First off, I'm sorry that my third column after my relaunch is a day late. Some would say it does not bode well for the future, and in the short term I can't say there wrong. See this if you want more of an explanation.
Not only am I late, but this week I'm plugging a comic that did NOT come out this past Wednesday, and is a small press production that, unless you're one of those lucky, lucky folks who live near one of the few indy-friendly stores out there, you'll probably never see it. No, I'm not being deliberately cruel. See the bottom of this review for info on how you can get the most recent issue, and all the rest up to then
Xeno's Arrow started out as a mini-comic about a cute round-headed alien named Xeno, the resident of the Intergalactic Zoo of Civilization. Xeno is the only one of his kind, as far as the lizards running the zoo are aware. He was as an infant, the only survivor in a wrecked spaceship on the edge of the Known Galaxy. Being raised in the zoo, he doesn't realize that he and the rest of the creatures there are essentially prisoners there. He makes some friends who disabuse him of his innocence, particularly Clemens, a large rodent-like creature. Several of the "guests" (as the lizards call them) decide to escape. An early issue ended with a blurb saying "Next: Escape!" but the next issue, while it got them closer to the goal, still left them on the zoo ship, and the blurb was repeated, "Next: Escape!" This continued for several issues, up until issue eight, which ended with them really on the verge of leaving the zoo, but it was also announced that this would be the last issue of the mini-comic, that they were going to start a self-published full-size comic with a real slick color cover and everything, redrawing the entire series so far and starting over from the beginning.
By that time, I thought I knew what was going on. The entire thing was an elaborate practical joke, I reasoned, that had gone on as long as it could, and there would only be eight issues of the new comic as well.
Why did I think that? Because I know my Greek philosophers.
Xeno was a philosopher in ancient Greece famous for his paradoxes. One of his most famous ones was the paradox of the arrow. If I shoot an arrow at a target, before it can get to the target it must first cover half the distance between myself and the target. Let's say I'm standing 100 feet from the target. First the arrow must travel fifty feet. Then it must travel half the remaining distance, which is twenty-five feet. Then half the remaining distance, which is 12 feet six inches. Then half the remaining distance. No matter how small the distance between the arrow and the target, it can always be divided in two, and the arrow must always cover that half first. Since you can carry this on to infinity, it's impossible for the arrow to ever hit the target.
Since Xeno's Arrow never hit the target, I reasoned that Xeno and his friends would never actually leave the zoo, that they would always keep "almost" escaping, for as long as the creators thought they could keep it going.
Despite having already read the story, I did buy the new comics as they came out. I knew what was going to happen in the first eight, but I liked the whole thing and I wanted to support the creative team, and I waited with anticipation for issue nine, to see if my guess was right.
I couldn't have been more wrong. Like the arrow of reality which, incoveniently for Xeno's theory does, in fact, hit the target every time, when #9 and #10 came out I could not deny that the idea of eternally staying in the zoo and almost escaping was either never the idea in the first place or had been abandoned. In fact, by the end of issue #10 we have a justification for the series title that has nothing to do with dead philosophers (although surely the reference must have been intended).
I find the characters charming, and the art is competent, if not dazzling. I'm looking forward to seeing where they go from here.
It's not quite like anything else out there, but if you like Akiko, you might try this out. It's a bit similar, in that they are both small, charming science fiction stories.
You can read the entire first issue at the website, http://www.xenosarrow.com. If you like it, I'd suggest you get in touch with Cup O' Tea studios and see if you can still order the Xeno's Arrow Excape Pack, which includes the entire 10-issue run for only $16.99. They also sell individual back issues for $2.50 apiece.
Cup O' Tea's snail mail is P.O. Box 63, Station P, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2S6 Canada, or you can e-mail Stephen Geigen-Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The comic is currently on hiatus, but if you like it, be sure to tell your retailer to order the new series starting in January (so ordering from the November Previews) from Radio Comix. They're starting over with a new #1, but they're picking up the story where it left off, not starting over again (thank goodness!).
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