Saturday, September 4, 2010

Madame Xanadu #24 & 25

Written by Matt Wagner
Art by Marley Zarcone and Laurenn McCubbin

I gave Madame Xanadu a couple of chances, and the book never really held my attention, which surprised me because I usually enjoy Wagner's work (admittedly moreso when he also draws it), and regular artist Amy Reeder Hadley is amazing.

Anyway, I'd heard some good things about this new Extra-Sensory arc, and since the books were half-price, I thought it would be worth checking them out.  This new arc is made up of a series of done-in-ones set in 1963 (which may or may not all be connected), each issue focusing on a different channel of perception.

The first story, with art by the terrific Marley Zarcone, tells the story of a young girl in Harlem who, while being one of the few 'coloureds' working in a downtown department store, starts to see people walking around with hideous injuries.  Basically, she's seeing how they will look when they die.  This knowledge doesn't sit well with her, and she seeks out Madame Xanadu for help.  It's a pretty straight-forward plot, but it's nicely written and very well-drawn.

The second story is about an 'ad man' in New York (I haven't seen Mad Men, but I feel like it has inspired this issue) who starts to hear the people around him saying the most vile things.  This time around, Madame X has to seek him out.  The writing in this one is less compelling, but McCubbin's art is interesting.  She has made heavy use of sixties-style patterns, and this issue quickly became all about the wallpaper to me.  Her figures feel stiff, and the art has the effect in places of looking like cut out paper dolls.

In all, there's still not enough going on in this book to make me want to buy it on a regular basis (plus, it's getting canceled anyway), but I think I'll be back for issue 28, which will have art by Marian Churchland.

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