as Craven goes after all the surviving members of Team 7. Cray also deals with alien forces who are pursuing keys to an ancient warship. On a Team 7 mission long ago, Cray had actually found one of the keys, sticking up out of the mud.
During World's End, he is part of Stormwatch: Post Human Division leading missions on a post-apocalyptic Earth. It's also revealed that, despite being known as "powerless" in the Worldstorm continuity, his healing factor has evolved to a staggering level: because of his healing factor, he can't die because his body keeps regenerating himself even after wounds deep enough to shut down his biological functions. Jackson King suggested he could even regenerate "from a scrap of DNA."
In the three-issue mini-series, Deathblow Byblows (1999–2000), written by Alan Moore with art by Jim Baikie, it is revealed that I.O. created several variant clones of each Team 7 member, using the DNA collected from them without their knowledge. In the event of a Team 7 member's death, his clones are released in a simulated environment with the intention that only one survive to act as the member's replacement. However, the series is concerned with Deathblow's clones only. The clones were:
- Genevieve Cray - a bald female and the series' protagonist.
- Klaus Cray - a cyborg.
- John-Joe and Joe-John Cray - two child clones.
- Michael Cray, Jr. - apparently a true clone.
- Damon Cray - a teenage clone.
- Caleb Cray - half-man, half-baboon.
- Judgment Cray - a clone with an extra Y chromosone.
- Gemma Cray - an expert poisoner.
- Cynthia Cray - a telepath and precognitive.
All were killed by Judgment except for Genevieve, who killed Judgment and escaped from the laboratory where they were created, and Klaus Cray, who was captured by Genevieve and later killed by John-Joe and Joe-John Cray. Gemma, Cynthia and Michael Cray, Jr., are never shown alive due to being killed by Judgment Cray before the protagonists discovered them. Genevieve later joined up with Sublime, Michael Cray's daughter, and a few of her DV8 teammates.
DC's The New 52
Deathblow appears for the first time in the DC reboot in Grifter's new series, making a team with Cheshire, but later, was betrayed by her revealing she was an undercover agent for Helspont. Captured in Helspont's spaceship, he managed to escape and team-up with Grifter to stop his plans.
Deathblow also appears in Teen Titans #23.2, "Deathstroke". He is first seen competing for an assassination with Deathstroke. The two men engage in combat, but Cray is overpowered and knocked down while Deathstroke finishes the job. He is later seen in Deathstroke's flashback, where Cray holds Wilson's back in a battlefield while Wilson sets off a bomb. However, the detonation site turns out to be a children's hospital, which led to Wilson's resignation from the army.
The Wild Storm
This article needs to be updated.(August 2017)
A new Deathblow (vol.2) series began on October 25, 2006, with the second issue out a month later. Issue #9 (February 2008) appears to be the last of this series, ending with the 'death' of the character.
Trade paperbacks include:
- Deathblow: Sinners and Saints [volume one] (by Brandon Choi, Jim Lee and Tim Sale, trade paperback collects Deathblow #1-12, 1993-1995, WildStorm/DC Comics, 256 pages, 1999, ISBN 1-56389-547-1), Deathblow trade paperback Softcover: 272 pages collects Deathblow vol. 1 #0-12 & Darker Image #1, Deathblow Deluxe Edition Hardcover: 272 pages, collects Deathblow vol. 1 0-12 & Darker Image #1.
- Deathblow/Wolverine [volume two] (by Aron Wiesenfeld and Richard Bennett, Image Comics/WildStorm, 64 pages, 1997, ISBN 1-887279-61-X)
- Batman/Deathblow: After the Fire [volume three] (by Brian Azzarello, Lee Bermejo, Tim Bradstreet, and Mick Gray, 160 pages, 2003, Titan Books, ISBN 1-84023-664-7, WildStorm/DC Comics, ISBN 1-4012-0034-6)
- Deathblow Byblows [volume four] (by Alan Moore and Jim Baikie, 3-issue mini-series, 1999–2000, collected in Wild Worlds, trade paperback, 320 pages, Titan Books, July 2007, ISBN 1-84576-559-1, Wildstorm, May 2007, ISBN 1-4012-1379-0)
- Deathblow: ...And Then You Live [volume five] (by Brian Azzarello, Carlos D'Anda and Henry Flint, collects Deathblow Volume 2 #1-9, August 2008, ISBN 1-4012-1515-7)
- Deathblow #29
- Grifter #9 (July 2012)
- Grifter #12 (October 2012)
- Teen Titans #23.2 Deathstroke (September 2013)
- DC Comics
- DC Comics
- Deathblow: Sinners and Saints trade details at DC
- Batman/Deathblow: After the Fire trade details at DC
- ... And The You Live trade details at DC
- Deathblow at the Comic Book DB