Crucifix Executioner is a comic that almost has a gripping plot, but ends up being more of a gore-filled joyride than an emotional narrative. Though, I don’t imagine “emotional” was what the writers thought of when considering the theme.
However, what Crucifix Executioner Vol. 1 lacks in character depth and plot interest it makes up for with an entertaining joyride of blood, death, and violence. While I didn’t care much for the people or their plights, I certainly got invested in seeing the next ridiculous shootout or axe murder…
which sounds really creepy now that I think about it!
But it’s a creepy comic anyway so whatever.
A Plot to Push the Action…
Heads up: I don’t much care for the story of Crucifix Executioner. I think it’s best to go ahead and get that out of the way now; since it kinda colors my entire perspective. For me, the story of Crucifix Executioner is like the story of God of War – You might enjoy it and it certainly adds to the experience… but in the end, you’re here for the violence, story be damned. That’s not to say the plot isn’t interesting, it is; I just didn’t find it that gripping!
The comic opens with a lone nurse making her way from the hospital she works at, only to be ambushed by a wolfman as she approaches her car. The man threatens to rape her but, just as he’s about to, the Executioner – Glen is his name – jumps in to stop him. With his totally not-horrendous face and razor-sharp blades, Glen topples the wolfman and saves the girl. With the day saved there’s nothing left to do other than peel a cross into the perp’s chest… because of course you would!
Right after this episode, the authors decide to go back two months and show how Glen got such a beautiful face and cool-guy abilities in the first place. I’m not really a fan of the whole so-and-so-months-ago shtick; but I suppose it gives the reader something interesting to grab on to before the pace slows too much. Then again, I feel I’d rather the story just start at the beginning instead of trying to hook me.Then again, I have a thing for a good slow pace so maybe I’m just boring!
Anyway, essentially Glen has some cool psychic abilities and is the brother of Matt, a local detective. After aiding his brother in investigating a murder, he comes home and is shot in the face. Yea, it’s pretty sudden, and is the inciting incident for the rest of the story.
Without spoiling anything else, I’ll sum up pretty much all of the story after this point with an image:
The Unintentional Boon of Dark Humor
In all honesty, the story works well enough. It isn’t anything that new, and tips a bit into the absurd at some points (since when is lighting your head on fire a good way to cleanse a head-wound?); but it ends up being rather enjoyable overall.
Crucifix Executioner actually teeters on the oddly comedic at times. Some of the violence and obscenities being thrown around are so over the top that it just comes off as either hilarious or uncomfortable. It’s hard to take a guy seriously when his intimidating speech on rape starts with “I’m going to hump, then I’m going to pump, and blow my filthy load into ya”. That’s just poor taste!
Speaking on the hard-to-take-serious, some of the narrator’s lines are just… I don’t know. They don’t go over that well all the time. At first, I found them really annoying; but after a while they grew on me and now I quite enjoy them. Still though, there’s something about their stiff, often one-line delivery that borders on silly.
Not sure why, but I just can’t take Crucifix Executioner seriously. Don’t mistake that for saying it’s bad… it’s certainly not.
On the contrary, the thing I enjoyed so much about this indie comic was how absurd it felt. From a guy smearing a homeless man’s face in cat entrails until he died, to the seemingly unending trail of half dressed women; every other page either made me sigh with ambivalence or chuckle from the ludicrous.
It was a weird up and down of emotions; and having read much of it out load to my family I can safely say that it was quite the trip. Intentionally or not – and depending on your sense of humor – Crucifix Executioner could be a very entertaining read.
Just don’t expect anything overly-impressive.
The Greys, Blues, and Reds of Wolston
On the other hand, the art can be quite impressive. I’m not the type to stop and absorb every page of a comic; but some of these have such great detail and variation in color that they just stand out. It has that beautiful “smudgy” look that I’m fond of; with every page looking like it’s been splattered with paint. So that’s a plus.
There’s also the great facial expressions, and I don’t mean the ones when characters are just talking or whatever. No, I mean the ones where a character’s just been hit by a shovel and is contemplating whether he should go ahead and die or not.
Some of the faces of these either dead or dying guys are just so well drawn. It’s hard to explain just with words, but the way they look simply brutalized as blood or brain matter leaks from various orifices just looks deviating… which somehow still manages to be so over the top it’s comedic.
Really though, looking back at some of these pages – especially the ones where Glens having his psychic abilities fly out of control – the amount of detail is just beautiful. The panels curving around him as he grips his head out of pain, and the lightning or whatever crazy effect exploding in the background… it’s just great stuff. Bravo artists you did great work!
Come for the Blood, Stay Cause You’re Having fun!
That’s it. Crucifix Executioner is a great read if you want something you can just sit down with without having to focus too hard on the story. There’s some Satan-worshiping gangs, a psychic that survives severe head trauma, and a ton of horrible things happening to horrible people in a horrible city all the time… Very, very entertaining!
Yes, read this one, at least if you have a stomach for gore. A very large amount of gore… among other things.