Earlier this year I was full of praise for The Thin Red Line, the last Garth Ennis storyline in Crossed: Badlands that featured Gordon Brown and the beginning of the end of the world and the start of the Crossed outbreak. It was probably the best Crossed story I’d read as it really was about power, and the use, or in Brown’s case, the lack of use of the power at hand. It wasn’t just a story about psychopaths raping, mutilating and fucking everyone and everything in their path as most Crossed stories seem to be.
Then a few months ago it was announced that Alan Moore would be writing a Crossed story set 100 years after the outbreak depicted in the The Thin Red Line. This was a weird thing at first thought because it was Moore working on someone else’s comic but Moore wouldn’t just do a gorno comic for Avatar Press would he? Well the good news he doesn’t. In fact it’s one of the best bits of post apocalyptic fiction I’ve read in a while in a genre that’s grown tired. In fact right away you realise this isn’t a normal Crossed story.
We see a figure observing the Crossed who appears to be infected themselves, but the obvious thing is that the language is odd, and in fact it’s a case Moore has extrapolated that language would evolve, with not just the Crossed, but the survivors of humanity. It’s a good move to establish right off that this is in the future and things have changed. this does make Crossed +100 initially hard to read, but once you pick up what Moore means it’s actually a great bit or worldbuilding from the start.
The story is centred round Future Taylor (younger characters here have these optimistic names given them in order to signify a new hopeful future) , one of the human survivors on a foraging mission to find supplies, in Future’s case it’s to find books including ‘wishful thinking’ books, or science fiction to us. I also need to praise artist Gabriel Anrade’s art which is simply wonderful in painting this wasted land regrowing after nearly a century of being ruined by the Crossed.
The group manage to find a library which still manages to somehow be not as destroyed as everywhere else, because as said, libraries aren’t somewhere Crossed and humans had high on their list of places to be.
By around now most readers should have sussed the language Moore is using and most readers should delight in it, because it’s clearly Moore having fun working things out in a way he did with Halo Jones which was another story set in the future where Moore tried to work out how language would develop. There’s an almost idealistic picture of humanity surviving here as Moore paints a future where people still strive for knowledge but only knowledge which can be useful for them as they try to survive in the world of the Crossed.
Of course it wouldn’t be a Crossed comic without the Crossed, and Moore teases them slowly and surely as he builds his world with the characters within them as they all react differently to the reappearance (it’s made clear the Crossed are diminishing in numbers but still pose a threat) of these lunatics.
There’s also other predators with wild animals killing not just Crossed, but humans which means that there’s danger everywhere, yet this planet has clean air and a better environment. It’s almost paradise apart from the murderous cannibal rapists and the wolves.
This issue sets up the world, the characters and if you’ve never read a Crossed comic before you can get this issue and pick up the concept quickly. As said, this will involve a bit of work but it’s a rewarding bit of work as Moore’s on form here but it’s very, very obvious that some bad things are going to happen to our characters sooner rather than later.
As with all Crossed titles, there’s multiple covers.In this case it’s not just more gore, but Moore uses them to help tell the story and to fill in some of the gaps in the century between when most Crossed stories are told and this one. In this issue one cover tells a story of the year 2060.
I’d highly recommend Crossed +100. It’s a fine bit of science fiction/horror that promises to live up it’s promise. If you have read one of the Crossed stories not written by Garth Ennis and been put off the concept then this is nothing like those and should act as a wonderful palette cleanser.