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The Best of 2021: Crossroads Comics

It’s the last day of the year which means it’s time for Crossroads Comics!

It’s the last week of 2021 so just like last year, this year we’ll be going over the top 5 most popular Crossroads Comics issues from this year! We got to cover a lot of great comics and ask blogs this year, even shaking it up a little for some really fun and unique articles along the way, and if I could, I’d cover every single labor of love that we spotlighted during 2021. However, I am just one person, with limited amounts of time, so unfortunately, as much as I want to, I can’t cover all the 70+ comics from this past year. Instead, we took a look at our analytics and selected the five most viewed columns this year, and we’re giving another shout out to those top five comics. Which comics made the cut? Let’s find out.

5) Crossroads Comics #136- Autumn in Sinnoh

Coming in at #5 is Crossroads Comics #136- Autumn in Sinnoh. This column turned the spotlight on Autumn in Sinnoh by theNessiArtist. Recommended to me by the author of First Summer, this comic is a Pokémon Platinum nuzlocke challenge with an Isekai spin on it. Our protagonist, Autumn, is accidentally swept up into the world of Pokémon and deposited into the body of a Turtwig. Lost and confused, she just wants to get back home, but it seems the ones who brought her there can’t really be bothered to assist her in that journey. Only with the assistance of the friends she makes along the way can Autumn complete her journey across Sinnoh and maybe, just maybe, find her way home.

When I last reviewed this comic, I spotlighted just how strong of an isekai this story is. From how Autumn gets to Sinnoh to how those around her react to her arrival to the mystery of how she’s getting home, Autumn in Sinnoh hits all the right notes for being a really amazing story and example of the isekai genre.

Current State of the Comic

When I last reviewed this story, we were just starting to delve into Orion’s backstory, and was that pay-off worth it! Orion’s story is just another example of how skilled a writer theNessiArtist is. This absolute gut punch of an emotional roller coaster, with this being a really sweet and happy backstory throughout most of it. However, it makes amazing use of dramatic irony, as the readers all know Orion’s story has to end in tragedy, otherwise he wouldn’t be as we see him in the present day of the story. The story is also well written in that the villain isn’t what you’d expect. It’s less of a who and more of a what. While the chain of events that lead to Orion’s current state are caused by the actions of other wild Pokémon and some careless words from some of the Oreburgh Mine workers, neither of these were intentionally malicious. It isn’t until Team Galactic enters stage left that we see the real villain pulling the strings behind the curtain. By threatening Orion’s trainer with immense amounts of debt, they are able to coerce him into releasing Orion in order to save their public image. And you can’t help but feel for his trainer in this situation, because you can tell from smaller details, like the fact that Orion is in a Friend Ball of all things, that his trainer really cares for him and doesn’t want to let him go. But when faced with the prospect of a debt so large that even his children would be saddled with it, you realize that the choice isn’t really a choice at all. As our first true introduction to Team Galactic, theNessiArtist really nailed making the readers despise them from the get go, and I can’t wait to see what they do next with this, and the story as a whole, in 2022.

4) Crossroads Comics #149 – Sunlocke

Ranking in at #4 is Crossroads Comics #149 – Sunlocke by TheTruEgge! This Nuzlocke comic was recommended to me by quite a few people and I can definitely say I understand why. From compelling characters to an interesting story to an amazingly cute artstyle, Sunlocke is just an amazingly enjoyable experience that I’d highly recommend to anyone! It’s a great example of how keeping at something can really help you improve, as TheTruEgge‘s art style continues to grow more and more with each update! Not only have their character designs gotten more creative, but their characters also feel a lot more expressive and their fight scenes more impressive as time goes on. Additionally, this story features a main character with a system, which isn’t something you see a lot in webcomics, and is probably one of my favorite aspects of this story.

Current State of the Comic

Since we last reviewed this comic, the team has visited Aether Paradise and made it to Ula’Ula Island! However, because of that, they’ve also suffered their hardest loss yet. In one of the most painful deaths of the team so far, we had to watch Arya suffer the bonk of doom in a fight against a Kantonian Marowak. We also have gotten much more acquainted with Grasshopper’s alter, the newly named Bramble, and seen several evolutions. As the team approaches their first trial on Ula’Ula Island, I’m looking forward to seeing what other new team members they’ll acquire along the way, as well as what losses they’ll face as well. The story is steadily climbing towards its climax as we enter the third arc, and I can’t wait to see where it goes in 2022.

