cover image Crosswind, Volume 1

Crosswind, Volume 1

Gail Simone and Cat Staggs. Image, $9.99 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-5343-0474-1

Simone (Clean Room) and Staggs (Star Trek) opt for brutal action over easy comedy in this excellent supernatural thriller series opener starring Chicago assassin Cason Ray Bennett and Seattle housewife Juniper Elanore Blue. Both are facing a stressful evening—Cason literally cleaning up the mess of a murder performed by his boss’s grandson, and Juniper cooking dinner for her husband’s boss—when Mr. Vox, a man sleeping on the street, grabs Cason’s hand and issues a prophecy that the characters will switch their minds and bodies. After a painful jump, Cason takes to the new role a bit quicker than Juniper does, but neither is safe from the wrath of Vox or Cason’s old associate, Cruz. There is dark humor here, a sort of vicious schadenfreude in which those deserving of pain receive it. The painterly artwork—realistic sketched figures and backgrounds filled in with watercolor-style washes—defines characters and action while still appearing slightly unfinished. While this volume can be read as a genre formula with a twist, readers who dig deeper will find sharp commentary on issues of gender identity and stereotyping in body swap stories. These elements are illuminated by an interview with transgender writer and actor Charles Battersby in the back matter. For fans of the genre, this is a debut not to be missed. (Mar.)