The mid-1990s was the heyday of Vertigo Comics, DC's trippy, grown-up imprint. But one of the best Vertigo-esque comics appeared instead, almost unnoticed, on DC's Milestone Imprint. And after 14 years, the unsettling supernatural nanotechnology tale XOMBI is coming back.
XOMBI is definitely in my top 10 favorite comics ever, and might be in the top five, so I'm not super objective here. Few other comics combined mysticism and weirdness with extreme science with quite so much gusto — and managed to make the result feel logical and compelling. There's a reason people like Alan Moore were freaking out over this comic. And now you'll get a chance to sample the insanity. Writes creator/writer John Rozum:
Last weekend at the New York Comic Con, DC Comics Co-Publisher, Dan Didio announced that there would be a new XOMBI comic book debuting in February 2011.... I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to return to the story of David Kim. This is an absolute dream come true for me.
So what's XOMBI about, exactly? Here's Rozum's pretty straightforward explanation:
The series followed David Kim a medical researcher working with nanotechnology. His laboratory is broken into by supernatural creatures sent to steal his research. The creatures mortally wound David with occult weapons, and David's assistant saves him by infusing his body with his experimental nanomachines which restore him at her expense. David soon discovers that he can't die. Cut off a limb, he'll grow it back. Infect him, his body will get rid of the disease. The nanomachines also keep him at an ideal age, and weight, correct his eyesight, and keep him from ever needing to brush his teeth or use a toilet.
Due to the nature of his transformation, David also discovers that he's a weirdness magnet. He becomes the center of a number of bizarre supernatural and just plain weird adventures, assisted and mentored by an odd assortment of paranormal combattants including Rabbi Sinnowitz, Vatican endorsed Nun of the Above and her superpowered sidekick, Catholic Girl, and magician infected with supernatural VD, Julian Parker.
We're left with a few questions. Like, who's going to draw it, and will they be able to match the raw style of original series artist J.J. Birch? Also, now that David Kim is part of the DC Universe instead of the Milestone Universe, will his world be as bizarre as before, or will he be constrained to be part of the mystical ghetto with the Spectre and Madame Xanadu? (A XOMBI-Spectre cross-over comic came out last year as part of the Brave and the Bold series and it was... disappointing.) What about the crucial prophecy that David Kim is destined to destroy the world?
And finally, will this mean that we get the long-awaited trade paperbacks of the comic's original run, including the never-published Hanukkah Special? (Come to that, I would still kill for trades of Rozum's other supernatural series, Midnight, Mass.)