Cover of Crossed Volume 1 by Jacen Burrows.
|Publication date||September 2008 – March 2010|
|Number of issues||10 (original run, many others after)|
|Colorist(s)||Greg Waller (#0)
|Editor(s)||William A. Christensen
Crossed is a comic book written by Garth Ennis and drawn by Jacen Burrows for the first ten issues, and published by Avatar Press. Following volumes Crossed: Family Values, Crossed 3D, and Crossed: Psychopath were written by David Lapham. A new series, Crossed: Badlands is written and drawn by rotating creative teams. The franchise has also spawned two webcomics: Crossed: Wish You Were Here, which ran from 2012–2014, and Crossed: Dead or Alive, which began syndication in November 2014.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Plot synopsis
- 3 Series
- 4 Crossed: Wish You Were Here
- 5 Crossed: Dead or Alive
- 6 Collected editions
- 7 Notes
- 8 External links
To be honest, there was never really going to be a volume two- William [Christensen, editor-in-chief/publisher of Avatar] would ask me regularly about the possibility, but apart from one or two vague scenes I pretty soon realised I had no more Crossed stories in me. I didn't want to force the issue, either, because I'm very pleased with Crossed and don't want to dilute it with a sequel that I hadn't the ideas to sustain.
That said, it's pretty obvious that what you have with Crossed is a ready-made fictional world with a good deal of potential for further development, and the Crossed themselves seem to be strong enough villains to maintain an audience. So when William suggested other people doing more I said I wasn't averse to it, so long as a) I thought the creative teams were up to scratch, and b) my own story and characters would be left alone. Which means no sequel, no more Stan, Cindy, Thomas or Kitrick (or Horsecock, Face or Stump, come to that)- just fresh stories set in the same world.
As for David, who better? I think you'll see right from his first episode that he knows exactly what he's doing with the Crossed.
The story follows survivors dealing with a pandemic that causes its victims to carry out their most evil thoughts. Carriers of the virus are known as the "Crossed" due to a cross-like rash that appears on their faces. This contagion is primarily spread through bodily fluids, which the Crossed have used to great effect by treating their weapons with their fluids, as well as through other forms of direct fluidic contact such as rape and bites, assuming the victim lives long enough to turn. A major difference between the Crossed and other fictional zombie or insanity-virus epidemics (e.g. in the film 28 Days Later), is that while the Crossed are turned into homicidal violent psychopaths, they still retain a basic human-level of intelligence: thus they are still capable of using firearms, motor vehicles, tools like bows and arrows, and of setting complex traps.
The contagion spread across the entire world, with the Crossed killing, raping, engaging in cannibalism and maiming for fun, with governments and military overwhelmed; friends and family butcher each other with anything they lay their hands on, and cities are turned into vast charnel houses. Much of the Middle East is wiped out when Israel deploys nuclear weapons. The last organized act by the US government is to shut down as many nuclear power plants as possible and then kill the nuclear scientists and technicians to prevent them from reactivating the plants. One by one the remaining military bases are overrun. Soon human civilization is all but gone, and mankind is an increasingly endangered species.
Depiction of the Crossed
The Crossed themselves show considerable variation, as they are still self-aware individuals, albeit turned into homicidal maniacs. The actual level of insanity different Crossed demonstrate ranges across a wide spectrum as well. Many are practically feral savages with absolutely no regard for their own self-preservation, to the point that they will gleefully mutilate themselves for the sheer thrill of it, including amputating their own limbs (understandably, these Crossed don't tend to survive very long). Most are capable of basic albeit deranged speech, and wield whatever clubs, knives, or sharp objects are at hand to attack anything around them. The more insane Crossed will even attack each other, though they apparently prefer the non-Crossed. Some characters speculate that this preference is due to their need for sadistic gratification: given that the Crossed are so insane that they will mutilate themselves voluntarily, it isn't as fun to torture fellow Crossed as it is to torture uninfected, frightened victims.
The Crossed enjoy artfully mutilating the bodies of their victims, amputating limbs or worse. The Crossed can survive on any food but frequently rely on basic cannibalism – not because they have a zombie-like need for human flesh, they're just so brutal and cruel that they get warped enjoyment out of it. Moreover, as years pass after the outbreak and the normal food sources of civilization disappear, other Crossed increasingly cannibalize the non-infected or each other to survive.
