Creator/Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Jacen Burrows
Color Chapters: Greg Waller & Juanmar
Genre: Horror, Post-apocalyptic
Series: Limited Series
Publication Date: May 11, 2010
Format: Illustration, 240 Pages
Publisher: Avatar Press
A WORLD LIKE THIS, IT FINDS A WAY TO DAMN US ALL.
In the blink of an eye, humanity is lost. The Crossed are upon us. Men, women and children alike fall victim to the mystery infection that makes killers out of parents and rapists out of lovers. Ruthless, berserk and evil beyond measure, these cackling demons spread their plague across the Earth – until our species teeters on the brink of final extinction.
Now, a small band of survivors make their cautious way across a deserted America, existing in a state of constant terror, only too aware that death beyond description lurks around almost every corner. They have in common only their determination to survive – but in the world of the Crossed, survival has a cost all its own. By story’s end, each will discover exactly what they’ll do to stay alive… and, in a world of monsters, just how easy it is to become inhuman too.
There is no hope. There are no heroes. No one is coming to save you.
THERE IS ONLY THE CROSSED.
Quick & Dirty: Dark, disturbing and deprived, this story will send chills down your spine.
Opening Sentence: Remember YouTube?
Crossed, written by the prolific Garth Ennis with amazing art by Jacen Burrows, is probably the most disturbing graphic novel I’ve ever read. Crossed chronicles an outbreak that makes those afflicted, known as the Crossed, psychotic and extremely homicidal. In the aftermath of this, unspecified outbreak a group of survivors flee north, hoping that harsh weather, coupled with the self destructive tendencies of the Crossed will give them a fighting chance. Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows take the premise of the zombie apocalypse and supercharge it. The Crossed aren’t merely fast zombies à la 28 Days Later. The Crossed are more terrifying because they aren’t mindless zombies shuffling, or even running about. They are sadomasochistic torturers from which even Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers would all flee.
To a large extent modern horror has become safe—it’s been mainstreamed. Movie studios often water down releases to capture the kid friendly PG-13 rating. Crossed is not a watered down version of an end of the world dystopia. In his depiction of evil Ennis goes much further than most other writers dare. There’re certain lines Hollywood typically won’t cross, even in R rated films. Some movies, like Hostel and Saw walk up to those lines and are all the more disturbing because of it. Crossed ignores those lines entirely by positing a world in which there are no moral constraints on human behavior and embodies that theme in the Crossed. Children aren’t saved because of their innocence and luck seldom holds out. The Crossed are relentless and if they catch you they are going to do horrible things to you for no particular reason other than because they like doing it. There are no McGuffins like daylight, hallowed ground or holy water that you can use against them. What you need is a very big head start. Failing that you need guns and ammunition, and always keep a bullet for yourself just in case. Better to take one’s own life than to die at their hands.
Crossed Volume 1 covers issues 0-9, which is the complete, original series. If you haven’t gotten the hint dear readers, Crossed is an adult graphic novel, with disturbing content. If it were faithfully adapted to film—a toned down film is in the works—it would be rated NC 17 at best. I decided to give this series a read because I devoured Volumes 1-12 of The Walking Dead in a week. I was desperate for another graphic novel in a similarly dark vein. When I first started reading this series, I was in shock. I almost stopped reading it because it’s so disturbing. I stuck with the series because of Mr. Ennis’s writing and characterization. I have to credit Garth Ennis for essentially showing me the graphic novel equivalent of a horrible traffic accident and making it so compelling I couldn’t look away.
Jacen Burrows is an artistic genius. Crossed is beautifully illustrated despite the often vile and grim subjects of Mr. Burrows’ art, which faithfully captures the gruesomeness and sadism of the Crossed. I’ve never seen such horrific images depicted in such a paradoxically artistic way. If you are a fan of films like 28 Days Later, The Descent and more importantly, willing to step out of your comfort zone, then you should give Crossed a try. Crossed portrays a tale of survival in a world gone so mad that there are no longer good guys and bad guys as such. There’s simply the Crossed, and then there are the rest of us.
The Crossed Series:
You can visit Garth around the web here: Website
FTC Advisory: I purchased my own copy.
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