Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"Look, Harry, let me walk you out. There's something I need to talk to you about. We're having to cut our losses for the time being. Senior government personnel and their families are being moved to installations like this one, from which... well, hopefully we'll be able to regain some measure of control, at least in the long term. Doctor Chopra is here. If anyone has a chance of finding an answer to this, it's her and her team. But if we can't... this is a location, along with details how to gain access. It should be seen only as a last resort."
"Thank you. It was... sort of over before it began in a way, wasn't it?"
"The way events unfolded, since they brought that poor bugger in here. It felt like we never had a chance. I mean, you think about other times the country's been threatened... what they had to cope with... Churchill. He had all the time in the world. How does it go? We shall not flag or fail... We shall move into broad sunlit uplands... We shall go on to the end, and so bear ourselves...
"You're actually combining two separate speeches, Prime Minister."
"This is where I leave you."
"Well, good luck to you, Harry. Thank you for everything."
"You too, Prime Minister."
"It's been an honour."
It's a funny old series, CROSSED. Every time I think I have had enough of it, I just think, well, I'll read the next volume, and I get dragged back in. I thought the slow-burning spin-off series CROSSED: WISH YOU WERE HERE by Si Spurrier was exceptionally well written horror from start to finish, with some extremely gory moments, certainly, but it never overpowered the storytelling.
Whereas with this main title, passed from writer to writer, hopping from plot idea to plot idea as it does, there have been some suspenseful, gripping story arcs, and then some that were just pure gore trash. The best arcs, frankly, have all been penned by series originator Garth Ennis, though I did also very much enjoy the one by Jamie Delano, and here Ennis has returned to a previous set of characters from the 'The Fatal Englishman' arc in CROSSED VOL 6, to write a prequel for them co-starring none other than Gordon Brown in his time as Prime Minister.
Yes, it's not enough that Tony Blair left him in the shit with the economy, he's managed to swerve Armageddon as well, a fact that doesn't escape poor old Gordon, which did make me smile. The Prime Minister as he is written actually comes out of this with a lot of credit, unlike his weaselly sidekick Alastair - wonder who that is meant to be - but it certainly makes for a great story, seeing the beginnings of the outbreak in the UK from his unique perspective, hunkered down inside a secure bunker.
Except, except, the other co-star of this tale, who may or may not be the mysterious patient zero and originator of the virus, is brought to the very same bunker for observation by the scientists on hand. Maybe not the best idea Alastair has ever had to help out the Prime Minister...
Ennis is also planning to write a sequel to 'The Fatal Englishman' for issue 100 of the title, which I am already intrigued about giving how that arc ended. But in the meanwhile Kieron Gillen is up next on writing duties, and is apparently going to look at previous historical outbreaks, thus neatly counterpointing Uncle Alan Moore's tale in the forthcoming CROSSED +100, which obviously is going to look at how humanity is coping 100 years after this current outbreak started. I think Avatar have finally got the idea that people are actually more interested in the characters and stories associated with the CROSSED, rather than the gore per se, which in my opinion is best used, as here, for ridiculous comedic relief. If so, I'll keep reading.