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Archive for the ‘CrossGen Comics’ Category

Mystic (2011 Series) #2

October 7, 2011 Leave a comment

October 6, 2011

Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Pencils:
David Lopez
Inks:
Alvaro Lopez
Colorist:
Nathan Fairbairn
Letterer:
Jared K. Fletcher
Cover Artist:
Amanda Conner & Paul Mounts
Editor:
Jeanine Schaefer
Publisher:
Marvel Comics/CrossGen

Sucks to be Genevive right now. She’s always wanted to move up from her humble status as a maid and join the ranks of the apprentice magicians. But not only was Genevive not chosen, her friend Giselle was. As Giselle tries to deal with snooty, uptight apprentices that don’t think she belongs in the academy, Genevive finds herself falling in with a group that is firmly opposed to the magical academy, planning a resistance movement. Both girls are in places they never wanted to be, neither of them are happy, and Wilson is doing a fine job of milking the drama out of the situation. This book really has left the original Mystic series far behind, staking a claim as its own entity and making a damn strong case for anybody who wants to follow it. This is a clever world, one that has a similar flavor to many other fantasy realms, but at the same time, presents us with a unique set of circumstances. David Lopez and Albaro Lopez are doing wonderful work on the artwork, with pages that almost look like still animation frames captured for the comic book. And as always, an Amanda Conner cover is one of the best enhancements any comic could have. Out of the resurrected CrossGen titles, I think this is probably the best one so far.

Rating: 8/10

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Sigil (2011 Series) #4

July 24, 2011 Leave a comment

July 20, 2011

Writer: Mike Carey
Pencils:
Leonard Kirk
Inks:
Ed Tadeo
Colorist:
Guru EFX
Letterer:
Rob Steen
Cover:
Jelena Djurdjevic
Editor:
Nick Lowe              
Publisher:
Marvel Comics/CrossGen

Samantha Rey and the crew of the El Cazador are racing against the fearsome Captain October, hoping to find an artifact of incredible power that Sam’s mother hid there when she was young. This issue, Sam gets her hands on the mysterious box and decides to take it one place October can’t get to it – through time. I’m really glad to see that Mike Carey took this particular tack with Sam. Giving a character with the ability to travel through time is kind of a big deal, and there are a lot of logical applications that some writers ignore. He seems to be embracing them and, in fact, using the time-travel nature of this series to its advantage. In fact, by the end, time seems to be of the utmost importance. Mixing in those sci-fi elements with the classic pirate setting makes for an interesting contrast, but one that’s really a lot of fun. There’s clearly a pretty large, thought-out backstory here, and while this is the end of this miniseries, we can only hope that it’s done well enough to justify returning to the world of Sigil in the future. Leonard Kirk finishes off this title with great skill, getting to play around in multiple time periods with his artwork, which seems to be a lot of fun for the artist. Overall, this miniseries really was a lot of fun, very exciting, and something I want to see come back in the near future.

Rating: 7/10

Sigil (2011 Series) #3

July 12, 2011 Leave a comment

June 23, 2011

Writer: Mike Carey
Pencils:
Leonard Kirk, Patrick Olliffe
Inks:
Ed Tadeo, Pat Davidson
Colorist:
Guru EFX
Letterer:
Rob Steen
Cover:
Jelena Djurdjevic
Editor:
Nick Lowe                        
Publisher:
Marvel Comics/CrossGen

Captain October, the evil Sigil-Bearer, has captured Samantha Rey and the crew of the pirate ship El Cazador. Sam’s efforts to master her own Sigil and her time-traveler’s knowledge of the future  may be all that helps her crew escape and beat October to the mysterious treasure of Blackjack Tom.

This book has gotten better as it progresses. Sam is coming into her own as a character, and the things we learn about her world are intriguing. This is one of the things that always disappointed me about the demise of the original CrossGen comics – we never got to learn the grand scheme behind the sigils, how they worked, why they were given to different characters across the cosmos, and so forth. I don’t know how much, if any, of that original concept has survived in the new Marvel-CrossGen comics, but at the very least, it seems Mike Carey is going to avoid the danger of another dangling mystery by revealing at least some of it early. That’s highly appreciated.

Leonard Kirk and Patrick Olliffe, both of whom have done great work with young, female heroes in the past, trade off halves of this book. The transition is pretty seamless – you can’t tell where one artist ends and the next begins, although it may help that Pat Davidson’s inks begin a few pages before Olliffe takes over the pencils.

I’m looking forward to the conclusion. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this book at first, but it’s grown on me quite a bit.

