Crux: Atlantis Rising
by Mark Waid, Steve
Epting, Rick Magyar
(CrossGen, 2002)

At the time of this review Crux and Negation are my favorite titles in the fascinating universe of CrossGen. It's our universe and Crux's events take place on Earth, albeit many millenia in the future. Not without cause is this title named Crux, for CrossGen has promised Earth and the story told here will be -- well, the crux of the CrossGen universe.

We are introduced to Atlantis and nine key figures: seven Atlanteans, one human and a mysterious stranger who awakens them from stasis but refuses to tell them why. The stranger grants them an orange sigil-mark (in marked contrast to the yellow and red sigils of characters in other CG comics). And thus the mystery begins. Why did Atlantis drown? What happened to the other transitioned Atlanteans? Where has homo sapiens -- the race the Atlanteans were mentoring in its infancy -- gone? And why are they being attacked by strange bug-like creatures?

Crux is good for the comics reader who likes team superhero books, as it features characters wielding powers not available to ordinary humans even though these characters wear normal clothes (no spandex or capes here). Of course, by that broad definition the majority of Japanese anime also falls into the superhero genre. Nonetheless, this team doesn't go around fighting crime. There is a depth to the story as hints are dropped of a larger epic storyline that runs through all of CrossGen's comics.

You do not need to read any other comics or graphic novels in the CrossGen universe if you don't wish. CrossGen has taken care to make sure each story can be understood and enjoyed alone. But if you choose to read beyond Crux (I highly recommend Negation) a story-arc on the scale of an Epic emerges (and I do mean Epic with a capital "E").

In one sense this very coherent world has some of the same elements that make me love Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. As the story unfolds in Crux you begin to see true depth to the history, myths and legends that shaped the Atlanteans' Earth and interest is piqued in the mystery of missing humanity. Characterization is particularly strong. I got a very distinct sense of each members own personality, likes, dislikes, etc.

Here is the chance to see one conception of the beauty and history of Atlantis (the art is breathtaking -- Atlantis definitely looks "Atlantean") with fascinating characters struggling in a world that has drastically changed from the one they knew. Any fantasy or science-fiction fan should give this graphic novel a shot.

- Rambles
written by Dana Fletcher
published 15 February 2003

Buy it from