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Rex Mundi #4

Posted: Monday, February 26, 2007
By: Nicholas Slayton



"The Eye of the Magdalene Chapter 5: The Eye of the Shepherdess"

Writer: Arvid Nelson
Artist: Juan Ferreyra

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics


Wow. That was trippy.

The previous issue left us with an amazing cliffhanger: the Man in White was back. Despite last being seen knocked out and then falling into the Seine to presumably drown, the mysterious assassin was back and on the trail of Dr. Julien Sauniere once again. This rematch was certainly a shocker.

Yet I'm getting ahead of myself. Picking up from the last issue, Doctors Sauniere and Genevieve Tournon have found the anchorite Aleron and are searching for the tomb of Clovis II, a Merovingian king and possibly the link between the antagonist, the Duke of Lorraine, and Jesus Christ himself. Progress is made, but the Man in White's reemergance definitely put the search on hold.

As with the previous few issues, Julien's search is mixed in with the political and military matters that Lorraine faces as he tries to save France from the Germans. Another interesting bit is the exploration of magic in the world of Rex Mundi. While it was explained previously in one of the earliest issues, this issue goes into a greater amount of detail concerning the Sephira. The mysteries raised by Julien's interaction with magic continue to grow, and I grow curiouser of the true extent of his connections with the occult.

As much as I loved this issue (and I do; an average issue of Rex Mundi is still better than most comics), there were a few disapointments. After the buildup to the German invasion of Paris and Lorraine's attempt to counterattack, very little is given about it. True, it is set in the same day as the previous issue, but I just wanted more. The usual "Le Journal d'Special" is missing as well, probably due to the same circumstances as the previous matter, but the insight that section provides is a favorite of mine. The showdown between Julien and the Man in White takes up the majority of the issue, but compared to their previous encounter, this just lacked the urgency and danger I was expecting. Magic is put to use massively, and instead of a chase through Paris, Julien stays out of the fight until the end, although his method of ending things is amazing. His discovery of Tournon's secret is wonderfully executed, even if it is pushed out of the way due to the Man in White. I'm curious as to how he survived drowning (and why he is without his Knights Templar ring), but unless we get some exposition later in the series, I doubt I'll find out.

When it comes to the art, Juan Ferreyra is without equal. The layouts, mood, and use of shadows is utterly perfect. His faded, soft style suits the 1930s setting wonderfully, and he drew an amazing action sequence. The detail on the magical acts, backgrounds, and facial expressions cannot be topped. The only oddity is the cover of a Hitler-like Lorraine, which doesn't really fit considering Lorraine's very minor scene. Not that it's a bad cover. In fact, it is one of the creepiest produced yet.

Still, I shouldn't complain about triffle things when the series is really kicking into high gear. The revelations and decisions made in this issue are sure to have a definite effect on Julian in the next installment. How he's going to cope with things is beyond me, and I eagerly await the answers. With one more issue left in this story arc, I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for the conclusion. With one of finest stories in modern comics, and unparalleled art, this series still stands as the best on the market.



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