God of Comics – Crosswind #6

God of Comics – Crosswind #6

Crosswind #6 (Image Comics)

I love Gail Simone’s writing. It’s hard not to – she’s got a perfect understanding of how to start with basic character and weave in a larger narrative, creating heart-wrenching stories while adding unexpected but very sensible depth to those characters. We’ve seen her do it everywhere she’s gone, from Birds of Prey to Secret Six to Wonder Woman to Batgirl to Red Sonja… it seemed like any time anyone needed to add detail to a pre-existing franchise, Gail was the writer you wanted.

Then Clean Room hit and Gail proved she could do incredible and original high-concept horror, and if you haven’t read the Clean Room and you like Lovecraftian horror at all you need to read the Clean Room. After that, when you’re left shaking and need something on a more intimate scale, you can reach out and grasp Crosswind.

Crosswind is a totally original Gail Simone take on the old Freaky Friday concept, where people swap bodies. I normally hate that sort of story because it is so very rarely done well and is mostly done for laughs, but Gail is clearly aiming for a deeply personal thriller here and the tension and fear and acceptance all work perfectly with the tale she’s put together.

A beleaguered housewife and a mob hitman trade bodies and have no idea why.

You would think that neither of them is particularly suited for the life of the other, but they’ve made do – the hitman’s assertiveness and sense of style has changed everything for the housewife, while the housewife’s skills make her one of the best cleaners the mob has ever seen. Both of them are learning quite a lot about who they are, and they’ve been in touch with one another and tried to support one another as best they can.

Both are eager to return to their own lives and they’re finally piecing together how this happened to them and why and maybe even how to fix it, but there’s a horde of professional killers about to sweep down on them and kill them both. Do either of them live? Does anyone other than the person who did this to them figure out what happened? This is the final issue, and this being Gail Simone you know there’s going to be some final twists before we get to the ending.

Gail didn’t create this world alone – Cat Staggs also had a hand in development and keeps a strong and steady hand in development. There’s a rough edge to Cat’s work which is perfect here, the harsh lines and graduated coloring giving Crosswind a dream-like quality that is reminiscent of Waking Life or A Scanner Darkly. It’s beautiful, the fading edges of hue only serving to compliment how intimate this story has become.

If you’re looking for a clever thriller with strong inter-personal dynamics where the stakes are deeply human, this is your comic. Don’t miss it.

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