After two top-notch issues, I was a little worried when I got to the halfway point of "Xombi" #3. It wasn't bad at all, but the issue felt much more straight-forward and by the book than I was used to from "Xombi." Had it lost its spark? Was it just another superhero slugfest?
Then I got to the second half of the issue, and my faith was quickly restored. Catholic Girl and Nun of the Above would be proud.
A lot of "Xombi" #3 is devoted to learning the long-term plan of bad guy Roland Finch, and how he set up most of what led David Kim and company to this bad situation. And while it's fun to see how Finch has been quietly manipulating everyone involved, it's a little dry, lacking a lot of the wit and strangeness that I expect from John Rozum's scripts. Sure, the Maranatha is a terrifying monster and it's nice to see our characters struggling against something so powerful, but it didn't particularly stand out the way the first two issues did.
But as David starts healing from an extremely bad wound, we get a two page sequence about what life really is, and what it matters. In another writer's hands this would have felt trite and ridiculous. From Rozum, it feels like poetry. It's the centerpiece of "Xombi" #3, and it's something that both the reader and the character will benefit from. In many ways it's a reminder to David about why he needs to let the nanomachines bring him back to life over and over again, and what he's fighting for. Who knew a line of dialogue about the smell of dew on the grass would be so poignant?
And then, even more elegantly? Rozum folds this part of the issue back into the main story. David using this knowledge about the meaning of life to defeat an enemy is a great moment, and by the end of the issue I had a big grin on my face. It's a great conclusion to the issue, and a reminder about some of the attraction of "Xombi" in general.
Frazer Irving continues to bring gorgeous art to every page. Maranatha looks amazingly cool, the flames-as-mane licking around its head, and exuding just sheer power as it tears through our heroes (figuratively and literally). There's just something about Irving's art that fascinates me; maybe it's the way he draws people's faces that looks so realistic but at the same time not at all like a photo, or perhaps it's the tight integration of the coloring into the overall look of the comic. Whatever it is, though, another month with new Irving art is a good month for comic books in general.
In an ideal world, we're going to hear that "Xombi" is building up its sales every month. There's nothing else quite like it on the market right now; it's smart, funny, touching, and beautiful. If you aren't reading "Xombi" yet, scoop up the first three issues. You're in for one doozy of a ride.