National Comics: Madame X: Rob Williams, Trevor Hairsine, Antonio Fabela, Travis Lanham, Fiona Staples
Now I’m going to look at this issue as if I don’t know the definitions of the Major Arcana and the various cards found in a tarot deck. Because I don’t. Have I done research on it in the past? Oh yeah, who hasn’t? But it was never something I got really into. Had a tarot reading done to me once, and that was interesting, but that was the furthest into it I ever went.
So I cannot speak for the validity of the cards and how the main character, Nima, interprets them in this issue. There, disclaimer done. That said, this is a really cool issue. Very well done, with great dialog, a great murder mystery, and a fantastic premise. So far, this National Comics title has given me something that I wish would be an ongoing series with every One Shot. Sucks, huh? If only I could say, “Man, am I glad that was only one issue.”
No, I’m actually very glad that the editors behind National Comics have been supplying us with consistently excellent stories each time. The talents chosen have been really great, and I’m definitely looking forward to the next issue.
I’m not familiar with the group this time, except Travis, of course. But Rob Williams and Trevor Hairsine don’t ring any bells. So I have no idea what to expect going in. The result is a very pleasant surprise. The art style is really great, and I want more comics done by Hairsine suddenly. Funny enough, I like the way Hairsine draws hair. Nima’s in particular.
The story hints at being about Madame Xanadu - what with her having a stage name of Madame X and telling the future with tarot cards, and her name being Nima…which is easily short for Nimue (see Demon Knights) - and taking place at some point in her career before Justice League Dark. But, then again, I’m not entirely sure how this factors in to Xanadu’s main storyline in her other books. Perhaps it’s a different character entirely, based around the same person, but just in another universe? That’s possible. It’s also possible that ALL of these National Comics issues take place in other universes in the DCnU.
Nima works for a law firm as a mystical consultant, able to tell the future, in New Orleans. They bring in a wannabe voodoo queen suspect on murder charges after a zombie supposedly kills a mayoral candidate. Nima uses her cards to find a way to the voodoo priestess’s encampment in the swamps so as to root out the true killer’s identity. It’s very Scooby Doo, and that was very fun.
There’s a good amount of intrigue here, and - as seems usual in the National Comics issues - enough content here and questions left unanswered to warrant another issue at some point so that we’re not left wondering. The Nima character is very well developed, with a good backstory that does make sense and plays into her current situation. Her partner is very funny, and I really enjoyed reading his character as well.
There was a moment when Nima and her partner are talking about their boss, directly behind his back, and it felt just a tad unrealistic…as there was no way he couldn’t hear them. Even if they were whispering. I just felt it was rude, unless it was tongue-in-cheek of them and they meant for him to hear. But he didn’t react or say anything about it…so it’s just a little confusing.
National Comics: Madame X, the verdict: I really liked this issue. It might be my favorite one of this title so far. It was really well written, with great characters and a solid story. I liked the truth that’s revealed at the end, and I liked the twist we saw that left us hanging. It really made me want to read more of this title and these characters…to find out where it’s going from here. It’s a shame it’s a one-shot. I feel like I’ve said that for each of the one-shots so far, and it’s true! I’m impressed every time. The artwork is fantastic, and I felt very satisfied as I turned each page, especially that first splash page we see. Beautiful.
(Photo Source: Comic Vine)