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"You're either dead or alive. That's all there is. You stay the second until the first looks so good you can't ignore it. Because, seriously? You don't even want to think about the third."
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Crossed is what happens when Garth Ennis goes to his really bad place.

Beginning in 2008, people throughout the world begin coming down with a virus, which is spread through contact with bodily fluids and overcomes its victims almost instantly. Once a human succumbs to the virus, they get a distinctive facial rash across their forehead and face and a desire to murder, rape, set aflame, desecrate and rape again anyone they come across, like the "reavers" of Firefly. Within a day of the virus's appearance, most communities are bands of isolated survivors who are trying to A) stay alive and B) remember why they want to stay alive in the first place.

Crossed is largely devoid of Ennis's trademark Black Humor. It is a grim, grim book, sure to prove an endurance test for most readers. While works like The Boys and Preacher might wallow in silly violence for some sick laughs, Crossed (or at least the original) actually shows a lot of restraint in how it treats the violence, devoting a lot more time to putting a human face on the misery of the survivors. The carnage is described a lot more than it's shown, but when it's shown...

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Following the success and near-instant optioning of the original series, Avatar Press opted to turn Crossed into a franchise. It consisted of the original series, two follow-up miniseries, an ongoing anthology comic, a spin-off set in the distant future, and two webcomics.

The series includes the following volumes:

  • The original series, collected as Crossed: Volume One, (September 2008-February 2010) follows a small band of survivors in midwestern North America as they attempt to escape to Alaska, while staying one step ahead of an unusually persistent band of the eponymous infected humans.
  • Family Values (April 2010), written by David Lapham, focuses on a large family in the American South, led by their religious patriarch, who are doomed almost from the start by both the emergence of the Crossed and by the dirty secrets in the family's closet.
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  • Psychopath (February 2011), once again written by Lapham, centers around a group of survivors who pick up Harold, an unhinged man who begins manipulating the group for his own (psychotic) ends. Psychopath is unhinged and grotesque even by the standards of the previous volumes. Seriously, if you didn't think the last couple of books were a big deal, this might be the one that breaks you.
  • Crossed 3D (May 2011, one-shot): A small group of military operatives attempts to rescue a doctor and her two assistants from the top floor of a skyscraper that's surrounded by the Crossed.
  • Badlands (February 2012 to July 2016) was a bi-weekly with different writers and artists scheduled for every arc. Arcs of Badlands included:
    • "Of the World in Its Becoming" (#1-3), by Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows, follows a group of survivors in Scotland four years after the rise of the Crossed.
    • "Homo Superior" (#4-9) by Jamie Delano and Leandro Rizzo showcases individuals who were already despicable long before the Crossed, the emergence of which has made them even worse.
    • "Yellow Belly" (#10-13) by David Lapham and Jacen Burrows is about Edmund, a notorious coward nicknamed "Yellow Belly" by his peers, and what happens to him on C-Day.
    • "The Golden Road" (#14-18), by David Hine and Georges Duarte, begins on C-Day as several college students arrive at a writer's retreat on a well-known author's isolated estate. The author's eccentricity turns into a genuine cult-like following in the wake of the Crossed's appearance. At the same time, a sheriff in the nearby town fights through the Crossed in an attempt to save her niece.
    • "Conquers All" (#19-20) by Simon Spurrier and Raulo Caceres deals with an infected Russian gangster, who has a strange reaction to the Crossed virus, and the Los Angeles parole officer that he had unwittingly fallen in love with.
    • "The Livers" (#21-24) by David Lapham and Miguel Garrido has Amanda, the protagonist of Psychopath, being captured by a group of psychotic roleplayers who assume a new persona every time they survive an encounter with the Crossed.
    • "The Fatal Englishman" (#25-28) by Garth Ennis and Raulo Caceres is set five years after C-Day, and has four British soldiers try to wipe out the Crossed by breaking into the UK's old chemical weapons stockpile in Porton Down.
    • "Quisling" (#29-32), by Christos Gage and Christian Zanier, has a man named Oliver attempt to ensure his own survival by making an unpleasant deal with an unusually intelligent Crossed that he has nicknamed "Smokey."
    • "Breakdown" (#33-36), by David Lapham and Miguel Ruiz, goes back to Amanda, last seen in "The Livers." After her companions are killed, Amanda continues to try and survive, but her own evolving insanity makes her almost as dangerous to other humans as the Crossed.
    • "American Quitters" (#37-39), by Simon Spurrier and Rafael Ortiz, depicts the journey of a hippie and a biker as they head to San Diego, so they can respectively commit suicide via the "ultimate overdose" and enact a revenge plot. However, after taking in a pregnant woman who is being pursued by her cartel boyfriend, they struggle to keep their original plans afloat.
    • "Gore Angels," (#40-43) by David Hine and German Erramouspe, is set in rural Japan, where several Americans have gone on a shrine tour, one of whom has brought the others to meet a local girl for a specific purpose. Then C-Day hits.
    • "Grave New World" (#44-49), by Daniel Way and Emiliano Urdinola, takes place aboard a ship off the American coast as its crew attempts to outlast the infection. When they take aboard two survivors, the situation rapidly degenerates, both due to the Crossed and to the ship's captain's increasingly messianic delusions.
    • "The Thin Red Line" (#50-#56) by Garth Ennis and Christian Zanier acts as a prequel to "The Fatal Englishman" and is set on the day the Crossed, including the apparent Patient Zero, first appeared in England.
    • #57-61, by Justin Jordan and Georges Duarte, is an arc about Sutter, a man who forms a camp in the woods to take in refugees and survivors. When Jane and Esperanza arrive, pursued by Esperanza's infected brother, they quickly discover that Sutter has his own agenda, which has little to do with actual survival.
    • #62-70, by David Lapham and Francisco Manna, follows former police detective Gavin Land, who's on a suicide run to get revenge on a group of drug dealers and pornographers for the death of his daughter. He is only somewhat slowed down by C-Day, as well as the U.S. Navy's attempts to evacuate refugees from San Diego.
    • "Five Bloody Fingers" (#71-74), by David Hine and Nahuel Lopez, continues the story of Satoshi, last seen in the "Gore Angels" arc, as he deals with his best friend's Yakuza father in an attempt to rescue his friend from the cosplay convention that was being held in downtown Tokyo on C-Day.
    • "Homo Tortor" (#75-80) by Kieron Gillen and Rafa Ortiz features two connected stories: the first has a post-C-Day survivor trying to locate his dead professor's notes in order to learn the truth about the Crossed, while the second, set in 75,000 BC, involves the abduction of a group of early humans by a brutal enemy tribe with some startlingly familiar customs.
    • "The Lesser of 2 Evils" (#81-86) by Mike Wolfer begins immediately after C-Day. A group of survivors camped out on an isolated section of a collapsed bridge are joined by a pair of horror fans who throw the social dynamic of the camp into turmoil.
    • "Shrink" (#87-90) by Max Bemis and Fernando Melek has a lowlife purposely infect himself with the virus, supposedly so his goody two-shoes psychologist older brother can try to discover something revelatory about the Crossed by holding psychiatric sessions with him from the other side of a locked door.
    • "Anti-Crossed" (#91-92) by Max Bemis and German Erramouspe involves a gang of comic book fanatics who have taken a female writer/artist captive for both sex and entertainment, forcing her to create ultra violent and hypersexual superhero comics starring the "Anti-Crossed".
    • #93-100, by Gage and Fernando Heinz, involves the attempts of "Smokey," the unusually intelligent "Alpha Crossed" last seen in "Quisling," to create some kind of civilization in the wake of C-Day.
  • Wish You Were Here, a weekly-ish webcomic written by Spurrier, was launched at the same time as Badlands. Set in and among the islands near Scotland, it followed a group of survivors from the perspective of an ex-writer nicknamed "Shaky", whose earlier experiences come back to haunt his current group. It concluded in August 2014.
  • Crossed: +100 (December 2014 to July 2016) by Alan Moore (issues #1-6), Si Spurrier (#7-), and Gabriel Andrade, takes place 100 years after C-Day. An enclave of survivors seeks to build a future on the ruins of the past, but the relative tranquility of life after the Crossed is hiding something that could potentially be much worse.
  • Dead or Alive, a second weekly webcomic written by Ennis, began in November 2014 and concluded after twelve installments.
  • Crossed: +100 Mimic (April 2018 to October 2018) by Gage and Pat Shend, continuing the story of Crossed +100 and humanity's renewed struggle for survival against the resurgent Crossed.

On March 13, 2013, Avatar announced a series of Crossed "webisodes" written and directed by Ennis, with supplemental webcomics. This apparently got stuck in development hell, as no further word has been said about them.


Tropes:

  • Abusive Parent: Joseph Pratt rapes his daughters and beats up Addy when she objects to this.
    • Leon's father has made him his personal Chew Toy.
    • Boss Yamada is a downplayed example.
  • Abusive Precursors: The Homo Tortor ("Man the Torturer") were a different hominid species who may have been responsible for the human population bottleneck of 75,000-70,000 BC (when the global human population may have been as low as 1,000-2,000 people). It's implied they drove other hominids to extinction. That is, if any of the story we see happened at all, or at the very least, happened the way we see it. The professor of the story had a theory, which had been mostly reviled and mocked by the scientific community, about some sort of plague being spread by a prehistoric empire, but the story we're shown is probably just fiction, since it's a firsthand account made by a tribesman who is killed by the end.
  • Action Mom: Cindy
    • Jackie from Wish You Were Here is another example, being a decent rifle shot and often being on the front line of defense whenever Cava is coming under attack.
  • Adipose Rex: Todd, the fat Australian trucker in the 2013 Special. He's a slovenly, degenerate slob who leaves the heavy work to his women. The only reason he's in charge is because he keeps the truck keys in a combination lock on his wrist whenever he isn't driving.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: The Masoud's unnamed son, Patrick, and the Crossed child, Now from +100.
  • Adult Fear: Very often. One of the worst examples is in the Gavin Land arc, when a mother trying to defend her children with just a rolling pin gets a Hope Spot when soldiers arrive at the house, only to realize that they're infected.
  • After the End: Crossed +100 is set a hundred years after "C-Day," when the infection went public. Much of humanity's accumulated knowledge has been lost, parts of the continental United States are irradiated, and the surviving uninfected humans live in small communal societies in the ruins of the Midwest, raising ostriches for food. Zoo animals have colonized parts of North America, and at one point, the narrator watches a family of elephants in what's left of Tennessee. Oh, and language has changed significantly as well.
  • A God Am I: The main flaw of the captain in Grave New World is his messiah complex. It results in everyone but him in his island community being killed or infected.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Often, understandably although it rarely if ever works unless the one hearing that begging is Smokey (and in those cases it would have really been better for everyone if it hadn’t worked).
  • Alas, Poor Villain: On occasion. First Child from 'Homo Tortor' is an example when it's revealed his parents and the rest of the community have been raising him to be sacrificed his whole life while letting him think he was the heir and teaching him to relish violence to make their betrayal worse for him, and that they see the whole thing as a joke. Ann Cooke, the cannibalistic teacher in Volume 1, is clearly tormented by what she's done but was desperate to keep her class from starving, and in the end they all die anyway. Cody and Oliver might feel this way by the time they finally turn against Smokey.
  • All Bikers Are Hells Angels: Horsecock, the leader of the Crossed hunting Stan's group in the first volume, wears a vest covered in patches that imply he was a member of one such outlaw motorcycle club.
  • All for Nothing: A hallmark of the series given how often a story arc ends on a Downer Ending. Notable examples include Cindy’s efforts to protect Patrick, the majority of what Shaky does, Cody and Oliver selling out people to save their own lives, and Amanda’s efforts at redemption in Breakdown. Zigzagged in Crossed 3D, where the mission to save one of the last living doctors by one of the last groups still actively helping people fails and gets most of the rescue team killed, but they do manage to save the vital medicine that Dr. Tang had been after.
  • Alpha Bitch: The twins, both before and after being infected. Shaky hints that Jackie may be an adult version on Cava, but it's more of an Informed Flaw. Surprisingly, Yellow Belly averts this with the popular girls that Edmund ogles over, as while they see him as an Abhorrent Admirer, it's in a fairly benign and passive manner (not to mention kind of justified).
  • Ambiguously Gay: Shaky suspects Miranda is, due to her butch appearance and rugby past (although given that it was a voiceover, it was hard to tell if he was joking or not) and either way we never see her show any attraction towards men or women.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: Cindy says she got rid of Patrick’s (abusive) dad and they moved around a lot afterwards; it’s vague if she means that she left him and was afraid he'd find them, or killed him and was afraid the authorities would find them.
  • Anachronic Order: The narrative in the first volume jumps around from "now" to ten months earlier when the infection was beginning. It takes a read or two to grasp this.
    • The franchise in general is like this, with the various arcs taking place during different times in the Crossed plague, ranging from the initial outbreak to a few years later. Two Badlands arcs, Yellow Belly and The Golden Road, start on the very first night of the outbreak, The Fatal Englishman takes place five years after the outbreak, while Crossed: +100 by Alan Moore and Gabriel Andrade takes place 100 years after the outbreak, the furthest yet in time.
    • Wish You Were Here also has two parallel timelines recorded in Shaky's diary: the journey that brought him from London to Cava, and his time as part of the Cava group.
    • There are also a few arcs that examine periods before the outbreak to some extent as a way of contextualizing characters - the Crossed Annual centered on Jackson being the most clear example as a good chunk of it is set in the 1980s aftermath of the Falklands War. And of course half of Homo Tortor is set thousands of years ago though those bits are most likely fictional even in-universe.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Seen disturbingly (yet tragically) in Vol.4 Chapter 18 of Wish You Were Here when the infected Aoileann tearfully asks Shakey if he loves her via a radio, which he even more tearfully replies yes to. Unfortunately, this display of weakness is visibly pissing off her huge army of Crossed whom were only kept in check by fear of her.
    • Jae makes one to Wendy as Samarkand is being overrun and the two are in the process of being infected.
  • Angrish: Fairly rare for a series about a Hate Plague, but there are a few examples of Crossed spouting completely unintelligible gibberish.
  • Anti-Hero: Many of them, but Shaky takes the cake.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 2, with 3 being highly probable; almost all of humanity has turned into the Crossed, and the remaining humans are hunted down by them.
    • In The Fatal Englishman, Harry estimates that Great Britain's population has dropped from sixty million to one million, of which 95 percent are Crossed. If this is extrapolated further, that would mean that there were around 100 million people left in the world, and only about five million non-Crossed.
    • It is made clear both in The Fatal Englishman and other stories set years after the outbreak that despite their numbers being continually thinned by exposure, starvation, accident, and especially infighting, there is a real danger that before the Crossed die out they will reduce the remaining human population to extinction levels. Despite this, Harry and his team are fairly optimistic that the surviving communities they have found during their travels across the post-apocalyptic UK will be able to outlast the infected... though this might be them trying to justify not wiping out the Crossed and the majority of Britain's survivors with chemical and bio-weapons to themselves.
    • Crossed +100, set 100 years after the initial outbreak in 2008, states that out of a global population of 7 billion, after a year only about 2 million uninfected humans were left alive, and about 100 million Crossed. By 2020, the uninfected population was down to less than 1 million, while the Crossed also declined to about 14 million. The more feral Crossed didn't even clothe themselves but ran around naked like animals attacking people - meaning that they died off in the millions in the first winters. By 2050, a combination of violence, disease, and simply old age left only about 5 million Crossed, while the uninfected population began to rebound to slightly over 1 million. It is also said that STD's such as AIDS spread like wildfire among the Crossed. Alan Moore stressed that on an evolutionary scale, humans as a species are limited by things like food and winter, while the long-term survival of the Crossed as a species is limited by the fact that they will gleefully rape, kill, and eat their own children. By 2070 the uninfected globally outnumbered the Crossed, with about 2 million uninfected and only 1 million crossed. In the southern USA around the Allegheny Mountains, there were about 100,000 uninfected to 50,000 Crossed. The remaining Crossed are reduced to inbred clans hidden in the mountains and forests who had the wherewithal not to eat their own children. Much of humanity's knowledge has been lost in the intervening period. They've barely reinvented steam-power, but among other things, they don't know how to make wine. Nuclear detonations caused by the Crossed in the original outbreak are still a problem, such as in Kansas and Alabama (though overall the US government managed to stop more detonations in its last official act; shutting down all of the nuclear power plants and killing all of their staffs so if they got infected they couldn't take out the control rods).
      • And as of #5 of +100, there's a second faction of Crossed, descended from a serial killer named Beauregard Salt, who maintain a set of teachings and traditions that allow them to act with a frightening, systematic intelligence... including using the more common, dumber Crossed as shock troops.
  • Apocalyptic Log:
    • Captain Michael Juneaux's journal in the first volume of Crossed details the fall of the U.S. military, including a mention of the destruction of Air Force One over Oklahoma.
    • Shaky's diary in Wish You Were Here would have ended up being this, if Aoileann hadn't torn it up.
    • In one of the side stories in Crossed +100 MIMIC, we see a woman named Remy Crowell trying to write one as her community burns down around her.
    • Oliver has a diary but it’s kind of a subversion in that he doesn’t expect anyone to read it and mostly writes because he has anthropologist training, and feels “we must be true to what we are.” He does get one reader, Smokey, which horrifies him into burning it.
    • Future, Julie and various other archivists in +100 are subversions. While they write diaries for official record keeping, things have improved enough so that they don’t feel like Apocalyptic Logs, at least not at first.
  • Appropriated Appellation: Smokey is initially just a nickname Oliver gives him from a distance due to his coat, but Smokey is calling himself by that name for his final appearances.
  • Arc Words: "One chief, one leader" in Wish You Were Here, referring to how Cava needs both an honorable man and a pragmatic man in charge, with Rab and Don both embodying half of that equation.
  • Armies Are Evil: Shaky presumes the Black Watch turned out to be this. Eventually shown to have been an aversion, they treated Seline very well and the fort's destruction was completely unrelated.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Averted with the Thackerys.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Boss Yamada, Hazuki's father in "Five Bloody Fingers," is angry at his enemy, Boss Ishiguro, for three reasons. First, that Ishiguro flayed Yamada's underling Kawamata; second, that Ishiguro and his men are attacking Yamada's headquarters; and third, that Ishiguro has seemingly tattooed his own face with a red cross. That is, until Koki informs Yamada that that isn't a tattoo...
  • Artistic License – Nuclear Physics: The prologue of Volume One ends with a mushroom cloud in the distance, and Stan speculating that someone pulled the control rods out of Wolf Creek power station. Nuclear power plants do not malfunction that way; the two worst nuclear disasters in human history, Chernobyl and Fukushima-Daiichi, resulted in fires and explosions that spread radiation, but nothing on the order of a full-scale atomic bomb-style explosion.
  • Ascended Extra: Kitrick is initially a background member of Cindy's group, but gradually increases in prominence. There’s also quite a bit of this in Wish You Were Here due to gradual introduction of characters, most of whom start in the background before getting a name or dialogue. The most notable example is Viceroy, who appears in the background from the very first issue of Wish You Were Here, does almost nothing relevant to the plot for volume one and doesn't even have his name mentioned until the final issue, only to become one of the main characters of volume 2 after being selected for the sortie.
  • Asshole Victim: Brett's unexpected death came immediately after he (literally) kicked the dog. This was not too long after he had said some very unkind words in regards to Stan's grief over the death of Cindy's son.
    • The psychologist brother from Shrink is about to be infected by his Crossed brother at the end. By that point, the audience won't be feeling too bad considering it was just revealed he molested his brother as a child.
    • Jasper is rowed to a rock off Cava while unconscious, left there as bait for Aoileann and her Crossed, tied up and with his tendons cut so that he is unable to swim away, before finally being blown up by a land mine. However, he was also a dumb, racist thug who treated Richie like a slave, wanted to make himself a dictator, and openly threatened to rape Tabitha before getting Richie killed and Viceroy infected (albeit accidentally) while trying to murder Shaky.
    • The Gamekeeper, the man who treated everyone as expendable, raped Agnes, killed her husband Lloyd and carved the "X" on Aoileann's face while raping her, gets killed at the very end when Shaky shoots him in the mouth with a flare gun after Aoileann's horde had been dealt with.
    • All Camp Casper soldiers in Crossed +100 MIMIC are unlikable rapists who enjoy abusing "support" personnel (and are even not above raping them), so it feels sweet when they get brutally killed by the people they once abused.
  • The Atoner: Cody and Oliver in their final issues, after accepting how low they've sunk in the service of Smokey.
    • Geoff for his past as a Serial Killer, given his working to save Kitrick, protesting on behalf of the kindergartners and the shell-shocked kid whom Joel berated, and burying the bodies of some Crossed victims the group stumbles across.
    • Shaky, by the end of Wish You Were Here, once he accepts that It's All My Fault, although it's arguably too little, too late.
    • Wentz's entire post-C-Day character arc is driven by this, although it could be madness and his sincerity is questioned many times, especially by Land. When Land finally kills him, Wentz seemingly admits his claims of seeking atonement were bunk, but it's still ambiguous, especially given that he also asserts that the refugees he sent to the island and Lands wife and son are alive and waiting for them.
    • Des in a dark way. He's trying to make up for abandoning his son by killing as many Crossed as he can.
  • Author Tract: The Anti-Crossed arc features this both in and out of universe. In-universe, several of the issues of Anti-Crossed Leigha writes are thinly veiled condemnations of the trio of nerds for their treatment of her, with one issue showing the Anti-Crossed berating a Crossed drawn to resemble one of them for his rape efforts. More broadly, the arc is pretty clearly seeking to critique misogyny in the comic book fandom and industry.
