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ENIGMA is a thought-provoking post-modern tale of self-discovery and sexual identity told against the backdrop of improbable super-heroes and villains. Michael Smith lives a meaningless life of routine and boredom. But when Enigma, his favorite childhood comic book hero, inexplicably comes to life, Smith finds himself on an obsessive crusade to uncover the secret behind his improbable existence. Teaming with Enigma's comic creator, Smith encounters an insanity-inducing psychopath, a brain-eating serial killer, and a suicide-inciting clown posse as his quest uncovers hidden truths about both his idol and himself.

208 pages, Paperback

First published October 1, 1993

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About the author

Peter Milligan

1,090 books348 followers
Librarian note:
There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name

Peter Milligan is a British writer, best known for his work on X-Force / X-Statix, the X-Men, & the Vertigo series Human Target. He is also a scriptwriter.

He has been writing comics for some time and he has somewhat of a reputation for writing material that is highly outlandish, bizarre and/or absurd.

His highest profile projects to date include a run on X-Men, and his X-Force revamp that relaunched as X-Statix.

Many of Milligan's best works have been from DC Vertigo. These include: The Extremist (4 issues with artist Ted McKeever) The Minx (8 issues with artist Sean Phillips) Face (Prestige one-shot with artist Duncan Fegredo) The Eaters (Prestige one-shot with artist Dean Ormston) Vertigo Pop London (4 issues with artist Philip Bond) Enigma (8 issues with artist Duncan Fegredo) and Girl (3 issues with artist Duncan Fegredo).

* Human Target
* Greek Street
* X-Force / X-Statix

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 132 reviews
Profile Image for J.G. Keely.
546 reviews9,580 followers
November 9, 2010
'Shade' is still The Book for me, when it comes to comics. I've read Moore, Gaiman, Ellis, and Morrison, but none were ever struck as true. In terms of humor, depth of psychology, insight, and variance in ideas, only Moore's 'Swamp Thing' comes close, but it's still not as unusual.

Yet in the intervening years, I didn't return to Milligan. He is less visible than those other authors, and my stumbling across Shade when I did was a mere coincidence; Only recently have any collections been made available, and those only cover the weakest part.

But it is only natural to return to the source. I have sought elsewhere for his equal and missed him, so my road leads back to Milligan, and it would be hard to pick a more remarkable book than Enigma.

If Shade parallels Swamp Thing, then Enigma is a thematic companion to Watchmen, and flat-out superior, if we believe Morrison's sidelong jab at Moore. I wouldn't say their styles invite a one-for-one comparison, but I do agree that Milligan's is the most literary voice in comics.

Despite being shorter, Milligan's deconstruction it is less narrow in focus, less suggestive, more organic and revelatory, less drunk on its own political transgression. 'Enigma' plays with power, reality, and the farce of superheroes, but is drawn not with the cold, harsh lines of watchmen, but a confused and lifelike dream.

I have come to know good writers by this sign: that they make inescapable a vision you never could have accepted without them. Milligan has this kind of insight, and wit, and a wry self-consciousness--the sort that Morrison has always counterfeited in an attempt to reverse-engineer cleverness.

There is rarely a false note in Milligan. He speaks with post-modern realism, always playing with the audience, turning words back on themselves, revealing the world through the inadequacy of dualism. His works have verisimilitude in their details, in their absurdity, in their unwillingness to settle on a single view.

This book is often difficult, often unpleasant, I can't say I always enjoyed it, but can easily say that it was good: well-written with a strong voice, unpredictable, it forced me to think and to feel at once.

Fegredo's art is likewise difficult. He is a very skilled draughtsman--deceptively skilled. The art is messy, scattered, and free--sometimes the story gets lost in the experiment--but when he needed to, he could hit the high points, and do it well. Beauty, confusion, sex, pain, and death play across the page, each recognizable, each palpable.

It's remarkable that a mainstream publisher had the courage to publish such an unusual book, and speaks of a strong editorial staff, concerned not merely with their market, but with the evolution of the medium. I can only hope that publishers and companies of the future will recognize the importance not just of sales, but of the long-lasting effect of making available original, adventurous visions, like Enigma.

At first, I found the story somewhat all too similar to Shade--and while I enjoyed Shade, I needed Milligan to do something new, to challenge himself as he had continuously done in that series. But Shade also started slow, so I kept with it.

