Review: Crossover #8
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Geoff Shaw
Colors: Dee Cunniffe
Letters: John J. Hill
Reviewed by: Seth Singleton
Crossover #8 is a powerful reminder that there is a distinguishable difference between what we want and what we get.
Positives — The Imprisoned Narrator
Inside a stronghold live the characters that crossed over from the world of comics. They are held in cells. Many of them are superheroes or villains who stand out in the real world with their bright costumes and colorful language. Others are just people who were living normal lives. Now, because their pixelation makes them easily identifiable they are prisoners in a strange land.
The twist is the realization that the narrator in this issue, the voice, and presence behind the voiceover text in comic book panels is also an inmate. Like so many things he tries to explain, none of what is happening was intended. Instead, the pages that he draws spill from his cell. They show Ryan killing a little girl while Ellie is off fighting alongside The Paybacks.
So, when she intervened the story changed. And the plan for Doctor Blaqk to bring down the dome by using Ryan’s gun to commit the ultimate sacrifice fell apart. Then the heroes break out of the dome that disintegrates when the good Doctor dies, chaos ensues, and in the middle of it all, Ellie and Ryan fall in love. The author, who may or may not be Donny Cates, admits the plotting was clunky but the goal was something much cooler than the story that is happening right now.
Positives — A Matter of Timing
Sadly, by the time someone discovers what the story could mean, the writer’s meds have kicked in and he won’t be able to answer any questions “for some time now.” Which is a great time to show Ellie and Ryan arguing about pointing a gun at a little girl while they hide out in a motel. This is when the detective team from Powers arrives. Ellie waves Valofax — the giant sword — but it’s not enough to prevent their internment in the stronghold.
Ryan is once again given a mission. This time he is tasked with finding Chip Zdarsky and teaming up to take down the killer who is murdering comic book writers. A killer who may be the comic book version of a well-known comic book writer. Don’t worry, it is bound to get crazier. It only requires the appropriate suspension of disbelief.
Oh, you’re looking for a negative? Well, you won’t find one here. Move along.
Crossover began with a premise that was meta at its core. By losing control of the story, Cates allows the crossover event to permeate the story he is writing just like the comic book world that has crossed into the real world. Now that control is an illusion the best and worst comic book tropes, conventions, and possibilities are allowed to come true.
Geoff Shaw’s art brings the characters in the story and even the characters on the roughly drawn yellow notepad pages to life with an emotional presence that channels the magic of powerful art. Dee Cunniffe’s colors are draped in hues, shades, and sublime subtlety. John J. Hill’s letters and design are on full display on the double-page spread that opens the book. The layout of every page from issue #1 until now is a visual take on the classic, Previously on…, style that makes a great serial stand out.