What I thought of Cry Havoc #1

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Si Spurrier’s new comic from publishers Image Comics and drawn by  Ryan Kelly is about a lesbian werewolf going to war. That should grab your attention.

It’s not as simplistic as that as you’d expect from Spurrier. The plot focuses round Lou, a young woman in London who has a partner looking after the hyenas at the zoo, and this allows some nice character building not to mention some foreshadowing.

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From here the story jumps to Afghanistan where Lou is in an American army helicopter full of ”private contractors” who are not ordinary mercenaries.

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From here the story flashes back to Lou’s life back in London where she’s attacked by a werewolf while busking near The Old Bailey before returning back to Afghanistan where Lou’s squad are further developed, and their mission revealed.

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We also find out that Lou has agreed to help track down the rogue operative in return for help with her condition, but that means she needs to embrace her condition to do so meaning she may lose her humanity.

This isn’t a straightforward war comic, nor is it told conventionally as different colourists are used to distinguish different times in Lou’s story, so her time in Afghanistan  uses hard, stark colours compared to her time in London which uses warmer colours. It’s a nice touch that’s not totally successful, but it’s trying something to help tell the story which is interestingly enough told by Spurrier who really is carving out a name for himself as a top quality writer from the UK. This could be a big success for him. The main character is engaging, there’s a lot of promised action and mystery to keep people happy, not to mention Ryan Kelly’s art keeps it flowing nicely along.

I’d recommend this if you’re a fan of smartly written stories about lesbian werewolves….

What I thought of Crossed +100 #13

Thoughts about #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9,#10#11 and #12.

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At the end of Si Spurrier’s first arc of Crossed +100 humanity had started taking the fight to the Crossed. This new arc picks the story up five years later with Future Taylor back to being an archivist, and Bailey (the stranger that led the fightback against the Crossed) now a captain in the survivors army, going from settlement to settlement clearing out not just the Crossed, but those humans that have become slaves of the Crossed.

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The settlement being liberated is Kingstenn, the same one that tried to offer Future up as a tithe to the Crossed, and they’re destroying the Infected’s archive.

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Finding a shrine to Salt (one of the first intelligent Crossed from the initial outbreak a century ago) Taylor and her apprentice are shown what else the Crossed have left behind: an infected child.

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Also discovered is a coded journal left by the Crossed that Future can’t translate when she’s back at Mursfreeboro which has become an armed stronghold since we last saw it. Though it is safe, and Future’s lover Mustafa is still there so for now it’s somewhere that’s free of the Crossed yet there’s a secret to be revealed…

This is simply about placing all our characters in the context of five years later. There’s a lot of exposition but Spurrier makes it easy to get through, even though much of it is just people standing around talking  and filling in the gaps. There’s not much in the way of character development, but this is a plot issue and as for the final page it’s setting up a very, very interesting second arc from Si Spurrier which if it’s as good as his first post-Alan Moore arc, will be very good indeed.

What I thought of Crossed +100 #12

Thoughts about #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9,#10 and #11.

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At the end of this first arc by Si Spurrier the settlement of Murfreeboro is threatened by the Crossed unless they give up people for them to rape, torture and mutilate, or are they looking to do something else with these people they’re getting from towns? Fortunately Future Taylor has some totally unexpected allies in the shape of refugees she presumed to be Crossed disguised as normal people.

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Sadly the Imam is set upon a peaceful settlement so calls upon people to pray which is not going to stop the Crossed from cutting your balls off and wearing them for earrings. Sadly after a coup upon the Imam’s regime (aided by Future) it blows up in her face as her fellow insurgents aren’t going to take the fight to the Crossed, but instead give them what they want.

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After seeing Cautious escape in the balloon Future loses much hope of the future, and for the first time in this series, we’re made to fear for the fate of someone that’s become essentially a hero in the world of the Crossed. Especially when Spurrier has her drop the narrative Alan Moore established in his first issue.

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From here on in it’s about survival as the Crossed come to take their ransom.

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Though things don’t go as expected as Spurrier plays with expectations, so the end of this arc doesn’t end as expected, In fact, it’s horrible and hopeful at the same time as humanity may just have found a way to take the fight to the Crossed rather than let them come to us.

I’ve found Spurrier’s first arc after Alan Moore a little bit harder to get into, but it’s hit a head of steam outwith of the dodgy art in the last couple of issues, but I’m happy to say Fernando Heinz is back for half this issue as I feel he suits Spurrier’s story well, plus his vision of the Crossed is vastly different from any previous version I’ve seen.

All in all this is a vastly satisfying final issue of this arc that promises more from the next one. Spurrier’s really getting into his stride and I hope this quality continues next issue.

 

What I thought of Crossed +100 #11

Thoughts about #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9 and #10.

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At the end of last issue things were looking pretty crap for our gang of survivors, and this issue starts off with Future Taylor taking a bollocking from the Imam.

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It turns out that refugees are pouring into Murfreesboro as the Crossed aggressively tear across the formerly growing human communities with the same demands for sacrifices of people, and it’s always seven women and three men every year.

The other problem is that Future has serious doubts over some of the refugees, thinking that they may be Crossed that have learned how to act more human and less Crossed in order to infiltrate communities like Murfreesboro.

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After an argument with Musta about the refugees, and indeed, who might or might not be Crossed, it should start dawning upon people that this is Si Spurrier commenting upon the current refugee crisis in Europe, and the idea (spread mainly by the hard right parties like UKIP) that in among the refugees are ISIS terrorists, so here’s a little horror comic making a nice point as both Musta (who thinks they should show mercy and compassion to all the refugees) and Future (who thinks some of the refugees are suspicious) both have valid points.