It unfolds its struts, built of surprising, human moments, each poignant beneath the a wild, surreal, magical canopy. Finally, Milligan manages to do the hardest thing in writing: to deliver the ending the work deserves. There is resolution, yet we realize that we already knew it: the mysteries had been germinating in our minds, and now that the end is here, we wish we could change the question that we had once begged him to answer.

But the new question is already lost on the wind, and it is in that moment between conclusion and the implication of something greater that we find ourselves utterly gripped. He takes us on a journey, we see the sights--discrete moments and memories--and then he drops us off where he picked us up. Yet, on disembarking, we cannot help but feel that in some indescribable, nagging way, the world he has kindly returned us to is not the one we left.

My Suggested Readings in Comics
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
2,894 reviews10.5k followers
July 1, 2019
Michael Smith's boring life is going nowhere when characters from a comic book from his childhood start appearing in the real world...

I've got about half of Peter Milligan's run on Shade in long boxes in the basement and Enigma has been on my radar for years so I snapped it up at a convention not long ago for the princely sum of five bucks.

Enigma came out during Vertigo's early days so it has that WTF feel a lot of early Vertigo books have at first. On some level, Enigma is a deconstruction of the super hero genre, an examination of what an omnipotent being might do if he was isolated and alone for most of his life. It's also a story about human sexuality, about breaking out of your comfort zone. It's also about flying lizards.

The Enigma is a super hero from Michael Smith's favorite comic book from his childhood. When the Enigma and other characters from his stories start appearing all over town, Michael goes looking for the creator of Enigma to find out what's what.

Peter Milligan has always written some intelligent, crazy, twisted shit and Enigma is more of the same. This is one crazy book that takes the super hero concept in strange new directions. When an omnipotent being spends a couple decades living in a well by himself, how else is he going to act?

My only real gripe with the book is that Duncan Fegredo's is a little cluttered and a little too muddy. It still gets the job done, though. His Enigma is creepy as hell at times and his style is grounded in reality, as befits the story.

With Enigma, Peter Milligan stretches the super hero concept about as far as it can go. Four out of five flying lizards.
Profile Image for Chad.
7,472 reviews857 followers
December 13, 2021
Michael is a very mundane gentleman begins to awaken when characters from his favorite comic book come alive and start murdering people until each time they are stopped by The Enigma. Is Michael somehow causing this? Is it the writer of The Enigma? Michael goes on a journey of discovery while these oddball villains kill lots of people. This was originally published back in the 90's, in the early days of Vertigo when comics could be strange and odd and good.
Profile Image for Sud666.
1,920 reviews156 followers
July 27, 2017
Enigma is very strange and very different. It is a story about superheroes and sexuality. The less I say about this strange story-the better. If you like strange tales-this one is right up your alley.

Michael Smith is a boring person stuck in a bad relationship. One day his world changes as villains and a hero straight out of the pages of a favorite comic of his begin to manifest. Is this real? Is he causing it? This starts a strange and twisted tale about Michael looking for answers to his past and to his own sexuality. It is a question not only of his alter ego, the Enigma, but also of his own sexuality.

This can be viewed on many levels. It has a great psychological outlook. It really delves into what motivates us and what drives us. More than that I will not say-but the underlying story is a dark and grim one. The narrator's identity will surprise you, it did me, and doesn't become evident till the end-bravo!
This isn't for everyone-it is strange and reminds me a lot of Grant Morrison's work. This would have been a 5 star rating, but sadly the art doesn't measure up to the heady level of the plot and prose. That is a shame. There is some excellent prose in this comic and that makes it very different from a lot of what I see in comics now.

But it does bring up excellent questions about what makes a superhero, the motivations behind the heroes and about human sexuality. Lofty concepts that are well handled by an interesting plot and buttressed by engaging prose. The only hamper is the mediocre art.
Profile Image for Tawfek Sleep of The Endless.
2,601 reviews2,062 followers
January 16, 2023
i wasn't expecting this to be a heavy read, i was expecting it to be really good since it was highly recommended, but not that good or that deep, and i am pretty sure if i read it again i will discover a lot of things that i might have missed.
This is a beautiful story about Life , self , sexuality all written in a beautiful philosophical way in a setting filled with mystery.
I think it would be an insult calling this a super hero comic its much much more than that.
The story revolves mainly around a normal human our protagonist Michael Smith even though Enigma is the one who is making everything happen its still a story about Michael smith.
The super villains that were introduced here were amazing and mind provoking
Titus bird was a great supporting character as well .
Enigma was amazing such power to twist everything to his will but after the revelation i think of him as a villain actually not even anti hero he fucked up and he fucked up baaad
The origin story was amazing.
Everything will be revealed all the mystery will be explained in the last two chapters.
i was disappointed when everything fill down to be about homosexuality or so it seems but its not really maybe that's the finale about sexuality but we really explored many areas of life and self through out the novel and i am privileged to have read such a beautiful work <3
Profile Image for Keith.
Author 11 books225 followers
April 17, 2017
There are maybe four main things I remember about Jeff Ayers, the manager of Forbidden Planet, my go-to comic shop when I lived in NYC. The first is that Jeff gave me a student discount long after I graduated from college, and he would instruct the other people on register to do so when he saw me. The second is that he was very gracious about not wanting to sell my self-published comic in his shop, but he was willing to let me put flyers for it on the front counter. The third is the time Grant Morrison did an in-store signing and I sort of ran up to him to ask for a picture without really introducing myself first, a move that made Jeff visibly cringe.

