Xombi #17 – 21: Hidden Cities
Written by John Rozum, Art by J.J. Birch
The final arc of Xombi has arrived. After facing down creatures, cults and other things that have threatened the world, David Kim’s path has brought him to begrudgingly accept his place within the shadow world. Under the tutelage of Rabbi Sinnowitz he embarks on a journey of exploration and learning before his fiance, Dalila returns home. Along the way he will uncover some very disturbing things about his future and face down a sinister and nigh unbeatable foe as well.
The final arc of Xombi is a virtual dive into the imagination of John Rozum and we begin to grasp the fact that the last seventeen issues where just the tip of the iceberg. Entire worlds populated by immortals, ancient gods, frauds, literary geniuses and more are brought to life within this final arc. Kim’s journey brings him into contact with other Xombi’s as he searches out opinions and ideas on how to deal with his condition and how to share it with his soon to return fiance. There is no overarching antagonist for these issues, instead it’s very much an exploration of the new world David Kim is a part of and it’s populated by the tales of some of the inhabitants, each working in his own way to shed light upon his new life. From the wonderful, folklorish tale of the African xombi, Dumaka, to the tragic and heartbreaking choices made by the immortal Kameko. The tension in these tales comes less from physical threats and more from the decisions the characters make. How will David Kim respond when his future is revealed to him? Will he allow his immortality to turn him into a bitter and lonely man as it did Dumaka? Even the immediate threat of The Boogeymen Dread, beings who kill be devouring hopes, dreams and positive emotions helps to further these questions and the idea of hope and despair being the two immediate paths upon which David may journey.
Birch’s art is at it’s best here. Every panel is alive and is often packed with detail and monsters, wonders and horrors. He doesn’t balk at drawing anything that Rozum’s mind can cook up, ranging from a young girls aura, sidewalk fish, fantastic cities, black knights and more. It’s a treat for the eyes. The high gloss paper is in use and it does a fantastic job at bringing out the colors which give Birch’s artwork that extra little pop. There’s a two page spread in the first issue of a flying pagoda which is absolutely gorgeous and incredibly striking, due in no short part to Birch’s pencil’s and Noelle Gidding’s colors working together beautifully. As much as I enjoyed the earlier issues I just can’t imagine that one moment having the same impact on the older paper stock.
While the final arc doesn’t answer all the questions, it certainly does a good job at wrapping up the series and gives David Kim’s story, not to mention the readers, a fairly positive and happy ending. Given his immortality and some of the revelations dropped throughout this arc David Kim’s future wouldn’t be all roses, not to mention the new ongoing Xombi series, but at the time his immediate future was looking pretty good.
Xombi #17 – 21: Hidden Cities were published by Milestone Comics..