With Morrigan, the death goddess who kind of looks like someone the X-Men would have taken on around this time, shows up in issue #20, Torin wakes from his coma to tell everyone that she lives, one of those “THIS IS IMPORTANT!” moments that a show can throw your way. Is it? I’m not entirely sure, especially since this is the first I’ve heard of her. Then again, I missed the first four issues of Mike Grell’s run, so for all I know, it’s something that’s been around since the series’ beginning.
At any rate, that’s where we open issue #21 and the death goddess goes right at the ship, killing just about everyone on board before she forces Torin and Black Thom into a fight on the spiritual plane to see who will be her champion. Torin wins and is therefore given this “honor”, but immediately rejects it. That is, until Morrigan reminds him that his friends are dead on the floor of the ship and she can bring them back. So he accepts her offer in exchange for his friends’ lives. Black Thom is also revived but has gone completely insane and has vowed vengeance on Torin before fleeing.
It’s a readjustment in direction as we have the crew return to Cynosure in the next issue where they will encounter giant prehistoric-looking space fish called the Mobae. They appear over the skies of the planet and since the legends say that they hold bountiful treasures, the Jolly Roger sets out to see what’s in them. Ultimately, the crew learns the secret of the Mobae, which is that they have been drifting through the cosmos and the timestream for millennia and have lost the signal that was supposed to help them return home. It’s like V’Ger or the whale probe without the apocalyptic side effects.
The crew fixes the signal and they wind up on the Mobae’s homeworld of Parallax (no relation to Hal Jordan) where they are put in an arena and forced to fight one another because the rulers of the planet are obsessed with figuring out who the greatest soldiers are. When the gang finally escapes, Torin contemplates that perhaps Parallax is Cynosure but in another time (past or future). It’s left up in the air as they set out for “home.”
The book continues to be solid, but I do admit that I wonder if it’s going to wander (no pun intended) too much in the back half of the run here because there doesn’t seem to be a true objective or quest. I guess that Morrigan is now the big bad, but she shows up long enough to place a curse on Torin and then peaces out, so I don’t know how much we’re going to see his inner conflict regarding the deal he made. Is this going to be a Raven and Trigon thing where he slowly gets taken over, or is this going to be a Lando and Vader thing where the deal gets worse all the time?
In the very least, we have a few good fights throughout these issues and the heroes of the book being forced into gladiatorial combat with one another made for a great scene that was right out of a classic “swords and sandals” epic film like Ben-Hur. Plus, there’s a romance that is starting between Chris and Torin, one that does seem to work, although Tamara has been kind of shoved to the background in these issues, so I am hoping that we get more of a spotlight on her as we move forward in the book’s final year of stories.