Friday, December 01, 2006

Crossing Midnight #1

Mike Carey & Jim Fern

Twins are born on either side of midnight in Nagasaki in this Vertigo comic full of bizarre events surrounding the boy and girl. As they grow up and apart, they adopt very distinct personalities and shed the innocence of childhood at the same time as evil forces swarm around them and they discover what make them unique from others in their daily lives. There are quite a few opposing forces in this book: belief vs. disbelief, abiding vs. rebeling, and tradition vs. contemporary life, as graphically illustrated in some of the opening pages of the story at hand, where a grandmother insists that her daughter and son-in-law pay homage to a family shrine so that the childbirth goes without incident, while the daughter argues with her medical charts and ultra-sounds that it's unnecessary. Through much of the scene one side of the old woman's face is hidden, but not distractingly so, until a full view of the woman's face is revealed as having been burned during the bombing of Nagasaki, grafting tradition to a pre-bomb Nagasaki and contemporary culture following, much like the differences between the twins born on either side of midnight.

I really enjoyed Jim Fern's art on this book and I absolutely love that cover by J.H. Williams III. Carey demonstrates a lot of thought in his storytelling, creating a fairly multi-layered work. Though it gets a little silly toward the end of the issue, this is one of the better launches from Vertigo in recent years and should produce some interesting stories. A-

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