Review: Crossover #4
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Geoff Shaw
Colors: Dee Cunniffe
Letters: John J. Hill
Reviewed by: Seth Singleton
Crossover #4 raises the question of what we really want and need with “Kids Love Chains” Ellie, Otto, and Ava are about to learn just how much more dangerous their mission is than they imagined.
Madman, or Frank, is a wonderful addition to the crew. The blue man with the red lightning bolt on his torso wants to help. Even after he explains how dangerous things have become, the mournful plea of Ava turns his concerns into compassion. Like a bolt from the blue, Frank’s commitment becomes the cornerstone of a dangerous plan.
The rules of the two worlds colliding are gradually established. The farther away from the dome they are the weaker the visitors become. Madman might have helped Ava and her parents before, but the situation quickly went sideways when the group separated. Even then, the chances for success were slim.
Now the risks are growing. The portal on the other side of the dome is still active. Ava’s parents are safely back home in their world. But the opening to the portal is inconsistent. Each time it opens there is a chance to return home, but there is also the arrival of a new visitor from the other side.
The National Event Memorial and Museum Center is the “Smithsonian of Otherworldly and Supernatural Artifacts. It’s a showcase of materials that are supposed to be from the other side of the portal. Most of them are fake, but Otto is certain that he could sell the fake stuff on eBay and clean up. No one else supports his entrepreneurial spirit.
The government has a backup plan codenamed “Amalgamation” to deal with the caped visitors. One glimpse suggests an Amazo-like figure with the powers of many beings. Readers will want to weigh in on how many possible combinations exist.
The dark side of this story is something that is not easy to stomach. Ryan Lowe’s father is an angry version of religion and xenophobia. After forcing his son to commit felony arson and domestic terror, the “Reverend” Lowe is drunkenly drowning his sorrow and misery.
Ryan has joined the enemy. In his stupor, the elder Lowe decides that he has received a divine word. Within the message is the mission he must no undertake. But the costumed figure chained and emaciated and whimpering in the corner is a glimpse of the darker side of Reverend Lowe’s mission from God.
Donny Cates is pulling on threads from across the comic book zeitgeist. Not only are characters and themes at play, but tropes, community, and fatal flaws are offered to the altar of public consumption with a knowing that would almost be wanton if it wasn’t so tongue-in-cheek. Fans will see themselves and each other in the thoughts and actions of Ellie and Otto.
Geoff Shaw is a master of breaking the panel styles into textures that feel like overlapped layers of a comic book collage. Dee Cunniffe’s colors offer layers of pixelation and filters that create the timeless appeal of characters from different worlds sharing a canvas of soft swirling colors and stark contrasts. John J. Hill’s letters create a distinctive voice for every character and the narrator most of all.