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Review: ‘Crossed: Badlands’ #50

A suspenseful standout, “Crossed: Badlands” #50 aims for the reader’s jugular fast and brutally. Garth Ennis returns to the “Crossed” series, already defying reader’s expectations. The start of a new story arc, see if you have the stomach to take on the “Crossed” series.

WRITTEN BY: Garth Ennis
ART BY: Christian Zanier
PUBLISHER: Avatar Press
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: March 27, 2013

The psychotic plague known as “Crossed” has not even infected the rest of the world yet. The carriers haven’t gotten their name yet because the cross-like rash hasn’t appeared on their faces. We know the plague will eventually turn off people’s conscience though. The Crossed will succumb to their evil most desires and the infection will never stop spreading. The T.S. Eliot poem got it all wrong. The world doesn’t end with a whimper; it ends with a loud and deafening bang.

Writer Garth Ennis toys around with the flashback technique in the quick-paced opening pages. Something horrible is going to happen, which will cause a young man to lose his mind. Events will turn out so badly that the military, even the local police, has to get involved. Ennis is hinting at a multi-layered mystery that readers will have to put together. We are witnessing the early stages of how the Crossed universe succumbed to depravity.

Through heavy-driven dialogue, Ennis introduces a cast of supporting characters in this installment, rather than focusing on the shock value. Surprisingly, Ennis builds the brutal tension with heart-pounding suspense throughout the narrative. The provocative images are just there to tease readers of what’s to come. Ennis wants the readers to wait before he lays out all the gore and depravity the “Crossed” series is known for.

Artist Christian Zanier is able to show the two-sided nature of the main characters. The Prime Minister is introduced outside a church, surrounded by innocent and smiling children. But when the Prime Minister sits inside his limousine, we get to see how corrupt and manipulative he really is. Harry, the Prime Minister’s bodyguard, may seem like a thug and jokester at first. But beneath his punkish attitude lies a resourceful and calculating observer who deduces a traitor amongst the Prime Minister’s crew.

Zanier goes along for the ride with Ennis to tease the readers. We get a taste of sexuality and violence before Zanier heads for the extreme. Zanier illustrates a hard-hitting and fast action sequence midway through to the climax. The best part is that the scene has nothing to do with the Crossed plague. I can’t wait to see how Zanier lets loose the graphic violence and sexual imagery in later installments

“Crossed: Badlands” #50 takes its time to scar your mind. With “Crossed” in the right hands, Ennis and Zanier are going to deliver the gratuitous goods in unexpected ways.

4/5 Skulls

Reviewed by Jorge Solis



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