When a film makes money the people that own it decide to release a sequel in order to make more money. In order to maximise the money they usually get rid of the original director, actors, writers, and so on and get cheaper people to fill their shoes. This seldom works as what made the first film great were the talents of those people. It looks like the same thing happens in comic books.
There is no need for a sequel to Crossed. Garth Ennis said all he wanted to say in a subtle and intelligent way whilst bombarding us with sickening horror at the same time. Having said that, because the “crossed” themselves are an idea more than specific characters, it is possible to tell other stories in their world. This is what we have here. Mr Ennis has wisely stepped away and David Lapham (not a name I am familiar with) has decided to fill his shoes.
It is nice to return to the Crossed universe and experience the revulsion and horror we did previously. However, because we know what to expect, we aren’t shocked and appalled as we were the first time. In response to this the violence and sexual content is ramped up to cartoonish levels and it becomes farcical in places.
The protagonist is a young woman and we follow her and her large, God-fearing family through the outbreak. The father of said family abused his daughters. This premise sets up all manner of adult emotional hooks for great drama. Is it possible to find redemption for a horrific past? Are you willing to endure one form of evil in order to escape a greater? To what extent is forgiveness possible? Sadly mature storytelling is thrown out of the window and the only reason for his inclusion is to have a human antagonist. It’s like putting Nazi’s in your story when you are too lazy to create your own villains. Definitely an opportunity lost.
Although the artist has changed the familiar Crossed style remains. You need a strong stomach to draw the things in this world so maybe artists retire early. The work is competent and functional and Crossed welcomes realism over innovation and abstraction. The characterisation is good but nothing special.
This volume could have been so much more but even as it stands, primarily because of its distinguished roots, it gets a Thumbs Up!
Tomorrow: Crossed 3D – David Lapham