The Crossed are consumed by a pervasive bloodlust and constantly try to rape anyone or anything they can chase down. The infection spreads through bodily fluids, thus anyone raped by a Crossed will become a Crossed themselves, provided that their attackers don't kill them before they turn (which they frequently do). This is just a matter of preference, however, as other Crossed will kill their victims first and then rape their corpses. Still, it is more common for them to rape live victims, because they enjoy causing their victims to suffer through slow torture instead of giving them a quick death. A major way the infection spread in the first hours and days of the outbreak was when in a veritable blood orgy, the Crossed would rape and sodomize entire families and neighborhoods, rapidly expanding the growing hordes of Crossed. Many of these rapes aren't consciously intended to infect other people, it simply occurs as a byproduct of their insatiable need for violence. Female crossed will also try to violently rape and sodomize people with whatever tools or weapons are at hand. On rare occasion, pregnant women who have been infected and turned survive long enough to give birth, but their babies are born infected as well - apparently the placental barrier provides no protection against the infection (though it is possible that it does, but unsanitary birth conditions infect them during delivery itself, like Neonatal conjunctivitis). Crossed women who have given birth are, however, gleefully willing to needlessly murder their own newborn babies.
The rate at which a person becomes infected ranges from several hours to a matter of minutes and once infected there is no turning back. No cure exists for the Crossed and there is almost no hint that scientists were able to study the infection long enough to do any sort of thorough research on the dilemma.
The mental effects of the Crossed infection are apparently not just a zombie-like drive for basic desires like violence and sexual gratification. It seems to give the Crossed a driving need to perform actions which they perceive as morally bad, somehow triggering the parts of their brains which control their darkest, subconsciously pent-up inhibitions. The Crossed do not simply rape and kill their victims, they torture and mutilate them to cause the maximum amount of pain and suffering. Another symptom of this is that they tend to attack and deface things and places which are considered particularly sacrosanct, i.e. defacing government buildings with corpses, or desecrating religious buildings. Crossed who manage to capture a non-infected human on a scouting expedition from a survivor enclave will frequently proceed to torture and mutilate their captive within sight of the survivors' fortress, to inflict psychological torment on the unreachable people inside. They sometimes torture animals but this is less common.
As stated by Garth Ennis:
"The Crossed are people who - through infection - have given in to the absolute worst instincts that human beings can: murder, rape, torture, cannibalism, all of the most cruel and inventive kind imaginable. They are out of control, really. Their number one urge is to get their hands into normal people and commit every ghastly act they can think of - they can't fight it, and they don't want to."
The three most prominent Crossed characters focused on were Horsecock in the original series; Smokey in "The Quisling", who the protagonists had to take out to stop their gangs from spreading; and, the nun Aoileann in "Wish You Were Here." In comics by Simon Spurrier, this is attributed to some quality in the infected or their circumstances before infection: Shaky says that Aoileann is good at "holding back passion" (which is mistaken for control) and simply passed this on to her group, Russian gangster Mattias had periods of control (followed by violent mania) due to brain damage from long-term ketamine use, and an Australian was focused on getting revenge. In "Wish You Were Here", it is vaguely implied that Aoileann's unusual reaction to the Crossed infection may also be due to her having epilepsy, altering how it affected her brain.
Aoileann is capable of having lucid conversations with other people, making complex future plans and traps, and even seems to have retained certain empathetic emotions, as she is actually horrified at the prospect of personally killing other people (though she lets her followers kill uninfected people). Mattias displays not only cognitive thinking but also strong emotional feelings. In his human life he fell in love with his parole officer, Serena and now his infected self is determined to find and protect her, only to go insane with grief when he finds he came too late. This showed traces of positive emotions such as love and sadness that is almost never observed in other crossed. If and how his ketamine habit effect this is unknown. Smokey is the smartest Crossed ever seen, as he organized and led a large group of Crossed. He even struck a deal with a survivor to turn on the rest of his band in exchange for protection and led an assault on a nuclear missile hanger to get the warhead. An exact reason why he is so much smarter is never given; although there were medical reasons behind Aoileann and Mattias, no such conditions are ever stated with him. It is to be noted that he does not display emotions, he is just more intelligent.
A curious point noted by several characters is that even since the earliest days of the outbreak, some survivors have attempted to slip past the Crossed by painting red cross-marks on their faces to simulate the rashes from the infection – the Crossed will attack other Crossed if they're bored or frustrated, but at least some of the time will leave other Crossed alone. However, it does not matter how accurate the reproduction of the rash-marks are, even with high-grade makeup that makes them visually identical to the real rashes, the Crossed are somehow always able to tell that it is a fake. As characters note in The Fatal Englishman, having survived five years since the initial outbreak, they have never seen this trick succeed; somehow the Crossed are still able to detect the non-infected.
When the infection first started, the victims may have been homicidal, suicidal, or simply dropped dead; some showed grief about what they were doing. Within a few days, the first cross mark had appeared and this became the standard outcome.
