It begins with the history of the British Empire, wars being fought within Britain, taking it out to the world, with a litany of action, both good and bad, with all manner of atrocity made, in that pursuit. We see inhumanity against man, in the approach to humanity, and hideous violence along the way. The comparison of these acts and the acts of the Crossed are never far away.
Ennis was systematic in his first Crossed series with only allowing the Crossed to commit acts of barbarism that real people had used against one another, poring through Amnesty International reports. That’s dulled since then, but it feels very present in the initial scenes – especially compared with what follows.
So here we have the Crossed up against Real Men. The kind of men who have guns, experience and know how to deal with riled up crowds in a very terminal way, even if they happen to be Crossed. There’s the very strong note that these men may have done this before to those who were not Crossed, all in the service of Empire.
Because, yes, this is a comic about men. There are two types of men in a Garth Ennis comic, the Strong and the Weak. And then there are children, the Innocent. So we have a group of Strong Men who meet a Weak Man trying to care for the Innocent. It doesn’t go down well. And there is nothing a Strong Man won’t do to protect the Innocent – who embody the innocence they have lost by taking any means necessary to do The Right Thing.
Add to this more violence, strong accents, lots of nicknames for shitting and a sense of history and you have a very very Garth Ennisy comic indeed. Raolo Cacares serves as an ideal artist was well, that combination of cartoonishness and horror that the likes of Steve Dillon, John McCrea, Jacen Burrows and Carlos Ezquerra have in spades.
Crossed Badlands #25 is published this Wednesday from Avatar Press for C-Day, so expect your comic book retailer to be covered with blood when handing you your copy.