Monday, June 15, 2009

Crossing Midnight Volume 2

Crossing Midnight Volume 2
(Map of Midnight)
Written by: Mike Carey
Illustrated by: Jim Fern & Eric Nguyen
Paperback: 168 pages
Publisher: Vertigo
Language: English
February 2008, $14.99
Genre: Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel

Toshi and Kai Hara, twins separated by a few minutes at birth, are drawn separately to Tokyo - Toshi to learn her new duties as Lord Aratsu's servant, and Kai to search for his missing sister.

To Toshi, the city presents a sinister face: attuned to the invisible kingdoms, she sees ghosts and monsters wherever she goes. But when she insults the biggest monster of all - the Gleaner, one of the five faces of death - her fortunes take a definite turn for the worse.

Brother Kai has a different goal in mind, and with the help of Inspector Yamada it seems that he's finally close to picking up Toshi's trail. But his plans are derailed when he's forcibly adopted by Tokyo's teenaged date girls and stumbles across the activities of a supernatural serial killer. Kai and Toshi are walking the same ground, almost at the same time, but they've never been so far apart.


I like Mike Carey a lot. This should be of no surprise to anyone and I continue to enjoy this fantasy/horror comic that is set in Japan. Which is bittersweet since the comic was cancelled and there is one more trade to tie it all up. It is doubly a shame since it is in this volume that I feel like the comic started to hit its stride.

In “Map of Midnight” Toshi struggles as Lord Aratsu’s servant. Her memory is gone and she has only her duties to focus on. It is all she knows, cutting unpleasant memories from dreamers and collecting them. She should be wary of Aratsu’s enemies, but Toshi was always the willful and impudent twin and it is this willfulness that gets her into trouble with a power far greater than she expected.

Meanwhile, while trying to find Toshi, Kai finds a group of “telephone club” girls who are being preyed upon by a vengeful spirit. It is a bittersweet story. Not only does it give Carey a chance to state his own opinion of said clubs and the young women that are part of it (there is even a postscript in which he explains and denounces the clubs), but you feel bad for the spirit involved. While it may not have any part to the overall story arc, I liked it.

Things I loved: I really enjoyed Toshi’s training and the tool that she receives, Uso-Tsuki, which looks like a graceful and elegant little pair of scissors but she is a liar and indeed so much more. More than that Toshi clings to the few vague memories she has of her old life. When she grabs the dog and brings him back, you cannot help but feel for her, but Aratsu is more cunning than we ever thought and easily manipulative.

* I also enjoyed the change of art. While I am not a big hater on Jim Fern like some other readers, I will admit that things take on a softer edge especially when dealing with the world of the Kami and the art balances with the story a bit better.

Things I didn't love so much: There is not one thing that I can pointedly point out. As I said while Kai’s story doesn’t wholly balance with the rest of the volume, I cannot help but like it. Though admittedly others may not enjoy it.

Buy or Borrow: Borrow if you are new to Crossing Midnight, but if you’ve read the first volume it is this volume that really gets the story going.

Part of: Crossing Midnight Series
Cut Here (Volume 1)
Map of Midnight (Volume 2)
The Sword in the Soul (Volume 3)

Also Recommended: Lucifer by Mike Carey, Sandman: The Dream Hunters by Neil Gaiman, Little Sister by Kara Dalkey.

3.5 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

Have your own review? Let me know and I will post it.

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