Magic: The Gathering: Chandra #2
Chandra fights with passion, but cannot run from her own self-doubt.
Chandra throws herself into her mission to protect others, but can her work keep her from being tormented by her own inner demons? Magic: The Gathering: Chandra #2 is here, and we have our review, after the jump.
Writer: Vita Ayala
Artist: Harvey Tolibao
Colorist: Joana Lafuente
Letterer: Christa Miesner and Robbie Robbins
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 3, 2019
Previously in Magic: the Gathering: Chandra: Chandra, the planeswalker and pyromancer, has struck out on her own. Her mission is to try to protect those who cannot protect themselves, but memories of her own past keep interfering. On Regatha, she tries to save a village from an erupting volcano only to end up buried herself. And her dreams keep tormenting her.
A FIERY ROAD TRIP
One thing about planeswalkers is that they move around a lot. As Magic the Gathering: Chandra #2 opens, Chandra planeswalks to her mother’s home in Kaladesh, collapsing in exhaustion. Her mother sends her off to bed, where her sleep is punctuated by visions of Nicol Bolas. She wakes up and is gone before her mother can bring her breakfast.
Magic the Gathering is a card game with a rich cast of characters, and storylines only somewhat tangentially related to the game. (They’re more connected with the art than they are to gameplay.) That said, I think that to appreciate this book, you have to have some familiarity with the characters from the game. Knowing the storyline would help even more, but I am not that well-read in the storyline and I could still follow this. If you do not know the various planeswalkers and especially the planes they travel to, this issue may be downright confusing.
Chandra visits the plane of Alara where she rescues an Aven princess who is being kidnapped in order to spark a war. There is some pithy dialogue, and additional text boxes to fill us in on Chandra’s thoughts and history. She manages to save the princess, but really is not at her best and realizes this, sort of mentally kicking herself and heading off to the plane of Innistrad for some inner monologue while fighting ice ghosts. Innistrad is a world of living nightmares, and she gets a vision of Gideon, accusing her of failing again and distracting her from her fight.
Then Tibalt (another planeswalker) shows up to taunt her, feed off her guilt, and also to accuse her of being a failure. Plainly this is not her day. They fight for a while, and Chandra gets another vision of Nicol Bolas, who accuses her of leaving nothing but destruction in her path. More fighting, and she gets an accusatory vision of Ajani. By now, pretty much everything has been set on fire one way or another. Tibalt prepares for an attack and Chandra flees to Zendikar, exhausted.
I think, with having to fit in with the history we know about Chandra, that we end up with a story that doesn’t leave a lot of room for character growth. She sees visions of so many other planeswalkers that it feels a little like they’re cameos. (And if you don’t know who they are, you will have no clue why they matter.) The whole book reads as though she’s feeling guilty about her bad experiences, and is beating herself up about it. That’s fine, but as a plot, it’s not terribly interesting.
DELICIOUS TO LOOK AT
On the other hand, the art in Magic the Gathering: Chandra #2 is quite lovely to look at. The artist is familiar with the style of all the various planes we visit, and it shows brilliantly. The linework is detailed and careful. We open on Kaladesh, which is stylistically my favorite plane, and it is clear where we are (and so very pretty). Innistrad is indeed very creepy, and the coloring complements the art to give it that shadowy, horror setting feel.
This is a book about Chandra, so of course we see a lot of flames and magic being flung around, and that, too is quite pretty. Chandra is drawn in some very iconic poses – if not taken directly from card art, they absolutely catch her style. Of the other planeswalkers we see, the only one who is actually a major player in this issue is Tibalt, and he, too, is well drawn and actually has a lot of character and attitude.
BOTTOM LINE: IF YOU LOVE MAGIC’S STORYLINES, THIS MAY BE FOR YOU
Magic the Gathering: Chandra #2 is about what you’d expect for a story about a planeswalker. If you’re a fan, this is a really pretty book and is probably at least somewhat enjoyable. The story does not seem all that deep, and I don’t get a feel that it’s treading in any new territory.