In the first part of this story writer Max Bemis made it clear he was making a point about how a section of male fans treat women online. This issue starts with a flashback of imprisoned comics creator Leigha suffering rejection after rejection because of her work being targeted towards women before she decides to self-publish.
As for her captors in the comic shop they’re welcoming a couple of other survivors who’ve found their shop, one of which is a comics fan, and indeed, is looking for a Garth Ennis comic which means in this little meta reference that there’s a Crossed version of Ennis roaming this world doing what the Crossed do…
The guys in the shop seem happy to see the pair of newcomers right up until the point where they reveal they’re gay and are in a relationship. Seeing as the captors of Leigha have shown themselves to be sexist, misogynistic rapists, it comes as no surprise they’re also homophobes. At this point it’s clear that Bemis is forcing a certain type of comics fan to confront what they are, and what they are is worse than the fictional Crossed because they hold their opinions in our world.
As this is going on Kit, one of the rapists, is professing his love for Leigha, something not reciprocated, though she does discover she has a fan in the shape of one of the newcomers.
Talk moves onto the comics Leigha is being forced to create to keep the rapists happy, so she’s forced by the ringleader Lance to show her latest issue of the Anti-Crossed to the newcomers, and it speaks for itself…
Leigha uses the Anti-Crossed comic to attack her rapists as the comic is the only thing they’re living for. It also allows Bemis to take a direct hit at his potential readership.
Needless to say this doesn’t please Lance, and it results in carnage, albeit somewhat mild for a Crossed comic. Also, not one infected person appears in this issue. The only violence is perpetrated by humans upon each other and this allows Bemis to target his victims.
It doesn’t quite work. It’s a tad unsubtle in places not to mention that it spells out it’s point in the comic-within-a-comic device used, but that’s probably the only way it’s going to be driven home. It isn’t exactly Wildean satire; it’s a blunt tool smashing readers in the face. In this regard it’s hugely effective in pointing out to the sort of people reading this that think something like GamerGate was justified, or that the latest example of a female figure in the news being threatened with rape is the sort of thing they should live with. No, instead Bemis points the finger at those people and firmly lays responsibility at their feet.
If you like a serious bit of social commentary and satire with your horror this is for you. If you trawl YouTube videos so you can leave sexist comments, this probably isn’t going to make you feel good about yourself.