Monday, June 21, 2004

Today I'm looking at CrossGen's Chimera miniseries, being only four issues it would be easy to pass by given that I mainly want to see why the regular series didn't work. Yet when reading it I was surprised by how it seemed to encapsulate many of CrossGen's strengths and weaknesses in its short run.

Chimera is a science fiction series owing a lot of its roots to things like Frank Herbert's Dune series. The story follows Sara Jenning, a smart mouth young woman who gains the typical deux ex machina of the the CG Universe sigil as a young girl during an invasion of her planet by the dreaded Imperium.

When attacked her power activates and she decimates the entire invading force, which sends her underground as a fugitive. When circumstances change, and her true nature is revealed, the Imperium comes after her again, and this time she must stand against the Emperor and his children themselves in order to live.

This plays well into the strengths of CrossGen's initial titles, the art by Brandon Peterson is attractive and full of life. A lot of attention is given to details of ships and the world around the characters. The space ships especially remind a lot of the way the early Red Star art in terms of its sophistication and beauty.

Sara is a likeable character that I couldn't help but root for, and her struggle was involving enough for me to be interested in it. Though it ends too soon for any real resolution to be had.

Yet the series relies a bit too much on knowledge of the sigil's origin in other series to follow. Which as too often with these initial series was a magic mcguffin that could do whatever the writer wanted it to do. This leads to a lack of danger, because the sigil bearers are shown as so powerful that little can stand up to them.

The pacing of the stories, as with most of these CrossGen series as I'm finding, is just too slow and padded out. Events that could have taken place in a page or two or drawn out over the entire issue or two.

I would come to the end of an issue and think "already over?" Not in a good way, but in a way of feeling like it wasn't a substantial enough read.

Also while Peterson's art is attractive, it can be a bit too pandering. Not only for Sara's "torpedo breasts" that can be seen on those covers, but for the huge amount of butt shots. I don't think it a coincidence that the sigil had the key placement of being just above her hip on her lower back

So all in all, it was an interesting idea for a basic series, that relied far too much on the CrossGen universe as a whole to be totally understood. The production values and artwork especially was high as usual, yet left some disturbing thoughts for directions it took.

Basically it was a project that had potential, yet never quite lived up to it because of its desire to be a part of a bigger picture rather than stay true to the smaller one. Too bad really as I could have used a good sci-fi series that wasn't just a cheap Star Wars or Star Trek ripoff.

Tomorrow: Scion

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