Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Rex Mundi (volume 1): The Guardian of the Temple collects the first six issues of the on-going series by Image. This book has a really great premise - it's a mystery set in an alternate-history where the Catholic Church still rules. In this story arc, an ancient scroll in possession of the church is stolen by occult means. The guardian of these scrolls calls on his reliable friend, Dr. Julian Sauniere, to discover what happened to the artifact. Julian is the main character here, always appearing too serious and dark, a completely unidentifiable protagonist for the reader who wasn't already put off by the bland story that's bogged in politics that I had not an inkling of interest in. Now, I actually like politics in fantasies. I was probably the only person on Earth who loved the politics in Star Wars: Episode I, but the politics here were just silly and too superfluously laid out. I mean, I know this bare bones mystery needed some meat to stretch it over six issues, but come on. Add a car chase or something next time. Anyways, the supporting characters of the story are just as two dimensional as the good doctor, and I have no qualms as they are killed off. In fact, I'm happy to see them picked off, as it serves to force something to take place. Ah, and the villain of the story? Could he have even been interesting? No. Of course not. He is an attempt at a creepy, non-speaking assassin, but is a ridiculous short, fat man in a white suit who stirs little fear with his appearance. Now, there was actually a really cool chase sequence in issue six that I was happy with, but even that had to be tainted by the ridiculous finale it was given. It's a competent mystery at best. Read Crossgen's late, great Ruse if you want a good historical mystery.