The later comics take place later and later in time after the outbreak first occurred, up to five years later by The Fatal Englishman, the crossed have apparently been developing new habits. Some Crossed have been shown to be quite capable of complex pre-meditated actions. Not consumed by unthinking bloodlust to the extent that many of the other infected are, they have enough mental where-withal to plan ambushes and traps, and organize gangs of Crossed to assault survivor enclaves. The more mindless rage-consumed Crossed will still know how to use firearms if they find them but usually won't think rationally enough to plan out where to acquire more firearms. The more rational and calculating Crossed, in contrast, will actively seek out armories to acquire new firearms. Some of these more rational Crossed will self-consciously coat their weapons in their own bodily fluids, actively trying to turn non-infected survivors into more Crossed.
As Shaky explained in the webcomics, it is not so much that the Crossed "evolved" during these years (like in a cheesy zombie-horror B-movie), but rather the process of natural selection setting in. Logically, many of the Crossed who were so insane that they didn't care about their own self-preservation have died off, while the far more dangerous rational and calculating ones took steps to survive over a long period of time. The more deranged Crossed from the initial days of the outbreak were mostly feral, running around completely naked to attack other people with their fists and teeth, not even bothering to use crude clubs. Those Crossed with little sense of preservation, not even the sense to put on warm clothing in colder weather, tended to die off in the winters. Others who were so rage-crazed that they would charge headlong against survivors who had automatic firearms – even though they only possessed axes and knives – also didn't tend to survive over an extended period of time. The early weeks of the first year of the outbreak were pure Bedlam, with the streets of every city turned into slaughter houses, as unarmed and unprepared non-infected were surprised by savage but almost mindless Crossed. Several years after the initial outbreak, a sort of natural selection process set in. The Crossed who survived that long tend to be the more rational and lucid ones who have the wherewithal to preserve themselves, use combat tactics like avoiding gunfire, use guns themselves, and can set complex ambushes. Meanwhile, the few surviving non-infected are hardened survivors who have been combating the Crossed for years.
Before The Thin Red Line, the Crossed stories agreed that the infection was stunningly rapid, so fast that the news media and most world governments had little if any time to respond, but the exact specifics of the outbreak differed from writer to writer. Depending on the story, it took anywhere from a week to a mere matter of hours for the infection to spread across the globe. In the original story, the infection erupts suddenly across the entire United States without warning and later spreads; a survivor says Canada tried to fortify the border "in the first week" and were unaware the virus had reached them until after that point. In contrast, Badlands #14–18, #40–43 and Wish You Were Here have the infection erupted across the entire planet in the same day, the latter two showing United Kingdom and Japan being rapidly overrun; Badlands #16 has the White House (and Surgeon General) and part of the news media still around the next day, reporting on the crisis. Badlands #10–13 ignores this and has the Crossed tearing through small towns without being noticed, getting more and more numerous over the course of a week; and Badlands #26, also by Ennis, has a British soldier named Harry (later appearing in The Thin Red Line) say he's been aware of the Crossed for "the past three days" by the time the outbreak is public.
In the Crossed : Dead or Alive webcomic, the characters discuss a collapsed bridge, and speculate it was detonated by the US Army in "the first few days", in an effort to cut major road arteries and slow traffic between the eastern and western sections of the United States to slow the spread of the virus. In the stories where the infection is sudden, the Crossed are shown overrunning the United States at sunset/night and London in the afternoon, meaning one nation had to be overrun before the other. Badlands arc 62 - 70 shows the initial outbreak in the city of San Diego and the attempts by the US military to restore order in the city, and, as the epidemic got out of hand, evacuate thousands of surviving civilians from the city to waiting cruise ships and extract them to a supposedly secure island off the California coastline. However, a US Navy fleet sent from Pearl Harbor to protect the evacuation ships at San Diego harbour somehow falls victim to the infection and ultimately massacres much of the civilian evacuation vessels still residing in San Diego, killing and maiming hundreds or possibly thousands of survivors.
The Thin Red Line (Badlands #50–56) finally established an origin and timeline of the infection. This origin clashes with other outbreak stories: London is not overrun for several days, the White House is overrun before most of the US, and the Crossed are public before an outbreak in Japan or most of the US.
The outbreak began in summer 2008 in Yorkshire, United Kingdom (the time of the first comic): the patient zero was a man who had a psychotic breakdown and murdered his family, and the infection spread rapidly from two local policemen to the entire population of the village of Tethersby. Indecisiveness by Prime Minister Gordon Brown meant that a state of emergency wasn't declared until after a Sky News team found and filmed the villagers committing a mass suicide. From this point the infection spread rapidly, and the Prime Minister and his staff were moved into a secure bunker guarded by the SAS and SO1 police officers which also doubled as a medical research centre where "Patient Zero" was placed under quarantine.
