I have never read a comic with a more perfectly appropriate title than Crossover. The word fits the story on many levels. No spoilers, but it’s relevant to the plot in at least a couple of ways. Beyond that, it lets the reader know that this is going to be meta. This is a comic about comics. In case there were any doubts on that, the #1 cover features a recursive image of a kid reading the very same issue, with its contents blowing their face off. Lastly and perhaps most subtly, this is a crossover for Donny Cates. Cates has established himself as one of the select few writers who can excel on mainstream superhero comics, and on more adult-themed indie work. And this book is the bridge between the two.
In the foreword, he writes, “I wanted to make something that captured the excitement I felt at eleven years old”. Well then, mission accomplished. There are moments in Crossover that will thrill anyone who loves superhero comics. The more of them you’ve read, the more you will enjoy this. If you’ve read other comics that deconstruct or parody superheroes, even better. Is it accessible to casual or infrequent readers? I think so, but honestly, who cares? The fact that you’re on this website reading this review means that you probably aren’t one. Let us super-geeks have this. The book is also packed with Easter eggs and references; being a long-time Cates reader is a huge bonus but not essential (I am not one).
But what about the actual story? Rest assured, this is also strong. Of course, it’s full of tropes, but I’m fairly sure it’s supposed to be. The main characters are engaging and sympathetic; the supporting cast also very enjoyable. The twists do exactly what Cates promised in terms of delivering excitement. As someone who mostly sticks to trades and completed stories, this is a book that has me contemplating monthly reading.
Geoff Shaw handles the art, and gives it a very appropriate mid-00s Marvel/DC feel. After all his previous work with Cates, no other artist would have made sense for this project. Dee Cunniffe’s colors are extremely effective at bringing the story’s vibrant world to life. All in all, Crossover seems like a dream job for comic artists, and Shaw and Cunniffe are clearly having just as much fun as Cates.
Cynics may see it differently, but Crossover is the absolute essence of comics. This first arc is a thrilling opener and I can’t wait for the next one.
Writing – 5 Stars
Art – 4.5 Stars
Colors – 4.5 Stars
Overall: 5 Stars
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Geoff Shaw
Colorist: Dee Cunniffe
Publisher: Image Comics