When I was first really getting into comics back in the early 2000s, something magical, but perhaps doomed from the start happened. Folks with big ideas and big wallets created Cross Gen Comics. It was a new multiverse, built from the ground up. It would span multiple titles and multiple genres, but all be tied by some themes, a few reality hopping characters, and a sigil that was also the company’s logo. They put a lot of money into it, recruited veteran and up and coming talent, and spared no expense with production. It couldn’t last. And it didn’t. But I was a relative newcomer to comics, having never really caught the bug in childhood or my teens (except for a few years reading Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and G.I. Joe). I went all in with Cross Gen. In part, it was getting in on the ground floor and not having to deal with decades of confusing and contradictory history, as well as inconsistent editorial vision and collector-aimed grifting. In part it was the fact that these comics weren’t limited to super heroes, a genre that had never particularly appealed to me.
That all brings me to Scion. I’ve decided to start working my way through my collection of Cross Gen trades for the first time in twenty years. I was so excited to pick up and read each one at the time, but haven’t ever given them another go, and I’m trying to make room on my bookshelves. So, here we go. Scion, I have to admit, was not one of the series I particularly liked. Fantasy isn’t usually my genre, particularly the sort of Epic Fantasy tale author Ron Marz is trying to set up. And the art by Jim Cheung has a distinctly manga/anime style, which I especially don’t like. The inking (Don Hillsman II) and coloring (Caesar Rodriguez) are solid.
It’s the story of two rival kingdoms who’ve been at peace for a couple centuries. A mistake by our main protagonist is the spark that lights the fire of conflict once again. The main villain has been looking for an excuse and things kick into high gear quickly. It’s fairly standard stuff. There are corrupt officials on the hero’s side, who’ve been pushing for conflict. There are good people on the villain’s side, who don’t want this war. There’s another species who live as servants in the “good” kingdom and are enslaved in the “bad” kingdom. The main character is even blonde…because of course he is.
There’s a bit of weird tech mixed into the medieval-esque setting that sort of makes it feel like an episode of Voltron. Some of the action is pretty good. I do like the design of the other species, who are sort of a mix of typical goblins and orcs. There’s a bounty hunter from that species who looks pretty cool. But otherwise…meh.
Volume One introduces most of our major players, their world, and a few hints at something larger, a conflict on a more cosmic scale. You can definitely sense elements of Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion in the DNA of Cross Gen’s core ideas, and this one in particular feels like it might be a world Elric or Hawkmoon might feel comfortable in. One of the big problems I have with this one is apparent from the start. Hero Prince Ethan is a pretty typical, brash, whiny, semi-reluctant, semi-petulant character who I just don’t give two craps about. Villain Prince Bron is EVIL for…reasons. Both are pretty dull characters, which makes their conflict uninteresting. There are more interesting side characters, but every time we get to spend any time with them, it’s only in service of the two dull leads.
Volume Two adds a couple more important characters and amps up the action. We also get a bit deeper history of the two realms and their longstanding animosity. There are more obvious ties to the greater Cross Gen multiverse, too.
The two volumes get us up to issue 14, and if my memory serves, the comic then began to appear in the pages of one of Cross Gen’s monthly, company-wide digests. So, I didn’t collect any further trades. If I keep this train rolling and read through my whole collection, I’m sure I’ll be returning to Scion. I figured I’d start with one of my least favorite of the company’s output in this reread. We’ll see how this goes. If you’re more of a Fantasy fan and if you don’t mind the anime/manga art style, this might be more to your liking than it was to mine.
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