  • Awesome Aussie: Skip, David and Daphne.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Crossed do this to inhuman levels. It takes a truly degenerate mental state to butcher, rape, and murder (not necessarily in that order) everything living you find.
  • Baby Factory: Jokemercy unsympathetically brings this up when Kingstenn pleads they're too small of a settlement to sacrifice as many people as he’s demanding, telling them to “start sexing.”
    • Smokey also attempts to start a breeding program among his captives, raising uninfected humans like cattle.
  • Badass Beard: Given limited supplies for stuff like shaving and the fact that survivors in many arcs have made it months or years into the outbreak, plenty show up. Carl and Joe from DOA, Rab and Jackson from WYWH and John (of Ian’s group) in the first arc of Badlands, Matthew Pratt from Family Values, Warren, Ronnie and Curtis from Homo Tortor, Butch from Anti-Crossed, Errol from American Quitters, and Harry, Paddy, Taff and Jock (in The Fatal Englishman but not in The Thin Red Line) provide some of the best examples. Joseph Pratt from Family Values, Deacon White from WYWH and Robbie Greer from +100 have villainous versions.
  • Badass Biker: The biker gang that Edmund meets and joins in Badlands #12 when he tries to warn people in a neighboring town about the Crossed. They form an army with other gangs to fight the "Geeks".
    • Errol from the American Quitters arc lives and breathes this trope.
  • Badass Bookworm: the various archivists in +100, especially Future
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Boss Yamada and his Yakuza goons, Gideon Welles, Emiko's father and Harry and his team (during "The Thin Red Line", they’ve shed them by "The Fatal Englishman"). Bobby Lee tried to be one of these but it was undermined by his cockiness, instability and early death. Gordon Brown and his cabinet (save for Alistair) count as non-action versions, while we watch them issue orders to try and stop the outbreak quickly and reasonably (particularly the one who knew about the hangers with stealth bombers that could be used to take out the Russian planes attempting to nuke America)
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Shaky isn’t exactly singing praise for Des and Elisa’s chiming in to support his lie that the Drift Fleet is planning to loot Cava and doesn't really want an alliance with them.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The Blood Men from the Homo Tortor arc have all the signs of being a (slightly civilized) version of the Crossed until the actual Crossed show up and wreak havoc.
    • Also used in an example that's somewhere between tragic and darkly comic in the 2013 Annual. Technically a part of the "Wish You Were Here" arc, it follows the completely insane kilt-wearing ex-special forces agent Jackson to a biological weapons lab in Iceland. There, he recalls a series of meetings with a woman who told him about her work building a chemical weapon that sounds almost exactly like the disease that created the Crossed, and who sprayed him with a prototype, causing his insanity. Unfortunately for the man he ties up and plans to kill for "creating the Crossed" (believing him to be her), he ignored about half of what she said because he just wanted to get in her pants. She was intentionally making a weapon that wouldn't work and had sprayed him with harmless steam knowing that he hadn't listened and was already unstable. While he experiences enough lucidity to realize this error, he kils the man anyway out of bitterness at the world being too complicated.
  • Bait the Dog: After Leon is dumped in the bottom of the outhouse for screwing up on sentry duty by his father and the other militia members, after a few hours a man named Manatee Mike lets him out. It's established within two panels that Mike didn’t do this out of any concern or sympathy for Leon, but because he has to use the outhouse himself and he felt it would be a sign of homosexuality to let another man see his bare butt, something he mocks the others for.
    • Cody and Oliver seem like resourceful and good leaders to their allies before selling out to Smokey.
    • Jack is a fairly relatable protagonist before he starts getting nastier with Tiffany and we find out what he did to his brother when they were kids.
    • Ryan (fleeing with Natalie after the Crossed give them a Coitus Interruptus moment) feels like a Plucky Comic Relief tritagonist for his first couple issues, until we find out he led the gang rape of Emiko back in America.
    • Liza briefly seems like an Only Sane Man and The Lancer to Addy in Family Values, agreeing that having more kids in the group will be a danger and provide false hope, and sitting outside with her wounded leg and a rifle waiting until Crossed come. Then that fatalism turns into madness which leads her to shoot Addy’s baby brother and Jack, before being killed herself.
    • Bailey is still sympathetic to some readers, but his Knight Templar tendencies aren't evident when he first appears.
  • Bald, Black Leader Guy: "Smokey" from "Quisling," who is the leader of his group of Crossed, and is easily one of the most intelligent Crossed in the series. Any normal Crossed he encounters quickly take to following him, though it often doesn't stick when Smokey's plans hit snags and the more mundane Crossed get impatient.
  • Bald of Evil: Many Crossed individuals are bald, but Smokey stands out among them. Human examples include Gideon Welles, the Gamekeeper and Jasper.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Due to Welles' Bad Boss tendencies his men have some of this, although according to Nathan he pays them so much they don’t care anymore.
    • Mustaqba has some of this to Im’am Fair in +100 volume two.
    • Alistair claims to be this to Gordon Brown but has ulterior motives early on and is pretty short-sighted himself.
    • Lloyd might not be high enough in the hierarchy to count as an assistant, but he shows some of this to Cody’s harsh attitude, and the same is true of Richie to Jasper’s group in Wish You Were Here.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: What characters will do if trapped and about to be caught by the Crossed. More often than not, it fails either because they are out of ammo or because Crossed get them first.
    • Justified Trope in that anyone caught by the Crossed will shortly suffer a much worse death than a simple suicide, and even if you are infected (and technically alive), there is a chance you will still be horribly murdered, just now you are Too Kinky to Torture and will enjoy your horrible death.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Despite the Darker and Edgier tone in comparison to most Zombie Apocalypse series, this is one of the few where we know that humanity survives in the long term and eventually returns to its status as the dominant species on Earth. Several individual stories also feature the protagonists surviving, and at least a few of those are bound to be among the human beings who eventually rebuild civilization.
  • Blatant Lies: The "All characters as depicted in this story are over the age of 18" in the fine print legalese of every issue, considering the various children that have ended up as Crossed or victims.
  • Blood Brothers: The titular Five Bloody Fingers cemented their friendship with a blood pact. They are one of the extremely rare cases where past ties resist the infection, as they renew their pact with Crossed!Hazuki and prepare to go down fighting together against the horde that besieged them.
  • Blood Knight: While most survivors know to stay as far away from the Crossed as possible, a few enjoy fighting them. Steve from "Homo Superior" and Des from "Wish You Were Here" are two of the most notable examples.
    • Jackson from the "Wish You Were Here" arc is also a notable example. He lives apart from society by choice, and is completely insane. After being injured on Hoy, he brings up his Blood Knight traits when convincing the protagonist to shoot him, noting that they do not want to see what happens if he turns.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: So far, Badlands specializes in these. The first Badlands arc ends with the last survivor, having been splashed with infected blood, about to blow himself up with a grenade with the Crossed right behind him.
    • Delano's arc on Badlands ends with all the major characters dead or turned, and the last panel shows the last survivor voluntarily submitting to the infection.
    • Lockdown ends right when two surviving inmates face the horde of Crossed and choose to stay till the very end.
  • Boom, Headshot!: There are multiple headshots in this series, and none of them are neat.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Shows up sometimes in Rab and Don’s arguments.
    • Cindy and her group trying to decide what to do with the cannibal kids. On one hand, the are children and likely unable to fully process the implications of what they were taught. On the other hand, if they are left to their own devices they will likely continue to be cannibalistic and they would consume quite a bit more supplies than the group can sustain if they are brought along.
  • Break the Cutie: Amanda in Psychopath is one of the few survivors in Crossed to cling to her humanity, and tries to help out Harold Lorre when she finds him injured and helpless. Guess how dearly she pays for doing such a foolish thing.
  • Brick Joke: Potentially. The cover of the first issue features Crossed tossing people of an airplane. In the second issue, we see what landing would look like.
    • Cindy's often calling out the men in the first arc for swearing around Patrick could also count considering the latter's fate and Wham Line.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: The Asshole Victim in the "Gore Angels" arc suffers this when Emiko ties him up and threatens to castrate him.
  • Broken Bird: Emiko in the Gore Angels arc, as a result of being gang-raped when she was in America. She tries to cope with her trauma by drawing extremely violent underground manga.
    • Really, Emiko is just the most extreme example. For every long-lasting arc there's probably at least one character out there who fits this description.
  • Broken Pedestal: The Mormon elders to Joseph Pratt, Jr. given their conduct after being turned. Joseph Pratt, Sr. Zig Zags this interestingly, as Addy knew he was an incestuous rapist but thought he’d reformed and turned into a good leader. She is sickened to realize that she was wrong.
    • Shaky is a highly respected figure on Cava, seen as intelligent and trustworthy until his blackmail and threats to get put on the sortie (and his actions during it, like jeopardizing their location) are exposed.
    • Ian’s group view him a bit more coldly after he reluctantly proposes leaving behind Anya.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Kimo from Grave New World is surprisingly tender with the groups kids. The same is true of Jock and Taff during The Fatal Englishman.
  • Butt-Monkey: Clooney in The Golden Road. He eventually graduates to The Dog Bites Back, however.
    • Lloyd Thackery, Gerry Stillwell, Viceroy and Richie also have their moments.
    • Smokey surprisingly qualifies as a villainous example. While he experiences bursts of success in his efforts, his Quislings tend to betray him, the mainstream Crossed break from his rules when he shows weakness and in the end he is betrayed by his wives and son and left for dead. It's telling that despite being a 'Super-Crossed' and one of the first such Crossed to show up in the franchise, the advanced Crossed society to last to the time of +100 was founded by someone else.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": By the time of Crossed +100, science fiction and fantasy are referred to collectively as "wishful fiction." Yes, even the dystopian works.
  • Call-Back: The final arc of Badlands is full of them. In addition to the return of Smokey from Quisling, his relationship with Cody parallels that with Oliver. Ashlee and Ashlynn from Homo Superior also return as Crossed and make reference to their original plans from the end of that arc. The ship captain Smokey talks to brings up his destruction of Cheyenne Mountain and makes a passing reference to Aoilean from Wish You Were Here as a rumored intelligent Crossed. The rumor the captain mentions about George W. Bush being an intelligent Crossed may also be a reference to the phone call to the White House in The Thin Red Line and the fact he dismisses this rumor likely means he is aware of the destruction of Air Force One over Oklahoma mentioned in Volume One and Smokey's travel to find the girls shows the Texas oil fields burning as depicted in the same volume. A rival tribe of Crossed Smokey and his band fight are red and resemble the depictions of Homo Tortor in, well, Homo Tortor though they could the band of Crossed from Psychopath that soak themselves in the blood of their victims. The presence of an intelligent Crossed in Tennessee is referring to Beuregard Salt's clan that sets the groundwork for Crossed +100.
  • Calling Your Attacks: HORSECOCK!
  • Carved Mark: Aoileann got her distinctive X-shaped facial scar by the Gamekeeper cutting her face while he was raping her.
  • Cassandra Truth: The only ones on Cava shown to believe Shaky when he goes around telling people that Jasper is bad news are Richie (who has plenty of experience of Jasper's abuse) and Tabitha as well as Rab and Don, who understand that Jasper is a gung-ho, wannabe tinpot dictator who is likely to get everyone killed. The rest are either apathetic, mistrust Shaky because of his own misdeeds, or openly side with Jasper because of their desire to strike back at the Crossed.
    • Edmund gets this reaction, at least initially, to everyone he tries to warn about the Crossed except the Badass Biker gang.
    • Ryan and Nathalie in Gore Angels warn an elderly British tourist couple they are forced to borrow clothes from following the Coitus Interruptus by the Crossed of 'psychotic pervert monks' in the nearby woods. They are dismissed as lunatic Americans up until the couple fall victim to the same monks. Cody doesn't believe them either when they call him about the situation.
    • In the second volume of +100 , Future and Cautious have a very hard time convincing anyone about the Salt Clan.
    • Jared warning Clooney about the risks of taking his girlfriend to a party Gideon Welles is hosting.
    • Rab is right about the vulnerability of the Drift Fleet, commenting "Ships sink, islands don't." But no one believes him not even Shaky and Don when they work with him to sabotage the alliance for more selfish reasons.
    • Cindy and the others are unable to convince Joel how reckless it is to use salt on the Crossed without anything else.
  • Celebrity Survivor: The first arc of Badlands has a heavily bandaged (and ginger) ex soldier who claims to be Prince Harry (who claims that the Royal Family was turned, complete with the Queen chewing Prince Charles's bollocks off) and indeed looks suspiciously like him though his companions (and the audience) can't be sure due to his heavily mutilated/bandaged face. He is actually pretty damn useful given his skill with a gun and him being sawn in half marks the beginning of the end for his group.
    • Gideon Welles from The Golden Road also counts, being a famous author who tries to organize survival from his home, Samarkand. He doesn't succeed and gets his limbs torn off before getting infected for his troubles.
    • Bobby Lee in Badlands' final arc wants to be this way too badly, which is why Cody kills him before he can enter the survival bunker.
    • Karen, another member of Cody's group in that arc, got rich marketing skin cream.
    • Wentz was a movie producer (both legitimate films and underground pornos) before C-Day and got away with his pre-outbreak crimes due to his wealth and influence.
    • Shaky wrote comic books before C-Day and seems to feel that his works were fairly well-read, but he never sees to capitalize on this, and indeed as far as we know never reveals his real name to another character.
  • Circus of Fear: The Crossed (or "Geek") circus in the "Yellow Belly" arc of Badlands.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: In Crossed +100, "fuck" has become such common parlance that it's a near meaningless verbal tic that's perfectly accepted in polite conversation, sometimes (but not always) seeming to serve as an intensifier (like "very"). "Sex" seems to have swapped places with it as an obscenity, being used almost identically to the previous application of "fuck."
  • Cold Sniper: Elisa zigzags this in Wish You Were Here. She carries a sniper rifle, is Cava's best shot and is generally ruthless but the only three times we actually see her firing the rifle, she is trying to save a fellow survivor from the Crossed and seems upset whenever she fails.
    • Prince Harry plays this straighter, although we never actually see him firing his rifle, just taking range with it once and estimating whether he'd be able to kill all of the nearby Crossed before being overrun.
    • Ashley of the twins has her marksmanship compared to Annie Oakley before she's infected, but is also one of the least moral survivors in the entire series.
    • Addy Pratt worries she’s turning her sister Merrily into one of these although Merrily shows more Friendly Sniper traits.
    • Sutter from Haven arc plays this trope completely straight.
  • Combat Medic: Amanda is one but we don’t see much of the medic part after the first issue of The Livers.
    • Ricky, a skilled paramedic, is the member of Ian's group who puts up the best fight at the end of the first Badlands arc.
    • Denise Tang, her nurse Lori, and her orderly Joe, although they prefer to move without being noticed.
    • Elisa spent years as the caregiver for her sick mother and is one of Cava’s main fighters, although any medical skills she might have are never displayed.
    • Karen in the last arc of Badlands isn’t much of a medic or a combatant but is The Closest Thing We Got and does keep up with Cody and Badass Driver Anna.
  • Complexity Addiction:: Shaky’s plan to sabotage the alliance with Drift Fleet. He could have maybe got Tabitha to go out there anyway and just argued the Drift Fleet's unpreparedness on its merits to everyone instead of being sneaky about it and convincing people to wait and see how they did on the Floata raid or making it look like they kidnapped Tabitha.
  • Confession Cam: Unique for a comic book, the 2013 special uses reality television inspired cutaways that feature interviews with the characters.
  • The Confidant: Stan serves this role for Cindy. Preacher is this to the rest of Hunt {{Mac Avoy's}} group in Crossed 3D. Elisa initially appears to be this for Shaky but later on Tabitha takes that role, although he keeps a lot secret from both of them.
  • The Conspiracy: Speculated in the "Thin Red Line" prequel arc by Alistair given how "patient zeroes" appeared in every country from Chad to Russia to Pakistan at the exact same time spreading the earliest strains of the Crossed virus.
    • This is increasingly becoming averted as the arc goes on and reveals just how alien the virus is to science to the point of being effectively supernatural in both structure and ability. Alistair refuses to believe this and continues to believe that there is some conspiracy. Eventually, this leads to him tricking several soldiers into abducting Patient Zero for "enhanced interrogation".
    • In Quisling, the Right-Wing Militia Fanatic group Oliver later betrays claim the Crossed were created by a cabal of Jews who hid from the outbreak in bunkers waiting for the destruction of the white race. Their claims are regarded with scorn by Oliver.
  • Cool Car: Some of the Crossed in the "Wish You Were Here" arc's backstory managed to get their hands on something that looks like a Lamborghini. They use it, of course, to transport themselves to a hospice where they set about killing everyone horrifically.
    • There are several of them in Cody's survival bunker that he and the others use to try and escape after Smokey cuts their air off.
  • Cool Old Guy: Tabloid-selling balloonist Genheim Mc Blareny, who saves Future's life several times in +100. Viceroy, post Character Development, in Wish You Were Here.
  • Cool Pet: Boss Yamada has a lion named Usama which he trained to act as his attack dog. He turns out to be more loyal to his master's daughter Hazuki when she stops him from killing Satoshi and has him feed on her father's body.
  • Cool Shades: Skip often wears a pair.
  • Corrupt Church: As expected from a Garth Ennis franchise, religion is not exactly depicted in a favorable light. On the Crossed side there are the infected Mormon clergy of Salt Lake City discussed in Family Ties who begin a murderous orgy with their congregations before turning on the uninfected children (thankfully no details of the latter event are given), the group of highly religious Crossed fanatics in Badlands who hunt down any "sinners" human or crossed and inflict religious themed punishments, and the infected Aoilean in Wish you were Here. On the human side is Joseph Pratt's apocalyptic cult which he uses to cement his own power and engage in any depravity he so wishes.
    • Averted interestingly in the case of Father Dennis in the Garth Ennis penned The Fatal Englishman arc, who, despite being dangerously naive and pacifistic, is not only pretty much the sole Nice Guy in the entire franchise not to end up very, very dead or very, very broken, but whose faith is depicted in a fairly positive light by Ennis which make the survival of him and the children he had been protecting all the more surprising given how much the franchise punishes such characters.
    • This trope is not limited to Christian churches either. In Gore Angels, the infected monks continue to discuss Buddhist and Shinto beliefs (albeit filtered through Insane Troll Logic, such as jusifying rape as a form of acting on desire and thus alleviating it or having intercourse with a tree as 'embracing all living things without distinction'). Al the Chemist (due to a combination of the virus, psychedelic mushrooms and semen coupled with his preexisting New Age beliefs) apparently regards becoming Crossed as a form of enlightenment that he seeks to spread to the uninfected 'purple people' and he ends up succeeding in turning most of the cast by the end.
  • Cosy Catastrophe: Zigzagged in the final arc even before Smokey shows up. Cody's group has a luxury bunker but with Crossed above have to stay quiet, there’s depression, and the group has no doctor (except for dermatologist Karen), gardener or electrician to properly maintain the bunker as it was meant to. All in all, there are very few smiles in the group.
  • Cover Always Spoil: Not often (normally Covers Always Lie for this series) but Badlands iss3 is accurate showing a surrounded Ian going for a grenade to kill himself and and Badlands #93 features Smokey on the front cover even though his appearance near the end is built up as more of a Wham Shot and/or a Cruel Twist Ending for that issue. The twins are also on that cover, foreshadowing how Smokey will join up with them in that arc even though they aren’t mentioned for another two issues and he doesn’t find them until a couple of issues after that.
  • Crazy Survivalist: The Gamekeeper wasn't one before the apocalypse, but oh boy does he take to the role afterwards.
    • Sutter, in spades except he doesn't actually plan on surviving and his endgame is a big Taking You with Me moment that involves sacrificing all of the refugees he's sheltering as collateral damage.
    • Lewis, one of Washington's group in Homo Tortor, was living out in the woods with a bunch of weapons and canned food even before C-Day, due to being convinced that the government would take his guns. He has since mellowed and mocks his own paranoia a little.
    • Cody's clients are a subversion, being either more down-to-earth survivalists, or wealthy, easily-cowed doomsday preppers.
  • Creator Cameo: An issue of Ennis's book Stitched is the only comic identified by name in the "Anti-Crossed" arc. It's apparently the last comic he put out before C-Day.
  • Creepy Child: The kindergarteners in Volume 1 have been setting traps for passersby, after being taught how to do this by their former teacher. The protagonists end up killing them because of the high risk that they will continue doing this in her absence. Any Crossed children are this, as well, including Patrick in the first volume.
    • For the kindergartners, it's ambiguous how much their teacher has sheltered them from what they're doing, and they show a childish innocence racing out of cover and telling Cindy's group not to hurt her.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Emiko's father. When he's first shown he seems to be a resentful jerk who alternates between trying to sell his art and being rude to American tourists. When the Crossed attack his village, he is unable to move or even think for several minutes as the Crossed do their thing on his street, not even noticing him. Then he goes for his katana...
    • In American Quitters, Frank qualifies. "Hippie can shoot" indeed. He's also the one who braves a horde of Crossed to fulfill Errol's revenge.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: All over the place. Some standouts are Arwen being drawn and quartered by bare-handed Crossed, the drawn-out manner Harold beats Claire to death, Pat from Ian's group having his tendons cut and then apparently being a victim of Flaying Alive off-screen, Smokey cutting off a cop's fingers and peeling off his face before throwing him to his followers to finish off, what Patient Zero does to Alistair, and Dylan surviving a suicide attempt, having the Crossed get him and shove their fingers through the fresh bullet hole in his head.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Shaky's narration in "Wish You Were Here" positively oozes with snark. He's less of one when talking to the other characters, but he can still be fairly bitchy when he wants to be.