(Note: Grant Morrison was not offended. I don't actually know if he's capable of being offended. Also, the MOST CHARMING FAMOUS PERSON I HAVE EVER MET).

Sidenote: Michael Zulli is easily the least.

The fourth thing is that Jeff Ayers really loved Peter Milligan -- possibly more than he loved Grant Morrison, which was a lot -- and of all things Milligan, I think he loved Enigma the most. The fact that I too love Peter Milligan more than Grant Morrison -- well, more specifically, I love Milligan without reservation, while I love Morrison with tons of reservations -- is definitely due in part to the fact that Jeff Ayers convinced me that Milligan was cool. It is pretty hard to convince me that anything is cool, really, and maybe that's why I always held off on trying Enigma, despite it being (I think) Milligan's most well-respected work. By the time I'd decided to give it a shot, it was out of print and fabulously expensive, but then it came back into print, and then I found a copy of the old edition in a bookstore for eight dollars anyway...so.

But I guess if I'm being completely honest, there are two other reasons I wasn't sure if I wanted to read Enigma. The first is that the art always looked like mud to me. This was wrong. I mean, Fegredo's art is muddy and, at times, incomprehensible. But I was wrong to think this was a bad thing. The art just makes you work for it a little, and once you start speaking its language, there's some absolutely beautiful choices being made throughout.

The second other reason I never tried Enigma, I think, was that I knew it was about a gay superhero, and I think for a long time I just wasn't particularly excited about reading about a gay superhero. As I think back on the kind of person I was in my 20's, I feel like I was a modern and accepting dude the way that Kevin Smith characters are modern and accepting. Like, the dudely dudes of his films are basically tolerant, and they vote right and intellectually believe in the things they know they should -- but the abrasive humor also masks a lot of insecurity about gender and sexuality. I don't know if I really got to work on chipping through that until grad school, to be completely honest. Nowadays I'm REALLY excited to read about gender and sexuality in the comics. And while part of me is sad that I took so long to read a comic that, jesus, might actually be one of my new favorite comics, I'm also pretty happy that I waited to read Enigma until I was interested and excited to do so.

Like a Kevin Smith movie, Enigma exists in a very specific cultural moment in which its protagonist, Michael Smith, is the sort of liberal-minded straight man who a) seems to think its okay for gay men to exist and b) also thinks it's okay to punch a gay man in the face if he feels his masculinity being threatened. He's the kind of character who only really makes sense for the decade-or-so in which he's written -- any earlier, and his general tolerance of gay culture might seem unbelievable for such a blue-collar whitebread. Any later (as in now) and his individual intolerance codes too easily as bigoted and cruel.

In this, Enigma is not a timeless graphic novel, and has to exist in the early 90's when it was written. However, everything else about the book -- in which Michael Smith discovers that his favorite childhood comic book superhero, Enigma, seems to have come alive -- really moves beyond these temporal boundaries.

As Michael becomes convinced that he and Enigma are connected, he leaves his disinterested wife and his middle-class existence to track down the character's creator, Titus Bird -- an alcoholic ex-hippie who is just as surprised to learn that Michael isn't gay as Michael is to learn that Bird is. Meanwhile, the glimpses we see of the Enigma comic-within-the-comic suggest that Bird's original creation steals shades from subversive underground comix as much as it borrows from the land of capes and tights. Titus seems to be what you'd get if you mixed Denny O'Neil and Howard Cruse, and that in itself is fucking fascinating.

