by Gary Turner, Carlos E. Gomez, and Eddy Swan
Brand new from Action Lab Entertainment comes this exciting new series, I, Mage. This title takes readers into a magical world that should be rather familiar to any individuals who have some experience with role-playing games. With a colorful and engaging first issue, I, Mage is definitely off to a strong start.
The book opens with its narrator and female lead, Zawa, telling readers what to expect from her universe in a way that not only covers a lot of ground, but also showcases just how ordinary it all is. Zawa’s voice is immediately established and it adds character to the book, providing a lens through which readers take in this new information. Writer Gary Turner’s portrayal of Zawa is that of a strong, no-nonsense individual who might be a slight bit over-confident. Just as quickly, both in her description of her teacher and later interactions, Turner is just as successful in establishing Skirner as well as the relationship the two have. Their exchanges that transpire while fending off a sea dragon are an excellent use of the space, balancing the demands of a new series impressively well.
This is echoed in the artwork of Carlos E. Gomez and Eddy Swan. From the very first pages, the book is kinetic, throwing a number of images at the readers, each dramatically different from the last. In quick succession readers are thrust into the world, seeing a number of different settings, creatures and exciting moments from the travels of Skirner and Zawa. Only moments later, the book settles on a curious fusion of elements as the two mages fight off a sea dragon while a futuristic looking boy appears with some type of robot. The artists use full-page splashes and double-page spreads with individual panels that stretch across both pages to really capture the size of these moments. Swan’s colors are vibrant throughout the issue. When Skirner hoists his staff above his head and shouts in another language, the page appears to glow from the yellow beams bursting from its top. At no point in the issue does the energy ever lull. Even when the battle subsides, the introductions between the boy and the mages are intriguing and quickly lead into the next adventure.
The introduction of Kai to the story brings a fish-out-of-water dimension along with it. Using Zawa as the book’s lead, however, is a curious decision that creates a few more mysteries, as the readers are not experiencing the events through his eyes. Turner is able to use this quite well, as it lends to a few more unknowns and creates great dramatic tension.
In only a single short issue, readers are provided a slew of information, both through the script as well as the art. Action Lab has produced a number of books that have a great appeal to younger audiences without ignoring adults and I, Mage is yet another publication to add to that list. With a rather rich new universe and well-established characters, this book has a lot to enjoy.