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Comics You Should Be Reading: Xombi

Written by Royal Nonesuch on Wednesday, June 08 2011 and posted in Features

Apparently, DC also publishes some Comics You Should Be Reading!

Comics You Should Be Reading features a rotating panel of Outhouse writers highlighting some of the best, under-heralded books out today.

Xombi is written by John Rozum and illustrated by Frazer Irving

Synopsis of the book: David Kim is immortal.  Through an accident of science, he now has nanotech bits and pieces coursing through this body which cause him to self-repair from any physical wound using any raw material that happens to be nearby and keeps him in a constant homeostasis.  He never ages, and he can never die.  Thus, he is able to go forth and explore the weirdness of his world.  He spends a lot of time hanging out with his buddies, but lately he's been dealing with insane criminals and frightening monsters in otherworldy planes of existence.  Pretty much anything that happens to David is the most unexpected thing that could happen. 

Reasons why it's awesome: Well, everything I just said up there.  The fact is, there really aren't too many books from the Big 2 that feel like just about anything can happen,  and what we're seeing in every issue is something that didn't exist in the DC Universe before.  That's a pretty exciting prospect whenever it comes up, which isn't often enough.  That's only part of the attraction, though.  Xombi works so well on its own merits.  Writer John Rozum is a seasoned pro when it comes to comics, and he uses his page space so effectively that he is able to pack in a lot of great, big ideas and give them all room to breathe.  It's very dense storytelling, and there really aren't many books like it on the stands.  Rozum's stories are given an oddball, otherworldly effect when illustrated by Frazer Irving.  With Irving, there is some sense of grounding within a particular reality, but it's so clear that it isn't our reality.  This isn't something that could happen right outside your window.  As relatable as the characters are, they're put in some weird situations that you don't see coming.  The book is at all times surprising, funny, strange, suspenseful, and, particularly for DC, it's as unique asxombie-cover1 you can get. 

If you like _____, then you'll like this book:  In our recent interview with him, writer John Rozum let on that the book has been compared to Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol run from the early 1990's.  That's A) quite a comparison, and B) not all that contemporary.  It is pretty apt, though.  While that run was about redefining pre-existing characters in a New Age-y way, Xombi was created by Rozum and he's the guy in charge of its revival (more on that later).  What the two have in common is that they both explore the nature of reality as well as our place within it.  There is a lot in Xombi about the body and how it relates to the self, as well as spirituality and the way belief systems are affected by the strangeness of everyday life.

Don't take my word for it:  We checked back in with John Rozum to see what he has to say about this whole thing.  Here's Rozum on why he does what he does: 
In most of the comics produced in the last two decades, there's been what I view as an unfortunate trend to take what was once wild escapist entertainment and to gradually remove all of the fantastic elements and to turn these concepts into something that could almost be plausible in the real world. For Xombi, I wanted to produce a comic book that returned to the fantastic anything is possible roots of comic books when they were at their most imaginative. This used to be a medium where the only restrictions were what the writer could imagine and what the artists could draw and stories could deliver material that you could get nowhere else, and this is exactly how I approach the material. I want people who read Xombi to be seeing and reading things they aren't getting anywhere else, and because of that, I think the series is unique.

Beyond that, for all the strangeness, I'm interested in providing characters the reader can be invested in participating in stories, that for all their strangeness, are things that everyone can relate to. The first story arc, for all of it's ornamentation is really very simple. It's about a woman trying to find her way back home and a man who's trying to find his place in a world which has shifted beneath him. I've been fortunate to have Frazer Irving along to not only bring all this to life with his astonishing artwork that is perfectly suited to the material, but to have him turn Xombi into what is one of the most beautiful looking comic books out there.
xombi_2Best pick-up point:  Look, three issues have already come out, and the fourth issue is solicited for the end of this month.  Three issues.  That's all you have to do to catch up.  You can handle that, right? 

Now, it's true that there was a prior volume of Xombi that was published by Milestone Comics in the mid-1990's (which ran for twenty-one issues), and this new run picks up where that old one left off, but you definitely don't need to have read that earlier run to keep up with the current book.   It's worth tracking down anyway, just because it's a pretty good run of comics, but is it necessary?  Nope.  You can start with the new #1 and go from there.  Everything you need to know will be provided to you (just more of that economical and impactful writing by Rozum).

Final thoughts: There may be some questions right now about Xombi and where it fits into the new DC Universe come September.  Well, I have no answers for you on that one.  But you gotta figure that DC wouldn't have bothered to start a book up if they were just going to get rid of it upon their big reboot, right?  Even if Xombi isn't long for this world (and I somehow doubt that), then why should that matter?  A good comic is a good comic, and you may as well own a nice little run of a short-lived comic, rather than miss out on it entirely, right? 

For more on Xombi, and on Rozum himself, take a look at that link up there for our big-ass interview with him from a few weeks ago.   

Written or Contributed by: Royal Nonesuch

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About the Author - Royal Nonesuch

As Senior Media Correspondent (which may be a made-up title), Royal Nonesuch tends to spearhead a lot of film and television content on The Outhouse. He's still a very active participant in the comic book section of the site, though. Nonesuch writes reviews of film, television, and comics, and conducts interviews for the site as well.  You can reach out to him on Twitter or with Email.


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