“It took one mention
of The Manchurian Candidate – a film Marc and I both count among our
all-time favorites- for me to understand the concept Marc had in
mind.” This is taken from Jeff Katz’s explanation on why
Crosshair should be victorious in Top Cow’s experiment “Pilot
Season.” The concept sees five comics release their first issue, and
the readers vote on which one they want to see completed. If I were
voting, however, Crosshair wouldn’t win. Marc Silverstri and
Jeff Katz’s obsession with The Manchurian Candidate is a
detriment to the comic, instead of a good complement.
When I first heard
the plot of Crosshair, I immediately thought of the film.
Justin Weller, a former assassin for the CIA, has blended into
suburbia, complete with a family. But when his former squad comes
after him, Weller learns the awful truth: that he has been
brainwashed with a suppressed program to kill the President. Can
Weller get to the bottom of this conspiracy before it’s too late? Do
I care? Not really, because I feel like I have seen this before,
multiple times. Which is true, The Manchurian Candidate was
remade only six years ago starring Denzel Washington. Having two
versions of the story out there does not help the comic’s cause.
Many of the elements
from the films are here: the main character, the brainwashing of
America’s elite assassins, a scary maternal figure. I wish I could
say that the art makes up for the lack of originality but it
doesn’t. It feels like something out of a DC comic. This is odd,
because I have recently come to enjoy the different look in the Top
Cow Universe from reading their comics such as Artifacts.
There is also violence and some gore, but nothing compared to its
Top Cow counterpart, The Darkness.
Then there are the
cheesy moments of the comic. One of the main characters breaks the
fourth wall, speaking directly to us, even though the line is
intended for someone else. The dialogue seems forced such as
“Lauren, I have 48 hours to kill the President of the United States,
and the only man that can stop me…is me.”
What makes even less
sense to me is why there is a preview in this book, for one of their
competitors: Forever. I guess it would make sense if the
preview wasn’t better than the main story, but here the sneak peek
interests me more than the 25 pages I just read. This clearly won’t
help Crosshair garner any more votes.
To me, if you were
competing against five other comics (including 7 Days from Hell,
Asset, and 39 Minutes) you would try to blow the
readers out of the water. You’d try to be as original as possible,
in both the look and story within the comic. But the creators of
Crosshair and I clearly don’t think alike. They wanted to be
inspired by a story they are passionate about. Nothing wrong with
that…until you can’t separate yourself from the material you are
basing your comic on and what’s best for the book itself.