Kevin Matchstick is on the outside, his wife Magda is imprisoned by the Umbra Sprite.  But they’re both ready to make a move…  Your Major Spoilers review of Mage Book Three: The Hero Denied #11 awaits!


Writer: Matt Wagner
Artist: Matt Wagner
Colorist: Brennan Wagner
Letterer: Dave Lanphear
Editor: Diana Schutz
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 15, 2018

Previously in Mage Book Three: The Hero Denied: With nowhere he can safely leave Miranda in his quest to rescue the rest of his family, Kevin Matchstick seeks out protection for his daughter.  He recovers a Cloak of Concealment from deep in an underwater cave, a magical artifact that Miranda quickly masters.  Meanwhile, the weakened Umbra Sprite warns Karol of the challenges they face and the sacrifices their victory will surely cost.  As their captors scheme, Magda tells Hugo of her plans to escape by means of enchanting common items found inside their prison-suite.  From the ominous Pit, she summons a new familiar, a winged cat she names Cleo.


Our story is moving towards a conclusion, as Kevin takes his daughter Miranda in search of the green world of magic that he experienced once or twice before, always in the company of the World-Mage.  At the same time, we find out what wife Magda has up her bell-sleeve, discovering that she has magically modified a number of common household items with power: A hair dryer to deliver a blast of magical energy, light bulbs as magic hand grenade, a hat to allow one to disappear and shoes that will let her son Hugo walk up walls.  This is important, since the only exit from their luxury cell/apartment opens on a sheer shaft that she knows goes up for at least a mile, thanks to her new fairy familiar, Cleo.  Hugo makes his way up, with the cat’s help, while Magda waits til he is safe, then allows her own stylish mode of transportation.  For his part, Kevin finds the Questing Beast again, chasing it into the woods with Miranda to discover a slightly more pressing threat, while the Umbra Sprite makes a desperate sacrifice to maintain its own power.


That last page of Mage Book Three: The Hero Denied #11 is utterly horrifying in a way that most comics could never make me feel, thanks to the combination of Wagner’s well-written character work and his knack for drawing horrible, inhuman beasties.  The entire issue is full of wonderful visual moments: Magda’s arrival by umbrella, The Umbra Sprite empowered by eating her own, as well as the discovery of a tree that hides the Green World beyond.  All of it is beautiful, and I have to admit a tiny crush on Magda.  The story is likewise excellent, showing both Magda and Kevin as parents who are still able to use their magical abilities as necessary, something that gets harder and harder for comic companies to pull off (or even accept as possible) every year.  Best of all, Hugo and Miranda feel like authentic children, even as all the madness unfolds around them, and the parallels of their protectiveness (and the contrast of the Umbra Sprite’s sacrificing one of her “children”) make the whole issue feel thematically sound.


In short, friends, you need to read Mage.  Ideally, you need to start at the beginning, but if you feel like living dangerously, you can jump in with Mage Book Three: The Hero Denied #11, as it is excellent in both writing and art and shows great creativity in its story points, showing that being a parent isn’t the end of the story and earning 4.5 out of 5 stars overall.  A comic this good could only come from a seasoned veteran creator, and Matt Wagner hasn’t lost a step in art or in story.



Another exciting chapter, showing that marriage and kids don't have to mean the end of adventure. If only more comics followed those rules.

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About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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