Later in the day, Crossed had overrun most of Yorkshire and other parts of northern England and Scotland, with smaller outbreaks appearing further south. Under the belated state of emergency, the UK suspended all public transport, airlifted troops back from Afghanistan, and blockaded the M1 motorway just north of Northampton; south of there, cordons held and prevented large-scale refugee migration, which could bring more of the infected south. By the evening there were reports of infections in France, Chad, Australia, South Africa, Pakistan, Russia, and the United States. Pakistani Crossed dropped a nuclear bomb on Delhi, wiping out most if not all of India's government. Shortly thereafter, Russian Prime Minister (and Acting President following Dmitri Medvedev's incapacitation) Vladimir Putin requested the RAF shoot down 40 Crossed-piloted Tu-95 bombers before NORAD – unable to launch planes due to similar problems – feel obliged to launch nukes. When Gordon Brown contacts the White House, the person answering (implied to be President George W Bush) is clearly infected, confirming Washington D.C. has been overrun and that the American government has fallen. A single Tornado GR1 was launched to intercept the Russians and the crew sacrifice themselves to prevent nuclear war break out. Around this time, while the UK government has failed to stop misinformation and panic spreading on social media, it's clear that the infection is being somewhat contained and it might just be possible to save the island. The Ministry of Defence and the Home Office request to abandon Whitehall as a precaution when the first outbreaks appear in London but are rebuffed by a more determined PM, who insists that they stay so as not to panic the populace. A few hours later, these orders are changed: the government is evacuated to bunkers, civil authority is superseded by the Armed Forces and orders go out to shut down all nuclear facilities. However, Brown says in the long term they should "hopefully" regain control and that government scientist Dr Chopra has a chance of finding an answer to the virus.
Unfortunately, Brown's advisor – acting without clearing it with the PM – had ordered two of the SAS to torture "patient zero" for information. Under the beating, the individual calmed down, became hostile, and infected the soldiers. Before anyone is aware, Dr Chopra is infected, attacks the Prime Minister, and the bunker is either slaughtered or infected. Harry escapes, taking only the codes for Porton Down: ordered as a last resort to release the deadly biological and chemical agents stored there to wipe out the Crossed, thus giving humanity a chance to fight back.
During the story, Chopra pointed out that the British "patient zero" cannot logically be a patient zero if the infection is appearing so far abroad, and theorizes if the virus is "something in the D.N.A.... the planet's" that has manifested and this is why it doesn't follow any known scientific laws. "Patient Zero" himself was aware of events he could not possibly have seen or heard and saw visions of atrocities he was unaware of, suggesting a paranormal angle, and refers to it as something that "cleanses". In Ennis's first story, survivors find the journal of a soldier who theorized that there was no single point of origin and it may have been a strategically triggered bio-terrorist attack which was simultaneously released at multiple points around the world.
One hundred years on from the initial outbreak, as depicted in Crossed: +100, it is revealed that around 2050 AD, Crossed numbers began to drop significantly and eventually regular humans once again outnumbered the infected, though small family groups of Crossed continued to inhabit some areas, breeding new generations by refraining from killing their young. Human society has somewhat begun to rebuild in the former United States, but is still socially and technically backwards compared to society before "The Surprise", as C-Day is referred to in 2108.
Crossed (Volume One)
The first story (Volume One in trade) takes place ten months after the outbreak, with flashbacks to those events, as a small group make their way toward Alaska in the belief that its low population before the outbreak will mean there are fewer Crossed to be avoided, and that the Crossed's gleeful bloodlust hampers their ability to look after themselves. However, they encounter a small group of Crossed who have a degree of self-control and subsequently begin a hunt for the survivors.
Crossed: Family Values (Volume 2)
In Family Values, the story centers on a religious family who escapes their North Carolinian ranch to survive in a mountain compound led by the protagonist Adaline's father, who, while being a strong leader against the Crossed, is a sexual predator who has routinely raped his daughters.
3D was written with the 3D effect in mind and is not available in a 2D format. The story follows SWAT veteran Lt. Hunt MacAvoy as he leads a rescue mission into the middle of Crossed-infected New York City to rescue a stranded doctor. At 48 pages, the 3D one-shot is about a quarter of the size of one of the collected "Volumes".
