What I thought of Crossed +100 #7

Thoughts about #1#2#3#4#5 and #6.

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Last issue saw Alan Moore and artist Gabriel Andrande leave the future world of the Crossed with Future Taylor escaping from her settlement after a more intelligent and in control strain of Crossed invade, take over and kill, torture or imprison her people. By any stretch of the imagination it was a cold, scary horrible ending to a cracking little mystery/horror story This issue sees Si Spurrier take over the writing and Fernando Heinz take over the art. It’s the art that’s the first thing that’s instantly different as Heinz is a lot more cartoony and looser than Andrade was, and I admit that the effect is initially jarring but he settles in just fine especially when he draws the more grotesque material.

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It’s Spurrier’s script that’s the real big difference because he’s injected a thick vein of jet black humour into this right from the off as we see Future trying to prepare the town of Murfreesboro for a Crossed attack.It doesn’t go well mainly because this is a peaceful Muslim (Islam is the only pre-Crossed religion to remain in use) town and they’re not fighters though the threat is very real.

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It turns out they encounter the Crossed sooner rather than later which leads to something menacing for Future as one of the Crossed recognises her.

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I like the smarter Crossed rather than their insane but dim cousins. They’re a harder threat to overcome as after all, creator Garth Ennis has made it clear from the off that you can just wait out the Crossed in the cold. To make them a real threat again is needed because they’re used too often as just insane zombies and that’s boring.

Like Moore, Spurrier is building up a plot here and although his script is less dense than Moore’s, it’s not bad at all while it cracks along at a pretty speedy pace. There’s an awful lot to explore in this post-post-apocalyptic world and I’m intrigued to see what Spurrier intends to do in it.

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What I thought of Crossed +100 #6

Thoughts about #1#2#3#4 and #5.

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Alan Moore’s final issue of this future of the Crossed tale left last issue on a cliffhanger as Future Taylor discovered the origins of why the Crossed worship salt, and the horrible truth that in fact there’s an intelligent strain of Crossed and they’re heading to her settlement in Chooga. This issue picks up with them trying to work out what to do next and the Crossed are bringing an army with them.

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In the years since the original Crossed outbreak humanity has survived and even started to flourish again, but the Crossed have been scheming, planning and getting ready so that on the 100th anniversary of the Crossed outbreak they return in numbers to reduce humanity to prey again.

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Moore ramps up the tension to ridiculous levels in these pages as Future and her friends try desperately to hope for the best, but we should realise that being a tale of the Crossed, there’s no such thing as hope. Even the fate of possibly the only real hero these stories have produced, Future Taylor, is up in the air as come the point when Moore decides to cut loose it’s clear humanity is in big, big trouble.

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But Moore’s a better writer than just having five issues build up to a gorefest and in fact, there’s a revelation that’s shocking as Future realises just how the Crossed have been managing to keep one step ahead of them. By the time she realises that though they’ve arrived in Chooga to the full horror of the Crossed attack.

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This Crossed attack is different from the ones we’re used to. It’s more deliberate, careful and planned, yes, there’s brutality but it’s all got a purpose as this group of intelligent Crossed save the women and children to help propagate the line. The men are turned into food.

There’s no happy, hopeful ending. Nobody comes riding into sight to save the day, but Future still comes out of this as the only real hero that doesn’t die horribly in any of the Crossed stories I’ve read, and as Moore has set things up for Si Spurrier to carry on the tale from #7 so it’d be daft to kill off Future, plus she’s a great character. As for these Moore issues it’s not been the best work Moore’s ever done but it’s been a brilliant SF/horror/detective story that’s been tense, exciting and revealed secrets right up til the end. I look forward to seeing what Suprrier does from the grounding Moore has given him.

What I thought of Crossed +100 #5

Thoughts about #1#2#3 and #4.

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The advance copy for this issue teases that Moore is going to reveal the secrets of the Crossed infection, something I’d have though creator Garth Ennis would keep for himself, but does Moore actually reveal a secret Ennis has at best ambiguous? I’ll get to that.

This issue opens with a fantastic dream sequence where Future dreams of ‘wishful thinking’ and it’s simply a great few pages by Moore and artist Gabriel Andrande.

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The sense of utter foreboding Moore sets up from the start increases when on a scouting mission Future and her friends find a house made out of body parts. In fact it looks like a shrine or a temple, but the Crossed can’t be developing that sort of culture let alone the basics of a society can they?

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It actually turns out to be a Crossed armory full of horrific weapons made from human bone and tissue in the middle of a village full of Crossed, and at this point Moore decides to very, very slowly transform the story from one where’s it’s been relatively slow paced to a faster, more horrific level. Moore at this point is letting us in on what the Crossed have been doing for a century after four issues of showing us where the uninfected parts of humanity have ended up. To say it’s concerning for Future and the others is an understatement.

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This shrine turns out to be built for Beauregard Leander Salt, a very unique survivor of the initial Crossed out break in 2008. Future finds his journals which are, frankly, fucked but they explain why this person is being worshiped by the Crossed a century later.

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Salt is someone very unique. He’s an infected but one in full control of himself which is how he’s able to effectively tell his story of the outbreak so clearly, and it’s through this Moore manages to unload all the horror of the Crossed he’s held back on for four issues, not to mention the fact that Salt is a man clearly thinking ahead.

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Does Moore reveal the secret of the Crossed? Not really, but he does reveal what’s been going on for the last four issues and sets up his final issue brilliantly. Crossed +100 #5 is a splendid issue that’s the work of someone that knows exactly how to structure and pace a story so all the buildup that’s happened before comes to a head in what promises to be a pretty devastating climax next issue.

What I thought of Crossed +100 #4

Thoughts about #1#2 and #3.

