cover image NEGATION: Bohica!


Tony Bedard, , penciled by Paul Pelletier. . CrossGen, $19.95 (192pp) ISBN 978-1-931484-30-5

CrossGen comics readers have been lured into a complicated maze of interrelated story lines. The books of the CrossGen universe leave crucial mysteries unresolved, but hint that readers might be able to figure it out if they buy everything CrossGen publishes. Fat chance. Even if fans could keep up with CrossGen's production, it's unlikely the company will reveal all the secrets and give up a major sales hook. Nevertheless, Negation does use these multiple worlds effectively. In this book, soldiers of the villainous Negation empire have kidnapped characters from many CrossGen titles in order to test them through mortal combat. Planning future conquests, the Negation empire wants to know which might be the tougher foe: Obregon Caine, from the Sigil series, or, say, Evinlea, from The First series. When the CrossGen captives escape, the Negation forces pursue, and the escapees try to accommodate their wildly eclectic talents to survive. The fugitives are a diverse bunch and their interpersonal conflicts can be entertaining. Star Trek fans will be amused by a bumbling starship crew that the escapees encounter. But mainly it's the book's unusually good color artwork that will keep readers hooked. The Negation troopers always look cool when they show up in other CrossGen titles, and Pelletier amusingly depicts the rest of the empire. He makes High Castellan Komptin, the jailer charged with recapturing the escapees, simultaneously cute and threatening, while Lawbringer Qztr, also out to recapture the heroes, is an S&M leather freak's dream. Even if it doesn't ultimately explain the CrossGen universe, this book is a feast for the eyes. (Mar.)