REVIEW: ‘Crossover,’ Issue #7

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Crossover #7 - But Why Tho

Crossover #7 is written by Chip Zdarsky, penciled by Phil Hester, inked by Andre Parks, colored by Dee Cunniffe, and lettered by John J. Hill. It is published by Image Comics. After the “Event” that devastated Denver and brought every fictional character who ever lived into our world, Steve Murray, better known by his penname of “Chip Zdarsky,” is lying low in Canada as a mysterious murderer is picking off comic book characters. Struggling with depression and paranoia, Zdarsky finds an unlikely confidant in one of the fictional characters who has escaped the Event’s aftermath, who just happens to be himself.

Yes, you read that right, this is a comic where Chip Zdarsky meets Chip Zdarsky. Metafiction is a tricky genre to write for; if the writer succeeds, they’ll manage to craft an entertaining tale—Grant Morrison’s run on Doom Patrol is a great example. However, if they go in the opposite direction they risk writing a smug and overindulgent story that screams “Look at how smart I am!” Thankfully, Zdarsky leans into the emotional part of the story, as his “Real Self” and “Fictional Self” have a heart-to-heart conversation, populated with Zdarsky’s trademark wit and loving jabs at other creators including Ryan Stegman and Jonathan Hickman. I was initially apprehensive when it was announced that writer Donny Cates was stepping away for an issue, but it turns out that I shouldn’t have worried.

Zdarsky also touches upon a plot point from the second issue, which introduced the case of the Comic Creator Killer. At the time, the omnipresent narrator said that it was more of a “secondary arc” story, and now it looks like the series will finally pick up on that. Whoever this character is, they are able to track down comic creators and kill them with disturbing ease. The Comic Creator Killer also serves as a way to bring back another pair of comic characters. And much like God Country‘s Valofax and the Paybacks, their appearance is a welcome surprise.

Taking series artist Geoff Shaw’s place are Hester and Parks, who are living legends in the comic world. Hester and Parks have illustrated multiple comics including Green Arrow and Ant-Man, and also written their own series—with Parks serving as co-writer on Ciudad, the graphic novel that served as the basis for Extraction. Here, they apply their trademark style to the issue, and manage to do a pitch-perfect replica of Zdarsky. In keeping with the series’ separation of real people and fictional characters, Zdarksy’s “Fictional Self” is peppered with Ben-Day dots and shaded far lighter than his “Real Self”. Parks also shrouds the book in shadows, hinting at darker things to come.

Rounding out the creative team are series colorist Cunniffe and series letterer Hill. I’ve often spoken on how Hill’s lettering is reminiscent of comic narration in the ’80s and that continues here; his work brings to mind memories of reading Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s Uncanny X-Men run. Cunniffe uses mostly dark blues and blacks for the background, painting Canada as a sinister winter wonderland.

Crossover #7 takes a detour from the main story arc but manages to deliver a clever and heartfelt bit of metafiction in the process. The next issue plans to return to the main story, and with this new subplot brewing, the series shows no signs of slowing down.

Crossover #7 is available wherever comics are sold.

Crossover #7
5

TL;DR

Crossover #7 takes a detour from the main story arc but manages to deliver a clever and heartfelt bit of metafiction in the process. The next issue plans to return to the main story, and with this new subplot brewing, the series shows no signs of slowing down.