Magic: The Gathering – Theros #1 by Jason Ciaramella (Comics Review)

When I got back into comics last year, Matt Forbeck’s Magic the Gathering #1 was among the very first I read, thanks to a review copy I got from IDW Publishing through NetGalley. I really liked it, and then went on to read many more IDW comics. I’ve read pretty much all of Matt Forbeck’s work on this series, except for the last two issues of the third arc. Put out as three four-issue mini-series, these comics have been among the best I’ve read to date, thanks to the excellent writing, and the excellent artwork by Martin Coccolo.

Recently IDW announced a new ongoing series for planeswalker Dack Fayden, the star of Matt’s Magic comics, and it got me really excited. I was slightly bummed that Matt wasn’t going to be working on the series, but I was excited all the same. I enjoyed reading Dack’s previous adventures and I hoped for the same from new writer Jason Ciaramella as well. And he does deliver.

MtG Theros 01Ciaramella’s first issue starts off a new adventure for Dack Fayden. He’s moved on from his hunt for Sifa Ghent, the sorceress who destroyed his home-town. That chapter is done and closed and a new one begins. Dack returns to Ravnica and he gets caught up in another madcap heist that goes wrong (Matt’s first issue was very similar) and now he has to deal with the consequences. And like before, he goes to new places where he has even more madcap adventures as he establishes his… dominance.

Overall, the story was really fun. One of the best things about Mat’s run was that all the adventures through all the different places were pretty self-contained in an issue, and Jason Ciaramella does the same thing here. You don’t need to have read any of Matt’s issues to understand what’s going on here, and that’s another point in favour of the series since you can come in, pick it up from this issue and then just roll with it. No dependent continuity, no heavy references to what’s happened before, nothing like that. The story makes it quite clear that that part of Dack’s part is done with.

The script is well-paced and it flows along very naturally, with a fair few twists and turns as Dack goes about trying to prevent a “guild war” within Ravnica, something that his internal monologue assures the reader would be very, very bad for the plane. Dack hasn’t exactly been a very altruistic character in this series, but he does step about the line every now and then, which is what Jason does a great job of addressing. Any kind of a war on Ravnica would essentially be bad for business and Dack can’t have that. So he decides to nip things in the bud. But its Dack after all, so things don’t work out as expected. You can see that very clearly in the issue, and what that means is that Jason had a good handle on the character. He is leaving his own mark on the character but he is also making sure that he pays respect to what’s come before.

And I like that, I really do.

Martin Coccolo, as ever, is on top-form with this issue. Its really great to see him working alongside a new writer. He brings the same energy and finesse to the new series as he did with Matt. As Jason’s script flows along smoothly, so does Martin’s art, which is as it should be. Martin’s always had a good eye for making sure that the panel layouts complement the scripts. There’s a reason he is such a good artist. Colourist Joanna Lafuente and letterer Robbie Robbins are new to the series, but they work well with Martin and Jason nonetheless. The colours in this issue are really good, and they give it a slightly different look than was there before. Much more… cinematic and eye-popping, which works fine for me. I’m really looking forward to how they do on the future issues.

So far, off this one issue, it looks like the new Magic the Gathering series is on to a great start, and hopefully it will continue like this for a good long while.

Rating: 9/10

More Magic the Gathering: Vol.1, (Vol.2) #1-2#3-4.

Posted on October 13, 2013, in Comics Reviews, General, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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