Review: Xombi #4

Everyone has one book they’ll miss most, post-relaunch.  For many of us, particularly at this blog, I think, it’s Gail Simone’s routinely excellent Secret Six.  And that’s up there for me, no doubt – Secret Six is like nothing else on the shelves on its best weeks, and it had an awful lot of best weeks.  But if I had to pick one book to make them carry over and only one, it would be John Rozum’s recent Xombi, a gorgeous, aggressively weird book that never found the audience it richly deserved.  Xombi #4 continues the book’s trend of excellence, giving us the back story on the book’s first (and now likely only) villain, Roland Finch, and the treacherous new addition to this bizarre team of heroes, Annie Palmer.

It seems that Annie Palmer comes from the Ninth Stronghold, a floating skull fortress hovering above the clouds and one of 27 floating homes to powerful, near-immortal societies.  Seduced at a young age by a dashing young Roland Finch, Annie feels responsible for the destruction of the Ninth Stronghold when Finch conquered it, and her life for the last 80  years has been dedicated to getting back there, to her home.  But that was before Finch betrayed her yet again, last issue; now, all Annie wants is to protect the other Strongholds.

Writing it out like that doesn’t do justice to how vibrant a setting Rozum has created.  Combining the outlandish weirdness of Morrison’s Doom Patrol with Frazer Irving’s moody, gorgeously colored work, Rozum has made a reliably fun ensemble book, an endlessly creative celebration of the weird sci-fi/fantasy comic book worlds we love so much.  Though it’s too late to save the title, I cannot recommend the book enough to comic fans looking for something a little different.

Grade: A

– Cal Cleary

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One thought on “Review: Xombi #4

  1. I agree wholeheartedly, Cal. While I’ve been a DC fan for 32 years and I’m maintaining a “wait and see” stance on September’s soft reboot/restart (especially if it does bring in new readers and helps insure the industry’s longevity), I think it’s a shame that Xombi isn’t counted among the New 52.

    I wasn’t a huge fan of Vertigo when it was big. Neither was I much of a Milestone follower. But Xombi has that perfect combination of strange, “out-there” story-telling and beautiful, expressive art that harkens back to the allure prevalent in the books that made Vertigo so popular. The fact that it reminds me of “Plop”, “Blue Devil”, “Doom Patrol” and “Ambush Bug” (in terms of how I feel when I read it, not the subject matter. The curiousity for this rich new world reminds me of how I felt reading those series as a kid) doesn’t hurt either. Of course, in my opinion, Xombi is better than all the aforementioned combined.

    I’ll check out the “new DC” in September…I may even enjoy some titles but I’ll always miss Xombi and this strange new world it so lovingly lives in. RIP David Kim, I wish I had a chance to know you better.

    -Dana

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