Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I am confused about Crossed

I am confused about Crossed (from Avatar Comics). I really enjoyed the first issue (which was a scene setter numbered as #0 and which I have written about here) but the second (i.e issue #1) left me with mixed feelings. I can understand what Garth Ennis (along with artist Jacen Burrows) wants to do here with this title. He wants to put a spin on the zombie genre by making those afflicted with the 'cross' the most depraved and insatiable savages imaginable. Or unimaginable. Probably unimaginable as there is one particular scene that happens towards the end of issue #1 that made my stomach churn and left me feeling very unhappy.

I read to be stimulated, and to be entertained, enlightened, moved, scared, even horrified. What Crossed #1 did was none of that. It just made me feel upset. I think I understand what Ennis wants to do - he wants to show what the end of the world could be like, a literal hell on earth. Those afflictged with the cross are a truly depraved bunch. I just dont know if I can stomach another issue of it. The title is essentially another zombie-type comic book. It does not deliver anything new - the plot mechanics are the same, in as much as there is an apocalyptic event and there are some survivors facing overwhelming odds to survive. It really doesn't look good for those trying to survive in Crossed. Maybe Ennis is trying to make a point about the inhumanity of man, the obsession with sex and horror ('are we living in a land where sex and horror are the new gods?'*) and the appaling acts humans will inflict on each other - like the Nazis treatment of the Jews prior to and during World War II, the treatment of the Chinese at the hands of the Japanese aggressors when they occupied parts of China during that same war, and the more recent Genocide in the Balkans (to name a few). Maybe.

Maybe he just wants to see how far he can go. He has proved in other titles (including the excellent 'The Boys') that he is not afraid to portray sex, violence and death in unsentimental and disturbing ways. He has just excelled himself with 'Crossed'. There are a lot of questions posed - what is the significance of the cross on the afflicted? Is it an illness? Virus? If you can look beyond the outrageous and gratuitous sex and violence, you will probably get the answers. Maybe I will too, but whereas after issue zero I was firmly along for the whole run of the title, after issue one I am not too sure at all if I will be back beyond issue 2.

You can decide if future episodes are for you based on the solicitations of the forthcoming episodes (there are sceduled to be 9 not including issue #0). Have a look - this link shows issue 2 but there are others to look at;

Crossed solicitations at TFAW

*A Lyric from 'Two Tribes' by Frankie Goes To Hollywood (1984)