The dichotomy is exacerbated as Enigma and his evocatively-named villains (The Truth, The Head, Envelope Girl) begin to roam Michael's 'real' world of Pacific City (and how great is is that he lives in a clearly comic-book-named metropolis, instead of Los Angeles, which it seems to stand in for) (and how great that its initials are PC!) From the onset, Michael's obsession with Enigma clearly has romantic undertones that every character but Michael is able to see. As Enigma's battles against his foes cause increasing amounts of collateral damage to the city -- damage that Michael assumes the blame for -- there's an obvious, but artfully-crafted metaphor for the way that coming out can feel like a far-reaching destructive act.

As Michael clumsily tries to understand the nature of his obsession with Enigma, the book's early chapters similarly fumble with the overlap of gay culture and fetish culture (capes and tights, yadda yadda). However, it actually seems more accurate to say that Michael, as a character, is the one who fumbles. He moves through preconceived ideas about homosexuality, to the physical act of sex, to an understanding that the way sexual orientation is connected to identity as a whole is more important than how one dresses or who one fucks.

And on top of all this, there's a really great pseudo-superhero story (from the Enigma comic-within) and an even better 'real' superhero story (about the version of Enigma inhabiting Pacific City), all skillfully rendered as a meditation on narrative and existence that is truly broadening to read.

There's so much here that Milligan does well in making this story specific to sexuality, and also totally not. This very much feels just as much 'for' the gay community as it is a book that tries to universalize that community's concerns for a larger audience. It also happens to be skillfully and thoughtfully done -- never preachy for a single panel, and just horking beautiful to look at.

If anything, the craziest thing about Peter Milligan is that he is, by turns, the laziest writer and the most truly genuine one to come out of the British Invasion. So much of his stuff seems to purposely miss the mark, or to do so through lack of care, that it makes it all the more special when he nails it. I've really never read a comic quite like this. Having read it, I don't know why anyone else would even bother trying to write one.
Profile Image for Mir.
4,842 reviews5,002 followers
January 25, 2020
I can see that this probably felt ground-breaking when it was released in the 90s, and being incoherent and filled with sexual violence was still transgressive. The banal main character was probably intended to give the narrative a more literary feel, the Everyman contrasted with the usual larger-than-life Superhero (or Villain). The trouble is, he was boring to spend time with. I felt vaguely sorry for peripheral characters, Michael's girlfriend the girlfriend of the cop, but they were so flat it was hard to pretend their bad relationships or horrific fates were anything but paper.

The lizards were an interesting choice.

I probably would have finished this, except I also disliked the art, which was hectic. More lines is not always better than fewer lines, folks.

Profile Image for Raghav Bhatia.
312 reviews74 followers
February 20, 2022
Imagine waking up. Now imagine waking up for the first time.

That's kind of what reading ENIGMA felt like, especially towards the end.

It wears the cuts and drapes of a dark superhero comic. Until the cowl is lifted, to reveal . . . a phantasmagoria.

I wanted to feel annoyed. I usually am, when it's all just "an elaborate metaphor." [That's not the case with this story, but close enough.]

I hope I'm not spoiling anything by saying questions about sexuality and mundanity are raised.

A really engaging read, first page to last. Tone-heavy writing style. Believable dialogue.

The drawings have way too many lines but they sent off phenomenal vibes. Not unlike the artwork of Sandman Volume 1.

Overall an interesting concept, executed well.
Profile Image for Sookie.
1,134 reviews82 followers
July 16, 2016
Enigma is a love story of all the tedious people - those who don't go out the small circle they live in and lead a life as one stagnant stream of consciousness. Micheal Smith is woken up from such a life when his childhood comic book hero comes to life.

It isn't the plot but the tenacity with which Milligan moves the narration. It is a dogged effort complete with raw apathy, blood, gore and a harsh exposition of the world. The supervillains who wreck the day are mirrors that exemplify our own thoughts that lurk in the shadiest part of or mind. One such supervillain shows people the truth - the ones that no one wants to acknowledge in their own mind on any given day but its existence is enough for them be ashamed of the thought. This leaves the people in a fugue state and naturally Enigma, the superhero, saves the day.

Milligan dedicates several pages for Enigma to take root in our own consciousness and start seeing the world beyond the edges. Micheal Smith bursts out of his shell and confronts his sexuality first hand. The moment is cathartic and Fegredo's art accompanies Milligan's sharp insight. The art becomes sharper, Enigma's face gets clearer and comes to full vision as the story progresses. Milligan never mis-steps, never lets go of the thread that he first picked up with the line,
"You could say it all started in Arizona. Twenty five years ago. On a farm. It was an ordinary sort of farm in Arizona. The kind of place you have sexual relations with your parents and end up shooting someone."

