Story from Donny Cates, art from Geoff Shaw, colors by Dee Cunniffe, letters and design by John J Hill, story edits by Mark Waid. Collects issues 7-13. Published by Image Comics.
The story here is that one day all of the comics just appear over a city in the United States. All the battles, the powers, the explosions, all of it is happening all at once. Every character, every company is suddenly real and in our world. During this never ending four color fight, a dome appears overhead keeping most everyone inside. The world has now changed though. The two dimensional is in the third and who is stuck in the dome? Not only do the Crossover characters further their own storyline but they are joined by a variety of other comic book characters along the way. To reveal who or when would be spoiling some of the best parts of the book.
Which is why as soon as I finished this collection I handed it off to a friend. He started flipping through and I stopped him. Don’t look through, don’t read the foreword. Just start reading. The less known the better. This is a journey through all that comics can be and honestly, breaking new ground as well. I can already hear the counterpoints from other readers but I’m going to throw it out there anyways. I think Cates is creating something that could be Watchmen level here. Take the familiar toys, break them, put it all back together in a way that expands all that was there previously.
High praise to be sure, but the tricks that are pulled here with writing, art, creation, and the entire meta nature of the project blows the mind in order to expand it. Writers are accused of playing god all the time, but never has a pantheon been so exposed. Is a fictional character’s pain, hell – is our pain, just because of the boredom or perverse whims of our creator or is there something more behind it all? Where does the story end and sympathy for the creation begin? Heavy words for funny books but there are scenes throughout this comic that will stop longtime comic readers in their tracks. In fact, these comics warrant commercial breaks. I need a couple minutes to absorb what happens. Grab a sandwich, look out the window, regroup.
In fact, that might be my only complaint about the book: it is not for new readers. The more one has already experienced in comics, the bigger reward that Crossover can be. The more characters, companies, ideas, and the like that the reader has already enjoyed will give this series the weight it deserves. If you’re a regular reader of comics, think of this alongside when people say they would give Watchmen (there’s that word again) to a new comic reader. No. One can understand the deconstruction of superheroes if they’ve never read the construction. Same here. But if you are already all in for the love of comics, this series has to be included on every pull list and every home collection.