By Dustin Cabeal
I’ve never read any of the Mage series, but I remember it fondly from Wizard magazine from back in the day. They seemed to like it, and since I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve ever ready by Matt Wagner, well, it seemed like a no-brainer to check out.
Usually, I call bullshit on zero issues, but in the case of Mage, it really works for two reasons. The first reason is that it’s been a while since anyone’s seen Mage, so it’s a great quick refresher for the old audience and a slick intro for the new audience. The other reason this zero-issue works is because it’s a damn good issue.
First off, the design for Pendragon is amazing. Wagner boldly ages his character and takes his luscious locks of hair. He’s still recognizable, but it’s different for sure. The rest of the art is exactly what you’d expect from Matt Wagner; it’s detailed, stylized and wonderful to look at. Wagner is still one of the best visual storytellers in comics, and he proves it every time he puts pencil to paper… or stylus to tablet… I won’t pretend I know how anyone is drawing these days.
As for the story, it’s short and simple. Pendragon has run into a new hero that has “marked” the area and is going to take out the evil little goblin fucks. There’s instant social commentary ranging from video games to superheroes and so much more. All the more it’s established clearly right here in the zero issue. Why? Because this is exactly what a zero issue should do, establish the world, give insight into the character and give a clear reason why a reader should come back. Otherwise, there’s no point to a zero-issue other than to sell an easy collectible cover.
This review is on the shorter side because this issue is on the shorter side. There’s not a lot to say here, but overall the issue is one of the best I’ve read this week and accomplishes everything it could and in my humble opinion, should. Having read this, I want to read more Mage and will be checking out the first volume that’s out this week as a reprint. See you in August Mage.
Mage: The Hero Denied #0
Writer/Artist/Creator: Matt Wagner
Colorist: Brennan Wagner
Letterer: Dave Lanphear
Publisher: Image Comics