Greetings! As my friend Gary suggested, I decided to post a review on some comics I've been reading or have recently read. These posts differ from my post about my personal collection, mostly because they are about modern comics and/or graphic novels.
Speaking of which, I almost posted this in the Graphic Novel Addict forums, but decided it might be a better blog. The topic today has been inspired by our recent reading of The Boys vol. 1 and some of the discussions that sprang up from it on the forums and the meeting.
The reviews today feature a theme, namely Garth Ennis. Ennis is the writer of The Boys, the two books I'm going to talk about and my favorite series of all time, Preacher.
The first book I want to talk about is The Chronicles of Wormwood, by Avatar Press and co-created by Jacen Burrows.
Wormwood tells the story of Danny Wormwood, a tv producer and the Anti-Christ. He is joined by Jimmy, a talking wise-ass rabbit that he made sentient on a whim and Jesus, yes THE Jesus. Unfortunately, when Jesus returned and started preaching peace, he was beaten to severe head trauma at a protest and barely survived. He's functional, but not performing much in the way of miracles now. So a mentally challenged Jesus and a talking rabbit are Danny's only friends in life.
He has no desire to bring about Armageddon and turn his back on his father at every opportunity, mostly because he enjoys life and doesn't want it to end.
I won't spoil the rest of the story, since it's by Garth Ennis, there's a bit more to everything than my summary lets on. It's pretty vulgar and as is Garth's style, over the top. It's a fun read and I wish they did more than the 6 issue series + one shot, but that's all we got.
Burrow's art is a bit amateurish, but he is a good story teller and has an apt eye for Garth's dark humor, much like Steve Dillon. You can visibly see his work improve over the series, which is nice.
This improvement is notably nice because after Wormwood, they got together again to produce Crossed, also for Avatar.
Crossed is in a similar vein (pun mostly intended...even if infection humor is kinda gross) as The Walking Dead, not to say that it's as high a quality as Walking Dead, but it's about the end of the world due to a plague and the infected, or Crossed, are out to destroy the uninfected. The infection starts very suddenly and, much like the Rage Virus from 28 Days Later, causes those infected with it to seek out and perform the most horrible and disgusting acts on the uninfected as they are able, before the victims turn into new infected. The infection manifests itself as a rash across the face in the shape of a cross, hence the name.
This book is consistently one of the most disturbing books I read, Ennis and Burrows take pleasure in showing you the horror caused by the Crossed. It really brings home the "end of the world" theme. How does society build itself back up after the majority of humanity have committed the most atrocious acts imaginable? At least Zombies don't take pleasure in the things they do, they are just animated instinct. The Crossed are devoid of all emotion but lust and the ability to take pleasure in the misery of others. They are not exactly smart, but there is malice.
The survivors are generally interesting characters and they find themselves having to make decisions for their survival that most characters in similar stories or movies don't generally find themselves in. They often have to sacrifice their humanity just to preserve that very humanity.
Overall, since I've already compared the series to The Walking Dead, I guess I should put my final thoughts like this. The Walking Dead is about as good as End of The World stories get. Crossed is not quite in it's league, but it's kind of in it's own league...a league of splatter horror. Where TWD focuses mainly on the characters, Crossed is more about the horror first. So if you enjoy horror, this is a book for you.
I find myself really enjoying Crossed month to month, but I have to say, I can only recommend it if you have a strong stomach.
EDIT: I forgot to mention, there is no collection for Crossed out yet. Just individual issues.