I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got one new comic, one new magazine, and a hard cover collection:

  • Buffy Season Eight – 7
  • Back Issue Number 24 – Magic Issue
  • Finder – Tenth Anniversary Hardcover
  • And now for some reviews of things I’ve read this week.

  • Sojourn Issues 1-34 (plus prequel)
  • I didn’t buy any Crossgen comics for about the first eight months after they debuted back in 2000. They were supposed to be “different” and though I am a big fan of “different” the creators were mostly some of the same names that had been making super hero comics for years. I didn’t then and still don’t now read many super hero comics. So it wasn’t until about eight issues in that I sampled some Crossgen stuff. I ended up liking and buying quite of few of their series.

    “Sojourn” wasn’t part of the initial launch and came in Crossgen’s second year so I actually bought this one from the beginning. It’s a fantasy/sword and sorcery/quest type book. Maybe bow and sorcery is more like it since the lead character, Arwyn (a hot blond woman), is an archer. This is the first time since the series (and Crossgen itself) ended in 2004 that I have read “Sojourn”. And the first time I have read all of the issues in a row. They read fast with a lot of big panels and not a lot of words. The series holds up pretty well.

    The art is by Greg Land with some fill in artists here and there. Land’s use of obvious photo referencing can be a little distracting at times. I have nothing against photo referencing but there shouldn’t be a jarring difference between the referenced and unreferenced shots. It takes me out of the story. And if you’re going to use photo reference I advise learning a bit about photography. All that said I do think this is Land’s best work. At least that I’ve seen. I haven’t read any of his later Marvel stuff but I heard complaints that his photo referencing hasn’t gotten less jarring. The excellent illustrative coloring (Caesar Rodriguez then Juastn Ponser) is what really puts the artwork over the top. Crossgen had some real talent working for them.

    The writing is adequate if not spectacular. The basic plot was: evil guy takes over the world and hero (Arwyn the Archer) goes on a quest to gather up five pieces of an arrow needed to stop him and free the world. Since it’s an epic quest they never actually finished the story even in 35 issues. The issues are filled with sub-quest stories and the gathering of three of the five pieces. The story took a slightly different direction with issue 25 when a new writer came on board. It wasn’t that different. More like a refocusing because the story had begun to lose a little direction and therefor steam.

    The one element I hated in the story was the “Watcher” element. Some super powerful woman who wanted Arwyn to succeed helped her along the way by giving her instruction and a weapon. But this woman “couldn’t interfere” and help Arwyn anymore. This cliché is in a lot of stories and is a stupid literary conceit that doesn’t make any sense. The chick is already interfering but she can’t interfere? It’s just a convenient way to move the plot forward when it needs to be. Luckily this angle was dropped by about issue twelve.

    I’m actually nostalgic for Crossgen books. They put out a lot of good comics and it’s a shame that they went out of business. It’s also a shame that none of my comic buying friends bought many (if any) Crossgen comics because they missed out on a whole bunch of good stuff. And I have to be nostalgic by myself (sniff). So track down some “Sojourn” if you’re in the mood for a quest with dragons, trolls, magic, winged men, pretty drawings, and huge double page spreads of battles. Check it out and when I re-read more Crossgen stuff in the future I’ll let you know.