Cason Bennett and Juniper Blue are two very different people from two very different worlds, but when fate intervenes, they learn that they may not be as different from each other as it would originally seem. A simple matter of inconsiderate behavior in the presence of a wronged man is enough to throw their lives for a loop, and neither of them can remember why. A handsome hit-man with a habit of sleeping with off-limits women, case is subtly trying to find his way out of a life that has a chokehold on him, and doesn’t seem interested in letting go anytime soon. Juniper is a quiet beauty that resides in the suburbs with a disrespectful stepson and a gas-lighting husband that wants her to put her adventurous imagination to rest and set the table just so. She’s desperate to live her life without issues, and finding herself suddenly trapped in a stranger’s body literally scrubbing blood off of the floors is not exactly how she imagined it happening for her. But what’s a girl to do when the bad guys think you’re a bad guy that’s turned traitor and is out to spill her… his?… blood? It’ll take quick thinking for juniper to save the life of a stranger and the woman he loves, and case will need to step outside of his comfort zone and learn how to play the perfect hostess.
But playing by the rules is not case’s normal gig, and it doesn’t take long for the blue residence, and the neighborhood punks, to get turned on it’s ass. Aware that danger is near, and nowhere closer to getting their lives back, the quiet of suburbia is about to be disturbed with a showdown you won’t want to miss as jealous exes, crazed husbands and bad ass attack dogs converge.
Gail Simone and Cat Staggs have created one of the most thrilling and exciting stories of the year. I could go on forever, but then I’d spoil it, and there’s not a second of crosswind that you shouldn’t read for yourself. True to these fierce creators personal views, crosswind carries strong themes that run the gauntlet from homophobia to racism to simply respecting the boundaries of human decency. The ‘social justice warrior’ vibe is prominent, and in my opinion, makes this freaky Friday story all the more awesome. The strongest characters in the story are part of different minority groups; abused women, people of color (Case is Cuban), a gay teenager, a black woman and a transgendered woman.
It could never be said that Simone is a less than stellar writer, and crosswind is the epitome of all the aspects a good story needs. Within pages she had my heart twisting for a cold-blooded murderer, and rooting for the family man to get shot in the face. Simone has a way of making even the most vulgar of scenes read as elegant and smooth, the power in her writing leaping off the page and pulling you in to walk alongside of the characters. She doesn’t miss a beat, and this action-filled plot never lets up or slows down, even when the gunfire ceases.
Staggs takes the beautiful writing up a few notches with her own excellent performance; she renders the crosswind story in a style of thick lines and splotchy colors that lends a prominent crime-noir feel to the comic, which is the most perfect way to depict this thrill ride. Her character design is freaking gorgeous, and she gets extra brownie points from me for her rendering of tucker, the psycho puppy I just want to pet while simultaneously wanting to run from. It’s worth noting that tucker was designed after Staggs own pet, abbie, who passed away in December. Tucker was a nice addition to case and juniper’s story, and his part in the ultimate throw down made me cheer loudly.
One of my favorite parts of this issue, a finale to the arc of the story, is the last will and testament at the end of the action. I won’t tell you much about vox, because his part is so vital to the plight our heroes face, but his story is, in it’s way, a heart wrenching testimony to the power of love and the fallacy of humankind. Love makes us do awful and terrible things, and sometimes, it’s just a lack of ability that keeps us from going too far.
So join Staggs and Simone in their telling of what happens when worlds get mixed up in the worst way possible, and why it’s sometimes not enough to be who you are. Sometimes you need to change what you are. Will juniper find the spine she’s been lacking her entire life? Will case find the escape he’s looking for? Or will life for the two of them, and everyone they’ve met along the way, be changed forever? All I can say is buckle up for a wild ride of high emotions, and show the lady some respect, will ya?
It’s a bitch to get bloodstains out of the carpet.
Story: Gail Simone
Art / Cover: Cat Staggs