In its debut, Crossover was a clear love letter to comic books and comic fandom. The second issue continues that with a mix of humor and horror but also adds in a reflection on our real world. Crossover #2 is the grounded reality to the first issue’s over the top fantasy.
Writer Donny Cates does what he does best, mixing up the action, surprises, and a little bit of humor. Crossover #2 exceeds the first issue’s solid debut by adding moments and concepts that’ll give you pause and make you reflect.
The series revolves around the concept that comic characters have entered the real world for some unknown reason. Their arrival has shaken the world resulting in protests against comics and a fear of this unknown. As we learn in this issue, it’s led to horrible actions by the government.
Cates does an interesting dance with the issue. It’s opening is riotous laughter as we find out comic creators are being killed one by one. The names, and what they’re “known for” will get comic fans to laugh and smile. But, much of the comic is a downer. We learn about the refugee comic character a bit more and discover that this fictional government is treating comic characters outside the dome in an all too familiar way.
Impressively, Cates does a solid dance between name and character checks. It’d be all too easy for the comic to come off as cute and insidery, where the the names mentioned or characters hinted are the entire depth of the comic. Instead, they act as window dressing to the meat of the story. They also lighten the mood in many ways making the heavier subject of Crossover #2 easier to digest.
Geoff Shaw‘s art, along with Dee Cunniffe‘s color, and John J. Hill‘s lettering are spot on. There’s clearly some fun with “spot the comic reference” on some pages. But, the trio keeps things grounded to making all of that natural. Where things really stand out is the comic characters in the real world. Their coloring and small details are amazing. Much like Cates’ story, they use nostalgia to emphasize aspects instead of that being the entire schtick. The art is understated in some ways. Scenes are purposely left sparse, for example, a gun when presented. It allows the focus to be clear and gets rid of distractions. A scene in jail too plays this out in some way allowing small details to tell the story.
Crossover #2 is a fantastic second issue that grounds the fantastical set up. Like so many solid sci-fi stories, this one is not just entertaining but acting as commentary and reflection on our reality. What seemed like an initial fun homage to comics is quickly shaping up to be an excellent story about our politics and reactions to fear and the unknown. It also reflects how quickly we can “other” individuals and groups to justify actions. With one issue, the series has become infinitely more interesting and deep.
Story: Donny Cates Art: Geoff Shaw
Color: Dee Cunniffe Letterer: John J. Hill
Story: 8.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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