As I get older I find my constitution for extreme graphic violence isn’t what it used to be. Many years have passed since I’ve eagerly sat down to watch a horror flick, so gruesome fare like the Saw series winds up way outside my radar. Having said that, I can’t ignore the success and longevity that 2008’s Crossed series produced; and figured I’d just have to suck it up and see why this little universe has found a home with loyal fans.
Like most post-apocalyptic yarns, this story begins with one person who attacks another; spreading sickness among the population like wildfire and eventually burning through most of humanity with staggering speed. But that’s where the easy comparison to your average zombie plague stops. See, the infected aren’t mindless shufflers; they’re every bit as human as the rest of us, only they’re fueled by an uncontrollable evil to create havoc. There’s no reasoning, no negotiating; just carnage.
And it is downright terrifying.
Writer Garth Ennis slaps his usual dose of realism into this, and that’s one of the reasons I hugged my wife and kids – a little too hard, my son said – immediately after I finished reading. And I’m wondering how artist Jacen Burrows sleeps at night after applying his considerable skills in intense detail to these layouts. Seriously. Because between the two of them I was equal parts riveted and appalled at what I feel is the true message of this story: we ourselves are the true monsters. Take away any semblance of compassion and love and you’re left with the stuff of nightmares.
I can’t recommend this to every one; mature readers tag aside, but if you can handle the macabre world the survivors find themselves in then you may enjoy this alternate glimpse of our darker side. Unfortunately, this isn’t my cup of tea, so I’m off to scrub my eyeballs. And do a little more hugging.