Rating: 8/10

Ruse (2011 Series) #1

April 12, 2011 Leave a comment

April 10, 2011

Title: The Victorian Guide to Murder Chapter One
Writer:
Mark Waid
Art:
Mirco Pierfederici
Cover:
Butch Guice, Mike Perkins & Laura Martin
Editor:
Stephen Wacker
Publisher:
Marvel Comics/CrossGen

Continuing the return of CrossGen, Mark Waid and Mirco Pierfederici team up to bring back Simon Archard and Emma Bishop, the greatest detectives of the fine old city of Partington. Simon has been receiving a mysterious string of parcels featuring pictures of Emma, clearly threatening her life. Not that he’d tell his partner such a thing, of course – not until the threat is literally crawling in their faces.

When it was announced that Marvel was going to bring back the old CrossGen comic, I don’t know if this one would have made the first cut if not for the fact that they could easily get original series writer Mark Waid back again. So far, he hasn’t missed a step. The book feels just like the original series did, with the only noticeable change coming from Marvel abandoning the “CrossGen Universe” conceit that each title took place on a world that was like a certain culture, time period, or fantasy setting from Earth. Instead of being a thinly-veiled stand-in for London, Partington is now just another city in Victorian England. And that’s just fine. Waid manages to bring back everything that made this title great the first time around – a solid mystery story combined with a rich, lush setting; a hero that has just enough arrogance to keep your distance, while investing yourself more fully in a partner that seems to have some mysteries about her… all gold.

The only thing that could have made this better was if they’d gotten original series artist Butch Guice back on-board as well, but at least he did the cover. And I must say, Mirco Pierfederici is the perfect replacement. His style is wonderful, with heavy outlines and lighter lines on the faces, often accomplishing the depth and contours through color and shade instead of linework. The architecture and artwork style is lovely, and the fashion is spot-on.

Fine issue. Can’t wait for number two.

Rating: 8/10

Sigil (2011 Series) #1

March 20, 2011 Leave a comment

March 19, 2011

Writer: Mike Carey
Pencils:
Leonard Kirk
Inks:
Ed Tadeo
Colorist:
Guru EFX
Letterer:
Rob Steen
Cover:
Jelena Djurdjevic
Editor:
Nick Lowe
Publisher:
Marvel Comics/Crossgen

Some months after the death of her mother, teenager Samantha Rey is having trouble getting herself back together. Her schoolwork is suffering and she’s having strange dreams and visions where she finds herself in another place and time. What do they mean? What secret did her mother carry? And what does any of it have to do with the strange birthmark on her neck?

Being a major fan of the old, long-defunct CrossGen Comics, I was very curious to see what Marvel would do with the property – how much they would keep, what they would change, would the books still take place in any sort of shared universe? It’s too early to answer all of those questions – or either most of them – but Sigil #1 is a promising start. Samanta Rey is a far cry from original series’ grizzled space warrior Sam Rey, but she seems like the sort of character a series could be built around. The book also seems like this “new” CrossGen will be built more around time-travel than universe travel. (The book is even set on Earth, while the original CrossGen titles were set in the same universe, but each on a different planet.) None of those changes really bother me substantially, and I very much appreciate the appearance of another old CrossGen  title here.

The artwork is very good – Leonard Kirk is an old hand at drawing teen girl comics (anybody remember his Supergirl days?), and he handles the very different sets and scenes well. There’s a certain majesty that he brings to the table, something I like quite a bit.

There’s not really anything wrong with this comic, but it isn’t wowing me just yet. There’s definite potential, and I think Mike Carey – who’s proven many a time he’s got the chops for great fantasy comics – is the right man to see it realized. It’ll be interesting to see how well he does over the course of this miniseries.

Rating: 7/10

Negation War #1

August 19, 2010 1 comment

April 4, 2004

Review by: Blake M. Petit & Craig Reade
Quick Rating: Great; Excellent

The war begins, and the first casualties come fast and hard.

Writer: Tony Bedard
Art: Paul Pelletier
Inker: Dave Meikis
Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: Dave Lanphear
Publisher: CrossGen Comics

Since CrossGen comics launched, it has been building towards one massive, universe-altering event. Reviewers Blake Petit and Craig Reade give you their impressions of the war that will change the Sivilverse forever.

Blake: Beginning now, fans of the Sigilverse will finally get the mysteries they’ve been wrapped up in with the launch of Negation War, the title that CrossGen has been building towards since the company launched.

