Crossed + One Hundred volumes 2-3
Medium: comic
Year: 2015
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Fernando Heinz, Rafa Ortiz, Martin Tunica
Keywords: Crossed, post-apocalypse
Format: Issues 7-18
Website category: Comics
Review date: 25 August 2023
It's quite good. I enjoyed it. The plot's more dynamic than Moore's and addresses the fates of more towns, factions and armies. Also, of course, I had no idea who was going to win. This is Crossed, so jet-black endings are normal. Would the humans survive? Would the Crossed wipe them out? Might a third way be found?
It starts badly. Reading this back-to-back with Alan Moore makes Spurrier look like a hack. He's imitating the language at first, not inhabiting it. Similarly, one senses a checklist of this world's characteristics, e.g. the conversation about homophobia that's trying to show that our heroes don't have it, but still felt like a retrograde step to me because I hadn't expected this culture to know the concept. Similarly, the Islam we see here has evolved less than I'd assumed before.
But that's only right at the beginning. The book settles down and Spurrier finds his feet.
Also, the art's a mixed bag. These artists have distractingly different styles. Heinz in particular makes the characters look cartoonish in a way that doesn't suit this grounded, grim universe. There are panels here that reminded me of Disney. Heinz's Future-Mustaqba scenes in particular undermine the writing, whereas I'm a fan of Ortiz's ugly versions of them. (I think Heinz is a good artist, mind you, and I'd be happy to read him on a series that suited his strengths.)
Basically, though, this is good stuff. 12 issues is a lot of story space and we're encountering strong ideas. The Crossed ultimatum to uninfected towns is nightmarish. If you accept it, who do you choose? Names from a box? That happens. Bastards take control. Future and the Crossed baby is similarly powerful. There's a lot of meat on this story, although the ending's less conclusive than I'd expected and I wonder if Spurrier might have been planning to continue it.
Sometimes, it's even clever. Language can be a clue to allegiance. Also (although this is Moore, not Spurrier), I wonder if Robbie's name might have been a deliberate joke, even in-universe. Robbie Burns?
So there we have it! That's all my Crossed reading to date. It's a richer universe than you'd think. There are other instalments I'd also like to read, but I don't think they've all been collected. The +100 universe had a 2018 follow-up (Mimic) that I'm interested in seeing, while I'd also buy the Crossed: Dead or Alive webcomic if I could find trade paperbacks of it. I liked +100 a good deal and I think it could be cool to extend it with +10,000 or more. The main problem with Spurrier's issues, to be honest, is the ending. I want to know what happens next. I want to see which faction wins. I want to know about Now. To be honest, I don't even tell you for sure whether Spurrier had been aiming for that ending, or whether he'd been planning to continue and Avatar simply cancelled the series.
There's lots of potential here, though. I wouldn't go so far as to recommend this to Crossed-haters, but it's much less disgusting than the present-day Crossed series published from 2008 to 2014. Also, I enjoyed it.