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Review: Crossed – Wish You Were Here

Crossed is a very special kind of zombie story. If you don’t know about it, they’re not your typical zombies. These are like rage virus zombies with an affection for….sexual desires – that’s a clean way of putting it.

But if there is one thing that Crossed isn’t, it’s clean. This is one of the most depraved and disgusting comics put out, but I loved every page of it.

The latest series Crossed: Wish You Were Here is no exception to the rest of the Crossed series. It has all the violence and nastiness that the rest of the series has, but also a very important placement on characters and their working dynamics. Simon Spurrier, the devilish writer behind the series, has really cemented a great story within this universe (which is saying a lot after you’re following up the likes of Garth Ennis and David Lapham). What is so cool about the way he handles this story is the amount of limitations he’s put around himself, almost as if he’s written into a corner purposefully. This works to the advantage of the story and makes it a much more relatable and personal tale to read.

Reading this was like reading The Walking Dead, except in color, better dialogue, crazier gore, and way more fun to read. Spurrier has assembled a large cast of characters here in this tale and he makes it work. You’d think that a cast of over ten characters that you’ve never met would be hard to follow or you’d just be waiting for them to die, which the second part is true because doom is a big theme in Crossed, just not in the way that you’re rooting for their death in this case.

The framing device for the comic’s plot is an interesting spin on an old form. Using the epistolary is certainly one way of writing a zombie story, and it certainly helps make it more personal and allows for the use of jumping through different points of time, but more importantly it works for the plot and characters of this story. Good, smart writing is hard to come by in horror comics and this book has them both.

Javier Barreno provides the art for the comic and he does a good job of making it stick with the past styles (but he’s had plenty of practice). The amount of dread and fear that is visible in the characters throughout the series is a big achievement for Barreno. He has captured the feel of an apocalyptic atmosphere and harnessed it into his work and that will surely make it stand apart from other zombie comics currently being published. There’s also a flair he puts into the disgusting portions of the story that are truly grotesque.

This comic is absolutely disgusting, and that is a high compliment. There were times when the violence was so shocking and reprehensible that I wanted to stop reading it, and that never happens to me. If you’ve never read anything that is set in the Crossed world, use this as a stepping stone and get on it, but be warned: You might need a barf bag.