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The CrossGen Report
reviews by Charlie Wentling

Meridian #27
writer: Barbara Kesel
artists: June Brigman and Drew Geraci

Sephie has seized the opportunity provided her by her uncle Ilahn's disappearance. Everyone believes that Sephie killed him. At first she denied it, but now she is using the common misconception to her advantage. Sephie goes to the island of Cadador, Ilahn's former stronghold, tells everyone there that she is now in charge, and when anyone disagrees with her proclamation she uses her powers to force them to back down.

While the obvious story direction would have been for Sephie to finally take control of Meridian, seizing Cadador instead makes an interesting twist. A surprising subplot has Sephie finding one of her dead mother's art books. She gets to see how her mother pictured that she would turn out as well as the man her mother thought she would marry. It isn't Jad.

A hooded man starts spreading lies about Sephie, setting up conflict for the future. Now that Ilahn is at least temporarily gone, the future is wide open for Sephie and this book. This series has improved since the showdown with its main villain.


The Path #6
writer: Ron Marz
artists: Bart Sears and Mark Pennington

Obo-San and his companions are under siege in Obo-San's old monastery. Then the emperor of neighboring country Shinacea sends in one of his demonic agents to claim Obo-San's weapon of heaven. Ripping through the monks of the monastery, the demon cannot be harmed by normal weapons. Obo-San tries to use his sigil against the demon, but that also proves ineffective.

He finally must choose between using the weapon of heaven and keeping the promise that he made to himself to only use it against the gods. The darker artwork that Sears uses on this series is radically different than his normal style. While it may not be to all tastes, the colorful two-page spread that shows Obo-San making his decision is nothing short of spectacular.

The future direction of this series seems to be shifting. Rather than Obo-San versus the world, at least in the next few months it seems like there will be clashing armies and large-scale death and destruction as Shinacea once again invades Nayado.


Ruse #11
writers: Mark Waid and Scott Beatty
artists: Paul Ryan and Mike Perkins

After the disappointment of Ruse #10, this latest issue is an improvement. The story of how Simon met Malcolm Lightbourne is told in a flashback that takes the entire issue.

Originally, Lightbourne was the famous detective and Simon merely a college student. After helping the police with a murder investigation, Simon is approached by Lightbourne, who then offers to take Simon as his apprentice. The relationship takes a turn for the worse when the two of them are hired to recover a gem called the enigmatic prism.

Seeing the younger Simon Archard adds a lot to his character. He was not originally quite as aloof as he is today. Over a period of time, Lightbourne's influence changed Simon in different ways, some good and some bad.

Another nice touch is the clever use of Simon's cane. Although a lot of background about Simon is given, some new mysteries are left unexplained.

Beatty does a better job with the dialogue in his second issue. Guest art comes from Paul Ryan, in his second CrossGen appearance in two weeks. As with Crux last week, his work is excellent. If he's available and interested, CrossGen should hire him full time.



Charlie Wentling

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