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Arcana Studio

Written by Sean O’Reilly and Drawn by Vicenter Cifuentes

Inter-company crossovers have become increasingly rare these days, and 10th MUSE VS. EZRA is kind of a pointer as to why: it is extremely difficult to come up with a credible story that brings two disparate characters together in a united universe, and to explain the characters well enough that the audiences that show up for the event can understand the other side. This is precisely where this book runs into trouble.

I’m very familiar with EZRA, having read her adventures back to her first trade paperback. She’s a deadly warrior, carries a big sword, and kills a lot of bad guys. Easy. But I’ve never read 10TH MUSE, and even with a small write-up on the inside front cover, I had no sense of who she was and what her powers were by the end of the book. Late in the story she fires some sort of energy bolt for the first and only time, but I didn’t know what it did or what its effect was, or why she hadn’t used it previously. I was also confused as to why the character dresses like a 90s rave kid, even when propelled backwards in time to meet up with Ezra; if she’s a Greek muse, I’m thinking a flowing robe was a more likely costume if she wanted to be incognito. But what do I know?

Again, that’s something pertaining directly to the character. O’Reilly is Ezra’s primary writer, not 10TH Muse’s; he’s working with the material that’s been given to him. He doesn’t necessarily have the chance here to make 10TH Muse interesting or to make her make sense. First, he has to make a story that will be a field for both characters. It just turns out that one of the characters is wholly uninteresting, no matter what set-up he delivers.

The book looks okay. Surprisingly, given a concept you’d expect to be milked for maximum cheesecake value, Cifuentes reins himself in and focuses on the storytelling as best he can. I commend him for that. In the end, I think that Ezra does serve as a decent character for crossover potential, but I think she’d be better off meeting Red Sonja or Shi. 10TH Muse just isn’t the girl for the woman with the gray skin.  

Marc Mason

Written by Mark Poulton and Drawn by Stephen Sistilli

Koni Kanawai knows how to enjoy her life. She danced the pole to put herself through college, calling herself “Koni Waves”. She loved justice and went to the police academy and became a cop. She also discovered her love of the grape, and her drinking got her an early exit from the force. Now she works as a private detective, handling cases of bizarre and arcane nature. Oh, and she still loves the booze, as well as the occasional late-night hookup with a local surfing stud. How could you not love her?

In case you were wondering about that “cases of bizarre and arcane nature”… over the course of these three issues, she has to face off against a businessman offering human sacrifices to the tiki god he worships, a group of vampires who enjoy the ocean a bit too much, and a shape-shifting alien creature that crashes into a volcano and begins terrorizing the locals. Koni isn’t quite working the same beat as Thomas Magnum, you see.

Ultimately, as odd as the plots are, the stories are just kind of in the “decent” range. The actual cases really don’t feel compelling, partially because of the “done in one” nature of the book. It becomes difficult to get overly invested in the horror of the alien when you know he’ll be gone in three pages. But Sistelli’s art more than balances out that problem. His work brings the characters alive on the page, and he works in a style that isn’t being overused right now in comics.

KONI is a book that definitely has growth potential. I think once the creative team finds its footing and gets a solid grasp on where they want to take the character, it could become something special.

MAKING WAVES is a nice package of artistic tributes to the character and series. Numerous artists offer paintings, sketches, and pinups, and there are few duds in the bunch. The best entry graces the cover, a stunning painting from Edison Girard. It captures the beauty of Koni and her surroundings perfectly. At eight bucks, I’d have liked to have seen the book have a spine, but it’s still a solid effort.

Marc Mason

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