In a universe where the world of superheroes has collided with the real world, a little super-powered girl, Ava, finds herself stuck in the wrong reality. With the assistance of comic fans Ellie and Otto, this band of outsiders tries to get Ava to safety from the fundamentalist authorities.
Pardon the pun, but there are some big problems that cross over to this most recent issue. Ellie, our protagonist, is still a dull lead. I often pull out this Sterling Anderson quote to diagnose bad characters, so I’ll do it again here: Mr. Anderson says, “Inexperienced writers depict heroes as brave, stalwart, righteous, and God-fearing. The problem is that 99.9 percent of real heroes are tremendously flawed…I tell my students that when building heroic characters, throw as much dirt on them as possible…then take the leash off and let them try to be heroic.”
Donny Cates really wants to break down superheroes and give us a story that’s edgy and post-modern by swearing and wielding lore with abandon—but when push comes to shove, he gives us simplistic characters when complexity is most needed.
While we’re still on characters, disappointingly, Ryan, a character who was more interesting in the last issues, is reduced to a punching bag for his caricature of a villain dad. However, at least he’s a conflicted, flawed fella that has to make hard choices.
As for positives, there are some clever individual moments, like Ellie having to use a brush to wipe away the Zip-A-Tone from Ava to hide, Cates dredging up old Dark Horse characters of his, and a huge surprise reveal at the end sure to send any hip comic fan into excited convulsions. (I’d be very curious how Legal swung some of these choices.) Also, we get some serious plot movement in the latter half of this issue that is greatly welcomed.
No matter how iffy I think Cates’s writing can be, I’m almost always a huge fan of his mainstay artist, Geoff Shaw. However, I’m a little underwhelmed with his work on #3. It’s by no means bad, but the backgrounds are skimped on, and while it’s probably not all his fault, there are reveals that deserved bigger panels than they got, leading to an issue that feels visually “off” and crammed.
Overall, Crossover is moving places, but there are some fundamental problems that keep the series from fully gripping.
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