  • Death Glare: Harry gives one to Alistair in #53 of Badlands when the latter suggests to Harry that he "go out there and put those other four savages out of their misery," meaning Harry's good friend John Duff and his men, who have all been infected and become Crossed.
  • Death of a Child: The cover for one issue has the Crossed putting kids on a playground slide. At the bottom of the playground slide is a wood chipper. In Wish You Were Here, the Crossed throw a newborn baby into the air and then shoot it to splatter its infected blood on a group of survivors.
    "I'm so happy. Aaddyyy... So happy...they saved my babyyy for me. And goddamn if she don't taste gooood.
  • Death Seeker: Kitrick turns out to be this at the end of the original series, when he decides to stay behind and buy as much time as he can for Thomas and Kelly to escape Horsecock and his Crossed. He had been teetering on the edge of this throughout the series as a result of witnessing the brutal murder of his wife and two children at the beginning of the pandemic. It's implied that the final straw for him was the infection and death of Cindy's son Patrick, which undoubtably reminded him all too well of his own loss.
  • Deconstruction / Reconstruction: The series re-thinks the Zombie Apocalypse story right back to square one: as culture has grown numb to the idea of "unstoppable plague of mindless cannibals," Ennis ups the ante to "unstoppable plague of grinning sadists" to rub in how awful surviving this sort of apocalypse would really be.
    • In the final arc of Badlands, Cody makes a major point regarding armchair survivalists' bugout plans: having an apocalypse survival bunker is only going to do you any good if you have the chance to get to it when the apocalypse hits. He notes the vast majority of his wealthy clients who paid for the luxury bunkers he sold pre-outbreak were in Austin or Houston doing the things that earned them the money they spent on their bunkers when the Crossed outbreak began and thus had little chance of actually getting to safety.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Cody, a former apocalypse bunker salesman, is set up as the protagonist for Badlands' final arc. Smokey kills him halfway through and takes on the role of Villain Protagonist for the rest of the arc.
    • Possibly subverted if you choose to see the last eight issues not as one continuous arc but as two, back-to-back arcs of four issues each, with both happening to feature Smokey. the fact that Cody, what he and Smokey did and all of the other characters and plot points from those first four issues besides Smokey looking for the twins are never referenced again might reinforce this opinion.
  • Depraved Bisexual: The Crossed are extreme sexual sadomasochists, to the point of being aroused by anything that suffers or causes them to suffer regardless of gender.
  • Determinator: The cast of the first volume walk from Kansas to Alaska, pursued all the way. The Crossed will also go to absurd lengths if they see something they want to abuse.
    • Amanda, the heroine of Psychopath and a recurring character in Badlands, also qualifies. She saws off her hand with barbed wire to prevent becoming Crossed.
    • Smokey, the "Super-Crossed" remains dedicated to his mission of ensuring the Crossed's survival, crossing multiple states to find Ashlee and Ashlynne and starting from scratch whenever his efforts are stymied.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: While downer endings - or at best, heavily bittersweet ones - are par of the course for the series, the ending to Badlands third arc really comes across as forced. Specifically, Edmund has finally manned up, saved Donna from the Crossed, and gotten his girl. Then, later that night, Donna murders him for having abandoned one of her biker friends earlier.
    • The ending of the Thin Red Line: After the threat of nuclear armageddon is averted, Gordon Brown and his cabinet are finally able to focus on dealing with the pandemic by organizing the evacuation of key people to safe and fortified locations across the UK. Unfortunately, the medical team in charge of studying the virus becomes infected off-panel. Which leads to Gordon Brown's death.
    • In-universe example from Badlands #80. Just as Lion is about to escape the Blood Men's camp of camps, an Eldritch Abomination emerges out of nowhere and kills him. It was at that point that Washington (and the readers) realize that the whole story about Lion was made up.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Joseph Pratt is set up to be the villain of Crossed: Family Values, acting as a more religious-themed Expy of The Governor. However, The Crossed overrun his community at the end of Issue 3 and he's infected the following issue, leaving the true Big Bad status to his now Crossed wife.
  • Dirty Coward: Edmund, the main character from the "Yellow Belly" arc. Edmund has been a sniveling, pathetic wuss his entire life, and the end of the world doesnt exactly improve that. He constantly runs from danger and abandons people who have helped him , and is so weak that the Jerk Jock who bullied him throughout high school come off as way more sympathetic. Ironically, when he finally mans up, he ends up getting killed by the biker chick he saved, as revenge for getting one of her friends killed during one of his wuss-outs.
    • Oliver in the "Quisling" storyline who allies himself with an unusually intelligent Crossed he nicknamed Smokey, who keeps him alive and safe from the other mindless Crossed who obey him in return for being led to survivors. However, he eventually snaps out of this when he realizes that Smokey might not be the only intelligent Crossed around, and that if the planet is to survive, even if humanity doesnt, Smokey has to die.
    • Cody in the final arc. He makes a deal with Smokey as well, but goes even further than Oliver did, actively assisting Smokey in his attempts to build a new Crossed civilization. He snaps out of it when he realizes he's in effect going to raise his own offspring to be raped and murdered.
  • Don't Look at Me!: Shows up during an odd sex fantasy of Harold Lorre.
  • Doom Magnet: Rab accuses Shaky of being one, and it's hard to argue with him.
  • Downer Ending: One of the hallmarks of the series so far. When one of the taglines of the series is, "There is no hope," what do you expect?
    • At the end of Volume One, everyone but Cindy, Stan, and their dog is dead. Although the last survivors go down fighting hard, they do go down. The trio who wind up dying in the last issue are also the three most sympathetic characters in the entire damned story.
    • Family Values ends much the same way, with only Addy, three of her siblings (one of which is missing a leg, another having recently given birth, and the third still being fairly young), and two newborn babies surviving. However, at the very end, Addy finds their missing horses, which increases their chances of survival tremendously. So that ending can be considered a bittersweet one.
    • Psychopath ends with Amanda running off into the night with a bleeding arm stump, her fate uncertain, and Harold rededicated to his quest to "bring Lori back" by infecting another survivor. Though Harold doesn't escape unscathed either, as Amanda manages to bite off his lips as she escapes. Harold then sews his lips back onto his face, though one wonders what sorts of health issues might crop up from that. For all that we know, Harold might already be a dead man walking... As Harry points out in The Fatal Englishman, in the age of the Crossed, minor wounds and injuries can be death sentences by themselves.
    • 3D ends with only two survivors, one of the assistants and a soldier, manage to escape the city alive. Though it may be averted since they are able to get back to their group of survivors to help cure some of the sick kids, who ain't infected by the Crossed virus.
    • Badlands's first arc, Of the World in Its Becoming ends with everyone dead or infected.
    • The second arc, Homo Superior, ends with Ashley and Ashlynn infected, and Steve about to infect herself.
    • The third ends with Edmund finally putting his fears behind him and saving a girl from the Crossed, only to get murdered by her that night.
    • The fourth ends with Philly, the policewoman's niece, being the only named character (and possibly the only one in town) who survives. She is last seen rowing down the river away from an overrun Samarkand to an unknown fate. Clooney, like Steve in Homo Superior, infects himself on purpose and brutally murders his girlfriend.
    • The Fatal Englishman arc ends with Harry killing his friends in order to spare them from being killed or infected at the hands of the Crossed, before stepping outside the Porton Down facility to face his end at the hands of the Crossed horde. However, they did save Father Dennis and the children from certain death, and helped them to reach (relative) safety in the Channel Islands. They also ultimately decided against unleashing the biological and chemical weapons, as that would have killed not only Britain's Crossed, but almost all the non-Crossed as well. Instead, the entrance to the weapons is sealed off with explosives in order to ensure that no one will use them.
    • Quisling ends with Oliver destroying the Cheyenne Mountain nuclear bunker and turning himself into a Crossed to deny Smokey from gaining access to the bunker's information. Smokey, in an extreme fit of rage, kills Oliver and all his Crossed followers before making for Florida, presumably to find Ashley and Ashlynn as he read from Oliver's journal regarding them.
    • American Quitters ends with Errol overdosing on the ultimate high before being torn apart by the Crossed, Frank disguising himself as a Crossed to infiltrate the horde and getting killed fulfilling Errol's revenge, and Elena being torn apart by her infected relatives on the island that was supposed to be a refuge. "And no lesson was learned" indeed.
    • In Gore Angels Emiko is forced to kill her parents, Cody, and Nathalie after they've been infected by Al the Chemist (who also gets killed by her). She then releases Ryan because he "was only being true to his nature" when he led her to being gangraped. The last we see of him, he is chased by a pack of Crossed. Satoshi's fate is left unknown as Emiko loses contact with him when the internet goes down, though his fate is later revealed in Five Bloody Fingers. Finally, she commits suicide with her sword in order to avoid getting killed or becoming Crossed herself.
    • In The Thin Red Line, the UK's Patient Zero finally succumbs to the infection after resisting it and its violent impulses throughout the arc, likely losing any hope of finding an answer or a cure. Moreover, while nuclear armageddon is averted the medical team is infected off-panel and Gordon Brown is killed.
    • In Five Bloody Fingers Hazuki gets infected, and she, Satoshi, their three friends and her father's lion are trapped by hordes of Crossed. Two days later, with food and water running out, the remaining four decide to infect themselves with Hazuki's blood before charging outside and going down fighting the other Crossed.
    • Homo Tortor ends with Washington discovering that Lion's story was essentially a fanfiction created by the infected professor he was searching for. Shortly after this realization, Washington and Warren are captured and become the first victims of the professor's new Homo Tortor based civilization, with the former proclaimed First Child.
    • Issue 61 ends with Haven destroyed, Esperanza getting Mercy Killed by Jane and Jane giving up and infecting herself with Esperanza's brother's blood.
    • Grave New World ends with several characters murdering each other out of spite before the Crossed show up and kill almost everyone. The ship's doctor gives the captain a "Reason You Suck" Speech before committing suicide, leaving the captain alone on the overrun island.
    • Shrink ends with the psychologist willingly letting his brother infect him after his girlfriend gets killed by the Crossed upon storming off after learning the psychologist molested his brother.
    • Breakdown concludes with Amanda realizing she's killed the entire group of survivors she'd intended to protect due to her growing insanity. She then seals herself inside the walls of the cabin, planning to stay there until she either dies or regains her sanity.
    • Conquers All ends with the revelation that Serena was Dead All Along and in fact killed herself days ago. Matthias has made this journey before, but every time he does, upon learning the truth he overdoses on ketamine, goes on a rampage and blacks out, waking up with no memory and restarting his futile search for Serena.
    • Cody's storyline in the final Badlands arc ends with all of the people from his bunker and from the other bunkers that he led Smokey to killed or infected, his attempt to help the other prisoners escape failing and his last thoughts being that Judas had nothing on him in terms of betrayal while Smokey and the twins homestead is still standing and operational, just without Smokey running it but Smokey's dreams of creating a Crossed society are crushed yet again (although this isn't exactly a bad thing from humanity's POV).
    • Both Crossed Annuals end on a downer note. The first one ends by revealing Jackson was totally wrong about Magda's research since the 1980's creating the Crossed. She was designing a weapon that wouldn't work. Additionally Magda was Dead All Along and the person he thought was her was a male researcher who Jackson ends up killing anyway out of bitterness at the world for being too complicated. The second Crossed Annual ends with Isaac about to be killed by the elderly Crossed woman who had saved him from the rest of the horde mere minutes before.
    • Lockdown ends with Jesse and Otis escaping the main prison building... only to discover more Crossed outside. With nowhere to go, they choose to stand and fight them with incredibly low chances of survival.
  • Drawing Straws: This is how Shaky's group decides which survivors go back with them at the end of the sortie.
    • Also how Sugar Tree decided who to sacrifice to the Crossed offscreen in +100.
  • Drunk with Power: Those survivors who suddenly find themselves in positions of power are all too easily tempted to abuse it. Addy's dad, the Gamekeeper and Todd are good examples of this. Rab, however, is a subversion, as he does not abuse his power at all. Shaky theorizes it's because Rab never wanted to be a leader in the first place and was thrust into the part.
    • In Wish You Were Here, Jasper was also headed down this path before his untimely demise.
    • The captain in Grave New World has this as his Fatal Flaw.
  • Due to the Dead: Geoff causes trouble with this by burying the bodies they'd fond outside Cindy’s groups, which hideout alerts Crossed who’d earlier seen them unburied.
    • Zigzagged in Wish You Were Here; The Cavaites are implied to bury some bodies but are seen dumping others in the bay when they’re infected and/or cold made the ground hard. Also when Vincent is taken by the Crossed in the first issue, Elisa is seen with a lowered head, while Shaky briefly takes his cap off in respect.
  • Dwindling Party: Regularly. From the very beginning of the series, we have Cindy’s group. For context in the first issue they have 12 members ( and later on they pick up two additional ones and a dog). By the beginning of #9 they only have five members (and the dog) and not all of those five survive that issue. Even worse, a throwaway line in the second issue implies that Cindy’s group had twenty-three people at one point.
    • In Family Values only four of the thirteen original Pratt’s survive (plus two babies born later) and all of the ranch hands and stragglers they take in also die.
    • In Wish You Were Here less than a third. of the original Cavaites make it to the end.
    • Zigzagged in the first Badlands arc, where the group has nine members and they lose none in the first issue and then two in the second. And then the third opens with one being sawed in half and things go downhill from there to the point of no survivors.
    • 3D plays this trope straight: the squad has six soldiers, and two of them are killed before they meet Dr. Tang and her assistants. Then Hunt gets infected and then kills one of the assistants before falling down from the balcony. Then another soldier gets mutilated and then blown up with his own grenade, and soon after that Elmer stays behind to cover Dr. Tang, Lori and Preacher with his minigun before blowing himself up. Finally, Dr. Tang herself gets fatally shot by the Crossed (with Hunt among them) and dies despite Lori's best efforts, leaving only two survivors to make it back to the settlement.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Tom and Jackie, right before their nuke blows up in Thin Red Line.
    Tom: Jackie... You do know, don't you?
    Jackie: From the moment we met.
  • Eats Babies: The sad fate of Kayleen Pratt's unborn child after she's turned into one of the Crossed.
    • The Crossed having no qualms with doing this is a key reason their population declines so dramatically by the time of Crossed +100.
  • Elaborate Underground Base:
    • Cody made a living making these for wealthy wannabe preppers. His biggest one, somewhere in Texas, had a garden, multiple bedrooms, hot tubs, a library (with books focused on ways to rebuild society), a helipad, a garage full of Cool Car’s and a wine cellar. He claims that only a small fraction of the number of people it was designed to house made it there before the roads were overrun by wrecked cars and Crossed and from what we see there are at least 15 or 20 people who did make it.
    • Professor Nelson also had one, which, while far less luxurious (albeit rigged with an elaborate security hatch and security cameras, did stretch out pretty far once Washington and his group made it down.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Harry and his teammates from The Fatal Englishman and The Thin Red Line. They're all soldiers from an unspecified special forces unit of the British Army. While not outright stated, it's implied that they were in the SAS.
    • In Wish You Were Here it’s played straight with Jackson but otherwise averted (Action Girl Elisa isn’t a veteran despite Shaky's initial suspicions, paratrooper John is kind of a Dumb Muscle and not a major character, and the Black Watch soldiers at Fort George suffer from Dropped a Bridge on Him).
    • In Quisling Oliver clearly hopes this for Cheyenne Mountain but they don’t live up to his expectations. Nor does the National Guard team he approaches earlier in the arc.
  • Elite Zombie: The "Super Crossed" are rare examples of Crossed who have retained just enough of their humanity to act as Horde Masters. They're still violent sadists, but they can delay gratification for a greater payoff later. Their tendencies can vary somewhat (Smokey is as sadistic as the rest of them, but has some sense of compassion and speaks in terse, choppy English, Aoileann is notably less sadistic, similarly terse and likewise has some compassion and Beauregard Salt is an amoral sociopath, but is as lucid as he was before being infected and seeks to instill a sense of Pragmatic Villainy in his followers).
  • Establishing Character Moment: We get several in the first scene of Wish You Were Here Shaky gets to show his wit and some humanity while also inadvertently causing harm by being too distracted by the sight of a Crossed raping a dolphin to ring the warning bell, giving that Crossed time to spot him and start paddling over towards Cava. Elisa races to the tower and takes Shaky’s rifle after he misses a shot, and finishes the Crossed off as he's just inches away from Vincent. On the beach Rab quickly organizes a fire team that includes John and Skip, watching in relief at Vincent's survival, and preparing to send a boat to pick him up when more Crossed appear and go after him. Rab briefly holds out some hope for Vincent's survival even as Don callously -but correctly- dismisses this notion and says to break out the heavy weaponry.
    • The Gamekeeper meeting Shaky and only letting him accompany the group after he manages to kill a Crossed, and then in his next flashback demonstrating his own impressive survival skills, as well as his lack of investment in the fate of his fellow survivors, who he asserts will only live if they do exactly what he says, especially when he tells them whether to move or not move when Crossed are nearby.
    • Harry sitting on a hill, waxing philosophically, before taking a machine gun and mowing away a bunch of Crossed.
    • Frank puttering along on his motorcycle and trying to make small talk when Errol pulls alongside him, only to be interrupted when Errol slams his visor shut and lifts a hammer to smash the head of a Crossed that they’re passing.
    • Rob and Alec arguing about fishing with grenades, while Ian watches them with a snarky and cynical monologue.
    • Amanda saving Harold's life, showing her to a good person who makes costly mistakes.
    • Sutter saving Jane and Espernanza from the Crossed chasing them while having a creepy inner monologue that reveals he sees them as expendable.
  • Eternal Recurrence: A cover for Badlands shows an archaeology team discovering an ancient burial site containing Crossed corpses and a mural depicting a female Crossed being worshipped, implying that all of this has happened before.
  • Ethical Slut: Natalie in Gore Angels enjoys graveyard sex and admits to watching porno videos, but is fairly pleasant and is disgusted and furious to find out that Ryan raped Emiko, delivering a Groin Attack to him with her fist.
    • Most of the characters in the original +100 run, where casual sex is less of a taboo.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: All of the non-infected characters (except for the sailor), who made a deal with Smokey (however all of them ended up getting killed by him.
  • Eunuchs Are Evil: Various minor Crossed play this straight (whenever they sink to that level of self-mutilation they are generally pretty Ax-Crazy). However, Fleshcook (who either castrated himself or had it done to him by the other members of the Salt Clan so he’d have an excuse not to join the rest of the Camp Casper soldiers in their rape culture, which would have led to him infecting any victims and exposing his secret) averts this to an extreme level.
  • Evil Matriarch: Joyce Pratt becomes the main villain of "Family Values" after falling to the Crossed.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Boss Yamada may be an asshole....but his last moments with his Crossed!daughter (as well as the fact that he would sacrifice his own thugs just to save her, even after she disowns him as her father, and that he sees himself as her last line of defense) ultimately indicates he has this trope badly. In essence, he is practically the personification of this trope. He only shoots himself because he feels that he failed her as a father and also because he was horrified when The Virus caused her to release a lot of repressed hatred towards him. Also counts as Even Evil Has Standards, as one of Boss Yamada's only morals is that family is very important.
      • Haruki after becoming Crossed also qualifies, refusing to attack her friends and only working to persuade them that continued resistance is futile.
    • Todd from the 2013 Special allows random women onto his Big Badass Rig, but only if they agree to become his concubines and serfs. The protagonists assume that he sees them as nothing more than sex slaves, and are thus surprised when he actually breaks down crying when of his "wives" is killed in a gun battle.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Don is one of the closest characters to an outright villain at Cava but he refuses to cut Jasper’s tendons when they’re marooning him.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Played with when nearly all of Cava hears the truth about the lies that made them attack the Drift Fleet and how the Nun is there because she's after Shaky, but is also holding back the rest of the Crossed from just wiping everyone out. However, given what had just taken place, it was pretty inevitable people would be eavesdropping (although it's pretty funny when we see just how many of them there are, and how Jackson is Genre Savvy about their presence).
  • Exact Words: In The Fatal Englishman, Harry’s plan to set off the biological weapons at Porton Down initially sounds fairly reasonable and necessary when he describes it to Father Dennis, saying that while it will certainly kill some of the approximately 50,000 or so survivors still eking out an existence in Britain, he knows of multiple groups with nuclear blast containment gear and he'll radio the others to go for offshore islands or the high ground before flipping the switch. At the end of the arc, though, as he talks things through with his men during their "Chinese parliament," we find out his saying that more than one group had NBC gear meant that only two did, that only four groups he's aware of have working radios to receive his warning, and that the chances of surviving off-shore or on the high ground are worse than he implied. All of this contributes to his ultimate decision not to go through with the plan.
  • Excrement Statement: Just one of the many ways the Crossed have their fun.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Watching Smokey and his group through his bunker's periscope, Cody is describing how Smokey seems different from the other Crossed as he looks like he's actually thinking, right before Smokey turns around and stares right at his periscope.
    • A bit later, Cody tells Smokey that for his Baby Factory, he really only needs to keep one male prisoner, or "stud," alive to impregnate the women, only to falter when a smirking Smokey points a single finger at him.
