Home > Comic Reviews, Reviews > Xombi #7 – 11: School of Anguish and Xombi #0

Xombi #7 – 11: School of Anguish and Xombi #0

Written by John Rozum, Art by J.J. Birch and Denys Cowan
Rating: Unrated

Following the events of the opening arc, David Kim attempts to return to his normal life. Sadly it seems that fate has other plans as a night out with friends causes him to stumble onto a hit being carried out by a most unusual being; Manuel Dexterity one of the Painful Inscriptions of the cult the Beli Mah. Once more David is drawn into the weird world of the occult and paranormal as his interference brings him to the attention of the Beli Mah.

If the second arc was David Kim’s introduction to the weird, shadow world that exists alongside ours, then the “School of Anguish” arc is all about his denial of this world. From the beginning of the arc until the end David is a reluctant participant in the story, getting involved only out of necessity and his desire to be left alone and to have a normal a life. His reasons for this should be readily apparent to anyone who read the first arc, but his fears are made manifest as he finds himself pulled into the Beli Mah’s plans. While it’s unlikely given the ending of the arc, I’ve always hoped that the Beli Mah might be expanded upon and discussed a bit more at some point as there are several unanswered questions raised during the climatic battle; the exact nature of their leader, Crowne, why everyone’s skin seems to be flakey and so forth. Plus they’re just an interesting group that I can’t help but want to see more of them.

Xombi #0, while published months before the launch of the ongoing series, is effectively a bit of an epilogue to the “School of Anguish” arc, taking place mere minutes after it’s resolution it continues the theme of David Kim’s attempts to deny his role as a weirdness magnet but features what seems to be a fairly key moment in his journey towards accepting his place in the world of the weird. What’s interesting about the issue is that it was also our first introduction to Xombi and it fills the role of an introductory story just as well as fills its role as an epilogue to “School of Anguish” arc, and that’s despite being part of a cross over to boot!

J.J. Birch’s art actually wanes a bit here. While he still does a good job at conveying emotions and mood through the characters’ faces, there’s a few times where things just look odd. At one point there’s a panel where the background perspective just looks… off. There’s also a distinct lack of backgrounds in this arc and that’s always been a bit of a pet peeve for me. Still, he does a great job with the Painful Inscriptions with the Dexterities and Flickering Ed being my favorite of the group. For Xombi #0 Denys Cowan handles the art and does a fantastic job as well. What really stands out in the zero issue though, are the colors. I didn’t mention it in the first review but Xombi featured painted colors by Noelle Giddings. The series is mostly printed on your typical comic paper stock and they look ok, nothing terribly special or outstanding, but in Xombi #0 they printed on a glossy paper stock and look absolutely fantastic.

There’s a lot to like about this arc and I barely touched the surface of some of them. The further fleshing out of some of the series supporting cast, most notably the return of Rabbi Sinnowitz and the nice attention to detail given to his faith and it’s practice. David Kim’s fears being represented physically rather than verbally is another fantastic moment as well. The second arc definitely feels a bit more nightmarish than the first and it does a good job at showing my David wants nothing to do with the supernatural world, while at the same time showing why he has no real choice in the matter.

Xombi #7 – 11: Silent Cathedrals and Xombi #0 were published by Milestone Comics..

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