The writing is at places troublesome; its obnoxious, unnecessarily loud when it should have been quiet and uncomfortable. Yet it easily impacts the narration and pulls you in down the well. Fegredo's art complements Milligan's writing, thus making even the art difficult in some places. There is a continuous quest to understand the happenstances, the allegories, the metaphors, the subtle and the implied all through the book. The art plays spectacularly with the words and balances visual experiences.

Micheal Smith, the protagonist struggles till the very end the nature of right and wrong, the duality of existence. Enigma poses a problem when such a nature is questioned while Micheal finds it difficult to exist without it. The dialogues between Micheal and Enigma at the middle of the book seems errant and superficial. Micheal bemoans about semantics while Enigma treats truth as a literal thing. Milligan forces readers to stop and rethink. In that, he is truly remarkable as a writer.

Enigma is a post modern phantasmagoria with each emotion brought to life on paper with piercing words and sharp art.
Profile Image for Dani.
112 reviews
September 22, 2016
This comic changed my life when I was in high school. One of my first tattoos was a reference to Enigma. I don't even have words for how much it means to me.
Profile Image for Tom Ewing.
Author 1 book56 followers
June 20, 2022
It’s been a long time since I read this, and I admit I was a little worried that it would have aged awkwardly - too glib or too pious, maybe? But no, Enigma still bangs.

It’s a Pete Milligan comic so yes, a degree of callous flippancy - beautifully executed - comes with the territory, and he’s not especially interested in giving dimensionality to anyone outside his trio of main characters (and really only two of those). And you do have to remind yourself that “metanarrative about old comics” was at least worked only half to death when this came out.*

Make those accomodations, though, and this remains a blazingly good comic, smart and savage and confident but also compassionate. It rewards re-reading too with the books overall direction in mind (and the last page reveal about its narrator). The ending is ambiguous but the real ending is Michael’s decision a page or two before, so it hardly matters. And you get to see Duncan Fegredo flex his early talent, revelling in the visceral scratchy body horror before suddenly drawing one of the most intimate and tender nude scenes in comics. Maybe the best ever Vertigo book.

*(one thing Enigma does better than the many others who trod this fake comic path is create something that’s both credibly mind blowing for a traumatised kid reader but also believably low selling and shonky - the one page of the original Enigma we see contains all you need to know about it)
Profile Image for Kevin.
23 reviews22 followers
August 4, 2007
One of the best mini-series ever. It's an eye-opening, and totally different comics experience. It takes the superhero mythos and turns it on its head. The art by Duncan Fegredo is gorgeous and the overall look of the book will stick with you long after you've finished the last page.
Profile Image for John Pistelli.
Author 6 books255 followers
April 20, 2016
A cult classic, Enigma was originally published as an eight-issue miniseries in 1993 as part of the kick-off of DC's Vertigo imprint. Its writer, Peter Milligan, then best-known for Shade the Changing Man, was part of comics' British invasion following the mid-1980s breakthrough of Alan Moore. Though Milligan never attained the fame of his fellow Vertigo writers, Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison, he wrote comics that were equal to theirs if less obvious in their aesthetic effects and meanings.

Morrison himself pronounced Enigma better than Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons's Watchmen—considered, that is, as a revisionist and relatively adult approach to the super-hero narrative. But the two works are so different that there is little point in comparing them. Watchmen is a crystalline high-modernist construct in disguise as pop culture ephemera: it mounts a grand-narrative critique of twentieth-century geopolitics, promotes a visionary experience of time and consciousness, and attains a new formal language for its art-form. The more intimate and surreal Romantic-postmodern Enigma deliberately rejects such ambitions. Instead of taking place in Moore's "real world," it is set in a skewed reality where a tawdry-looking Pacific City, usually shown at twilight or night, doubles as L.A., and where Arizona is a near-mythical mental space, a primal scene. Instead of Gibbons's détournement of classic Silver Age comics art into grainy realism, we get Duncan Fegredo's delirious line-crazed visuals, seemingly influenced by Undergrounds and Métal hurlant, with its oblique camera angles and bleed-heavy crazed layouts.

Enigma tells the story of the sad-sack everyman Michael Smith. a telephone repairman in Pacific City, whose mundane life is suddenly invaded by weirdness when the villains from his favorite comic book as a child come to life and begin terrorizing the city. Eventually, the hero himself—the Enigma—comes on the scene, leading Michael to seek both his fictional idol and the writer who created him, a burnt-out gay hippie named Titus Bird. What follows is an investigation into identity, sexual desire, and the influence of art on life and vice versa.

