From the pages of Lazarus Planet: Dark Fate, a new Chinese hero emerges who’s able to travel to and from the Spirit World, the realm of the dead, and that of the living.
Their name is Xanthe, and their superpower is being able to burn items folded from joss paper and immediately turn them into real objects, based on the East Asian practice of burning joss paper at graveyards in order to send resources to ancestors in the Spirit World… except Xanthe can retrieve those items in the world of the living!
Their weapon of choice is a large broadsword (because who doesn’t love a big sword when you can choose to use a big sword?!). Xanthe is a master of the dark arts who’s here to give Constantine a run for his money… literally.
When Constantine shows up saying Xanthe scammed him into buying something, he finds them and Batgirl Cass Cain fighting an abnormal influx of jiangshi (Chinese hopping vampires) and joins in to help. But when a portal opens up that drags Batgirl into the Spirit World, it’s up to Xanthe and Constantine to travel to the land of the spirits to rescue her!
Who knows what other spirits we’ll find in the Spirit World-like that skateboarding boy wearing hanfu with some headphones and a gaping hole in his chest?!
First Comics NewsFrom the various one-shots coming out of “Lazarus Planet” this new series gives us the introduction of Xanthe Zhou, who has the ability to travel in both the living and spirit worlds and the story itself moves very smoothly, especially with Batgirl and John Constantine coming on as the co-stars and their presence works well within the confines of Alyssa Wong’s script but I have to say that this is the kind of story that I can get into due to Wong’s creativity and the fact that she can absolutely turn in a script full of suspense and action while infusing her lead character with charm and an abundance of street smarts (It’s not like her “Deadpool” run where she has to force herself to be Ryan Reynolds funny just for the sake of her writing that title); Xanthe is by far a great character that’s been fleshed out by a terrific writer and her interactions with both Batgirl and Constantine are just delightful so with that, this series is the perfect way to kick off the “We Are Legends” line while bringing eyes to an unique yet thrilling series such as this one.
Graphic PolicyI am not typically a DC Comics reader, but when I heard that Alyssia Wong, writer of Doctor Aphra and Deadpool was going to write a new book over at DC starring an entirely new character well, my interest was piqued. So here we are! Spirit World #1 is by Alyssa Wong, artist Haining, colorist Sebastian Cheng, and letterer Janice Chiang. Spinning out of Lazarus Planet: Dark Fate #1 the book stars the new nonbinary hero Xanthe Zhou, who has the uncanny ability to turn paper origami into tangible objects with the snap of their fingers! (...) In my eyes, the real draw of the issue comes with the art. Wong and Haining craft the wonderfully vibrant spirit world. It’s simply breathtaking, it feels vibrant and alive. Alive is the best word for the art of Spirit World #1. Every background is so detailed and gives off a lived-in sense. The action sequencing is dynamic and well presented as Batgirl runs around the Spirit World. Spirit World #1 is an exciting first issue with amazing art and a somewhat rocky narrative. Luckily the issue ends on an interesting hook which I’m excited to see play out as this series unfolds.
Geek DadThis May, DC will be launching three series to celebrate Asian-American and Pacific-Islander Heritage Month—The Vigil, City Boy, and this one—a high-octane supernatural adventure starring non-binary spirit-guide swordsmaster Xanthe. We first met Xanthe in a Lazarus Planet backup, where they encountered John Constantine and Cassandra Cain in a battle against undead spirits. They won the day, but Cass got caught by a particularly powerful spirit and was swept into the Spirit World. No word on how Stephanie Brown is doing now that she’s unsupervised by the more reliable Batgirl, but Constantine and Xanthe have been devoting all their time to finding a way to open the gate and get back to her—when they’re not bickering. Xanthe is a lot of fun as a character, ostensibly an antihero but with a clear goal and a connection to the supernatural in a way that escapes even Constantine. While they’re dealing with a deranged necromancer, Cass is in the Spirit World, being chased by deranged carnivorous spirits attracted to everything undead. She takes it in stride, fighting off the monsters and making her way to a refuge run by a kindly old woman and a mysterious warrior—both of whom aren’t clear about their status as living or dead. It’s great to see Cass in a very different type of story, and Wong’s writing is excellent—particularly with the reveal about Xanthe in the end—but as good as the story is, the real star here is Haining’s art. Not only is the character work excellent, but the depiction of the Spirit World is one of the most visually engaging comics out of DC in a very long time. We’ve introduced a completely new world to the DCU, based on an obscure Jack Kirby concept the legend never got the chance to explore, and this creative team is the perfect choice for it.
