A reinvigorated comic book series that first saw a brief run in the nineties, John Rozum’s Xombi (DC) tells the story of Korean-American David Kim, a victim of science/magic gone too far who has become a sort of “immortal weirdness magnet” in a world gone supernaturally haywire — where coins deliver prophecies and silent movie vamps escape from the screen. His body packed with nanomachines that have given him a range of still-evolving super powers (among these, the ability to turn paper into popcorn), the former medical researcher gets called to a secret prison that’s in the care of the Catholic Church.
There, the church has housed unfortunate victims of the supernatural, including a college student who was unlucky enough to buy a copy of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde “that was riddled with semi-colon cancer.” As a result, he was transformed into a murderous version of the title monster. “If only he’d been assigned Middlemarch,” a priest sighs.
If from my spoilage re: one of Rozum’s (plentiful) jokes, you get the idea that Xombi is not one of your more deadly serious superhero yarns, you’d be right on the (talking) money. Rozum, ably abetted by clean-lined artist Fraser Irving (a master at understated comic reaction shots), tosses a heavy mix of fantasy horror concepts and bad puns at the reader with shameless enthusiasm. The results prove appealingly off-kilter, the kind of quirky comic storytelling that deserves a bigger audience than it’ll most likely ever get. Catch it while you can.