I’ve already reviewed the Gladiator component of this collection. Now the other three get a group treatment.

General Information

Segment Author Artists
Blastaar Christos N. Gage Carlos Magno (pencils), Jeffrey Huet and Norman Lee (inks) and Andy Troy and Sotocolors (colorists)
Crystal Jay Faerber Adriana Melo (pencils), Maria Benes (inks) and Nei Ruffino (colours)
Lilandra Jay Faerber Ramon Perez (artist) and Nathan Fairbairn (colours)

Premise

Each segment reveals something about the past and/or character it revolves around. Originally published online, the stories were also collected in two issues. The first issue contains the Gladiator and Blastaar segments written by Christos N. Gage, while the second issue contain Jay Faerber’s Crystal and Lilandra segments.

Blastaar takes his Negative Zone army to his former home and faces his father in a combat that has a tremendous impact on the lives of both men. Crystal employs her new role as a symbol of union between Inhman and Kree to help defuse terrorist activity. Lilandra thinks back to a time when, as a child, she showed her own unique leadership skills.

High Point

Crystal’s segment

Low Point

Lilandra’s segment

The Scores

Category Blastaar Crystal Lilandra
Originality Blastaar is a different kind of King at the outset. He leads by strength and force of will moreso than birthright, and claims what he wants that way. He even gives a decent speech about it. Then we learn that he is royalty by birthright, and some of that uniqueness fades. 4 out of 6. We’ve seen anti-terrorist stories more than once in the past eight years. This, however, is the first time in a long time that Crystal’s powers have been used so effectively. 4 out of 6. As a child, Lilandra wasn’t well respected due to her preference for books than combat, until circumstances forced her into action. Gee, have we heard that one before? 3 out of 6.
Artwork This is where Blastaar’s story excels. It’s a great look for him, and one that I’d like to see maintained in the future. 5 out of 6. The line work is decent, but faces are inconsistent. The closeups are often amazing, but the medium and long shots of characters in action sometimes leave a few things to be desired. Nei Ruffino has done excellent work with colours, particularly when it comes to eyes. Take a look at this scan, for example. Strip away the colours, and you get a decently drawn face. Look at it in full colour, with glitters in the iris and gentle shading in the cheeks, and you end up with an image that has definite depth and leaves a strong impression. 5 out of 6. The artwork here is the weakest in the set. Characters and their poses are remarkably stiff. 3 out of 6.
Story This is fairly light in all segments. The short format limits the options to a degree when it comes to complexity. Yes, there’s a lot of backstory, but most of it is direct exposition in the middle of a fight. 3 out of 6. The story works well enough. Again, space is limited, and I think Crystal gained Fenn-Ra’s confidence rather quickly. (More pages to either establish trust or Fenn-Ra’s existing doubts could have helped this.) The detective-like use of her powers also works well for Crystal in this case. 4 out of 6. The story is logically consistent, but entirely too predictable. 4 out of 6.
Characterization This is the thrust of the entire set. In Blastaar’s case, he’s a bit more intelligent than we’d seen before, and we clearly see that he’s a ruthless liar in the process. 5 out of 6. Crystal and Medusa get some very nice characterization here, though Fenn-Ra seems more of a template than a character. 4 out of 6. The characterization of Lilandra is the point of this story. Perhaps this feels different from the others because she’s the character who has been more explored than the others before this event, but I found this was the only story that didn’t add something to the character we didn’t already know. It’s consistent, but there’s nothing new here. 3 out of 6.
Flow This is smooth, due to short timespans in the story and a natural flow in the expository dialogue. 5 out of 6. The flow is smooth here, as well, as it is through most of the series. The compressed time frames just don’t leave a lot of room for ambiguity or confusion. 5 out of 6. The flow is similarly smooth, for similar reasons. 5 out of 6.
Emotional Response It started well with Blastaar’s speech about dragging himself up from nothing, but the rest is so derivative that it just wasn’t maintained. 4 out of 6. The emotional response was mediocre. I was interested in the treatment of Crystal herself moreso than in the somewhat predictable plot. 4 out of 6. The emotional response is weak. We’re not learning anything new, and we’ve got too many well known tropes to stand out. 3 out of 6.
Overall It’s a decent tale, but not one I’d go out of my way for. 4 out of 6. Similarly, this does a nice job of setting up Crystal for those who don’t know her, but is light enough that it needs to be treated as a supplement rather than a main product. 4 out of 6. If you haven’t been reading enough old issues of Uncanny X-Men to know who Lilandra is, this is worth picking up for the background. Otherwise, it’s an easy miss. 3 out of 6.
Total 30 out of 42 30 out of 42 24 out of 42

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