The Comicbook DispatchSpirit World #1 is a great first issue for Xanthe Zhou, one of the most fascinating recent characters to debut at DC. We get to see more of Xanthe’s powers in action, have some great scenes between Constantine and them and get to see Batgirl in an epic fight for her life. Recommended.
Comic WatchSpirit World #1 is a great first issue for Xanthe Zhou, one of the most fascinating recent characters to debut at DC. We get to see more of Xanthe’s powers in action, have some great scenes between Constantine and them and get to see Batgirl in an epic fight for her life. Recommended.
Comic CrusadersSpirit World has a long yet short history at DC. Fifty two years ago Jack Kirby created Spirit World which only saw one issue before it was cancelled almost immediately. DC dust off that one issue with a new story in the Dawn of DC Spirit World. We had seen the first appearance of Xanthe in Lazarus Planet Dark Fate issue 1 written by Tim Seeley. Don’t worry if you missed that issue because the Spirit World 1 story is written in such a way, by the time you get to the last page you feel you know the character Xanthe. Writer Alyssa Wong did a great job weaving in the current situation while building on who Xanthe the character is. The artwork in this issue is incredible. Done by Haining and colored by Sebastian Cheng. The details of the art including the visuals of the Collective will leave you in awe. I strongly encourage you to pick up this first issue of Spirit World as I don’t think you will be disappointed.
AIPTSpirit World #1, written by Alyssa Wong, with art by Haining and colors by Sebastian Cheng, picks up a few nights after we left our characters in Lazarus Planet: Dark Fate. The issue is action-packed and immediately draws the reader in, which is exactly what you want to see in a #1 issue. (...) Spirit World #1 is an excellent start to this new series. Alyssa Wong’s writing is sharp and captivating, and the art by Haining and colors by Sebastian Cheng are simply stunning. The action is intense, the characters are well-developed and have their unique personalities, and the world-building is fantastic. The issue leaves readers on the edge of their seats with its multiple cliffhangers and promises of more excitement to come in the subsequent issues. Fans of supernatural adventure comics will find much to enjoy and it’s definitely worth checking out.
Batman-NewsAt times, Spirit World feels like an indie comic or manga. Other times, Spirit World feels very familiar like a television show someone told you about, but finally got around to. I urge Alyssa Wong to take advantage of the world building the world of Spirit World. Readers will likely follow this tale so long as there remains a good bit of curiosity about the lore. The sole negative aspect is the divisiveness of the specific material. Nearly every aspect of the book fits into a specific niche that many may interpret as pandering to an agenda. Though with patience, I’m hoping readers can find something cool about this new if not all that original character.
ComicBook.comEven if you haven't kept up with all the latest happenings in the various "Lazarus Planet" one-shots, Spirit World #1 is easy enough to pick up and understand. Introducing a new heroic character is always tricky, but it helps to include recognizable stars, such as John Constantine and Batgirl. Xanthe Zhou has the unique ability to travel between the living and spirit worlds. Even though their new, Xanthe establishes themselves as being fully capable of hanging with A-list heroes.
Major SpoilersEven though it basically requires you to have read a random one-shot as a prologue, Spirit World #1 is a good read, with scary monsters, magical adventuring, wonderful art, and John Constantine. The cliffhanger alone will be bringing me back next time around, but the fascinating parts of the story and the new perspective on comic book magic are welcome breaths of air, as well.
Weird Science DC ComicsSpirit World #1 is a serviceable beginning to the story of a new hero, filled with mysticism, magic, monsters, and a little bit of heart. The art's decent enough, and the story moves along well, but a painfully awkward creative choice may have hurt the character's journey before it's even begun.