Behind the Magic Eight Ball

Madame Xanadu #23

Morgaine le Fey has Nimue and John Jones on the ropes — as a (shhh, don’t tell) Martian, he’s got a weakness against fire, and that’s what Morgaine is attacking them with. While Nimue manages to teleport them to safety, Morgaine is now clued in that Nimue has hidden the helmet artifact she was seeking somewhere in her mostly-wrecked brownstone home. Nimue beats Jones back to her home, but must now fight her sister alone — and Morgaine is a much stronger spellcaster. Does Nimue have any way to win out against her sister?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I would’ve liked to see more stuff here with the disguised Martian Manhunter… but then again, it’s not his comic book, is it? A lot of what we get here is two women throwing spells at each other, but it’s nice to see Nimue use her own cleverness against Morgaine’s greater magical powers.

Mystery Society #1

This new series introduces us to Nick Hammond and his wife Anastasia Collins, co-leaders of an organization called the Mystery Society. Mystery hunters at heart, they both specialize in more supernatural mysteries. Most of the story is told in flashback, as Nick is about to start a prison sentence for a number of possibly trumped-up crimes. We learn about Nick infiltrating the very heavily guarded Area 51 to locate two little girls being held in some sort of stasis. Anastasia, meanwhile, is seemingly safe at home until she finds a skull-faced intruder in the house. How are Nick and Anastasia going to deal with this crazy stuff?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The story is great fun, and Nick and Anastasia are a combination we really don’t get to see very often in comics — equal partners, wisecrackers, very much in the “Nick and Nora Charles” vein. They’re great fun to hang out with, frankly, and that’s even before there are any fisticuffs with oversized robots or skull-masked burglars. And the art is by Fiona Staples, who I hope many of y’all will remember from the wonderful “North 40” series from a while back. So yes, I’d say this one looks like a keeper.

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