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Enigma (Vertigo) [Paperback]

Peter Milligan , Duncan Fegredo
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 17 Aug 1995 --  
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Book Description

17 Aug 1995 Vertigo
"The Enigma" was once Michael Smith's favourite book. Now it has come to life and changed everything. Leaving his old life behind he sets out to find "The Enigma" embarking on a journey of self-discovery which will shock, scare, sicken and eventually delight him.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Titan Books Ltd (17 Aug 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852866152
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852866150
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,319,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic 20 Sep 2002
By Ubik
Format:Paperback
This compilation of the "Enigma" mini-series is one of my favourite comicbook works.
It was one of the first releases by the Vertigo line, created by DC Comics to publish comics focusing on more mature themes.
The story follows Michael Smith, a boring man with a boring life that has his world changed after encountering the misterious Enigma. An internal revolution will make Michael re-evaluate his principles: from the point of human life to his own sexuality.
Brilliantly imagined by Peter Milligan ("Shade: the Changing Man", "Human Target", "X-Statix") "Enigma" is a fantasy story, but one that never loses its human focus. The art by Duncan Fegredo ("Kid Eternity", "Girl", "Millenium Fever"), is also excelent. Very interesting is the evolution on Fegredo's style, that changes throughout the different chapters.
All in all, a classic.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mini series collected 30 Nov 2007
By rhinoa
Format:Paperback
Michael Smith's life is nothing out of the ordinary. On tuesdays he wears his blue socks and grey underwear, he counts his bath towels and has sex with his girlfriend Sandra. One tuesday however, his life changes forever when supervillian "The Head" appears and starts sucking peoples brains out of their nose. To further astonishment, his childhood comic book superhero Enigma appears to track down The Head and stop the killings. Things don't stop after The Head as supervillian The Truth appears to cause even more chaos and provide an even bigger challenge to Enigma.

An extremely surreal adventure where Michael tries to figure out his connection with Enigma. He ends up enlisting the help of the comic book writer who originally created Enigma, Titus Bird. Enigma only ran for 3 issues and Enigma soon starts to follow new paths seperate from the original comic and new supervillians appear. Titus also has to fend off the "Enigmatics" who treat him like a prophet and belive his comics to be complete truth with hidden messages.

It was a very sexual graphic novel without being explicit (I am guessing the author is gay?). I did enjoy it, but ultimately found it a little too pretentious playing up to comic book cliches. It was also a little overly confusing although I did like the twists it took for the most part. I am usually very good at guessing who and what is going on, but this time I was dead wrong which made for a nice change.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind Twisting 19 Jun 2001
By Blahblahblah - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It is impossible to really review this book's plot very well without giving away surprises, but the surface plot is about a man encountering characters straight out of the pages of his favourite, although shortlived, comic book series he read in the early 1970s while growing up called "Enigma". The comic book itself was the very surreal creation of a comic artist who was clearly the product of the late 1960s counter-culture. The first villian to appear is called "The Truth", and his power consists of driving people insane by telling them some hidden truth (geared towards each individual). Other villians include a group of men dressed up as clowns who break into peoples' homes and drive people into committing suicide through some sort of reverse feng-shui (they rearrange their victim's furniture in such a manner to create a suicidal mind-state). The hero of the series teams up with the comic book's creator, who has an unwanted cult following (literally) now that his creations are coming to life, and the two of them also track down the Enigma to learn his secret.
The whole series deals with such concepts as "reality" and responsibility and other issues I can't really give away without ruining part of the plot. As one reviewer's title notes, it could be described as post-modern existentialism. This is a brilliantly written, beautifully drawn mind-expanding piece of work.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A post-modernist existential pop narrative 16 Aug 1999
By J. Young - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The things that impress most about Milligan's tale are its ironic narrative and fully-developed characters. Packed with wit, but never too impressed with itself, Enigma is a must read for anyone whose idea of modern sequential art is stuck either with Bill Watterson's "Calvin and Hobbes" or Art Spiegleman's "Maus". Enigma is Milligan's smartest work to date, an idiosyncratic masterpiece of absurdity, super-heroics and the quest for identity.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars metacomic 19 Mar 2007
By Furio - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My problem with this -quite expensive- comic is that I do not like this iperrealistic style which stresses every single line of people's faces so that even those supposed to be very good looking (Enigma himself and the model Victoria Yes) look deformed.
It is deliberate, of course, I simply do not like it.

This booklet is self contained and tells us the story of an average straight boy leading a very average life meeting the -male- hero from the comics he used to read as a child.
The idea fo a comic about a comic is not bad and brings forth some fairly interesting issues: identity, sexual identity, children mistreatment, etc.
I was not overwhelmed by enthusiasm but other people might be.

A lot of gore and some topics (nudity and mild gay sex among them) make this booklet unsuitable for minors.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars this is the enigma? 16 Oct 2010
By pig doctor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Since I first read Shade the Changing Man, Peter Milligan has been regarded in my book as one of the best writers. I've been eagerly awaiting to find the Enigma for the past few years, it being regarded as his rare masterpiece. I finally found it at a comic shop for $5, and honestly, that's how much this comic was worth. My preconceived notion of what I thought it would be was nowhere near the simple conclusion at the end, or the story as a whole.

The promise of revelations about the Enigma keep you entrapped for most of the comic, and then around 3/4 the way, the answers come slow and sub-par compared to what happened before. Ads for the book gave intriguing plot-fodder about the Enigma existing and not existing, as well as proclaiming that this is the most important comic about comics since Watchmen. Wow. All that plus Peter Milligan? How could this not be good? I don't know, but I'm still shocked at the disappointment. The actual text writing is pretty clean, and the dingy art completely sucks you into the pages. But the plot fails, and it's full potential is never realized. The twists at the end made me roll my eyes.

Try anything else by Milligan before this. Almost all of it's better.

writing: [6/10]
art: [8/10]

Oh, and one thing. Even though I don't exactly mind this aspect, if you are homophobic or you have a problem with gay people, I wouldn't read this book. You shouldn't judge others by their sexual preferences, but if you do, I guarantee you'll be offended by the Enigma.
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A postmodern comic. 6 Feb 2003
By Caleb Boyd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This mini-series defines postmodernism. Milligan plays with the convention of comics through editor comments and satire toward older styles. The main theme throughout the whole book, although one may not realize until partially through it, is that trying to find the meaning of life is absurd. The question "What's next?" permeates the mystery. And the answer? Nothing. Life is like that.
But that doesn't make the story less interesting. The characters are fascinating, and the art perfect for a postmodern comic. There is just enough detail and shadow for you to figure out what the lines are supposed to represent. Of course, these drawings aren't the real thing. So why try to recreate the thing on paper, if the artist can't help but fail. At best, all you get is a pretty picture.
This is definitely not a comic for younger readers. Postmodernism is very difficult to understand, and I'm still struggling. The point to this story is simply that there is no point. Who is the Enigma? What is the truth? What's next? Do the answers really matter? Postmodernism would say, that the Enigma is a construction of several different things. He is a man that spent most of his young life in a well, he eats lizards, he possesses great mind powers, he loves the lead character (Michael Smith), he based his image on an old comic book character. Have I defined him? Is that who the Enigma is? No! He has so many more definitions, but he is nothing really.
Five stars! Because this is the first time I have read a comic book and actually felt like my mind was challenged. I will offer it to all of my friends who enjoy intellectual reading. I shall read it again and again. I'll never figure out the point completely, but it sure is fun to try!
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