Broken House of Cards is the third trade paperback in the Madame Xanadu comic book series. I was happy, upon picking it up, to discover that Amy Reeder Hadley had returned to provide artwork, as she has such a dynamic style. Art is also provided in flashbacks by Joelle Jones. I found Jones's work to feel a little uneven, but mostly enjoyed it. The story this time around combines elements from both the Disenchanted storyline, and the Exodus Noir arc. Like Exodus Noir, Broken House of Cards deals with Madame Xanadu helping out a client. Like Disenchanted, elements of the Camelot timeline are featured prominently, which I quite enjoyed.
One of the interesting thing about long lived characters is there's always more back story to tell. Broken House of Cards brings us even further into our heroine's past, and focuses on her formative years when she was still known as Nimue in Camelot. This story delves deeply into Nimue's relationship with her sister, the infamous Morgana. It was really interesting to see how the two went from young sisters that didn't always get along (Morgana can't help but be a little jealous of Nimue's significant magical abilities), to full blown enemies. Another interesting side character is the detective John Jones who serves as an ally. He resembles the Stranger, who Xanadu shared a complex relationship with during the Disenchanted arc, which leaves her a bit startled at first. I found it interesting that the two shared a similar understated sexual chemistry that Xanadu did with the Stranger. After reading the comic, I did a little research and discovered John Jones is better known as The Martian Manhunter, but he plays a rather different role in most DC comics than he does here.
Broken House of Cards is a highly entertaining addition to the Madame Xanadu series. I already have the fourth and final volume on order from my library and look forward to finishing the series.
Rating: four and a half stars
Length: 200 pages
Source: Readfield Community Library
Other books I've read by this author: Disenchanted, Exodus Noir
Next I will be reviewing Silently and Very Fast by Catherynne M. Valente and Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham
xposted to temporaryworlds, bookish, and goodreads