Crosswinds # 1

Fan-favorite creators GAIL SIMONE and CAT STAGGS make their stunning Image debut with this mind-bending new ongoing series! A slick and ruthless Chicago hitman. A smart but downtrodden Seattle housewife. When an inexplicable event strikes these two random strangers, their bodies, souls, and lives are switched to potentially deadly effect. It’s Freaky Friday meets Goodfellas!

Gail Simone and Cat Staggs have a new comic out, Crosswind. The plot sounds pretty simple; it’s a body swap story between a hitman and a housewife. Simone has stated that the tone she’s going for is dark humor, and after reading issue 1 I can say that she has achieved that. In fact, the tone leans much further into the dark than the humor, at the moment.

Actually, the word I would use for the sake of precision is ‘cruel’, rather than dark. There’s a bit of celebration in the hurt that is committed in the world of Crosswind. The two cities we jump between are Chicago with hitman Cason Ray Bennett, and Seattle where housewife Juniper Elanore Blue resides. Oddly enough, that cruelty comes through more in the Seattle setting. There’s spousal emotional abuse, neglect, and aggressive sexual harassment by her stepson’s classmates. Sure, we expect the murders and mutilations over in Chicago because Cason is a hitman and that sort of thing comes standard in crime stories. But man, does Juniper’s narrative come across as intense and bleak.

Normally this would put me off. I like my dark humor a little more Warren Ellis and a little less Garth Ennis, and this toes the line. But… it’s Gail Simone. If there is anyone out there that has proven themselves in this medium, it’s Gail Simone. Title after title she’s been able to bring layers and depth to characters, some you’d think obvious (Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman, Batgirl), and some as a surprise (The Atom, Red Sonja). In the hands of a lesser writer, like Mark Millar, I could see Juniper’s story becoming quickly problematic and probably centered around a voyeuristic portrayal of rape1.

So if Gail Simone’s name is a promise, what exactly is being promised? I’m betting that there will be a sweet, sweet release from the buildup of oppressive cruelty to the relief of revenge and personal justice. Issue one isn’t giving us anyone to root for, so much as a world to root against. If this turns out to be a noir story, then it will certainly be a reversal with the world getting its comeuppance for their transgressions, instead than the two main characters.

As of issue 1 I’m not sold on what’s there. I intrigued by the holes in the world being written around, and want to see how those bits of the story are going to be filled in. So for now,  I will take the promise of what’s to come, and keep reading.

Crosswind #1 was released on June 21st. Issue #2 comes out on July 26th, which is today. So I am probably reading it right now.

Notes   [ + ]

1. Of course, from Mark Millar, I expect everything to come down to a voyeuristic portrayal of rape. I expect that when he writes out thank you notes for the presents from his child’s birthday party, he eventually writes in some sort of gleeful rape scene.
Adam

About Adam

Adam is a Jewish American who’s sick of the white Christian male being America’s “default” setting. For money he works in a public library because free books and information access is wonderful things. For love he writes here for his pet project, The Chaotic Neutral, which is always looking for more writers. You can follow him on Instagram, Goodreads, and at his oft neglected Twitter where he will try to post more, and probably live-tweet the Eurovision Song Contest.

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