Xombi 2 (July 1994)


J.J. Birch is the perfect artist for this book. He can even make cute little mechanical birds like mildly scary.

Rozum resolves his cliffhanger. Actually, it wasn’t a hard cliffhanger, but a soft one. There are no happy moments, no redemptive ones, no smiles.

Well, maybe some smiles. Here, Rozum introduces the supporting cast—and, yes, one of them is a nun—and he has a good time with them. They’re all meeting the protagonist, David Kim, for first time, but they’ve been around together. There’s bickering, there are inside jokes; it’s a great scene.

There’s some hints at the villains too, and it definitely seems as though Rozum is going to embrace the supernatural with the series, which is kind of strange. It’s about a science-based “superhero” who deals exclusively with magical antagonists. I’m sure Rozum can make it work.

But, the endless proper nouns are getting annoying.


Silent Cathedrals, Part Two: Feats of Clay; writer, John Rozum; artist, J.J. Birch; colorist, Julia Lacquement; letterer, Agnes Pinaha; editor, Dwayne McDuffie; publisher, Milestone.


Xombi 1 (June 1994)


There’s a way to end on a downer….


Rozum moves between science and magic this issue. The science stuff basically just uses concepts the reader is likely familiar with—nanotechnology mostly—and shows how awesome it could be. The magic is a little different. It gives Rozum a lot of room to be creative. He also gets to have a ghost-busting nun—well, I’m hoping she’s a ghost-busting nun.

The issue takes place over a day, so the reader gets to know the protagonist through his new assistant. It’s an interesting kind of protagonist for a comic. He’s Asian, first of all, but he’s also old enough to have grey temples and he’s completely ordinary. He’s a former adjunct professor who’s still working on getting his Ph.D. In other words, he’s boring.

The ending rushes, but it’s makes the cliffhanger works even better.

It’s an amazing finish.


Silent Cathedrals, Part One: The Rabbit Hole; writer, John Rozum; artist, J.J. Birch; colorist, Noelle C. Giddings; letterer, Agnes Pinaha; editor, Dwayne McDuffie; publisher, Milestone.

The Unwritten 23 (May 2011)


Carey brings the arc into port—sorry, couldn’t resist—and ends on a profound moment. Well, sort of.

Tom learns the source of his power and, since it makes so much sense, it’s not surprising. Carey and Gross don’t go crazy visualizing it, showing admirable restraint.

The real thing comes on the final page though, when it’s a flashback to Wilson explaining how fiction works to a young Tom. That moment, combined with the previous revelation, brings a lot more into question. Some of these questions are ones Moore raised with Promethea. He never could make the answers wholly satisfying, because the questions are asked somewhat passively. Hopefully Carey will be able to find a way around that roadblock.

There’s no Lizzie or Savoy this issue. Instead, it’s just Tom and his literary sidekicks, for better or worse.

They get a little tiring, but the ending makes up for them.


Leviathan, Part Five; writer, Mike Carey; artist, Peter Gross and Vince Locke; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Todd Klein; editor, Pornsak Pichetshote; publisher, Vertigo.

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