What I thought of Crossed: Badlands #52

My thoughts about #50, and #51.

Before anyone carries on reading I’d best warn you this blog contains material not for the squeamish. I’d not normally stick a warning up but after giving it a quick once-over before publishing I thought this time, it’d be for the best so you’ve been warned!

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After the Sky News newsflash from the end of the previous issue, we start this at an RAF base with the pilots from 617 Squadron from #50. Things are suitably tense as all flights are grounded due to the missing fighter jet from #51 who shot down the helicopter sent to take Gordon Brown back to London.

Unfortunately merry fucking hell breaks loose at the base of 617 Squadron.

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Ennis then takes us back to the main focus of the story which is Gordon Brown and his staff trying to get on top of whatever is going on, which allows readers to see Brown in his full indecisive glory.

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As I’ve said in my previous blogs, I find how Ennis is portraying Brown to be utterly fascinating in that he clearly paints Brown as incompetent but still a sympathetic character who surrounded himself with all the wrong people, apart from of course the four security men Ennis has invented for this story.

These four security men also represent the United Kingdom. One is Scottish, one Northern Irish (as Ennis is), one Welsh and one English. All are working together which ties in (though I know this isn’t intentional) with Brown’s position on Scottish Independence, and his Better Together campaigning. It’s a weird little observation but it’s clearly there for a reason although Ennis’s working class soldier types do get a bit samey, there’s something else going on here possibly.

What follows is a discussion in regards Patient Zero who is still a mystery. Brown’s head of security decides to have another conversation with him but it’s clear that whatever the infection was that he inflicted upon the world, it’s fast spreading and lethal. Ennis then scripts an interesting, if somewhat strained, few pages about the nature of god. The one thing that’s impressed me about these issues is that’s it’s not afraid to have page after page of characters standing around talking while keeping the action, gore and violence to a minimum. Well, now the virus is spreading that violence starts to ramp up after this wonderful panel..

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The idea of Crossed is that it’s not a zombie story. It’s about the hidden horror in all of us, so this panel is making it clear for new readers (or even people like myself who’ve not bothered with it for a while) that this isn’t a zombie comic like The Walking Dead which is at times an excellent comic, does tend to rely upon some old cliches of the zombie genre, while Ennis manages to horrify and indulge in dark humour at any moment when the horror kicks off.

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All the restraint Ennis has shown up til now goes down the toilet wrapped in gory red toilet paper as he pumps up the gore and violence, but it feels like the story has naturally come to this rather than just shock for shock’s sake. Our protagonists from 617 have to escape, and it so happens they have to escape through a horde of lunatics out to rape and kill them horribly. This does get a wee bit bloody…

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The action then returns to the bunker where it’s made perfectly clear that the virus isn’t mature yet and just how quickly it can spread…

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Doctor Chopra then reveals exactly what is happening but to find out what has happened buy the issue, or download it from Comixology as I did. You’ll miss a great horror comic which is full of little surprises, though the main thing I’m interested in now is not how horribly things turn out as we know the world is about to end and it’s not getting more horrible than that. No, it’s what happens to Gordon Brown? Is Ennis really going to have him murdered and mutilated, or have him turned into one the Crossed to do vile things to Tony Blair?

We’ll see soon enough….

5 thoughts on “What I thought of Crossed: Badlands #52

  1. I’ve enjoyed reading your reviews of the new Crossed story arc. I’m a longtime fan of Garth Ennis, and I am a regular Crossed reader. Crossed is a very hit –or-miss book for me; it’s a hit when Ennis writes it, and it usually misses when he doesn’t. Too many writers simply reduce the concept into a gore fest. While there certainly are moments of shocking violence in Ennis’ arcs, more importantly they take their time exploring the psychological elements of this horrific world, and what the “infection” says about the nature of humanity. Another way Ennis most often separates himself is with his unique take on history and what that history means to us in our current world, and that’s what I really like about this new storyline, and your take on it.

    I’ll admit, I’m American and don’t know as much about European history and the recent politics of the UK as I should. I am a little more familiar with the Tony Blair era, due in part to the 9/11 fallout like the Iraq War and such, but Gordon Brown is someone who I really know little about. It’s interesting reading the accounting of his legacy, and various touchstones of his term from the perspective of someone with more firsthand knowledge, such as yourself. Garth’s European sensibilities are just some of what makes his work special to me. It translates much better with even more context, so thanks for that.

    I look forward to reading a review of #53!

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  2. Pingback: What I thought of Crossed: Badlands #53 | My Little Underground

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