First published back in September of 2011, the second volume in the ‘Crossed’ graphic novel series was written by David Lapham and continued on with the same extreme violence, gore and depravity that was the backbone of Garth Ennis’s original series.

The following review is for the entire second series (originally consisting of seven comics) which was published into a single compilation volume entitled ‘Crossed Volume 2: Family Values’ in September of 2011.

DLS Synopsis:
Holed-up at their isolated horse ranch in North Carolina, so far the Pratt family had managed to hold off the blood-and-sex-crazed hordes of the Crossed after the outbreak first hit.  But it was never going to last.  With the numbers of the Crossed across the length and breadth of America multiplying rapidly – it was only a matter of time before the inevitable happened.  And when it did, absolute carnage ensued.

Thanks to her father (Joe Pratt), eighteen year-old Adaline managed to escape the massacre with her life.  However, it pained Adaline immensely that Joe was the reason for her survival.  Although a strong protector, and a natural leader, he was far from an honourable father figure.  Adaline knew he’d been raping her sister.  And even if she owed him her life, she would never be able to forgive him for what he was.  He was a monster.  No better than the Crossed.

However, after moving on down through Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma, it dawned on the surviving Pratt’s that the change in climate had been working in their favour.  And so they eventually stopped in Montana forming a small community hidden away within a picturesque valley.  A place that Joe had named ‘New Paradise’.

They’d built up their little community from scratch.  It had been like rebuilding a new world.  A new way of living.  They had their own rules and laws.  A new discipline to adjust to.  But they were Joe’s rules.  Joe’s laws.  And what Joe said went.

But Joe had his own agenda.  This new way of life brought him the power and opportunity to get what he wanted from whoever he wanted.  And he planned to exploit the situation for all it was worth.  After all, women had become the most vital resource in the world.  You can’t repopulate the world without them.  And Joe was just doing he preached was necessary.  He was just acting on the word of his God.  What he told them that needed to be done.

His wife, Joy, had accepted it.  In the small community they’d built they all had.  And of course that was why Adaline had been sent away from the village to keep watch.  Joe knew she wouldn’t have approved.  She wouldn’t have allowed him to keep doing what he was doing.

It’s in times of hardship when family’s need to stick together.  But first you need to cut out the bad roots.  Otherwise you’ll never be free of all the horror…

DLS Review:
Here we are again with another gore-drenched helping of ‘Crossed’ – this time courtesy of writer David Lapham who offers up the same extreme violence and sadistic depravity as was seen in Garth Ennis’ original offering ‘Crossed: Volume One’ (2010).

So, how does Lapham fair up against Ennis’ hard-hitting first series?  Well, if anything Lapham has pushed the violence and shock value that one step further.  He pulls absolutely no punches whatsoever with the relentless depictions of violence picturised in the comics.  From flaming babies being thrown out of burning buildings, to incestial rape, to the cannibalism of a newborn child, to sexual intercourse with a decapitated head – it’s all there in vivid colour.

Story-wise, this is a constantly evolving beast.  Part one of this second volume starts off with a particularly ‘The Walking Dead’ (2003 – present) type of premise.  Indeed, the setting of the Pratt family’s horse ranch in North Carolina is pure ‘Walking Dead’ – with the atmosphere and imminent attack upon the isolated location almost mirroring similar scenes from the comic’s TV adaptation.

Part two (i.e. the second comic in the series) moves more into a ‘Survivors’ (1975 – 1977) style of post-apocalyptic re-building of a new life storyline.  Indeed, the character of Joe takes on a similar ‘repopulate-the-world’ ethos to that of Charles from Survivors – only with the added elements of rape and incest brought into the equation.

However, it’s Part Three where this second series really begins to descend into textbook uncompromising ‘Crossed’ brutality.  From here on in things get nasty and violent – with Lapham pulling out all the stops on the level of barbarity on show.  Indeed, each part from here to the end of the volume is drenched in blood and vicious sex-crazed rape and depravity.

As each part goes by the group gradually dwindles away as the various characters fall to the Crossed.  And like with ‘Crossed: Volume One’ (2010), Lapham includes a similar vengeance-fuelled stalking of the group, which brings the volume to a dramatic and incredibly violent finale.

All in all I’d say that this second volume is pretty much on a par with Garth Ennis’s original series.  If you like your post-apocalyptic horror stories utterly uncompromising, brutal, and dripping with gore – then this second volume of the Crossed saga delivers this in absolute abundance.

The compilation volume runs for a total of 176 pages.

© DLS Reviews

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