The story's strangeness and unpredictability are echoed in Fegredo's wild lines, seeking the edge of the page in all directions, while Milligan, with his understanding of reality as a human projection upon a meaningless void, shows super-hero stories to be only one set of ideas and affects through which one might organize the world. Though shot through with '90s cynicism and cruel humor, Enigma is saved from postmodern glibness by its moral concern for the well-being of individuals—see Titus's anguish over the deadly influence of his artistic creation—and by its argument for the necessity of love, even, or or not "even" but especially, in a meaningless cosmos.

Fegredo's art only looks better with the passage of time, in my view, and Sherilyn Van Valkenburgh's painted colors—which beautifully unify each page around a theme and the whole book around a mood, but which are also effectively nausea-inducing in their muddy or vaguely execratory palette—are exceptional. But the most memorable and surprising aspect of Enigma is its narrative voice (the identity of the narrator is not revealed until the startling final page). Avoiding the generic standards of the time—either the breathless lyricism of Moore's Swamp Thing, reprised by Gaiman in Sandman, or else the hard-boiled first-person noir stylings of Frank Miller—Milligan opts for an amusingly verbose, seemingly neurotic, sometimes hectoring narrator, one who produces genuinely surprising sentences, a rarity in comics. I will end with my favorite of these: it is both funny and moving, and contains the entire book in miniature (ellipses in original):
His hand moves slowly…and Michael remembers the first time he stood naked in front of a strange girl…because that's what he feels like now. A strange girl.

Profile Image for Fugo Feedback.
4,289 reviews149 followers
September 7, 2010
Tras la triste lectura de la etapa de Milligan en X-Men, pensé que la mejor manera de redimir a uno de mis guionistas preferidos era enfocarme en una de sus obras clave, según tenía entendido. Por eso viajé 10 años antes de esos olvidables comics para centrarme en una miniserie del sello Vertigo que quería leer desde hacía rato. Y lo bien que hice. En menos de 200 páginas, y acompañado por los caóticos, incómodos y efectivísimos dibujos de Duncan Fegredo, Milligan cuenta una historia que no sólo tiene muchos niveles de lectura, sino que brilla en cada uno de ellos. Es una historia sobre la identidad, sobre la naturaleza del bien/mal, sobre la actitud humana frente al cambio y los miedos, sobre la influencia de lo paranormal en un mundo gris,
sobre el poder de la sexualidad, sobre el método narrativo y cómo este influye la historia que se está contando en sí, sobre el peso de las vivencias de la infancia y cómo define quiénes somos de adultos, sobre la relación urobórica entre realidad y ficción, sobre el rol de los superhéroes de historieta en un mundo con el que no cuadran del todo, sobre cómo se puede construir la vida alrededor de una rutina y qué pasa cuando se rompe, sobre el abandono y la tristeza, la violencia y la justicia, el machismo y la homosexualidad, la admiración y el fanatismo, los famosos y los fulanos, los artistas y los que les dan de comer, el pasado y el presente y mil tiempos más. Obviamente, con esta lista temática no pretendo hacer ningún análisis profundo de la obra, sino simplemente tirar una asociación de ideas que me fueron surgiendo cuando me pregunté a mí mismo por qué me gustó tanto este comic. Y aunque no creo haberle hecho justicia después de juguetear con el método de "prosa espontánea" de Kerouac, espero que esta reseña le despierte a alguien la misma curiosidad por saber quién es el Enigma que me llevó a mí a este viaje de ida. La edición de Norma también está bastante buena, aunque creo haberle pescado algún que otro error menor. Cuando lo relea, seguro me explaye al respecto.
PD: No me suelen gustar los narradores omnisciosos en los comics, pero acá no sólo está muy bien utilizado, sino que gran parte de la gracia de la historia está en las agudas observaciones de este narrador que resulta ser uno de sus personajes.
Profile Image for Paul.
770 reviews22 followers
February 9, 2013
I'm not clear on why people are comparing this to Watchmen or Swamp Thing, other than it's a good story with great art that was pretty much different than the usual comic book dreck... in a good way.
I had read this as monthly issues came out in 1995, amongst other stories coming out at the time. Reading it from month to month kind of filters the story and I don't remember ever reading the entire thing in a single sitting.
That was rectified last evening as I sat down, pulled out all the issues and proceeded reading it from start to finish.
This book is so deserving of a "deluxe" edition.
I liked the art, Fegredo has a style that really stands out on the page. Even on the newsprint quality paper. I'd loved seeing this on today's glossy paper with enhanced colors.
I was and still am a bit unclear on the ending, but the story was excellent. Did those guys have mommy issues, or what? heh
Without giving anything away, I appreciated how the 3 men were presented, too often than not, such characters can fall into "stereotypical" manners. Good on Milligan for his honest potrayals!
OK, now I have the munchies for lizards, hmmm, lizards.
Profile Image for Vlad.
72 reviews3 followers
May 5, 2022
...a journey of self discovery in circumstances hypnotising with duality and mystery detailed colloquially by an unlikely, yet familiar narrator...
Profile Image for Cale.
3,512 reviews24 followers
July 12, 2017
Ah, a blast back from the days when Vertigo meant not only mature content, but also weird content. this is very much both, although more on the weird side. A short-lived comic book's characters have come to life in murderous (and heroic) form, and Michael Smith manages to be at the center of the mystery, even as it reveals his own inner secrets. This book is no-holds-barred weird (wait until you figure out who the narrator is), with all kinds of metatextual references and self-references. The story does manage to hold together under the weight of its pretensions, although the art style occasionally makes it so muddy it's nearly unreadable. Still it's a unique experience to read that I enjoyed more often than I didn't, and would recommend to people who are okay with the strange and unusual, and liberal lifestyles.
Profile Image for Rick.
Author 7 books50 followers
February 2, 2011
Perhaps best known as the scribe of the surreal allegorical series Shade, the Changing Man, Peter Milligan's masterpiece remains Enigma. Mired in a tedious life of routine, Michael Smith inexplicably encounters his favorite childhood comic book hero, the formerly 2-D, four-color Enigma, now very much alive and in full color. Teaming with the hero's comic creator, Smith obsessively attempts to uncover the secret behind Enigma's improbable existence. After encountering an insanity-inducing psychopath, a brain-eating serial killer, and a suicide-inciting clown posse, Smith's discovers startling truths about himself and his hero. Expertly rendered by Fegredo, the postmodern Enigma stands as one of the pinnacles of the medium.
Profile Image for Ostrava.
695 reviews17 followers
February 18, 2021
Quite possibly one of the best comic books I've read. It seems at first like a low-brand recreation of Watchmen and it... transcends it? As opposed to simply being a deconstruction of the superhero genre, Enigma also touches on personal themes of sexuality and the self. While Watchmen empathizes on the structures of the world (the one of society, the one of narratives, in the search for meaning on the outside...), Enigma goes for the individual (the one of the self, and the meaning in ourselves) which works WONDERS as a contrast.

