Crosswind #1 from Image Comics -
Cason Bennett is a handsome, dapper, confident hitman. He grew up dirt poor and he isn't going back - he's ruthless, as evidenced by the fact that he just murked his best friend. Juniper Blue is a gorgeous housewife and mother. Her beauty is buried in the mental abuse and hostility she suffers at the hands of her cheating husband, her son and just about everyone else in her world - from her nosy neighbor to the boys in her neighborhood. Their worlds collide when, for unknown reasons, they find themselves in each other's bodies, each in the middle of a huge mess in the other's life. Cason will have to take on an abusive world in the body of a woman. And Juniper? She's got to hide a body and babysit the psychotic grandson of a mafia don. The crap's about to hit the fan.
From the mind of Gail Simone, comes a gender-bending actioner, Crosswind. Crosswind begins well because it begins with the protagonists. Through the captions, we get a glimpse into their minds, their feelings, and little of their backstories, all of which make the reader empathize with each character. As the action unfolded, I found myself unsettled by the fact that I liked Cason despite his moral failings, and I felt sorry for Juniper - but I began to wonder if she had done something in the past to merit her maltreatment. I mean, she was just terribly abused by nearly everyone in her world, especially males. It seemed so over the top. I struggled to grasp what Simone was communicating. Are beautiful women victims? Are housewives? Is marriage a cage for women? I wasn't really sure - I like comics that make me think, question, struggle and get a little in my feelings. Either way, on the one hand, we have a hitman that's the stereotypical manly man, and on the other, a perfect example of the docile housewife stereotype. What does Simone do? One of her favorite things. She plays with sex and gender roles. Each protagonist is thrust into an alien world, with different rules, and different dangers and expectations. Each is totally out of their depth, and it will be quite interesting to watch them try to adapt and navigate these strange, new worlds. Cat Staggs' artwork is slick and expressive, but it's got a weird digital blurriness to it that my eyes don't really like. But, all in all, do I like Crosswinds? Yes. It is a very interesting story with fully fleshed out protagonists - I would like to journey with them. Do I like all of Simone's viewpoints? Not in the slightest - but that doesn't make the story any less interesting, nor does it make Simone any less gifted.
RATING: 9 out of 10.
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