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Magic: The Gathering – The Spell Thief #1 [Review]


The Spell Thief, part 1

Written by: Matt Forbeck
Art by: Martin Coccolo
Art Assists by: Christian Duce
Colors by: J. Edwin Stevens
Color Assists by: Baileigh Bolten
Letters by: Shawn Lee
Edited by: Carlos Guzman
Cover: Christopher Moeller
Published by: IDW Publishing

Picking up right from where the previous mini left off (though with a different word from our hero), this issue opens with Dack standing before some castle. Triggering its magical defenses and eventually making his way inside, the Planeswalker/thief encounters some fantastical creatures and a Titan, all of whom continue to slow him down from catching Sifa, the planeswalker that apparently destroyed his hometown. But in order to escape the titan and becoming a permanent part of the titan’s collection, Dack may find himself facing the one thing he doesn’t want to face.

Art-wise, I’m not entirely impressed with this issue. It occurs to me that I am most entrenched in quasi-traditional superhero comics, or darker gritty stuff (such as Hellblazer) and this certainly isn’t either of those. The art is by no means bad–it’s distinctive, and this has a LOOK that screams “fantasy” which makes it fit into general Magic: The Gathering/fantasy for me. But I’m also so far removed from the game that this just reeks of generic fantasy to me.

Which brings me to the story itself. For one thing, despite a recap on the inside cover, this feels like it should at best be a #5, not a new #1. It could be a new arc, allowing for 4-issue collected volumes, but as a #1 I find nothing to like about the main character, no real reason to care one way or the other about his “quest,” and all that. I read the first issue of the first mini, bought the subsequent issues but haven’t yet read ’em with other reading I’ve been doing (except to get the plastic off #4 to verify just how closely these two series are).

I’m sure there’s a LOT of stuff that’s going right over my head that would jump out at long-time MTG fans/players. Probably folks familiar with current/recent stuff with the game would recognize spells and such used in this issue. But being “out” for so long, nothing’s obvious to me.

Then there’s the most glaring, heinous problem with this issue that soured me right from the start: this thing’s a whopping $4.99! Bad enough the derth of $3.99 comics…for that extra $1 I foolishly “expected” this to be extra-sized, maybe a bimonthly series with extra pages and thus the extra-sized price. But everything about this seems to match the previous issue: 22-page story, cardboard center to try to keep the book’s shape in shrink-wrapping; included genuine/playable game card…

But the card is not at all worth an extra $1 to me, and if that’s what drove the cost up, shame on everyone involved!

If you’re a big fan of MTG and enjoy fantasy comics…you’ll probably have a lot more appreciation for this than I did. As it stands, I’d be inclined to continue with the series for an ongoing overall story working off the concept of planeswalkers and such–the “core” of Magic: The Gathering–but I am so absolutely put off by the $4.99 price for 22 pages of story that I have every intention now of avoiding subsequent issues.

Story: 4/10
Art: 6/10
Overall: 5/10

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