This is the latest stand-alone work set in Garth Ennis’ “Crossed” setting, where humans are all succumbing to a plague that turns them into sadistic psychopaths. Written by a British writer and set on a remote Scottish island this title has a different flavour than the other works and appears closer to Ennis’ original vision.
It is actually a print version of the free webcomic that appears weekly at Crossedcomic.com. This open-ended format allows it to take a much more leisurely pace, similar to that of Walking Dead or the original 10 issue Crossed. It can sometimes meander or change direction unexpectedly as Spurrier re-plots on the fly but there is a definite goal in mind that we are heading towards.
The art is by Javier Barreno who illustrated Crossed: Psychopath and whose work appears almost identical to the original Jacen Burrows style. It is very detailed with no skimping on the backgrounds or faces. When there is a lot of text it appears on a solid black panel which does not overtax the artist or slow down the pace. There are a lot of tonal variations used for flashbacks, memories and daydreams helping to keep the narrative clear and distinct. The nocturnal scenes are dark but not murky too.
The isolated setting is good, the flashbacks to London falling are nice to see and a British writer penning dialogue for British characters makes a world of difference. The slow pace allows for a lot of musing on the nature of humanity and civilisation. There are some wonderfully subtle references that will make the UK reader smile too. The Crossed are used sparingly but after so many volumes they have lost their terror for the long-term reader unfortunately. That doesn’t mean the humans can’t provide some dramatic shocks however.
This is a very good offering, closer to the original genius than any of the other spin-offs has been. There is an afterword by the author and a rundown of the people on the island as journal entries by the protagonist with accompanying art. A Thumbs Up!
Tomorrow: Ptolus: City by the Spire – Monte Cook