3) Crossroads Comics #155 – In Blood We Rise

Sliding into the #3 spot is Crossroads Comics #155 – In Blood We Rise, featuring a comic authored by VikingMera! The final entry in our pride month feature, this comic is a story of witches, vampires, and a little bit of queerness thrown in as a treat. In Blood We Rise follows Theodore Ashdown, the heir to one of England’s most infamous witch families. Theodore has very little time to be an individual, his family having planned out his entire life in advance. Unfortunately for them, the fates have other plans, and they come in the form of a vampire named Oliver. Follow Theodore and Oliver as we dive into a world of peculiars, magic, and self discovery.

Current State of the Comics

Since we last reviewed this comic, they’ve progressed onto the next chapter and the next day! We get to see Theodore and Oliver explore their awkwardness in both the moonlight and daylight. Their dynamic is really interesting to watch as they explore not only a distinct difference in social classes with minor details such as powdered vs cow’s milk, but also their own innate queerness. Theodore isn’t super comfortable with himself yet as he discovers and gets a feel for these new emotions he’s experiencing, but thankfully he has Oliver there to help guide him a long the way. I said it back then and I’ll reiterate it now, this is one of my favorite comics and I highly HIGHLY recommend it, especially if you like themes of the supernatural and are looking for a great queer romance too.

2) Crossroads Comics #169 – Transgender Awareness Week

Coming in as our second most viewed column for this year is Crossroads Comics #169 – Transgender Awareness Week! This one of the two more experimental columns we did this year. To celebrate Transgender Awareness Week, I put out a call asking for creators in the Pokémon community to submit to me their comics, ask blogs, and fanfictions that featured characters in the trans umbrella. This included characters that identify as transgender, non-binary, genderfluid, bigender, and other gender non-conforming identities. Many of these stories are also authored by people who fall under the trans umbrella! The result was a list roughly 90 stories strong featuring a wide variety of characters with all sorts of different identities. So whether its a nuzlocke, an ask blog, something Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, or an original story, be sure to check out all the comics and fanfictions featured on that list! They deserve all the support and attention we can give them for all the great representation they provide the community on a regular basis.

1) Crossroads Comics #165 – New Comics and Askblogs

Taking the number one spot for the year, it’s Crossroads Comics #165 – New Comics and Askblogs! This was another experimental column we did this year where I featured four different newer comics in the community that weren’t far enough along to warrant an entire spotlight article, but still well-worth checking out and supporting! This article featured Sona-Locke by SnowStudios, A Knight’s Gale by FoxRod-Draws, PMD: Chanterelle by The Alolan PokeNerd and Mango Cat, and PMD: Paths to Requiem by PhilandOkkoTheDynamicDuo!

All of these comics have continued to grow and progress their plots since we last saw them. Both Sona-Locke and A Knight’s Gale have featured their main cast beginning their journeys and collecting their starters along the way. PMD: Chanterelle had a plot heavy dream sequence and is currently giving us some backstory on the soured relationship between two of its major characters, Timburr and Ethan. And PMD: Paths to Requiem has managed to complete its prologue and is set to begin its main plot sometime in the next year. I hope to feature each and every one of these comics in a proper review soon, but for now, let’s celebrate their #1 spot, and be sure to check them all out!

Final Thoughts

2021 has been a rough year for me. Between moving to a new city and then being hospitalized for several weeks, there were many times when I missed updates or had to do shorter ones because I was busy or wasn’t feeling well. However, I just wanted to thank everyone for their continued support. Without you, this wouldn’t be possible. Just like last year, I had many authors reach out to me this year to thank me for the feature, and I couldn’t be more flattered! I’m glad to see people enjoyed the more experimental articles this year, so you can look forward to potentially seeing more of those in the future!

So thanks again for all your love and support during 2021, and until next time, in 2022, see ya!

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