Crossed Volume 1 by Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows

CROSSED: Volume 1 by Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows, Avatar Press/Titan Books, p/b, £18.99

Reviewed by Jay Eales

You can get a pretty good idea as to whether or not Crossed is for you by mulling over the following question: Do you want to read a comic where the antagonists think nothing of lopping off one of your legs and fucking it? If the answer comes back as no, then you’re best to move along now. Nothing to see here for you.

There’s a real 28 Days Later/The Walking Dead vibe here, with Ennis cranking his sickest ideas up to at least eleven, maybe twelve, and published by Avatar, possibly the only high profile American publisher who would consider publishing it. The concept is simple enough: A band of ordinary folks band together after some unknown event happens, causing some folks to become ‘Crossed’, recognisable by an angry red skin condition, looking as though someone has burned a cross across their faces. That, and the sheer insanity on display, tends to give them away.

As Ennis makes clear, the Crossed, for all their blasphemously inventive atrocities, don’t do anything that humans have never thought to do before, without the excuse of some imaginary zombie virus. They’re just the worst of us. And unlike the infected from 28 Days Later, who are rage personified, or your common or garden Romero zombie, semi-braindead but relentless, the Crossed are a varied bunch. Delayed gratification is not something that occurs to any of them. In fact, if they can’t find any normal people to play with, they’re just as likely to attack each other. Hmm… Crossed may just be an exploration of the mindset of the EDL… What makes them particularly dangerous is the way that some are sneaky, and able to plan some outrageous vileness upon our band of intrepid survivors. And then, some of them like nothing more than to beat you with a horse’s cock. As survivalist horror goes, there’s not much bleaker, and yet, Ennis leavens it with some of the trademark gallows humour that used to punctuate his Punisher and Preacher stories. You’ve met The Russian and Arseface. Prepare to meet Horsecock!