Saturday, May 22, 2021

REVIEW: Meridian, Vol. 1: Flying Solo (graphic novel) written by Barbara Kesel; pencilers, Joshua Middleton, George Perez, Steve McNiven

Meridian is a fantasy graphic novel series published by Crossgen Comics. I bought my copy used.


The ground-level areas of the planet Demetria are toxic, so most people live on floating islands, each of which is governed by a Minister and specializes in a particular industry or type of work. Meridian, whose people specialize in building airships, is one such island. Meridian's Minister is Turos, and teenage Sephie is his heir. Turos' brother, Ilahn, is the Minister of Cadador.

A pair of gods (or something) decide to shake things up on Demetria by imbuing a pair of siblings with great powers: one with the power of destruction and one with the power of creation. They pick Turos and Ilahn, but the strain is too much for Turos and his heart gives out. Upon his death, his power is passed on to Sephie.

Ilahn has always been jealous of Turos and sees this as the perfect opportunity to take over Meridian and remake it as he sees fit. Sephie is initially naive and trusting but eventually realizes that she'll have to stand against her uncle if her people are to survive.

I found this and the second volume in a used bookstore and bought it primarily for the nostalgia aspect. I read it years ago, and all I could remember was thinking that the colors were pretty.

The colors were indeed pretty, but this was exhausting to read, and I ended up stalling partway through. Weeks later, I finally pushed myself to finish it. Although it did grow on me a little, eventually, I wouldn't be continuing on if it weren't for the fact that I already own the second volume.

There was a lot going on here: details about the world and its politics, a bunch of different characters and their relationships, the gods (or whatever they were) adding their own complications for their own reasons, the old lady who was maybe connected to those gods, etc. I'd have liked it a little more of it hadn't been for the "all-seeing gods imbuing unsuspecting humans with powers" aspect - grand-scale stuff like that kind of annoys me - but I'd still have had issues with how hard it occasionally was to follow what was going on. The characters weren't always drawn quite on model (the biggest offenders: Jad, who looked like every brown-haired guy ever, and his father, who looked like Ilahn), and different issues had different pencilers and inkers, so I had to put extra effort into keeping track of who everyone was.

Here's hoping volume 2 makes for more enjoyable reading.

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