First published in twenty-four weekly instalments as a free online webcomic, then later on collected and printed back in February of 2014, ‘Crossed: Wish You Were Here – Volume Three’ followed on from the first two volumes of ‘Wish You Were Here’ off-shoot series.

The ‘Wish You Were Here’ series purposefully differed from the main ‘Crossed’ stories by offering a narrative with “a tense pressurised slow-burn” instead of the usual small groups of survivors constantly on the move whilst trying to stay ahead of the Crossed.  This called for a longer and more involved storyline, with a larger cast of characters.

The story was written by Simon Spurrier with artwork by Fernando Melek.  The compilation volume contains all of the original webcomic instalments.

DLS Synopsis:
Spring on Cava was a grim and grey time of the year.  Each day the rain hammered down on the small community that was holed-up on the small isolated Scottish island.  The atmosphere between those on Cava had turned sour many months ago.  They needed something to keep them active.  Something to keep them going.  To keep them wanting to continue with life.

And then, as if answering their unspoken prayer, the Drift Fleet turns up. Three-hundred-and-eighty-eight souls spread across thirty-three vessels.  A floating community of boats and ships that drifted with the currents.  Currents that had brought the Drift Fleet to the outer reaches of the Scottish Highlands.

They’d sent across three of their people to speak with the community on Cava.  The new arrivals had a proposition.  With the crossed dominating the mainland, they wanted to join forces.  They could be allies.  Together they would be stronger.

But the Drift Fleet needed oil.  Unrefined oil that they’d heard the people of Cava had access to.  Without it they were slaves to the currents.  That and weapons.  Guns.  But trust was something that was increasingly hard to come by these days.  Shaky and Cava’s elected leadership were cautious of the new arrivals.  First and foremost they had to think of their community’s survival.  They had to be selfish.  Which meant they had to be mercenary with their decision making.  It was a tough call.  One which could undoubtedly spell their fate if they got it wrong.

Meanwhile, they’d spotted something different with one of the crossed.  An infected woman with an X instead of the usual cross.  But it was how she acted that unnerved them the most.  Not what she was doing but instead what she wasn’t doing.  She didn’t go rushing in.  She held back.  Seemed to be assessing the situation.  Watching.  Waiting.  Always there on the cliff edge.  Her eyes always on one of them.  Always looking for Shaky…

DLS Review:
The situation on Cava’s really beginning to heat up now.  For this third instalment in the spin-off series story writer Simon Spurrier throws a further spanner into the works in the form of the ‘Drift Fleet’.  Of course the arrival of the drifting community causes all sorts of rifts with the inhabitants of Cava.

Don’s his usual sneaky, untrustworthy, utterly dislikeable self.  However what’s possibly more interesting is the gradual change we’re seeing in Shaky.  Once again he’s playing a very risky game.  He’s got his own agenda, his own reasons for deceiving and keeping things from the rest of the people on the island.  Things are certainly getting complex.  Nothing’s black and white anymore.  No one’s telling the whole story and absolutely no one’s being one-hundred-percent honest.  Least of all Shaky.  But as the reader, we’re privileged to the full story through his diary instalments.  Okay, it’s delivered piece-by-piece, but in the end we get the full story.  His reasoning.  The truth.

So yeah, we’ve got a big old floating community of American’s that have turned up from out of the blue.  Hostility and deceit invariably ensue.  You’ve also got good old sheep-shagging Jackson greasing the wheels between the two communities.  And I have to admit that the sudden return of the bearded Action Man is a very welcome sight.  His exaggerated personality along with the way he not only detests Shaky immensely, but also rubs him up the wrong way at every opportunity, gives the continuing story another fat dollop of gritty hostility to chew on.

But this third instalment’s not just about the Drift Fleet turning up.  Spurrier’s got another couple of storylines on the go.  We’ve got a hard-hitting backstory for Shaky that we’re treated to which gradually reveals the identity of the strange infected woman with the ‘X’ instead of the usual cross.  It’s a bitter and almost heart wrenching tale that provides a much needed insight into why Shaky is the way he is.

We’ve also got the not-quite-over substory surrounding Seline and her surprising return.  Yeah, you no doubt thought her time was up long ago.  However the mentally ravaged shell of a woman that returns brings with it another substory to keep things churning away and the nightmare just as never-ending.

When compared with the previous ‘Wish You Were Here’ instalments, you can see that Spurrier’s decided to really crank things up a good couple of notches.  Things are noticeably tenser.  The backstories are interweaving more with the present time.  Characters are evolving and strengthening up as the pages go by.  And the crossed threat level that’s always lurking in the background is undoubtedly rising by the second.

The compilation volume runs for a total of 144 pages.

© DLS Reviews

Other ‘Wish You Were Here’ instalments:

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