Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Weeks Too Late: Guest Review - Daniel Hobson Talks Xombi

Zombie (1979)

Director: Lucio Fulci

Today we’ll be looking at the Lucio Fulci 1979 classic Zombie, this has been…*looks around blog,* wait a minute this isn’t my blog. Girl on Book Action? Wow this place looks really nice. Hmmm I really don’t want to stink up the joint. Might change what I’m reviewing. *bright idea* I got it. *goes through the latest purchased comic books* Today I’ll be reviewing the weird comic just freshly reanimated, Xombi.

Xombi #1 (2011

John Rozum

Artist: Fraser Irving

I’ve not actually read the old series which started in 1994, was written by John Rozum and ran for about 21 issues, but as DC was starting to advertise the new series I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the story. David Kim, a Korean-American scientist, is almost killed, but thanks to being injected with nanites he survives and gains powers. The main power is that he is able to regenerate his body with any material close at hand; this, in turn, makes him practically immortal. However, there are downsides to this. The nanites in control of his body do not have emotional attachment like David and for them any item or person is good enough to be used in regeneration. Guilty over those that have been killed accidentally by his new form, David has become a superhero of sorts. Named Xombi, he deals with the strange and unusual things in the world. This new series takes place two months after the nanite incident.

I’m a fan of the weird and disturbing and man does this first issue deliver. We have everything from Nosferatu leaping from the silver screen to eat movie goers, to a villain that was infected by a book of Dr Jeckyl and Mr Hyde. Yep, weird as hell and I haven’t even touched upon some of the more goose bump inducing things that happen at the end of this issue. Thankfully, all this quirky stuff is offset by a sense of humor. In this world there is a group of Catholic superheros which is made up of Catholic Girl, Nun the Less, Nun of the Above and I think there may be more nuns on the way.

With all these elements it would have been easy for the comic to become a mess, but John Rozum knows what he’s doing. The dialogue has a great sense of timing and allows for the weirdness to just flow. It’s also impressive that John Rozum seems to have come back to his creation and not shown signs of needing to find his groove again. The sheer level of insanity of this written world that John is able to create is a joy to witness; it’s also not weird sake for the sake of it, to me what is happening in the comic has deep ties to urban legends and nightmares people may have. This all comes together to create something very unique.

I’m not too sure where the story is headed, but it was a good introduction to a character that is sympathetic and someone I want to see overcome the hurdles that have been placed before him. Yet not fully getting a grasp on where things are heading has left me slightly worried. Plot pieces may fall into place, characters' motives may shine through, but any story that delves into such an out there premise needs a strong story to keep everything on track. Despite this concern however I’m still enjoying the writing.
Yet writing alone does not a comic make, I have mixed feelings about the art. It’s crisp, clean and I will admit the final page was creepy, but other than that little flourish I wasn’t drawn to it. There does seem to be a lack of detail sometimes and with such a wonderfully weird world being communicated verbally I was hoping that visually it might reflect the uniqueness. Of course, since it’s the first issue all this might change. Maybe Fraser Irving just needs to get used to the world being written, and once this happens he may get more adventurous with how he visualizes; that last page gives me tells me he is capable of this. But with that being said, right now I’m here for the writer not the artist.

I’m going to be sticking with Xombi for a bit. I do hope it takes off, as I would love to have a one, two punch of this and Hellblazer to get my monthly dose of the weird and disturbing. As for possible readers I will warn that if you’re not into plots centered on the unhinged then maybe you should move along. Also time will tell if my concern on the writing will be a valid one, the first story arc will be crucial. But if you’re after something unique then line up, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

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