"Crucifix Executioner: Volume 1" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Killer Comics
Story by Duncan Cunningham
Written by Aaron Cassidy
Illustrated by Ignacio Vega and Igor Chakal Teixeira
Colored by Ignacio Vega and Armando Jasmin Jr.
Evil lurks in Wolston City. Crime runs rampant. Corrupt cops fill up the police force. Gangs walk the streets and...Holy shit. Is that a werewolf? Wait, no. That's just a big hairy guy. Anyway, bald psychic Glen gets pulled into a murder investigation by his honest cop brother. Unfortunately for him, a dirty cop is worried that Glen might expose him, so he goes after his family. While he kills his wife and unborn child, he can't quite finish the job on Glen. Despite being shot in the head and literally having pieces of his brain matter fly out of his body, Glen survives and somehow his psychic powers are amplified. Now he haunts the streets as a vigilante, viciously murdering criminals to clean up this city.
There is a lot going on in Crucifix Executioner. There are some good ideas in here, but they're bogged down by too many characters that have too little to do. The plot gets more and more convoluted as the story progresses. Much of this is driven by the corrupt cop, Detective Steel, who is easily the worst corrupt cop in the world. He rolls up to a crime scene where he had a thug kill a female witness and casually says something about it being a shame that someone so pretty got murdered, only to find out that his thug is the one that is dead. Wouldn't you have at least heard that on the police radio before coming in? Or checked to make sure that the body was at least a woman?
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His failures continue as he drives Glen's brother Matt instantly into deep undercover work with a local gang to keep him out of the way. He doesn't check to make sure Glen is dead. Later, he makes the same mistake as before when showing up to another crime scene asking about two bodies, only to find a single one instead. This isn't just a bad criminal, he's a bad detective.
Other side characters that are thrown into Crucifix Executioner include a serial killer out in the woods, a kind priest, and a pair of lesbian internal affairs officers. None of these are really explored fully, leaving more questions than answers and adding to the confusion. They seem like they were included because it sounded cool. Wouldn't it be awesome if these two hot internal affairs officers started making out? Definitely.
Glen's transformation into a holy version of the Punisher is strange. I get that his head is screwed up after taking a bullet to the brain, but why would he set himself on fire? Then he turns to god, clads himself in long robes, and starts getting into crazy shape for about a month before leaving the house and taking on any bad guys. His signature move is carving a big crucifix into his victim's chest.
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The artwork in Crucifix Executioner is hit and miss. In some panels it comes across fine with characters in proper proportion, but most are awkwardly posed and limbs are often too long or positioned at odd angles. The pencils are very loose and lacking much in the way of details. The art direction works well, though, especially within action scenes. The panels become more erratic and differently shaped, breaking the traditional form of the page.
Crucifix Executioner has some good concepts within its pages; however it fails to put them together in a cohesive way. If it focused on a few elements, namely Glen and Steel, it would be far more successful. As it stands, the storytelling is rather heavy handed with an omniscient narration that makes the images and dialogue redundant. For example, the narrator says that Matt introduces his psychic brother, Glen, then the next panel has Matt saying, “This is my brother.” That's completely unnecessary.