Writer: Gail Simone / Artist: Cat Staggs / Image Comics
End of the Arc y’all! And what an ending! Crosswind has been top of the pile for me from the jump, I’ve never given out so many 9s, so it is no surprise that Simone and Staggs nail this ending with a perfect combination of emotion, sympathy, and brutality. I don’t say this often about a comic, but I believed every single panel of the one. This shit is real life, even if it does involve magical body swapping and contract killers.
Getting to the good stuff, you’ll recall from Crosswind #5 that Cruz the hitman has been briefed by Vox, the cause of all this body switching. Cruz is on his way to Seattle to take out Cason (in Juniper’s body) and maybe Juniper too (in Cason’s body).
For the record, Cruz is here to kill ER’RYBODY.
In the middle of this is Vox, the vizier who masterminded this whole switcheroo. He is the only weakness in the plot, with ill-defined “powers” that never-the-less can’t change anything going on around him. His real situation is only revealed in a post-script. But in the middle of the issue, he drops his “poor old guy” facade. He is a vindictive ass who’s ready to watch Juniper’s whole family catch a bullet to assuage his own conscious. He gets his though, everyone does. Including the best beatdown of any comic in 2017 — with a garden gnome.
Maizy, the neighbor, and Mika, the gangster girlfriend, both prove to be way more than pretty faces — they hand out plenty of violence themselves on the ramp up to the big confrontation. Which is exactly as fun as you want it to be.
Given the story, it is even more appropriate that there’s no tidy sum-up to this mess. There is just a re-configuration, and a surprising amount of kissing. Comics are weird, yo.
There’s some commentary out there that Crosswind is about the “Transgender experience” on account of the body switching and all. Maybe for some that’s true, the comic certainly features a trans character as a “normal” member of a community, being an accepted neighbor and confidante. That alone is excellent representation for a group of people who are so often either erased or sensationalized. For me, this has been a great 6-issue meditation on how gender roles stifle people, men and women, and how hard it is to see how that impacts you personally until you’re standing outside of the rules. It is also a case study in how to write a sensitive, genuine crime comic that begins and ends with a bang.
This comic was *satisfying* like justice is satisfying, not fairness mind you, but justice.
Staggs and Simone have delivered a great, cinematic experience. The trade paperback version is out in a few weeks if you haven’t been reading along. Get it. Crosswind made lots of “Best of 2017” lists and this issue shows why.
You’re going to want to keep up on Crosswind, so read all of our reviews here.