At the end of last issue our story in the present day faced a horde of Crossed coming to get them and 75,000 years ago Sun and his tribesmen are facing rape and torture at the hands of The Blood Men. It’s a testament to Gillen’s skill that both stories are paced brilliantly, but for me it’s still the prehistoric story that’s the most horribly fascinating.
The prehistoric story is grim but we’ve been led for nearly three issues to think the Blood Men are the Crossed, or at least some variation of Crossed we’ve not seen mainly sue to their ways. As this issue gets going that’s still the thought in my head at least, certainly as it comes clear as to what is going to happen to Sun and his warriors.
That’s right. They’ve been made part of a gladiatorial arena along with other captured warriors to fight prehistoric animals (in Sun’s case, it’s sabre-tooth tigers) in a battle to the death. I can’t help but think Gillen is having enormous fun here in between all the quite disturbing horror and violence, but artist Rafa Ortiz does a fantastic job showing the battle in full flow. However things are not as it seems as it’s not the coronation of a young new leader for the Blood Men, but something much more twisted.
That’s right, the supposed heir is going be turned into furniture, eaten and tortured in front of thousands as part of a long sick joke. Just as you think it can’t get worse, it does…
The first real Crossed is triggered in the same way Garth Ennis described previously in The Thin Red Line, in that the planet kicks it into gear as a device to purge it of the humans there that have crossed a line. You can certainly say the Blood Men have crossed a line by some miles and after a quick return to modern times where our group there face a fate against the Crossed, things look bleak again for past and present.
I really can’t say how much of a cracking read this all is. It really isn’t for the weak at heart, but Gillen’s let himself loose in working back from what Garth Ennis has set up to the point where I actually can’t be arsed with the present day story anymore. The story of Sun and his tribe trying to survive is much more gripping, if utterly horrible but we’re halfway through this run so we should appreciate it before another shite run follows it.