(This review will cover elements from both #1 and #2)
Xenoholics is a prime example of what happens when you have a great idea, but fall short on the execution of that idea. The story revolves around a group of supposed alien abductees who find themselves tied to a deeper conspiracy. The first issue opens with a full page showing aliens coming out of their ship, being recorded by a bystander… the issue then tells us “to be continued in issue #5!” I can’t really say if this is a lame attempt to keep you reading until issue 5, or if the author enjoys being a mean tease. The remainder of issue #1 introduces the main character, former police officer Bob, and his supporting cast, each one with their own little quirks. Suzie homemaker, a war veteran, a drugged-up rockstar chick, a champoinship boxer (who reminds me of Ving Rhames in Mars Attacks), and Kyle (who is actually a journalist, not an abductee, writing a story on the group).
Late into the issue, the real conflict arises: Aliens have landed in the middle of Times Square… or rather, a crop circle appears in the middle of Times Square. Naturally, the support group starts to freak out, and Bob suggests they look for answers. Continuing into Issue #2, they find out that someone close to them has been spying on them, and it is strongly suggested that most of them are lying about their experiences (one in particular admits lying, and tells another what really happened). Then the Men in White appear.
I will say that this is a fun book. There is a healthy dose of ridiculousness, cheesy humor, and the all-out weird. Several panels seem like they take place in Bob’s head, such as when the abductees introduce themselves and they are all shown in exaggerated versions of their lives. These panels provide some decent humor.
Fun factor aside, these two books do suffer from pacing and organization issues. Some parts seem rushed, some parts are out of place. The conspiracy angle also feels rather forced. The main story does stay intact, however, and the general idea is conveyed well.
The art in these two books are sort of hit/miss. Some panels are beautifully done, and convey the humor with perfection. Other panels seem rushed and don’t really convey the story well. The artist also leaves a lot of empty background space, which would probably benefit from some more detail, or objects. One example is Kyle’s apartment. It’s obviously supposed to have a cluttered feel to it, but the artist left so much empty floor space, and space between objects, that it doesn’t seem cluttered at all.
Overall, this is a decent book. Not terrible, but not great either. The story is fun, the characters are unique, and the conspiracy is played up just enough to make you want to know what happens next. The comic is, however, one that you can easily forget. It doesn’t really leave you with anything memorable. I definitely recommend this only to those looking for something less serious.