Garth Ennis

Crossed 8 (December 2009)

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Gosh, Garth, thanks for the miserably downbeat foreshadowing at the end.

Things are winding down in Crossed, obviously, and it’s kind of hurried. Not a lot of stuff happens this issue. Instead, it’s just a little bit of reaction to the last issue and a lengthy aside with Ennis filling the reader in on other people’s experiences outside the scope of the comic. But all of a sudden things just rev up and go full speed ahead….

Only to have Ennis do everything he can to depress the reader with the last passage.

Wait, I know what the problem is… it’s a cliffhanger. He’s finally ending an issue on a cliffhanger and it just doesn’t work. It feels overly sentimental and melodramatic and cheap.

It’s sucking the anticipation out of the story with a cute device. Ennis’s way better than a move like this one. Worries me for the finish.

CREDITS

Writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Jacen Burrows; colorist, Juanmar; editor, William Christensen; publisher, Avatar Press.

Crossed 7 (September 2009)

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The seventh issue basically brings the story to where, event-wise, not location-wise (since they’ve been moving for the series), it would pick up before Ennis’s digressions into non-epical storytelling. In other words, the shit hits the fan.

And there’s some bad stuff, but it’s nowhere near as affecting as the old guy’s confession scene in the previous issue. It’s just bad Crossed stuff. If the reader’s given up on a happy ending–and in the case of Crossed, it’s the worst possible ending one’s preparing him or herself for–there’s nothing much more Ennis can do to shock.

So, lots of bad stuff happens. Burrows draws it really disturbing and it’s a nasty time.

Ennis does action well and it’s a good comic. It’s just what I’ve been expecting to happen since the end of the third issue and… I had hoped it wouldn’t have to happen.

CREDITS

Writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Jacen Burrows; colorist, Juanmar; editor, William Christensen; publisher, Avatar Press.

Crossed 6 (June 2009)

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Ennis’s goal with Crossed, I’ve decided, is to make me sorry I ever said the book wasn’t going to surprise me anymore.

There are Crossed in this issue, there’s even a horse and a dog and an annoying new member of the group who’s pissing Stan off a lot because Stan feels like the first husband even though Cindy’s not interested.

There’s this whole awful flashback to Kitrick’s past and it finally makes the character visible. Even though he’s the only black guy, he’s almost not there in the previous issues. And, surprisingly, it isn’t as terrible as Ennis could have made it. There’s some restraint.

But the big surprise is what Ennis comes up with when he plays with conventions. The one guy sitting around talking about himself and what he did before takes an incredible turn (it seems like a joke for a while).

Then it ends quietly.

CREDITS

Writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Jacen Burrows; colorist, Juanmar; editor, William Christensen; publisher, Avatar Press.

Crossed 5 (May 2009)

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I don’t think a single Crossed appears in this issue and given the previous issue ended with the Crossed targeting Cindy (she’s the leader woman) and Stan (I think the narrator’s name is Stan, nearly positive). Instead, Ennis spends the entire issue on the characters. There’s some more flashback, but it’s revelatory here, about the characters, not about events.

So, while I’m way too burnt to be surprised by the level of violence or terror–one character refers to the Crossed as “killer rapist cannibals,” which seems both redundant and somehow not–I can be surprised with Ennis doing a life-affirming issue. It’s not life-affirming in the general, human sense (Ennis doing those stories is rare), but it’s an exceptionally positive return-to-nature feeling… along with humanity being, essentially, a waste of space. So, very Ennis.

The issue’s lovely. Too bad Ennis is going the kill everyone.

CREDITS

Writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Jacen Burrows; colorist, Juanmar; editor, William Christensen; publisher, Avatar Press.

Crossed 4 (March 2009)

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It’s a… no pun intended… bridge issue (the final scene takes place on a bridge, I love how Ennis doesn’t spend time doing cliffhangers on Crossed, he always takes it a page or two beyond the cliffhanger). He uses this issue to pause and expand on a few things.

First, the woman responds to the narrator’s crush on her (I’m not sure I know the narrator’s name, I think he has one; it’s not important). It doesn’t go particularly well for the narrator and it’s interesting to see how Ennis has removed the typical relationship developments from an end of the world story.

