Review: Crossover #2

Writer: Donny Cates

Artist: Geoff Shaw

Colorist: Dee Cunnifee

Letterer: John J. Hill

Story Edits: Mark Waid

Publisher: Image

Synopsis: “KIDS LOVE CHAINS,” Part Two The event continues to unravel as Ellie, Otto, and Ava rise from the ashes of their comic shop to begin their four-color odyssey to find the truth beyond the dome. Meanwhile: super-prisons! Magic guns! Mysterious government agents! And other stuff, too!

Warning: Contains Spoilers

Issue #2 begins with a television news reporter informing the public that comic book writer Brian K. Vaughn was found murdered. The unknown narrator says that this is an “second arc storyline” and that he or she “shouldn’t have even brough it up” and reminds us that comic book fan Ellipses and the son of a religious zealot Ryan Lowe are destined to become lovers. But right now, Ellipses has no love for Ryan as she is seen spiting at his face after he set fire to the comic book ship

Property of Image Comics

This story was split into two arcs for Ryan and Ellipses after the burning of the comic shop. Ryan is arrested by the cops and taken to an office of a government official, Special Director Nathaniel Abrams Pendleton who was appointed by the President to incarcerate comic book heroes and characters. It is also revealed that the director has been working with other comic book characters to install power-dampening lights in the cells of the imprisoned characters. Pendelton gives Ryan a briefcase which a pistol and letter that mentions Ellipses and also advises him to travel to the dome. Pendleton advises the young man to complete his job or he would place him somewhere where his zealot father would not be able to bail him out.

Property of Image Comics

The arc with Ellipses involves her plan to take Ava back to her family and also find her parents who are believed to still be trapped in the dome. This arc had more revelations involving the loss of family for both Ellipses and Ava. Elipses and Ava are staying over at Otto’s house, still shaken by the events from last issue. Otto learns that Ellipses has been living in his comic book shop since she started working there.  In addition, Ava reveals that she did not escape a dome but a interment camp where the government is imprisoning comic book characters and experimenting on them. Ellipses decides to bring Ava to the camp to reunite with her family much to Otto’s protest. Otto is wary of Ava and mentions that if reading comics taught him anything, it was that Ava could have powers or be a mutant. While Ellipses shoots down Otto’s suspicions, they are confirmed when the ending of the comic reveals a splash page of Ava using heat vision to roast a rodent.

This issue continues to deliver. One of the things I enjoyed about this issue was the artfully subtle references of well-known comic characters in the government that were drawn by Geoff Shaw and colored by Dee Cunifee.  Donny Cates’ writing also keeps on having me want more Crossover and to see where the next issue takes us. 

Who wrote that letter that mentioned Ellipses? Who is Ryan supposed to use the gun on? How will Ellipses react when Otto’s suspicions about Ava are proven true? And is the man with the “S” on his chest who we think it is?

Crossover#2 is out now and can be purchased at your local comic book store.

Property of Image Comics

Review: Crossover#1

Publisher: Image Comics

Writer: Donny Cates

Artist: Geoff Shaw

Colors: Dee Cunniffe

Letters & Design: John J. Hill

Story Edits: Mark Waid

Cover: Geoff Shaw w/Dave Stewart

When I read Crossover #1, I was expecting Donny Cates (God Country) to bring us something in the magnitude similar to a Crisis on Infinite Earths or a Secret Wars. I was expecting Images characters like Invincible, Mark Grayson to end up on the Walking Dead Universe and encounter Rick Grimes. Or other characters like Lil’ Depressed Boy ending up in the world of Chew. But what Cates and his team have bequeathed to us was a not just a crossover of heroes battling it out. He gave us a crossover on an alternate version of our own world in comic book form.

Courtesy of Image Comics

What was described by the unknown narrator as a “superhero summer event,” occurred above the skies of Colorado on January 11, 2017. And when the narrator said that if the cataclysmic event “was a comic, it would be the greatest selling book of all time” but “it was real,” chills went down my spine. And that was when I knew that Crossover was going to be more than just a meeting of the heroes. It was also going to be a meeting of heroes that would lead to a lot of deaths and change the lives of everyone involved forever. The result of the infighting of the heroes caused Colorado to be enveloped in a force field.  And that is when the story begins.

Courtesy of Image Comics

Since the incursion of the Crossover, the public is against comic books or anyone who worships them. Comic enthusiasts, cosplayers or comic shop employees are ostracized from the public, especially the ardently religious. At the center of this story are three characters: Ellipses, a survivor of the Crossover, a comic shop employee, and daughter of writers who are still trapped in Colorado; Otto, the owner of the comic shop Ellipses works at; Ryan Lowe, a son of a religious zealot and bully of a father and a closeted comic book enthusiast who may have some connection to Ellipses, and Ava, a comic book character that came from the force field with the help of a certain superhero.

The events in Crossover #1 implode when Ryan, albeit reluctantly, obeys his dad by throwing a Molotov cocktail onto the comic shop when Ava’s presence terrifies the store patrons. The comic’s story become more climatic when Ellipses looks at Ava’s drawing of the hero who had let her walk out of the force field. The drawing appears to be a hero with a “S” on his chest which could mean that it was Superman who let her escape.

Courtesy of Image Comics

One of my favorite parts of the story is the narration. It is very subtle since the narrator is unknown or unseen. The narrator brought up interesting comparisons between humans and the fictional characters. I also liked how he mentioned that the story of Crossover is about “believing in something when the whole world tells you that you’re wrong, about trying to find a home when the one you have feels broken or gone,” “it’s also a love story,” and “a story about hope.”

I must confess, I haven’t read anything by Donny Cates before this comic. I actually gave God Country a read which also starts off with a narrator. When I read the first issue of God Country, I became as instantly hooked to that story as I did this one.  I will probably cover God Country in another review of video in the future.

Courtesy of Image Comics

Going back to the story, I feel that one of the powerful things about this story is how it relates to our everyday lives. Ellipses is an outcast due to her love for comic books which parallels how some people to this day put down comics or graphic novels as a medium nor being serious or making young children degenerates. Speaking of that sentiment, the shirt that Otto wears to be ironic was of Fredric Wertham, a German physiatrist who believed comic books warped the morals of young children.

I am also a huge fan for Geoff Shaw’s art which I also saw in God Country. His drawings of the force field made the Crossover event in Colorado look ominous yet beautiful since you cannot have a comic book crossover without heroes battling it out. His drawing of the comic book character Ava had me react the same way Ellipses and Otto did. Ava’s comic book-like appearance had my jaw drop; she’s a little girl who resembled a comic book drawing with dots all over her face. And we definitely cannot forget about the lettering done by John J. Hill which gave the scenes depth. Notable examples were when the red neck threw a bottle at Ellipses, Otto alerting Ellipses of Ava stealing a comic, and the explosions at the comic book shop after Ryan throws the Molotov cocktail at it.

Courtesy of Image Comics

Crossover has already got me hooked and I’m already excited for what is in store for issue #2. Who is Ava and why did someone let her out of the force field? What is the relationship between Ellipses and Ryan? Will we see some familiar heroes or catch glimpses of them? And, will the force field enveloping Colorado break?

Cates and his team have created an exciting story that I feel will change how people, whether avid comic readers or not, will view comic books and graphic novels forever. Don’t believe me, just give this a read.

Crossover#1 is out now and can be purchased at your local comic book store.