Take one of the oldest comic book character’s, give him a new tale to tell, and then give it to Roger Langridge. Is this the secret formula for magic? Major Spoilers reviews King: Mandrake the Magician #1 from Dynamite Entertainment.
Previously in Mandrake: With the Earth’s technology set back 100 years, those that defended the Earth from Ming the Merciless, must now take on new struggles and challenges.
SMOKE AND MIRRORS
In a world still struggling to rebuild following the attack, Mandrake the Magician decides it’s been far too long since he took the stage and brought magic back to the people in an attempt to raise money for those still suffering from the invasion. While the events of the Kings Watch series are the launching point for the King Syndicate/Dynamite Entertainment series, you aren’t required to read the series in order to understand what is going on. Roger Langridge does an excellent job of setting up the world, and through appropriate means, gets the reader up to speed what is currently going on in this post war universe.
And that is where the real fun and magic of this issue kicks into high gear. While Mandrake wows the audience, another magician confronts him and the duo wield there magic spells at one another. Little does the audience know that this is a real magician’s battle. All of this is cover for the real crime – stealing magical artifacts from Mandrake’s vault. Not only is Mandrake getting robbed, but magical artifacts from around the world are also being pilfered for Cobra. No, not THAT Cobra (though it wouldn’t surprise me, as Waldo, Prince, and Grant Morrison appear in this issue).
Langridge brings the issue to a close with a great cliffhanger that was set up earlier in the issue, that has me on board for this entire run. Magic and mysticism in comics can go so many different directions, and from what I can see in this first issue, this is the direction that I like most.
NOT LANGRIDGE BUT STILL SO GOOD
When I first saw Roger Langridge’s name attached to this project, I was interested not only for the story that he can weave, but also for his art. Langridge doesn’t do the art in this issue, that is left to Jeremy Treece. Treece does a very good job of bringing youthful looks to all the characters in the issue, and at times his style feels like Langridge meets Humberto Ramos meets Bill Watterson. It’s very pleasant to look at, and though it doesn’t have the roundness of Langridge or Ramos, there’s something about this style that is very appealing. The magic show is probably the best part of the issue as Treece goes all out crazy with the imagery, composition, and the crazy reactions of the audience.
Complementing the art is Treece’s coloring. Like we’ve seen in the other King books, the coloring in this issue breaks from the Dynamite norm, and gives us something that has a lot of texture to everything on the page. The subtle shading on the characters and the background work is wonderful.
BOTTOM LINE: MAGIC FIX
If you are looking for a magic fix in your comics and Doctor Strange, and Zatanna aren’t doing it for you right now, then check out King: Mandrake the Magician #1. There’s a lot of history referenced in this book, and the magic hijinks caper story that Langridge sets up is enough to keep you wanting more. This is a book that screams “good time” and worth picking up.