  • Expy: Crossed bears a mild resemblance to the Hentai anime series Kansen: a fast-acting infectious pathogen alters human behavior so that their only priorities is to spread the infection and commit acts they would not normally commit. While such acts for Crossed include murder, torture, rape (regardless of gender, age or species), cannibalism, etc, Kansen focuses entirely of having sex regardless of their partner, location or consent.
  • Extreme Doormat: Gerry Stilwell to Captain Barnes. Initially Richie to Jasper. Also Mrs. Pratt to her husband Joseph, knowing full well the abuse he has heaped on their daughters yet constantly choosing to look the other way and pretend that everything is all right out of fear of him... right until she infects herself to save Addy from him.
  • Face Death with Dignity: At the end of the last issue of The Fatal Englisman, Harry calmly walks out of the main building of Porton Down to stand in front of an incoming Crossed horde, armed only with a pistol.
    Harry's last words: Tally ho. Steady the buffs. Up, guards, and at 'em. Stand to.
    • Selene in Wish You Were Here, when she uses the last claymore on Aoileann's Crossed horde.
    • Wentz attempts this in Badlands #70. He doesn't succeed, though.
  • Famous Last Words: several (although the last two are voiceovers).
    Kitrick:: I'm going to make it look like I've quit. Draw them in. Kill as many as I can. I don't want to be alive anymore. I've been kidding myself for a long time. Trying to find a way back into the world. But I guess enough's enough. You should make as much distance as you can.
    Cloudcuckoolander Jackson. : I truly wish... I had been born on Jupiter.
    Pat: I love you, Tommy, I did my best. But it's not our world. It belongs to the monsters now. And you [Oliver]. I hope they make you last. Asshole.
    Frank (from Grave New World): Fuggin' bitch finally...snapped. Tryna... Kill me!
    El-Sayeed: You're right. You should have left me in that cell. Better to pray to a God who cannot save me than to a savior who is not a God. I hope you enjoy your paradise, Captain Barnes. I am certain I will enjoy mine.
    Patient Zero: Think fast, Harry.
    An infected Martha: I think I want to chew on your brown hole. Ha! Ha! Ha!
    Viceroy:: Important thing is... I mattered didn't I? I existed. Didn't I, Shaky? I meant something.
    Satoshi: all the history of mandkind will vanish. The cities will crumble to dust. The libraries will burn. All those digital banks of information will disappear. There will be no one left to remember Napoleon and Alexander, Leonardo Da Vinci, The Beatles, the glory of Greece, or Rome, or America. No one to remember that mankind conquered the seas and flew the skies and walked on the moon. And no one will ever remember the glorious death of the Five Bloody Fingers.
    Cody: I gave them the world, for a few lousy months of life. Judas ain't got shit on me.
  • Fan Disservice: A lot of Crossed covers depict sexy and scantily clad women...soaked in blood, in the midst of a disgusting or gory act, or being brutally attacked and/or raped.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Becoming Crossed is generally thought to be this, which is why characters who have been splashed by Crossed bodily fluids tend to commit suicide or are killed by their non-infected friends and relatives. Being caught alive by the Crossed is also something that people will go to all lengths to avoid. Likewise, willingly submitting to the infection is either seen as an act of extreme desperation (as what happened with Addy's mother in Family Values, when she saw no other way to save her daughter) or an act of unforgivable depravity (like with Steve in Homo Superior and Clooney in The Golden Road).
    Harry (in The Fatal Englishman, as he is walking behind his friends to one final confrontation with the Crossed): "Paddy, Jock and Taff. I've asked so much of them. They've never let me down. And I know with terrible finality that I cannot see them torn apart. Defiled. Or born again as demons." He shoots them all dead. "I cannot."
  • Fear is the Appropriate Response: One of the general themes of the series. Due to the nature of the Crossed, standing your ground and fighting them is the surest way to die a painful and messy death, if not turn into one of the Crossed yourself. Hiding and fleeing is the only sensible course of action, with remote, inaccessible and sparsely populated locations (like Cava in Wish You Were Here) being the only safe places in which to settle. Even that might not be enough.
    • Shaky (Wish You Were Here) and Edmund (the "Yellow Belly" arc of Badlands) openly regard themselves as cowards, with Edmund in particular loathing himself because of it. However, it's worth noting that they are still alive and uninfected (so far), while all their friends and relatives are dead or crossed. So their cowardice has very likely made the difference between life and death.
      • ... and as soon as Edmund decides to be brave, he gets killed by the girl he saved. Had he just abandoned her when the Crossed attacked, or had he decided not to come clean to the bikers about what really happened to Nicole, he would most likely still be alive. Moral: Courage will get you killed or Crossed in the world of the Crossed.
  • Flanderization: Elisa and Don are engaging, nuanced characters for the first half of Wish You Were Here despite having their flaws, but those flaws are amped up to eleven by the third volume for the sake of Spurrier’s plot. In the final Badlands volume, Cody’s transition into an Oliver Expy while not a huge curveball, still felt a little contrived and irritating.
  • Foil: Des and Kitrick are both strong black fathers who became a Death Seeker, due to loss of children but Kitrick is more peaceful and defeated, while Des is wrathful and brutal, and has a living child he neglects some.
    • The three fathers on Cava form a three-way version of this for each other. Des, is an assertive Blood Knight possible Death Seeker of African descent guilty of Parental Neglect who is the only one whose spouse didn’t survive with him and was a criminal before C-Day. Skip, a somewhat submissive Caucasian Australian who maintains a mostly sunny disposition, was a “beachfront hippie” giving parasailing tours before C-Day and is the only one of the three both to not be the biological father of his child and to survive. And Mr. Masoud, a reserved Pakistani family man and eventual Death Seeker who seems to be the only religious one of the three, avoids the group politics, is the only one with two children and is also the only one to lose a child, in the form of a Mercy Kill at his own hands.
    • Elisa is arguably a Foil to Cindy from the original run. Both are tough women who are good enough fighters that people assume they were cops or soldiers before the apocalypse once when really they just had normal, albeit at times troubled lives, and both are somewhat lusted after by male narrators who they just see as friends. Dark-haired Cindy is a leader who avoids fighting though, while blonde Elisa is a follower who almost welcomes it. Cindy still has a son and Elisa has no one, Cindy and Stan’s bond grows stronger throughout their story, while Elisa and Shaky’s deteriorates.
    • Elisa could be one to Aoileann and perhaps Shaky sees that in her. Both were blondes who apparently had wild teenaged years, and were caregivers afterwards (Elisa to her mother, Aoileann at a nursing home). The key difference between them is that Aoileann is an Actual Pacifist (even after being infected, to some degree) while Elisa feels like a Blood Knight at worst, and a hardened Action Girl at best.
    • Washington is one to Harold Lorre. Both tell lies about a quest related to a Sole Surviving Scientist to get allies and protectors while really on a quest involving a woman they loved but who didn’t love them. Washington’s is more rescue-oriented and Harold’s is described under Insane Troll Logic, and also has elements of Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Washington is aware of what he’s doing, Harold is self-deluding. Washington’s story has some basis in truth and might not be a complete lie, while Harold’s is utter bullsh*t. Harold kills most of his companions and Washington does try to keep them alive (though he does sacrifice a couple members of his group to get into the professor's bunker alive). Harold is a middle-aged white man, Washington is a college-aged black man.
    • Both Harold and Washington might also be foils to Shaky. All three are separated from a woman they love who was turned into a Crossed and are somewhat manipulative due to the detriment of those around them. But Shaky struggles to keep his lover away (feeling either she'll kill the Cavities or they'll kill her, neither of which he wants) rather than going on a quest to seek her out. Shaky's lover also returned his feelings to the end (unlike the subjects of Harold and Washington's affections).
    • Harold is also a foil to Richie, the Villain Protagonist of DOA. Both had serious issues even before C-Day, have plenty of Unreliable Narrator moments, and paint the members of their group as being weak or flawed to justify turning on them. Yet Harold’s driven by a twisted sense of love and a desire to strike out at the Crossed, while Richie is incapable of love and focuses on avoiding the Crossed. Harold is far more sadistic and better at hiding what he is, while Richie is poor at disguising his nature, but is more selfish than cruel. Harold also comes a lot closer to achieving his goals than Richie does.
    • Fleshcock is a foil to Smokey. Both are Crossed leaders who try to restore civilization by any means possible, and thus are willing to destroy anyone who gets in their way; they also enlist the help of humans to do so. The main difference is that unlike Smokey, Fleshcock wants to unite both Crossed and humans. Also, while Smokey has a number of Kick the Dog moments to both Oliver and Cody (hence why they eventually betray him), Fleshcock seems to be much more benevolent to his allies. Smokey is a black man while Fleshcock appears to be white. Finally, Fleshcook succeeds in forming the Merge with the humans, while Smokey's plans either don't go the way he wanted or outright fail.
    • Cody from the bunker arc is a foil to the Gamekeeper from Wish You Were Here. Both men used to work for the highest bidders (bunker designers in the former's case and a luxury couple in the latter's case) before the C-Day aftershock put them in charge of their respective survivor groups. Both of them are also not above killing and/or humiliating their former employers and also eventually end up captured by a smart Crossed individual. But while the Gamekeeper abuses his power among fellow people, Cody is more pragmatic than outright cruel. The Gamekeeper is an expert at many things required for survival in the new world (hence why other members of his group have no option but stay with him all the time) while Cody lacks many of these skills but compensates this with his secure survival bunkers. Cody's group stays hidden in the bunker until Smokey discovers them while the Gamekeeper leads his group to the north. Finally, when captured by an intelligent Crossed, both men die. The difference is that the Gamekeeper stays passive through all the chore he has to endure with Crossed Aoileann until Shaky finally kills him while Cody openly assists Smokey with building a civilisation before finally turning on him and managing to cripple his efforts before dying.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Those who read the "Thin Red Line" prequel arc of Badlands already know that any attempt to fight or contain the pandemic is doomed to fail, that both Britain and the world will be overrun in the days ahead, that Harry and his team will survive the events of the outbreak and die five years later in Porton Down, and that the infected Russian pilots will fail to deliver their payload to the US mainland. The drama instead comes from the first events of the pandemic as they happened, and the true nature and origin of the virus.
    • The first volume mentions the fall of the San Diego Naval Base early in the epidemic, so we know they're living on borrowed time when they show up in the Gavin Land arc, although to be fair the soldiers themselves know this and are instead focusing on evacuating anyone they can.
    • The final issue of the original +100 issue, set several years after the Salt Clan show themselves mentions that Happy's branch of the Salt Clan has been experiencing success in Wyoming. which robs a lot of the suspense out of the conflict between Fleshcock and Commander-Chief Nathan in MIMIC.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Before she was infected, Aoileann was a kindly nun who risked her life to save the patients of a nursing home that she worked in even though half the patients that were infected. After her turn, she leads an entire army of Crossed.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: The Crossed are fond of this.
  • Future Slang: The survivors in +100 speak heavily in this manner. While some characters simply speak in an exagerrated Joisey dialect, most of the cast communicates in a more Midwestern dialect, with several hallmarks:
    • Widely accepted enshrinement of a number of phonetic misunderstandings and mispronunciations. Ex: "Peace be upon you" as "peace beyond you", "same old" as "say mould", "horrible" as "horrorball" or "horrorballs", various American city names twisted into rough approximations, and so forth (despite this, no specific indication is given that literacy in English has declined overall).
    • Sharply curtailed vocabulary. Characters use fairly small numbers of very clipped, short, simple words with more possible meanings and connotations. In addition to a bone, the word "skull," for instance, also sees use as a noun or verb for almost anything related to thought or imagination, "buddy" for almost any social relationships or alliances, "movie" as the adjective for almost anything positive, etc.
    • Verb conjugation rules seem to be largely out the window. Present tense is used extensively, and many verbs are used interchangeably as adjectives.
    • A few miscellaneous tics. "But" is always preceded by "and" for no discernible reason. "Fuck" is used as a tic or intensifier (see Cluster F-Bomb above). "Brown" seems to have supplanted "shit" as an obscenity, but its grammatical context is completely unchanged from the previous term.
    • One of the side stories in Crossed +100 MIMIC is set in 2060, 52 years after C-Day. It features a young woman named Remy Crowell who is writing the last words into her diary before her fortified settlement is overrun by a large band of Crossed (perhaps one of the last such bands left outside the Salt Clan). It provides an interesting glimpse into the evolution of the English language in the years and decades since the fall of civilization. Remy's writing already shows traces of what the language will be like in Future's time, as she uses words like "skull", "opsy" and "fuck" the same way that Future and her contemporaries use decades later. However, her language is otherwise very recognizable to an English-speaking person of the early 21st century. Meanwhile, James, the oldest man in the settlement and the only one who was alive during C-Day, speaks ordinary early 21st century English on account of his age and background.
  • Gang of Hats:
    • In "Psychopath" we see two tribes of Crossed who've developed different habits. The Skinfaces who cut off their victims faces and wear them on various parts of their body, and the Bloodskins who soak in their victims bloods until they absorb enough of it to give their skin a red tint.
    • Amanda, the survivor of Psychopath, notes in a later story that groups of Crossed can develop a "theme" due to boredom, because they were like-minded people prior to infection (an example being the rescue/medical team from "The Lesser of 2 Evils") or because their leader(s) found something that they liked (such as a specific form of self-mutilation) and had their followers adopt it. One of the clearest examples is in Yellow Belly, where the majority of the Crossed are dressed as clowns because the outbreak initially starts at a circus, but it's later shown that even people that were newly Crossed the next day are put into clown makeup to fit the theme.
    • The Professor's tribe in Homo Tortor style themselves after the titular (fictional) race of humans. The final arc of Badlands has a group of Homo Tortor lookalike Crossed show up as opponents of Smokey who are forcibly incoporated into his band, which may or may not be the same band.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Steve in "Homo Superior". If it's short for anything, we don't find out.
    • Roshan is also more typically a boys name in Pakistan.
  • Genre Savvy: In "The Lesser of 2 Evils," Morgan and Olivia have managed to survive in the middle of C-Day through their makeup skills and by following the lessons contained in their copy of Surviving D-Day, a guide to living through the Zombie Apocalypse. This fails to save them.
  • Genre Shift: The "Thin Red Line" arc of Badlands is this, in part due to it's nature as an Origins Episode for the franchise, where it takes on aspects of a geopolitical thriller as Gordon Brown and his advisers attempt to deal both with the emerging pandemic and the possibility of nuclear armageddon while a medical team attempts to find the cause of the infection as the world begins to tear itself apart. Most noticeable is the minimal use of the series' trademark Gorn, which is instead used sparingly and effectively.
    • Also the actual Crossed (i.e. those with the facial rash, the unspeakably violent/sadistic behavior, and the retention of their human intelligence) only begin to appear halfway through the arc, though several different strains of Proto-Crossed ranging from the mindlessly homicidal and sadistic (such as Harry's friend's security team and the villagers who attacked the nearby airbase) to the suicidal (the villagers who hurled themselves into the gorge) to the simply crazy.
  • Gladiator Games: in one of his more impressive/less despicable moments, Cody suggests to Smokey that due to there being so few humans, he entertain the troops by having the stupid or disobedient ones kill each other once a week (comparing it to Friday night prize fights). Smokey is skeptical until Cody suggests having them try to think of creative and gruesome new ways to kill each other every time, at which point Smokey gives a Slasher Smile.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: A possible explanation for the origin of the Crossed virus. As revealed in The Thin Red Line the British man identified as the outbreak's patient zero (or one of them at least) has nightmarish visions of many various atrocities throughout human history. Worse yet, many of these visions are of events that he could not possibly have known about (he says as much himself), adding further credence to idea that the virus is a supernatural phenomenon. It's possible (but by no means confirmed) that everyone infected with the virus goes through this and become Crossed because said visions irrevocably shatter their sanity.
  • Go Out with a Smile: The Crossed, being what they are, usually keep smiling even when mortally wounded.
  • Gorn: Those murders and rapes mentioned above? All drawn in loving detail.
    • Remember the Reavers from Firefly? Who'll rape you to death, eat your flesh, and sew your skins into their clothing? (If you're very VERY lucky, ...In That Order). Well, in that show, you didn't see any of it. Here, however...
    • The series even has "torture" variant covers for people who think the standard editions don't have enough Gorn.
  • Graceful Ladies Like Purple: occasionally. Kelly is a good example, although given her blindness she wouldn't have picked most of her own clothes.
  • Gratuitous Rape: The Crossed really like their rape. Dubbed "buggerkill" in "Wish You Were Here."
  • Grew a Spine: Lloyd spends most of his page-time to terrified of the Gamekeeper either killing or abandoning him and Agnes to stop him from raping her, but eventually declares that enough is enough after he and Ashoke founds some shotguns in a store they were salvaging, took one and went to confront the Gamekeeper It ended poorly.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: In Dead or Alive, a scene also occurs in which one of the Crossed picks up a baby and starts beating people with it. This trope at its most uncomfortable.
  • Groin Attack: There's some...pretty graphic ones in the series.
    • Less graphic is Nathalie's response to learning her boyfriend Ryan raped Emiko. Though Emiko later threatens Ryan with castration, she doesn't follow through on the threat.
  • Gun Nut: Lewis in Homo Tortor had so many guns he was paranoid the government would seize them. Joe (the cop from Richie's group in DOA) is also noted as spending most of his time cleaning and maintaining his gun.
  • Happily Married: Emiko's parents. The Masouds, the Thackerys and Skip and Jackie in Wish You Were Here. Eventually Future and Mustuqba.
  • Has a Type: We never meet the fiance he lost on C-Day but Shaky's other love interests Aoileann and Tabitha both have long blonde hair and a lot of determination -as does Elisa who he’s also attracted to but never makes a move on.
    • The girls Edmund feels attracted to are all trim brunettes.
    • Both of Cody’s love interests, Anna and Violet, have long dark hair, and at least a little defiance, and wear purple.
  • Hate Plague: The Crossed have absolutely no inhibitions and a cruel intelligence. When there aren't uninfected to hunt, they turn on each other.
  • Head-in-the-Sand Management: The Im’am spends a long time disbelieving Future about the Salt Clan and once she finally finds out they're right, dithers and has no good strategy about what to do next when they're surrounded by Crossed and have a week to decide whether they want to accept their deal or die at their hands. This leads to a coup by Knight Templar Bailey.
    • By the end of Grave New World, Barnes is focusing too much on internal issues to be vigilant against the Crossed.
    • In the first Badlands arc, Ian was part of a group that had three de facto leaders, squabbling constantly (one who was convinced there was surviving society in England and wanted to go back there, one was a constable who was convinced the army would come for them if they stuck where they were, and the third guy just kept insulting the other two). When they couldn’t even agree to argue softly enough to ensure that no nearby Crossed would hear them, Ian decided that Screw This, I'm Outta Here!.
  • Happy Ending Override: The Livers ends with Amanda finally joining the Livers and serving them a fresh meal (a man whom she rescued in the beginning of the arc). Breakdown, however, opens with Amanda alone and her companions (Dr. Kong and Dr. Candy) captured, with the former killed and the latter being infected and then killed as well.
  • Heel Realization: Harold has somewhat lucid moments throughout Psychopath where he realizes what a monster he really is. They don't last long, unfortunately.
    • Edmund realizes exactly how catastrophic being a Dirty Coward has been for people around him pretty early on in Yellow Belly. Despite this, he continues to act cowardly right up until the end where he finally acts bravely only to get murdered for his earlier cowardice by the woman he saved.
  • Hero of Another Story: Due to the nature of the franchise, there are quite a few protagonists. Jackson of Wish You Were Here definitely qualifies, though, and he is also the protagonist in the Crossed Annual.
    • Captain Juneaux and his team could easily have been at the center of an arc of their own, as they were a unit of special forces personnel acting under the orders of the remnants of the US government to ensure that all nuclear power plants were shut off before they could melt down, and kill the scientists and technicians helping them so that they couldn't turn them back on and blow them up Chernobyl-style if they got Crossed. However, instead Juneaux's journal is read by Stan in one issue of volume 1 and the fate of the rest of his team is not revealed.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: A recurring theme. In order to survive the plague, the uninfected are often pushed to extremes themselves.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Sutter is seemingly benevolent, saving dozens of people from the Crossed. In truth, he did not care about their survival, he only hates the Crossed. The people he brought to Haven were only saved by him to serve as bait and he rigged the base of Haven to explode when he detonated it with the goal of killing as many Crossed as possible.
  • Hidden Depths: Todd the Australian trucker is a fat slob who wants to "repopulate" with his (dubiously voluntary) harem. He also enjoys listening to Australian nature documentaries while driving.
    • Alec, from the first Badlands arc, seems kind of stupid and is introduced, wanting to go fishing with grenades when the noise might draw Crossed and they can't spare a grenade. However he also has the awesome moment of that arc, when he's the one who tricks a small group of Crossed into turning on each other just by throwing some rocks into their midst from cover, while the rest of his group is panicking.
    • Clooney's girlfriend Tabitha, while participating in the creepy hedonism of Welles and the other guests and humiliating Clooney, does care enough about him to go and let him out of his cell when the Crossed are breaking into the place. Unfortunately for her, she finds him infected, waiting for her and not in a forgiving mood.
    • Cold Sniper Elisa balks at Don's idea of "experimenting" on an infected toddler from their group to look for weaknesses in the Crossed.
    • The mute, illiterate Cavaite Boy apparently had enough skills or spunk to have been on the sortie which first encountered Shaky and brought him to Cava.
