CROSSWIND #1 [Review]

Crosswinds #1 Cover
CROSSWIND #1/ Written by GAIL SIMONE/ Art by CAT SCAGGS/ Letters by SIMON BOWLAND/ Published by IMAGE COMICS

Cason Ray Bennett lives a life of luxury most young men dream of. Fancy suits. Fast cars. Faster women. And adventure? Heh. Don’t get much more adventurous than being a “problem solver” for “the outfit” in Chicago. The only real problem Cason has in his charmed existence is that he’s so good at his job as a hitman that he keeps having his nights-off spoiled by having to go and clean-up other people’s messes. The price of being reliable.

Juniper Elanore Blue lives a hellish existence most women would dream of escaping. She’s in good shape but that doesn’t seem to have stopped her husband’s wandering eye. Her stepson hates her. And she’s scared to death of the neighborhood boys who sexually harass her on a daily basis – a fact that her husband is indifferent towards. The only relief in her sad life is the few moments she has to read and daydream that she’s someone else.

Two strangers with completely different lives in completely different parts of the country. Two people who aren’t connected in any way at all. Until one night when, for some reason, a connection gets made and Cason and Juniper suddenly find themselves someplace very unfamiliar…

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The body-swapping story is nothing new to any genre of fiction. Indeed, that great assassin of time known as TV Tropes has pages upon pages detailing multiple instances of what they call “The Freaky Friday Flip“. Yet Gail Simone has found a way to make this most tired of concepts shine like new.

Simone accomplishes this by devoting this first issue to building up the personalities of our protagonists. Simone’s greatest gift as a writer has always been her ability to create unique characters and that talent is on full display here. The reader quickly develops an interest in both Cason and Juniper as individuals. It will be fascinating to see how they both respond to their changed circumstances in future issues.

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Cat Stagg’s artwork proves equally compelling. Stagg’s sports a photo-realistic style with heavy shadows that invites favorable comparison to Tony Harris’ work on Ex Machina. I find that Staggs has a stronger eye for detail, however, and that her inks do not obscure the original pencils as much as one would expect in a story with such a Noir-influenced aesthetic.

Think the body-swapping story is played out? Think again. With strong characterization and amazing artwork, Crosswind #1 puts a cool new spin on a classic concept. Based on this first issue, Crosswind seems to be a sure-fire hit and easy Eisner contender. The characters are immediately interesting and the artwork is fantastic. This is one series you’ll want to get in on at the ground floor.

About Matt Morrison

Matt "Starman" Morrison is The Grand Exalted High Macha of Raspur - a non-existent but real-sounding country. He has been writing about comics since before the word "blogging" was coined. He enjoys acting, role-playing, movie-riffing and sarcasm. You can follow his adventures on Twitter, @GeekyGeekyWays.

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