Here’s a little back story for you. I never used to read magic based comics; it wasn’t until I started reviewing comics and had some sent my way that I took any interest in the genre. It’s not that I hadn’t tried the genre out before, but I find that as unique as a magic story seems in the beginning that by the end it’s just the same shtick. What stuck out to me instantly about Misfortune High was that it wasn’t trying to be like anything else in the genre. It wasn’t trying to be an American Harry Potter or bring magic long forgotten back to the modern world.
Instead it is our world recreated entirely around magic.
That means that some kids go to public school and others go to private schools both study magic. Some people’s parents are in the middle class and others are in the upper class. The only difference is that there’s magic and everyone knows and accepts this as a universal truth. But it doesn’t mean that everyone can do everything with magic. Some are better at certain areas just like not everyone can draw or work on cars. That’s what Misfortune High is to me along with being a high school dramedy with a flair of social commentary mixed in.
Jumping a few pages in the opening the story kicks off at Phoenix Magic Academy. We meet Will Bicksford and instantly you can tell that he’s a spoiled brat. He’s practicing some magic fencing with another student that is apparently an orphan. It’s pretty clear that Will is using the poor kid, but at the same time he’s strangely nice to him. It may in fact be the only friend he has, but we’ll never know because the principal calls Will into her office. She expels him for using cheating contraband. Will heads home where he cries to his father, but instead of receiving pity he’s given tough love. He’s informed that he’s going to one of the worst public schools for magic in the city.
I’m not going to drone on and on about the story, but if you couldn’t tell from the cover we meet other characters that play a major role in the story. Will’s first day doesn’t go well as he gets off on the wrong foot with one of the other main characters, but this puts the rest of the characters into play to help Will survive his first day.
As I said I really liked this story. I was genuinely captivated by it and didn’t want it to end. The writing has a great pace to it though we spend a lot of time with Will since he’s technically the star of the series. That said he’s an interesting character since your first instinct is to hate him, but then part of you actually feels sorry for him. I don’t know what his character journey will be, but I hope that he remains a likeable asshole. The supporting/main cast was also great as each one of them displayed their own personalities and were all very different with the exception of the siblings. They were similar, but in the way siblings are naturally. The writing really captures high school mentality in a lot of ways; for instance there’s a scene in which Warren tells Will not to judge a book by its cover (I’m paraphrasing), but then does the exact same thing. Thus is the nature of high school.
A huge selling point is the artwork. The character designs were simple but very cool. No one’s running around in magical cloaks or looking cheesy, they’re dressed like normal people. Their designs also work to establish the different high school clicks of the characters. Obviously a book about magic needs a way to convey that. There’s a very animated look to the magic, but it works for the story and world. Different styles of magic have their own color hue and so each character has their own magic color to match their talents. Overall the visual storytelling is what sells the art and writing. There’s a natural progression to each page through the layout and art design.
So how can you read this story? Well you can’t yet, but if you head to the Kickstarter page you’ll be able to. The good thing about this project is that you know that it’s already done so you won’t be waiting on its completion and then printing as well. I really enjoyed this chapter of the story and will be waiting for the next issue and not just because I want to find out what happens next, but because I really enjoyed this world of magic. It’s quite unlike any other I’ve read in comics and that’s a great thing. Also there’s a great “magic missile” reference so how can you not like just for that reason alone.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Jules Rivera
Kickstarter Page Link