Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Classics - Mage #1

It's impressive to note just how good writer and artist Matt Wagner was from the very beginning.

Not long after launching what I believe was his first comic for the company Comico, the impressive Grendel, he followed it with another epic saga - Mage.

This first series of stories, subtitled "The Hero Discovered," introduced Kevin Matchstick, a young man with great taste in T-shirts. He meets an odd homeless man on the street and soon finds himself trying to defend what he assumes is a man being mugged in a back alley.

But he's stunned by his own abilities - especially after he punches a hole through a brick wall with his bare fist.

He has another encounter with the homeless guy, who apparently has magical powers - and some answers to Kevin's questions.

It was a great start to the series that had its roots firmly based in Arthurian legends. It's a bit rough around the edges, both in terms of story and the art, but it holds up fine today (which you can't say about a lot of the stuff published in 1984) - and it's a series that just kept getting better, just like its creator.

Wagner's art is a bit rough here, but loaded with power and energy - especially the fight scenes, which are brutal and intense. His layouts are vibrant and clever, and his storytelling very clear (aside from a couple of rookie panel-flow mistakes).

This was just the beginning of a long and productive career that continues to this day. I'm always anxious to see what work Wagner will do next - especially when he returns to his roots with Mage and Grendel.

Grade: B+


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