cover image MERIDIAN VOLUME THREE: Taking the Skies


Barbara Kesel, , illus. by Steve McNiven, Tom Simmons and Molly Hollowell. . CrossGen, $15.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-1-931484-21-3

Loyal readers and those new to Kesel's monthly magazine—this volume collects issues 15 through 20—will enjoy this story set in a world where enormous islands float through the sky. The visual style lies somewhere between anime and art deco, incorporating both exuberant action and static decoration, and it works beautifully. The characters are fascinating too, although they can seem generic at first. Sephie, the young heroine, leads a band of youthful rebels against her evil uncle Ilahn, who's murdered her father and usurped Sephie's role as Minister of Meridian, one of the major sky-islands. Both Sephie and Ilahn bear versions of the CrossGen Sigil, making them part of the power struggle/game spin-off behind the CrossGen multi-universe saga. Sephie tries to deploy her superhuman powers without hurting anyone and wants to defeat Ilahn without fighting on his terms. This gives the action more moral weight than usual in a mass market comic, and the complexity of the issues may turn out to justify CrossGen's extended (some would say interminable) story lines. There are real decisions to make here, and Sephie and her friends are trying to win new allies and to outmaneuver Ilahn—who doesn't do much more than basic comic book villainy, albeit with real gusto. Beautiful art and strong scripting make Meridian a superior value. (Oct.)