    • Two of Wentz's henchmen, Donnie and Soaks. Despite the Super-Persistent Predator nature of the Crossed, Fat Idiot Donnie managed to spend the first week after C-Day playing a cat and mouse game with an infected Omar without leaving Wentz's mansion, before Land showed up looking for both of them. Soaks remained by Wentz following his Heel–Faith Turn, when he left the (apparently) safe Catalina to go and try rescue people on the mainland, although whether this was due to a Heel–Face Turn of his own or simple Undying Loyalty to Wentz is never elaborated on.
    • Of the bunker survivors during the final Badlands arc, we have Anna, who initially appears to just be either a trophy girlfriend or High-Class Call Girl, but proves to be a Badass Driver during the escape attempt, and Lloyd, who despite being considered useless by Cody was apparently the only person in the bunker who also managed to save his family and get them there.
    • Frank in American Quitters. He may be a New-Age Retro Hippie who is trying to OD on the ultimate high to go out on his own terms, but, as the comic itself says, "hippie can shoot."
  • Hope Spot: Despite how bad things are in the series, it sometimes gives a tiny, tiny ray of hope for the survivors.
    • Possibly the worst in the first series is when a small pack of Crossed is chasing Patrick. The survivors, fed up with running and hiding all the time, heroically charge in and get a little payback, annihilating the Crossed, only to find that Patrick has turned anyway.
    • Well into Wish You Were Here a character is introduced who is described as being some kind of super scientist who may even be immune to the cross virus. He takes a knife to the throat barely an issue after he's introduced.
    • A tribe of Australian Aborigines retreat into the outback to safety in the Crossed 2013 Special, protected from invasion by the Crossed's notorious lack of self-preservation. The implication is that even if the rest of Australia is dead to a man, they'll be fine.
    • Gordon Brown experiences this in Thin Red Line when one of his aides tells him that they may have stopped the spread of the infection in Britain at the last minute, with said aide explaining that the cordons south of Nottingham appear to be holding and that any large-scale refugee movement (which is spreading the virus) can be contained. Of course, those who have read the first arc of Badlands as well as Wish You Were Here and The Fatal Englishman (which features Gordon Brown's bodyguards five years later) know better...
    • In #70, while a bare fraction of the evacuees made it out of San Diego alive, Land manages to get one ship out of the city, along with its load of civilians and survivors, and it actually finds safe harbor.
    • "Anti-Crossed" ends with Butch and Patrick helping Leigha free herself before leaving, and she burns the comic book store down on her way out. She's alone, but she's free.
    • In Quisling, a few of the National Guardsmen Oliver betrays almost get away in their chopper, before Smokey throws an infected child into the rotor blades, splattering blood everywhere and infecting a soldier who ha grabbedd the landing gear and was just climbing in.
    • Another helicopter-related one involving Smokey has Cody and most of his group having almost made it clear, when Smokey appears above them in the chopper he hijacked.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Edmund from "Yellow Belly" is easily distracted by pretty girls.
  • Horrifying the Horror: In Volume One, Geoff confesses to being a Serial Killer before The Crossed showed up. He describes his first encounter as picking up a "drunk" young man and taking him home to butcher him as he'd done many others, only for him to turn out to be Crossed and proceeded to vulgarly goad him into doing his thing. Geoff was so freaked out that he abandoned The Crossed man in the basement and never looked back.
  • Hospital Hottie: Dr. Tang and Lori in 3D. Karen becomes one of these reluctantly, as while she's Not That Kind of Doctor, she's also the Closest Thing We Got in Cody's bunker, and thus does have to operate on a man who needs an appendectomy he doesn't survive the operation.
  • Hot for Teacher: During a flashback in the Wish You Were Here webcomic arc, a female Crossed at a cafe starts ranting about how she wants to be given detention by (read: have violent sex with) her geography instructor.
    • A straighter example plays out in Tabitha's backstory in the same arc. Tabitha was an art teacher in a sexual relationship with a student. After the student turned Crossed, his apparent remaining attachment to her caused his peers to beat him to death.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: All humans have the potential to be monsters, with Stan pointing out that however horrible the Crossed are, they never do anything that ordinary humans cannot also do.
    • "The Thin Red Line" reveals that one of the patient zeroes of the initial outbreak (and possibly all of them) were overcome by visions of atrocities committed throughout history (the Holocaust, the Balkans genocide, the Cambodian Killing Fields are all mentioned) and then all of human history (9/11, the suppression of the Indian Mutiny, biblical child sacrifice) which they then decided to imitate. It is yet unclear as to whether this was due to the "prototype" virus infecting them (which had many different effects as it evolved to the full Crossed infection), whether this mass hallucination actually created the virus, or (as speculated by the doctor researching the plague during the initial crisis) whether this infection was always within humanity and was only now emerging.
    • The main character of "Shrink" is revealed to have been molesting his younger brother all throughout childhood, which is implied to be the reason for why the brother became such an asshole.
    • One of the covers for "Badlands" has an uninfected woman tied to the end of a race track while several Crossed with their legs cut off crawl toward her and a large crowd of spectators place bets and cheer. All of the spectators are uninfected.
    • The society of Casper Compound in Crossed +100 Mimic is a stratified class society, where the soldiers can basically do whatever they want to the "support" personnel, i.e., civilians who serve the soldiers. It was so bad that the civilians are actually better off under Fleshcook's rule than they ever were under the non-infected soldiers.
    • Father Dennis' own parishioners threw him and the children under his care out in The Fatal Englishman to face certain death and worse at the hands of the Crossed.
  • Hypocrite: Harry spends most of The Fatal Englishman being a troll to Father Dennis about the corrupt church aspects of Catholicism, but when Dennis brings up the darker side of the British Empire (whose legacy Harry is kind of nostalgic about), he doesn't really take it to heart (admitting Dennis has a point, but saying the comparison isn't as strong as he thinks).
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The Livers from The Livers eat "nogwumps," which are people from outside their group who are deemed unfit. Amanda is more than happy to join in by the end, bringing the corpse of a man she had earlier saved from a pit trap she found hanging from a snare to the bunker for dinner.
  • The Immune: In Crossed +100, we're introduced to Beauregard Salt, a serial killer of such profound insanity that he did not notice being infected, and viewed the atrocities of C-Day as beautiful. He's effectively immune to the Crossed virus because it didn't show him anything he didn't already know.
    • A straight example is suggested with one of the survivors in Johnson's group during the "Wish You Were Here" webcomic arc. It's impossible to know if he was actually immune or if Johnson was lying, because he dies very quickly after his introduction.
  • Improbable Weapon User: In the first arc, a Crossed uses the severed reproductive organ of an equine specimen. Or, in layman's terms HORSECOCK!
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Completely subverted. The Shingon monks in Gore Angels are ascetic vegans who wouldn't hurt a fly. Even that didn't stop them from turning into rapist-murderer-cannibals after being infected.
    • Kelly and Thomas are the characters from the first volume who manage to hang onto their ideals and innocence the most even after Thomas is infected, although he implies that he only has seconds left before succumbing to the Crossed impulse before running for the nearest cliff.
    • Zigzagged with Rab, who actually does lose his Honor Before Reason characteristics that Shaky took for granted in the first arc, but he doesn't lose is protectiveness of the rest of the group, and ultimately, through a little hard pragmatism, succeeds in a Batman Gambit that Shaky doubts he would have thought of.
    • Hazuki in Five Bloody Fingers proves to be the straightest example of this trope as far as Crossed infectees go. Admittedly, upon getting Crossed, she proceeds to give her father a "Reason You Suck" Speech that drives him to suicide, orders Usama the lion to eat his remains and contemplates having intercourse with Usama, but beyond that allows herself to be tied up by her uninfected friends and refuses to harm them despite being capable of ordering her lion to attack them if nothing else.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Harold believes that the Crossed virus absorbs and locks away the good part, the soul, of a person, leaving only evil impulses behind. By this logic he believes that if he feeds the infected flesh of his dead stalker crush to Amanda (whom he believes is a pure and untainted innocent) the virus will have no evil to absorb and will release Lori's soul into Amanda's body, allowing Lori to be reborn. Luckily he never gets to test the theory.
  • Instant Expert: Sometimes played straight for narrative purposes, but often averted. In Badlands Issue 93, when Lloyd suggests breaking out their guns to try and fight Smokey, Cody replies that while Ben knows how to shoot from his time in the army, Cody and Lloyd have only ever hunted animals before, and no one else has even done that, and he doesn't like their chances.
    • In the same arc, the dermatologist in Cody's bunker is tasked with performing an appendectomy. She fails and the man she operated on dies as a result of her unfamiliarity with that field (or perhaps of adequate equipment and other resources).
    • Also, a cover of one of the +100 issues shows a group of survivors in a besieged airport, with the Crossed attacking at the fences while being held back by some soldiers, while the other members of the group looking at the manual for the airplane they're loading up and trying to figure out how it works.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: Immediately after the Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap! above, Karen expresses skepticism at Cody's claims that Smokey saw them, asking what the odds are that he'd understand the meaning of the periscope even if he did see it. The next panel has Smokey calling down to them "little pig, little pig, let me in." Causing a Mass "Oh, Crap!" moment.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: With fellow Avatar Press title Mercury Heat, sort of. It's so far been implied that the "Crossed" that appear there are in fact merely facsimiles that were somehow created by a pair of deranged fans of the franchise.
  • Informed Attribute: Shows up a lot in Wish You Were Here, along with ''Informed Flaw. Shaky repeatedly speculates that Elisa is a sociopath despite her visibly displaying empathy on several occasions. He theorizes that Rab might he happier surviving without the others early on but this isn't supported by the series. He claims that Camp Gay Jamie has a persecution complex, and a crush on Rab, but neither of these are really displayed. And he calls Jackie a "gossipy she-cat" even though she probably has the least dialogue out of all of the adult Cavaites. A lot of this can be put down to Unreliable Narrator, or The Law of Conservation of Detail.
  • Ironic Echo: Early in Wish You Were Here, Rab and Don argue about whether or not to send out a sortie, with Don asserting they can't just expect food to appear out of nowhere, and Rab being reluctant to go looking for trouble. The meeting is interrupted by news that a boat with a cow inside it has drifted up to Cava, and Rab and Don instantly throw each others arguments against each other while arguing about whether or not to get the cow and the boat. The boat turns out to have been rigged with a grenade.
  • Iwo Jima Pose: On the cover of issues 7 of "Family Values". The difference between it and other homages is that they're planting the flag into some guy's mouth.
  • It Can Think: While some bands of Crossed display basic planning and bits of intelligence The Salt Clan in +100 have developed a sort of (for Crossed) society that can practice restraint, basic agriculture and domestication and, most frighteningly enough, mimic uninfected humans. Regular Crossed arent actually less intelligent, they just lose the capacity to utilize it properly in favor of mindless sadism and hedonism.
    • Long before that, Smokey, the first infected to show genuine intelligence, was shown to not only posses intelligence, but also the ability to plan, speak, and most importantly, delay his sadistic gratification, unlike his near-mindless brethren.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Already in the beginning of the outbreak, the survivors were referring to Crossed as things rather than people, as shown when Stan, Cindy and their group refer to the cop's Crossed prisoner in his squad car as a "thing" and "it." Subverted on Stan's part at the end, when he's come to the realization that the Crossed are really no different from non-infected humans in terms of their evil.
  • Jailbait: Roshan of "Wish You Were Here" is the fifteen-year old daughter of the only Muslim family on the island. She's also very sexually active, and flashes Shaky at one point. Despite being tempted, Shaky doesn't follow up on her come ons, partially out of fear of her strict father, partially because her age makes him uncomfortable.
    • Interestingly, Roshan's mother is fully aware of her daughter's behavior, but she apparently tolerates it and keeps it a secret from her husband.
    • Ashley and Ashlynne, the identical twin sisters in Homo Superior, also qualify as this.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk:
    • Don initially seems like an example of a particularly cold Pragmatic Hero, despite his flaws, until the third volume, when it becomes more It's All About Me.
    • Commander Chief Nathan’s efforts to liberate Camp Casper initially buy him a little credit from the readers of MIMIC, but the confirmation that he just wants to put things back to the way they were before the Crossed drove him out and him planning to kill Julie (so that the other "support" personnel don't get any ideas about improving their station) cement him as an Asshole Victim.
  • Karma Houdini: Smokey, the Twins, and possibly Harold Lorre are major examples, but all pale in comparison to Beauregard Salt who set monstrous stuff into motion but apparently died contently of old age and at the end of +100 many of his descendants are still kicking strong.
    • Also, the only real-life person specifically mentioned to have survived at least the early stages of the epidemic is Vladimir Putin, in The Thin Red Line. Though given the situation, it's far from guaranteed he made it much longer than any other world leaders. And his role in the arc is attempting to avert a nuclear war from breaking out during the outbreak, leading to him outright begging Gordon Brown to shoot down the rogue bombers.
  • Kill 'Em All: Don't expect any more then a handful of the characters to survive.
    • Badlands's first arc is the first to completely kill off or infect its cast.
    • Same thing with the second arc.
    • This is also the solution that the remnants of the US government resort to during the outbreak with regard to the country's nuclear physicists and technicians. This means that virtually all knowledge about nuclear power and its operation is wiped out; however, it also means that the Crossed are unable to blow up more than a couple of nuclear power plants Chernobyl-style.
  • King Incognito: not a king of course, but Dora, the captain of the Drift Fleet spins a while posing as a lower-ranking member of the group while having one of her men dress up as the captain.
  • Lady of War: Captain Dora of the driftfleet turns out to be this in Volume 3, Chapter 19 of WYWH. She shows Shaky just how much more at a higher level she is than smug snake Don.
    Shaky (narrates): "In Dora's eyes the calculation happened. I could see it. The cost weighed against the benefit. You could see her reading back the little note I wrote her. You could see her comparing this with that. Watching it...? Watching it made me feel stupid I didn't guess she was the real captain earlier. Dora made Don look like a fumbling middle-manager.
  • La Résistance: there are rebels in the Les Collaborateurs settlements: Archivist Reed in Kingstenn. and someone in Fayettville who painted the signs “gone to church” and "stay away" on the road to warn away travelers who might have stopped there.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Shaky gets this when, upon the expedition returning to Cava, he finds out that Rab has told everyone about the incident with the Crossed child and that he forced Rab to put him on the team to the mainland. This results in everyone on the island mistrusting and ostracizing him.
    • And now the chickens have really come home to roost for Shaky as the surviving Cavaites prepare to leave the island, without him. Rab ensures this by smashing Shaky's ankles while Skip and Jamie hold him down. Though all of them have very morose and apologetic expressions during this, signifying that they take no pleasure in crippling Shaky.
    • Oliver and Cody both betray people to Smokey in order to save their lives, only to be put through such horrors that they're soon willing to give up their lives for the opportunity to stop him.
  • Laughing Mad: The Crossed tend to do this frequently. In the "Wish You Were Here" webcomic arc, Skip plays this straighter, laughing hysterically as he escapes Blackpool by boat.
    • In The Thin Red Line, this is implied to be what has become of George W. Bush by the time Britain is able to place a call to the White House.
  • Lemony Narrator: The narration in American Quitters. Highlights include warning Errol and Frank not to eat the drugged food twice, "foreshadowing alert: hippie can shoot" and this bit following the priest being left as bait for the Crossed as he'd intended to do with Frank and Errol.
    Narrator: They totally knew.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: When Matthew Pratt is bitten on the leg by his infected mother, Addy manages to cut it off before he's turned.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Fleshcock is presented as being this both to the average Crossed, other Salt Clan Crossed, and the local humans under Commander-Chief Nathan.
  • Lighter and Softer: +100 feels like this at times, with humanity having survived despite a century of absolute hell, managing to give the Crossed what for on multiple occasions and the violence being (slightly) toned down once Si Spurrier took over the writing.
    • The ending of the webcomic arc "Dead or Alive" can come across this way, although it's very relative given the nature of the series. The protagonist of the arc is an apparent sociopath who was badly broken even before the Crossed showed up. He projects this attitude out to everyone else to justify it, assuming that his group mates are either useless or as bad as he is and therefore not to be trusted. They aren't. In a rare point where this series actually has a moral played straight, they stay alive by caring for each other and retaining their humanity. The protagonist dies horribly because of an attempt to kill them and "escape" the people who have been keeping him alive.
  • Little Miss Badass: Ten-year-old Merrily Pratt is a crack rifle shot.
  • Loincloth: In issue #4, we see a Crossed wearing one. It's made out of some guy's face.
  • Loves the Sound of Screaming: Volume 4 of "Wish You Were Here" gives this as the reason the Crossed don't usually attack each other. No matter what they do, their victim will just laugh through it all. And that takes all of the fun out of it.
  • Madonna–Whore Complex: This is Harold Lorre's main problem.
  • Mafia Princess: Hazuki in the Five Bloody Fingers arc. Her father is a Yakuza oyabun.
  • Mama Bear: Everything Cindy does in the first series is to protect her son Patrick, including shooting a cop without any hesitation whatsoever.
  • Meaningful Name: Loads of them, although some may have been unintentional.
    • In the first volume, Arwen is named after a Lord of the Rings character, implying that her parents were fantasy lovers and the kind to seek a Magic Bullet solution. That same volume has Sheena (as a bit of foreshadowing), given that she has blonde hair and is last seen falling, in an area surrounded by trees like Sheena, Queen of the Jungle and Randall, whose name comes from the German name Randolph which means shield plus wolf and when he is infected, he’s like a wolf in sheep clothing.
    • In Wish You Were Here Given how Skip's job involves staying on the boat whenever he brings people ashore, Shaky feels he gets to skip out on the real danger on sorties. Shaky is a nickname but he does keep writing, while working to build the story that he's living rather than just participate it and rely on others. In the first issue he also says it’s not because he shakes a little bit when shooting, but he does in fact shake, and this is a hint of his cowardice dominating him in critical situations. The surname Masoud means fortunate, prosperous happy and lucky- which describe Roshan fairly well (at least initially) and also (except maybe the happy part for Mr. Masoud) the family as a whole until they lose their son given how few families had all their members survive that long. Mark the cheesemaker's name might be a reference towards the Royal Mark cheddar brand. In various slangs, Jasper can mean outsider, heckle and abuse, or be an insult to your intelligence, all of which describe the character to a T. Lloyd Thackery’s name sounds a lot like Lord, which he is, indicating privilege, some nobility of character but also being used to relying on others (all of which also apply to another Lloyd, who appears in Badlands). Finally, the Gamekeeper is a synonym to the word "huntsman" with hunting being one of his useful perks.
    • Hunt Mc Avoy, upon being infected, does go on to hunt after his former group and was a rigid police detective before C-Day.
    • Joseph Pratt and his brother Eli are named for biblical figures and he named his sons in that way (Joseph Jr., Matthew, Eli, John and Paul) yet save for Hannah, none of his daughters have biblical names hinting that he holds women lower and/or doesn’t want a biblical reminder due to his incestuous feelings towards them.
    • Edmund’s could be a reference to another Edmund who was also a dark-haired coward who made some bad judgment calls.
    • Danger Montana; twofold; he faces dangers and is the first of the Livers to die. As Amanda lampshades it’s clearly not his real name, finting at his fantasist nature. He’s the least physically dangerous to Amanda but does draw her into the Livers mentality.
    • Leland Barnes was also the name of a manipulative, unrepentant killer on Law & Order who brought misery to everyone around him and was manipulative and unrepentant.
    • +100 takes the cake in this regard, with lots of characters having names that signify the hopes the generation which was finally turing the tide on the Crossed. We have Future Taylor, Morning Addison, Mustubqba the Chooga archivist (his name also means future, in Arabic anyway, with an l at the end), Hope Keller, Coal Captain Carpe Dee (short for Carpe Deim), Enthusiasm and Opportunity Smith, and Forward Dietrich. The most meaningful of them all, is Cautious Optimism Kryswickzi, whose name in retrospect is telling the readers to feel cautious about being optimistic about this seeming brighter future. Opportunity Smith and Carpe Dee also show prove to have meaningful names in another way when [they presumably join most of their town in trying to capture Future and Genheim to hand over to the Crossed to save some of their own people. Possibly Archivist Reed (if that’s her first name) as in "read" books. Insa's (short for the Ray Bradbury line "Insanity is Relative") name symbolizes how her culture is more well-read, but also that she is a Crossed collaborator, working with insanity that she finds relative. The Crossed child Now’s name might symbolize by how it is a time of intelligent Crossed. Im’am Fair subverts this is she’s not a good leader, or a fair person, at least not initially. Genheim Mc Blarney does indeed sell a lot of blarney as a hobby, and after his death, Bailey sells a version of what happened to him that is also blarney to avoid alienating his people. Genheim's son, Oneway averts this, as by leaving Bailey’s army when they’re heading into a trap, he avoids going on a oneway mission. Camp Casper on the other hand only has normal names (except for a few militaristic ones like D-Day Kendall), symbolizing the compound's refusal to look forward to the future and attempts to keep its people and culture repressed.
    • While most Crossed nicknames are ones they get later in life for specific, often physical reasons (like No-Nose, Stump, Face, and Fleshcock) others play this straighter. Robbie Greer/Jokermercy had that name from infancy, and it suits him perfectly as he often delivers horrific terms of surrender that he considers "merciful" with a Slasher Smile, as if it's all a big joke to him. Also played straight with the seven “children” of Beau Salt (although most of them are long dead and only mentioned in Salt's diary). Bashful isn’t a frontline general for the most part and prefers to have his Mouth of Sauron conduct business for him. Sneezy is bent on “total infection” and wants to spread the Crossed disease to everyone in the world. Happy seems to have been one of the comparatively less sadistic and more stable members of the Salt clan based on his disciple Fleshcock’s claims and behavior. Doc took part in behavior conditioning for Deep Cover Agent Jokemercy and others like him to overcome their psychology and infiltrate human settlements. Sleepy’s branch of the Salt clan are also described as zealots who haven't awakened from Salt’s posthumous sway and are viewed fairly negatively even by the others (while remaining below the radar like sleeper agents). Grumpy was Salt's original enforcer. Dopey was apparently the least intelligent of the seven, dying prematurely of AI Ds after violating Salt’s rule about not having sex outside of their group. Outside of the Salt clan, another Crossed example is Smokey. While his nickname came from fireman status (or at least looking like he had such status), it gradually turns into this a bit given how his plans keep going up in smoke.
