Each week we take a critical look at some of the best books on the stands, courtesy of Big Guy's Comics (the unofficial comic book store of FanboyPlanet.com). If you publish a book that you want us to be covering, contact us. Or contact Derek. He doesn't have enough to do.

CrossGen Reviews 7-19-02

Mystic #26
writer: Tony Bedard
artists: Fabrizio Fiorentino and Matt Ryan

Giselle travels to the Shaman lands with hopes of learning from the Shaman leader, Guild Master Zai. Their first encounter does not go well. After all, Giselle has possessed the Shaman Guild Spirit since she was originally given her sigil. Zai was not happy to lose the Spirit to Giselle, and he holds a grudge.

However, Zai has his own problems. A chiwanda from the spirit plane has been attacking his people, and without the powers of his Guild Spirit, Zai is fighting a losing battle. But he is reluctant to compromise and work with Giselle. Events unfold in a predictable way, but it is well done. Bedard is giving each of the Guild Spirits and Guild Masters their own distinct personality, something noticeably missing in the issues written by Ron Marz.

So far Giselle's quest to win over the Guild Spirits has been enjoyable, but it will get monotonous if the next five issues follow this exact pattern. Let us have faith that Bedard will not take the obvious route.


Way of the Rat #3
writer: Chuck Dixon
artists: Jeff Johnson and Tom Ryder

This third issue is clearly a "middle" issue for the first story arc. Not much changes over the course of it. Boon is given a deadline of sundown to recover the Phoenix Heart. If he doesn't have the gem by then, the Silken Ghost is going to come after him.

Boon has a good idea where the Heart is. Another thief named Hu Jiao was present when Boon learned when the gem was, and Boon thinks that Jiao has it.

Bhuto Khan, the warlord who has been gathering his forces outside the city, makes his first appearance. He is a huge man and should be a worthy opponent for Boon in the future. Khan also wants the Phoenix Heart and is willing to lay siege to Zhumar to get it.

Boon learns that his Ring of Staffs is just one ring among many, with each of them granting its wearer mastery over a martial discipline. In addition to countries analogous to China and Japan on this world, there is another country far to the west that at first glimpse seems similar to Russia.

Jeff Johnson continues to do outstanding artwork. Every panel in this issue stretches across the entire page, giving the issue an interesting flow without distracting from the story.


Charlie Wentling




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