By Leah Williams, Filipe Andrade, Chris O’Halloran & VC’s Clayton Cowles

One of the greatest things about the What if? Marvel storylines is that creators are able to take the concept and play with it to the extreme and that is what they are doing so here with this title. Writer Leah Williams, working with artist Filipe Andrade and colourist Chris O’Halloran, weaves a fascinating alternative timeline where Magik finds herself under the tutelage of Doctor Stephen Strange. It’s a tantalisingly interesting storyline that feels harshly limited to just the one-shot, as Williams really nails the interactions between the two characters as we find out how they first encounter each other. And predictably as this is a superhero comic and these two characters are very different in their personalities, it doesn’t get off to the smoothest of starts.

The dialogue is on point and Stephen Strange is instantly recognisable as the Sorcerer Supreme. The touches of humour that break up the action are used very well – for instance, Doctor Strange not only pokes fun at the fact that he had the surname Strange before he became Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme, but also manages to make light of Illyana’s rough upbringing, labelling her as a feral who’s never had pastrami before. It’s these kind of interactions that make you long for more between the two.

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As a reader who is not entirely familiar with Magik and her character What if? Magik does a fantastic job at making her accessible to newcomers as possible whilst still providing enough for fans of the character to love. There’s no excessive amounts of info-dumping however as Williams is able to make the storyline flow naturally, and everything comes together well right from its beginning to end. It’s surprising to see that the two characters haven’t come into contact with each other more frequently given their magical connection and it’s interesting to watch both learn the ropes of what it might be like to worth with one another. It’s a learning experience for both and the two characters shine.

The artwork is incredible and both Andrade and O’Halloran excel in creating a unique atmosphere that mashes the worlds of Magik and Stephen Strange together perfectly, blending the surreal trips down the magical rabbit hole into everyday New York City really well. They make every step into the normal world away from the more magic elements into panels where there is no immediate threat feel earned and rewarded. When the action does kick into life Andrade manages to capture the sheer scale as to what would happen if two titans like Dr. Strange and Belasco were to go head to head. O’Halloran’s colours are vivid and detailed, echoing Dario Argento’s Suspiria in several places as the artists go above and beyond to flesh out the world and the characters that live in it. Every panel is beautiful and it’s hard not to fall in love with it.

One of the very best things that a What if? One-shot can do is leave you desperate for more and that is what What if? Magik does. Its creative team deliver their best to make this issue an absolute must-read that should not be missed.

About The Author Milo Milton Jef​feries

Milo is a fan of comics, movies and television, and he reads too many books, listens to far too much music and watches far too many shows and movies. His favourite Star Wars movie is The Last Jedi.

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