Review: King: Mandrake the Magician #1

Historically Mandrake is little more than a hypnotist and while he is considered by some to be THE FIRST superhero I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would recognize him.  I think you’d be more likely to find him mistaken for his more blatant rip-offs successors *cough* Zatara *cough* *cough*.  Sorry, I must be coming down with a cold.  Or, maybe, I’m just allergic to unapologetic stealing DC!  Anyway, despite his place in history Mandrake is a little on the obscure side is what I’m saying. I’ve been very much looking forward to the next installment of the Pulpy-verse.  With two homeruns and, let’s call it a ball with Phantom, they’ve established enough to make me want to read every book in the setting for better or worse.  Mandrake The Magician had me intrigued from the get go with hopes high and anticipating greatness.

Mandrake the Magician #1 2-18-15It succeeds in piquing my interest although the issue itself isn’t much more than a pretty fireworks display.  Almost literally.  The premise of book is that Mandrake is putting on a show to raise money for those less fortunate survivors of the Ming-pocalypse.  It’s mostly an excuse to give you an idea of what Mandrake can do and what the cost to Mandrake is when he does it.  There are underlying elements of stolen magical relics, a hidden plot, as well as the release of his most deadly foe the demon Acheron.

What really drives the score up on this, for me, is the potential that the series has as well as what it could add to the universe.  Mandrake could do a really good job filling in the Dr. Strange role.  A device to explore the more esoteric side of the Pulpy-verse, using its unique art to be different and psychedelic in contrast to the other books in their line-up.  While this issue feels kind of like filler I’m really looking forward to the next issue where it looks like things will amp up.

Score: 3/5

Mandrake the Magician Writer: Roger Langridge Artist: Jeremy Treece Colorist: Jeremy Treece Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 2/18/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital