First off, let me start off with some kewl news: chapter three is completely finished and ready to post! and I’ve already started artwork on chapter 4, AND I’m up to page seven on the script for chapter 5. Looks like things are finally back on track for this action webcomic to get int he groove.
Now, anyone who knows me knows that there are two hobbies (not counting Pro Wrestling) I am really deep into. I am a HUGE fan of Magic: The Gathering, and I’m also a comic book fanatic. So it tickles me to have in my hands a copy of the first issue of IDW’s Magic: The Gathering Comic Book. MTG had done comix before, but it was waaaaaaaaay back in 1995 with their Valiant/Acclaim comix, and more recently with their planeswalker webcomics. But this new entry, featuring a brand new character, intrigued me. And, of course, including an exclusive, premium rare card sweetened the pot.
So I went and picked it up. Here’s what I thought of it:
The comic follows the adventures of Dack Fayden, a Planeswalker who bides his time as a “spell thief” and seems to have a red/blue color alignment. The story begins with him smack dab in the middle of an adventure, running for his life against some meanies from the Plane of Ravnica. I like how the story doesn’t waste time with any “Origin” crap. That has become old hat. People just want you to get on with it already, so we are thrust into the action. I also like how this story is firmly entrenched in MTG lore, with references to both Ravnica (the new favorite plane of fans of the game) and the plane of Innistrad, upon which the current set of cards is based. The chances that we’ll see familiar characters should be high. The comic moves quickly, and sets the stage for a grand adventure.
My only gripe with the story is in how Dack is presented. Sure they do a nifty job of showcasing his skills, abilities and pet spells. He makes a very capable action hero. I’m assuming he is supposed to be a charming rogue (melting the lock in his girlfriend’s room with her still in it, and then leaving out the window was a pretty cold-blooded move). My gripe is that Matt Forbeck spends so much time showing us what Dack does, he only glosses over showing us who Dack is. A little more characterization would have made Dack more sympathetic, and The reader would care a little bit more about the guy to follow him on his quest for vengeance.
Martin Coccolo’s art for the book is competent. Not really that flashy or eye-popping, but the pencils, layout and camera angles are believable; reminds me of the best of the old Valiant and Acclaim stuff (which would fit right in with the older MTG comix, ironically). The colors are a bit dark for my tastes. not enough contrast. the inks are decent, but the art relies more on the coloring to define the light and shadow. Which becomes a problem when the colors are s dark and muddy. There really isn’t enough contract between light and dark to make the art pop out, and many of the pages are in monochrome, which doesn’t help the problem any.
I do find the idea of a “spell thief” intriguing, though. Dack steals artifacts, extracts spells from them, and then puts the artifacts back. Makes me wonder what drives him to collect all of those spells, and what he does with them when he gets them.
in any case, this book isn’t perfect, but it works for a first issue. if you’ve got an extra few bucks and you’re into MTG, I advise giving it a shot.