A feature of Noble Causes right from the beginning has been the shocks with which Jay Faerber regularly side-swipes the readership, and he ended Star-Crossed with a doozy transforming the entire series. It’s a worthwhile idea, then, that the title is to be taken literally. This book opens five years after the conclusion to Star-Crossed.

Faerber releases his surprises throughout, but some are revealed up front. Celeste and Frost have been re-integrated into the family unit, Slate has transferred his allegiance from the Blackthornes, and Doc now has a new wife, Olympia, and she has two teenage children, the shrinking Minutae and son Surge who appears to have replaced Race. Much as he’d introduced the series through the eyes of ordinary human Liz Donnelly in the first volume, this new incarnation of the Nobles is seen via student Amy Wells. However, Faerber’s not one for repeating his plots, and applies a neat twist.

The impressive aspect of Faerber’s writing exemplified here, but applicable to the entire series, is how his twists subvert expectations based on genre conventions. It’s the following Ever After that reveals how this applies to another new character, Colonel Comet, but he’s another intriguing addition to the cast: a now addled old man in a wheelchair requiring constant nursing care, yet once one of the world’s greatest superheroes.

Donnelly, so well characterised to this point as curious, smart and wholesome, proved to be many readers’ favourite character in the series, but she’s altogether absent. It could be assumed that she’s served her narrative purpose, and the plot certainly wouldn’t work as well with her presence, but she and Race make a brief, but interesting return in Ever After.

As previously, the art of Yildiray Cinar works against the story. His layouts are dull, his figurework suspect, and he avoids all but the most basic of backgrounds whenever possible. The artistic element where he succeeds is in delivering very good storytelling. The panel compositions could be more dynamic, but there’s never a doubt about what’s taking place, and not all Noble Causes artists mastered this.