Madame Xanadu is a character with a long history in the DC Universe who has been given a fresh start with this new series from the Vertigo imprint (home of Sandman and Fables). This first volume takes you on a wild journey throughout history, from her origin in Camelot when she was Nimue, sister of Morgan le Fay, to the palace of Kublai Khan from whence she took her name--Xanadu, to the French Revolution, the streets of Whitechapel during the terror of Jack the Ripper, and finally New York City on the eve of World War II as she bears witness to the rise of a new form of powerful beings--the superhero.
On each leg of her journey, Madame Xanadu is faced with dilemma after dilemma, forced to weigh the consequences of her actions. Whether to meddle in the affairs of state at Xanadu or the court of Louis XVI, despite the lessons she learned at the fall of Camelot, whether to save her friend Marie Antoinette or save herself, whether to protect the women of Whitechapel or to heed the cryptic warnings of the Phantom Stranger, who tells her there is a higher purpose at work-- each choice she makes has a dramatic effect on both her own life and the course of human history.
Wagner's writing is captivating and Hadley's art is breathtaking. Every moment of Madame Xanadu's life, from her final showdown with Merlin to her bargain with Death Herself, comes alive and urges you onwards.
There are not enough good things to say about this series. If you have never picked up a graphic novel in your life, this is the one to start with. If you have, you'll love this one (especially if you're familiar with the DC Universe, you'll relish the new, unique encounters with such characters as Giovanni Zatara and the Spectre). Go read it now.
You can read a PDF of the first issue of this volume on the Vertigo comics website.