HOME ABOUT SUPPORT US SITES WE LIKE FORUM Search Fanboyplanet.com | Powered by Freefind FANBOY PLANET
Graphic Depictions Today's Date:

The Path: Crisis Of Faith

There are times when I start to grow tired of the superhero genre.

Don't get me wrong; superheroes are what got me into comics and they are at the core of what makes comics unique. Every superhero book is a study in the iconic nature of storytelling and character creation, no matter how badly written, drawn or conceived a notion it may be (I'm looking at you Marville).

But there are times when I just want something different from my comic shop. Thankfully, the industry has grown and branched out in the past five to ten years, and the selection of genres has bloomed to the point where I can find a comic book about almost anything. (Sure, they've existed for more than a decade, but the key word here is find.)

In one of these non-spandex-clad-muscle-men moods, I came across a book called The Path from CrossGen Comics.

Penned by Ron "I write 50% of the CGE comics" Marz and penciled by Bart Sears, The Path is the story of Obo-san: a monk who, after witnessing his brother slain by the gods Obo-san had devoted his life to, sets out upon a quest to destroy those he once revered, with the weapon of the gods and the by-now-given-plot-device CrossGen Sigil on his back.

I make the plot sound simplistic, but Marz really gets in-depth in the characterization of The Path. Unlike his other books at CrossGen like Sojourn and Scion, Marz doesn't have to spend a lot of time "world building," as most of the culture and atmosphere of the Ohira Dynasty and its surrounding neighbors are all parallels to ancient Japanese culture.

The respect and honorifics of ancient Japan are all there, as well as the traditions of the culture (i.e. ritualistic suicide, top knots, etc.). In not being burdened by introducing the world to the reader, Marz frees up space to look at Obo-san and what motivations are behind his rebellion against the gods, introducing him to the reader.

The plot itself also has some startlingly interesting twists that I was not expecting in this book about a world similar to ancient Japan: the personifications of both gods and demons help to add a distinct supernatural flare to the book, as well as making for some creepifying moments when it comes to crow demons hiding in the shadows of a monastery. Creepy little buggers…

Marz also does good dialogue. He recognizes that many of the characters, being from the samurai tradition, would speak in terse, shorter sentences, but he still enables the characters to get out that much needed exposition that helps to move the story along. It's not the snappy and engaging back-and-forth that Brian Michael Bendis pulls off, but it suits the subdued tone of The Path very well.

The artwork is also quite good, with Sears actually giving a little insight into his artistic techniques in an article at the back of the collection. An obvious fan of Lone Wolf and Cub, it shows in his artwork. Most of the comic is done in the fold out, two page format, where two open pages are treated as one. It's an interesting approach and it's something that is found often in Lone Wolf and Cub. There are three direct nods to the classic manga work by Koike and Kojima in Sears' artwork and one in Marz's writing. Geek points to those that spot them.

At times, Sears' panels seem somewhat crowded, but that may be due more to the size change for the Traveler Edition than to any fault on Sears' part, though the panels can get jumbled while reading as there isn't always a smooth transition page to page. This is not helped by the occasional (very occasional really) over-inking of Mark Pennington. Pennington tends to go a little too dark at times with his lines, which obscures faces and other relevant bits of story, but his style does appear to mature as one reads further into the comic, so it doesn't ruin anything or detract from the story.

Still the best deal out there in comics, this Traveler edition contains a good story that has sparked my interest, as well as some references to the only manga I'll ever read. And all for the low low price of $9.95. The bookstores are selling the CrossGen Travelers in with the manga nowadays, so maybe we'll trick the next poor sucker who tries to buy the 4th volume of Yu-Gi-Oh! into buying a quality comic book product and get that readership up. Or maybe he'll buy both.

Let us dream.

Robert Sparling

Our Friends:

Official PayPal Seal

Copyrights and trademarks for existing entertainment (film, TV, comics, wrestling) properties are held by their respective owners and are used with permission or for promotional purposes of said properties. All other content ™ and © 2001, 2014 by Fanboy Planet™.
"The Fanboy Planet red planet logo is a trademark of Fanboy Planet™
If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
Movies | Comics | Wrestling | OnTV | Guest | Forums | About Us | Sites