Crossed Plus One Hundred 6
Below are annotations for Crossed Plus One Hundred, No. 6 “Foundation and Empire” (24 pages, Cover date: June 2015, released July 15, 2015)
Writer: Alan Moore (AM), Artist: Gabriel Andrade (GA)
>Go to CPOH annotations index
>Go to CPOH timeline
>Go to CPOH language/glossary
>Go to CPOH background, cast of characters
Note: some of this stuff is obvious, but you never know who’s reading this and what their exposure is to any given reference. If there’s stuff I missed or got wrong, let me know in comments, or email linton.joe [at] gmail.com
SPOILERS! HUGE SPOILERS!
General: Basic annotations up – I will continue to refine these – more later. Haven’t updated glossary, map, yet.
- The central Crossed is Bashful, the youngest of Beau Salt’s initial six promising disciples.
- Moore and Andrade employ a clever misdirection here. The voices are Future Taylor, Archie Keller, and Cautious Optimism Kriswyczki, who don’t actually appear on-panel until Page 4. Readers may recall that those three are on horseback at the end of CPOH5, hence, for just a moment, panel 1 appears to be Taylor or Kriswyczki (a close look, of course, reveals it’s a Crossed rider – from bone implements, etc.) . In panels 1 and 2 the reader can’t see the faces of the riders, then panel 3 reveals they are indeed Crossed.
- The word balloons don’t have tails, indicating an off-panel voice-over. Moore has used voice-overs often, including in Watchmen, Providence, etc.
- The date is July 27, 2108.
- There is some ambiguity regarding the time of day. It’s possible that the word balloons take place at the same time as the images (in a different location.) From the dark sky on Pages 1-3, the initial images of the Crossed forces (at Chooga) take place at dawn on the morning of the 27th. The word balloons setting (many miles northeast of Chooga in the Appalachian Mountains) is first shown on P4 below and appears to be roughly mid-day on the 27th. For these annotations, the narrative’s (July 27, 2108) “present” time will be that of Taylor and crew. So the siege of Chooga images are “earlier” in the day.
- This issue has a masterful pacing, full of great suspense and reveals. The full 2-facing-page-spread scenes alternate between two formats. The start (earlier) is mostly 3-horizontal panel pages depicting the siege of Chooga. These are largely “silent” – with no local noises depicted, though including the faraway voice-over. The Chooga spreads alternate with (present) mostly 5-6 panels/page spreads depicting Taylor and crew riding toward Chooga. The Chooga 3-panels pace feels slowly ominous. The Taylor and Crew mostly 6-panels pace feels fast, scary, frantic, near panic.
The two time-threads converge on P14, but the alternatingly-paced spreads continue.
Here’s a list of the issue’s alternating scenes:
– P1-3 Chooga – earlier – Crossed arrive (panels/page: 3, 1, 3)
– P4-5 Taylor – present – riding (panels/page: 6, 5)
– P6-7 Chooga – earlier – bus arrives (panels/page: 3, 3)
– P8-9 Taylor – present – riding (panels/page: 5, 6)
– P10-11 Chooga – earlier – siege (panels/page: 3, 3)
– P12-13 Taylor – present – riding (panels/page: 6, 6)
– P14-15 Taylor arrives Chooga – earlier and present converge (panels/page: 1, 3)
– P16-17 Taylor at Chooga – exploring (panels/page: 4, 5)
– P18-19 Taylor at Chooga – Greer reveal (panels/page: 3, 3)
– P20-21 Taylor at Chooga – Keller’s charge (panels/page: 6,6)
– P22-24 Taylor flees Chooga (panels/page: 3,3,1)
- As Moore often does, including in Watchmen, the voice-over from elsewhere pertains to the image depicted. Taylor and Keller are commenting on the tracks they’re observing in the mountains. The panel depicts the “army” causing the “horse-tracks.” The next panel reveals the “heavy peoples carrying something.”
- July 27, 2108 is, to the day, one hundred years after the Surprise – the first Crossed infection outbreak in 2008, as dated in Beau Salt’s diary on P12,p5 of CPOH5. This, of course, nails down the Plus One Hundred in the series title. See also CPOH timeline.