  • Monster Clown: Since "Yellow Belly" involves a group of Crossed who were circus workers, a couple of these appear.
  • Mood Whiplash: Issue four opens with a discussion about the ramifications of shooting the dog. And then... HORSECOCK!.
    • Badlands issue 91 opens with a humorous scene where a group of comic book geeks and nerds complain about the lack of new material as a result of the Crossed apocalypse... and then they're revealed to be holding a female comic book writer/artist as a sex slave.
    • The Cavaities having a nice moment of bonding after one of their members completes a dangerous mission suddenly turns grim and terrified when they hear gunshots and he comes running back with Crossed in pursuit.
  • Monumental Damage: Averted in the 2013 Special, where Uluru/Ayer's Rock is shown to be intact though hosting a camp of refugees from Australia's west coast mixed in with Aborigines. The refugees are later infected by a Crossed David, though the Aborigines manage to escape.
  • Morality Pet: Haley is this for both Gavin Land and Wentz.
  • Morton's Fork: Happens quite a bit.
    • Cody's group find themselves in a classic example of this at the beginning of Badlands issue 94. They can either stay in the bunker and wait for their air to run out, or try to break out and hope that they can outrun or outthink Smokey.
    • The patrol boat captain a few issues later is seen telling one of his men (who's protesting the risk of going ashore to forage for food) that the only other option is cannabalism, right before they come under attack by Smokey.
    • The various communities surrounded by the Salt Clan get a doozy of this; either serve as Les Collaborateurs by offering ten people as a sacrifice every year, destroying their archives and suffering various other depravities (not to mention eventually being forced to fight against the humans reclaiming Crossed territory who view them as traitors), or the Crossed will wipe them out on the spot (with all of the communities before Murfreesboro that refused the deal having been on the receiving end of a Curb-Stomp Battle, although at least some of those battles did leave survivors).
    • Mrs. Pratt infecting herself to save her daughter from Joseph in Family Values is a good thing in the short term, but she only proves to be an even bigger threat to her whole family afterwards, wanting to infect them all so they can be together again and killing anyone who gets in her way.
  • Murder by Mistake: An interesting version happens with Jethro in Family Values. Mrs. Pratt seems to think he’s her son Matthew while ambushing and infecting him until she gets a good look at his face.
  • Mutual Kill: In the final issue of +100 Mustaqba, who had been stabbed in the abdomen with a knife by Jokemercy, manages to rip it out of his body and then jam it into Jokemercy's throat right when the latter shoots him in the head with a pistol.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Welles from "Golden Road" is said to give a different version of his life story whenever he's asked. Given his personality, it's likely he does it for no other reason than to screw with people.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Cody, Oliver, and Shaky, unsurprisingly, by the ends of their stories. Lance has a bit of his after John dies fixing a mistake he made. Wentz laments this after seeing how ruthless he made Land as a result of the depravities he put him and his family through.
  • Mysterious Past: Quite often (given most characters reluctance to talk about their past lives and previous survival). Notable examples include Smokey (whose origins, and whether or not he was actually a fireman or just took ones coat are never revealed) and half of the cast of Grave New World. Dr. El-Sayeed and Kimo were both mentioned to have been prisoners in the United States Navy Brig in Norfolk on C-Day, before Barnes let them out but it's never revealed what crimes they had been arrested for. Peter Bingham and the Stillwells are implied to have been pleasure boaters who were at sea during C-Day but it's unclear whether they were together or not, and how Barnes found them. Finally, Barnes keeps four children stowed below decks, for their own safety, but it's never revealed who their parents are or whether Barnes rescued them from the Naval Base or pleasure crafts.
  • Mystical Plague: While it is speculated throughout the franchise that the infection is some divine punishment or other supernatural phenomena, this trope is seemingly averted... until "The Thin Red Line" arc. In this story it is revealed that the virus is utterly alien to science on an atomic scale, and it grants one of the "Patient Zeroes" horrifically vivid supernatural hallucinations of historical atrocities he had no previous awareness of, as well as knowledge about things he had literally no mundane way of discovering.
  • Namedar: Given just how fast the infection seems to have spread, it seems a little odd that every group of survivors refer to the Crossed by the same name. Averted in "Wish You Were Here" since the survivors refer to them as "plus-faces" instead.
  • Nice Guy: Deconstructed with Aoileann. The series looks at the traits that might make a person genuinely nice if they were deeply internalized (self denial, a desire to form connections with others, etc.), gives them to a random person, and then infects her with the Hate Plague that created the Crossed. Since those traits are such a strong part of her personality, they remain with her after she becomes a monster, only the ends they're directed to become warped and horrifying.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: One of the characters, convinced that salt will kill the Crossed, attempts to stand against them by putting a ring of salt around himself and his family when his wife twists her ankle running from a pack of Crossed. It really doesn't go well.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Smokey inflicts such depravities on Oliver and Cody that they turn on him and ruin his plans even though it costs them their own lives. Before him, Horsecock goes after people tough enough to kill him and his group when they'd just wanted to avoid him.
  • No Name Given: Quite a few characters are never named in the story, including some that have relevent roles in the plot.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Discussed in "Wish You Were Here."
  • Not in Front of the Kid: In the first arc, Cindy calmly reminds her companions not to swear in front of Patrick.
  • Not So Different: The Crossed not being as different from humanity as we'd like to think is a recurring theme. It's repeatedly stated everything the Crossed can do regular humans are also capable of. The series features characters who engage in murder, rape and even cannibalism and some characters have engaged in all of the above. Sociopaths are also highlighted in a wide range of forms, including the protagonist of Dead On Arrival who abandoned his fiancee to die in a plane crash and the two girls possessing the survival guide in Lesser of Two Evils who use the guide to justify manipulating the group of survivors they join into almost completely destroying themselves so they can steal their supplies. Overall, in the world of the Crossed, Humans Are Bastards and the Crossed are simply humans unrestrained from impulse control.
  • No Zombie Cannibals: Averted, the Crossed will turn on each other if there are no regular people available. They just prefer humans due to the fact the Crossed are both sadist and masochist, which means torturing, raping and killing a fellow Crossed is far less satisfying. The fact they do attack each other when there's nothing else available is the reason many in the comics express optimism the Crossed will eventually die off.
  • Nuclear Hate: Mostly averted. Once governments recognize what's going on (i.e., that the Crossed retain enough humanity to use nuclear weapons, while losing enough to want to) they put as much effort as possible into making sure that their arsenals go unused. India doesn't retaliate when a group of Crossed in Pakistan hits New Delhi, and Thin Red Line uses the desire to avert this as a major plot point. Only Israel uses its weapons in full force, and it's unknown whether that was done by a group of Crossed or in horrified recognition that their neighboring countries were overrun.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Smokey's child "Cunt", who was thought to be capable of only saying his own name but turned out to be much more smarter than thought, all thanks to his mother and aunt, who had been secretly home-schooling him. He and the twins waited a long time to off Smokey.
  • Offhand Backhand: In "Family Values" Kate ends up delivering a baby in the middle of a Crossed attack, with Hannah helping. When Jethro tries to get Hannah to leave before it's finished, she elbows him in the face, all without losing her excited expression and still talking to Kate.
  • 1 Million B.C.: The setting for Kieron Gillen's Homo Tortor arc.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted, several names are reused throughout the series. There is Cody the friend of Emiko from Gore Angels and Cody the apocalypse bunker salesman from Badlands' final arc. Harry is the name of both the soldier and Prime Minister's body guard from The Fatal Englishman and The Thin Red Line and the ginger possible royal from Badlands' first arc. There are also three characters named Tabitha (Clooney's cheating girlfriend in Golden Road, Shaky's lover in Wish You Were Here and the old woman in Richie's group in Dead or Alive). Finally there is Richie the informal leader of the group in Lesser of Two Evils and Richie the sociopathic protagonist of Dead or Alive. There are also two characters named Thomas: a member of Cindy's group from Volume One and the real name of Fleshcook from Mimic.
    • A third Richie, a Kenyan student and a member of Jasper's group appears in Wish You Were Here, which also averted this when they had two men named John by nicknaming the second one Don.
  • Only in It for the Money: Openly stated by Martin, one of Wentz's Psycho for Hire's, who only protects Wentz and the rest of his entourage because he's getting paid, and starts raping Shirley as soon as he's left alone with her, after Wentz had apparently asked him to protect her.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The protagonist of "Wish You Were Here" is named Shaky, short for Shakespeare, which he was mockingly called by another survivor after telling him his occupation as a writer. He's never revealed his actual name, and none of the other characters have called him anything else. (Unless you count "cunt" as a name.)
  • Orderlies Are Creeps: Averted with Dr. Tang's orderly Joe, who helped her and her nurses evacuate the sick kids out of the city, and later goes back with her to salvage meds from their old hospital.
    • Apparently played straight with the rest of the staff at Aoileanns nursing home, who seemingly abandoned the patients.
  • Painting the Medium: All Crossed talk in a red, jagged font. One poor bastard develops the font before developing the rash.
  • Papa Wolf: Skip is an easygoing version of this in Wish You Were Here. Mr. Masoud is also pretty protective of his children. In +100 Frank Giacoma desires to lash out at the Crossed after the death of his daughter Hope.
  • Parental Incest: Joseph Pratt is not above raping his own daughters.
  • Patient Zero: This is explored in the Badlands arc, Thin Red Line. In it, it is revealed that the infection started in the summer of 2008 and that there is no single "Patient Zero", but individuals in every country on Earth that mysteriously became infected after seeing visions of the worst atrocities in human history. So far there have been several Patient Zero's explicitly or implicitly identified including a Russian soldier, a French villager, and a mysterious man in the UK who seems to be immune to the effects of the virus through sheer willpower.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Whatever Clooney has planned for depraved writer Gideon Welles and whoever is part of the Edgar Allan Poe-inspired orgy, including his own girlfriend. (After going with the one option that not even Gideon thought of) in The Golden Road, it isn't gonna be pretty.
    • Case you're curious, He plans to unleash the Crossed on them all!
  • Pet the Dog: Clint does this literally, caring deeply for his militia's pack of guard dogs, especially their Alpha, who is named after his wife.
    • Shaky covering Lance’s eyes and ears so he won't hear or see what his infected mother. is doing and saying.
    • Bobby Lee bringing Tanya and Anna to the bunker with him might be this.
    • The closest Harold Lorre comes to this is sincerely apologizing to Claire and admitting she doesn’t deserve the Cruel and Unusual Death he’s about to inflict on her.
    • As bad as shooting Greg in the knee was, Steve did stitch his wound and give him a loaded pistol before leaving him behind afterwards.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Harold breaks Rick's jaw with the butt of his pistol before killing him.
  • Playing Both Sides: Morgan and Olivia. Although their conversation with Tyree leaves it vague if they wanted to kill everyone or just weed out the poorer survivors.
  • Police Are Useless: Zig-Zagged but often played straight. Alan, Joe, and Hunt MacAvoy are all cops who prove to be competent survivors and assets to their groups, but are the exception, and not the rule.
    • The first arc shows that several cops tried to capture and interrogate Crossed about the infection, but only ended up turning as soon as any blood or spit got on their skin.
    • In the first Badlands arc, Ian recalls a constable in a group he briefly stayed with wanted to hunker down and wait for The Cavalry, even though said calvary weren't coming, and also got into a shouting match with a couple other survivors that they wouldn't stop even after being reminded that the noise risked drawing in the Crossed.
    • In The Golden Road Lorna largely averts this, she’s pretty competent, ties to rescue her family members and briefly advises Clooney and Nathan to fall back to Samarkand and try to organize a defense, while planning to head out there.
    • The first issue of Quisling also shows another small town cop (or maybe just a security guard) who lasted several months with a group, although Smokey finds them in a U-Haul and brutally kill the guy before he can get a shot off as Oliver watches grimly from a nearby building.
    • In The Thin Red Line a few cops are among the crisis personal brought to Gordon Brown’s bunker and while they don’t do that much, they are successfully able to barricade Patient Zero and a few infected soldiers inside a room although not before they yank Alistair inside.
    • In the annual Lockdown, the prison guards seem somewhat competent, both before and after the outbreak starts, but none of them last very long.
    • Pre-apocalypse this is played straight with the LAPD, who tell Land they know Curtis Wentz is a pornographer and heroin trafficker but can’t prove it (not even after Wentz sends Land letters gloating in prison), and Land himself doesn’t inspire confidence by going Cowboy Cop and managing to kill nearly everyone in the room except Wentz and his henchmen.
    • The Coast Guard also play this straight. Captain Barnes in Grave New World is a complete SOB with delusions of grandeur and a poor long-term plan, although his rescue of various civilians initially camouflages this. The patrol boat captain from the final Badlands arc has clearly made no efforts to save (or even take aboard) civilians or strike at the Crossed, instead focusing on simply staying at sea to survive until his ship runs out of food (not that this isn’t somewhat understandable given the setting). The fact that he casually offers to be Smokey’s collaborator and shows little concern for his crew beyond noting he needs some of them to keep the ship going cements his useless status.
  • Pregnant Badass: Steve is an unusually unsympathetic version of this but seeing her struggling to fight and evade the Crossed while in labor is the highlight of Homo Superior.
    • Kate in Family Values.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Mr. Masoud gets a chilling, tragic one right before killing his infected son.
    Mr. Masoud: Your gloves. And the mask. And now everyone please go away.
  • Pretend We're Dead: The group in "Psychopath" disguise themselves as Crossed as part of a plan to make two different groups kill each other. It works, but they always keep their distance. Trying to fool the Crossed at close range is probably a really bad idea. Especially as the Crossed have no aversion to brutally slaughtering each other if no other victims are available.
    • This was Father Dennis' plan in The Fatal Englishman. Harry and his men intervene because they have never seen it work.
    • This option is discussed in Quisling. It apparently can work at short distances (and was used by Oliver's group to escape a bookstore), but you will need to use blood (uninfected blood in particular as infected blood being placed on the skin will cause you to go Crossed) and not linger too long.
    • At the end of American Quitters, Frank gives himself cig burns across the face so he can walk up to Zeke the Geek amidst his horde undetected and stab him to death in Errol's stead. Of course, the rest of the horde turns on him immediately after.
    • In Lesser of Two Evils, Morgan and Olivia use cosplay makeup to disguise themselves as the Crossed. It's not clear if their approach worked on the Crossed themselves or if they just managed to avoid their attention, but it is sufficient enough to initially fool the survivor group they encounter.
  • Prison Rape: Callahan in Lockdown, apparently engages in this, although the level of consent is debatable. Martin invokes an unusual version of this in the Gavin Land arc. He isn’t a prisoner but (apparently through bribed guards) is sent into prison to rape Land.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Amanda, Clooney and arguably Shaky.
  • The Quisling: Oliver, in the eponymous Quisling.
    • Cody in the final arc of Badlands. The ship captain is set up to become another one but then he angers Smokey and is killed by him. Smokey makes one of the crew his Quisling instead. And in Crossed +100 it is shown that using non-infected humans as Quislings is SOP for the Salt Clan.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Quite often, although frequently they lose some or all of their members in short order.
    • While the group referred to as soldiers in ‘’Crossed 3D’’ are dressed in army fatigues for some reason, they come closer to this. Hunt Macavoy was a SWAT team leader, Matt was a science teacher, Phil was a mentally ill shut-in, Elmer was a prison inmate on C-Day and Preacher claims he’d never shot a gun before C-Day.
    • The first Badlands arc included a group that includes a Cold Sniper who may be a royal, an oil rig employee, a paramedic, a bookstore owner, a pregnant woman and her brother, and three men whose pasts are never mentioned (one of whom serves as The Load while the other two are Plucky Comic Relief).
    • Quisling features science teacher Oliver, small town cop Alan, hunter Pat, his grandson, Tina the Brainless Beauty and Eve (whose dressed in a Punk Rock manner).
    • Jasper's group consists of an army reservist (Jasper himself), Rugby player Miranda, Kenyan exchange student and football/soccer player Richie, cheese maker Mark, aging dental nurse Dolores and Barry The Immune.
    • The Cavaites include a former comic book writer, a University lecturer, a crusty fisherman (and part-time gun runner according to the first annual) an Australian parasailing tour guide and his wife and son, a London petty criminal and his daughter, a Cold Sniper with several facial piercings who'd formerly been a caregiver, a deaf Spanish prostitute, a pair of old ladies form the countryside, a gay Goth, a paratrooper, a hippie art teacher, an aging former salesman who’d been in prison for murdering his wife and her lover, an American tourist, a Pakistani family and eventually the survivors of Jasper's group.
    • In Shaky's flashbacks, the Gamekeeper's crew consisted of a comic book writer (Shaky), an upper-class couple (the Thakerys), their former employee turned leader (the Gamekeeper himself) and a Pakistani student (Ashoke) among others. Later on, an Irish nun (Aoileann) joins what's left of the group.
    • The Five Bloody Fingers, despite their shared background, are pretty different people, including an aspiring manga writer, an Otaku, a Yakuza head's daughter, an escort and an eventual member of said Yakuza.
    • The group in Homo Tortor is led by a college anthropology student and includes two soldiers, a competitive archer and a Crazy Survivalist.
    • The main trio from American Quitters consists of a biker, a hippie and a pregnant Mexican woman.
    • The final badlands arc begins with a survival bunker salesman, an ex-military chopper pilot, and various one-percenters (or in some cases friends and relatives) such as a computer tycoon and a dermatologist who marketed skin cream.
    • Harold Lorre's group consists of a blue-collar worker he speculates was a carpenter, two medical students, and a park ranger. Downplayed given that Harold (a psychopathic former novelty shop owner) is the one who poses the most danger to the others.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Elisa and Sheena.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Rab in Wish You Were Here. Gordon Brown in Thin Red Line has shades of this, though it's hampered by his initial indecisiveness.
    • Sutter's second-in-command Joe Collins for his tolerant attitude with Esperanza thinking the camp is Too Good to Be True and also for recognizing the logistics of taking in too many people, but not advocating that they kick anyone out when he brings the matter to Sutter's attention.
    • Alan, the leader of Oliver’s group, who listens to others ideas, as shown by how he as willing to try Oliver's Pretend We're Dead strategy, and keeps a level head.
    • Lady of War Dora in Wish You Were Here
  • Recycled Script: There’s a lot of recurring stuff throughout different story arcs, but Christos Gage does this the worst. He essentially does three four-issue Smokey arcs and in all of them, the first issue or two involves him going after a human group, sparing a single survivor as a quisling, then spending the next 2-3 issues working hard to build some kind of society for the Crossed (or in Quisling try to take down the human groups that could have formed societies), with a lot of Kick the Dog moments. Then, his efforts are ruined by betrayal from someone intelligent who he relied on (his human prisoner the first two times, then his wives). To make this even worse, although some of the cast and the survival bunker keep this from being too true, a lot of 93-96 seems to copy the earlier Wished You Were Here (with Cody being like a less sadistic version of the Gamekeeper); with a former employee of rich people having some of his former employers dependent on his survival, killing at least one of them personally, having sex with another (although in Anna and Cody’s case it seems consensual), treating an easily cowed family man named Lloyd like a useless utterly expendable idiot even though he isn’t, and ultimately ending up a prisoner/accomplice of an intelligent Crossed but still dying in the end; and also a blonde woman hanging herself out of despair (though in Tanya's case it was because she realized the military would never come to save them).
  • Redeeming Replacement: The Sailor from the last four issues is this to Smokey's previous collaborator in the eyes of both Smokey and the audience. Unlike Oliver and Cody, he didn't prostate himself before Smokey and promise to help him willingly, didn't directly sell out any other survivors upon becoming Smokey's Quisling, never gets forced to rape anyone and helps care for the Crossed children. It's doubtful that some of that meant anything to Smokey, but he probably felt happy having a Quisling who didn't turn on him in the end, and who he could actually see as a friend, to the point he gives him a Mercy Kill.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Geoff and Edmund.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: Edmund’s classmate Sweeny is insulted by his dad and asked who pays the bills, to which Sweeny points out the welfare checks from the government do.
  • Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: White supremacist militias show up in Homo Superior and Quisling. In the former, a redneck militia is led by Leon's dad and is destroyed by tainted meth created by Leon. In the latter, Oliver spends a few days gaining their trust before leading Smokey's horde to them. In spite of their heinous views, Oliver still feels guilty for handing them over to the Crossed and one of them telling him about more intelligent Crossed provides the impetus for his realization that Smokey needs to die.
    • Camp Casper in Mimic is a futuristic example of this. It is unclear in the story whether they are descended from a remnant of the US military or simply from a band of white supremacist militia cosplaying as one, but given their very regressive and abusive society - where the mostly male "soldiers" are at the top of the hierarcy and the mostly female "civilians" are at the bottom - the latter is likelier.
    • The Waco bunker group from Badlands #95 appears to be a subversion. Given their location and the way they're armed and dressed they appear to be one of these but don't seem hostile or unreasonable in their brief page-time and Cody didn't seem to think that there'd be a problem with the African-American Ben seeking refuge from them if he made it there in his chopper.
