As our group of misplaced unfortunate heroes makes their way to the Crossover, it seems their mission to breach the barrier around it may be more difficult than they ever imagined. Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw’s Crossover continues to be one of the most interesting and entertaining comics published by Image. Spoilers for the third issue of Crossover ahead!
In the last issue, Ellie joins up with The Paybacks and Dr. Blaqk, the sorcerer responsible for creating the barrier around the Crossover. While on the road, the group sees Ryan, the man who destroyed Ellie’s home. Realizing how desperate he is to make up for the terrible things he has done, she allows him to join them on their quest to rescue Ellie’s parents from the Crossover. However, easily the most exciting reveal in the last issue was that the superhero saving those stuck inside the Crossover is none other than Michael Allred’s Madman. A character who has appeared under many publisher banners, Madman is my personal favorite creator-owned hero and I could not believe my eyes when he appeared at the end of the last issue.
This issue does an excellent job at endearing readers unfamiliar with Madman to the character through his interactions with Ellie and Ava. Despite his odd personality, Madman feels down-to-Earth and willing to help in whatever way he can. Unlike the Paybacks, he is certain, despite the incredibly low odds, that they will be able to break through the barrier and enter the Crossover. His determination keeps the group focused, while also supplying a fair bit of levity due to his outlandish nature. Madman is a wild card at times, but his heart is where it counts and that is all that matters. This is likely due to his empathy, allowing him to identify with the struggles of Ellie and understand what is at stake for her. It is amazing how well Cates is able to capture Madman’s personality despite this being the first time the character was written by anyone but his creator.
Geoff Shaw and Dee Cunniffe’s artwork throughout this issue was as great as what I’ve come to expect from them. The unique art style used for the characters from the Crossover is especially present in Madman’s design, making the panels of him in action stand out even more. I especially love the two-page layout of Madman beating security guards with a yo-yo. The poses are dynamic, showing off the absurdity of the sequence while perfectly representing who Madman is. There’s also a certain character from a popular Donny Cates comic that left me rather excited, and the artwork for the reveal was beautiful.
This issue contained everything I expected to get from Crossover. Seeing comic book characters from across multiple different titles from multiple creators may be a gimmick, but it is a gimmick Cates executes well. I’m excited to see what awaits in the next issue for Ellie and Ryan (hopefully more of that love story Cates promised).