TV psychic turned law firm investigator Madame X turns her tarot towards finding out who killed a New Orleans politician in this one-shot pilot issue. A vocal critic of a wannabe witch queen, could Councilman Ben Meachum really have been killed by a zombie, as neighbours claim?
Madame X? X for Xanadu, presumably, as DC already has a card-reading mystery woman on the books and it would be distinctly weird to create a wholly separate character. So it’s Madame Xanadu and yet it’s not. It’s Madame Xanadu via TV’s Medium, as the heroine uses her gift to help law enforcement. Nima is a more urban character than the Arthurian Nimue featured in Demon Knights and Justice League Dark, less mysterious and all-knowing, more klutzy and endearing. Partnered with lawyer Salinger, she works for Mr Lynn, a deeply moral man who won’t take on just any client, no matter how fat their wad of cash.
Said client is Lauren Goucuff, ‘current owner of the sobriquet Voodoo Queen of New Orleans’, a mocking femme fatale who admits threatening Meachum, but denies knifing him to death. The relationship that develops between her and Nima is fascinating, raising questions of desire, belief and meaning. The resolution to the mystery is well-crafted and satisfying, being half-guessable and wholly plausible.
And after the mystery? The set-up for Madame X’s next adventure, something I hope we’ll see (along with the continuation of Eternity’s National Comics outing – heck, team them up).
So, not the most original comic out there, but it is a splendidily written, good-looking one. Writer Rob Williams paces his one-shot well, revealing character and relationships via pithy, witty dialogue. While I didn’t understand the reason a billionaire sued Nima in her backstory, that may just be me.
Artist Trevor Hairsine piles on the mood, with the opening zombie encounter especially atmospheric, and dares to present a lead character more often homely than beautiful (click on image to enlarge). The colours of Antonio Fabela add to the feeling of dread. What’s more, Fiona Staples supplies a cute and clever cover, topped off with a wonderful blurb.
If you’re in the mood for a New Orleans zombie comic but can’t face Vertigo’s Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child (few could – she’s been cancelled!), give Madame X a try.