By Charles Soule, Ryan Browne, Jordan Boyd, Michael Parkinson, Chris Crank, Shawn DePasquale, and Sean Dove.
A wizard appears in current day New York City and begins to perform spells that amaze and astound the masses (while amusing himself), all while being accompanied by his sidekick, a talking koala named Margaret. This is the basic premise for Curse Words, a new monthly title from Image from writer Charles Soule (Daredevil and Death of Wolverine) and artist Ryan Browne (God Hates Astronauts). Honestly, a wizard riding a motorcycle with a koala riding shotgun has never looked so cool. Wizord gets displaced from his home world, The Hole World, and finds himself in Central Park with Margaret. This first issue covers his journey since landing on Earth and shows his transformation from a wizard stranger to a wizard hipster badass who captures the attention and admiration from an entire nation. This first issue has yet to show if Wizord is inherently good or evil, and there are many more riddles waiting to be answered as this series unfolds.
Wizord is everything you would want in a modern day wizard; he is depicted as a silver fox, hipster of a wizard who at first appears to be out for his own gains by helping mainly the rich and famous. It becomes obvious from the first few pages that Wizord has some boundaries when using his magic on Earth: “No Cures, No War and No Love.” The rules are either self-imposed, or are a limit to his powers, it has yet to be seen. However, you get the sense this wizard may have some morals to him. He does kind of resemble Gandalf, but Soule and Browne don’t really show him helping anyone but himself throughout the entire first issue.
The transformation Wizord takes when arriving to New York is the true highlight from this first issue. Very little is revealed about The Hole World in this debut issue, just that it had slaves and appears to be a brutal living. Wizord changes his entire perception of the city once he envisions himself living there relaxing with a beautiful woman. He then decides to upgrade his look, clothes, and gets an office space together to be a “Wizard for Hire”. The crazy part of this story is, even though readers come into this story acknowledging this is pure fantasy, there is a level of believability to the entire premise. Like, if a wizard where to come to New York (hypothetically of course, New York is way too expensive), they would probably be super self-serving and only help the super rich and famous and probably mess around with them for fun. The book has self-awareness to it that allows readers to go for the ride, and find humor and relate in a completely surreal premise.
The humor and fun in this book are only highlighted by the art from Ryan Browne. The co-creator of Curse Words really brought Wizord alive from the cheeky character design to the insane layouts. The opening page to this book really sells the story, and that is the beauty of this book – the vision and storytelling are so fluid between Soule and Browne. If you look over each page you will notice a ton of detail in the background; like insane detail in skyscrapers and hanging pictures that are out of reader focus but still take up panel space. You can really appreciate all the love and attention Browne put into this book to make it really look awesome while still playing up the humor and ridiculousness. This issue has colors from Jordan Boyd and Michael Parkinson and has letters from Chris Crank and Shawn DePasquale. Each page is vibrantly colored with bright, fluorescent colors that allow the reader to be entered into a world where magic can happen. There are nice contrasts between the panels showing The Hole World, where the colors are bold and dark and give a brooding quality. The use of opposing colors really works into helping establish the different locations for readers and also convey the emotions.
Curse Words #1 is a good first issue that introduces readers to a new world where wizards still have the best hipster beards and the rich and famous still get preferential treatment. In this land of magic and spells it is easy to find a reluctant, selfish hero like Wizord intriguing and maybe relatable. This introductory issue does give the reader some insight in to the history of Wizord, but leaves many more things left unanswered. Soule and Browne managed to balance the showing and telling of storytelling beautifully throughout the issue, so at the very last page readers are left looking for more.