Crossover #1 by Donny Cates, Dee Cunniffe, and Geoff Shaw: the most meta comic book ever arrives as the world of comics clashes with reality.
Warning: spoilers for Crossover #1!
The concept of superheroes, supervillains, and antiheroes being meta is nothing new as characters such as Marvel’s Deadpool are notorious for being well aware of the world beyond the confines of the panels in his comic books. But even Deadpool’s meta antics can’t compare to the newly introduced comic Crossover #1 – a comic book about superheroes, supervillains, and antiheroes unleashing from the pages of comics and wreaking havoc in the real world; or at least the one proclaimed to be the real world in the comic book.
Marvel’s Deadpool is not the only meta antihero in the world of comics. One of DC’s most boisterous characters – Harley Quinn oftentimes breaks the fourth wall and communicates with her readers. And her fourth wall breaking banter is nothing compared to a surprising meta comic book joke that Superman makes in the pages of Green Lantern: Black Stars #2. Though, sometimes, the most meta comic books are the ones that include their very own writers and or artists or at least addresses writers and artists in the real world such as the comic Stan Lee Meets Spider-Man #1 where the legendary comic book creator stops one of his own creations – Spider-Man – from quitting being a superhero. Though nothing is quite as meta as Donny Cates, Dee Cunniffe, Geoff Shaw, Dave Stewart, and Ryan Stegman’s Crossover #1.
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From the first to last page, Crossover #1 never stops being meta. Before superheroes, supervillains, and antiheroes even escape from the world of comics and into the streets of Denver, Colorado on January 11th, 2017; the narrator of the story begins by saying, “Let me ask you a question. And pay attention, this will be on the final. Who is more real: us or Superman?” And dives into how Superman is even more real than the people reading the comic. After asking and addressing the question, the chaotic Crossover Event occurs and every comic book character that has ever been created emerges from the pages of one comic book and begin attacking one another including characters such as Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, as well as Thor. Luckily, one of the superheroes uses their shielding abilities to create a massive force field around Denver to prevent the fallout from reaching other areas of the United States and or possibly the world.
But amidst the mayhem that’s happening in Denver, Colorado; the main storyline follows a girl named Ellipses Howell – El for short that currently resides in Provo, Utah, and works at one of the last comic book stores while trying to cope with losing her parents in Denver. After the traumatizing Crossover Event, the government prohibited the creation of comics to include superheroes fighting supervillains and began including police officials fighting criminality; which is why the comic book store that El works at is enduring a lot of protest because they sell Pre-Event comics. Not only do the protestors hate anything involving comic book characters, but they also believe that the Crossover Event is an act of God telling them that the world of comics needs to end and anyone who still loves comics is a heretic. After El enters the comic book shop, the meta continues as El takes off her jacket and reveals her Invincible t-shirt and her boss Otto – a reference to Marvel’s villain Otto Octavius a.k.a. Doctor Octopus is wearing a t-shirt that says, “Wertham Was Right,” which he wears as a joke that references Fredric Wertham – an author and psychiatrist known for studying the corrosive influence that comic books has on the world during the early to mid-1900s. While the two chat it appears as if it’s going to be another typical day, but that quickly changes once one of the comic book characters named Ava appears the protestors become violent.
Based upon the number of references to comic book characters across various publishers such as the character Invincible from Image Comics, Batman from DC Comics, and Thor from Marvel Comics, it’s no surprise that Crossover #1 is the most meta and one of the biggest crossover events in comic book history. Although the concept of Crossover #1 is riveting, some of it felt incomplete as it’s characters are not as compelling. But now that a majority of the world-building has been completed, one hopes that the next issue will also bring the characters to life.
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