Crossed: Family Values (2010) comic review

Written by: David Lapham

Illustrated by: Javier Barreno

Published by: Avatar Press

Rating: FG for Fucking Gratutitous

I honestly thought, in the bubble where I keep my thoughts, that it couldn’t get much more extreme than Ennis’s run on Crossed. How could it? How could it get worse than heartless, point-blank, kid murder. How could anyone top a married couple getting raped while their little girl is torn limb from limb in front of their screaming eyes?  No way!  End game. Than I opened the cover to Crossed: Family Values, David Lapham’s (Stray Bullets) sequel to Ennis’ all-too-short-lived run on Crossed. And panel for panel I was sickened. Three shades of pea-soup, puke green, sickened.  Finally when a little girl who was raped by her father, and turned into a Crossed, ate her newborn baby it had become right-in-my-fucking-face apparent that David Lapham had taken things to a whole new level of what was formerly known as extreme. I’ve watched movies like “A Serbian Film”, “Flower of Flesh & Blood”, “The August Underground Trilogy”.  I’ve read “The Bighead”, “Girl Next Door”, “Survivor”, and made it out ok.  Well not ok, but scotch tape works wonders for the shattered soul.  So I never in my life would have expected to get shocked like this again. Oh let’s just be fucking honest here; I have never wanted so badly to take a shower, and cry, while I held myself, and rocked on the balls of my ass in my bathtub from reading something before.  I was fucking offended. Frustrated, crescent-moon fingernail-imprints-dotting-my-palms offended.  I have to give kilotons of credit to this series. It forces the reader to feel the absolute worst they possibly can!!  Did I like it?  It was a wee bit too fucking vulgar for my fucking tastes. (lol)  I will say though; it was way more fleshed out than the first.  But with characters like these vile scum-bags.. in a situation that goes 7 circles beyond fucked up… is that really such a great thing?

It starts out on the Pratt family ranch. The Pratt’s are a lovely family who raise horses.  But not just any horses. These are the best fucking horses on the planet!! Everything about them is perfect. The same could be said about the Pratt family, at least on the surface.  10 kids ranging from 19 years to nine months old.  A darling mother, a fun-loving Uncle, and a Father to be feared.  Adeline their eldest daughter has been waiting a long time to confront her father about raping her younger sister Emily. When she finally musters the gumption in the form of 4 inches of sharpened steel… he damn near kills her… takes his belt off, and whips her within an inch of her life. He was a child-rapist, the closest man can get to monster.  Then the Crossed came in raping, ravaging, bloodthirsty droves.  And this vile, stomach-churning, scum was suddenly a hero.  It’s funny how fast one can throw down their morals in exchange for survival.  Addy did just that.  So now everyone Addy’s father saves is subject to a whole new brutality.  He went from revolting to valorous, from a monster to the god of the new world.  His was the word of the lord.

This story arc poses 3 questions: How fast are you willing to drop your convictions in the face of adversity & tragedy? Are the Crossed really that much different than us? How do you make a monster into a hero?  And the answer to these questions are even sicker than all the travesty’s taking place in each panel.  You thought what Regan said in The Exorcist was bad?  The shit this little Crossed girl says would make a 9 to 5 street-walker embarrassed.  I thought A Serbian Film was the top of the mountain, man that wasn’t even the tip of the molehill.  I’m pretty sure Lapham earned himself a place on a list somewhere.  Just kidding.  It took a lot to top what Ennis did with Crossed. Well if that title gets the cinematic treatment, it certainly won’t be getting a sequel, or at least the sequel won’t be Crossed Family Values.  More incest & child-rape than anyone would ever want to read about.  And it’s not just discussed in passing, it’s discussed in graphic detail. You’re getting every ounce of gore & scum on both a literal & a visual level.

David Lapham succeeds in surpassing Ennis’ run in terms of depravity & in terms of character development.  Every denizen is a person, and not just a character type.  A complaint I had about the series’ prior run, which was clearly fixed in this installment.  This time around we get treated to real characters we can feel for in a situation that is both unimaginable & unforgettable.  A fundamentally fucked-up family dynamic within a devastated world that has been completely flipped on it’s fucking head 14 or 15 times.  We not only get to witness a world where humanity has been laid to waste, we also get to observe the Crossed, as the Pratt’s capture one to get a better understanding of them.  I don’t want to give more away, but c’mon it’s Crossed. The most extreme comic since like ever. And this sequel tops itself to vile proportions.  This shit is biblical.  It sets out to offend, and does just that.. in spades!!  Send the troops home. Mission Accomplished!  It’s a tough read, real tough, but that’s the point. I had to read 6 light-hearted comics to glaze over the images this series left flashing behind my eyelids. It shows un-humanity, raw and gruesome. The Crossed are the embodiment of the evil, acting out the most deviant atrocities you keep filed in the back of your mind folder. So the most reprehensible people make the most wicked crossed.

And let me just say… Javier Barreno, Mr. Illustrator, Holy Fucking Wow!!  The shit this guy was paid to draw.  Just plain old Damn!!  But like a pro he caught every degenerate detail in a way that made it even more offensive.  I don’t mean that in a bad way. Offensive is the topic, you know that going in. Balls is the word I’m really looking for. Balls is what it takes to draw this kind of shit out in scathing detail. You’ll see a Crossed fucking a decapitated head just off to the side in the background of a panel.  I’m talking about that kind of painful detail. Even the background is out of it’s mind. Let’s not even mention the covers.  Two words; sickest around. Sure it’s completely fake, but that shit leaves an impression. I can still feel my skin crawling off the bone!! That’s effective art!!

Anyway I need to go wash my eyes out with drain-o and a wire brush, and hug my kids lol.  I’ll end on a warning: This comic has a FUCK-TON of kid rape and it’s talked about A LOT…. constantly in fact.  If you’ve read Garth Ennis’ run on “Crossed” I’m sure you know what you’re getting into.  Well you don’t, this is a whole new rodeo. There is going to be a follow up called Crossed: Psychopath, and of course the long-awaited Crossed 3D. As offended as I am… you can bet your ass I’ll be picking up those two the micro-second they drop.  Read at your own risk!!

Krys the Comic Chick signing the fuck out!!

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