Story: Donny Cates
Art: Geoff Shaw
Colours: Dee Cunniffe
Letters & Design: John J. Hill
Story Edits: Mark Waid
Last month was the first time I’ve been disappointed with an issue of Crossover. I’ve talked before about the idea of it not always being the right time for an audience member to get the media they’re given, and I’m getting the feeling that might be where I’m at with this current arc.
Crossover #10 ended with what felt like an inevitable reveal: Donny Cates being the bearded man Pendleton had locked up writing. We start this issue with a look into how Donny found himself where he is now, within the world of his own design. It’s a good insight into the journey the world has taken to reach the events of Crossover and throughout this flashback there’s some interesting possibilities of what may be yet to come.
This flashback gives way to reveal that Cates is telling his story to Ellie, only to be met with her asking the same question I was thinking: wasn’t this meant to be her story? I’ll admit, although there are elements of this arc I’ve enjoyed, I’m very much beginning to miss the character focus we had in some earlier issues.
With all this happening in just the first few pages, Crossover #11 quickly becomes a pivotal issue. We also see Powers Division allow Ryan’s father out into the world in the hopes he can lead the way to the killer that they’re hunting.
In an issue that’s focussed firmly on what’s come before, this seems like a key moment in the forward momentum of the series, one that leaves us on a cliffhanger reveal of the arc’s supposed “big bad”. We’ve been building up to this moment since issue #7 and it wasn’t the reveal I was expecting. Perhaps some of the hints we’ve seen in previous issues were only red herrings, or hints of other things to come, but I’ll say this reveal comes as a surprise and one that I think may be divisive among readers.
Geoff Shaw’s artwork is on point throughout the issue as usual, and I’m glad that we have his art consistently from start to finish here, as the Bendis/Oeming takeover last issue wasn’t something I was a fan of. I’m not sure I’ve acknowledged it in previous reviews, but I do like that Shaw changed up Ellie’s character design at the end of the first volume. While I very much like her original look, I love the possibility for characters to change their appearance; it’s something we don’t see enough in comics that can make a character feel more real, which is especially interesting in the case of Ellie. Dee Cunniffe’s colouring is once again a real highlight of this issue, the grey filter over the events of the opening flashback contrasts wonderfully against the bursts of colour of the bubble in Denver. We also see the green walls carried over from the Powers scenes in the previous issues, which is a nice detail that maintains the feel of Ellie’s cell being a room in the same building rather than it just being a detail to call back to another series.
There are some big moments in this issue, but I am missing the character focus in Ellie and Ryan that we had in earlier issues. In a story so filled with possibility it’s nice to have a more personal perspective to stop the events from becoming overwhelming, or simply becoming a a who’s who of potential comic book cameos.