Terry Ward is a master magician, but he’ll have to be a damn good escape artist to survive the series finale of Smoke & Mirrors by Mike Costa. Major Spoilers explores the mystery behind the magic in this months review.

Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Ryan Browne & Jon Armstrong
Letterer: Neil Uyetake
Editor: John Barber
Publisher: IDW
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Smoke & Mirrors: Magician Terry Ward has been transported to a world where technology is replaced with magic spells. Wards illusions are inconceivable to the magical inhabitants and invite some unwanted attention from a master spell maker. The spell maker kidnaps Terry and plans on stealing his magic spells; the only problem is he doesn’t know any…


What is a gun to a man whose never even heard of one? Not something to fear. Of all the things in Terry Ward’s mysterious trunk, there is only one thing that is potentially lethal, and it’s been delivered to his dungeon cell. He could just shoot his way out of his prison but writer Mike Costa gives us a much grander, much more fitting conclusion for our favorite non-magical magician.

Stephen Carroll, the head of the Trade Circle, orchestrates his own downfall with his arrogance. The series’ antagonist doesn’t think anyone can match his wit or wisdom. Killing your assistant and bringing him back just to prove that you’re powerful…that’s going to come back and bite you in the ass. Stronger than any spell we’ve seen, Ward only has to mutter one line in order to secure his freedom and set the dominoes in motion. The story climaxes in a tightly written and believably executed manner. It wasn’t convenient or overly obvious, it was perfect.

It was a lot of fun to watch this story unravel, but as a series finale it was kind of a disappointment. Not like the Lost series finale disappointing, but five issues was not enough time to tell this whole tale. This was an excellent ending to the first arc for the characters, but I’d love to see IDW bring the characters back for more adventures. And possibly a little explanation into the cats, what was going on with the cats?


I’m kicking myself that I didn’t get into this book until issue #4. Ryan Browne and Jon Armstrong work brilliantly together. The cover art is what really drew me into the series and the interiors are just as good. It’s hard to illustrate a book that isn’t necessarily ‘action packed’ but has a lot of subtle slide of hand moments. I look forward to checking out other work from both Browne and Armstrong.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Needs More Issues

Don’t get me wrong, this book is awesome, but as a series finale it really felt unfinished. I’d love to see IDW bring this back with another five or ten issues, not an ongoing series, but I’d really like to see Terry get some answers and try find his way home.

Rating: ★★★★★


About Author

Jake Troxell is a grown man with a mission: to stay twelve years old forever. He faces his mission armed only with his love for comic books, graphic design skills, and an unwavering belief that he’ll soon be able to trade in his skateboard for a hoverboard. Wish him luck on his unprecedented journey back to pre-pubescent optimism.

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