- The Crossed in the tent is Bashful, one of Beau Salt’s initial six promising Crossed disciples shown on CPOH5 P18,p4. Per CPOH5 P18,p3-4, Bashful was 3 years old in 2029, so he’s about 82 years old now.
- The face on the banners is Beau Salt, the phone book killer, whose story is told in CPOH5. The banners are painted in blood, similar to the Salt image at the altar in CPOH5, P11.
- This issue’s title “Foundation and Empire” references the science fiction novel Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov, mentioned very briefly in CPOH4. There are a number of parallels between Foundation and Empire and this CPOH issue: a 100-year gap in a revenge story, a mysterious embedded traitor. (I’ll try to elaborate on this more soon – xxx)
- Chooga’s perimeter wall is visible to the left. Moore and Andrade are careful to consistently show the Crossed army approach Chooga from the left of the panel.
- Bashful’s hand is signaling the Crossed forces to wait, until Greer’s ambush is completed.
- These are Future Taylor, Archie Keller, and Cautious Optimism Kriswyczki.
- The pictures and words are now both the July 27, 2108 mid-day present.
- This panel is a good guide to the way each of these characters thinks. Taylor is making the broader big picture connections. Keller gets the immediate situation really well (he’s pointing out the horse hoof prints.) And, unfortunately a somewhat underdeveloped character, young Kriswyczki isn’t really getting much.
- Kriswyczki (referring back to what Taylor said on P3,p1) thinks the worst is everyone killed, but Taylor knows that people could be tortured, become Crossed, which would be worse.
- The bird is a bald eagle, the U.S. national bird. It’s perhaps some symbolism about nature persisting after America has ceased to.
- The transition from P5,p5 to P6,p1 is clever. Kriswyczki mentions the buses, then we turn the page and a familiar steam-bus appears.
- As with P1-3, the time is earlier the same day.
- As on P1, the tail-less word balloons are voices are the Future Taylor, Archie Keller, and Cautious Optimism Kriswyczki.
- This panel is a very similar view to CPOH3 P2, though without any armed guards in sight.
- This is the same steam-bus as introduced in CPOH1… which is odd, because Greer and crew departed in a different “produce-bus” (see CPOH4 menton P19,p1 shown P20,p1.) Anyone want to suggest why/how?
- “If you can read this…” – see CPOH1 P4,p4.
- Left to right are Oldwoman George, Laura Taylor, and planbosss Churchy John Monroe. George and Monroe represent the leadership of Chooga.
- “Some kingdom to come after” sounds like Christ’s “thy kingdom come” echoing the religious language describing Salt in CPOH5, see P11, 12, 16, and 18.
- The prior five panels were oriented in a standard way, when Greer and other Crossed come out of the bus (not shown), the view goes diagonal symbolizing Chooga’s stability going out of whack.
- This panel sets up what could be called a “false page-turn reveal.” Oldwoman George sees something; the reader turns the page but doesn’t see what George saw.
- The pictures and words are now back in the July 27, 2108 present.
- Black and white panels indicate the past. This is a flashback to CPOH2 P19,p1 – but from Kriswyczki’s point of view.
- Again, the time is earlier the same day.
- As on P1, the tail-less word balloons are voices are the Taylor, Keller, and Kriswyczki.
- The image of present-day panic contrasts with Kriswyczki’s sentiment about violence being from a hundred years ago.
- Action in comics is read from left to right (as text), so the humans moving left is read as retreating – and sort of up against a wall, because the reader can’t conceive of them as exiting panel-left.
- Bashful gives the go-ahead for his Crossed forces, probably based on hearing sound from Chooga… though the reader is “hearing” Taylor, Keller, and Kriswyczki. This whole page is sort of eerily quiet.
- It appears that the Crossed are deliberately killing the men, while capturing women and children alive.
- Humans left to right are Laura Taylor, John Monroe, and Oldwoman George, who is being tortured.
- The pictures and words are now back in the July 27, 2108 present.
