Image has done it once again. The company put its faith in a stellar creative team, let their imaginations run wild, and the result is another must-read comic. Gail Simone and Cat Staggs’ collaboration is Crosswind, and it seeks to answer a question that philosophers have pondered for centuries: “what would happen if a hitman switched bodies with a housewife?”
The first issue of this series is essentially a prologue. It introduces us to Cason, a Chicago hitman, and Juniper, a suburban housewife, and aims to develop their characters before the big swap. The reader spends time with each, learning about their routines and the people in their life. Case’s life seems pretty straightforward (for a hitman), and he doesn’t get too much time to shine (the time he does get, though, is well spent). Juniper, on the other had, gets a ton of “screen time;” she appears to be the main character out of these two. Simone spends most of this issue building sympathy for the housewife. From her snotty stepson to her lying rat husband, June has nowhere to go but up.
That seems to be the message at the heart of Crosswind. Simone and Stagg have something to say about the way we treat women in America. Juniper is overworked and underappreciated; nothing she does is good enough for her family. She gets sexually harassed and it’s written off as “boys being boys.” It’s heartbreaking, but the real tragedy is how familiar the situations feel. It doesn’t feel preachy either; Simone simply shows real-life scenarios and lets the reader feel the weight. This element elevates Crosswind above most other crime books on the shelves right now.
Cat Staggs’ art is hyper-realistic and edgy; it makes Crosswind‘s crime element pop. The opening scene depicting Cason at work looks and feels like something out of an early Scorsese movie. And while Staggs’ style is ideal for a crime story, it also enhances the other facets of Crosswind. June’s miserable life is suddenly much more dark and harrowing. The climactic body switch is mystical and disorienting, and Staggs shakes up the paneling here to really drive that vibe home. Her work here is just the perfect fit for Simone’s script.
Simone and Staggs’ work together rivals that of even the best noir teams (Brubaker and Phillips better watch their backs). The two plant plenty of seeds in this first issue, and with the mystery and intrigue, Crosswind is sure to be a must-buy comic month after month.
Bottom Line (Audio)
Crosswind issue one hits shelves on June 21, 2017.