Xombi, I Hardly Knew Ye

scanned cover to Xombi #3, cover art by Frazer Irving

Out of all the comics being lost in the relaunch, Xombi had the shortest lifespan, lasting a meager 6 issues at DC.  This is unfortunate because Xombi was among the most creative and original comics the company had to offer (along with T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents which won’t be coming out in September, but I heard it might just be a sabbatical for the agents).  In this case, it might be it’s own originality that kept Xombi down.

Originally I was skeptical of the series, thinking it was DC’s way of cashing in on the zombie craze in pop culture (Marvel made a ton of Zombie comics last year, Blackest Night was a successful event, and Vertigo has a comic called iZombie), but I gave the comic a chance because of the artwork of Frazer Irving.

To see some of Frazer Irving’s work, check out the Comic Art Community site.

As it turns out, Xombi isn’t even nominally about zombies.  Instead, the main character’s an immortal character who has the ability to regenerate, so really it has more in common with Deadpool and Wolverine than Walking Dead.  It was created back in the 90s as part of the now defunct DC subsidiary Milestone, a company that made it a point to include ethnic characters as superheroes.  It’s my misfortune that I didn’t know what Milestone was until after it folded up shop.  The character of Xombi comes in the form of David Kim, a Korean hero, the only Asian I can think of in comics whose powers don’t revolve around the use of technology.

In the DC series, it incorporated Xombi’s original writer John Rozum and brought in rising star Frazer Irving to create a trippy, mend-bending, pop-art masterpiece of a series.

Xombi is a high-concept comic.  In every issue I’ve read, a lot of stuff happens, more than I could even keep track of.  That’s fine with me, but probably didn’t go over well with the main heft of the superhero fanbase.  I would imagine the few issues of Xombi that DC put out will take on a second life of their own as more people find out about what it was.

I’d recommend Xombi #3 in particular, because it seems to take the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur and appropriates it for the 21st-Century.  Also, there’s ghosts, making this a solid read.

Remember, this is DC week here at Panel Discussions, so I’ll be uploading as much as I can about old DC comics until Thursday.

Read graphic novel reviews.  Read issue reviews.

If you like Xombi, you may also enjoy Seven Soldiers of Victory.

Corey Pung, the writer of this blog, has written a book of short stories.

 

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