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‘Crossover #1’ (review)

Written by Donny Cates
Art by Geoff Shaw
Published by Image Comics

 

Crossover events in comics often garner a lot of hype before their release. Donny Cates (Venom, God Country) and Geoff Shaw generated much of the same for their new series dealing with a different kind of crossover. The realm of superhero and supervillains bleeding over into the real world is nothing new. However, Cates provides something new by examining a world where fiction is dead.

Crossover deals with the fallout of an inexplicable event where the world of comic books enters our world.  A major city is destroyed by the titanic battles we’ve read about all of our lives, resulting in massive casualties. A moral and religious war is waged on comics as the once celebrated and imaginary tales are now public enemy number one. It’s fitting since many readers were judged for reading “funny books” due to their nerdy appeal or “brain rotting” potential.

Now, they’re condemned for causing actual mass destruction.

The heart of the story revolves around two main characters. The first is Ellie, a cosplaying comic shop employee who finds refuge in a fictional world that no longer exists. The second is Ryan, the son of a preacher who is reluctant to follow his father’s hellfire and brimstone rhetoric.

Cates poses some interesting questions through the lens of Ellie and Ryan.

Is it wrong to still collect Superman comics after the titular hero emerged from a hole in the sky, causing countless deaths? It’s considered collateral damage when reading these adventures on the printed page or observing them on the silver screen.

However, it’s different when these glossed over causalities become all too real. I’ve read comic books for most of my life, but my long box collection wouldn’t hold the same resonance if Thor and Thanos destroyed my neighborhood during their super-powered slugfest.

Cates’ brilliance lies in the fact that the book doesn’t take sides on the issue.

The facts are presented, and it is up to the reader to make their own decision.

For me, Ellie’s path is hard to support. Still, she is a good person who is easy to like. Ryan is very much the same from the religious and moral front; intertwining personal dogma with the content of character. Some might agree with Ellie’s unflinching love of comics while enjoying her personality, while others might like Ellie but despise her support of the medium. Readers are going to have a different experience based on their answers to the questions Cates poses.

The artwork of Geoff Shaw and colorist Dee Cunniffe exhibits a visual feast for the eyes. Every panel requires a thorough examination as nothing is wasted; everything matters. The newscast layouts of events carry a breaking news aura of importance.

Crossover‘s maiden voyage charts the perfect path. It’s hard to imagine a better start to a highly anticipated series. Character depth and great artwork, coupled with pressing questions, creates a palpable tension that is vastly engaging.

Purveyors of the pull list should add Crossover to their folder as it has the makings of the next great comic book.

Rating: A+

 

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