By Ben Snyder
In a novel twist on a “Freaky Friday”/ Trading places swap, Crosswinds #1 sets up an interesting premise in which a mysterious and reluctant gangster and a trapped miserable and harassed housewife mystically trade places.
Writer Gail Simone is one of the more accomplished comic book writers out there with successful runs on Batgirl, Wonder Woman, and her brilliant horror series Clean Room. Crosswinds #1 is unique among these titles, as this book tends to be the most realistic. Besides the magical twist at the end, most of the drama is human in nature.
A big theme I am picking up already in this series is going to be motherhood, Cason obviously has mother issues, as his friend Del instigates him with how he had sex with his mom in order for Cason to shoot him. Juniper is a mother who is seemingly hated by her son and husband, and constantly harassed by the neighborhood teenagers.
While the gangster character, Cason, is rather dull at this point- besides the mommy issue, there is really nothing to note of his character so far(it is the first issue), the real star of this comic is Juniper. Simone has a history in horror with Clean Room, but that is more supernatural alien evil spirits; the horror in Crosswinds is real and much scarier. Simone nails how sad and miserable Juniper is, her husband is having an affair (presumably), her son doesn’t talk to her, all the neighborhood teenagers heckle and harass her as she takes the groceries out of her car and when she tells her husband about them he doesn’t care. He’s more focused on her not messing up and important business dinner and says, “They’re just being boys”. Placing this timid woman in the position of a gangster is sure to bring some levity eventually, but it’s also going to stimulate so much character growth.
Cat Staggs’s art does well enough in this issue. His figure work is very good, but personally I don’t like the emotion he draws on his faces. When he depicts Juniper biting her lip in the car it almost looks cartoony- which doesn’t fit the tone of the story. The “Scanner Darkly” type coloring also distracts a little but not dramatically. The one scene that the art particularly worked well in, was Juniper’s dream in which the no faced lady appeared. The colors and blurriness made it feel like someone was telling her something from a far off land, maybe they were…
Crosswinds #1 does an excellent job of presenting an interesting premise with some interesting characters, while the art is nothing exceptional it does it’s job and justifies its place alongside Simone’s excellent script.