Crossed: Psychopath (Volume 3)
In Psychopath, the story follows a group of survivors who pick up a man, Harold Lorre, who understands the way the Crossed think, and is tracking a specific group of Crossed. Lorre is the titular psychopath, and is killing members of his group of humans as they discover his true nature, passing them off as the grisly acts of Crossed. The Crossed group they are tracking killed a woman Lorre had stalked prior to the outbreak, and subsequently forced a relationship upon her as they survived. After she was turned into a Crossed and killed, Lorre kept a fragment of her breast in a plastic bag.
The first Crossed Annual spins off from Wish, featuring the lifestyle of the psychotic SBS marine Jackson. He appears to be tracking down the scientist who created the Crossed virus, an earlier version of which drove Jackson mad; this is simply a delusion of his, he'd always been psychotic and the 'weapon' does not exist.
Crossed: Badlands (Volumes 4–9)
Badlands features shorter story arcs of varying length, by different authors. Issues #1–3, by Ennis and Burrows, follows a group of United Kingdom survivors traveling across Scotland as the leader of the group, Ian, relates his introspection on the purpose of survival when there is no hope. By the end of the third issue, the entire group is killed and/or turned.
In issues #4-#9, by Jamie Delano and Leandro Rizzo, the story follows individual survivors in the Everglades banding together, only for their individual psychosis to ultimately cause them all to become Crossed, the last survivor coming over willingly.
In issues #10–13, by David Lapham and Burrows, a teenage survivor, nicknamed Yellowbelly, relates his experience of being at a carnival where the clowns and other workers become infected in the early hours of the outbreak, turning fun times into depraved terror. In issue #13, he crosses paths with Harold Lorre, the main character of Crossed: Psychopath who encourages Yellowbelly to use the Crossed-infested world as an opportunity to obtain power by force. Ultimately though, he is killed by a biker woman he fled with, when he confided his cowardice that resulted in the death of her sister-in-arms.
In Issues #14–18, written by David Hine, the story again takes place just prior to the outbreak in Stableford, Wisconsin, colloquially known as 'Stumptown'. The town residents participated in a mass insurance fraud by deliberately causing themselves to have loss of limb accidents to collect insurance payouts, only to have their scheme exposed by infamous transgressive writer Gideon Welles, who used the town as inspiration. To add insult to injury, Welles built his massive estate, Samarkand, in the area. The story centers around aspiring writer Clooney, and his girlfriend Tabitha, who are to spend time at a writer's retreat at Samarkand. Unfortunately, Welles is a sadist pig and a train full of Crossed has just pulled into the train station in town. Emasculated and humiliated by Welles' debauched sex orgy with his girlfriend and other guests, Clooney uses the Crossed to turn on his fellow writers, all being killed or turned by the horde. Only Philly, niece of town cop Lorna, escapes by boat, her aunt becoming infected when a dead Crossed fell over her, forcing Philly to kill her.
Issues #19–20 start a new arc by Si Spurrier (Crossed: Wish You Were Here) and Raulo Caceres (Crossed: Psychopath). The story involves a former criminal who was turned into one of the Crossed, but still retains a level of self-control and rationality compared to the other Crossed. The criminal, Mattias, a paroled enforcer for a local mobster, fell in love with his parole officer, Serena, and they had a relationship that ended due to the conflict between their duties and their love. Mattias, having become Crossed, travels to the Police station to find Serena, only to find she had taken her own life days earlier. Flying into a ketamine enhanced rampage, he passes out in a parking lot, only to reawaken with no memory of his search for Serena, and repeats his journey.
Issues #21–24 rejoin Amanda, the survivor of David Lapham's Psychopath arc. Having been scarred by her experience with Lorre, she no longer trusts anyone, and uses whatever means at her disposal to survive, while paranoia ultimately causes her to kill anyone who takes her in before they can get her. She falls in with The Livers, three survivors that have formed a close bond, despite their mutual insanity and occasional cannibalistic tendencies, and finds a new way to survive.
Issues #25–28 "The Fatal Englishman" is the third Ennis story and is set five years after C-Day. Four British Army soldiers (representing each nation of the United Kingdom) go on a suicide mission to break into Porton Down and release the biological weapons, hoping it will wipe out the Crossed but leave enough humans alive for Britain to rebuild and go on an offensive war against the infected. Along the way, they become guardians of a group of children and a Catholic priest, with whom the title character shares his wisdom.
Issues #29–32, written by Christos Gage, follow anthropologist Oliver who studies the Crossed and, to prolong his life, collaborates with the intelligent, dominant, axe-wielding leader of the Crossed group whom he has dubbed "Smokey". Smokey, an intelligent zombie leading a group, is a parallel to the film Land of the Dead. Oliver betrays his fellow survivors to Smokey's band, and helps them hunt other survivors while hoping for a chance to escape or to find a group capable enough to fight back. Smokey assaults a nuclear missile base and massacres the surviving soldiers and scientists, with the intention of taking control the warheads. Ultimately, Oliver realizes the depth of his mistakes and gives his life to keep dangerous information from Smokey.