This shit is GENIUS. No rushed rant could ever do it justice! If I was you, I wouldn't think twice about reading this giga-masterpiece of a comic. GENIUS I tell you!
Profile Image for Mery ✨.
611 reviews34 followers
May 2, 2021

The promise of revelations about the Enigma keep you entrapped for most of the comic, and then around 3/4 the way, the answers come slow and sub-par compared to what happened before. He delivers a living story rooted in mundane superhero fantasies.

The protagonist suffers a dilemma about his love life and his own sexuality when he finds himself involved in several horrific deaths. And in these deaths, such lizards always arise. Worried about it, he remembers when he read a magazine of a guy who wore a mask and called himself Enigma. Then this guy shows up momentarily and helps him understand what's going on. But wait, is Enigma really real? Can a comic book character appear in the middle of nowhere? By murdering monsters that are murdering people?

The ending was a nice wrap-up. You may be unsure of the story all the way until then, but the ending wraps it all together, fits every piece into place without space between.
Profile Image for José Javier.
106 reviews1 follower
January 25, 2022
Me duele en el alma no ponerle 5 estrellas, pero esta vez sentí que el final desmerita un poco el crecimiento del personaje. Digo, no creo que sea una ofensa o que esté mal escrito (aunque sí me pareció algo apresurado), pero hay algo ahí que me hace ruido y no puedo ignorarlo. En fin, lo importante es el trayecto y eso fue absolutamente excepcional. Es la tercera vez que lo leo y apenas me voy dando cuenta de cómo evoluciona el arte (de trazos algo confusos a trazos más "sensatos") junto con el personaje principal. Y respecto a la historia pues ¿qué puedo decir? es de mis favoritas en toda la historia del cómic. Combina a los superhéroes con la identidad sexual (por no decir "cosas gays"), además de que la prosa es muy hermosa y a momentos poética, así que me encanta por default.
Profile Image for Tomás.
271 reviews22 followers
January 16, 2016
Una obra maestra que debería haber leído hace mucho tiempo pero que nunca conseguí debido a que estuvo agotada y sin edición española o en inglés durante varios años. Por fin pude leerla y encima en inglés. Un verdadero placer...

