Something like two years of waiting to see what happens; to maybe understand why.
I know we will probably never see a “why” in “The Walking Dead” because that would mean an ending and why stop riding that cash cow, huh?
At least we knew Crossed would have an ending; and I imagine there are some who read it only to see it end and not be left out when their other (in their minds) more “fucked up” friends finished reading it. I kept wanting to know where we would be going, I had imagined for a while that the narrator was the kid and that this future history was about how the main character would become one of the crossed and then hunt him.
Instead, when you look at it again through the lens of this issue you see what the crossed is really about. In every issue we meet a so-called clean person or group who is doing the very thing that the crossed, the MONSTERS are doing. Cannibal Children, homosexual rape and murder, casual cruelty to the less powerful. All there for us, and it wasn’t laid bare until the end. The Crossed is (and always was about “the clean ones) the Crossed is about the sickness that pervades us and we don’t treat it as such, at least when one of them has that big mark on their face one can easily separate the monsters from the innocents. By the end though; are there any innocents left?
This last issue caps the Horsecock story and addresses the issue of the Crossed’ level of intelligence, placing them somewhere in the clever toddler level with a mean streak a mile wide and a complex reasoning ability that lets them… I won’t give away more about this issue itself. I’m kind of glad this is over.
Where Black Gas covered much the same ground in terms of action on the page, Mr. Ennis and Mr. Burrows have attempted; I think, to elevate the message above the medium. These things exist, they are here already and if you don’t confront them, you are as much to blame as they are themselves.
Horsecock and crew return and while singing about how much they love rape, Ennis and Burrows take the Crossed to a whole new level of “Rob zombie villain” because really, that is all the Crossed appear to be now. “The Firefly Family” as a communicable disease. The Manson Malaise if you will.
Our Band of survivors continue on their way, running from Equine Penis and his band of Rapist Meth-Heads, who stopped for a bite to eat along the way.
Yeah, we know they are cannibals and all, but look how happy this guy is, you might call him a Happy Meal, if you were into puns. I’m not, but that is one gleeful dinner right there.
The Survivors don’t get far enough away and are forced to take matters in hand:
Like many of these stories, showing up after the party with guns doesn’t really go their way. I’ll leave it to you to read the issue and find out why.
Crossed continues to be the Gross Out Apocalypse that it promised to be but the long lag between issues almost led to me missing this one. I may even give up on it until a Trade appears, because it IS entertaining and compelling, but hard to keep an eye on. Burrows and Ennis continue to deliver a horrifying world, much worse than say “the Walking Dead” without the need to kill off the major cast (I know its only seven issues in, but with the lag, its on par with the Walking Dead in terms of distance of time between tradgedies)
Two Issues in a row and we haven’t heard from Horsecock again. All setup no follow through I guess. For Now.
This (like the tepid issue 5) is an other “Humanity” issue; where we get to see the survivors getting along anddealing with one another (as well as the horrors in their past).
Geoff, the weepy older man in the group sidelines the team to tell them about growing up gay in a small town where he just wasn’t accepted. He also tells the people about how he met the crossed for the first time. I have omitted his big secret. The mind reels now, doesn’t it? Is he a cannibal, is he a secret Unitarian? I’ll give you a hint, it rhymes with Sea Org.
No really, he was a Psilon.
I’d like to say that this moved the plot along, but simple travel and stories of kids being killed (off screen) isn’t really movement. Two issues of walking, this is turning in to Lord of the rapist and cannibalizing Rings. But with less hair on the feet I guess.
Jacen Burrows and Garth Ennisset things up for us so well, Global Disaster, murderously horny Rednecks and a rag-tag group of people trying (I guess) to get to Alaska ( if they don’t believe that Alaskans wouldn’t gleefully join in on the Crossed-in-Blood rape and killing spree, they haven’t see Levi’s myspace page). Our survivors have murdered children (as punishment for cannibalism) and apparently killed any number of psycho rednecks. They have survived fallout from nuclear explosions and let’s face it the exploding poulations of aggrsive, meat hungry carnivores that have no-doubt set to reproducing in Noahesque numbers.
The Crossed appear to be cannibals, so they’re not hunting.
Anyway, at least issue four has our heroes moving in a direction rather than sort of just hanging around shooting kindergartners.
They have come to this:
The Crossed are using their victims for sport.
They get entertainment from the following, Rape, killing, dismemberment and apparently survivor style closed-room brawls. The crossed are MMA fans of a particularly cruel stripe it appears.
