What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about The Magicians #4! The second to last issue for this mini. As I said last month, with each passing issue The Magicians proves to be just as much of a roller coaster as it is as a novel or show. Things got dark fast, and I hoped this creative team would not let up on the brakes with so much that is now at stake.
With this book only being five issues, I’m was very happy to see that this creative team had a good sense of pacing for the point we find ourselves in the story. We got our introduction to the chosen Brakebills magicians, the hedge witches, the changes to the school over time, and the new danger they face. Though most importantly, the new danger they face. That twist they threw at us at the end o the previous issue? Simply jaw-dropping because part of you probably wasn’t too prepared to get the same level of violence in the comic as you would in the novels or show. That was a big statement to make if the way Sophie died wasn’t enough of one. This created the perfect opening in this chapter to at last shed some light on who this enemy is, and what this person has to do with the reason these students are being trained in battle magic.
Now it goes without saying that credit where it is due for the way this enemy was introduced to us and the students. Personally, pronouns aren’t something too important to be, but it is to others. How they approached identifying this person as they and them consistently was interesting, and it was done without anyone really bringing much attention to this fact. That last part is what stuck with me the most because the only way to give this kind of writing true power is not to push it in anyone’s face. It must seem like a natural thing to actually be such.
That said, they continued moving fast as well when it came to revealing what is actually going on with this Sophie. Obviously she died. The universe of The Magicians is not one where people cheat death so easily. So the explanation of what the students were dealing with was clever for the way it weaved into the already ongoing plot, and for the way that it created a whole new kind of danger that no one saw coming till the last-minute.
Beyond this, the execution of the scene where Dean Fogg reveals the truth behind opening the doors of Brakebills to the hedges was perfect. There was always going to be more to this than what we got on the surface, and his explanation was very in line with what we know about Dean Fogg. Transparency isn’t always his thing, and he will twist his words quite brilliantly to get people to do what he wants. Even if they think they are doing it for other reasons.
When it comes to a book like The Magicians, there is a strong consistency that you get form the interior work. Nothing over the top, but solid enough to keep you engaged from page to page. Not a bad thing either when you know that what starts off as solid can easily turn into something more when you throw in the elements of magic and horror. Through the previous issue we got to see more of the horror, in this issue the art teamed leaned a bit more towards magic between the small spells, the battle spells, and everything else inbetween. Not too flashy, but still gives the story some energy when you aren’t focusing on the equally strong expressions from many of these students who have been put into a state of distress.
The Magicians #4 ended up being a thrilling transition from the carnage issue #3 dropped on our laps last-minute. This issue moved with momentum, pulled no punches with the truth to this situation, and really did give us something that trumps the squabbles between students of Brakebills and hedge witches.