Scion: Conflict of Conscience
by Ron Marz, Jim Cheung
(CrossGen, 2002)

The Heron Dynasty of the West and the Raven Dynasty of the East uneasily coexist on the planet Avalon. Annual competitive tournaments, steeped in ceremony, release tensions that would otherwise lead to war between the two factions. Thus begins CrossGen Comics' first trade paperback collection of their hit comic Scion, in a story titled "Conflict of Conscience."

When the young Heron Prince Ethan's tournament sword inflicts a wound upon his opponent that the beings known as "gene splicers" are unable to heal, he is held in contempt of the competition, and is to be imprisoned by the Dynasty to the East for one year. But when a beautiful member of an underground movement, seeking to free the genetically engineered "lesser races" from slavery, frees Ethan, the Raven clan decides it's time for war. And from there, things get even more interesting.

Let me say this about Scion: It's worth buying on both aesthetic and literary levels.

Penciller Jim Cheung and inker Don Hillsman II treat readers to a bright, vibrant world that may be the most well-conceived blend of medieval and science-fiction aspects ever done in comics.

The artists, however, turn right around and show an underbelly of the world that is as dark and foreboding as the rest is inviting. In short, with this series, they appear to have nearly mastered their craft.

Writer Ron Marz weaves a tale of political intrigue that hooks the reader almost from the very beginning.

The action is there for comic-adrenalin junkies, but there is no danger of overdose, as the spacing of sequences is just right, and it is always well-motivated. Most important, however, the writer's characterization shines as Ethan is faced with a moral dilemma, the roots of which are all too real in our world, as well as his.

The long and short: Scion does not disappoint.

[ by Mark Allen ]
Rambles: 14 December 2002

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