Written by Gail Simone
Art by Cat Staggs
Lettering by Simon Bowland
Published by Image Comics
‘Rama Rating: 7 out of 10
Crosswind brings some seriousness to a Freaky Friday-style plot as hitman Cason Ray Bennett and new housewife Juniper Elanor Blue switch bodies. While this debut isn’t the fastest in terms of pacing, writer Gail Simone and artist Cat Staggs use this premiere issue to establish the two characters’ very different personalities as these strangers’ lives become intertwined.
Opening with Cason ready to kill his childhood friend, Del, Simone starts her story off with some grit, as she shows the lengths he will go to for the sake of his “craft.” But at the same time, Cason is proof that you can sometimes be too good at your job - as he kills with seemingly no remorse, it’s harder to connect with Cason as it is the book’s other lead, Juniper. Whereas Juniper’s supporting characters are foils to showcase her insecurities and the crushing pitfalls of suburbian, Cason’s supporting characters lack depth as standard organized crime baddies, making Cason himself less interesting.
With the wild world of crime kicking the issue off, it’s interesting that a trip to the white picket fences winds up being the more engaging half of the book. Juniper is introduced as a newly-married housewife who has a verbally abusive husband, disrespectful stepson, and neighbors who harass her as she walks into the house with groceries she’s forced to cook for her family. Staggs and Gail do a great job at showcasing Juniper’s lack of confidence. We see her insecurities visually with her darting eyes and biting lip as she’s being attacked by the people around her.
The introduction of Cason and Juniper is a slow burn, but is necessary for the exciting incident of the two characters switching bodies at the end of the issue. Stagg has a beautiful splash page for the body switch scene presenting the two characters’ very different facial expressions as they switch bodies, with a shimmering light intensifying the mysticism of the scene. After the switch, Cason is in a grocery store bathroom, while Juniper is left with a dead body in a bathtub, and that provides some of the visual comedy of the book - while Juniper is focused on the shock of the bloody crime scene, Cason feels himself up as he discovers his switch of gender. The scene turns to black as two quotes are presented on the page. One says “Oh, my God” and the other says “Oh, thank God.” It’s a small but small subtle reaction, and are a perfect way to add promise to Cason and Juniper’s upcoming character journeys.
Cat Staggs is a great collaborator for Gail Simone’s script. The characters’ facial features are extremely detailed as the artwork perfectly showcases Cason and Juniper’s character quirks through their facial expressions and body language. Staggs coloring makes every scene feel like a detailed painting creating a perfect tone for this thrilling comic book series.
With this premiere issue Simone does a good job at introducing the two main characters’ differing personalities and the stakes they leave behind when they switch bodies. Crosswind #1 is a slow set-up, but leaves the reader with a lot of potential as the series enters its exciting incident at the end of the issue.