Issues #33–36 pick up with Amanda as she is hunting for the Livers and is forced to hide from a religiously-themed tribe of Crossed pursuing the same prey. She hides in a crawlspace for days but is devastated when the Crossed bring in her two Liver companions – one captive, and the other crossed – and she loses the strength of the delusions they supported.
Issues #37–39 follow the odd couple of a stoned out hippy and a hardcore biker traveling cross-country to San Diego to die by the ultimate overdose and to seek revenge on a rival biker gangleader, respectively. Along the way, they pick up a pregnant Mexican woman fleeing from the drug lord father, trying to reach an island sanctuary off the Baja California peninsula. Ultimately, 'no lesson is learned', as the biker is overrun while overdosing on the ultimate high, the hippy is killed fulfilling the biker's revenge, and the pregnant woman is torn apart by her infected relatives on the island.
Issues #40–43 "Gore Angels" story arc by David Hine looks into the broken mind of an abused girl shows the early days of the epidemic raging in Japan.
Issues #44–49 In the early days of the outbreak, a group of US Coast Guard personnel set out of their vessel to try an survive at sea and eventually find an island to call home, but can their Captain be trusted as his behaviour becomes more erratic ?
Issues #50–56 follow British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the four men from "The Fatal Englishman" arc as they attempt to deal with the early stages of the outbreak in Britain. Pandemonium soon reigns worldwide as the virus spreads out of control and entire countries collapse under the weight of the madness.
A six issue series called Crossed: +100, written by Alan Moore, debuted in December 2014. It follows a group of humans 100 years after the outbreak. After running across a group of Crossed, they find that the infected have begun to multiply again after having almost disappeared.
Crossed: Wish You Were Here
In the webcomic Wish You Were Here, written by Si Spurrier and drawn by Javier Barreno (Vol.1) and Fernando Melek (Vol.2), former writer "Shaky" (short for Shakespeare) writes in his journal of life on the island of Cava off of the coast of Scotland, where he and a handful of other survivors try to have some semblance of society while desperately trying to keep the wandering Crossed at bay. In the first volume Shakespeare must deal with the logistics of living on an Cava with his group, under two men Rab and Don with very different leadership styles. Eventually the leaders decide to sent out a sortie compiled of random members of the island, reasoning that anyone who wishes to volunteer is too important to lose. Eventually Shaky blackmails one of the leaders into letting him into the sortie, and decides that if he is going to live the rest of his life in the apocalypse, he won't be bored doing it.
While the sortie is on the mainlands Shaky quickly becomes one of the two leaders among the group, the other being a schizophrenic former military Scotsman named Jackson. During this time Shaky also starts a relationship with an artist Tabitha, despite him still feeling guilty over the loss of a woman he loved named Aoileann before his arrival at Cava. The sortie runs into another survivors group led by a brutal but devious man named Jasper, and the groups decide to work with one another before heading back to Cava. Shaky later admits he can only take two of Jasper's group back with him, and plans to weed them out as time goes on, with Jasper being one of the weeded out. Jackson, disapproving of Shaky's vileness, leaves the group under Shaky's sole care. As the sortie arrives back on Cava, they are met with Jasper who found the island without Shaky's help. During Shaky's absence Jasper planted seeds of doubt against Shaky, stating that Shaky had been leaving a stunning amount of written evidence behind with the location of Cava. The reveal makes Shaky an outcast, both for his actions on the sortie and his leaving evidence of Cava. Jasper then starts assuming a greater role within the hierarchy while pushing out Rab and Don. Eventually things reach a flashpoint when Rab, Don, and Shaky decide to push Jasper out. This leads to a confrontation between Shaky and Jasper, with Jasper's booby trapped gun exploding in his hands. Shaky then uses Jasper's body as bait attempting to lure the Crossed alerted to Cava's presence, but it is foiled when the group of Crossed is seemingly led by an infected Aoileann.
