After enjoying XXXholic so much last week, I went and got it's sort-of-companion manga, Tsubasa RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE when it breezed into the Centre County area this weekend. And, well... I liked XXXholic a whole lot more. Where XXXholic is playfully serious, Tsubasa is leaden and literal-minded. It reminds me of nothing more than a comix version of Heinlein's regrettable the Number of the Beast. Now, CLAMP has been playing the Asimov all-stories-blend-into-one game for a few years now - ever since X, to be strictly honest - but it's never been quite this - hrm, rehashed?
It nominally features a fantasy-world-alternate-reality Sakura and Syaoran (of Card Captor Sakura fame), in a Sleeping-Beauty quest-story. Syaoran is given a bunch of sidekicks from vaguely-reminiscent alternate realities - a priest-bishounen from a mashup of RG Veda and Chobits, a ninja-killer from the Epcot Center version of Medieval Japan, a talking Mokona from Rayearth - in an encounter in the XXXholic universe, and the whole motley, arbitrary lot of them are flung into the megaverse to find Sakura's shattered and scattered soul-bits. They end up in a world, babysat by Arashi and Sorata of X sidekick fame.
I say "given" because he doesn't do anything in particular to merit sidekicks. The Syaoran of Tsubasa isn't particularly heroic, or active. He just wanders around and is told things for the whole of the first volume. We're told he's a hero, we don't see it. Except at the end when his deus ex machina appears. Whoop de friggin' do.
Eh, it doesn't suck. But it's not exactly the sort of thing I look forward to, either.