Reading the Cards


Madame Xanadu #11

New artist Michael William Kaluta has his first issue on this title — the coolest thing about this is that Kaluta helped create Madame Xanadu way back in the ’70s.

Nimue is contacted by a young woman whose father has recently died in a case of spontaneous human combustion. The woman believes her father was murdered, and after a quick reading of her trusty deck of Tarot cards, Madame Xanadu agrees with her. She researches the victim’s life and learns that his last months were dominated by meetings with a man named Husam Al Nar and of being mysteriously stalked by dogs. Combined with this, we get flashbacks to Nimue’s life in Spain in the late 15th century as she and the people she loves must contend with the Spanish Inquisition.

Verdict: An enthusiastic thumbs up. Good gravy, is Kaluta’s artwork beautiful! Very lush, very retro, like some of Charles Dana Gibson‘s work. I was worried that the art would fall off with Amy Reeder Hadley’s departure from the book, but I clearly had nothing to worry about. And Matt Wagner’s story, of course, is no disappointment either — this one is set up much more like a traditional drawing-room mystery, except, obviously, for the inclusion of a number of mysterious occult elements.


The Unwritten #1

Tom Taylor is the son of a best-selling fantasy author who mysteriously vanished after completing his intensely popular series on boy wizard Tommy Taylor. Tom feels conflicted about his fame — after all, it’s tough having the world think of you as the kid who the Tommy Taylor stories were based on. But what’s weird is — there doesn’t seem to be any record of Tom Taylor in his youth. When word gets out, Tommy Taylor fans are divided into two camps — those who want Tom Taylor dead for being a fraud who capitalized on their love of the Tommy Taylor books, and those who want to worship him as the book character brought to life. And when Tom gets kidnapped by someone claiming to be Count Ambrosio, the vampiric villain from the novels, can he manage a storybook ending to escape his own death?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Partly because this one was just a dollar. Just a dollar! These days, that’s just wonderful! And it’s not like you get just a buck’s worth of story — this is 20 smackers’ worth of story. Great characters, great set-up, great plot, and an outstanding mystery. Vertigo offers their first issues for cheap to entice new readers, and it definitely worked on me, ’cause I’m definitely going to pick up the rest of this series.

No Comments

  1. swampy Said,

    June 10, 2009 @ 8:46 pm

    I picked up the Unwritten because it appealed to the Harry Potter fan in me and the premise is very cool to me. Is he the real Tommy Taylor? or is he a faker?