Xombi 21 (February 1996)

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So David’s poor fiancée never gets a single line. She never even gets to mention he looks twenty-five years younger than the last time she saw him.

Rozum’s not just shortening the series this issue; double-sized or not, he’s hurrying up the storyline. At one point he inexplicably shifts perspective in a way to trick the reader. In addition to creating some tension, he’s also able to hurry things along a great deal.

The beginning of the issue, with David and the Rabbi journeying through the paranormal world (paranormal is what Rozum decides on to call all the magic and supernatural stuff), is lovely. There’s a lot of great details; one wishes Rozum could take the time. A series called Xombi seems the wrong place.

For the last few pages, Rozum returns to his superior first-person narration from David and fakes a satisfying finish to the series.

CREDITS

Hidden Cities, Part Five: Elsewhere; writer, John Rozum; artist, J.J. Birch; colorist, Noelle C. Giddings; letterer, Agnes Pinaha; editor, Jaqueline Ching; publisher, Milestone.

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Xombi 20 (January 1996)

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Maybe Rozum should have just written a novel. This issue has David meeting his essentially immortal future love—they won’t get together for eighty years, which is then the lifespan of the series’s potential present action—and the Rabbi going around her castle seeing a bunch of funny supernatural people.

Rozum has names for everything and everyone, but he never comes up with a good term for the goofy, sometimes creepy inhabitants of Xombi. It’s unfortunate.

It’s also unfortunate he spent most of this arc on David’s future love interest. She’s out of the book now (for eighty years) so why waste three of the five last issues on her?

The book’s imminent cancellation is briefly discussed on the letters page, so clearly, Rozum could have made a move to not waste issues until the series was on safer ground.

Anyway, the issue’s is as competent and troubled as always.

CREDITS

Hidden Cities, Part Four: Transient Smoke; writer, John Rozum; artist, J.J. Birch; colorist, Noelle C. Giddings; letterer, Agnes Pinaha; editor, Jaqueline Ching; publisher, Milestone.

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