How do you explain something like Crossed to people that aren’t already in that tiny niche of comic book fans who can stomach “extreme horror”? Basically it’s about survival in a world of fast-moving, murderous rape-“zombies” and chances are pretty high that most people that would hypothetically be reading this, should absolutely avoid even trying it unless they want to give themselves nightmares. Seriously, this stuff makes The Walking Dead look like Sesame Street.
Anyway, despite having a very strong opening with Garth Ennis’ original limited series, the Crossed franchise has largely become something resembling a contest made up of various writers trying to out-gross/shock each other. Every new character just becomes fodder for the latest extreme scenario where everyone dies in the most horrible way possible and there usually isn’t much more to it than that. Wish You Were Here has been the one strong exception to that pattern. Oh, it’s still packed full of horrible depravity, but it also succeeds in telling an incredibly compelling story involving some fascinating characters that you can’t help but be interested in, despite the fact that most of them are actually some pretty awful people. That’s the point here though, the underlying theme here and in the original series: just what will a person have to do and/or become to survive such a vicious world?
We are narrated through this particular exploration of that theme by the main character, “Shaky”, a former writer who is chronicling his “adventures” with a group of survivors. The story shifts back and forth between present day and flashbacks detailing how Shaky got from the day of the outbreak to where he is now, both of which are utterly fascinating stories, which are slowly leading up to some kind of mysterious intersection between the unknown sins of Shaky’s past and the current, strange problems that Shaky and his fellow survivors are facing now. Mostly it’s It’s the kind of story that is constantly leaving you wanting more and you can easily find yourself sitting there all night reading through the entire thing because you just don’t want to stop. Again, it’s certainly not for everyone, but it’s definitely a very well written and disturbingly compelling tale that I can easily say is the best, and only truly memorable one, to come out of the Crossed franchise since Ennis started the whole thing.