By JC De La Torre & Ray Dillon
From just looking at the cover alone, you are immediately interested in what is inside of the debut issue of Star Mage from IDW this week. We follow a young boy named Darien Connors who is both mild-mannered and timid which seems to attract a lot of bullies. After his astronaut father disappeared on a space mission a few years ago he was raised by an uncle and aunt since his mother passed away when he was very young. Something seems to happen to Darien one day while being picked on that grants him some sort of magical powers.
The concept and setup for Star Mage in this first issue is very formulaic. The wimpy kid with no parents is suddenly bestowed with powers. Halfway through the issue he meets Arylos, who was a friend of Darien’s parents in the past. Arylos also informs him that Darien’s parents were powerful star mages and that Darien himself is also a star mage, which explains his new powers. This is all surprising news for Darien which he finds a bit hard to believe. Now this does seem like familiar waters being tread but this is also just a first issue and there is plenty of room for this series to grow into its own. Overall, the story still read smoothly and was easy to follow and at no point was it boring, so it’ll just be interesting to see how this series will develop over time.
The art on Star Mage’s cover is incredibly attractive and is just asking to be picked up and read. Surprisingly the cover and interior art are very similar so there isn’t a jarring shock of different art when you open the book. However, if you had to complain about anything involving the art in this debut it would be the fact that halfway through this issue there is a lot of blank backgrounds that are kind of boring for a reader. There are a lot of sci-fi tales that have scenes which take place in an entirely whited out room which is a cool concept but it’s been incredibly overused lately and feels like a bit of a copout to rush out art. Also on the page right before the white room scene, which is a flashback NASA press conference, the backgrounds are all just a boring solid dark blue color. These things don’t take anything away from the story or make this issue unreadable but it does standout when half of an issue is just flat backgrounds. Maybe it’s just a little disappointing since the first half of this issue looked incredibly good and seemed like the art suffered a bit towards the end.
Star Mage has put forth a decent debut and laid down some main story and plot points for the series to explore in future issues. Sure, they might not be breaking any barriers or reinventing the comic but it is a fun story that is easy to follow. It’s hard to judge a story like Star Mage based solely on the first issue but there was enough in this first issue to make me interested to read more before delivering a verdict on this series. If you enjoy magic or sci-fi stories like Harry Potter or The Last Star Fighter or just want a fun adventurous story to read, then give Star Mage a shot because it might be the kind of story you are looking for.