Comic Review: Sigil Volume 1 & 2

As I mentioned in my review of the first two volumes of Scion from Cross Gen Comics, I got hooked pretty hard on their whole thing.  That said, even though I was reading pretty much the entire Cross Gen spread of titles, I liked some more than others.  In spite of Sigil having a lot of things I like, it was not top of my list.  Reading it again for the first time in twenty years, I’m reminded of why.

The premise is sound.  In a big, epic Space Opera setting, two species are in conflict.  The reptilian Saurians and Humans.  In keeping with the overall themes of Cross Gen, which again remind me a lot of Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion, a human is marked by the Sigil, a mysterious mark that transcends the multiverse (and serves as Cross Gen Comics’s logo).  He becomes a super jacked-up hero, has friends and companions, and faces off against a big bad on the other side.  There are, of course, Humans who are also villains and Saurians who may turn out to be allies.  All that is fine.

Where it falls down for me is in the execution.  It can’t have helped, but I don’t think you can chalk it up to the creative team changing drastically over just fifteen issues.  It’s often written more like a Superhero comic than Space Opera.  The dialog is kinda janky, and I’d argue it’s overwritten.  It’s not to the levels of Stan Lee and other writers of the 60s & 70s, who filled panels with paragraphs and word balloons that started to read like a second-rate Charles Dickens.  However, they might have needed a refresher on “show, don’t tell.”  In addition, the art is wildly inconsistent across the two volumes (and even within each volume).  Character design and coloring already serve to confuse a bit, but when you add shifting art, it sometimes becomes impossible to tell which character is which.  I wonder if the powers that be started to realize that, because series lead Sam becomes more Doc Savage-esque and sort of randomly goes gray-ish as the second volume progresses.  Perhaps it’s the art and layout, but I never felt attached to anything that was happening, like the comic book equivalent of contemporary “close-up, shaky-cam, quick-cut” action scenes in movies.

As with Scion, the side characters tend to be the more interesting ones, but we don’t get all that much time with them.  There are some hints of the larger, multiverse level conflict, with some of The First showing up, as they did in Scion.  I don’t remember how it all ties together.  I only have a couple more separate volumes to get through before I shift into Edge and Forge, the multi-title digests I read to stay abreast of the greater whole.  Here’s hoping those are as good as I remember them being.  The next two I’m reading are Meridian, which I remember being one of my favorite Cross Gen series.  Fingers crossed.

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