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Alan Moore has been pretty maligned as of late and Crossed has never been in vogue. So what were readers supposed to expect when faced with the prospect of the two of them combined? Especially at Avatar Press, whose company line focuses on gore and horror? Well, the public finally got their answer with the release of Crossed + 100 #1, so let us dig into it.
I am not afraid to say that I have liked a few Crossed arcs here and there. As a survival comic it can bring out something rather solid once in a while. Last year’s Crossed Badlands arc “American Quitters” written by Si Spurrier is a good example, using the setting as a backdrop for a grindhouse black comedy. So, there was always the slim hope that Moore could follow the example of those who were able to go into Crossed and come out the other side still intact.
There was no better feeling than to finish the last page of Crossed + 100 and realize that Moore had joined those very same ranks. As “American Quitters” before it, Crossed + 100 takes the setting and writes something else using it. Moore takes readers on a journey through what is actually a rather entertaining Post-Apocalypse story at the outset. Really, it’s probably the least “Crossed” issue of Crossed there has been in a very long time.
In the vein of Riddley Walker and The Book of Dave, Crossed + 100 doesn’t waste any time in creating a vibrant and interesting world. There is a certain humor and cleverness in how the language of the new world is presented. It’s not going to impress any actual linguists, but it’s a fun word play exercise for attentive readers. I know a few have already compiling glossaries that detail what each new idiom means for the benefit of others. I won’t say that it is half the fun, but it a definite contributor.
I don’t want to spend much time of the actual cast and characters. Everyone already familiar to Crossed as a series will know what usually entails the characters. All that one can really hope for is that they are interesting/entertaining enough to make their brief impressions on the reader time not wasted. The cast introduced in this first issue – a group of “Archivists” (historians who seek remnants of the old world) – seem nice enough. It’s basically a slasher cast, and this one is at least not full of jerks.
Of the actual, titular, Crossed more can be said – or at least intimated. We get some really nice hints at their new dynamics, and how their lives have changed in the intervening decades. It’s not too much, a one or two families that are showcased, but it’s enough for a little mystique. Moore is setting up a mystery here, especially with one particular scene that shows that the Crossed may not be as stupid as everyone things, even 100 years in the future.
One thing of note were the names that Crossed give their kids. Seriously, that was a highlight. Of two names readers get one was a degradation of the name “Basil” (Bosol/Bafol) and the other was unmentionable in polite company. The art by Gabrial Andade was nothing to write home about but it was serviceable enough. Overall Crossed + 100 was the best issue of Crossed in a long time, and I hope it keeps it up.