In Crossover, one of my most anticipated new series, Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw have proven themselves as their own storytellers. With a unique premise that could have easily felt bloated, Cates focuses on the intimate and launches readers into a book that explores a unique love story. Captivating and surreal, Cates and Shaw really hone in on the comic book medium and deliver a unique new entry into the deconstruction of superhero tales. The initial premise of this book is a comic book crossover coming into the real world, but the promise is one of a superhero’s love story. It’s actually a great engine to run this kind of tale, while still exciting readers and have them clamoring for more to come.
Geoff Shaw simply does a stellar job pacing this book’s kinetic energy in every panel. The unique renderings of certain characters coming onto the story pages are foundational for this series being executed. With a story premise as absurd and outrageous as having a superhero crossover spill into real life, Shaw manages to really hold the reader through how he captures expressions. His ability to imbue the characters with emotions really carries the weight of what is happening to them within the first couple of pages, but furthermore grounds readers into this world.
Further easing us into this world is colorist Dee Cunniffe, who creates a visual vocabulary through how he colors this book. In dynamic form, Cunniffe shows off why he has made himself known in some of the best comics that he has been a part of throughout his career. The way he pushes the form from the outset is really a nice omen for what’s to come from this series. Besides the notable visual elements, the design work by John J. Hill has managed to really allow this book to take proper shape into what it is.
Our main protagonist is Ellipses Howell, who meets a little girl from the superhero world while she worked at the comic book store, as one of the last comic readers in this new world. Besides her, there is the opposition to the new world which will be navigated through an anti-superhero reverend’s son named Ryan Lowe. This juxtaposition in these two protagonists really heightens the tension between fiction and reality within our spaces of solace. It’s a nuanced thought, and I am confident Cates will expand this thesis as the series continues.
From the outset, Crossover really shows off the confidence it has in itself. To focus on something so intimate rather than a spectacle is something I haven’t seen since The Leftovers (Go see it, changed my life). Overall, Cates has set a precedence of taking great feats of spectacle and making them resonate through the emotional relationships that tie them together.
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