Review: Magic the Gathering – Theros #5

I’ve really enjoyed this volume of Magic The Gathering. It’s a series that bares resemblance to the structure used for most of the Mignolaverse from Dark Horse Comics, in that each mini-series is a chapter in the overall story that’s running throughout the world. That is to say that instead of a monthly series they’re divided up into mini-series and this allows for a better quality and pacing for the stories. Again this series has been very good and brought me back to Dack Fayden, a plane traveler with powerful magic. He was on a journey to find an artifact with immense power before someone else could and spoiler he was successful. While the first four issues were about this journey and Fayden’s introduction to the land of Theros, this fifth issue is something else.

To put it bluntly, it’s a set up issue for the next series. Even still it’s a decent issue because Fayden is a grand character with many quirks and the perfect adventurer’s personality. The fact does remain though that this issue is more of a one-shot with the bulk of the story being told and played out within this issue. That may not sound like a bad thing, but it’s supposed to be the fifth issue in the “Theros” storyline and other than the fact that Fayden is there… it doesn’t have much to do with Theros at all.

The gist of the issue is that Fayden is in jail after waking up and discovering he was performing some serious magic and attacking a place. They have him bound and muzzled so that he can’t perform magic. Our female mage from before, Atha, ends up freeing Fayden and she tells him of her crazy ass plan that may get him killed, but also stop the next threat which is a being that feeds on Nightmares.

Magic_S405_cvrAThat is what makes this issue good and bad. It really comes across as a first issue in a new series or as I said a one-shot that connects them both, but it ends here. More than likely it’s so that the next mini-series can begin in the location that this issue leaves off at, but it really leaves this issue standing out like a sore thumb compared to the other four issues.

The writing is otherwise as solid and well-crafted as the rest of the series. Fayden’s dialogue and narration is as enjoyable as ever and you just can’t help but like the guy. It says something about the quality of writing when you like a character for their personality and not for their talents or powers. Take Fayden’s powers away and he’s still a dude you’d want to hang with.

Our artists Martin Cocolo and Chris Evenhuis return to the issue and bring their wonderful pencil work that’s been a staple from the beginning. Their artwork is so great that one of the pages from the book was turned into the variant cover for the issues. There is nothing more than I can say about their artwork. It’s detailed, photorealistic and brings this magical world to life with its characters and setting.

This is a tough call because it is a really good issue, but a fifth issue in a five-issue series should also be judge on that merit. I’m all fine with a set up for the next issue, but that’s all this issue is. They might have wanted to visit it on the next series or even as a zero issue one-shot just before it’s launch.

Score: 3/5

Writer: Jason Ciaramella Artists: Martin Coccolo and Chris Evenhuis Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 3/19/14