cover image MERIDIAN Volume Five: Minister of Cadador

MERIDIAN Volume Five: Minister of Cadador

Barbara Kesel, . . CrossGen, $15.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-1-931484-70-1

Sigils, mysterious designs that appear on the bodies of people throughout the CrossGen universe, give unexpected and uncontrolled powers and are usually bestowed in pairs to encourage equal combat between antagonists who are moral opposites. On the planet of Demetria, one sigil-bearer is Sephie, innocent and beautiful ruler of Meridian; the other is her evil uncle Ilahn, who controls Cadador, a powerful but corrupt city. Sephie beats Ilahn in battle, and he disappears; she is determined to rule Cadador benevolently and reform it. However, she discovers the city's residents are perfectly content to live as they're used to. Sephie finds herself using her sigil's power more desperately to get her way. She also lies to people she wants to influence and discovers how satisfying it is to express her anger in explosive bursts. In short, she realizes she could become like her uncle after all. These episodes contain an unusually realistic look at the frustrations of extraordinary power. The art also has matured a bit since Meridian began. Sephie looks somewhat less like an Art Nouveau maiden with a head surrounded by a corona of floating blonde tresses. Appropriately enough, given that Sephie feels weighed down by responsibilities and has much less chance to soar freely, these stories contain fewer showy mid-air action scenes than earlier issues of the comic did. It's not that the art is ugly or uninteresting—in fact, it's even more remarkable because it shows the creators of Meridian aren't content to endlessly repeat themselves. (Sept.)