The last few issues of Garth Ennis’s story about the origins of the Crossed outbreak have been pretty dialogue heavy with the odd interspersing of action and/or gore. Although this issue starts with some of the sort of interaction which had made this story such a refreshing change from the tedious nihilistic violence Crossed: Badlands normally contains, it does explode into pretty extreme gore this issue, as well as some plane porn which seeing as it’s a Garth Ennis comic, neither is surprising. I’m going to give a wee warning then that if you read on I’m going to drop some serious spoilers and if you’ve been reading the comic because of the splendid political drama of it and aren’t happy with gore, then you best skip about half of this issue. Especially the last page.
So, last issue we’d left Alistair (Gordon Brown’s personal aide) doing something very silly which is getting two soldiers in to beat the story out of Patient Zero, the first man in the UK (it’s not 100% clear if he’s the first man in the world) to be infected by the Crossed virus. Before we find out what happened there, we see that Brown’s security team have managed to take the flight crew rescued from 617 Squadron to a secret hanger with an old Tornado aircraft which will intercept the Russian bombers heading for the US as well as wiping out Iceland….
Back in the bunker where Gordon Brown and his team are they discuss what’s going on Facebook and Twitter with people spreading information and ignoring official government advice because in 2008 when this story is set (and today) but Brown blames this on one person in particular.
I’m not sure exactly how to read this. Yes, Tony Blair did cause a massive distrust in government, not to mention he tore the Labour Party apart with divisions that go on still today, but Brown was just as culpable. He was Blair’s right hand man all throughout the 90’s up til the 1997 election victory and only then did the pair start in-fighting. I think the best way to read this is Brown blaming Blair while not taking responsibility in his part of it, though there’s a suggestion that’s been running through this story that Brown somehow wasn’t responsible for what happens around him, but anyhow, back to the story and Brown is finally given some good news.
The possibility of containment is good, though I do notice Bristol is surrounded by Crossed outbreaks, so I’m fucked then…
But things are looking as good as it can be in the face of a deadly viral outbreak that turns people into murdering psychopaths, not to mention an impending nuclear war. Sadly, Alistair’s stunt backfires horribly.
It seems Patient Zero can infect people just with a touch so he’s just infested an incredibly violent British solider but before we see exactly how this plays out it’s back to the Tornado hanger and the launch of the flight which is going to hopefully save the world from thermonuclear war. Now I’ve not said much about the artist Christian Zanier because frankly he’s a competent artist and there’s not much else to say, but he delivers a couple of splash pages full of violence, brutality and finely drawn Tornado planes.
With the Tornado safely on it’s way, Brown’s security team head back to base, though at the same time the commander of the SAS team guarding the base is shown by Alistair exactly what Patient Zero does to people which is turn them into cannibalistic murdering lunatics. As he tries to get his men out, something very bad (or good depending on your point of view) happens.
Alistair is now in a locked room with not only Patient Zero, but two soldiers who are now Crossed.
To find out what they’re looking at and why you should probably not be eating while looking at the last page, buy the issue or download it from Comixology as I did. Next issue is the conclusion of the story and for those who do enjoy my reviews on the day of publication will have to wait I’m afraid. It’s due to ship in a fortnight which means I’ll be at this year’s Glastonbury Festival so #56’s review won’t be up til the week after, assuming I manage to survive Glastonbury of course!
In the meantime I will do something Crossed related. A poster by the name of Chris Kittinger pointed out the security team featured in this story have previously featured in a 4-part story in Crossed: Badlands # 25-28 called The Fatal Englishman. It’s an interesting story that discusses the role of religion in a post apocalyptic world full of the Crossed and it’s worth talking about in the context of this story, so expect that soon.
Until then get this issue just so you can see the last page…..