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Graphic Novel Review

Vertigo Comics's Crossing Midnight 1: Cut Here
Do you believe in spirits? No matter, they believe in you.

Graphic Novel Review , 11 December 2008 by Eilonvi

This excellent comic book takes place in Japan, instantly making it a lot more interesting to me - at last something different! With slight touches of suspense and horror, the story draws us into the fascinating world of Japanese Kami, the world of spirits who reside in just about everything.

When Grandma Hakiko Hara insists that her son, Yasuo Hara, makes an offering to the Kami of the family shrine, His wife Miya objects, since she does not believe in these old rituals. Yasuo does not believe in the spirits of the shrine either, but he wants to please his old mother. So, he makes his offering of rice cakes to the Kami. In exchange he prays for safe delivery of his first child, which he and his wife are expecting.

The old shrine runs in the Hara family for centuries, and the Kami that live in it are very real and powerful, and will hold Yasuo Hara to his promise, the way that they, that is the spirits, understand it.

Kaikou was born exactly one minute before midnight, and his totally unexpected twin sister Toshi was born 7 minutes past midnight. They are deeply connected as twins, but born from the two different sides of midnight. As this mystical boundary is set between them right from the start, the twins will have to go their separate ways when they grow up. And separate ways in this case, means way separate - as in different dimensions.

The twins grow up happily, protected and loved by their parents. They pass through childhood quite normally and peacefully, save for some really, really, really disturbing events; One of these events would be the disappearance of their 10 years old friend Saburo, never to be seen again, save for a strange short visit from the spirits world, years after. Or when Toshi crashed onto a spiked metal fence, but weirdly enough not harmed at all. In fact, they are soon to discover that no sharp thing can harm Toshi.

Years go by, Toshi turns 16, and the Kami spirits make their first appearance in her life. The powerful master of swords, Aratsu, arrives to claim Toshi as his servant. He bases his claim on her father's old bargain with the Kami. It seems that there had been a slight misunderstanding in regards to what was the actual offering: rice cakes or Toshi herself.

Kaikou and Toshi refuse Aratsu's demand at first, but he is too strong to defy. Having no other choices left, Toshi obeys and leaves with Aratsu to the daemon plain, where she will serve him for the rest of her life. Bound to this sad fate, living amongst daemons and spirits, what will she turn into once she faces her long term of duty in the service of Master Aratsu?

Kaikou is now left alone to cope with his sister's disappearance. To make things worse, his mother is seriously injured by Aratsu. His father is in trouble with the Yakuza. Kaikou himself is being watched by two nosy police detectives, who seem to know more than ordinary detectives should.

To help out his family, Kaikou makes his own alliance with Nidoru the female spirit of the pin and needle, who defies Aratsu and is seeking to destroy him. Will Kai be able to retrieve his sister and stay in one piece, considering all the sharp objects spirits involved? I guess it depends on his ability to understand the spirits world power play.

Last but not least, the drawings of this comic are very simple, clean and clear. They make a really good job in driving you through the fast and excellent storyline. While the drawings enable you to concentrate on the plot, since they do not contain too much detail, they powerfully visualize the scenes, with strong and sharp images. I liked much!

Crossing Midnight 1: Cut Here
Crossing Midnight 1: Cut Here
Comics Info

Crossing Midnight volume 1 collects issues 1-5.
Published: 2007
Language: English
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Download a free issue from DC Comics
Pages: 128
Writer: Mike Carey
Penciller: Jim Fern
Inker: Rob Hunter, Mark Pennington
Colorist: Jose Villarrubia
Letterer: Todd Klein
Cover: J.H. Williams III

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