imagine that somehow, all that adds up to a barely mediocre
book, and you’ll have the first Crossgen book that
I have hated, Mystic.
problems start right in the beginning of the book, and unlike
Route 666, which
managed to veer away from bad literary territory, Mystic
gets stuck in it. Like most of the early Crossgen titles,
there is a prologue of sorts where two sets of glowing eyes
dialogue about the state of the world they’re hovering
over (this one being Ciress, where magic is mundane), one
pair convincing the other to give the “mark of power”
or “sigil” to someone on the planet. For those
unaware, these little beginnings had something to do with
Crossgen’s title The First; a book about
the gods of the various Crossgen worlds or some such thing.
In other titles, like Scion and Meridian,
these introductions were easily ignored or seen simply as
explanations of the worlds, and later books like Sojourn,
Brath, etc, skipped the whole thing.
reason you can’t ignore the First in Mystic
is twofold: first, they are mentioned by name in the introduction
between God’s Hairy Eyebrows No.1 and God’s
Hairy Eyebrows No.2, so now the reader either has to have
some knowledge of the First to understand the undercurrents
of the book, or be somewhat lost. Secondly, at least two
or three characters encountered in the book appear to be
the First. In fact, there is an entire scene where two “Firstians”
or “Firstors” do nothing but talk to each other
about sigil bearers and other First-like business, that
greatly interrupts the story. Sell the books in tandem or
print them together if they need be so ingrained in one
another, but don’t print half a story in one comic
and make the reader go searching for he other. Meridian,
despite its connections to the First and their several appearances,
could stand alone as a good adventure story. Mystic
has no such luck, which brings me to another problem with
main story, the thing that could have made the book infinitely
better, is barely there. Our heroine is Giselle, the Paris
Hilton of the Crossgen universe, minus the sex tape (unless
the writers got very weird in later issues). She’s
quite happy to be a socialite while her sister Genevieve
ascends to the level of Master of the Nouveau Guild of Magic,
one of the seven guilds that rule Ciress. But during Genevieve’s
ascension ceremony, Giselle finds herself sigil-ized by
a stranger in the crowd, and absorbs the powers of the guild
masters, as well as the spirits of the first guild masters.
Guess who’s angry? Go on!
Giselle has to run from the guild masters, and…well,
she really doesn’t do much else. The story is mostly
her bouncing around from one magical fight to the next,
and while random and frequent battles between the heroine
and antagonists are the basis for nearly half of the three-color-ink
world, it just gets boring. Writer Ron Marz could have done
a lot more world building to make the world of Ciress more
than just the window dressing it ends up being. Yes, there’s
magic everywhere and magic flying taxis sure do look neat,
but Marz never attempts to explain the mechanism by which
magic appears to work. What is magic? How has it affected
this society? Why are their seven major guilds of magic
and what makes each magic different? I’ve heard that
later in the series, some of these questions were touched
on, but in order to capture the readers' attention, there
needs to be that level of detail. The fun of the Crossgen
books often sprung from their various worlds and the time
put into developing them, and that’s lacking here.
artwork by Brandon Peterson looks to me like a bad mix of
Terry Dodson and Mike Wieringo. There are breasts everywhere.
Now, I like breasts as much as the next fanperson, but it
just seems silly at this point to have the heroine of the
story, upon receiving her powers, magically end up in a
torn leotard missing the modest parts of the swimsuit. This
isn’t Witchblade, for crying out loud.
his good background composition and attempts to fill in
where Marz forgot to world-build, Peterson's character work
is mundane, sometimes reaching back into the realms of what
I like to call the early-nineties Breasts and Biceps period
(and because I haven’t said it in a good long while:
Die, Leifeld, Die!) The inking and coloring though, is rather
well done by John Dell and Andrew Crossely, respectively.
While I have some reservations about colorists using computers
to color their pages (it’s quickly becoming a lost
art, kids), Crossely really helps to bring life to this
otherwise lifeless book.