Saturday, May 22, 2021

REVIEW: Meridian, Vol. 2: Going to Ground (graphic novel) by Barbara Kesel, art by Steve McNiven, Tom Simmons, Morry Hollowell, etc.

Meridian is a fantasy (SFF?) series. I bought this volume used.


At the end of the previous volume, Sephie was enslaved and forced to work with the orphaned children trying to earn the right to stay in Akasia, and Jad found out that Sephie fell from her ship and assumed the fall must have killed her.

Sephie gradually gains more control over her powers and begins to understand their limitations. She's able to free herself and heads out in search of people who can help her. Although she's more careful after her experience at Akasia, she does manage to come across a few surprises, including a few people who knew her parents from before she was born. Meanwhile, Meridian's refugees find a new floating island to call home, and Ilhan deals with his new apprentice and a man who seems to have special knowledge of his and Sephie's new powers.

This was better than the first volume - it didn't jump around quite so much and felt a little more focused. Still, I found that the more I learned about the premise (the beings that granted Ilahn and Sephie their powers appear to be part of a larger Crossgen universe), the more annoyed and less interested I was in it all. I have no idea which of the god-like/superhero characters were people that fans of Crossgen's other titles would know, and the bits with Muse, Ghetan, and Ilahn's trip to Elysia felt like being a Marvel or DC newbie and suddenly getting dumped into something that was clearly a larger story thread intended for longtime fans.

Most of the volume followed Sephie and her journey to get others to join her in standing up against her uncle. The flashback to when her mother and father first met was okay, I guess, but we already knew most of it. Granted, it was interesting to find out that Sephie's mother was 30 when Turos and Ilahn fell for her - the woman in these types of stories (two guys in love with the same woman, one turns villainous when he can't have her) tends to be younger.

I'm not a fan of the romantic complications Kesel is setting up. There were hints, even in the first volume, that one of Sephie's friends was secretly in love with Jad. Apparently Jad and Sephie were interested in each other but hadn't really talked about it. When Jad thought Sephie died, Sephie's friend spotted an opportunity. Meanwhile, Sephie was introduced to a young botanist who'd practically been betrothed to her when he was a child and she was a fetus. I imagine this will all become a lot messier when Jad discovers that Sephie is still alive.

The art was okay, and since the story didn't jump around quite so much, I didn't have as many difficulties with remembering and/or figuring out who everyone was. I'm still not a fan of how often the artists change, though. Certain characters looked like completely different people depending on who drew them - Jad's father was unrecognizable in his wedding scene, for example, and the flashback in the "Chronicles" featured three characters with brown hair (Turos, Ilahn, and Jon) who were only recognizable in context.

Well, that's all the volumes I own, and at this point I don't plan to seek the rest out via library checkouts. I did somehow get my hands on a couple DVDs (interactive comics?) that I still need to look at, though.

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