I decided to continue with the Disney and BOOM! Studios theme this week and take a look at something staring the head of the House of Mouse himself…
Wizards of Mickey #5
Writer: Stefano Ambrosio
Artists: Marco Gervasio & Alessandro Pastrovicchio
Letterer: Deron Bennet
Translator: Saida Temofonte
Covers: Andrew Dalhouse & Magic Eye Studios (Cover A) and Marco Mazzarello (Cover B)
Editor: Christopher Meyer
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
The issue begins with a very helpful and comprehensive text recap, so… Previously, on Wizards of Mickey: ‘Mickey has formed the Wizards of Mickey with Donald and Goofy to enter the great sorcery tournament! Preparing for a match against the Tapestry Sorcerers, they have traveled to the town of Blackburg. There, they’ve run afoul of Peg-Leg Pete and the Beagle Brothers, who are scamming money out of the local townsfolk by pretending to be monster hunters! However, a real monster is headed right for Blackburg – and it’s been following the Wizards of Mickey!’
A Dog Cannot Possibly Be a Werewolf, Language Fans
We pick up the action with the Wizards at the tournament, fighting the Tapestry Sorcerers. As the battle seems to be lost, a familiar-looking ‘monster’ runs through the stadium. The Wizards of Mickey give chase, and Mickey identifies the monster as none other than Pluto, able to transform after drinking a ‘werewolf potion’ sometime ago. Meanwhile Peg-Leg Pete and the Beagle Brothers attempt to fool the townsfolk into thinking that they’ve captured a monster, but are exposed when Mickey arrives and reveals the truth. Later, Mickey and company defeat the Tapestry Sorcerers. Then a subsequent story kicks off, concerning a party being held for the various teams of the great sorcery tournament. Peg-Leg Pete arrives, having apparently broken out of prison despite his assertions to the contrary, and is revealed to actually be working for the Phantom Blot, a villainous sorcerer!
Last week, I talked about my very personal annoyance that the Donald Duck featured in Donald Duck and Friends #354 wasn’t his ‘traditional’ self, and instead represented a more modern take on the character. Well, this book very much is the opposite: Mickey, Donald and Goofy are their ‘traditional’ selves here and, rather surprisingly, this left me with mixed feelings. As I read this issue I realised that, although these versions of the characters certainly carry some nostalgic weight with me, the more modern representations (of Donald Duck, at least) are more fun to read from my current adult perspective.
That’s not to say that this issue did not provide some entertainment, however. The plot is very simple: the heroes have a goal and face some obstacles along the way, but triumph at the end whilst the bad guys get their comeuppance – and I’ve no doubt that this basic plot will be the same next issue. While this is also the case with a lot of adult books, I know, very little is done here to hide the simplicity of the plot. Perhaps this is appropriate for a kid’s book, however, and a young child, or indeed an adult, would certainly have no problem jumping into the events of this issue with no previous experience of the series (despite a slightly confusing first page, which features a talking pan in its first panel). The story recap at the beginning of the book is really helpful on this count, and it’s hard to believe that such things (that is, recaps that are short and to the point, but also as comprehensive as is necessary) are so rare.
I’ve no problems with the dialogue , and much of the oddness that I found in Donald Duck and Friends #354 is not present here, despite both books having the same translator (I can thus conclude, perhaps, that there was a writing issue after all). There are a couple of lines that I think are meant to be jokes, but are very much not funny, and I am once again unsure as to whether the joke doesn’t translate well or if the jokes are genuinely not funny. There are some moments of what I like to call ‘Beano’ humour, though, which is my term for the kind of slapstick comedy that is typical of the English children’s comic The Beano. I would have probably been amused by these parts as a kid, and it was nice to see that style of comedy still around.
A Blast from the Past
The art is a strange case: it’s not bad, in fact I quite enjoyed it, but it looks very dated. It’s something I’d more expect to see in a comic book from the 1970s or ’80s than something I’d see in the present day – it’s difficult to describe, but it’s drawn in a style that is unmistakeably from the past. However, I did enjoy the art, and there were some nice touches throughout; I especially enjoyed the cool, washed-out style colouring that was used for the night scene at the end, and of the distinctive style that the tapestry warrior was drawn in during the Wizard’s fight with the Tapestry Sorcerers.
Both the covers were well-drawn, with Cover A featuring the Wizards fighting the tapestry warrior (although he doesn’t look as distinctive, and thus as good, I feel, as he does in the book), in a scene taking up the middle of the page and being bordered by a sort of bright energy, making it look as if one is looking at the battle through some sort of magical portal. This is quite clever, and certainly sets the scene for a book about sorcerers and magic. Cover B is a more traditional full page of artwork, featuring the silhouettes of Donald, Goofy and Mickey standing on a hillside at night, looking on to a slightly-malevolent-looking castle. It’s drawn fairly well, but it doesn’t really connect to the events in the book, so I’m not particularly endeared to it.
Whilst I, as an adult, enjoyed last week’s Donald Duck and Friends #354 more than this book, I have a feeling that a young child (perhaps ages three to six, a younger range than I feel last week’s book was aiming for) would appreciate this more. If you have a small child who enjoys the more classic representations of Disney characters, then you might want to give this book a glance, but for everyone else I can’t give it more than two stars out of five.