Magic the Gathering: Theros #2 (Comics Review)

After the success of Matt Forbeck’s 12-issue run on the title, IDW launched a new phase of Magic the Gathering comics in October with Planeswalker Dack Fayden under the pen of new writer Jason Ciaramella and series veteran Martin Coccolo. The first issue was quite a fun read, largely in part because it kept the same tone and momentum as Matt’s own issues, which I loved, and I was quite looking forward to the second installment last month. But, for whatever reason the issue was delayed and it comes out today (still a few hours to go for US readers).

The second issue unfortunately suffers from a sophomore slump. Where the first issue was planes-jumping high adventure and Dack’s typical madcap heist story, the second issue doesn’t really offer anything interesting. There is a distinct lack of story progression here and I found that I didn’t like it as much as I liked the first issue. The artwork is still brilliant but the writing definitely lets it down.

MtG Theroes 02In this issue, we see Dack do something that he hasn’t done before: go on a sea voyage to an island where some secrets about the object he stole (in the first issue) will be revealed and where another piece of that object await him. Of course, he gets quite sea-sick on the trip and ends up getting berated by the Captain, who is none too pleased about his passenger’s delicate constitution. Once on the island, Dack quickly finds the place he is looking for and enters alone while the Captain and his crew wait outside. Inside, well, inside there are dangers aplenty and Dack once again has to run for his life in the end.

I’m not too sure about this issue. The story is quite bland most of the time and there is very real excitement this time around. In the first issue and in the first volume, we had seen some really interesting antagonists for Dack, people who would most definitely kill him and were offended by his thieving. In this one, we meet two new antagonists but we learn next to nothing about either of them, except one of them looks like a cross between Medusa and a mermaid, which is none too flattering. And her dialogue reads very much like how Gollum from The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings speaks like, so that was a bit weird as well.

Mostly however, what got to me was that the overall story didn’t really progress all that much. Dack and his hired ship gets to the island, gets an item, heads back out, gets attacked. That’s really all that there’s too it. In itself, it is told competently enough, but it failed to engage me and I was bored of it by the end, which is probably why it took me almost twenty minutes to finish the issue instead of the usual 8-10 that it takes me to read a single issue.

I would have liked to know more about the item that Dack stole in Ravnica, the dangers that come with it and since Ciaramella introduced two new villains, I wanted to see them developed as well. But none of them happened here and it was basically a generic treasure hunter story with a Magic the Gathering twist to it and that in itself wasn’t handled all that well in the end.

What I found to be most interesting was the Captain of the ship. He and Dack share a very deep moment towards the end of the issue, when he shares the story of his particular affliction and that was definitely a high point of this issue. Hopefully, Ciaramella goes further with in the next couple issues.

The art here is once againby Marti Coccolo, with colours by Joana Lafuente and letters by Tom B. Long. As is his usual style, Martin does an excellent job with the interiors, specifically his characters and their body language. I’ve enjoyed his artwork on all the previous issues of the series with Dack and this one is no exception to that. A little heavy on the pencils here and there, but his artwork is still pretty distinctive and clean and is often very realistic. Joana’s colours do well to complement Martin’s pencils and the pages look rather spectacular in the end, with the kind of cheery air to it that I expect from an adventure fantasy comic like this, whether the scenes are set inside caves or in an open island or on a ship.

Overall, a decent sort of effort, but well below expectations.

Rating: 6/10

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

Posted on December 11, 2013, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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