Is there worse to come?
There is something very, very unnerving about the Garth Ennis / Jacen Burrows ultra-horror title 'Crossed'. Reading issue no.2, it was the equivalent of watching a horror film through your fingers, your hands up against your face, waiting for the inevitable and very bloody pay-off.
After the gruesome, blacker-than-black humour of issue no.2, where I sounded my reservations, I actually think I am beginning to understand it now. Ennis and Burrows are showing that in the terrible world they are creating, anyhting is possible, and the depravity unleashed is beyond some peoples comprehension. However, just because they can show it laid bare in its primal, evil squalor does not mean that they are going to show it.
Economy is the key with issue no.2, and it works magnificently. You go through the issue fearing the worst, and in that sense, you are almost in the experience with the survivors who aren't 'crossed'.
The characters who make it through to the end of the pages feel like survivors, and are actually starting to feel more rounded and less like devices with which Ennis and Burrows can work out their sex and gore mojo. Maybe that's the plan and next issue Ennis will throw it back in our faces, giving them all unimaginable deaths......
We reach the 'end of the first year' according to one of the characters, at the end of issue 2. It will be intriguing to see what Ennis and Burrows produce next time. What was looking tired, formulaic, survival horror, with an emphasis on the outre horror that mainstream comics probably haven't dared publish before is now looking like it has more substance and a more immersive quality than I gave it credit for. There are still some ridiculously gross moments, but they don't seem as bad as before. I am looking forward to issue 3 - and I never thought I would be thinking like that a month ago.
Verdict - thrilling, frightening, a queasy, unsettling thrill. 8 out of 10.