Shortly after killing Jasper, Tabitha comes to Shaky with news of being pregnant. Shaky decides he has to come up with an idea to keep her safe, but his thoughts are interrupted by an American drift fleet of cruise ships that arrive near Cava to trade supplies. Rocked with the idea that they no longer have to stay on Cava, many of the group consider leaving and joining the drift fleet. Realizing that they wouldn't be in charge anymore, Rab and Don try to convince people to stay on the island which leads to conflict. Shaky decides that Cava is his home, and he won't leave. Using his weasel like personality, he convinces the rest of the group that the drift fleet is planning to attack Cava, while at the same time he tells the drift fleet's captain, Nora, that soon Cava will attack the drift fleet. He tells Nora that he will be among the attackers and wishes to secretly help the drift fleet. All he asks in return for this information is for Tabitha and his child to be looked after. During Cava's attack, events are turned into a stalemate by a warned Nora. During the confrontation Don is killed by an alive Jackson who joined and led the drift fleet to Cava in the first place after leaving the sortie. As per the agreement Nora takes Tabitha and doesn't sell out Shaky, with no one but Jackson, who is aware of Shaky's vindictive attitude, the wiser that the entire situation was instigated by Shaky for his own benefit. Back on Cava the group sees the drift fleet in flames, attacked by Aoileann. Shaky and Jackson lead a hit squad to quickly find and kill her. During the hunt Jackson is injured by a trap, and decides to kill himself rather than have all of his military knowledge be added to Aoileann's group of infected.
Back on Cava, the infected drift fleet crashes into Cava spilling infected all across the island. Among their numbers is an infected Tabitha, who is shot and killed by a Cava resident. Despite losing most of the island and most of their people, Cava is able to fend off the drift fleet's numbers. Unfortunately, however Aoileann's group surrounds Cava shortly after, trapping the few survivors on what's left of the island. After attempts to talk to the Crossed fail resulting in more losses, the group decides it's best to try and escape at night using a ship from the drift fleet without Shaky. Rab breaks Shaky's ankles on Cava telling him that he is just too big of a risk to bring along with them. During their escape, Rab's group comes face to face with an enraged Aoileann's, and see for the first time how truly out numbered and out gunned they are. While Rab's group prepares to escape, Shaky speaks to Aoileann over a radio and realizes that they both have questions for one another. Shaky realizes that the situation at Cava has reached a flash point, and he is playing a dangerous game by asking Aoileann questions. If he asks an emotionally charged question or answers a question in a way that could make Aoileann appear weak, her gang will kill her and swarm the island. Suddenly a follower of Aoileann attacks her and forces the crossed group to attack Cava. Shaky attempts to sacrifice himself as bait by crashing a boat on a small rock making himself easy prey, but the new Crossed leader decides to continue hunting Rab's group. Rab thinking ahead plants explosives on his vessel and kills most of the infected in a fiery trap as they escaped on a second hidden vessel.
The next morning Shaky is still stranded on the rock when Aoileann returns. Shaky finishes his diary saying that he realizes that every rule and regulation on Cava was simply an attempt to regulate the madness of the world, and is really no different to what humans do when they write stories. Shaky claims that the stories are only there to make sense of a world of chaos, and that every breath, page, and word are just "doomed islands briefly holding out against the dark." Shaky gives Aoileann his diary which she rips apart page by page and throws it into the wind. Shaky then decides he wants an ending to his story, and allows Aoileann to infect him while making love on the rock. Both then jump into the cold, strong current outside of Cava to die while holding hands. Watching on, Rab and his fellow survivors decide that sometimes it's enough to just be told a story instead of living it. Rab concludes that Cava is probably not safe to return to, and that there are always more islands out there.
Crossed: Dead or Alive
The first series was originally optioned for an independently-funded film, with Ennis writing the screenplay. It was going to be financed by Trigger Street Productions and produced by Michael De Luca, Jason Netter, and Kevin Spacey. In the end of 2012, however, Ennis announced that he and Avatar Press had recovered the rights to the franchise. They made plans to launch a series of webisodes in an attempt to generate interest for a feature film. In March 2013 Crossed: Dead Or Alive, an upcoming series of live action webisodes, written and directed by Ennis was announced. DOA will be accompanied by an Ennis-penned tie-in web comic that will expand and further develop the concepts of the film series and its characters. A goal was set to film all the episodes for Crossed: Dead or Alive season 1 in early 2014.
