A reintroduction to a character most of us never knew existed, this comic has all the glorious weirdness you could ever ask for. If DC pushes this as hard as they pushed that terrible Magog series, we could have a real winner on our hands.
To begin, I want to say to DC: It’s about damn time you gave Frazer Irving a monthly title. He did stellar work on the Klarion the Witch Boy mini-series, followed that up with outstanding work on an otherwise unremarkable Azrael mini and concluded with what was arguably the strongest arc in the terrific Batman & Robin monthly — and now, at long last, he gets steady work. If you’re smart, you’ll see about making this guy exclusive, because man, this guy is talented.
Writer John Rozum, on the other hand, gets a completely different kind of praise: where has this guy been all my life? This guy’s writing is stellar. It reminds me in many ways of Grant Morrison, although the fact that one of Morrison’s more frequent collaborators is on the title probably aids that association.
This story offers face-melting snow angels, a teen hero powered by Catholicism and prophetic pocket change. That’s just a fraction of the craziness Rozum brings to the table in this issue. The idea of the protagonist being a “weirdness magnet” is something that was touted in the solicitations for this issue and interviews with Rozum, and the concept was executed excellently here.
The weirdness is a kind that, as I’ve said in previous reviews, can only exist in comic books. Something about the limitlessness of sequential art allows for things that can’t be described using just words, but can’t be rendered effectively using contemporary CGI in television and film. The flashback panel featuring James Church’s transformation, for instance, is especially beautiful and well-rendered, and I can’t imagine it in any other medium, or even rendered by another artist. This issue serves as a reminder of everything that makes comics awesome.
With all this praise, you may be asking yourself, “Why only four and a half bullets?” And if I’m being honest, it’s just me nitpicking. I was annoyed that they actually use the term “weirdness magnet” in the comic, because it seemed so heavy-handed. My other complaint is that Irving’s rendering of Xombi versus the snow angels looks awfully static. If this series wants to get five bullets form me, Irving’s going to have to improve his action shots. His “acting,” though, is still phenomenal.
This is a strong start to what looks to be a fascinating series, and I hope some it generates more buzz. Because, as it stands, this book is a lock for my pull list.