Tag Archives: DC Comics & Graphic Novels


Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Xombi [Amazon, Publisher, Local Library] by John Rozum, Fraser Irving, & al.

Rozum Irving Xombi

For a book that collects a comic starting with issue #1, this really gets going in media res. It’s full of exotic supporting characters who get defined on the fly. While the Xombi’s powers are the result of hyper-technological “nanites,” his friends and foes seem to be mostly supernaturally religious/occult in their origins and orientations. They seem to have some larger background, because they shared in an earlier series, but they are all sort of quirky and enigmatic anyway: the tone is closer to Bob Burden than Jack Kirby. Superpowered nuns and rabbis are funny, right? Although the original Xombi from the 1990s became involved with the larger DC superhero milieu, this reboot sequence (by the original writer) is more contained. The origin story is not rehashed, but rather dribbled out through incidental allusion.

I was motivated to pick this up to read because the art looked good: Frazer Irving provides expressive painted panels throughout, and there are a generous number of full-page tableaux. The six issues of the new series conclude a distinct plot arc “The Ninth Stronghold,” and the 2009 re-debut of Xombi in The Brave and the Bold 26 is appended to these. Scott Hampton’s art in the latter is looser and more expressionistic.

A.D.D.: Adolescent Demo Division

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews A.D.D.: Adolescent Demo Division [Amazon, Publisher, Local Library] by Douglas Rushkoff with Goran Sudzuka and José Marzán Jr.

Rushkoff Sudzuka Marzan ADD Adolescent Demo Division

Rushkoff’s A.D.D. is apparently set in a parallel universe where those initials applied to kids have never meant attention deficit disorder, or in which the entire society suffers from sufficient mental myopia to disregard the fact. Other than that, it’s an all-too-credible story of psychological experimentation on humans that could be read as either a near-future scenario about media manipulation, or as a parable about a larger-scale set of events that have already been going on for decades. 

Blurber Grant Morrison compares this graphic novel to the X-Men, but I thought it was essentially a cyberpunk version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The benevolence of Professor Xavier or even Willy Wonka is in short supply here, though. Sudzuka’s art fits the story of this digital-candy-oubliette quite nicely. There is a lot of violence and sex of the sort that realistically applies to hothoused adolescents. It’s a fast read: two solid sittings should be sufficient.

Say You Want a Revolution

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Say You Want a Revolution [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Grant Morrison with Steve Yeowell, Jill Thompson, Dennis Cramer, book 1 of The Invisibles series.

Morrison The Invisibles Say You Want A Revolution

I can neither laud nor condemn Morrison’s Invisibles comic on the basis of this first trade volume. I appreciate the content, and it’s easy to see how it was ahead of the curve later occupied by The Matrix and its derivatives. Even by the end of this book, the plot was still sprawling to the point of incoherence, though. I never learned to care much for the protagonists, although the villains are plenty distasteful. The four-color art is adequate to the story, but rarely impressive in its own right. 

The physical production of this reprint book is dismal. The paper is cheap and flimsy, and the glue-bound cover fell off entirely after a single reading. And the list price is $19.95? Good grief. For that price, I’d rather borrow the subsequent volumes from the public library. But they aren’t there, nor are they likely to be, given the extreme graphic violence in sections of this book.