#1 Posted by Swagger462 (354 posts) - - Show Bio

Last week I had a little extra cash and was looking for something to read. In my local comic shop I was pointed to Crossed when I requested something Ennis (he hasn't disappointed me yet.) I wasn't looking for a new series so the idea of each arc being entirely stand alone appealed to me too. When I went to the counter I was warned that this was a horribly violent book but I just figured the guy thought I was new to Ennis' work. Boy was I wrong. I can honestly say I found it hard to stomach but I was enjoying the writing and the characters so I pushed on.

Now I'm done and I'm kind of intrigued about the rest of the series. But the violence was a little much for me. So now I'm finally at the question I need answered. Does David Lapham write it well enough that the violence is worth it. Like I found with Ennis.

#2 Posted by Sharkbite (288 posts) - - Show Bio

I have read every issue of Crossed, including the webcomic. I agree, it is the most disturbing thing I've ever read. It's also some of the most compelling writing I've ever enjoyed.

Lapham's run was good, but it's not Crossed at it's best.

If I had to rate them in order, I would say from best to worst:

Crossed (original series 0-7)
Crossed: Wish You Were Here
Crossed: Badlands (14-18; Stumptown arc)
Crossed: 3D
Crossed: Badlands (10-13; Yellow Belly arc)
Crossed: Family Values
Crossed: Badlands (1-3; Britain Survivors arc)
Crossed: Psychopath
Crossed: Badlands (4-9; Bayou arc)
Crossed: Badlands (19-ongoing; present arc)

#3 Posted by Swagger462 (354 posts) - - Show Bio

@Sharkbite: I probably should have mentioned that I have read Ennis' other run with the Brits. I thought that was amazing too so if you've placed all that above it then that speaks a lot in their favour. Thanks dude.

Anyone else got any opinions either backing or disputing this?

#4 Posted by BumpyBoo (7215 posts) - - Show Bio

@Swagger462:

Hmm. Well I read Crossed, and while it is very violent and explicit at times, it always seemed necessary. But I did not enjoy Lapham's run.In fact, I wrote a review on CFV a while back, which explains exactly why (excuse the copy/paste of my own review lol, it seemed faster and easier :D):

"...Let me explain: I'm no prude. Guts and gore do not bother me. I don't think a piece of art has ever offended me. Ever. I mean, get a life, right? They're drawings. That said, CFV left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

The first volume, Crossed, was excellent. Yes, the depictions of extreme rape and violence were horrible, but they were supposed to be. It was supposed to creep you out. What saved the title from being just another example of extremity for its own sake was the writing quality. You could feel the tension on every page. The characters were real, the danger palpable. While it pushed the envelope, gratuity was not the only trick up its sleeve, and what resulted was a groundbreaking comic which breathed new life into the zombie/apocalypse genre, while challenging the boundaries of what is acceptable in comics.

I'll be blunt: extremity for its own sake is just boring. It employs the attention seeking tactics of an impatient hyperactive child. And that was how I felt after reading CFV. After reading Crossed, I felt like I'd been on a journey - after Crossed:Family Values, I felt more like I'd been to a gross out contest.

With no properly developed characters other than the most over used stereotypes imaginable (inbred rednecks? THAT hasn't been done before!), with the focus seeming to be solely on the ultra-violence and rape with no substance to back it up, I felt the whole thing was cheapened. Just another voyeuristic exercise, a game of one-upmanship to see who can fit the most blood and sexual assault onto one page.

I'm all for testing the limits, but not like this."

And that pretty much sums it up. I like Lapham, Young Liars and Silverfish are both titles I really enjoyed, but I did not like CFV at all.

#5 Posted by Swagger462 (354 posts) - - Show Bio

@BumpyBoo: Everything you mentioned in the review was exactly what I was worried might be the case. Hmmmmm, I guess I'll just troll the internet for reviews to use as a potential tie breaker. Thanks.

