CROSSED VOL. 8 (Avatar Press, 2014; Hardcover)
Collects Crossed: Badlands Nos. 37-43 and Crossed 2013 Annual (cover dates January- November, 2013)
Writers: Simon Spurrier and David Hine
Artists: Rafael Oritz, German Erramouspe, Fernando Heinz, and Gabriel Andrade
Colorist: Digikore Studios
The beauty of the Crossed “universe” is that they can jump back and forth at various points in time, leading up to and after the event. Unlike The Walking Dead, which deals with an ongoing cast of characters in a linear continuity, Crossed jumps from scenario to scenario with each new arc.
This book has three arcs: American Quitters (#37-39), a tale of Erroll and Frank, a stoner hippie and a biker who run into each other on the highway and decide to pair up and go out in a blaze of glory. I guess that when the world goes to Hell you should be happy to have something to keep you going.
The second arc is Gore Angels (#40-43), which takes place at the zero hour of the Crossed outbreak in Japan. Three college-aged friends are taking in a Buddhist temple when it hits the fan. Without giving too much away, this arc is a riff on It's A Small World After All, with rape, revenge, and underground Manga (of all things) factoring in to make this the most offbeat Crossed tale yet.
The final story is from the 2013 Annual. Th' Big Yin was almost a colossal disappointment. I thought that they were spelling out the entire thing, how the Crossed came to be, so on and so forth. I hope that we never find out. The best stories leave the readers with questions and not answers. Look at Y: The Last Man. We never did find out exactly why things happened, and it made the ending all the more powerful. Luckily this story banked hard at the end and was fabulous.
I am now numb to the blood, gore, and carnage of Crossed. I am not sure what that says about me, but I hardly wince at it any more and instead wind up cackling like Bart and Lisa Simpson at the end of an episode of The Itchy And Scratchy Show. I find myself enjoying all of the violent mayhem in this series, and that saddens me. I once was a human being with a heart...now there is no hope, no escape, nowhere for me to run or hide. There is only the Crossed.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.75 out of 5.
The OCD zone- Avatar Press releases a maddening number of variants, and they do not list the issues where they are from on them in the book. Praise be www.comicbookdb.com for their invaluable assistance in helping me identify the covers. Not all of the variants are included, and one can only hope that Avatar Press issues some deluxe hardcover collection down the road featuring all five thousand variants.
DVD-style Extras included in this book: #37 Torture Cover variant. (1 page)
#39 Torture Cover variant. (1 page)
#40 Torture Cover variant. (1 page)
#41 Torture Cover variant. (1 page)
#43 Torture Cover variant. (1 page)
Annual 2013 Grizzly Cover variant (1 page)
Annual 2013 Torture Cover variant. (1 page)
Annual 2013 Wraparound Cover, split across two pages, not as a center spread (2 pages).
Paper rating: 4.5 out of 5. Excellent weight glossy coated stock paper.
Binding rating: 4.5 out of 5. While the book definitely has sewn binding, I cannot see any stitches. It is stiff at first but loosens up as you read it.
Hardback cover coating rating: 5 out of 5. Avatar Press' thick waxlike casewrap coating remains the one to beat in my opinion. It is seemingly indestructible.