Monday, May 30, 2011

I Walked with a Xombi

A trip to the comic book store last week informed me that the new Xombi series from DC I had been anticipating had already arrived. Issue #3 was on the stands, in fact. Not wanting to jump in there, I haven’t started the new series yet, but the original was one of my favorites. It may just the the best bit of 1990s Vertigo-esque weirdness not done at Vertigo.

Xombi debuted (with an (at the time) trendy 0 issue) from Milestone in January 1994. It was the creation of writer John Rozum and artist Denys Cowan. The titular Xombi is David Kim, a scientist working with a nanotechnological virus for tissue regeneration. Kim is gravely injured when the villainous Dr. Sugarman attempts to steal the still-untested virus. Kim's assistant injects him with the nanovirus, saving his life--but at a price. Kim awakens to fine his poor assistant has been partially devoured by the nanites, scavenging for raw materials to rebuild him.

The now enhanced Kim is virtually indestructible and potentially immortal (a “xombi”)--and this is only the beginning of the weirdness. Kim becomes involved in the struggles of various supernatural forces secretly living among humanity.

It’s the offbeat cast of supporting characters and villains are really what made Xombi great. The evil Dr. Sugarman uses spindly, mummy-wrapped beings called “rustling husks” as henchmen--homonculi created from the corpses of insects that died trapped between window panes. Kim’s allies include the clairvoyant Nun of the Above, and her superpowered junior associate Catholic Girl. There’s also Rabbi Sinnowitz, an occult expert and golem manufacturer, and another Xombi--this one created by magic in ancient Africa. Did I mention the siblings Manuel and Manuella Dexterity? It’s just that kind of book.

I’m hoping for more of the same from the new series. The original Xombi is good read, particularly if one likes nineties-style quirk comic weirdness. Too bad it hasn't been collected yet.  It would be great inspiration for modern occult conspiracy games like Unknown Armies, but it has ideas that could be put to use in horror or supers games as well.


Alex Osias said...

Ooh, a fellow Milestone fan. I enjoyed the Blood Syndicate series more myself, but looks like I missed out on Xombi

Ray Rousell said...

Sound very interesting, I'll look out for this. I've not read any zombie comics....yet!

Tallgeese said...

Xombi was the other Doom Patrol. Thanks for reminding me about this great comic, and the Rustling Husks.

Dan said...

The way you describe it reminds me of Preacher. A good thing.

Nun of the Above? HAH! I love it.

Trey said...

@Ka-Blog! - It's a different sort of feel from Blood Syndicate for sure, but worth checking out.

@Dan - I would say it's fairly different in tone from Preacher but they do care soe of the same occult secret history elements, I suppose.