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The CrossGen Report
reviews by Charlie Wentling

Crux #17
writer: Chuck Dixon
artists: Paul Ryan and Pablo Marcos

Last month, Aristophanes followed retreating Negation soldiers through a portal to their universe. Now he means to kill as many of them as he can before they can bury him with their superior numbers. This issue focuses on Aristophanes at the expense of most of the older characters. He comes off well, facing more and more powerful adversaries until the Negation eventually sends in a Lawbringer to deal with him.

Aristophanes is a natural leader, and he starts taking over the role that Capricia had been in before. There is sure to be continuing conflict between the two of them. The ancient warrior sets out the goal of awakening the rest of the Atlanteans. Whether this will happen remains to be seen. Danik has been absent for the past few months, and he might have something to say about it.

Paul Ryan supplies the guest art, and he does a wonderful job of matching his style to Steve Epting's. CrossGen is good about getting appropriate guest artists for its series, and every issue still ships on time. Marvel should be paying attention.


Route 666 #3
writer: Tony Bedard
artists: Karl Moline and John Dell

Dr. Melchior has dropped his pretense of trying to help Cassie, and is revealed as a vampire. Or is he? The vampires and werewolves that Cassie has encountered are not simple "monsters". They are supernatural creatures that are taking the forms of movie monsters to make anyone who sees them sound crazy. Cassie makes a startling escape from the sanitarium and heads out of town.

Soon she discovers that getting away will not be so easy. Blamed for three deaths at the sanitarium, she is now a fugitive. It is hard to tell what the status quo will be in this series. Bedard has thrown in a couple of surprising developments in this issue alone, doing a great job at suggesting there is a larger tapestry unfolding. Cassie has barely scratched the surface so far.

The level of violence and gore has increased. Karl Moline does a fantastic job creating some disturbing imagery, in particular the first and last pages of the issue. Even better is the subtle underlying sense of dread and despair throughout.


Scion #27
writer: Ron Marz
artists: Lee Moder and Roland Paris

The repercussions of the climactic issue #25 are finally felt. The lesser races have been led by Ethan to Tournament Isle and their freedom, and they have their own kingdom. So now what? Who will lead them? What will Ethan's role be?

These are the questions that Ethan is asking himself as he says goodbye to his father, brother and sister. The parting is amicable for the most part, though there is still a lot of tension between Ethan and his brother Kai. And not all of the lesser races want Ethan to stick around.

As normal, the characters all act like real people. Marz does a good job of showing how two people can have disagreements without either of them being wrong. Ethan starts getting the hints that Skink might be more than he appears. The story in this issue is fairly quiet and self-contained, with a wonderful ending that hints at some dark clouds on the horizon.

Regular artist Jim Cheung is on vacation for four months, but Lee Moder does a nice job filling in.



Charlie Wentling

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