MAGIC THE GATHERING #1
Writer: Matt Forbeck
Artist: Martin Coccolo
Colorist: J. Edwin Stevens
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Cover Artist: Aleksi Briclot
Editor: Carlos Guzman & John Barber
Previously in Magic the Gathering: Normally a #1 issue wouldn’t have much need or even a possibility for a previously section. This issue, on the other hand, wants it for two things: The character has a ton of backstory but I’ll address that later. The other reason is a bit of explanation on the concept. Our main character, Dack, is a Planeswalker. What this means is he can traverse the multiverse used in for the Magic the Gathering card game. This means that we are likely to see him confront other Planeswalkers (hint, first story arc) and that we will get to see a ton of different planes and creatures, I hope.
The first page opens to show Dack running from the bloodthirsty Rakdos Cult of Ravnica (one of the planes we know) as he has just stolen something from them. Surprisingly, this act of theft was on the cover itself, so that’s cool right there. So, Dack is talking about how running away is his “Plan B” as skulking away, his usual “Plan A” failed. While running, he’s merely dodging around and ducking through crowds, buildings, and any other thing that happens to be on Ravnica (which is basically everything, by the way), until he ducks into a house with no exit. This provides two problems, the first being cornered and the second the Viashino (lizard-man) assaulting the home owner that doesn’t like Dack being there.
Dack moves on to “Plan C: Leave” which is planeswalk away, but not before getting tagged by the Viashino’s spike tail. This little bit actually resolved a bit of the problem I have with getting Planeswalker’s in and out of trouble. They can just up and vanish at a moment’s notice. Well, as it turns out, ‘walking is apparently quite difficult and shouldn’t be done under stress, so decent explanation for why he wouldn’t just grab the dagger and jump.
When we jump, we go to the plane of Fiora, a plane we’ve never seen before but Dack is familiar with it, and its denizens recognize him. Apparently he’s a wanted man here, as well as the paramour of a married woman (possibly related), and he has to make another quick getaway, this time a bit less intense, and heads back to Ravnica. Really, this section just sets up some more backstory for Dack, which we will hopefully get to see sometime in the future.
Back on Ravnica, we get some actual character development and a bit more supporting cast. Rav is where Dack considers home, though he may not be native it just seems like a lot of Planeswalkers come here. We also meet the healer Fadka and the fencer (criminal fencing) Vaclav Nosek. Both are given a decent amount of screen time to get an idea of their character without taking too much time out of the story. The last scene has Dack in his safe house and magically scanning the dagger he stole on the cover. This provides him with a scene from his hometown that leads us to the next issue, but I’ll let you read to find this out as it was quite interesting.
A large portion of the action sequences are mostly monochromatic, but they work because of it. The backgrounds are also very simply detailed, but it makes the characters really stand out and be noticed, which is exactly what this book wants. Ravnica is the most diverse plane in Magic and the inhabitants reflect that. We also do get the subtle change of the massive city in Rav to a more open city in Fiora. About the only complaint I could make here is it is a bit too dark for most of the book.
BOTTOM LINE: WORTH IT.
Forbeck has done a good job of making Dack a fully realized character, seeding many backstory plot threads that should come to fruition as well as making him a likable thief with part of the backstory. Add in the fact that this issue, and at least the next issue, will come with a promo card makes for another little benefit for much of the audience. All in all, a good look and a compelling story gets Magic #1 4.5 out of 5 stars.