"Cut Here (Part 1 of 2)"
Writer: Mike Carey
Artists: Jim Fern (p), Mark Pennington (i)
Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo
Four issues into a new series, a reader can (to an extent) say what exactly is going in the main story, i.e. what the whole deal is about. Once in a while a spinner of a tale comes about that not only confuses the batsman, I mean the reader, it downright sends him packing for the pavilion. More often than not, such an opening makes for an enjoyable, forget about long, innings. Then again, even rarer is something like Crossing Midnight, a game, I mean series, that although having almost all of the attributes stated above, has one major difference. It is so damn intriguing that even though each issue leaves me feeling (no comments about my Adonis like looks) confused like an A-grade chump, I canít help but return the next time around for yet another chumping.
Cricket references and my studdly-yet-cuddly looks aside, each issue of Crossing Midnight has so much going on in it that it requires two readings: one to get the content and the second to go back and confirm the understanding of it and correct the mistakes, mistakes which one is sure to make. Case in point, the opening of this issue. Initially I thought it was a generic depiction of the events of the last issue and some random flashback scenes, but I only understood later what exactly was it is that was shown here.
As for Toshi (the sister), her part here is basically going through the induction procedure for her servitude of her new master. Along the way she meets with another servant, a much older one it seems who prepares her for the "slicing" ceremony.
If anyone is the star of this issue it is Kai, the brother. As much a big part he had been before, he always came across as having less of a presence than his more boisterous and outgoing twin. Whether that was something deliberate on his part or whether it was him staying back to look out for his sister (who had a tendency to get the two of them into trouble quite often) is open to interpretation but whatever the reason with Toshiís leaving, it seems to have been negated, at least for now. The Kai we have here is much more self-confident and given his (and his mother's) condition, his actions are commendable, both in front of the doctors and the mysterious Nidoru.
The introduction of Onto Nidoru brings to fore the one big problem that has plagued this series (for this readerís p.o.v. at least). Despite the mind-warping mystery he is weaving, both from the past and for the future, writer Mike Carey hasnít been able to make me care all that much about any of the characters. Oh, I am concerned about what is in store for Toshi, but only because I want to know what she (or her master) will do and not because how it will affect her as a person. This holds true for all the other characters, including Kai to a lesser extent.
Equaling and adding to the mature writing are clean yet expressive visuals provided by the creative trio of penciller Jim Fern, inker Rob Hunter and colorist Jose Villarrubia. Even if their monsters werenít all that scary by themselves, they did provide a sense of danger. Ditto for Nidoru and her mysterious (and more than a little eccentric) demeanor, even if those legs of hers just scream anorexia.
Conclusion: "Hit its stride" this series hasnít. However, slowly but surely it is developing and catching speed. Now if only something could be done about that characters themselves (as individuals).
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
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