Xenoholics review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Image Comics/Shadowline - 978-1607065579
  • Release date: 2012
  • UPC: 9781607065579
  • Contains adult content?: yes
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no

Xenoholics is a Portland support group for people who’ve experienced being abducted and probed by aliens or similar degrading undertakings. As created by Joshua Williamson, they’re a broad group of everyday people like a pop star, boxer and career army guy who new member Bob meets after his unpleasant abduction. Long before it’s revealed, it’s oversold that Kyle is some kind of infiltrator and over the first chapter you’ll figure there’s no joke too obvious for inclusion about people who believe in alien abduction. While that’s not quite a tragedy, it doesn’t represent what Williamson is doing in Xenoholics. It remains a form of comedy drama, but over subsequent chapters the drama becomes stronger and the comedy diminishes, and the fourth chapter where the cast come clean about their experiences is emotionally touching.

However, that does have to battle against the artwork. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with Seth Damoose’s cartooning, but having set the tone with the vast exaggerations needed at the start, if the consistency is to be maintained, there’s little room for manoeuvre when the content switches. He defines the cast well, every one of them distinct, has a nice line in chunky, armoured aliens, and fills the panels with detail when it’s needed.

It’s not as if there’s no merit to Xenoholics, but the feeling is that Williamson would have been better off producing something more serious, sinister maybe, with greater atmosphere. The basic plot structure works well enough along those lines, whereas the early comedy material largely falls flat. It leaves Xenoholics as fun in places, but not anywhere near as much as hoped for.