Crossover #10 is published by Image Comics, written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Geoff Shaw, colored by Dee Cunniffe, and lettered and designed by John J. Hill. Pages 12-17 are written by Brian Michael Bendis, illustrated by Michael Avon Oeming and colored by Nick Filardi. Part three of “Meanwhile” shifts its focus to Nathaniel Abrams Pendleton, the director of the Powerhouse prison program. Pendleton learns that the dome of energy surrounding the Crossover event has begun to weaken, meaning that people can enter or exit the dome as they see fit. Meanwhile, Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Oeming are brought in for questioning by Powers protagonists Deena Pilgrim and Christian Walker, and the identity of the mysterious prophet in Powerhouse is revealed.
As you can probably tell from the previous paragraph, this issue tackles a LOT. Much like the seventh issue, characters come face to face with their creators-in this case, Bendis and Oeming meeting Pilgrim and Walker. It gets especially meta with Bendis writing and Oeming drawing the sequence; they’ve created these characters, and in a way, they get to hold a conversation with them. The sequence pokes fun at Bendis’ tendency to have whole pages of nothing but dialogue but also plays into the mystery aspect of this arc, as both Bendis and Oeming come to a conclusion about who the Comic Creator Killer is. Oeming also applies his hyper-animated style to versions of himself and Bendis, resulting in some hilarious facial expressions.
On the other hand, I’m split about Cates’ reveal at the end. As I mentioned in my review of Crossover #7, metafiction is a tricky tightrope to walk as a writer. Too far in one direction, and the impact won’t be felt; too far in the other and they’ll come off as stroking their own ego. While I enjoy this series and Cates’ writing in general, I hope that this revelation leads to a satisfying conclusion. However, I love Cates’ idea of characters being able to enter and leave the dome as it ups the stakes and also promises the appearance of other fan-favorite comic characters.
Shaw and Cunniffe get in on the boundary-breaking, especially with their first page-it’s literally depicted as a page from Cates’ scripts with random scribblings in the margins. The opening also flashes back to the very first issue and shows a body being disintegrated in bluish-white light, while also discussing how real life and comics share a common thread of lives being upended. And there is also a striking two-page spread featuring a dead god-like being lying in the streets, with blue and purple armor that is probably meant as a homage to the world-eating entity Galactus. Green is also a prominent color, with the entire Bendis/Oeming interrogation sequence and the first page shrouded in a sickly green light.
Crossover #10 once again plays with the boundaries of fiction, leading to a reveal that could fundamentally upend the series. I’m not sure where the series is going after this, but I hope the creators continue to push the boundaries of metafiction and introduce more interesting ideas.
Crossover #10 is available wherever comics are sold.
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.