serenity_abrin: (JeMerik Meer)
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I just finished rereading this, and I still love it.  This was one of the later titles that I got into because I'm not a big fan of horror and I didn't think I would like this one very much.  But it is now one of my favorites of CrossGen.  Definitely my favorite part is the developing relationship between Cassie and Cisco.  I love the complicated nature of it.  I love the May/December element and all the times Cisco is mistaken for her dad/uncle or her boyfriend.

But I think the other thing that really hooked me was the suspense and mystery.  I still want to know what the Adversary is doing with the souls.  I still want to see Cassie finally find Helene and Waterman's souls and free them.  I want to see just how powerful Cassie is and what she's fully capable of.  I want to see her interact with "Danik" some more because that's very revealing, I think, of what's going to happen in Negation War.

Religion
Route 666 does raise some interesting questions about the Sigil!verse.  For instance, Route 666's world seems to have a monotheistic religion similar to 1950s America.  But this is a universe that worships the First.  The only thing that comes to mind (and I am reading through the series after a break so I could be missing something) comes from Mystic where they talk about the making of the world and it looks like the goddess they worship is Solusandra.  So, I wonder if the monotheistic deity they worship is Solusandra.  I noticed that anywhere there would be a crucifix, there was a star-burst type symbol instead.  So, it could be her.  But, the CrossGen symbol is very much her symbol and the star-burst definitely isn't that.

I'm also curious about the pseudo-Amish storyline where Elder Dyzan is visited by a god-like being.  The coloring of the being is reminiscent of Danik/Solusandra, though it could be one of House Dexter.  It appeared to be male.  Obviously Solusandra could appear as a male but there doesn't seem to be any reason why she would.  And, narratively, it makes more sense if it was one of the First.  If the people on Erebus worshipped Solusandra (who the First do not know exists), then the First would want to be worshipped instead.  It seems odd that it would be one of House Dexter rather than House Sinister, though there's a bit of a pompous air among all the First.  And the quieter challenge to the major religion by only having one guy fight it (rather than something flashier) does seem like something House Dexter might do.

But it's also odd that Elder Dyzan is chosen.  His tiny sect is by its nature insular and not going to make any great national impact.  So, what does giving him power accomplish?  He terrorizes his small contingent of people but that can't really serve the First or Danik/Solusandra.  I do wonder, though, if it was Danik playing a long game.  Elder Dyzan would be a great position now to check out Perdition.  But that also doesn't seem like something Danik would need.  Wouldn't he have known that Dyzan wasn't going to go to Perdition right away?  Why would he let Dyzan terrorize innocent people?  Danik might be a dick who will do whatever he has to do to reach his own ends but he doesn't seem like the type to hurt people just because.  And certainly he could've picked someone else to accomplish his task.  He also seems rather well-versed in Perdition already.  I just can't buy that he's the "angel" who gave Dyzan his powers.

So, it probably was a First.  Given the coloring of the page, it might've been someone from House Sinister but I doubt it.  So, if it's someone from House Dexter, was it just to plant some mischief?  House Dexter doesn't seem to have too many rouges (baring Secundae like Seahn).  One would think that the action of this one "angel" would be sanctioned by the House itself.  I wonder if they intended Dyzan to have more of an impact than he did, but that the Sun religion fighting back proved that it wouldn't be so easy, so the First just abandoned the idea.  Otherwise, why haven't they pushed the issue?  It's a point that I would've liked seen explored a little more.  Many of the First are shown as wanting to rule a small world and be seen as a god or goddess.  But Mai Shen's arc shows that it was "illegal" to do this among the First.  It's curious just how the First feel they should be worshiped and how much autonomy they believe their "flock" deserve.

Added to this is the question of religion before Solusandra, the First, and Danik.  Capracia talks about the "gods" so it's clear that Atlanteans have a religion of some sort.  What ever happened to these gods?  And who created the Atlanteans then?  Or were they just a product of evolution, their beliefs shown to be superstition after Transition, and the universe really does start with them.

And I wonder where the souls who aren't stolen go.  Energy is a big part of Sigil!verse, as the Sigil-Bearers learn to harness energy and possible create it.  Suvorov learns that ghosts are packets of energy.  So, that's probably useful somehow in a sense beyond what the Adversary wants to do with the people.  Like, if Danik set up the worlds to do something with the souls as an energy source for the universe itself.  But if so, then do the souls disappear and are destroyed?  We see Charon resurrect Javi after a long period of time (unlike the quicker resurrections Danik performs, which are likely in the realm of the spirit still hanging around).  Now, granted, maybe Javi's soul doesn't go where it's supposed to cause he's stuck in Negation space.  Or, maybe, he's not really Javi anymore (an idea I'm toying with).

Anyway, it's something to think about.

Adversary
Also interesting is the Adversary and his plan.  It's pretty clear that the Adversary is Appolyon.  Suvorov created a breach between the Bright Universe and Negation Universe (specifically Appolyon's space).  From the description, it seems like Suvorov is a lot like Appolyon -- interested in science and fiddling with things but with a darker bent.  So, it makes sense they would've struck a bargain.  I wonder if Appolyon got the idea of using soul-energy from Suvorov, and that's where he gets the weapon he tells Kaine about.

Appolyon is said to have made a weapon against Charon.  Now, it's clear that Appolyon is untrusty.  He has his own angle.  When Javi brought back a "weapon" against Charon, it turned out it was just a taunting message.  Did Appolyon realize that Javi did not have the conviction to use the weapon or was Appolyon trying to throw Charon off-guard?  It makes me doubt this new weapon Appolyon offers Danik.  And, certainly, if there is a weapon, it's probably morally dubious and/or has a trick to it (like how he used his transition-machine to affect the entire Earth).  It would be nice to think he has a weapon they can use but everything about it seems shady to me.

