Crossed: Psychopath is all together a different beast than the original. Written by David Lapham and drawn by Raulo Caceres, familiar names in the Avatar Press catalog. The story starts several years after the happening world is infested with crossed Marauding bands terrorizing the land and few humans remain living in perpetual motion. The climate is different, no big government gesture or act of spiritual power has thought the need to intervene, for the crossed are here to stay. Our cast of four non infected humans is introduced watching the crossed mutilate various vultures and a decomposing cow along a mountainous terrain. Tired of this total disregard for any human decency, they stumble upon a trapped man passed out in a deep ravine. They learn that the man is named Harold Lorre. He was chased by the crossed into the ravine and broke his leg. He was stuck there for days. His broken leg would limit the groups’ mobility; however, one of the group’s members Amanda pleads for the group’s humanity and Harold helps by selling himself as an excellent tracker and crossed behavior expert. The group decides to take Harold, not knowing that their constant threat of the crossed pales in comparison to what Harold personally has in store for them.
David Lapham flash-steps away from the survival angle of the first series to instead use the crossed as a device to allocate natural human emotions of violence and lust. In an attempt to not reveal too much, the lead Harold is by far more of an atrocity than anything that the cross have in store. He is a crossed-environment-beaten man who has only fermented with age, as he reminisces about his lost “love” Lori. David Lapham demonstrates straight-laced on the outside and unstable on the inside Harold as an apex of sexual frustration with quick erotic bursts of dominance and confidence in his own mind. His perch sitting judgments on the others comes quick and flips just as fast. Harold does what I feel many non-psychotic people do and by that I mean create hatred for others based solely on a few actions. Lapham created a demonstrative individual who slowly tears down his fellow-man like an anger embedded puppeteer. Harold’s dedication to premeditation makes him far more deplorable of a subject than anything the gore frolicking crossed could ever imagine. This shows what humans are capable of, parallel banded tribes who have already fallen off sanity’s edge.
Now you can thank/blame Lapham for thinking up the situations, but do not forget that Raulo Ceceres went as far as to depict them. Ceceres art excels at the one element that makes this part of Crossed so lodged-deep-in-your-brain-to-never-leave-you memorable, and that is of Harold’s delusions. One moment everything could be a quick breather between crossed confrontations, the next will be an abrupt mental depiction of Harold’s choosing. The panel borders will no longer be limited to uniform lines but depicted as golden brown flowing hair, furrows of blood, and connected human anatomy. Ceceres breaks things down to remove Harold’s mind from the real world, for it is just as important and horrible as the one he lives in. Crossed: Psychopath is more about human atrocity and its relevance to the human race.
Avatar Press’s catalog of comics has gotten its fair share of coverage on this site (and with good reason). As stated in Part 1, Avatar Press was a huge contributor to my present love for western comics, going as far as being the only company that, while I do this begrudgingly, buy their series by the issue in equal parts to the trade. As our history does indicate, we are dyed in the wool trade buyers, but Avatar Press’ releases are the only exceptions. Let me draw a comparison; as you might have noticed, I have accented this two-part special with Crossed and Crossed: Psychopath first issue cover variants. This notion that Avatar Press has for releasing half-a-dozen different issue covers has yours’ truly thinking of the collectors mentality that is a trait of western comics. Now, while I do like the platform this allows for different artists (like the talented Matt Martin) to explore these titles’ universes, I do think that as long as they are just going to be put in the trade, there is no real need in the long run. Unless Avatar Press decides to release one big blown out special collector’s edition of all the current covers release, then this draws to a moot point. Well these are just the thoughts of a comic fan who would like to safely bring in non-fans into the mix gradually by pressing away from fan created barriers. Ask yourself this readers, “Do you enjoy collecting a series because of the Auxiliary, Torture, or Wraparound cover variants, or because it succeeds in its medium as both an artistic and literal endeavor?”
Lost about what is going on? Well go check out the previous installment in Part 1.