cover image Madame Xanadu, Vol. 2: Exodus Noir

Madame Xanadu, Vol. 2: Exodus Noir

Matt Wagner, . . DC/Vertigo, $12.99 (128pp) ISBN 978-1-4012-2624-4

Wagner and Kaluta team up to provide more backstory for the glamorous and powerful Madame Xanadu in Exodus Noir . Collecting issues 12 through 15, the volume toggles between New York in 1940 and Spain in 1493, at the height of the Inquisition. In the modern era, the Gypsy sorceress tracks a demon set on destroying three men who thought they had outrun an ancient curse. Back in Spain, readers learn of Madame Xanadu’s tragic affair with a ginger-haired seamstress that arouses the suspicions of the Catholic Church. The twists and turns of the two tales eventually dovetail in a dramatic conclusion that includes a cameo by another Vertigo mainstay. While both portions are engaging, the New York part of the story really springs off the page. The detailed, pulp-inspired style of Kaluta, who created the original Madame Xanadu covers for the Doorway to a Nightmare series in 1978, are a perfect fit for a dark fantasy Manhattan, and Wagner peppers the narrative with telling details. Exodus Noir should please Madame Xanadu fans, but is accessible to new readers looking for a juicy tale. (Feb.)