Warning! Spoilers ahead for Crossover #4
The top secret cameo in the fourth issue of the Crossover limited series has been revealed, and it is definitely not who fans expected it to be. In the current cultural climate of turning nearly everything into a shared universe, it’s no surprise that something like the Crossover comic series has cropped up. It’s a series built on the premise that famous comic characters, from Batman to Spawn to even a Gundam mech, come to life in the real world and create all sorts of metafictional consequences to reality. The title says it all. Crossover’s story focuses on the original character cast, with any recognizable comic heroes and the like only mentioned in passing or making small cameos. Still, even cameos and mentions are exciting things for fans of popular franchises.
Published by Image Comics, creators Donny Cates, Dee Cunniffe, and Geoff Shaw kick off the premise of the series with something simply called the “Event”, and this is what causes these famous comic icons to appear in the real world. Or at least, Crossover‘s version of the real world. The story centers around a cosplayer named Ellipses and her boss Harold as they meet a young girl named Ava, a comic book character who came to our world following the Event. As they try to reunite her with her parents, they encounter various comic characters. The most notable appearance was Mike Allred’s Madman, a character who has appeared in books from a number of publishers including Image, IDW, and Dark Horse.
Previews for issue #4 promised a cameo so shocking they couldn’t even show the whole cover, leaving things open to speculation by the fans as to the identity of the cameo. Then issue #4 came out on February 24, 2021, and it was revealed to be…Valofax, a sentient sword from Cates’ series God Country. This sort of hype tactic in marketing is nothing new to the comic book scene. The issue flashes back to Valofax’s origin in God Country. An old man named Emmett Quinlan, who lives alone and is suffering from dementia, discovers the mysterious sword Valofax crash landed outside his Texas home. The moment he picks it up, it miraculously clears up his dementia so that he is able to patch things up with his estranged family before confronting the dark forces that want to use the sword’s power for themselves.
For the most part, fan reaction to hyping up the mystery of the reveal was mixed, from looking forward to finding out who this mysterious cameo was to complaining that Image was overhyping something that probably wouldn’t even be all that hype-worthy. That said, it’s possible that the execution of this issue could give Crossover even a small boost in prestige, considering the reaction so far has been relatively favorable. The concept of cameos and references can only go so far, just like referential humor can only go so far, but issue #4 could change the game on that. It’s almost like what the creators were going for with this is that anyone can be a hero. Beyond rewarding fans of comic books for their fandom, it can be inspiring for fans as people, to see a character overcome obstacles with a little magic and pluckiness.
For now though, the creators of Crossover, as well as Image Comics’ marketing, more than likely had it right to hype this appearance of Valofax up. With this issue out, and with it possibly having this kind of effect that really connects with its readers, this could elevate it to something beyond an homage to comic books. With two more issues slated for release in March and April, only time will really tell.