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The CrossGen Report
reviews by Charlie Wentling

Meridian #29
writer: Barbara Kesel
artists: Steve McNiven and Tom Simmons

Sephie comses across a logbook put together many years earlier by her mother, telling the story of Sephie's parents as they traveled Demetria trying to build a coalition strong enough to stand up to Cadador. Realizing that her parent's mission parallels what Sephie herself has been trying to do serves as an inspiration to her.

Much of the issue covers this flashback, as Turos and Ideria travel to the island of Aroud and deal with the treachery of the younger Ilahn. Sephie's friend Jon Takarty (father of Jad) was also along on the voyage, where he meets his future wife for the first time.

Steve McNiven regularly does beautiful work on Meridian, and he has hit a new high with this issue. Especially good with people and faces, he makes each person look distinct. Hopefully the action will move back to Meridian soon. Sephie has been away for too long.


The Path #8
writer: Ron Marz
artists: Bart Sears and Mark Pennington

As has been building in this book, the armies of Nayado and Shinacea clash. Nayado is vastly outnumbered, on the brink of defeat before Obo-San arrives with a group of one hundred monks. But Obo-San's men don't make much of a difference. He is eventually forced to use his "weapon of heaven" to turn the tide.

Marz and Sears are wasting a good opportunity. Though they are clearly going for an epic feel, it doesn't work. The plot is stretched extremely thin. Obo-San has such enormous powers that it makes him uninteresting.

The artwork is wildly uneven, moving from simple stark images to murky blurs. Sears is such a good artist when using his traditional style that it just makes this mushy mess harder to bear.

The Path still does have a lot of promise, but unless something changes it may never be realized.


Ruse #13
writer: Scott Beatty
artists: Butch Guice and Mike Perkins

Simon and Emma investigate the reason that so many ships have sunk off the coast of the small village of Baleen. Both of them go undercover into the village. While Emma assumes the role of a druidess in a religious order, Simon impersonates someone else, and although it's meant to be a surprise, the reader will figure out who he is much faster than Emma does.

No reference is given to how much time has passed since issue #12, or why Simon and Emma care about Baleen. Overall the story works fine, and the art is excellent.

The biggest problem is that once again, Simon and Emma spend almost all of their time apart. The best thing about Ruse as written by Mark Waid was always the witty dialogue. The twists could also be a bit less obvious.

Scott Beatty's first solo issue of Ruse is a good one.



Charlie Wentling

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