This issue filled me with two emotions, dread (because it appears that the Crossed have among them the gleeful sadists that appear in all post-apocalyptic ficiton) and dread because this sets up a plot line that feels unnecessary. The whole world is out to get our heroes (who I remind you will survive as this is being told in past tense) why set up Horsecock like this?
One point, at least the male lead isn’t bedding random women throughout, please applaud Mr. Ennis for skipping this pointless trope of PA fiction!
Crossed 3 came out a while ago; it is kind of like a breather after the last two issues sort of dropped us into Wiry Meth-Head Rapist Armageddon. Mr. Ennis gives us a (somewhat cliche) “Man’s Inhumanity to Man” story with issue 3; which is hardly the issue to lose the momentum that was set up in Issues 1 and 2. One would have imagined that the story would reach a lull by issue 10, but this early break in the headlong run from the Crossed is kind of a letdown.
I’m not committed to the Characters yet, seeing them instead as a vehicle for us to ride on rather than actual “people in the story” if you understand. They don’t really exist as people yet, you see. They are brethless story ponys that we are riding with for now.
This is kind of where Crossed really drifts from what made “The Walking Dead” so good initially and so unsettling now; I cared about Rick and his family right away. I don’t care about any of the people in Crossed yet. That lack of empathy for the characters puts Crossed at Risk of being just a one-off Violent comic instead of a promising story about survival (or death) in the face of Skinny Redneck Violence Rapists.
Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows set the Rape and Murder by crazed Rednecks bar really high in Crossed #1. I can safely state that issue two doesn’t add to the horror, instead it shows the keen, steely and purposeful levels of evil the “Crossed” can reach. Speaking of the Crossed, here’s the birth of one:
Our uninfected are telling this story in anecdotal form, which means at least one of them is alive “in the future” I’m guessing either as one of the Crossed or it is the kid that has been tagging along all this time. Giving a hopeful narrator with such bleak and (really) dark subject matter strikes me as an odd choice. The Crossed tear one of their own apart and rape the severed foot/calf, with that kind of determined horror, it’s hard to imagine some form of hopeful anything save a quick death.
As for the crossed themselves. when they aren’t mutilating each other and raping men, women and children (and animals I’m sure) to death, they are “spreading the love” in an inventive and evil fashion, through the use of a variant Soggy Biscuit game.
I’ll leave that there for you to puzzle out on your own.
Overall verdict; read it if you are a fan of post-apocalyptic stories as well as “zombie” fiction, as the Crossed are the implacable but intelligent foe that Zombie fiction sometimes wants for.
I’ve read a number of “Horror” comics, and more than my share of Zombie Comics in my day. I don’t think that I’ve ever really turned a page and then immediately wanted to skip what I’m seeing so quickly until I saw the Climax of this Comic.
It’s a real achievement for a Writer and Artist to come together and create something that shocks as effectively as the best horror movie. Better still if one can be equally repulsed at the same time. This Comic is truly horrifying and frightening.
Frightening like crowds of flesh hungry Peckerwoods with permanent viagra hard-ons and shrieking harridan meth-head women.
Frightening like the total breakdown of society into Paunchy Nerds and Wiry Speed freaks with Knives and dangerous libidos.
Not to mention the fact that a Nuclear Bomb has gone off in the Geographical Neighborhood.
Not To Mention that society has broken down.
You can Check out Crossed at your local Comic Store and if they don’t have it, check out Avatar Press
So, where have you been hiding, comic fan? Over in Marvel and DC? In that nice shiny house on the hill, I bet you think that Vertigo comics are edgy too?
While DC and Marvel had quietly cast off the Comics Code, Avatar Press has some of the most violent, edy and REAL comics out there. Did you get a chance to read “Black Gas” , how about “Black Summer”, maybe you have read “Gravel”?
Avatar Press continues to be THE source for creator owned, outside the norm comics. Crossed is yet another great example of that work. Like any good Apocalyptic fiction, the author throws the unsuspecting protagonists into a scenario that initially seems ridiculous or unlikely, abruptly tossing them into the fire with no obvious hope for safety. There is a reference to people becoming inured to the ridiculous by instantaneous media like Youtube or Break.com and I think there is something in that, if you saw a Zombie on the street eating an arm, wouldn’t you look for the camera too?
Garth Ennis continues to deliver Edgy comics and now that his Run on Punisher is over (boo) what can we look forward too? Crossed.