    • Lewis in Homo Tortor is a rare heroic example of this. Before the outbreak, he lived off the grid stocking up on canned food and firearms out of fear the government would confiscate his guns. He has since mellowed out considerably, pokes fun at attributes of this mindset and acts as an expert on survivalist plans of action for Washington's group before his death.
  • Royal Brat: First Child from Homo Tortor assuming he really existed. Prince Harry (assuming it is actually him) is a subversion, as while capable of being ruthless and unsentimental, he doesn't display any entitlement and carries his own weight.
  • Rugby Is Slaughter: We never actually see a game obviously but former rugby player Miranda is escribed as a “tank” and half-seriously considered by Shaky to be capable of ripping a man in half.
  • Sad Clown: Possibly Skip, who acts pretty confident and relaxed most of the time, but is shown to have regrets and insecurities as Wish You Were Here progresses.
  • Sanity Has Advantages: Played with to varying levels, but generally in effect. The Crossed aren't mindless zombies, and from an intellectual standpoint can be surprisingly intelligent - enough to catch survivors off guard to their peril. Fundamentally, however, the greatest weakness of the Crossed is their extreme impulsivity, making long-term planning difficult. Most of them don't bother to feed and clothe themselves or seek shelter in winter - quite a few even mutilate themselves for fun. Those don't last long. The Crossed relied on sheer weight of numbers in the early days, but most died off the first winter after C-day...by which point the global population had already fallen from 7 billion humans to 2 million humans and 100 million Crossed. Natural selection set in after that, and the smarter, more "sane" Crossed survived and are a lot more dangerous while the dumber Crossed have tended to die off over the course of the next century.
  • Say Your Prayers: On occasion, although religion is burned out of a lot of people by the nature of the apocalypse. A notable example is that when the Cavaites unsuccessfully try to flee the infected Drift Fleet. only to be forced back there by Aoileann’s army to watch them fight, Shaky notes that Edith (or Christine), Seline and Maria all started praying desperately.
  • Scary Black Man: Smokey, Deacon White (after his infection) and Jokemercy. Wentz's Faux Affably Evil Sadist right-hand man Omar is also one both before and after his infection. Blood Knight Des is a (relatively) heroic version.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Several of the Crossed show a remarkable ability to track their chosen victims, across miles of land if needed.
    • Human examples include The Gamekeeper, Xavi from American Quitters, and David in the Australia annual who backtracked to Ayers rock with broken legs after being infected.
  • Science Hero: Dr. Chopra is a failed example and too early in the story to be a Sole Surviving Scientist.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Bobby Lee embodies this in his brief page time, threatening Cody while ranting about how he got the investors for the bunker in the first place. Earlier in that issue, Red Mitchell shows some of this in his even briefer page time, showing up outside the bunker with Crossed right behind him and demanding to be let in, yelling that he paid for several floors (although to be fair it was a pretty desperate situation for him and looked like only a couple Crossed, who Cody might have been able to save him from if he'd tried). Lloyd points out that Red did in fact pay for the place but Cody says that doesn’t count next to practical concerns.
    • The rest of the bunker people, the Thackerys from Wish You Were Here, and the Stillwells and Peter from Grave New World'' avert this, being aware of their own precarious chances, only making reasonable complaints, and not throwing any weight around.
    • Curtis Wentz and Gideon Welles had a lot of this before the apocalypse, but it seems to go away once things turn bad and they go into survival mode (and in Wentz’s case even altruism towards other survivors).
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Among the refugee spokesmen in Murfreesboro is a man who says that his community voted to take the Sadistic Choice offered by the Salt Clan, and that he and a few others made a run for it on bicycles while the others were drawing lots to see who got sacrificed.
  • Seadog Beard: Rab sports an impressive one.
  • Semper Fi: Carl, the Marine from DOA is described by Richie as being a little too hung up on the ideals and mentality of the Marine Corps to b a good survivor (although Richie is an Unreliable Expositor).
  • Sequel Escalation: Each series in the universe, from the Ennis original to Family Values to Psychopath, tries its damned hardest to be more shocking, gorny and full of Black Comedy than the one that came before it.
  • Serial Killer: Geoff, in the Jeffrey Dahmer vein. Also Beauregard Salt.
  • Series Continuity Error: The timing for Smokey's two arcs seems pretty tricky, given the long amount of time he spends with both Oliver and Cody and how he seems to catch both of them at the end of the summer of the outbreak (Oliver wanted to get to Wyoming before the cold, hoping it would kill the Crossed, and Cody specifically stated that timeline, plus his group's gasoline hadn't gone bad). Also counts as Writers Cannot Do Math.
    • Also occurs with regard to London in the beginning of the outbreak. Shaky's flashback scenes from Wish You Were Here quite clearly show the city falling to the Crossed early on, with London turned into a gigantic slaughterhouse in hours if not minutes. The Thin Red Line, however, indicates London as having been among those areas less hit by the initial outbreak, with Whitehall still being in contact with Gordon Brown's command center, as one of his aides explains to him that the security cordons south of Nottingham seemed to be holding. He also relays to him Whitehall's suggestion that they be relocated to a point south of the Thames "as a precautionary measure."
    • The Thin Red Line establishes that communication with the White House was cut off very early into the outbreak, with both NORAD and the governments of Britain and Russia struggling to reach the US president to discuss the situation with the Russian nuclear bombers. It is then revealed that George W. Bush is infected or has at least been killed by the Crossed. However, The Lesser of Two Evils has the media reporting on criticism of the White House's response to the outbreak as though the US government is still in functioning order, and Volume 1 has Captain Juneaux's journal note that Air Force One was shot down over Oklahoma with no mention being made of Bush getting turned or killed. Granted, it is possible that the reference to the White House was to the US federal government in general rather than specifically to the location, and that the (short-lived) president by the time Air Force One is shot down is Dick Cheney, Nancy Pelosi or another relevent member of the line of succession, but it is not made clear.
      • The Thin Red Line also establishes that India does not retaliate to Pakistani Crossed nuking New Delhi (something mentioned by a CNN journalist survivor in Volume 1), which contradicts the white supremacist militia in Quisling claiming Pakistan was wiped out by nuclear war. Admittedly, the apocalyptic nature of the outbreak means some information may have been muddled - it's also possible the militia conflated Pakistan with the Middle East as a whole owing to their racism and referring to Israel nuking its neighbors as established in Volume 1 and shown on one cover of Badlands.
    • Both examples of Shown Their Work from the second issue aren't followed up on. A year into the outbreak it's stated that Texas is largely burned from the refineries and New York City is flooded, but when New York is seen two years after C-Day in Crossed 3D it shows no signs of this, and at least part of Texas is untouched by flames or smoke at the end of Cody's story, 6-8 months after C-Day in Badlands #96, although the following issue shows Smokey walking through a part of the state which does have burning oil fields.
  • Sex for Solace: Between Amanda and Rick in "Psychopath" after their lovers are murdered.
  • Sheep in Sheep's Clothing: The Drift Fleet, whose biggest flaw (albeit a crucial one) is being too inexperienced at fighting Crossed to go against The Nun and her army. The Black Watch soldiers, apparently, although it's never explained why they didn't send Seline back out with the supplies she'd came for. Arguably Wentz (in the present that is, definitely not in the flashbacks), as he really did seem to be just trying to save people rather than taking them out to his island for some dark ulterior motive, given his past as a pornographer, rapist, drug dealer and sex trafficker. Fleshcook appears to be this by the end of MIMIC, but he might also just be a really good manipulator.
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: The Thackerys are a sympathetic example of this.
  • Shoot the Medic First: Scott is one of the first members of Cindy’s group to die, while he’s treating Randall who turns out to be infected, although this is less intentional than most examples and has limited repercussions for the group. Harold Lorre kills Darwin, a medical student, first but since Amanda is also a medical student and remains alive this is less noticeable.
  • Shown Their Work: In Crossed #2, a survivor mentions what's happened to Texas and New York in the months since the Crossed showed up. Both are realistic depictions of what would probably happen following the abandonment of either state. Texas's oil refineries eventually overloaded and exploded, and New York City flooded without the continuous pumping of its subways and sewers.
  • Shoot the Dog: Cindy and Stan kill a group of kindergarteners whose guardian they had accidentally killed in order to keep traveling with minimal impediment.
    • While still bad, it's not quite as bad as it sounds. With resources stretched thin, the guardian in question had been teaching the children to live off whatever they could find. Specifically, other survivors. Given the choice between having to stretch their own thin supplies to account for a dozen cannibalistic five-year-olds or shooting a bunch of children, Cindy went for option B.
  • Shout-Out: Morgan and Olivia in "The Lesser of 2 Evils" are carrying around a copy of ''Surviving D-Day," a book by BrooksMaxwell.
    • Anti-Crossed features an in-universe comic book team-up between Anti-Crossed and a character clearly meant to be Ashley Williams, complete with a chainsaw hand.
    • In Five Bloody Fingers, the scene showing the Crossed doing their thing at the cosplay convention has cosplayers identifiable as Mario and Spider-Man being murdered by the Crossed. One of the Crossed is in cosplay resembling Goku. Other Crossed are cosplaying in outfits similar to Cammy, Judge Dredd, and, of all things, a female Pikachu.
    • Crossed +100 has this at least Once an Episode, with each issue being titled after a classic work of "wishful fiction" Future has read. Just to name a few, Return of the King, A Canticle for Leibowitz, I Am Legend, Last and First Men and Foundation and Empire are all namedropped.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: In the second webcomic, Dead or Alive, a badly injured Richie hurls abuse at each member of his now ex-group as they're walking away from him, leaving him to the Crossed.note  He tries to imply that none of them are any better than him. Their answer?
    Tabitha: Who do we think we are, Richie? Honestly, I have no idea. These days I don't think anyone does. But I do know we're not you.
  • Skewed Priorities: After Prince Harry is captured by the Crossed and they start dismembering him, Ian's first reaction is simply disappointment that now they'll never know if he was the real Prince Harry or not.
  • Slasher Smile: This is the only expression the Crossed seem to have. Except for Super-Crossed like Smokey.
  • Slept Through the Apocalypse: Taro spent the first several hours of it on a video game binge and napping it off in an Internet cafe, making this literal in his case.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: This series makes its home on the cynical end of the scale.
  • Smug Snake: Don, one of Cava's two "leaders" in WYWH. Though competent in some matters, he is supremely arrogant and is more often than not ignored by the other Cavaites. Shaky refers to him as a "poison dwarf" and "sly, string-pulling, venomous little politico."
    • Alistair, Gordon Brown's political advisor in "Thin Red Line." Constantly tries to manipulate his boss for his own ends (with Harry implying that Alistair is trying to ingratiate himself with Tony Blair so that he can join his team instead), is openly contemptful of him behind his back, looks down on Harry and engineers Gordon Brown's arrival at the government facility where Patient Zero is being kept, thereby causing John Duff's entire security team to become infected/killed.
    • Richie, the protagonist in Garth Ennis' Crossed DOA webcomic. Is initially introduced as a cynical man who is competent enough to have survived for five years. As the chapters go by, however, he increasingly reveals himself to be this as it is revealed that he hoarded vital supplies from the other members of his group, was always a sociopath who viewed other people as objects, always intended to abandon his group and leave them to the Crossed the moment they were no longer useful to him, and it is also heavily implied that he has gotten other people killed this way.
  • Sole Surviving Scientist: Generally averted or played with due to the grim and/or deconstruction nature of the series, but not entirely absent. Dr. Chopra in Thin Red Line is arguably the most prominent example, as she and her team arguably learned more about the Crossed virus than anyone else before they were all infected or killed. Jackson kills a bunker of these in Iceland who'd previously worked on a serum to cause psychosis which he is convinced was used on him in the first Annual. It wasn't. He was already mad to begin with, but the harmless steam that Magda sprayed on him made him think he had been turned insane, and his mind did the rest.
    • Jack from Shrink is an interesting version of this: a psychologist trying to study Crossed and find a cure through their mental workings (interestingly, it wasn't his idea, but that of his brother, who voluntarily infected himself and locked himself upstairs in Jack's house after describing the plan).
    • Oliver (an anthropologist studying Crossed and their behavior and taking notes) and Cody (an architect who built survival bunkers) could have been these if not for their Face–Heel Turn.
    • Harold Lorre claims to know of a convoy of these but it’s quickly revealed to the readers that he’s lying to make sure the people who found him, injured and alone, will take him with them.
    • Denise Tang from Crossed 3D checks a lot of this in that she’s a highly qualified researcher who survived with a few assistants and is on a quest to recover some stuff important to her work, needing to be saved by a hunch of ragtag misfits led by a SWAT veteran, but she subverts this given that her field was pediatrics, she’s trying to get medicine that will save the lives of her patients and has no knowledge or affect on the big picture stuff related to the Crossed infection that this trope would imply.
    • Professor Nelson looks like an example of this given his research into an ancient Crossed-like virus and how he’s hiding in a bunker after C-Day, with people looking for him and his work, but he didn’t survive uninfected. It’s never revealed if he was actually right with his theory, and even if he was, it had few if any practical applications for people fighting the Crossed (Washington just let the others think that to have protectors in his search for Amy).
    • In Wish You Were Here Shaky lampshades the absence of these after the first few years, noting that when they actually do find someone who might be The Immune, if there was a movie they’d rush him to some bunker to make a vaccine out of his blood but there’s nowhere left to do that anymore.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Lance can act a bit bratty and self-assured at times, but Shaky suspects that he's putting on a facade, trying to "copy his Dad's cool", noting that Lance cries in his sleep most nights, and he's occasionally caught him sucking his thumb.
  • Spiteful Spit: In the first arc, the current group of survivors come across a cop who's been keeping a Crossed locked in the back of his police car. The Crossed manages to anger him to get close enough to spit on him, infecting him.
  • Spoiled Sweet:
    • Hazuki Yamada. Although through her father she has more money than she knows what to do with it, and is constantly spoiled and pampered by her father due to her life-style induced by her father's wealth, she is cheerful, friendly and fervently loyal to her friends (who by and large are considered losers by society at large).
    • Unknown to her friend Miku, who goes on "compensated dates" with men and steals their money, Hazuki had her father use his connections with the police to protect Miku from her clients.
    • This is taken Up to Eleven because even becoming Crossed doesn't fully remove her sweetness. When Crossed and having the opportunity to kill her friends who she sees as her real family, she refuses to. She does convince them to give up trying to survive against a giant horde of Crossed and join her as a group of Crossed, then go out having tons of violence and sex though, all while they value their friendship. So even when she's a cannibalistic, sadomasochistic, violent Crossed, she still can value people close to her in a way; which is more than most Crossed can say.
    • Cody in Gore Angels is one of the nicest characters in the arc and had enough money to buy three plane tickets to Japan for himself, Ryan and Nathalie.
    • Peter from Grave New World was the son of a construction magnate who take pride in how many of his family's buildings are still standing but carries his weight in th group and shows horror at many of Barnes' darker actions.
    • The Thackerys come across as adult versions of this, especially early on.
  • Spoiler Title: Quisling given how the first issue builds up like a quest to reach Wyoming using Oliver's Pretend We're Dead strategy, with hints that Smokey will chase them like Horsecock did Cindy’s group. Psychopath and Breakdown to some extent but we get a feel of Harold and later Amanda’s craziness quickly enough anyway. In Yellow Belly we’re told Edmund’s nickname fairly early but it also foreshadows how he’ll live up to it as time goes by.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Shaky and the Nun provide a somewhat disturbing, or at least alarming, example of this, retaining feelings for each other even after her infection.
  • Stealth Expert: Pat (a lifelong hunter), Tommy and Daniel are this among Oliver's group. He doubts that he would be able to find them after selling out to Smokey, so instead, he makes a lot of noise to get them to find him.
  • Stepford Smiler: Joyce Pratt. Generally, her forced smiles become wider the more screwed up the situation around her is. Eventually replaced by a permanent slasher smile as a Crossed.
  • Suicide Attack: Tom and Jackie do this in The Thin Red Line, when the engine of their Tornado fighter (which is carrying the nuke) dies and they're forced to make a kamikaze attack on the incoming Russian nuclear bombers.
  • Suppressed Rage: A few of those who become Crossed turn out to have been this, with the infection taking away all their inhibitions and allowing them to really say what they feel about the person close to them. Notable examples include Joyce Pratt toward her husband Joseph and Hazuki Yamada toward her father.
  • Surprisingly Elite Cannon Fodder: Two of Boss Yamada's goons make it pretty far into Five Bloody Fingers.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Luke from DOA feels eerily similar to Kitrick. They're both Dark and Troubled Past black men who show little emotion after the trauma they've experienced, and even have that aspect of their personalities introduced with almost the exact same phrase (that what happened to him was worse than anything the narrator of the arc had heard of). The biggest difference between them is that Luke lives and Kitrick doesn't.
  • Take a Third Option: Or rather, in this case, a fourth option. In issue 16 of Badlands Clooney finds everyone in Samarkand in a drug-fueled orgy inspired by Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death", with his girlfriend involved in a foursome with Jared, notorious author Gideon Welles and another girl. Having studied Clooney's personality, Welles thinks that Clooney will either a) attack him, b) join in the orgy or c) run away like a pussy. Clooney, however, has another option.
    Clooney (narrates): "You have all the possibilities worked out. What will Clooney do? Option a, b or c? Well, it's none of the above, you bastard. I've got a few ideas of my own. I'm going to seriously fuck you up."
  • Take That!: A given, as this is Garth Ennis we're talking about. It seems to be aimed at armchair survivalists who believe themselves prepared for such an occurrence as a zombie outbreak.
    • Emiko's retort in response to Cody's horror at her drawings could also be interpreted as this towards popular manga stereotypes
    Emiko: Not all manga are big-eyes and panty shots.
    • Also, the five friends Five Bloody Fingers could arguably be a massive Take That! to the Big Hero 6 team sans Baymax. Though it does come off more as a Homage than anything all that critical.
    • The Anti-Crossed arc takes aim at comic book fans, or at least the Fan Dumb. The trio of nerds who complain about too much feminism in modern comics use Leigha the female comic book artist they have captive as a sex slave and force her to write new issues for them. The arc also features pre-Crossed flashbacks drawing attention to the casual misogyny present in the comic book industry and Hollywood, which forces Leigha to go independent.
  • Taking the Bullet: A morally gray version, when Ashoke does this for The Nun when Jackson tries to shoot her.
  • Taking You with Me: What Harry and his team's mission amounts to, with regards to the Crossed. They intend to locate a biological and chemical warfare center and set off all the weapons there. Needless to say, Father Dennis is horrified when he hears this.
    • How Tom and Jackie take out the Russian nuclear bombers in Thin Red Line.
    • Selene stays behind on the ship as bait and uses the last claymore to blow herself, Moses and Aoileann's whole army up in Wish You Were Here.
  • Talk to the Fist: When the Drift Fleet arrives, Don immediately senses their a threat to his power and, in a private conference with Rab, Elisa and Des tries to talk them out of sending anyone to meet with the Drift Fleet. He comes outside rubbing his jaw and reluctantly consenting to send a delegation. A few issues later Jackson does this to Rab over the attack on the Drift Fleet.
  • Technically Living Zombies: The Crossed are a twisted and nasty version of this trope.
  • Technician vs. Performer: Shaky and Tabitha interestingly zigzag this in their first conversation. Tabitha clearly enjoys making artwork, with a very performer-esque demeanor, but she often writes over her (very good) old drawings without showing them to anyone, and claims that art doesn't have to be seen to matter. Shaky is generally more clinical and detached when it comes to his work, and says [[Biting-the-Hand Humor: he isn't a real artist because he only wrote comic books for money]]., but he also admits that his art, particularly his diary, probably matters to him because he wants people to read it and know about him, which is a mentality better suited for a performer than a technician.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Rab and Don, who don’t agree on anything, ever, according to Shaky (at least until later in the series). Given how little they get along (and how ambitious Don is) it's actually a little surprising that neither ever tries to force the other out of power.
  • The Bus Came Back: A very rare trope used in the whole series, seeing as continuity is rarely used, it comes back hard as at the end of the third issue of David Lapham's arc of Badlands, Harold from Lapham's ''Psychopath" arc IS BACK.
    • Harold's victim Amanda returns in Badlands #21. And again in #33.
    • Harry and his friends appear in the Thin Red Line arc, where they are shown to have been Gordon Brown's bodyguards when C-Day occurred.
    • Emiko's friend Satoshi returns in Badlands #71.
    • Smokey returns in Badlands #93
  • The Dog Bites Back: What Leon does to the white supremacist compound (which is led by his abusive father) in Homo Superior.
    • In Crossed: +100 Mimic, Archivist Julie and the other support personnel at Casper Compound pay back a lifetime of discrimination and abuse (including sexual abuse) at the hands of the soldiers by betraying them and siding with Fleshcook and his intelligent Crossed against them in the climactic battle.
  • The Ferryman: Skip in Wish You Were Here, whose boat is used on the sorties. This is lampshaded when Shaky calls him "our own personal Charon for our own personal [river] Styx.
  • The Future: Crossed: +100 by Alan Moore and Gabriel Andrade takes place 100 years after C-Day.
  • The Mole: Robbie Greer/Jokemercy, in Crossed +100. The Salt Clan trained him to speak normally and disfigured his face to hide his rash in order for him to infiltrate Chooga and move amongst the non-Crossed undetected for decades.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Rab gives one to Shaky, right before he breaks the latter's ankles.
