Stories about fantasy and reality bleeding over into each other isn’t anything that’s new. We’ve seen it numerous times before and in some cases its worked and sometimes it hasn’t. These types of stories often also play off of nostalgia and can get lost in pop culture references. Crossover #1 is the latest entry into this type of story and it succeeds and sores. It does so because it isn’t a pop culture check list and because it has a depth that can be debated and discussed.
Written by Donny Cates, Crossover #1 focuses on a world where the imagined has appeared in reality. In an unexplained event, the world of comics has popped up destroying a major American city where their battles rage resulting in the death of who knows how many. This event has lead to puritanical religious zealotry being waged against comics. It’s the latest “moral panic” to an extreme but actually based on something real as opposed to the imaginary events that have fueled that actual real world ones.
Where Cates succeeds is by bringing it all into the playground. The references to heroes from so many different publishers and lines is impressive. It gives the check list comic fans will enjoy without being bogged down in specifics. It doesn’t name Savage Dragon but there’s a reference that’s likely him as an example. But Cates balances the fantastical elements with the real-world impact. This is a world that has had a “Watchmen like” event destroying a city. Due to that there’d be real world change directly impacting pop culture and consumerism. We get to see that. We get to see how it also impacts businesses and communities. And that’s where I think Cates really succeeds. He emphasizes and makes front and center that comics is a community. It might be dysfunctional but we are a community.
The story revolves around two individuals, one works at a comic shop and one the son of a firebrand preacher. Each has their community. Those communities have their side on this issue. Each feels they’re under attack by the other and the events of “The Crossover” have only amplified that. Cates has taken real-world tension and turned it up into a comic event-like level.
Joining Cates is Geoff Shaw on art. Dee Cunniffe handles the color while John J. Hill is on lettering and design. The art is fantastic and that shouldn’t be a surprise at all. In reality, nothing about this debut issue’s quality should be a surprise. There’s a lot packed into the pages and panels which beg readers to examine the world and learn from the visuals. What little we see of the “comic characters come to the real world” will have you linger and attempting to figure things out but it’s the eventual twist of the comic that stands out about the thought put into the visuals. But, we’re not going to spoilt that fun.
Crossover #1 is an amazing start with a love letter to comics and its community. It also is a larger discussion about community as a whole with a lot of interpretation possible by readers. This is a comic that should be on everyone’s pull list and I have no doubt it’ll be seeing multiple printings and lots of buzz when it eventually comes to shelves. Do yourself a favor and don’t miss out. Crossover is a comic that should be on everyone’s pull-list.
Crossover #1 comes to comic shelves on November 4th, pre-order it now.
Story: Donny Cates Art: Geoff Shaw
Color: Dee Cunniffe Letterer & Design: John J. Hill
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review