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Graphic Novel Review

Vertigo Comics's Madame Xanadu: By The Runes
Who Are you, Madame Xanadu?

Graphic Novel Review , 14 December 2008 by Eilonvi

Madame Xanadu is an old DC comics character, first published in 1978. Now, she is recreated in this new vertigo comics series. Madame Xanadu is actually Nimue Inwudu, an immortal forest nymph who lives throughout many centuries and events around the world.

The first two issues take off from the last hours of King Arthur's reign in Camelot. Nimue is Merlin's lover, a magical forest fey, who possesses the gift of divination.

First thing that came to my mind was: yet another Camelot tale - and not necessarily one of the best. Nimue is good. Morgana is bad. Merlin is bad too (huh?!). Merlin is the cause of Camelot's ruin. Nimue betrays Merlin, and remains disenchanted; meaning she cannot cast spells anymore. Add a mysterious cloaked stranger who keeps materializing in Nimue's forest, full of warnings and riddles of the future.

There are some good news and some less good news, in regards to these two issues natureually. The good news is that the art in these issues is truly amazing. You can feel that Nimue was lovingly portrayed, with much attention and care for details: long black hair, green eyes, kind face, goat hoof laced sandals (yes, I said goat-hoof-laced-sandlas), and a handfull of other forestly ornaments. These details enhance the beautiful enchantress character, which I liked, and got attached to. The drawing style of Nimue has slight touches of the Japanese anime style, or so it seems.

On the other hand (here comes the less good news), Merlin's character is portrayed more like a Walt Disney style magician. Highly unreliable due to the fact he's described in the story as an old-aged-libertine, who lusts for Nimue and drools on her youth. This lack of consistency in the style of drawing is bothering at least and annoying at most. Yuck. guess I did not like him at all.

It is intriguing though to see, how will Nimue be portrayed in the next issues, which will probably take place in different eras and places. Will the cloaked stranger continue to acompany her, and hopefully reveals some of his secrets?

I have mixed feelings in regards to this one. I will try issue 3 to see if it gets any better for me. But hey, you might feel about this completely differently all together the other way around. - I know :).

Madame Xanadu: By The Runes
Madame Xanadu: By The Runes
Comics Info

A review of the first two issues of Madame Xanadu
Published: August - September 2008
Language: English
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
More information on DC Comics web site
Pages: 32 per issue
Writer: Mat Wagner
Artist: Amy Reeder Hadley
Colorist: Guy Major
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Cover: Mat Wagner, Amy Reeder Hadley

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