Here at the Daily, there is a tendency to review the first issue of a comics series. The real reason is most likely because a first issue, episode or the like acts as a jumping-off point, so a Daily reader won’t feel lost much like a comic reader might if they began with the second or third issue. My personal philosophy for this, though, is that a review of a first issue allows you to review not just the material presented, but also the series’ potential and the merits of the series’ premise. And so, if one was to judge the first issue of writer and current Marvel golden boy Donny Cates’ latest Image Comics-published work “Crossover” (2020) by the potential of the premise alone, then I would recommend anyone swayed by this review to demand a copy at your nearest comic purveyor at once. If one needs a greater incentive, I can say that readers will be hooked by the engrossing plot, bold art choices and stellar color work by the creative team.
Joined by artist Geoff Shaw and colorist Dee Cunniffe, Cates wastes no time before he asks the reader, “Who is more real: Us? Or Superman?” From this point on, Crossover #1 wastes no time in establishing a world where the state of Colorado has been lost to a superhero battle that has breached into our world and turned the state into a domed citadel of nonstop battles between various supergroups. Cates’ creativity is something to behold, and while some lines are more heavy handed than I would have liked, most of the dialogue is strong enough to keep readers tuned into the quick pace without missing a beat.
Shaw’s art takes an inventive method for communicating the differences between denizens of the “real world” as well as the “comic within a comic” worlds that have collided that is far too interesting to spoil here. Cunniffe’s colors can’t go unsung, as they’re essential to pulling off the artistic magic trick that will no doubt be considered an “Ah, yeah” moment for any pop art aficionado. It’s refreshing for an art team to use such an “out-there” method that may alienate some readers unfamiliar with comic publication or art style, but will make lifelong readers positively giddy.
The first issue of “Crossover” reads like the opening line of Cates’ love letter to the wonderful hyper-reality that comic books allow readers to peek into each month. Its breakneck pace and occasional dips into cheesiness may be hard to swallow for some, especially strangers to the medium. For those with an open mind, a love for comics or the desire for an outside-the-box monthly read, I can’t recommend Crossover #1 enough.