Honorable Opponents

November 15, 2003

By Avi Green

Sojourn #25
Writer: Ian Edington
Penciler: Greg Land

Sojourn is another of CrossGenís best adventure titles that Iíve become absorbed in, and was glad to come across as well. And best of all, the issue I now review only cost a buck US-wise! (In Israel, thatís the equivalent of close to 5 shekels.)

But thatís not really what the great thing is about this issue. What is great is the story that unfolds in this book overall.

The setting is upon the planet Quin, a planet in the far future solar system of CGís world, this one populated by many different races and species, humans, trolls, Urnethi and many others. Set three centuries after a warlord in the making named Mordath, a human who led the many troll armies who set out to conquer the planet, was killed by the noble archer Ayden, but has now been resurrected, and is mainly powered by a Sigil, seen on this world, in contrast to the other worlds in the CG universe, as a symbol of evil, with which he gets some, if not all, of his power. You could probably say that he was like a character who converted to Islam, and then took to conquering. And it is the heroine Arwynís quest to find the pieces of the arrow by which he was originally slain, put them together again, and use that as a weapon against him, aided by another veteran fighter named Gareth and her dog, Kreeg.

Right now, sheís been taken prisoner by one of Mordathís loyalists, Bohr, a troll warrior, and his platoon of soldiers, one of whom is a human collaborator who thinks that theyíve treated him better than the humans on the planet have, and is now in league with them.

Bohr argues that they werenít always simply a movement of evil, the troll race, and that they were once a proud nation that the human race later made life difficult for by invading their lands and exploiting their lumber potential. They later went to war against the human civilization, and then, who should become their means of salvation when theyíre facing an uphill battle, but Mordath, a human whose wife and son were slain by fellow humans. Itís the exact opposite of how Arwyn is a woman whose husband and daughter were slain by the troll armies. And Mordath organized them into battle, effectively waging a war of conquest against the rest of the planet, until the day when he was slain by the legendary archer Ayden, but now, of course, heís been resurrected and has succeeded in conquering the planet once again.

But, as the group of troll warriors is traveling with their prisoner through a ravine that looks in some ways like a castle built into the side of a mountain in the Jordan area of the middle east, they are attacked by a whole nest of reptilian creatures called razormouths, and seeing how they fell more than a few there with devastating force, they certainly do seem to have some really sharp teeth.

Arwyn tries to convince Bohr to untie her arms, since, being an expert archer that she is, she could help in stopping them, but he refuses, thinking that sheíd only try to turn the tables on him, and charges in to fight them himself. But Arwyn manages to cut her arms loose with a fallen sword from one of the troll soldiers, and retrieving her bow and arrows, shoots dead the remaining lizards with flaming arrows. And as for the human traitor, heís turned into lizard food while trying to escape from the chaos. Thatís what comes from his collaborating and selling his soul for nothing but villainy.

Arwyn certainly could put Bohr to death without too many problems, now that she and he are the only ones still standing at the end of this battle with razormouths, but, Bohr, as we see, is an honorable villain, and Arwyn has no desire to have to use any deadly force herself either. As Bohr tells her, while heíll still try to stop her in her quest to stop Mordath, sheís earned her freedom for now, and they both go their separate ways.

It shows how, at least in books like these, both the goodies and the baddies can be honorable towards each other, in contrast with reality, where they simply arenít. And itís very well done, a good way for Ian Edington to show that Arwyn isnít just bent on simple revenge, and that Bohr, as her archenemy, is more honorable than he seems.

Overall, this is a splendid start for Edington as the writer on the book, replacing Ron Marz, and he goes in quite well with the artist Greg Land, whose artwork is of the kind that looks almost real.

Iím going to really look forward to reading this in the near future, and am glad that itís not among the titles being cancelled due to CGEís trying to steer away from their Sigil-based universe theme. Arwyn is a woman with some real dimension and beauty, and who makes a great lead for this book, and Gareth, her traveling partner, is a well-written character too.

I highly recommend Sojourn, as one of the best books out of CrossGen today.

Copyright 2003 Avi Green. All rights reserved.

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