Second, there’s more on how the Crossed are evolving. It’s more of a standard, zombie movie moment, since it’s all about the series’s mythology. Makes for some nasty scenes though.

Like I said, I’m so burnt, it’ll be hard for Crossed to shock me at this point.

CREDITS

Writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Jacen Burrows; colorist, Juanmar; editor, William Christensen; publisher, Avatar Press.

Crossed 3 (January 2009)

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I don’t think I’ve seen zombie kids. Ennis doesn’t do zombie kids. Ennis does something else entirely.

I was a little apprehensive about reading the third Crossed because the first two had been such uppers, but I think I’m numbed. He kills a bunch of kids here. There’s where he’s going with Crossed apparently; there’s not some sweeping narrative, it’s just the awful stuff people do to survive.

Only, he raises the question here, is killing the kids an awful thing? They’re little murderers, preying on living people, not the Crossed (the zombies). It’s Shirley Jackson on acid; not unbelievable. It makes sense, really, the situation. I’m not sure why Ennis is the first to have thought of it. Maybe he’s just the first to have written it down.

Crossed, for all its blood, gore and torture, isn’t sensational.

It’s quiet. I can’t wait to see what they do next.

CREDITS

Writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Jacen Burrows; colorist, Juanmar; editor, William Christensen; publisher, Avatar Press.

Crossed 2 (October 2008)

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And the second issue is… well, it’s… rough.

Not rough as in unfinished, but rough in… Ennis is lucky to have Burrows on this one. Burrows has a very clean, very accessible art style. The guy must love blood and guts because otherwise he’d be at Marvel as a house artist, since he can draw, but there’s also this vicious thing to him. Burrows is able to capture the evil of it all, in his facial expressions and in the panic. It works.

Not a lot of time spent on character development, but definitely some. The narrator’s got a crush on the leader of the group, it’s an interesting affection, since she’s got a kid and there’s an abusive ex-husband in the mix.

I’m not sold, because I’m not letting myself get too giddy on an Avatar series (do they ever work out in the long term?), but optimistic.

CREDITS

Writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Jacen Burrows; colorist, Juanmar; editor, William Christensen; publisher, Avatar Press.

Crossed 1 (September 2008)

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Well, I’ve had my first taste of Crossed in, what seems to be its more full extent (i.e. what Avatar can get away with publishing and selling to the movie people). Ennis introducing torture and rape into the zombie mix (and apparently armed zombies) is definitely disturbing, but it’s also kind of brilliant. Zombies can already run, so what else is there….

It’s a survivor story, here, at the first real issue. There’s a brief follow-up to the prologue and it’s referenced a couple times, but Ennis could have just as easily left it out. So one real issue in, I have no idea where he’s going with Crossed, but it doesn’t really matter. Ennis and zombies–even torturing zombies–is a bit of a waste of Ennis’s abilities. He can do so much more.

But, we’ll see. I’m openminded (for Crossed, at least).

Burrows’s art’s damned creepy though.

CREDITS

Writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Jacen Burrows; colorist, Juanmar; editor, William Christensen; publisher, Avatar Press.

Crossed 0 (July 2008)

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Ennis has done zombies before–anyone else remember the Thor: Vikings series–but it’s not clear from this preview issue whether or not they’re zombies. He establishes his narrator (presumably, it’d be funny if he eighty-sixed him for the rest of the series) and shows the reader some really horrific stuff, to get them ready, and then ends on a joke. It’s practically a Preacher joke, really, and it doesn’t help orient the reader at all.

But for a dollar, I’m in love with Crossed 0, because it’s practically as much story pages as Avatar gives anyway and Ennis is in top, pop culture-referencing form here. I don’t know if it’ll stick, but it’s a pleasure to read. Even when the content gets so nasty they don’t show it.

I’m not worried about Crossed at all. It’s Ennis doing his thing.

Well, maybe if I’m eating while reading….

CREDITS

Writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Jacen Burrows; colorist, Greg Waller; editor, William Christensen; publisher, Avatar Press.

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