    Rab: You are a crawling manipulative snake wi'oot a spot ay trust for anyone.
    Shaky: Wh—
    Rab: Och— It's not that you're selfish exactly... it's more that you'll always act from the point ay view of the self— Y'know? It's different. You cannae share. You cannae empathise. You cannae even conceive of a world that wouldnae benefit from having you in it.
    • To his surprise, Smokey receives a devastating one from his son Cunt, whom he thought had been one of the dumb Crossed:
    Cunt: Shoot him. We'll finish him off.
    Smokey: Cunt...?
    Cunt: What, my vocabulary surprises you? Because I couldn't speak in complete fucking sentences when I was a year old? You poor retarded fuck. At least the dumb ones don't know how moronic they are. How pathetically sad must it be, being you?
  • The Remnant: Shaky and his team come across Fort George, the real-life garrison/HQ of the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland. Besieged by hordes of Crossed, the fortress is still manned by the uninfected Black Watch, which means they have been holding out for as long as 18-24 months. Also doubles as a Badass Army.
    • Unfortunately, the Fort is later overrun by the Crossed, leaving no survivors. And Shaky's theory as to how it happened is later proved to be incorrect.
    • A sizable remnant of the U.S. military centered around Naval Base San Diego is shown to be holding out against the Crossed in the Gavin Land arc several days after C-Day, trying to evacuate over 250.000 of the remaining inhabitants of San Diego before it's overrun. Only one ship (commandeered by Land) is able to make it out.
    • Cheyenne Mountain is still operational in Quisling. Oliver leads Smokey there in the hopes they will be able to kill him. Unfortunately, prior outbreaks had weakened the facility enough so that Smokey and his army of Crossed are able to overwhelm the site.
    Oliver: So much for continuity of government.
  • This Is Reality: Shows up often. Anytime one character gets the idea of fighting back or finding a cure, the viewpoint character will harshly remind them that fighting back is suicide, there is no cure, and they're all going to die.
  • The Lost Lenore: Aoilean for Shaky, although this is heavily complicated by the fact that she’s alive, infected, and stalking Cava, posing a danger to everyone but Shaky. Harold feels this way about Lori but she infected herself to get away from him and would probably disagree. Although their last meeting ended badly while she was alive, Serena was this for Mattias so much that he keeps repressing her death when he finds her body. From the first issue of Badlands, there's Ian's wife Penny, whose death clearly made a serious impact on him. Played for laughs with Edmund’s y feelings about Betty Ford, as he quickly gets hung up on a different girl afterwards.
  • The Virus: The Crossed transmit the virus via fluids, as mentioned above. Issue #50 is the beginning of a new arc by Ennis, "The Thin Red Line," which deals with the origins of the infection and how it was allowed to spread. It began in multiple areas across the world simultaneously although the earliest infectees do not have the trademark facial rash initially.
    • There also seems to be different strains to the early virus in this arc as some people become catatonic, some become suicidal, and others become hideously violent and sadistic. However, all of these strains lack the same amount of cruelty that the later strains have.
    • In Crossed Volume 1 the survivors come across the journal of a soldier who'd had a rather chilling theory on how the Crossed had seemingly appeared everywhere in equal measure and at the same time, with no apparent points of origin to have spread out from: "Maybe they were there from the beginning, a strategically triggered infection designed to ripple out and take us all."
      • This also comes back in the The Thin Red Line arc where it is revealed patient zeros appeared in seemingly every country on earth at the exact same time, and seem to have been ordinary people who were mysteriously possessed by some unknown force to carry out horrific acts of sadism and brutality in imitation of the worst crimes of human history.
    • The Thin Red Line also establishes that the Crossed virus is explicitly supernatural in nature; part of why it drives its victims mad is that it gives them vivid, ongoing hallucinations of human atrocities. The "patient zero" for the UK, once he stops trying to fight the infection, gains a bizarre amount of knowledge that he shouldn't have, such as Harry's nickname for the Prime Minister's secretary, which suggests the virus gives its hosts a particularly cruel brand of clairvoyance.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: The first Crossed annual is told from the point of view of self-proclaimed loonie Jackson, first introduced in "Wish You Were Here". He generally just hallucinates strange creatures appearing around him, and mentions that his memories have degraded so that he does this in flashbacks to before he went crazy. He also realizes at the end that the person he was talking to wasn't who he thought it was.
    • Harold and eventually Amanda aren't much better.
  • This Cannot Be!: At the end of "Lesser of Two Evils," as a now-Crossed Morgan prepares to rape/kill Olivia, Olivia shouts about how "We followed it! Every word! The book said we'd be OK!" referring to the Expy of The Zombie Survival Guide they brought with them. Morgan's response is "The book lied too!"
  • Throw-Away Country: India (or more specifically, New Delhi) is mentioned as having been nuked in a few story arcs something that is outright confirmed in "The Thin Red Line".
    • In the original series Stan mentioned that at least Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and most of Egypt had been nuked by Israel, though whether the Israelis did it as a last resort against invading hordes of Crossed or because the Israelis were themselves Crossed is unknown.
    • Pakistan is mentioned by a white supremacist militia as having been wiped out as well, but it's unclear if this is in fact true. The Thin Red Line claims India did not retaliate and a former CNN reporter claims to the protagonists of Volume 1 the same.
  • Token Good Teammate: There are a few Crossed that don't display the same sort of sadistic tendencies as the rest.
    • Hazuki in Five Bloody Fingers. After becoming Crossed she refuses to attack her friends, who she considers to be her true family. She doesn't even say that much disturbing stuff, at least relative to other Crossed.
    • Aoileann in Wish You Were Here zig-zags this trope. On one hand, she refuses to kill anyone personally. On the other hand, she is leading a horde of Crossed and has no qualms with them killing people.
      • She also manages to overcome her desires at the end by agreeing to sacrifice Shaky and allow the surviving Cavaites to go after hearing his pleas to, although this causes her followers to mutiny.
    • Horrifyingly averted with the group of religious Crossed in Breakdown. You'd think they might qualify due to the fact they are extremely opposed to rape (and in fact are celibate), but they still are eager to torture "sinners" which happens to include anyone who engages in sex, human or Crossed.
    • Patient Zero in The Thin Red Line actively resists the infection and the urges it gives him. He ends up giving in to the virus' influence after Alistair has him tortured.
    • Matthias in Conquers All is focused solely on finding Serena and getting revenge on the people that kept him from her. He shows no interest in engaging in the sort of depravity the rest of the Crossed enjoy until he takes a bunch of ketamine after learning Serena has been dead for days.
    • The elderly Crossed woman who is a central focus in The Folly is an example of Playing With this trope. For most of the comic, it's unclear if she is less sadistic than the rest of the Crossed, but she is pitiable due to the other Crossed brutalizing her when bored. Towards the end, she brings Isaac his inhaler, does not attack him and even ends up saving him from the horde of Crossed that used to bully him. Then she promptly turns around to get him.
    • The Crossed baby Now Future and Mustaqba raise in Crossed +100. As far as can be discerned, she is pretty much a typical young child with little to no of the usual aggression the Crossed display. She is still kept hidden, both to keep her from accidentally infecting anyone and to ensure she isn't killed by Bailey.
    • Fleshcock in +100: Mimic is perhaps the straightest example of this trope for the Crossed yet. He is eloquent, philosophical and displays strong capacity for compassion towards Archivist Julie. His tendencies in this direction are so strong that the 'support personnel' of Casper Compound actually help him take over the base because the military forces there are so abusive and exploitative they think they would be better off under Fleshcook and as it turns out, they aren't wrong.
    • For an example that applies to Crossed collaborators rather than the Crossed themselves Archivist Reed to Kingstenn.
    • Shirley to Wentz's gang before C-Day. Her dialogue implies that she started out as one of the coerced actresses in Wentz's porno films as a teenager, and she was the one who tipped off Land about what really happened to his daughter when he seemed to be believing Wentz's lies. It's not enough to save her from Land's revenge, although he at least makes it quick, when she isn't expecting it. Whether he felt that she should have done more to help his daughter, resented that she didn't speak in his favor after he was arrested for shooting up Wentz's porno shoot, or something else is unclear.
  • Tongue Trauma: In Richie's backstory from "Dead or Alive" we get to see an infected person biting his tongue off behind his cheeks. Then he opens his mouth wide, showing the gorn. And this happens before he develops the rash on his face.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Daphne in the 2013 special. Goes from a self-described "reliant" and victim to a hardened survivor who avenges her husband and takes over Todd's road train, in the process becoming one of the most powerful people in post-C-Day Australia.
  • Torture Technician: Various Crossed. Steve was one in her backstory. In The Thin Red Line, two of Gerry's soldiers became this while serving in the Middle East and are turned loose on Patient Zero to try and find out what he knows about the source of the infection, which just gets the two of them infected as well.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Any hope that any particular character has for a happy ending gets gutted and raped, ...In That Order.
  • 20 Minutes into the Past: The Thin Red Line arc, beginning in Badlands #50 and written by Garth Ennis, tells the story of the very first person to become Crossed. It also features Gordon Brown as Prime Minister of Great Britain, placing the outbreak in the summer of 2008. Incidentally, the first issue of Crossed came out on August 6th 2008, during Brown's premiership.
  • Two-Faced: Cristos of "The Golden Road" has burns all over the left side of his body, exactly like Two-Face. He says he did it to himself to be more interesting.
  • Undignified Death: The series has quite a few (often combined with Cruel and Unusual Death's), expesically on the covers, but a notable one which the Crossed don't participate in is Wentz's henchman/porno actor Donnie. When Land arrives at Wentz's mansion looking for Wentz's crew, ge finds everyone gone or infected except for a half-naked Donnie. After realizing that Land is there for revenge, Donnie goes from saying that Wentz and the others are in Catalina and might be dead to saying that a guy like Land could survive this if he just heads for the hills rather than going after people who might get killed anyway to talking about how Land can repopulate the Earth by impregnating as many women as possible and masturbating at the mental image at which point Land smashes his head in with a baseball bat.
  • Unholy Ground: Though it's not (depending on what you believe caused the Crossed virus) a supernatural version of this trope, the Homo Tortor's "camp of camps" is the focal point of their immensely evil actions. Their evil — ranging from institutionalized cannibalism, slavery, rape, and murder — was so immense, it was even implied to have lead to the emergence of a Crossed outbreak. As a bonus, Kieron Gillen confirmed that the Homo Tortor's city was built next to the Toba Supervolcano. (In what is now modern-day Sumatra.)
    • Ultimately subverted though, as it turned out that everything about the Homo Tortor was a made up story.
  • Unreliable Narrator: As communications broke down extremely quickly, it's only to be expected that the survivors would have fragmentary and contradicting information about the world at large. One notable example is the fate of Pakistan, as in Quisling a white supremacist militia tells Oliver (gleefully) that Pakistan was erased in a nuclear holocaust. However, in the original series a person claiming to be a former CNN journalist said that the Indians had not retaliated against the Pakistanis despite New Delhi being nuked. Which is confirmed in The Thin Red Line.
  • Unsexy Sadist: Harold Lorre is noticeably more grungy looking then most of the other characters.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Shaky does this so many times in ''Wish You Were Here' that recording it all down at once would take the better part of an hour. For context, by inadvertently causing Aoileann to get infected and then not having the courage to put her down he probably dooms more people to death and/or infection than Oliver and Cody combined, and that’s not even counting various minor screw ups and errors or judgment throughout the series.
    • In light of the above arguably John and Maria for finding Shaky and getting him to come back to Cava in the first place, might count as this.
    • Oliver, while less well-intentioned than the other examples here, by making Smokey interested in human collaborators in the first place.
    • Randall from volume one, by setting the seeds for Cindy’s group to go to Alaska -which led them to encounter Horseback and Ann Cooke- then getting infected and attacking their paramedic.
  • Upperclass Twit: The Thackerys, to some extent, especially given how Shaky and the Gamekeeper treat them although by the end they show some savvy but are trapped in a bad situation.
    • The man in the penthouse Steve was working as a bodyguard for on C-Day.
    • Gerry Stillwell from Grave New World has shades of this due to being an Extreme Doormat and having gotten his son killed by falling for a trap, but its undermined by his pathos.
    • Gordon Brown's aide Alistair has shades of this but it's undermined by his deviousness and the frightening authority he actually has.
    • Cody the bunker-builder views most of his group this way, although they don't actually seem worse than the usual crop of survivors -save for two who never make it inside the bunker. They might have actually had a good run if Smokey hadn't stumbled across them.
  • Villainous Incest: Shows up in "Family Values", in more ways than one.
  • Villain Protagonist: Any Crossed or villain who ends up being the focal character of the story arc qualifies.
    • Harold Lorre, the titular psychopath of Crossed: Psychopath
    • Steve, from Homo Superior.
    • Leland Barnes in Grave New World.
    • Matthias, a Russian gangster turned Crossed, of Conquers All.
    • Smokey, the Alpha Crossed from The Quisling, shows up as the main character in #93-100 of Badlands, with the entire story revolving around him trying to build a new civilization of "Super-Crossed" during C-Day.
    • Smokey, Harold and Barnes put the emphasis on the villain part of this more than the protagonist.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Wentz (before C-Day, and after it as well, although by then he’s less of a villain), Robbie Greer. and Bailey, if you see his actions as villainous and not falling under I Did What I Had to Do.
    • Richie from Crossed: Dead or Alive webcomic.
  • Wardens Are Evil: Played with. Barnes was pretty evil but we never get to see him in his capacity running a naval brig before D-Day. The warden of Gavin Land's prison deals with him nicely but seems apathetic to Land's situation with wentz and deals with him for pragmatic reasons. The authorities at Elmer, the Bullock’s and Viceroy’s prisons all let out the prisoners rather than leave them to die (although at Elmer’s prison that was to get fighters).
  • Weaksauce Weakness: A gentleman in the second issue believes that the Crossed have become deathly allergic to table salt as a result of their infection. Boy, is he wrong.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 24 of the second volume of Wish You Were Here reveals that Aoileann's group of Crossed has Seline.
    • A crippled Jackson commits suicide in Chapter 24 of the third volume in order to prevent the Crossed from either killing him or turning him. And at the very end, it is revealed that the Gamekeeper still lives.
  • Wham Line: From Volume 1:
    • Patrick: "Mommy, YOU FUCKING CUNT!"
    • Also, this one:
    Geoff: I used to pick men up. Young men. And take them home.
    Geoff: And I'd torture them until they were dead and cut them up into pieces, and then I'd bury them beneath my house.
    • Much later in Badlands #53 (though at the chronological start of the pandemic) we have Gordon Brown attempting to avert a nuclear Armageddon caused by infected (or proto-infected at this stage) Russian nuclear pilots carrying a huge payload to wipe out the east coast of the US (in the middle of the growing British epidemic nonetheless) and desperately needs to get in contact with the US president in order to coordinate a defence and find out just what the hell is going on. At long last they are finally able to contact the White House and...
    • A little earlier in the same issue, by one of Gordon Brown's aides:
    PM's aide: Prime Minister, we have a confirmed report of a nuclear airburst over Delhi.
    • From "Quisling," the most disturbing and terrifying thing Oliver has ever woken up to:
    "Smokey is reading my journal."
    • From Badlands #55, the penultimate entry in the "Thin Red Line" arc, Alistair (Gordon Brown's aide) has been locked into the room containing Patient Zero and two of the new Crossed, who are currently fighting for the right to rape him. The following line is fairly innocuous until one realizes that it confirms the truly supernatural nature of the infection.
    Patient Zero: Catamite. Yes?
    Alistair : Wh...?
    Patient Zero: Isn't that what henote  called you?
    Alistair : How... do you...?
    Patient Zero: I know all sorts of things I couldn't have known. It's all going away. It's going along with everything else, down into dark red slurry. But for now— I know.
  • The War on Straw: The series, as mentioned above and below, is supposed to be a Take That! to self-professed "zombie survivalists" and show how helpless they'd really be in such a situation. However, other than their massive numbers and the inability to be reasoned with, there's actually a lot of differences between the Crossed and most zombies; your average zombie cannot use projectile weapons (or, indeed, any tools at all beyond maybe a simple bludgeoning/stabbing implement), has pitifully inept senses and no logical capacity. The Crossed, on the other hand, have all the capabilities of regular humans added to their Axe-Crazy behavior — naturally they're going to be a lot more dangerous than the mindless to animalistic flesh-eating ghouls the series is mocking.
    • The anti-survivalist aspect of the story is far from constant, but it comes up repeatedly, from the original series to the "Wish You Were Here" webseries to the "Lesser of Two Evils" arc in Badlands. (In "The Lesser of Two Evils," the group of survivors is explicitly undone by poorly-chosen advice from an Expy of The Zombie Survival Guide.) The point that the authors come back to again and again is that rather than being decisively non-human like standard Zombies, the Crossed are just exaggerations of humanity's worst traits ... and those traits will always be lurking inside the fences protecting the would-be "good guys" in an apocalyptic survival scenario.
    • One could interpret the message to be that zombie survivalists are setting themselves up for Crippling Overspecialization, and that even in the extremely unlikely (and in real life, likely impossible) event that something akin to a Zombie Apocalypse actually happens, there'd be no guarantee that the zombies would behave the way fiction has portrayed them, or if the monster horde would even be zombies at all, and wouldn't be something much more dangerous than zombies.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The fate of Captain Juneaux's military A-team in the original series. Though a few of them were killed in the emergency landing of their helicopter and he himself was badly injured, as shown in the flashback, the remainder of the unit survived. Forced by Juneaux to abandon him, their ultimate fate is unknown. However, with their equipment and military training, their odds of survival, at least in the short term, would be better than that of most other survivors.
    • The fates of the two surviving teenaged girls in Grave New World aren't shown. They're last seen waking up, and looking scared shortly before the Crossed attack, but neither is clearly shown to be among the bodies or infected in the background afterwards.
    • The fates of most of the soldiers and civilians Wentz and Land encounter in San Diego aren't shown, and it's unclear if any of them were on the Sea Star or any of the other ships that might have made it out.
    • Smokey spares several crewmen from the patrol boat alive to sail it to Florida, but only one of them, who becomes his final Quisling is seen afterwards. It's unclear if he just killed or infected the others once they got there, or perhaps let them go as a way of proving his capacity for mercy to the sailor he kept.
    • In Crossed 3D Elmer mentions that the prison he'd been an inmate at released all of the prisoners to join the guards in taking arms on the wall, but that they were overrun after running out of ammo, but never mentions if he was the Sole Survivor or not.
    • Steve and her baby are never seen again after they approach the twins (although it's likely that Steve turned into a dumb Crossed, and the baby probably would have been killed or infected shortly afterwards).
    • Ashley and Ashlyn are shown to have had kids before Smokey arrived who turned out to be dumb Crossed, but it's never revealed if they took those kids with them when they followed Smokey out of the city.
    • Archivist Reed. Is last seen being offered as a sacrifice to the Salt Clan, although it's shown in later issues that the Crossed do keep some of their human prisoners as uninfected slaves, and it's possible she may have survived to be liberated after Bailey went on the offensive against the Salt Clan.
    • A few members of Cody's group (notably the passengers in Karen's car) aren't actually seen being killed or infected on screen, although their odds aren't good.
    • For a nonhuman example, most of the survivors who reached Cody's bunker came their by car, yet there's no sign of those cars in the next issue, when they have to abandon the bunker and only people who can drive stick can serve as getaway drivers for the classic cars that were stored in the bunker since before C-Day.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Chanice feels this way about her Blood Knight father Des, but is rarely willing to admit it.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: Strangely, yes. There are a few moments in the series where the characters will stop to take in the natural beauty of the world. It usually doesn't take long for the Crossed to spoil the view...
    • One such moment occurs in Volume 1, Chapter 19 of Wish You Were Here, when Shaky and Sofia, a deaf/mute Spanish woman, sit down on the grass and together watch the aurora borealis. Even a hardened cynic like Shaky can't help but be impressed by its beauty. This is right before he realizes that Sofia has committed suicide by slitting her wrist with a razor.
    • Another memorable example comes with Stan taking in the sight of the Rocky Mountains as Cindy's group crosses them, and when they see a pack of wolves.
    • Matthew Pratt tells his sister that while he has grief “There’s beauty in the world Adeline. If we stop seeing it we’re just like those guys in the trucks. No better than the Crossed”.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: As mentioned in Take That!, plenty of people in the series think they know how to survive a Zombie Apocalypse. They're proven wrong in the most horrific ways possible.
    • Father Dennis' plan of fooling the Crossed in The Fatal Englishman is this. Fortunately Harry's team intervenes.
    • In Quisling Tina proposes just finding a boat and taking it to an island. Oliver shoots this down, telling her this isn't 'Dawn of the Dead' and the Crossed could just drive boats after them. The people on Catalina who didn't; leave with Wentz also fell victim to this, believing that they'd be safe as long as they stayed on the island. That has not turned out well for them by the time Land gets there, looking for Wentz, Soaks, Shirley and Martin.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Subverted and deconstructed in a way. Despite using plenty of zombie tropes, the Crossed are not zombies at all, not even technically living zombies. Instead, The Virus is a Hate Plague that gives the infected an insatiable lust for sex, violence, cruelty, and pain. People in the story who were expecting this trope to be played straight end up horrified and caught off guard by what the Crossed are really like.
  • Zombie Infectee: Generally not a problem, as becoming Crossed happens in a matter of minutes, if not seconds. However, getting shot with a bullet soaked in Crossed blood... or other fluids gives the infection enough time to creep up on one.
  • Your Mom: This comes up sometimes as one of the Crossed's obscenities.

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