I gotta admit, there was definitely some reservations on my end when it came to picking up this book. I’m a fan of The Magicians, but that is more in terms of the show. As someone who hasn’t read the novels, there was a lot to quickly get used to in contrast. The good thing? By the end of the second issue, the lines pretty much began to blur when finding out that we are all investing in the same brand of chaos and madness.That’s of course not to say that this isn’t still a different experience altogether considering how the walls between magicians and hedges have begun tearing down.
Who would have thought that all it would take was the supposed death of one of these students who go in over their heads? That was quite the clever twist they threw our way because there’s so much wrong with someone suddenly coming back to life in a world like this. From what we know about the way that magic works, it is very rare to stumble into the kind of magic that would actually bring someone back from the dead without going through some grueling process. So that means something foul is afoot. How this shook things up for the students was a thrill considering how they all think so differently from one another. Tensions would obviously rise from dealing with so many reactions to this development. The fear in knowing that something doesn’t make sense, the frustration in only being able to communicate with one another, and the drama in everyone having their own idea of what to do about this curve-ball they’ve been thrown. All of it came fairly naturally and then some.
This alone was probably the perfect way to begin creating that situation where they might start turning on one another. So much can go wrong here, and all it takes is that one person to allow themselves to become consumed by fear. Because let’s face it, fear makes people do stupid things. We don’t see too much of what will turn these students against one another in this issue, but it helped re-emphasizing that everyone has motivations that won’t take backseat to the needs of someone else.
At the same time I enjoyed that they wasted little time actually getting into the thick of this plot. As far as we are concerned, dealing with the circumstances of Sophie’s return is only the start of the troubles. With Fogg and Warren talking about this whole other enemy who may already be among them, its pretty clear that not everything is as it seems for the students. Especially when this new enemy is apparently just as dangerous as The Beast. It was quite the visual to see what could come of acknowledging the presence of the enemy too late. I was shocked, and yet not too shocked that we would actually get scenes where this art team could indulge in some of the more visceral elements to the dark corners of this world.
Something I have come to appreciate in just these first three issues is how the time was also spent diving into legitimate reasons for these magicians trying to make something of their gifts. What we never get enough of is characters with a drive and motivation towards genuine goals. It makes all the difference in what gets them from point A to B.
The interior work was definitely at its best in this issue as well. If there was one thing we needed to see from this book, it was always going to be more magic. I was glad that this art team did not disappoint there because opportunities are also rare when you get to see magicians embrace the excitement of battle magic. This was the most flashy that I have seen it, and the effect of the first spell they learned was pretty cool. Bold, not too intense, yet still pops as the most appealing thing that is going on in any page. Getting back to some of those visceral elements mentioned above, I must also commend them on the execution of those scenes where they could have easily gone over the top and gave us just enough to create the image of terror. It was just enough body parts and red without being too much. That says a lot about them trying to stray from shock value.
With each passing issue The Magicians proves to be just as much of a rollercoaster as it is as a novel or show. Things got dark fast, and I hope this creative team does not let up on the breaks with so much that is now at stake.