This past weekend a friend gave me a comic series that I enjoyed immensely. The imaginatively quirky Xombi follows the adventures of David Kim, a Korean-American scientist who was fatally injured in a lab accident (well, an evil scientist tried to steal his work). In order to survive his injuries, Kim’s assistant injected him with a nanovirus which saved his life. This virus has turned him into a technologically enhanced human. The nanobots keep his body in peak form and it seems, at the moment, that he cannot be killed. He isn’t a superhero in a traditional way as he still has basic human strength. He just cannot be killed. The six issues I read are a continuation of the stories that Rozum did in the 90s, however this new series is written for new readers and I had no problem getting in to this strange, new world.
And what a strange world it is. I’m not sure exactly how he first encountered them, but Kim works with a team that investigates supernatural crime and crises. He is joined by Julian Parker (a son of demons), Rabbi Sinnowitz (Jewish expert of the occult), and a group of super-power enhanced Catholics that go by the names Nun of the Above, Nun the Less, and Catholic Girl. As you can tell from the names of the characters, the series doesn’t take itself too seriously and it is this quirky mixture of supernatural horror and humor that made me fall in love with this series.
Much like Doctor Who, Xombi is a concept that is only limited by the imagination and creativity of writer-creator Rozum. In fact, Rozom grew up watching Doctor Who, and sees a similarity in tone. Xombi is a magical series that is aided by the amazing artwork of Frazier Irving.
Irving is an artist that captured my attention while reading Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers: Klarion the Witch Boy. His style seems to suit the horror style perfectly, as it did in Klarion and later issues of Batman and Robin. His rendering of Professor Pyg in the latter series was particularly chilling. Since Xombi takes horror concepts and twists them imaginative and quirky ways, Irving’s art feels perfect.
I love the idea of the church investigating supernatural phenomenon. I love the idea that myths and legends of antiquity may indeed be real, just not how we envision them. I love that this comic was surprisingly introspective and philosophical. These characters are not superheroes who punch and kick their way to victory (although there is a share of that), but these are well-developed characters who want to fit in. They want to find meaning and love. David Kim wants to maintain ties to the mundane world where he originated because it grounds him as he struggles to help “police” the supernatural world he has found thrust upon him.
Possibly the only downside to this series is that with the DC Comics relaunch, Xombi was cancelled. But don’t let that deter you from checking out the series. This six-issue story is completely self-contained and it doesn’t really leave any dangling plot threads. The trade paperback collection will be released in February and can be ordered here or through your local book seller or comic shop. Definitely recommended! Check it out.