- Taylor’s crew now goes by foot. Taylor’s progression over the course of the series has been: battle-bus to steamboat to horse to foot. She’s getting less mechanized, less armored. This is somewhat similar to the protagonist in Alan Moore and Oscar Zarates’s A Small Killing. If I recall correctly, he goes from airplane to car to bike to foot. (Check this xxx)
- Long shadows indicate it’s late. (too late!)
- Black and white panels indicate the past. This is a flashback to CPOH2 P19,p1, this time from Taylor’s point of view.
- This panel sets up a major page-turn reveal.
- Full page and a half bleed reveals Crossed have vanquished Chooga. The sunset is a metaphor for the end of Chooga’s “day.”
- Black and white panels indicate the past. This is another flashback to CPOH2 P19,p1, zooming in on Taylor’s point of view.
panels 1-4 and P17,p1-5
- This two page spread has a slightly different format/rhythm than the rest of the comic (see annotations for P1 above.) Rows alternate between one and two panels. The one-panel row (P16,p1 and P16,p4 and P17,p3) have the “quiet” (ie:wordless) horizontal format – similar to P10-11 (and the following P18-19.) In between those horizontal one-panel scenes are smaller, busier, two-panel rows, with dialog. The new format accentuates the unevenness of the chaos that Chooga has become.
- This image is similar to an African cannibalism illustration by the brothers de Bry from the 16th Century book Regnum Congo. The book and image appear in Moore’s Providence No.3 P7-8.
- This panel sets up another major page-turn reveal.
panel 1-3 and next page
- The character with his back to us is Robbie Greer, not entirely clear until P19,p5.
- Page 18 panels 2 and 3, and P19 panels 1 and 2 are all close-ups of parts of P18,p1 – more or less a type of zoom sequence, similar to what Moore used in earlier issues, and other comics, prominently P1 of Watchmen. As with the horizontal panels on P10-11, P16-17, these six panels are “quiet” (ie:wordless.) The reader is inside Taylor and crew’s head, taking in the scene as they glance at various aspects of it.
- The body being burned/roasted is Oldwoman George, identifiable due to the stakes shoved up her nostrils on P11,p3 above (the reader also gets a closer at her on P20,p5 below.)
- In the foreground are Laura Taylor, Nudie Wales (now Crossed), Morning Addison (now Crossed), and John Monroe (fallen down.)
- Coming soon
- Laura Taylor calls out for “George” who is Oldwoman George, her lover/partner.
- “When she’s done” apparently means when she’s cooked enough to eat.
- Archie Keller and Nudie Wales were lovers – see CPOH4 P21,p1-2.
- The reader gets a close look at Oldwoman George.
- “Sleepy and Sneezy went elsewhere” first confirms (by a process of elimination) that the elderly Crossed is the one named Bashful. Beau Salt’s initial six promising Crossed disciples (shown on CPOH5 P18,p4) are all named after dwarves from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
- Future Taylor witnesses Keller shoot and kill her mother Laura Taylor.
- Greer mentions Bashful’s name for the first time.
- Keller has the presence of mind to lie in order to help Taylor and Kriswyczki escape. Keller asking “how did the gang get infected?” shows he has not yet grasped that Greer has been a traitor for decades. Keller probably still thinks that Greer, Wales, and Addison were attacked by Crossed, become infected, then joined the Crossed forces.
- The reader and Keller learn that Robbie Greer is Jokemercy, the young Crossed who was first successful at speaking like a human see P19-20 of CPOH5. A few commenters suggested this twist after CPOH5, but it was a surprise to me.
- Mixed case captions are Taylor writing in her journal, later that night “halfway to Murphreesboro.” For Page 22-24, Similar to earlier (P1-3,P6-7, etc.) the action depicted is taking place earlier than the text.
- “No AFAWK” replaces AFAWK (as far as we know) – the siege has confirmed the date definitely.
- “He [Greer] was twelve maybe” is based on Greer’s statements from CPOH P3,p5 and P7,p4. Greer was born roughly 2060-63, passed his speaking test (P19-20 of CPOH5) around 2070-72, and arrived in Chooga in 2073, where he was an undercover Crossed spy for 35 years.
- Coming soon
- “No more later” is in contrast to Taylor’s usual “more later” sign off.