A Year of Cool Comics – Day 59
Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!
Today we take a look at Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows’ Crossed…
Crossed, whose initial nine-issue run is almost finished, is a particularly interesting comic in how over the top some of the violence can be in the series. It is to the point that you are so desensitized to the violence that recent issues having a great deal of disturbing content just don’t shake readers the way they did earlier in the series.
The basic concept of Crossed is that some sort of disease/contagion/whatever has spread through the world – people develop a rash on their face (in the shape of a cross, hence the name) and then begin to exhibit both psychopathic AND sociopathic tendencies. This leads to some terrible, terrible things. And if you make contact to their bodily fluids (like saliva, sperm, blood, etc.) then YOU turn Crossed, as well (if they don’t kill you before you turn, that is).
So the story then follows a small group of survivors as they try to make their way to either Alaska or the Canadian wilderness – basically somewhere where there are less people (and therefore less Crossed).
These survivors don’t live their lives in terms of days. Heck, they don’t even live their lives in terms of HOURS.
They live their lives in terms of half hours. Stay alive for a half hour. Then stay alive for another half hour. Then repeat for as long as they can.
The greatness of the comic comes from how Ennis spends so much time developing these characters so that you actually feel for them – and when you begin to feel for them, then you are that much more affected when something disgusting happens to them. And disgusting things happen to them frequently.
One of the grosser scenes is also one of the more generally depressing scenes. They group spies a group of the Crossed masturbating in a circle. They think that they’re just, well, masturbating in a circle.
Later, though, when one of their group gets wounded by a gun fired by the Crossed, they discover the real horror of what they saw earlier – the Crossed were masturbating on a pile of bullets, so that when the bullets penetrate a “normal” person, it eventually turns them Crossed. And that’s when they realize – the Crossed originally were just crazed – as the amount of humans dried up, though, the Crossed calmed down enough to become STRATEGIC – and that’s when you realize that the normal humans are REALLY screwed.
Here’s a sequence from Crossed #7 that speaks to the skill that the Crossed possess…
Ennis and artist Jacen Burrows execute this next sequence brilliantly (even if it definitely seems to be borrowed from Butch and Sundance, it’s still effective as all hell)…
Pretty damn scary, right?
And so it goes – from issue to issue, some of the more depressing comics that you can expect to read, but also well-crafted comics (with strong artwork by Jacen Burrows).
The most recent issue shows the journal of a dead soldier which gives some more insight into what went down after the original event occurred, and some of the shocking precautions the government took (they had nuclear scientists disable nuclear plants so that the Crossed can’t activate them – then they have the scientists killed so that they can’t re-activate the plants if they were ever Crossed themselves).
It’s really well done by both the writer and the artist – it’s also really, really dark – NOT for anyone who is afraid of seeing some terrible things done to people – but if you can get past that, it’s quite a ride, even if it is not always a pleasant one.