#6 Posted by Sharkbite (288 posts) - - Show Bio

Oh, I would agree with BumpyBoo. I've read every issue of Crossed, and I would say Family Values rests firmly in the middle of the road. It does miss the boat with character development being cheapened and the cast being less relateable. What made that first Ennis arc of Crossed so great for me was the extreme to which I could understand and empathize with almost every single character. If they weren't like me, they were at least like someone I knew. The decisions they made, those actually made sense. I could imagine the terrible decision of being forced to choose between abandoning your wife who had broken her ankle, or standing against dozens of Crossed trying to stay by her side. In Family Values, the majority of the cast I just kinda wanted to see them die.

What puts Family Values in the middle of the road for me is that it hits on a few unique storypoints that I felt were very original and well delivered. Family Values used Horses for travel, explaining how they were quiet, easier to fuel, and easy to keep off of main roads. They cut away from the on-the-run attitude of the first volume and tried to show the alternative, a group of people determined to hunker in and be self sufficient (something that hasn't really been done much in Crossed, as almost every story has just followed another group on the run. Though 'Wish You Were Here' does this far better than Family Values did). The characters were bland, but the setting innovative. It's not the best, but it's not the worst.

Badlands 19-20 is hands down the most awful one written to date. Not only did I hate the characters as these unrelateable people that I just wanted to see die, but then they started trying to show the story from the point of view of one of the Crossed, and even tried to present him as if he had feelings, like if you could 'control your demons' as a normal person, then you could beat the Crossed infection and just be normal even with it. It was terrible. Compared to that, Family Values was brilliant.

The Bayou and Psychopath were both pretty cruddy as well. Unrelateable stereotype characters, but this time in generally generic and unimpressive circumstances. Psychopath tried to be differant by having Lorrie by a serial rapist/killer, but even that was covered in the first run of Crossed by the old guy who admits he used to murder young gay men. Basically they were hack writing that rehashed previous stories in a less interesting way.

Britain had the potential to be a great arc, if it had been 1-2 issues longer. I felt like the characters could have been great, but I barely got the chance to get to know them and they were already dying, so there wasn't that emotional tie. Basically everybody died 1 issue too soon; we needed just a little more time to become invested in them and it could have been brilliant.

Yellow Belly arc is good. There are a few parts where it struggles, but overall Yellow Belly is a character that hadn't fully been explored and his story was great. The twists and turns of his adventure through outbreak day were almost perfect. He was the first character in quite a while that was afraid and actually acted afraid, rather than just saying it in a bland, unemotional way. He was written well. He panics, not just that he flees and abandons people, but also that he's trigger happy and then gunshy. Not everybody needs to be a trained marine in the face of adversity; there are way too many bad-A's and not enough everymans. Yellow Belly was a good look in the opposite direction.

3D is worth a read, especially since it's just a single trade. It's a very unique story, and the first example of a plot that follows the humans taking the fight to the Crossed, instead of the other way around. It even seagueways into the lesson of the Crossed that persons who have rare skills retain those after changing, although they are now determined to use them for evil. A Crossed Doctor might disect a living person instead of just stab them. A Crossed soldier could still drive a tank. And a Crossed leader can pull together a mob of Crossed and chase you down, because he still has that same knack of convincing people that following him will get them what they want. Intelligent Crossed are what makes this story better than Walking Dead.

Stumptown is just friggin' great. Don't want to spoil it, but the characters are brilliantly well developed and the setting is unique and creative. There have been plenty of characters through various arcs that I wanted to see die, but in most cases it was like Family Values or Bayou: I want this person to die because I'm sick of reading this drivel. In Stumptown I met two of the first characters I wanted to see die because I legitimately hated them. They were brilliant. They were well developed. And they were everything I hate. I wanted to see them be tortured and half killed, then turned to Crossed so the remaining survivors would have the privilege of killing them off for good. I didn't just want them gone; I wanted them to suffer. Making the reader care that much, good or bad, for a character is a sign of good writing.

Wish You Were Here is great. They're on Volume 2 and I cannot recommend it enough. In fact, the only thing that really holds it back from being better than the original run of Crossed is the lack of an ensemble cast. There is a whole group of survivors, but you only get to really know one. Everybody else is kind of presented as these expendable, nameless, faceless extras just waiting to die. If we could get to know a few more of them, this would be the best run to date. It's awesome.