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Trent & Sabrina

Critical to the story of Xerø, a major league basketball star by day, a 4th-level Closer by night, was the story of his brother, Trent. In fact, XERØ, the series, was actually not about Xerø The Closer at all, but was about his little brother, a man of no obvious moral fiber and possessed of unquenchable thirsts for power, fame, money and women.

One woman in particular, Sabrina Lake, daughter of  (and deputy to) Emmett Lake, Sheriff of St. Claire County, Missouri. An intelligent and dutiful daughter, Sabrina was in love with and all but engaged to Darius "Rev" Kirkwood, a towering but gentle figure who played center for the National City Vipers, the pro basketball team both Trent and his brother The Closer played for. A deeply spiritual man (hence the nickname "Rev"), Darius practiced celibacy in his relationship with Sabrina, and the two seemed destined for the marital altar.

Unhinging this relationship proved to be far too great a temptation for Trent, whose absence of moral character preyed on both Sabrina's inherent low self-esteem and her voracious libido. The two fell into a fairly icky affair, blatantly using one another for gratification of unmet needs. The relationship became common knowledge to everyone on the Vipers squad-- except Rev. The soul of kindness and compassion, Rev was nonetheless the pitiful cuckold of the series, as this dangerous liaison threatened to destroy everyone in its path.

Now, most readers were scratching their heads and wondering what on earth any of this has to do with Xerø, with super-heroing or any of that. At first blush, apparently nothing. Until Sabrina, consumed by guilt, ends the affair, and a drunken and devastated Trent begins stalking Sabrina. Obsessed and inebriated, Trent stupidly leaves the door open to his brother (Xerø)'s secret lab. Emmett Lake, the sheriff and Sabrina's dad, had been following Trent as Trent stalked his daughter, hoping to catch Trent in the act. What Lake actually catches is the secret to the Closer named Xerø.

Lake attempts to blackmail Xerø into becoming a hero. You see, Closers aren't heroes (more on that on the Xerø page). But Lake becomes determined to make Xerø into one, and thus threatens to reveal Xerø's secret unless he does what Lake tells him to.

Which forces Xerø to shoot Lake dead.

Xerø's entire world unwinds from there, setting off a chain reaction of events that leads, eventually, to Xerø's own premature death (more a death by sales figures).

I've joined together scenes from XERØ #3 and #4, involving the Trent-Sabrina subplot. These are some of my favorite moments from the book. ChrisCross' genius, yes genius, is in full bloom here, with subtle touches and incredible acting-- unparalleled among the artists I've worked with. This is brilliant storytelling, pacing, and acting from a phenomenal talent. Moody and cinematic, with an eye for design, detail, and a broad range of emotions and facial expressions rarely equaled in comics these days. Cross makes my dialogue fairly leap out at you, bringing potency, vibrancy, urgency, resonance and subtext to the words. Brilliant work, wholly unappreciated at the time, in this series that ultimately became the Apollo 13 of my career.

The fact Cross was so terribly under appreciated at the company we worked for tells me just how completely out of touch they are (or, to be fair, were at the time). This is stunning work from a master craftsman, a man of humor and faith and great talent, who got only grief and ridicule and derision from a company that torpedoed this book with extreme prejudice. Just looking at this work, the energy Cross invests in what are essentially, talking heads scenes, brings back the outrage and anger I had, at the time, for how capriciously and incompetently this work was handled; by how unwelcome we both were.

There is real genius here. And it was spat on and ignored. Here's hoping Xerø will see better days in the near future.

Christopher J. Priest
January 2002

XERØ created by Christopher J. Priest with ChrisCross  Copyright © 2003  Christopher J. PriestAll Rights Reserved.