Crossing Midnight, Vol. 1: Cut Here
by Mike Carey, Jim Fern (Vertigo, 2007)

Born moments apart but on different days, siblings Kai and Toshi have an uncertain fate before them. With Toshi apparently linked to a kami, a Japanese spirit commanding swords, knives and other sharp metal objects, Kai is left to find some way to break her ties to a life of otherworldly servitude -- or to find help that can counter the powers of the demon.

Their problems may stem from a careless prayer uttered by their father shortly before their birth, but with their father falling unwittingly into a Yakuza plot and their mother fallen victim to a kami assault, these two teenagers may have no one to rely on but themselves to find a solution.

Toshi, at least, is immune to all cuts, stabs and slices, but Kai has no such protection.

This story by Mike Carey is delightfully rich in Eastern folklore, which -- as Carey explains in a brief but thorough afterword -- is very different from but bears surprising similarities to the Eurocentric folklore more familiar to Western audiences. The plot is bewilderingly fast-paced and takes many unexpected, sometimes horrific turns along the way, but Carey's obvious research into the culture helps to keep each new development and character clear.

It's an engrossing book, enhanced by Jim Fern's clean, highly detailed illustrations. Cut Here, the first volume of Crossing Midnight, has me hooked.

review by
Tom Knapp

12 January 2008

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