Crosswind #1 – Freaky Friday
Written by: Gail Simone
Art/ Colors by: Cat Staggs
Lettering by: Simon Bowland
Published by: Image Comics
Cason Bennet is a suave and slick hitman for a very powerful man named Randolph and he’s usually the guy sent to clean up other people’s messes. Juniper Blue is a housewife from Seattle that has to deal with an ungrateful son, a cheating husband and sexual advances from her neighbors. What do these people have in common? Nothing! But at the end of the issue they switch bodies. Where will things go from here? I don’t know. I’m not writing it. I’m curious to find out though.
As you can figure out from that summary, the plot in this issue is a little anemic. It’s mostly establishing our two main players, and their motivations and conflicts, so I can’t really fault it for being a little light on plot. I will fault it, however, for being a little “uneven” regarding these two characters.
Usually, these types of body switching stories occur between two people who each have problems they have to deal with. Juniper has problems. TONS of problems. A cartoonish amount of problems actually. An unfaithful and crappy husband, a step son who hates her, sexual harassment, terrible friends and she even gets called a MILF. Cason, on the other hand doesn’t have much to him. He’s suave and cool and seeing him kicking ass against all the people that screwed with Juniper is going to be really cool (I assume that’s what’s going to happen, anyway) but he really doesn’t have any major problem in his life. Sure, he has to deal with the current screw up his boss’s grandson has caused, but that’s job related. His personal life is totally free of conflict. Well, so far anyway.
That’s the problem with reviewing a first issue: I don’t know where it’s going and it’s a little too early to tell. Honestly, I’m just looking for problems because I did enjoy the issue. I love Gail Simone’s writing and this time is no exception. Her dialogue is very stylish (much like Cason) and I’m interested enough that I want to pick up the next issue. Also, while I did complain about Juniper’s cartoonish amount of suffering, I am waiting giddily for when the people around her get their probably very painful comeuppances. So that will be fun to see.
The art is ok but before I get to it, I need to address Crosswind’s serious layout issues. There were lots of times in this issue where I didn’t know if I was supposed to read down, right or left.
There’s this one page that is the perfect example. It’s the one where Juniper is talking to a friend she randomly met at the supermarket. The problem with that page is that while the speech bubbles on the left side point down to the bottom, the bubbles on the right side are on the same eye level as the bubbles on the second left panel, causing me to read them first. It’s a mess of a page. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that every single panel in this issue is on top of another panel. It just makes everything look unnecessarily busy and crowded. Like there’s no space for the page to breath. Also, it ends up giving everything a very cheap vibe, like the comic was randomly cut/pasted instead of having a proper layout thought out.
While the layout is the biggest problem, the art itself has some problems. It’s fine and I can see the artist getting better with time, but it does look a bit too much like airbrushed photos. Again, it looks ok but I’m still sort of wishing it was drawn by someone like Steve Epting or Sean Phillips, who can really hit a realistic style without going too far.
Despite some VERY serious problems with panel layouts, I really enjoyed this issue of Crosswind. I usually love whatever Gail Simone is doing and “Abused Housewife body swaps with Hitman” is an idea right up my alley. I’m looking forward to see where things go from here, and this issue gets a strong recommendation provided you get past the art problems.