Review: Crosswind #1

 I had to fight every urge in my body to not scream, “It’s here. It’s finally here!” when I settled in to check out Crosswind #1, the long awaited collaboration between writer Gail Simone and artist Cat Staggs. I went into this one with a healthy amount of excitement and dread. When you find out two of the people in your top ten are joining forces on what seemed like a super secret comic book creation mission, if you’re anything like me, you’re expecting either one of the best darn comic books you’ve ever read or you find yourself panicked that their forces combined might result in a hot trash fire. A colossal hot mess of epic proportions only seen in Ghostbusters when the streams crossed.

I am hella happy to report that the music anticipated Crosswind #1 is amazing. The story starts off with a perfectly staged snowy backdrop scene, beautifully and ominously crafted by Staggs. Simone provides just enough words on the first characterless page to draw us in proper before introducing us to the story’s major players. The story jumps back and forth seamlessly between Case’s back story and Juniper’s. The flawless transitions are a testament to Simon’s brilliant writing. Stagg’s artwork never misses a beat while she creates a beautiful universe on the pages for our solemn characters to exist in.

Simone writes characters that you form an attachment to. Her writing allows you to feel very real feelings for imaginary people. She creates characters that you can sympathize with even if you can’t identify with them, her portrayal of Juniper’s isolation, perceived unworthiness, objectification, and feelings of uselessness are realistic and ring true and her portrayal of Case’s regret, confusion, and ominous brooding are placed front and center. Simone carefully crafts the mistreatment and entitlement of the men in Juniper’s life, down to the cliched but relevant boys will be boys line just as honestly as she shows Case’s compassion in the face of chaos and destruction as he helps out a homeless man.

Staggs keeps up with Simone’s pace and provides complementary art styles throughout the first issue that are subtly different enough to make it easy to tell who’s story you are in but similar enough in style that one persons story flows swiftly and easily into the others. Her art creates a well-crafted symbiotic universe for these amazing characters to live and exist. There’s a neutral gaze to Staggs’ style that I appreciate. Despite the “sexiness” of Juniper there is no lingering over her figure. We read about her being objectified but the panels never objectify her they do however show the effects of her objectification and harassment. We see every facial contortion, pained glance, broken down spirit laden tear that her mere existence as a woman in male spaces gives her. Staggs makes it easy to commiserate with Juniper and feel her pain because she draws her in a way that makes her seem real.

This is a stellar debut issue and it has me longing for July so I can see what shakes out between the two main characters. Overall this was a great read, quick, but containing moment of questioning and genuine interests. I also think having the dialogue boxes be different colors for different characters was brilliant and added an extra level to the storytelling. The issue doesn’t go on any longer than it needs to, it gets us hooked and then cuts us off at just the right moment to insure that we are invested and ready to take things to the next level. By the time you get to the last page you feel intrigued not, cheated, they even throw in more info about the characters and some nifty art work to hold you over until issue two drops. I also liked that they didn’t try and squeeze too much into the first issue and , left us wanting more. I’m super interested to see how things shake out after this issues tail end big reveal, which you’ll have to pick up your own copy and read for yourself, because, I think that if the initial twist at the end is any kind of preview, I think I’m going to love how they handle the gender aspect of things going forward.

Story: Gail Simone Art: Cat Staggs
Story: 9.6 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comincs provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.