reviews by Charlie Wentling
The First #22
writer: Barbara Kesel
artists: Andrea Di Vito and Rob Hunter
to Trenin's hunt for Tulity continues. I'm not sure about
the wisdom of including this subplot. It has stretched on
for three issues now, and the ending was known before it started.
Unlike last month, the flashback is not even used as a contrast
to Trenin's current hunt for Seahn. We do get to see the creation
of the Dexter council, and get some insights into why Seahn
is the way he is.
main storyline shows more promise. Persha has convinced her
father Pyrem to go rescue her mother Ingra. To ensure his
success Pyrem takes along two of the seven weapons of Altwaal.
One of the weapons, the shield, hasn't been seen in use before.
Contrary to expectations, the shield seems to be more of an
offensive weapon then a defensive one. Pyrem will soon be
confronting the spider-like Ervulsh who hold Ingra captive.
writer: Barbara Kesel
artists: Steve McNiven and Tom Simmons
the climax last month, this issue feels a lot more quiet and
introspective. The people of Meridian all believe that Sephie
has killed Ilahn in a battle to the death. She is met with
hostility when she tries to explain that he is not dead, and
eventually decides to let people believe their misconceptions.
also thinks that Jad is dead, but the reader is shown right
away that he is in fact alive. Kesel was wise not to try to
hide this. Sephie and her friends all grieve for Jad. Feabie
causes some tension by blaming Sephie for not rescuing him.
But mostly the people of Meridian are just happy that they
have their home back. Sephie comes to a decision about what
she should do next.
McNiven continues to improve his art every month. It's hard
to believe that someone could be doing work of this caliber
on his first monthly series. He deserves more attention.
writer: Tony Bedard
artists: Fabrizio Fiorentino and Matt Ryan
continues her pilgrimage to each of the seven Guild nations,
this month visiting the Djinn lands. Guild master Atyaah seems
friendly towards Giselle, much to her surprise. He teaches
Giselle the art of telling a good story and gives her some
history of magic on the planet Ciress.
is not as it appears. Bedard throws in an ambitious plot twist
that works fairly well. He also sets up a lot of background
information, including some of Giselle's personal history,
which should be important in the future. The story is self-contained,
but the structure of Giselle's pilgrimage makes it feel if
it is part of a greater whole. This structure is a good compromise
between single-issue stories and multi-part epics.
art is good, but I still miss Brandon Peterson.
writer: Ron Marz
artist: Walter Simonson
and his friends are besieged at his monastery by General Ryuichi.
Obo-San has a lot of time with nothing to do, so he takes
this opportunity to get to know Wulf better. Wulf had sworn
his life to Obo-San's dead brother Todosi and has now switched
his allegiance to Obo-San. The story of Wulf is told in flashback.
is that Wulf's story is generic. Wulf is a Viking warrior
with red hair that sticks out in the Japan-like country of
Nayado. Try to imagine how a lone Viking might journey across
the world to a foreign land. Odds are good that the story
you are picturing is similar to The Path #5.
Simonson does the guest artwork, which would normally be something
to celebrate. Unfortunately Simonson chooses to illustrate
the flashback in a two-dimensional style similar to a cave
painting. Regardless of how appropriate this style is, his
usual style is far superior.
writers: Mark Waid and Scott Beatty
artists: Butch Guice and Mike Perkins
of Ruse is different from previous issues in a number of ways.
Simon and Emma do not solve any murders or encounter mysteries
of any sort. The action picks up with Simon in pursuit of
his former partner Lightbourne. This leads to a series of
caves below the city of Partington. When Simon does catch
up with Lightbourne, he is portrayed as a lunatic rather than
a twisted genius. I'm still not sure what Lightbourne was
hoping to accomplish.
seemed different too, in a way that was hard to pinpoint.
It just wasn't as witty. The credits page after the story
explained some of this: Scott Beatty has taken over for Mark
Waid. Waid is only credited with the plot, and he has said
on CrossGen's message boards that the plot he turned in was
changed almost beyond recognition. Beatty's approach to the
dialogue seems to be to use his thesaurus to switch the smaller
words for longer more obscure ones.
also seems off. The regular art team is usually excellent,
but this issue seemed rushed. I doubt the readers will ever
know the full story of what went on behind the scenes, but
this issue isn't a promising start for Beatty.
writer: Ron Marz
artists: Greg Land and Jay Leisten
troll has been in pursuit of Arwyn for quite a while now,
and he gets his own spotlight in this issue. Marz and Land
have done a good thing by giving each of the trolls their
own distinct personality and appearance. Endless cookie-cutter
bad guys occur much too often in the fantasy genre, and Sojourn
has avoided that so far. Bohr has become more interesting
than Mordath, who suffers from being 100% evil with no redeeming
a little detour from his mission. After an encounter with
a group of bandits and a bear, he returns to his home to see
his dying mother. And while on the surface a story about euthanasia
seems out of place in a fantasy setting like this, there is
a lot of heartfelt emotion, which Land captures perfectly.
starts as the new inker, and Justin Ponsor takes over as colorist,
but the art maintains the same look that is has had all along,
which is realistic and beautiful.
of the Rat #4
writer: Chuck Dixon
artists: Jeff Johnson and Tom Ryder
out the one remaining magical artifact that he doesn't already
possess, the Phoenix Heart. He thinks that two of his former
comrades from the thieves guild have it. Boon also continues
to evade the forces of Judge X'Ain. This takes place inside
the walled city of Zhumar. Outside the walls, the barbarian
Bhuto Khan continues his attack. Using his cannon, Khan should
be able to invade the city in less than a week.
it is easy to see where Dixon is heading with this first storyline.
There will be a great fight between Boon and Bhuto Khan. Khan
possesses his own magic ring which should make him a match
for Boon. Johnson does excellent martial arts fight scenes,
so this battle should be well worth the wait.
of the Silken Ghost is also revealed. She is an interesting
character, but I'm not sure what her role will be in the series.
The humor and action continue to make this a very fun and
exciting comic to read.