PurplyCookie's Reviews > Madame Xanadu, Volume 2: Exodus Noir

Madame Xanadu, Volume 2 by Matt Wagner
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Mar 31, 2010

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bookshelves: comics-series, graphic-novel, historical-fiction, mythic-fiction, witchcraft

Wagner and Kaluta team up to provide more backstory for the glamorous and powerful Madame Xanadu in Exodus Noir. Collecting issues 11 through 15, the volume toggles between New York in 1940 and Spain in 1493, at the height of the Inquisition. While both portions are engaging, the New York part of the story really springs off the page.

The theme of this collection is the Inquisition, with the historical setting of mid-15th century Spain, when Cardinal Torquemada's men roam the countryside in search of heretics to burn in the name of God (cue some standard moralizing about the contrast between the words of God's love and the reality of violent hatred). Xanadu is standing idly by through that, living with a woman named Marisol, her lover (this is Vertigo, so you can do stuff like that; it's tastefully handled, even if the trajectory of the story is instantly discernible).

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, in this case the original Wesley Dodds or "Sandman".

Contrary to what readers will be expecting for most of the way through, there is no direct connection between the events, which weakens the story overall. The relationship is purely thematic, relating to the sins of the Inquisition.

Book Details:

Title Madame Xanadu Vol. 2: Exodus Noir
Author Matt Wagner and Michael Kaluta
Reviewed By Purplycookie

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