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The CrossGen Report
reviews by Charlie Wentling

Meridian #28
writer: Barbara Kesel
artists: June Brigman and Tom Simmons

The Cadadorian council isn't happy that Sephie was able to take control of their island so easily. Aided by a mysterious hooded stranger with a hidden agenda, the council plots to make her life more difficult.

Their scheme is to distract Sephie by making her name a successor. To a degree, it works. Sephie thinks back on her relationship with Jad (who she believes is dead), and wonders what other sacrifices she will need to make to keep power.

However, the council's plot seems rather silly and trite. It hasn't been defined exactly how much power that a Minister actually holds, but it's doubtful that someone in Sephie's position could be influenced to such a degree. Because of her youth, the fact that Sephie doesn't have an heir should be irrelevant. All of these machinations look like a clichéd way of setting up another love triangle when Sephie learns that Jad is still alive.


The Path #7
writer: Ron Marz
artists: Bart Sears and Mark Pennington

This issue showcases General Ryuichi's valiant effort to defend Nayado from the hordes of Shinacean invaders. Everyone thinks that Nayado is doomed, including Ryuichi himself. The Shinacean army has one hundred times more soldiers. Defeat seems inevitable for Ryuichi, but he refuses to give up. Obo-San makes only a token appearance.

The book showcases Bart Sears' art. Whether this is a good thing or not depends on whether you like the darker, rougher style that he uses on The Path. Sears seems to be going for an epic feel, but many of the panels are murky enough that I had trouble following the action. As a whole, feels bloated, even with only a small amount of dialogue.

Finally the story takes a turn in the last panel. The issue would have been better if this had happened back on page eight or nine.


Ruse #12
writers: Mark Waid and Scott Beatty
artists: Butch Guice and Mike Perkins

Simon and Emma pursue Lightbourne through the crumbling city of Partington. By flooding the caves beneath the city, Lightbourne inflicted an impressive amount of damage. Emma quickly and predictably becomes separated from Simon. Stumbling through the city, she encounters random associates and eventually rejoins Simon at his headquarters. They have a "final" confrontation with the irrational Lightbourne.

After a decent issue last month, Ruse takes another turn for the worse. Both Simon and Lightbourne come across as idiots. The plot is almost non-existent, with none of the normal mysteries or surprises. The dialogue shows that Scott Beatty knows how to use a thesaurus but lacks the wit that Waid employed. (Though given co-plotting credit, Waid respectfully disavows participation in this finale.) Guice's artwork is good but not outstanding.

With the chapter on Lightbourne now closed, hopefully the series will move on to better things.


Charlie Wentling

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