El comic es un gran ejemplo de que los autores británicos que invadieron el mercado norteamericano a fines de los 80, principios de los 90, traían ideas nuevas y diferentes perspectivas para escribir sus comics. Esta historia en particular es una de los pilares del sello Vertigo de esos años.

La historia trata muchos temas. Por un lado sirve como ruptura al género de superhéroes, por otro lado es una historia sobre la búsqueda de la identidad personal: ¿quienes somos? ¿porque y para que estamos acá?. Y, por otro lado, con una premisa fuerte, trata sobre la identidad sexual, tratando al tema de la homosexualidad de una manera brillante y lejos de los clichés tan latentes hoy en día. La historia tiene un aire surrealista presente constantemente, pide varias reelecturas, ya que es un laburo detallado, denso y hasta quizás complicado, que busca que el lector indague nuevamente en sus páginas.

Los dibujos de Fegredo quedan perfectos. Dudo mucho que si otro dibujante hubiera trabajado en esta obra el resultado terminara siendo el mismo. Por momentos los dibujos se vuelven confusos, por momentos bastante bellos pero siempre mantienen el caos necesario que impregna a la historia.

Milligan quizás sea de los mejores autores que nos ha dado el mundo de la historieta británica/norteamericana, lo pongo a la misma altura de monstruos como Moore o Morrison (el cual escribe una genial introducción a esta obra).

Muy recomendable. Obra maestra (sin miedo a equivocarme).

Profile Image for Vít Kotačka.
395 reviews78 followers
May 10, 2018
Velice zvláštní, velice silný komiks. Je s podivem, že něco takového mohlo vyjít u velkého vydavatele (Vertigo).

Z knihy je velmi silně cítit doba jejího vzniku (a není to vůbec na škodu). Úplně cítíte ty časy, kdy Alan Moore svými Strážci navždy změnil svět grafických románů. Enigma má se Strážci mnoho společného - podvratný náhled na svět super-hrdinů, komiksů, sexuální identitu, psychologizaci postav, nepředvídatelnost a další - a přesto je jedinečná a originální.

Co stojí speciálně za zmínku, je grafické provedení - kresba Duncana Fegreda je místy až odpudivá, často nepřehledná, ale zároveň nesmírně přesně vystihující postavy, příběh a atmosféru. Musel jsem si na to dlouho zvykat, ale je to to, co tenhle komiks potřeboval. Žádná americká mainstream sračka, ale drsný expresionismus, za který by se Egon Shiele nemusel stydět.

Peter Milligan byl pro mne velkou neznámou, ale teď jsem moc zvědavý na jeho trilogii Shade. Prý to má být ještě lepší, než Enigma
2,061 reviews6 followers
March 20, 2015
As I often say, I wish I liked this book more. My biggest problem with it is the art by Duncan Fegredo, which just didn't work for me. I found it to be somewhat ugly and not able to tell the story very well (there are panels where I have no idea what's going on) and the art isn't helped by the Vertigo mid-90s color palette of runny earth tones.

I will say that the story grew on me as I continued reading it. The further into the series I got, the more interested I became in the characters and what was happening to them. However, I don't think the ending lands with the weight it needs to for the book to really succeed.
Profile Image for German.
20 reviews10 followers
February 3, 2020
¿Que pasaria si naciera un ser omnipotente que pydiera alterar la realidad y es abandonado en un aljibe? Todo lo que conoce es obscuridad y lagartos, hasta que un día su mundo se despedaza y se encuentra con el mundo verdadero. ¿cómo actuaría una persona con estas características? Al igual que Watchmen, Enigma nos plantea una historia en dónde los super heroes existen pero son todos la creación de este niño que fue abandonado en el aljibe. Teniendo de hilo conductor a Enigma el comic indaga en temas como la homesxualidad, la identidad, los miedos, desconstruyendo el genero superheroico, dandole una interesante vuelta de tuerca.
Profile Image for Venus Maneater.
573 reviews31 followers
December 13, 2021
I "get" this book, but find it hard to give words to what exactly it is that makes it click for me. It's the exact flavor of otherworldly I like best. Mundane characters thrust into something cosmic in size and nature. It starts off great and ends just fine. I wasn't ready to say goodbye to these people. Not just yet.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 132 reviews

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