And so Rozum promised a lot, maybe without realizing it, from this issue and he delivers. He delivers more than I hoped.
He seems to get how important it is for Xombi to finally be about the protagonist. This issue, the supernatural oddness of the last four are almost forgotten; their brief mentions are all to remind they exist in an otherworldly realm David doesn’t primarily inhabit.
Rozum narrates it first person, from David’s point of view. It’s the first time he’s really gotten inside the character and he sends him on a tragic, but redemptive issue.
My cynical side says this issue should have been the second one, but the time in between this one and the first makes it all the more affecting. Birch is a lot more on target here too, without all the supernatural elements.
It’s a great comic book and sets Xombi’s bar rather high.
Silent Cathedrals, Epilogue: Resurrection; writer, John Rozum; artist, J.J. Birch; colorists, Noelle C. Giddings and Andrew Burrell; letterer, Agnes Pinaha; editor, Dwayne McDuffie; publisher, Milestone.
The soft cliffhanger implies Rozum is going to start dealing with David’s stuff next issue. I’m not holding my breath, but I am somewhat hopeful….
This issue is another mixed bag. The issue revolves around this giant monster—who Rozum just now introduces, even though he’s been sort of present a while—and the gang trying to defeat with it. It doesn’t taken them very long. In fact, it’s like Rozum and Birch don’t realize they’re not doing a movie. Giant monsters in comics don’t have a lot of dramatic effect.
One of the non-permanent supporting cast members exits here too. He’s last scene is one of the best scenes in a Xombi issue in a while. It’s very bittersweet and touching, even if Rozum abbreviated it a little too much.
Still, lots of good character moments and the plot does move.
And I’m hopeful for the next one.
Silent Cathedrals, Part Five: The Lord of Fumes!; writer, John Rozum; artist, J.J. Birch; colorists, Noelle C. Giddings and Andrew Burrell; letterer, Agnes Pinaha; editor, Dwayne McDuffie; publisher, Milestone.
Even Birch seems to give up a little this issue, which introduces a bunch of new things—not just new characters, but new creatures—for David Kim to contend with. Birch’s faces look unfinished, like he skipped inking them because he had to much other stuff to do.
There’s only a little stuff with Kim this issue; he gets to beat up the villain and show off his superpowers again. By the end, Rozum is already introducing more stuff for the next issue.
Xombi doesn’t work in any traditional sense—it’s like Rozum had an idea for the big story and just used his protagonist to tell that story. It’s an okay story (too many proper nouns to remember), but Rozum’s characters are really good and the dialogue’s funny.
It’s just not particularly compelling. Because he drops the reader into this preexisting situation, it’s impossible to really care about it.
Silent Cathedrals, Part Four: Revelations!; writer, John Rozum; artist, J.J. Birch; colorist, Noelle C. Giddings; letterer, Agnes Pinaha; editor, Dwayne McDuffie; publisher, Milestone.