The first thing that catches my eye about Magus is the tagline at the top of the cover, “Where were you when magic came back?” It’s just such a interesting and captivating line and makes you want to know more about where the magic was and what happened to make it vanish. And then the cover image is interesting as well with the young child standing amidst floating toys…and a dragon in the sky shooting down a place. I mean dragons! Yes a plane is crashing because of it, but…dragons!
Our story begins at the Bristol County Institution of Mental Health where Lena is being woken by a somewhat nasty visitor. A guard attempting to rape her, when…she’s suddenly able to set his arm on fire. He won’t harm her ever again. We then shift to two young boys, Ben and Darius, who find Lena sleeping in the shed on church grounds seeking shelter. Meanwhile a young woman named Danae has come to the grounds looking for Lena. Danae is part of a small group of people committed to keeping magic from escaping back into the wider world and believes that Lena holds the key to recent trouble. But they’ve failed. All across the country magic has come and dragons and other creatures have woken. What will the world be like now that its back?
So the concept behind the story is interesting. Magic, having been locked up for centuries away from most of the world, has broken free and now everyone suddenly has access to it. And while the story is fairly well written I do have a couple of issues with plot lines. First issue is that it’s clearly influenced by comics like Hellboy and X-Men. Which isn’t a bad thing, but they seem to borrow a number of plot devices from them and a similar style for how the characters behave. For example, Lena being in a mental institution, almost being raped by the guard, and setting things on fire is very similar to part of Liz Sherman’s story. The second issue is that when magic comes back it feels very much like when people discover they have mutant powers in X-Men. Thankfully they don’t seem to be attacked (or it isn’t mentioned), but there is the big bad government group hoping to put a stop to them. I enjoyed the story, I can see how they’re shaping the world to be quite interesting, I just hope in future issues that it has less influence from Hellboy and X-Men and more influence from the creators themselves.
The artwork in the issue is actually pretty nice. They put just the right amount of detail into the characters and the background without either overwhelming each other. I in particularly really like the way they drew the human figures. Not only do they do an excellent job of capturing human emotion, but they also have variety of different body sizes, races, and types of characters. In other words every character isn’t drawn as if they were modeled off of Barbie and Ken, which is something that happens far too often in the comic industry. They also did an excellent job of coloring the issue, blending and merging the colors so that they flow well, which is something a lot of comics (including some big name ones) have trouble with. My one complaint with this issue is the opening illustration of the issue is done like an illustrated page from a book from the 12th or 13th century and I can’t read the text. I get what they were trying to do, but I’m having to squint to make out two or three words on it and I get the feeling that the page tells a lot about the story.
I’d definitely give the rest of the series a try, with the hopes that the story would flow a bit better and depend less on other influences. I’d likely recommend this story to people that like Charmed and well anyone that likes sci-fi to be honest. And dragons. I have no idea if dragons play a prominent role in the story, but I’m hoping.