However, Danik is no fool.  He can see as much as Appolyon.  Indeed, he can probably see more.  He is not as powerful as Charon but he is deeply insightful.  He is a master strategist, and I would put my trust in that.  He's clearly gaining intel.  I'm unsure how much intel he still needs about the soul-harvesting and the weapon.  I don't think he needs Cassie to solve what's going on for him.  He just needs her to fight it.

So, he can probably tell if Appolyon's weapon will work or not, and how best to use it.  I doubt it would be that easy, and I'm sure there was going to be a wrinkle in Negation War -- probably making the weapon utterly useless and needing some other means to fight Charon.

But, back to Route 666, it complicates what's going on.  My predictions for where the series is headed are: definitely Cassie would end up in Perdition and somehow rescue Helene's soul.  I think she would confront the Adversary.  But, I'm curious how that would work in light of Negation War.  Why would Appolyon now care that Cassie can undermine his efforts?  Danik could call her off or provide more souls if need be.  Or does Cassie have something else that could jeopardize Appolyon's work?  I feel like Danik would want to keep that piece in play, not trusting Appolyon.  She might be his failsafe for when Appolyon inevitably betrays them.

It's also interesting that when Kaine and the others return from Appolyon's world, they do so into Way of the Rat and not Route 666.  I wonder if Route 666 is even contemporary to Negation War.  Clearly Danik has a casual nod to the affect of time.  It's unclear when certain events occur but some of his avatars appear to have been established for decades before the sigils are bestowed.  Did he go back in time or did he anticipate the need?  What if Route 666 occurs at some point well before Negation War?  There's no way to know, as some planets are further along developmentally than others.  But that would put Cassie's arc in danger of failure as Appolyon is still around now and likely still has spirits to use as weapons.

Route 666
I will say I want to see more of Cassie interacting with Danik, in either his god-form or as her ghostly grandpa.  I feel that he does care about her (as much as Danik cares about anyone).  I would definitely want to see him return now that she's embraced her powers, but it's unlikely he would be needed.

Additional storylines I can see happening, especially if Negation War isn't introduced:  Like I said, I think she will find a way into Perdition rather than being able to seal the gateway (at least not right away).  This is interesting as the monsters are working so hard to get her to Perdition so what does her going freely mean?  Or does she eventually get dragged there?

She will definitely confront and defeat Tanner.  I would think she might find a new power to do it.  Definitely I think the comic just scratched the surface of her abilities.  I would be curious if the fact that she basically threw Berkely under the bus will be mentioned.  I feel like he might not care but it would be interesting if his trust/faith in her was damaged in this way.

Also, I feel like the story with Elder Dyzan was left unfinished.  If she does get to Perdition, then she might meet up with him.  I could see a situation where he becomes an ally.  The Adversary is clearly an enemy to his religion so it would be good to align with someone like Cassie who is a threat to the Adversary.  But I also feel like she should go up against Elder Dyzan in a fight so we can see her growing powers and see her defeat him.

More immediately, what about the spirits stuck on the ship?  I feel like the next issue that would've come out had a good chance of explaining a lot of what's going on.  Suvorov's spirit was held hostage.  He could explain his experiments, the accident, his bargain with the Adversary, and possibly the Adversary's plans.  Also, Berkely might know more than he did because he's been with the Adversary a bit and seen his operation.  And he would definitely enlighten Cassie.  I'm curious if Suvorov's spirit could be "killed" by the ghosts on the ship.  Certainly Cassie will find a way to undo their imprisonment (and I assume all the spirits in Rodina that are trapped) but I'm not sure if that would be done in the next few issues.  I think that might be a larger problem she has to solve.

Also, there's a nuclear war looming.  I've noticed that the cover art for the next issue is usually for the thing revealed at the very end of that issue.  So, if there was a nuclear war (as the cover indicated) then it would likely be in 2 issues.  And I would think it probably isn't a full-scale war at that point.  More likely, she comes in contact with one of those spirit-bombs we see kill that Rodinan worker, and she has to figure out how to kill it.  This would be another moment for her to develop a new power/ability.

Certainly while she's in Rodina, I think she will get a lot more answers to what's going on but I'm not sure if she can solve the problems from there.  I feel like she might end up back in Empyrean.  There are a lot of characters we can bring back that way.  (I really hope Agent Melchior is still alive.  It looked like he was bleeding from the throat, although he could still speak.  I'm more worried Tanner killed him, since Tanner was right there.)

And, of course, I definitely think Cassie and Cisco's relationship would deepen through all this.  I think he would follow her all the way.  It would be nice if he finds something along the way that lets him help her more -- maybe a spirit-weapon he can use to help her fight.

I like the idea that Cassie manages to use the spirits the Adversary has collected against him in some way.  That's a lot of energy and I feel like she could harness and direct it.  The spirits trust her.  She can turn bad spirits good.  I think if she could do something like that, she could really damage him.  And I think there might be more to the Adversary's operation than just soul-collecting.  He doesn't seem like the world-domination type but he does seem like a mad scientist in need of subjects.  But he is also from Earth and he remembers that.  He might want to get home.  I'm curious what all the "demons" on Erebus are doing, and if they might not be creating a foothold for him to step over into the Bright Universe.  I'm not sure if he's stuck or not, or if he really is only interested in souls.

Just so much potential for more stories and more development.  It's always sad that CrossGen was cut so short.

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