But to make any progress Future has to convince the Imam..

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The Imam doesn’t listen believing that peaceful means are the way forward, then all of it falls apart as the Crossed finally arrive at Murfreesboro with the same offer they’ve given other settlements.

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Everything Future warned might happen is happening, and the settlement now has a week to decide to go along with the Crossed plans or die.

This issue consists mainly of people talking but it’s a fantastic issue because it’s dealing with the different moralities in the new world, and there’s simply no room for mercy or religion, as if the Imam had listened to Future earlier they could have mobilised the other human settlements to make a stand against the Crossed, or even taken the fight to them.

They didn’t, and now they’re trapped in a situation that could see them wiped out. It’s a stark ending to Spurrier’s best issue yet which is let down only by Rafa Ortiz’s art. In places it’s dreadful and coming after the marvelous work of Andrande and the more cartoony, but interesting work of Heinz, this comes as a disappointment.

Still, this is still the best of the post Alan Moore issues and is highly recommended for an exceptionally good script that sets up the next issue perfectly.

What I thought of Crossed +100 #10

Thoughts about #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8 and #9.

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At the end of the last issue Future and her group had encountered a gang of  what they thought to be Crossed but where in fact, humans being kept by the Crossed, and once they’d been discovered all hell broke lose.

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Except everything isn’t clear at all as these humans/Crossed can pull back the more feral Crossed just by shouting at them.

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From here it seems there’s been experiments at human/Crossed hybrids, and even controlling the wild Crossed that’s worked, so these creatures can develop though it becomes clear these are the results of Salt’s ‘seven dwarves’ and that things are actually worse than Future thought.

Then it kicks off…

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There’s a battle and people are lost in the most action orientated issue of Spurrier’s run so far, and there’s one moment that’s just brilliant in it’s insanity, however this is leading to something larger as the scale of the Crossed threat becomes very clear to Future. Her job now is to convince the Imam of it and then gather an army to take these more organised Crossed on which leads into next issue…..

What I thought of Crossed +100 #9

Thoughts about #1#2#3#4#5#6#7 and #8.

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Last issue Future Taylor realised the smarter Crossed were holding human settlements to a horrendous ransom rather than just go piling in torturing, raping and killing as the human race have got used to the Crossed doing. This issue picks up shortly after the ending of last issue with Future back in Mursfreeboro and having to deal with religion in a post-Crossed world.

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Spurrier treats this modified version of Islam well, but the issue remains in that Cautious is acting erratically and Future needs to try to convince the people of her current settlement to take the fight to the Crossed, something they’re reluctant to do.This sparks a bit of a domestic and some interesting use of profanities in this new world.

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This helps Future get a group together to scout the Crossed town she found previously to help get the proof she needs to convince the Imam that there needs to be a war to wipe out the intelligent Crossed, but the town has been wiped clean as if it never existed. The Crossed have cleaned up after themselves.

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Future doesn’t give up and decides to kick on to see what she can find, and what she finds are the Crossed. However they appear to be scared or at least wary of Future Taylor.

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But it becomes clear these aren’t Crossed, in fact Future works out what they actually are.

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There lies one more horrible twist in this issue which makes it clear just how long the Crossed have been using humans in their plans, and that makes things all the more scary as these aren’t mindless animals Future is facing. But smart, ruthless and totally immoral creatures that will wait if need be to get what they want which is to inflict pain and suffering where they can.

This issue doesn’t so much close on a cliffhanger but it does make one desperate to see where this story goes from here, but there’s definitely something huge Spurrier is building up to.

What I thought of Crossed +100 #8

Thoughts about #1#2#3#4#5#6 and #7.

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Last issue Future Taylor saved the pilots of a balloon, That’s right, in a post-apocalyptic world there’s still balloons which allows Si Spurrier to drop an obvious reference to early 19th century science fiction and the work of Jules Verne. It’s a lovely little touch.

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In a world where the Crossed are a serious threat again this is a lovely bit of romance but it’s a practical device for Spurrier to open up the future Crossed world Alan Moore developed as Future and Mr. McBlarney (the main pilot of the craft) travel this world. As for McBlarney, his dialogue is incredibly hard to read til I sussed that Spurrier is using a similar trick to what say, Irvine Welsh did on Trainspotting so it makes perfect sense if you read it exactly as it’s written down.

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It turns out Future is a celebrity after escaping the carnage of Chooga, and she’s not exactly comfortable with her new found fame, but although the threat of the Crossed hangs over everything, the scenes between McBlarney and Future are a joy. It’s somewhat refreshing to see such scenes in a Crossed comic because they’re human, and if this is a world where humanity is finding itself again these are lovely little touches. As said though, the horrors of the Crossed aren’t far away and on a trip to another settlement Future is given a shocking video by another archivist.

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The smarter Crossed are now not just murdering, torturing and raping at a whim, but instead are raiding smaller settlements and setting out a clear set of demands.

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After the earlier scenes this is horrifying which is exactly the point because the town Taylor is in is the same town the Crossed have threatened, so the hope is that she ends up being one of the quota imposed by the Crossed.

This is an excellent continuation of Alan Moore’s story that is saying something more about this broken world, and the things that people will do to save themselves. It’s pronounced how much more the threat is here than the initial issues of Moore’s run, partly because Moore was telling a different type of story but mainly because Spurrier wants us to face the decisions made in this issue and a slower pace wouldn’t be suitable for this story.

So a great issue and a horrible final page to top it all off. Fantastic stuff.

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.