Friday, April 13, 2012

Ennis' Arc Comes to a Close - Crossed: Badlands #3 - Review

Fans of the The Walking Dead comic and television series know nothing about horror and depravity the way Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows do. As creators of the original Crossed comic series published by Avatar Press, Ennis and Burrows gave a devastating glimpse of a world run amok by a plague much worse than slow, undead flesh-eating zombies. Just how much worse? Well, lets just say The Walking Dead has yet featured zombies shooting at our batch of survivors with semen-covered bullets. Wait, did he just say "semen-covered bullets"? Yes, and there are far worse things awaiting your discovery between the pages of Crossed.

Enter the world of Crossed, a series like many others to feature a small band of displaced survivors pulling together to out thwart a maleficent force in an apocalyptic setting. Neither living nor dead, the Crossed appear as a ruined form of normal human beings but with the iconic trademark of a bloody cross branded upon their face. Crossed behavioral characteristics incorporate the worst of any human actions cranked up to level 11: rape, murder, bestiality, pedophilia, torture, incest, cannibalism, get the picture. But behind the horrendous threat which this series is named after, my main attraction has been and will forever remain (take this as a demand Avatar) Ennis' writing talents.

With this week's release of Crossed: Badlands #3 readers have the chance of enjoying Ennis' beautifully crafted prose as this short three-issue arc comes to a close. Like the two previous issues published before, Ennis' manages to engage readers with his clever and careful way of building favorite characters and then pushing them into moments of peril. Since this is the last issue of his arc, expect the worst. From the very first page my jaw dropped from surprise and as I continued reading my heart quickened in beats up until the final nerve wracking ending. As usual, the Ennis/Burrows team complete a masterpiece short in this dark, dark world known as Crossed. For any new readers out there, I highly recommend picking up the first two issues before diving head first in this one (ask your retailer to order them from Diamond or buy directly from Avatar Press). The gradual build is absolutely worth the payoff in this final issue.

To date Avatar Press continues publishing on-going Crossed series featuring various writers (David Lapham, Simon Spurrier, and Jamie Delano) and artists (Javier Barreno, Raulo Caceres, and Leandro Rizzo). I've given a couple of these series a chance but the real cream and butter goes to Ennis and Burrows. Unlike other teams, their stories remain subtle until an unexpected moment skull fucks your brains out. Other writers like Lapham go for the gruesomely bizarre and focus less on characters/storyline and more on violence/shock-factor. Of course, this is only one man's opinion.

Rating: 5/5

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