Meet Xanthe! They’re a master of dark magic, a protector of the innocent, and now? They’re trapped not only in the real world… but in Gotham City. Your Major Spoilers review of Spirit World #1 from DC Comics awaits!
SPIRIT WORLD #1
Writer: Alyssa Wong
Colorist: Sebastian Chen
Letterer: Janice Chang
Editor: Jessica Chen
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 9, 2023
Previously in Spirit World: 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 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!
THE SEARCH FOR BATGIRL
After losing Batgirl in the Spirit World and being trapped on Earth (in the pages of Lazarus Planet: Dark Fate #1), Xanthe has been staying in Gotham City, crashing with John Constantine in a magic shop. As they search for another gateway to the beyond, Batgirl finds herself at the mercy of strange ectoplasmic monsters that wants to devour her living energies. She is saved from being torn apart by one of the natives, a woman called Po Po, but the danger doesn’t end there. In the real world, Xanthe follows their instincts to the home of one of Constantine’s magical colleagues, where they and the Englishman literally break in and start a fight with a collective of ghosts within. Realizing that these specters had to come from some, Xanthe decides to let one escape and follow it to whatever portal into the Spirit World it came from… but their pursuit is interrupted when they run into their mother.
And their mother thinks that they died fifteen years ago.
DON’T BLOW UP YOUR FRIENDS’ DOORS
It is a bit weird to see Constantine playing the role of the stodgy conservative magician against Xanthe’s completely impulsive nature, but their strange team-up works well. Xanthe even gets to explain how their magic works, burning items made of folded joss paper, which makes those items into solid constructs in the real world. Perhaps my biggest complaint, though, comes in the fact that this issue reads like the second issue, continuing out of the Lazarus Planet one-shot. If you haven’t read that comic, this one is going to feel even more abrupt than the average first issue does. Haining’s art is lovely, giving us very charming manhua stylings throughout. The clean lines give everyone character (and also make for an unexpectedly cute Constantine) and provide some vibrant “acting” during the most intense parts of the issue. The opening sequence, featuring Xanthe saving a little girl from being washed away in a flood, is beautiful, with coloring that enhances the attractive art and provides an even more engaging experience.
BOTTOM LINE: A GOOD ISSUE, MAYBE NOT THE BEST FIRST ISSUE
Even 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, rolling all together into a well-deserved 4 out of 5 stars overall. 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.
Dear Spoilerite,At Major Spoilers, we strive to create original content that you find interesting and entertaining. Producing, writing, recording, editing, and researching requires significant resources. We pay writers, podcast hosts, and other staff members who work tirelessly to provide you with insights into the comic book, gaming, and pop culture industries. Help us keep MajorSpoilers.com strong. Become a Patron (and our superhero) today.
SPIRIT WORLD #1
A beautiful story that feels like a second issue, because it might as well be one after the Dark Fate one-shot that started the story.