The Magic Order #1
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Olivier Coipel
Colourist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Peter Doherty
Publisher: Image Comics/Netflix
There’s an ancient magic order that protects the world, and with sleight of hand draws our eyes away from a darkness we don’t want to see. Now, a mysterious foe moves against them, whittling down the five magical bloodlines that have felled monsters for generations. Though this murder mystery story has been told before (Watchmen, Identity Crisis), there’s something to The Magic Order #1 that leaves you wanting more.
In his debut at Netflix Mark Millar has picked up a few tricks, utilizing a bit of misdirection and his flare for the dramatic. At times, his writing strays into the unnecessarily dark and garish, with some panels seemingly created solely to shock the reader (it’s nothing egregious though). Yet the final pages, absent of blood and violence, were much more disturbing to me and already had me interested in the next issue. It’s obvious he’s a seasoned storyteller, and he’s teased enough about the world and the characters to make a familiar plot intriguing.
In the editorial for this first issue, Millar writes that The Magic Order is “the most beautiful comic my name’s ever been attached to,” and I’d have to say I agree. Though he’s worked with some fantastic artists in the past (an advert for Reborn penciled by Greg Capullo can be found in the backpages, I recommend giving it a read!), Olivier Coipel’s artwork in The Magic Order #1 simply blew me away. It’s a darker, more detailed aesthetic than his previous work on Thor or House of M, and it’s a really what drew me into this comic.
The Magic Order #1 is apparently hitting records already. Personally, I was taken off guard by Millar’s comments on his “scarcity” strategy to make The Magic Order #1 a must buy with booming pre-orders. Particularly when he mentioned being curious to see what the first issue will fetch on eBay after ncbd closes, making it “as collectible as possible” by holding off on second printings, when many creators have called out the destructive fallout of comics speculation. Collecting comics should be an extension of reading them, not the purpose in my opinion.
Verdict: Check it out.
The Magic Order #1 conjures an old trick, but like any good magician, makes it look new. If you’re looking for another occult murder mystery to add to your pull list, I’d definitely gives this one a read for Coipel’s artwork alone, but since it’s going to be a short run and expects to sell out without second printings, you could also wait for the trade (or the inevitable Netflix series).