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Rise of the Magi #s 0 & 1 [Review]

riseofthemagi001Writer: Marc Silvestri
Artists: Sumeyye Kesgin & Marc Silvestri
Colorist: Betsy Gonia (#0 – Jasen Smith)
Letterer: Troy Peteri
Editor: Betsy Gonia
Art Assists: Bridget Silvestri
Cover: Marc Silvestri & Betsy Gonia (#0 – Silvestri & Andy Troy
Published by: Image/Top Cow
Cover Price: $3.50 (#0 – Free)

Rise of the Magi is one of the Free Comic Book Day comics that seemed to jump out more than most…though at present whether that was internet “hype” or the logo and cover of the issue itself catching me, I’m not sure. I hadn’t gotten around to reading that issue, but saw the first issue of the series itself out this past week, so decided to give it a chance. (While not the $2.99 that anymore is a quick-sell for me, the 0-issue having been free and this first issue being $3.50 at least kept it under the frustrating $3.99 price point).

riseofthemagi000The 0-issue’s cover was a bit deceptive…I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it led me to believe the main character was going to have some sort of agenda against witches (and warlocks?) or otherwise be opposed to magic/etc. in general. However, the issue begins with a page of mostly text setting up the situation–all magic is contained in a small orb, and doing something to the orb would affect the entire universe. A boy whose brother is part of some sort of guard unit protecting the orb stumbles across a situation threatening the orb, leading into the #1 issue.

In Rise of the Magi #1, we get some further context of the magic orb, the Spellguard, and what’s going on that threatens the orb. As the threatening scenario plays out, the boy is drawn tightly into the situation, and ultimately thrust into a world he’s going to have to learn to operate in as the series moves forward.

Visually, I was more impressed with the first issue–brief as it was. The second issue had a bit of a jarring visual shift, though at least it came with a “chapter break” in the story rather than just shifting with no apparent rhyme or reason. Given this is not an “established property,” I have no visuals to compare it to–simply the archetypal fantasy setting given the primarily-fantasy setting of the story. That lack of comparison leaves the art to stand on its own, with no preconceived notions on my part with the specific characters. Given I’ve liked Silvestri‘s art in the past on X-Men stuff in particular, I had rather high expectations for this, but found myself a bit disappointed. The art was not bad, it just didn’t live up to whatever my expectations had set.

Story-wise, I found myself rather “iffy” partway into #1, figuring this to be “just another” fantasy thing, but the ending of the issue gave a bit of a twist to that…yet, it’s a twist that also feels like “just another” of its kind. The characters and specifics may be a bit different, but it’s definitely not the first such story I’ve seen/read of its kind, and I’m not entirely sure what to make of it.

I can’t say I’m exactly “impressed,” but to again use the passive: it’s not bad. If you like Silvestri or any of the other creators involved, it’s definitely worth taking a look. All in all, I think it’s safe to say that if I happen to notice the next issue I’ll pick it up, giving the series another issue to really hook me, but it doesn’t yet have me enough to want to put it on my pull list.

Completing Action Comics…and the Regular Wednesday Haul

The other day I considered driving across town to check another comic shop in my eagerness to “complete” my “From Crisis to Crisis to Flashpoint” run of Action Comics.

I reviewed Action Comics #890 just over three years ago, but with other stuff going on at the time, that wound up being my last issue of the title; I took the plunge and just dropped all the Superman titles altogether, gravitating toward non-DC (and non-Marvel) books. I returned the next year for #900 for the sake of it being the first-ever legitimately-made-it-to-900 American comic, and then stuck around for 901-904 as the series’ end heading into The New 52.

action890891

Of course, three years’ time means #890 is buried somewhere in one of many longboxes, and to expedite reading the entire Black Ring saga in one go, I simply purchased a new copy of the issue (satisfyingly enough, these several years later, at a mere PENNY above cover price…WITH a bag and board!).

#891, though–the “treasure” (so to speak)–completes my run. I now own #583 (Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?) through #904 (Reign of Doomsdays) and the end of the pre-New 52 DC Universe.

gambitxternalsbargainbin

I still flipped QUICKLY through the bargain bins to see if anything “new” or interesting caught my eye. I did spot a couple of the Age of Apocalypse minis, but as usual let ’em go (I’m not interested in hunting individual issues). However, seeing all 4 of Gambit and the X-Ternals I pulled ’em. Not bad, considering it’s an entire mini-series for a whopping $1!

Assuming I can do so for 25 or 50 cents an issue, definitely interested in seeing how quickly I can build another full set of the original Age of Apocalypse…though I might go as high as $1/issue for X-Universe, as I rarely see either of those issues in bargain bins.

august072013haul

…and the main haul of the week: Higher Earth #9 (final issue), Cyber Force #5, Legends of the Dark Knight #11, Shadowman #9, and Quantum and Woody #2.

I’m rather non-plussed at Higher Earththis issue was (based on original solicitations) due out in January…7-8 MONTHS ago! Even Hypernaturals has since ended at #12, and I believe IT got its start after Higher Earth. Until very recently when #8 showed up, I actually thought these issues had already come out, as I pretty much put them aside in frustration at the cancellation.

Cyber Force I’ve been picking up but not reading…I believe this issue completes the first arc, so now I’ll read. (And given the series has been pushed as “free,” or in the case of Kenmore, 50 cents, I’m all for a ~$2.50 5-issue story!).

I’ve decided to jump on the print editions of several of the DC Digital-First titles…caught up on Legends of the Dark Knight #s 8-10 this past weekend (a shop had all 3 at cover price), just in time for this new issue.

And of course…I get all standard-cover Valiant issues.

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