By Marc Silvestri, Sumeyye Kesgin & Betsy Gonia
Although this technically isn’t the first issue, for anyone who missed out on the Free Comic Book Day Rise of the Magi #0, including me, there is a nice succinct recap in the opening of issue #1. It doesn’t seem like we missed too many vital details and this latest installment does a good job of getting right down to business.
Marc Silvestri has created a really interesting story here that combines high fantasy and magic with the modern world. Although the ties to our world don’t become apparent until the last page of Rise of the Magi #1, this installment does a terrific job of setting up the overall plot. The protagonist, Asa, wants nothing more than to join the Spell Guard like his brother whom he has always looked up to. Living in the wondrous world of Rune, Asa is no stranger to magic and fantastic creatures of all sorts. Silvestri does a good job of not only mixing up a wide range of classic fantasy races, but also creating his own creatures and mythos that serve this book incredibly well. Although there are many aspects that are consistent with contemporary fantasy tales, Rise of the Magi does a lot to really make this series feel unique and interesting right from the beginning. The history that was slowly revealed over the course of this book was very intriguing and exciting. While there were definitely a number of light-hearted moments throughout issue #1, there were also plenty of much deeper, powerful scenes that were quite gripping. However, for a first “official” installment, there was a lot happening in this story without ever feeling overwhelming or confusing.
The visuals by Sumeyye Kesgin and Silvestri most certainly enhance the unique tone of this book. Every panel is filled with wonderfully creative images. The action always feels dynamic, and the creatures, magics, and environments all look excellent. The quicker-paced scenes flow together very well, carried by the dynamic illustrations. All of the excitement is intensified by the overall style of the visuals that just seems to make everything feel more epic. The colors by Betsy Gonia also enhance the books’ appearance to a large degree, with lush, vibrant tones throughout and an impressive attention to detail.
Action, humor, emotion, everything is here. Rise of the Magi is off to a very exciting start and we haven’t even seen Asa interacting with our world yet! There is a lot more depth to the story so far compared to what many people may assume, and the visuals are pretty amazing. This series feels unique and full of imagination, and it will be really exciting to see where things go from here.