The Madame Xanadu series is apparently ending with issue 29. In some ways, it is a shame as the series had a pretty strong start, but it has clearly lost its way. I think they didn’t really know what to do with it once they brought her near the present day. I’d enjoyed the writers following an immortal character through history, but it was much more interesting before they changed the focus of the series. A few issues ago it seemed to become more like the old House of Mystery from the 70s and 80s with a weird story happening to some non-central character and Madame Xanadu would step in at the end of the story to make everything ok again. It felt forced.
The first time they used this device, it was to re-introduce her sister from Arthurian days and it worked well then. However they seemed to latch onto the idea and it just doesn’t work as one shot stories with no real arc. In the most recent story they seem to just be doing their own take on the “cibopath” concept from the comic Chew and it is a rather uninspired take. The upshot seems to be to introduce a new character as an “assistant” to Madame Xanadu, itself a strange choice since the last page declares the next issue is the final issue.
One little thing that annoyed me with this particular issue (#28) is in the beginning. There are 4 characters in Washington Square Park in 1966: 3 hippies and the main character of this story (not Madame Xanadu) They all drop acid, the main character for the first time. The character who gives them the acid says “We should walk up to Central Park. By the time we get there, it should just be kicking in.”
Really? You’re going to walk from Washington Square Park to Central Park?
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Google Maps is being generous when it says it’ll take just under an hour. That’s 2.7 miles in NYC and they’re going to have to stop for a lot of lights. It is very unusual to make a walk like that; you take the subway! It’ll probably take them 2 hours to walk there and even if it did take an hour to walk there, from everything I’ve read it doesn’t take that long to kick in. How hard is it for a writer to do a little simple research? I bothered to look these things up to show here because I’ve been to NYC frequently and know the areas being talked about. The writer (Matt Wagner) clearly doesn’t. My only experience with acid is reading about it, but it took only a few seconds with the web to find several estimates for how long it takes to kick in. If you have no knowledge about a place, research it before you write about it. Talk to someone that knows the place.