Crossover Vol. 2: The 10-Cent Plague
Donny Cates, story; Geoff Shaw, art; Dee Cunniffe, colors; John J. Hill, letters & design
Image Comics, 2022

The melding of the real world with the world of comic books continues in this second collection (this time the subtitle is a reference to David Hajdu's history of the great comic-book scare of the 1950s). The story begins to ramp up the meta aspects immediately, as writer/artist Chip Zdarsky is on the run from the mysterious comic book writer killer. He finds an unexpected ally in the fictional version of himself, only to lose him. He asks the comics characters Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim from Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming's creator-owned Powers series for help (they will be new continuing characters throughout this arc). The hits keep coming: dead writers include Scott Snyder (killed by a Batarang) and Robert Kirkman (killed by one of his creations, the surprise mystery killer). Bendis and Oeming show up in the Powers interrogation room, and Cates himself falls in the end. All of these creators were good sports, appearing as themselves and allowing all sorts of jokes about their works. But I found Cates' self-conscious ramblings tiresome. In the end he has the blinding revelation that comics need artists to come to life, so if the characters want the crossover to end they will have to kill series artist Geoff Shaw. I see another arc coming with comics artists on the run, but I don't expect to be there for it.

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