Were Money No Object on Feb. 1

The Books I Think You Should Buy:

Xombi

by John Rozum and Frazer Irving; DC, $14.99

I remember when Grant Morrison took over Doom Patrol, which had previously been an absolutely middle-of-the-road comic, and suddenly contained more ideas in one issue than any other five comics on the rack put together.  I found the series incredibly exciting in the way that it combined surrealistic thought with superheroics in a way that no one has really attempted (successfully, there were the god-awful follow-ups to Morrison’s run on that title) since.  Until Xombi that is.

I have no idea what the old Milestone Xombi comics are like – I’ve only read one (issue 0, which is mired in some kind of cross-over), but the six-issue relaunch that DC published early in 2011, pre-new 52, was the closest I’ve come to capturing the excitement and originality of Morrison’s DP work.

This series stars David Kim, a man who had his blood replaced by nanites, and who because of that is now immortal, and able to do any number of cool things.  Kim is the title character, but really, this is a team book, as he shares his adventures with a strange group.  There’s an old rabbi who is accompanied by a pair of golem, a raffish mystic, a trio of nuns with amusing names that describe their superpowers (Nun-the-less shrinks), as well as a super-powered teenager named Catholic Girl.

They are in conflict with a very smart man, who has manipulated himself into taking over a Stronghold – a floating city of immortals.  There are an endless parade of strange characters showing up, such as an ancient spirit of vengeance, and ghost-like creatures made out of wasp hives.

Rozum’s writing is sharp and endlessly inventive.  Frazer Irving is just about the perfect artist for this level of weirdness, and the strange locales that the Xombi and his friends travel to.  This was a beautiful series, with some incredibly cool concepts providing the foundations for a very interesting story.  It’s a huge shame that this series didn’t last beyond the six issues.

Get this.  You won’t regret it.

Rat Catcher

by Andy Diggle and Victor Ibanez; Vertigo, $12.99

Here’s what I wrote about Rat Catcher when I read the hardcover in April of last year:

I think Rat Catcher may be the best of the Vertigo Crime books I’ve read.  Andy Diggle show the same penchant for twists and turns that he demonstrated regularly in The Losers, and keeps the reader a step behind him for most of the book.

This is a difficult book to discuss without spoiling some of the surprises, but I’ll do my best.  The title refers to a legend among the FBI and US Marshals Service in Texas, who have had many witnesses die on them before they are able to testify or turn state’s evidence. A couple of agents believe that these mysterious deaths were perpetrated by a single killer, who has been able to avoid detection.

When this book opens, an FBI safe house is burning, and one man, who has been shot, comes running out.  It turns out that a new witness was in the safe house, along with up to three agents.  We’re not sure what happened, but the one agent’s partner, Agent Bourdon, believes that the Rat Catcher is responsible.  The story that follows is taut and quick moving, and very well illustrated by Victor Ibañez.

So, what would you buy Were Money No Object?

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