Review – Rise of the Magi #1 (Image Comics)

RiseoftheMagi_01-1Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Marc Silvestri
Artist: Sumeyye Kesgin
Release Date: 4th June 2014

Rise of the Magi is a pretty typical fantasy story, not unlike some others that have been done in the past. I could draw on comparisons from a few different stories, but that would possibly be unfair. Though it is not an entirely fresh concept, the story does well to stand up on it’s own. The world created and the characters that inhabit it have depth and personalities all their own, which makes the story carry with it it’s own sense of adventure. If you are a fan of fantasy, or stories that involve wizardry and magic then Rise of the Magi is definitely worth checking out to see what world Marc Silvestri has created and see what adventure it takes you on.

The story revolves around a central character named Asa Stone. Asa lives in the world of Rune, with magic and adventure abound at every corner. In Rune everyone has a mystical ability that can make anything possible, but sadly for Asa his is limited to fixing flying carpets, so to him the prospects of adventure and wonder seem tantalizingly out of his reach. Longing to join his older brother in the Spellguard – the guardians of the condensed source of all magic called the orb – Asa decides to employ the use of a frog that can hold spells for future use, sneaks into the Crystal City and uncovers a disturbing plot. Someone is planning to steal the orb but in order to do so a spell of tremendous power has to be broken in order to even touch the orb without death. Stumbling into the right place at what would seem like the wrong time Asa is tasked with protecting something of great importance and put on the path to adventure he has always wanted, though it would seem he’s journey is taking him far from Rune and into what looks like the world you and I live in.

While I generally only think of Marc Silvestri as a talented artist, he definitely shows the ability to write an engaging story here, with well thought out characters and events to shape what is to come. The story is told in what would seem like novel format with a little prologue at the beginning then subsequent chapters one and two that follow, each setting up what happens from one chapter to the next. Writing in this style in comic form, having the chapters not being actual issues but inside a singular issue is not something I think I’ve ever encountered before. Having a blank page with simply Chapter and chapter title can either remove the reader from the action or story being told by interrupting the eye and mind, or it can keep the imagination going and the anticipation building to see where the next page will take you. For me though, it felt like an unnecessary break in the story, in that it removes you from the action briefly only to have it started up again on the next page, rendering the break useless in my opinion. While this takes nothing away from the story itself it just takes you out of the action as if you were to be interrupted during an action movie and press pause only to go back and not be as intently into it as if you hadn’t stopped in the first place.

The use of two artists in a story can be either unnoticeable with similar styles or in this case a rather noticeable switch from Sumeyye’s clean detail to Marc’s trademark gritty style. I thought that Sumeyye’s artwork was very well done and fit the story well and wonder the need for it to then be taken over by another artist. While I have always been a fan of Marc Silvestri’s art I couldn’t help but wonder if he rushed the panels he did or if the more sketchy look than his previous work was intended. The characters do not change much from artist to artist, merely presentation of style, both are well done and I have no gripes. I just think that rather than having this story broken up by the chapter break pages and then switching artists, it would have been better off using a singular artist.  That said, there’s still a lot to like about this issue.

Rating: 3/5.

The writer of this piece was: Shane Hoffman (aka “Hoff”)
You can also find Hoff on Twitter.

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