Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Invasion cycle: the review

We are finally here people! This post contains my review of the Invasion cycle, but you might want to read the summaries of Invasion, Planeshift and Apocalypse first, if you have not already done so.

Initially I wanted to split this review into two parts, first talking about whether the Invasion cycle worked as a story, and then about whether it worked as a capstone to the Weatherlight Saga. But that division is not so easily made. The story is that it is the capstone of the Weatherlight Saga. If you are not already invested in that arc large parts of these books are just a random bunch of monsters attacking a random place with random people defending. There is some characterization here, some of it is even very good, but most of it is in broad strokes, or very short. Tahngarth’s apprehension towards meeting other minotaurs rings hollow if you are not already familiar with his attitude towards his mutations seen in Rath and Storm or Mercadian Masques. And Barrin’s suicide is set up mostly by his relationship to his daughter shown in A Timefor Remembrance and the death of his wife in Prophecy.

Still, there is something to say about the writing style that has nothing to do with the rest of the saga, and some continuity concerns that have little to do with the quality of the story. So I’ll start off talking about the story itself before moving on to continuity stuff. It will just be more of a gradual development than a clear divide.

Sunday, 11 June 2017


Writer - J. Robert King
Cover art - Brom
Interior art - Brian "Chippy" Dugan, Dana Knutson, Todd Lockwood, Anson Maddocks, R.K. Post, Mark Tedin & Anthony Waters.
First released in June 2001

We open up on Gerrard and Urza kneeling in front of Yawgmoth in the Ninth Sphere, which has been formed into an arena. Yawgmoth tells the two to fight for their greatest desire: the resurrection of Hanna and the chance to study under Yawgmoth respectively. So they do. For almost half the book. Urza has a number of near-wins, but each time Yawgmoth comes up with a reason why it doesn't count. During the fight Gerrard learns to manipulate the flowstone all around him and eventually he manages to decapitate Urza. Yawgmoth then blesses Gerrard with a tenfold increase in strength, endurance, intelligence and will. But Gerrard had shaken off the command of Yawgmoth during the battle, and when it looks like Hanna comes forward to collect Urza's head, he strikes her with his halberd instead, correctly guessing that the Hanna-simulacrum would be where Yawgmoth hid his essence. Before he can follow it up with a killing blow Yawgmoth ejects him from Phyrexia, back to the Stronghold.

Monday, 5 June 2017


Writer - J. Robert King
Cover art - Brom
Back cover art - Donato Giancola
Interior art - Brian "Chippy" Dugan, Dana Knutson, Todd Lockwood, Anson Maddocks, R.K. Post, Mark Tedin & Anthony Waters.
First released in February 2001

We pick up directly where the last book left. Everyone is still at Koilos as the Rathi Overlay starts dumping hordes upon hordes of invaders all around. The coalition army braces itself for the oncoming wave, but then the nine titans suddenly planeswalk away, transporting the troops to various positions across the globe. The Weatherlight and the metathran army end up on Urborg, where Crovax has set up shop (after eating Tsabo Tavoc for her failure). Eladamri and his half of the army are taken to Keld, where the Skyshroud forest has just materialized.

Sunday, 4 June 2017


Writer - J. Robert King
Cover art - Erik Peterson
Back cover art - Michael Sutfin
Interior art - Brian "Chippy" Dugan, Dana Knutson, Todd Lockwood, Anson Maddocks, R.K. Post, Mark Tedin & Anthony Waters.
First released in October 2000.

As mentioned in my previous post, I'm doing things a little differently for the Invasion cycle. Today I'll put up just the summary, trivia and continuity references for Invasion. Tomorrow you'll get the same for Planeshift, and next week for Apocalypse. Next week I'll also do a separate post with a review and continuity/timeline discussion for the entire trilogy.  They reason for this is that this trilogy is really just one big story, written by the same person. As such a regular review of Invasion wouldn't be able to go into a whole lot of plotlines that don't wrap up until later in the trilogy, while any comments on the writing style in the next two reviews would just go "Wel... what I said last time still counts".

We open up on the Weatherlight desperately trying to get to Benalia, but their planeswalking is disrupted by three massive Phyrexian portals in the sky. Eventually they manage to close them by going through them to Rath and blowing the portal generation ships up from the other side. But when they finally land in Benalia City to warn the people there of the invasion they get chucked into jail for Gerrard's desertion, alongside a mysterious Blind Seer who was preaching doom at the Weatherlight's landing spot. Benalia is utterly Routed by the Phyrexian commander Tsabo Tavoc while the crew escapes. They head of to a prison colony and recruit the prisoners there for their crew, and face Tsabo again, as she had stowed away in the ship. Again they escape, but Hanna ends up infected by the Phyrexian plague.