The webcomic was launched on November 13, 2014, with the plans to start production on the live-action series as soon as the fundraising campaign began to make money.
|Volume||Author (Writer)||Pages||Compilation Published|
|Crossed: Volume 1 (original run)||Garth Ennis||240 pages||April 27, 2010|
|Crossed: Volume 2 – Family Values||David Lapham||176 pages||October 4, 2011|
|Crossed: Volume 3 – Psychopath||David Lapham||176 pages||April 10, 2012|
|Crossed: Volume 4 – Badlands
-Collects 1–9 of Badlands Series
|Garth Ennis, Jamie Delano||240 pages||November 6, 2012|
|Crossed: Volume 5 – Badlands
-Collects 10–18 of Badlands Series
|David Lapham, David Hine||240 pages||March 5, 2013|
|Crossed: Volume 6 – Badlands
-Collects 19–28 of Badlands Series
|Si Spurrier, David Lapham, Garth Ennis||256 pages||September 3, 2013|
|Crossed: Volume 7 – Badlands
-Collects 29–36 of Badlands Series
|Christos Gage, David Lapham||192 pages||January 14, 2014|
|Crossed: Volume 8 – Badlands
-Collects 37–43 of Badlands Series
|Simon Spurrier, David Hine||192 pages||March 25, 2014|
|Crossed: Volume 9 – Badlands
-Collects 44–49 of Badlands Series
|Simon Spurrier||176 pages||July 8, 2014|
|Crossed: Volume 10 – Badlands
-Collects 50–56 of Badlands Series
|Garth Ennis, Christian Zanier||176 pages||November 11, 2014|
|Crossed: Wish You Were Here – Volume 1||Simon Spurrier||160 pages||September 4, 2012|
|Crossed: Wish You Were Here – Volume 2||Simon Spurrier||160 pages||June 4, 2013|
|Crossed: Wish You Were Here – Volume 3||Simon Spurrier||144 pages||Feb 4, 2014|
|Crossed 3D||David Lapham||48 pages||April 19, 2007|
- Robb Orr (2011-05-26). "Review – Crossed: Badlands Opening Salvo". Comicbooked.com. Retrieved 2012-06-02.
- "A Free Webcomic And Series of Print Comics And Graphic Novels | Crossed Comic from Avatar Press". Crossed Comic. Retrieved 2012-06-02.
- Shannon, Hannah Means (November 13, 2014). "Garth Ennis Launches Free Crossed: Dead Or Alive Webcomic Funding Live Action Webisodes". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved November 17, 2014.
- Furey, Emmett (June 12, 2008). "Double-Crossed: Ennis & Burrows talk "Crossed"". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved February 26, 2009.
- Arrant, Chris (August 11, 2008). "Ennis & Burrows Talk Avatar's Crossed". Newsarama. Retrieved February 5, 2010.
- Lapham, David (February 16, 2010). "David Lapham On Writing Crossed Volume 2: Family Values". Bleeding Cool. Avatar Press. Retrieved February 16, 2010.
- Haaland, Aaron (March 25, 2010). "David Lapham Takes FAMILY VALUES to Horror Book CROSSED". Newsarama. Retrieved March 26, 2010.
- Johnson, Rich (February 16, 2010). "David Lapham To Write Crossed Volume 2: Family Values". Bleeding Cool. Avatar Press. Retrieved February 16, 2010.
- Johnson, Rich (February 16, 2010). "Interview: Garth Ennis Talks About Crossed". Bleeding Cool. Avatar Press. Retrieved February 16, 2010.
- Crossed: Wish You Were Here: Volume 4, Chapter 16
- Crossed: Badlands #20
- Crossed Annual 2014
- Badlands #52
- Crossed #2
- Crossed: Dead or Alive Part 5, p. 3
- Crossed: Wish You Were Here Volume 1 Part 2
- Crossed: Badlands #50
- Crossed: Badlands #51
- Crossed: Badlands #52-3
- Crossed: Badlands #53-6
- Crossed: Badlands #56
- Crossed: Badlands #54, #55, and #56
- Flood, Alison (18 September 2014). "Alan Moore takes cult horror comic Crossed into the future". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- Shannon, Hannah Means (15 September 2014). "Avatar Press Announces Crossed +100 – An Ingenious Future-Set Series By Alan Moore And Gabriel Andrade". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- McMillan, Graeme (15 September 2014). "Alan Moore Returns to Monthly Comics With 'Crossed: +100'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- Sunu, Steve (15 September 2014). "Alan Moore to Write "Crossed: +100" For Avatar". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- Graser, Marc (April 16, 2010). "Ken F. Levin has fingers 'Crossed'". Variety. Retrieved April 16, 2010.
- Barton, Steve (April 16, 2010). "Apocalyptic Comic Crossed Adaptation Coming". Dread Central. Retrieved April 16, 2010.
- "Garth Ennis And Avatar To Make Their Own Crossed Movies – Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movies and TV News and Rumors". Bleedingcool.com. 2012-10-13. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
- "Crossed: Dead Or Alive – The New Webcomic, Print Comic, And Film Webisodes From Garth Ennis | Crossed Comic from Avatar Press". Crossed Comic. 2013-03-13. Retrieved 2014-01-05.