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There’s a lot to be said when a comic series, or branding, gets someone in their ranks that you wouldn’t really expect. A series that doesn’t really have the high standing that one would expect, should the creator decide to work on it, and one that you would think would rather be left to the annals of time as a footnote to a footnote. A series that, honestly, many would claim has no one who actually respects comics who want it around or want to read.
The above is mainly talking about the reaction to Alan Moore first being announced as dipping his hand into the pool known as Crossed for the very first time this year. Many were shocked, and many were not. Moore is one of those creators that has “fallen” in the eyes of fans. Moore’s previous dealings with Avatar Press, the much bashed Neonomicon and Fashion Beast, really led quite a few to write this off as yet another terrible and overwrought Moore tale.
It’s not uncommon for Avatar Press in the first place. Not long after readers were subjected to the acclaimed Jonathan Hickman doing his own comic with the publisher – a trite series about various deities waging war on Earth called God Is Dead – he eventually left. In fact, the funny part of that story is that the series actually improved with Hickman’s departure, the successor (Mike DiCosta) reveling in the ridiculous nature of the series.
With that in mind, and that Hickman was also doing two fan favorite Image series, the odds of Moore doing any better with a series as high risk as Crossed were low. Crossed is harder than the hardest sell. In its decade or so length of existence, only two writers have been able to tame the beast, at least where fans are concerned. The balance lies in knowing that when you have any sort of survival comic the appeal must come from the intimate, human side.
What we got was something that went beyond what fans could have even dreamed of expecting. A run that not only focused on the more human aspects but also felt like a true story of its own. There are moments when the threat or existence of the Crossed as an antagonistic force is even forgotten. Moore is able to take the mythos and set it into the post-apocalyptic genre quite nicely. It feels like it cares more about the world than the degeneracy.
The amount of work that Moore put into making the world of the future one that is both understandable to longtime fans and also one that is interesting was impressive as well. We get the hallmark of almost every entry in this genre: new slang. It gets tiresome at times, but the small new idioms and terms provided new things to sink into. The ways in which the characters were both intelligent, and yet blinded to things, also traveled well.
There’s also a large amount of background detail. References, locations, and trivia are scattered throughout the series and within the various covers. The name of the game was that it felt like a tale worth the gimmick and worth the effort. The main problem was that, regardless of Alan Moore, regardless of the effort, it was still Crossed. That is something that will never really leave it, nor should it. It’s about tastes, and you shouldn’t read for a highly regarded name.
While the name recognition was unable to get Crossed renewed recognition and any acclaim, it was able to do one important thing: get fans back into the mix. Believe it or not, Crossed as a premise can get boring as hell. What Moore succeeded at doing was getting fans to care once more, and hopefully that’s enough for now. Comments and thoughts would be appreciated below.