I have always loved magic.
The allure of it, the use of it, the mention of it, the possibility of its existence. Make no mistake magic comes in many forms in our lives. The life of an unborn child, the laughter of that same innocent child as they spend quality time with family, the success that one reaps when we put our minds into it, the reunion of family and friends long believed to be lost. But in this comic, magic is a tool. A tool to make life better or to make life worse by exacting revenge and taking out the competition.
The concept of Magic in our world is by no means new. Harry Potter has made an entire generation believers of it. The successful television show, Charmed, is built on it. There’s also the use of magic in the face of danger and violence in the world of Harry Dresden and other worlds of urban fantasy created by brilliant authors like Jaye Wells, Kim Harrison, Anne Rice, Simon R. Green, Neil Gaiman and Kelley Armstrong, just to name a few. And from the looks of it, we can also add Mark Millar (KICK ASS, KINGSMAN, CIVIL WAR, OLD MAN LOGAN) onto this list.
Partnering up with NETFLIX, Millar’s collective work known as Millarworld has been bought by the streaming giant, and promises comic book readers a plethora of materials and ideas for which this partnership was entered into and sealed. And that is, the promise of delivering high quality stories that have the potential to be translated onto the small screen by using the medium of comics as a jumping off ground. And with the first issue of this new series, we are certainly off to a good start.
The first issue opens with a brilliant color palette inked by Dave Stewart, whose work in titles such as Joss Whedon’s FRAY, Mike Mignola’s HELLBOY and currently The WALKING DEAD, make him the perfect candidate to paint the night sky that is both beautiful, dark and foreboding. The shroud of doom and gloom does not exempt the first candidate to be taken off the magical chessboard, as we are shown how a wizard is caught unawares after an intimate moment with his wife and put to rest in the most unsuspecting, clever and horrible way possible, that is from someone he least suspected. That opening murder scene was enough to make my hair stand on one end and make me sit upright in my chair and letting me know that this comic is not holding anything back. It meant business.
Following this gruesome act, we are introduced to different magical members of the Moonstone family. There is Cordelia Moonstone who according to her bio, is a children’s entertainer, stage magician and an escapologist, and has just been arrested for indecent acts with the father of a 5 year old, whose birthday party she has been performing at. Then we have the patriarch of the family, Leonard Moonstone, who performs nightly at the local theater in Chicago. His latest act involved him bringing up a audience member and shoot him from a distance, only to have that bullet seemingly and magically caught in between his teeth. According to him, there has always been a Moonstone onstage since 1885. He adds that it is rather unfortunate that there will be no one to continue his act once he retires, as his children have other things to do in their own respective lives.
There is Regan, the dashing blonde, who is busy managing his own club. Cordelia, of whom, we first met in the previous pages is unreliable and his other son, Gabriel, seems to have his heart in other matters, matters more mundane and away from the world of magic.
The issue also introduces us to the Ceremony of the Broken Wand. This ritual involves the breaking of the wand of the dead wizard over his grave. And in this burial of Edward Lisowksi, the murdered cousin of the Moonstone family, are we finally introduced to the big bad of the series, named Madame Albany. She has come to pay her respects to the deceased, but not after defiling the ceremony and have her shapeshifter of a henchman, physically transform into the body of the murdered relative, complete with kitchen knife still impaled onto his neck. Her presence and utter disrespect for the proceedings confirms her hand in the killing and her intention to wipe the Magic Order out, one member at a time.
As the first issue opened with a murder, it is only apt that it ends with another but one that is brilliantly executed by having another wizard and his charge be enveloped into a “changing spell” as they blend into the surroundings of their San Francisco apartment, only to have that very same space altered and physically changed into the dwelling of another family that seems to have lived there for some time and has claimed the space as their own, with no trace of the previous occupants.
All in all, this maiden issue, hits all the right beats that a story should have. From brilliant drawings from Oliver Coipel (HOUSE of M, CIVIL WAR 2, BLACK PANTHER, THOR, BATMAN) to quick insights into characterizations, motivations and consequences of their action or inaction, its a story that is perfect for inclusion into the Millarworld and one that I am hoping, NETFLIX, will consider making into a live action series.
I can only imagine the budget needed to make the special effects as magically authentic as possible. But since this is all part of Phase 2 of Millarworld, let’s all hold hands and chant for Phase 3 for this comic to come into existence into our respective living rooms. Let the magic begin now.
Currently Issue #4 is now in various Comic Book Stores. Trade paperback version that compiles Issues 1-6 will be released April 2019. Here's keeping our fingers crossed for some bonus stuff in the trade paperback.