By Andy Frisk
March 27, 2009 - 22:35
This series just keeps getting better and better. Wagner has spun a tale that weaves together several of DC’s magic based characters together in great storylines using the eternal Madame Xanadu as the thread that binds their histories. Xanadu, now fast forwarded from 1880’s London where she encountered Jack The Ripper, to 1930’s New York is engaged in a relationship with John Zatara, revealed to be a distant cousin of her “own people, the Ancient Folk” and a “homo magi.” We also know him as the father of another certain contemporary female mage. But, Xanadu hasn’t forgotten the Stranger and her designs to bind him for his involvement in The Ripper murders (don’t know what we’re talking about here? Then pick up the last few issues of MADAME XANADU!). Her cards though are warning her of the eventual and very soon “creation of an immensely powerful and consequential supernatural being,” and with Detective Jim Corrigan playing a major role in the background tale in this issue can anyone say…The Spectre?!
Yet another great Hadley cover.
Wagner is masterfully giving us magical (pun intended) tales that continue to give us insight and great storytelling, seen through the eyes of Xanadu, about not only her adventures through her very, very, long life, but snippets and revelations about other magic based DC Universe characters. We’ve seen Merlin, The Demon’s former master, The Demon/Jason Blood’s unwitting involvement in the Jack The Ripper murders, John Zatara and of course The Phantom Stranger. With Jim Corrigan, The Spectre’s soon to be host showing up in this issue, we’re even getting a look at DC’s most powerful character. Am I the only one out here who feels that this series is rapidly becoming a classic Vertigo title that effectively has the potential to reignite, as it already has in some ways, a connection to the DC Universe proper and set the stage for possibly some other Vertigo titles starring The Demon, The Spectre, etc? I surely hope I’m not the only one and I definitely hope DC decides to give some of these characters their own shot at a Vertigo title. Vertigo is renowned for its non super-hero, mature titles like SCALPED, 100 BULLETS, NORTHLANDERS and the like but remember that HELLBLAZER and the undisputedly classic SANDMAN and SWAMP THING series had firm roots in the DC Universe proper and Vertigo SPECTRE or DEMON series wouldn’t be a stretch or a detriment to Vertigo’s line but more of a worthy expansion of it.
Hadley continues to be one of the best all around artists drawing a series currently and it’s with great sadness that MADAME XANADU will loose her as the regular artist after issue #10. Her pencils have defined this book as well as its protagonist. In reality it has re-defined Madame Xanadu’s look, stature and age-likeness that incoming new series artist Michael Wm. Kaluta (who helped bring Xanadu “to life” 30 years ago, according to DC’s blurb for issue #11 on their site) would be wise to not tamper with too much. Rarely, do we get a book where the art, storytelling, coloring and inking come together as clearly and crisply as it has on MADAME XANADU thus far. With Wagner remaining at the helm though I have hopes that the book will maintain its high quality. I’ll definitely be following Hadley wherever she goes next and wishing her luck with her next project.
Overall, MADAME XANADU continues to deliver. Great storytelling, art and direction are the hallmark of this book and if it keeps up this pace it just might one day be worthy of ranking up there with the Vertigo greats. It’s certainly on its way.
Rating: 10 /10