Craig: Picking right up where Negation #27 left off, Charon, Evinlea, and their Negation forces have begun their assault on the “Bright” Universe. Their first stop is a world totally unfamiliar to fans of any CrossGen series – whose sigil-bearer is the heroic Mighty Man

Blake: This issue, in fact, could easily have been called Negation #28 if it weren’t for the threads of other CrossGen titles that it begins to pick up, particularly Crux and Way of the Rat. I thought starting the issue with an all-new Sigil-bearer, not to mention CrossGen’s first “superhero,” was a clever touch.

Craig: Personally I rather liked the slow infusion of some other CrossGen Sigil-books. Rather than a glorified, ultimate crossover, we are instead being treated to an important story that is getting all of the plot treatment it deserves, instead of a massive ultimate throw-down off the bat. You have a point about “Negation #28” being an appropriate title, however I think Bedard did an excellent job of re-introducing all of the characters for new readers. If this were to be Negation #28, it would have to be a Key Issue, at the very least.

Blake: Yes, this is probably accessible to new readers, although speaking as someone who jumped into the Sivilverse on day one, I couldn’t swear on that.

Regardless, this is an issue that shows why Tony Bedard is one of the best — and most underappreciated — writers in comics today. I’m actually going to pick up Exiles just to see what he does with it, and I’ve never read that tile before.

Craig: I think it is safe to say we are polar opposites there. I jumped into CrossGen very late in the game, and I still felt everything was explained pretty well in this issue. As to Exiles, that was a title I was reading since day one (until quite recently, at least), and I have to say he is a perfect fit to the concept. If Negation is indeed to end after Negation War, that is a great place for “displaced fans” to head to.

Blake: Although it would be a crying shame to lose that book.

This issue is mostly set-up, of course, with few questions answered outright, and at least one question (that of the orange-eyed mentiors) being blurred a little more than it had been, making you wonder exactly what Danik ‘s true nature is some time after one would have thought that problem was resolved.

Craig: Well, as someone who did not read Crux, or any of the other books where the true nature of the mentors was explained, I found this issue to be fairly enlightening. Perhaps they are going for a slower reveal for people like me? I found the last issue of Negation and this issue particularly enlightening. Not everyone read Crux, after all!

Blake: A slow reveal is probably good, but the promise of the “gathering of heroes” next issue really has me excited.

Craig: I have to say I am curious about that myself. Exactly how will people like Cassie Starkweather and other more “isolated” sigil-bearers react to these events? And I am still wondering how Boon is going to fit into this story – this can’t be it for him…

Blake: I certainly hope not. If there’s anything about this title that concerns me, it’s the fear that it will seal off the Sigilverse too completely and prevent more stories with some of the characters I’ve come to love.

Craig: Well, I am still in the camp that thinks the Negation is “winning” this thing. If there were to be a continued Negation ongoing series, I would love to see a band of surviving Sigil-bearers from many of the canceled titles lead by Kaine, behind enemy lines in their own universe. If they are not going to have their own books, they might as well appear in a team book!

Blake: You could definitely count me as a regular customer for a title like that.

Craig: One thing that struck my about this issue was the sheer power of the mentors. It begs the question- If each of the mentors are this powerful, and each “sigil-bearer” has a mentor, aren’t the sigil bearers superfluous?

Blake: I think that’s a question that will be answered once we grasp the full significance of the sigils.

Craig: In any case, this issue on the whole was a great introduction. CrossGen even got its dig at the Superhero genre with the introduction (and defeat?) of Mighty Man – just a few short pages and I am already going to miss the guy.

Blake: Heh — you and me both.

Craig: A nice bit of humor to fill out what turned out to be little more than a set-up issue. A GOOD set-up, but it was nice to be entertained during all of the exposition.

Blake: Bedard has been very good and tempering some of the more horrific scenes with humor. And Paul Pelletier, for his part, has been good at portraying those horrific scenes.

Craig: I don’t think I have ever once complained about the art in a CrossGen book – that is something they have excelled in. Negation War Part One sure lives up to that high standard. As to the writing – Tony Bedard was the best man for this job. I can’t wait to see him bring all of these threads together. As much as this issue answered for me, there is still a great deal up in the air at this point

Blake: And since there’s four issues left, that’s probably a good thing.

Craig: On the whole, I have to say I could not have asked for anything more out of this issue. It is shaping up to be a great run, and an event worthy of a “swansong” to the sigil-verse, should it come to that.

Blake: Yeah. If things have to wrap up, CrossGen has the right team to do it and they’re already off to a great start.

Blake’s Rating: 9/10

Craig’s Rating: 10/10

(2010 Note: The joke was on us, as it turned out. After two issues of this series, CrossGen went out of business. Marvel recently teased the possibility of CrossGen’s return, now that both publishers are owned by Disney,  but I doubt we’ll ever see the end of this series.)