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This issue starts with a concise history of the world from the Crossed outbreak to the present day of the comic. It’s a pretty fascinating thing to see Moore extrapolate what Garth Ennis set out into something still the same, but vastly different in that Moore is trying to take it further to a point where humanity has found a foothold on the planet again. Moore’s vision is more hopeful than Ennis’s bleak vision of the end of the world.

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There’s also an interesting use of Islam here as religion still exists in this world, but it’s become a vastly different strain to the type of Islam practised in all its forms today. It’s good to see Moore taking religion on as apart from Ennis, you rarely see anyone touching upon religion in Crossed as it gets in the way of bad writers hacking out some gore and rape.

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And then Moore does a pretty explicit sex scene between two people that care for each other, which is rare for a Crossed comic as normally sex is either purely titillating or it descends into rape. This is a nice little scene that adds to the character of Future Taylor. Moore also comes up with the best name for an arse ever…

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I am going to use the term ‘bottom boobies’ all the time now.

Anyhow Future gets some answers to the mysteries she’s found so far in this series, but these also open up more questions.

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Moore also reveals Judaism and Christianity didn’t adapt to a post-Crossed world, but Islam did, and it’s things like this that raise this run of Crossed above the normal issues which are at best pretty poor when not written by Garth Ennis.

The Crossed only pop up in the video tape found in an earlier issue, and they’re acting very strange indeed, but the main priority is sweeping areas of Crossed so the communities building up linking up with each other can be free of Crossed.

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Moore’s built up the horror is dribs and drabs. Most of this series has been about building up a future of the planet infected by the Crossed, but all the time there’s a feeling that something is coming and its going to be horrendous.

What I thought of Crossed +100 #3

Thoughts about #1 and #2.

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Right away in this issue Moore shows that the future of the Crossed is one where civilisation is returning; an image that looks out of place for anyone used to the world of the Crossed.

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Of course this is still dangerous, but the sense that the worse of the Crossed is over is palatable in a lot of what Moore’s shown us so far. Yes, they’re still around and they’ve caused trouble for our cast of characters, but compared to your ordinary Crossed comic, there’s not the ongoing threat you’d expect.

Future and her group return to Chooga (Chattanooga) and we get to see the larger human society in this future, and it’s a great example of Moore developing ideas and language in fascinating ways.

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This is of course all about setting this future up while at the same tie building up this sense of slow dread Moore has built up over the previous two issues.In these scenes we see how humanity has recovered to such a degree that children now play at being the Crossed. A panel that’s actually quite scary in the possibility that its Moore dropping some massive foreshadowing.

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Future sits down to view the video tape she found on her foraging trip, and it’s disturbing viewing as she’s seeing that the Crossed are acting oddly to say the least. At a meeting of the community it’s decided that they’ll go out and mop up the presumed small groups of Crossed so these groups of survivors can link up and start to grow larger. Before they go out there’s a chilling couple of panels that references Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.

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This issue is a marvelous bit of science fiction that’s building up nicely. Like the other issues the Crossed are used sparingly in order I assume so that when they do arrive, it comes as a massive shock. It’s also clear that although there’s this underlying theme of optimism, Moore’s making it obvious that something awful is brewing as Future and her group find more and more signs of the Crossed being more and more organised.

Crossed +100 is a fine comic that’s constructed well and thanks to Andrane’s art, looks bloody lovely. Next issue can’t really come fast enough.

What I thought of Crossed +100 #2

Thoughts about #1.

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The second issue of Alan Moore’s future  vision of Garth Ennis’s Crossed starts with a very sexually violent Crossed panel and a discussion about the Lord of the Rings. You don’t get that reading Batman do you?

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It’s a panel that’s going to throw people buying this still unaware of the Crossed title and the level of violence in it, but it’s an important one as it’s Moore starting to gradually not only reveal a bit more of the past of our main characters, but slipping in more of the extreme horror that Garth Ennis used (on the whole) effectively when writing Crossed.

As for our main characters, they arrive on a foraging trip in Memphis, a city now reclaimed by nature in pages wonderfully drawn by Gabriel Andrande who is an artist I wasn’t familiar with but in two issues is turning out some fantastic work depicting Moore’s future America.

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The initial pages set in Memphis are almost idyllic as characters talk about how they either survived the Crossed outbreak, or managed to grow up in a world where the Crossed are dying out. It’s also a chance for Moore to further ensure the reader picks up the future language and the slang he’s developed for this comic and frankly, these pages are a joy but we know Crossed is a horror comic and we know these quiet moments are heading somewhere and it’s probably going to be fucking horrible.

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Eventually the crew stumble across not only Elvis Presley’s Graceland, but another mysterious shrine almost certainly left by the Crossed.

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And then things get horrible.There’s a single point in this issue where Moore makes it very clear this world is not idyllic, it’s not a fresh new start. It’s a world of insane rapist psychopaths that can infect anyone ridiculously easily and they do. and it’s horrible so any hope being built up is tempered by the actions of the Crossed. Essentially Future Taylor receives a lesson at the same time as many of the readers as Moore starts ramping up the horror and violence slowly, while at the same time spinning a mystery that looks not to be solved easily, or even without serious cost.

Crossed +100 is developing into a fascinating book that isn’t telling the same sort of post-apocalyptic horror story. There’s a world of hope here but there’s always the Crossed to muck things up for the people of this new world but it’s still Moore trying to make it a comic that isn’t unrelenting misery, rape and violence. As to where this goes I’ve no idea as after all, this is a mystery but bar a few of the Garth Ennis stories, this is the best Crossed material you’ll read.

 

What I thought of Crossed +100 #1

crossed+100-1Earlier 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.